by Benjamin Franklin
I have heard it remarked that the poor in Protestant countries, on the continent of Europe, are generally more industrious than those of Popish countries.
May not the more numerous foundations in the latter for relief of the poor have some effect towards rendering them less provident?
To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but if we provide encouragement for laziness, and support for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance?
Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good.
In New England they once thought blackbirds useless, and mischievous to the corn. They made efforts to destroy them. The consequence was, the blackbirds were diminished; but a kind of worm, which devoured their grass, and which the blackbirds used to feed on, increased prodigiously; then, finding their loss in grass much greater than their saving in corn, they wished again for their blackbirds.