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Eat not to dulness: drink not to elevation.
Form of the pages.
Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, TEMPERANCE
speaking of wisdom or virtue:
“ Length of days is in her right hand, and in
her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are San. M.
ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”
And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the following little prayer, which was prefixed to my tables of examination, for daily use.
"O) powerful goodness! bountiful father! merciful guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest : Strengthen my resolution to perform what that wisdom dictates : Accept my kind offices to thy other chil
dren, as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me.”.
I used also sometimes a little prayer, which I took from Thomson's Poems, viz.
“ Father of light and life, thou God supreme !
() teach me what is good ; teach me thyself! I determined to give a week's strict atten- Save me from folly, vanity, and vice, tion to each of the virtues successively. Thus From every low pursuit; and fill my soul in the first week, my great guard was to avoid With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue every the least offence against Temperance;
pure ; leaving the other virtues to their ordinary Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss !" chance, only marking every evening the faults
The precept of Order, requiring that every of the day. Thus, it in the first week I could part of my business should have its allotted keep my first line marked T. clear of spots, I time, one page in my little book contained the supposed the habit of that virtue so much following scheme of employment for the twenstrengthened, and its opposite weakened, that ty-four hours of a natural day. I might venture extending my attention to incin e the next; and for the following week
SCHEME. keep oth lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could get through a course Morning
Rise, wash, and address Porocomplete in thirteen weeks, and four courses The Quest. What 5 | erful Goodness! contrive day's
business, and take the resolu. in a year. And like him who having a gar- good shall I do this 6
tion of ihe day; prosecute the
day? den to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all
present study, and breakfast. the bad herbs at once, (which would exceed
8 his reach and his strength,) but works on one of the beds at a time, and having accomplished the first, proceeds to a second ; so I should
Read, or look over my achave (I hoped) the encouraging pleasure, of
1) counts and dine. seeing on my pages the progress made in virtue by clearing successively my lines of Afternoon, their spots; till in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean Evening.
Put things in their places. Sup. book, after a thirteen weeks' daily examination. what good have
per, music, or diversion, or con.
8 versation. Examination of the This my little book had for its motto, these i done to day? 9 ) day. lines from Addison's Cato: " Here will I hold: if there's a power above us, (And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Night. 1 Sleep Through all her works ;) he must delight in
virtue; And that which he delights in must be happy.”.
I entered upon the execution of this plan Another from Cicero:
for self-examination, and continued it with “O vitæ philosophia dux! O virtutum in- occasional intermissions for some time. I was dagatrix expultrixque vitiorum! Unus Dies surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults bene, et ex præceptis tuis actus, peccanti im- than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction mortalitati est anteponendus.”
of seeing them diminish. To avoid the trouble
of renewing now and then my little book, | lent man should allow a few faults in himself, which by scraping out the marks on the paper to keep his friends in countenance. In truth of old faults to make room for new ones in a I found myself incorrigible with respect to new course, became full of holes, I transferred Order; and now I am grown old, and my my tables and precepts to the ivory leaves of memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of a memorandum book, on which the lines were it. But on the whole, though I never arrived drawn with red ink, that made a durable stain; at the perfection I had been so ambitious of and on those lines I marked my faults with a obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was by black lead pencil; which marks I could easily the endeavour, a better and a happier man wipe out with a wet sponge. After a while I than I otherwise should have been, if I had went through one course only in a year; and not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect afterwards only one in several years; till at writing by imitating the engraved copies, length I omitted them entirely, being employed though they never reach the wished-for exin voyages and business abroad, with a multi-cellence of those copies, their hand is mended plicity of affairs, that interfered; but I always by the endeavour, and is tolerable while it carried my little book with me. My scheme continues fair and legible. of Order gave me the most trouble; and I It may be well my posterity should be infound that though it might be practicable formed, that to this little artifice, with the where a man's business was such as to leave blessing of God, their ancestor owed the conhim the disposition of his time, that of a journey-stant felicity of his life down to his 79th year, man printer for instance, it was not possible to in which this
written. What reverses may be exactly observed by a master, who must attend the remainder is in the hand of Provimix with the world, and often receive people .dence: but if they arrive, the reflection on of business at their own hours. Order too, past happiness enjoyed, ought to help his with regard to places for things, papers, &c. bearing them with more resignation. To I found extremely difficult to acquire. I had Temperance he ascribes his long continued not been early accustomed to method, and health, and what is still left to him of a good having an exceeding good memory, I was not constitution. To Industry and Frugality, 80 sensible of the inconvenience attending the early casiness of his circumstances, and want of method. This article therefore cost acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowme much painful attention, and my faults in it ledge that enabled him to be an useful citizen vexed me so much, and I made so little pro- and obtained for him some degree of reputagress in amendment, and had such frequent tion among the learned. To Sincerity and relapses, that I was almost ready to give up Justice, the confidence of his country, and the attempt, and content myself with a faulty the honourable employs it conferred upon character in that respect. Like the man who him: and to the joint influence of the whole in buying an axe of a smith my neighbour, de- mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect sired to have the whole of its surface as bright state he was able to acquire them, all that as the edge: the smith consented to grind it evenness of temper and that cheerfulness in bright for him if he would turn the wheel: he conversation which makes his company still turned while the smith pressed the broad face sought for, and agreeable even to his young of the axe hard and heavily on the stone, acquaintance: I hope therefore that some of which made the turning of it very fatiguing. my descendants may follow the example and The man came every now and then from the reap the benefit. wheel to see how the work went on; and at It will be remarked that, though my scheme length would take his axe as it was, without was not wholly without religion, there was further grin ling. No, said the smith, turn in it no mark' of any of the distinguishing on, turn on, we shall have it bright by and tenets of any particular sect; I had purpose by; as yet 'tis only speckled. Yes, said the ly avoided them; for being fully persuaded man, but " I think I like a speckled axe best." |of the utility and excellency of my method, And I believe this may have been the case and that it might be serviceable to people in with many, who having for want of some all religions, and intending some time or other such means as I employed, found the difficulty to publish it, I would not have any thing in of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in it, that should prejudice any one, of any sect, other points of vice and virtue, have given up against it. I proposed writing a little comthe struggle, and concluded that “a speckled ment on each virtue, in which I would have are was best.” For something, that pretend- shown the advantages of possessing it, and ed to be reason, was every now and then sug- the mischiefs attending its opposite vice; I gesting to me, that such extreme nicety as I should have called my book The Art of exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery Virtue, because it would have shown the in morals, which if it were known, would means and manner of obtaining virtue, which make me ridiculous ; that a perfect character would have distinguished it from the mere might be attended with the inconvenience of exhortation to be good, that does not instruct being envied and hated; and that a benevo- and indicate the means; but is like the apos
le's man of verbal charity, who without some absurdity in his proposition ; and in showing to the naked and hungry, how or answering I began by observing, that in cerwhere they might get clothes or victuals, tain cases or circumstances, his opinion would only exhorted them to be fed and clothed. be right, but in the present case there apJames ii. 15, 16.
peared, or seemed to me, some difference, But it so happened that my intention of &c. I soon found the advantage of this change writing and publishing this comment was in my manners; the conversations I
engaged never fulfilled. I had indeed from time to in went on more pleasantly. The modest time put down short hints of the sentiments, | way in which I proposed my opinions, proreasonings, &c. to be made use of in it; some cured them a readier reception and less conof which I have still by me: but the necessary tradiction ; I had less mortification when I close attention to private business, in the was found to be in the wrong, and I more earlier part of life; and public business since, easily prevailed with others to give up their have occasioned my postponing it. For it mistakes and join with me when I happened being connected in my mind with a great to be in the right. And this mode, which I and extensive project, that required the at first put on with some violence to natural whole man to execute, and which an unfore- inclination, became at length easy, and so seen succession of employs prevented my habitual to me, that perhaps for the fifty years attending to, it has hitherto remained un- past no one has ever heard a dogmatical exfinished.
pression escape me. And to this habit (after In this piece it was my design to explain my character of integrity). I think it princiand enforce this doctrine, that vicious actions pally owing, that I had early so much weight are not hurtful, because they are forbidden, with my fellow-citizens, when I proposed new but forbidden because they are hurtful; the institutions, or alterations in the old ; and so nature of man alone considered : that it was much influence in public councils, when I therefore every one's interest to be virtuous, became a member: for I was but a bad who wished to be happy even in this world : speaker, never eloquent, subject to much and I should from this circumstance, there hesitation in my choice of words, hardly corbeing always in the world a number of rich rect in language, and yet I generally carried merchants, nobility, states and princes whọ my point. have need of honest instruments for the In reality there is perhaps no one of our management of their affairs, and such being natural passions so hard to subdue as Pride ; so rare) have endeavoured to convince young disguise it
, struggle with it, stifle it, mortify persons, that no qualities are so likely to make it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and a poor man's fortune, as those of probity and will every now and then peep out and show integrity.
itself; you will see it perhaps often in this My list of virtues contained at first but history. For even if I could conceive that I twelve : but a quaker friend having kindly had completely overcome it, I should probainformed me that I was generally thought bly be proud of my humility. proud ; that my pride showed itself frequently (Here concludes what was written at Passy, near in conversation ; that I was not content with Paris.] being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent ; (of which he convinced me by mentioning
MEMORANDUM. several instances) I determined to endeavour to cure myself if I could of this vice or folly I am now about to write at home (Philaamong the rest; and I added Humility to my delphia,) August 1788, but cannot have the list, giving an extensive meaning to the word. help expected from my papers, many of I cannot boast of much success in acquiring them being lost in the war. I have however the reality of this virtue, but I had a good found the following; deal with regard to the appearance of it. I Having mentioned a great and extensive made it a rule to forbear all direct contradic- project which I had conceived, it seems protion to the sentiments of others, and all posi- per, that some account should be here given tive assertion of mine own. I even forbid of that project and its object. Its first rise in myself
, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, my mind appears in the abovementioned little the use of every word or expression in the paper, accidentally preserved, viz. • language that imported a fixed opinion; such OBSERVATIONS, on my reading history, in as certainly, undoubtedly, fc. and I adopted library, May 9, 1731. instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or " That the great affairs of the world, the I imagine, a thing to be so, or so; or it so wars, revolutions, &c. are carried on and efappears to me at present. When another fected by parties. asserted some thing that I thought an error, " That the view of these parties is their I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting present general interest; or what they take him abruptly, and of showing immediately to be such.
“ That the different views of these different for the admission of improper persons; but parties occasion all confusion.
that the members should, each of them, search “ That while a party is carrying on a gen- among his acquaintance for ingenious, welleral design, each man has his particular pri- disposed youths, to whom, with prudent cauvate interest in view.
tion, the scheme should be gradually com“ That as soon as a party has gained its municated. That the members should engeneral point, each member becomes intent gage to afford their advice, assistance, and upon his particular interest, which thwarting support to each other in promoting one anothers, breaks that party into divisions, and other's interest, business, and advancement in occasions more confusion.
life: that for distinction, we should be called “ That few in public affairs act from a mere THE SOCIETY OF THE FREE AND Easy. Free, view of the good of their country, whatever as being by the general practice and habits they may pretend; and though their actings of the virtues, free from the dominion of vice; bring real good to their country, yet men and particularly by the practice of industry primarily considered that their own and their and frugality, free from debt, which exposes country's interest were united, and so did not a man to constraint, and a species of slavery act from a principle of benevolence.
to his creditors. “ That fewer still, in public affairs, act with This is as much as I can now ręcollect of a view to the good of mankind.
the project, except that I communicated it in “ There seems to me at present to be great part to two young men, .who adopted it with occasion for raising an United Party for enthusiasm : but my then narrow circumstanVirtue, by forming the virtuous and good men ces, and the necessity I was under of sticking of all nations into a regular body, to be gov- close to my business, occasioned my postponerned by suitable good and wise rules, which ing the further prosecution of it at that time, good and wise men may probably be more and my multifarious occupations, public and unanimous in their obedience to, than com- private, induced me to continue postponing, mon people are to common laws.
so that it has been omitted, till I have no “I at present think, that whoever attempts longer strength or activity left sufficient for this aright, and is well qualified, cannot fail such an enterprise. Though I am still of of pleasing God, and of meeting with suc- opinion it was a practicable scheme, and cess.
B. F. might have been very useful, by forming a Revolving this project in my mind, as to be great number of good citizens: and I was not undertaken hereafter, when my circumstances discouraged by the seeming magnitude of the should afford me the necessary leisure, I put undertaking, as I have always thought that down from time to time on pieces of paper one man of tolerable abilities, may work great such thoughts as occurred to me respecting changes, and accomplish great affairs among it. Most of these are lost, but I find one pur- mankind, if he first forms a good plan; and porting to be the substance of an intended cutting off all amusements or other employcreed, containing as I thought the essentials ments that would divert his attention, makes of every known religion, and being free of the execution of that same plan, his sole study every thing that might shock the professors and business. of any religion. It is expressed in these In 1732, I first published my Almanack unwords; viz.
der the name of Richard Saunders; it was " That there is one God, who made all continued by me about twenty-five years, and things.
commonly called Poor Richard's Almanack. “ That he governs the world by his provi- I endeavoured to make it both entertaining dence.
and useful, and it accordingly came to be in “ That he ought to be worshipped by adora- such demand that I reapad considerable profit tion, prayer, and thanksgiving.
from it ; vending annully near ten thousand. “ But that the most acceptable service to And observing that it wis generally read, God, is doing good to man.
(scarce any neighbourhool in the province « That the soul is immortal.
being without it,) I cons dered it as a proper “ And that God will certainly reward virtue vehicle for conveying instruction among the and punish vice, either here or hereafter.” common people, who bought scarcely any
My ideas at that time were, that the sect other books. I therefore filled all the little should be begun and spread at first, among spaces that occurred between the remarkable young and single men only ; that each person days in the Calendar, with proverbial sentento be initiated should not only declare his as-ces, chiefly such as inculcated industry and sent to sạch creed, but should have exercised frugality, as the means of procuring wealth, himself with the thirteen weeks' examination and thereby securing virtue; it being more and practice of the virtues, as in the before- difficult for a man in want to aci always mentioned model; that the existence of such honestly, as (to use here one of those pro a society should be kept a secret, till it was verbs) * it is hard for an empty sack to stand become considerable, to prevent solicitations. upright.” These proverbs which contained
the wisdom of many ages and nations, I as- tion to young printers, and that they be ensembled and formed into a connected discourse couraged not to pollute the presses, and disprefixed to the Almanack of 1757, as the grace their profession by such infamous pracharangue of a wise old man to the people at- tices, but refuse steadily, as they may see by tending an auction: the bringing all these my example, that such a course of conduct scattered counsels thus into a focus, enabled will not on the whole be injurious to their them to make greater impression. The piece interests. being universally approved, was copied in all In 1733, I sent one of my journeymen to the newspapers of the American Continent, Charleston, South Carolina, where a printer reprinted in Britain on a large sheet of paper was wanting. I furnished him with a press to be stuck up in houses; two translations and letters, on an agreement of partnership were made of it in France, and great num- by which I was to receive 'one third of the bers bought by the clergy and gentry to dis- profits of the business, paying one third of the tribute gratis among their poor parishioners expense. He was a man of learning, but igand tenants. In Pennsylvania, as it dis- norant in matters of account; and though he couraged useless expense in foreign super- sometimes made me remittances, I could get fluities, soine thought it had its share of in- no account from him, nor any satisfactory state fluence in producing that growing plenty of of our partnership while he lived. On his money which was observable for several decease the business was continued by his years after its publication.
widow, who being born and bred in Holland, I considered my newspaper also as another where, (as I have been informed,) the knowmeans of communicating instruction, and in ledge of accounts makes a part of female eduthat view frequently reprinted in it extracts cation; she not only sent me as clear a statefrom the Spectator, and other moral writers; ment as she could find of the transactions past, and sometimes published little pieces of mine but continued to account with the greatest own which hul been first composed for read- regularity and exactness every quarter aftering in our Junto. Of these are a Socratic wards; and managed the business with such dialogue, tending to prove, that whatever success, that she not only reputably trouglit might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man up a family of children, but at the expiration could not properly be called a man of sense; of the term, was able to purchase of me the and a discourse on self-denial, showing that print ng-house, and establish her son in it. I virtue was not secure till its tice became ment on this affair chiefly for the sake of rea habitude, and was free from the opposition commending that branch of education for our of contrary inclinations: these may be found young women, as likely to be of more use to in the papers about the beginning of 1735. them and their children in case of widowhood, In the conduct of my newspaper, I carefully than either music or dancing;. by preserving excluded all libelling and personal abuse, them from losses by imposition of crafty men, which is of late years become so disgraceful and enabling them to continue, perhaps, a to our country. Whenever I was solicited to profitable mercantile house, with established insert any thing of that kind, and the writers correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to pleuded (as they generally did) the liberty of undertake and go on with it; to the lasting the press ; and that a newspaper was like a advantage and enriching of the family. stage-coach, in which any one who would About the year 1734, there arrived among pay had a right to a place; my answer was, us a young Presbyterian preacher, named that I would print the piece separately if Hemphill
, who delivered with a good voice, desireil, and the author might have as many and apparently extempore, most excellent discopies as he pleased to distribute himseit; but courses; which drew together considerable that I would not take upon me to spread his numbers of different persuasions, who joined detraction; and that having contracted with in admiring them. Among the rest, I became my subscribers to furnish them with what one of his constant' hearers, his sermons pleas might be either useful or entertaining, I could ing me, as they had little of the dogmatical not fill their papers with private altercation kind, þut inculcated strongly the practice of in which they had no concern, without doing virtue, or what in the religious style are callthem manifest injustice. Now, many of our ed good works. Those, however, of our conprinters make no scruple of gratifying the gregation who considered themselves as orthomalice of individuals, by false accusations of dox Presbyterians, disapproved his doctrine, the 'fairest characters among ourselves, aug- and were joined by most of the old ministers, menting animosity even to the producing of who arraigned him of heterodoxy before the duels; and are morcover so indiscreet as to synod, in order to have him silenced. I beprint scurrilous reflections on the government came his zealous partisan, and contributed all of neighbouring states, and even on the con- I could to raise a party in his favour, and duct of our best national allies, which may be combated for him awhile with some hopes of attended with the most pernicious conse- success. There was much scribbling pro
and quences. These things I mention as a cau- con upon the occasion; and finding, that