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his work. His motto might have been, “Whatever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might.” He prized the present moment, and gave his whole thought to it. Most of us do a great many things mechanically, satisfied if we do as well as others, no worse than the majority, so as not to risk much loss or incur much blame. The power of Franklin lay in this; that whatever his hand found to do, he did it with his might. He did not wait till to-morrow to do something, but did what his hand found to-day. It is surprising how little he had of what is called ambition. It seemed to make very little difference to him what he did, or where he was. He drifted to Philadelphia, but when there he did not drift, but steered. He took the first decent work which he could find, and did it with his might. The Governor of the Province proposed to him to go to London, promising to help him to buy a printing-press, that he might do the public printing. After Franklin had gone the Governor forgot his promise. But it made little difference to Franklin. Being in London, he went to work as a printer, and there he remained till some occasion sent him back again to this country. Prudent, economical, industrious, watchful, he could not help growing rich. But he does not seem to have cared much about that. What he wished was to find all the secrets of the work he was doing, finish it in the best way, and to teach others how to do things well. In his shop in
Philadelphia, in a printing-office in London, ambassador at the court of Louis XVI., conversing with British statesmen and philosophers, he was the same,-a wide-awake person, with his mind keenly fixed on the thing nearest him. He did not worry about possible future evils, nor torment himself about an irrevocable past. He put his whole soul into the preseut moment, the work just at hand. He gave as earnest thought to the methods of his society of young men in Philadelphia for study and discussion, as to a treaty with France or the formation of the American Constitution. Each thing as it came, took his whole mind, heart, and strength. That was why he did so much. He lived, as has been said, in the whole. Most of us are very apt to live in the half. We put part of our mind into our present work; with the rest of our mind we are worrying about the past or the future, or imagining what other better things we might be doing. So we work in a half-and-half way. Do with your might what your hand finds to do; that is our third rule.
A habit of mind which interferes with this concentration of faculty on the present is that of laying too much stress on public opinion, and of troubling ourselves in regard to what others will think about us. One of the good things that Garfield said was this: “I do not much care what others think or say about me, but there is one man's opinion about me which I very much value; that is the opinion of
James Garfield. Others I need not think about. I can get away from them; but I have to be with him all the time. He is with me when I rise up and when I lie down, when I eat and talk, when I go out and when I come in.
It makes a great difference whether he thinks well of me or not.”
Garfield also had the power of doing with his might whatever his hand found to do. He began life a poor boy, wholly dependent on his own efforts. He went to Hiram College when quite young, hardly able to support himself there, but full of courage, hope, determination to learn all he could, and to use all his opportunities. He had the good fortune to meet in that place with one of those women who help young men to choose the right way in life; to look up instead of down; to have faith in Providence and in themselves; to aim at what is great and noble, not to condescend to the current of trivial opinion, or be drawn away by it. Having the happiness to know such a woman (her name was Almeda Booth), he had the good sense to appreciate her worth, and to be led by her advice and example. This saved him from bad influence, from commonplace dissipation, from wasting his time, and kept permanently before his soul the ideal of making of himself all he could. His three ruling thoughts were patience, labor, faith. When he began to teach school, he made in his mind an imaginary map of the school, with each boy in his place. Then he thought about each boy separately, and asked,
“What can I do for Johnny Smith ? What sort of a boy is he? What does he need most ?" He taught school with his might. He said, “Unless one believes in something far higher than himself he will fail." On the one hand he deterinined not to be an office-seeker or a place-hunter, and to believe that if he ought to have anything, God would send it. But this did not lead him to trust to chance, for he also said, “Things do not turn up in this world. Some one must turn them up.” “Observe all things,” he said ; “question all men. He had the good sense to know when he found a master from whom he could learn anything good. Such a master he found in President Hopkins. "Give me a log-hut,” he said, “with one bench in it. Let Mark Hopkins be at one end and I at the other, and I would rather have that for my college than all your buildings, libraries, and professors without him.” When he went to Congress, when he was in the war, when he taught school, it was always the same. He put his whole soul into whatever he did. Whatever his hand found to do, he did with all his might.
The secret of Garfield was very much the same as that of Abraham Lincoln. I once had a long day's talk about Abraham Lincoln with a friend in Kentucky, who had lived in intimate relation with Lincoln when the latter was a young lawyer in Springfield, just beginning business. He said that Lincoln gave to every case he took his whole interest and attention. Once he had to argue a case in which all depended on finding the right boundary for a piece of land on the prairie. There are no stones there for boundaries, and few trees, so the surveyors were in the habit of indicating the corners of the lots by shovelling up a little heap of earth. But it happens that a prairie squirrel, or gopher, does the same thing. Hence it becomes important to distinguish between the mounds made by the surveyor and those made by the gopher. Lincoln sent to New York for books which would tell him of the habits of the gopher, brought them into court, showed the judge and jury how the gopher built his mound, how it differed from that of the surveyor, and after he had won his case, sat up late in the night still studying about the gopher, so as to be sure to know all about him. He, also, did with his might what he had to do.
Such men are not
“ Longing, not forever sighing
They take what their hand finds, as sent to them by God, the duty of the hour, the simple pleasures, innocent and pure, of common things which round us lie. Mr. Emerson said in his first book : “Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous. The dawn is my Assyria; the sunset and moonrise my Paphos and fairy-realm ; broad noon my England of the senses and under