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wonderful effects-a task requiring an abler pen--suffice it to say, “ these same effects, in the natural course of things may themselves become causes producing other grand effects multiplying and extending far beyond all human foresight.” So that there is no small reason to hope that the progression of the next succeeding ages, will, under the auspices of Divine Providence, become more, and still more, extensive and rapid.
of the peculiar causes of so prevalent a restlessness of
WHILE some ruin their circumstances by their indelence, others do it by their restlessness : always busy, but never pursuing any plan of regular industry No sooner are they settled down in one business, than they change it for another. They are “ every thing by turns, and nothing long." Their attentions thus dissipated, turn to no account; and poverty overtakes them whilst they are flying so many different ways to escape it. Whereas a steady straight-forward course, in almost any single business, might have secured them a competence.
It is neither an imaginary nor a rare character, that I have now been describing : it is to be met with every where in town and country. Thousands are undone by means of this single foible ; every thing else in their habits and dispositions giving promise of success.
This restlessness is owing sometimes to natural temper, but most commonly, perhaps, to the peculiar circumstances of the country in which we live. In China, a boy must follow the occupation of his father, and
stick to that or starve. In India, no one can raise himself above the level of the Caste in which he happens to be born. Nor is the mass of Europeans altogether free from shackles that bind them down to occupations in which their own choice has had no con
If a man there be bred a cobler, he hardly may aspire to the honour of making shoes. But here, on the other hand, a man may put off his calling almost as easily as his clothes ; or he may patch together several callings, and pursue them alternately, or all at once, as best suits his own fancy. Here, the field of individual enterprise is alike open to all. Here, no one is of a family so humble as to be precluded from the possibility of raising himself not only to opulence, but to office and rank. Here, wealth is shifting hands with
rapidity that, in one or two generations, the Hills sink, and the Vallies rise.
Now, as this condition of things animates thousands, with the spirit of enterprise, so it occasions, in very many, a restlessness and instability of feeling. Possessing freedom of choice, and having before them so many objects to choose betwixt, they never come to an election that fully satisfies them.-Add to this, that the last twenty-five years have, (by reason of the unexampled state of Europe) furnished instances, in almost every district of our country, of some or other rising suddenly to. great opulence, by a single stroke in the experiments of speculation, and without any attention at all to the process of patient industry.- A circumstance that has operated powerfully on young minds, and on ininds not young, in rendering them dissatisfied with slow gains or small profits, and impatient of the drudgery of any laborious calling. Not to mention that our country has, of itself, for a ver long time past, furnished magnificent scenes and numerous op
portunities of speculation, altogether unexampled perhaps in the history of man.
Moreover, it is obvious to remark, that our enterprising youth, are necessarily, as it were, tinctured, with a romantic disposition. The books that they most read are of the romantic kind ; alike inflaming the imagination and misleading the judgment, by descriptions 66 of a world of wonders where events are produced by causes widely and manifestly different from those which regulate the course of human affairs.” Also, for almost the term of a whole generation, there has been constantly exhibited to view such a series of marvels in the civilized world, that the history of real life carries on it the appearance of romance.
Nothing very strange is it therefore, that the minds of a great many are unsettled, notional, and fraught with extravagant expectations ; and this is the less to be wondered at, as it is customary for our youth to step into manhood earlier than in former ages, or perhaps than in any country else. Commencing men at an immature period, and under such powerful impulses to wild extravagances of imagination, it would be marvellous indeed if they were not, many of them, averse to any sober, rational and steady plan of life.
To contrast the past with the present-in a short biographical notice of one of the first and wealthiest merchants of the last age, the writer remarks :-" It was an invariable rule with him to avoid every kind of dangerous experiment and to confine himself to such branches of trade as admitted the surest principles of calculation." This golden rule of business, which in former times of " steady habits," was sacredly regarded, not merely by that merchant, but generally ;this golden rule of business, has, by a concurrence of unparalelled circumstances, been made to give place to rashness of speculation and a restless spirit of ad
venture. An evil which nothing but length of time and the smart-giving rod of stern experience, will, in any likelihood, be able to cure.
Of troubles of our own making.
There is in our nature such a restlessness of disposition, that we commonly make to ourselves more than half the evils we feel. Unsatisfied with what we are, or possess, we are still craving after something past or to come, and by regrets, desires, and fears, are perpetually poisoning the streams of present enjoyment. The weather is too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry. If we have nothing to do, time hangs upon us as an insupportable burden. If our circumstances compel us to daily labour, we fret to see others enjoying their lei. sure. Although we have food and raiment enough, and good enough, still we are dissatisfied that we are not rich. If, on the contrary, we chance to be rich, the weight of cares, the pains of getting, the difficulty of keeping, and the fears of losing, give us incessant disquiet and fatigue.
Mrs. Thrift has a decent competence, together with a kind husband and fine children ; but her heart is sick because she can't live in the splendid style of her wealthy neighbour Mrs. Modish : at the same time Mrs. Modish, yoked to a surly, snappish, gouty hus“ band, is secretly envying the condition of Mrs. Thrift.
Honest Abraham has a good farm, and is an excellent farmer, and free of debt, but the peace of his mind is destroyed by being disappointed of an office ; an office too without emolument. Farmer Thomas, his
more artful neighbour who got the office, no sooner received his commission than he began to dash away like a gentleman, and, consequently, neglected his farm and impoverished his family, and by this time he sincerely regrets his having been so foolish as to barter solid pudding for empty honour.
Mercator, having acquired a snug estate by trade, grows uneasy, and sighs for a country life. Purling brooks, vocal groves, fragrant meadows, blooming orchards and fields covered with a golden harvest, enchant his imagination. He sells his stock in trade and purchases a farm ; which he manages with about as much skill as a mere landman would manage a ship at sea : it brings him in debt; and, venting upon it no very gentle epithets, he longs to leave it, and go back to the situation he had abandoned.
Agricolus, weary of a dull plodding way of living and of slow gains, leaves the plough and becomes a merchant. He sells his fast estate and purchases with it goods ; running in debt a few thousands, as he would needs have a handsome assortment.
His goods are unskilfully chosen, and meet with a wretched market. Pay-day comes, and his creditors, blest with excellent memories, are prompt in urging him to a settlement ; but, Alas! of money he has none.
to break, or not to break, that's the question.” He strug. gles hard, makes new debts to pay old ones, sells at great loss, borrows money at 30 or 40 per cent, but breaks at last ; and whereas he merely imagined himself unhappy while holding the plough, he now feels that he is so indeed.
Thus mankind, from a restless disposition, render themselves wretched when they might be much at
It would be worth to one, more than any, or even all, the arts and sciences, to learn the art of living happily,