Letters : 'Self-Help' was a book on helping others Great book, shame about the title

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The Independent Online
It is good that Samuel Smiles's Self-Help has been republished by the Institute for Economic Affairs, as one suspects that most moralists have dwelt on the title rather than read the book ("What the Duke said about the bishops...", 20 October). Smiles regretted the phrase, as he felt his work would be seen as a "eulogy of selfishness".

Smiles admired personal qualities, the most important of which he termed character. One of its tests was how a man treated his dependants.

He thought acquisitive money-making vulgar, the purpose of saving was to be generous, and the poor man with a rich spirit was greatly preferable to the rich man with a poor spirit.

Smiles can be viewed as a one-nation Tory, but these sentiments are unlikely to be heard from the pulpit of the new right.

Ronald Eyres

Chulmleigh, Devon