Hypertext Meanings and Commentaries from the Encyclopedia of the Self
by Mark Zimmerman
pupils who come from it to our veterinary school at Paris DO NOR STRIKE HARD UPON THE ANVIL; they want energy; and you will not get a satisfactory return on any capital you may invest there." A fine and just appreciation of character, indicating the thoughtful observer; and strikingly illustrative of the fact that it is the energy of the individual men that gives strength to a State, and confers a value even upon the very soil which they cultivate. As the French proverb has it: "Tant vaut l'homme, tant vaut sa
With a strong soul, and a noble aim, one can do what one wills, morally speaking." Hugh Miller said the only school in which he was properly taught was "that world-wide school in which toil and hardship are the severe but noble teachers." He who allows his application to falter, or shirks his work on frivolous pretexts, is on the sure road to ultimate failure. Let any task be undertaken as a thing not possible to be evaded, and it will soon come to be performed with alacrity and cheerfulness. Charles IX. of
the minister of man's highest well-being.
Imbecile rulers and the nations they governed went down before him in succession. He was told that the Alps stood in the way of his armies - "There shall be no
Napier thought there was some collusion between the juggler and his retainer. To divide by a sweep of the sword on a man's hand so small an object without touching the flesh he believed to be impossible, though a similar incident is related by Scott in his romance of the 'Talisman.' To determine the point, the General offered his own hand for the experiment, and he stretched out his right arm. The juggler looked attentively at the hand, and said he would not make the trial. "I thought I would find you out!" exclaimed Napier. "But stop," added the other, "let me see your left hand." The left hand was submitted, and the man then said firmly, "If you will hold your arm steady I will perform the feat."
"But why the left hand and not the right?" "Because the right hand is hollow in the centre, and there is a risk of cutting off the thumb; the left is high, and the danger will be less." Napier was startled. "I got frightened," he said; "I saw it was an actual feat of delicate swordsmanship, and if I had not abused the man as I did before my staff, and challenged him to the trial, I honestly acknowledge I would have retired from the encounter. However, I put the lime on my hand, and held out my arm steadily. The juggler balanced himself, and, with a swift stroke cut the lime in two pieces. I felt the edge of the sword on my hand as if a cold thread had been drawn across it. So much (he added) for the brave swordsmen of
Although English officialism may often drift stupidly into gigantic blunders, the men of the nation generally contrive to work their way out of them with a heroism almost approaching the sublime. In May, 1857, when the revolt burst upon
own sole exertions, from every sore strait in life."
Common soldiers who had been inured to a life of hardship, and young officers who had been nursed in luxurious homes, alike proved their manhood, and emerged from that terrible trial with equal honour. The native strength and soundness of the English race, and of manly English training and discipline, were never more powerfully exhibited; and it was there emphatically proved that the Men of England are, after all, its greatest products. A terrible price was paid for this great chapter in our history, but if those who survive, and those who come after, profit by the lesson and example, it may not have been purchased at too great a cost.
The most that he could do here was to weep and pray, to smooth the pillow and watch by the sick-bed, sometimes soaking the sleeve of his surplice in water, from which to squeeze out a few drops and baptize the dying. Hoping all things, and fearing nothing, this valiant soldier of the truth was borne onward throughout by faith and energy. "Whatever form of death or torture," said he, "awaits me, I am ready to suffer it ten thousand times for the salvation of a single soul." He battled with hunger, thirst, privations and dangers of all kinds, still pursuing his mission of love, unresting and unwearying. At length, after eleven years' labour, this great good man, while striving to find a way into China, was stricken with fever in the Island of Sanchian, and there received his crown of glory. A hero of nobler mould, more pure, self-denying, and courageous, has probably never trod this earth. Other missionaries have followed Xavier in the same field of work, such as Schwartz, Carey, and Marshman in India; Gutzlaff and Morrison in China; Williams in the South Seas; Campbell, Moffatt and Livingstone in Africa. John Williams, the martyr of Erromanga, was originally apprenticed to a furnishing ironmonger. Though considered a dull boy, he was handy at his trade, in which he acquired so much skill that his master usually entrusted him with any blacksmiths work that required the exercise of more than ordinary care. He was also fond of bell-hanging and other employments which took him away from the shop. A casual sermon which he heard gave his mind a serious bias, and he became a Sunday-school teacher. The cause of missions having been brought under his notice at some of his society's meetings, he determined to devote himself to this work. His services were accepted by the
He even carried on his reading amidst the roar of the factory machinery, so placing the book upon the spinning jenny which he worked that he could catch sentence after sentence as he passed it. In this way the persevering youth acquired much useful knowledge; and as he grew older, the desire possessed him of becoming a missionary to the heathen. With this object he set himself to obtain a medical education, in order the better to be qualified for the work. He accordingly economised his earnings, and saved as much money as enabled him to support himself while attending the Medical and Greek classes, as well as the Divinity Lectures, at Glasgow, for several winters, working as a cotton spinner during the remainder of each year. He thus supported himself, during his college career, entirely by his own earnings as a factory workman, never having received a farthing of help from any other source.
"Looking back now," he honestly says, "at that life of toil, I cannot but feel thankful that it formed such a material part of my early education; and, were it possible, I should like to begin life over again in the same lowly style, and to pass through the same hardy training." At length he finished his medical curriculum, wrote his Latin thesis, passed his examinations, and was admitted a licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons.
brook the idea of merely entering upon the labours of others, but cut out a large sphere of independent work, preparing himself for it by undertaking manual labour in building and other handicraft employment, in addition to teaching, which, he says, "made me generally as much exhausted and unfit for study in the evenings as ever I had been when a cotton-spinner." Whilst labouring amongst the Bechuanas, he dug canals, built houses, cultivated fields, reared cattle, and taught the natives to work as well as worship.
When he first started with a party of them on foot upon a long journey, he overheard their observations upon his appearance and powers - "He is not strong," said they; "he is quite slim, and only appears stout because he puts himself into those bags (trowsers): he will soon knock up." This caused the missionary's
come into general use.
Wherever Sharp could lay hold of any such case, he at once took proceedings to rescue the negro. Thus the wife of one Hylas, an African, was seized, and despatched to Barbadoes; on which Sharp, in the name of Hylas, instituted legal proceedings against the aggressor, obtained a verdict with damages, and Hylas's wife was brought back to England free.
amongst which he ranked personal freedom. Mr. Sharp also laboured, but ineffectually, to restore amity between England and her colonies in America; and when the fratricidal war of the American Revolution was entered on, his sense of integrity was so scrupulous that, resolving not in any way to be concerned in so unnatural a business, he resigned his situation at the Ordnance Office.
And here again determined energy won the day. Of the leaders in the cause, none was more distinguished than Fowell Buxton, who took the position formerly occupied by Wilberforce in the House of Commons. Buxton was a dull, heavy boy, distinguished for his strong self-will, which first exhibited itself in violent, domineering, and headstrong obstinacy. His father died when he was a child; but fortunately he had a wise mother, who trained his will with great care, constraining him to obey, but encouraging the
habit of deciding and acting for himself in matters which might safely be left to him. His mother believed that a strong will, directed upon worthy objects, was a valuable manly quality if properly guided, and she acted accordingly. When others about her commented on the boy's self-will, she would merely say, "Never mind - he is self-willed now - you will see it will turn out well in the end." Fowell learnt very little at school, and was regarded as a dunce and an idler. He got other boys to do his exercises for him, while he romped and scrambled about. He returned home at fifteen, a great, growing, awkward lad, fond only of boating, shooting, riding, and field sports, - spending his time principally with the gamekeeper, a man possessed of a good heart, - an intelligent observer of life and nature, though he could neither read nor write. Buxton had excellent raw material in him, but he wanted culture, training, and development. At this juncture of his life, when his habits were being formed for good or evil, he was happily thrown into the society of the Gurney family, distinguished for their fine social qualities not less than for their intellectual culture and public-spirited philanthropy. This intercourse with
the Gurneys, he used afterwards to say, gave the colouring to his life. They encouraged his efforts at self-culture; and when he went to the University of Dublin and gained high honours there, the animating passion in his mind, he said, "was to carry back to them
the prizes which they prompted and enabled me to win." He married one of the daughters of the family, and started in life, commencing as a clerk to his uncles Hanbury, the
he devoted himself was the complete emancipation of the slaves in the British colonies. He himself used to attribute the interest which he early felt in this question to the influence of Priscilla Gurney, one of the Earlham family, - a woman of a fine intellect
and warm heart, abounding in illustrious virtues. When on her deathbed, in 1821, she repeatedly sent for Buxton, and urged him "to make the cause of the slaves the great object of his life."