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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; 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 such 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 gaol till you shall 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;
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 fatl, as Poor Richard says; so, Rather go to bed supperless, than rise in debt.
Get what you can, and what you get hold;
'Tis 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.
"IV. 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 Reasan, 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 opened, and they began to buy extravagantly. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacs, and digested all I had dropped on these 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 mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,
OBSERVATIONS ON MAYZ, OR INDIAN CORN.
It is remarked in North America, that the English farmers, when they first arrive there, finding a soil and climate proper for the husbandry they have been accustomed to, and particularly suitable for raising wheat, they despise and neglect the culture of mayz,* or Indian corn; but, observing the advantage it affords their neighbours, the older inhabitants, they by degrees get more and more into the practice of raising it; and the face of the country shows, from time to time, that the culture of that grain goes on visibly augmenting.
The inducements are, the many different ways in which it may be prepared, so as to afford a wholesome
• This word seems to have no settled orthography. It is written mayz, maiz, maize. The last is, perhaps, the most usual — Editor.
and pleasing nourishment to men and other animal*. 1st . The family can begin to make use of it before the time of full harvest; for the tender green ears, stripped of their leaves, and roasted by a quick fire till the grain is brown, and eaten with a little salt or butter, are a delicacy. 2dly. When the grain is ripe and harder, the ears, boiled in their leaves, and eaten with butter, are also good and agreeable food. The tender green grains, dried, may be kept all the year, and, mixed with green haricots* also dried, make at any time a pleasing dish, being first soaked some hours in water, and then boiled. When the grain is ripe and hard, there are also several ways of using it . One is, to soak it all night in a lessive or lye, and then pound it in a large wooden mortar with a wooden pestle; the skin of each grain is by that means skinned off, and the farinaceous part left whole, which, being boiled, swells into a white soft pulp, and eaten with milk, or with butter and sugar, is delicious.f The dry grain is also sometimes ground loosely, so as to be broke into pieces of the size of rice, and being winnowed to separate the bran, it is then boiled and eaten with turkeys or other fowls, as rice. Ground into a finer meal, they make of it by boiling a hasty-pudding, or bouilli, to be eaten with milk, or with butter and sugar; this resembles what the Italians call polenta. They make of the same meal, with water and salt, a hasty cake, which, being stuck against a hoe or other flat iron, is placed erect before the fire, and so baked, to be used as bread. Broth is also agreeably thickened with the same meal. They also parch it in this manner. An iron pot is filled with sand, and set on the fire till the sand is very hot . Two or three pounds of the grain are then thrown in, and well mixed with the sand by stirring. Each grain bursts and throws out a white substance of twice its bigness. The sand is separated by a wire sieve, and returned into the pot, to be again heated and repeat the operation with fresh grain. That which is parched is pounded to a powder in mortars. This, being sifted, will keep long for use. An Indian will travel far and subsist long on a small bag of it, taking only six or eight ounces of it per day, mixed with water.
• Kidney beans.
t Called hominy, and much used in the Southern States, but seldom in New England. — Editor.
The flour of mayz, mixed with that of wheat, makes excellent bread, sweeter and more agreeable than that of wheat alone.* To feed horses, it is good to soak the grain twelve hours; they mash it easier with their teeth, and it yields them more nourishment. The leaves, stripped off the stalks after the grain is ripe, and tied up in bundles when dry, are excellent forage for horses, cows, &c. The stalks, pressed like sugar-cane, yield a sweet juice, which, being fermented and distilled, yields an excellent spirit; boiled without fermentation, it affords a pleasant syrup. In Mexico, fields are sown with it thick, that multitudes of small stalks may arise, which, being cut from time to time like asparagus, are served in deserts, and their sweet juice extracted in the mouth by chewing them. The meal wetted is excellent food for young chickens, and the whole grain for grown fowls.
• Mixed with rye flour or meal, it is not less palatable or nutritious. This mixture forms the common brown bread of New England. — Editor.
VOL. II. 14