Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

greatly lessens a man's value. An odd volume of a set It would be thought a hard government that should of books bears not the value of its proportion to the tax its people one-tenth part of their time, to be em

set. What think you of the odd half of a pair of scissors ? ployed in its service; but idleness taxes many of us po it can't well cut any thing-it may possibly serve to much more, if we reckon all that is spent in absolute scrape a trencher.

sloth, or doing of nothing, with that which is spent in Pray make my compliments and best wishes accept- idle employments or amusements that amount to noable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should thing. Sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shorere this have presented them in person. I shall make tens life. “Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour but small use of the old man's privilege, that of giving wears, while the key often used is always bright, as advice to younger friends. Treat your wife always poor Richard says. But dost thou love life ? then do with respect; it will procure respect to you, not only not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of, from her but from all that observe it. Never use any as poor Richard says. How much more than is necesslighting expression to her even in jest; for slights in sary do we spend in sleep! forgetting that the sleepjest, after frequent bandyings, are apt to end in angry ing fox catches no poultry, and that there will be sleepearnest. Be studious in your profession, and you will ing enough in the grave, as poor Richard says.

If be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be time be of all things the most precious, wasting time rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy must be, as poor Richard says, “the greatest prodi

Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy. At gality; since, as he elsewhere tells us," Lost time is ient least, you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance never found again ; and what we call time enough,

for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both! always proves little enough. Let us then up and be being ever your affectionate friend,

doing, and doing to the purpose : so by diligence shall B. FRANKLIN., we do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes all

things difficult, but industry all easy,' as poor Richard says; and · He that riseth late must trot all day, and

shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziTHE WAY TO WEALTH;

ness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him, A Preliminary Address to the Pennsylvania Almanack; business, let not

that drive thee;' and 'Early

to bed,

as we read in poor Richard; who adds, ‘Drive thy entitled, Poor Richards Almanack, for the year 1768.” and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and I have heard, that nothing gives an author so great wise.'

pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by So what signifies wishing and hoping for better rtial other learned authors. This pleasure I have seldom times? We may make these times better if we bestir Fay enjoyed; for though I have been, if I may say it with ourselves. Industry needs not wish,' as poor Rich

out vanity, an eminent author (of almanacks) annually ard says; and He that lives upon hope will die fasting.' may now a full quarter of a century, my brother authors in There are no gains without pains ; then help hands, 104 the same way (for what reason I know not) have ever for I have no lands; or if I have, they are smartly Cior been very sparing in their applauses; and no other taxed; and, as poor Richard likewise observes, · He

author has taken the least notice of me: so that, did that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a

not my writings produce me some solid pudding, the calling hath an office of profit and honour; but then DET great deficiency of praise would have quite discouraged the trade must be worked at, and the calling well fol

lowed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable ema I concluded, at length, that the people were the best us to pay our taxes. If we are industrious, we shall

judges of my merit, for they buy my works; and be- never starve; for, as poor Richard says, “At the worksides, in my rambles, where I am not personally known, ing-man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter.' I have frequently heard one or other of my adages Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter; for ' Indusrepeated, with “ As poor Richard says," at the end on't. try pays debts, but despair increaseth them,” says poor This gave me some satisfaction, as it showed not only Richard. What though you have found no treasure, that my instructions were regarded, but discovered nor any rich relation left you a legacy; ‘Diligence is likewise some respect for my authority; and I own, the mother of good luck,' as poor Richard says; and that, to encourage the practice of remembering and God gives all things to industry; then plough deep repeating those wise sentences, I have sometimes while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell quoted myself with great gravity.

and to keep,' says poor Dick. Work while it is called toJudge then how much I have been gratified by an day, for you know not how much you may be hindered incident which I am going to relate to you. I stopped to-morrow; which makes poor Richard say, 'One tomy horse lately where a great number of people were day is worth two to-morrows; and farther, Have you collected at an auction of merchant's goods. The hour somewhat to do to-morrow, do it to-day.' 'If you were of sale not being come, they were conversing on the a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master badness of the times; and one of the company called should catch you idle? Are you then your own master, to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, “ Pray, be ashamed to catch yourself idle,' as poor Dick says. father Abraham, what think yo of the times? Won't When there is so much to be done for yourself, your these heavy taxes quite ruin the country! How shall family, your country, and your gracious king, be up we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise by peep of day; 'Let not the sun look down, and say, us to ?” Father Abraham stood up, and replied—“If Inglorious here he lies! Handle your tools without you'd have my advice, I'll give it to you in short;'for mittens; remember that. The cat in gloves catches no å word to the wise is enough; and many words won't mice, as poor Richard says. It is true there is much fill a bushel,' as poor Richard says.” They joined in to be done, and perhaps you are weak-handed; but desiring him to speak his mind; and, gathering round stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects; for him, he proceeded as follows:

• Continual dropping wears away stones, and by dili“Friends” says he," and neighbours, the taxes are gence and patience the mouse ate into the cable; and indeed very heavy; and if those laid on by the govern- light strokes fell great oaks, as poor Richard says in ment were the only ones we had to pay, we might more his almanack, the year I cannot just now remember. easily discharge them; but we have many others, and Methinks Í hear some of you say, 'Must a man much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed afford himself no leisure ? I will tell thee, my friend, twice as much by our idleness, three times as much what poor Richard says—Employ thy time well, if by our pride, and four times as much by our folly ; thou meanest to gain leisure; and since thou art not and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.' Leisure or deliver us, by allowing an abatement. However, is time for doing something useful: this leisure the let us hearken to good advice, and something may be diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so done for us ; 'God helps them that help themselves,' that, as poor Richard says, 'A life of leisure and a life as poor Richard says in his almanack,

of laziness are two things. Do you imagine that sloth

me.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

50

THE WAY TO WEALTH. will afford you more comfort than labour? No; for, means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, as poor Richard says, 'Troubles spring from idleness, and not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in and grievous toils from needless ease; many without thy business, may do thee more harm than good. labour would live by their wits only, but they break in another place he says, “Many have been ruined b. for want of stock; whereas industry gives comfort, buying good pennyworths.' Again, as poor Richar: and plenty, and respect. Fly pleasures, and they'll says, It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase follow you; The diligent spinner has a large shift;' and repentance; and yet this folly is practised every da • Now I have a sheep and a cow, every body bids me at auctions, for want of minding the almanack. W. good morrow;' all which is well said by poor Richard. men,' as poor Dick says, “learn by others' harms, foos

But with our industry, we must likewise be steady, scarcely by their own; but Felix quem faciunt aliens and settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs pericula cautum. Many a one, for the sake of finer with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others; on the back, has gone with a hungry belly, and his for, as poor Richard says,

starved his farnily: Silk and satins, scarlet and • I never saw an oft removed tree,

vets,' as poor Richard says, “put out the kitch Nor yet an oft removed family,

fire. These are not the necessaries of life, they en That throve so well as those that settled be.'

scarcely be called the conveniences; and yet only be And again, Three removes are as bad as a fire ;' and cause they look pretty, how many want to have the again, Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee; The artificial wants of mankind thus become more e and again, If you would have your business done, go ; merous than the natural ; and, as poor Dick says, 'Fi: if not, send.' And again,

one poor person there are a hundred indigent.' Bi • He that by the plough would thrive,

these and other extravagances, the genteel are reduc: Hiinself must either hold or drive.'

to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom the And again, "The eye of a master will do more work formerly despised, but who, through industry and fru than both his hands; and again, Want of care does gality, have maintained their standing; in which ca us more damage than want of knowledge; and again, it appears plainly " A ploughman on his legs is higher

Not to oversee workmen is to leave them your purse than a gentleman on his knees,' as poor Richard says open.' Trusting too much to other's care is the ruin Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, whici of many; for, as the almanack says, ' In the affairs of they knew not the getting of; they think, 'It is day the world, men are saved not by faith, but by the want and will never be night; that a little to be spent out of it; but a man's own care is profitable; for, saith so much, is not worth minding: 'A child and a fool,'s poor Dick, Learning is to the studious, and riches to poor Richard says, 'imagine twenty shillings and twenty the careful, as well as power to the bold, and heaven years can never be spent; but always by taking out to the virtuous.' And farther, 'If you would have a the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to th: faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.' bottom;' then, as poor Dick says, “When the well is And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, dry, they know the worth of water. But this the even in the smallest matters, because sometimes . A might have known before, if they had taken his advice little neglect may breed great mischief; adding, ‘For If you would know the value of money, go and try ti want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the borrow some; for he that goes a-borrowing goes a-sor horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was rowing; and indeed, so does he that lends to suco lost; being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for people, when he goes to get it again.' Poor Dick farth.:. want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail.

advises, and says, So much for industry, my friends, and attention to

• Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse : one's own business ; but to these we must add frugality,

Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse." if we would make our industry more certainly success. And again, ‘Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a ful. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he great deal more saucy. When you have bought op gets, “Keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appeardie not worth a groat at last.' 'A fat kitchen makes a ance may be all of a piece: but poor Dick says, 1:2 lean will,' as poor Richard says; and

easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy a • Many estates are spent in the getting;

that follow it. And it is as truly folly for the poor Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting, ape the rich, as the frog to swell in order to equa And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.'

the ox. "If you would be wealthy,' says he, in another al

• Vessels large may venture more, manack, think of saving as well as of getting: the In

But little boats should keep near shore." dies have not made Spain rich, because her out-goes "Tis, however, a folly soon punished; for 'Pride th: are greater than her in-comes.'

dines on vanity, sups on contempt,' as poor Richa". Away then with your expensive follies, and you will says. And in another place, Pride breakfasted wi not have so much cause to complain of hard times, plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infam. heavy taxes, and chargeable families; for, as poor Dick And, after all, of what use is this pride of appeara says,

for which so much is risked, so much is suffered! *Women and wine, game and deceit,

cannot promote health, or ease pain; it makes not Make the wealth small, and the want great.'

crease of merit in the person; it creates envy; it hasti And farther, “What maintains one vice, would misfortunes. bring up two children.' You may think, perhaps, that

• What is a butterfly ? at best a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diet a little

He's but a caterpillar drest; more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertain

The gaudy fop's his picture just ;' ment now and then, can be no great matter; but re- as poor Richard says. member what poor Richard says, “ Many a little makes But what madness must it be to run in debt for th a meikle;' and farther, ‘ Beware of little expenses; a superfluities! We are offered by the terms of this s small leak will sink a great ship;' and again, Who six months' credit; and that perhaps has induced sur dainties love, shall beggars prove;' and, moreover, of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the res •Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.'

money, and hope now to be fine withoat it. But : Here you are all got together at this sale of fineries think what you do when you run in debt.

You si and nicknacks. You call them goods; but if you do to another power over your liberty. If you cair not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your crecie expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may tor: you will be in fear when you speak to him: yra for less than they cost: but if you have no occasion for will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by dithem, they must be dear to you. Remember what grees come to lose your veracity, and sink into b284 poor Richard says, “Buy what thou hast no need of, downright lying; for, as poor Richard says, “The second and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.' And vice is lying; the first is running into debt. Add again, 'At a great pennyworth pause a while.' Ho again, to the same purpose, ‘Lying rides upon delil

LETTER TO THE LATE DR MATHER OF BOSTON.

61

www

back; whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be coat, I went away, resolved to wear my old one a little ashamed nor afraid to speak to any man living. But longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue: will be as great as mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright,' as thee,

RICHARD SAUNDERS. poor Richard truly says. What would you think of that prince, or that government, who would issue an edict, forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or a TO THE LATE DOCTOR MATHER OF BOSTON. gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude ? Would you not say, that you are free, have a right to REVEREND SIR,- I received your kind letter, with your dress as you please, and that such an edict would be a excellent advice to the people of the United States, breach of your privileges, and such a government tyran- which I read with great pleasure, and hope it will be nical! And yet you are about to put yourself under duly regarded. Such writings, though they may be that tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress ! lightly passed over by many readers, yet, if they make Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive a deep impression on one active mind in a hundred, you of your liberty, by confining you in jail for life, or the effects may be considerable. by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able Permit me to mention one little instance, which, to pay him. When you have got your bargain, you though it relates to myself, will not be quite unintemay perhaps think little of payment; but • Creditors' resting to you. When I was a boy, I met with a book poor Richard tells us, ' have better memories than entitled “ Essays to do good,” which I think was debtors ;' and in another place he says, ' Creditors are written by your father. It had been so little regarded a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and by a former possessor, that several leaves of it were times. The day comes round before you are aware, torn out; but the remainder gave me such a turn of and the demand is made before you are prepared to thinking as to have an influence on my conduct through satisfy it. Or if you bear your debt in mind, the term | life ; for I have always set a greater value on the chawhich at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear racter of a doer of good than any other kind of repuextremely short. Time will seem to have added wingstation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a to his heels as well as his shoulders. • Those have a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to short lent,' saith poor Richard, ' who owe money to be that book. paid at Easter.' Then since, as he says, ' The borrower You mention your being in your seventy-eighth is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor,' year. I am in my seventy-ninth. We are grown old disdain the chain, preserve your freedom, and main- together. It is now more than sixty years since I left tain your independency: be industrious and free; be Boston ; but I remember well both your father and frugal and free. At present, perhaps you may think grandfather, having heard them both in the pulpit, yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can and seen them in their houses. The last time I saw bear a little extravagance without injury; but your father was in the beginning of 1724, when I visited • For age and want save while you may,

him after my first trip to Pennsylvania. He received No morning sun lasts a whole day,'

me in his library, and on my taking leave, showed me as poor Richard says. Gain may be temporary and a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow uncertain ; but ever, while you live, expense is constant passage, which was crossed by a beam over-head. We and certain : and . It is easier to build two chimneys, behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he

were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me than to keep one in fuel, as poor Richard says. So said hastily, “ Stoop ! stoop ! I did not understand Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.

him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was Get what you can, and what you get hold,

a man who never missed any occasion of giving in'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold,'

struction; and upon this he said to me" You are as poor Richard says. And when you have got the young, and have the world before you; stoop as you philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps." of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes ! This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently

This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, been of use to me; and I often think of it when I see after all, do not depend too much upon your own in- pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people dustry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent by their carrying their heads too high. things; for they may be blasted without the blessing I long much to see again my native place; and once of Heaven: and therefore ask that blessing humbly, hoped to lay my bones there. I left it in 1723. I and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem visited it in 1733, 1743, 1753, 1763; and in 1773 I was to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember in England. In 1774 I had sight of it, but could not Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

enter, it being in possession of the enemy. I did hope And now, to conclude, ' Experience keeps a dear to have been there in 1783, but could not obtain my school; but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in dismission from this employment here; and now I fear that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot I shall never have that happiness. My best wishes, give conduct,' as poor Richard says. However, re- however, attend my dear country—esto perpetua.member this, "They that will not be counselled, can- It is now blessed with an excellent constitution—may not be helped,' as poor Richard says; and farther, it last for ever! that. If you will not hear reason, she will surely rap This powerful monarchy continues its friendship for your knuckles.”

the United States. It is a friendship of the utmost Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The importance to our security, and should be carefully people heard it, and approved the doctrine, and imme- cultivated. Britain has not yet well digested the loss diately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a of its dominion over us, and has still at times some common sermon; for the auction opened, and they be- flattering hopes of recovering it. Accidents may ingan to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cau- crease those hopes, and encourage dangerous attempts. tions, and their own fear of taxes. I found the good A breach between us and France would infallibly bring man had thoroughly studied my almanacks, and digested the English again upon our backs; and yet we have all I had dropped on those topics during the course of some wild beasts among our countrymen who are en. twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of deavouring to weaken that connection.. me must have tired every one else: but my vanity was Let us preserve our reputation by performing our wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious engagements-our credit by fulfilling our contracts that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own which and our friends by gratitude and kindness, for we he ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that I had know not how soon we may again have occasion for made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, all of them. With great and sincere esteem, I have I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and the honour to be, &c.

B. FRANKLIN though I had first determined to buy stuff for a new Passy, May 12th, 1784.

52

THE WHISTLE_HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG.
THE WHISTLE;

ciated me with her upon some occasions ; but she al. A TRUE STORY-WRITTEN TO HIS NEPHEW.

ways made a point of taking the lead, calling upon me

only from necessity, or to figure by her side. WHEN I was a child, at seven years old, my friends on But conceive not, Sirs, that my complaints are instia holiday filled my pockets with coppers. I went directly gated merely by vanity—No; my uneasiness is occato a shop where they sold toys for children; and being sioned by an object much more serious. It is the charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the practice in our family, that the whole business of pro, way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered viding for its subsistence falls upon my sister and him all my money for one. I then came home, and myself. If any indisposition should attack my sister went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my and I mention it in confidence upon this occasion, that whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, she is subject to the gout, the rheumatism, and cramp: and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I without making mention of other accidents—what would had made, told me I had given four times as much for be the fate of our poor family! Must not the regret it as it was worth. This put me in mind what good of our parents be excessive, at having placed so great things I might have bought with the rest of the money; a difference between sisters who are so perfectly equal! and they laughed at me so much for my folly that I Alas! we must perish from distress: for it would not cried with vexation, and the reflection gave me more be in my power even to scrawl a suppliant petition for chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.

relief, having been obliged to employ the hand of anThis, however, was afterwards of use to me, the im- other in transcribing the request which I have now the pression continuing on my mind; so that, often when honour to prefer to you. I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said Condescend, Sirs, to make my parents sensible of the to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle ; and so I injustice of an exclusive tenderness, and of the necessaved my money.

sity of distributing their care and affection among all As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the their children equally. I am, with a profound respect, actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, Sirs, your most obedient servant, who gave too much for the whistle.

THE LEFT HAND. When I saw any one too ambitious of court favours, sacrificing his time in attendance on levées, 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.

HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG. When I saw another full of popularity, constantly THERE are two sorts of people in the world, who, with employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his equal degrees of health and wealth, and the other comown affairs, and ruining them by that neglect ; He pays forts of life, become, the one happy, and the other indeed, says I, too much for his whistle.

miserable. This arises very much from the different If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of com- views in which they consider things, persons, and fortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, events; and the effect of those different views upon all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of their own minds. benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating In whatever situation men can be placed, they may wealth; Poor man, says I, you do indeed pay too much find conveniences and inconveniences: in whatever for your whistle.

company, they may find persons and conversation more When I meet a man of pleasure, sacrificing every or less pleasing: 'at whatever table, they may meet laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes to mere corporeal sensations; Mistaken man, says I, better and worse dressed: in whatever climate, they you are providing pain for yourself instead of pleasure: will find good and bad weather: under whatever governyou give too much for your whistle.

ment, they will find good and bad laws, and good and If I see one fond of fine clothes, fine furniture, fine bad administration of those laws: in whatever poem, equipages, all above his fortune, for which he con- or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties : tracts debts, and ends his career in prison; Alas, says in almost every face, and every person, they may disI, he has paid dear, very dear for his whistle.

cover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities. When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl married Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people to an ill-natured brute of a husband; What a pity it is, above mentioned fix their attention; those who are says I, that she has paid so much for a whistle. disposed to be happy, on the conveniences of things,

In short, I conceived that great part of the miseries the pleasant parts of conversation, the well - dressed of mankind were brought upon them by the false esti- dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, mates they had made of the value of things, and by &c., and enjoy all with cheerfulness. Those who their giving too much for their whistles.

are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and, by their remarks, sour the pleasures

of society, offend personally many people, and make A PETITION

themselves every where disagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons

would be the more to be pitied. But as the disposiI ADDRESS myself to all the friends of youth, and con- tion to criticise, and to be disgusted, is, perhaps, taken jure them to direct their compassionate regards to my up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown unhappy fate, in order to remove the prejudices of into a habit, which, though at present strong, may which I am the victim. There are twin sisters of us; nevertheless be cured, when those who have it are and the two eyes of man do not more resemble, or are convinced of its bad effect on their felicity, I hope capable of being upon better terms with each other, this little admonition may be of service to them, and than my sister and myself, were it not for the partiality put them on changing a habit, which, though in the of our parents, who made the most injurious distinctions exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet it has between us. From my infancy, I have been led to serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs consider my sister as a being of a more elevated rank. and misfortunes. For as many are offended by, and I was suffered to grow up without the least instruction, nobody loves, this sort of people—no one shows them while nothing was spared in her education. She had more than the most common civility and respect, and masters to teach her writing, drawing, music, and other scarcely that—and this frequently puts them out of accomplishments; but if, by chance, I touched a pencil, humour, and draws them into disputes and contentions. a pen, or a needle, I was bitterly rebuked—and more If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or than once I have been beaten for being awkward, and fortune, nobody wishes them success, or will stir a step, wanting a graceful manner. It is true, my sister asso- or speak a word, to favour their pretensions. If they

TO THOSE WHO HAVE THE SUPERINTENDENCY OF EDUCATION.

CONVERSATION OF EPHEMERÆMORALS OF CHESS.

53

incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or light to all nature, and which in my time has evidently excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, declined considerably towards the ocean at the end of and render them completely odious. If these people the earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be in the waters that surround us, and leave the world pleased with what is pleasing, without fretting them- in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal selves or others about the contraries, it is good for death and destruction. I have lived seven of those others to avoid an acquaintance with them, which is hours : a great age, being no less than 420 minutes of always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, time! How very few of us continue so long! I have especially when one finds one's self entangled in their seen generations born, flourish, and expire. My prequarrels.

sent friends are the children and grandchildren of the An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from friends of my youth, who are now, alas, no more! and experience, very cautious in this particular, and care. I must soon follow them; for, by the common course fully avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to like other philosophers, a thermometer to show him live above seven or eight minutes longer. What now the heat of the weather, and a barometer to mark when avails all my toil and labour in amassing honey-dew on it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no this leaf, which I cannot live to enjoy! What the poliinstruinent invented to discover, at first sight, this tical struggles I have been engaged in, for the good of unpleasing disposition in a person, he, for that pur- my compatriot inhabitants of this bush, or my philosopose, made use of his legs; one of which was remark- phical studies, for the benefit of our race in general: ably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked for in politics (what can laws do without morals ?) our and deformed. If a stranger, at first interview, re- present race of ephemeræ will in a course of minutes garded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, doubted him—if he spoke of it, and took no notice of and consequently as wretched! And in philosophy the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my how small our progress! Alas! art is long, and life is philosopher to have no farther acquaintance with him. short! My friends would comfort me with the idea of Every body has not this two-legged instrument; but a name, they say, I shall leave behind me; and they every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of tell me I have lived long enough to nature and to glory. that carping, fault-finding disposition, and take the But what will fame be to an ephemera who no longer same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those exists ? and what will become of all history in the infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even the whole querulous, discontented, unhappy people—if they wish Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in a to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in universal ruin ?" themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg. To me, after all my eager pursuits, no solid pleasures

now remain, but the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well, the sensible conversation of a few good

lady ephemeræ, and now and then a kind smile and a CONVERSATION OF A COMPANY OF

tune from the ever amiable Brilliant. EPHEMERA;

B. FRANKLIN. WITH THE SOLILOQUY OF ONE ADVANCED IN AGE. To Madame Brilliant.

MORALS OF CHESS. You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spent that happy day, in the delightful garden PLAYING at chess is the most ancient and universal and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopt a little in game known among men; for its original is beyond the one of our walks, and staid some time behind the com- memory of history, and it has, for numberless ages, pany. We had been shown numberless skeletons of a been the amusement of all the civilised nations of Asia, kind of little fly, called an ephemera, whose successive the Persians, the Indians, and the Chinese. Europe generations, we were told, were bred and expired with has had it above a thousand years; the Spaniards have in the day. I happened to see a living company of spread it over their part of America, and it begins to them on a leaf, who appeared to be engaged in conver- make its appearance in these States. It is so interestsation. You know I understand all the inferior animal ing in itself as not to need the view of gain to induce tongues; my too great application to the study of them engaging in it; and thence it is never played for money. is the best excuse I can give for the little progress I Those, therefore, who have leisure for such diversions, have made in your charming language. I listened cannot find one that is more innocent; and the followthrough curiosity to the discourse of these little crea- ing piece_written with a view to correct (among a few tures, but as they, in their national vivacity, spoke three young friends) some little improprieties in the practice or four together, I could make but little of their con- of it-shows at the same time that it may, in its effects versation. I found, however, by some broken expres on the mind, be not merely innocent but advantageous, sions that I heard now and then, they were disputing to the vanquished as well as the victor :warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, one a The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement. cousin, the other a muscheto; in which dispute they Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the spent their time, seeming as regardless of the shortness course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened of their life as if they had been sure of living a month. by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions. Happy people, thought I, you live certainly under a wise, For life is a kind of chess, in which we have points to gain, just, and mild government, since you have no public and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in grievances to complain of, nor any other subject of con- which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, tention but the perfections or imperfections of foreign that are, in some degree, the effects of prudence or the music. I turned my head from them to an old grey want of it. By playing at chess then, we learn, headed one, who was single on another leaf, and talking 1. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, conto himself. Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it siders the consequences that may attend an action; down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to for it is continually occurring to the player_“If Í whom I am so much indebted for the most pleasing of move this piece, what will be the advantage of my new all amusements—lier delicious company and heavenly situation? What use can my adversary make of it to harmony.

annoy me? What other moves can make to support “ It was,” says he, “the opinion of learned philoso- it, and to defend myself from his attacks ?” phers of our race, who lived and flourished long before 2. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessmy time, that this vast world, the Moulin Joly, could board, or scene of action, the relations of the several not itself subsist more than eighteen hours: and I think pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively there was some foundation for that opinion ; since, by exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each the apparent motion of the great luminary that gives other, the probabilities that the adversary may take

« PreviousContinue »