Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small]

Judge then how much I must have been gratified by an accident I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately, where a great number of people were collected at a sale of merchants' goods. The hour of 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 be able to

pay them? What would you advise us to ?Father Abraham stood up and replied, you would have my advice, I will give it you in short: For a word to the wise is enough, and many words will not fill a bushel,' as poor Richard says.” They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:

Friends," says he, and neighbours, the taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge th m: but we have many others, and much re

- If

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]

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 any abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us.

God 'helps them that helps themselves, as poor Richard

in the almanac for 1733. “ 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, if we reckon all that is spent in absolute sloth, or in doing of nothing, with that which is spent in idle employments or amusements, that amount to nothing. 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 Rich

says

But dost thou love life. then do

ard says.

not squander time, for this 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

[graphic]

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 be up and doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence we shall do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry easy,' as poor Richard says ; and • He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarcely overtake his business at night.' While laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him,' as we read in poor Richard, who adds, Drive thy business, let not that drive thee; and early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.'

" So that what signifies wishing and, hoping for better times ? We may make these times better if we bestir ourselves. Industry needs not wish,' as poor Richard says; and · He that lives upon hope, will die fasting. There are no gains without pains; then help hands,

[graphic]

for I have no lands, or if I have they are smartly taxed.' And, as poor Richard like, wise observes, 'He that hath a trade hath an estate ; and he that hath a calling hath an of fice of profit and honour, 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, as poor Richard says, 'At the working man's house, hunger looks in but dares not enter.' Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for Iudustry pays debts, while despair increaseth them, say's poor Richard.What though you have found no treasure, nor has any lation left you a legacy, Diligence is the mother of good luck, as poor Richard says, and

rich re

God giveth all things to industry.

· Then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and keep,' says poor

[graphic]

Richard say:

[ocr errors]

Dick. Work wbile it is called to-day, for you. know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow; which makes

poor One to-day is worth two to-morrows :' and farther, * Have you somewhat to do to-mor-, row, do it to-day.' . If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master, and not ashamed to catch yourself idle po

Dick
says.

When there is so much to be done for yourself, your family, your country, and your gracious king, be up by peep of day: let not the sun yo down and say, Inglorious here he lies.' Handle your tools without mittens; remember that The cat in gloves catches no mice,' as poor

Dick says. It is true there is much to be done, and perhaps you are weak-handed, but stick to it

as poor

!

« PreviousContinue »