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Benjamin Franklin’s advice on financial success, Voltaire on national wealth, taxes, and the promotion of labor and commerce
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As applicable today as it was three centuries ago, this abbreviated summary of Franklin’s ideas for thrift carried his fame throughout the world. With a great excerpt from Voltaire, and mention of the graduating class of 23 gentleman at Princeton College, a new treaty with Spain that effects New Orleans, and more.

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN]. Newspaper. “The Way to make Money plenty in every Man’s Pocket,” The New Haven Gazette and the Connecticut Magazine, September 7, 1786. New Haven, CT: Meigs and Dana. 8 pp. (Vol. I No 30, pp. 229-236), 8 ⅝ x 10 ⅜ in.

Inventory #30007.032       Price: $750

Excerpt – ‘Select thoughts presented to a minister of state in France, taken from the French of Mr. de Voltaire’

The true riches of a kingdom do not therefore consist in gold and silver, but in the plenty of all commodities; in industry and labour… It requires as much money to erect a gloomy prison, as to build an agreeable house… Taxes are necessary, and the best method of raising them is that which best promotes labour and commerce. A voluntary tax is hurtful. Nothing but charity ought to be voluntary; but in a well regulated state, there ought to be no room for charity. Paper money is to specie, what specie is to merchandize, a representation, a medium of exchange. Bills of credit are in the government of a state, in trade and circulation, what ropes and pullies are in quarries; they manage burthens, which men, without them, would be unable to move.” (p2-3)

Excerpt – Franklin’s Way to Wealth

“The Way to make Money plenty in every Man’s Pocket (By Dr. Franklin)

At this time, when the general complaint is, ‘that money is scarce,’ it will be an act of kindness to inform the moneyless how they may reinforce their pockets. I will acquaint them with the true secret of money catching, the certain way to fill empty purses, and how to keep them always full! two simple rules well observed will do the business.

            I. Let Honesty and Industry be thy constant companions. And,

            II. Spend one penny less than thy clear gains…

Independency, whether with little or with much, is good fortune, and placeth thee on even ground with the proudest of the golden fleece. Oh then, be wise, and let Industry wake with thee in the morning, and attend thee until thou reachest the evening hours for rest, let Honesty be as the breath of the soul, and never forget to have a penny when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid… Then shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand that offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.” (p3/c1)

Excerpt – ‘A modern Courtier in his Elbow-Chair’

“About the beginning of the war it was very popular to let out floods of paper-money, and declaim violently against imposing any taxes upon the people. At another time the spirit of the populace could be set on fire at the mention of commutation or a tendry act…. The idea of redeeming our public notes according to their present current value or of not paying at all the principal of our public domestic debt, is at present become very popular…

I know thoroughly my own heart, and by attending to that can penetrate others… I adopt fully the doctrine of the depravity of all, and believe that every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts is only evil continually, and that he who appears most hones is the man who has a power above others of imposing upon the understanding of the world. H.L.S. August 22.”

Additional Content

This issue also includes a wide variety of contemporary content, including a report on Polish salt mines (p1/c1-p2/c2); Voltaire’s thoughts on industry and labor (p2/c2-p3/c1); report on the examination and graduation of 23 young gentlemen at Princeton College (p4). European news from London (p4/c1-p5/c1); American news from Charleston, Philadelphia, Princeton, Boston, Worcester, Hartford, and Newport (p6/c1-p7/c2); and a reward offered for the capture of James Spencer, master of the sloop Lively, who apparently transported a load of sugar and rum from St. Croix to Petersburg, Virginia, rather than to New York, and left again with a load of tobacco and bricks. Report on peace between the United States and the Emperor of Morocco, and a commercial treaty between the U.S. and Spain, mentioning New Orleans. (p8).

Historical Background

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) became famous for the collection of aphorisms and maxims that he published in successive editions of Poor Richard’s Almanack from 1732 to 1758. For the last almanac that Franklin prepared himself, he expanded the preface and created a new persona, “Father Abraham,” who responded to a call from a crowd at an auction asking how to pay the heavy tax burden. Father Abraham’s response incorporated approximately one hundred of the aphorisms and maxims published in earlier Poor Richard almanacs. The new preface, dated July 7, 1757, indicates that Franklin wrote it while on his way to England. The result became “undoubtedly the world’s best-known homily on industry, financial prudence, and thrift.”[1] In the most common abridged form, it was titled, “The Way to Wealth.” A short version summarizing his ideas became widely known as “The Art of Making Money Plenty in Every Man’s Pocket.” The version presented here in The New Haven Gazette, and the Connecticut Magazine later appeared, in the months after Franklin’s death, in 1790 in London newspapers.[2] It was also used in several biographies and editions of Franklin’s works in the 1830s.[3]

The New Haven Gazette, and the Connecticut Magazine (1784-1789) was a weekly newspaper in New Haven, Connecticut. It began as the New Haven Gazette, published by Josiah Meigs (1757-1822), Daniel Bowen, and Eleutheros Dana (1761-1788). In April 1786, Bowen left the partnership to publish the New Haven Chronicle. Dana left the partnership in August 1787, and Meigs continued to edit the newspaper alone.

Condition

Good. Some foxing and water staining. Pages separated. Manuscript doodle of a little house on the front page.


[1] Leonard W. Labaree, ed., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 7, October 1, 1756 through March 31, 1758 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963), 326-55.

[2] The Public Advertiser (London, England), October 26, 1790, 1:4-2:1; European Magazine and London Review (London, England), August 1790, 90.

[3] Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin (New York: Solomon King, 1831), 162; Benjamin Franklin, The Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: McCarty & Davis, 1834), 2:481; Benjamin Franklin, The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin (New York: Frederick Campe and Co., 1835), 122-23; The Life of Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia: Desilver, Thomas, & Co., 1836), 169-70.


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