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SAFEGUARDS AGAINST ACCIDENT.

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has had no peculiar advantages, is shown by the fact that he has brought up in comfort and placed out in life, according to their station, a family of six children.”

The other instance we propose to mention is, that of a man, in a similar position of life, who by habits of frugality was enabled to save money enough to commence in a small way as a dealer in stock; by assiduous attention he increased his business and accumulated considerable capital; he was a man of deep and consistent religious feeling and practice, but in an evil hour for himself was induced to invest his savings in the conduct of a lucrative public-house. This was the destruction of his happiness and comfort; he had strained his conscience, and in his compunction and remorse at the revels carried on sometimes under his roof his mind gave way, and he is now a hopeless imbecile, pottering about in the management of a little farm, under the care of some kind relatives.

It is pitiful to see the poor man, and to hear his mumbled ejaculations indicative of a time when he was happy in the belief that he was in the path of duty and religion; and we still hope that he is not without its solace and comfort, though his mind is well nigh, if not altogether, cast from its pedestal. We should be sorry to put a sweeping condemnation on any occupation of ordinary life, but it is evident that in this case the man went against his own conscience in his haste to be rich, and hence the mournful result.

In the ports and harbours of our coasts are great numbers of people, poor and with little means, who earn their living on the waters. Pilots, ferrymen, letters of boats for business or pleasure, and fishermen. Many or all of these men are liable, at any time, through the destructive storms raging on our shores, to be deprived of all their little property. How often do we read in the columns of the newspapers, thrilling and fearful accounts of whole fleets of fishing-boats caught in a gale, and lost with all their gear and netting. Oftentimes also the men share the same fate ; but if they happily escape with their lives, they have yet lost, not only all their goods, but the very means which are absolutely essential to the earning of their living. Few of those who pursue their calling independently insure their boats or nets, for the premium would appear to them to make too great a deduction from their sometimes scanty earnings. Widespread ruin among these men follows every storm, and it is wonderful how the losses are repaired. Public charity sometimes sets on foot a subscription for the purpose, or men in good repute may obtain new boats and materials on credit; but many must be irretrievably ruined, and obliged to hang about our quays and shores endeavouring to pick up a scanty subsistence by odd and temporary jobs of work; or, failing to succeed in this way, are forced to enter as sailors.

This latter alternative might be thought at first sight not to involve much inconvenience, but we know that the man who has passed many years in occupations carried on in the immediate neighbourhood of his own home, finds it very hard to be compelled to wander over the face of the whole earth; to leave for indefinite periods the wife and family who have been his pride and joy, and the incitements to his exertions.

How far the small sarings of men of this class would avail to make up for any complete loss or sweeping disaster is not very clear; but if they had even a small sum of money saved, it would at any rate supply immediate necessities, and give the unfortunates time to look round and gather themselves up again. There is nothing so much calculated to depress a man's spirits, in the endeavour to commence anew the business of life, as the immediate and pressing wants of him. self and his family in the matters of food and clothing, and ofttimes doubtless the result is, that the man, convinced of the hopelessness of his efforts, gives up in utter disappointment and throws himself on the cold charity of the workhouse ; while he might have recovered himself if he had had a little ready money to work upon.

We applaud the constant charitable contributions of wealthier neighbours, and even of the whole nation in the face of exceptional calamity, but “ Heaven helps them that help themselves," and there may be perhaps more than mere fancy in the idea that the Divine Author and Instigator of all charity would influence the wealthy to open their purse-strings wider and with more alacrity for the assistance of men who they knew had made some provision themselves for unforeseen disaster.

“ They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters," over-sea sailors, in contradistinction to those who frequent their home coasts only, are often deprived of their clothes and effects by shipwreck. Although their immediate necessities are promptly and carefully attended to by the charitable societies who devote themselves entirely to this object, yet it inevitably follows that the unfortunate shipwrecked mariner is for a longer or shorter time out of berth, and even when he again obtains employment, he has not the necessary outfit to enable him to undertake it. Warm clothes and bedding are absolutely necessary to protect him from the inclemency of the weather, and the only way he can procure these is by mortgaging his future earnings, and obtaining advance notes, which are taken in payment by outfitters, who invariably charge a heavy discount for the accommodation, and not unfrequently a greatly enhanced price for the goods they supply.

A small portion of the money squandered in the most absurd recklessness and profligacy by many sailors after a long voyage, would, if they could be induced to put it aside, secure them at least from a great

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part of the inconvenience of losing their clothes and kit by shipwreck.

The clergy in our seaports and harbours, as well as in the agricultural and manufacturing districts, would doubtless be doing great good in adding to their spiritual advice and care some suggestions on the prudent management of the incomes of even the poorest men.

The Government measure of Post Office Savings Banks offers greater facilities for deposit than have been hitherto afforded. Few districts exist where there is not one at an easy distance. But there is a link to be supplied before they can be available for those who can only save pence at a time, for the minimum deposit in these banks is a

shilling

The system of Penny Banks should therefore become a parochial institution, where the small savings of the labourer and mechanic may be received and taken care of until they can be placed in the Post Office Banks. The somewhat complex regulations as to deposit and withdrawal rather militate against their use at firsthand by the very poor, and it should be an object with the promoters and supporters of the Penny Banks to facilitate the transactions of the depositors as much as possible. One great thing to be impressed upon them is, to look upon their savings as a sacred deposit, not to be touched, except on extraordinary emergencies, until the time arrives for which the investments were originally made ; namely, some anticipated family expense, or some opportunity of employing the money remuneratively by investing it in business speculations.

But there are many difficulties to be encountered in persuading persons

of

very limited means to think they can save even the smallest sum from their ever-pressing necessities. No doubt there are many who are so irretrievably swamped by imprudence at the outset of life that there is really no possibility of ever commencing a system of even small savings. Now in this, as in all other improving processes, the important matter is to get hold of the young. Let the boys and girls in the schools be encouraged to make a beginning while they are there; any, the

very smallest sum will do for this; get their names in the books of the bank for any amount whatever. If a boy can manage only a shilling during his schooldays, that will be a nucleus to attract more when he comes to earn money for himself. There should be meetings in some convenient building, at stated times, to receive deposits, and at intervals more or less frequent, the people should be encouraged to bring their neighbours to hear a short lecture or recommendation of the savings' banks, illustrated by examples for encouragement or warning from the current occurrences of the parish or neighbourhood. It would be necessary—perhaps importunately—to impress upon the parishioners of the middle and upper classes, the duty and advantage of lending

VOL. 1.-NO. V.

LL

their aid in the furtherance of this as of other good works, for the labours which would press too onerously upon the clergyman and his family would become light when divided among many willing hands.

We have no doubt that the formation of habits of frugality would have a great effect on the moral tone and the religious feeling of that part of a parochial community to which we now particularly refer. The man who is always struggling to make both ends meet, and more so, the man who is hopelessly involved in debt, has his spirits depressed, his independence undermined, and his whole mind rendered incapable of receiving, or unwilling to entertain, those nobler aspirations and aims which it is especially the object and business of the clergyman to encourage.

But, as suggested previously, the clergy should charge their parishioners of the comfortable and wealthy classes to come to their aid, to relieve them of a part of the burden, which in many cases is too heavy for them. The association of these persons for any good and charitable work in the parish, could not fail to draw together the clergyman and his flock in closer and happier bonds of Christian affection than exists at present in many places.

In fact the lay members of the Church require to be stirred up to assist in this kind of thing; and we doubt not that if they were earnestly and lovingly exhorted to the work, they would do it cheerfully and heartily, while the frequent meetings of good men and women, intent upon

the welfare of their fellow men would tend to that expansion of heart which "deviseth liberal things." Suggestions of new and extended benevolence and usefulness would arise from time to time, and we should see what is not so frequently seen in our times - a whole parish bound together in brotherly and Christian love, the people vying with each other in kindly suggestions and actions; while the good pastor would superintend and direct their exertions, strengthening the strong and encouraging the failing and the weak by his kindly advice and example.

We think it unnecessary to extend this paper by quoting at ang length the rules of the Post Office Savings' Banks, as an epitome of the act of Parliament relating thereto may be obtained at any Post Office

for a penny.

Our object will be attained if we succeed in inducing some or any of those to whom this paper is addressed to interest themselves afresh or anew, if necessary, in the task of preaching temperance, frugality, and providence to the poor neighbours with whom their lot is cast. Some good must follow, and considerable improvement of circumstances, and even wealth, may follow, the practice of frugality. In this

paper it is intended more to indicate a possible means of good, than to prescribe the exact mode of effecting it.

WHY SHOULD IT BE IMPOSSIBLE ?

The Story of a Boy's Ambition.

some among

One summer evening in the year 1608, there came a traveller to the gates of the rich city of Florence. There was nothing remarkable in such an event; for, although in those days travelling was not the easy thing it is now, there were yet found many rich and idle people (aye, and

the

poor and industrious) who were willing to brave perils by sea and land for the advantage of visiting foreign countries; and a sight of Florence was worth many a sacrifice. Situated in a land which had been alternately desolated by Romans, Carthaginians, Spaniards, and Frenchmen, the valley of the Arno was still fresh and green;

its stream was still there, now raving and foaming, like its tributary mountain torrents, to the blue Mediterranean; now swelling calmly on, in all the dignity of usefulness and benevolence; and, beyond all, still rose the giant Apennines, whose rugged outlines no armies could change. Well might Florence be called “the fair !” But natural scenery, though much, is not everything, and, in the opinion of some, the beauties even of the Val d'Arno might be rivalled among the Scottish and Cumberland hills. But not to speak of poets and authors, what Highland glen could boast of such great artists as Florence counted among her sons ? Cimabue, whose genius seemed something so extraordinary to the age in which he lived, that one of his Madonnas was carried in a triumphal procession through the city; and Giotto, his shepherd-pupil, who so soon surpassed his master, are names which burn as beacon-lights, outshining even the glare which war and conquest shed over those early times; and these were but the forerunners. of others as famous, who, under the splendid patronage of the Medici, upheld the glory of the Tuscan school. Men like Da Vinci and Michael Angelo, known throughout Europe by the fame of their genius, were to the Florentines the names of fellow-citizens, who had lived and worked amongst them, had spoken their language, and breathed their air. Palaces which they had designed, pictures which they had painted, houses from which they, like humbler men, had gone forth to daily toils and duties, till the last departure came, and they returned no more—these things kept alive their memory and influence in their native city, even when their bodily presence had passed away. To put himself under this mighty influence, and, if it might be, derive some inspiration from it, as well as to profit by the teaching of living masters, was the ambition of every young man who felt a painter's soul stir within him; and thus it came to pass that even in the year 1608,

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