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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 326

spending this Wednesday evening,
as I have done its name-sakes, in your delightful company, I sit down
to spend it in thinking of you, in writing to you, and in reading
over and over again your letters.

I am charmed with your description of Paradise, and with your plan
of living there; and I approve much of your conclusion, that in
the mean time, we should draw all the good we can from this world.
In my opinion, we might all draw more good from it than we do, and
suffer less evil, if we would but take care not to give too much for
_whistles_. For to me it seems, that most of the unhappy people we
meet with, are become so by neglect of that caution.

You ask, what I mean? You love stories, and will excuse my telling
one of myself.

When I was a child, at seven years old, my friends, on a holiday,
filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where
they sold toys for children; and being charmed with the sound of
a _whistle_, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I
voluntarily offered him all my money for it. I then came home, and
went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my _whistle_,
but disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins,
understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times
as much for it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good things
I might have bought with the rest of the money; and they laughed
at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the
reflection gave me more chagrin, than the _whistle_ gave me pleasure.

This however was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing
on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary
thing, I said to myself, _Don't give too much for the whistle_; and
so I saved my money.

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men,
I thought I met with many, very many, who _gave too much for the
whistle_.

When I saw any one too ambitious of court favours, sacrificing his
time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue,
and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, _This
man gives too much for his whistle_.

When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly employing himself
in political bustles, neglecting his own affairs, and ruining them by
that neglect, _He

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 0
[Illustration: 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough.
Page 1
Proprietors, W.
Page 2
I.
Page 3
There are no gains without pains; then help hands, for I have no lands;" or if I have, they are smartly taxed.
Page 4
The diligent spinner has a large shift; and now I have a sheep and a cow, every body bids me good-morrow.
Page 5
1, 1805.
Page 6
Remember what poor Richard says, "Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
Page 7
" And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.
Page 8
Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.
Page 9
The opening single quotes end pages later.