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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.
“ Here you are all got together at this sale of fineries and nick-ñacks. 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, It is foolish to lay out money in à purchase of repentance; and yet this folly is practised every day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanack. Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly and half-starved their families : Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire, as Poor Richard says. 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! By these, and other extravagancies, 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 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 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
WRITINGS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 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,
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 de
grees, 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 osten 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 such 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 till you shall 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 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. Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever, while you live, expense is constant and certain ; and, It is easier to build two chimnies, 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 afterwards prosperous.
“And now, to conclude, Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, as Poor Ri