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William Penn. (1644–1718). Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Part I


88. Covetousness is the greatest of Monsters, as well as the Root of all Evil. I have once seen the Man that dyed to save Charges. What! Give Ten Shillings to a Doctor, and have an Apothecary’s Bill besides, that may come to I know not what! No, not he: Valuing Life less than Twenty Shillings. But indeed such a Man could not well set too low a Price upon himself; who, though he liv’d up to the Chin in Bags, had rather die than find in his Heart to open one of them, to help to save his Life.

89. Such a Man is felo de se, and deserves not Christian Burial.

90. He is a common Nusance, a Weyer across the Stream,

that stops the Current: An Obstruction, to be remov’d by a Purge of the Law. The only Gratification he gives his Neighbors, is to let them see that he himself is as little the better for what he has, as they are. For he always looks like Lent; a Sort of Lay Minim. In some Sense he may be compar’d to Pharoah’s lean Kine, for all that he has does him no good. He commonly wears his Cloaths till they leave him, or that no Body else can wear them. He affects to be thought poor, to escape Robbery and Taxes: And by looking as if he wanted an Alms, excusing himself from giving any. He ever goes late to Markets, to cover buying the worst: But does it because that is cheapest. He lives of the Offal. His Life were an insupportable Punishment to any Temper but his own: And no greater Torment to him on Earth, than to live as other Men do. But the Misery of his Pleasure is, that he is never satisfied with getting, and always in Fear of losing what he cannot use.

91. How vilely has he lost himself, that becomes a Slave to his Servant, and exalts him to the Dignity of his Maker! Gold is the God, the Wife, the Friend of the Money-Monger of the World.

92. But in Marriage do thou be wise; prefer the Person before Money; Vertue before Beauty, the Mind before the Body: Then thou hast a Wife, a Friend, a Companion, a Second Self; one that bears an equal Share with thee in all thy Toyls and Troubles.

93. Chuse one that Measures her satisfaction, Safety and Danger, by thine; and of whom thou art sure, as of thy secretest Thoughts: A Friend as well as a Wife, which indeed a Wife implies: For she is but half a Wife that is not, or is not capable of being such a Friend.

94. Sexes make no Difference; since in Souls there is none: And they are the Subjects of Friendship.

95. He that minds a Body and not a Soul, has not the better Part of that Relation; and will consequently want the Noblest Comfort of a Married Life.

96. The Satisfaction of our Senses is low, short, and transient: But the Mind gives a more raised and extended Pleasure, and is capable of an Happiness founded upon Reason; not bounded and limited by the Circumstances that Bodies are confin’d to.

97. Here it is we ought to search out our Pleasure, where the Field is large and full of Variety, and of an induring Nature: Sickness, Poverty, or Disgrace, being not able to shake it, because it is not under the moving Influences of Worldly Contingencies.

98. The Satisfaction of those that do so is in well-doing, and in the Assurance they have of a future Reward: That they are best loved of those they love most, and that they enjoy and value the Liberty of their Minds above that of their Bodies; having the whole Creation for their Prospect, the most Noble and Wonderful Works and Providences of God, the Histories of the Antients, and in them the Actions and Examples of the Vertuous; and lastly, themselves, their Affairs and Family, to exercise their Minds and Friendship upon.

99. Nothing can be more entire and without Reserve; nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented and constant than such a Couple; nor no greater temporal Felicity than to be one of them.

100. Between a Man and his Wife nothing ought to rule but Love. Authority is for Children and Servants; yet not without Sweetness.

101. As Love ought to bring them together, so it is the best Way to keep them well together.

102. Wherefore use her not as a Servant, whom thou would’st, perhaps, have serv’d Seven Years to have obtained.

103. An Husband and Wife that love and value one another, shew their Children and Servants, That they should do so too. Others visibly lose their Authority in their Families by their Contempt of one another; and teach their Children to be unnatural by their own Example.

104. It is a general Fault, not to be more careful to preserve Nature in Children; who, at least in the second Descent, hardly have the Feeling of their Relation; which must be an unpleasant Reflection to affectionate Parents.

105. Frequent Visits, Presents, intimate Correspondence and Intermarriages within allowed Bounds, are Means of keeping up the Concern and Affection that Nature requires from Relations.