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KING STANISLAUS OF POLAND
(A. D. 1677-1766.)
STANISLAUS LESZCZYNSKI, or Leszinski, son of a Grand Treasurer of Poland, was elected to the throne of that country, in 1705, through the influence of Charles XII. of Sweden, and lost his kingship four years later, after Charles's defeat at Pultowa. He was called again to the throne in 1733, and stepped down from it again in 1735, retaining the title, and being invested, in 1737, with the duchies of Lorraine and Bar. His daughter was married to Louis XV. of France, and he enjoyed the favor of the French court. He gained some distinction, too, as a man of letters in France, being, indeed, better fitted for a studious and literary life than for public affairs. A collection of his writings was published in 1765 — the year before his death - under the title of “Works of the Benevolent Philosopher.” He is said to have realized quite consistently in his own character the ideal philosopher whose qualities are described in one of his works. “The true philosopher," he wrote, “is exempt from prejudices; he must know how to estimate the great conditions of life at no more than their worth, and its lower conditions at no less than they are. He must enjoy pleasures without being their slave, riches without being dependent on them, honors without pride and without display. He must be always the same, in every state of fortune; he must be always tranquil; he must love order, and put it into all that he does.”
TRAITS OF MORAL COURAGE IN EVERY-DAY LIFE.
(By Stanislaus, King of Poland.) Have the courage to discharge a debt, while you have the money in your pocket.
Have the courage to do without that which you do not need, however much you may admire it.
Have the courage to speak your mind when it is necessary that you should do so, and to hold your tongue when it is better that you should be silent.
Have the courage to speak to a friend in a “ seedy" coat, even in the street, and when a rich one is nigh; the effort is less than many people take it to be, and the act is worthy a king
Have the courage to set down every penny you spend, and add it up weekly.
Have the courage to pass your host's lackey at the door, without giving him a shilling, when you know you cannot afford it, and, what is more, that the man has not earned it. Have the courage to own that you are poor,
you disarm poverty of its sharpest sting.
Have the courage to laugh at your personal defects, and the world will be deprived of that pleasure, by being reminded of their own.
Have the courage to admit that you have been in the wrong,
will remove the fact from the mind of others, putting a desirable impression in the place of an unfavorable one.
Have the courage to adhere to a first resolution, when you cannot change it for a better, and to abandon it at the eleventh hour, upon conviction.
Have the courage to acknowledge your age to a day, and to compare it with the average life of man.
Have the courage to make a will, and what is more, a just one.
Have the courage to face a difficulty, lest it kick you harder than you bargain for: difficulties, like thieves, often disappear at a glance.
Have the courage to avoid accommodation bills, how
ever badly you want money; and to decline pecuniary assistance from your dearest friend.
Have the courage to shut your eyes at the prospect of large profits, and to be content with small ones.
Have the courage to tell a man why you will not lend him your money; he will respect you more than if you tell him you can't.
Have the courage to “cut” the most agreeable acquaintance you possess, when he convinces you that he lacks principle; “a friend should bear with a friend's infirmities” not his vices.
Have the courage to show your preference for honesty, in whatever guise it appears; and your contempt for vice, surrounded by attractions.
Have the courage to give occasionally that which you can ill afford to spare; giving what you do not want nor value neither brings nor deserves thanks in return; who is grateful for a drink of water from another's overflowing well, however delicious the draught?
Have the courage to wear your old garments till you can pay for new ones.
Have the courage to obey your Maker, at the risk of being ridiculed by man.
Have the courage to wear thick boots in winter, and to insist upon your wife and daughter doing the like.
Have the courage to acknowledge ignorance of any kind; every, body will immediately doubt you, and give you more credit than any false pretensions could secure.
Have the courage to prefer propriety to fashion — one is but the abuse of the other.
Have the courage to listen to your wife, when you should do so, and not to listen when you should not.
Have the courage to provide a frugal dinner for a friend whom you “ delight to honor;" when you cannot afford
wine, offer him porter; the importance of most things is that which we ourselves attach to them.
Have the courage to ask a visitor to excuse you when: his presence interferes with your convenience.
Have the courage to throw your snuff-box into the fire or the melting-pot; to pass a tobacconist's shop; and to decline the use of a friend's box, or even one pinch.
Have the courage to be independent if you can, and act independently when you may.
(A. D. 1694–1773.)
PHILIP DORMER STANHOPE, fourth Earl of Chesterfield, celebrated in his day as an orator and a politician, but still more as a polished man of the eighteenth century English world, — its glass of fashion and its mould of form, — is made known to posterity mainly by the “Letters to his Son,” which were published after his death. The son was a lout, with whose manners he was conc
ncerned, rather than with his morals, and these letters were written principally to that end. While showing a polite deference to some ethical principles, the immorality of the advice given in other directions is rank, even for the first half of the eighteenth century. But the fund of worldly wisdom in the “Letters” has rarely been excelled. Dr. Johnson thought that, with the immorality taken out, they ought to be put into the hands of every gentleman. On the other hand, the French critic, Taine, says of Chesterfield and his letters: “He wishes to polish his son, to give him a French air, to add to solid diplomatic knowledge and large views of ambition an engaging, lively, and frivolous manner. This outward polish, which at Paris is of the true color, is here but a shocking veneer. This transplanted politeness is a lie, this vivacity is senselessness, this worldly education seems fitted only to make actors and rogues.”
Chesterfield was born in London in 1694, and died in 1773.
(From Lord Chesterfield's “ Letters to his Son.") If a fool knows a secret, he tells it because he is a fool; if a knave knows one, he tells it wherever it is his