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We cannot properly leave our subject until we have referred to spending, for thrift consists in the putting out, as well as the ingathering, of money. It decides how, and to what extent, we shall both spend and save. We must leave ample room for the play of generosity and honor; we must meet the demands of church and home and community with a wise and liberal hand; we must preserve a keen and governing sense of stewardship, never forgetting the ultimate use of money and the moral and intellectual realities that underlie life. This matter of thrifty saving is purely instrumental, simply to bring us into circumstances where self-respect, a sense of independence and of usefulness, are possible; or, putting it finer, we save to get into the freedom of our nature. Were the wisdom of the whole subject gathered into one phrase, it would be, When young, save; when old, spend. But each must have something of the spirit of the other; save generously, spend thriftily.
If I were to name a general principle to cover the whole matter, I would say, Spend upward, that is, for the higher faculties. Spend for the mind rather than for the body; for culture rather than for amusement. The very secret and essence of thrift consists in getting things into higher values. As the clod turns into a flower, and the flower inspires a poet; as bread becomes vital force, and vital force feeds moral purposes and aspiration, so should all our saving and out-go have regard to the higher ranges and appetites of our nature. If you have a dollar, or a hundred, to spend, put it into something above the average of your nature that you may be attracted to it. Beyond what is necessary for your bodily wants and well-being, every dollar spent for the body is a derogation of manhood. Get the better thing, never the inferior. The night supper, the ball, the drink, the billiard table, the minstrels, — enough calls of this sort there are, and in no wise modest in their demands, but they issue from below you. Go buy a book instead, or journey abroad, or bestow a gift.
I have not urged thrift upon you for its own sake, or merely that you may be kept from poverty, nor even for . the ease it brings, but because it lies near to all the virtues, and antagonizes all the vices. It is the conserving and protecting virtue. It makes soil and atmosphere for all healthy growths. It favors a full manhood. It works against the very faults it seems to invite, and becomes the reason and inspiration of generosity.
SUCCESS IN BUSINESS
By HORACE GREELEY
"F I were asked to define a business man, I should say he was one who! knew how to set other people's fingers at work—possibly their heads, also — to his own profit and theirs. This may be in trade, it may be in manufactures, it may be in the mechanical arts, or in agriculture, but wherever the man, who, stepping into a new and partially employed community, knows how to set new wheels running, axes plying, and reapers and mowers in motion, and so of all the various machinery of production, transformation and distribution, or any part of it — he knows how to do this with advantage to the community (as he can scarcely fail to do it), and with reasonable profit also to himself, — that man is a business man, though he may not know how to read, even; though he may have no money when he commences; though he has simply the capacity — which some possess and more men aspire to — to make himself a sort of driving-wheel to all that machinery. If he has this, he is a true business man, although he may never have received anything more than the rudest common-school education. I have such men in my eye now; and they were not capitalists, the men I think of. They ultimately became so by means of business, but they did not become business men by means of their capital. I will cite a few instances to illustrate my meaning.
In the New England region wherein I was born, the great man, fifty years ago, was William Gray, of Boston,
an East India and general merchant, who had come up from a humble beginning to be the richest man in New England, — probably, at that time, in the Union. He was worth a million of dollars; and in my boyhood that was equal to thirty or forty millions now, — equal in the popular estimate, and equal in effect. Mr. Gray had been known to all Boston as having grown up among them from humility, from obscurity, from poverty, to wealth and consideration. He was the same man still as he had been at first, — neither ashamed of his origin nor proud of it; simply a Boston merchant, a business man, unassuming and unpretending, going about his own affairs and taking care of them, and neither greater nor less than the men whom he met every day; so that it was told of him that one day when another merchant, who had started higher up the ladder than he, said to him, in a fit of spleen — of passion, "Billy Gray, I knew you when you were only a drummer-boy!" "Certainly you did," he responded; "didn't I drum well?" That was the test of a true man, to him. What he found in life to do, he did well.
I think one of the most remarkable men this country has ever developed — I cannot say produced — was the late Stephen Girard, of Philadelphia — a poor German boy, from somewhere, I believe, on the Rhine. He came to Philadelphia orphaned and in poverty; and, sticking his stake there, grew up resolutely, quietly, steadily, into the wealthiest man, and probably the most influential, the most powerful man, that Philadelphia has ever yet developed. He lived rudely, not to say plainly. He had few associates, — hardly a friend; not happy, I think, in his family; at all events, not taking any active part in his social surroundings; but in his stern, rather reticent way, working out his own problem in due time. He was a banker, — his, the Bank of Stephen Girard; and the oldfashioned bankers, who did things in the old-fashioned way, — some of them, — did not understand him quite well. One of them, at any rate, undertook to throw out his notes. This banker did not know Mr. Girard's Bank, — there was no such bank chartered according to law; and they simply rejected his notes at their counter.
He said nothing. They would not take his notes; they did not regard them as bank paper, but simply as his individual notes. But, after a while,when the right time came, he went to that bank, laid down a few thousand dollars of its notes on the counter, and asked for the specie. The cashier counted out the specie. Then he laid down a few thousand more; and the species for these was counted out. He kept on laying down notes, and they kept on counting out the species, until finally they asked, "Have you any more?" He said, "Yes, I have a few more;" and they then told him that they would give it up. They probably began to think that he could take all the species they had — and a little more; so they expressed themselves as satisfied, and he was; and after that it was always fair weather between them.
I hardly think we have to-day, in all respects, quite the equal of this stirring, strong man. Everybody said "That old miser, Girard," and all spoke of him with opprobrium, as a man who had no thought but simply to get money; when that man came to die, —he had not answered any of these remarks; in fact, any man who becomes rich may better acquire the name of the miser; for it is like the shell of the turtle, the only protection he can have against the incessant beggary and importunity of those who have nothing, and do not mean to earn anything; when, I say, Mr. Girard came to die, his will was a noble rebuke to all these sneers and flings. He had lived, after all, to