Slike strani

evening he found still more time for mental improvement, extending his studies often far into the night. It was his opinion that people generally consume more time than is necessary in sleep, and one of his maxims, penned in ripe. manhood, was founded on that opinion: "The sleeping fox catches no poultry."

It is not surprising that a boy who subjected himself to such discipline for a series of years should write some of the best maxims upon this subject when he became a man. The following are some of them :—

"There are no gains without pains; then help, hands, for I have no lands."

[ocr errors]

Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them." "Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day."

"Leisure is time for doing something useful."

"A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things."

[ocr errors]

'Be ashamed to catch yourself idle."

"Handle your tools without mittens; remember, a cat in gloves catches no mice."

"There is much to be done, and perhaps you are weakhanded; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects, for constant dropping wears away stones, and by diligence and patience the mouse ate into the cable."

We have spoken of what the printer-boy accomplished as remarkable. And yet it is not remarkable when we consider the work some men have done in leisure hours alone. Just here is one of the most important lessons to be learned from the example and life of Benjamin Franklin. A similar example is before us in New England; that of Charles G. Frost, of Brattleboro, Vermont, who was a shoemaker by trade. He died a few years since. He wrote of his own life :

"When I went to my trade, at fourteen years of age, I formed a resolution, which I have kept till now-extraordinary preventives only excepted—that I would faithfully

devote one hour each day to study, in some useful branch of knowledge."

Here was the secret of his success-one hour a day. Almost any boy can have that. He was forty-five when he wrote the above, a married man, with three children, still devoting one hour a day, at least, to study, and still at work at his trade. He had made such attainments in mathematical science, at forty-five, it was claimed for him that not more than ten mathematicians could be found in the United States in advance of him. He wrote further of himself :

"The first book which fell into my hands was Hutton's Mathematics, an English work of great celebrity, a complete mathematical course, which I then commenced, namely, at fourteen. I finished it at nineteen without an instructor. I then took up those studies to which I could apply my knowledge of mathematics, as mechanics and mathematical astronomy. I think I can say that I possess, and have successfully studied, all the most approved English and American works on these subjects."

After this he commenced natural philosophy and physical astronomy; then chemistry, geology, and mineralogy, collecting and arranging a cabinet. Mr. Frost continues :

"Next, natural philosophy engaged my attention, which I followed up with close observation, gleaning my information from a great many sources. The works that treat of them at large are rare and expensive. But I have a considerable knowledge of geology, ornithology, entomology, and conchology."

Not only this; he added to his store of knowledge the science of botany, and made himself master of it. He made extensive surveys in his own state, of the trees, shrubs, herbs, ferns, mosses, lichens, and fungi. He had the third best collection of ferns in the United States. He also directed his attention to meteorology, and devoted much of his time to acquire a knowledge of the law of

storms, and the movements of the erratic and extraordinary bodies in the air and heavens. He took up the study of Latin, and pursued it until he could read it fluently. He read all the standard poets, and had copies of their works in his library. Also, he became proficient in history, while his miscellaneous reading was very extensive. Of his books he wrote:

"I have a library which I divide into three departmentsscientific, religious, literary-comprising the standard works published in this country, containing five or six hundred volumes. I have purchased these books from time to time with money saved for the purpose by some small selfdenials."

Benjamin Franklin's record, on the whole, may surpass Both of them show, however, what the persistent and systematic improvement of spare moments will accomplish. If a girl or boy can command one hour a day for reading, twenty pages could be read thoughtfully in that time, or one hundred and forty pages in a week. In a single year more than seven thousand pages, which is equal to eighteen large duodecimo volumes! In twenty years, one hundred and fifty thousand pages, or three hundred and sixty-five volumes of the size named above! Divide this amount of reading among history, philosophy, chemistry, biography, and general literature, the reader will be well versed in these several departments of knowledge.

The old adage is, "Time is money;" but the leisure time of Franklin was worth vastly more than money, as it is to every youth; for it was culture, usefulness, and character.



BENJAMIN had been in the printing office about three

years when his brother decided to publish a newspaper. It was a doubtful enterprise from the outset, and friends tried to dissuade him from it. But he viewed the matter from his own standpoint, as the Franklins were wont to do, and the paper was started. It was called "THE NEW ENGLAND COURANT," and the first number was issued August 21, 1721. Only three papers in the whole country were published before this. The first one was The Boston News-letter, established April 24, 1704, two years before the birth of Benjamin. It was only a half-sheet of paper, about the size of an eight by twelve-inch pane of glass, "in two pages folio, with two columns on each page." It could not have contained more printed matter than is now compressed into one-third or one-half page of one of the Boston dailies. The other papers were The Boston Gazette, established December 21, 1719; and The American Weekly Mercury, of Philadelphia, December 22, 1719.

There was not a little commotion when James Franklin launched The New England Courant. It was regarded generally as a wild project. It was not thought that three newspapers could live in America. The field was not large` enough. This fact, considered in contrast with the supply of papers and journals now, daily, weekly, and monthly, shows the wonderful growth of the country. At that time, there was not a daily paper in the land; now, there are over one thousand,-eight of them in the city of Boston,

having a daily circulation of from three to four hundred thousand. The papers and magazines of the United States, of all descriptions, reach the surprising aggregate of nearly twenty thousand, and their circulation is almost fabulous. One hundred thousand, and even two hundred thousand, daily, is claimed for some journals. Some weekly issues reach three hundred thousand, and even four and five hundred thousand. Bind the daily issues of Boston into volumes, containing one hundred sheets each, and we have an enormous library of daily newspapers, numbering about ONE MILLION VOLUMES, the annual production of the Boston daily press now! And this is the aggregate of only the eight dailies, while Boston has nearly two hundred papers and periodicals of all sorts, and the State of Massachusetts nearly four hundred !

If the eight Boston dailies measure one yard each in width, when opened, on the average, and they are laid end to end, we have more than three hundred thousand yards of newspapers laid each day, which is equal to one hundred and seventy miles daily, over one thousand miles in a week, and FIFTY-THREE THOUSAND AND FORTY in a year! More than enough papers to reach twice around the earth!

Or, suppose we weigh these papers: If ten of them weigh a single pound, then each day's issue weighs thirty thousand pounds, each week's issue one hundred and eighty thousand, the aggregate of the year amounting to NINE MILLION POUNDS! Load this yearly production upon waggons, one ton on each, and we have a procession of FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED waggons, that reaches, allowing one rod to a team, over FOURTEEN MILES!

And the New England Courant third in the procession ! Benjamin was much given to prophesying, but no prophecy from his lips ever covered such a growth as this. He was in favour of starting the paper, but he could not have had the faintest conception of what was going to follow.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »