_Poor Richard Improved_

1748

_Kind Reader,_ The favourable Reception my annual Labours have met with from the Publick these 15 Years past, has engaged me in Gratitude to endeavour some Improvement of my Almanack. And since my Friend _Taylor_ is no more, whose _Ephemerides_ so long and so agreeably serv'd and entertain'd these Provinces, I have taken the Liberty to imitate his well-known Method, and give two Pages for each Month; which affords me Room for several valuable Additions, as will best appear on Inspection and Comparison with former Almanacks. Yet I have not so far follow'd his Method, as not to continue my own where I thought it preferable; and thus my Book is increas'd to a Size beyond his, and contains much more Matter.

Hail Night serene! thro' Thee where'er we turn Our wond'ring Eyes, Heav'n's Lamps profusely burn; And Stars unnumber'd all the Sky adorn. But lo! -- what's that I see appear? It seems far off a pointed flame; From Earthwards too the shining Meteor came: How swift it climbs th' etherial Space! And now it traverses each Sphere, And seems some knowing Mind, familiar to the Place. Dame, hand my Glass, the longest, strait prepare; -- 'Tis He -- 'tis TAYLOR's Soul, that travels there. O stay! thou happy Spirit, stay, And lead me on thro' all th' unbeaten Wilds of Day; Where Planets in pure Streams of Ether driven, Swim thro' the blue Expanse of Heav'n. There let me, thy Companion, stray From Orb to Orb, and now behold Unnumber'd Suns, all Seas of molten Gold, And trace each Comet's wandring Way. ------

Souse down into Prose again, my Muse; for Poetry's no more thy Element, than Air is that of the Flying-Fish; whose Flights, like thine, are therefore always short and heavy. ------

We complain sometimes of hard Winters in this Country; but our Winters will appear as Summers, when compar'd with those that some of our Countrymen undergo in the most Northern _British_ Colony on this Continent, which is that upon _Churchill_ River, in _Hudson's Bay_, Lat. 58d. 56m. Long. from _London_ 94d. 50m. West. Captain _Middleton_, a Member of the _Royal Society_, who had made many Voyages thither, and winter'd there 1741 -- 2, when he was in Search of the _North-West_ Passage to the _South-Sea_, gives an Account of it to that Society, from which I have extracted these Particulars, _viz._

The Hares, Rabbits, Foxes, and Partridges, in _September_ and the Beginning of _October_, change their Colour to a snowy White, and continue white till the following Spring.

The Lakes and standing Waters, which are not above 10 or 12 Feet deep, are frozen to the Ground in Winter, and the Fishes therein all perish. Yet in Rivers near the Sea, and Lakes of a greater Depth than 10 or 12 Feet, Fishes are caught all the Winter, by cutting Holes thro' the Ice, and therein putting Lines and Hooks. As soon as the Fish are brought into the open Air, they instantly freeze stiff.

Beef, Pork, Mutton, and Venison, kill'd in the Beginning of the Winter, are preserved by the Frost for 6 or 7 Months, entirely free from Putrefaction. Likewise Geese, Partridges, and other Fowls, kill'd at the same Time, and kept with their Feathers on and Guts in, are preserv'd by the Frost, and prove good Eating. All Kinds of Fish are preserv'd in the same Manner.

In large Lakes and Rivers, the Ice is sometimes broken by imprison'd Vapours; and the Rocks, Trees, Joists, and Rafters of our Buildings, are burst with a Noise not less terrible than the firing of many Guns together. The Rocks which are split by the Frost, are heaved up in great Heaps, leaving large Cavities behind. If Beer or Water be left even in Copper Pots by the Bed-side, the Pots will be split before Morning. Bottles of strong Beer, Brandy, strong Brine, Spirits of Wine, set out in the open Air for 3 or 4 Hours, freeze to solid Ice. The Frost is never out of the Ground, how deep is not certain; but on digging 10 or 12 Feet down in the two Summer Months, it has been found hard frozen.

All the Water they use for Cooking, Brewing, _&c._ is melted Snow and Ice; no Spring is yet found free from freezing, tho' dug ever so deep down. -- All Waters inland, are frozen fast by the Beginning of _October_, and continue so to the Middle of _May._

The Walls of the Houses are of Stone, two Feet thick; the Windows very small, with thick wooden Shutters, which are close shut 18 Hours every Day in Winter. In the Cellars they put their Wines, Brandies, _&c._ Four large Fires are made every Day, in great Stoves to warm the Rooms: As soon as the Wood is burnt down to a Coal, the Tops of the Chimnies are close stopped, with an Iron Cover; this keeps the Heat in, but almost stifles the People. And notwithstanding this, in 4 or 5 Hours after the Fire is out, the Inside of the Walls and Bed-places will be 2 or 3 Inches thick with Ice, which is every Morning cut away with a Hatchet. Three or four Times a Day, Iron Shot, of 24 Pounds Weight, are made red hot, and hung up in the Windows of their Apartments, to moderate the Air that comes in at Crevices; yet this, with a Fire kept burning the greatest Part of 24 Hours, will not prevent Beer, Wine, Ink, _&c._ from Freezing.

For their Winter Dress, a Man makes use of three Pair of Socks, of coarse Blanketting, or Duffeld, for the Feet, with a Pair of Deerskin Shoes over them; two Pair of thick _English_ Stockings, and a Pair of Cloth Stockings upon them; Breeches lined with Flannel; two or three _English_ Jackets, and a Fur, or Leather Gown over them; a large Beaver Cap, double, to come over the Face and Shoulders, and a Cloth of Blanketting under the Chin; with Yarn Gloves, and a large Pair of Beaver Mittins, hanging down from the Shoulders before, to put the Hands in, reaching up as high as the Elbows. Yet notwithstanding this warm Clothing, those that stir Abroad when any Wind blows from the Northward, are sometimes dreadfully frozen; some have their Hands, Arms, and Face blistered and froze in a terrible Manner, the Skin coming off soon after they enter a warm House, and some lose their Toes. And keeping House, or lying-in for the Cure of these Disorders, brings on the Scurvy, which many die of, and few are free from; nothing preventing it but Exercise and stirring Abroad.

The Fogs and Mists, brought by northerly Winds in Winter, appear visible to the naked Eye to be Icicles innumerable, as small as fine Hairs, and pointed as sharp as Needles. These Icicles lodge in their Clothes, and if their Faces and Hands are uncover'd, presently raise Blisters as white as a Linnen Cloth, and as hard as Horn. Yet if they immediately turn their Back to the Weather, and can bear a Hand out of the Mitten, and with it rub the blister'd Part for a small Time, they sometimes bring the Skin to its former State; if not, they make the best of their Way to a Fire, bathe the Part in hot Water, and thereby dissipate the Humours raised by the frozen Air; otherwise the Skin wou'd be off in a short Time, with much hot, serous, watry Matter, coming from under along with the Skin; and this happens to some almost every Time they go Abroad, for 5 or 6 Months in the Winter, so extreme cold is the Air, when the Wind blows any Thing strong. -- Thus far Captain _Middleton._ And now, my tender Reader, thou that shudderest when the Wind blows a little at N-West, and criest, _'Tis extrrrrrream cohohold! 'Tis terrrrrrible cohold!_ what dost thou think of removing to that delightful Country? Or dost thou not rather chuse to stay in _Pennsylvania_, thanking God that _He has caused thy Lines to fall in pleasant Places._ _I am, _Thy Friend to serve thee,_ R. SAUNDERS. ______ Robbers must exalted be, Small ones on the Gallow-Tree, While greater ones ascend to Thrones, But what is that to thee or me?

Lost Time is never found again. ______

On the 19th of this Month, _Anno_ 1493, was born the famous Astronomer _Copernicus_, to whom we owe the Invention, or rather the Revival (it being taught by _Pythagoras_ near 2000 Years before) of that now generally receiv'd System of the World which bears his Name, and supposes the Sun in the Center, this Earth a Planet revolving round it in 365 Days, 6 Hours, _&c._ and that Day and Night are caused by the Turning of the Earth on its own Axis once round in 24 h. _&c._ The _Ptolomean_ System, which prevail'd before _Copernicus_, suppos'd the Earth to be fix'd, and that the Sun went round it daily. Mr. _Whiston_, a modern Astronomer, says, the Sun is 230,000 times bigger than the Earth, and 81 Millions of Miles distant from it: That vast Body must then have mov'd more than 480 Millions of Miles in 24 h. A prodigious Journey round this little Spot! How much more natural is _Copernicus_'s Scheme! -- _Ptolomy_ is compar'd to a whimsical Cook, who, instead of Turning his Meat in Roasting, should fix That, and contrive to have his whole Fire, Kitchen and all, whirling continually round it. ______

To lead a virtuous Life, my Friends, and get to Heaven in Season, You've just so much more Need of _Faith_, as you have less of _Reason._

To avoid Pleurisies, _&c._ in cool Weather; Fevers, Fluxes, _&c._ in hot; beware of _Over-Eating_ and _Over-Heating._

The Heathens when they dy'd, went to Bed without a Candle.

Knaves & Nettles are akin; stroak 'em kindly, yet they'll sting. ______

On the 20th of this month, 1727, died the prince of astronomers and philosophers, sir _Isaac Newton_, aged 85 years: Who, as _Thomson_ expresses it, _Trac'd the boundless works of God, from laws sublimely simple._

What were his raptures then! how pure! how strong! And what the triumphs of old _Greece_ and _Rome_, By his diminish'd, but the pride of boys In some small fray victorious! when instead Of shatter'd parcels of this earth usurp'd By violence unmanly, and sore deeds Of cruelty and blood; _Nature_ herself Stood all-subdu'd by him, and open laid Her every latent glory to his view.

Mr. _Pope_'s epitaph on sir _Isaac Newton_, is justly admired for its conciseness, strength, boldness, and sublimity:

Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night; God said, _Let_ NEWTON _be_, and all was light. ______

Life with Fools consists in Drinking; With the wise Man Living's Thinking.

Eilen thut selten gut. ______

On the 25th of this month, _Anno_ 1599, was OLIVER CROMWELL born, the son of a private gentleman, but became the conqueror and protector (some say the tyrant) of three great kingdoms. His son _Richard_ succeeded him, but being of an easy peaceable disposition, he soon descended from that lofty station, and became a private man, living, unmolested, to a good old age; for he died not till about the latter end of queen _Anne_'s reign, at his lodgings in _Lombard-street_, where he had lived many years unknown, and seen great changes in government, and violent struggles for that, which, by experience, he knew could afford no solid happiness.

_Oliver_ was once about to remove to _New-England_, his goods being on shipboard; but somewhat alter'd his mind. There he would doubtless have risen to be a _Select Man_, perhaps a _Governor_; and then might have had 100 bushels of _Indian_ corn _per Annum_, the salary of a governor of that then small colony in those days. ______

_Sell-cheap_ kept Shop on _Goodwin Sands_, and yet had Store of Custom.

_Liberality_ is not giving much but giving wisely.

Finikin _Dick_, curs'd with nice Taste, Ne'er meets with good dinner, half starv'd at a feast.

Alas! that Heroes ever were made! The _Plague_, and the _Hero_, are both of a Trade! Yet the Plague spares our Goods which the Heroe does not; So a Plague take such Heroes and let their Fames rot. _Q. P. D._ ______

The 19th of this month, 1719, died the celebrated _Joseph Addison_, Esq; aged 47, whose writings have contributed more to the improvement of the minds of the _British_ nation, and polishing their manners, than those of any other _English_ pen whatever. ______

To Friend, Lawyer, Doctor, tell plain your whole Case; Nor think on bad Matters to put a good Face: How can they advise, if they see but a Part? 'Tis very ill driving black Hogs in the dark.

Suspicion may be no Fault, but shewing it may be a great one.

He that's secure is not safe.

The second Vice is Lying; the first is Running in Debt.

The Muses love the Morning. ______

_Muschitoes_, or _Musketoes_, a little venomous fly, so light, that perhaps 50 of them, before they've fill'd their bellies, scarce weigh a grain, yet each has all the parts necessary to life, motion, digestion, generation, _&c._ as veins, arteries, muscles, _&c._ each has in his little body room for the five senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting: How inconceivably small must their organs be! How inexpressibly fine the workmanship! And yet there are little animals discovered by the microscope, to whom a _Musketo_ is an _Elephant_! -- In a scarce summer any citizen may provide Musketoes sufficient for his own family, by leaving tubs of rain-water uncover'd in his yard; for in such water they lay their eggs, which when hatch'd, become first little fish, afterwards put forth legs and wings, leave the water, and fly into your windows. _Probatum est._

Two Faults of one a Fool will make; He half repairs, that owns & does forsake.

_Harry Smatter_, has a Mouth for every Matter.

When you're good to others, you are best to yourself.

Half Wits talk much but say little.

If _Jack's_ in love, he's no judge of _Jill_'s Beauty.

Most Fools think they are only ignorant. ______

On the 14th of this month, _Anno_ 1644, was born WILLIAM PENN, the great founder of this Province; who prudently and benevolently sought success to himself by no other means, than securing the _liberty_, and endeavouring the _happiness_ of his people. Let no envious mind grudge his posterity those advantages which arise to them from the wisdom and goodness of their ancestor; and to which their own merit, as well as the laws, give them an additional title. ______

On the 28th, _Anno_ 1704, died the famous _John Locke_, Esq; the _Newton_ of the _Microcosm_: For, as _Thomson_ says,

_He made the whole_ internal world _his own._

His book on the _Human Understanding_, shows it. _Microcosm_, honest reader, is a hard word, and, they say, signifies the _little world_, man being so called, as containing within himself the four elements of the _greater_, &c. &c. I here explain _Greek_ to thee by _English_, which, I think, is rather a more intelligible way, than explaining _English_ by _Greek_, as a certain writer does, who gravely tells us, _Man is rightly called_ a little world, _because he is a_ Microcosm. ______

On the 29th, _Anno_ 1618, was the famous sir _Walter Rawleigh_ beheaded; to the eternal shame of the attorney-general, who first prosecuted him, and of the king, who ratify'd the sentence. ______

How happy is he, who can satisfy his hunger with any food, quench his thirst with any drink, please his ear with any musick, delight his eye with any painting, any sculpture, any architecture, and divert his mind with any book or any company! How many mortifications must he suffer, that cannot bear any thing but beauty, order, elegance & perfection! _Your man of_ taste, _is nothing but a man of_ distaste. ______

Pardoning the Bad, is injuring the Good.

He is not well-bred, that cannot bear Ill-Breeding in others.

In Christmas feasting pray take care; Let not your table be a Snare; but with the Poor God's Bounty share.

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