Duty - With illustrations of Courage Patience and Endurance - Samuel Smiles 1905 - John Murray, London - Early edition (first published 1880) ‘Not once or twice in our rough island story,
The path of Duty was the way to glory’ - Tennyson.

The last in Samuel Smiles’ wise and popular ‘Self-Help’ series, in which ‘
the reader will find, in the following pages, numerous examples given of thee best and bravest men and women in the career of well-doing’.
  ‘Samuel Smiles, author, businessman, journalist and social reformer, is the epitome of that energetic probity which characterises the best side of Victorian society. He was the eldest of eleven children and his mother’s courage and resources in supporting her family after the death of her husband in 1832 are exemplary of those characteristics later to be belauded by her eldest child in his voluminous writings.

Smiles graduated in medicine from Edinburgh University in 1832, and set up practice in his native Haddington but, dissatisfied with his limited success as a doctor, he sold up and after a brief tour abroad answered an advertisement for a post on the
Leeds Times. He became Editor in 1838 and had a share in the radical politics of the forties. He also became interested in railways and it was at the opening of the North midland line in 1840 that he met George Stephenson. The eventual sequel to this meeting was twofold. After a short period as a freelance writer, having resigned his editorship in 1842, he took up secretarial work to two railway companies and in 1857 he produced a prodigiously successful biography of George Stephenson. This was the precursor of a whole series of biographies, mostly of inventors and technocrats, of which the virtues of industry and manly rectitude were the leitmotivs.

He now became a frequent lecturer o similar themes at mechanics’ institutes and before mutual improvement societies and in 1859 his publisher, John Murray, issued the first of innumerable editions of
Self-Help. Its success was immediate and then unequalled: twenty thousand copies were sold in the first year, fifty-five thousand by 1864 and two hundred and seventy thousand by the end of the century. It was translated into almost every foreign language, but the proof of its success which most delighted Smiles was the number of letters attesting its usefulness which he received from artisans - the class to whom it was directed - all over the world. In 1871 Smiles retired, to giev himself up to writing and travel. He published a series of studies on the Huguenots and more biographies of self-taught and successful men; his last was a biography of Josiah Wedgewood. His autobiography was published after his death at the age of ninety-two; but his own life was perhaps the best testimony to the efficacy of the principles he had taught for so long.’ - Printing and the Mind of Man.

Reference: Printing and the Mind of Man, 532

pp. xv [1] 430 [2]
  In prize binding by Henry Walker of Leeds, in full scarlet calf, gilt borders to panels, spine tooled in gilt and with green morrocco title label, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.   Condition: Near fine, some toning to spine, and light foxing to title page.   Ref: 107188   Price: HK$ 1,200