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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 it is day, and will never be night ;' that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding: but always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom,' as poor Richard says; and then,
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,' as poor Richard says; and indeed so does he that lends 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 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 ! 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 him; you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and, by degrees, come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for the second vice is lying, the first is running in debt,' as poor Richard says; and again, to the same purpose, 'lying rides upon debt's back;' whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.' What would you think of that prince, or of that 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 were 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 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 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 circum. stances, 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.' 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 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 pru. dence, 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 suf. fered, and was afterwards 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 farther, 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 almanacks, and digested all I had dropped on those 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,
NECESSARY HINTS TO THOSE THAT
WOULD BE RICH.
Written anno 1736. The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.
For six pounds a year you may have the use of one hundred pounds, provided you are a man of known prudence and honesty.
He that spends a groat a day idly, spends idly above six pounds a year, which is the price for the use of one hundred pounds.
He that wastes idly a groat's worth of his time per day, one day with another, wastes the privilege of using one hundred pounds each day.
He that idly loses five shillings worth of time, loses five shillings, and might as prudently throw five shillings into the sea.
He that loses five shillings, not only loses that sum, but all the advantage that might be made by turning it in dealing, which, by the time that a young man becomes old, will amount to a considerable sum of money.
Again : he that sells upon credit, asks a price for what he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his money for the time he is to be kept out of it; therefore, he that buys upon credit pays interest for what he buys; and he that pays ready money, might