In 1840, after one refusal, Moore led his first love to the altar; and in 1841 he partially abandoned travelling; but the change from travelling to office-work at first materially told upon his health. To remedy this he took to fox-hunting, and went to America, partly on business and partly on pleasure. One of the results of his visit to the great republic, was the establishment of a branch of the firm at Nottingham, and the erection of a lace factory in that town. After this he became a director of the Commercial Travellers’ Benevolent Institution, and one of the most ardent supporters of the Cumberland Benevolent Society, and of the Commercial Travellers’ Schools. From the first he was the treasurer of the latter institution. His partners were glad to see him thus employed. They called them his safety-valves. His holidays were spent in Cumberland, a county p. 161for which his love was strong till the last, and to the schools of which he was ever a liberal contributor. Indeed, educational reform in that county may be said to be almost entirely due to him. In 1852, Mr. Moore was nominated by the Lord Mayor of London as Sheriff; but his time was so occupied that he paid the fine of £400 rather than serve. For the same reason, also, he declined to be an alderman, though twice pressed to fill that honourable post. He said, “I once thought that to be Sheriff of London, or Lord Mayor, would have been the height of my ambition; but now I have neither ambition nor the inclination to serve in either office. To men who have not gained a mercantile position, corporation honours are much sought after; but to those who have acquired a prominent place in commerce, such honours are not appreciated. At the same time, I am bound to say that I have always received the most marked courtesy and consideration from the corporation, even although I did not feel inclined to join it.” Dr. Smiles reprints this without note or comment; but surely it betrays a spirit not to be commended. Great city merchants might well be proud to serve in such a corporation as that of London, not as a stepping-stone for themselves, but as an honour of which the proudest may well be proud. As regards parliament, that is another matter. Mr. Moore always refused to be a candidate for parliamentary honours, on the plea that parliament should be composed of the best, wisest, and most highly educated men in the country. In this respect it is to be regretted that a large number of M.P.’s are not of Mr. Moore’s way of thinking. In politics it may be mentioned that Mr. Moore was a Moderate-Liberal, and a strong Free-Trader from the very first. He was an ardent admirer of Lord John Russell, and had much to do with his return for the City in 1857.

In 1854, Mr. Moore removed to his mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens. “Although,” he writes, “I had built the house at the solicitation of Mrs. Moore, I was mortified at my extravagance, and thought it both wicked and aggrandising, mere ostentation and vain show to build such a house. It was long before I felt at home in it, nor did it at all add to our happiness. I felt that I had acted foolishly. But, strange to say, a gentleman offered to take the house off my hands, and to give me 3,000 guineas profit. I made up my mind to accept this offer; but my dear wife had taken p. 162such an interest in the house that we could not decide to sell it.” He accordingly declined the offer. But the house-warming was at any rate characteristic. He determined that the young men and women should be the first guests, and accordingly they were, to the number of 300. A second ball was given to all the porters and their wives, the drivers, and the female servants, to the number of about 200. Afterwards they had, at different times, about 800 of their friends and acquaintances to dinner. But this was abandoned. “Happiness,” wrote Mr. Moore, “does not flow in such a channel. Promiscuous company takes one’s mind away from God and His dealings with men, and there is no lasting pleasure in the excitement.” Mrs. Moore did not long enjoy her new home; she died in 1858. At that time Mr. Moore had become a decidedly religious man. He had a serious illness in 1850, which seems to have had great effect, and more than ever he gave himself up to philanthropic work—such as aiding in the establishment of a Reformatory for Discharged Prisoners, of the Royal Hospital for Incurables, of the London General Porters’ Benevolent Association, and the Warehousemen and Clerks’ School, &c., &c. At Kilburn he said, “If the world only knew half the happiness that a man has in doing good, he would do a great deal more.” George Moore lived under the increasing consciousness of this every year. He wrote in his pocket-book:—

“What I spent I had,

What I saved I lost,

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What I gave I have.”

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At this time, Mr. Moore seems to have made special efforts for the spiritual improvement of the young men and women in his employment in London, and to have retained the services of the Rev. Thomas Richardson as chaplain. And then, as was natural, his thoughts reverted to his native county of Cumberland, for which already he had done so much, and for which he felt inclined to do much more on his becoming the purchaser of the Whitehall estate, very near the parish of Mealsgate, in which he was born.

Mr. Moore was a great beggar as well as a great giver. With his friends he was often very abrupt. When he entered their offices they knew what he was about—they saw it in his face. “What is it now, Mr. Moore?” “Well, I am p. 163on a begging expedition.” “Oh, I knew that very well. What is it?” “It’s for the Royal Free Hospital, an hospital free to all without any letters of recommendation; I want twenty guineas.” “It is a large sum.” “Well, it is the sum I have set down for you to give; you must help me. Look sharp!” The cheque was got, and away he started on a fresh expedition. Sometimes, however, he met with rebuff after rebuff from men rolling in wealth, who had never given a farthing to a charitable institution. This sickened him for the day. However, he would say, “I must not be discouraged. I am doing Christ’s work.” In another way Mr. Moore was specially helpful. He was the constant resort of young men wanting situations. If he could not provide for them in his own warehouse, he endeavoured to find situations for them among his friends. He took no end of trouble about this business. After his young friends had obtained situations he continued to look after them. He took down their names and addresses in a special red book kept for the purpose, and repeatedly asked them to dine with him on Sunday afternoons. He usually requested that they should go to some church or chapel in the evening. In his diary are repeatedly such entries as the following; “Dined twenty-two of the boys that I had got situations for, besides the people that were staying in the house. I never forget that I had none to invite me to their homes when I first came to London.” How much good such kindness did it is impossible to tell; for the want of it many a young man in the City goes to the bad.

Mr. Moore’s second marriage, in 1881, seems rather to have increased than diminished his philanthropic zeal. A wedding trip of two months in Italy and elsewhere was but a brief interval of holiday, to be followed by still harder work in the cause of his Lord and Master; and then came an illness which rendered necessary for him more rest of brain and more healthy exercise for his body. In his knowledge of London he was unrivalled. He knew it by night as well as by day. Many a time he went down to St. George’s in the East and to Wapping to look after the poor. He accompanied the City missionaries into the lowest dens; and as he felt that the only way of reformation was to get at the children, we cannot be surprised to learn that in 1866 he became treasurer of the Field Lane Ragged School, an institution p. 164at that time sorely in need of pecuniary help. But his happiest days were those he spent at his Border tower at Cumberland. There the house was always full of visitors, and there the poor were equally welcome as the rich. There also, he loved to act the part of a distinguished agriculturist and to preside at cattle shows. His guests were very varied, and included bishops, Scripture-readers, warehousemen, farmers, City missionaries, Sunday-school children, pensioners, and statesmen. He rejoiced in hunting; but all the while he looked after the homes of the poor, and battled with the immorality which exists quite as much in the country as in town.

Mr. Moore was a great lover of the Bible, and distributed it by the thousand, far and near. He always insisted on its being read in schools. When the Middle-class schools were established in London, he offered a thousand pounds on condition that the Bible was read there; but he refused to give it till he found that actually such was the case. In the case of Christ’s Hospital, after Dr. Jacob’s sermon on the institution, he became an ardent reformer. As prime warden of the Fishmongers’, he distinguished himself by the vigour of his speeches. When Paris was in want, and its people destitute of bread, he flew to their relief; and no man was more active in giving relief for the destitute when the Northfleet was sunk. In 1872, he was proud to be the high sheriff of his native county. Among his last public works was to give a supper to the cabmen of London, and to attend the funeral of Dr. Livingstone. And he died as he lived—engaged in works of mercy. In November, 1876, he left his grand mansion in Cumberland to attend a meeting of the Nurses’ Institute in Carlisle. While he was standing opposite the Grey Coat Inn, two runaway horses, which had escaped from a livery stable, came galloping up. One of them knocked Mr. Moore down. He was taken up insensible. Sir William Gull was sent for; but from the first there was no chance, and in twenty hours he was dead. Great was the sorrow felt everywhere, and in London and Carlisle public meetings were held for a George Moore memorial fund. At that in London the Archbishop of Canterbury presided, and Mr. Samuel Morley was one of the speakers.

Friend of the church as he was at all times, and especially attached to the Evangelical clergy, in one thing he p. 165differed from them. “The parsons,” he once said to a meeting of children at Wigton, “will tell you a good deal about money. They will tell you that it is the root of all evil; but my opinion is that it is a good thing to make plenty of money, provided you make a proper use of it.” Such was George Moore, and such were his views and works. We owe to Dr. Smiles a biography of him, which is as interesting and instructive as could well be imagined. It should be read by all City young men; it should be in every City library. The character therein portrayed ought to be studied, and revered, and imitated in every home. Few of us can expect to realise his wealth, but his example is one to be held up to every City man.

“People who believe,” says a writer in the Daily News, “that genius is great natural power accidentally directed, may think that the career of the late Mr. George Moore justifies the well-known definition. Mr. Moore’s name was very well known, not in England only, but on the continent, by every one who was labouring to lighten the misery of the poor. The philanthropic schemes to which he gave the aid of his energy, his knowledge of men and of life, and his money, were too many to be numbered here. The French, in particular, cherish a grateful memory of his benevolent activity, of the help he extended to the victims in the war of 1870. To many who only heard of Mr. Moore in his later life, and in the full tide of his helpfulness and prosperity, it may have been unknown that he was the maker of the fortune which he distributed with a generous hand. The biography of him by Mr. Smiles, which has just been published, is a very interesting account of a career which began in a humble though honourable estate, and ended by a singular accident in the northern town where it may be said to have begun. The history of ‘Self-Help’ is not invariably edifying. The chief end of man, after all, is not to get on in the world, to make a great deal of money, and to have paragraphs devoted to his glory. This is so far from being the case that one has even to overcome a slight natural prejudice against the strength which displays itself mainly in the acquisition of a fortune. In almost every rank of life leisure has its charms and good gifts, which a man who never takes rest must miss. The subject of Mr. Smiles’s book escapes from the vulgar renown of the self-made by his unselfishness. p. 166His energy, his ceaseless labours in his early life, were not the manifestations of a desire for wealth and for advancement, but the natural expression of immense natural strength of mind and body. When success was secured, the same vigour spent itself in work for other people—for the poor, the weak, the helpless, the ignorant. Mr. Moore might have devoted himself to the joys of the collector, of the sportsman, of the ambitious parvenu. Instead of doing so, he made amusement and enjoyment subordinate to work for the benefit of others. He had not the hardness and narrowness of people whose career has been one of victory over the natural pleasures and innocent impulses of an indolent race. ‘I don’t think I ever came across any other self-made man who had so entirely got the chill of poverty out of his bones,’ Dr. Percival wrote to Mr. Smiles. His geniality and unselfishness soften the edges of his iron will and determination. People may think that so much of the material and force that make greatness, might have been better employed in work of a nobler tone—in science, literature, law, or art. Mr. Moore took the only career that was open to him, the career that was most distinctly in contrast with the pastoral life to which he was bred. He had no education in his youth, none lay within his reach in the Cumbrian valley where he was born. With the chances of Dr. Whewell he might have been a Whewell. With an opening in the East, he might have been, if not a Clive, a Meadows Taylor. As it happened, the choice lay between the existence of a farm labourer and that of a tradesman.”

We have little faith in reflections. If a man cannot draw an inference for himself, it is little use anyone attempting to draw it for him. The reader of the preceding pages must have been taught, by example, how to get money. The art of money-making is a very simple one. If your income is twenty pounds, and you spend nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings, and elevenpence-three-farthings, you will never be troubled about money matters; and, in the course of years, may have a fortune commensurate with so modest an expenditure. Having thus acquired a small amount of capital, you must not part with it to mining-brokers or stock-brokers, however plausible the tale they tell, and however friendly you may be with them. They are bound to do business, and for the sake of that, will help their nearest friend to an investment of the rottenest character. Stock-brokers may have a sense of honour—may be gentlemen; but I question much whether a money-broker has any feeling for his clients, I have known little money made by outsiders speculating on the Stock Exchange or in mines. I have known many reduced to beggary and want by such means.

Dr. Smiles writes—“The successful merchant is not merely the man who is most fertile in commercial combinations, but the man who acts upon his judgment with the greatest promptitude.” Mr. Crampton, George Moore’s partner, says—“I never knew him make a mistake in judgment.”

Another fact to be observed is, that it is the country lads who, as a rule, are the most successful. At first they fail in accuracy, and quickness, and promptitude. They are slow compared with town-bred boys. “The City boy,” writes Dr. Smiles, “scarcely grows up; he is rushed up; he lives amid a constant succession of excitements, one obliterating another. It is very different with the country boy; he is much slower in arriving at his maturity than the town boy, but he is greater when he reaches it; he is hard and uncouth at first, whereas the town boy is worn smooth by perpetual friction, like the pebbles in a running stream. The country boy learns a great deal, though he may seem to be unlearned; he knows a good deal about nature, and a great deal about men. He has had time to grow. His brainpower is held in reserve; hence the curious fact, that, in course of time, the country-bred boy passes the City-bred boy, and rises to the highest positions in London life. Look at all the great firms, and you will find that the greater number of the leading partners are those who originally were country-bred boys. The young man bred in the country never forgets his origin.” “There is,” says Rochefoucauld, “a country accent, not in his speech only, but in his thought, conduct, character, and manner of existing, which never forsakes him.”

George Moore had a brother. He was far apter than George; he had a better education; he had read extensively, and was well versed in literature; but he wanted that which his brother George had—intense perseverance. Hence the failure of the one, and the success of the other. It is thus the determined, persevering man who succeeds. p. 181It was thus Warren Hastings won back the broad lands of his ancestors.

“In New York,” says an American writer, “fortunes are suddenly made, and suddenly lost. I can count over a dozen merchants who, at the time I began to write this book, a few months ago, were estimated to be worth not less than 250,000 dollars—some of them half a million—who are now utterly penniless. At the opening of this year (1868), a merchant, well-known in this city, had a surplus of 250,000 dollars in cash. He died suddenly in July. He made his will about three months before his death, and appointed his executors. By that will he divided 250,000 dollars. His executors contributed 1,000 dollars to save a portion of his furniture for his widow, and that was all that was left her out of that great estate. He did what thousands have done before him—what thousands are doing now, and will do to-morrow. He had money enough; but he wanted a little more. He was induced to go into a nice little speculation in Wall Street; he put in 50,000 dollars. To save it he put in 50,000 dollars more. The old story was repeated, with the same result.” I knew a gentleman who began the world as an advertising agent; he managed to get a share in a newspaper, which eventually became an immense commercial success. His share of the profits amounted to some thousands a-year; but this was not enough—he must have more. He turned money-lender, borrowing at 5 per cent., to lend money on bad security at a high rate of interest. He died in the prime of life, a bankrupt, and of a broken heart.