|"Deprive yourself of nothing necessary to your comfort, but live in an honorable simplicity."|
We are literally within 48 hours of a brand new year. I know, I know -you are not just returning unwanted/undesired gifts, but you are also tallying up your wishes for the Year 2015.
I am not a betting man -unless you start a business of some risky enterprise. No, I do not gamble, but if I were a gambler I'd wager the words "I want to become a millionaire" is on your Year 2015 Bucket List.
Don't be ashamed. You are not alone.
I was paging through the December, 1867 edition of a Honolulu-based newspaper called The Friend. Its publisher was Rev. Samuel Chenery Damon, a Christian missionary and chaplain in Honolulu associated with the American Seaman's Friend Society. Editions of this 19th century news source contains an incredible variety of stories and information. Some of it is timeless advice, the kind we still get today.
In this edition, Damon featured the story of a New Orleans millionaire named John McDonough. He died roughly two-hundred years ago. McDonough left something quite remarkable behind.
On his tombstone are a "series of maxims he had prescribed as the rule for his guidance through life, and to which his success in business is mainly attributed."
Without further delay we share them here as Rev. Damon did in December, 1867:
Rules for the Guidance of My Life, 1804:
Remember always that labor is one of the conditions of our existence.
Time is gold; throw not one minute away, but place each one to account.
Do unto all men as you would be done by.
Never put off till tomorrow what can be done today.
Never bid another to do what you can do yourself.
Never covet what is not your own.
Never think of any matter so trifling as not to deserve notice.
Never give that which does not first come in.
Never spend but to produce.
Let the greatest order regulate the transactions of your life.
Study in the course of life to do the greatest amount of good.
Deprive yourself of nothing necessary to your comfort, but live in an honorable simplicity.
Labor, then, to the last moment of your existence.
Pursue strictly the above rules and the Divine blessing and riches of every kind will flow upon you to your heart’s content, but first of all remember that the chief and great duty of your life should be to tend, by all means in your power, to the honor and glory of our Divine Creator.
The conclusion to which I have arrived is, that without temperance there is no health, without virtue no order, without religion no happiness, and that the aim of our being is to live wisely, soberly and righteously. JNO. McDONOUGH.
Rev. Damon offers this historical perspective as to what happened to McDonough's hard-earned assets after his departure:
Mr. McDonough might have known how to make a million, but he did not know how to dispose of it when made. His large property was left to poor relatives, public charities and city corporations, and for twenty years has been the source of legal prosecutions. When will rich men learn to become the executors of their own charities? They will screw, turn, pinch and worry to make money, and their heirs and executors will screw, turn, pinch and worry to spend it.
It's an imperfect world.
Jeffrey Bingham Mead is the president of
The Pacific Learning Consortium, Inc.