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Quotations from
Benjamin Franklin

[1706-90]

1778 oil portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffrein Duplessis       American Founding Father and author Benjamin Franklin ran the "Poor Richard's Almanack" newspaper and printing service, invented suspenders and bifocal eyeglasses, formed the first public library and fire department in Philadelphia, and after the formation of the United States became the Ambassador to France and also the first Postmaster General.

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connected with the revolutionary "Working Minds Philosophy of Empowerment" created by G.E. Nordell.

After WMail Issue #72 in October 2007, essays & quotations & news are being posted to the Dateline Chamesa blog

Benjamin Franklin entry at Wikipedia
Independence Hall Assn. 'Electric Franklin' website [est. 1999]



“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except for death and taxes.” (1789)  {Issue #37}
•      •
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  {Issue #43}
•      •
“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”  {Issue #48}
•      •
“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”  {Issue #51}
•      •
“Be civil to all; serviceable to many: familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”
(in "Poor Richard's Almanack")  {blog 5/2008}
•      •
“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  {blog 5/2008}
•      •
“When government fears the people, there is liberty. When people fear the government,
there is tyranny.”  {blog 9/2008}
•      •
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”  {blog 10/2008}
•      •
“A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough.” (as quoted by him)  {blog 12/2008}
•      •
“A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given
them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”  {blog 3/2011}
•      •
“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”  {blog 7/2012}
•      •
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”  {blog 1/2013}
•      •
“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.”  {blog 4/2013}
•      •
“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”  {blog 5/2013}
•      •
“When a religion is good, I conceive [that] it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not
take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend,
of its being a bad one.”  {blog 7/2013}
•      •
“As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.”  {blog 7/2013}
•      •
“Industry pays debts, despair increases them.”  {blog 8/2013}
•      •
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech.” (in 1722)  {blog 9/2013}
•      •
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”  {blog 11/2013}
•      •
“Your net worth to the world is determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”  {blog 12/2013}
•      •
“When you are done changing, you are done.”  {blog 1/2014}
•      •
“Content[ment] makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.”  {blog 2/2014}
•      •
“Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today.”  {blog 4/2014}
•      •
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  {blog 6/2015}
•      •
“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”  {blog 4/2016}

Benjamin Franklin Quotations Not Yet Used on the Blog

"Never confuse motion with action."

"To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine."

"When Truth and Error have fair play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

"Such is the vanity of mankind that minding what others say is a much surer way of pleasing them than talking well ourselves."

"Vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue."

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

"Fools need advice most, but wise men only are the better for it."

"Ambition has its disappointments to sour us, but never the good fortune to satisfy us. Its appetite grows keener by indulgence
and all we can gratify it with at present serves but the more to inflame its insatiable desires."

"Nothing gives an author so much pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors."

"Drive thy business; let it not drive thee."

"All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future;
and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse."

"The bell calls others to Church, but itself never minds the sermon."

"Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency;
but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes."
Letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 13 November 1789

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

"He's a fool that makes his doctor his heir." ~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1733

"Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."

"He that lieth down with Dogs, shall rise up with Fleas."

"He that drinks fast, pays slow." ~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1733

"All things are easy to industry, all things difficult to sloth."

"Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults." ~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1756

"None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault, or acknowledge himself in an error."

"A change of fortune hurts a wise man no more than a change of the moon." ~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1756

"No gain without pain,"

"God helps them that help themselves."

"Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."

"He that won't be counseled can't be helped."

"There are three things extremely hard: steel, diamond, and to know one's self."

"A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."

"He that lives upon hope will die fasting."

"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments."

"He that riseth late must trot all day."

"Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed."

"A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats."

"A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave."

"To be intimate with a foolish friend, is like going to bed with a razor." ~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1754

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."

"All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move."

"When there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage."

"Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards."

"The man who does things makes mistakes, but he doesn't make the biggest mistake of all — doing nothing."

"He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money."

"If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some."

"A little neglect may breed mischief: for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe
the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost."

"Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion."

"The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still 'tis nonsense."

"I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page.
If my name is not on it, I get up."

"I guess I don't so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old."

"Mine is better than Ours." ~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1756

"A man in a passion rides a wild horse."

"Would you persuade, speak of interest, not of reason."

"Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is."

"Even peace may be purchased at too high a price."

"He that would live in peace and at ease must not speak all [that] he knows or all [that] he sees."

"Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man."

"Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so."
~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1743

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." ~~ Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758

"He [the Rev. Mr. Whitefield] used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion,
but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard."

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing."

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."

"Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you."

"As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence."

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

"If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles."

"There was never a good war or a bad peace."
~~ Letter to Josiah Quincy, 11 September 1783

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff [that] life is made of."

"Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight."

"Half a truth is often a great lie."

"He that displays too often his wife and his wallet is in danger of having both of them borrowed."

"Plough deep while sluggards sleep."

"Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners ... Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."

"Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but, when united in view of the same object, they have, in many minds, the most violent effects." ~~ "Dangers of a Salaried Bureaucracy", 1787

"When you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the Builders of Babel; and that our states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats.”

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