The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 325

moon, unless with Herschel's telescope; so vast are
the regions still in wood.

It is, however, some comfort to reflect, that, upon the whole, the
quantity of industry and prudence among mankind exceeds the quantity
of idleness and folly. Hence the increase of good buildings, farms
cultivated, and populous cities filled with wealth, all over Europe,
which a few ages since were only to be found on the coasts of the
Mediterranean; and this notwithstanding the mad wars continually
raging, by which are often destroyed in one year the works of many
years peace. So that we may hope the luxury of a few merchants on the
coast will not be the ruin of America.

One reflection more, and I will end this long rambling letter. Almost
all the parts of our bodies require some expence. The feet demand
shoes; the legs stockings; the rest of the body clothing; and the
belly a good deal of victuals. Our eyes, though exceedingly useful,
ask, when reasonable, only the cheap assistance of spectacles, which
could not much impair our finances. But the eyes of other people are
the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want
neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.


[89] This letter is taken from a periodical publication, that existed
only for a short period, entitled, The Repository, to which it was
communicated by the person to whom it is addressed. _Editor._

_On Smuggling, and its various Species[90]._


There are many people that would be thought, and even think
themselves, _honest_ men, who fail nevertheless in particular points
of honesty; deviating from that character sometimes by the prevalence
of mode or custom, and sometimes through mere inattention; so that
their _honesty_ is partial only, and not _general_ or universal. Thus
one, who would scorn to over-reach you in a bargain, shall make no
scruple of tricking you a little now and then at cards; another, that
plays with the utmost fairness, shall with great freedom cheat you in
the sale of a horse. But there is no kind of dishonesty, into which
otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall, than that of
defrauding government of its revenues by smuggling, when they have an
opportunity, or encouraging smugglers by buying their goods.

I fell into these reflections the other day, on hearing two gentlemen
of reputation discoursing about a small estate, which one of them
was inclined to sell, and the other to buy; when the seller, in
recommending the place, remarked, that its situation was very
advantageous on this account, that, being on the sea-coast in

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

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Darton, 58, Holborn Hill.
Page 1
with Biographical and Interesting Anecdotes 1 6 Watt's Catechism and Prayers, in 1 vol.
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The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, 'Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country! How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?'----Father Abraham stood up, and replied, 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough," as Poor Richard says.
Page 3
--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.
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.
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1, 1805.
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Poor Dick farther advises, and says, "Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse, Ere fancy you.
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" Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever, while you live, expense is constant and certain; and "It is easier to build two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel," as Poor Richard says: so, "Rather go to bed supper-less, than rise in debt," Get what you can, and what you get hold, 'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.
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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.