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The Art of Money Getting or Golden Rules for Making Money - Don't Mistake Your Vocation

1. The Art of Money Getting

2. Don't Mistake Your Vocation

3. Use the Best Tools

4. Read The Newspapers

The safest plan, and the one most sure of success for the young man
starting in life, is to select the vocation which is most congenial to
his tastes. Parents and guardians are often quite too negligent in
regard to this. It very common for a father to say, for example: "I have
five boys. I will make Billy a clergyman; John a lawyer; Tom a doctor,
and Dick a farmer." He then goes into town and looks about to see what
he will do with Sammy. He returns home and says "Sammy, I see watch-
making is a nice genteel business; I think I will make you a goldsmith."
He does this, regardless of Sam's natural inclinations, or genius.

We are all, no doubt, born for a wise purpose. There is as much
diversity in our brains as in our countenances. Some are born natural
mechanics, while some have great aversion to machinery. Let a dozen boys
of ten years get together, and you will soon observe two or three are
"whittling" out some ingenious device; working with locks or complicated
machinery. When they were but five years old, their father could find no
toy to please them like a puzzle. They are natural mechanics; but the
other eight or nine boys have different aptitudes. I belong to the
latter class; I never had the slightest love for mechanism; on the
contrary, I have a sort of abhorrence for complicated machinery. I never
had ingenuity enough to whittle a cider tap so it would not leak. I
never could make a pen that I could write with, or understand the
principle of a steam engine. If a man was to take such a boy as I was,
and attempt to make a watchmaker of him, the boy might, after an
apprenticeship of five or seven years, be able to take apart and put
together a watch; but all through life he would be working up hill and
seizing every excuse for leaving his work and idling away his time.
Watchmaking is repulsive to him.

Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and
best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed. I am glad to
believe that the majority of persons do find their right vocation. Yet
we see many who have mistaken their calling, from the blacksmith up (or
down) to the clergyman. You will see, for instance, that extraordinary
linguist the "learned blacksmith," who ought to have been a teacher of
languages; and you may have seen lawyers, doctors and clergymen who were
better fitted by nature for the anvil or the lapstone.


After securing the right vocation, you must be careful to select the
proper location. You may have been cut out for a hotel keeper, and they
say it requires a genius to "know how to keep a hotel." You might
conduct a hotel like clock-work, and provide satisfactorily for five
hundred guests every day; yet, if you should locate your house in a
small village where there is no railroad communication or public travel,
the location would be your ruin. It is equally important that you do not
commence business where there are already enough to meet all demands in
the same occupation. I remember a case which illustrates this subject.
When I was in London in 1858, I was passing down Holborn with an English
friend and came to the "penny shows." They had immense cartoons outside,
portraying the wonderful curiosities to be seen "all for a penny." Being
a little in the "show line" myself, I said "let us go in here." We soon
found ourselves in the presence of the illustrious showman, and he
proved to be the sharpest man in that line I had ever met. He told us
some extraordinary stories in reference to his bearded ladies, his
Albinos, and his Armadillos, which we could hardly believe, but thought
it "better to believe it than look after the proof'." He finally begged
to call our attention to some wax statuary, and showed us a lot of the
dirtiest and filthiest wax figures imaginable. They looked as if they
had not seen water since the Deluge.

"What is there so wonderful about your statuary?" I asked.

"I beg you not to speak so satirically," he replied, "Sir, these are
not Madam Tussaud's wax figures, all covered with gilt and tinsel and
imitation diamonds, and copied from engravings and photographs. Mine,
sir, were taken from life. Whenever you look upon one of those figures,
you may consider that you are looking upon the living individual."

Glancing casually at them, I saw one labeled "Henry VIII," and feeling a
little curious upon seeing that it looked like Calvin Edson, the living
skeleton, I said: "Do you call that 'Henry the Eighth?'" He replied,
"Certainly; sir; it was taken from life at Hampton Court, by special
order of his majesty; on such a day."

He would have given the hour of the day if I had resisted; I said,
"Everybody knows that 'Henry VIII.' was a great stout old king, and that
figure is lean and lank; what do you say to that?"

"Why," he replied, "you would be lean and lank yourself if you sat there
as long as he has."

There was no resisting such arguments. I said to my English friend, "Let
us go out; do not tell him who I am; I show the white feather; he beats

He followed us to the door, and seeing the rabble in the street, he
called out, "ladies and gentlemen, I beg to draw your attention to the
respectable character of my visitors," pointing to us as we walked away.
I called upon him a couple of days afterwards; told him who I was, and

"My friend, you are an excellent showman, but you have selected a bad

He replied, "This is true, sir; I feel that all my talents are thrown
away; but what can I do?"

"You can go to America," I replied. "You can give full play to your
faculties over there; you will find plenty of elbowroom in America; I
will engage you for two years; after that you will be able to go on your
own account."

He accepted my offer and remained two years in my New York Museum. He
then went to New Orleans and carried on a traveling show business during
the summer. To-day he is worth sixty thousand dollars, simply because he
selected the right vocation and also secured the proper location. The
old proverb says, "Three removes are as bad as a fire," but when a man
is in the fire, it matters but little how soon or how often he removes.


Young men starting in life should avoid running into debt. There is
scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish
position to get ill, yet we find many a young man, hardly out of his
"teens," running in debt. He meets a chum and says, "Look at this: I
have got trusted for a new suit of clothes." He seems to look upon the
clothes as so much given to him; well, it frequently is so, but, if he
succeeds in paying and then gets trusted again, he is adopting a habit
which will keep him in poverty through life. Debt robs a man of his
self-respect, and makes him almost despise himself. Grunting and
groaning and working for what he has eaten up or worn out, and now when
he is called upon to pay up, he has nothing to show for his money; this
is properly termed "working for a dead horse." I do not speak of
merchants buying and selling on credit, or of those who buy on credit in
order to turn the purchase to a profit. The old Quaker said to his
farmer son, "John, never get trusted; but if thee gets trusted for
anything, let it be for 'manure,' because that will help thee pay it
back again."

Mr. Beecher advised young men to get in debt if they could to a small
amount in the purchase of land, in the country districts. "If a young
man," he says, "will only get in debt for some land and then get
married, these two things will keep him straight, or nothing will." This
may be safe to a limited extent, but getting in debt for what you eat
and drink and wear is to be avoided. Some families have a foolish habit
of getting credit at "the stores," and thus frequently purchase many
things which might have been dispensed with.

It is all very well to say; "I have got trusted for sixty days, and if I
don't have the money the creditor will think nothing about it." There is
no class of people in the world, who have such good memories as
creditors. When the sixty days run out, you will have to pay. If you do
not pay, you will break your promise, and probably resort to a
falsehood. You may make some excuse or get in debt elsewhere to pay it,
but that only involves you the deeper.

A good-looking, lazy young fellow, was the apprentice boy, Horatio. His
employer said, "Horatio, did you ever see a snail?" "I - think - I -
have," he drawled out. "You must have met him then, for I am sure you
never overtook one," said the "boss." Your creditor will meet you or
overtake you and say, "Now, my young friend, you agreed to pay me; you
have not done it, you must give me your note." You give the note on
interest and it commences working against you; "it is a dead horse." The
creditor goes to bed at night and wakes up in the morning better off
than when he retired to bed, because his interest has increased during
the night, but you grow poorer while you are sleeping, for the interest
is accumulating against you.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but
a terrible master. When you have it mastering you; when interest is
constantly piling up against you, it will keep you down in the worst
kind of slavery. But let money work for you, and you have the most
devoted servant in the world. It is no "eye-servant." There is nothing
animate or inanimate that will work so faithfully as money when placed
at interest, well secured. It works night and day, and in wet or dry

I was born in the blue-law State of Connecticut, where the old Puritans
had laws so rigid that it was said, "they fined a man for kissing his
wife on Sunday." Yet these rich old Puritans would have thousands of
dollars at interest, and on Saturday night would be worth a certain
amount; on Sunday they would go to church and perform all the duties of
a Christian. On waking up on Monday morning, they would find themselves
considerably richer than the Saturday night previous, simply because
their money placed at interest had worked faithfully for them all day
Sunday, according to law!

Do not let it work against you; if you do there is no chance for success
in life so far as money is concerned. John Randolph, the eccentric
Virginian, once exclaimed in Congress, "Mr. Speaker, I have discovered
the philosopher's stone: pay as you go." This is, indeed, nearer to the
philosopher's stone than any alchemist has ever yet arrived.


When a man is in the right path, he must persevere. I speak of this
because there are some persons who are "born tired;" naturally lazy and
possessing no self-reliance and no perseverance. But they can cultivate
these qualities, as Davy Crockett said:

"This thing remember, when I am dead: Be sure you are right, then go

It is this go-aheaditiveness, this determination not to let the
"horrors" or the "blues" take possession of you, so as to make you relax
your energies in the struggle for independence, which you must

How many have almost reached the goal of their ambition, but, losing
faith in themselves, have relaxed their energies, and the golden prize
has been lost forever.

It is, no doubt, often true, as Shakespeare says:

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads
on to fortune."

If you hesitate, some bolder hand will stretch out before you and get
the prize. Remember the proverb of Solomon: "He becometh poor that
dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich."

Perseverance is sometimes but another word for self-reliance. Many
persons naturally look on the dark side of life, and borrow trouble.
They are born so. Then they ask for advice, and they will be governed by
one wind and blown by another, and cannot rely upon themselves. Until
you can get so that you can rely upon yourself, you need not expect to

I have known men, personally, who have met with pecuniary reverses, and
absolutely committed suicide, because they thought they could never
overcome their misfortune. But I have known others who have met more
serious financial difficulties, and have bridged them over by simple
perseverance, aided by a firm belief that they were doing justly, and
that Providence would "overcome evil with good." You will see this
illustrated in any sphere of life.

Take two generals; both understand military tactics, both educated at
West Point, if you please, both equally gifted; yet one, having this
principle of perseverance, and the other lacking it, the former will
succeed in his profession, while the latter will fail. One may hear the
cry, "the enemy are coming, and they have got cannon."

"Got cannon?" says the hesitating general.


"Then halt every man."

He wants time to reflect; his hesitation is his ruin; the enemy passes
unmolested, or overwhelms him; while on the other hand, the general of
pluck, perseverance and self-reliance, goes into battle with a will,
and, amid the clash of arms, the booming of cannon, the shrieks of the
wounded, and the moans of the dying, you will see this man persevering,
going on, cutting and slashing his way through with unwavering
determination, inspiring his soldiers to deeds of fortitude, valor, and


Work at it, if necessary, early and late, in season and out of season,
not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that
which can be done just as well now. The old proverb is full of truth and
meaning, "Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well." Many a
man acquires a fortune by doing his business thoroughly, while his
neighbor remains poor for life, because he only half does it. Ambition,
energy, industry, perseverance, are indispensable requisites for success
in business.

Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help
himself. It won't do to spend your time like Mr. Micawber, in waiting
for something to "turn up." To such men one of two things usually "turns
up:" the poorhouse or the jail; for idleness breeds bad habits, and
clothes a man in rags. The poor spendthrift vagabond says to a rich man:

"I have discovered there is enough money in the world for all of us, if
it was equally divided; this must be done, and we shall all be happy

"But," was the response, "if everybody was like you, it would be spent
in two months, and what would you do then?"

"Oh! divide again; keep dividing, of course!"

I was recently reading in a London paper an account of a like
philosophic pauper who was kicked out of a cheap boarding-house because
he could not pay his bill, but he had a roll of papers sticking out of
his coat pocket, which, upon examination, proved to be his plan for
paying off the national debt of England without the aid of a penny.
People have got to do as Cromwell said: "not only trust in Providence,
but keep the powder dry." Do your part of the work, or you cannot
succeed. Mahomet, one night, while encamping in the desert, overheard
one of his fatigued followers remark: "I will loose my camel, and trust
it to God!" "No, no, not so," said the prophet, "tie thy camel, and
trust it to God!" Do all you can for yourselves, and then trust to
Providence, or luck, or whatever you please to call it, for the rest.


The eye of the employer is often worth more than the hands of a dozen
employees. In the nature of things, an agent cannot be so faithful to
his employer as to himself. Many who are employers will call to mind
instances where the best employees have overlooked important points
which could not have escaped their own observation as a proprietor. No
man has a right to expect to succeed in life unless he understands his
business, and nobody can understand his business thoroughly unless he
learns it by personal application and experience. A man may be a
manufacturer: he has got to learn the many details of his business
personally; he will learn something every day, and he will find he will
make mistakes nearly every day. And these very mistakes are helps to him
in the way of experiences if he but heeds them. He will be like the
Yankee tin-peddler, who, having been cheated as to quality in the
purchase of his merchandise, said: "All right, there's a little
information to be gained every day; I will never be cheated in that way
again." Thus a man buys his experience, and it is the best kind if not
purchased at too dear a rate.

I hold that every man should, like Cuvier, the French naturalist,
thoroughly know his business. So proficient was he in the study of
natural history, that you might bring to him the bone, or even a section
of a bone of an animal which he had never seen described, and, reasoning
from analogy, he would be able to draw a picture of the object from
which the bone had been taken. On one occasion his students attempted to
deceive him. They rolled one of their number in a cow skin and put him
under the professor's table as a new specimen. When the philosopher came
into the room, some of the students asked him what animal it was.
Suddenly the animal said "I am the devil and I am going to eat you." It
was but natural that Cuvier should desire to classify this creature, and
examining it intently, he said:

"Divided hoof; graminivorous! It cannot be done."

He knew that an animal with a split hoof must live upon grass and grain,
or other kind of vegetation, and would not be inclined to eat flesh,
dead or alive, so he considered himself perfectly safe. The possession
of a perfect knowledge of your business is an absolute necessity in
order to insure success.

Among the maxims of the elder Rothschild was one, all apparent paradox:
"Be cautious and bold." This seems to be a contradiction in terms, but
it is not, and there is great wisdom in the maxim. It is, in fact, a
condensed statement of what I have already said. It is to say; "you must
exercise your caution in laying your plans, but be bold in carrying them
out." A man who is all caution, will never dare to take hold and be
successful; and a man who is all boldness, is merely reckless, and must
eventually fail. A man may go on "'change" and make fifty, or one
hundred thousand dollars in speculating in stocks, at a single
operation. But if he has simple boldness without caution, it is mere
chance, and what he gains to-day he will lose to-morrow. You must have
both the caution and the boldness, to insure success.

The Rothschilds have another maxim: "Never have anything to do with an
unlucky man or place." That is to say, never have anything to do with a
man or place which never succeeds, because, although a man may appear to
be honest and intelligent, yet if he tries this or that thing and always
fails, it is on account of some fault or infirmity that you may not be
able to discover but nevertheless which must exist.

There is no such thing in the world as luck. There never was a man who
could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street
to-day, and another to-morrow, and so on, day after day: He may do so
once in his life; but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable
to lose it as to find it. "Like causes produce like effects." If a man
adopts the proper methods to be successful, "luck" will not prevent him.
If he does not succeed, there are reasons for it, although, perhaps, he
may not be able to see them.

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