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pursuit after mines of gold and silver and other valuable metals, and many have been ruined by it. A sea-captain of my acquaintance used to blame the English for envying Spain their mines of silver, and too much despising or overlooking the advantages of their own industry and manufactures. For my part, says be, I esteem the banks of Newfoundland to be a more valuable possession than the mountains of Potosi; and when I have been there on the fishing account, have looked upon every cod pulled up into the vessel as a certain quantity of silver ore, which required only carrying to the next Spanish port to be coined into pieces of eight; not to mention the national profit of fitting out and employing such a number of ships and seamen. Let honest Peter Buckram, who has long, without success, been a searcher after hidden money, reflect on this, and be reclaimed from that unaccountable folly. Let him consider, that every stitch he takes when he is on his shop board is picking up part of a grain of gold, that will in a few days time amount to a pistole ; and let Faber think the same of every nail he drives, or every stroke with his plane. Such thoughts may make them industrious, and of consequence in time they may be wealthy. But how absurd is it to neglect a certain profit for such a ridiculous whimsey: to spend whole days at the George, in company with an idle pretender to astrology, contriving schemes to discover what was never hidden, and forgetful how carelessly business is managed at home in their absence : to leave their wives and a warm bed at midnight (no matter if it rain, hail, snow, or blow a hurricane, provided that be the critical hour) and fatigue themselves with the violent exercise of digging for what they shall never find, and perhaps
getting a cold that may cost their lives, or at least disordering themselves so as to be fit for no business beside for some days after. Surely this is nothing less than the most egregious folly and madness.
I shall conclude with the words of my discreet friend, Agricola, of Chester County, when he gave his son a good plantation : My son," says he, “ I give thee now a valuable parcel of land; I assure thee I have found a considerable quantity of gold by digging there; thee mayst do the same: but thee must carefully observe this, Never to dig more than plow-deep."
The Way to Wealth, as clearly shown in the Preface of
an old Pensylvania Almanack, intitled, Poor Richard Improved *.
I HAVE heard, 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 merchants 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 these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be 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 enough, as Poor Richard says. They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:
* Dr. Franklin, as I have been made to understand, for many years published the Pensylvania Almanack, called Poor Rickard (Saunders), and furnished it with various sentences and proverbs, which had principal relation to the topics of “ industry, attention to one's own business, and frugality.” The whole or chief of these sentences and proverbs he at last collected and digested in the above general preface, which Iris countrymen read with much avidity and profit. B. V. 2 G 3
· 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 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; “God helps them that help themselves,” as poor Richard says.
• I. It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth 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 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 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 bis 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
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 die 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, hun. ger 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, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy, “ diligence is the mother of good luck, and 2 G 4
God gives all things to industry. Then plow 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 farther, “ 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 mitlens ; 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 “a 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.”