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tradesman's daugmer to wash a floor than to dance on t; and much more useful to be able to dress a joint of meat, than to point out the particular merits of an actress, and applaud or condemn a song. But the keepers of boarding schools are still more culpable than parents No sooner 18 Miss placed in one of these seminaries than she is taught to consider herself a young lady, and is eren honored with that appellation. Thus the seeds of vanity are sown in th: first rudiments of learning, and continue to operate on her conduct as she advances in years.
It is almost impossible for those who are any way acquainted wita human nature to imagine that the girl who is taught to consider herself as a lady can ever be a proper wife for a tradesman, and common sense teaches her that she has nothing greater to expect.
But there is something still worse. She is not only unfit to be the wife of an honest, industrious tradesman, but she often occasions his ruin. She expects to be supported in the same extravagant manner as at the boarding school; dissipation takes place of prudence; public di. versions are more attended to than domestic duties; and the unhappy husband, to enjoy peace, is often obliged to leave his business, that his lady may be honored with his company. The fatal effects of such extravagance are soon felt, and the woman who formerly considered her. self as a lady, finds, by woful experience, that she had assumed an im. proper name.
The best, nay, the only way to educate children, consistent with their own station in life, is, on all occasions, to teach them not to expect more than their birth entitles them to. It would likewise be very beneficial to the nation, if those women who keep boarding schools were to instruct the girls in useful employments, rather than in useless arts, that cannot be of any real benefit to them, but on the contrary are a material injury in their intercourse with the world.
I have thus thrown together a few reflections upon the subject of fe. male education, but it is impossible to treat it properly in the small compass of a letter, but I will endeavor to be more explicit in a future communication. In the mean time, believe me, dear madam,
Your sincere friend.
LETTER 161. To a young Man on the commencement and pursuit of Trade. Having formerly stated to you the nature and advantages of pro dence and discretion, I will now instance the particulars wherein you are called to the exercise of it, viz :
1. In getting a full insight into your calling ; so as to know the parts and lawful ars and methods of it. The nature and quality of the com. modities you deal in; proper times and places for buying and vending them; the quantities of each that are most likely to produce advantage; the best method and art of manufacturing goods, and the certain nostrums which are in most callings, and on which much of the success of them depends; these and every other part should be well studied and fully understood. Leave it to others to pride themselves in the knowl edge of callings foreign to their own; or to be curiously prying into the conduct and concerns of others; and remember, “ the wisdom of the prudent is to understand his own way.”. Your trade or calling is your proper province, for the improvement of which your mind and capaci ties should be employed ; and neither God nor man will condemn you for inexperience in the business of others. Let the time of your ap prenticeship be carefully improved to this end. Treasure up all the knowledge you can attain by observation and instruction, and never be ashamed to continue learning any honest skill; for no fortune or application will support a man who is remarkably defective in knowledge Your success is likely to be that of a rich vessel guided by an unskilful pilot, in danger soon to be shipwrecked and lost. On the other hand, all masters should endeavor honestly and faithfully to instruct their apprentices in the lawful and gainful mysteries of their callings. This they are bound to do by their own agreement, and by all the rules of justice and honor.
2. In the prudent choice of the several circumstances of trade.
For time. Choose that which is most suitable for your business ; “ for to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.” And among the rest, “ a time to buy, and a time to sell," which every wise tradesman will observe. The future contingencies of business, and the rise and fall of the value of commodities, often depend upon such uncertain or such unknown causes, that the deepest penetration is not able to fathom ; but, to buy goods when they are cheap, and sell them when they are growing dear; and at all times to be cautious of overcharging yourselves with dear or changeable goods, are maxims of prudence that never vary. Futurity is hid from us, but discretion is given to direct us, and those of the best discernment and sagacity are most likely to be successful.
For place. Prudence will direct the tradesman to consider which is most suitable and proper for his calling, and fix there. The conveniences of his family must give way to the conveniences of his business, and his fancy be regulated by his judgment in this affair. That place may be exceeding proper and advantageous for one employment, which persons of a different one must starve in; and a fine house, or a pleasant situation, or even a small rent, will not make amends for the want of customers.
Great prudence is necessary in the choice of persons. First, whom to trust ; for, it is not the metal that glitters most that is always tho richest; men are often deceitful, and too many make it their business to deceive, and enrich themselves with the spoils of the unwary and credo ulous. It is better, therefore, to be at the pains of a diligent inquiry after their abilities for the trust which we repose in them, than endure the grief of sad experience, that we were mistaken in our apprehensions concerning them. Certain it is, that as there is prudence in trust ing some, and charity in trusting others, so shere are many whom it is neither prudent nor charitable to trust at all. Whom to deal with; to wit, with men of conscience, or at least of common honesty; for these may be relied upon with more security than others, and it is at all times more creditable to correspond with men of virtue than with knaves, and common fame will generally accquaint you who and what they are. Lastly, whom to be familiar with. For thɔugh we should be friendly to all, yet familiar only with a few; and they snould be such as we may either receive good from, or do good unto. And even of these not too many; for the tradesman's employment will not allow him time sufficient for performing the necessary offices of friendship to a great number. Let, therefore, the wise and prudent, the virtuous and good, be the persons of your intimacy and choice; for, nothing has a greater influence on our present and future happiness or misery, than our chosen companions, as I have before observed. • He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
3. This prudence should appear in using mature deliberation in af. fairs of importance. It is too visible that even men of ingenuity are often ruined by their own rashness. Not considering the circumstances that are necessary to direct them in proper conduct, nor viewing the the consequences that flow from them, they are carried on hoy a plausible appearance of things, or a hasty impetuosity of spirit, to the irretrievable ruin of themselves and families ; fancy or passion, not reason and judgment, being the guides of their actions. Others lose their
opportunities of advantage by an unsettled, dilatory temper of mind, suspending their determinations till the proper season of acting is past. Due deliberation is therefore recommended, according to the importance and difficulty of the affair, and the limits of time it will admit of. If the case will allow of it, take a night's time to think of it; for that which is weighed over night, and reviewed in the morning, will be in some degree ripe for a judicious resolution. Indeed, as to trifling concerns,
it is childish and unnecessary to spend much time in determining concerning them; but of the two, a circumspect slowness in words and actions is preferable to too much speed, as being less dangerous and hurtful.
LETTER 162. To a young Gentleman, on his entering into the World, with direc
tions how to conduct himself. MY DEAR FRIEND,
Your apprenticeship is near out, and you are soon to set up for your self; that approaching moment is a critical one for you, and an anxiog one for me. A tradesman, who would succeed in his way, must begin by establishing a character of integrity and good manners; without the former, nobody will go to his shop at all; without the latter, nobody will go there twice. This rule does not exclude the fair arts of trade. He may sell his goods at the best price he can, within certain bounds. He may avail himself of the humor, the whims, and the fantastical tastes of his customers; but what he warrants to be good must be really so; what he seriously asserts must be true, or his fraudulent practices will soon end in a bankruptcy. It is the same in higher life, and the great business of the world. A man who does not solidly establish, and really deserve, a character of truth, probiły, good manners, and good morals, at his first setting out in the world, may impose, and shine like a meteor for a very short time, but will very soon vanish, and be extin. guished with contempt. People easily pardon, in young men, the comdion irregularities of the senses; but they do not forgive the least vice
of the heart. The heart never grows better by age; I fear worse, al ways harder. A young liar will be an old one ; and a young kuave win only be a greater knave as he grows older. But should a bad young heart, accompanied with a good head, which by the way is very seldom the case, really reform in a more advanced age, from a consciousness of its folly as well as of its guilt; such a conversion would only thought prudential and politic, but never sincere. I hope in God, and I verily believe that you want no moral virtue. Your character in the word must be built upon that solid foundation, or it will soon fall, and upon your own head. You cannot, therefore, be too careful, too nice, too srcupulous, in establishing this character at first, upon which your whole depends. Let no conversation, no example, no fashion, no silly desire of seeming to be above what most knaves, and many fools, call prejudices, ever tempt you to avow, excuse, extenuate, or laugh at the least breach of morality; but show, upon all occasions, a detestation and abhorrence of it. There, though young, you ought to be strict ; and there only, while young, it becomes you to be strict and severe. But there too, spare the persons while you lash the crimes. All this relates, as you easily judge, to the vices of the heart; such as lying, fraud, envy, malice, detraction, &c. and I do not extend it to the frailties of youth, flowing from high spirits and warm blood. It would ill become you, at your age, to declaim against them, and sententiously censure a gallantry, an accidental excess of the table, a frolic, an inadvertency; mo, keep as free from them yourself as you can ; but say nothing against them in others. They certainly mend by time, often by reason ; and a man's worldly character is not affected by them, provided it be pure in all other respects.
To come to a point of much less, yet of very great consequence, at your first setting out. Be upon your guard against vanity, the common failing of inexperienced youth; but particularly against that kind of vanity, that dubs a man a coxcomb. It is not to be imagined by how many ways vanity defeats its own purposes.
One man decides peremptorily upon every subject, betrays his ignorance upon many, and shows a disgusting presumption upon the rest. Another desires to appear successful among women ; he hints at the encouragement he has received from those of the most distinguished rank and beauty, and intimates a particular connection with some one. Il it is true it is ungenerous ; if false it is infamous; but in either case he destroys the reputation he wants to get. Some flatter their vanity by little extraneous objects, which have not the least relation to themselves, such as being descended from, related to, or acquainted with people of distinguished merit, and eminent characters. They talk perpetually of their grandfather such a one, their uncle such a one, and their intimate friend such a one, whom possibly they are hardly acquainted with. But admitting it all to be as they would liave it. What then? Have they the more merit for those acculents ? Certainly not. On the contrary, their taking them up adventitiously proves their want of intrinsic merit; a rich man never borrows. Take this rule for granted, as a never failing one, that you must never seem 10 affect the character in which you tave a mind to shine. Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise The affectation of courage will make even a brave man pass only for a bully; as the affectation of wit will make a man of parts pass for a coxcomb. By this modesty I do not mean timidity or awk. ward bashfulness. On the contrary, be inwardly firm and steady, know your own value, whatever it may be, and act upon that principle; but take care to let nobody discover that you do know your own value, Whatever real merit you have other people will discover; and people always magnify their own discoveries as they lessen those of others.
For God's sake revolve all these things seriously in your thoughts per fore you launch out alonc into the world. Recollect the observations which you have yourself made upon mankind, compare and connect them with my instructions, and then act systematically and consequentially from them. Lay your little plan now, which you will hereafter extend and improve by your own observations, and by the advice of those who can never mean to mislead you.
I am, your faithful and affectionate friend.
Impute not my silence to any want, but the excess of kindness, which makes me too much a partner of your sorrow to find words at all suita. ble to the share I have with you in it. If, therefore, I am the last in condoling, I do most faithfully assure you, that it is not insensibility, but the highest degree of love and tenderness that occasioned it. The grief that is least is soonest expressed, and perhaps the more noise it makes the less mischief is sustained by it. Had I been unconcerned my thoughts and pen might have been more free, though I could not have said any thing sufficient to stem so violent a tide as your just lamentations. Y might have offered some poor reasons against other women's amicting themselves so much, which I should be ashamed to mention to you, hav. ing been a witness how far your husband's love and merits excelled the sest of men I ever met with ; and I am so sensible of your reciprocal affection, that I know the power of God only can support you under such a separation, which I believe was more terrible than death itsell But, my dear friend, your sorrow is not as one without hope. Use your utmost endeavors to submit to the hand of the Almighty, with as much resignation in this as you did in your own distemper, though that only assaulted your body while this pierces your heart. You must remember that it was the same merciful God that gave you him who has now taken him to himself; and in the midst of your afflictions, bless God for sparing you so long for the sake of your children. I hope you will consider that this parting is to his inexpressible advantage, and has removed him from a transitory and imperfect, to an everlasting happiness, whither, I doubt not, you are daily preparing to follow him; and since it has pleased God to deny you the further assistance of such an exam. ple and counsellor, he will abundantly recompense that loss, by a greater measure of his grace, to carry you through thosc trals and tempta. tions to which you are daily exposed, unless you neglect to implore his help, by giving up yourself to such melancholy as must discompose your Saculties, while it weakens your natural constitution. If the sainis in