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prosper but by industry; as the productive value of labour is always in proportion to a better use of time and men; a medium of employing time to good purpose, which also imparts the secret of obtaining the greatest possible profit from human faculties, and of multiplying the real value and the results of labour, is the genuine creative principle of all that is good and useful, of private and public happiness, of all kinds of advantages to which a society has a right to aspire, and finally of the simultaneous progress of morality and knowledge, of wealth, and of civilisation.
XXX. OF THE PROGRESS OF THE HUMAN MIND.
THIS spirit of improving the sciences, with a view to the advancement of society, would produce great and salutary effects, if it were generally excited in youth, and if individuals could early receive in society a direction conformable with that which nature seems to point out to them. If we turn to past ages, what an infinite distance we find between the first man, who with his hands tore off the skins of animals which he had
vidual himself and to the state. The loss is double when the post which requires a force or capacity of one hundred is filled by a man equal to ten only.
killed in the chase, for the purpose of fashioning them into rude garments, and the skilful manufacturer, who, with the aid of various instruments, looms, and machines, produces cloths and stuffs of every kind, equally delicate and strong, to which the scissors and the needle afterwards give elegant and convenient forms! What a distance again between those who first timidly coasted the sea-shore in a mere canoe hollowed out by fire, and those intrepid navigators, who, guided by the compass, traverse the immense plains of ocean in vessels, the master-pieces of human ingenuity!
These prodigies of human genius are the results. of a better employment of men and time, of a better direction given to labour, and its more judicious division. As all men are no longer obliged to apply themselves to a great number of different objects at once, which would have levelled the distinctions of talents had all pursued the same occupations, each individual has been enabled to consult his natural disposition, and to follow it more or less; while some, pursuing their particular destination, have created for themselves a destiny calculated to promote it.
At the present day every person ought to be stimulated by the example and the success of
our ancestors, by the contemplation of the immense advances which they made, of the obstacles of every kind which they surmounted, to arrive at the degree of civilisation which we have attained. Each individual, applying these reflections to his own situation, ought to feel solicitous not merely not to be inferior to those who have distinguished themselves before him in the same sphere, but to surpass them as they surpassed their predecessors, and thus to contribute to the progressive advancement of his particular art.*
Superior men, to whatever class they belong, who leave traces of their existence, are such as, avoiding the retrograde and disdaining the stationary state, have been resolutely bent on advancing in the career into which they were thrown, and contributing to the progress of the art, science, or profession which they had embraced. Such have also been the benefactors of the human race, by adding to its enjoyments, knowledge, wealth, virtue, and happiness. All these things, I repeat it, are essentially united together, and in some measure synonymous and identical.
See Note 4, On the Progress and Effects of Civilisation.
XXXI. DUTIES OF A FATHER OF A FAMILY.
FORTUNATE is the youth, whose parents, imbued with these wholesome truths, have sufficient observation, intelligence, and foresight, to anticipate and judge what their son may and ought one day to become; to facilitate for him the means of fulfilling his destination, and of giving a complete development to his natural and primitive dispositions; to cultivate with care his early years; to store his mind beforehand with the most needful knowledge, which will enable him to proceed alone and without guide, and smooth for him the road which he will have to travel; finally, to awaken in his soul, and to direct the noble and generous passion of distinguishing himself by services rendered to his country, by works beneficial to mankind! A good father ought not to be merely the confidant, the friend, the adviser of his son: he ought to regard him as another self: he ought to have for him prudence, experience, providence, ambition, and wealth.* He ought to furnish his children
* The words science, ambition, wealth, used in this Essay, may startle some ears; they may be deemed dangerous seeds' and obstacles to happiness and virtue.
with all the resources that can spring from a good physical and moral education, and from careful instruction, and to give them a determinate di
With regard to science, we always bring it forward accompanied by the purest morality, and render it constantly useful and agreeable to him who cultivates it, and to mankind in general, to whose benefit the results of all the sciences ought to be invariably directed.
Ambition is a delicate point, on which it is necessary to be very explicit; for this passion, like all the others, has its rocks, excesses, exaggeration, and dangers, and frequently leads even to crimes. But if men have almost uniformly altered and corrupted all the propensities, not excepting those which are natural and laudable, it must not thence be concluded that these propensities ought to be indiscriminately condemned and proscribed: let us rather trace them up to their source, study their character thoroughly, and bring them back, if possible, to their primitive direction. Ambition, as defined and regulated by us, seeking the means of personal advancement exclusively in services rendered to our fellow-creatures, is but an extension and application of that general desire of melioration and ever progressive improvement, which excites all men, and renders them useful to one another. This noble and legitimate ambition, the only ambition that we kindle in the souls of our disciples, and that we wish to find in their parents, is a powerful, salutary, necessary mover, without which there is a general stagnation; the extinction of every faculty, the deterioration of the individual, and real death ensue. It is the soul of the moral world and of society. It is this which, supported by a brilliant genius and a great soul, eager after that solid glory which is founded on the public weal, produces great men and great actions of every kind.