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needless ease. Many without labour, would live by their Wits only; but
they'll break, for want of Stock_ [_i.e._, Capital]. Whereas Industry
gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. _Fly Pleasures! and they'll
follow you! The diligent spinner has a large shift_, and

_Now I have a sheep and a cow
Everybody bids me "Good morrow."_

All which is well said by _Poor RICHARD_.

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,
Nor yet an oft removed family,
That throve so well, as those that settled be_.

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;
Himself must either hold or drive_.

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 this world, men are saved, not by faith,
but by the want of it_. But a man's own care is profitable; for, saith
_Poor DICK, Learning is to the Studious,_ and _Riches to the Careful;_ as
well as _Power to the Bold,_ and _Heaven to the Virtuous_. And further,
_If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like; serve

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 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_, as _Poor RICHARD_
says, and

_Many estates are spent in the getting,
Since women, for Tea, forsook spinning and knitting;
And men, for Punch, forsook hewing and splitting_.

_If you would be healthy_, says he in another _Almanac, 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 have so 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 Wants 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 Mickle_; and
farther, _Beware of little expenses! 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 are you all got together at this Vendue of Fineries and knicknacks!
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 a while!_ He means, that perhaps the
cheapness is apparent only, and 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, _Poor RICHARD_ says, _'Tis foolish, to lay out money in a purchase
of Repentance_: and yet this folly is practised every day at Vendues, for
want of minding the _Almanac_.

_Wise men_, as _Poor DICK_ says, _learn by others' harms; Fools, scarcely
by their own_: but _Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum_. Many a
one, for the sake of finery on the back, has 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, _For one poor person, there are a hundred_

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 that _A ploughman on his legs is higher than a
gentleman on his knees_, as _Poor RICHARD_ says. Perhaps they have had a
small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of. They think
_'tis day! and will never be night!_; that _a little to be spent out of
so much I 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 taking out of the meal tub, and never putting in, soon comes
to the bottom_. Then, as _Poor DICK says_, _When the well's 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 lends to such people, _when he goes to get it in

_Poor DICK_ further 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, _'Tis easier
to suppress the First desire, than to satisfy All that follow it_. And
'tis as truly folly, for the poor to ape the rich; as for the frog to
swell, in order to equal the ox.

_Great Estates may venture more;
But little boats should keep near shore!_

'Tis, however, a folly 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 much is suffered! It cannot promote health or ease
pain! It makes no increase of merit in the person! It creates envy! It
hastens misfortune!

_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 into debt_ for these superfluities?

We are offered, by the terms of this Vendue, 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 him! 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 into Debt_: and again, to the
same purpose, _Lying rides upon Debt's back_. Whereas a free born
Englishman ought not to be ashamed or afraid to see, or speak to any man
living. But Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. _'Tis
hard for an Empty Bag to stand upright!_ as _Poor RICHARD_ truly says.
What would you think of that Prince, or the 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 are 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 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 gaol for life! or to sell 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 payment, but _Creditors_
(_Poor RICHARD_ tells us) _have better memories than Debtors_; and, in
another place, 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 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 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 yourself 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,_

as _Poor RICHARD_ says.

Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but, ever while you live, Expense is
constant and certain: and _'tis 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!_

as _Poor RICHARD_ says. And when you have got the Philosopher's Stone,
sure, you will no longer complain of 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 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, 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 won't be counselled, can't be helped!_ as _Poor
RICHARD_ says: and farther, that, "_If you will not hear reason, she'll
surely rap your knuckles!"_

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 Vendue opened, and they began to buy
extravagantly; notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear of

I found the good man had thoroughly studied my _Almanacs_, and digested
all I had dropped on those topics during the course of five and twenty
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 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!

July 7, 1757.


Online LibraryUnknownAn English Garner Critical Essays & Literary Fragments → online text (page 31 of 31)