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Let me give another anecdote of the Rothschilds. It is related of Baron Nathan de Meyer, that on one occasion he gave a lady the following pithy piece of advice. Seated at the dinner-table, she informed him she had an only son, whom she was anxious to see placed well in business, and begged him to give her a hint on the subject. For a long time the baron hesitated; and at length, when urged by the lady, half good-naturedly and half worried, he turned round and said—“Well, madam, I will tell you. Selling lucifer-matches is a very good business if you have plenty of it.”

In his “Autobiographical Recollections,” Sir John Bowring thus speaks of the celebrated Morrison, the founder of the great commercial house in Fore Street:—“Morrison told me that he owed all his prosperity to the discovery that the great art of mercantile traffic was to find out sellers, rather than buyers; that if you bought cheap and satisfied yourself with only a fair profit, buyers—the best sort of buyers, those who have money to buy—would come of themselves. He said he found houses engaged, with a most expensive machinery, sending travellers about in all directions to seek orders and to effect sales; while he employed travellers to buy instead of to sell; and if they bought well, there was no fear of his effecting advantageous sales. So, uniting this theory with another, that small profits and quick returns are more profitable in the long run than long credits with great gains, he established one of the largest and most lucrative concerns that has ever existed in London, and was entitled to a name which I have often heard applied to him, ‘the Napoleon of Shopkeepers.’” Mr. James Morrison, the founder of the Fore Street warehouse, certainly deserves further record. He was a native of Hants, and born of Scotch parents. Early transplanted to the metropolis at the end of the last century, the country youth first set foot in London, unaided in search of fortune. His first employment was a very menial one in a warehouse, and procured him a bare maintenance; but his industry and trustworthiness soon secured him a partnership in the Fore Street business of the late Mr. Todd, whose daughter he married. So far it may be said that his rise was accidental; but his constant rise was no accident. His enormous wealth was the result of his own natural sagacity, perseverance, and integrity. During the long course of his devotion to trade and commerce, Mr. Morrison’s mind never stood still. Every social change in business, in demand and supply, he keenly discerned, and promptly acted on. Thus his great business at once became the first of its class. After the close of the great continental wars, and the consequent rapid increase of population and wealth, Mr. Morrison was one of the first English traders who reversed his system of management by an entire departure from the old exaction of the highest prices. His new principle was the substitution of the lowest remunerative scale of profit, and more rapid circulation of capital, and the success of the experiment speedily created his wholesale trade pre-eminence. “Small profits and quick returns” was his motto, and other houses quickly followed in his wake; but the genius which originated the movement, notwithstanding active competition, maintained its supremacy. The result was, that, in middle age, Mr. Morrison found himself in possession of an enormous fortune. At the time of his death, his English property was said to be of the value of three or four millions; and, besides, he was possessed of large investments in the United States. He was a lover of art, an advanced politician and M.P., and, to the last almost, a man of study and thought.

In our own day, as much as in earlier times, the same rule applies to City life. The linendrapers, it seems to me, are, as a rule, the most successful. Since fig-leaves went out of fashion, the ladies—God bless them!—have always supported the linendrapers and the silk-mercers. The founder of the great house of Shoolbred & Co., in Tottenham-court Road, was originally educated at the Orphan Working School—then in the City Road, but now at Haverstock Hill. The will of the late Mr. Tarn, whose shop was near the Elephant and Castle, was proved a little while since under a million. He was only about sixty years old when he died, and commenced business some thirty years ago in a little shop, being his own shopman. Mr. Meeking, whose premises in Holborn are a series of palaces, rose, I am told, from very small beginnings. A writer in a newspaper says—“Not long ago I was at a meeting where there were six men, of whom the poorest, who could scarcely write, was worth £100,000; and the richest, who never read a book of information through in his life, was making £50,000 a-year. They had all begun as working-men except one, who is an M.P., and he had commenced life as a shopman, and had made £10,000 a-year. Such are the chances for money-makers in England, where credit is easy. But then money-making is an art—like poetry, a born gift.” So says the writer: I differ from him. A tradesman who lives within his income, and who sells that for which there is a yearly increasing demand, such as beef or shoes, or butter and cheese, however stupid he may be, however dense his ignorance, cannot but prosper. He has only to shut his eyes and open his mouth, and take what Heaven will send him. With trade ability, good health, and frugality, a man cannot help making a fortune. People fail because they want to have their cake and eat it at the same time; because they like to discount their good fortune; because they prefer to enjoy from day to day rather than to accumulate capital; and, lastly, because when they have money, in their eagerness to make more, they go into some rotten company and lose all.

Once upon a time I was at a grand party at the house of a West-end swell and M.P. As I left I said to a friend, “How did Mr. — make his money?” “Why,” was the reply, “by borrowing ten shillings.” On the strength of that recipe the writer of this article borrowed twenty; but, alas! the experiment in his case did not answer.

But to return to money-making men. “The Fludyers had begun their career,” wrote Sir Samuel Romilly, “in very narrow circumstances; but by extraordinary activity, enterprise, and good fortune, they had acquired inordinate wealth, and were every day increasing it by the profits of a most extensive commerce. Sir Samuel was an alderman of the City of London, and a member of parliament. He had been created a baronet, and had served the office of Lord Mayor, in a year very memorable in the history of City honours, for it was that in which the king, upon his marriage, made a visit to the corporation and dined in Guildhall. Notwithstanding, however, the great elevation at which fortune had placed these opulent relatives beyond my father, they always maintained a very friendly intercourse with him, and professed, perhaps sincerely, a great desire to serve him. Sir Samuel, too, was my godfather.” He died of apoplexy, and Sir Thomas did not long survive him.

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But instances of money-making men in the City are as plentiful as blackberries, and I merely refer to a few of them. We all have heard of Sir Peter Laurie, who had such a wonderful way of putting down suicide, and other evils. He came to London in early life, and worked, it is said, as a journeyman saddler at a house in the neighbourhood of Charing-cross, with the late Sir Richard Birnie.

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The late Mr. Thomas Tegg, who, at one time, was one of the largest booksellers in the kingdom, acquired his fortune solely through the force and energy of his character as a man of business. When he first came to London, he called on Mr. Newman, a bookseller in Leadenhall Street, to ask for employment. “What can you do, young man?” “Anything you please, sir; I shall be willing to make myself generally useful.” “Then,” said Mr. Newman, “go and see if you can tie up that parcel,” pointing to a quantity of books, in a loose state, which were lying on the floor. “That,” said Mr. Tegg at a public meeting, “was the first employment I was ever engaged in as a bookseller.” And thus he made his money.

Sir John Pirie, who, in 1841, was elected Lord Mayor, on returning thanks in the Guildhall for the honour done him, said—“I little thought, forty years ago, when I came to the City of London a poor lad from the banks of the Tweed, that I should ever arrive at such a distinction.”

Gentlemen learned in the law are occasionally money-making men. One of these was John Campden Neild, M.A., barrister-at-law. He was the son of a wealthy gold and silversmith in St. James’s Street, and who bequeathed a large property to his miserly son, which he, in turn, considerably enlarged, and bequeathed to her Majesty. It appeared that, since his father’s death in 1814, he had allowed his money to accumulate, and had scarcely allowed himself the common necessaries of life. He usually dressed in a blue coat with metal buttons, which he prohibited being brushed, as it would take off the nap and deteriorate its value. He was never known to wear a great-coat; he was always happy to receive an invitation from his tenantry in Kent and Berks to visit them, which he occasionally did, often remaining a month at a time, as he was thus enabled to add to his savings. His appearance and manners led people to imagine that he was in the lowest state of poverty. Just before the introduction of the railway system of travelling, he had been on a visit to some of his estates, and was returning to London, when the coach stopped at Farningham. With the exception of our miser, the passengers all entered the inn. Missing their companion, and recollecting his decayed appearance, they conceived he was in distressed circumstances, and, accordingly, a sum was subscribed for the purchase of a thumping glass of brandy and water for the benefit of the poor gentleman, which he thankfully accepted. Many instances of a similar character may be related.

Alderman Harmer was the son of a Spitalfields weaver, and was left to work his way as an orphan at the age of ten. Alderman Wire was the son of a baker at Colchester. Alderman Kelly, who died in his 80th year, was the architect of his own fortune. He was originally an assistant in the employ of Mr. John Cooke, of Paternoster Row. The business chiefly consisted in publishing works in numbers, which were sold up and down the country by means of book-hawkers. Mr. Kelly succeeded to this business, and so won fame and fortune. In 1836 he was Lord Mayor of London. Thomas Cubitt, the well-known builder, born near Norwich in 1788, at an early period in life was thrown upon his own resources, and soon learned to trust in them. At the death of his father, when he was in his nineteenth year, he was working as a journeyman carpenter. He shortly afterwards, with a view to improve his circumstances, took a voyage to India and back as captain’s joiner. On his return to London, then about 21 years of age, with the savings he had put by, he commenced a small business in London as carpenter. After about six years, appearances of success manifesting themselves, he took a piece of ground from Lord Calthorpe in the Gray’s Inn Road, upon which he erected large buildings and carried on a very large business, which business he handed over to his brother, Mr. Alderman Cubitt, while he built what is known as Belgravia, and, when he died, had accumulated property to the amount of a million sterling. He was a man of most estimable qualities, clear-headed, energetic, of unswerving integrity, kind to his family, generous and considerate to his workpeople and dependents.

But there are money-making men who are better than mere money-grubs. Mr. Gompertz, born in London in 1799, the son of a Dutch diamond merchant, was a self-taught mathematician of very high attainments, who had distinguished himself early in life by the publication of new logarithms. At the age of thirty, having married Miss Abigail Montefiore, sister of Sir Moses Montefiore, Mr. Gompertz entered his name as a member of the Stock Exchange, doing a large amount of business, but without relinquishing his mathematical pursuits, which gradually turned to tables connected with life insurance. After working out a new series of tables of mortality, the subject took such a hold of his mind that he decided to quit the Stock Exchange and to devote himself entirely to actuarial science. Appointed actuary of the Alliance Company under its deed of settlement, he became, both in virtue of his position and through his high connections, its chief manager, doing his work to the satisfaction of the directors. Mr. Benjamin Gompertz, however, aimed to be nothing more than a man of science; his ambition being to make the best actuarial investigations, and not to do the largest amount of business. Another illustration we have of this higher life is afforded in the case of Mr. Grote. Mr. Samuel Rogers may also be quoted as another illustration. It is well to feel that, after all, there is something better than money-making—that man does not live by bread alone.

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The great lesson of London life is, that perseverance, industry, and integrity will win the day. In the City, daily, we see the poorest rise to the possession of great wealth and honour. Poor lads have come to town friendless and moneyless; have been sober, and steady, and true to themselves. They have been firm in their opposition to London allurements and vices; have improved the abilities God has given them, and the opportunities placed within their reach, and become, in their way, men of note and mark. Many a Lord Mayor has been an office-lad in the firm of which he grew to be the head. Mr. Herbert Ingram, the founder of the Illustrated London News—the tale is an old one, but none the less true—blackened the shoes of some of the men he afterwards represented in parliament. Mr. Anderson, of the Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and formerly M.P. for the Orkneys, rose in a similar manner. Mr. Dillon, of the great house of Dillon, Morrison, & Co., also rose in a similar p. 15way. Lord Campbell, when employment was scarce, and money ditto, held a post as reporter and theatrical critic on the Morning Chronicle. Mr. Chaplin, who at one time represented Salisbury in parliament was an extraordinary instance of a man rising from the humblest rank. Before railways were in operation he had succeeded in making himself one of the largest coach proprietors in the kingdom. His establishment, from small beginnings, grew till just before the opening of the London and North-western line. He was proprietor of sixty-four stage-coaches, worked by 1,500 horses, and giving yearly returns of more than half a million sterling. Sir William Cubitt, when a lad, worked at his father’s flour-mills. Michael Faraday was the son of a poor blacksmith; and J. W. Turner, of a hairdresser in Maiden Lane. Mr. W. Johnson Fox, at one time M.P. for Oldham—the great orator of the Anti-Corn-Law League, and the “Publicola” of the Weekly Dispatch, when that paper could afford ten guineas a-week for a good article—was a Norwich factory lad.