Young Knights of the Empire

by Sir Robert Baden-Powell



_It is expected that a Scout will save every penny he can, and put it in the bank, so that he may have money to keep himself when out of work, and thus not make himself a burden to others; or that he may have money to give away to others when they need it_.

There are many Boy Scouts to-day who will in a few years' time become very rich men although they have not much to begin with. That is a certainty, because a good many are determined to make their fortunes, and if a lad begins by being thrifty he generally succeeds in the end.

A fellow who begins making money as a boy will go on making it as a man. Some fellows, of course, want to do it by easy means, and that as a rule does not pay.

Some fellows see a fortune in betting on a horse race or football match; you may win a few shillings now and then but you are absolutely certain to lose half the time, and it is a fool's way of trying to make money, because the bookies who make a living by it trust to there being a sufficient number of fools to keep on betting and supplying them with money.

Such money is not earned, it is only gained by chance and therefore is not worth having--to a fellow with manly ideas.

Any number of poor boys have become rich men, but it was because they meant to from the first. They WORKED for it and put by every penny that they earned in the bank to begin with.

Lots of boys are already at work doing this, and I hope that very many of the Boy Scouts are also at it. Two good rules are given for making your fortune. The first is "_Spend_ less _than you earn_." The second is "_Pay ready money, and don't run into debt_."

Many of you probably have heard of the Nasmyth steam hammer which is used in all the great iron works?

Well, Nasmyth, as a boy, worked in his father's workshop, and used to spend a great deal of his spare time in a neighbouring iron foundry, and he took to using tools and making all sorts of models of engines, etc., just as you Boy Scouts who are working up for your Engineer's Badge might do.

He made one model steam-engine so large that a man bought it for the purpose of driving a machine tool in his factory, and so he began to make money by selling his own home-made engines. And finally he went to work at a big engineering shop because he felt that he was one of a large family and that his father could not afford to keep them all and he was resolved to make his own living.

He could not afford to have his food cooked for him on the small pay that he got as a boy at the works, but he manufactured his own cooking-stove and found that with its help he was able to live on ten shillings a week.

He worked so well in the shop that the manager raised his wages to fifteen shillings a week. But as he had found that he could live on ten shillings, he put by the extra five shillings each week in the bank, and all the time he kept making tools for himself in his spare hours, and eventually started himself in business on his own account with his own money and his own tools, and finally invented his celebrated steam hammer.

By the time he was forty-eight, he had made a big income and quite a fortune. Many men would not have been content with this, but would have gone on until they became millionaires. But Nasmyth did not, he was content to retire from hard work with sufficient money to buy a happy home, where he went in for making telescopes and studying astronomy and also in doing good turns to people not so well off as himself.

And he gave some good advice to young fellows wanting to make a success of their lives in the following words:

"If I were to try to compress into one sentence the whole of the experience I have had, and offer it to a young man as a certain means of bringing success in whatever position he holds, it would be this:'_Duty first, pleasure second_,'"

"I am certain from what I have seen that what so many call 'bad luck' comes in nine cases out of ten from putting that maxim the other way round and satisfying your pleasure first and attending to work and duty afterwards."

One poor man, a farm labourer, made himself rich by writing poetry. His name was Stephen Duck, the thresher poet. But unfortunately numbers of other working men, seeing his good fortune, also thought it would be an easier way of making money to write poetry rather than by doing hard work, and Horace Walpole, when writing of Duck, said., "that he succeeded as a poet, but he also succeeded in ruining at least twenty good workmen."

There are very few young men who have not at one time or another in their lives thought themselves splendid poets. I hope this will be a warning to them, and that they will take to hard work as a means of making their way in the world.

* * * * *


Lord Strathcona began life as a poor boy in Scotland and he ended up by being one of the richest men in Britain, and, not only the richest in money, but in having also the admiration and affection of a vast number of his fellow-countrymen.

When he was eighteen, as plain Donald Smith, he went out to Canada and joined the Hudson Bay Trading Company there. This Company used to buy fur skins from the trappers and Indians, and their trading stations were built in far-off, out-of-the-way places in order to be near to the hunting-grounds of these people.

Also, as you never could trust the Red Indians, they were all fortified posts, ready for defence against attack.

Young Smith was sent up to a place called Mingan, right away up in the north-east of Canada, in Labrador, a cold, bleak, dreary country.

After he had been there some time, his eyes began to give him great trouble, and he feared he was going blind. There was no doctor nor anyone else to consult, so he started off to make his way down to Montreal to see a doctor. He took with him as guides two half-breed Indians.

For weeks he toiled through the awful wilderness, among snow and blizzard, but at length he reached Montreal.

Do you think they made a hero of him?

Not a bit of it. His employers rounded on him for quitting his post without leave, and told him to go back at once.

At first he felt--like many of us would have done--so angry that he was on the point of throwing up the whole thing and leaving the service of the Hudson Bay Company.

But on second thoughts he felt that, after all, the managers were right. They had put him there to have charge of valuable stores and important work, and that it was his duty to stick there, and not to come in to civilised parts for his own sake.

So he accepted the wigging, and started back on the long, dreary journey to his gloomy post in Labrador.

He had luckily been able to see a doctor, and had got his eyes put right.

It was an awful journey: so bad that the two guides gave way under their hardships and died. But again Donald Smith _stuck to it_, and struggled on, and in the end he just managed to get to his post, worn out and exhausted.

But that sticking to it was exactly what was the secret of his success.

For thirteen _years_ he stuck to his job in that awful country and then his employers saw that he was so strong on doing his duty that they promoted him to higher and more important work, till in the end he became Chief Factor or Head Manager of the Company.

Then came the idea of making the Canadian Pacific Railway right across Canada.

People said it was a mad scheme; that it could never pay to make a railway into that vast wilderness which in those days had not been properly explored.

But Donald Smith looked far ahead, and saw the time when Britain would be overcrowded with people, and corn-growing, cattle-raising land would be needed for colonists.

So he put his savings into the railway and worked hard to make it a success.

Everything seemed to go against it. But he _stuck to it_, and fought against all difficulties, until in the end he _came_ out successful. And to-day the Canadian Pacific is one of the greatest railways in the world, and has opened up Canada to be a great country, peopled by thousands of British colonists.

And so he made his fortune, and later on, in return for his splendid work for the Empire, he was made Lord Strathcona.

Most men leave off work when they are between sixty and seventy, but Lord Strathcona did not. He still continued to _stick to it_ for twenty or thirty years longer than most men. Only a few days before his death he was at work in his office (and he died at the age of ninety-four).

And in his office every day he _stuck to it_, for he went there about eleven in the morning, but seldom left before seven--often he was there till nine.

When all the neighbouring offices in Victoria Street had turned off their lights and closed their doors for the night, Lord Strathcona's window was to be seen still brilliantly lit up, so much so that the policemen and others about there called it "The Lighthouse."

Now, why should a man go on working overtime like that? He was not making money; he had enough of that and to spare. It was simply because he considered it was his duty, and he _stuck to it_.

Besides his adventures in Canada, and besides his power of sticking to his duty, Lord Strathcona was also a good scout, because he was kind and helpful to others.

* * * * *


For the South African War he paid the expenses of raising a regiment to fight for the King--and a fine regiment it was, too--of mounted men, which was called after him "Strathcona's Horse."

Also the Boy Scouts owe him a debt of gratitude, because in the early days of the movement, when we were struggling to get along, he gave 500 Pounds to me to help to start our brotherhood.

So Boy Scouts owe much to Lord Strathcona for that, and for setting a real living example of how a man should _stick to it_ in doing his duty, and in being kind and helpful to others.

From these stories of poor boys who have made successes of their lives and become rich men I do not want you to think that I look upon money as the aim of your life. You should only wish to gain sufficient money to put you in a position where you can live happily into old age if necessary, and bring up a family without calling on other people to support you.

And I would tell you just one more story of a poor man who yet made a fortune other than that which money produced.

This man was John Pounds, and he kept a little cobbler's shop in Portsmouth, where he worked hard and well, so that people began to bring their boots to him for repair in preference to any other cobbler, because they knew that he did honest work and they got a better return for their money.

Soon he began to gather in much more cash than was necessary for his modest wants. But he did not buy a big house and set himself up in comfort. He did a better thing than that.

When he was at his work, idle boys used to come and hang around his shop watching him busily employed, and while he stitched and cobbled he chatted with the boys and took an interest in them.

Boys are good fellows, and when they found somebody thought about them, although they were dirty, ragged urchins, they took an interest in him, until gradually they came at their own desire to hear him talk, and began to imitate him in doing steady work. Then he made use of his savings in a way that was better than feeding himself on good things, for he fed these boys who badly wanted a good meal.

As time went on, he started a sort of club or school for his ragged friends, and in the end had a sort of Scout troop of boys who learnt handicrafts under him and became strong with their good feeding, became good workmen under his instruction, and saved up money under his example.

Thus he was able to send out into the world a number of good, strong, prosperous workmen who would otherwise have drifted into being wasters.

And from his little effort in Portsmouth sprang up similar ragged schools and boys' clubs in different parts of the Kingdom.

So he did as much by his thrift as many have done by saving their millions.

* * * * *


"How can I ever succeed in becoming great and rich? It is impossible. I am only a poor boy!"

That is what a lad said to me. I was able to restore him to greater hopefulness by saying:

"Nothing is impossible if you make up your mind to do it. Many a great man who is alive to-day began as a poor boy like yourself, with no help besides his own wits and pluck."

Then I told him about Sir William Arrol. At nine years of age he went to work as a "piecer" in a cotton factory. A few years later he became apprenticed to a blacksmith. He worked hard and well, and was very steady, so that at the age of twenty-three he found himself foreman in Messrs. Laidlaw's boiler works in Glasgow. Like a Scout, he was thrifty, and in five years of this employment he saved up 85 Pounds of his wages, and with this sum he started a business of his own.

At first he made boilers and girders, and then, as his business grew bigger, he took up bridge-building.

Steadily he worked at this, being at all times anxious to show good solid work, without any scamping.

To start with he had met with disappointments and failures, but he would not give in to then; when things looked their worst he kept a smiling face and _stuck to it_.

And in the end he came out successful, as every man does who is patient and sticks it out. He got a name for steady, persevering work, and for giving full value for any money paid to him.

For these reasons he obtained good contracts for building bridges, and soon enlarged his business into a very big one.

Among others, the great Tay bridge and the bridge over the Forth in Scotland are his work.

He died a rich and highly respected man, but in the height of his power he never forgot that he began as a poor boy, and he always did what he could to help other poor boys to win their way to success.

He used, however, to say that success depended mainly on the boy himself. If a boy were determined to get on, and knew a handicraft or two, he would probably succeed, but if he merely dabbled in one thing and then another, and wasted his time in amusements, and could not stick it out when luck seemed against, him, that boy would be a failure, and would probably go on being a failure all his life.

* * * * *


So you see if, as a Scout, you pick up and really practise what Scouting teaches you, it gives you every chance of being a success in life, since it teaches you to be active and enduring, to be trustworthy, to be obedient to your duty, to be thrifty, and to learn handicrafts.

In fact, it teaches you to Be Prepared to make a successful career for yourself if you stick to it.

The knights in the old days were ordered by their code of rules to be thrifty, that is, to save money as much as possible in order to keep themselves and not to be a burden to others, and that they might have more to give away in charity.

If they were poor, they were not to beg for money, but had to make it by their own work.

Thus, Thrift is part of manliness because it means hard work and self-denial, and boys are never too young to work for pay, which they should put in the Post Office Savings Bank or some other Government security.

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