Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 41

water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great drinkers of
beer. On occasion, I carried up and down stairs a large form of types in
each hand, when others carried but one in both hands; they wondered to
see, from this and several instances, that the _Water American_, as they
called me, was _stronger_ than themselves who drank _strong_ beer! We
had an alehouse-boy, who attended always in the house to supply the
workmen. My companion at the press drank every day a pint before
breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread and cheese, a pint between
breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner; a pint in the afternoon about
six o'clock, and another when he had done his day's work. I thought it a
detestable custom; but it was necessary, he supposed, to drink _strong_
beer, that he might be _strong_ to labour. I endeavoured to convince him
that the bodily strength afforded by beer could only be in proportion to
the grain or flour of the barley dissolved in the water of which it was
made; that there was more flour in a pennyworth of bread, and,
therefore, if he could eat that with a pint of water, it would give him
more strength than a quart of beer. He drank on, however, and had four
or five shillings to pay out of his wages every Saturday night for that
vile liquor: an expense I was free from; and thus these poor devils keep
themselves always under.

Watts, after some weeks, desiring to have me in the composing-room, I
left the pressmen; a new _bien venu_ for drink (being five shillings)
was demanded of me by the compositors. I thought it an imposition, as I
had paid one to the pressmen; the master thought so too, and forbade my
paying it. I stood out two or three weeks, was accordingly considered as
an excommunicate, and had so many little pieces of private malice
practised on me, by mixing my sorts, transposing and breaking my matter,
&c., &c., if ever I stepped out of the room, and all ascribed to the
_chapel ghost_, which they said ever haunted those not regularly
admitted, that, notwithstanding the master's protection, I found myself
obliged to comply and pay the money, convinced of the folly of being on
ill terms with those one is to live with continually. I was now on a
fair footing with them, and soon acquired considerable influence. I
proposed some reasonable alterations in their _chapel_[8] laws, and
carried them against all opposition. From my example a great many of

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

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coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
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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.
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" Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose: so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.
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" [Illustration] '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.
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Darton, Junr.
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For, in another place, he says, "Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths.
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" And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.
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[Illustration] 'And now to conclude, "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other," as Poor Richard says, and scarce in that; for it is true, "We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.
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The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he ascribed to me; but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations.