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378
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
whatever was made. There was no regulation or restraint to prevent one from taking more than another. Each supplied his family and his household, without question, and without accountability. This system was pursued for thirty years, and these five brothers went on in harmony. They had no family jars, no envious strife, no squabbles about property. At length, they were advanced in years, and the joint estate having increased to a large amount, they thought best to divide it, and the division was effected in perfect amity. Each individual received for his share nearly one hundred thou­sand dollars.
Can you tell me the charm by which peace and harmony were preserved among these five families for so long a period, and under circum­stances so likely to beget suspicion or jealousy? You will perhaps suggest that they were go­verned by religious principle. No ; they were not religious, but worldly men. You will per­haps say that they were high-minded and gene­rous. No: in their ordinary dealings with others, they were sharp and grasping as their neighbors. What then was the secret ? I have myself been in the families of these individuals, and marked their intercourse. I could observe among them but one peculiarity, and that was
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