Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 166

replied, "If you would have my advice, I will give it to
you in short; for A word to the wise is enough, as Poor Richard says."
They joined in desiring 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 ones we had to pay, we might
more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more
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 an abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice, and
something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as
Poor Richard says.

I. "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; sloth, by bringing on diseases,
absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor
wears, while The used key is always bright, 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 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 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 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 make these
times better if we bestir ourselves. Industry need not wish, and he
that lives upon hopes will die fasting. There are no gains without
pains; then help, hands, for

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