The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie - HTML preview
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We mean to remedy these conditions. We mean not only to make prosperity steady, but to give to the many who earn it a just share of that prosperity instead of helping the few who do not earn it to take an unjust share.
The progressive motto is "Pass prosperity around." To make human living easier, to free the hands of honest business, to make trade and commerce sound and steady, to protect womanhood, save childhood and restore the dignity of manhood--these are the tasks we must do.
What, then, is the progressive answer to these questions? We are able to give it specifically and concretely.
The first work before us is the revival of honest business. For business is nothing but the industrial and trade activities of all the people. Men grow the products of the field, cut ripe timber from the forest, dig metal from the mine, fashion all for human use, carry them to the market place and exchange them according to their mutual needs--and this is business.
With our vast advantages, contrasted with the vast disadvantages of other nations, American business all the time should be the best and steadiest in the world. But it is not. Germany, with shallow soil, no mines, only a window on the seas and a population more than ten times as dense as ours, yet has a sounder business, a steadier prosperity, a more contented because better cared for people.
What, then, must we do to make American business better? We must do what poorer nations have done. We must end the abuses of business by striking down those abuses instead of striking down business itself. We must try to make little business big and all business honest instead of striving to make big business little and yet letting it remain dishonest.
Present-day business is as unlike old-time business as the old-time ox-cart is unlike the present-day locomotive. Invention has made the whole world over again. The railroad, telegraph, telephone have bound the people of modern nations into families. To do the business of these closely knit millions in every modern CHAPTER XXXI
country great business concerns came into being. What we call big business is the child of the economic progress of mankind. So warfare to destroy big business is foolish because it can not succeed and wicked because it ought not to succeed. Warfare to destroy big business does not hurt big business, which always comes out on top, so much as it hurts all other business which, in such a warfare, never comes out on top.
With the growth of big business came business evils just as great. It is these evils of big business that hurt the people and injure all other business. One of these wrongs is over capitalization which taxes the people's very living. Another is the manipulation of prices to the unsettlement of all normal business and to the people's damage. Another is interference in the making of the people's laws and the running of the people's government in the unjust interest of evil business. Getting laws that enable particular interests to rob the people, and even to gather criminal riches from human health and life is still another.
An example of such laws is the infamous tobacco legislation of 1902, which authorized the Tobacco Trust to continue to collect from the people the Spanish War tax, amounting to a score of millions of dollars, but to keep that tax instead of turning it over to the government, as it had been doing. Another example is the shameful meat legislation, by which the Beef Trust had the meat it sent abroad inspected by the government so that foreign countries would take its product and yet was permitted to sell diseased meat to our own people.
It is incredible that laws like these could ever get on the Nation's statute books. The invisible government put them there; and only the universal wrath of an enraged people corrected them when, after years, the people discovered the outrages.
It is to get just such laws as these and to prevent the passage of laws to correct them, as well as to keep off the statute books general laws which will end the general abuses of big business that these few criminal interests corrupt our politics, invest in public officials and keep in power in both parties that type of politicians and party managers who debase American politics.
Behind rotten laws and preventing sound laws, stands the corrupt boss; behind the corrupt boss stands the robber interest; and commanding these powers of pillage stands bloated human greed. It is this conspiracy of evil we must overthrow if we would get the honest laws we need. It is this invisible government we must destroy if we would save American institutions.
Other nations have ended the very same business evils from which we suffer by clearly defining business wrong-doing and then making it a criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment. Yet these foreign nations encourage big business itself and foster all honest business. But they do not tolerate dishonest business, little or big.
What, then, shall we Americans do? Common sense and the experience of the world says that we ought to keep the good big business does for us and stop the wrongs that big business does to us. Yet we have done just the other thing. We have struck at big business itself and have not even aimed to strike at the evils of big business. Nearly twenty-five years ago Congress passed a law to govern American business in the present time which Parliament passed in the reign of King James to govern English business in that time.
For a quarter of a century the courts have tried to make this law work. Yet during this very time trusts grew greater in number and power than in the whole history of the world before; and their evils flourished unhindered and unchecked. These great business concerns grew because natural laws made them grow and artificial law at war with natural law could not stop their growth. But their evils grew faster than the trusts themselves because avarice nourished those evils and no law of any kind stopped avarice from nourishing them.
Nor is this the worst. Under the shifting interpretation of the Sherman law, uncertainty and fear is chilling the energies of the great body of honest American business men. As the Sherman law now stands, no two business men can arrange their mutual affairs and be sure that they are not law-breakers. This is the main CHAPTER XXXI
hindrance to the immediate and permanent revival of American business. If German or English business men, with all their disadvantages compared with our advantages, were manacled by our Sherman law, as it stands, they soon would be bankrupt. Indeed, foreign business men declare that, if their countries had such a law, so administered, they could not do business at all.
Even this is not all. By the decrees of our courts, under the Sherman law, the two mightiest trusts on earth have actually been licensed, in the practical outcome, to go on doing every wrong they ever committed. Under the decrees of the courts the Oil and Tobacco Trusts still can raise prices unjustly and already have done so.
They still can issue watered stock and surely will do so. They still can throttle other business men and the United Cigar Stores Company now is doing so. They still can corrupt our politics and this moment are indulging in that practice.
The people are tired of this mock battle with criminal capital. They do not want to hurt business, but they do want to get something done about the trust question that amounts to something. What good does it do any man to read in his morning paper that the courts have "dissolved" the Oil Trust, and then read in his evening paper that he must thereafter pay a higher price for his oil than ever before? What good does it do the laborer who smokes his pipe to be told that the courts have "dissolved" the Tobacco Trust and yet find that he must pay the same or a higher price for the same short-weight package of tobacco? Yet all this is the practical result of the suits against these two greatest trusts in the world.
Such business chaos and legal paradoxes as American business suffers from can be found nowhere else in the world. Rival nations do not fasten legal ball and chain upon their business--no, they put wings on its flying feet. Rival nations do not tell their business men that if they go forward with legitimate enterprise the penitentiary may be their goal. No! Rival nations tell their business men that so long as they do honest business their governments will not hinder but will help them.
But these rival nations do tell their business men that if they do any evil that our business men do, prison bars await them. These rival nations do tell their business men that if they issue watered stock or cheat the people in any way, prison cells will be their homes.
Just this is what all honest American business wants; just this is what dishonest American business does not want; just this is what the American people propose to have; just this the national Republican platform of 1908 pledged the people that we would give them; and just this important pledge the administration, elected on that platform, repudiated as it repudiated the more immediate tariff pledge.
Both these reforms, so vital to honest American business, the Progressive party will accomplish. Neither evil interests nor reckless demagogues can swerve us from our purpose; for we are free from both and fear neither.
We mean to put new business laws on our statute books which will tell American business men what they can do and what they cannot do. We mean to make our business laws clear instead of foggy--to make them plainly state just what things are criminal and what are lawful. And we mean that the penalty for things criminal shall be prison sentences that actually punish the real offender, instead of money fines that hurt nobody but the people, who must pay them in the end.
And then we mean to send the message forth to hundreds of thousands of brilliant minds and brave hearts engaged in honest business, that they are not criminals but honorable men in their work to make good business in this Republic. Sure of victory, we even now say, "Go forward, American business men, and know that behind you, supporting you, encouraging you, are the power and approval of the greatest people under the sun. Go forward, American business men, and feed full the fires beneath American furnaces; and give employment to every American laborer who asks for work. Go forward, American business men, and capture the markets of the world for American trade; and know that on the wings of your commerce you carry liberty throughout the world and to every inhabitant thereof. Go forward, American business men, and realize that in CHAPTER XXXI
the time to come it shall be said of you, as it is said of the hand that rounded Peter's Dome, 'he builded better than he knew.'"
The next great business reform we must have to steadily increase American prosperity is to change the method of building our tariffs. The tariff must be taken out of politics and treated as a business question instead of as a political question. Heretofore, we have done just the other thing. That is why American business is upset every few years by unnecessary tariff upheavals and is weakened by uncertainty in the periods between. The greatest need of business is certainty; but the only thing certain about our tariff is uncertainty.
What, then, shall we do to make our tariff changes strengthen business instead of weakening business? Rival protective tariff nations have answered that question. Common sense has answered it. Next to our need to make the Sherman law modern, understandable and just, our greatest fiscal need is a genuine, permanent, non-partisan tariff commission.
Five years ago, when the fight for this great business measure was begun in the Senate the bosses of both parties were against it. So, when the last revision of the tariff was on and a tariff commission might have been written into the tariff law, the administration would not aid this reform. When two years later the administration supported it weakly, the bi-partisan boss system killed it. There has not been and will not be any sincere and honest effort by the old parties to get a tariff commission. There has not been and will not be any sincere and honest purpose by those parties to take the tariff out of politics.
For the tariff in politics is the excuse for those sham political battles which give the spoilers their opportunity.
The tariff in politics is one of the invisible government's methods of wringing tribute from the people.
Through the tariff in politics the beneficiaries of tariff excesses are cared for, no matter which party is
Who has forgotten the tariff scandals that made President Cleveland denounce the Wilson-Gorman bill as "a perfidy and a dishonor?" Who ever can forget the brazen robberies forced into the Payne-Aldrich bill which Mr. Taft defended as "the best ever made?" If everyone else forgets these things the interests that profited by them never will forget them. The bosses and lobbyists that grew rich by putting them through never will forget them. That is why the invisible government and its agents want to keep the old method of tariff building. For, though such tariff "revisions" may make lean years for the people, they make fat years for the powers of pillage and their agents.
So neither of the old parties can honestly carry out any tariff policies which they pledge the people to carry out. But even if they could and even if they were sincere, the old party platforms are in error on tariff policy.
The Democratic platform declares for free trade; but free trade is wrong and ruinous. The Republican platform permits extortion; but tariff extortion is robbery by law. The Progressive party is for honest protection; and honest protection is right and a condition of American prosperity.
A tariff high enough to give American producers the American market when they make honest goods and sell them at honest prices but low enough that when they sell dishonest goods at dishonest prices, foreign competition can correct both evils; a tariff high enough to enable American producers to pay our workingmen American wages and so arranged that the workingmen will get such wages; a business tariff whose changes will be so made as to reassure business instead of disturbing it--this is the tariff and the method of its making in which the Progressive party believes, for which it does battle and which it proposes to write into the laws of the land.
The Payne-Aldrich tariff law must be revised immediately in accordance to these principles. At the same time a genuine, permanent, non-partisan tariff commission must be fixed in the law as firmly as the Interstate Commerce Commission. Neither of the old parties can do this work. For neither of the old parties believes in CHAPTER XXXI
such a tariff; and, what is more serious, special privilege is too thoroughly woven into the fiber of both old parties to allow them to make such a tariff. The Progressive party only is free from these influences. The Progressive party only believes in the sincere enactment of a sound tariff policy. The Progressive party only can change the tariff as it must be changed.
These are samples of the reforms in the laws of business that we intend to put on the Nation's statute books.
But there are other questions as important and pressing that we mean to answer by sound and humane laws.
Child labor in factories, mills, mines and sweat-shops must be ended throughout the Republic. Such labor is a crime against childhood because it prevents the growth of normal manhood and womanhood. It is a crime against the Nation because it prevents the growth of a host of children into strong, patriotic and intelligent citizens.
Only the Nation can stop this industrial vice. The States cannot stop it. The States never stopped any national wrong--and child labor is a national wrong. To leave it to the State alone is unjust to business; for if some States stop it and other States do not, business men of the former are at a disadvantage with the business men of the latter, because they must sell in the same market goods made by manhood labor at manhood wages in competition with goods made by childhood labor at childhood wages. To leave it to the States is unjust to manhood labor; for childhood labor in any State lowers manhood labor in every State, because the product of childhood labor in any State competes with the product of manhood labor in every State. Children workers at the looms in South Carolina means bayonets at the breasts of men and women workers in Massachusetts who strike for living wages. Let the States do what they can, and more power to their arm; but let the Nation do what it should and cleanse our flag from this stain.
Modern industrialism has changed the status of women. Women now are wage earners in factories, stores and other places of toil. In hours of labor and all the physical conditions of industrial effort they must compete with men. And they must do it at lower wages than men receive--wages which, in most cases, are not enough for these women workers to live on.
This is inhuman and indecent. It is unsocial and uneconomic. It is immoral and unpatriotic. Toward women the Progressive party proclaims the chivalry of the State. We propose to protect women wage-earners by suitable laws, an example of which is the minimum wage for women workers--a wage which shall be high enough to at least buy clothing, food and shelter for the woman toiler.
The care of the aged is one of the most perplexing problems of modern life. How is the workingman with less than five hundred dollars a year, and with earning power waning as his own years advance, to provide for aged parents or other relatives in addition to furnishing food, shelter and clothing for his wife and children?
What is to become of the family of the laboring man whose strength has been sapped by excessive toil and who has been thrown upon the industrial scrap heap? It is questions like these we must answer if we are to justify free institutions. They are questions to which the masses of people are chained as to a body of death.
And they are questions which other and poorer nations are answering.
We progressives mean that America shall answer them. The Progressive party is the helping hand to those whom a vicious industrialism has maimed and crippled. We are for the conservation of our natural resources; but even more we are for the conservation of human life. Our forests, water power and minerals are valuable and must be saved from the spoilers; but men, women and children are more valuable and they, too, must be saved from the spoilers.
Because women, as much as men, are a part of our economic and social life, women, as much as men, should have the voting power to solve all economic and social problems. Votes for women are theirs as a matter of natural right alone; votes for women should be theirs as a matter of political wisdom also. As wage-earners, they should help to solve the labor problem; as property owners they should help to solve the tax problem; as wives and mothers they should help to solve all the problems that concern the home. And that means all CHAPTER XXXI
national problems; for the Nation abides at the fireside.
If it is said that women cannot help defend the Nation in time of war and therefore that they should not help to determine the Nation's destinies in time of peace, the answer is that women suffer and serve in time of conflict as much as men who carry muskets. And the deeper answer is that those who bear the Nation's soldiers are as much the Nation's defenders as their sons.
Public spokesmen for the invisible government say that many of our reforms are unconstitutional. The same kind of men said the same thing of every effort the Nation has made to end national abuses. But in every case, whether in the courts, at the ballot box, or on the battlefield, the vitality of the Constitution was vindicated.
The Progressive party believes that the Constitution is a living thing, growing with the people's growth, strengthening with the people's strength, aiding the people in their struggle for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, permitting the people to meet all their needs as conditions change. The opposition believes that the Constitution is a dead form, holding back the people's growth, shackling the people's strength but giving a free hand to malign powers that prey upon the people. The first words of the Constitution are "We the people," and they declare that the Constitution's purpose is "to form a perfect Union and to promote the general welfare."
To do just that is the very heart of the progressive cause.
The Progressive party asserts anew the vitality of the Constitution. We believe in the true doctrine of states'
rights, which forbids the Nation from interfering with states' affairs, and also forbids the states from interfering with national affairs. The combined intelligence and composite conscience of the American people is as irresistible as it is righteous; and the Constitution does not prevent that force from working out the general welfare.
From certain sources we hear preachments about the danger of our reforms to American institutions. What is the purpose of American institutions? Why was this Republic established? What does the flag stand for? What do these things mean?
They mean that the people shall be free to correct human abuses.
They mean that men, women and children shall not be denied the opportunity to grow stronger and nobler.
They mean that the people shall have the power to make our land each day a better place to live in.
They mean the realities of liberty and not the academics of theory.
They mean the actual progress of the race in tangible items of daily living and not the theoretics of barren disputation.
If they do not mean these things they are as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.
A Nation of strong, upright men and women; a Nation of wholesome homes, realizing the best ideals; a Nation whose power is glorified by its justice and whose justice is the conscience of scores of millions of God-fearing people--that is the Nation the people need and want. And that is the Nation they shall have.
For never doubt that we Americans will make good the real meaning of our institutions. Never doubt that we will solve, in righteousness and wisdom, every vexing problem. Never doubt that in the end, the hand from above that leads us upward will prevail over the hand from below that drags us downward. Never doubt that we are indeed a Nation whose God is the Lord.
And, so, never doubt that a braver, fairer, cleaner America surely will come; that a better and brighter life for CHAPTER XXXI
all beneath the flag surely will be achieved. Those who now scoff soon will pray. Those who now doubt soon will believe.
Soon the night will pass; and when, to the Sentinel on the ramparts of Liberty the anxious ask: "Watchman, what of the night?" his answer will be "Lo, the morn appeareth."
Knowing the price we must pay, the sacrifice we must make, the burdens we must carry, the assaults we must endure--knowing full well the cost--yet we enlist, and we enlist for the war. For we know the justice of our cause, and we know, too, its certain triumph.
Not reluctantly then, but eagerly, not with faint hearts but strong, do we now advance upon the enemies of the people. For the call that comes to us is the call that came to our fathers. As they responded so shall we.
"He hath sounded forth a trumpet that shall never call retreat, He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat. Oh, be swift our souls to answer Him, be jubilant our feet, Our God is marching on."
ACRES OF DIAMONDS
I am astonished that so many people should care to hear this story over again. Indeed, this lecture has become a study in psychology; it often breaks all rules of oratory, departs from the precepts of rhetoric, and yet remains the most popular of any lecture I have delivered in the forty-four years of my public life. I have sometimes studied for a year upon a lecture and made careful research, and then presented the lecture just once--never delivered it again. I put too much work on it. But this had no work on it--thrown together perfectly at random, spoken offhand without any special preparation, and it succeeds when the thing we study, work over, adjust to a plan, is an entire failure.
The "Acres of Diamonds" which I have mentioned through so many years are to be found in Philadelphia, and you are to find them. Many have found them. And what man has done, man can do. I could not find anything better to illustrate my thought than a story I have told over and over again, and which is now found in books in nearly every library.
In 1870 we went down the Tigris River. We hired a guide at Bagdad to show us Persepolis, Nineveh and Babylon, and the ancient countries of Assyria as far as the Arabian Gulf. He was well acquainted with the land, but he was one of those guides who love to entertain their patrons; he was like a barber that tells you many stories in order to keep your mind off the scratching and the scraping. He told me so many stories that I grew tired of his telling them and I refused to listen--looked away whenever he commenced; that made the guide quite angry. I remember that toward evening he took his Turkish cap off his head and swung it around in the air. The gesture I did not understand and I did not dare look at him for fear I should become the victim of another story. But, although I am not a woman, I did look, and the instant I turned my eyes upon that worthy guide he was off again. Said he, "I will tell you a story now which reserve for my particular friends!"
So then, counting myself a particular friend, I listened, and I have always been glad I did.
He said there once lived not far from the River Indus an ancient Persian by the name of Al Hafed. He said that Al Hafed owned a very large farm with orchards, grain fields and gardens. He was a contented and wealthy man--contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented. One day there visited this old farmer one of those ancient Buddhist priests, and he sat down by Al Hafed's fire and told that old farmer how this world of ours was made. He said that this world was once a mere bank of fog, which is scientifically true, and he said that the Almighty thrust his finger into the bank of fog and then began slowly to move his finger around and gradually to increase the speed of his finger until at last he whirled that bank of fog into a solid ball of fire, and it went rolling through the universe, burning its way through other cosmic banks of fog, until CHAPTER XXXI
it condensed the moisture without, and fell in floods of rain upon the heated surface and cooled the outward crust. Then the internal flames burst through the cooling crust and threw up the mountains and made the hills of the valley of this wonderful world of ours. If this internal melted mass burst out and copied very quickly it became granite; that which cooled less quickly became silver; and less quickly, gold; and after gold diamonds were made. Said the old priest, "A diamond is a congealed drop of sunlight."
This is a scientific truth also. You all know that a diamond is pure carbon, actually deposited sunlight--and he said another thing I would not forget: he declared that a diamond is the last and highest of God's mineral creations, as a woman is the last and highest of God's animal creations. I suppose that is the reason why the two have such a liking for each other. And the old priest told Al Hafed that if he had a handful of diamonds he could purchase a whole country, and with a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the influence of their great wealth. Al Hafed heard all about diamonds and how much they were worth, and went to his bed that night a poor man--not that he had lost anything, but poor because he was discontented and discontented because he thought he was poor. He said: "I want a mine of diamonds!" So he lay awake all night, and early in the morning sought out the priest. Now I know from experience that a priest when awakened early in the morning is cross. He awoke that priest out of his dreams and said to him, "Will you tell me where I can find diamonds?" The priest said, "Diamonds? What do you want with diamonds?" "I want to be immensely rich," said Al Hafed, "but I don't know where to go." "Well," said the priest, "if you will find a river that runs over white sand between high mountains, in those sands you will always see diamonds." "Do you really believe that there is such a river?" "Plenty of them, plenty of them; all you have to do is just go and find them, then you have them." Al Hafed said, "I will go." So he sold his farm, collected his money at interest, left his family in charge of a neighbor, and away he went in search of diamonds. He began very properly, to my mind, at the Mountains of the Moon. Afterwards he went around into Palestine, then wandered on into Europe, and at last when his money was all spent, and he was in rags, wretchedness and poverty, he stood on the shore of that bay in Barcelona, Spain, when a tidal wave came rolling through the Pillars of Hercules and the poor afflicted, suffering man could not resist the awful temptation to cast himself into that incoming tide, and he sank beneath its foaming crest, never to rise in this life again.
When that old guide had told me that very sad story, he stopped the camel I was riding and went back to fix the baggage on one of the other camels, and I remember thinking to myself, "Why did he reserve that for his particular friends?" There seemed to be no beginning, middle or end--nothing to it. That was the first story I ever heard told or read in which the hero was killed in the first chapter. I had but one chapter of that story and the hero was dead. When the guide came back and took up the halter of my camel again, he went right on with the same story. He said that Al Hafed's successor led his camel out into the garden to drink, and as that camel put its nose down into the clear water of the garden brook Al Hafed's successor noticed a curious flash of light from the sands of the shallow stream, and reaching in he pulled out a black stone having an eye of light that reflected all the colors of the rainbow, and he took that curious pebble into the house and left it on the mantel, then went on his way and forgot all about it. A few days after that, this same old priest who told Al Hafed how diamonds were made, came in to visit his successor, when he saw that flash of light from the mantel. He rushed up and said, "Here is a diamond--here is a diamond! Has Al Hafed returned?" "No, no; Al Hafed has not returned and that is not a diamond; that is nothing but a stone; we found it right out here in our garden."
"But I know a diamond when I see it," said he; "that is a diamond!"
Then together they rushed to the garden and stirred up the white sands with their fingers and found others more beautiful, more valuable diamonds than the first, and thus, said the guide to me, were discovered the diamond mines of Golconda, the most magnificent diamond mines in all the history of mankind, exceeding the Kimberley in its value. The great Kohinoor diamond in England's crown jewels and the largest crown diamond on earth in Russia's crown jewels, which I had often hoped she would have to sell before they had peace with Japan, came from that mine, and when the old guide had called my attention to that wonderful discovery he took his Turkish cap off his head again and swung it around in the air to call my attention to the moral. Those Arab guides have a moral to each story, though the stories are not always moral. He said, had Al Hafed remained at home and dug in his own cellar or in his own garden, instead of wretchedness, starvation, CHAPTER XXXI
poverty and death in a strange land, he would have had "acres of diamonds"--for every acre, yes, every shovelful of that old farm afterwards revealed the gems which since have decorated the crowns of monarchs.
When he had given the moral to his story, I saw why he had reserved this story for his "particular friends." I didn't tell him I could see it; I was not going to tell that old Arab that I could see it. For it was that mean old Arab's way of going around a thing, like a lawyer, and saying indirectly what he did not dare say directly, that there was a certain young man that day traveling down the Tigris River that might better be at home in America. I didn't tell him I could see it.
I told him his story reminded me of one, and I told it to him quick. I told him about that man out in California, who, in 1847, owned a ranch out there. He read that gold had been discovered in Southern California, and he sold his ranch to Colonel Sutter and started off to hunt for gold. Colonel Sutter put a mill on the little stream in that farm and one day his little girl brought some wet sand from the raceway of the mill into the house and placed it before the fire to dry, and as that sand was falling through the little girl's fingers a visitor saw the first shining scales of real gold that were ever discovered in California; and the man who wanted the gold had sold this ranch and gone away, never to return. I delivered this lecture two years ago in California, in the city that stands near that farm, and they told me that the mine is not exhausted yet, and that a one-third owner of that farm has been getting during these recent years twenty dollars of gold every fifteen minutes of his life, sleeping or waking. Why, you and I would enjoy an income like that!
But the best illustration that I have now of this thought was found here in Pennsylvania. There was a man living in Pennsylvania who owned a farm here and he did what I should do if I had a farm in Pennsylvania--he sold it. But before he sold it he concluded to secure employment collecting coal oil for his cousin in Canada.
They first discovered coal oil there. So this farmer in Pennsylvania decided that he would apply for a position with his cousin in Canada. Now, you see, this farmer was not altogether a foolish man. He did not leave his farm until he had something else to do. Of all the simpletons the stars shine on there is none more foolish than a man who leaves one job before he has obtained another. And that has especial reference to gentlemen of my profession, and has no reference to a man seeking a divorce. So I say this old farmer did not leave one job until he had obtained another. He wrote to Canada, but his cousin replied that he could not engage him because he did not know anything about the oil business. "Well, then," said he, "I will understand it." So he set himself at the study of the whole subject. He began at the second day of the creation, he studied the subject from the primitive vegetation to the coal oil stage, until he knew all about it. Then he wrote to his cousin and said, "Now I understand the oil business." And his cousin replied to him, "All right, then, come on."
That man, by the record of the county, sold his farm for eight hundred and thirty-three dollars--even money,
"no cents." He had scarcely gone from that farm before the man who purchased it went out to arrange for the watering the cattle and he found that the previous owner had arranged the matter very nicely. There is a stream running down the hillside there, and the previous owner had gone out and put a plank across that stream at an angle, extending across the brook and down edgewise a few inches under the surface of the water. The purpose of the plank across that brook was to throw over to the other bank a dreadful-looking scum through which the cattle would not put their noses to drink above the plank, although they would drink the water on one side below it. Thus that man who had gone to Canada had been himself damming back for twenty-three years a flow of coal oil which the State Geologist of Pennsylvania declared officially, as early as 1870, was then worth to our State a hundred millions of dollars. The city of Titusville now stands on that farm and those Pleasantville wells flow on, and that farmer who had studied all about the formation of oil since the second day of God's creation clear down to the present time, sold that farm for $833, no cents--again I say,
But I need another illustration, and I found that in Massachusetts, and I am sorry I did, because that is my old State. This young man I mention went out of the State to study--went down to Yale College and studied Mines and Mining. They paid him fifteen dollars a week during his last year for training students who were behind their classes in mineralogy, out of hours, of course, while pursuing his own studies. But when he graduated they raised his pay from fifteen dollars to forty-five dollars and offered him a professorship. Then CHAPTER XXXI
he went straight home to his mother and said, "Mother, I won't work for forty-five dollars a week. What is forty-five dollars a week for a man with a brain like mine! Mother, let's go out to California and stake out gold claims and be immensely rich." "Now," said his mother, "it is just as well to be happy as it is to be rich."
But as he was the only son he had his way--they always do; and they sold out in Massachusetts and went to Wisconsin, where he went into the employ of the Superior Copper Mining Company, and he was lost from sight in the employ of that company at fifteen dollars a week again. He was also to have an interest in any mines that he should discover for that company. But I do not believe that he has ever discovered a mine--I do not know anything about it, but I do not believe he has. I know he had scarcely gone from the old homestead before the farmer who had bought the homestead went out to dig potatoes, and as he was bringing them in in a large basket through the front gateway, the ends of the stone wall came so near together at the gate that the basket hugged very tight. So he set the basket on the ground and pulled, first on one side and then on the other side. Our farms in Massachusetts are mostly stone walls, and the farmers have to be economical with their gateways in order to have some place to put the stones. That basket hugged so tight there that as he was hauling it through he noticed in the upper stone next the gate a block of native silver, eight inches square; and this professor of mines and mining and mineralogy, who would not work for forty-five dollars a week, when he sold that homestead in Massachusetts, sat right on that stone to make the bargain. He was brought up there; he had gone back and forth by that piece of silver, rubbed it with his sleeve, and it seemed to say, "Come now, now, now, here is a hundred thousand dollars. Why not take me?" But he would not take it. There was no silver in Newburyport; it was all away off--well, I don't know where; he didn't, but somewhere else--and he was a professor of mineralogy.
I do not know of anything I would enjoy better than to take the whole time to-night telling of blunders like that I have heard professors make. Yet I wish I knew what that man is doing out there in Wisconsin. I can imagine him out there, as he sits by his fireside, and he is saying to his friends, "Do you know that man Conwell that lives in Philadelphia?" "Oh, yes, I have heard of him." "And do you know that man Jones that lives in that city?" "Yes, I have heard of him." And then he begins to laugh and laugh and says to his friends,
"They have done the same thing I did, precisely." And that spoils the whole joke, because you and I have done it.
Ninety out of every hundred people here have made that mistake this very day. I say you ought to be rich; you have no right to be poor. To live in Philadelphia and not be rich is a misfortune, and it is doubly a misfortune, because you could have been rich just as well as be poor. Philadelphia furnishes so many opportunities. You ought to be rich. But persons with certain religious prejudice will ask, "How can you spend your time advising the rising generation to give their time to getting money--dollars and cents--the commercial spirit?"
Yet I must say that you ought to spend time getting rich. You and I know there are some things more valuable than money; of course, we do. Ah, yes! By a heart made unspeakably sad by a grave on which the autumn leaves now fall, I know there are some things higher and grander and sublimer than money. Well does the man know, who has suffered, that there are some things sweeter and holier and more sacred than gold.
Nevertheless, the man of common sense also knows that there is not any one of those things that is not greatly enhanced by the use of money. Money is power. Love is the grandest thing on God's earth, but fortunate the lover who has plenty of money. Money is power; money has powers; and for a man to say, "I do not want money," is to say, "I do not wish to do any good to my fellowmen." It is absurd thus to talk. It is absurd to disconnect them. This is a wonderfully great life, and you ought to spend your time getting money, because of the power there is in money. And yet this religious prejudice is so great that some people think it is a great honor to be one of God's poor. I am looking in the faces of people who think just that way. I heard a man once say in a prayer meeting that he was thankful that he was one of God's poor, and then I silently wondered what his wife would say to that speech, as she took in washing to support the man while he sat and smoked on the veranda. I don't want to see any more of that land of God's poor. Now, when a man could have been rich just as well, and he is now weak because he is poor, he has done some great wrong; he has been untruthful to himself; he has been unkind to his fellowmen. We ought to get rich if we can by honorable and Christian CHAPTER XXXI
methods, and these are the only methods that sweep us quickly toward the goal of riches.
I remember, not many years ago a young theological student who came into my office and said to me that he thought it was his duty to come in and "labor with me." I asked him what had happened, and he said: "I feel it is my duty to come in and speak to you, sir, and say that the Holy Scriptures declare that money is the root of all evil." I asked him where he found that saying, and he said he found it in the Bible. I asked him whether he had made a new Bible, and he said, no, he had not gotten a new Bible, that it was in the old Bible. "Well," I said, "if it is in my Bible, I never saw it. Will you please get the text-book and let me see it?" He left the room and soon came stalking in with his Bible open, with all the bigoted pride of the narrow sectarian, who founds his creed on some misinterpretation of Scripture, and he put the Bible down on the table before me and fairly squealed into my ear, "There it is. You can read it for yourself." I said to him, "Young man, you will learn, when you get a little older, that you cannot trust another denomination to read the Bible for you." I said,
"Now, you belong to another denomination. Please read it to me, and remember that you are taught in a school where emphasis is exegesis." So he took the Bible and read it: "The love of money is the root of all evil."
Then he had it right. The Great Book has come back into the esteem and love of the people, and into the respect of the greatest minds of earth, and now you can quote it and rest your life and your death on it without more fear. So, when he quoted right from the Scriptures he quoted the truth. "The love of money is the root of all evil." Oh, that is it. It is the worship of the means instead of the end, though you cannot reach the end without the means. When a man makes an idol of the money instead of the purposes for which it may be used, when he squeezes the dollar until the eagle squeals, then it is made the root of all evil. Think, if you only had the money, what you could do for your wife, your child, and for your home and your city. Think how soon you could endow the Temple College yonder if you only had the money and the disposition to give it; and yet, my friend, people say you and I should not spend the time getting rich. How inconsistent the whole thing is.
We ought to be rich, because money has power. I think the best thing for me to do is to illustrate this, for if I say you ought to get rich, I ought, at least, to suggest how it is done. We get a prejudice against rich men because of the lies that are told about them. The lies that are told about Mr. Rockefeller because he has two hundred million dollars--so many believe them; yet how false is the representation of that man to the world.
How little we can tell what is true nowadays when newspapers try to sell their papers entirely on some sensation! The way they lie about the rich men is something terrible, and I do not know that there is anything to illustrate this better than what the newspapers now say about the city of Philadelphia. A young man came to me the other day and said, "If Mr. Rockefeller, as you think, is a good man, why is it that everybody says so much against him?" It is because he has gotten ahead of us; that is the whole of it--just gotten ahead of us.
Why is it Mr. Carnegie is criticised so sharply by an envious world? Because he has gotten more than we have. If a man knows more than I know, don't I incline to criticise somewhat his learning? Let a man stand in a pulpit and preach to thousands, and if I have fifteen people in my church, and they're all asleep, don't I criticise him? We always do that to the man who gets ahead of us. Why, the man you are criticising has one hundred millions, and you have fifty cents, and both of you have just what you are worth. One of the richest men in this country came into my home and sat down in my parlor and said: "Did you see all those lies about my family in the paper?" "Certainly I did; I knew they were lies when I saw them." "Why do they lie about me the way they do?" "Well," I said to him, "if you will give me your check for one hundred millions, I will take all the lies along with it." "Well," said he, "I don't see any sense in their thus talking about my family and myself. Conwell, tell me frankly, what do you think the American people think of me?" "Well," said I, "they think you are the blackest-hearted villain that ever trod the soil!" "But what can I do about it?" There is nothing he can do about it, and yet he is one of the sweetest Christian men I ever knew. If you get a hundred millions you will have the lies; you will be lied about, and you can judge your success in any line by the lies that are told about you. I say that you ought to be rich. But there are ever coming to me young men who say,
"I would like to go into business, but I cannot." "Why not?" "Because I have no capital to begin on." Capital, capital to begin on! What! young man! Living in Philadelphia and looking at this wealthy generation, all of whom began as poor boys, and you want capital to begin on? It is fortunate for you that you have no capital. I am glad you have no money. I pity a rich man's son. A rich man's son in these days of ours occupies a very difficult position. They are to be pitied. A rich man's son cannot know the very best things in human life. He cannot. The statistics of Massachusetts show us that not one out of seventeen rich men's sons ever die rich.
They are raised in luxury, they die in poverty. Even if a rich man's son retains his father's money even then he cannot know the best things of life.
A young man in our college yonder asked me to formulate for him what I thought was the happiest hour in a man's history, and I studied it long and came back convinced that the happiest hour that any man ever sees in any earthly matter is when a young man takes his bride over the threshold of the door, for the first time, of the house he himself has earned and built, when he turns to his bride and with an eloquence greater than any language of mine, he sayeth to his wife, "My loved one, I earned this home myself; I earned it all. It is all mine, and I divide it with thee." That is the grandest moment a human heart may ever see. But a rich man's son cannot know that. He goes into a finer mansion, it may be, but he is obliged to go through the house and say, "Mother gave me this, mother gave me that, my mother gave me that, my mother gave me that," until his wife wishes she had married his mother. Oh, I pity a rich man's son. I do. Until he gets so far along in his dudeism that he gets his arms up like that and can't get them down. Didn't you ever see any of them astray at Atlantic City? I saw one of these scarecrows once and I never tire thinking about it. I was at Niagara Falls lecturing, and after the lecture I went to the hotel, and when I went up to the desk there stood there a millionaire's son from New York. He was an indescribable specimen of anthropologic potency. He carried a gold-headed cane under his arm--more in its head than he had in his. I do not believe I could describe the young man if I should try. But still I must say that he wore an eye-glass he could not see through; patent leather shoes he could not walk in, and pants he could not sit down in--dressed like a grasshopper! Well, this human cricket came up to the clerk's desk just as I came in. He adjusted his unseeing eye-glass in this wise and lisped to the clerk, because it's "Hinglish, you know," to lisp: "Thir, thir, will you have the kindness to fuhnish me with thome papah and thome envelopehs!" The clerk measured that man quick, and he pulled out a drawer and took some envelopes and paper and cast them across the counter and turned away to his books.
You should have seen that specimen of humanity when the paper and envelopes came across the counter--he whose wants had always been anticipated by servants. He adjusted his unseeing eye-glass and he yelled after that clerk: "Come back here, thir, come right back here. Now, thir, will you order a thervant to take that papah and thothe envelopes and carry them to yondah dethk." Oh, the poor miserable, contemptible American monkey! He couldn't carry paper and envelopes twenty feet. I suppose he could not get his arms down. I have no pity for such travesties of human nature. If you have no capital, I am glad of it. You don't need capital; you need common sense, not copper cents.
A.T. Stewart, the great princely merchant of New York, the richest man in America in his time, was a poor boy; he had a dollar and a half and went into the mercantile business. But he lost eighty-seven and a half cents of his first dollar and a half because he bought some needles and thread and buttons to sell, which people didn't want.
Are you poor? It is because you are not wanted and are left on your own hands. There was the great lesson.
Apply it whichever way you will it comes to every single person's life, young or old. He did not know what people needed, and consequently bought something they didn't want and had the goods left on his hands a dead loss. A.T. Stewart learned there the great lesson of his mercantile life and said, "I will never buy anything more until I first learn what the people want; then I'll make the purchase." He went around to the doors and asked them what they did want, and when he found out what they wanted, he invested his sixty-two and a half cents and began to supply "a known demand." I care not what your profession or occupation in life may be; I care not whether you are a lawyer, a doctor, a housekeeper, teacher or whatever else, the principle is precisely the same. We must know what the world needs first and then invest ourselves to supply that need, and success is almost certain. A.T. Stewart went on until he was worth forty millions. "Well," you will say, "a man can do that in New York, but cannot do it here in Philadelphia." The statistics very carefully gathered in New York in 1889 showed one hundred and seven millionaires in the city worth over ten millions apiece. It was remarkable and people think they must go there to get rich. Out of that one hundred and seven millionaires only seven of them made their money in New York, and the others moved to New York after their fortunes were made, and sixty-seven out of the remaining hundred made their fortunes in towns of less than six thousand people, and the richest man in the country at that time lived in a town of thirty-five hundred CHAPTER XXXI
inhabitants, and always lived there and never moved away. It is not so much where you are as what you are.
But at the same time if the largeness of the city comes into the problem, then remember it is the smaller city that furnishes the great opportunity to make the millions of money. The best illustration that I can give is in reference to John Jacob Astor, who was a poor boy and who made all the money of the Astor family. He made more than his successors have ever earned, and yet he once held a mortgage on a millinery store in New York, and because the people could not make enough money to pay the interest and the rent, he foreclosed the mortgage and took possession of the store and went into partnership with the man who had failed. He kept the same stock, did not give them a dollar capital, and he left them alone and went out and sat down upon a bench in the park. Out there on that bench in the park he had the most important, and to my mind, the pleasantest part of that partnership business. He was watching the ladies as they went by; and where is the man that wouldn't get rich at that business? But when John Jacob Astor saw a lady pass, with her shoulders back and her head up, as if she did not care if the whole world looked on her, he studied her bonnet; and before that bonnet was out of sight he knew the shape of the frame and the color of the trimmings, the curl of the--something on a bonnet. Sometimes I try to describe a woman's bonnet, but it is of little use, for it would be out of style to-morrow night. So John Jacob Astor went to the store and said: "Now, put in the show window just such a bonnet as I describe to you because," said he, "I have just seen a lady who likes just such a bonnet. Do not make up any more till I come back." And he went out again and sat on that bench in the park, and another lady of a different form and complexion passed him with a bonnet of different shape and color, of course. "Now," said he, "put such a bonnet as that in the show window." He didn't fill his show window with hats and bonnets which drive people away and then sit in the back of the store and bawl because the people go somewhere else to trade. He didn't put a hat or bonnet in that show window the like of which he had not seen before it was made up.
In our city especially there are great opportunities for manufacturing, and the time has come when the line is drawn very sharply between the stockholders of the factory and their employés. Now, friends, there has also come a discouraging gloom upon this country and the laboring men are beginning to feel that they are being held down by a crust over their heads through which they find it impossible to break, and the aristocratic money-owner himself is so far above that he will never descend to their assistance. That is the thought that is in the minds of our people. But, friends, never in the history of our country was there an opportunity so great for the poor man to get rich as there is now in the city of Philadelphia. The very fact that they get discouraged is what prevents them from getting rich. That is all there is to it. The road is open, and let us keep it open between the poor and the rich. I know that the labor unions have two great problems to contend with, and there is only one way to solve them. The labor unions are doing as much to prevent its solving as are the capitalists to-day, and there are positively two sides to it. The labor union has two difficulties; the first one is that it began to make a labor scale for all classes on a par, and they scale down a man that can earn five dollars a day to two and a half a day, in order to level up to him an imbecile that cannot earn fifty cents a day. That is one of the most dangerous and discouraging things for the working man. He cannot get the results of his work if he do better work or higher work or work longer; that is a dangerous thing, and in order to get every laboring man free and every American equal to every other American, let the laboring man ask what he is worth and get it--not let any capitalist say to him: "You shall work for me for half of what you are worth;" nor let any labor organization say: "You shall work for the capitalist for half your worth." Be a man, be independent, and then shall the laboring man find the road ever open from poverty to wealth. The other difficulty that the labor union has to consider, and this problem they have to solve themselves, is the kind of orators who come and talk to them about the oppressive rich. I can in my dreams recite the oration I have heard again and again under such circumstances. My life has been with the laboring man. I am a laboring man myself. I have often, in their assemblies, heard the speech of the man who has been invited to address the labor union. The man gets up before the assembled company of honest laboring men and he begins by saying:
"Oh, ye honest, industrious laboring men, who have furnished all the capital of the world, who have built all the palaces and constructed all the railroads and covered the ocean with her steamships. Oh, you laboring men! You are nothing but slaves; you are ground down in the dust by the capitalist who is gloating over you as he enjoys his beautiful estates and as he has his banks filled with gold, and every dollar he owns is coined out of the hearts' blood of the honest laboring man." Now, that is a lie, and you know it is a lie; and yet that is CHAPTER XXXI
the kind of speech that they are all the time hearing, representing the capitalists as wicked and the laboring men so enslaved. Why, how wrong it is! Let the man who loves his flag and believes in American principles endeavor with all his soul to bring the capitalist and the laboring man together until they stand side by side, and arm in arm, and work for the common good of humanity.
He is an enemy to his country who sets capital against labor or labor against capital.
Suppose I were to go down through this audience and ask you to introduce me to the great inventors who live here in Philadelphia. "The inventors of Philadelphia," you would say, "Why we don't have any in Philadelphia. It is too slow to invent anything." But you do have just as great inventors, and they are here in this audience, as ever invented a machine. But the probability is that the greatest inventor to benefit the world with his discovery is some person, perhaps some lady, who thinks she could not invent anything. Did you ever study the history of invention and see how strange it was that the man who made the greatest discovery did it without any previous idea that he was an inventor? Who are the great inventors? They are persons with plain, straightforward common sense, who saw a need in the world and immediately applied themselves to supply that need. If you want to invent anything, don't try to find it in the wheels in your head nor the wheels in your machine, but first find out what the people need, and then apply yourself to that need, and this leads to invention on the part of the people you would not dream of before. The great inventors are simply great men; the greater the man the more simple the man; and the more simple a machine, the more valuable it is. Did you ever know a really great man? His ways are so simple, so common, so plain, that you think any one could do what he is doing. So it is with the great men the world over. If you know a really great man, a neighbor of yours, you can go right up to him and say, "How are you, Jim, good morning, Sam." Of course you can, for they are always so simple.
When I wrote the life of General Garfield, one of his neighbors took me to his back door, and shouted, "Jim, Jim, Jim!" and very soon "Jim" came to the door and General Garfield let me in--one of the grandest men of our century. The great men of the world are ever so. I was down in Virginia and went up to an educational institution and was directed to a man who was setting out a tree. I approached him and said, "Do you think it would be possible for me to see General Robert E. Lee, the President of the University?" He said, "Sir, I am General Lee." Of course, when you meet such a man, so noble a man as that, you will find him a simple, plain man. Greatness is always just so modest and great inventions are simple.
I asked a class in school once who were the great inventors, and a little girl popped up and said, "Columbus."
Well, now, she was not so far wrong. Columbus bought a farm and he carried on that farm just as I carried on my father's farm. He took a hoe and went out and sat down on a rock. But Columbus, as he sat upon that shore and looked out upon the ocean, noticed that the ships, as they sailed away, sank deeper into the sea the farther they went. And since that time some other "Spanish ships" have sunk into the sea. But as Columbus noticed that the tops of the masts dropped down out of sight, he said: "That is the way it is with this hoe handle; if you go around this hoe handle, the farther off you go the farther down you go. I can sail around to the East Indies."
How plain it all was. How simple the mind--majestic like the simplicity of a mountain in its greatness. Who are the great inventors? They are ever the simple, plain, everyday people who see the need and set about to supply it.
I was once lecturing in North Carolina, and the cashier of the bank sat directly behind a lady who wore a very large hat. I said to that audience, "Your wealth is too near to you; you are looking right over it." He whispered to his friend, "Well, then, my wealth is in that hat." A little later, as he wrote me, I said, "Wherever there is a human need there is a greater fortune than a mine can furnish." He caught my thought, and he drew up his plan for a better hat pin than was in the hat before him, and the pin is now being manufactured. He was offered fifty-five thousand dollars for his patent. That man made his fortune before he got out of that hall.
This is the whole question: Do you see a need?
I remember well a man up in my native hills, a poor man, who for twenty years was helped by the town in his CHAPTER XXXI
poverty, who owned a wide-spreading maple tree that covered the poor man's cottage like a benediction from on high. I remember that tree, for in the spring--there were some roguish boys around that neighborhood when I was young--in the spring of the year the man would put a bucket there and the spouts to catch the maple sap, and I remember where that bucket was; and when I was young the boys were, oh, so mean, that they went to that tree before that man had gotten out of bed in the morning, and after he had gone to bed at night, and drank up that sweet sap. I could swear they did it. He didn't make a great deal of maple sugar from that tree. But one day he made the sugar so white and crystalline that the visitor did not believe it was maple sugar; thought maple sugar must be red or black. He said to the old man: "Why don't you make it that way and sell it for confectionery?" The old man caught his thought and invented the "rock maple crystal," and before that patent expired he had ninety thousand dollars and had built a beautiful palace on the site of that tree. After forty years owning that tree he awoke to find it had fortunes of money indeed in it. And many of us are right by the tree that has a fortune for us, and we own it, possess it, do what we will with it, but we do not learn its value because we do not see the human need, and in these discoveries and inventions this is one of the most romantic things of life.
I have received letters from all over the country and from England, where I have lectured, saying that they have discovered this and that, and one man out in Ohio took me through his great factories last spring, and said that they cost him $680,000, and said he, "I was not worth a cent in the world when I heard your lecture
'Acres of Diamonds;' but I made up my mind to stop right here and make my fortune here, and here it is." He showed me through his unmortgaged possessions. And this is a continual experience now as I travel through the country, after these many years. I mention this incident, not to boast, but to show you that you can do the same if you will.
Who are the great inventors? I remember a good illustration in a man who used to live in East Brookfield, Mass. He was a shoemaker, and he was out of work, and he sat around the house until his wife told him to "go out doors." And he did what every husband is compelled by law to do--he obeyed his wife. And he went out and sat down on an ash barrel in his back yard. Think of it! Stranded on an ash barrel and the enemy in possession of the house! As he sat on that ash barrel, he looked down into that little brook which ran through that back yard into the meadows, and he saw a little trout go flashing up the stream and hiding under the bank.
I do not suppose he thought of Tennyson's beautiful poem:
"Chatter, chatter, as I flow, To join the brimming river, Men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever."
But as this man looked into the brook, he leaped off that ash barrel and managed to catch the trout with his fingers, and sent it to Worcester. They wrote back that they would give him a five dollar bill for another such trout as that, not that it was worth that much, but they wished to help the poor man. So this shoemaker and his wife, now perfectly united, that five dollar bill in prospect, went out to get another trout. They went up the stream to its source and down to the brimming river, but not another trout could they find in the whole stream; and so they came home disconsolate and went to the minister. The minister didn't know how trout grew, but he pointed the way. Said he, "Get Seth Green's book, and that will give you the information you want." They did so, and found all about the culture of trout. They found that a trout lays thirty-six hundred eggs every year and every trout gains a quarter of a pound every year, so that in four years a little trout will furnish four tons per annum to sell to the market at fifty cents a pound. When they found that, they said they didn't believe any such story as that, but if they could get five dollars apiece they could make something. And right in that same back yard with the coal sifter up stream and window screen down the stream, they began the culture of trout.
They afterwards moved to the Hudson, and since then he has become the authority in the United States upon the raising of fish, and he has been next to the highest on the United States Fish Commission in Washington.
My lesson is that man's wealth was out there in his back yard for twenty years, but he didn't see it until his wife drove him out with a mop stick.
I remember meeting personally a poor carpenter of Hingham, Massachusetts, who was out of work and in CHAPTER XXXI
poverty. His wife also drove him out of doors. He sat down on the shore and whittled a soaked shingle into a wooden chain. His children quarreled over it in the evening, and while he was whittling a second one, a neighbor came along and said, "Why don't you whittle toys if you can carve like that?" He said, "I don't know what to make!" There is the whole thing. His neighbor said to him: "Why don't you ask your own children?"
Said he, "What is the use of doing that? My children are different from other people's children." I used to see people like that when I taught school. The next morning when his boy came down the stairway, he said, "Sam, what do you want for a toy?" "I want a wheelbarrow." When his little girl came down, he asked her what she wanted, and she said, "I want a little doll's washstand, a little doll's carriage, a little doll's umbrella," and went on with a whole lot of things that would have taken his lifetime to supply. He consulted his own children right there in his own house and began to whittle out toys to please them. He began with his jack-knife, and made those unpainted Hingham toys. He is the richest man in the entire New England States, if Mr. Lawson is to be trusted in his statement concerning such things, and yet that man's fortune was made by consulting his own children in his own house. You don't need to go out of your own house to find out what to invent or what to make. I always talk too long on this subject.
I would like to meet the great men who are here to-night. The great men! We don't have any great men in Philadelphia. Great men! You say that they all come from London, or San Francisco, or Rome, or Manayunk, or anywhere else but here--anywhere else but Philadelphia--and yet, in fact, there are just as great men in Philadelphia as in any city of its size. There are great men and women in this audience. Great men, I have said, are very simple men. Just as many great men here as are to be found anywhere. The greatest error in judging great men is that we think that they always hold an office. The world knows nothing of its greatest men. Who are the great men of the world? The young man and young woman may well ask the question. It is not necessary that they should hold an office, and yet that is the popular idea. That is the idea we teach now in our high schools and common schools, that the great men of the world are those who hold some high office, and unless we change that very soon and do away with that prejudice, we are going to change to an empire.
There is no question about it. We must teach that men are great only on their intrinsic value, and not on the position that they may incidentally happen to occupy. And yet, don't blame the young men saying that they are going to be great when they get into some official position. I ask this audience again who of you are going to be great? Says a young man: "I am going to be great." "When are you going to be great?" "When I am elected to some political office." Won't you learn the lesson, young man; that it is prima facie evidence of littleness to hold public office under our form of government? Think of it. This is a government of the people, and by the people, and for the people, and not for the office-holder, and if the people in this country rule as they always should rule, an office-holder is only the servant of the people, and the Bible says that "the servant cannot be greater than his master." The Bible says that "he that is sent cannot be greater than him who sent him." In this country the people are the masters, and the office-holders can never be greater than the people; they should be honest servants of the people, but they are not our greatest men. Young man, remember that you never heard of a great man holding any political office in this country unless he took that office at an expense to himself. It is a loss to every great man to take a public office in our country. Bear this in mind, young man, that you cannot be made great by a political election.
Another young man says, "I am going to be a great man in Philadelphia some time." "Is that so? When are you going to be great?" "When there comes another war! When we get into difficulty with Mexico, or England, or Russia, or Japan, or with Spain again over Cuba, or with New Jersey, I will march up to the cannon's mouth, and amid the glistening bayonets I will tear down their flag from its staff, and I will come home with stars on my shoulders, and hold every office in the gift of the government, and I will be great." "No, you won't! No, you won't; that is no evidence of true greatness, young man." But don't blame that young man for thinking that way; that is the way he is taught in the high school. That is the way history is taught in college. He is taught that the men who held the office did all the fighting.
I remember we had a Peace Jubilee here in Philadelphia soon after the Spanish war. Perhaps some of these visitors think we should not have had it until now in Philadelphia, and as the great procession was going up Broad street I was told that the tally-ho coach stopped right in front of my house, and on the coach was CHAPTER XXXI
Hobson, and all the people threw up their hats and swung their handkerchiefs, and shouted "Hurrah for Hobson!" I would have yelled too, because he deserves much more of his country than he has ever received.
But suppose I go into the High School to-morrow and ask, "Boys, who sunk the Merrimac?" If they answer me "Hobson," they tell me seven-eighths of a lie--seven-eighths of a lie, because there were eight men who sunk the Merrimac. The other seven men, by virtue of their position, were continually exposed to the Spanish fire, while Hobson, as an officer, might reasonably be behind the smoke-stack. Why, my friends, in this intelligent audience gathered here to-night I do not believe I could find a single person that can name the other seven men who were with Hobson. Why do we teach history in that way? We ought to teach that however humble the station a man may occupy, if he does his full duty in his place, he is just as much entitled to the American people's honor as is a king upon a throne. We do teach it as a mother did her little boy in New York when he said, "Mamma, what great building is that?" "That is General Grant's tomb." "Who was General Grant?" "He was the man who put down the rebellion." Is that the way to teach history?
Do you think we would have gained a victory if it had depended on General Grant alone? Oh, no. Then why is there a tomb on the Hudson at all? Why, not simply because General Grant was personally a great man himself, but that tomb is there because he was a representative man and represented two hundred thousand men who went down to death for their nation and many of them as great as General Grant. That is why that beautiful tomb stands on the heights over the Hudson.
I remember an incident that will illustrate this, the only one that I can give to-night. I am ashamed of it, but I don't dare leave it out. I close my eyes now; I look back through the years to 1863; I can see my native town in the Berkshire Hills, I can see that cattle-show ground filled with people; I can see the church there and the town hall crowded, and hear bands playing, and see flags flying and handkerchiefs streaming--well do I recall at this moment that day. The people had turned out to receive a company of soldiers, and that company came marching up on the Common. They had served out one term in the Civil War and had reënlisted, and they were being received by their native townsmen. I was but a boy, but I was captain of that company, puffed out with pride on that day--why, a cambric needle would have burst me all to pieces. As I marched on the Common at the head of my company, there was not a man more proud than I. We marched into the town hall and then they seated my soldiers down in the center of the house and I took my place down on the front seat, and then the town officers filed through the great throng of people, who stood close and packed in that little hall. They came up on the platform, formed a half circle around it, and the mayor of the town, the "chairman of the Selectmen" in New England, took his seat in the middle of that half circle. He was an old man, his hair was gray; he never held an office before in his life. He thought that an office was all he needed to be a truly great man, and when he came up he adjusted his powerful spectacles and glanced calmly around the audience with amazing dignity. Suddenly his eyes fell upon me, and then the good old man came right forward and invited me to come up on the stand with the town officers. Invited me up on the stand! No town officer ever took notice of me before I went to war. Now, I should not say that. One town officer was there who advised the teacher to "whale" me, but I mean no "honorable mention." So I was invited up on the stand with the town officers. I took my seat and let my sword fall on the floor, and folded my arms across my breast and waited to be received. Napoleon the Fifth! Pride goeth before destruction and a fall. When I had gotten my seat and all became silent through the hall, the chairman of the Selectmen arose and came forward with great dignity to the table, and we all supposed he would introduce the Congregational minister, who was the only orator in the town, and who would give the oration to the returning soldiers. But, friends, you should have seen the surprise that ran over that audience when they discovered that this old farmer was going to deliver that oration himself.
He had never made a speech in his life before, but he fell into the same error that others have fallen into, he seemed to think that the office would make him an orator. So he had written out a speech and walked up and down the pasture until he had learned it by heart and frightened the cattle, and he brought that manuscript with him, and taking it from his pocket, he spread it carefully upon the table. Then he adjusted his spectacles to be sure that he might see it, and walked far back on the platform and then stepped forward like this. He must have studied the subject much, for he assumed an elocutionary attitude; he rested heavily upon his left heel, slightly advanced the right foot, threw back his shoulders, opened the organs of speech, and advanced his right hand at an angle of forty-five. As he stood in that elocutionary attitude this is just the way that speech went, CHAPTER XXXI
this is it precisely. Some of my friends have asked me if I do not exaggerate it, but I could not exaggerate it.
Impossible! This is the way it went; although I am not here for the story but the lesson that is back of it:
"Fellow citizens." As soon as he heard his voice, his hand began to shake like that, his knees began to tremble, and then he shook all over. He coughed and choked and finally came around to look at his manuscript. Then he began again: "Fellow citizens: We--are--we are--we are--we are--We are very happy--we are very happy--we are very happy--to welcome back to their native town these soldiers who have fought and bled--and come back again to their native town. We are especially--we are especially--we are especially--we are especially pleased to see with us to-day this young hero (that meant me)--this young hero who in imagination (friends, remember, he said "imagination," for if he had not said that, I would not be egotistical enough to refer to it)--this young hero who, in imagination, we have seen leading his troops--leading--we have seen leading--we have seen leading his troops on to the deadly breach. We have seen his shining--his shining--we have seen his shining--we have seen his shining--his shining sword--flashing in the sunlight as he shouted to his troops, 'Come on!'"
Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear! How little that good, old man knew about war. If he had known anything about war, he ought to have known what any soldier in this audience knows is true, that it is next to a crime for an officer of infantry ever in time of danger to go ahead of his men. I, with my shining sword flashing in the sunlight, shouting to my troops: "Come on." I never did it. Do you suppose I would go ahead of my men to be shot in the front by the enemy and in the back by my own men? That is no place for an officer. The place for the officer is behind the private soldier in actual fighting. How often, as a staff officer, I rode down the line when the Rebel cry and yell was coming out of the woods, sweeping along over the fields, and shouted,
"Officers to the rear! Officers to the rear!" and then every officer goes behind the line of battle, and the higher the officer's rank, the farther behind he goes. Not because he is any the less brave, but because the laws of war require that to be done. If the general came up on the front line and were killed you would lose your battle anyhow, because he has the plan of the battle in his brain, and must be kept in comparative safety. I, with my
"shining sword flashing in the sunlight." Ah! There sat in the hall that day men who had given that boy their last hard-tack, who had carried him on their backs through deep rivers. But some were not there; they had gone down to death for their country. The speaker mentioned them, but they were but little noticed, and yet they had gone down to death for their country, gone down for a cause they believed was right and still believe was right, though I grant to the other side the same that I ask for myself. Yet these men who had actually died for their country were little noticed, and the hero of the hour was this boy. Why was he the hero? Simply because that man fell into that same foolishness. This boy was an officer, and those were only private soldiers.
I learned a lesson that I will never forget. Greatness consists not in holding some office; greatness really consists in doing some great deed with little means, in the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life; that is true greatness. He who can give to this people better streets, better homes, better schools, better churches, more religion, more of happiness, more of God, he that can be a blessing to the community in which he lives to-night will be great anywhere, but he who cannot be a blessing where he now lives will never be great anywhere on the face of God's earth. "We live in deeds, not years, in feeling, not in figures on a dial; in thoughts, not breaths; we should count time by heart throbs, in the cause of right." Bailey says: "He most lives who thinks most."
If you forget everything I have said to you, do not forget this, because it contains more in two lines than all I have said. Bailey says: "He most lives who thinks most, who feels the noblest, and who acts the best."
HONORE DE BALZAC
Delivered at the Funeral of Balzac, August 20, 1850.
Gentlemen: The man who now goes down into this tomb is one of those to whom public grief pays homage.
In one day all fictions have vanished. The eye is fixed not only on the heads that reign, but on heads that think, and the whole country is moved when one of those heads disappears. To-day we have a people in black because of the death of the man of talent; a nation in mourning for a man of genius.
Gentlemen, the name of Balzac will be mingled in the luminous trace our epoch will leave across the future.
Balzac was one of that powerful generation of writers of the nineteenth century who came after Napoleon, as the illustrious Pleiad of the seventeenth century came after Richelieu,--as if in the development of civilization there were a law which gives conquerors by the intellect as successors to conquerors by the sword.
Balzac was one of the first among the greatest, one of the highest among the best. This is not the place to tell all that constituted this splendid and sovereign intelligence. All his books form but one book,--a book living, luminous, profound, where one sees coming and going and marching and moving, with I know not what of the formidable and terrible, mixed with the real, all our contemporary civilization;--a marvelous book which the poet entitled "a comedy" and which he could have called history; which takes all forms and all style, which surpasses Tacitus and Suetonius; which traverses Beaumarchais and reaches Rabelais;--a book which realizes observation and imagination, which lavishes the true, the esoteric, the commonplace, the trivial, the material, and which at times through all realities, swiftly and grandly rent away, allows us all at once a glimpse of a most sombre and tragic ideal. Unknown to himself, whether he wished it or not, whether he consented or not, the author of this immense and strange work is one of the strong race of Revolutionist writers. Balzac goes straight to the goal.
Body to body he seizes modern society; from all he wrests something, from these an illusion, from those a hope; from one a catch-word, from another a mask. He ransacked vice, he dissected passion. He searched out and sounded man, soul, heart, entrails, brain,--the abyss that each one has within himself. And by grace of his free and vigorous nature; by a privilege of the intellect of our time, which, having seen revolutions face to face, can see more clearly the destiny of humanity and comprehend Providence better,--Balzac redeemed himself smiling and severe from those formidable studies which produced melancholy in Moliere and misanthropy in Rousseau.
This is what he has accomplished among us, this is the work which he has left us,--a work lofty and solid,--a monument robustly piled in layers of granite, from the height of which hereafter his renown shall shine in splendor. Great men make their own pedestal, the future will be answerable for the statue.
His death stupefied Paris! Only a few months ago he had come back to France. Feeling that he was dying, he wished to see his country again, as one who would embrace his mother on the eve of a distant voyage. His life was short, but full, more filled with deeds than days.
Alas! this powerful worker, never fatigued, this philosopher, this thinker, this poet, this genius, has lived among us that life of storm, of strife, of quarrels and combats, common in all times to all great men. To-day he is at peace. He escapes contention and hatred. On the same day he enters into glory and the tomb.
Thereafter beyond the clouds, which are above our heads, he will shine among the stars of his country. All you who are here, are you not tempted to envy him?
Whatever may be our grief in presence of such a loss, let us accept these catastrophes with resignation! Let us accept in it whatever is distressing and severe; it is good perhaps, it is necessary perhaps, in an epoch like ours, that from time to time the great dead shall communicate to spirits devoured with skepticism and doubt, a religious fervor. Providence knows what it does when it puts the people face to face with the supreme mystery and when it gives them death to reflect on,--death which is supreme equality, as it is also supreme liberty.
Providence knows what it does, since it is the greatest of all instructors.
There can be but austere and serious thoughts in all hearts when a sublime spirit makes its majestic entrance CHAPTER XXXI
into another life, when one of those beings who have long soared above the crowd on the visible wings of genius, spreading all at once other wings which we did not see, plunges swiftly into the unknown.
No, it is not the unknown; no, I have said it on another sad occasion and I shall repeat it to-day, it is not night, it is light. It is not the end, it is the beginning! It is not extinction, it is eternity! Is it not true, my hearers, such tombs as this demonstrate immortality? In presence of the illustrious dead, we feel more distinctly the divine destiny of that intelligence which traverses the earth to suffer and to purify itself,--which we call man.
[Footnote 37: Saguntum was a city of Iberia (Spain) in alliance with Rome. Hannibal, in spite of Rome's warnings in 219 B.C., laid siege to and captured it. This became the immediate cause of the war which Rome declared against Carthage.]
[Footnote 38: From his speech in Washington on March 13, 1905, before the National Congress of Mothers.
Printed from a copy furnished by the president for this collection, in response to a request.]
[Footnote 39: Used by permission.]
[Footnote 40: Reported by A. Russell Smith and Harry E. Greager. Used by permission.
On May 21, 1914, when Dr. Conwell delivered this lecture for the five thousandth time, Mr. John Wanamaker said that if the proceeds had been put out at compound interest the sum would aggregate eight millions of dollars. Dr. Conwell has uniformly devoted his lecturing income to works of benevolence.]
Names of speakers and writers referred to are set in CAPITALS. Other references are printed in "lower case,"
or "small," type. Because of the large number of fragmentary quotations made from speeches and books, no titles are indexed, but all such material will be found indexed under the name of its author.
ADDISON, JOSEPH, 134.
ADE, GEORGE, 252.
After-Dinner Speaking, 362-370.
Anecdote, 251-255; 364.
Anglo-Saxon words, 338.
Association of ideas, 347, 348.
Attention, 346, 347.
Auditory images, 324, 348, 349.
BACON, FRANCIS, 225, 226, 362.
BAGEHOT, WALTER, 249.
BAKER, GEORGE P., 281.
BALDWIN, C.S., 16, 92.
BARRIE, JAMES M., 339-341.
BATES, ARLO, 222-223.
BEECHER, HENRY WARD, 3, 6, 31, 76-78; 113, 139, 186, 188, 223, 265, 275, 343, 346, 351-352.
BERNHARDT, SARA, 105.
BEROL, FELIX, 344.
BEVERIDGE, ALBERT, J., 22, 35, 46, 67, 107, 470-483.
BIRRELL, AUGUSTINE, 97.
BLAINE, JAMES G., 368.
BONCI, SIGNOR, 124.
Books, 191-197; 207-210.
Briefs, 177, 210-214, 290-294.
BRISBANE, ARTHUR, 19.
BROOKS, PHILLIPS, 356.
BROUGHAM, LORD, 338.
BRYAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS, 32, 60, 116, 157, 269, 273-277, 302, 448-464.
BRYANT, WILLIAM CULLEN, 366-367.
BURNS, ROBERT, 39.
BURROUGHS, JOHN, 116.
BYRON, LORD, 64, 87, 145, 188, 189, 199.
CAESAR, JULIUS, 175.
CAMPBELL, THOMAS, 121.
CARLETON, WILL, 334.
CARLYLE, THOMAS, 42, 57, 105, 109, 194, 218, 249, 277-278.
CATO, 356, 372.
CHAMBERS, ROBERT, 19.
Change of pace, 39-49.
CHANNING, WILLIAM ELLERY, 177.
CHILD, RICHARD WASHBURN, 376.
CHOATE, RUFUS, 464-469.
CHURCHILL, WINSTON SPENCER, 89.
CLEVELAND, GROVER, 367-368.
COHAN, GEORGE, 376.