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THE BRIEF REMARKER.
OF THE PECULIAR CAUSES OF SO PREVALENT A RESTLESSNESS OF
WHILE some ruin their circumstances by their indolence, others do it by their restlessness; always busy, but never pursuing any plan of regular industry. No sooner are they settled down in one business, than they change it for another. They are "every thing by turns and nothing long." Their attention thus dissipated turns to no account, and poverty overtakes them while they are flying so many different ways to escape it. Whereas a steady, straightforward course in almost any single business might have secured them a competence.
It is neither an imaginary nor a rare character, that I have now been describing : it is to be met with every where, in town and country. Thousands are undone by means of this single foible; every thing else in their habits and dispositions giving promise of success. This restlessness is owing sometimes to natural temper; but most commonly, perhaps, to the peculiar circumstances of the country in which we live. In China, a boy must follow the occupation of his father, and stick to that or starve. In India, no one can raise himself above the level of the caste in which he happens to be born.
Nor is the mass of Europeans altogether free from shackles, that bind them down to occupations in which their own choice has had no concern. If a man there be bred a cobbler, he hardly may aspire to the honor of making shoes. But here, on the other hand, a man may put off his calling almost as easily as his clothes; or he may patch together several callings, and pursue them alternately or all at once, as best suits his own fancy. Here, the field of individual enterprise is alike open to all. Here, no one is of a family so humble as to be precluded from the possibility of raising himself, not only to opulence, but to office and rank. Here, wealth is shifting hands with such rapidity that, in one or two generations, the hills sink and the valleys rise.
Now, as this condition of things animates thousands with the spirit of enterprise, so it occasions in very many a restlessness and instability of feeling. Possessing freedom of choice, and having before them so many objects to choose betwixt, they never come to an election that fully satisfies them. Add to this, that the last twenty-five years have (by reason of the unexampled state of Europe) furnished instances, in almost every district of our country, of some rising suddenly to great opulence, by a single stroke in the experiments of speculation, and without any attention at all to the process of patient industry ;a circumstance that has operated powerfully on young minds, and on minds not young, in rendering them dissatisfied with slow gains or small profits, and impatient of the drudgery of any laborious calling. Not to mention that our country has, of itself, for a very long time past, furnished magnificent scenes, and numerous opportunities of speculation, altogether unexampled perhaps in the history of man.
Moreover, it is obvious to remark, that our enterprising youth are necessarily, as it were, tinctured with a romantic disposition. The books that they most read, are of the romantic kind; alike inflaming the imagination, and misleading the judgment, by descriptions “of a world where events are produced by causes widely and manifestly different from those which regulate the course of human affairs." Also, for almost the term of a whole generation, there has been constantly exhibited to view stich a series of marvels in the civilized world, that the history of real life carries on it the appearance of romance.
Nothing very strange is it, therefore, that the minds of a great many are unsettled, notional, and fraught with extravagant expectations. And this is the less to be wondered at, as it is customary for our youth to step into manhood earlier than in former ages, or perhaps than in any country else. Commencing men at an immature period, and under such powerful impulses to wild extravagances of imagination, it would be marvellous indeed if they were not, many of them, averse to any sober, rational, and steady plan of life.
To contrast the past with the present in a short biographical notice of one of the first and wealthiest merchants of the last age, the writer remarks: “ It was an invariable rule with him to avoid every kind of dangerous experiment, and to confine himself to such branches of trade as admitted the surest principles of calculation."--This golden rule of business, which in former times of "steady habits » was sacredly regarded, not merely by that merchant, but generally ;-this golden rule of business has, by a concurrence of unparalleled circumstances, been made to give place to rashness of speculation and a restless spirit of adventure-an evil, which nothing but length of time, and the smart-giving rod of stern experience will, in any likelihood, be able to cure.
OF TROUBLES OF OUR OWN MAKING.
THERE is in our nature such a restlessness of disposition, that we commonly make to ourselves more than half the evils we feel. Unsatisfied with what we are, or possess, we are still craving something past or to come, and by regrets, desires, and fears, are perpetually poisoning the streams of present enjoyment. The weather is too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry. If we have nothing to do, time hangs upon us an insupportable burden. If our circumstances compel us to daily labor, we fret to see others enjoying their leisure. Although we have food and raiment enough, and good enough, still we are dissatisfied that We are not rich. If, on the contrary, we chance to be rich, the weight of cares, the pains of getting, the difficulty of keeping, and the fears of losing, give us incessant disquiet and fatigue.
Mrs. Thrift has a decent competence, together with a kind husband, and fine children; but her heart is sick because she cannot live in the splendid style of her wealthy neighbor, Mrs. Modish. At the same time, Mrs. Modish, yoked to a surly,