Poor Richard Improved 1756 

Ben Franklin 


I suppose my Almanack may be worth the Money thou hast paid for it, hadst thou no other Advantage from it, than to find the Day of the Month, the remarkable Days, the Changes of the Moon, the Sun and Moon's Rising and Setting, and to foreknow the Tides and the Weather; these, with other Astronomical Curiosities, I have yearly and constantly prepared for thy Use and Entertainment, during now near two Revolutions of the Planet Jupiter. But I hope this is not all the Advantage thou hast reaped; for with a View to the Improvement of thy Mind and thy Estate, I have constantly interspers'd in every little Vacancy, Moral Hints, Wise Sayings, and Maxims of Thrift, tending to impress the Benefits arising from Honesty, Sobriety, Industry and Frugality; which if thou hast duly observed, it is highly probable thou art wiser and richer many fold more than the Pence my Labours have cost thee. Howbeit, I shall not therefore raise my Price because thou art better able to pay; but being thankful for past Favours, shall endeavour to make my little Book more worthy thy Regard, by adding to those Recipes which were intended for the Cure of the Mind, some valuable Ones regarding the Health of the Body. They are recommended by the Skilful, and by successful Practice. I wish a Blessing may attend the Use of them, and to thee all Happiness, being

Thy obliged Friend,


A Change of Fortune hurts a wise Man no more than a Change of the Moon. 

Does Mischief, Misconduct, & Warrings displease ye;
Think there's a Providence, 'twill make ye easy. 

Mine is better than Ours. 

Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults. 

He that has a Trade, has an Office of Profit and Honour. 

Be civil to all; serviceable to many; familiar with few; Friend to one; Enemy to none. 

Vain-Glory flowereth, but beareth no Fruit.

As I spent some Weeks last Winter, in visiting my old Acquaintance in the Jerseys, great Complaints I heard for Want of Money, and that Leave to make more Paper Bills could not be obtained. Friends and Countrymen, my Advice on this Head shall cost you nothing, and if you will not be angry with me for giving it, I promise you not to be offended if you do not take it. 

You spend yearly at least Two Hundred Thousand Pounds, 'tis said, in European, East-Indian, and West-Indian Commodities: Supposing one Half of this Expence to be in Things absolutely necessary, the other Half may be call'd Superfluities, or at best, Conveniences, which however you might live without for one little Year, and not suffer exceedingly. Now to save this Half, observe these few Directions. 

1. When you incline to have new Cloaths, look first well over the old Ones, and see if you cannot shift with them another Year, either by Scouring, Mending, or even Patching if necessary. Remember a Patch on your Coat, and Money in your Pocket, is better and more creditable than a Writ on your Back, and no Money to take it off. 

2. When you incline to buy China Ware, Chinces, India Silks, or any other of their flimsey slight Manufactures; I would not be so hard with you, as to insist on your absolutely resolving against it; all I advise, is, to put it off (as you do your Repentance) till another Year; and this, in some Respects, may prevent an Occasion of Repentance. 

3. If you are now a Drinker of Punch, Wine or Tea, twice a Day; for the ensuing Year drink them but once a Day. If you now drink them but once a Day, do it but every other Day. If you do it now but once a Week, reduce the Practice to once a Fortnight. And if you do not exceed in Quantity as you lessen the Times, half your Expence in these Articles will be saved. 

4thly and lastly, When you incline to drink Rum, fill the Glass half with Water. 

Thus at the Year's End, there will be An Hundred Thousand Pounds more Money in your Country. 

If Paper Money in ever so great a Quantity could be made, no Man could get any of it without giving something for it. But all he saves in this Way, will be his own for nothing; and his Country actually so much richer. Then the Merchants old and doubtful Debts may be honestly paid off, and Trading become surer thereafter, if not so extensive.

Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed. 

Trouble springs from Idleness; Toil from Ease. 

Love, and be loved. 

A wise Man will desire no more, than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute chearfully, and leave contentedly. 

The diligent Spinner has a large Shift. 

A false Friend and a Shadow, attend only while the Sun shines. 

To-morrow, every Fault is to be amended; but that To-morrow never comes. 

Plough deep, while Sluggards sleep;
And you shall have Corn, to sell and to keep. 

He that sows Thorns, should never go barefoot. 

Laziness travels so slowly, that Poverty soon overtakes him. 

Sampson with his strong Body, had a weak Head, or he would not have laid it in a Harlot's Lap. 

When a Friend deals with a Friend

Let the Bargain be clear and well penn'd,
That they may continue Friends to the End. 

He that never eats too much, will never be lazy. 

To be proud of Knowledge, is to be blind with Light; to be proud of Virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote. 

Get what you can, and what you get, hold;
'Tis the Stone that will turn all your Lead into Gold. 

An honest Man will receive neither Money nor Praise, that is not his Due.

Well, my Friend, thou art now just entering the last Month of another Year. If thou art a Man of Business, and of prudent Care, belike thou wilt now settle thy Accounts, to satisfy thyself whether thou hast gain'd or lost in the Year past, and how much of either, the better to regulate thy future Industry or thy common Expences. This is commendable. - But it is not all. - Wilt thou not examine also thy moral Accompts, and see what Improvements thou hast made in the Conduct of Life, what Vice subdued, what Virtue acquired; how much better, and how much wiser, as well as how much richer thou art grown? What shall it profit a Man, if he gain the whole World, and lose his own Soul? Without some Care in this Matter, tho' thou may'st come to count thy Thousands, thou wilt possibly still appear poor in the Eyes of the Discerning, even here, and be really so for ever hereafter. 

Saying and Doing, have quarrel'd and parted. 

Tell me my Faults, and mend your own.