Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Shortly after this, indisposition prevented me from attending the sanctuary for some weeks; and, on my again appearing there, the seat of the venerable African (in the door of the vestry, opening to the church,) was vacant. Thinking he had gone to some of the neigbouring islands, or the plantations on the main, as was his usual practice, to instruct his poor ignorant countrymen in the ways of eternal life, no particular inquiries were made respecting him. His absence at length appearing longer than customary, I was informed that he had closed his earthly career-dying, as he lived, in the full assurance of everlasting joys beyond the grave, through the merits of his Saviour.

Farewell, faithful SAMBO! Thy seat is occupied by another, but thy sainted form is often before my eyes, aiding my devotions, when disposed to murmur at the dispensations of an overruling providence. Recollecting thy piety, patience and resignation, and thy ardent zeal for the gospel, by disseminating the word of truth, may thy example be imitated. Had an emperor performed what thou hast nobly done, his fame would be inscribed in letters of gold, and succeeding generations would hold him in grateful remembrance. Would that some abler pen had been wielded to canonize thy virtues; but thou art welcome to this feeble tribute to thy worth.

VIII. DEBT AND CREDIT.

[Emporium. Trenton, N. J.]

I DISLIKE the whole matter of debt and credit-from my heart I dislike it; and think the man, who first invented a ledger, should be hung in effigy, with his invention tied to his feet, that his neck might support him and his works together. My reason for thus sweeping at the whole system is, not that I believe it totally useless, but that I believe it does more mischief than good -produces more trouble than accommodation, and destroys more fortunes than it creates honestly. These opinions are not of a recent date with me; they are those upon which I set out in early life, and as I grew

older, I became more and more confirmed in them; not that I changed my practice while I held fast my professsion, and got my fingers burned at last, by trusting my name in a day-book, for I never did it, because I saw the evil effects of credit around me in every shape and form.

And a visit this morning to my old friend, Timothy Coulter, called the subject up so forcibly, that I con. cluded to write you a line on it. His last cow was sold this very morning by the constable for six dollars, though she cost him sixteen, and they have not left an ear of corn in his crib, or a bushel of rye in his barn, much less any

of his stock-it was what was called the winding up of the concern; and he is now on his good behaviour, for, I heard one of his creditors say, that if he did not go on very straight, that he would walk him off to the county prison-ship. Thus has ended Timothy's game of debt and credit. When he first commenced farming, he was as industrious and promising a young

was to be found; he worked day and night, counted the cost, and pondered on the purchase of eve. ry thing. For a year or two, he kept out of debt, lived comfortably and happy, and made money; every merchant that knew him, was ready to make a polite bow -each knew him as one of your cash men, and liked his custom. The mechanic shook him by the hand, and begged his company to dinner, hoping to get a job from bim : and even the lawyer, in contemplation of his high character, tipped his beaver as he passed him, with a sign, as much as to say, Tim, you have more sense than half the world; but that's no consolation to us.

By some fatality, Timothy found out, however, that there was such a thing as credit. He began soon to have many running accounts, and seldom paid for what he got; it soon followed, that the inquiry, - do I really want this article ?" before he bought it, was neglected; then the price was frequently not asked; then he began to be careless about pay-day; his accounts stood-he disputed them when rendered-was sued-charged with costs, and perhaps, slyly, with interest too, and he became a money borrower before long; but his friends,

man as

after a lawsuit had brought them their money, were ready to trust him again, and he was as ready to buy. The same farce was played over and over, until now the end of these things has come; and, poor fellow, he is turned out in the wide world, without a friend, save a wife and six miserable babes.

I asked the constable for a sight of the execution, and he showed it to me. It was issued by young squire Bell, and I could not but recollect how different was the bistory of this man to that of Timothy. Young Bell was a poor boy; commenced his life with nothing but health and trade; but he adopted as a sacred maxim, “pay as you go ;” and he frequently told me, he found little difficulty in sticking to his text. The necessaries of life are few, and industry secures them to every man ; it is the elegancies of life that empty the purse; the knickknacks of fashion, the gratification of pride, and the indulgence of luxury, that makes a man poor. To guard against these, some resolution is necessary; and the resolution, once formed, is much strengthened and guarded by the habit of paying for every article we buy, at the time. If we do so, we shall seldom purchase what our circumstances will not afford.

This was exactly the manner in which Jack Bell proceeded. Habit, strengthened by long continuance, and supported by reason, became second nature. His business prospered; his old purse became filled with Spanish dollars; all his purchases, being made for cash, were favourable, and by always knowing how he stood with the world, he avoided all derangement in his affairs. He is now the squire of a little village, with a good property, a profitable business, and the respect of all who know him.

Young reader, who hast not entered on the stage of business, when you come forward in the world, go and do likewise, and you shall have like reward.

VIII. SUICIDE.

[National Advocate. New-York.] Within a week two suicides have been committed in our city, one of which was under the pressure of commercial embarrassments. This is a shocking example to a moral world. Much has been said and written against this crime, the denunciations of holy writ, the anathemas of inspired writers, the opinion of the wise and just, the frowns of society; still we find men so weak, so rash, yet timid, unable to bear up in a manly manner against the frowns of fickle fortune, rushing into the presence of their God, uncalled for, “unanointed, unanealed.” If the obligations which are due to the divine author of our existence are thus sported with ; if the obligations due to society are disregarded; if the world to come, if future fame and honour, and the life everlasting, are held thus light, and trivial, what is to become of us ?

Men, when they enter into public life, or pursue any business of hazard, should ever be prepared to meet the reverses with fortitude and resignation. There is scarcely any pursuit which has not its corresponding risks and dangers. A gale of wind drives a vessel on shore, and destroys the hopes of the adventurer; a fire consumes the warehouse of the merchant; a pestilence stops his trade; a friend fails, owing him money ; these are the natural consequences which may happen in trade. Shall we then joyfully participate in the blessings of a golden harvest, yet shrink appalled from the frowns of fate? If we are to believe that our destinies are in the hands of an all-seeing Providence, and that they are, all nature cries aloud," why rebel against his will, why attempt to resist bis decree? Submit humbly to his dispensations, and with chastened humility and grateful feelings bow before the supreme arbitrator of the universe. Apart from the immoral effect and pernicious tendency of suicide, there is something cowardly in the act itself. Man fears to face misfortune, and shrinks from trouble and calamity. He resorts to the pistol or poison for relief, as the intemperate man flies to liquor to assuage his woes.

לי

Suicide, committed to avoid the importunity of creditors, is dishonorable. If you cannot pay your debts, there is a moral obligation for you to live, in order to labour for that purpose. The life of a debtor is the property of his creditor, and the worst kind of fraud, is, to deprive him of it. In this state, an unfortunate man in business is never driven to despair. If he fails, owing to any cause, he has only to call his creditors 10gether, and share among them all that is left, and be a free man again. The walls of a prison have no terrors in such cases, as the inmates of our prison are the poorest class, and confined for the most trilling sums. There is no terror in the law, which can drive a man to despair. We have daily instances of the fickleness of fortune, which smiles to day, and frowns tomorrow. With as much reason may we plunge into the sea, because the sun does not shine, as to commit suicide, because we have no money to pay our debts.

Weak minds may be victims to such despair, but firmness in adversity, and mildness in prosperity, qualify a man for all the changes " that flesh heir to."

[ocr errors]

IX. AMBITION.

(Courier. Charleston.] AMBITION is the noblest and most powerful stimulus to action. Compared with this, either in the sublimity of its objects, or the grandeur and extent of the means it employs to attain them, every other passion dwindles into insignificance. To him, who considers human actions and their causes, the necessity of ambition to produce any thing great or excellent, will be immediately obvious. This passion is peculiarly characteristic of a noble mind. By inculcating the precept“ nil mortalibus arduum esse,” it teaches its votary to disdain inferiority, and to aspire to superiour eminence. It dispels the empty fears of cowardice, and gives even valour to the brave. To ambition, we are indebted for the exercise of those faculties, that exalt the human above every otber species, and assimilate man to his God. Its effects are every where visible, and universally beneficial. This produc

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »