Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman
Hugh Miller, when working as a stone-mason near Edinburgh, was served by a hodman, who was one of the numerous claimants for the earldom of Crauford - all that was wanted to establish his claim being a missing marriage certificate; and while the work was going on, the cry resounded from the walls many times in the day, of - "John, Yearl Crauford, bring us anither hod o'lime." One of Oliver Cromwell's great grandsons was a grocer on Snow Hill, and others of his descendants died in great poverty. Many barons of proud names and titles have perished, like the sloth, upon their family tree, after eating up all the leaves; while others have been overtaken by adversities which they have been unable to retrieve, and sunk at last into poverty and obscurity. Such are the mutabilities of rank and fortune.
and Normanby were remarkable men in many respects, and, as furnishing striking examples of energy of character, the story of their lives is worthy of preservation.
It became known that the Swedes were enabled to make their nails so much cheaper, by the use of splitting mills and machinery, which had completely superseded the laborious process of preparing the rods for nail-making then practised in
He had little or no money in his pocket, but contrived to get to
A man of such purpose could not but succeed. Arrived amongst his surprised friends, he now completed his arrangements, and the results were entirely successful. By his skill and his industry he soon laid the foundations of a large fortune, at the same time that he restored the business of an extensive district. He himself continued, during his life, to carry on his trade, aiding and encouraging all works of benevolence in his neighbourhood. He founded and endowed a school at Stourbridge; and his son Thomas (a great benefactor of Kidderminster), who was High Sheriff of Worcestershire in the time of "The Rump," founded and endowed an hospital, still in existence, for the free education of children at Old Swinford. All the early Foleys were Puritans. Richard Baxter seems to have been on familiar and intimate terms with various members of the family, and makes frequent mention of them in his 'Life and Times.' Thomas Foley, when appointed high sheriff of the county, requested Baxter to preach the customary sermon before him; and Baxter in his 'Life' speaks of him as "of so just and blameless dealing, that all men he ever had to do with magnified his great integrity and honesty, which were questioned by none." The family was ennobled in the reign of Charles the Second.
the usual inertia of official minds; and Charles II. Eventually placed at his disposal the "Rose Algier," a ship of eighteen guns and ninety-five men, appointing him to the chief command.
This man proved faithful, and at once told the captain of his danger. Summoning about him those whom he knew to be loyal, Phipps had the ship's guns loaded which commanded the shore, and ordered the bridge communicating with the vessel to be drawn up. When the mutineers made their appearance, the captain hailed them, and told the men he would fire upon them if they approached the stores (still on land), - when they drew back; on which Phipps had the stores reshipped under cover of his guns. The mutineers, fearful of being left upon the barren island, threw down their arms and implored to be permitted to return to their duty. The request was granted, and suitable precautions were taken against future mischief. Phipps, however, took the first opportunity of landing the mutinous part of the crew, and engaging other men in their places; but, by the time that he could again proceed actively with his explorations, he found it absolutely necessary to proceed to England for the purpose of repairing the ship. He had now, however, gained more precise information as to the spot where the Spanish treasure ship had sunk; and, though as yet baffled, he was more confident than ever of the eventual success of his enterprise.
He also engaged Indian divers, whose feats of diving for pearls, and in submarine operations, were very remarkable. The tender and boat having been taken to the reef, the men were set to work, the diving bell was sunk, and the various modes of dragging the bottom of the sea were employed continuously for many weeks, but without any prospect of success. Phipps, however, held on valiantly, hoping almost against hope. At length, one day, a sailor, looking over the boat's side down into the clear water, observed a curious sea-plant growing in what appeared to be a crevice of the rock; and he called upon an Indian diver to go down and fetch it for him. On the red man coming up with the weed, he reported that a number of ships guns were lying in the same place. The intelligence was at first received with incredulity, but on further investigation it proved to be correct. Search was made, and presently a diver came up with a solid bar of silver in his arms. When Phipps was shown it, he exclaimed, "Thanks be to God! we are all made men." Diving bell and divers now went to work with a will, and in a few days, treasure was brought up to the value of about 300,000 pounds, with which Phipps set sail for
Whilst there he contrived to support himself unassisted by his father, carrying on a sort of small pedler's trade with "a little stock of merchandise." Returning to
Associating with men of science, the project of forming a Society for its prosecution was discussed, and the first meetings of the infant Royal Society were held at his lodgings. At
His sentiments on pauperism are characteristic: "As for legacies for the poor," said he, "I am at a stand; as for beggars by trade and election, I give them nothing; as for impotents by the hand of God, the public ought to maintain them; as for those who have been bred to no calling nor estate, they should be put upon their kindred;" . . . "wherefore I am contented that I have assisted all my poor relations, and put many into a way of getting their own bread; have laboured in public works; and by inventions have sought out real objects of charity; and I do hereby conjure all who partake of my estate, from time to time, to do the same at their peril. Nevertheless to answer custom, and to take the surer side, I give 20L. to the most wanting of the parish wherein I die." He was interred in the fine old Norman church of Romsey - the town wherein he was born a poor man's son - and on the south side of the choir is still to be seen a plain slab, with the inscription, cut by an illiterate workman, "Here Layes Sir William Petty."
concluding words of the short address which he delivered on presenting this valuable gift are worthy of being quoted and remembered:- "As the sun has shone brightly on me through life, it would be ungrateful in me not to employ a portion of the fortune I possess in promoting the welfare of those amongst whom I live, and by whose industry I have been aided in its organisation."
he copied out three folio volumes from a manuscript collection of precedents. Long after, when Lord Chancellor, passing down Cursitor Lane one day, he said to his secretary, "Here was my first perch: many a time do I recollect coming down this street with sixpence in my hand to buy sprats for supper." When at length called to the bar, he waited long for employment. His first year's earnings amounted to only nine shillings.
Writing to his father, he said, "Everybody says to me, 'You are certain of success in the end - only persevere;' and though I don't well understand how this is to happen, I try to believe it as much as I can, and I shall not fail to do everything in my power." At twenty-eight he was called to the bar, and had every step in life yet to make. His means were straitened, and he lived upon the contributions of his friends. For years he studied and waited.
Still no business came. He stinted himself in recreation, in clothes, and even in the necessaries of life; struggling on indefatigably through all. Writing home, he "confessed that he hardly knew how he should be able to struggle on till he had fair time and opportunity to establish himself." After three years' waiting, still without success, he wrote to his friends that rather than be a burden upon them longer, he was willing to give the matter up and return to Cambridge, "where he was sure of support and some profit." The friends at home sent him another small remittance, and he persevered. Business gradually came in. Acquitting himself creditably in small matters, he was at length entrusted with cases of greater importance. He was a man who never missed an opportunity, nor allowed a legitimate chance of improvement to escape him. His unflinching industry soon began to tell upon his fortunes; a few more years and he was not only enabled to do without assistance from home, but he was in a position to pay back with interest the debts which he had incurred. The clouds had dispersed, and the after career of Henry Bickersteth was one of honour, of emolument, and of distinguished fame.
application and industry.