Self-Help: With Illustrations of Character and Conduct

Samuel Smiles
Smiles, Samuel
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First Pub. Date
Boston: Ticknor and Fields
Pub. Date

1. [1] Deutsche Briefe über Englische Erziehung.

2. [2] De l'Instruction Primaire à Loudres, dans see Rapports avec l'Etat Social.

Chapter II

3. [3] [A handwritten note in the book says "nine" rather than "eleven" and refers to Life of Wedgwood, I. 205. There are several handwritten notes in this section of the book, but the handwriting is difficult to make out.—Econlib Editor.]

Chapter III

4. [4] It was characteristic of Mr. Hume, that, during these professional voyages between England and India, he should diligently apply his spare time to the study of navigation and seamanship; and many years after, it proved of use to him in a remarkable manner. In 1825, when on his passage from London to Leith by a sailing smack, the vessel had scarcely cleared the mouth of the Thames when a sudden storm came on, she was driven out of her course, and, in the darkness of the night, she struck on the Goodwin Sands. The captain, losing his presence of mind, seemed incapable of giving coherent orders, and it is probable that the vessel would shortly have become a total wreck, had not one of the passengers suddenly taken the command and directed the working of the ship, himself taking the helm while the danger lasted. The vessel was thus saved, and the stranger was Mr. Hume. Mr. Reid, of Banchory, was one of the numerous passengers on board, and but for him we should never have heard of the story, for Joseph Hume was one of the last men to boast of his own prowess.

Chapter IV

5. [5] Baron Liebig, in his "Letters on Chemistry" (3rd ed., p. 28), says, "But for this new bleaching process, it would scarcely have been possible for the cotton manufacture of Great Britain to have attained its present enormous extent;—it could not have competed in prices with France and Germany. In the old process of bleaching, every piece must be exposed to the air during several weeks in the summer, and kept continually moist by manual labor. For this purpose meadowland, eligibly situated, was essential. Now, a single establishment near Glasgow bleaches 1400 pieces daily throughout the year. What an enormous capital would be required to purchase land for this purpose in England!"

6. [6] Saturday Review, July 3d, 1858

Chapter VI

7. [7] Mansfield owed nothing to his noble relations, who were poor and uninfluential. His success was the legitimate and logical result of the means which he sedulously employed to secure it. When a boy he rode up from Scotland to London on a pony,—taking two months to make the journey. After a course of school and college, he entered upon the profession of the law, and he closed a career of patient and ceaseless labor as Lord Chief Justice of England,—the functions of which he is universally admitted to have performed with unsurpassed ability, justice, and honor.

Chapter VII

8. [8] While exerting himself on behalf of the little sweeps, one day he said to a little fellow who had been sweeping a chimney in his own house, "Suppose now I give you a shilling?" "God Almighty bless your honor, and thank you." "And what if I give you a fine tie-wig to wear on May-day, which is just at hand?" "Ah, bless your honor! my master won't let me go out on May-day." "No! why not?" "He says it's low life." Mr. Hanway was a religions man, and on one occasion, when hiring a coachman, and telling him the duty he required, he concluded, "You will attend with the rest of the family every evening at prayers." "Prayers, sir!" "Why, did you never say your prayers?" asked Mr. Hanway. "I have never been in a praying family," answered the man. "But have you any objection to say your prayers?" "No, sir, I've no objection; I hope you'll consider it is my wages."

9. [9] [A handwritten note in the book crosses out Dodsley.—Econlib Editor.]

10. [10] A clergyman once wrote to him, at the early part of his life, while clerk in the Ordnance Office, urging him to enter the Church, and offering to resign in his favor a living worth 800l. a year. The generous offer was declined with thanks, Mr. Sharp explaining that he had not the least inclination for the employment of a minister; and even if he could flatter himself that he was at all capable of serving the cause of religion, he was of opinion that he could do so much more effectually as a layman than as a clergyman, as his motives then would be beyond question.

Chapter VIII

11. [11] "On Thought and Action."

12. [12] The recently published correspondence of Napoleon with his brother Joseph, and the Memoirs of the Duke of Ragusa, abundantly confirm this view. The Duke overthrew Napoleon by the superiority of his routine. He used to say that, if he knew anything at all, he knew how to feed an army.

Chapter IX

13. [13] The whole expenses of conducting the government of Great Britain, at home and abroad, for the year ending the 31st March, 1859, including the excessive cost of the army and navy in that year, the courts of justice, and all the public departments of state (exclusive only of the interest on the national debt), amounted to 34,136,399l.; whereas it is computed by Mr. Porter, that we expend annually upwards of forty-eight millions sterling on intoxicating drinks and tobacco, the principal part of which is borne by the working classes.

14. [14] "Lectures in aid of Self-Improvement;" a book somewhat didactic in its manner, but full of manly vigor and golden thought.

15. [15] His old gardener. Collingwood's favorite amusement was gardening. Shortly after the battle of Trafalgar a brother admiral called upon him, and, after searching for his lordship all over the garden, he at last discovered him, with old Scott, in the bottom of a deep trench which they were busily employed in digging.

Chapter X

16. [16] Article in the "Times."

17. [17] The "Times."

Chapter XI

18. [18] Atheuæum.

19. [19] See the admirable and well-known book, "The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties."

20. [20] Late Professor of Moral Philosophy at St. Andrew's.

21. [21] A writer in the "Edinburgh Review," (July, 1859,) observes that "the Duke's talents seem never to have developed themselves, until some active and practical field for their display was placed immediately before him. He was long described by his Spartan mother, who thought him a dunce, as only 'food for powder.' He gained no sort of distinction, either at Eton or at the French Military College of Angers." It is not improbable that a competitive examination, at his day, might have excluded him from the army.

Chapter XIII

22. [22] Brown's "Horæ Subsecivæ."

End of Notes

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