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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 311

auctions, for want of minding the almanack.
Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a
hungry belly, and half starved their families; "silks and satins,
scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire," as poor Richard says.
These are not the necessaries of life, they can scarcely be called
the conveniences; and yet, only because they look pretty, how many
want to have them? By these and other extravagancies, the genteel are
reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly
despised, but who, through industry and frugality, have maintained
their standing; in which case it appears plainly, that "a ploughman
on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees," as poor Richard
says. Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they knew
not the getting of; they think "it is day, and will never be night;"
that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding; but
"always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in soon comes
to the bottom," as poor Richard says; and then, "when the well is
dry, they know the worth of water." But this they might have known
before, if they had taken his advice: "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. Poor Dick farther
advises, and says,

"Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse,
Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse."

And again, "pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more
saucy." When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more,
that your appearance may be all of a piece; but poor Dick says, "it
is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that
follow it:" 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.

"Vessels large may venture more,
But little boats should keep near shore."

It is, however, a folly soon punished; for, as poor Richard says,
"pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt; pride breakfasted with
plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy." And, after all,
of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 1
In 1757 he was sent to England to protest against the influence of the Penns in the government of the colony, and for five years he remained there, striving to enlighten the people and the ministry of England as to Colonial conditions.
Page 14
With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand.
Page 17
At this time (1771) there are not less than five-and-twenty.
Page 18
I too was taken up and examin'd before the council; but, tho' I did not give them any satisfaction, they content'd themselves with admonishing me, and dismissed me, considering me, perhaps, as an apprentice, who was bound to keep his master's secrets.
Page 26
At this time he did not profess any particular religion, but something of all on occasion; was very ignorant of the world, and had, as I afterward found, a good deal of the knave in his composition.
Page 27
I went, however, with the governor and Colonel French to a tavern, at the corner of Third-street, and over the Madeira he propos'd my setting up my business, laid before me the probabilities of success, and both he and Colonel French assur'd me I should have their interest and influence in procuring the public business of both governments.
Page 37
More of him hereafter.
Page 40
He seem'd quite to forget his wife and child, and I, by degrees, my engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that was to let her know I was not likely soon to return.
Page 58
He began his paper, however, and, after carrying it on three quarters of a year, with at most only ninety subscribers, he offered it to me for a trifle; and I, having been ready some time to go on with it, took it in hand directly; and it prov'd in a few years extremely profitable to me.
Page 59
Hamilton, before mentioned, who was then returned from England, and had a seat in it.
Page 61
, for in those matters he was very judicious.
Page 80
| | | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues successively.
Page 82
4 } 5 } EVENING.
Page 89
"But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.
Page 115
A convenient and handsome building was soon erected; the institution has by constant experience been found useful, and flourishes to this day; and I do not remember any of my political manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the time more pleasure, or wherein, after thinking of it, I more easily excus'd myself for having made some use of cunning.
Page 118
I have sometimes wonder'd that the Londoners did not, from the effect holes in the bottom of the globe lamps us'd at Vauxhall have in keeping them clean, learn to have such holes in their street lamps.
Page 120
Human felicity is produc'd not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.
Page 128
"Note.
Page 131
They were very thankfully receiv'd, and the kindness acknowledg'd by letters to me from the colonels of both regiments, in the most grateful terms.
Page 157
I recollected that about 20 years before, a clause in a bill brought into Parliament by the ministry had propos'd to make the king's instructions laws in the colonies, but the clause was thrown out by the Commons, for which we adored them as our friends and friends of liberty, till by their conduct towards us in 1765 it seem'd that they had refus'd that point of sovereignty to the king only that they might reserve it for themselves.