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object to a plough, because it employs fewer men than a spade. You may object to a harrow, because it employs fewer men than a rake. You may object even to a spade, because it employs fewer men than fingers and sticks, with which savages scratch the ground in Otaheite. If you expect manufacturers to turn against machinery, look at the consequence. They may succeed, perhaps in driving machinery out of the town they live in, but they often drive the manufacturer out of the town also. He sets up his trade in some distant part of the country, gets new men, and the disciples of Swing are left to starve in the scene of their violence and folly. In this way the lace manufacture travelled in the time of Ludd, Swing's grandfather, from Nottingham to Tiverton. Suppose a free importation of corn to be allowed, as it ought to be, and will be. If you will not allow farmers to grow corn here as cheap as they can, more corn will come from America; for every thrashing-machine that is destroyed, more Americans will be employed, not more Englishmen.
Swing! Swing! you are a stout fellow, but you are a bad adviser. The law is up, and the Judge is coming. Fifty persons in Kent are already transported, and will see their wives and children no more. Sixty persons will be hanged in Hampshire. There are two hundred for trial in Wiltshire-all scholars of Swing! I am no farmer: I have not a machine bigger than a peppermill. I am a sincere friend to the poor, and I think every man should live by his labour: but it cuts me to the very heart to see honest husbandmen perishing by that worst of all machines, the gallows-under the guidance of that most fatal of all leaders — Swing!"
MAXIMS AND RULES OF LIFE.*
REMEMBER that every person, however low, has rights and feelings. In all contentions, let peace be rather your object, than triumph: value triumph only as the means of peace.
"These are extracts from such few portions of his diary as have been preserved, written at various times. These slight, unfinished fragments are not, of course, given as specimens of composition; but they are, I think, of great value, as indicating the occupation and direction of his thoughts, and the wholesome training of his mind, in his leisure hours, and in solitude, of
Remember that your children, your wife, and your servants, have rights and feelings; treat them as you would treat persons who could turn again. Apply these doctrines to the administration of justice as a magistrate. Rank poisons make good medicines; error and misfortune may be turned into wisdom and improve
Do not attempt to frighten children and inferiors by passion; it does more harm to your own character than it does good to them; the same thing is better done by firmness and persuasion.
If you desire the common people to treat you as a gentleman, you must conduct yourself as a gentleman should do to them.
When you meet with neglect, let it rouse you to exertion, instead of mortifying your pride. Set about lessening those defects which expose you to neglect, and improve those excellences which command attention and respect.
Against general fears, remember how very precarious life is, take what care you will; how short it is, last as long as it ever does.
Rise early in the morning, not only to avoid self-reproach, but to make the most of the little life that remains; not only to save the hours lost in sleep, but to avoid that languor which is spread over mind and body for the whole of that day in which you have lain late in bed.
Passion gets less and less powerful after every defeat. Husband energy for the real demand which the dangers of life make upon it.
Find fault, when you must find fault, in private, if possible; and some time after the offence, rather than at the time. The blamed are less inclined to resist, when they are blamed without witnesses; both parties are calmer, and the accused party is struck with the forbearance of the accuser, who has seen the fault, and watched for a private and proper time for mentioning it.
My son writes me word he is unhappy at school. This makes
which he seems to have felt the full value for the improvement of his character. In one of his letters to Jeffrey about this period, he says: 'Living a great deal alone (as I now do) will, I believe, correct me of my faults, for a man can do without his own approbation in much society, but he must make great exertions to gain it when he is alone; without it, I am convinced, solitude is not to be endured.'"- Lady Holland's Memoir, p. 113.
me unhappy; but, 1st. There is much unhappiness in human life: how can school be exempt? 2dly. Boys are apt to take a particular moment of depression for a general feeling, and they are in fact rarely unhappy; at the moment I write, perhaps he is playing about in the highest spirits. 3dly. When he comes to state his grievance, it will probably have vanished, or be so trifling, that it will yield to argument or expostulation. 4thly. At all events, if it is a real evil which makes him unhappy, I must find out what it is, and proceed to act upon it; but I must wait till I can, either in person or by letter, find out what it is.
Not only is religion calm and tranquil, but it has an extensive atmosphere round it, whose calmness and tranquillity must be preserved, if you would avoid misrepresentation.
Not only study that those with whom you live should habitually respect you, but cultivate such manners as will secure the respect of persons with whom you occasionally converse. Keep up the habit of being respected, and do not attempt to be more amusing and agreeable than is consistent with the preservation of respect.
I am come to the age of seventy; have attained enough reputation to make me somebody: I should not like a vast reputation, it would plague me to death. I hope to care less for the outward world.
Don't be too severe upon yourself and your own failings; keep on, don't faint, be energetic to the last.
wish to keep mind clear and body healthy, abstain from all fermented liquors.
Fight against sloth, and do all you can to make friends.
If old age is even a state of suffering, it is a state of superior wisdom, in which man avoids all the rash and foolish things he does in his youth, and which make life dangerous and painful.
Death must be distinguished from dying, with which it is often confounded.
Reverence and stand in awe of yourself.
How Nature delights and amuses us by varying even the character of insects; the ill-nature of the wasp, the sluggishness of the drone, the volatility of the butterfly, the slyness of the bug.
Take short views, hope for the best, and trust in God.
PROGRESS OF SOCIETY.
"The good of ancient times let others state,
I think it lucky I was born so late."
MR. EDITOR: It is of some importance at what period a man is born. A young man, alive at this period, hardly knows to what improvements of human life he has been introduced: and I would bring before his notice the following eighteen changes which have taken place in England, since I first began to breathe in it the breath of life-a period amounting now to nearly seventy-three years.
Gas was unknown: I groped about the streets of London in all but the utter darkness of a twinkling oil lamp, under the protection of watchmen, in their grand climacteric, and exposed to every species of depredation and insult.
I have been nine hours in sailing from Dover to Calais, before the invention of steam. It took me nine hours to go from Taunton to Bath, before the invention of railroads, and I now go, in six hours, from Taunton to London! In going from Taunton to Bath, I suffered between ten thousand and twelve thousand severe contusions, before stone-breaking Macadam was born.
I paid fifteen pounds, in a single year, for repairs of carriagesprings on the pavement of London; and I now glide, without noise or fracture, on wooden pavements.
I can walk, by the assistance of the police, from one end of London to the other, without molestation; or, if tired, get into a cheap and active cab, instead of those cottages on wheels, which the hackney-coaches were at the beginning of my life.
I had no umbrella! They were little used, and very dear. There were no waterproof hats, and my hat has often been reduced by rains into its primitive pulp.
I could not keep my smallclothes in their proper place, for braces were unknown. If I had the gout, there was no colchicum. If I was bilious, there was no calomel. If I was attacked by ague, there was no quinine. There were filthy coffeehouses instead of elegant clubs. Game could not be bought. Quarrels about un
*This is published in Longman's octavo edition of Sydney Smith's works. It was written for a London newspaper the year before the author's death.
commuted tithes were endless. The corruption of Parliament. before Reform, infamous.
There were no banks to receive the savings of the poor. The Poor-Laws were gradually sapping the vitals of the country; and whatever miseries I suffered, I had no post to whisk my complaints, for a single penny, to the remotest corners of the empire; and yet, in spite of all these privations, I lived on quietly, and am now ashamed that I was not more discontented, and utterly surprised that all these changes and inventions did not occur two centuries ago.
I forgot to add, that as the basket of stage-coaches, in which luggage was then carried, had no springs, your clothes were rubbed all to pieces; and that, even in the best society, one third of the gentlemen, at least, were always drunk.