Famous Americans of Recent Times eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 624 pages of information about Famous Americans of Recent Times.

This universal desire to accumulate property is right, and necessary to the progress of the race.  Like every other proper and virtuous desire, it may become excessive, and then it is a vice.  So long as a man seeks property honestly, and values it as the means of independence, as the means of educating and comforting his family, as the means of securing a safe, dignified, and tranquil old age, as the means of private charity and public beneficence, let him bend himself heartily to his work, and enjoy the reward of his labors.  It is a fine and pleasant thing to prosper in business, and to have a store to fall back upon in time of trouble.

The reader may learn from Astor’s career how money is accumulated.  Whether he can learn from it how money ought to be employed when it is obtained, he must judge for himself.  In founding the Astor Library, John Jacob Astor did at least one magnificent deed, for which thousands unborn will honor his memory.  That single act would atone for many errors.

In the hall of the Astor Library, on the sides of two of the pillars supporting its lofty roof of glass, are two little shelves, each holding a single work, never taken down and seldom perused, but nevertheless well worthy the attention of those who are curious in the subject of which they treat, namely, the human face divine.  They are two marble busts, facing each other; one of the founder of the Library, the other of its first President, Washington Irving.  A finer study in physiognomy than these two busts present can nowhere be found; for never were two men more unlike than Astor and Irving, and never were character and personal history more legibly recorded than in these portraits in marble.  The countenance of the author is round, full, and handsome, the hair inclining to curl, and the chin to double.  It is the face of a happy and genial man, formed to shine at the fireside and to beam from the head of a table.  It is an open, candid, liberal, hospitable countenance, indicating far more power to please than to compel, but displaying in the position and carriage of the head much of that dignity which we are accustomed to call Roman.  The face of the millionaire, on the contrary, is all strength; every line in it tells of concentration and power.  The hair is straight and long; the forehead neither lofty nor ample, but powerfully developed in the perceptive and executive organs; the eyes deeper set in the head than those of Daniel Webster, and overhung with immense bushy eyebrows; the nose large, long, and strongly arched, the veritable nose of a man-compeller; the mouth, chin, and jaws all denoting firmness and force; the chest, that seat and throne of physical power, is broad and deep, and the back of the neck has something of the muscular fulness which we observe in the prize-fighter and the bull; the head behind the ears showing enough of propelling power, but almost totally wanting in the passional propensities which waste the force of

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Famous Americans of Recent Times from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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