Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 317

R. SAUNDERS.



A MEDITATION ON A QUART MUGG[27]

[From the _Pennsylvania Gazette_, July 19, 1733.]

Wretched, miserable, and unhappy Mug! I pity thy luckless Lot, I
commiserate thy Misfortunes, thy Griefs fill me with Compassion, and
because of thee are Tears made frequently to burst from my Eyes.

How often have I seen him compell'd to hold up his Handle at the Bar,
for no other Crime than that of being empty; then snatch'd away by a
surly Officer, and plung'd suddenly into a Tub of cold Water: Sad
Spectacle, and Emblem of human Penury, oppress'd by arbitrary Power! How
often is he hurry'd down into a dismal Vault, sent up fully laden in a
cold Sweat, and by a rude Hand thrust into the Fire! How often have I
seen it obliged to undergo the Indignities of a dirty Wench; to have
melting Candles dropt on its naked Sides, and sometimes in its Mouth, to
risque being broken into a thousand Pieces, for Actions which itself was
not guilty of! How often is he forced into the Company of boisterous
Sots, who lay all their nonsence, Noise, profane Swearing, Cursing, and
Quarreling, on the harmless Mug, which speaks not a Word! They overset
him, maim him, and sometimes turn him to Arms offensive or defensive, as
they please; when of himself he would not be of either Party, but would
as willingly stand still. Alas! what Power, or Place, is provided, where
this poor Mug, this unpitied Slave, can have Redress of his Wrongs and
Sufferings? Or where shall he have a Word of Praise bestow'd on him for
his Well doings, and faithful Services? If he prove of a large size, his
Owner curses him, and says he will devour more than he'll earn: If his
Size be small, those whom his Master appoints him to serve will curse
him as much, and perhaps threaten him with the Inquisition of the
Standard. Poor Mug, unfortunate is thy Condition! Of thy self thou
wouldst do no Harm, but much Harm is done with thee! Thou art accused of
many Mischiefs; thou art said to administer Drunkenness, Poison, and
broken Heads: But none praise thee for the good Things thou yieldest!
Shouldest thou produce double Beer, nappy Ale, stallcop Cyder, or Cyder
mull'd, fine Punch, or cordial Tiff; yet for all these

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

Page 0
" Published by W.
Page 1
coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
Page 2
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.
Page 3
" Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose: so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.
Page 4
'But with our industry we must likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others: for, as Poor Richard says, "I never saw an oft-removed tree, Nor yet an oft-removed family, That throve so well as those that settled be.
Page 5
" "If you would be wealthy, think of saving, as well as of getting.
Page 6
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.
Page 7
" [Illustration: Published by W.
Page 8
yet you are about to put yourself under that 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 for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him.
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and T.