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Last evening in Sever 11, Mr. Charles S. Smith, president of the New York Chamber of Commerce, delivered an interesting address on the subject, "Business."
The speaker said that how to get on in the world is the question which confronts every young man and that getting on in the world is not so much a matter of luck as many would suppose. In business as in every other vocation, there is plenty of room at the top, but to reach the top it is absolutely necessary for a young man to deny himself in many ways. The young man who wishes to succeed in business cannot keep late hours or indulge in any kind of dissipations for headaches in the morning are not conducive to business ability.
Mr. Smith then gave a rapid sketch of the history of commerce from its earliest days-of the transactions of Abraham and Joseph; of the Semitic and Arabian trades-instancing Saul of Tarsus as the first Christian commercial traveler, of the commercial relations of Rome, Venice and Geneva, of the business supremacy of the Medici family in Florence. As modern examples of able business men who have achieved success in other directions are Alexander Hamilton, Warren Hastings, John Bright, William E. Gladstone. There have been no notions which have become strong and influential without commerce.
Although it is generally considered unnecessary, and even a waste of time for a boy who expects to go into business to go to college, Mr. Smith thought this idea is being gradually eradicated, for the ideal merchant of the present times must be an educated man in order to keep up with the times. Integrity is of course absolutely essential to a business man. The speaker said too that every young man should learn to speak French and German if he wished to have the best chance of succeeding, and the Spanish language must be regarded as of increasing importance in mercantile affairs; for over half of the western merchants are Germans, and the salesman who can speak German has a great advantage.
Mr. Smith then laid aside his notes and chatted in a familiar way on various subjects connected with business-the falling off of the American carrying trade and the advisability of subsidizing, for unless American ships are subsidized, it is folly to suppose that a private citizen can build boats which will carry products cheaper than subsidized English or French ships.
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