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“Fond pride of dress is sure a curse ; Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.” And again, “pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy.’ When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but poor Dick says, “it is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it;’ and it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell in order to equal the ox. * Wessels large may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore.”
It is, however, a folly soon punished; for, as poor Richard says, “pride that dines on vanity sups on contempt; pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy.” And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered ? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person; it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.
“But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities We are offered by the terms of this sale six months' credit; and that perhaps has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah! think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor, you will be in fear when you speak to him, when you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for ‘the second vice is lying, the first is running in debt,’ as poor Richard says; and again, to the same purpose, ‘lying rides upon debt’s back;’ whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. “It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.” What would you think of that prince, or of that government, who should issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude : Would you not say that you were free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edict would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government tyrannical ? And yet, you are about to put yourself under that tyranny when you run in debt for such dress. Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in jail for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him. When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but, as poor Richard says, “creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.’ The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it; or, if you bear your debt in mind, the term, which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short; time will seem to have added wings to his heels, as well as his shoulders. “Those have a short Lent who owe money to be paid at Easter.” At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but “For age and want save while you may, No morning sun lasts a whole day.” Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever, while you live, expense is constant and certain; and “it is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel,” as poor Richard says: so, “rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.” “Get what you can, and what you get hold, 'T is the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.”
And, when you have got the philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.
“4. This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom: but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.
“And now, to conclude, ‘experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other,’ as poor Richard says, and scarce in that ; for, it is true, “we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct:’ however, remember this, “they that will not be counselled cannot be helped;’ and further, that “if you will not hear reason she will surely rap your knuckles,’ as poor Richard says.”
Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and approved the doctrine; and immediately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the auction oppned, and they began to buy extravagantly. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my almanacs, and digested all I had dropped on those topics during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own which he ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and, though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away resolved to wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as RICHARD SAUNDERs.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG TRADESMAN.
WRITTEN ANNO 1748.
As you have desired it of me, I write the following hints, which have been of service to me, and may, if observed, be so to you. Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad or sits idle one-half that day, though he spend but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides. Remember that credit is money. If a man lets his money lie in my hands after it is due, he gives me the interest, or so much as I can make of it, during that time. This amounts to a considerable sum where a man has good and large credit, and makes good use of it. Remember that money is of a prolific generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again it is seven and three-pence, and so on till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding sow destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds. Remember that six pounds a year is but a groat a day. For this little sum (which may be daily wasted either in time or expense unperceived) a man of credit may, on his own security, have the constant possession and use of a hundred pounds. So much in stock, briskly turned by an industrious man, produces great advantage. Remember this saying, “the good paymaster is lord of another man's purse.” He that is known to pay punctually and exactly to the time he promises may at any time, and on any occasion, raise all the money his friends can spare. This is sometimes of great use. After industry and frugality, nothing contributes more to the raising of a young man in the world than punctuality and justice in all his dealings: therefore, never keep borrowed money an hour beyond the time you promised, lest a disappointment shut up your friend's purse forever. The most trifling actions that affect a man's credit are to be regarded. The sound of your hammer at five in the morning, or nine at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easy six months longer; but, if he sees you at a billiard-table, or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day, demands it before he can receive it in a lump. It shows, besides, that you are mindful of what you owe; it makes you appear a careful as well as an honest man, and that still increases your credit. Beware of thinking all your own that you possess, and of living accordingly. It is a mistake that many people who have credit fall into. To prevent this, keep an exact account, for Some time, both of your expenses and your income. If you take the pains at first to mention particulars, it will have this good effect: you will discover how wonderfully small trifling expenses mount up to large sums, and will discern what might have been and may for the future be saved, without occasioning any great inconvenience. In short, the way to wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality nothing will do, and with them everything. He that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary expenses excepted), will certainly become rich—if that Being who governs the world, to whom all should look for a blessing on their honest endeavors, doth not, in his wise providence, otherwise determine.
HINTS NECESSARY TO THOSE THAT WOULD BE RICH. WRITTEN ANNO 1736.
The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money. For six pounds a year you may have the use of one hundred pounds, provided you are a man of known prudence and honestW. #. that spends a groat a day idly spends idly above six pounds a year, which is the price for the use of one hundred pounds. He that wastes idly a groat's worth of his time per day, one day with another, wastes the privilege of using one hundred pounds each day. He that idly loses five shillings' worth of time loses five shillings, and might as prudently throw five shillings into the sea. He that loses five shillings not only loses that sum, but all the advantage that might be made by turning it in dealing, which, by the time that a young man becomes old, will amount to a considerable sum of money. Again: he that sells upon credit asks a price for what he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his money for the time he is to be kept out of it; therefore, he that buys upon credit pays interest for what he buys, and he that pays ready money might let that money out to use: so that he that possesses anything he bought pays interest for the use of it. Yet, in buying goods, it is best to pay ready money, because he that sells upon credit expects to lose five per cent. by bad debts; therefore, he charges on all he sells upon credit an advance that shall make up that deficiency. Those who pay for what they buy upon credit pay their share of this advance. He that pays ready money escapes, or may escape, that charge.
THE HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG.
THERE are two sorts of people in the world, who, with equal degrees of health and wealth and the other comforts of life, become, the one happy, and the other miserable. This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons and events, and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.
In whatever situation men can be placed, they may find conveniences and inconveniences; in whatever company, they may find persons and conversation more or less pleasing; at what