致富之道

2008-8-29 Jerry 日记

The Way to Wealth 致富之道
Benjamin Franklin 本杰明 富兰克林

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Courteous Reader,

I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors. This pleasure I have seldom enjoyed; for tho' I have been, if I may say it without vanity, an eminent author of almanacs annually now a full quarter of a century, my brother authors in the same way, for what reason I know not, have ever been very sparing in their applauses; and no other author has taken the least notice of me, so that did not my writings produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency of praise would have quite discouraged me.

I concluded at length, that the people were the best judges of my merit; for they buy my works; and besides, in my rambles, where I am not personally known, I have frequently heard one or other of my adages repeated, with, as Poor Richard says, at the end on't; this gave me some satisfaction, as it showed not only that my instructions were regarded, but discovered likewise some respect for my authority; and I own, that to encourage the practice of remembering and repeating those wise sentences, I have sometimes quoted myself with great gravity.

Judge then how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately where a great number of people were collected at a vendue of merchant goods. The hour of sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times, and one of the company called to a plain clean old man, with white locks, "Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Won't these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up, and replied, "If you'd have my advice, I'll give it you in short, for a word to the wise is enough, and many words won't fill a bushel, as Poor Richard says." They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:

"Friends, says he, and neighbors, the taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly, and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement. However let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as Poor Richard says, in his almanac of 1733.

"It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth part of their time, to be employed in its service. But idleness taxes many of us much more, if we reckon all that is spent in absolute sloth, or doing of nothing, with that which is spent in idle employments or amusements, that amount to nothing. Sloth,by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright, as Poor Richard says. But dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of, as Poor Richard says. How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep! forgetting that the sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that there will be sleeping enough in the grave, as Poor Richard says. If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be, as Poor Richard says, the greatest prodigality, since, as he elsewhere tells us, lost time is never found again, and what we call time-enough, always proves little enough: let us then be up and be doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall 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 laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him, as we read in Poor Richard, who adds, drive thy business, let not that drive thee; and early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

"So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times. We may make these times better if we bestir ourselves. Industry need not wish, as Poor Richard says, and he that lives upon hope will die fasting. There are no gains, without pains, then help hands, for I have no lands, or if I have, they are smartly taxed. And, as Poor Richard likewise observes, he that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honor; but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling well followed, or neither the estate, nor the office, will enable us to pay our taxes. If we are industrious we shall never starve; for, as Poor Richard says, at the working man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter. Nor will the bailiff nor the constable enter, for industry pays debts, while despair encreaseth them, says Poor Richard. What though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy, diligence is the mother of good luck, as Poor Richard says, and God gives all things to industry. Then plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep, says Poor Dick. Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow, which makes Poor Richard say, one today is worth two tomorrows; and farther, have you somewhat to do tomorrow, do it today. If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master, be ashamed to catch yourself idle, as Poor Dick says. When there is so much to be done for yourself, your family, your country, and your gracious king, be up by peep of day; let not the sun look down and say, inglorious here he lies. Handle your tools without mittens; remember that the cat in gloves catches no mice, as Poor Richard says. 'Tis true there is much to be done, and perhaps you are weak handed, but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects, for constant dropping wears away stones, and by diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and little strokes fell great oaks, as Poor Richard says in his almanac, the year I cannot just now remember.

"Methinks I hear some of you say, must a man afford himself no leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. Do you imagine that sloth will afford you more comfort than labor? No, for as Poor Richard says, trouble springs from idleness, and grievous toil from needless ease. Many without labor would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock. Whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect: fly pleasures, and they'll follow you. The diligent spinner has a large shift, and now I have a sheep and a cow, everybody bids me good morrow, all which is well said by Poor Richard.

"But with our industry, we must likewise be steady, settled and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others; for, as Poor Richard says,
I never saw an oft removed tree,
Nor yet an oft removed family,
That throve so well as those that settled be.
"And again, three removes is as bad as a fire, and again, keep the shop, and thy shop will keep thee; and again, if you would have your business done, go; if not, send. And again,
He that by the plough would thrive,
Himself must either hold or drive.

"And again, the eye of a master will do more work than both his hands; and again, want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge; and again, not to oversee workmen is to leave them your purse open. Trusting too much to others' care is the ruin of many; for, as the almanac says, in the affairs of this world men are saved not by faith, but by the want of it; but a man's own care is profitable; for, saith Poor Dick, learning is to the studious, and riches to the careful, as well as power to the bold, and Heaven to the virtuous. And farther, if you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself. And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, even in the smallest matters, because sometimes a little neglect may breed great mischief; adding, for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost, and for want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for want of care about a horse-shoe nail.

"So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business; but to these we must add frugality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last. A fat kitchen makes a lean will, as Poor Richard says; and,
Many estates are spent in the getting,
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,
And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.

If you would be wealthy, says he, in another almanac, think of saving as well as of getting: the Indies have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes. Away then with your expensive follies, and you will not have so much cause to complain of hard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families; for, as Poor Dick says,
Women and wine, game and deceit,
Make the wealth small, and the wants great.

And farther, what maintains one vice, would bring up two children. You may think perhaps that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diet a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great Matter; but remember what Poor Richard says, many a little makes a mickle, and farther, beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship, and again, who dainties love, shall beggars prove, and moreover, fools make Feasts, and wise men eat them.

"Here you are all got together at this vendue of fineries and knicknacks. You call them goods, but if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you.You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may for less than they cost; but if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you. Remember what Poor Richard says, buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries. And again, at a great pennyworth pause a while: he means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or the bargain, by straitning thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good. For in another place he says, many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths. Again, Poor Richard says, 'tis foolish to lay our money in a purchase of repentance; and yet this folly is practised every day at vendues, for want of minding the almanac. Wise men, as Poor Dick says, learn by others' harms, fools scarcely by their own, but, felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. 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, as Poor Richard says, put out the kitchen fire. These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniencies, and yet only because they look pretty, how many want to have them. The artificial wants of mankind thus become more numerous than the natural; and, as Poor Dick says, for one poor person, there are an hundred indigent. 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 'tis day, and will never be night; that a little to be spent out of so much, is not worth minding; (a child and a fool, as Poor Richard says, imagine twenty shillings and twenty years can never be spent) but, always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom; then, as Poor Dick says, when the well's 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, 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;
E'er 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 maybe all of a piece; but Poor Dick says, 'tis easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it. And 'tis as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.
Great estates may venture more,
But little boats should keep near shore.

'Tis however a folly soon punished; for pride that dines on vanity sups on contempt, as Poor Richard says. And in another place, 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 risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health; or ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.
What is a butterfly? At best
He's but a caterpillar dressed.
The gaudy fop's his picture just,

as Poor Richard says.

"But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities! We are offered, by the terms of this vendue, six months' credit; and that perhaps has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah, think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him, you will make poor pitiful sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose you veracity, and sink into base downright lying; for, as Poor Richard says, the second vice is lying, the first is running in debt. And again to the same purpose, lying rides upon debt's back. Whereas a freeborn Englishman ought not to be ashamed or afraid to see or speak to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue: 'tis hard for an empty bag to stand upright, as Poor Richard truly says. What would you think of that Prince, or that government, who should issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or a gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude? Would you not say, that you are free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edict 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 gaol for life, or to sell 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 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 extreamly short. Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as 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 industrious and free; be frugal and free. At present, perhaps, you may think yourself 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,

as Poor Richard says. Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain; and 'tis 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 all 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 won't be counseled, can't be helped, as Poor Richard says: and farther, that if you will not hear reason, she'll surely rap your knuckles."

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and approved the doctrine, and immediately practiced the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the vendue 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 five-and-twenty years. The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any 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 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.

July 7, 1757.

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各位尊敬的读者:

  我听说对于一位作者来说,最至高无上的荣誉和喜悦无过于发现自己的作品被其他知识渊博的作者毕恭毕敬地加以引用。不过,我个人却很少享受到这种喜悦;因为尽管不带一点虚荣和夸张地讲,我完全可以当之无愧地称之为一位著名的作者——我的《穷理查德的年历》一年一本,如今已经整整坚持了1/4个世纪了,然而,由于某些我所不知道的原因,我的那些和我从事同一行业的兄弟作者们都非常吝惜给予它们的赞誉;他们对我的作品没有加以丝毫的注意,就如一粒石子投入大海而没有激起任何波浪一样,我的作品也在汹涌的人潮中湮没无闻,这种被遗忘和漠视的状况令我非常地沮丧失意。

  我最终得出了一个结论,那就是读者才是我的作品的价值的最佳评判者;因为正是他们购买我的书;此外,在我有时候到一些陌生的地方散步闲逛时,那里虽然没有人认得我,但我的这句或那句名言却经常可以听到被人引用,而且每次都是以“正如穷理查所说的”作为结尾,这种现象给了我很大的安慰,因为它不仅表明我的格言得到了人们的重视,而且也表明我的权威得到了某种程度的尊重;因此,为了大力提倡和鼓励人们牢记和重复这些意味深长、含义隽永的格言,我本人有时也会极其严肃庄重地引用我自己的格言。”

  下面我将告诉你一个小事件,你可以想象一下当时我是多么地欣喜。最近我外出时经过一个商品公开拍卖会,看到有那么多的人聚集在那儿,我也下了马。由于正式拍卖的时间还没开始,他们都在那里交头接耳地谈论时局的艰难,其中的一群人对一个白发苍苍、衣着整洁、精神矍铄的老人发感慨说:”尊敬的亚伯拉罕,请问您对如今的世道有何看法?难道这些沉重的税赋不会毁灭整个国家吗?我们怎么能够交得起它们呢?您有什么建议或忠告吗?”——亚伯拉罕站了起来并回答道,如果你们愿意听从我的忠告,我会尽量地说得简单明了,因为正如穷理查所说的,“充满睿智、切中要害的话只要一句就足够了。而不着边际的话语即便有千句万句,也只不过是废话一堆。”于是人群都围绕到他身边,洗耳恭听他的高见,下面就是他的原话:

  朋友们,邻居们,他说道,税赋的确是非常的沉重,并且,假如那些由政府强制征收的税赋是我们惟一需要缴纳的对象的话,我们完全可以更为轻松地打发它们;但是,问题在于除了这部分税赋之外,我们还有许多其他的负担,对我们中的许多人来说,这些其他的负担要更为沉重,更加令人难以忍受。事实上,由于我们的懒惰闲散而不得不缴纳的税赋是政府征税的两倍,由于我们的骄傲自满而不得不缴纳的税赋是政府征税的三倍,由于我们的愚蠢荒唐而不得不缴纳的税赋是政府征税的四倍,并且,这些税赋都是不可能像政府征税那样有所谓的减免的,任何人都无法帮我们分担它们。不过,无论如何,让我们来仔细聆听金玉良言,做一些力所能及的补救,正如穷理查在他的1733年年鉴中所说的,“自助者,天助之。”

  如果某个政府强制向人民征收他们收入的1/10作为税收,这必定会被认为是一个残暴专横的政府。但是,如果我们仔细计算一下自己有多少时间是处于绝对的无所事事、游手好闲状态之中,有多少时间是在玩笑嬉戏、无聊闲扯之中度过而一事无成,我们就会发现,对我们中的许多人来说,因懒惰闲散而付出的代价或缴纳的税赋要远远多于政府的横征暴敛。懒惰作为一种疾病,毫无疑问会缩短我们的生命。正如穷理查所说的,“懒惰就像铁锈一样,比劳动更能够消耗一个人的生命,而一直使用的钥匙则总是闪闪发光的。”“如果你真的热爱生命,那就千万不要浪费时间,因为时间是构成生命之元素。”——然而,反省一下自己,我们花在不必要的睡眠上的时间是何其多也!我们全然忘记了穷理查所说的“贪睡的狐狸是捕捉不到任何猎物的,等我们进入坟墓之后就会有足够的睡眠时间等待我们”。如果说时间是一切事物中最为宝贵的,那么,正如穷理查所说的,“浪费时间是最严重的和不可饶恕的挥霍”,因为正如他在其他地方告诉我们的,“失去的时间永远都不可能再找回了”,并且,尽管我们自以为时间非常充足,而事实上“时间永远都是不够的”。因此,让我们从现在开始就珍惜每一刻光阴,在行动中证明时间的价值;只要勤勉刻苦,我们完全可以在更少的时间内完成更多的任务,并且目标明确,神清气爽,心无旁鹜。正如穷理查所说的,“懒惰懈怠使得所有的事情都难上加难,而勤奋努力使得一切事情都易如反掌”;并且,“那些晚起的人尽管在白天里忙忙碌碌,还是很难在夜幕降临前弥补上他们拉下的工作。”此外,正如我们在《穷理查年鉴》中所看到的,“懒惰者的脚步总是如此拖沓迟缓,因而贫穷饥饿很快就可以追赶上他”,并且,他还另外附加道,“驾驭你自己的事业,不要让事业来驾驭你;早睡早起令一个人健康、富裕而睿智。”

  那么,对更为美好的生活的向往和期盼又意味着什么呢?只要我们不断地激励和鞭策自己,我们就可以更为有效地利用时间,从而创造更美好的生活。正如穷理查所说的,“勤奋并不需要期盼”,“那些整日生活在空想和期盼之中的人惟有在一事无成的遗憾中辞别人世。一份耕耘,一份收获,天下没有不劳而获的事”。并且,正如穷理查所发的类似议论,“那些有着自己事业的人就等于拥有一座不动产,那些从事特定职业的人就等于拥有一间为他带来源源不竭的财富和荣誉的事务所”;但是,你必须在自己的事业上辛勤耕耘,正如你必须在自己所从事的职业中兢兢业业一样,否则的话,无论是不动产还是事务所都无法帮助我们缴纳税赋——如果我们勤劳刻苦,那就永远不必有忍饥挨饿之虞;因为正如穷理查所说的,“在辛勤工作的人们的居所,饥饿永远都只敢在门外探头,而不会有大摇大摆地登堂入室的机会。”此外,在这样的人家,也不必担忧法官或警察会半夜里破门而入,因为正如穷查理所说的,“勤奋可以偿还一切债务,而懒惰只能使它们日益增加。”——当你发现自己既没有任何的财产,也没有任何富裕的亲戚给你留下巨额遗产时,切记穷理查所说的“勤奋是好运之母”,“上帝会赋予勤奋者一切”。然后,正如穷理查所说的,“在游手好闲之徒耽于安逸享受的时候,默默地在你的土地上辛勤耕耘吧,你将收获丰收的果实。”今天的工作一定要在今天完成,因为你无从预知明天会受到什么样的阻碍,正如穷理查所说的,“一个今天等值于两个明天;”并且,“如果你知道明天要干些什么的话,那就趁早在今天完成吧。”如果你是一个仆人的话,当被你的主人发现你在游手好闲时,难道你不因此感到羞愧难当吗?同样的,你是你自己的主人,正如穷理查所说的,“当你发现你自己无所事事时,应该感到羞愧难当,无地自容。” 既然你自己,你的家庭,你的祖国,还有那万能的上帝有着这么多的事留待你去做,赶紧行动起来吧;“不要让当头的太阳俯视着你并说道,他还可耻地躺在那儿”。赤手拿起你的工具吧,不要因为怕磨破手掌而戴上手套,记住穷理查所说的“戴着手套的猫是抓不到老鼠的”。的确有如山的工作堆在你的面前,而你或许能力有限,手忙脚乱,但是,只要你咬定青山不放松,执着于自己的目标,你就会有大的成就,因为正如穷理查在某一个我不确切记得的年份的年鉴中所说的,“水滴石穿”,“只要有勤奋和坚忍,老鼠也可以蛀蚀掉两根电缆”;以及“千里长堤,溃于蚁穴”,“只要不断重复,轻轻的一击也可击倒厚实的橡木。”

  我听到你们中的一些人在喃喃自语:难道一个人不应该有休闲的时光吗?——让我来告诉你们,我的朋友们,穷理查在这一点上有什么样的看法,“如果你想得到休闲的话,就好好利用你的时间。”所谓休闲的时光就是做一些有益的事情的时光;这种休闲只有勤奋的人才可以获得,那些懒惰的人是永远无法品尝到它的滋味的;因此,正如穷理查所说的,“休闲的一生和懒惰的一生完全是两码事。”你认为懒惰懒散会比辛勤劳动给你带来更多的舒适吗?不,正如穷理查所说的,“麻烦往往由懒惰懒散而引起,不必要的安逸悠闲只会导致日后的穷困潦倒。有许多好逸恶劳者仅靠他们的小聪明生活,然而,等到花样用尽时,等待他们的还是穷困破落。”而勤勉刻苦则可以带来舒适、富足和他人的尊重:”你不刻意追求舒适安逸时,它们自然地会追随而来。”“勤劳的纺纱工会有很长的轮班时间”;“现在我有了一只绵羊和一头母牛,每个人都祝愿我有一个美好的明天”;所有的这些都是穷理查留给我们的名言警句。 

  但是,在勤勉刻苦的同时,我们还必须脚踏实地、意志坚定、谨慎小心,并且,应当用自己的眼睛照管自己的事务,而不是一味地委托他人;因为,正如穷理查所说的,

我从来没有看到过一棵经常移动的树木;
或者是一个经常迁移的家庭;
能够像别的那些稳固不动者般茁壮成长、兴旺繁荣的。

  并且,“移动三次的后果就如遭到解雇般恶劣”;此外,“管理好你的店铺,它是你生活的来源”;此外,“如果你想把手头的事做完,那就立即行动吧”。此外,

乘风破浪、奋力前进的人必定兴旺发达,
他或者是运筹帷幄,胸有成竹,或者是跃马扬鞭,一往无前;

  此外,“专家的慧眼比他的双手更能发挥作用”,此外,“马虎大意比无知有着更大的坏处”;此外,“对工人的工作放任不管,就等于把你的钱包打开在他们面前”。对他人过于依赖信任是造成许多悲剧的原因;因为,正如穷理查在年鉴中所说的,“在这个世界上,人们之所以得救,并不是因为他们的信仰,而是因为缺乏信仰”;但是,一个人的小心谨慎是大有裨益的;因为正如穷理查所说的,“学识之于勤奋,财富之于谨慎,正如权力之于冒险,天堂之于美德”。并且,“如果你想要有一个忠实的仆人,并且你很喜欢他,那么,你自己做你的仆人吧。”此外,他一再建议我们要小心仔细,谨慎稳重,即便在最小的事情上也不例外,因为在某些时候,“小疏忽可以铸成大错误”;并且,“由于缺少一个钉子,马蹄铁就不牢固;由于马蹄铁不牢固,马儿就跑不快;由于马儿跑不快,骑手自然也就失败了”,骑手之所以会被敌人追赶上并被杀死,仅仅只是因为他在马蹄铁这一小物件上疏忽大意。

  我的朋友们,到现在为止我说的都是一个人要勤奋刻苦,要对自己的事情小心谨慎;但是,如果我们想要使我们的勤奋结出更为绚丽迷人的果实,那就必须还得加上勤俭节约。如果一个人不懂得如何节省自己辛苦赚得的钱财,那么终其一生,他都只能是劳碌奔波,并在辞别人世时依旧是两手空空,一无所剩。正如穷理查所说的,“胖厨师意志薄弱”;并且,

有许多财产是如此挥霍一空的,
因为女人们贪婪下午茶而放弃了纺纱与编织,
男人们沉溺于潘趣酒而忘记了砍柴与伐木。

  在另一本年鉴中,穷理查说道,“如果你想要变得富足,那就牢记节俭和赚钱同等重要”,东西印度群岛并没有使西班牙因此富裕,因为她的消耗支出远远大于收入所得。如果你整日里花天酒地,挥霍浪费,那你就丝毫没有理由抱怨时局的艰难、赋税的沉重以及生活的拮据;因为,正如穷理查所说的,

女人和美酒,游戏和欺骗,
使得财富日益缩减,而欲望无限膨胀。

  并且,“一项恶习往往会滋养出两个孩子”。你或许会认为,时不时地喝一会儿茶或者喝一点潘趣酒,时不时地吃一顿奢侈的晚餐、买一件昂贵的衣服、进行一次高档的娱乐,并不是什么大事;但是,记住穷理查所说的,“积少成多,集腋成裘”;并且,“小心提防一点一点的消费”;因为“一个小小的漏洞可以使得整艘巨轮沉没”;此外,“那些一味热衷于美味佳肴的人,最终将变成沦落街头的乞丐”;并且,“只有傻子才会大肆举行盛宴,聪明的人总是赴宴者。”

  现在你们都聚集到这个各式各样琳琅满目的小玩意儿和美不胜收的装饰品的公开拍卖会上了。你们把这些物品称之为货物,但是,如果不谨慎小心的话,它们对你们中的一些人来说只能是祸害。你们希望它们能够以低廉的价格出售,或者是物超所值;但是,如果它们对你毫无必要的话,那么,即便它们是多么地廉价,对于你来说也是昂贵无比。谨记穷理查所说的,“如果你想要买非必需品,那么在这之前你不得不卖掉必需品来交换它们”。此外,“即便在购买1便士的东西之前,也要仔细掂量”;他的意思是指或许货物的廉价只是表面的而非真实的;或者说,看似精明的交易对你来说多半是弊大于利。因为在另一个地方他曾经说道,“由于贪小便宜而铸成大错的比比皆是”。此外,正如穷理查所说的,“拿钱购买悔恨实在是愚蠢之举”;然而,由于人们对穷理查年鉴的忽略和漠视,事实上这样的愚蠢之举在商品公开拍卖会上每天都有发生。正如穷理查所说的,“智者从他人的教训中学习经验,而愚者很少会吸取自身的前车之鉴”;但是,“那些因为他人的前车之鉴而变得谨慎小心的人是幸运的。”有多少这样的人,因为想披上华丽绚烂的服饰,不得不忍受饥饿之苦,并连累家人食不裹腹;正如穷理查所说的,“绫罗绸缎和五彩霓裳熄灭了厨房的烟火。”这些并不是生活必需品;它们很难被称作是方便用品,然而,仅仅因为它们看起来绚丽夺目,有多少人热衷于拥有它们。因此,人类对非自然物品的需求大大超过了自然需求;并且,正如穷理查所说的,“如果说有一个人是天生贫穷,那么必定有100个人是后天潦倒。”由于诸如此类的奢侈浪费,原本是上流社会的豪门巨富如今沦落为街头巷尾的穷乞丐,并不得不从那些先前为他们鄙夷不屑的人家中告贷度日,后者通过勤奋努力和勤俭节约,生活已日渐殷实富足;从这个例子中我们可以一目了然地发现,正如穷理查所说的,“一个站着的农夫要比一个跪着的绅士更为高大。” 或许祖上给他们留下了一小笔财产,他们因此以为自己可以永远的不劳而获;他们认为“现在是朗朗白日,黑夜永远也不会到来的”;在他们看来,从如此巨额的财产中花费掉一小部分,不过是九牛一毛、不足挂齿;(正如穷理查所说的,”小孩和傻子才会认为20个先令在20年的时间里都不会花完”)但是,“只知道从谷桶里往外掏米,而从来不记得往里面装米,那么很快你就会发现掏到了桶底”;然后,正如穷理查所说的,“只有当泉井干涸时,他们才认识到水的价值。”但是,如果他们早日听从穷理查的劝告的话,他们原本是会知道这个道理的;“如果你想知道金钱的价值,尽量尝试着从他人那里借一些钱吧”;因为“只有借过钱的人才品尝过借钱的辛酸”;——穷理查奉劝我们说:

以华丽的服饰为荣的喜好,实在是一种不良的祸根
如果你想追求新奇浮华,先考虑一下你的钱包。

  此外,“虚荣骄傲的坏处就跟无节制的欲望一样,并且更为恶劣”。当你购买了一件好东西之后,你必须购买10件更多的物品,以便使它们能够配套;但是,正如穷理查所说的,“压制第一个欲望总比满足所有的随之而来的欲望要更为容易。”穷人想要竭力模仿富人的衣食起居的念头是荒唐可笑的,正如青蛙为了和公牛比肚子的大小从而最终涨破了肚皮一样。

宏伟的巨轮应当出海远航,经受更多的风浪。
但一叶小舟应当靠近岸边,否则必被惊涛骇浪倾覆。

  如果有谁违背这一客观规律,那么必将遭到报复;因为正如穷理查所说的,“一味追求虚荣浮华的人必将遭到世人的蔑视冷笑。”此外,在另一个地方,他还说过,“虚荣骄傲者以丰盛为早餐,以贫困为午餐,以饥饿为晚餐”。说到底,这种表面的虚荣浮华毒害了这么多的人,它到底有何用处呢?它既不能促进健康,也不能减轻痛苦;它丝毫无益于增加一个人的价值,它所制造的惟有嫉妒,它加速了不幸和灾难的到来。正如穷理查所说的,

什么是蝴蝶?
它只不过是一只穿上衣服的毛虫。
华丽而俗气的花花公子是它的最佳写照。

  但是,甘愿负债来购买这些华而不实的奢侈品,这种行为是多么地疯狂愚蠢啊!在这次公开拍卖会上,我们每个人都有六个月的赊账期限;这或许是我们中的许多人被吸引到这儿的原因,因为我们都无法挤出太多的余钱,而现在却有了这样一个千载难逢的机会。但是,请你们想一想负债对你们来说意味着什么吧;它意味着你给自己的自由上了枷锁;如果你不能及时清偿的话,你将羞于看到你的债权人;当你在和他谈话时,你将满腹担忧、忐忑不安;你不得不编造拙劣蹩脚的谎言和借口,并逐渐丧失你的诚实品性,堕落为彻头彻尾的伪君子;因为,正如穷理查所说的,“第二宗罪是撒谎,第一宗罪是负债。”此外,基于同样的目的,“谎言总是骑在债务的背上”。对一个生而自由的公民来说,难道他应该羞于或害怕看见任何其他的人或者是和他们讲话吗?但是,贫穷却经常可以剥夺一个人的自尊和美德:正如穷理查所说的至理名言,“一个空空的袋子是无法笔直挺立的。”假定有某个王子或某个政府颁布了一道禁止你像绅士或淑女那般穿着打扮的禁令,如违犯者将投入监狱或接受劳役,那么你会对此作何感想?难道你不会抗议说,你是自由的,你有权随心所欲地穿你喜欢的衣服,这种禁令是对你的合法权利的侵犯,颁布这种禁令的政府是暴虐专横的政府?然而,如果你为了穿这样的衣服而不惜负债,那你就等于把自己送入那样的暴政之下!如果你无法清偿债务的话,你的债权人就有权按照他的意志随心所欲地剥夺你的自由,他可以将你终生监禁在牢狱里,也可以将你卖给他人为仆!当你在打你的如意算盘时,你或许很少会想到日后如何偿还;然而,正如穷理查所说的,“债权人的记忆力总是比债务人强”;此外,在另一个地方,穷理查还说过,“债权人是一个迷信的集团,他们对限定的日期和时间了如指掌、烂熟于胸,不会出一点差错。”在你明确意识到之前,最后的期限已经到了,而你还没有作好任何准备。或者即便你的心里牢记着债务,但是,随着期限的日益逼近,原先显得那样漫长的还债期限如今却是这般的短暂。时间似乎像长上了翅膀飞逝而过,而肩头的负担也是一日重似一日。正如穷理查所说的,“那些有短期借款的人必须在复活节偿还债务”。并且,正如他所说的,既然“借贷者是出借者的奴隶,债务人是债权人的奴隶”,那么趁早在戴上锁链之前保持你的自由吧;为了确保你的独立地位,谨记穷理查所说的“勤奋刻苦给你自由,勤俭节约给你自由”。或许你认为你现在的状况蒸蒸日上、欣欣向荣,因而即便奢侈浪费一点也无大害;但是,正如穷理查所说的,

为了防备日后的不时之需和出于长远考虑,你应当尽可能的节俭;
因为清晨的朝阳不可能永远挂在高空。

  事实上,在我们的一生中,收入总是暂时的、不确定的,而支出则是永久的、确定的;正如穷理查所说的,“建造两座烟囱远远要比使一座烟囱永远冒烟更为容易。”因此,“与其借债吃得饱饱的,还不如饿着肚子上床。”

正如穷理查所说的,

“做你力所能及的事,赚你力所能及的钱,
这是能够把你的铅块变成金子的金科玉律、不二法则。”

  如果你已经领悟和掌握哲人的这一金科玉律,你就再也不会抱怨时局的艰难,或者是税赋的沉重了。

  我的朋友们,这一金科玉律就是理智和智慧;但是,与此同时,你还不能把全部希望都寄托在你个人的勤勉刻苦、勤俭节约以及小心谨慎上面,因为尽管它们都是非常可贵的品性,但如果没有上帝的庇佑和祝福,它们所散发的美德之光也是很快就会消退暗淡的;因此,你应当谦恭地请求上帝的祝福,对于那些在目前似乎是穷困潦倒、毫无希望的人,你应当怀有仁慈之心,竭尽所能地安慰他们、帮助他们。记住,约伯曾经忍受了那么多的苦难,但他最终却是兴旺发达。

  现在让我们来总结一下,“经验是一所最好的学校,但愚人却很少能从中学到什么”,因为正如穷理查所说的至理名言,“我们可以提供建议,但却无法代替你去行动”;但是,谨记这一点,正如穷理查所说的,“那些对他人的劝告置若罔闻的人实在是不可救药”;此外,“如果你不听从理智的劝告,终有一天会跌得头破血流。” 

  这位老者就此结束了他的长篇大论。聚集的人群听到了他语重心长的教导,并对他的观点表示赞同,但是,他们很快就反其道而行之,就仿佛这是一次平常的布道一样;因为现在公开拍卖会已经开始了,他们开始大肆抢购物品,全然忘记了自己应当谨慎小心、勤俭节约,全然忘记了刚才还对沉重的税赋怨声载道、忧心忡忡。——我发现那位睿智的老人已经彻底研究了我的年鉴,并对这25年间我所写的全部内容都消化吸收、融会贯通。他在谈话中如此频繁地引用我的语句,想必已经令所有其他的听众厌烦不已,但是,我的虚荣心却得到了极大的满足,尽管我清楚地意识到他归之于我的智慧中不及十分之一是我自己的,而不过是我拾人牙慧、汲取了众多国家和众多年代流传下来的智慧而已。然而,尽管如此,我还是立志要宣扬这些观点,使之发扬光大;因此,我本来是想要买做一件新外套的原料的,但现在还是决定空手离开,继续穿我的那件旧外套,亲爱的读者,如果你能够效仿我的话,你就可以跟我一样获益良多。

你的永远的

查理·桑德斯

1757年7月7日

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