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night, by staying my steps just as I was wandering off
. I will try to love and seek the good more and
more. “God will help you, John,” I said with a grateful heart; “keep close to Him."
Then we walked silently home again. From that time John gave us no trouble nor anxiety. He learned to distinguish the real difference between manliness and “namby-pambyism ;” and he eventually became a true-hearted Christian man—eager to uphold the honour of his country, and earnest in endeavouring to promote everything affecting her best interests. did my heart good to see my son become truly worthy of the hunourable title of " a true Briton.” From “A True Briton," one of the Household Tracts.
CLAXTON.-DR. LEE. Exemplary -- serving for an example Plato, Homer, Xenophon, Sophocles (Lat. cxemplum, an example).
Greek writers. Obsolete-old fashioned, out of date. Pentateuch-the five books of Moses, Enthusiastic - ardent, zealous.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, NumDiscomfiture-defeat.
bers, Deuteronomy. Competency-sufficiency.
Lingual-pertaining to languages. “Beating to windward”-sailing against Lore-learning. wind.
Antiquity-old time (Lat. antiquus, Rudiments-beginning, elements.
old). Lexicon-a dictionary (Greek).
WHEN I was a young man, which is now more than a quarter of a century ago, it was my good fortune to move much among "working-men," and I cannot help saying that I have seen in their society as much kindness of heart, generosity, and honourable conduct, and also as much modesty and as little vice as in any society into which at any time of my life I have been thrown. Many, too, were the instances I met with of the most exemplary industry and perseverance, which, although it did not result in making them great public characters,
yet did make them great men in every sense of the word, and also great examples for us to follow. One of these I shall mention : his name was, and is, for I believe he is still alive, Timothy Claxton, and a worthier fellow never existed ;—upright, straightforward, noble, and whole-hearted, a fine specimen of one of nature's own gentlemen. His father was a day-labourer, and all his family poor and uneducated. He went for a short time to a charity school to learn reading, to make
pot-hooks and hangers;” that was the whole extent of his education. The earliest book which he had learned to read was,
Franklin's Way to Wealth ;” and he was particularly struck with some of the old proverbs therein contained, such as, “ There are no gains without pains;" “ Diligence is the mother of good luck;" “God gives all things to industry;" “He that would thrive must rise at five;" and "All that glitters is not gold.” These were his direction posts through life, a sort of pocket monitors, as he called them, which, with his Bible, he always had close at hand. Well, his father, not knowing what to do with him, hired him to a farmer to keep sheep, and while in that employment, in the bright star-light night, as he says, being alone on the sheep-walk, he saw the bright stars over his head, and these set him a wondering and thinking, and gave him the first desire to know something. He soon found he was not made for sheep-tending nor stargazing, but for action, and so after a short time we found him working at a smithy. “The first thing thật astonished me," he said, “almost as much as the view of the stars on the sheep-walk, after I had been a few weeks, with my shirt sleeves tucked up, banging away with the large hammer on the anvil, was the development of the muscles of my arms, and the enormous strength I found without knowing it;" and he said to himself, “if working with the arms produces such effects on the body, why will not working with the brains do the same for the mind ?" so be, from that moment, determined to work both with arms and brains.
And he did work. His wages were at the time of his boyhood only three shillings a week besides his board, out of which he had to pay for his clothes and his pleasure spendings. He soon found out that he could not do without clothes, but that he could do without pleasuring; and so he spent his pleasure money in books, and especially did he haunt the old bookstalls for obsolete treasures of mechanics, mensuration, and artificers' work, and taught himself much ; amongst other things he taught himself
, and which was of the greatest use to him, was the art of mechanical drawing;
Like all enthusiastic lads, Claxton thought he could do something to astonish the world; and he constructed a weight clock, and a water clock, and a small windmill, which he ground coffee in; and what did him no little service in making himself known, although he did it for no such purpose, was the construction of a weathercock roundabout, consisting of a number of ships sailing round a circle, by the motion communicated by the wind. This he fitted on to the top of the gable of his workshop, and everybody stopped to look at it, and asked who was the inventor. Timothy found the more he worked the more he liked it, and the more he knew, the more he wanted to know; and so he worked and thought; and he found, too, that the less pleasure the more profit; and he turned even his holidays into account, and made use of them to perfect some new invention or contrivance; and so on he went till the end of his apprenticeship, and then, with ten pounds in his pocket, and his master's good wishes, he started for London.
When Timothy came to London there was not the same advantages for working-men as there are now; no coffee shops, no penny publications, no libraries, museums, or reading-rooms to go to; nothing but the public-house. He tried to get into a philosophical
society, but he was rejected because he was a mechanic. What did Claxton do? Why he immediately thought of having a philosophical society of his own, just as Lord Nelson, upon not finding his gallant conduct mentioned in the Gazette, said he would have a gazette of his own, and a noble gazette he had; and a noble society was Claxton instrumental in founding. He talked with his shopmates, and then he wrote a circular
- this was in 1817—which he distributed among working-men in his own district, and in a few weeks the first “ Mechanical Institution” was founded. The meetings were held in Claxton's own house, in Little Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, and this was the first scientific society founded in London exclusively for working-men, and led to the formation of the London Mechanics' Institution.
It would be a long story to follow the hard-working career of Claxton for some time after this; how he gradually increased in mechanical knowledge, how he contended with sickness and poverty, how he was often beaten down on his knees, and got up and fought all the braver for a momentary discomfiture; how he lectured to his brother-workmen, how he told them all he knew, and excited them to industry and duty. The history of his doings would make a most interesting volume. Well, he went on gradually rising step by step, and getting firmer at every step, till becoming more and more known for his skill and honesty, and for the full dependence to be placed on him, he was in the year 1820, when only thirty years of age, engaged by the emperor Alexander of Russia to put up gas works in St. Petersburgh.
Having “finished off” the Emperor, as he expressed it, and thrown a light all over St. Petersburgh, putting at the same time "money in his purse,” he went off to America. On his voyage, he studied practical mathematics, and constructed tables to calculate the strain of timbers, weights of columns of water, the resistance of arches, and the like. When he reached America, he
set to work, got into engineering employment, and in his intervals of leisure, founded several Mechanics' Institutions in Boston and other places; and at the end of another ten years he returned to this country with a moderate competency and a character for industry, straightforwardness, and perseverance, which put him upon a level with even such men as Watt, Stephenson, Arkwright, and Peel.
Here is an instance of a man which every mechanic might follow. He lays claim to no superior genius or faculty of invention, or even to the making of a lucky hit; all is plain beating to windward on the ocean of life, through the rocks and the breakers, and coming at last to an open haven of success, in which there is room for as many as will take the trouble to navigate their craft with the same skill, courage, and determination.
I will now shew what industry and perseverance can accomplish under the most disadvantageous circumstances in the world of learning," and look briefly at the career of the Rev. Samuel Lee, late Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge. He received the merest rudiments of education at a village school, and went out to learn carpentering at twelve years of age. He was fond of work, but fonder of study, which was work of another kind, and for which his instinct told him his brain was by nature intended. His wages were six shillings a-week when he was sixteen years of age, and out of this he found himself food, and had to pay for his washing when he did not do it himself, which I have heard he very often did. His food was of the simplest kind, and his drink, water. To go upon short commons for a month to get a Greek lexicon; to put up with a cold potato for supper so that he might revel in all the luxuries of Sallust, Cicero, or Virgil, was delightful; and so he went on through privation upon privation, from victory to victory, till at last, he shook hands with Plato and Homer, Xenophon and Sophocles, and rose from them by dint of harder privation, closer