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Benjamin Franklin Quotes and Sayings

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Benjamin Franklin Quotes and Sayings

#1 Poor Richard’s Almanack, February 1755

1. If you would be loved, love and be lovable.

#2 Poor Richard’s Almanack, May 1739

2. He that falls in love with himself, will have no rivals.

#3 Life of Benjamin Franklin, Robert Walsh, 1815

3. I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of every body.

#4 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1738

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

#5 Letter of advice to Cadwallader Colden, 25 June 1745

5. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you are most likely to find solid Happiness.


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Excerpt from Wikipedia: Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica’. He formed both the first public lending library in America and first fire department in Pennsylvania. He was an early proponent of colonial unity, and as a political writer and activist he supported the idea of an American nation. As a diplomat during the American Revolution he secured the French alliance that helped to make independence of the United States possible.

Benjamin Franklin 1767, Credit: Wikiquote

Sayings by Benjamin Franklin

#1 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1739, Relates to the virtue, sincerity

1. A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

#2 Quoted in Exercises in English Grammar, 1909, M. A. Morse

2. If a man empties his purse into his head no man can take it from him. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

#3 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1753

3. Anger is never without Reason, but seldom with a good One.

#4-7 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1750

4. Hide not your Talents, they for Use were made. What’s a Sun-Dial in the Shade!

5. Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.

6. Little Strokes, Fell great Oaks.

7. There are three things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond and to know one’s self.

#8 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1736

8. He that can have Patience, can have what he will.

#9 Benjamin Franklin Wikiquote

9. He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows nor judge all he sees.

#10-13 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1737

10. Well done is better than well said.

11. To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.

12. A Penny sav’d is Twopence clear, A pin a day is a Groat a Year. Save & have. Every little makes a mickle.

13. The noblest question in the world is, what Good may I do in it?

#14 Apology for Printers, 1730

14. If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.

#15 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1736

15. If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few.

#16 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1743

16. How few there are who have courage enough to own their Faults, or resolution enough to mend them!

#17 Essays & Letters, Page 83

17. If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.

#18 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1741

18. Let no Pleasure tempt thee, no Profit allure thee, no Ambition corrupt thee, no Example sway thee, no Persuasion move thee, to do any thing which thou knowest to be Evil; So shalt thou always jollily: for a good Conscience is a continual Christmas. Adieu.

#19 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1734

19. A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one. Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.

#20-24 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1738

20. Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.

21. Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst Man good throughout.

22. Who has deceiv’d thee so oft as thy self?

23. If you do what you should not, you must hear what you would not.

24. Wish not so much to live long as to live well.

#25-28 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1734

25. Do good to thy Friend to keep him, to thy enemy to gain him.

26. He that waits upon fortune, is never sure of a dinner.

27. You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns, nor enjoy fair wife without danger of horns.

28. Teach your child to hold his tongue, he’ll learn fast enough to speak.

#29 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1745

29. Beware of little Expences, a small Leak will sink a great Ship.

#30 Poor Richard, An Almanack For the Year of Christ 1738, Being the Second after LEAP YEAR.

30. If you wou’d not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.

#31 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1743

31. Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.

#32-33 Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1755

32. Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.

33. A long Life may not be good enough, but a good Life is long enough.

#34 The Autobiography, 1818

34. Names of Virtues with their Precepts:

    1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to Dulness. Drink not to Elevation.
    2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or your self. Avoid trifling Conversation.
    3. ORDER. Let all your Things have their Places. Let each part of your Business have its Time.
    4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
    5. FRUGALITY. Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. Waste nothing.
    6. INDUSTRY. Lose no Time. Be always employ’d in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
    7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
    8. JUSTICE. Wrong none, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.
    9. MODERATION. Avoid Extremes. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.
    10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no Uncleanliness in Body, Clothes, or Habitation.
    11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.
    12. CHASTITY. Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dulness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another’s Peace or Reputation.
    13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
#35 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1749

35. Content makes poor men rich; Discontent makes rich men poor.

#36 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1747

36. He that won’t be counsell’d, can’t be help’d.

#37 The Way to Wealth

37. If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some: for he that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.

#38 The Busy-Body, No. 3

38. … it is a Grand Mistake to think of being Great without Goodness; and I pronounce it as certain, that there was never yet a truly Great Man that was not at the same Time truly Virtuous.

#39 Quoted in A Dictionary of American Proverbs

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

#40 The works of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Stueber, Published by E. Duyckinck, 1807, Page 169

40. In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat about twice as much as nature requires.

#41 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1745

41. ‘Tis easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.

#42 Dictionary of Thoughts, 1908, Tryon Edwards, p. 22.

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

#43 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1751

43. Most People return small Favors, acknowledge middling ones, and repay great ones with Ingratitude.

#44 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1757

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

#45-47 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1735

45. Humility makes great men twice honourable.

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

47. The Sun never repents of the good he does, nor does he ever demand a recompence.

#48 On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, 29 November 1766

48. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.

#49 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1756

49. Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.

#50 Advice to a Young Tradesman, 1748

50. Remember that time is money.

#51 Letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, 13 November 1789

51. Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes!

#52 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1739

52. Great Beauty, great strength, & great Riches, are really & truly of no great Use; a right Heart exceeds all.

#53 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1742

53. To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.

#54-55 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1746

54. When the Well’s dry, we know the Worth of Water.

55. Virtue and Happiness are Mother and Daughter.

#56 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1758

56. You may delay, but time will not.

#57 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1757

57. Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day.

#58 Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1752

58. ‘Tis more noble to forgive, and more manly to despise, than to revenge an Injury.

#59 Ben Franklin Effect

59. He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.

#60-69 Unsourced Benjamin Franklin Quotes

60. 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.

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

62. It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.

63. Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.

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

65. Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

66. How do you become better tomorrow? By improving yourself, the world is made better. Be not afraid of growing too slowly. Be afraid of standing still. Forget your mistakes, but remember what they taught you. So how do you become better tomorrow? By becoming better today.

67. If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.

68. Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.

69. Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.