Samuel glimlag

Samuel glimlag

Samuel Smiles, die oudste van elf kinders, is gebore op 23 Desember 1812. Samuel se ouers het 'n klein winkel in Haddington in Skotland bedryf. Nadat hy die plaaslike skool bygewoon het, het hy op veertien dae vertrek en as 'n vakleerling by Dr. Robert Lewins aangesluit.

Nadat hy met Dr. Lewins goeie vordering gemaak het, het Smiles in 1829 na die Universiteit van Edinburgh gegaan om medies te studeer. Terwyl hy in Edinburgh was, het Smiles betrokke geraak by die veldtog vir parlementêre hervorming. Gedurende hierdie tydperk het hy verskeie artikels oor die onderwerp deur die progressiewe Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle gepubliseer.

Smiles studeer in 1832 en kry werk as dokter in Haddington. Smiles het steeds baie belang gestel in die politiek en het 'n sterk voorstander geword van Joseph Hume, die Skotse radikale politikus van Montrose. Hume het, net soos Smiles, as doktor aan die Universiteit van Edinburgh opgelei.

In 1837 begin Samuel Smiles artikels lewer oor parlementêre hervorming vir die Leeds Times. Die volgende jaar is hy uitgenooi om die koerant se redakteur te word. Smiles het besluit om sy loopbaan as dokter te laat vaar en om 'n voltydse werker te word vir die oorsaak van politieke verandering. In die koerant het Smiles sy sterk afkeer van die aristokrasie uitgespreek en pogings aangewend om werkers en middelklashervormers te verenig. Smiles het ook sy koerant in die veldtog gebruik ten gunste van fabriekswetgewing.

In Mei 1840 word Smiles sekretaris van die Leeds Parlementêre Hervormingsvereniging, 'n organisasie wat geglo het in stemreg, die geheime stemming, gelyke verteenwoordiging, kort parlemente en die afskaffing van die kwalifikasie van eiendom vir parlementêre kandidate.

In die 1840's het Smiles ontnugter geraak met Chartisme. Alhoewel Smiles steeds die ses punte van die Handves ondersteun, was hy bekommerd oor die groeiende invloed van Feargus O'Connor, George Julian Harney en die ander advokate van Physical Force. Smiles het nou aangevoer dat "blote politieke hervorming nie die veelvoudige euwels wat die samelewing nou teister, sal genees nie." Smiles beklemtoon die belangrikheid van 'individuele hervorming' en bevorder die idee van 'selfhulp'.

Samuel Smiles begin nou baie belangstel in die idees van Robert Owen. Hy het artikels bygedra tot Owen se tydskrif, The Union. Smiles het ook die koöperatiewe beweging in Leeds gehelp. Dit sluit die Leeds Mutual Society en die Leeds Redemption Society in.

In 1845 verlaat Samuel Smiles die Leeds Times en word sekretaris van die Leeds- en Thirsk -spoorweg. Na nege jaar by die Leeds- en Thirsk-spoorweg het hy 'n soortgelyke pos as die Suidoos-Spoorlyn aangeneem.

In die 1850's het Samuel Smiles sy belangstelling in parlementêre hervorming heeltemal laat vaar. Smiles het nou aangevoer dat selfhulp die beste weg na sukses bied. Sy boek Selfhelp, wat gepraat het oor nywerheid, spaarsaamheid en selfverbetering, is in 1859 gepubliseer. Smiles het ook 'n reeks biografieë geskryf oor mans wat sukses behaal het deur harde werk. Dit het ingesluit George Stephenson (1875), Die lewe van die ingenieurs (1861) en Josiah Wedgwood (1894).

Samuel Smiles is op 16 April 1904 oorlede.

1832 Hervormingswet: Die parlement vergader op 3 Februarie 1831 en op 1 Maart bring lord John Russell sy maatreël oor parlementêre hervorming voor. Die hele land is opgewonde oor hierdie voorstel. Oordenke van versoekskrifte is uit alle oorde ingestuur; politieke vakbonde gestig is. 'N Monstervergadering is gehou in die King's Park, Edinburgh, waar ek as toeskouer teenwoordig was, toe entoesiastiese besluite eenparig geneem is. Aan die einde van die universiteitsklasse aan die einde van April 1831 keer ek terug na Haddington, waar ek dieselfde opgewondenheid heers oor die wetsontwerp.

Leeds Times: In 1838 ontvang ek 'n brief wat 'n belangrike invloed op my toekomstige loopbaan het. Dit was van mnr Bingley, verslaggewer van die Leeds Times, en is geskryf namens mnr. Hobson, die eienaar van die koerant. Die brief was tot die gevolg: dat die welvaart van die Leeds Times het sedert die dood van Robert Nicoll (die vorige redakteur) nie voortgegaan nie; dat die sirkulasie afgeneem het, deels deur die kompetisie van die Chartist -orrel, die Northern Star, onder leiding van Feargus O'Connor; en hoewel Charles Hooton (huidige redakteur) 'n bekwame man was, het hy op die een of ander manier nie vryelik by die politieke bewegings van die buurt ingegaan nie, en dat hy kortweg sou vertrek en dat meneer Hobson hom wou vervang saam met 'n ander Skot.

Chartisme: ek word eresekretaris van die Leeds Parlementêre Hervormingsvereniging. Ons het gevoel dat ons deur die verlenging van die franchise nuwe bloed in die parlement moes toedien. Die stemreg van tien pond wat deur die hervormingswetsontwerp ingevoer is, het slegs die middelklasse bevoordeel. Waarom nie die stemreg uitbrei na die vlytige mense - die werkende mense nie? Daar is byvoorbeeld aangetoon dat vyf-en-twintig klein stadsdele, van geen belang nie, vyftig lede na die parlement gestuur het, terwyl Leeds, met 20 000 meer inwoners as al hierdie stadsdele saam, slegs twee gestuur het.

Physical Force Chartism: Ek het op 17 September 1838 na die openbare vergadering in New Palace Yard gegaan. Die bedoeling was om 'n petisie in te dien ten gunste van die People's Charter. Die hoofspreker was Feargus O'Connor, wat hard en suidwaarts was. Richardson, sy dissipel het ook gepraat. Die verrigtinge is bederf deur die fisieke krag van sommige van die sprekers. Ek het die Londense skare nie baie bewonder nie. Dit het gelyk asof hulle plakkers en leeglêers was, nie werkende manne nie.

In 1839 het die werkende mense baie gely. Teen die einde van die jaar was ten minste 10 000 mense werkloos in die stad Leeds. Hoewel die mense gekla het, het hulle nie oproerig geraak nie. Dit was elders anders. Daar was onluste in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle en ander plekke. In Newport, in Wallis, het 'n opstand van die Chartist plaasgevind, wat geëindig het in die gevangenskap van John Frost en 'n aantal oproeriges. By Bradford het mans openlik met snoeke en vuurwapens geoefen. Sestien van hulle is deur die polisie aangekeer en is tot verskeie gevangenisstraf gevonnis. Feargus O'Connor is self tot agtien maande gevangenisstraf gevonnis omdat hy tot opstand en plundering in die Northern Star.

Joseph Hume: Vanaf die tyd dat hy in die parlement sit, tot in 1841, toe hy hom in die kiesafdeling Leeds aanbied, onderskei Joseph Hume hom deur sy onvermoeibare bedryf. Daar is skaars 'n bladsy in die parlementêre register wat nie 'n rekord bevat van sy woorde en doen nie. In die finansies, die inkomste, die aksyns, die openbare rekeninge, die weermag en die vloot, die verteenwoordiging van die mense, die verwydering van godsdienstige gestremdhede, was hy altyd aan die werk. Hy was die mees gereelde bywoner, die mees konsekwente kieser, die moeisaamste ondersoeker, die mees aktiewe en bruikbare lid, wat ooit in die parlement gesit het.

Koöperatiewe beweging: Leeds het, net soos ander groot dorpe, 'n sosialistiese saal gehad. Dit is daarna deur die Mechanics Institute geneem. Maar toe ek dit die eerste keer weet, is die plek gebruik vir sosialistiese vergaderings en lesings. Ek het af en toe daarheen gegaan om te sien wat gedoen is en gesê het. Die liggaam het predikers of dosente gehad wat slim en goed kon praat. Tome Paine was die skrywer wat die meeste aangehaal is. Maar ongelukkig het hulle baie ateïsme vermeng met hul sienings oor samewerking. Dit was eers toe ds. Charles Kingsley, Frederick Denison Maurice en Edward Larken, het die praktyk van Christelik-sosialisme ontwikkel dat die mede-operateurs uit hierdie skrikwekkende put gesleep is.

Robert Owen was die beginner van die beweging. Hy was van mening dat die wortel van al die ellende van die samelewing in die mededingende stelsel gevind is. Die metafisika van die sosialisme het bestaan ​​uit die maksimum wat die karakter vorm, nie deur die individu nie; en dat die samelewing 'omstandighede' so kan reël dat dit 'n karakter skep wat dit wil.

Daar was pogings tot samewerking suksesvol. Sommige van die lede het 'n Operative Land and Building Society begin, ander 'n Redemption Society. Hulle het grond gekoop, wonings opgerig, meulens gebou, en deur hul middele te klou, het hulle begin om mielies te vervaardig en te maal. Sulke verenigings is onder die bepalings van die Wet op Vriendelike Verenigings gehou, en baie van hulle was baie suksesvol.

Die hertog van Bridgewater, meer as enige ander alleenstaande man, het bygedra tot die fondament van die welvaart van Manchester en Liverpool. Die sny van die kanaal van Worsley na Manchester het die stad die onmiddellike voordeel van 'n goedkoop en volop steenkoolvoorraad gegee; en toe Watt se stoommotor die groot dryfkrag in vervaardigingswinkels word, het hierdie aanbod absoluut noodsaaklik geword vir die bestaan ​​daarvan as 'n vervaardigingsdorp.


Samuel Smiles - Geskiedenis

Die literêre man oefen baie mag in die wêreld uit. Hy help inderdaad om die opinies van ander mans te vorm, hy maak 'n openbare mening. Alle ander magte het in die moderne tyd swakker geword, terwyl dit van dag tot dag sterker geword het. Konings word vervang deur boeke, priesters deur tydskrifte en diplomate deur koerante. Miskien het boekmanne en redakteurs nou meer intellektuele mag as al die ander handwerk saam. & Quot


"Goeie reëls kan baie doen, maar goeie modelle is baie meer, want in laasgenoemde het ons instruksies in aksie. wysheid by die werk."

S AMUEL S MILES is vandag die bekendste as 'n produktiewe skrywer van boeke wat die deugde van selfhulp, karakter en plig prys, en van biografieë wat die prestasies van beroemde siviele en meganiese ingenieurs prys, waaronder Brindley, Smeaton, Rennie, Boulton, Watt, Telford en die Stephensons, maar vreemd genoeg nie Isambard Kingdom Brunel nie.

Sy boeke, veral dié oor selfhulp, was invloedryk in hul tyd, soos blyk uit hul groot gewildheid en vertaling in ander tale en 'n aantal van sy titels bly beskikbaar in moderne herdrukke. Helaas, as 'n biograaf Smiles ly aan 'n onwilligheid om 'n objektiewe kritiese analise van sy onderwerpe te onderneem, en kies slegs materiaal wat dit gunstig stel. Maar met die voorbehoud bied sy boeke, wat baie leesbaar is, 'n interessante en insiggewende perspektief op industrialisasie tydens die Industriële Revolusie en die Victoriaanse era.

& quot. . . . hulle was hoofsaaklik selfopgevoed: Smeaton en Watt was wiskundige instrumentmakers, Telford 'n klipkapper, en Brindley en Rennie millwrights se karakterkrag en geniepsig, wat elkeen in staat stel om sy loopbaan op sy eie manier uit te werk. Daar was baie min vorige oefening om vir hul gids te dien. Toe hulle 'n beroep op die oorspronklike karakter doen en nie 'n ou pad kon vind nie, moes hulle 'n nuwe een maak. Dit het hulle op hul hulpbronne gewerf en hulle gedwing om vindingryk te wees: dit oefen hul kragte en dissiplineer hul vaardighede, en mettertyd het die gewone ontmoeting met probleme hul karakter as mans, sowel as hul genie as ingenieurs, ten volle laat uitkom. & Quot


Glimlag het as dokter opgelei, maar deur gebrek aan werk verruil hy sy skalpel vir die pen (mede -Skot Sir Arthur Conan Doyle het ook gedoen). In sy vroeë lewe het hy hervormende sienings gehad. In 1838 volg hy Robert Nicoll in die pos as redakteur van die Leeds Times, 'n tydskrif waarvoor Nicoll radikale hoofartikels geskryf het waarin die noodsaaklikheid van broodnodige politieke en ekonomiese hervorming aangemoedig word. Op dieselfde manier word Smiles in 1840 sekretaris van die Leeds Parlementêre Hervormingsvereniging, 'n organisasie wat die doelstellings van Chartisme ondersteun (universele stemreg vir alle mans ouer as 21 jaar van dieselfde grootte kiesdistrikte wat met geheime stemming stem, om 'n einde te maak aan die behoefte van LP's om vir die Parlement te kwalifiseer, behalwe deur 'n verkiesingsloon vir LP's en jaarlikse parlemente te wen). Smiles onderskryf egter nie die beleid van "fisiese krag Chartism" wat deur Feargus O'Connor en George Julian Harney voorgehou is nie.

Gedurende die 1850's het Smiles weggegaan van die bevordering van radikale parlementêre hervorming, maar eerder gepleit vir individuele selfverbetering, soos blyk uit die boek waarvoor hy waarskynlik die bekendste is, Self Help. . . .

& quot. . . . Wat ook al vir mans of klasse gedoen word, neem die stimulus en noodsaaklikheid om self te doen en waar mans onderwerp word, tot 'n sekere mate weg oorbegeleiding en oor-regering, die onvermydelike neiging is om hulle relatief hulpeloos te maak. Selfs die beste instellings kan 'n man nie aktief help nie. Die meeste wat hulle kan doen, is om hom vry te laat om homself te ontwikkel en sy individuele toestand te verbeter . . . .& quot


In 1845 het Smiles die redaksie van die Leeds Times om sekretaris van die Leeds- en Thirsk -spoorweg te word, tesame met 'n ontmoeting met George Stephenson (wat hy blykbaar verafgod het), het waarskynlik sy belangstelling aangewakker om die prestasies van ons voorste siviele en meganiese ingenieurs van die era op te teken. Nege jaar later beklee hy die pos as sekretaris van die Suidoos-Spoorweg. Smiles tree in 1866 uit die spoorwegdiens om president van die National Provident Institution te word, 'n pos wat hy beklee het totdat hy in 1871 'n verswakte beroerte gekry het. beroep.

Goeie advies het sy gewig: maar sonder die begeleiding van 'n goeie voorbeeld het dit 'n relatief klein invloed en sal gevind word dat die algemene gesegde van 'Doen soos ek sê, nie soos ek nie' gewoonlik in die werklike ervaring van lewe. Alle mense is min of meer geneig om deur die oog te leer eerder as deur die oor, en wat ook al gesien word, maak 'n baie dieper indruk as enigiets wat slegs gelees of gehoor word. Dit is veral die geval in die vroeë jeug, wanneer die oog die belangrikste inlaat van kennis is. Wat ook al kinders sien, boots hulle onbewustelik na. Hulle lyk ongevoelig soos dié wat daaroor gaan, aangesien insekte die kleur van die blare neem waarop hulle voed. & Quot


Die volgende kontemporêre artikels gee kort opsommings van Smiles se literêre lewe en prestasies.


HARPER SE NUWE MAANDELIKE TYDSKRIF
Vol. 76 (Mei, 1888)

Geneem uit & quot; London as a Literary Center & quot; deur R. R. Bowker.


T HIER is 'n historikus, of biograaf, wat dit moeilik is om te klassifiseer, omdat hy self 'n plek gemaak het. Dr Samuel Smiles, die skrywer van 'Selfhelp' en 'Karakter' en 'Spaarsaamheid' en 'Pligt', is 'n man wat blykbaar beoefen het wat hy verkondig en 'n baie goeie voorbeeld is van die huislike deugde. Sy smid, soos hy sy studeerkamer noem, is in West Kensington, en hier, op vyf-en-sewentig, van watter ouderdom sy wit hare en wit baard verhale vertel, bly hy steeds besig om boeke uit te haal.

Hy het vyftig jaar gelede daarmee begin. Hy is gebore in die stad John Knox, Haddington, en het as 'n chirurg by sy geboorteland begin, en het daar in 1838 'n gesonde boekie oor "Physical Education" gepubliseer. Sy inkomste was nie groot nie, ook nie as gevolg van pille of pen nie. Hy het dit ietwat verbeter deur joernalis en redakteur van die Leeds Times maar hy wou meer belowende geleenthede met sy huwelik kry, maar hy het dit in 1845 gevind in die nuwe werk van die spoorwegorganisasie as sekretaris van 'n plaaslike spoorweg, wat later saamgesmelt is in die Noordoos-stelsel.

Dit was een van die laaste heerlike herfsdae, toe die dowwe asem van die somer nog tussen die bosse en landerye bly hang, asof sy nie meer van die aarde wou weggaan nie, maar sy was bly dat die swartvoël steeds sy melodie in die heinings en die koppie laat val het. , waarvan die blare in pers, rooibruin en bruin getinte is, met net genoeg groen om die perfekte herfstint te gee, so pragtig beeldend, maar onmoontlik om in woorde te skilder. Die beuk neute val van die bome af en kraak onder die voet, en 'n ryk, klam reuk styg uit die verrottende blare langs die pad. & Quot


Spoorwegwerk het sy werksure tot 1866 betrek, toe hy met pensioen uit die diens van die Suidoos-Spoorweg afgetree het, en dit het hom tot sy ware beroep as skrywer gelei. Hy ontmoet George Stephenson en besluit om sy biograaf te word. Terwyl hy gereeld vakansiedae besoek het, het hy die plaaslike kennis van die seun en die man versigtig opgekyk. This Life, in 1857 gedruk deur Murray, was sy inleiding tot roem, vyf uitgawes wat binne 'n jaar verskyn het.

Tydens die vryhandelsroering het hy baie in die West Riding gepraat, en hy het ook 'n gunsteling dosent geword by werktuigkundiges, hierdie lesings wat hy in 'Selfhelp' herwerk het, maar dit is verwerp deur verskeie uitgewers, wat verklaar het dat tydens die oorlog (in die Krim) sou niemand boeke lees nie. Die sukses van die lewe het dit alles verander. Meer as 20 000 eksemplare van 'Selfhelp', wat in 1859 uitgereik is, is in die eerste jaar gevra: 150 000 is deur die Engelse uitgewers verkoop. Dit is in sewentien tale vertaal, waaronder Tsjeggies en Japannees, en in Italië alleen het die verkoop 47 000 eksemplare bereik.

Dit is moeilik om 'n goeie skatting te maak van die invloed van Carlyle op moderne literatuur. Dit was ongetwyfeld baie wonderlik. Sy boeke is hewig aangeval en bespreek, en skaars verdedig. Hy het die geraas self laat spandeer en sy idees gelaat om hul eie weg in die wêreld te maak. Die invloed wat sy geskrifte op ander uitgeoefen het, was van 'n latente soort, byna 'n stille invloed, ondanks die groot klomp waarmee sy werke ontvang is. U vind sy idees gereeld weer deur ander geklee in verskillende vorme, soms onder die aristokratiese en soms onder die demokratiese vorm, maar dit is maklik om die spore van sy gedagtes in die merkwaardigste werke in die moderne Engelse letterkunde te herken. Tennyson is die bekendste lewende Engelse digter wat weet hoeveel van sy eienaardige talent en die leiding daarvan die gevolg van die invloed van Carlyle kan wees? Wie weet hoeveel Disraeli selfs aan Carlyle te danke is aan die eienskappe van sy politieke romanses, maar miskien is hy die laaste om die invloed te erken. Carlyle het, miskien meer as enige ander skrywer, bygedra om 'n blusser op die Byronic -skool te plaas en, danksy die standpunte wat hy oor literatuur en kuns uitgespreek het, Wordsworth, wat nou baie bewonder is, te verhef toe hy vroeër verag was op die ruïnes van die Sataniese skool. & quot


Gedurende sy spoorwegjare was sy opeenvolgende boeke, insluitend die 'Lewe van die ingenieurs' en die verskillende industriële biografieë, die aand van die uur, en hierdie bedryf is voortgesit tot 1871, toe 'n verlamming hom 'n waarskuwing gegee het en hom gedwing het vir drie jaar absolute rus te neem. Hy werk nou net soggens, oefen baie deur te loop en slaap baie deur die nag, veroorsaak deur die lees van romans. Uit konstante en wye leesversameling versamel hy massas materiaal, wat hy geleidelik onder onderwerpe en in hoofstukke sorteer, en sy verleentheid is nou meer ryk aan materiaal as wat die jare hom tyd kan gee om te gebruik.


DIE TYE
18 April 1904.


Ons is jammer om aan te kondig dat die veteraan dr. Samuel Smiles Saterdag om 12:30 in sy huis in Pembroke-tuine, Kensington, oorlede is. Hy het sy 92ste jaar ingeskryf. Die biograaf van die groot industrie -kapteins was self 'n bewonderenswaardige voorbeeld van wat deur die industrie en volharding bereik kan word. Min mense het inderdaad so 'n lang tydperk van harnas geslaag, want hy het meer as 70 jaar van sy lang loopbaan in aktiewe intellektuele en ander werk deurgebring.


Advertensie vir Smiles's "Physical Education", 1837.


Samuel Smiles is op 23 Desember 1812 in Haddington gebore. Die Smileses was 'n afstammeling van 'n ou Kameroener wat tydens die slag by Pentland sy dood teëgekom het deur Charles II se lewensredders. Sommige van sy sterk eienskappe is by sy nageslag behou, maar daar word ook gesê dat die gesin van Samuel Smiles baie te danke het aan die intelligensie, skerpsinnigheid en karakterkrag van hul ma, wat, toe sy 'n weduwee met 11 kinders agtergelaat het, suksesvol gedra het 'n klein onderneming.


Advertensie vir Smiles's History of Ireland, 1844.


Samuel is opgevoed aan die Haddington Grammar School en aan die Universiteit van Edinburgh. Alhoewel hy literêre en artistieke neigings gehad het, het hy besluit om die beroep van medisyne uit te oefen. Hy vestig hom in sy geboortestad en beoefen as 'n mediese dokter met 'n geringe sukses, aangesien hy die jongste van agt dokters was in 'n buitengewoon klein en gesonde bevolking van 3 000 mense. Hy het gevolglik probeer om sy inkomste te verhoog deur les te gee oor praktiese chemie, fisiologie en natuurgeskiedenis. Hy studeer ook musiek en skilderkuns, skryf artikels vir die Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle, en vervaardig sy eerste werk, & quotPhysical Education, & quot, wat hy terloops op eie koste gepubliseer het. Hy het gevoel dat daar geen vooruitsig was om in Haddington te slaag nie, en hy het daaraan gedink om na Australië te emigreer, maar uiteindelik het hy na Holland en Duitsland gegaan en ongeveer 'n jaar lank in die buiteland gebly. Met sy terugkeer, in 1837, word hy redakteur van die Leeds Times opeenvolgend aan sy vriend Robert Nicoll. Sy salaris was slegs 200 per jaar, en hy het dit aangevul deur te skryf, dosente by monteursinstitute, ens. Hy het verder as sekretaris van die Leeds Parlementêre Hervormingsvereniging opgetree en vanaf die begin daarvan aktief deelgeneem aan die agitasie teen koring. Terwyl hy in Leeds 'n 'History of Ireland and the Irish People' geskryf het (1844), doseer hy by die Manchester Atheneum 'West -Riding on the Corn Law' en hou 'n volwasse klas aan die Zion School, Holbeck.


Leeds Parlementêre Hervormingsvereniging, 1840.


Dr Smiles trou in 1845, en omdat sy redaksionele salaris nie 'n vrou sowel as homself kon onderhou nie, het hy sy redakteurskap prysgegee en die pos van assistent -sekretaris by die Leeds- en Thirsk -spoorweg aanvaar. Hierdie aanstelling bly hy tot 1854, toe hy sekretaris van die Suidoos-Spoorweg word en uiteindelik in 1866 uit die spoorwegdiens tree. Tydens sy verbintenis met hierdie spoorlyne het Dr Smiles nie net 'n bevredigende inkomste geniet nie, maar het hy ook geleenthede gehad om bestudeer die karakters van die merkwaardige mans wie se herinneringe hy daarna geskryf het. Dit is egter geen geringe eerbetoon aan sy energie om te sê dat al die werke wat hy tussen 1844 en 1866 vervaardig het, in die aande geskryf is, omdat sy pos as sekretaris van 'n groot spoorwegonderneming sy besigheidsure ten volle beset het. Dit was tydens sy verblyf in Leeds dat hy in aanraking gekom het met George Stephenson en die idee gekry het om sy & quotLife te skryf. sedertdien in aanvraag. "Self-Help", die suksesvolste boek van Dr Smiles, is in 1859 gepubliseer. Dit was die gevolg van talle lesings oor onderwerpe wat verband hou met die hoofkwessie. 'N Paar baie jong mans in Leeds, wat die aand ontmoet het vir selfopvoeding, het Smiles en quotto gevra om 'n bietjie met hulle te gesels, en alhoewel dit regtig voorheen geskryf is, was dit eers nadat die sukses van Stephenson se & quotLife & quot & quotSelf-Help & quot verskyn het. Die feit is dat die uitgewers dit twee keer geweier het voordat die Stephenson -bundel hulle vertroue gegee het. Van "Self-Help" is 20 000 eksemplare gedurende die eerste jaar verkoop, en teen 1889 het die verkope 150 000 eksemplare bereik, terwyl die boek in 17 tale vertaal is. Dit het hulde gebring uit alle klasse en toestande van mans, waaronder die Italiaanse staatsman Signor Menabrea en die Japannese professor Nakamura.

In 1861 vervaardig Smiles sy & quotWorkmen's Earnings, Strikes, and Savings & quot en twee jaar later verskyn sy belangrike werk, in drie volumes, "Life of the Engineers, with a Account of their Principal Works." Hy was nou 'n onvermoeide outeur en samesteller, en die die volgende boeke het mekaar vinnig opgevolg: 'Industriële biografie', 'n beskrywing van ysterwerkers en werktuigwerkers, 1863 'James Brindley and the Early Engineers', '1864' Lewe van Bolton en Watt, 'tesame met 'n geskiedenis van die stoommasjien, 1865 en & quotLife of Thomas Telford, & quot 1867. Toe verander hy vir 'n tyd in 'n ander trant, en skryf as gevolg van spesiale ondersoek in 1867 "The Huguenots their Settlements, Churches, and Industries in England and Ireland." 'n paar jaar later opgevolg deur & quotThe Hugenote in Frankryk en die Herroeping van die Edik van Nantes, met 'n besoek aan die land van die Vaudois. & quot & quot Karakter, & quot h behoort tot dieselfde reeks boeke as & quotSelf-Help, & quot verskyn in 1871.



Smiles se aktiwiteite is nou ondersoek, want in November 1871 is hy deur 'n verlamming getref, wat hom vir 'n aansienlike tydperk heeltemal gestrem het. Die dokters beveel hom vir drie jaar volledige rus van literêre werk. Dit was 'n ernstige slag vir die pasiënt, maar hy het die mandaat gehoorsaam, en die behandeling wat gevolg is, was baie suksesvol. Terwyl hy om beurte reis en rus, en in die teken by die Bethnal-groen museum, het hy die tyd van sy afgedwonge uittrede uit literêre werk verbygesteek. Daar is inderdaad min mans wat op 60 -jarige ouderdom 'n ernstige verlamming opgedoen het, maar tog genoeg herstel het om 20 jaar se noue geestelike werk te onderneem en in hul negende dekade gesond te wees.

& quotDie verhewe gode wat ons voorheen aanbid en neergebuig het, hierdie begaafde kinders van genie wie se oë gretig na die onsigbare kyk en die dieptes binnedring wat ver buite ons ken is, as ons hulle nader nader en hulle meer intiem ken, word ons gestroop van hul glorie van glorie. Ons vind dat hulle maar net mense is, “foutief, kwesbaar en dwaalmatig”, wat deur passie en begeerte geteister word, struikelend en tot stilstand kom, en dikwels blind en vervalle. Ons aanbid nie meer nie. Die aarde wat op 'n afstand gesien word, lyk 'n pragtige maan, as die voet daarop is, is net rotse, kluite en 'Paris modder'!

Die indruk wat in die gedagtes gelaat word, is inderdaad hartseer deur die kort verslae van sommige van hierdie ongelukkige kinders van genie te lees: begaafd, maar ongelukkig hoogs toegerus, maar passend en wispelturig met die aspirasies van 'n engel, maar die lae aptyt van 'n brute waaghalsige spekulasie , maar grof sensueel - in enkele woorde, was die lewe van Edgar Allan Poe: 'n wese vol ellende, maar almal op sy eie aambeeld geslaan, 'n man wat so min is, maar sonder geloof of toewyding en sonder enige ernstige lewensdoel. & quot


"Thrift" met sy lesse van omsigtigheid vir werkende mense, die eerste boek wat na die siekte van Smiles verskyn het, is in 1875 gepubliseer, en in die daaropvolgende jaar verskyn daardie interessante werk getiteld "Thomas Edward: Life of a Scotch Naturalist." Edward was 'n merkwaardige man, wat te midde van die nederigste omgewing 'n groot natuurkundige was en 'n genoot geword het van die Linnean Society of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh. Die publikasie van Smiles se biografie het soveel simpatie in die guns van Edward gewek dat 'n pensioen van 50 per jaar aan hom toegeken is. Die herinnering van Robert Dick, bakker van Thurso, geoloog en plantkundige, is in 1878 uitgereik, en dieselfde jaar was die verskyning van George Moore, handelaar en filantroop. en uithouvermoë.


Die tye , 25 April 1881.


In 1883 het dr Smiles die outobiografie van James Nasmyth, die uitvinder van die stoomhamer, 'n man van oorspronklike genie, geredigeer. In 1884 publiseer hy sy "Men of Invention and Industry", en in 1887 gee sy "Life and Labour or, Characteristics of Men of Industry, Culture and Genius." Sy memoir "John Murray," wat in 1891 uitgereik is, 'n grafiese skets van 'n goed- bekende en merkwaardige uitgewery en in dieselfde jaar het die skrywer sy biografie van & quotJasmin, Barber, Poet en Philanthropist geproduseer. & quot Jacques Jasmin was 'n moderne Gasoon -hawe, wat in een van sy eie werke 'n humoristiese weergawe van die armoede en ontberings van sy vroeë lewe. Sy gedigte was vol skoonheid en krag, en is bekroon deur die Franse Akademie in 1852. Sy lewe en stryd het Smiles diep geïnteresseerd. Daarna het Smiles maar min geskryf. Sy vrou is in 1900 oorlede, en hy het op pensioen gegaan.

Die blote voorlesing van dr. Smiles se werke sal wys hoe 'n vol en aktiewe lewe hy moes gewees het. Benewens die skryf van sy boeke, het hy ook tyd gevind om gereeld by te dra tot die Kwartaallikse oorsig en ander tydskrifte. Ter erkenning van sy literêre pogings het die eregraad van LL.D. is in 1878 deur die Universiteit van Edinburgh aan hom verleen, en in 1897 ontvang hy om dieselfde rede van die koning van Servia die kruis van ridderbevelvoerder in die Orde van St. Sava.

Dr Smiles se werke is nie net bewonderenswaardig vir hul eenvoudige en tog geforseerde literêre styl nie, maar ook vir baie nuttige en praktiese lesse wat hulle afdwing. Dit is heilsame en stimulerende boeke, en hulle hele neiging dra by tot die aanwending van gesonde lewensbeginsels en die opbou van 'n manlike en regop karakter. Hulle moet lankal 'n heilsame invloed uitoefen op 'n nasie werkers, soos die waaraan die skrywer self trots was.

Die begrafnis vind môre om 11:30 by die Brompton Cemetery plaas.

Die verhaal van die lewe van George Stephenson, 1859:

Kort biografieë, Boston, 1860:

Lewe van die ingenieurs, met 'n verslag van hul hoofwerke, 3 vol.
Londen 1863


Deel 1, vroeë ingenieurs - James Brindley, sir Cornelius Vermuyden, sir Hugh Myddleton, kapt John Perry.

Deel 2, hawens, vuurtorings en brûe - John Smeaton en John Rennie, (1761-1821)


Slagoffer en die Victoriane: Samuel glimlag en selfhelp

Samuel Smiles ’ merkwaardige en onverwagte topverkoper Selfhelp (1859) was nie net 'n uiters suksesvolle boek nie, maar dit word beskou as 'n toonbeeld van sommige van die hoë ideale van die era. Teen sy dood in 1904 is meer as 'n kwartmiljoen eksemplare verkoop en is die werk in talle ander tale vertaal. Een entoesiastiese ondersteuner was die sosialistiese kampvegter, Robert Blatchford, wat dit beskryf het as 'een van die mooiste en verkwikkendste boeke' wat hy ooit teëgekom het. Smiles se eerbied vir harde werk en 'karakter' resoneer met die heersende waardes van baie in die ontluikende middelklas, en deur 'n streep te trek tussen grafters en feckless, beïnvloed sy argumente selfs die siening of die armes 'verdien' of 'verdien' onverdienste van staatshulp. Tog was een van sy opvallendste bewerings dat mense in armoede as 'ware here' beskou kan word op grond van die eienskappe wat hulle besit, eerder as hul rykdom of status.

Die lewensbepalende werk van Smiles is ongeveer 15 jaar tevore geïnspireer deur 'n groep jong mans 'van die nederigste rang' wat 'n gemeenskap van verbetering in Leeds gevorm het. Die klub, wat uiteindelik ongeveer 100 mense getel het, het vergader om kennis uit te ruil deur middel van 'n uitgebreide kurrikulum wat moderne tale, wiskunde, aardrykskunde en Engelse vaardighede insluit. Smiles himself was asked to address the group and it was his subsequent talks that formed the basis of his book, which he published privately at his own expense. Self-Help was an eclectic presentation of wisdom derived from modern, classical and religious texts, as well as biographical information from the lives of prominent figures (past and present).

His extensive use of biographies stemmed from his view that they were ‘almost equivalent to Gospels’, because they taught high living, high thinking and energetic action. He firmly believed in their ability to inspire others, as he saw good role models as having an infectious quality that was far more important than providing helpful rules. Indeed, he argued that the ‘practical school of mankind’ was ‘always more forcible than words’ because of the potent instructive quality of example. Smiles even systematically went through the different trades to show the many luminaries who had emerged from every station in life, from barbers (e.g. Sir Richard Arkright) and labourers (Robert Burns), to bricklayers (Ben Jonson) and bookbinders (Michael Faraday).

Victorian challenges

It might surprise some modern readers that there was such a ready market for Self-Help in an era associated with so many towering achievements, but although Britain was the superpower of the nineteenth century, many people experienced considerable challenges in their daily lives. It was a precarious existence for many of the predominantly working-class population, as disease, poverty and a variety of occupational hazards were commonplace. Moreover, rising up the ‘social ladder’ was far from straightforward in what was a highly hierarchical age. The top echelons of society were unsurprisingly dominated by those who had benefitted from an expensive education, at a time when there was no universal or compulsory schooling. Nevertheless, there were many extraordinary individuals who overcame inauspicious starts in life to achieve considerable personal success. People like the Scottish congregationalist James Murray (1837-1915), an auto-didact whose linguistic talent eventually led him to oversee the Oxford English Dictionary, one of the most important pieces of literature in the history of the English language, or the East End labourer Will Thorne (1846-1946), who overcame an impoverished upbringing in which he was forced to work from the age of six-years-old, to become a leading trade unionist and Member of Parliament.

Victimhood and vitality

Despite the trials and tribulations of Victorian life, Smiles would not accept any notion that someone was, to use modern terminology, a ‘victim’. Instead, he believed that everyone was personally responsible for their own success of mislukking. He argued that ‘Those who fail in life, are very apt to assume the tone of injured innocence, and conclude too hastily that everybody excepting themselves has had a hand in their personal misfortunes.’ He agreed with the Russian proverb that misfortune was ‘next door to stupidity’, as a man of merit was never neglected. Dismissing the notion that the world was unjust, he maintained that those ‘constantly lamenting their ill luck, are only reaping the consequences of their own neglect, mismanagement, improvidence, or want of application.’ ‘Fortune’ he stressed ‘is invariably on the side of the industrious’. Even when chance appeared to play a part in someone’s success, he believed that it was usually because the person had been astute enough to turn an ‘accident’ into an opportunity.

External assistance was not, therefore, the answer for those who were in need. He saw it as ‘enfeebling in its effects’, because it not only rendered the recipient of aid ‘comparatively helpless’, but it also took away any stimulus or necessity of doing work for themselves. The highest philanthropy was not government assistance, which he considered to be largely negative and restrictive, but was in helping people help themselves. He noted that ‘there is no power of law that can make the idle man industrious, the thriftless provident, or the drunken sober’. The change needed to come from binne.

Self-culture

His central point reverberating around the whole book is that people must necessarily depend ‘mainly upon themselves’ for their well-being. The idea, which he claimed was as ‘old as the Proverbs of Solomon’ involved ‘diligent self-culture, self-discipline, and self-control — and, above all, on that honest and upright performance of individual duty, which is the glory of manly character.’ Just as ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves’, he saw the invigorating spirit of self-help as the root of genuine growth. After all, he noted, the very definition of employment, was ‘something required to be done’. Whatever someone’s station was in life, they needed to aim for the highest results, because even if they fell short of the target, they could not fail in reaching a point far in advance of where they started. Indeed, he stressed that ‘practical industry, wisely and vigorously applied, never failed, but to carry someone onward and upward’.

The recipe for greatness was not extraordinary, but could be summed up as relating to common sense and perseverance. Hard work was absolutely key, which in turn required the vital ingredient of energy, as well as close observation, diligence and accuracy. An invincible determination was also needed not least to cope with the drudgery that was often needed to succeed. He dismissed the idea that there could be any quick fixes – or fast labour-saving approaches to knowledge – as self-culture was a mental attitude towards growth and learning was therefore a life-long pursuit.

Habit forming

He believed that ‘the first start on the road of life determines the direction and the destination’ and much of his work was about cultivating virtuous habits that could grow and widen with age ‘like letters cut on the bark of a tree’. If someone’s time was deployed constructively, even if only a small amount was available, over the long term it would produce dividends. Indeed, he argued human life was ‘made up of comparative trifles’ and failure was often the result of neglecting the little things. He maintained that those who were ‘habitually behind time’, for example, were ‘habitually behind success’. A person’s education had to involve active concentration of the mind, as he believed that learning by rote – and even reading in some circumstances – was too passive. A clear vision for education was also required, as he likened purposes to eggs that unless ‘hatched into action’ would ‘run into rottenness.’ Nevertheless, he stressed that both over-work en under-work were dangers to the intellectual development of young men, as they involved too much guidance of restraint respectively.

Smiles did not believe that education was simply limited to the moral or intellectual, however. Like the ancients, he saw the benefits of physical training, such as cricket and boating, even though he acknowledged the idea had ‘somewhat fallen into disrepute’. He supported ‘rational recreation’, as historians have termed it, as a way of producing the solid foundation for youthful strength and vitality. Indeed, avoiding idleness kept the devil away by removing a void in which lust might creep in. He summed up his tripartite holistic approach by saying ‘Cultivate the physical powers exclusively, and you have an athlete or a savage the moral only, and you have an enthusiast or a maniac the intellectual only, and you have a diseased oddity, it may be a monster.’

Triumph over adversity

Character, Smiles stressed, was often forged in the ‘school of difficulty’. Facing challenges and failures not only provided a moral education, but also required personal courage. Indeed, he claimed that ‘The very greatest things — great thoughts, discoveries, inventions — have generally been nurtured in hardship, often pondered over in sorrow, and at length established with difficulty.‘ He agreed with Burns’ notion that it was through ‘losses and crosses’ that the right-minded and true-hearted could find strength, confidence and triumph. Smiles even went so far as to say that poverty could be a blessing in disguise, as it provided a fertile training ground that could awaken a ‘consciousness of power’. By contrast, he believed that too much facility, ease and prosperity could have a damaging effect, as it removed any incentive for hard work. He maintained that precocious peers who found education easy, for example, were often overtaken by the late learners and formerly ‘dull boys’ who put in the greater effort.

Avoiding Vices

There were inevitably many potential pitfalls along the way that Smiles warned against. Although he believed that knowledge was power, he argued that, like ambition, it could also be dangerous if it wasn’t wisely directed. Smiles readily admitted that there were many well-informed intellects around, who lacked practical wisdom and were utterly deformed in character. Indeed, he stressed that knowledge had to be embodied by an upright character, which combined goodness and wisdom.

He also spoke out about having the wrong attitude to money, as he was keenly aware that many people associated success with wealth. Smiles acknowledged the allure of financial gain, but believed its power to be overrated, as he suggested some of the greatest worldly achievements were done by men of small pecuniary means, such as the propagation of Christianity over half the world. He maintained that money had to be honestly earned, but that the love of it was the ‘root of evil’ that not only narrowed and contracted the soul, but also made people less generous in life and action. Thriftlessness, extravagance, improvidence and even hoarding were to be avoided, while self-denial and sacrifices were important for future gain. He also warned against ‘self-imposed taxation’, such as from drinking, which he believed to be contrary to economy, decency, health, and honest living. Indeed, a person could vitiate their whole nature by living ‘too high’ and desiring the ‘front seats at the social amphitheatre’. This, he believed, was a particular problem for the young, as a soul sodden with pleasure could easily fritter away the best qualities of the mind. Yet he acknowledged that acquiring wealth also provided the opportunity to show ‘generosity, honesty, justice, and self-sacrifice as well as the practical virtues of economy and providence.’

Stature and happiness

A successful life was not about amusement or money, honour or fame, but was defined by a person’s character, which had to combine moral integrity and a public spirit. Indeed, perhaps Smiles’ most controversial idea (for the time) was that even the poorest person could therefore be considered a ‘true gentleman’, if they were ‘honest, truthful, upright, polite, temperate, courageous, self-respecting, and self-helping’. A person of ‘little culture, slender abilities, and but small wealth’ could command an influence by virtue of their noble thoughts and be considered superior to a rich man of poor spirit.

Developing one’s character wasn’t just a way of becoming a gentleman or gaining power and success, but Smiles argued that it produced no less than ‘the best development possible, of body and spirit – of mind, conscience, heart and soul’. He saw seemingly small traits like ‘attention, application, accuracy, method, punctuality, and despatch’, as being of ‘essential importance to human happiness, well-being, and usefulness.’ Moreover, he added that cheerfulness was not only infectious, but it made people more robust, while nurturing a healthy and happy spirit that conferred dignity on even the ‘most ordinary occupations’. Hope, which he described as the ‘companion of power’ and ‘mother of success’, was also a vital ingredient for mental well-being, because it was ‘like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us’. It also nurtured self-respect, which he claimed was ‘the most elevating feeling with which the mind can be inspired’.

Industrious influence

Although Smiles’ prescriptions were aimed at the individual, he considered them to be of national importance, as he shared John Stuart Mill’s notion that ‘The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it.’ He believed that the ‘spirit of self-help’, as shown by a ‘strong individuality and distinctive personal energy’, was a time-honoured and ‘marked feature in the English character’ that was the glory of the country, because it upheld freedom of thought, speech and action. Indeed, the ‘indomitable spirit of industry’, which he maintained was lacking in other nations, had ‘laid the foundations and built up the industrial greatness of the empire, at home and in the colonies.’ He saw the actions of those driving the economy as being no less heroic than the soldiers and sailors who served their country with bravery and devotion. Indeed, he claimed that ‘the industrious stamp their character upon their age, and influence not only their own, but all succeeding generations.’


Samuel Smiles - History

<1>The object of the book briefly is, to re-inculcate these old-fashioned but wholesome lessons --which perhaps cannot be too often urged, that youth must work in order to enjoy, --that nothing creditable can be accomplished without application and diligence, --that the student must not be daunted by difficulties, but conquer them by patience and perseverance, --and that, above all, he must seek elevation of character, without which capacity is worthless and worldly success is naught. If the author has not succeeded in illustrating these lessons, he can only say that he has failed in his object.

<2>"Heaven helps those who help themselves" is a well-tried maxim, embodying in a small compass the results of vast human experience. The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual and, exhibited in the lives of many, it constitutes the true source of national vigour and strength. Help from without is often enfeebling in its effects, but help from within invariably invigorates. Whatever is done for men or classes, to a certain extent takes away the stimulus and necessity of doing for themselves and where men are subjected to over-guidance and over-government, the inevitable tendency is to render them comparatively helpless.

<3>. . . Hence the value of legislation as an agent in human advancement has usually been much over-estimated. To constitute the millionth part of a Legislature, by voting for one or two men once in three or five years, however conscientiously this duty may be performed, can exercise but little active influence upon any man's life and character. Moreover, it is every day becoming more clearly understood, that the function of Government is negative and restrictive, rather than positive and active being resolvable principally into protection --protection of life, liberty, and property. Laws, wisely administered, will secure men in the enjoyment of the fruits of their labour, whether of mind or body, at a comparatively small personal sacrifice but no laws, however stringent, can make the idle industrious, the thriftless provident, or the drunken sober. Such reforms can only be effected by means of individual action, economy, and self-denial by better habits, rather than by greater rights. . . .

<4>The spirit of self-help, as exhibited in the energetic action of individuals, has in all times been a marked feature in the English character, and furnishes the true measure of our power as a nation. Rising above the heads of the mass, there were always to be found a series of individuals distinguished beyond others, who commanded the public homage. But our progress has also been owing to multitudes of smaller and less known men. Though only the generals' names may be remembered in the history of any great campaign, it has been in a great measure through the individual valour and heroism of the privates that victories have been won. And life, too, is "a soldiers' battle,"--men in the ranks having in all times been amongst the greatest of workers. Many are the lives of men unwritten, which have nevertheless as powerfully influenced civilisation and progress as the more fortunate Great whose names are recorded in biography. Even the humblest person, who sets before his fellows an example of industry, sobriety, and upright honesty of purpose in life, has a present as well as a future influence upon the well-being of his country for his life and character pass unconsciously into the lives of others, and propagate good example for all time to come. . . .

<5>Biographies of great, but especially of good men, are nevertheless most instructive and useful, as helps, guides, and incentives to others.

<6>Some of the best are almost equivalent to gospels --teaching high living, high thinking, and energetic action for their own and the world's good. The valuable examples which they furnish of the power of self-help, of patient purpose, resolute working, and steadfast integrity, issuing in the formation of truly noble and manly character, exhibit in language not to be misunderstood, what it is in the power of each to accomplish for himself and eloquently illustrate the efficacy of self-respect and self-reliance in enabling men of even the humblest rank to work out for themselves an honourable competency and a solid reputation.


Samuel Smiles - History

Few can ever have expressed the spirit of their age better than the Scottish-born reformer and prolific inspirational author, Samuel Smiles. His most celebrated book, Self-Help (1859), seemed to sum up Victorian ideals of industry and drive. The fact that it came out at almost exactly the same time as that other key work, Darwin's revolutionary Origin of the Species seems ironic to some. But perhaps it is not. Of course, the two works are quite different in intellectual level and effect: Self-Help was meant to have, and indeed had, an immediate bearing on the everyday conduct of Victorian life, while Origin of the Species would have a lasting impact on scientific thinking, and the spiritual life of the nation. Yet both explore the extent to which man is responsible for his own destiny. To Smiles belongs the concept of the self-made man. Self-reliance and self-improvement were his watchwords. But these were not for selfish purposes. The latter, in particular, was for the gain of society as a whole, to whose betterment both industry and drive were to be directed. Among the many models Smiles held up, in Self-Help and his other books, was the life of the successful merchant and philanthropist George Moore. Of Moore he wrote, in philosophical vein,

We can finish nothing in this life but we may make a beginning, and bequeath a noble example. Thus Character is the true antiseptic of society. The good deed leaves an indelible stamp. It lives on and on and while the frame moulders and disappears, the great worker lives for ever in the memory of his race. "Death," says the Philosopher, "is a co-mingling of Eternity with Time. In the death of a good man, Eternity is seen looking through Time." [ George Moore, Merchant and Philanthropist , 450]

As this suggests, it was not at all impossible for the Victorians to combine notions of self-help with evolutionary thinking. Darwin himself may well have been wary of doing so. Nevertheless, he reported as late as December 1876 that he had "read every one of [Smiles's] biographies with 'extreme pleasure'" (qtd. in Burkhardt and Smith 457). — Jacqueline Banerjee

Biographical and Introductory Materials

Excerpts from Self-Help

Bibliografie

Burkhardt, Frederick,‎and Sydney Smith. A Calendar of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1821-1882. . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

"Portraits of Celebrities at different times of their Lives." The Strand Magazine . Vol. II (July to December), 10 (October 1891): 366-71. Internet Archive . Web. 24 July 2014.

Smiles, Samuel. Autobiography . Ed. Thomas Mackay. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1905. Internet Archive . Uploaded by Robarts Library, University of Toronto. Web 24 July 2014.

_____. George Moore, Merchant and Philanthropist . London: George Routledge & Sons, 1879. Internet Archive . Uploaded by the University of California Libraries. Web 24 July 2014.

_____. Self-Help: With Illustrations of Character and Conduct . Rev. and enlarged ed. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1861. Google Books Free E-book. Web 24 July 2014.


SMILES, SAMUEL

Samuel Smiles is often regarded as the preeminent advocate of the Victorian gospel of work. In reality, his legacy is much more complex. His evolution from a young radical to an elderly conservative can be seen as a metaphor for understanding middle and working-class politics in Victorian Britain.

Smiles's early career was marked by the economic uncertainty common to many members of the lower middle and working classes. Born in Scotland to Samuel and Janet Smiles, he was educated under strict Calvinist principles, apprenticed to a medical practitioner, and received a medical degree from Edinburgh University. In 1838, failing to establish a successful medical practice, Smiles sold what little property he owned and left Scotland. After touring the Netherlands and Germany, he accepted the editorship of a radical newspaper, the Leeds Times. Although this position paid little, it provided an ideal platform for a young man determined to effect social change. Smiles penned a number of anonymous articles advocating causes like women's education, free trade, and parliamentary reform while attacking the aristocracy mercilessly, though with little apparent effect. He also involved himself heavily in radical organizations such as the Leeds Parliamentary Reform Association (LPRA), which sought to build middle and working-class cooperation to bring pressure for the political reform.

Smiles provided an alternative to Chartist notions of popular democracy and direct action. He hoped to establish a society in which educated men and women of all classes treated each other as equals, engaged in rational debate, and agitated nonviolently toward a just society. This was certainly a utopian, even romantic vision, and after the LPRA faltered, Smiles lost faith in it. He failed to establish an organization that linked members of the working and middle classes in cooperative effort, and came to fear that Chartism would end in violent disorder.

In 1845, Smiles cut his ties with the Leeds Times. Until 1871, when he suffered a debilitating stroke, Smiles worked as an administrator in the railway and insurance industries. These positions provided him economic security, and his experiences in them inevitably colored his outlook. Over time, it accorded more and more closely with that of laissez-faire political economists. Although Smiles never lost his sympathy for social improvement or reform, he saw the best hopes for it in individual action.

In another respect 1845 was important. In May, Smiles began giving a lecture on the topic of "self-help." He refined the lecture over the succeeding years, and in 1859 the book Self-Help was published to immediate success. It sold over 270,000 copies in Britain during Smiles's lifetime, was translated into numerous other languages, and is still in print in the early twenty-first century. The thesis of the book was simple: that hard work, thrift, and perseverance would lead to personal success and national progress. "The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual and, exhibited in the lives of many, it constitutes the true source of national vigour and strength." Smiles illustrated and developed this idea with readable biographies and catch-phrases. While some critics have incorrectly seen Self-Help as a justification for self-interest, it is more accurately viewed as a defense of middle and working-class improvement.

Smiles's other books include didactic works such as Karakter (1872), Thrift (1875), Plig (1880), and Life and Labour (1887). All of his books use the lives of individuals as exemplars for the idea that a practical education, perseverance, and self-control lead to moral improvement, happiness, and success. They are filled with anecdotes and aphorisms, some of which have entered the popular vocabulary. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" has been credited to him.

Smiles's industrial and business biographies, such as Life of George Stephenson (1857), Lives of Engineers (3 vols., 1861–1862), Industrial Biography: Iron Workers and Tool Makers (1863), Lives ofBoulton and Watt (1865), and Josiah Wedgwood (1895), are similar in structure and tone to his didactic books. They are also valuable sources for information concerning these subjects, although they must be used cautiously and reflect more than a touch of hero worship. Most of the material on which they are based was assembled from interviews. The remarkable size of his body of work testifies that Smiles practiced the values of hard work and perseverance that he preached.

Smiles dedicated himself to the cause of working-class improvement, but by the time of his death, his name had become anathema to many who incorrectly saw him as a defender of greed. Nevertheless, even many socialists read him closely and lived by his maxims. Robert Blatchford praised his defense of honest labor and working-class toil, and Smiles's work may best be seen today as an early precursor of the self-help and motivational genres that were to become so popular in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.


Samuel Smiles - History

English Language and History

Selected and prepared for people

Study in G Major (Moderato)
Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858)

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MEN who are resolved to find a way for themselves, will always find opportunities enough and if they do not lie ready to their hand, they will make them. It is not those who have enjoyed the advantages of colleges, museums, and public galleries, that have accomplished the most for science and art nor have the greatest mechanics and inventors been trained in mechanics’ institutes.

Necessity, oftener than facility, has been the mother of invention and the most prolific school of all has been the school of difficulty. Some of the very best workmen have had the most indifferent tools to work with. But it is not tools that make the workman, but the trained skill and perseverance of the man himself. Indeed it is proverbial that the bad workman never yet had a good tool. Someone asked Opie by what wonderful process he mixed his colours. “I mix them with my brains, sir,” was his reply.*

Samuel Smiles argued that great achievements in the arts and sciences are not the result of institutional education or possessing the best equipment, but of individual determination and genius. He cites the example of the painter John Opie, who replied to a question about his methods for mixing colours that he mixed them with his brains.


Samuel Smiles - History

English Language and History

Selected and prepared for people

Symphony in C minor:
3. Allegro ma non troppo - Poco meno mosso - Tempo I
Alice Mary Smith (1839-1884)

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AS an orator too, his first appearance in the House of Commons was a failure. Though composed in a grand and ambitious strain, every sentence was hailed with “loud laughter.” But he concluded with a sentence which embodied a prophecy.

Writhing under the laughter with which his studied eloquence had been received, he exclaimed, “I have begun several times many things, and have succeeded in them at last. I shall sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear me.”

He did not, as many young men do, having once failed, retire dejected, to mope and whine in a corner, but diligently set himself to work. He carefully unlearnt his faults, studied the character of his audience, practised sedulously the art of speech, and industriously filled his mind with the elements of parliamentary knowledge.

The recollection of his early failure was effaced, and by general consent he was at length admitted to be one of the most finished and effective of parliamentary speakers.

When Benjamin Disraeli gave his first speech in the House of Commons, the other MPs mocked his pompous style. Instead of being cowed, however, he promised that one day they would listen to him and spurred on to perfect his public speaking skills, he eventually became one of Parliament’s most accomplished speakers.


Writings

He left Leeds in 1845 to become the chairman of Leeds & Thirsk Railway. Smiles wrote a series of articles for the Quarterly in which he argued that railways ought to be nationalized. One of the notable articles was titled: Workers Earnings, Savings, and Strikes. In this article, Smiles held that poverty was a result of habitual improvidence. He believed that instead of Mechanics Institutes and Schools flourishing, this ought to be a time when wages are highest.

The understanding that he needed to do more to change the society made Smiles publish the book Self-Help, with Illustrations of Character and Conduct. He also wrote Thrift 1875 where he argued that one does not become distinct just because they are rich.

He is also known for several biographical works, including Lives of the Engineers, The Life of George Stephenson, Josiah Wedgwood, his Personal History, among others.

Indeed Samuel Smiles was an exemplary author, one whose works caused significant social reforms.


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