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THE TRUE LAWS OF BUSINESS LIFE.—John Buskin.
Supposing half a dozen or a dozen men were cast ashore from a wreck on an uninhabited island, and left to their own resources, one of course, according to his capacity, would be set to one business and one to another; the strongest to dig and to cut wood, and to build huts for the rest: the most dexterous to make shoes out of bark and coats out of skins; the best educated to look for iron or lead in the rocks, and to plan the channels for the irrigation of the fields. But though their labours were thus naturally severed, that small group of shipwrecked men would understand well enough that the speediest progress was to be made by helping each other,—not by opposing each other: and they would know that this help could only be properly given so long as they were frank and open in their relations, and the difficulties which each lay under properly explained to the rest. So that any appearance of secrecy or separateness in the actions of any of them would instantly, and justly, be looked upon with suspicion by the rest, as the sign of some selfish or foolish proceeding on the part of the individual.
If, for instance, the scientific man were found to have gone out at night, unknown to the rest, to alter the sluices, the others would think, and in all probability rightly think, that he wanted to get the best supply of water to his own field; and if the shoemaker refused to show them where the bark grew which he made the sandals of, they would naturally think, and in all probability rightly think, that he didn't want them to see how much there was of it, and that he meant to ask from them more corn and potatoes in exchange for his sandals than the trouble of making them deserved. And thus, although each man would have a portion of time to himself, in which he was allowed to do what he chose without let or inquiry,-—so long as he was working in that particular business which he had undertaken for the common benefit, any secrecy on his part would be immediately supposed to mean mischief; and would be required to be accounted for, or put an end to: and this all the more because, whatever the work might be, certainly there would be difficulties about it which, when once they were well explained, might be more or less done away with by the help of the rest; so that assuredly every one of them would advance with his labour not only more happily, but more profitably and quickly, by having no secrets, and by frankly bestowing, and frankly receiving, such help as lay in his way to get or to give.
And, just as the best and richest result of wealth and happiness to the whole of them, would follow on their perseverance in such a system of frank communication and of helpful labour; —so precisely the worst and poorest result would be obtained by a system of secrecy and of enmity; and each man's happiness and wealth would assuredly be diminished in proportion to the degree in which jealousy and concealment became their social and economical principles. It would not, in the long run, bring good, but only evil, to the man of science, if, instead of telling openly where he had found good iron, he carefully concealed every new bed of it, that he might ask, in exchange for the rare ploughshare, more corn from the farmer, or in exchange for the rude needle, more labour from the sempstress: and it would not ultimately bring good, but only evil, to the farmers, if they sought to burn each other's cornstacks, that they might raise the value of their grain, or if the sempstresses tried to break each other's needles, that each might get all the stitching to herself.
Now', these laws of human action are precisely as authoritative in their application to the conduct of a million of men, as to that of six or twelve. All enmity, jealousy, opposition, and secrecy are wholly, and in all circumstances, destructive in their nature—not productive; and all kindness, fellowship, and communicativeness are invariably productive in their operation, —not destructive; and the evil principles of opposition and exclusiveness are not rendered less fatal, but more fatal, by their acceptance among large masses of men; more fatal, I say, exactly in proportion as their influence is more secret. For though the opposition does always its own simple, necessary, direct quantity of harm, and withdraws always its own simple, necessary, measurable quantity of wealth from the sum possessed by the community, yet, in proportion to the size of the community, it does another and more refined mischief than this, by concealing its own fatality under aspects of mercantile complication and expediency, and giving rise to multitudes of false theories based on a mean belief in narrow and immediate appearances of good done here and there by things which have the universal and everlasting nature of evil. So that the time and powers of the nation are wasted, not only in wretched struggling against each other, but in vain complaints, and groundless discouragements, and empty investigations, and useless experiments in laws, and elections, and inventions; with hopes always to pull wisdom through some new-shaped slit in a ballot-box, and to drag prosperity down out of the clouds along some new knot of electric wire; while all the while Wisdom stands calling at the corners of the streets, and the blessing of heaven waits ready to rain down upon us, deeper than the rivers and broader than the dew, if only we will obey the first plain principles of humanity, and the first plain precepts of the skies: "Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion, every man to his brother; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart."
Composition.—"Write an abstract of this lesson.
YOUTH AND AGE.—Coleridge.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a fine poet, an exquisite prose writer, and a profound thinker, was born in 1772; he died in 1834.
Youth, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying,
When I was young!
Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Ere I was old!
0 Youth! for years so many and sweet,
It cannot be, that Thou art gone!
1 see these locks in silvery slips,
Dewdrops are the gems of morning,
When we are old:
LINES FROM WORDSWORTH.
Small service is true service while it lasts:
The Daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dew-drop from the Sun.
The primal duties shine aloft, like stars;
LESSONS ON SPECIFIC SUBJECTS.
Kg. a. leaves of gold are
1. In the " Fifth Reader," p. 136, the elementary phenomena of attraction and repulsion by electricity are described. a a The substance attracted or repelled, if suspended so that the effect on it may be seen and measured, is called an electroscope, from the Greek words, electron, electricity, and skopeo, to observe, to see. A fine cotton or linen thread hung from an arm or support, with a little light ball of cotton wool, or of elder pith, at the end of it (Fig. 44), forms a delicate and sensitive electroscope.
2. A very delicate test of electrical excitement is a slip of leaf gold under a bell-glass, so as to shield it from currents of air. It is called the Gold-Leaf Electroscope. Where two used, as described in "Fifth Reader," p. 138, § 1 (Fig. 45), the kind and force of the electricity in operation in any case is very easily observed.
3. Substances which, like amber, display electric force when rubbed, are called idio-electrics, or substances naturally electric in themselves. They include gums of all kinds, camphor, gum-lac, shell-lac, gutta-percha, amber, jet, sulphur, precious stones, glass, silk, furs, wool, hair, feathers, sealing-wax, &c.
4. Other substances have the property of conducting or transmitting electricity, and are hence distinguished from the idio-electrics by the name of conductors. The electricity is not retained in them as it is in amber, but passes through them. This class includes all the metals, charcoal, water in all its forms, flame and smoke, nearly all earths and stones, &c.
5. In order to retain electricity in any conducting body, it is requisite to support it on some non-conductor, as, for example, on a glass stalk. We see this in the glass "isolators" on the telegraph posts, round which the telegraph wire is passed. A conductor of electricity thus treated is said to be insulated, and is called an insulated conductor. When electrified it is said to be charged.
Fig. 46 explains this, a is a thin disc of metal insulated on a long
R R, a glass receiver; a b, two strips of gold leaf; j>, conducting rod; x y, the lines towards which the gold leaves diverge. If the electricity of the substance to be tested is different from that with which the ball p has been charged, the leaves close; if it be the same, they fly open.