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POSITIONS TO BE EXAMINED.
1. All food, or subsistence for mankind, arise from the earth or waters.
2. Necessaries of life that are not foods, and all other conveniences, have their value estimated by the proportion of food consumed while we are employed in procuring them.
3. A small people, with a large territory, may subsist on the productions of nature, with no other labour than that of gathering the vegetables and catching the animals.
4. A large people, with a small territory, find these insufficient; and, to subsist, must labour the earth, to make it produce greater quantities of vegetable food, suitable to the nourishment of men, and of the animals they intend to eat.
5. From this labour arises a great increase of vegetable and animal.food, and of materials for clothing; as flax, wool, silk, &c. The superfluity of these is wealth. With this wealth we pay for the labour employed in building our houses, cities, &c. which are therefore only subsistence thus metamorphosed.
6. Manufactures are only another shape into which so much provisions and substance are turned, as were in value equal to the manufactures produced. This appears from hence, that the manufacturer does not, in fact, obtain from the employer, for his labour, more than a mere subsistence, including raiment, fuel, and shelter: all which derive their value from the provisions consumed in procuring them.
7. The produce of the earth, thus converted into mannfactures, may be more easily carried into distant markets, than before such conversion.
8. Fair commerce is where equal values are exchanged for equal, the expense of transport included. Thus, if it cost A. in England, as much labour and charge to raise a bushel of wheat, as it cost B. in France to produce four gallons of wine, then are four gallons of wine the fair exchange for a bushel of wheat, A. and B. meeting at a half distance with commodities to make the exchange. The advantage of this fair commerce is, that each party increases the number of his enjoyments, having instead of wheat alone, or wine alone, the use of both wheat and wine.
9. Where the labour and expense of producing both commodities are known to both parties, bargains will zene rally be fair and equal. Where they are known
to one party only, bargains will often be unequal, knowledge taking its advantage of ignorance.
10. Thus he that carries a thousand bushels of wheat abroad to sell, may not probably obtain so great a profit thereon, as if he had first turned the wheat into manufactures, by subsisting therewith the workmen while producing those manufactures, since there are many expediting and facilitating methods of working, not generally known, and strangers to the manufactures, though they know pretty well the expense of raising wheat, are unacquainted with those sijort methods of working; and thence, being apt to suppose more labour employed in the manufacture than there really is, are more easily imposed on in their value, and induced to allow more for them than they are honestly worth.
11. Thus the advantage of having manufactures in a country does not consist, as is commonly supposed, in their highly advancing the value of rough materials, of which they are formed; since, though sixpenny worth of flax may be worth twenty shillings when worked into lace, yet the very cause of its being worth twenty shillings is that, besides the flax, it has cost nineteen shillings and sixpence in subsistence to the manufacturer. But the advantage of manufactures is, that under their shape, provisions may be more easily carried to a foreign market: and by their means our traders may more easily cheat strangers. Few, where it is not made, are judges of the value of lace. The importer may demand forty, and perhaps get thirty shillings for that which cost him but twenty.
12. Finally, there seems to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbours; this is robbery.-The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein a man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry,
TO THE PENNSYLVANIA ALMANAC, Entitled, “ Poor Richard's Almanac, for the year 1758.
WRITTEN BY DR. FRANKLIN.
I HAVE heard, that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors. This pleasure I have seldom enjoyed; for though I have been, if I may say it without vanity, an eminent author (of Almanacs) annually, now a full quarter of a century, my brother authors in the same way (for what reason I know not) have ever been very sparing in their applauses; and no other author has taken the least notice of me : so that, did not my writings produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency of praise would have quite discouraged me.
I concluded, at length, that the people were the best judges of my merit, for they buy my works; and, besides, in my rambles, where I am not personally known, I have frequently heard one another of my adages repeated, with “ As poor Richard says," at the end on't. This gave me some satisfaction, as it showed not only that my instructions were regarded, but discovered likewise some respect for my authority; and I own, that to encourage the practice of remembering and repeating those wise sentences, I have sometimes quoted myself with great gravity.
Judge, then, how much I have been gratified by an incident which I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods. The hour of sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times, and one of the company called to a plain, clean old man, with white locks, Pray, father Abraham, what think ye of the times? Wont these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be 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 government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more
in Judge, then, with great graces, I have sering, and
« Friends (says he) and neighbours, the taxes are indeed very heavy; and if those laid on by the governinent were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them, but we have many others, and much more grievous to some or us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement. 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 should 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 absoluta 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 call time enough, always proves little enough." Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the 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 travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him, as we read in poor Richard ; who adds, “ Drivo 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 times? We make these times better if we bestir ourselves. « Industry needs not wish," as poor Richard says ;” and, “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 bath an estate, and he that hath a
calling bath an office of profit and honour;" but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling well folJowed, 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 workingman's house hunger looks in, but dare not enter." Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter ; for, “ Industry pays debts, but despair increaseth them," says poor Richard. 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 plough 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 master 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 day; “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 is much to 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 are 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 lahour would live by their own wits only : but they break for want of stock.” Whereas industry gives confort, and plenty, and respect. “Fly pleasures, and they'll follow you, the diligent spinner has a large