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future happiness, and to consider nothing but the produce of our labour as our own.
The more we study mankind in general, and the complicated machinery of social organisation, the more scrupulously attentive we shall be to shun these three classes, which are the bane of communities : gamblers, or persons who make gaming their principal means of subsistence; mendicants, and all who live by alms, or by favours, not acquired by legitimate means, by real titles, by talents and virtues ; and thieves, who exercise their ingenuity in the violation of the
virtue. From this magic word, love, from the sentiment which it expresses, flows all that is good and fair. Virtue consists in the first place in quitting the narrow circle of self, of the purely personal feeling. Love alone lifts a man above himself, and urges him to transfer part of the love of self, part of his own existence, to another, or to several other individuals. He ceases to prefer himself to the universe; he feels that which does not touch him immediately; he has opened his heart to love ; and kind humanity, the mother of all the virtues, which embraces them all, and which is itself no other than love in its most extensive acceptation, introduces into that heart, divested of the obdurate bark of selfishness, all the other tender, noble, and generous affections. These affections, which shoot, expand, and bear fruit, then produce the habits and actions which constitute practical morality, and comprehend all the subdivisions which can be assigned to morality, general and particular, natural and social, theoretical and practical, public and private.
right of property, the primary and fundamental basis of social order. These three classes of persons live at the expense of society, without making amends for the mischief they do it, by any benefit whatever. The man who respects himself disdains to derive his means of subsistence, and the conveniencies and luxuries which he is desirous of procuring, from any other source than his own labour; he wishes to pay his tribute to society, in compensation for the benefits he receives from it. Idleness, selfishness, immorality, are not admitted into his plan of life; he alone knows how to appreciate and to obtain true glory, which, in whatever situation we may be, consists solely in the good we do to our fellow-creatures. The greater and more durable that good the more brilliant and solid the glory. Glory is nothing but the public esteem prolonged for ages.
XVIII. OF THREE PARTICULAR ACCOUNTS, SUPPLEMENTARY TO
THE MORAL ACCOUNT, viz.
1. The Economical Account ;
It is adviseable to keep three particular accounts by way of supplement to the moral account; the first, to contain a statement of expenses for every
week and every month, and of the various purposes to which money has been applied; the second, a summary, in chronological order, of the principal political events, as they occur; the third, the characters of those with whom we have been connected, or who have held important posts in society, as they successively quit the theatre of life.
We shall proceed to the consideration of each of these three supplementary accounts, for the purpose of explaining its particular object and utility: but we must previously insist on one essential observation, which is calculated to obviate many objections. We here propose nothing new or extraordinary, nothing but what every man of any education already does, more or less exactly, for his own convenience. We merely furnish the means of giving regularity to what has hitherto been done mechanically and without system ; recommending that what is generally written on scraps of paper or loose leaves, which are liable to be put out of the way, mislaid, and lost, be entered methodically in books suitably arranged. How many persons are in the habit of committing to writing, either in the form of memorandums for themselves, or in letters to their friends, all that we advise them to insert in a regular journal, to which they can refer whenever they please! We propose to apply to daily life some of the practices followed by commercial houses and in
1. Of the Economical Account. The economical account, or account of receipts and expenses, is not less essential than the preceding : it is connected with the moral journal, but ought to be kept separately, and with great
The habit of thus keeping an account of our pecuniary situation, and striking a balance of our receipts and expenditure, either weekly or monthly, for which purpose we should not have occasion to write more than a page every fortnight or three weeks, constitutes a real practical course of domestic economy, which is useful to persons in
every class of society. It is a method productive of many good results, tending to check the improper application of money, and consequently to ensure the means of comfortable subsistence and tranquillity.* By means of this practice, we impose, as it were, upon ourselves particular sumptuary laws or regulations, according to which we proportion our daily and annual expenditure to our income, by applying our general principle: All things are relative. We acquire the salutary habit of avoiding at the same time avarice and profusion, of never running into debt, or incurring embarrassment in our domestic affairs, and of constantly keeping our receipts and disbursements in an exact proportion, and in a due equilibrium.
* How many men, rather from imprudence than criminality, how many fathers of families, in many respects worthy of esteem, have squandered their fortunes, and perhaps even put a period to their lives rather than survive their dishonour, merely for want of keeping such an economical account. This habit of itself would necessarily have apprised them of the gradual derangement of their affairs; it would at least have stopped them on the brink of the precipice, and prevented their total ruin.
Among the Romans, all fathers of families were obliged to keep an account, in which they regularly entered their receipts and expenses, , their active and passive debts; and, under certain circumstances, these accounts were produced as evidence in the courts of justice.* The same custom, familiar to the illustrious Sully from his early youth, trained that great minister, who, by the admirable and unprecedented order which he introduced into the administration of the
* See Cicero's Letters to Atticus, Book 1.