Imatges de pÓgina
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to stand upright,' as 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 gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude ? Would you not say, that you were free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edizt would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government tyrannical? And yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in jail for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him. When you have got your, bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but ' Creditors (poor Richard tells us) have better memories than debtors and in another place he says, • Creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.' The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it; or, if you bear your debt in mind, the term which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short. Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as at his shoulders. · Those have a short Lent (saith poor Richard) who owe money to be paid at Easter.' Then since, as he says, 'The borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor,' disdain the chain, preserve your freedom, and maintain your independency: be indus

trious and free; be frugal and free. At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but

'For age and want save while you may,
No morning sun lasts a whole day,'

Gain may

be temporary

as poor Richard says.

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 supperless than rise in debt.'

"Get what you can, and what you get hold,
'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold,'

as poor Richard says. And when you have got the philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.

This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may be blasted, without the blessing of Heaven: and therefore ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

And now, to conclude, Experience keeps a dear school; but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct,' as poor Richard says. However, remember this, They that will not be counseled cannot be helped,' as poor Richard says; and further, that ' If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.'

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and approved the doctrine, and immediately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the auction opened, and they began to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear of taxes. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacs, and digested all I had dropped on those topics, during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me, must have tired every one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away, resolved to wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.

I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,

RICHARD SAUNDERS.

OBSERVATIONS ON WAR.

By the original laws of nations, war and extirpa tion were the punishment of injury. Humanizing by degrees, it admitted slavery instead of death; a further step was the exchange of prisoners instead of slavery; another, to respect more the property of private persons under conquest, and be content with acquired dominion. Why should not this law of nations go on improving? Ages have intervened between its several steps; but as knowledge of late increases rapidly, why should not those steps be quickened? Why should it not be agreed to, as the future law of nations, that in any war hereafter, the following description of men should be undisturbed, have the protection of both sides, and be permitted to follow their employments in security ? viz.

1. Cultivators of the earth, because they labor for the subsistence of mankind.

2. Fishermen, for the same reason.

3. Merchants and traders in unarmed ships, who accommodate different nations by communicating and exchanging the necessaries and conveniences of life.

4. Artists and mechanics, inhabiting and work ing in open towns.

It is hardly necessary to add that the hospitals of

more

enemies should be unmolested; they ought to be assisted. It is for the interest of humanity in general, that the occasions of war,' and the inducements to it, should be diminished. If rapine be abolished, one of the encouragements to war is taken away; and peace, therefore, more likely to continue and be lasting.

The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas—a remnant of the ancient piracy—though it may be accidentally beneficial to particular persons, is far from being profitable to all engaged in it, or to the nation that authorizes it. In the beginning of a war, some rich ships are surprised and taken. This encourages the first adventurers to fit o armed vessels; and many others to do the same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful, arm their merchant ships better, and render them not so easy to be taken; they go also more under the protection of convoys. Thus, while the privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subjected to be taken and the chances of profit are diminished; so that many cruises are made wherein the expenses overgo the gains; and, as is the case in other lotteries, though particulars have got prizes, the mass of adventurers are losers, the whole expense of fitting out all the privateers during a war being much greater than the whole amount of goods taken.

Then there is the national loss of all the labor of so many men during the time they have been em

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