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FROM THE MOST
EMINENT PROSE WRITERS.
DETACHED SENTENCES, THOUGHTS,
MAXIMS, AND PROVERBS.
THE WAY TO WEALTH, AS CLEARLY SHOWN IN
THE PREFACE OF AN OLD PENNSYLVANIAN ALMANACK, ENTITLED, POOR RICHARD IMPROVED.
COURTEOUS READER, I HAVE beard, that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by others. Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchant's goods. The hour of the 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 you of the times? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the
country? How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up, and replied, “If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; “ for a word to the wise is enougb," as Poor Richard says.' They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows':
• Friends,' says he, 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 may have many others, and much more grievous to some of 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; “Gold helps them that help themselves," as Poor Richard says.
1. “It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one-ter
part of their time to be employed in its service; but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the used key is always bright," as Poor Richard says, --" But dost thou love life, then do not squander
1 Dr. Franklin, wishing to collect into one piece all his say. ings upon the following subjects, which he had dropped in the course of publishing the almanacks called Poor Richard, intro. duces father Abraham for this purpose. llence it is, that Poor Richard is so often quoted, and ibat, in the present title, be is. said to be improved.
time, for that is the stuff life is made of," as Poor Richard says. How 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 he elsewhere tells us, “ Lost time is never found again; and what we call timie 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.
“So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? We may make these times better, if we bestir ourselves. “ Industry need not wish, and he that lives upon hope will be fasting. There are no gains without pains; then help hands, for I have no lands," or, if I have, they are smartly taxed. “He that hath a trade, hath an estate; and he that hath a calling, hath an office of profit and honour," as Poor Richard says; but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling well followed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes. If we are industrious we shall never starve; for, at the working man's house hunger looks in,
but dares not enter.” Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for, “industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.” What though you have found no treasure, por has any rich relation left you a legacy, “Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry. Then plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.” Work while it is called to day, for you know not how much you may be hindered to morrow. “One to day is worth two to morrows," as Poor Richard says; and further, “Never leave that till to morrow, which you can do 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, when there is so much to be done for yourself, your family, your country, and your king. Handle your tools without mittens: remember, that, “ The cat in gloves catches 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 “ Constant dropping wears away stones: and by diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and little strokes fell great oaks.”
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, " À life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. Many, without labour, would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock;" whereas industry 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, every body 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 eyes, and not trust too much to others; for, as Poor Richard says,
“I never saw an oft removed tree,
. And again, “ Three removes is 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 de 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, 56 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