Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 167

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 followed, or neither
the estate nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes. If we are
industrious, we shall never starve; for, At the workingman'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 plow deep while sluggards
sleep, and you shall have corn 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, further, Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day.
If you were a good servant, would you not be ashamed that a good
master should catch you idle? Are you, then, your own master? Be
ashamed to catch yourself idle, when there is so much to be done for
yourself, your family, your country, your kin. Handle your tools
without mittens; remember that The cat in gloves catches no mice, as
Poor Richard says. It is true there is much to be done, and perhaps
you are weak-handed; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great
effects; for, Constant dropping wears away stones; and, By diligence
and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and, Little strokes fell
great oaks.

"Methinks I hear some of you say, Must a man afford himself no leisure?
I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says: Employ thy time
well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and since thou art not sure of a
minute, throw not away an hour. 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.
Many, without labor, would live by their wits only, but they break for
want of stock; whereas industry gives comfort and plenty and respect.
Fly pleasures and they will follow you. The diligent spinner has a large
shift; and now I have a sheep and a cow, every one bids me good morrow.

II. "But with our

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I had always understood from our charters that our laws were to be made by our Assemblies, to be presented indeed to the king for his royal assent, but that being once given, the king could not repeal or alter them; and as the Assemblies could not make permanent laws without his assent, so neither could he make a law for them without theirs.
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Life is uncertain, as the preacher tells us; and what will the world say if kind, humane, and benevolent Ben.
Page 167
I have no lands; or, if I have, they are smartly taxed.
Page 168
A fat kitchen makes a lean will; and Many estates are spent in the getting, Since women forsook spinning and knitting, And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.
Page 169
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