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BIR WALTER RALEIGH, -1562-1618..
INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS SON AND TO POSTERITY.
1. Choice of Friends. There is nothing more becoming any wise man than to make choice of friends; for by them thou shalt be judged what thou art. Let them therefore be wise and virtuous, and none of them who follow after thee for gain; but make choice of thy betters than thy inferiors, shunning always such as are poor and needy; for if thou givest twenty gifts, and refuse to do the like but once, all that thou hast done will be lost, and such men will become thy mortal enemies. ... If thy friends be of better quality than thyself
, thou mayest be sure of two things: the first, that they will be more careful to keep thy counsel, because they have more to lose than thou hast; the second, they will esteem thee for thyself, and not for that which thou dost possess; but if thou be subject to any great vanity or ill (from which I hope God will bless thee), then therein trust no man; for any man's folly ought to be his greatest secret. ... Let thy love be to the best, as long as they do well; but take heed that thou love God, thy country, thy prince, and thine own estate before all others; for the fancies of men change, and he that loves to-day, hateth to-morrow; but let reason be thy schoolmistress.
11. Choice of a Wife. The next and greatest care ought to be in the choice of a wife, and the only danger therein is beauty, by which all men, in all ages, wise and foolish, have been betrayed. And though I know it vain to use reasons or arguments to dissuade thee from being captivated therewith, there being few or none that ever resisted that witchery, yet I can not omit to warn thee, as of other things, which may be thy ruin and destruction. For the present time, it is true, that man prefers his fantasy in that appetite before all other worldly desires, leaving the care of honor, credit, and safety, in respect thereof: but remember, that if thou marry for beauty, thou bindest thyself all thy life for that which perchance
• Walter Raleigh was born in Hayes, in Devonshire, in 1562, and was for a short time at Oriel College, Oxford, but left it to join a military expedition to France in aid of the Huguenots, and a few years later (1758) to serve in the Low Counties with the Dutch against the Spaniards. In the year following he sailed with Sir Humphrey Gilbert to found a colony in North America ; and in 1580 served with a captain's commission in Ireland, where, in the absence of Lord Ormond, he was associated with the government of Munster. On his return to England he became a favorite at Court by his gallantry to the Queen. In 1583, he sailed again with his half-brother Gilbert in an expedition to Newfoundland, and in 1584, under letters-patent to take possession of newly discovered land; he occupied Wigandacoa, which he called Virginia, in honor of the Virgin Queen. In the same year he was returned to Parliament for Devonshire ; knighted, and appointed Seneschal for Cornwall, and Lord Warden of the Stannaries. But his ruling passion was maritime discovery and colonization. Another expedition was fitted out for Virginia, and a few years later to Panama, and Guiana—and to givo variety to his employments, he helped destroy the Spanish Armada, restore Don Antonio to the throne of Portugal, led an attack on Cadiz, with occasional service in the House of Commons. In the network of foreign and domestic politica, he became entangled, and was condemned, for he could hardly be said to be tried, for high treason so called, and confined for several years in the Tower. Here his activity spent itself in scientific speculation and the composition of the History of the World. By solicitations of friends and bribing of court favorites, the grand old man was released to make another voyage of discovery, which, ending disastrously, only precipitated another trial and his death on the scaffold in 1618.
will neither last nor please thee one year; and when thou bast it, it will be to thee of no price at all, for the degree dieth when it is attained, and the affection perisheth when it is satisfied. Remember, when thou wert a sucking child, that then thou didst love thy nurse, and that thou wert fond of her; after a while thou didst love thy dry-nurse, and didst forget the other; after that, thou didst also despise her; so will it be with thee in thy liking in elder years; and, therefore, though thou canst not forbear to love, yet forbear to link, and after a while thou shalt find an alteration in thyself, and see another far more pleasing than the first, second, or third love; yet I wish thee, above all the rest, have a care thou dost not marry an uncomely woman for any respect; for comeliness in children is riches, if nothing else be left them. And if thou have care for thy races of horses and other beasts, value the shape and comeliness of thy children before alliances or riches: have care, therefore, of both together, for if thou have a fair wife and a poor one, if thine own estate be not great, assure thyself that love abideth not with want, for she is the companion of plenty and honor: for I never yet knew a poor woman, exceeding fair, that was not made dishonest by one or other in the end. This Bathsheba taught her son Solomon: Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vanity: she saith further, That a wise woman overseeth the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Have, therefore, ever more care that thou be beloved of thy wife, rather than thyself besotted on her, and thou shalt judge of her love by these two observations : first, if thou perceive she have a care of thy estate and exercise herself therein; the other, if she study to please thee, and be sweet unto thee in conversation, without thy instruction, for love needs no teaching nor precept. On the other side, be not sour or stern to thy wife, for cruelty engendereth no other thing than hatred : let her have equal part of thy estate whilst thou livest, if thou find her sparing and honest; but what thou givest after thy death, remem. ber that thou givest it to a stranger, and most times to an enemy; for he that shall marry thy wife will despise thee, thy memory, and thine, and shall possess the quiet of thy labors, the fruit which thou has planted, enjoy thy love, and spend with joy and ease what thou hast spared, and gotten with care and travel. Yet always remember, that thou leave not thy wife to be a shame unto thee after thou art dead, but that she may live according to thy estate; especially if thou hast few children, and them provided for. But howsoever it be, or whatsoever thou find, leave thy wife no more than of necessity thou must, but only during her widowhood; for if she love again, let her not enjoy her second love in the same bed wherein she loved theo, nor fly to future pleasures with those feathers which death hath pulled from thy wings; but leave thy estate to thy house and children, in which thou livest upon earth whilst it lasteth.
III. Beware of Flatlerers. Take care that thou be not made a fool by flatterers, for even the wisest men are abused by these. Know, therefore, that flatterers are the worst kind of traitors; for they will strengthen thy imperfections, encourage thee in all evils, correct thee in nothing, but so shadow and paint all thy vices and follies as thou shalt never, by their will, discern evil from good, or vice from virtue. And because all men are apt to flatter themselves, to entertain the additions of other men's praises is most perilous. It is said by Isaiah: 'My people, they that praise thee, seduce thee, and disorder the paths of thy feet.'
I. Private Quarrels to be avoided. Be careful to avoid public disputations at feasts, or at tables among choleric or quarrelsome persons. Jest not openly at them that are simple, but rememhow much thou art bound to God, who hath made thee wiser. Defame pot any woman publicly though thou know her to be evil; for those that are faulty can not endure to be taxed, but will seek to be avenged of thee, and those that are not guilty can not endure unjust reproach. 'He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life.' Euripides truly affirmeth, 'Every unbridled tongue in the end shall find itself unfortunate.' Take heed also that thou be not found a liar; for a liar is of a base, unworthy, and cowardly spirit.
V. Care of thy Estate. Amongst all other things of the world, take care of thy estate, which thou : shalt ever preserve, if thou observe three things; first, that thou know what thou hast, what every thing is worth that thou hast, and to see that thou art not wasted by thy servants and officers. The second is, that thou never spend any thing before thou have it; for borrowing is the canker and death of every man's estate. The third is, that thou suffer not thyself to be wounded for other men's faults, and scourged for other men's offenses; which is, the surety for another, for thereby millions of men have been beggared and destroyed, paying the reckoning of other men's riot, and the charge of other men's folly and prodigality; if thou smart, smart for thine own sins, and above all things, be not made an ass to carry the burdens of other men: if any friend desire thee to be his surety, give him a part of what thou hast to spare : if he press thee farther, he is not thy friend at all, for friendship rather choseth harm to itself than offereth it: is thou be bound for a stranger, thou art a fool; if for a merchant, thou puttest thy estate to learn to swim: if for a churchman, he hath no inheritance : if for a lawyer, he will find an invasion by a syllable or word to abuse thee: if for a poor man, thou must pay it thyself: if for a rich man, it need not: therefore from suretyship, as from a man-slayer, or enchanter, bless thyself; for the best profit and return will be this, that if thou force him, for whom thou art bound, to pay it himself, he will become thy enemy; if thou use to pay it thyself thou wilt be a beggar; and believe thy father in this, and print it in thy thought, that what virtue soever thou hast, be it never so manifold, if thou be poor withal, thou and thy qualities shall be despised.
Lend not to him that is mightier than thyself, for if thou lendest him, count it but lost; be not surety above thy power, for if thou be surety, think to
VI. Servants. Let thy servants be such as thou mayest command, and entertain none about thee but such as thou grant wages to; for those that will serve thee without thy hire will cost theo treble as much as they that know thy fare. If thou trust any servant with thy purse, be sure thou take his account before thou sleep.
VII. Dress, &c. Exceed not in the humor of rags and bravery (show), for these will soon wear out of fashion ; but money in thy purse will ever be in fashion, and no man is esteemed for gay garments, but by fools and women.
VIII. Riches and Poverty. Take heed that thou seek not riches poorly, nor attain them by evil means. Destroy no man for his wealth, nor take any thing from the poor, for the cry and complaint of the poor will pierce the Heavens.
IX. Moderate use of Wine, Take especial care that thou delight not in wine, for there never was any, man that came to honor or preferment that loved it; for it transformeth a man into a beast, decayeth bealth, poisoneth the breath, destroyeth natural heat, brings a man's stomach to an artificial heat, deformeth the face, rotteth the teeth, and maketh a man contemptible, soon old, and despised of all wise and worthy men: hated in thy servants, iu thyself, and companions: for it is a bewitching and infectious vice; and remember my words, that it were better for a man to be subject to any vice than to it; for all other vanities and sins are recovered, but a drunkard will never shake off the delight of beastliness: the longer it possesseth a man, the more he will delight in it; and the elder be groweth, the more he shall be subject to it: it dulleth the spirits and destroyeth the body, as ivy doth the old tree, or as the worm that engendereth in the kernel of the nut. Take heed, therefore, that such a cureless canker pass not thy youth, nor such a beastly infection thy old age; for then shall thy life be but as the life of a beast, and after thy death thou shalt only leave a shameful infamy to thy posterity, who shall study to forget that such a one was their father.
Anacharsis saith, the first draught serveth for health, the second for pleasure, the third for shame, the fourth for madness.' But in youth there is not so much as one draught permitted, for it putteth fire to fire, and wasteth the natural heat. Therefore, except thou desire to hasten thine end, take this for a general rule: that thou never add any artificial heat to thy body by wine or spice, until thou fiud that time hath decayed thy natural heat; and the sooner thou beginneth to help nature, the sooner she will forsake thee, and trust altogether to art.
"Who have misfortune, (saith Solomon,) who have sorrow and grief, who have trouble without fighting, stripes without cause, and faintness of eyes ? Even they that sit at wine, and strain themselves to empty cups.' Pliny saith, "Wine maketh the hand quivering, the eye watery, the night unquiet, lewd dreams, a stinking breath in the morning, and an utter forgetfulness of all things.'
Whosoever loveth wine shall not be trusted of any man, for he can not keep a secret. Wine maketh man not only a beast, but a madman; and if thou love it, thy own wife, thy children, and thy friends, will despise thee. In drink men care not what they say, what offense they give; they forget comeliness, commit disorders, and, to conclude, offend all virtuous and honest company, and God most of all, to whom we daily pray for health and life free from pain; 'and yet, by drunkenness and gluttony we draw on,' saith Hesiod, 'a swift, hasty, untimely, cruel, and an infamous old age.'
x. Let God be thy Protector. Serve God; let him be the author of all thy actions; commend all thy en. deavors to him that must either wither or prosper them; please him with prayer. So God dwell thus in all thy ways, and all thy heart with his grace.
DR. FRANKLIN TO HIS DAUGHTER SARAH—1766.
MY DEAR CHILD, the natural prudence and goodness of heart God has blest you with, make it less necessary for me to be particular in giving you advice. I shall therefore only say, that the more attentively dutiful and tender you are towards your good mamma, the more you will recommend yourself to me. But why should I mention
you have so much higher a promise in the commandments, that such conduct will recommend you to the favor of God. You know I have many enemies, all indeed on the public account, (for I can not recollect that I have in a private capacity given just cause of offense to any one whatever), yet they are enemies, and very bitter ones; and you must expect their enmity will extend in some degree to you, so that your slightest indiscretions will be magnified into crimes, in order the more sensibly to wound and afflict me. It is therefore the more necessary for you to be extremely circumspect in all your behavior, that no advantage may be given to their malevolence.
Go constantly to church, whoever preaches. The act of devotion in the Common Prayer Book is your principal business there, and if properly attended to, will do more towards amending the heart than sermons generally can do. For they were composed by men of much greater piety and wisdom, than our common composers of sermons can pretend to be; and therefore I wish you would never miss the prayer days; yet I do not mean you should despise sermons, even of the preachers you dislike, for the discourse is often much better than the man, as sweet and clear waters come through very dirty earth. I am the more particular on this head, as you seemed to express a little before I came away some inclination to leave our church, which I would not have
do. For the rest, I would only recommend to you in my absence, to acquire those useful accomplishments, arithmetic and book-keeping. This you might do with ease, if you would resolve not to see company on the hours you set apart for those studies.
DR. FRANKLIN TO HIS SISTER-1758. In a cloth book called • None but Christ,' [sent by Uncle Josiah to his daughter Jane], he wrote an acrostic on her name, which for namesake's sake, as well as the good advice it contains, I transcribe:
• Illuminated from on high,
Flee vice as you'd a serpent flee ;