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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 1 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 discourag
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. T'his 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 foliows :
" 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 inore
“ 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 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
any of us much more if we reckon all that is spent in absolute 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. Ilow 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 lie 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, “ Drive 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 roer Richard likewise observes) " He that uath a trade hath an estate, and be that hath a
calling hath an office of profit and honour;" but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling well Tollowed, 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 catehes 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, “ continua) 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 labour would live by their own wits only : but they break for want of stock." Whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. “Fly pitasures, ind they'll follow you ; the diligent spinner has a large
shift ; and, now I have a sheep and cow, every body bids me good-morrow;" all' which is well said by poor Richard.
“But with our industry, we must likewise be steady and settled and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others; for, as poor Richard says,
"I never saw an oft-removed tree,
And, again, “ Three removes are as bad as a fire ;" and again," Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee ;' and again, “ If you would have your business done, go; if not, send." And again,
“ He that by the plough would thrive,
And again, " The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands;" and again,“ Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge;" and again, “ Not to oversee workmen is to leave them your purse open! Trusting too much to others' care is the ruin of many : for, as the Almanac says, in the affairs of the world, “men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it ;” but a man's own care is profitable ; for, saith poor Díck,“ Learning is to the studious, and riches to the careful, as well as power to the bold, and heaven to the, virtuous.” And, farther, “ If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.” And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, even in the smallest matters, because sometimes, " A little neglect may breed great mischief ;" adding, " For want of a nail the shoe was lost ; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost ; being overtaken and slain by the enemy-all for want of care about a horse-shoe nail."
So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business ; but to these we must add frigality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, “ keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last." "A fat kitchen makes a lean will,” as poor Richard says; and,
“ Many estates are spent in the getting; Since women for tea for ook spinning and knitting, And men for punch forsook liewing and splitting.”
“ If you would be wealthy, (says he, in another Almanac) think of saving as well as getting: the Indies have rot made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes."
“ Away then with your expensive follies, and you will not have much cause to complain of hard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families ; for, as poor Dick says,
“Women and wine, game and deceit
Make the wealth small, and the want great." And, farther, “What maintains one vice would bring up two children.” You may think, perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diet a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great matter ; but remember what poor Richard says, “ Many a little makes a meikle;" and, farther, “ Beware of little expense; a small leak will 'sink a great ship;" and again, “Who dainties love shall beggars prove;" and moreover,“Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.”
“ Here you are all got together at this sale of fineries and nicknacks. You call them goods ; but if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold 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 says,
“ Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.” And again, “ At a great pennyworth, pause awhile.” He means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, or not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good. For in another place he says, “ Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths.” Again, as poor Richard says, “ It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance," and yet this folly is practised every day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanac. “ Wise men (as poor Dick says, learn by other's harms, fools scarcely by their own; but Felix quem factunt aliena pericula cautum.” Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly, and half starved their families : “Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, (as poor Richard says) put out the kitchen fire." These are not the necessaries of life: they can scarcely be called the conveniences; and yet only because they look pretty, how many want to have them ? The artificial wants of mankind thus become more numerous than the natural ; and, as poor Dick says,