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EARLY HOURS OF BUSINESS*.
ONE of the oldest servants of the firm related to
And why upon earth should men in a shop or warehouse be condemned to toil in the hours which other men give to rest? Is it not enough if from
From "The Successful Merchant: Sketches of the Life of Mr. Samuel Budgett;" by W. Arthur. London. Hamilton and Co. 1852. This is a very entertaining book, with many appropriate remarks and useful hints. The person whose life is narrated was, it seems, a Wesleyan; and we presume the editor is one, too. There are, of course, the views of that body apparent in the work. We have made a lengthened extract, which will aid, we trust, the early closing movement, in which we take great interest.-ED.
morn till eve they are pent up and on the stretch? When the bricklayer lays down his trowel and the weaver quits his loom, when the reaper pats up his sickle and the ploughman drives home his team, why should the shopman and warehouseman kindle artificial light to witness further drudgery? True, the bricklayer or the ploughman has heavier muscular fatigue; but he has also the bright sun and the fresh air. His limbs are more taxed, but his vitals are more refreshed. It is one thing to spend twelve hours on a Bedfordshire farm, and another to spend twelve hours in a close shop or store. Within the last few years public feeling has much improved on this point. The oppressed class have taken up their own cause, and a cry for early closing has reached the ears of all. In the higher circles of trade something has been done: noble and valuable examples have have been set by some important houses. Many have reaped the benefit in better health, in mental feasts, in spiritual privileges. have joined men in a house of business, both before and after their hours of work, in noble and profitable exercises; in meetings for prayer, for Christian philanthropy, and for self-improvement; and one has felt moved to say, "Peace be on the house where men can spend such hours, instead of submerging all their waking life under the one turbid, headlong tide of London commerce."
Some have heard so much of the early closing movement, that they imagine the thing is accom plished. Why, just start for a walk in the streets of London some night at half-past ten o'clock, and open your eyes. Take especially the lower and less airy neighbourhoods. See how the windows glare and the shop doors gape, as if commerce were sitting within all greedy and unsatisfied yet; and master and men, pale by the gas-light, were his slaves, waiting to bear to him any morsel of prey that may pass. See that close-smelling lumbered oil-shop, with boxes and bundles, firkins and jars, chips, matches, candles, ill-odoured paints, and all sorts of unloveliness. See the youth with red hair and white cheeks, attentively waiting on that lady who asks for night-lights. That youth opened the door this morning as it was striking seven: the shop clock now stands at a quarter to eleven; and during those sixteen hours he has been there behind that dirty counter, among oils and ochres, white leads, black leads, red leads, shoe-blacking, lamp-black and glue, indigo, rosin and grease-among sights and smells that never yet made eyes bright or olfac tories happy. When he leaves this beauty of a shop, he will go up into the attic, and share a small room with three or four comrades. Then tomorrow morning he will be there again behind the counter by seven o'clock; and because tomorrow is the "preparation for the sabbath," he dities just up to the moment when midnight is will be immersed among his unloveable commo passing into morn. Now, should you wonder if those white cheeks grew whiter? if his poor mother, who thought that when her son got a place in London" he was in the well-doing, should see him come home next autumn with death upon his lungs?
You ask the lady who has bought the nightlights, if she thinks it right to come to a shop at this hour. She tells you, "No, she really does
not like to be seen in a shop at such an hour; but she and her husband were just returning home from a friend's, and, remembering that she had no night-lights in the house, she procured them." But, when you speak of the poor youth who served her, of his sixteen hours' daily work, of his cheerless life and imperilled health, "O really that never struck me." No, to be sure, it never struck her. The clear, soft, gentle tone, the good, kindly, honest look, tell you conclusively that the farthest thing from her heart was harshness to any mortal; yet, had she gone into such a shop at that hour, and seen a son of her own there, it would probably have struck her.
Even yet the state of things in London is very bad. The most protracted hours are still persisted in by the greater part of the grocers, chemists, oilmen, and tobacconists, by the lower class of drapers, and by the shops of every description in the closer and more unhealthy neighbourhoods. The greatest improvement has taken place in the highest class of shops, where, though urgently needed, it was not so urgently as in those which remain as bad as ever. At eleven o'clock on a Saturday night, you may see young men in that grocer's shop over there, where they have been from seven in the morning. The summer air is oppressive, the gas lights are warm, their work is unceasing. They will not be at rest before the morn of Sunday; and one of those young men, I know, is a Christian brother, a thoughtful, reading, upright, useful man, one who loves God and keeps his commandments; and to-morrow he will teach the children of others for love of their souls. I do declare it makes me indignant to see him shut up there at this hour.
Even in the wholesale houses, where the ordinary hours are tolerable, the protraction of labour in the busy season is really horrible. It is a fact that, just during the rush of the spring or autumn trade, young men are often at work till midnight, and sometimes till one or two o'clock in the morning. After a man has been labouring for a whole day in the city, with its depressing air, with its baste, wear, and tax, that he is to go on labouring by gas-light from sun-set to midnight, and then to pass into morning, is intolerable: it is a pressure on human life and happiness which no plea of commerce, which no mass of lucre can justify. "Business must be done," is with some men the whole moral law of the warehouse: the ten cɔmmandments, with all the words of charity, flee before it. But no business must be done which mars happiness, risks life, presses and wears out your fellow-creatures, for no higher end than to avoid losing an account," or forfeiting an order. Perish your orders and your accounts, rather than one of my fellow-creatures should be made consumptive, or should be rendered sickly for life; aye, rather than he should go on toiling with a heavy heart, feeling that man was cruel to him, and tempted to think that Providence was indifferent. If you cannot do all your business without grinding men, abridge it: better do less than commit cruelty. Better that fewer invoices should be written under your roof, than that hearts should be broken under it. No power can compel you to undertake more work than can be performed without oppression. How can you drive home and dine and go to bed, knowing that in
the murky city men are labouring by gas-light for your wealth alone? If "business must be done" at those hours, do it yourself; break up your own evenings, wear down your own health, make your own mother sorrow, make your own wife droop; but do not inflict all that on others. Not long ago a young man, who had been out on an errand from his warehouse, went into a room not far from it, and sat down for a while to rest: he was overcome with fatigue: he said to a friend, "I am worn out; and to-night I shall probably be at work till one or two o'clock; we have been for the last two nights. Messrs. may be very good Christians, but their religion is of no use to me."
The difficulty of employers, both wholesale and retail, is great. They cannot do justice to their men without a sacrifice; but the sacrifice should be made. The extensive merchant ought to provide such help as would bring the labour within a reasonable time. Now and then men who have always easy hours may work for a night without serious mischief; but not in London air, and not often. No man is justified in leaving such a disproportion between the work and the hands as will force the latter every now and then to murderous hours. You cannot press men to a point that stings their feelings and endangers their health, without sin. You should take care that no man is cursing you in his heart at the hour when your wife and children are going to rest. You may be liberal, you may be munificent, may have fine points of character and an attached circle of friends; but it is a canker in your gold and a blot on your name, that men who call you master feel the iron go into their soul. To them your virtues are all lost if you do not show consideration to themselves; and perhaps the very gifts of your liberality may be followed by a malign look from those who think it would be better that you paid more, even though you gave less.
The case of Mr. Budgett shows that, when a master is awake to the duty of bringing business within reasonable hours, he may effect much. In few establishments could the variety or the number of orders be greater; yet from that house the father can go forth to spend a long evening with his children, the man who loves a book can find time to read, he who delights in a ramble may enjoy the fields on a summer evening (some I have seen take share in hay-making after their day's work was done), and he who loves the house of God can enjoy the evening service and close the day in leisure at home. If masters cannot secure all this without sacrificing income and lowering their style, let them count the cost, and choose deliberately whether they will benefit their dependants at their own expense, or benefit_themselves at the expense of their dependants. Human nature has its decision on such an alternative quite ready: the charity which comes from God has its decision ready too. You may adopt the one or the other; and, according to your choice, so verily shall be your reward.
That attention to the comfort of his men which was manifested in abridging the hours of labour was not the only token of his interest in their welfare. Every sign of industry and of sincere interest in the establishment gave him pleasure; and he was never slow to meet it with a reward.
ing in his gift an estimate of his diligence; and "to a boy," said my aged informant, he would give sixpence." You may imagine that such a narrative would kindle the narrator. "Ah, sir, he was a man as had no pleasure in a muckin up money: why, sir, he would often in that a way give, aye, I believe twenty pounds on a Friday night-well, at any rate, fifteen pounds." "But would he give any thing to a man who had been lazy?"
"Yes, sir, he would gie him something; bat he would soon get rid on him."
One, very long in his employment, told me that | another of half-a-crown, and so on-each discernbut a short period before his death he mentioned to him some improvement which had occurred to him for one part of the business; and he immediately thanked him, putting a sovereign into his hand. When a year wound up well, the pleasure was not all with the principals: several of those whose diligence and talent had a share in gaining the result, found also that they had a share in the reward. Stock-taking became to them a matter of personal interest; and they would often inquire, "Hope you find things satisfactory, sir?" Surely it must be far more cheerful for a master to feel that those around him have some pleasure in his success, than to know that it is indifferent to them, because they are aware that, however large the cake may be, he will eat it all alone. One, after describing the pains Mr. Budgett had taken to make him master of his own branch of the business, and how, when satisfied with his fitness, he had devolved upon him important responsibilities, said, with a fine feeling which I should love to see masters generally kindle among those in their employment, And he never had a good year but I was the better for it when stock-taking came; indeed I may say he was a father to me in body and soul." Another, who gave a similar report of the pains taken to train him, said, "At stocktaking he has sometimes given me a hundred pounds at a time." He also mentioned to me that on one occasion he called at his house, and, seeing his three children, said he would like to make them a present, and, when he went home, gave him a ten-pound note for each of them.
His ambition was to make all about him feel the same interest in the business he did himself; and by means such as these, he succeeded to no common degree in inspiring that feeling.
A trembling old man, who had spent the chief part of life on the premises at Kingswood, spoke with great zest of the rise of the business" from little to more." He had seen the little shop swell into warehouses, he had seen the new dwellinghouse rise and enlarge, he had seen the quarry filled up and turned into a garden, he had seen the adjoining fields enclosed and made pleasuregrounds; and in all whereof he discoursed he had been a great part, for in out-door operations he had been a leader. According to him, Mr. Budgett had no greater delight than to be surrounded by a host of busy men: he would circulate among, he would animate them, would chide the idler heartily, and heartily encourage the worker. "Why, sir, I do believe as he would get, aye, just twice as much work out o' a man in a week as another master." Sometimes a lazy labourer on the grounds or farm would be set all astir by the words, "Remember the gothic door." And, when Friday night came, a stranger would see a practical comment on that enigmatical text. In a certain part of the wall surrounding the grounds was a door, called the "gothic door," by which the men went out at night. Friday evening Mr. Budgett would be found standing by this door, sometimes holding a little basket filled with minute packages in paper, sometimes showing an uncommon bulkiness of pocket. As the men passed, a package was slipped into the hand of each, and one would find that he had a present of five shillings, another of three,
This was perfectly true: he could not bear a lazy man. Tact and push he delighted in, and would largely reward; but, if he could not bring a man up to his mark, he would let him go. The statement above given, on the testimony of the old man, is perfectly correct, only that the sum bestowed in this manner seldom exceeded twelve or fourteen pounds per week. But this twined a sacred bond between men and master, made many a cottage glad; led many a labourer, when he saw his master in the house of God, to feel that he had given him cause to join all the more heartily in praise, led the family of many a labourer, as they turned away from worship and saw the family of the master going to their own abundant home, to feel that they too were going to a good Sunday dinner.
Even the horse of a prosperous man is better cared for than the horse of the struggling and the poor. But full often the labourer finds him self in an establishment where wealth is gushing in amain, but not one driblet ever reaches hin beyond the hard wages which would be his were prosperity far away; no token of kindness, n gentle pledge that when gains are counted the in struments employed to win them are remembered With such hearts as men have in them, it is no matter of amazement that this state of thing should prepare them for all sorts of seduction, fo all sour theories about the enmity of capital labour, for all blind ambitions about organizin labour, sharing profits, and equalizing position.
judiciously set forth and defended the doctrine and discipline of the church of England. About the year 1600 he fell into a long and sharp sickness, occasioned by a cold taken in his passage by water betwixt London and Gravesend, from the malignity of which he was never recovered; for after that time till his death he was never free | from thoughtful days and restless nights. But a submission to his will that makes the sick man's bed easy by giving rest to his soul, made his very languishment comfortable; and yet all this time he was solicitous in his study, and said often to Dr. Saravia (who saw him daily, and was the chief comfort of his life), "that he did not beg a long life of God for any other reason bat to live to finish his three remaining books of 'Ecclesiastical Polity'; and then, Lord, let thy servant depart in peace'," which was his usual expression. And God heard his prayers, though he denied the church the benefit of those books, as completed by himself; and it is thought he hastened his own death by hastening to give life to his own books; but this is certain that, the nearer he was to his death, the more he grew in humility, in holy thoughts, and resolutions.
About a month before his death, this good man, that never knew, or at least that never considered the pleasures of the palate, began first to lose his appetite, and then to have an averseness to all food, insomuch that he seemed to live some intermitted weeks by the smell of food only, and yet still studied and writ. And now his guardian angel seemed to foretell him that the day of his dissolution drew near, for which his vigorous soul appeared to thirst. In this time of his sickness, and not many days before his death, his house was robbed; of which he having notice, his question was, "Are my books and written papers safe?" and being answered "that they were,' his reply was, “Then it matters not; for no other loss can trouble me."
About one day before his death, Dr. Saravia, who knew the very secrets of his soul, came to him, and after a conference of the benefit, the necessity, and safety of the church's absolution, it was resolved that the doctor should give him both that and the sacrament of the Lord's supper on the following day. To which end the doctor came; and, after a short retirement and privacy, they two returned to the company; and then the doctor gave him, and some of those friends which were with him, the blessed sacrament of the body and blood of Jesus. Which being performed, the doctor thought he saw a reverend gaiety and joy in his face. But it lasted not long; for his bodily infirmities did return suddenly, and became more visible, insomuch that the doctor apprehended death ready to seize him; yet after some amendment, left him at night with a promise to return early the day following, which he did; and then found him better in appearance, deep in contemplation, and not inclinable to discourse, which gave the doctor Gccasion to require his present thoughts, to the which he replied, that "he was meditating the number and nature of angels, and their blessed obedience and order, without which peace could not be in heaven. And, O that it might be so on earth!"
After which words, he said: "I have lived to see this world is made up of perturbations; and I have long been preparing to leave it, and gather
ing comfort for the dreadful hour of making my account with God, which I now apprehend to be near. And, though I have, by his grace, loved him in my youth, and feared him in my age, and laboured to have a conscience void of offence to him and to all men, yet if thou, O Lord, be extreme to mark what I have done amiss, who can abide it? And therefore, where I have failed, Lord, show mercy unto me; for I plead not my righteousness, but the forgiveness of my unrighteousness, for his merits who died to purchase pardon for penitent sinners; and, since I owe thee a death, Lord, let it not be terrible; and then take thine own: I submit to it. Let not mine, O Lord, but let thy will be done," with which expression he fell into a dangerous slumber-dangerous as to his recovery. Yet recover he did; but it was to speak only these few words: "Good doctor, God hath heard my daily petitions; for I am at peace with all men; and he is at peace with me; and from that blessed assurance, I feel that inward joy which this world can neither give nor take from me: my conscience beareth me this witness; and this witness makes the thoughts of death joyful. I could wish to live to do the church more service, but cannot hope for it; for my days are past as a shadow that returns not."
More he would have spoken, but his spirits failed him; and, after a short conflict betwixt nature and death, a quiet sigh put a period to his last breath; and so he fell asleep. And now he seems to rest like Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. Let me here draw his curtain, till, with the most glorious company of the patriarchs and apostles, and the most noble army of martyrs and confessors, this most learned, most humble, holy man, shall also awake to receive an eternal tranquillity, and with it a greater degree of glory than common Christians shall be made partakers of. In the mean time, bless, O Lord, bless his brethren, the clergy of this nation, with effectual endeavours to attain, if not to his great learning, yet to his remarkable meekness, his godly simplicity, and his Christian moderation; for these will bring peace at the last; and, Lord, let his most his excellent writings be blessed with what he designed when he undertook them, which was glory to thee, O God on high, peace in thy church, and good-will to mankind! Amen, amen*.
The following are some of Richard Hooker's precepts and meditations concerning sickness and death, selected from his writings:
1. Our good or evil estate after death dependeth most upon the quality of our lives. 2. Concerning the ways of death, the choice thereof is only in his hands who alone hath power over all flesh, unto whose appointment we ought with patience meekly to submit ourselves. 3. Let us, which know what it is to die as Absalom or Ananias and Sapphira died, let us beg of God, that, when the hour of our rest is come, the patterns of our dissolution may be Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and David. 4. Wisdom so far prevaileth with men as to make them content to endure the longer grief and bodily pain, that the soul may have time to call itself to a just account of all things past, by means whereof repentance is perfected there is wherein to exercise patience, the joys of the kingdom of heaven have leisure to * Izaak Walton's Life of Richard Hooker, in Wordsworth's Eccl. Biog.
present themselves, the pleasures of sin and this world's vanities are censured with uncorrupt judgment, charity is free to make advised choice of the soil wherein her last seed may most fruitfully be bestowed, the mind is at liberty to have due regard of that disposition of worldly things which it can never afterwards alter; and, because the nearer we draw unto God the more we are oftentimes enlightened with the shining beams of his most glorious presence, as being then even almost in sight, a leisurable departure may in that case bring forth, for the good of such as are present, that which shall cause them for ever after, from the bottom of their hearts, to pray, O let us die the death of the righteous; and let our last end be like theirs!
NOTICE OF BOOKS.
WE have received several books within the last month; some of which we have already introduced to our readers' notice by extracts of the others we will now proceed to speak.
"Daily Bible Illustrations: being original Readings for a year (Evening Series);" by John Kitto, D.D., F.S.A. Edinburgh: Oliphant and Sons; London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co. 1852. We rejoice to welcome this volume. Our readers know how warmly we approved of the former series; and how earnestly, as far as our voice could be heard, we recommended it to the family circle. We are equally gratified with what we have read of the work now before us. It comprises Job and the poetical books of the Old Testament, the larger part of the volume being dedicated to the illustration of Job. And much indeed there is to throw light upon that difficult portion of God's word. Dr. Kitto has a happy talent in seizing some one prominent particular in every "reading," bringing his stores of information to explain and illustrate it, and drawing from the whole some useful lesson. There is, of course, less of historical detail in this volume than in those which preceded it; but it is, if possible, more interesting, as it embodies a part of scripture less open than the rest to popular explanation, and comes, therefore, with greater freshness to the reader. No one, we think, should neglect to possess himself of this work.
"The Story of Nineveh." Edinburgh: Paton and Ritchie. 1852. Some of the chief facts of Dr. Layard's discoveries are narrated here in an attractive manner, and in a style fitted for children. It is, indeed, the substance of a lecture delivered on the subject to a Sunday-school. There are several wellexecuted woodcuts.
"Titus before Jerusalem, and other Poems." Bath: Binns and Goodwin. There are some pleasing pieces in this volume; and a spirit of piety seems to pervade the whole. We shall take an early opportunity of giving our readers a specimen by extracting one of the smaller poems.
"The Scottish Ecclesiastical Journal." Vol. I. Edinburgh Grant and Son. London: Rivingtons. It is stated in the introductory address that this publication originated with the design of producing something for the Episcopal Scottish Church similar to the "Ecclesiastical Gazette" among ourselves. But there is this distinction: that this Journal not only conveys intelligence, but discusses with much freedom various theological topics. To enter on an examination of many of these would lead us into that kind of controversy which we eschew. It contains much information which must be very acceptable to the members of the Scottish episcopal communion; neither does it confine itself to this: it includes ecclesiastical intelligence from England, the colonies, &c., &c., and ani
madverts upon the proceedings of our bishops and clergy. We should think it desirable if it were more exclusively devoted to the affairs of its own church. John Kitto, D.D., &c. No. II. London; Blackader. "The Journal of Sacred Literature." Edited by 1852. While recommending in general the first number of this publication, we drew attention, in no unfriendly spirit, to certain points in which we thought improvement desirable. One of these was the way in which the Greek quotations were printed. We are happy to see that the present number exhibits a marked change in this respect for the better. There are interesting papers in it; on Solomon's Song (to which we would specially draw attention), "The Voice of Israel from the Rocks of Sinai," "Characteristics of Miracles," &c., &c.; also a continuation of the article, we before noticed, on the Rephaim. Altogether, we think this "Journal" a valuable accession to our literature, and trust that competent biblical scholars will not be wanting to enrich its pages with matter tending to illustrate the sacred word. The researches of our own times offer a fund of materials which former writers did not enjoy; and we would aid to the utmost of our power every purpose of employing such materials for such a holy object.
"Two Stories for my young Friends: The Ericksons; The Clever Boy, or, Consider Another." By Miss F. Brown. Edinburgh: Paton and Ritchie. 1852. These are well-told stories; they convey some useful lessons; we would therefore recommend them to our juvenile readers.
"Occasional Papers: Plymouth Church Reform Association." London: Hale and Co. 1851. Here are just the old objections to the prayer-book, which have been a thousand times exposed, vamped-up afresh by men who, if they mean well, have really not the knowledge to discuss the subjects on which they so dogmatically pronounce.
Allerton and Dreux; or, the War of Opinion." By the Author of a Rhyming Chronicle. 2 vols. London: Wertheim and Macintosh. 1851. We have been much interested in these volumes: the characters are well and naturally drawn, and the attention of the reader is not suffered to flag. We do not feel, however, that we can in a short notice like this do justice to such a work; and we shall therefore hereafter introduce into our pages an extract from it, which may better put our readers in possession of its general character and object. But we may, meanwhile, say that the Allerton and Dreux, whose names form the title, are clergymen of different theological views, who contract, in spite of this difference, a friendship for each other-occasionally, it is true, interrupted, but finally established by a connexion, as their sentiments come to agree. It is not, however, a book of controversy, though the predilections of the writer are clearly indicated.
We have also received "The Dictionary of Domestic Medicine and Household Surgery"; by Spencer Thomson, M.D. Part I. London: Groombridge and Sons. "Tracts, containing Antidote to the Council of Trent," &c.; by John Calvin. Vol. III. Edinbargh: Calvin Translation Society. 1851. We can hardly be expected to form a judgment of works of which we have before us only single parts, or an odd volume. "Elements of English History." Leeds: Harrington. London: Rivingtons. 1851. An useful compendium. "The Romanizers; an Examination of some of the Causes of Dissatisfaction with the Church of England which have led, and are leading, some of the Clergy and Laity to join the Church of Rome; being the substance of two Sermons." By the rev. J. C. Miller, M.A., rector of St. Martin's, Birmingham. London: Hatchard. 1851.
Since the above was in type, other works have reached us, the notice of which we must necessarily defer till next month.