Benjamin Franklin Famous Quotes

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When Benjamin Franklin, the famous inventor and publisher, was serving as the American ambassador to France, he often impressed French intellectual with the wisdom of his remarks. At one dinner, the question was raised, "What human condition deserves the most pity?" Each of the guests responded, but the answer that is still remembered is Benjamin Franklins's: "A lonesome man on a rainy day who does not know how to read.
Paul Kropp (How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life)
Another time, he was playing [chess] with his equal, the Duchess of Bourbon, who made a move that inadvertently exposed her king. Ignoring the rules of the game, he promptly captured it. "Ah," said the duchess, "we do not take Kings so." Replied Franklin in a famous quip: "We do in America.
Walter Isaacson (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life)
It is the simplest phrase you can imagine,” Favreau said, “three monosyllabic words that people say to each other every day.” But the speech etched itself in rhetorical lore. It inspired music videos and memes and the full range of reactions that any blockbuster receives online today, from praise to out-of-context humor to arch mockery. Obama’s “Yes, we can” refrain is an example of a rhetorical device known as epistrophe, or the repetition of words at the end of a sentence. It’s one of many famous rhetorical types, most with Greek names, based on some form of repetition. There is anaphora, which is repetition at the beginning of a sentence (Winston Churchill: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields”). There is tricolon, which is repetition in short triplicate (Abraham Lincoln: “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people”). There is epizeuxis, which is the same word repeated over and over (Nancy Pelosi: “Just remember these four words for what this legislation means: jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs”). There is diacope, which is the repetition of a word or phrase with a brief interruption (Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”) or, most simply, an A-B-A structure (Sarah Palin: “Drill baby drill!”). There is antithesis, which is repetition of clause structures to juxtapose contrasting ideas (Charles Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”). There is parallelism, which is repetition of sentence structure (the paragraph you just read). Finally, there is the king of all modern speech-making tricks, antimetabole, which is rhetorical inversion: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” There are several reasons why antimetabole is so popular. First, it’s just complex enough to disguise the fact that it’s formulaic. Second, it’s useful for highlighting an argument by drawing a clear contrast. Third, it’s quite poppy, in the Swedish songwriting sense, building a hook around two elements—A and B—and inverting them to give listeners immediate gratification and meaning. The classic structure of antimetabole is AB;BA, which is easy to remember since it spells out the name of a certain Swedish band.18 Famous ABBA examples in politics include: “Man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of men.” —Benjamin Disraeli “East and West do not mistrust each other because we are armed; we are armed because we mistrust each other.” —Ronald Reagan “The world faces a very different Russia than it did in 1991. Like all countries, Russia also faces a very different world.” —Bill Clinton “Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.” —George W. Bush “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” —Hillary Clinton In particular, President John F. Kennedy made ABBA famous (and ABBA made John F. Kennedy famous). “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind,” he said, and “Each increase of tension has produced an increase of arms; each increase of arms has produced an increase of tension,” and most famously, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Antimetabole is like the C–G–Am–F chord progression in Western pop music: When you learn it somewhere, you hear it everywhere.19 Difficult and even controversial ideas are transformed, through ABBA, into something like musical hooks.
Derek Thompson (Hit Makers: Why Things Become Popular)
his business. On Denman's death he returned to his former trade, and shortly set up a printing house of his own from which he published "The Pennsylvania Gazette," to which he contributed many essays, and which he made a medium for agitating a variety of local reforms. In 1732 he began to issue his famous "Poor Richard's Almanac" for the enrichment of which he borrowed or composed those pithy utterances of worldly wisdom which are the basis of a large part of his popular reputation.
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
A reflection on Robert Lowell Robert Lowell knew I was not one of his devotees. I attended his famous “office hours” salon only a few times. Life Studies was not a book of central importance for me, though I respected it. I admired his writing, but not the way many of my Boston friends did. Among poets in his generation, poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Alan Dugan, and Allen Ginsberg meant more to me than Lowell’s. I think he probably sensed some of that. To his credit, Lowell nevertheless was generous to me (as he was to many other young poets) just the same. In that generosity, and a kind of open, omnivorous curiosity, he was different from my dear teacher at Stanford, Yvor Winters. Like Lowell, Winters attracted followers—but Lowell seemed almost dismayed or a little bewildered by imitators; Winters seemed to want disciples: “Wintersians,” they were called. A few years before I met Lowell, when I was still in California, I read his review of Winters’s Selected Poems. Lowell wrote that, for him, Winters’s poetry passed A. E. Housman’s test: he felt that if he recited it while he was shaving, he would cut himself. One thing Lowell and Winters shared, that I still revere in both of them, was a fiery devotion to the vocal essence of poetry: the work and interplay of sentences and lines, rhythm and pitch. The poetry in the sounds of the poetry, in a reader’s voice: neither page nor stage. Winters criticizing the violence of Lowell’s enjambments, or Lowell admiring a poem in pentameter for its “drill-sergeant quality”: they shared that way of thinking, not matters of opinion but the matter itself, passionately engaged in the art and its vocal—call it “technical”—materials. Lowell loved to talk about poetry and poems. His appetite for that kind of conversation seemed inexhaustible. It tended to be about historical poetry, mixed in with his contemporaries. When he asked you, what was Pope’s best work, it was as though he was talking about a living colleague . . . which in a way he was. He could be amusing about that same sort of thing. He described Julius Caesar’s entourage waiting in the street outside Cicero’s house while Caesar chatted up Cicero about writers. “They talked about poetry,” said Lowell in his peculiar drawl. “Caesar asked Cicero what he thought of Jim Dickey.” His considerable comic gift had to do with a humor of self and incongruity, rather than wit. More surreal than donnish. He had a memorable conversation with my daughter Caroline when she was six years old. A tall, bespectacled man with a fringe of long gray hair came into her living room, with a certain air. “You look like somebody famous,” she said to him, “but I can’t remember who.” “Do I?” “Yes . . . now I remember!— Benjamin Franklin.” “He was a terrible man, just awful.” “Or no, I don’t mean Benjamin Franklin. I mean you look like a Christmas ornament my friend Heather made out of Play-Doh, that looked like Benjamin Franklin.” That left Robert Lowell with nothing to do but repeat himself: “Well, he was a terrible man.” That silly conversation suggests the kind of social static or weirdness the man generated. It also happens to exemplify his peculiar largeness of mind . . . even, in a way, his engagement with the past. When he died, I realized that a large vacuum had appeared at the center of the world I knew.
Robert Pinsky
He had to backtrack immediately to account for the most famous and most acclaimed poet in America, Phillis Wheatley, who was, very unfortunately for Jefferson’s argument, unquestionably black. She had been brought to Boston as an enslaved African at the age of about six, learned English and Latin as a child, and began writing poetry as a teenager. Her published works earned accolades on both sides of the Atlantic. Among her admirers were Voltaire, who praised Wheatley’s “very good English verse,” George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and even the naval hero John Paul Jones, who addressed her as “the celebrated Phillis the African favorite of the Nine [Muses] and Apollo” when he sent her some of his own verses. Dr. Rush cited her as a proof of black ability, listing her accomplishments when he wrote in 1775, “We have many well attested anecdotes of as sublime and disinterested virtue among them as ever adorned a Roman or a Christian character.”14 Franklin went to see Wheatley when she was in London, a literary celebrity on book tour. The acclaim irked Jefferson: “The compositions published under her name are below the dignity of criticism.”15
Henry Wiencek (Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves)
In America, Benjamin Franklin famously risked his life by flying a kite in an electrical storm.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
transmigration.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife with three children into New England, about 1682. The conventicles having been forbidden by law, and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their mode of religion with freedom.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
garret
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Life is like reading a novel or running a marathon. It’s not so much about reaching a goal but rather about the journey itself and the experiences along the way. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Time is the stuff life is made of,” and how you spend it makes all the difference.
Edward O. Thorp (A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market)
I grew convinc'd that truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life; and I form'd written resolutions, which still remain in my journal book, to practice them ever while I lived. Revelation had indeed no weight with me, as such; but I entertain'd an opinion that, though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably these actions might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, in their own natures, all the circumstances of things considered. And this persuasion, with the kind hand of Providence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favorable circumstances and situations, or all together, preserved me, thro' this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I was sometimes in among strangers, remote from the eye and advice of my father, without any willful gross immorality or injustice, that might have been expected from my want of religion. I say willful, because the instances I have mentioned had something of necessity in them, from my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others. I had therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with; I valued it properly, and determin'd to preserve it.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin. Such a one then lived in Philadelphia; a person of note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking; his name was Samuel Mickle. This gentleman, a stranger to me, stopt one day at my door, and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Being answered in the affirmative, he said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive undertaking, and the expense would be lost; for Philadelphia was a sinking place, the people already half-bankrupts, or near being so; all appearances to the contrary, such as new buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge fallacious; for they were, in fact, among the things that would soon ruin us. And he gave me such a detail of misfortunes now existing, or that were soon to exist, that he left me half melancholy. Had I known him before I engaged in this business, probably I never should have done it. This man continued to live in this decaying place, and to declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy a house there, because all was going to destruction; and at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have bought it for when he first began his croaking.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility. [Thus far written at Passy, 1784.]
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
abatement.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
that hard-to-be-governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
We ventured, however, over all these difficulties, and I took her to wife, September 1st, 1730. None of the inconveniences happened that we had apprehended; she proved a good and faithful helpmate, assisted me much by attending the shop; we throve together, and have ever mutually endeavored to make each other happy.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
And now I set on foot my first project of a public nature, that for a subscription library. I drew up the proposals, got them put into form by our great scrivener, Brockden, and, by the help of my friends in the Junto, procured fifty subscribers of forty shillings each to begin with, and ten shillings a year for fifty years, the term our company was to continue. We afterwards obtain'd a charter, the company being increased to one hundred: this was the mother of all the North American subscription libraries, now so numerous. It is become a great thing itself, and continually increasing. These libraries have improved the general conversation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the stand so generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
grew convinc'd that truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life; and I form'd written resolutions, which still remain in my journal book, to practice them ever while I lived.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Gratitude is often considered an element of spirit or purpose. But what are we expected to be grateful for? Innovation calls for financial gains, promotions, and possessions to stoke the fires of gratitude. But kaizen invites us to be grateful for health, for our next breath, for the moments with a friend or colleague. When famous songwriter Warren Zevon was suffering from terminal cancer, David Letterman asked him what wisdom he gleaned from his illness. Zevon’s answer was pure kaizen: “Enjoy every sandwich.” Some quotes on service and gratitude to begin your exploration of kaizen: “I long to accomplish a great and noble task but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” —Helen Keller “We have to learn to live happily in the present moment, to touch the peace and joy that are available now.” —Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist Zen master “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” —Albert Einstein “I would rather have it said, ‘He lived usefully’ than ‘He died rich.’ ” —Benjamin Franklin
Robert Maurer (One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way)
For ‘philosophical’ we can read ‘scientific’; and when he adds, ‘The philosophers are now endeavouring to intercept the strokes of lightning’, he is referring to the recent work of Benjamin Franklin, who famously flew his kite under a thundercloud to prove that lightning was a form of electricity. Johnson later encountered Franklin at a meeting of a charity called the Associates for Founding Clerical Libraries and Supporting Negro Schools. What passed between them we sadly do not know,
Henry Hitchings (Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson's Dictionary)
After a midafternoon dinner hosted by Vergennes, Franklin had the honor, if not pleasure, of being allowed to stand next to the queen, the famously haughty Marie-Antoinette, as she played at the gambling tables. Alone among the throng at Versailles, she seemed to have little appreciation for the man who, she had been told, had once been “a printer’s foreman.” As she noted dismissively, a man of that background would never have been able to rise so high in Europe. Franklin would have proudly agreed.
Walter Isaacson (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life)
Louis XVI made the Franco-American treaties official by receiving the three commissioners at Versailles on March 20. Crowds gathered at the palace gates to catch a glimpse of the famous American, and they shouted “Vive Franklin” as his coach passed through the gold-crested gates.
Walter Isaacson (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life)
At the official signing of the parchment copy on August 2, John Hancock, the president of the Congress, penned his name with his famous flourish. "There must be no pulling different ways," he declared. "We must all hang together." According to the early American historian Jared Sparks, Franklin replied, "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Walter Isaacson (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life)
One leading French naturalist, the Comte de Buffon, famously proposed that climate and other conditions in the New World had led to the inevitable degeneration of its fauna and flora. Buffon’s more enthusiastic readers extrapolated from this argument to call into question the virility and intelligence of both America’s European settlers and its native inhabitants, the Indians. That sparked a rousing defense of American virtue and vigor from Jefferson, spelled out in his only published book, Notes on the State of Virginia.20
Jonathan Lyons (The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamin Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America)
There’s a famous quote by Benjamin Franklin that I always loved: “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail”.
Argena Olivis (Network Marketing For Introverts: Guide To Success For The Shy Network Marketer (network marketing, multi level marketing, mlm, direct sales))
eminent
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
So few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry; to find more than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On this little fund we began. The books were imported; the library was opened one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if not duly returned. The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns, and in other provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became fashionable; and our people, having no publick amusements to divert their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in a few years were observ'd by strangers to be better instructed and more intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
The two works I allude to, sir, will in particular give a noble rule and example of self-education. School and other education constantly proceed upon false principles, and show a clumsy apparatus pointed at a false mark; but your apparatus is simple, and the mark a true one; and while parents and young persons are left destitute of other just means of estimating and becoming prepared for a reasonable course in life, your discovery that the thing is in many a man's private power, will be invaluable! Influence upon the private character, late in life, is not only an influence late in life, but a weak influence. It is in youth that we plant our chief habits and prejudices; it is in youth that we take our party as to profession, pursuits and matrimony. In youth, therefore, the turn is given; in youth the education even of the next generation is given; in youth the private and public character is determined; and the term of life extending but from youth to age, life ought to begin well from youth, and more especially before we take our party as to our principal objects. But your biography will not merely teach self-education, but the education of a wise man; and the wisest man will receive lights and improve his progress, by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise man. And why are weaker men to be deprived of such helps, when we see our race has been blundering on in the dark, almost without a guide in this particular, from the farthest trace of time? Show then, sir, how much is to be done, both to sons and fathers; and invite all wise men to become like yourself, and other men to become wise. When we see how cruel statesmen and warriors can be to the human race, and how absurd distinguished men can be to their acquaintance, it will be instructive to observe the instances multiply of pacific, acquiescing manners; and to find how compatible it is to be great and domestic, enviable and yet good-humored.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
As no end likewise happens without a means, so we shall find, sir, that even you yourself framed a plan by which you became considerable; but at the same time we may see that though the event is flattering, the means are as simple as wisdom could make them; that is, depending upon nature, virtue, thought and habit. Another thing demonstrated will be the propriety of every man's waiting for his time for appearing upon the stage of the world. Our sensations being very much fixed to the moment, we are apt to forget that more moments are to follow the first, and consequently that man should arrange his conduct so as to suit the whole of a life.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the following little prayer, which was prefix'd to my tables of examination, for daily use. "O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
my desire being to gain knowledge at the same time that I improv'd in virtue, and considering that in conversation it was obtain'd rather by the use of the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me acceptable to trifling company,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's self as the proposer of any useful project, that might be suppos'd to raise one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's neighbors, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that project. I therefore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and stated it as a scheme of a number of friends, who had requested me to go about and propose it to such as they thought lovers of reading.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show'd itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word. I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present. When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny'd myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appear'd or seem'd to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engag'd in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I propos'd my opinions procur'd them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail'd with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
proud of my humility.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
I continu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously: "Men should be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;" farther recommending to us "To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence." And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly, "For want of modesty is want of sense." If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines, "Immodest words admit of no defense, For want of modesty is want of sense." Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand more justly thus? "Immodest words admit but this defense, That want of modesty is want of sense." This, however, I should submit to better judgments.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
errata
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion consider'd, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc'd some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, "If you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you." So I din'd upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
But why, my dear Crito, should we care about the opinion of the many? Good men, and they are the only persons who are worth considering, will think of these things truly as they happened.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
who differ are so far in the wrong; like a man traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, tho' in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
litera scripta manet.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
extempore,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
heterodoxy
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
multifarious
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
As those people are extreamly apt to get drunk, and, when so, are very quarrelsome and disorderly, we strictly forbad the selling any liquor to them; and when they complain'd of this restriction, we told them that if they would continue sober during the treaty, we would give them plenty of rum when business was over. They promis'd this, and they kept their promise, because they could get no liquor, and the treaty was conducted very orderly, and concluded to mutual satisfaction. They then claim'd and receiv'd the rum; this was in the afternoon; they were near one hundred men, women, and children, and were lodg'd in temporary cabins, built in the form of a square, just without the town. In the evening, hearing a great noise among them, the commissioners walk'd out to see what was the matter. We found they had made a great bonfire in the middle of the square; they were all drunk, men and women, quarreling and fighting. Their dark-colour'd bodies, half naked, seen only by the gloomy light of the bonfire, running after and beating one another with firebrands, accompanied by their horrid yellings, form'd a scene the most resembling our ideas of hell that could well be imagin'd; there was no appeasing the tumult, and we retired to our lodging. At midnight a number of them came thundering at our door, demanding more rum, of which we took no notice. The next day, sensible they had misbehav'd in giving us that disturbance, they sent three of their old counselors to make their apology. The orator acknowledg'd the fault, but laid it upon the rum; and then endeavored to excuse the rum by saying, "The Great Spirit, who made all things, made every thing for some use, and whatever use he design'd any thing for, that use it should always be put to. Now, when he made rum, he said 'Let this be for the Indians to get drunk with,' and it must be so." And, indeed, if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these savages in order to make room for cultivators of the earth, it seems not improbable that rum may be the appointed means. It has already annihilated all the tribes who formerly inhabited the sea-coast.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Human felicity is produc'd not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day. Thus, if you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas. The money may be soon spent, the regret only remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors; he shaves when most convenient to him, and enjoys daily the pleasure of its being done with a good instrument. With these sentiments I have hazarded the few preceding pages, hoping they may afford hints which some time or other may be useful to a city I love, having lived many years in it very happily, and perhaps to some of our towns in America.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
in 1742, invented an open stove for the better warming of rooms, and at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in entering,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
I declin'd it from a principle which has ever weighed with me on such occasions, viz., That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
This gave me occasion to observe, that, when men are employ'd, they are best content'd; for on the days they worked they were good-natur'd and cheerful, and, with the consciousness of having done a good day's work, they spent the evening jollily; but on our idle days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their pork, the bread, etc., and in continual ill-humor, which put me in mind of a sea-captain, whose rule it was to keep his men constantly at work; and, when his mate once told him that they had done every thing, and there was nothing further to employ them about, "Oh," says he, "Make them scour the anchor.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
We met with no Indians, but we found the places on the neighboring hills where they had lain to watch our proceedings. There was an art in their contrivance of those places, that seems worth mention. It being winter, a fire was necessary for them; but a common fire on the surface of the ground would by its light have discovered their position at a distance. They had therefore dug holes in the ground about three feet diameter, and somewhat deeper; we saw where they had with their hatchets cut off the charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in the woods. With these coals they had made small fires in the bottom of the holes, and we observ'd among the weeds and grass the prints of their bodies, made by their laying all round, with their legs hanging down in the holes to keep their feet warm, which, with them, is an essential point. This kind of fire, so manag'd, could not discover them, either by its light, flame, sparks, or even smoke: it appear'd that their number was not great, and it seems they saw we were too many to be attacked by them with prospect of advantage.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
It is, therefore, as necessary for us at this day constantly to attend on the heavenly gift, to be qualified to use rightly the good things in this life, amidst great improvements, as it was for our first parents when they were without any improvements, without any friend or father but God only.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
dwell in humility; and take heed that no views of outward gain get too deep hold of you, that so your eyes being single to the Lord, you may be preserved in the way of safety. Where people let loose their minds after the love of outward things, and are more engaged in pursuing the profits and seeking the friendships of this world than to be inwardly acquainted with the way of true peace, they walk in a vain shadow, while the true comfort of life is wanting. Their examples are often hurtful to others; and their treasures thus collected do many times prove dangerous snares to their children. But where people are sincerely devoted to follow Christ, and dwell under the influence of his Holy Spirit, their stability and firmness, through a Divine blessing, is at times like dew on the tender plants round about them, and the weightiness of their spirits secretly works on the minds of others. In this condition, through the spreading influence of Divine love, they feel a care over the flock, and way is opened for maintaining good order in the Society. And though we may meet with opposition from another spirit, yet, as there is a dwelling in meekness, feeling our spirits subject, and moving only in the gentle, peaceable wisdom, the inward reward of quietness will be greater than all our difficulties. Where the pure life is kept to, and meetings of discipline are held in the authority of it, we find by experience that they are comfortable, and tend to the health of the body.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
through the goodness of the Lord, truth, I believed, gained some ground, and it was a strengthening opportunity to the honest-hearted.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever." (Isa. xxxii. 17.)
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
with tears and inward supplication besought him so to open my understanding that I might know his will concerning me;
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
I went thence to the Old Neck, where I was led into a careful searching out of the secret workings of the mystery of iniquity, which, under a cover of religion exalts itself against that pure spirit which leads in the way of meekness and self-denial.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Doth nought return-- Only a spear and sword, and ashes in an urn! For Ares, lord of strife, Who doth the swaying scales of battle hold, War's money-changer, giving dust for gold, Sends back, to hearts that held them dear, Scant ash of warriors, wept with many a tear, Light to the hand, but heavy to the soul; Yea, fills the light urn full With what survived the flame-- Death's dusty measure of a hero's frame!
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
For not forgetful is the high gods' doom Against the sons of carnage: all too long Seems the unjust to prosper and be strong, Till the dark Furies come, And smite with stern reversal all his home, Down into dim obstruction--he is gone, And help and hope, among the lost, is none!
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
That few in public affairs act from a meer view of the good of their country, whatever they may pretend; and, tho' their actings bring real good to their country, yet men primarily considered that their own and their country's interest was united, and did not act from a principle of benevolence. "That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of mankind. "There seems to me at present to be great occasion for raising a United Party for Virtue, by forming the virtuous and good men of all nations into a regular body, to be govern'd by suitable good and wise rules, which good and wise men may probably be more unanimous in their obedience to, than common people are to common laws. "I at present think that whoever attempts this aright, and is well qualified, can not fail of pleasing God, and of meeting with success.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Surely the church is a place where one day’s truce ought to be allowed to the dissensions and animosities of mankind.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge Thou it, that Thou mayest enter in. It is ruinous; repair Thou it. It has that within which must offend Thine eyes; I confess and know it. But who shall cleanse it? or to whom should I cry, save Thee? Lord, cleanse me from my secret faults, and spare Thy servant from the power of the enemy.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
The wages of laboring men in several counties toward London at tenpence per day in common business, the employer finds small beer and the laborer finds his own food; but in harvest and hay time wages are about one shilling per day, and the laborer hath all his diet. In some parts of the north of England poor laboring men have their food where they work, and appear in common to do rather better than nearer London. Industrious women who spin in the factories get some fourpence, some fivepence, and so on to six, seven, eight, nine, or ten pence per day, and find their own house-room and diet. Great numbers of poor people live chiefly on bread and water in the southern parts of England, as well as in the northern parts; and there are many poor children not even taught to read. May those who have abundance lay these things to heart!
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
the Constitution which at any time exists, ’till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all.—
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency.—They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force—to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party;—often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community;—and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils, and modified by mutual interests.—However combinations or associations of the above descriptions may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the Power of the People, and to usurp for themselves the reins of Government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.—
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Doth pride lead to vanity? Doth vanity form imaginary wants? Do these wants prompt men to exert their power in requiring more from others than they would be willing to perform themselves, were the same required of them? Do these proceedings beget hard thoughts? Do hard thoughts, when ripe, become malice? Does malice, when ripe, become revengeful, and in the end inflict terrible pains on our fellow-creatures and spread desolations in the world? "Do mankind, walking in uprightness, delight in each other's happiness? And do those who are capable of this attainment, by giving way to an evil spirit, employ their skill and strength to afflict and destroy one another? Remember then, O my soul! the quietude of those in whom Christ governs, and in all thy proceedings feel after it.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
My mind, through the merciful help of the Lord, hath been preserved in a good degree watchful and quiet, for which I have great cause to be thankful.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
O that all may take heed and beware of covetousness! O that all may learn of Christ, who was meek and lowly of heart. Then in faithfully following him he will teach us to be content with food and raiment without respect to the customs or honors of this world. Men thus redeemed will feel a tender concern for their fellow-creatures, and a desire that those in the lowest stations may be assisted and encouraged,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Franklin, "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."[4] Franklin became a newspaper editor, printer, and merchant in Philadelphia, becoming very wealthy, writing and publishing Poor Richard's Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was interested in science and technology, and gained international renown for his famous experiments. He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin & Marshall College and was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became a national hero in America when he spearheaded the effort to have Parliament repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations.
Benjamin Franklin (The Articles of Confederation)
now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them success. My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse, which I may experience as others have done: the complexion of my future fortune being known to Him only in whose power it is to bless to us even our afflictions.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
the doctrine of Christ, "Take no thought for the morrow,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Anthony Benezet,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
viva voce.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
What gave my book the more sudden and general celebrity, was the success of one of its proposed experiments, made by Messrs. Dalibard and De Lor at Marly, for drawing lightning from the clouds. This engag'd the public attention every where. M. de Lor, who had an apparatus for experimental philosophy, and lectur'd in that branch of science, undertook to repeat what he called the Philadelphia Experiments; and, after they were performed before the king and court, all the curious of Paris flocked to see them. I will not swell this narrative with an account of that capital experiment, nor of the infinite pleasure I receiv'd in the success of a similar one I made soon after with a kite at Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the histories of electricity.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
entre nous,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Ninth month, 1753. -- In company with my well-esteemed friend, John Sykes, and with the unity of Friends, I travelled about two weeks, visiting Friends in Buck's County. We labored in the love of the gospel, according to the measure received; and through the mercies of Him who is strength to the poor who trust in him, we found satisfaction in our visit. In the next winter, way opening to visit Friends' families within the compass of our Monthly Meeting, partly by the labors of two Friends from Pennsylvania, I joined in some part of the work, having had a desire some time that it might go forward amongst us. About this time, a person at some distance lying sick, his brother came to me to write his will. I knew he had slaves, and, asking his brother, was told he intended to leave them as slaves to his children. As writing is a profitable employ, and as offending sober people was disagreeable to my inclination, I was straitened in my mind; but as I looked to the Lord, he inclined my heart to his testimony. I told the man that I believed the practice of continuing slavery to this people was not right, and that I had a scruple in my mind against doing writings of that kind; that though many in our Society kept them as slaves, still I was not easy to be concerned in it, and desired to be excused from going to write the will. I spake to him in the fear of the Lord, and he made no reply to what I said, but went away; he also had some concerns in the practice, and I thought he was displeased with me. In this case I had fresh confirmation that acting contrary to present outward interest, from a motive of Divine love and in regard to truth and righteousness, and thereby incurring the resentments of people, opens the way to a treasure better than silver, and to a friendship exceeding the friendship of men.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
After my return from Carolina in 1746, I made some observations on keeping slaves, which some time before his decease I showed to him; he perused the manuscript, proposed a few alterations, and appeared well satisfied that I found a concern on that account. In his last sickness, as I was watching with him one night, he being so far spent that there was no expectation of his recovery, though he had the perfect use of his understanding, he asked me concerning the manuscript, and whether I expected soon to proceed to take the advice of friends in publishing it? After some further conversation thereon, he said, "I have all along been deeply affected with the oppression of the poor negroes; and now, at last, my concern for them is as great as ever." By his direction I had written his will in a time of health, and that night he desired me to read it to him, which I did; and he said it was agreeable to his mind. He then made mention of his end, which he believed was near; and signified that though he was sensible of many imperfections in the course of his life, yet his experience of the power of truth, and of the love and goodness of God from time to time, even till now, was such that he had no doubt that on leaving this life he should enter into one more happy.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Scrupling to do writings relative to keeping slaves has been a means of sundry small trials to me, in which I have so evidently felt my own will set aside that I think it good to mention a few of them. Tradesmen and retailers of goods, who depend on their business for a living, are naturally inclined to keep the good-will of their customers; nor is it a pleasant thing for young men to be under any necessity to question the judgment or honesty of elderly men, and more especially of such as have a fair reputation. Deep-rooted customs, though wrong, are not easily altered; but it is the duty of all to be firm in that which they certainly know is right for them. A charitable, benevolent man, well acquainted with a negro, may, I believe, under some circumstances, keep him in his family as a servant, on no other motives than the negro's good; but man, as man, knows not what shall be after him, nor hath he any assurance that his children will attain to that perfection in wisdom and goodness necessary rightly to exercise such power; hence it is clear to me, that I ought not to be the scribe where wills are drawn in which some children are made ales masters over others during life. About this time an ancient man of good esteem in the neighborhood came to my house to get his will written. He had young negroes, and I asked him privately how he purposed to dispose of them. He told me; I then said, "I cannot write thy will without breaking my own peace," and respectfully gave him my reasons for it. He signified that he had a choice that I should have written it, but as I could not, consistently with my conscience, he did not desire it, and so he got it written by some other person. A few years after, there being great alterations in his family, he came again to get me to write his will. His negroes were yet young, and his son, to whom he intended to give them, was, since he first spoke to me, from a libertine become a sober young man, and he supposed that I would have been free on that account to write it. We had much friendly talk on the subject, and then deferred it. A few days after he came again and directed their freedom, and I then wrote his will.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
the prophets repeatedly declare "that the son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, but every one be answerable for his own sins.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
I was troubled to perceive the darkness of their imaginations, and in some pressure of spirit said, "The love of ease and gain are the motives in general of keeping slaves, and men are wont to take hold of weak arguments to support a cause which is unreasonable. I have no interest on either side, save only the interest which I desire to have in the truth I believe liberty is their right, and as I see they are not only deprived of it, but treated in other respects with inhumanity in many places, I believe He who is a refuge for the oppressed will, in his own time, plead their cause, and happy will it be for such as walk in uprightness before him.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Judah
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Conduct is more convincing than language,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Thou shalt not receive any gift; for a gift bindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous." (Exod. xxiii. 8.)
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
men having power too often misapplied it; that though we made slaves of the negroes, and the Turks made slaves of the Christians, I believed that liberty was the natural right of all men equally. This he did not deny, but said the lives of the negroes were so wretched in their own country that many of them lived better here than there. I replied, "There is great odds in regard to us on what principle we act"; and so the conversation on that subject ended. I may here add that another person, some time afterwards, mentioned the wretchedness of the negroes, occasioned by their intestine wars, as an argument in favor of our fetching them away for slaves. To which I replied, if compassion for the Africans, on account of their domestic troubles, was the real motive of our purchasing them, that spirit of tenderness being attended to, would incite us to use them kindly that, as strangers brought out of affliction, their lives might be happy among us. And as they are human creatures, whose souls are as precious as ours, and who may receive the same help and comfort from the Holy Scriptures as we do, we could not omit suitable endeavors to instruct them therein; but that while we manifest by our conduct that our views in purchasing them are to advance ourselves, and while our buying captives taken in war animates those parties to push on the war, and increase desolation amongst them, to say they live unhappily in Africa is far from being an argument in our favor. I further said, the present circumstances of these provinces to me appear difficult; the slaves look like a burdensome stone to such as burden themselves with them; and that if the white people retain a resolution to prefer their outward prospects of gain to all other considerations, and do not act conscientiously toward them as fellow-creatures, I believe that burden will grow heavier and heavier, until times change in a way disagreeable to us. The person appeared very serious, and owned that in considering their condition and the manner of their treatment in these provinces he had sometimes thought it might be just in the Almighty so to order it.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
free men, whose minds were properly on their business, found a satisfaction in improving, cultivating, and providing for their families; but negroes, laboring to support others who claim them as their property, and expecting nothing but slavery during life, had not the like inducement to be industrious.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Wehaloosing, stands on the bank of the Susquehanna,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
In all our cares about worldly treasures, let us steadily bear in mind that riches possessed by children who do not truly serve God are likely to prove snares that may more grievously entangle them in that spirit of selfishness and exaltation which stands in opposition to real peace and happiness, and renders those who submit to the influence of it enemies to the cross of Christ.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Never chide for Anger, but Instruction. 290. He that corrects out of Passion, raises Revenge sooner than Repentance.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
First to find out a spacious house and ground about it fit for an academy, and big enough to lodge a hundred and fifty persons, whereof twenty or thereabout may be attendants, all under the government of one, who shall be thought of desert sufficient, and ability either to do all, or wisely to direct, and oversee it done. This place should be at once both school and university, not heeding a remove to any other house of scholarship, except it be some peculiar College of Law, or Physic, where they mean to be practitioners; but as for those general studies which take up all our time from Lilly 21 to the commencing,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
I shall detain you no longer in the demonstration of what we should not do, but straight conduct ye to a hill side where I will point ye out the right path of a virtuous and noble education; laborious indeed at the first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospect, and melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Orpheus 19 was not more charming. I doubt not but ye shall have more ado to drive our dullest and laziest youth, our stocks and stubs from the infinite desire of such a happy nurture, than we have not to hale and drag our choicest and hopefulest wits to that asinine feast of sowthistles and brambles which is commonly set before them, as all the food and entertainment of their tenderest and most docible 20 age. I call therefore a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully and magnanimously all the offices both private and public, of peace and war. And how all this may be done between twelve, and one and twenty, less time than is now bestowed in pure trifling at grammar and sophistry, is to be thus ordered.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
For the studies, first they should begin with the chief and necessary rules of some good grammar, either that now used, or any better: and while this is doing, their speech is to be fashioned to a distinct and clear pronunciation, as near as may be to the Italian, especially in the vowels.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
There are many foolish and unstable men who say, "See what a prosperous life that man hath, how rich and how great he is, how powerful, how exalted." But lift up thine eyes to the good things of heaven, and thou shalt see that all these worldly things are nothing, they are utterly uncertain, yea, they are wearisome, because they are never possessed without care and fear. The happiness of man lieth not in the abundance of temporal things but a moderate portion sufficeth him. Our life upon the earth is verily wretchedness. The more a man desireth to be spiritual, the more bitter doth the present life become to him; because he the better
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
We are foolish, and without excuse foolish, in speaking of the "superiority" of one sex to the other, as if they could be compared in similar things. Each has what the other has not: each completes the other, and is completed by the other: they are in nothing alike, and the happiness and perfection of both depends on each asking and receiving from the other what the other only can give. 68. Now their separate characters are briefly these: The man's power is active, progressive, defensive. He is eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender. His intellect is for speculation and invention; his energy for adventure, for war, and for conquest, wherever war is just, wherever conquest necessary. But the woman's power is for rule, not for battle,—and her intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet ordering, arrangement, and decision. She sees the qualities of things, their claims, and their places. Her great function is Praise: she enters into no contest, but infallibly judges the crown of contest. By her office, and place, she is protected from all danger and temptation. The man, in his rough work in open world, must encounter all peril and trial: to him, therefore, must be the failure, the offense, the inevitable error: often he must be wounded, or subdued; often misled; and always hardened. But he guards the woman from all this; within his house, as ruled by her, unless she herself has sought it, need enter no danger, no temptation, no cause of error or offense. This is the true nature of home—it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt, and division. In so far as it is not this, it is not home: so far as the anxieties of the outer life penetrate into it, and the inconsistently-minded, unknown, unloved, or hostile society of the outer world is allowed by either husband or wife to cross the threshold, it ceases to be home; it is then only a part of that outer world which you have roofed over, and lighted fire in. But so far as it is a sacred place, a vestal temple, a temple of the hearth watched over by Household Gods, before whose faces none may come but those whom they can receive with love,—so far as it is this, and roof and fire are types only of a nobler shade and light,—shade as of the rock in a weary land, and light as of the Pharos in the stormy sea,—so far it vindicates the name, and fulfills the praise, of home. And wherever a true wife comes, this home is always round her.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
It is now long since the women of England arrogated, universally, a title which once belonged to nobility only, and, having once been in the habit of accepting the simple title of gentlewoman, as correspondent to that of gentleman, insisted on the privilege of assuming the title of "Lady,"6 which properly corresponds only to the title of "Lord." I do not blame them for this; but only for their narrow motive in this. I would have them desire and claim the title of Lady, provided they claim, not merely the title, but the office and duty signified by it. Lady means "bread-giver" or "loaf-giver," and Lord means "maintainer of laws," and both titles have reference, not to the law which is maintained in the house, nor to the bread which is given to the household, but to law maintained for the multitude, and to bread broken among the multitude. So that a Lord has legal claim only to his title in so far as he is the maintainer of the justice of the Lord of Lords; and a Lady has legal claim to her title only so far as she communicates that help to the poor representatives of her Master, which women once, ministering to Him of their substance, were permitted to extend to that Master Himself; and when she is known, as He Himself once was, in breaking of bread.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Vol. 4: Complete Poems in English, Milton
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
sent a pack of hounds and huntsmen on ahead to find the quarry, mounted his chestnut Donets, and whistling to his own leash of borzois,
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
The others all followed, dispirited and shamefaced, and only much later were they able to regain their former affectation of indifference.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
This disease being in a house, and my business calling me to go near it, incites me to consider whether this is a real indispensable duty; whether it is not in conformity to some custom which would be better laid aside, or, whether it does not proceed from too eager a pursuit after some outward treasure. If the business before me springs not from a clear understanding and a regard to that use of things which perfect wisdom approves, to be brought to a sense of it and stopped in my pursuit is a kindness, for when I proceed to business without some evidence of duty, I have found by experience that it tends to weakness.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Benjamin Franklin’s famous motto, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Sean Parnell (All Out War (Eric Steele #2))
to take upon us by inoculation when in health a disorder of which some die, requires great clearness of knowledge that it is our duty to do so.
Benjamin Franklin (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)