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which Ben derived from his generous dealings with the afflicted Miss Read, and as a farther reward, it was on this self same year, that Ben was enabled to incorporate his gravd library-company.
This first of social blessings, a PublIC LIRARY, was set on foot by Franklin about the year 1731. Fifty persons subcribed forty shillings cach, and agreed to pay ten shillings annually. The number increased; and in 1742, the company was incorporated, by the name of “The Library Company of Philadelphia.” It now contains eight thousand volumes on all subjects, a philosophical apparatus, and a good beginoing towards a collection of natural and artificial curiosities. The company have lately built an elegant house in Fifth street; on the front of which is erected a marble statue of their founder, Benjamin Franklin,*
The beneficial influence of this institution was soon evident. The cheapness of terms rendered it accessable to every one. Hence a degree of information was extended among
all classes of people, which is very un. usual in other places.
The example was soon followed. Libraries were established in various places, and they are now become very numerous in the United States, and particularly in Pennsylvania It is to be hoped, that they will be still more widely extended, and that information will be every where increased. This wilt be the best security for our liberties. A nation who have been taught to know and prize the rights which Gud has given them, cannot be enslaved. It is in the regions of ignorance alone that tyranny reigns.
In 1752, Franklin began to publish POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC.
The eloquent Charles Fox used to say, that hail Doctor Franklin written nothing else, his "Poor Richard's Almanac" were alone sufficient to immortalize hiin. lustearl of being taken up, as too many Almanacs are, with trifling stories and fool-born jests, it abounds with the finest maxims on Industry, Temperance, and Frugality; thrown together with astonishing conciseness, and written with that happy mixture of gravity and gaiety that captivates every body, and never tires. It
* The gift of WMtiam Bingham, Esqë
took a wonderful run. From 10 to 15,000 a year were generally sold in Pennsylvania. And to this Almanac, in a considerable measure, may be ascribed that won. derful start which Pennsylvania has taken of the middle and southern states in all the REPUBLICAN VIRTUES, of INDUSTRY and Economy, which point the War to WEALTH.
Even the finest girls there, worth their thousands, don't think it beneath them to "lay hold on the distaff," like Solomon's accomplished daughter, to swell the riches of the family wardrobe and to improve the sas voury dishes of their parents.
A foppish young fortune-hunter from the south, ven: tured sometime ago
respects to the beautiful Miss Dickenson, one of the first fortunes in the state. Instead of finding her, as he had expected, idly lolling in a room of state, and bedizened in ribbands and laces like a fairy queen, he found her attired in that simple dress of exquisite neatness which best sets off the rosy freshness of youthful beauty, and he found her, too, busied in some piece of domestic industry. He blushed to find her “at work!” After a world of compliments all tending to make her out far too divine a cren. ture for such disparaging employments, he gave her to understand that she should not thus demean herself if she were in Carolina.
“What!" replied she, with sarcastic pleasantry, "don't the young ladies with you, read Poor RICHARD's ALMANACK?"
Thus was this little annual visitor of doctor Frank. lin's a general blessing to the Pennsylvanians, making them all foud of industry. And Jacob did not more naturally beget Joseph and his twelve brethren than does industry beget' INNOCENCE, and HEALTH, and WEALTH, and CHEERFULNESS and all that lovely train of virtues which tend to make men happy by driving away their vices. For who, for example, will ever get drunk who has no debts nor duns nor vices of any sort to make him uneasy? And who will ever sell his birthright of an honest vote for an electioneering dinner and a drink of grog, when he has fatte calves and wine of his own at home? This is Pennsylvania all over,
In the Almanac for the last year that doctor Frank lip ever published, he compressed the choicest sentiments of all the preceding editions, and entitled it "THE WAY TO WEALTH.” It is not easy to do justice to this little work. American writers need not eulogize it. The British, and even the French into whose language it was quickly translated, have paid it the most flattering attention. Doctor Knox gave it a place in his "ELEGANT EXTRAOTS," and Lewis XV. on hearings it read, was so tharnied with the admirable sense and humour of Poor Richard, that he gave orders for a new frigate, just launching, to be named, in honour of this famous nosegay of Franklin's, Le Bon HOMME RICHARD, or "POOR RICHARD.” I have heard nothing of this frigate or of any exploits of ber's, while she was a new ship, and in the French service. But this I know, that in her latter days she was covered over with glory. This was the ship on which that gallant Scot, Paul Jones, hoisted the American flag in the great war of the revolution. Though the Poor Richard enounted but 36 guns, and was old and crazy besides, yet her commander had the audacity to carry her alongside of the SERAPIs, a British 44, and a new ship. It is true, the Alliance, an American frigate of the sinallest class, was in company with the Poor Richard; but as Jones and his officers all declare, rendered him no assistance whatever. But though thus basely deserted by her con. sort in the hour of couflict with a mightier foe, yet did not the Poor RICHARD despair, but bravely grappleu with her enemy at once, and after one of the bloodiest contests recorded in history, gloriously succeeded in hauling down her colours. The Poor Richard, however, but barely survived this dreadful four hours' conflict with such a heavy adversary. For as if only waiting to see the modest stars of liberty. waving where the proud jack of tyranny had waved before, she bowed, her head beneath a mountainous billow and went down—the glorious tomb of many of her gallant crew, embalmed, for dear liberty's sake, in their own hearts' blood.
As the reader might think it hard, after so much said about it to whet his curiosity, if we dill not give. him a squint at this famous "Poor RICHARD'S ALMA-, RAC,” we hasten now to do ourselves the pleasure ta' lay it before him, in the last and best form wherein doctor Franklin gave it to the public, and under the same title, viz. “THE WAY TO WEALTH," or "POOR, RICHARD,” improved—which ruas thus:
I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other3. 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 merchant's 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 be ever able to pay them? What would
advise us to dop" 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 sesiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:
Friends, said he, the taxes are, indeed, very heavy; and, if those laid on by the government, were the only
we had to pay, we might more easily discharze them; but we have many others, and much more grievo ous to soine of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as inuch 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 then that help themselves," as
says. 1. It will 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 brighi," 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
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 prodiyality;" since, as he elsewhere tells us, "lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough als ways 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 his 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 Richard says.
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 honor," 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 will never starve; for at the working man's house, "hunger 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 God gives all things to industry. Then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have eorn 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 iale? Are you
then your own master? be ashamed to catch yourself