A Book of Gems Choice selections from the writings of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 213

landlord skipped around the counter,
and running his keen eye over the immense assortment of intoxicating
liquors which lined one end of the room, politely inquired what we
would drink. We answered, “a cup of cold water sir, if you please, when
dinner is ready.” His countenance fell, but he recovered himself and
invited us to take a seat. Presently in came a dirty, rough looking
fellow, with his greasy pants patched from top to bottom, and placed
himself at the counter, with his feet about as far apart upon the floor
as his legs were long, and rolled up his red eyes as he looked out from
his bloated face, while the landlord called out, “What will you have
sir?” He answered, “Hand down old Rough and Ready,” when a huge bottle
of the fiery stuff was instantly set down. He poured a common sized
glass tumbler two-thirds full, swallowed it, smacked his lips and took
his seat. During this time he uttered some dozen or two of the most
horrid oaths he could think of. One after another came in till some
twenty had entered the room in a similar style, among whom there was
not one, not excepting the landlord, who was not a profane swearer. Now
the dinner bell rang, and in a perfect rush we gathered round the table
well spread with the bounties of life. The stream of oaths continued
from almost every mouth. Presently my right hand man commenced
entertaining the company by giving an account of his travels among the
_Hoosiers_, how ignorant they were, and that he had some notion of
turning out preacher among them, as he was certain he could have made
lots of money in that way! Poor silly creature thought we; you must get
sense enough to eat your dinner in a civil manner, when you are in the
company of a stranger, before you can even be an impostor.

Should we call at such a house to stay over night, we should surely
leave, after finding what kind of company we had fallen into. To be
annoyed by the awful stench of tobacco smoke, spit and snuff, with the
wretched scent of a company of men who are never sober, is what we will
not endure if there is any other chance.


How remarkable the difference between the apostles’ method of producing
faith, and that pursued by some modern preachers. The latter class
frequently theorize on faith, and the method through which it comes,
but the former, understanding his mission more perfectly, first, set
forth the things to

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Notwithstanding the stroke of humour in the concluding paragraph of this address, Poor Richard (Saunders) and Father Abraham have proved, in America, that they are no common preachers.
Page 1
with Biographical and Interesting Anecdotes 1 6 Watt's Catechism and Prayers, in 1 vol.
Page 2
of 32 Biographical Sketches of Eminent British Characters 1 6 Ditto, containing a Description of the most distinguished Places in England 1 6 *** Just published, The Mice & their Pic Nic; a good Moral Tale, price with neat coloured plates 1 0 THE WAY TO WEALTH.
Page 3
" Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for "industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.
Page 4
" 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.
Page 5
Page 6
" 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.
Page 7
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.
Page 8
" 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.
Page 9
Page 9, "grevious" changed to "grievous" (much more grievous) Page 11, "waisting" changed to "wasting" (wasting time must be) Page 12, "mak" changed to "make" (We may make).