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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 292


Nequid nimis.

In my first paper, I invited the learned and the ingenious to join
with me in this undertaking; and I now repeat that invitation. I
would have such gentlemen take this opportunity (by trying their
talent in writing) of diverting themselves and friends, and improving
the taste of the town. And because I would encourage all wit of our
own growth and produce, I hereby promise, that whoever shall send
me a little essay on some moral or other subject, that is fit for
public view in this manner, (and not basely borrowed from any other
author) I shall receive it with candour, and take care to place it to
the best advantage. It will be hard, if we cannot muster up in the
whole country a sufficient stock of sense to supply the Busy-Body at
least for a twelve-month. For my own part, I have already professed,
that I have the good of my country wholly at heart in this design,
without the least sinister view; my chief purpose being to inculcate
the noble principles of virtue, and depreciate vice of every kind.
But as I know the mob hate instruction, and the generality would
never read beyond the first line of my lectures, if they were
actually filled with nothing but wholesome precepts and advice, I
must therefore sometimes humour them in their own way. There are a
set of great names in the province, who are the common objects of
popular dislike. If I can now and then overcome my reluctance, and
prevail with myself to satirize a little, one of these gentlemen,
the expectation of meeting with such a gratification will induce
many to read me through, who would otherwise proceed immediately
to the foreign news. As I am very well assured the greatest men
among us have a sincere love for their country, notwithstanding its
ingratitude, and the insinuations of the envious and malicious to the
contrary, so I doubt not but they will cheerfully tolerate me in the
liberty I design to take for the end abovementioned.

As yet I have but few correspondents, though they begin now to
increase. The following letter, left for me at the printer's, is one
of the first I have received, which I regard the more for that it
comes from one of the fair sex, and because I have myself oftentimes
suffered under the grievance therein complained of.

_To the Busy-Body._


You having set yourself up for a censuror morum (as I think you call
it) which is said to mean a reformer of manners, I know no

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

Page 0
" [Illustration: Published by W.
Page 1
with Biographical and Interesting Anecdotes 1 6 Watt's Catechism and Prayers, in 1 vol.
Page 2
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you.
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Darton, Junr.
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"--If you were a 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, and your king.
Page 5
'So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful.
Page 6
"If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing," as Poor Richard says; and, indeed, so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again.
Page 7
"It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.
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And when you have got the Philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.
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* * * * * Transcriber's Notes: Only the most obvious and clear punctuation errors repaired.