Many men have immensely improved their prospects in life by boldly transferring their talents to a distant land.
They may have had heavy expenses on the journey; but they are soon compensated for that expenditure by the better opportunities of enriching themselves that they find in their new home. Thus thousands of English and Irish labourers have escaped from miserable poverty by emigrating to America and Australia. But there are some men who, when they have gone to a distant country and begun to do well there, are tempted by mere restlessness, or the hope of more rapidly acquiring wealth, to change their home once more. They ought to remember the proverb we are considering, and recollect how many have been known to ruin their fortunes by this restless love of wandering. It is plain that, as a rule, any one who leaves the place where he has resided many years sacrifices great advantages, which he cannot expect to carry with him to a distant part of the world. Continual changes of place may be profitable for rogues, whose villainy has been detected and who will have a better chance of cheating again in a land where they are unknown to the police. Idlers, drunkards, and other incapable men may at least be said to lose nothing by moving from place to place, for they are equally unsuccessful everywhere and have nothing to lose. But an able, honest man has every reason to continue to reside where he has established for himself a good reputation and is respected by his neighbours.
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If he recklessly goes to another country, he may take a long time to build up again a reputation like the one he has left behind him. He will also lose all the advantages he derived from his local knowledge, and, as an inexperienced stranger, will have to contend with the old residents engaged in the same business or profession as himself. If he is a merchant, he will take some time to learn who, among the other men of business in the new city to which he has transferred his capital, are honest and solvent. If he is a lawyer or doctor, he will have to begin anew the laborious work of gaining a good practice, and must set about studying, in the one case, the prevalent local diseases and remedies, in the other, the history of recent local litigation.
Such are among the drawbacks that a man who cannot settle down in one place is likely to encounter in his struggle with fortune. They may of course, in exceptional cases, be more than counterbalanced by greater advantages; but, as a rule, a man ought not, without careful reflection, to leave a place where he is enjoying a fair measure of prosperity. If he does so, he is not unlikely, in the words of another proverb, to go farther and fare worse.