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morning, and attend thee until thou reachest the evening hour for rest. Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny, when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG TRADESMAN.
Written anno 1748.
TO MY FRIEND A.B.
you have desired it of me, I write the following hints, which have been of service to me, and may, if observed, be so to you.
Remember that time is money. He who can earn ten shillings a-day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that day, tho' he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckou that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides. Remember that credit is money. If a man lets his money lie in my
hands after it is due, he gives me the interest, or so much as I can make of it during that time. This amounts to a considerable sum where a man has good and large credit, and makes good use of it.
Remember that money is of a prolific generating nature. Money can beget money, and it's offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is fix; turned again, it is seven and three-pence; and
16 ADVICE TO A YOUNG TRADESMAN. Franklin.
so on till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces at every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He who kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the thousanth generation. He who murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds. Remember that six pounds ayear is but a groat a-day. For this little sum (which may be daily wasted either in time or expense, unperceived), a man of credit may, on his own security, have the constant possession and use of an hundred pounds. So much in stock, briskly turned by an industrious man, produces great advantage. Remember this saying, “The good paymaster is lord of another man's purse.” He who is known to pay punctually and exactly to the time he promises, may at any time, and on any occasion, raise all the money his friends can spare. This is sometimes of great use.
After industry and frugality, nothing contributes more to the raising of a young man in the world, than punctuality and justice in all his dealings: therefore never keep borrowed money an hour beyond the time you promised, Jest-a disappointment shut up your friend's purse for ever. The most trifling actions that affect a man's credit are to be regarded. The sound of
hammer at five in the morning, or nine at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easy six months longer : but if he secs you at the billiard table, or hears your voice at a tavern, when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day; demands it, before he can receive it, in a lump. It shews, besides, that you are mindful of what you owe; it makes you appear a careful, as well as an honest man, and that still increases your credit.
Beware of thinking all your own which you possess, and of living accordingly. It is a mistake which many people who have credit fall into. To prevent this, keep an exact account, for some time, both of your expenses and your income. If you take the pains at first to mention particulars, it will have this good effect; you will discover how wonderfully small trifling expenses amount to large sums, and will discern what might have been, and may for the future be saved, without occasioning any great inconvenience. In short, the way to wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality nothing will do, and with them every thing. He who gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary expenses excepted), will certainly become rich—if that Being who governs the world, to whom all should look for a blessing on their bonest endeavours, doth not, in his wise providence otherwise determine.
AN OLD TRADESMAN.
AN ECONOMICAL PROJECT. [A translation of this letter appeared in one of the daily papers of Paris, about the year 1748. The following is the original piece, with some additions and corrections made in it by the author.]
TO THE AUTHORS OF THE JOURNAL. Messieurs,
You often entertain us with accounts of new discoveries. Permit me to communicate to the public, through your paper, one which has lately been
made by myself, and which I conceive may be of great utility,
I was the other evening in a grand company, where the new lamp of Messrs. Quinquet and Lange was introduced, and much admired for it's splendor; but a general enquiry was made, whether the oil it consumed was not in proportion to the light it afforded, in which case there would be no saving in the use of it. No one present could satisfy us in that point, which all agreed ought to be known, it being a very desirable thing to lessen, if possible, the expense of lighting our apartments, when every other article of family expense was so much augmented.
I was pleased to see this general concern for economy; for I love economy exceedingly.
I went home and to bed, three or four hours after midnight, with my head full of the subject. An accidental sudden noise waked me about six in the morning, when I was surprised to find my room filled with light; and I imagined at first that a number of those lamps had been brought into it: but, rubbing my eyes, I perceived the light came in at the windows. I arose and looked out to see what might be the occasion of it, when I saw the sun just rising above the horizon, from whence he poured his rays plentifully into my chamber, my domestic having negligently omitted the preceding evening to close the shutters.
I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that it was but six o'clock; and still thinking it something extraordinary that the sun should rise so early, I looked into the almanack, where I found it to be the hour given for his rising on that day. I looked forward too, and found he was to rise still earlier every day till towards the end of June; and that at
Yet it so
no time in the year he retarded his rising so long as till eight o'clock. Your readers, who with me have never seen any signs of sunshine before noon, and seldom regard the astronomical partof the almanack, will be as much astonished as I was, when they hear of his rising so early; and especially when I assure them, that he gives light as soon as he rises. I am convinced of this. I am certain of my fact. One cannot be more certain of any fact. I saw it with my own eyes. And having repeated this observation the three following mornings, I found always precisely the same result. happens, that when I speak of this discovery to others, I can easily perceive by their countenances, tho' they forbear expressing it in words, that they do not quite believe me. One, indeed, who is a learned natural philosopher, has assured me, that I must certainly be mistaken as to the circumstance of the light coming into my room; for it being well known, as he says, that there could be no light a. broad at that hour, it follows that none could enter from without: and that of consequence, my
windows being accidentally left open, instead of letting in the light, had only served to let out the darkness: and he used many ingenious arguments to shew me how I might, by that means, have been deceived. I own that he puzzled me a little, but he did not satisfy me; and the subsequent observations I made, as above-mentioned, confirmed me in my first opinion. This event has given rise, in my mind, to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept six hours longer by the light of. the san, and in exchange have lived six hours the