Abbildungen der Seite

country? How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to ?" Father Abraham stood up, and replied,—“If you'd have my advice, I'll give it to you in short; .for a word to the wise is enough; and many words wont fill a bushel,' as poor Richard says." They joined in desiring him to speak his mind; and, gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:

“ Friends (says he) and neighbours, the taxes are indeed very heavy; and if those laid on by the go. vernment were the only ones we had to pay, we might inore easily discharge them; but we have maby others, and much inore grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three Gmes as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commission ers cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abate. ment. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us; . God helps them that help themselves,' as poor Richard says in his Almanac.

" It would be thought a hard government that sbould tax its people one-tenth part of their time, to be employed in its service; but idleness taxes many of us much more, if we reckon all that is spent in absolute sloth, or doing of nothing, with that which is spent in idle employments, or amusements that amount to nothing. Sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the key often used is always bright, as poor Richard says. • But dost thou love life? then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of,' as poor Richard says. How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep! forgetting, that the sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that there will be sleeping enough in the grave,' as poor Richard says. • If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be (as poor

Richard says) the greatest prodigality;' since, as he elsewhere tells us, · Lost time is never found again; and what we cal tine enough, always proves little enough.' Let us then up and be doing, and doing to Lire purpose : so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes all things difficult; but industry all easy,' as poor Richard says; and, • he that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness tra. vels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him,' as we read in poor Richard; who adds, • Drive thy business, let not that drive thee;' and,

• Early to bed, and early to rise,

Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.' " So what signifies wishing and hoping for better Limes? We make these times better if we bestir our. selves. Industry needs not wish,' as poor Richard says; • He that lives upon hope will die fasting.' • There are no gains without pains; then help hands, for I have no lands; or if I have they are smartly taxed;' and, (as poor Richard likewise observes) • He that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honour;' but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling well followed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes. If we are industrious we shall never starve; for, as poor Richard says, . At the working-man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter.' Nor will the bailiff or the consta. ble enter; for, . Industry pays debts, but despair in. creaseth them,' says poor Ricisard. What though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left

you a legacy? Diligence is the mother of good luck,' as poor Richard says; and God gives all things to industry: then pluugh deep while sluggards sleep, and you will have corn to sell and to keep,

says poor

Dick. Work while it is called to-day; for you know not how much you may be hindered to-morrow; which makes poor Richard say, One to-day is worth two to-morrows; and, farther, Have you somewhat to do to-morrow, do it to-day.'. If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good mas ter should catch you idle? Are you then your own master, be ashamed to catch yourself idle,' as poor Dick says. When there is so much to be done for yourself your family, and your gracious king, be up by peep of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• Let not the sun look down, and say, Inglorious here he lies!' Handle your tools without mittens; remember, that the cat in gloves catches no mice,' as poor Richard says. It is true, there isanuch to be be done, and perhaps you are weak-handed; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects; for, 'continual dropping wears away stones, and by diligence and patience the mouse ate into the cable ; and light strokes fell great oaks,' as poor Richard says in his Almanac, the year I cannot just now remember.

• Methinks I hear some of you say, 'must a man afford himself no leisure ?-I will tell thee, my friend, what poor Richard says: • Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure ; and since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.' Leisure is time for doing something useful: this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as poor Richard says, ' A life of leisure and a life of laziness ar two things.' Do you imagine that sloth will afford you more comfort than labour ? No; for, as poor Richard says, Troubles spring from idleness, and grievous toils from needless ease: many without labour would live by their own wits only ; but they break for want of stock.' Whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. pleasures, and they'll follow you; the diligent spinner has a large shift; and, now I have a sheep and a cow, every body bids me good-morrow;' all which is well said by poor Richard.

“ But with our industry, we must likewise be steady, and settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others; for, as poor Richard says,

• Fly

• I never saw an oft-removed tree,
Nor yet an oft-removed family,
Thai throve so well as one that settled be.:

“ And, again, · Three removes are as bad as a fire, and again, Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee;' and again, • If you would have your business done, go ; if not, send.' And again,

• He that by the plow would thrive
Himself must either hold or drive.'

And again, «The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands;' and again, • Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge; and again, Not to oversee workmen is to leave them your purse open.' Trusting too much to others care is the ruin of many: for, as the Alınanac says, “In the affairs of the word, men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it;' but a man's own care is pro. fitable ; for, saith poor Dick, Learning is to the stu, dious, and riches to the careful, as well as power to to the bold, and heaven to the virtuous.' And, far. ther, •If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.' And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, even in the smallest matters, because sometimes, A little neglect may breed great mischief;' adding, For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was dost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost;' being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for wani Of care about a horse-shoe nail.

“ So much for industry, my friends, and atteution to one's own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, anr, die not worth a groat at last.' 'A fat kitchen makes a lean will,' as poor Richard şays; and,

Many estales are spent in the getting;
Since women for tea forsonk spinning and knitting,
And men for punch forsook he wing and splitting.

*6If you would be wealthy, (says he, in another Almanac) think of saving, as well as of getting: the Indies have not made Spain rich, because her one gues are greater than her incomes

" Away than with your expensive follies, and you will not have much cause to complain of hard times, hcavy taxes, and chargeable fainilies; for, as poor

Dick says,

“ Women and wine, game and deceit,
Make the wealth small, and the want greas.'

[ocr errors]

" And, farther, What maintains one vice, woul: bring up two children.? You may think, perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, dies a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great matter; hut remember what poor Richard says, "Many a little makes a meikle ; and farther, Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship;' and again, Wbudainties love, shall beggars prove;' and, moreover, Pools make feasts, and wise men eat them.'

“ Here you are all got together at this sale of finerics and nicknacks. You call them goods; but if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may for less than they cost; but if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you. Remember what poor Richard says, '. Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries. And again, . At a great pennyworth pause awhile.' He means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, or not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good. For in another place he says, Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths.' Again, as poor Richard says, “It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance;' and yet this folly is practised every day at auctions, for want of ininding the Almanac. - Wise men (as poor Dick says) learn by others harms, fools scarcely by their own; but Felix quam faciunt aliena pericula cautum.'Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly, and half starved their fa. milies: • Silk and satins, scarlet and velvets, (as poor Richard says) put out the kitchen fire.' Thaso

« ZurückWeiter »