2008-8-29 Jerry 日记

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


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.









  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。”












  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:




















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