Thursday, December 23, 2010

Samuel Smiles

Scottish author Samuel Smiles was born on December 23, 1812.  Smiles is best known for his work titled "Self-Help", which sold more than a quarter million copies during his lifetime.  In "Self-Help",  Smiles dispensed wisdom such as: ' The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual; and, exhibited in the lives of many, it constitutes the true source of national vigour and strength. Help from without is often enfeebling in its effects, but help from within invariably invigorates. Whatever is done for men or classes, to a certain extent takes away the stimulus and necessity of doing for themselves; and where men are subjected to over-guidance and over-government, the inevitable tendency is to render them comparatively helpless.'

Smiles also authored biographies, including "The Life of George Stephenson", and more directly related to Sir Walter Scott "A Publisher and his Friends. Memoir and Correspondence of the Late John Murray".  From that work:

 'Some of the most important events in Murray's career occurred during the first year of his married life. Chief among them may perhaps be mentioned his part share in the publication of "Marmion" (in February 1808)--which brought him into intimate connection with Walter Scott--and his appointment for a time as publisher in London of the Edinburgh Review; for he was thus brought into direct personal contact with those forces which ultimately led to the chief literary enterprise of his life--the publication of the Quarterly Review.

Mr. Scott called upon Mr. Murray in London shortly after the return of the latter from his marriage in Edinburgh.

"Mr. Scott called upon me on Tuesday, and we conversed for an hour....

He appears very anxious that 'Marmion' should be published by the King's birthday....

He said he wished it to be ready by that time for very particular reasons; and yet he allows that the poem is not completed, and that he is yet undetermined if he shall make his hero happy or otherwise."...'

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