Monday, 18 July, 1830

It is sometimes a benefit to a man to make inquiries into the course an individual may be or has been pursuing. But this inquiry should be made of the individual into whose course you may wish to examine, and should be so conducted as not to give offense or create suspicion. When we become familiar with an individual who seems to be industrious, using every honest exertion to get along in the would, and does not succeed after years of the most incessant toil and yet is full of hope and anticipated prosperity, we must conclude that something is wrong. And to endeavor to find the cause of that wrong may be a benefit to ourselves if not to the individual. I am now well acquainted with and visited the family of a man who has for years been "tailing" to get out of debt, as he says. And at this moment owes more than he did when he first began to accomplish that object. He is very industrious and not wasteful, and has never run in debt for any real property. Now from what I can learn from him his fault solely lies in over calculation. In his eagerness to do so much in a given length of time, and from the labor thus to be done, he expects so much as the reward. All these calculations as to the sum to be realized for the labor are generally correct, but he undertakes about four times as much as he can perform. Well, he must fulfill his enagements and if he does he must hire and frequently to great disadvantage, so that when the work is accomplished he falls short of three-fourths of the sum paid to those who assisted him. How he had calculated on the whole amount and had prepared a place for the money by credit before he commenced the job; thus he is forced to give his bonds, running on interest for three-quarters more than he can earn in the next three months. This is the way he has always been doing and after repeated failure still continues to persist in the same course, and cannot see where he is at fault. And such is the case with may people. I hope you will endeavor to earn before you consider and you will most assuredly keep free from this injurious fault. No man can accumulate under such rules. It must be avoided.