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Richard says, the greatest prodigality; since, as he 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; 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. Drive thy business, let not that drive thee ; and Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise, as Poor Richard says.
“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; for A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. Many, without labor, would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock; whereas indus. try gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. Fly pleasures, and they will follow you. The diligent spinner has a large shift; and now I have a sheep and a cow, everybody bids me good morrow.
“II. But with our industry we must likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eye, 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 a 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 In the affairs of this world men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it; but a man's own care is profitable; for, If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself. A little neglect may breed great mischief; 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 a little care about a horse-shoe nail.
“III. So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own
business; but to these we must add frugality, 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; and
Many estates are spent in the getting,
If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as of getting. The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes.
Away, then, with your expensive follies, and you will not then have so much cause to complain of hard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families; for
Women and wine, game and deceit,
And further, 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, Many a little makes a mickle. Beware of little expenses ; A small leak will sink a great ship, as Poor Richard says; and again, Who dainties love, shall beggars prove; and moreover, Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some ; for he that goes a bor. rowing goes a sorrowing, as Poor Richard says; and indeed so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again. Poor Dick further advises, and says,
Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse;
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 to satisfy all that follow it. And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell in order to equal the ox.
Vessels large may venture more,
But little boats should keep near shore. It is, however, a folly soon punished ; for, as Poor Richard says, Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt. 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, nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person; it creates envy; it hastens misfortune
“But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities.
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 ;
No morning sun lasts a whole day.
you is constant and certain ; and it is easier to build two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel, 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 afterward 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 Reason, 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,
FRANKLIN BEFORE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
[From the Report of the Examination, published in 1767.] Q. What is your name, and place of abode ? A. Franklin, of Philadelphia. Q. Do the Americans pay any considerable taxes among themselves ? A. Certainly, many, and very heavy taxes.
Q. What are the present taxes in Pennsylvania, laid by the laws of the colony?
A. There are taxes on all estates real and personal; a poll tax; a tax on all offices, professions, trades, and businesses, according to their profits; an excise on all wine, rum and other spirits; and a duty of ten pounds per head on all negroes imported, with some other duties.
Q. For what purposes are those taxes laid ?
A. For the support of the civil and military establishments of the country, and to discharge the heavy debt contracted in the last war.
Q. How long are those taxes to continue ?
A. Those for discharging the debt are to continue till 1772, and longer if the debt should not be then all discharged. The others must always continue.
Q. Was it not expected that the debt would have been sooner discharged ?
A. It was, when the peace was made with France and Spain. But, a fresh war breaking out with the Indians, a fresh load of debt was incurred; and the taxes, of course, continued longer by a new law.
Q. Are not all the people very able to pay those taxes ?
A. No. The frontier counties, all along the continent, having been frequently ravaged by the enemy and greatly impoverished, are able to pay very little tax. And therefore, in consideration of their distresses, our late tax laws do expressly favor those counties, excusing the sufferers; and I suppose the same is done in other governments.
Q. What was the temper of America toward Great Britain before the
year 1763 ?
A. The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the govern. ment of the crown, and paid, in their courts, obedience to the acts of Parliament. Numerous as the people are in the several old provinces, they cost you nothing in forts, citadels, garrisons, or armies, to keep them in subjection. They were governed by this country at the expense only of a little pen, ink, and paper; they were led by a thread. They had not only a respect, but an affection for Great Britain; for its laws, its customs and manners, and even a fondness for its fashions, that greatly increased the commerce. Natives of Britain were always treated with particular regard; to be an Old-England man was of itself a character of some respect, and gave a kind of rank among us.
Q. And what is their temper now?
Q. In what light did the people of America use to consider the Parliament of Great Britain ?
A. They considered the Parliament as the great bulwark and security of their liberties and privileges, and always spoke of it with the utmost respect and veneration. Arbitrary ministers, they thought, might possibly, at times, attempt to oppress them ; but they relied on it that the Parliament, on application, would always give redress. They remembered, with gratitude, a strong instance of this, when a bill was brought into Parliament, with a clause to make royal instructions laws in the colonies, which the House of Commons would not pass, and it was thrown out.
Q. And have they not still the same respect for Parliament ?
A. To a concurrence of causes; the restraints lately laid on their trade by which the bringing of foreign gold and silver into the colonies was prevented; the prohibition of making paper money among themselves, and then demanding a new and heavy tax by stamps, taking away, at the same time, trials by juries, and refusing to receive and hear their humble petitions.
Q. Don't you think they would submit to the Stamp Act, if it was modified, the obnoxious parts taken out, and the duty reduced to some particulars of small moment?
A. No, they will never submit to it.
2. If the Stamp Act should be repealed, would it induce the assemblies of America to acknowledge the rights of Parliament to tax them, and would they erase their resolutions ?
A. No, never.