He was a scoundrel because he supped with his friends
at a tavern, and then left without paying his share of the bill.
The above quote is a part of a letter Benjamin Franklin wrote to a newspaper in 1767, on why it’s wrong to cheat the government of tax revenue by smuggling:
There are many people that would be thought, and even think themselves, honest men, who fail nevertheless in particular points of honesty, deviating from that character sometimes by the prevalence of mode or custom, and sometimes through mere inattention; so that their honesty is partial only, and not general or universal. Thus one who would scorn to overreach you in a bargain, shall make no scruple of tricking you a little now and then at cards. Another that plays with the utmost fairness, shall with great freedom cheat you in the sale of a horse. But there is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall, than that of defrauding government of its revenues, by smuggling when they have an opportunity, or encouraging smugglers by buying their goods…
What should we think of a companion, who, having supped with his friends at a tavern, and partaken equally of the joys of the evening with the rest of us, would nevertheless contrive by some artifice to shift his share of the reckoning upon others, in order to go off scot free? If a man who practised this would, when detected, be called a scoundrel, what ought he to be called, who can enjoy all the inestimable benefits of public society, and yet by smuggling or dealing with smugglers contrive to evade paying his just share of the expence…
The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, On Smuggling, Internet Archive>>
The painting is In an American Inn, by John Lewis Krimmel