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Preliminary Address, to the Pennsyhanin Almanack, intitled Poof" Richard's Atmihack, for the year 1758, printed a( Philadelphia, continuedfrom page log.: :■ V . '.: i iiu v. . »
Here you are all got together at this sole of fineries and nicknacks. You call them goods; but if you -do/iiot take care, they will prove evSi to some of you. . You expect they will be fold 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 fays, "Buy what thou half no need of, and'ere long thou shalt fell thy neceslaries." And again, " At a. great pennyworth pause a while." He'means*, that perhaps, the cheapness is apparant only, nos real j: .or .the bargain, .by, straitening thee in thy business, may do thee'more harm than good. For in another place he' fays, " Many have been, ruined by buying good pennyworths." Again poor Rjcharol, fays, "It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance;" and yet this folly js practised every-day at,ane> tions, for want of minding the Almanack, "Vfise men (as poor Dick fays) learn by others harms, foolsfcarcely by their own j but F(/ix qufrpfaciurit'ali^geritltla cautum." Many a one, for the fake of finery on the backj-lmye .gone with a hungry belly,- and ,h^ stained ..-their familiesj "Silk and fattins, scarlet and'Velvets, (a? poor Richard fays) put out the kitchen fire." These are not the necessaries of life ; they can P-arcely be called the conveniences; and yet only because ::.Zy looTc pretty, Tidw many want to have them? the artificial wants of mankind thus become more numerous.than the natural' j and, as. poor Dick fays, M For one poor person, there are an hundred indigent." By these, and other extravagancies, the genteel drefeduc-. ed to poverty, and forced to borrow of those, whomithey formerly despised, • hut who.i through industry and, frugality, have maintained their standing 1 < in which case, it appears plainly, " A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees," as poor Richitfdsay6. Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they, knew not the getting of; they think " it is day, and will never be night;" that a little to be spent out of so much, is, not Tvorth minding; "A child and a fool (as poor Richard soys) imagine twenty shillings and twenty years can neve be spent; but always be taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom j" then, as poor Dick fays, " When the well is dry, they know the worth of water." But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice: "If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a borrowing goes a ibrrowing j and, indeed; so does he- that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again." Poor Dick farther advises and fays,
"Fond pride of dress is sure a very curie j
E'er fancy you consult, consult your purse." And again, " Pride is as loud a beggar as Want, and a great deal more fancy." When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece ; but poor Dick fays; " It is faster 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 the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.
*•* Vessels large may venture more,
But little boats should keep near Ihorc." . 'Tis, however, a folly soon punished; for " Pride' that dines on vanity, sups on contempt," as poor Richard faysv And in another place; " 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, or ease pain; it makes no increase os merit in the person; it creates envy ; "''"•[hastens misfortune*
"What is a butterfly? at'b'est
He's but a catterpillar drest;
The gaudy fop's his picture just/' as poor Richard fays.
But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities! We are offered by the tefms of this sale sir months credit; and that; perhaps, has induced some of u* 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 iii hat when you speak to him; you will make poof, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your vera-f city, and fink into base downright lying; for, as poor Richard fays, "The second vice is lying; the first is running in debt." And again, to the fame purpose, "Lying rides upon debt's back; whereas a free-born Englishman ought mot to be ashamed nor afraid to fee or speak to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; "Is is hard for an empty bag to stand upright," as poor Richard truly fays. What would you think of that prince, or that government, who would 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 government tyrannical? And yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny when you run in debt for such dress I Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in goal for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you lbould not be able to pay him. When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment: but "creditors (poor Richard tells us), have better memories than debtors;" and in another place he fays, " 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 yott bear your debt in mind, the term which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens,' appear extremefy short. Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders. "Those have a short Lent (faith poor Richard,) who owe money to be paid at Easter." Then since, as he fays, " The borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor ;"■ disdain the chain, preserve your freedom^ and maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free. At present,perhaps, you may think yourselves ip. thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury y but
as poor Richard fays. Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever, while you live, expence is constant and certain: and " It is easier to build two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel," as poor Richard fays. So " Rather to bed fupperless than rife in debt."
"Get what you can, and what you get hold; 'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold,1' as poor Richard fays. And when you have got the philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.
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 be blasted without the blessing of heaven jf 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, and scarce iii |hat; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct," as poor Richard fays. However, remember this, " They that will not be counselled, cannot be helped," as poor Richard fays; and further, " That if you will not hear Reason she will surelyrap your nuckles."
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 opened, and they began tat buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions, and; their own fear of taxes. I found the good man had tho-* Roughly studied my Almanacks, 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 1 was conscious that not a tenth part of*the wifidom was my own, which he ascribed to me, but father the gleanings that I have made of the fense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and tho' I had first determined t© buy stuff for a stew coat, I went away, resolved to wear my old one. a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the