Architects of fate or, steps to success and power a book designed to inspire youth to character building, self-culture and noble a



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CHAPTER IV.

SUCCESS UNDER DIFFICULTIES.

Victories that are easy are cheap. Those only are worth having which come as the result of hard fighting.--BEECHER.

Man owes his growth chiefly to that active striving of the will, that encounter with difficulty, which we call effort; and it is astonishing to find how often results that seemed impracticable are thus made possible.--EPES SARGENT.

I know no such unquestionable badge and ensign of a sovereign mind as that tenacity of purpose which, through all change of companions, or parties, or fortunes, changes never, bates no jot of heart or hope, but wearies out opposition and arrives at its port.--EMERSON.

Yes, to this thought I hold with firm persistence; The last result of wisdom stamps it true; He only earns his freedom and existence Who daily conquers them anew. GOETHE.

Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.--WASHINGTON IRVING.

"I have here three teams that I want to get over to Staten Island," said a boy of twelve one day in 1806 to the innkeeper at South Amboy, N. J. "If you will put us across, I'll leave with you one of my horses in pawn, and if I don't send you back six dollars within forty-eight hours you may keep the horse."

The innkeeper asked the reason for this novel proposition, and learned that the lad's father had contracted to get the cargo of a vessel stranded near Sandy Hook, and take it to New York in lighters. The boy had been sent with three wagons, six horses, and three men, to carry the cargo across a sand-spit to the lighters. The work accomplished, he had started with only six dollars to travel a long distance home over the Jersey sands, and reached South Amboy penniless. "I'll do it," said the innkeeper, as he looked into the bright honest eyes of the boy. The horse was soon redeemed.

* * * * * *

[Illustration: WILLIAM HICKLING PRESCOTT]

How can you keep a determined man from success: Place stumbling-blocks in his way, and he uses them for stepping-stones. Imprison him, and he produces the "Pilgrim's Progress." Deprive him of eyesight, and he writes the "Conquest of Mexico."

* * * * * *

"My son," said this same boy's mother, on the first of May, 1810, when he asked her to lend him one hundred dollars to buy a boat, having imbibed a strong liking for the sea; "on the twenty-seventh of this month you will be sixteen years old. If, by that time, you will plow, harrow, and plant with corn the eight-acre lot, I will advance you the money." The field was rough and stony, but the work was done in time, and well done. From this small beginning Cornelius Vanderbilt laid the foundation of a colossal fortune. He would often work all night; and, as he was never absent from his post by day, he soon had the best business in New York harbor.

In 1813, when it was expected that New York would be attacked by British ships, all the boatmen except Cornelius put in bids to convey provisions to the military posts around New York, naming extremely low rates, as the contractor would be exempted from military duty. "Why don't you send in a bid?" asked his father. "Of what use?" replied young Vanderbilt; "they are offering to do the work at half price. It can't be done at such rates." "Well," said his father, "it can do no harm to try for it." So, to please his father, but with no hope of success, Cornelius made an offer fair to both sides, but did not go to hear the award. When his companions had all returned with long faces, he went to the commissary's office and asked if the contract had been given. "Oh, yes," was the reply; "that business is settled. Cornelius Vanderbilt is the man. What?" he asked, seeing that the youth was apparently thunderstruck, "is it you?" "My name is Cornelius Vanderbilt," said the boatman. "Well," said the commissary, "don't you know why we have given the contract to you?" "No." "Why, it is because we want this business done, and we know you'll do it." Character gives confidence.

In 1818 he owned two or three of the finest coasting schooners in New York harbor, and had a capital of nine thousand dollars. Seeing that steam-vessels would soon win supremacy over those carrying sails only, he gave up his fine business to become the captain of a steamboat at one thousand dollars a year. For twelve years he ran between New York city and New Brunswick, N. J. In 1829 he began business as a steamboat owner, in the face of opposition so bitter that he lost his last dollar. But the tide turned, and he prospered so rapidly that he at length owned over one hundred steamboats. He early identified himself with the growing railroad interests of the country, and became the richest man of his day in America.

Barnum began the race of business life barefoot, for at the age of fifteen he was obliged to buy on credit the shoes he wore at his father's funeral. He was a remarkable example of success under difficulties. There was no keeping him down; no opposition daunted him, no obstacles were too great for him to overcome. Think of a man being ruined at fifty years of age; yes, worse than ruined, for he was heavily in debt besides. Yet on the very day of his downfall he begins to rise again, wringing victory from defeat by his indomitable persistence.

"Eloquence must have been born with you," said a friend to J. P. Curran. "Indeed, my dear sir, it was not," replied the orator, "it was born some three and twenty years and some months after me." Speaking of his first attempt at a debating club, he said: "I stood up, trembling through every fibre, but remembering that in this I was but imitating Tully, I took courage and had actually proceeded almost as far as 'Mr. Chairman,' when, to my astonishment and terror, I perceived that every eye was turned on me. There were only six or seven present, and the room could not have contained as many more; yet was it, to my panic-stricken imagination, as if I were the central object in nature, and assembled millions were gazing upon me in breathless expectation. I became dismayed and dumb. My friends cried, 'Hear him!' but there was nothing to hear." He was nicknamed "Orator Mum," and well did he deserve the title until he ventured to stare in astonishment at a speaker who was "culminating chronology by the most preposterous anachronisms." "I doubt not," said the annoyed speaker, "that 'Orator Mum' possesses wonderful talents for eloquence, but I would recommend him to show it in future by some more popular method than his silence." Stung by the taunt, Curran rose and gave the man a "piece of his mind," speaking quite fluently in his anger. Encouraged by this success, he took great pains to become a good speaker. He corrected his habit of stuttering by reading favorite passages aloud every day slowly and distinctly, and spoke at every opportunity.

Bunyan wrote his "Pilgrim's Progress" on the untwisted papers used to cork the bottles of milk brought for his meals. Gifford wrote his first copy of a mathematical work, when a cobbler's apprentice, on small scraps of leather; and Rittenhouse, the astronomer, first calculated eclipses on his plow handle.

A poor Irish lad, so pitted by smallpox that boys made sport of him, earned his living by writing little ballads for street musicians. Eight cents a day was often all he could earn. He traveled through France and Italy, begging his way by singing and playing the flute at the cottages of the peasantry. At twenty-eight he was penniless in London, and lived in the beggars' quarters in Axe Lane. In his poverty, he set up as a doctor in the suburbs of London. He wore a second-hand coat of rusty velvet, with a patch on the left breast which he adroitly covered with his three-cornered hat during his visits; and we have an amusing anecdote of his contest of courtesy with a patient who persisted in endeavoring to relieve him of his hat, which only made him press it more devoutly to his heart. He often had to pawn his clothes to keep from starving. He sold his "Life of Voltaire" for twenty dollars. After great hardship he managed to publish his "Polite Learning in Europe," and this brought him to public notice. Next came "The Traveller," and the wretched man in a Fleet Street garret found himself famous. His landlady once arrested him for rent, but Dr. Johnson came to his relief, took from his desk the manuscript of the "Vicar of Wakefield," and sold it for three hundred dollars. He spent two years revising "The Deserted Village" after it was first written. Generous to a fault, vain and improvident, imposed on by others, he was continually in debt; although for his "History of the Earth and Animated Nature" he received four thousand dollars, and some of his works, as, for instance, "She Stoops to Conquer," had a large sale. But in spite of fortune's frown and his own weakness, he won success and fame. The world, which so often comes too late with its assistance and laurels, gave to the weak, gentle, loving author of "The Vicar of Wakefield" a monument in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

The poor, scrofulous, and almost blind boy, Samuel Johnson, was taken by his mother to receive the touch of Queen Anne, which was supposed to heal the "King's Evil." He entered Oxford as a servant, copying lectures from a student's notebooks, while the boys made sport of the bare feet showing through great holes in his shoes. Some one left a pair of new shoes at his door, but he was too proud to be helped, and threw them out of the window. He was so poor that he was obliged to leave college, and at twenty-six married a widow of forty-eight. He started a private school with his wife's money; but, getting only three pupils, was obliged to close it. He went to London, where he lived on nine cents a day. In his distress he wrote a poem in which appeared in capital letters the line, "Slow rises worth by poverty depressed," which attracted wide attention. He suffered greatly in London for thirteen years, being arrested once for a debt of thirteen dollars. At forty he published "The Vanity of Human Wishes," in which were these lines:--

"Then mark what ills the scholar's life assail; Toil, envy, want, the patron and the jail."

When asked how he felt about his failures, he replied:

"Like a monument,"--that is, steadfast, immovable. He was an indefatigable worker. In the evenings of a single week he wrote "Rasselas," a beautiful little story of the search for happiness, to get money to pay the funeral expenses of his mother. With six assistants he worked seven years on his Dictionary, which made his fortune. His name was then in everybody's mouth, and when he no longer needed help, assistance, as usual, came from every quarter. The great universities hastened to bestow their degrees, and King George invited him to the palace.

Lord Mansfield raised himself by indefatigable industry from oatmeal porridge and poverty to affluence and the Lord Chief Justice's Bench.

Of five thousand articles sent every year to "Lippincott's Magazine," only two hundred were accepted. How much do you think Homer got for his Iliad? or Dante for his Paradise? Only bitter bread and salt, and going up and down other people's stairs. In science, the man who discovered the telescope, and first saw heaven, was paid with a dungeon: the man who invented the microscope, and first saw earth, died from starvation, driven from his home. It is very clear indeed that God means all good work and talk to be done for nothing. Shakespeare's "Hamlet" was sold for about twenty-five dollars; but his autograph has sold for five thousand dollars.

During the ten years in which he made his greatest discoveries, Isaac Newton could hardly pay two shillings a week to the Royal Society of which he was a member. Some of his friends wanted to get him excused from this payment, but he would not allow them to act.

There are no more interesting pages in biography than those which record how Emerson, as a child, was unable to read the second volume of a certain book, because his widowed mother could not afford the amount (five cents) necessary to obtain it from the circulating library.

Linnaeus was so poor when getting his education, that he had to mend his shoes with folded paper, and often had to beg his meals of his friends.

Who in the days of the First Empire cared to recall the fact that Napoleon, Emperor and King, was once forced to borrow a louis from Talma, when he lived in a garret on the Quai Conti?

David Livingstone at ten years of age was put into a cotton factory near Glasgow. Out of his first week's wages he bought a Latin Grammar, and studied in the night schools for years. He would sit up and study till midnight unless his mother drove him to bed, notwithstanding he had to be at the factory at six in the morning. He mastered Virgil and Horace in this way, and read extensively, besides studying botany. So eager and thirsty for knowledge was he, that he would place his book before him on the spinning-jenny, and amid the deafening roar of machinery would pore over its pages.

George Eliot said of the years of close work upon her "Romola," "I began it a young woman, I finished it an old woman." One of Emerson's biographers says, referring to his method of rewriting, revising, correcting, and eliminating: "His apples were sorted over and over again, until only the very rarest, the most perfect, were left. It did not matter that those thrown away were very good and helped to make clear the possibilities of the orchard, they were unmercifully cast aside." Carlyle's books were literally wrung out of him. The pains he took to satisfy himself of a relatively insignificant fact were incredible. Before writing his essay on Diderot, he read twenty-five volumes at the rate of one per day. He tells Edward Fitzgerald that for the twentieth time he is going over the confused records of the battle of Naseby, that he may be quite sure of the topography.

"All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise and wonder," says Johnson, "are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals. If a man was to compare the effect of a single stroke of the pickaxe, or of one impression of the spade, with the general design and last result, he would be overwhelmed by the sense of their disproportion; yet those petty operations, incessantly continued, in time surmount the greatest difficulties, and mountains are leveled, and oceans bounded, by the slender force of human beings."

The Rev. Eliphalet Nott, a pulpit orator, was especially noted for a sermon on the death of Alexander Hamilton, the great statesman, who was shot in a duel by Aaron Burr. Although Nott had managed in some way to get his degree at Brown University, he was at one time so poor after he entered the ministry that he could not buy an overcoat. His wife sheared their only cosset sheep in January, wrapped it in burlap blankets to keep it from freezing, carded and spun and wove the wool, and made it into an overcoat for him.

Great men never wait for opportunities; they make them. Nor do they wait for facilities or favoring circumstances; they seize upon whatever is at hand, work out their problem, and master the situation. A young man determined and willing will find a way or make one. A Franklin does not require elaborate apparatus; he can bring electricity from the clouds with a common kite. A Watt can make a model of the condensing steam-engine out of an old syringe used to inject the arteries of dead bodies previous to dissection. A Dr. Black can discover latent heat with a pan of water and two thermometers. A Newton can unfold the composition of light and the origin of colors with a prism, a lens, and a piece of pasteboard. A Humphry Davy can experiment with kitchen pots and pans, and a Faraday can experiment on electricity by means of old bottles, in his spare minutes while a book-binder. When science was in its cradle the Marquis of Worcester, an English nobleman, imprisoned in the Tower of London, was certainly not in a very good position to do anything for the world, but would not waste his time. The cover of a vessel of hot water blown on before his eyes led to a series of observations, which he published later in a book called "Century of Inventions." These observations were a sort of text-book on the power of steam, which resulted in Newcomen's steam-engine, which Watt afterward perfected. A Ferguson maps out the heavenly bodies, lying on his back, by means of threads with beads stretched between himself and the stars.

Not in his day of bodily strength and political power, but blind, decrepit, and defeated with his party, Milton composed "Paradise Lost."

Great men have found no royal road to their triumph. It is always the old route, by way of industry and perseverance.

The farmer boy, Elihu B. Washburn, taught school at ten dollars per month, and early learned the lesson that it takes one hundred cents to make a dollar. In after years he fought "steals" in Congress, until he was called the "Watchdog of the Treasury." From his long membership he became known as the "Father of the House." He administered the oath to Schuyler Colfax as Speaker three times. He recommended Grant as colonel of a regiment of volunteers. The latter, when President, appointed him Secretary of State, and, later, Minister to France. During the reign of the Commune, the representatives of nearly all other foreign nations fled in dismay, but Washburn remained at his post. Shells exploded close to his office, and fell all around it, but he did not leave even when Paris was in flames. For a time he was really the minister of all foreign countries, in Paris; and represented Prussia for almost a year. The Emperor William conferred upon him the Order of the Red Eagle, and gave him a jeweled star of great value.

How could the poor boy, Elihu Burritt, working nearly all the daylight in a blacksmith's shop, get an education? He had but one book in his library, and carried that in his hat. But this boy with no chance became one of America's wonders.

When teaching school, Garfield was very poor. He tore his only blue jean trousers, but concealed the rents by pins until night, when he retired early that his boarding mistress might mend his clothes. "When you get to be a United States Senator," said she, "no one will ask what kind of clothes you wore when teaching school."

Although Michael Angelo made himself immortal in three different occupations, his fame might well rest upon his dome of St. Peter as an architect, upon his "Moses" as a sculptor, and upon his "Last Judgment" as a painter; yet we find by his correspondence now in the British Museum, that when he was at work on his colossal bronze statue of Pope Julius II., he was so poor that he could not have his younger brother come to visit him at Bologna, because he had but one bed in which he and three of his assistants slept together.

"I was always at the bottom of my purse," said Zola, in describing the struggles of his early years of authorship. "Very often I had not a sou left, and not knowing, either, where to get one. I rose generally at four in the morning, and began to study after a breakfast consisting of one raw egg. But no matter, those were good times. After taking a walk along the quays, I entered my garret, and joyfully partaking of a dinner of three apples, I sat down to work. I wrote, and I was happy. In winter I would allow myself no fire; wood was too expensive--only on fĂȘte days was I able to afford it. But I had several pipes of tobacco and a candle for three sous. A three-sous candle, only think of it! It meant a whole night of literature to me."

James Brooks, once the editor and proprietor of the "New York Daily Express," and later an eminent congressman, began life as a clerk in a store in Maine, and when twenty-one received for his pay a hogshead of New England rum. He was so eager to go to college that he started for Waterville with his trunk on his back, and when he was graduated he was so poor and plucky that he carried his trunk on his back to the station when he went home.

When Elias Howe, harassed by want and woe, was in London completing his first sewing-machine, he had frequently to borrow money to live on. He bought beans and cooked them himself. He also borrowed money to send his wife back to America. He sold his first machine for five pounds, although it was worth fifty, and then he pawned his letters patent to pay his expenses home.

The boy Arkwright begins barbering in a cellar, but dies worth a million and a half. The world treated his novelties just as it treats everybody's novelties--made infinite objection, mustered all the impediments, but he snapped his fingers at their objections, and lived to become honored and wealthy.

There is scarcely a great truth or doctrine but has had to fight its way to public recognition in the face of detraction, calumny, and persecution. "Everywhere," says Heine, "that a great soul gives utterance to its thoughts, there also is a Golgotha."

Nearly every great discovery or invention that has blessed mankind has had to fight its way to recognition, even against the opposition of the most progressive men.

Even Sir Charles Napier fiercely opposed the introduction of steam power into the Royal Navy. In the House of Commons, he exclaimed, "Mr. Speaker, when we enter Her Majesty's naval service and face the chances of war, we go prepared to be hacked in pieces, to be riddled by bullets, or to be blown to bits by shot and shell; but Mr. Speaker, we do not go prepared to be boiled alive." He said this with tremendous emphasis.

"Will any one explain how there can be a light without a wick?" asked a member of Parliament, when William Murdock, toward the close of the eighteenth century, said that coal gas would give a good light, and could be conveyed into buildings in pipes. "Do you intend taking the dome of St. Paul's for a gasometer?" was the sneering question of even the great scientist, Humphry Davy. Walter Scott ridiculed the idea of lighting London by "smoke," but he soon used it at Abbotsford, and Davy achieved one of his greatest triumphs by experimenting with gas until he had invented his safety lamp.

Titian used to crush the flowers to get their color, and painted the white walls of his father's cottage in Tyrol with all sorts of pictures, at which the mountaineers gazed in wonder.

"That boy will beat me one day," said an old painter as he watched a little fellow named Michael Angelo making drawings of pot and brushes, easel and stool, and other articles in the studio. The barefoot boy did persevere until he had overcome every difficulty and become a master of his art.

William H. Prescott was a remarkable example of what a boy with "no chance" can do. While at college, he lost one eye by a hard piece of bread thrown during a "biscuit battle," then so common after meals; and, from sympathy, the other eye became almost useless. But the boy had pluck and determination, and would not lead a useless life. He set his heart upon being a historian, and turned all his energies in that direction. By the aid of others' eyes, he spent ten years studying before he even decided upon a particular theme for his first book. Then he spent ten years more, poring over old archives and manuscripts, before he published his "Ferdinand and Isabella." What a lesson in his life for young men! What a rebuke to those who have thrown away their opportunities and wasted their lives!

"Galileo with an opera-glass," said Emerson, "discovered a more splendid series of celestial phenomena than any one since with the great telescopes. Columbus found the new world in an undecked boat."

Surroundings which men call unfavorable cannot prevent the unfolding of your powers. From the plain fields and lowlands of Avon came the Shakespearean genius which has charmed the world. From among the rock-ribbed hills of New Hampshire sprang the greatest of American orators and statesmen, Daniel Webster. From the crowded ranks of toil, and homes to which luxury is a stranger, have often come the leaders and benefactors of our race. Indeed, when Christ came upon earth, His early abode was a place so poor and so much despised that men thought He could not be the Christ, asking, in utter astonishment, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"

"I once knew a little colored boy," said Frederick Douglass, "whose mother and father died when he was but six years old. He was a slave, and had no one to care for him. He slept on a dirt floor in a hovel, and in cold weather would crawl into a meal-bag head foremost, and leave his feet in the ashes to keep them warm. Often he would roast an ear of corn and eat it to satisfy his hunger, and many times has he crawled under the barn or stable and secured eggs, which he would roast in the fire and eat. That boy did not wear pantaloons, as you do, but a tow-linen shirt. Schools were unknown to him, and he learned to spell from an old Webster's spelling-book, and to read and write from posters on cellar and barn doors, while boys and men would help him. He would then preach and speak, and soon became well known. He became presidential elector, United States marshal, United States recorder, United States diplomat, and accumulated some wealth. He wore broadcloth, and didn't have to divide crumbs with the dogs under the table. That boy was Frederick Douglass. What was possible for me is possible for you. Don't think because you are colored you can't accomplish anything. Strive earnestly to add to your knowledge. So long as you remain in ignorance, so long will you fail to command the respect of your fellow-men."

Where shall we find an illustration more impressive than in Abraham Lincoln, whose life, career, and death might be chanted by a Greek chorus as at once the prelude and the epilogue of the most imperial theme of modern times? Born as lowly as the Son of God, in a hovel; of what real parentage we know not, reared in penury, squalor, with no gleam of light, nor fair surrounding; a young manhood vexed by weird dreams and visions; with scarcely a natural grace; singularly awkward, ungainly even among the uncouth about him: it was reserved for this remarkable character, late in life, to be snatched from obscurity, raised to supreme command at a supreme moment, and intrusted with the destiny of a nation. The great leaders of his party were made to stand aside; the most experienced and accomplished men of the day, men like Seward, and Chase, and Sumner, statesmen famous and trained, were sent to the rear, while this strange figure was brought by unseen hands to the front, and given the reins of power.

The story is told of a man in London deprived of both legs and arms, who managed to write with his mouth and perform other things so remarkable as to enable him to earn a fair living. He would lay certain sheets of paper together, pinning them at the corner to make them hold. Then he would take a pen and write some verses; after which he would proceed to embellish the lines by many skillful flourishes. Dropping the pen from his mouth, he would next take up a needle and thread, also with his mouth, thread the needle, and make several stitches. He also painted with a brush, and was in many other ways a wonderful man. Instead of being a burden to his family he was the most important contributor to their welfare.

Arthur Cavanagh, M. P., was born without arms or legs, yet it is said that he was a good shot, a skillful fisherman and sailor, and one of the best cross country riders in Ireland. He was a good conversationalist, and an able member of Parliament. He ate with his fork attached to his stump of an arm, and wrote holding his pen in his teeth. In riding he held the bridle in his mouth, his body being strapped to the saddle. He once lost his means of support in India, but went to work with his accustomed energy, and obtained employment as a carrier of dispatches.

People thought it strange that Gladstone should appoint blind Henry Fawcett Postmaster-General of Great Britain; but never before did any one fill the office so well.

John B. Herreshoff, of Bristol, R. I., although blind since he was fifteen years old, is the founder and head of one of the most noted shipbuilding establishments in the world. He has superintended the construction of some of the swiftest torpedo boats and steam and sailing yachts afloat. He frequently takes his turn at the wheel in sailing his vessels on trial trips. He is aided greatly by his younger brother Nathaniel, but can plan vessels and conduct business without him. After examining a vessel's hull or a good model of it, he will give detailed instructions for building another just like it, and will make a more accurate duplicate than can most boat-builders whose sight is perfect.

The Rev. William H. Milburn, who lost his sight when a child, studied for the ministry, and was ordained before he attained his majority. In ten years he traveled about 200,000 miles in missionary work. He has written half a dozen books, among them a very careful history of the Mississippi Valley. He has long been chaplain of the lower house of Congress.

Blind Fanny Crosby, of New York, was a teacher of the blind for many years. She has written nearly three thousand hymns, among which are "Pass Me not, O Gentle Saviour," "Rescue the Perishing," "Saviour more than Life to Me," and "Jesus keep Me near the Cross."

Nor are these by any means the only examples of blind people now doing their full share of the world's work. In the United States alone there are engaged in musical occupation one hundred and fifty blind piano tuners, one hundred and fifty blind teachers of music in schools for the blind, five hundred blind private teachers, one hundred blind church organists, fifteen or more blind composers and publishers of music, and several blind dealers in musical instruments.

There is no open door to the temple of success. Every one who enters makes his own door, which closes behind him to all others, not even permitting his own children to pass.

Nearly forty years ago, on a rainy, dreary day in November, a young widow in Philadelphia sat wondering how she could feed and clothe three little ones left dependent by the death of her husband, a naval officer. Happening to think of a box of which her husband had spoken, she opened it, and found therein an envelope containing directions for a code of colored light signals to be used at night on the ocean. The system was not complete, but she perfected it, went to Washington, and induced the Secretary of the Navy to give it a trial. An admiral soon wrote that the signals were good for nothing, although the idea was valuable. For months and years she worked, succeeding at last in producing brilliant lights of different colors. She was paid $20,000 for the right to manufacture them in our navy. Nearly all the blockade runners captured in the Civil War were taken by the aid of the Coston signals, which are also considered invaluable in the Life Saving Service. Mrs. Coston introduced them into several European navies, and became wealthy.

A modern writer says that it is one of the mysteries of our life that genius, that noblest gift of God to man, is nourished by poverty. Its greatest works have been achieved by the sorrowing ones of the world in tears and despair. Not in the brilliant salon, not in the tapestried library, not in ease and competence, is genius usually born and nurtured; but often in adversity and destitution, amidst the harassing cares of a straitened household, in bare and fireless garrets, with the noise of squalid children, in the turbulence of domestic contentions, and in the deep gloom of uncheered despair. This is its most frequent birthplace, and amid scenes like these unpropitious, repulsive, wretched surroundings, have men labored, studied, and trained themselves, until they have at last emanated from the gloom of that obscurity the shining lights of their times; have become the companions of kings, the guides and teachers of their kind, and exercised an influence upon the thought of the world amounting to a species of intellectual legislation.

Chauncey Jerome's education was limited to three months in the district school each year until he was ten, when his father took him into his blacksmith shop at Plymouth, Conn., to make nails. Money was a scarce article with young Chauncey. He once chopped a load of wood for one cent, and often chopped by moonlight for neighbors at less than a dime a load. His father died when he was eleven, and his mother was forced to send Chauncey out, with tears in his eyes and a little bundle of clothes in his hand, to earn a living on a farm. His new employer kept him at work early and late chopping down trees all day, his shoes sometimes full of snow, for he had no boots until he was nearly twenty-one. At fourteen he was apprenticed for seven years to a carpenter, who gave him only board and clothes. Several times during his apprenticeship he carried his tools thirty miles on his back to his work at different places. After he had learned his trade he frequently walked thirty miles to a job with his kit upon his back. One day he heard people talking of Eli Terry, of Plymouth, who had undertaken to make two hundred clocks in one lot. "He'll never live long enough to finish them," said one. "If he should," said another, "he could not possibly sell so many. The very idea is ridiculous." Chauncey pondered long over this rumor, for it had long been his dream to become a great clock-maker. He tried his hand at the first opportunity, and soon learned to make a wooden clock. When he got an order to make twelve at twelve dollars apiece he thought his fortune was made. One night he happened to think that a cheap clock could be made of brass as well as of wood, and would not shrink, swell, or warp appreciably in any climate. He acted on the idea, and became the first great manufacturer of brass clocks. He made millions at the rate of six hundred a day, exporting them to all parts of the globe.

"The History of the English People" was written while J. R. Green was struggling against a mortal illness. He had collected a vast store of materials, and had begun to write, when his disease made a sudden and startling progress, and his physicians said they could do nothing to arrest it. In the extremity of ruin and defeat he applied himself with greater fidelity to his work. The time that might still be left to him for work must henceforth be wrested, day by day, from the grasp of death. The writing occupied five months, while from hour to hour and day to day his life was prolonged, his doctors said, by the sheer force of his own will and his inflexible determination to finish the "Making of England." He lay, too weak to lift a book, or to hold a pen, dictating every word, sometimes through hours of intense suffering. Yet so conscientious was he that, driven by death as he was, the greater part of the book was rewritten five times. When it was done he began the "Conquest of England," wrote it, reviewed it, and then, dissatisfied with it, rejected it all and began again. As death laid its cold fingers on his heart, he said: "I still have some work to do that I know is good. I will try to win but one week more to write it down." It was not until he was actually dying that he said, "I can work no more."

"What does he know," said a sage, "who has not suffered?" Schiller produced his greatest tragedies in the midst of physical suffering almost amounting to torture. Handel was never greater than when, warned by palsy of the approach of death, and struggling with distress and suffering, he sat down to compose the great works which have made his name immortal in music. Mozart composed his great operas, and last of all his "Requiem," when oppressed by debt and struggling with a fatal disease. Beethoven produced his greatest works amidst gloomy sorrow, when oppressed by almost total deafness.

Perhaps no one ever battled harder to overcome obstacles which would have disheartened most men than Demosthenes. He had such a weak voice, and such an impediment in his speech, and was so short of breath, that he could scarcely get through a single sentence without stopping to rest. All his first attempts were nearly drowned by the hisses, jeers, and scoffs of his audiences. His first effort that met with success was against his guardian, who had defrauded him, and whom he compelled to refund a part of his fortune. He was so discouraged by his defeats that he determined to give up forever all attempts at oratory. One of his auditors, however, believed the young man had something in him, and encouraged him to persevere. He accordingly appeared again in public, but was hissed down as before. As he withdrew, hanging his head in great confusion, a noted actor, Satyrus, encouraged him still further to try to overcome his impediment. He stammered so much that he could not pronounce some of the letters at all, and his breath would give out before he could get through a sentence. Finally, he determined to be an orator cost what it might. He went to the seashore and practiced amid the roar of the breakers with small pebbles in his mouth, in order to overcome his stammering, and at the same time accustom himself to the hisses and tumults of his audience. He overcame his short breath by practicing speaking while running up steep and difficult places on the shore. His awkward gestures were also corrected by long and determined drill before a mirror.

Disheartened by the expense of removing the troublesome seeds, Southern planters were seriously considering the abandonment of cotton culture. To clean a pound of cotton required the labor of a slave for a day. Eli Whitney, a young man from New England, teaching school in Georgia, saw the state of affairs, and determined to invent a machine to do the work. He worked in secret for many months in a cellar, and at last made a machine which cleaned the cotton perfectly and rapidly. Just as success crowned his long labor thieves broke into the cellar and stole his model. He recovered the model, but the principle was stolen, and other machines were made without his consent. In vain he tried to protect his right in the courts, for Southern juries would almost invariably decide against him. He had started the South in a great industry, and added millions to her wealth, yet the courts united with the men who had infringed his patents to rob him of the reward of his ingenuity and industry. At last he abandoned the whole thing in disgust, and turned his attention to making improvements in firearms, and with such success that he accumulated a fortune.

Robert Collyer, who brought his bride in the steerage when he came to America at the age of twenty-seven, worked at the anvil nine years in Pennsylvania, and then became a preacher, soon winning national renown.

A shrewd observer says of John Chinaman: "No sooner does he put his foot among strangers than he begins to work. No office is too menial or too laborious for him. He has come to make money, and he will make it. His frugality requires but little: he barely lives, but he saves what he gets; commences trade in the smallest possible way, and is continually adding to his store. The native scorns such drudgery, and remains poor; the Chinaman toils patiently on, and grows rich. A few years pass by, and he has warehouses; becomes a contractor for produce; buys foreign goods by the cargo; and employs his newly imported countrymen, who have come to seek their fortune as he did. He is not particularly scrupulous in matters of opinion. He never meddles with politics, for they are dangerous and not profitable; but he will adopt any creed, and carefully follow any observances, if, by so doing, he can confirm or improve his position. He thrives with the Spaniard, and works while the latter sleeps. He is too quick for the Dutchman, and can smoke and bargain at the same time. He has harder work with the Englishman, but still he is too much for him, and succeeds. Climate has no effect on him: it cannot stop his hands, unless it kills him; and if it does, he dies in harness, battling for money till his last breath. Whoever he may be, and in whatever position, whether in his own or a foreign country, he is diligent, temperate, and uncomplaining. He keeps the word he pledges, pays his debts, and is capable of noble and generous actions. It has been customary to speak lightly of him, and to judge a whole people by a few vagabonds in a provincial seaport, whose morals and manners have not been improved by foreign society."

Columbus was dismissed as a fool from court after court, but he pushed his suit against an incredulous and ridiculing world. Rebuffed by kings, scorned by queens, he did not swerve a hair's breadth from the overmastering purpose which dominated his soul. The words "New World" were graven upon his heart; and reputation, ease, pleasure, position, life itself if need be, must be sacrificed. Threats, ridicule, ostracism, storms, leaky vessels, mutiny of sailors, could not shake his mighty purpose.

You cannot keep a determined man from success. Place stumbling-blocks in his way and he takes them for stepping-stones, and on them will climb to greatness. Take away his money, and he makes spurs of his poverty to urge him on. Cripple him, and he writes the Waverley Novels. Lock him up in a dungeon, and he composes the immortal "Pilgrim's Progress." Put him in a cradle in a log cabin in the wilderness of America, and in a few years you will find him in the Capitol at the head of the greatest nation on the globe.

Would it were possible to convince the struggling youth of to-day that all that is great and noble and true in the history of the world is the result of infinite pains-taking, perpetual plodding, of common every-day industry!

When Lavoisier the chemist asked that his execution might be postponed for a few days in order to ascertain the results of the experiments he was conducting in prison, the communists refused to grant the request, saying: "The Republic has no need of philosophers." Dr. Priestley's house was burned and his chemical library destroyed by a mob shouting: "No philosophers," and he was forced to flee from his country. Bruno was burned in Rome for revealing the heavens, and Versalius [Transcriber's note: Vesalius?] was condemned for dissecting the human body; but their names shall live as long as time shall last. Kossuth was two years in prison at Buda, but he kept on working, undaunted. John Hunter said: "The few things I have been enabled to do have been accomplished under the greatest difficulties, and have encountered the greatest opposition."

Roger Bacon, one of the profoundest thinkers the world has produced, was terribly persecuted for his studies in natural philosophy, yet he persevered and won success. He was accused of dealing in magic, his books were burned in public, and he was kept in prison for ten years. Even our own revered Washington was mobbed in the streets because he would not pander to the clamor of the people and reject the treaty which Mr. Jay had arranged with Great Britain. But he remained firm, and the people adopted his opinion. The Duke of Wellington was mobbed in the streets of London and his windows were broken while his wife lay dead in the house; but the "Iron Duke" never faltered in his course, or swerved a hair's breadth from his purpose.

William Phips, when a young man, heard some sailors on the street, in Boston, talking about a Spanish ship, wrecked off the Bahama Islands, which was supposed to have money on board. Young Phips determined to find it. He set out at once, and, after many hardships, discovered the lost treasure. He then heard of another ship, wrecked off Port De La Plata many years before. He set sail for England and importuned Charles II. for aid. To his delight the king fitted up the ship Rose Algier for him. He searched and searched for a long time in vain. He had to return to England to repair his vessel. James II. was then on the throne, and he had to wait for four years before he could raise money to return. His crew mutinied and threatened to throw him overboard, but he turned the ship's guns on them. One day an Indian diver went down for a curious sea plant and saw several cannon lying on the bottom. They proved to belong to the wreck for which he was looking, sunk fifty years before. He had nothing but dim traditions to guide him, but he returned to England with $1,500,000. The King made him High Sheriff of New England, and he was afterward made Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Ben Jonson, when following his trade of a mason, worked on Lincoln's Inn in London with trowel in hand and a book in his pocket. Joseph Hunter was a carpenter in youth, Robert Burns a plowman, Keats a druggist, Thomas Carlyle and Hugh Miller masons. Dante and Descartes were soldiers. Andrew Johnson was a tailor. Cardinal Wolsey, Defoe, and Kirke White were butchers' sons. Faraday was the son of a blacksmith, and his teacher, Humphry Davy, was an apprentice to an apothecary. Kepler was a waiter boy in a German hotel, Bunyan a tinker, Copernicus the son of a Polish baker. The boy Herschel played the oboe for his meals. Marshal Ney, the "bravest of the brave," rose from the ranks. His great industry gained for him the name of "The Indefatigable." Soult served fourteen years before he was made a sergeant. When made Foreign Minister of France he knew very little of geography, even. Richard Cobden was a boy in a London warehouse. His first speech in Parliament was a complete failure; but he was not afraid of defeat, and soon became one of the greatest orators of his day. Seven shoemakers sat in Congress during the first century of our government: Roger Sherman, Henry Wilson, Gideon Lee, William Graham, John Halley, H. P. Baldwin, and Daniel Sheffey.

A constant struggle, a ceaseless battle to bring success from inhospitable surroundings, is the price of all great achievements.

The man who has not fought his way up to his own loaf, and does not bear the scar of desperate conflict, does not know the highest meaning of success.

The money acquired by those who have thus struggled upward to success is not their only, or indeed their chief reward. When, after years of toil, of opposition, of ridicule, of repeated failure, Cyrus W. Field placed his hand upon the telegraph instrument ticking a message under the sea, think you that the electric thrill passed no further than the tips of his fingers? When Thomas A. Edison demonstrated in Menlo Park that the electric light had at last been developed into a commercial success, do you suppose those bright rays failed to illuminate the inmost recesses of his soul? Edward Everett said: "There are occasions in life in which a great mind lives years of enjoyment in a single moment. I can fancy the emotion of Galileo when, first raising the newly constructed telescope to the heavens, he saw fulfilled the grand prophecy of Copernicus, and beheld the planet Venus crescent like the moon. It was such another moment as that when the immortal printers of Mentz and Strasburg received the first copy of the Bible into their hands, the work of their divine art; like that when Columbus, through the gray dawn of the 12th of October, 1492, beheld the shores of San Salvador; like that when the law of gravitation first revealed itself to the intellect of Newton; like that when Franklin saw, by the stiffening fibres of the hemp cord of his kite, that he held the lightning in his grasp, like that when Leverrier received back from Berlin the tidings that the predicted planet was found."

"Observe yon tree in your neighbor's garden," says Zanoni to Viola in Bulwer's novel. "Look how it grows up, crooked and distorted. Some wind scattered the germ, from which it sprung, in the clefts of the rock. Choked up and walled round by crags and buildings, by nature and man, its life has been one struggle for the light. You see how it has writhed and twisted,--how, meeting the barrier in one spot, it has labored and worked, stem and branch, towards the clear skies at last. What has preserved it through each disfavor of birth and circumstances--why are its leaves as green and fair as those of the vine behind you, which, with all its arms, can embrace the open sunshine? My child, because of the very instinct that impelled the struggle,--because the labor for the light won to the light at length. So with a gallant heart, through every adverse accident of sorrow, and of fate, to turn to the sun, to strive for the heaven; this it is that gives knowledge to the strong and happiness to the weak."

"Each petty hand Can steer a ship becalmed; but he that will Govern her and carry her to her ends, must know His tides, his currents; how to shift his sails; What she will bear in foul, what in fair weathers; What her springs are, her leaks, and how to stop them; What strands, what shelves, what rocks to threaten her; The forces and the natures of all winds, Gusts, storms, and tempests; when her keel plows hell, And deck knocks heaven; then to manage her Becomes the name and office of a pilot."




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