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The author's personal interest having in this way been attracted to the subject of Self-Help, he was accustomed to add to the memoranda from which he had addressed these young men; and to note down occasionally in his leisure evening moments, after the hours of business, the results of such reading, observation, and experience of life, as he conceived to bear upon it. One of the most prominent illustrations cited in his earlier addresses, was that of George Stephenson, the engineer; and the original interest of the subject, as well as the special facilities and opportunities which the author possessed for illustrating Mr. Stephenson's life and career, induced him to prosecute it at his leisure, and eventually to publish his biography. The present volume is written in a similar spirit, as it has been similar in its origin. The illustrative sketches of character introduced, are, however, necessarily less elaborately treated—being busts rather than full-length portraits, and, in many of the cases, only some striking feature has been noted ; the lives of individuals, as indeed of nations, often concentrating their lustre and interest in a few passages. Such as the book is, the author now leaves it in the hands of the reader; in the hope that the lessons of industry, perseverance, and self-culture, which it contains, will be found useful and instructive, as well as generally interesting.

London, September 1859.





Spirit of self-help — Institutions and men National progress and

decay — Government a reflex of the individualism of a nation -
True liberty rests on character - Energetic self-help a prominent
feature in the English character — The greatest workers have
sprung from the ranks — Uses of biography – Marked individuality
of the Englishman - His school of practical life – Opinions of
foreigners as to English character: Goethe, Wiese, Rendu — Energy
of character exhibited in the humbler ranks Barbers — Shake-
speare Day-labourers Weaver's Shoemakers - Tailors
Humble origin of many eminent men - - Discovery of a geologist by
Sir R. Murchison — Industry honourably recognised in England
Joseph Brotherton — W. S. Lindsay — The middle classes — Newton
and Adams- Sons of clergymen - Sons of attorneys - Sons of
tradesmen Richard Owen - Individual application the price of
- Riches not necessary

- The wealthy classes Scientific
men : Bacon, Boyle, Cavendish, Rosse — Eminent politicians : Peel,
Brougham, Bulwer Lytton, Disraeli — The national character put to
the test in India - Montalembert's opinion – Modern heroism

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Industry of the English nation — Work the best educator — The great

inventors principally working men — Forgotten inventors — Inven.
tion of the steam engine - James Watt - Establishment of the
cotton manufacture - Sir Richard Arkwright - Hargreaves, Kay,
Crompton, Roberts · Business qualities of Matthew Boulton - The


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Peels of South Lancashire - Robert Peel - His invention of calico
printing - His character described by his son — The first Sir Robert
Peel (of Bury), his success as a manufacturer – Josiah Wedgwood,
founder of the Staffordshire Potteries ; his industry, energy, and
success — Herbert Minton - Industrial heroes




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Fortune on the side of the industrious — Genius is patience — Newton

and Kepler — S. P. Bidder — Industry of eminent men — - Repeti-
tion of effort — Sir Robert Peel's cultivation of memory in Drayton
church – Facility comes by practice — Impatience deprecated —
Cheerfulness — Sydney Smith, Dr. Hook — Hope, an important ele-
ment in character — Carey, the missionary - Anecdote of Audubon,
the ornithologist - Perseverance displayed in the discovery of the
Nineveh marbles by Rawlinson and Layard — Sir Walter Scott's

-John Britton — Loudon — Samuel Drew — Joseph




No great result achieved by accident — Newton's discoveries — Dr.

Young — Intelligent observation - Galileo — Inventions of Brown,
Watt, and Brunel, accidentally suggested — Philosophy in little
things - Franklin and Galvani — Discovery of steam power — Op-
portunity must be seized or made — Humble tools of great workers
--- Lee and Stone's opportunities for learning -Sir Walter Scott's –
Dr. Priestley -- Sir Humphry Davy - Faraday — Davy and Cole-
ridge – Cuvier and Hugh Miller — Sir Joseph Paxton — Dalton's
industry – Examples of improvement of time - Elihu Burritt-
Daguesseau and Bentham - - Melanchthon and Baxter Writing
down observations Great note-makers John Hunter; his
patient study of little things — Harvey — Jenner - Sir. Charles Bell
- Sir William Herschel — William Smith, the geologist - Hugh
Miller -- Sir R. Murchison




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Sir Joshua Reynolds' belief in the force of industry - English artists

self-educated — Michael Angelo an indefatigable worker - Art, a
long labour — Wilson — Early indications of artistic taste — Ho-
garth’s habits of observation and industry — Banks — Mulready -
Nollekens — Career of Flaxman - Chantrey - Wilkie and Haydon –
Turner - Privations endured by artists — Martin — Pugin — Kemp
- Gibson — Thorburn Noel Paton Industry of musicians :
Haydn, Beethoven, Bach, Meyerbeer - Dr. Arne — William Jack-





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The peerage fed from the industrial ranks — Intermingling of classes

- Peers among mechanics — Peerages founded by London tradesmen
and merchants — Perseverance of Richard Foley, founder of the
Foley peerage -- Adventurous career of Sir William Phipps, founder
of the Normanby peerage- Sir William Petty, founder of the Lang-
downe peerage - Jedediah Strutt, founder of the Belper peerage.
Naval and military peers — Peerages founded by lawyers — Lord
Mansfield — Lord Tenterden - Lord Campbell — Lord Eldon –
Lord Langdale



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Energy characteristic of the Teutonic race -- The foundations of

strength of character — Force of purpose - Power of will — Cou-
rageous working - The will practically'free — Words of Lammenais
and Buxton - Where there is a will there is a way - Suwarrow
Napoleon – Wellington — Promptitude of action - The energy dis-
played by Englishmen in India — Warren Hastings — Napier -
The Indian swordsman — The recent Rebellion - The Lawrences
— Nicholson — Siege of Delhi — Hodson — Missionary labourers-
Howard — The career of Jonas Hanway — The labours of Granville
Sharp - Clarkson — Fowell Buxton

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Hazlitt's definition of the man of business — His chief qualities —

Men of genius men of business — Shakespeare, Chaucer, Spenser,
Milton, Cowper, Scott, Wordsworth — Ricardo, Grote, Mill — Indus-
try and application the price of success — Lord Melbourne's advice

The school of difficulty wholesome — Conditions of success in law
- Too much ease not good for a man- Causes of failure - Every
man his own best friend or worst enemy – Dr. Johnson on the
alleged injustice of “ the world”. Practical qualities necessary in
business — Attention to small matters — Accuracy — Words of Mr.
Dargan — Charles James Fox — Method -- Lord Burleigh and De
Witt, their despatch of business — Promptitude - Economy of time
— Punctuality - Energy - Tact — Routine and Red Tapeism –
The Duke of Wellington's career as a man of business — Honesty
the best policy — Integrity in business — Words of Baron Dupin
Trials and temptations of trade – Confidence reposed by business
men in each other — Dishonesty in business — The “happy warrior
- David Barclay


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The right use of money a test of practical wisdom — Economy neces-

sary to independence — The improvident classes helpless — Im-
portance of frugality as a public question - Words of Richard
Cobden and John Bright — Independence within reach of most
working men - High purposes of economy Advice given to
Francis Horner by his father — Robert Burns — Living within the

- Wasters — Running into debt — The debtor a slave
Haydon's debts — Fichte — Dr. Johnson on debt- The Duke of
Wellington on debt - Washington - Earl St. Vincent -- Beginning
well — Living too high, a vice in England - Napier's general
order to his officers in India — Resistance to temptation — Hugh
Miller's case — High standard of living necessary — Secret of
money-making embodied in popular proverbs — Career of Thomas
Wright — All honest industry honourable — An illustrious sweep
– Mere money-making — The “love of money”. Worldly success
- The power of money over-estimated — Respectability, its highest

means -


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