Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ard says:

are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences; and yet only because i hey 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, ' For one poor person there are a hundred indigent.' By these and other extravagances the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who, through industry and frugality, have maintained their standing; in which case, it appears plainly. ' A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees,' as poor Rich.

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 worth minding, 'A child and a fool (as poor Richard says) imagine twenty shillings and twenty years can never be spent; but always be taking out of the meal-tub, and never put. ting in, soon comes to the bottom :'then, as poor Dick says, 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 sorrowing; and, indeed, so does he that lend to such people, when he goes to get it in again. Poor Dick farther advises,

and says,

Fond pride of dress is sure a very 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 10 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 shore.' 'Tis, however, a fully soon punished; for, ' Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt, as poor Richard says. 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 inuch is suffered ? It cannot promote health, or ense pain, it makes no increase of merit in the person; it hastens niisfortune.

• What is a butterfly ? at best,
He's but a caterpillar drest ;
The gaudy fop's his picture just,'

as poor Richard says.

« 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 bim; you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity, and sink into base downright lying: for. as poor Richard says, “The second vice is lying; the first is running in debt.' And again, to the same purpose, ‘Lying rides upon debt's back;' whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed mor afraid

to speak 10 any man living.--But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue: It is hard for an empty bug to stand upright,' as poor Richard truly says. 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

L

' ve a breach of your privileges, and such a govern menf tyrannical? And yet you are about to put your i self 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 pay. inent; but ‘Creditors (poor Richard tells us) have better inemories than debtors ;' and in another place he says, · 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 preparéd 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 at his shoulders. • Those have a short Lent (saith poor Richard) who owe money to be paid at Easter.' Then since, as he says, “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 your. selves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but

'For age and want save while you may,
No morning surrlasts a whole day.'

as poor Richard says. 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 Richurd says. So 'Rather go to bed supperless than Fise in debt.'

'Get what you can, and what you get hold,
"Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold,

as poor Richard says. And when you have got the philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain isf 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: 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 in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct,' as poor Richard says. However, remember this, They that will not be counselled, cannot be helped,' as poor Richard says; and further, that “If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles. »

Thus the old gentleman ended his barrangue, 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, notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear of taxes. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacks, and digested all I had dropped on ihose topics, during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me, must have tired every 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 ne 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 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,

RICHARD SAUNDERS.

[ocr errors]

THE

INTERNAL STATE OF AMERICA.

Being a true Description of the Interest and Policy

of thot vast Continent.

There is a tradition, that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships: as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt establishing themselves in a wilderness country. Being piously disposed, they sought relief from Heaven, by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord, in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and dis. course on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and · discontenled; and, like the Children of Israel, there were many disposed to return to that Egypt which persecution had induced them to abandon. At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remarked, that the inconveniences they suffered, and concerning which they had so often wearied Heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthened ; that the earth began to reward their labour, and to furnish liberally for their subsistence; that the seas and rivers were found full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy; and, above all, that they were there in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious: be therefore thought, that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable, as tending more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the Divine · Being. if, instead of a fast, they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken; and from that

« ZurückWeiter »