Benjamin Franklin quotes and sayings
January 17, 1706
April 17, 1790
Hereafter, if you should observe an occasion to give your officers and friends a little more praise than is their due, and confess more fault than you can justly be charged with, you will only become the sooner for it, a great captain.
When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.
If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.
When about 16 Years of Age, I happened to meet with a Book written by one Tryon, recommending a Vegetable Diet. I determined to go into it.... My refusing to eat Flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity.
I think that a young state, like a young virgin, should modestly stay at home, and wait the application of suitors for an alliance with her; and not run about offering her amity to all the world; and hazarding their refusal. Our virgin is a jolly one; and tho at present not very rich, will in time be a great fortune, and where she has a favorable predisposition, it seems to me well worth cultivating.
Industry and patience are the surest means of plenty.
In New England they once thought blackbirds useless, and mischievous to the corn. They made efforts to destroy them. The consequence was, the blackbirds were diminished; but a kind of worm, which devoured their grass, and which the blackbirds used to feed on, increased prodigiously; then, finding their loss in grass much greater than their saving in corn, they wished again for their blackbirds.
What has become clear to you since we last met?
Write with the learned, pronounce with the vulgar.
For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly.
If you'd be wealthy, think of saving, more than of getting: The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her Outgoes equal her Incomes.
Where liberty is, there is my country.
Games lubricate the body and the mind.
Have you something to do to-morrow; do it to-day.
In eating ecology love murder vegan vegetarianism flesh eating is unprovoked murder.
The devil wipes his breech with poor folks' pride.
One of the advantages of being a 'reasonable creature' is that one can find a reason for whatever one wants to do.
The apostle Paul very seriously advised Timothy to put some wine in his water for health's sake, but not one of the apostles nor any of the holy fathers have ever recommended putting water in wine.
Here's to our beloved George Washington, the Joshua of America, who commanded the sun and the moon to stand still - and they obeyed.
Beware of the young doctor and the old barber.
The busy man has few idle visitors; to the boiling pot the flies come not.
Humility makes great men twice honorable.
My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way since it was now resolved I should not be a clergyman.
There's small Revenge in Words, but Words may be greatly revenged.
When you're testing to see how deep water is, never use two feet.
There are more old drunkards than old doctors.
Get what you can, and what you get hold; 'tis the Stone that will turn all your Lead into Gold.
Do not, however, mistake me. It is not to my good friend's heresy that I impute his honesty. On the contrary, 'tis his honesty that brought upon him the character of a heretic.
The same man cannot be both Friend and Flatterer.
Many people die at twenty five and aren't buried until they are seventy five.
It is observable that God has often called men to places of dignity and honor when they have been busy in the honest employment of their vocation.
A little House well fill'd, a little Field well till'd, and a little Wife well will'd, are great Riches.
If you give up your freedom for safety, you don't deserve either one.
Hunger is the best pickle.
The Body of B. Franklin, Printer Like the Cover of an old Book Its Contents turn out And Stript of its Lettering and Guilding Lies here. Food for Worms For, it will as he believed appear once more In a new and more elegant Edition corrected and improved By the Author.
If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately.
A lonesome man on a rainy day who does not know how to read.
Do you sincerely declare that you love mankind in general, of what profession or religion soever? Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his body, name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of worship? Do you love truth for truth's sake; and will you endeavor impartially to find and receive it yourself, and communicate it to others.
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.
Anger and folly walk cheeck by jowl.
The greatest inventions are those inquiries which tend to increase the power of man over matter.
It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.
Applause waits on success.
Mary's mouth cost her nothing for she never opens it but at others' expense.
I wish it were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity.
A man can be beautiful physically, mentally, or personality wise. True beauty, though, is in the spirit. A genuine man who understands right and wrong, with a strong sense of self is beautiful. A man who can be compassionate and caring, but firm and wise. Someone who can do the right thing no matter who's around to see it. Even if the deed is unseen and unrecognized. That is a beautiful man. One today is worth two tomorrows.
Temperance puts wood on the fire, meal in the barrel, flour in the tub, money in the purse, credit in the country, contentment in the house, clothes on the back, and vigor in the body.
Most people return small favors, acknowledge medium ones and repay greater ones - with ingratitude.
The rule is simple: Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy.
Epitaph on a scolding wife by her husband: Here my poor Bridget's corpse doth lie, she is at rest - and so am I!
I firmly believe this ... that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
Ill customs and bad advice are seldom forgotten.
Anyone can complain, and they should have the right to, but if you want to see change you must act. Actions speak louder than words. Don't complain about things, change things.
Neither a Fortress nor a Maidenhead will hold out long after they begin to parley.
My refusing to eat meat occasioned inconveniency, and I have been frequently chided for my singularity. But my light repast allows for greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension.
He that best understands the world, least likes it.
He that is conscious of a stink in his breeches is suspicious of every wrinkle in another's nose.
Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are in the dealings with one another; sympathy begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason.
As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.
He that hath a Trade, hath an Estate.
No man ever was glorious, who was not laborious.
Some volumes against Deism fell into my hands ... they produced an effect precisely the reverse to what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the Deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appeared to me much more forcibly than the refutation itself; in a word, I soon became a thorough Deist.
Reagan's half a disciple of Benjamin Franklin. He believes in early to bed.
You may give give a man office, but you cannot give him discretion.
All cats look gray in the dark.
Be cheerful -- the problems that worry us most are those that never arrive.
Don't judge men's wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance.
Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy.
Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.
Those who are content have enough; those that complain, have too much.
Industry and frugality, as the means of procuring wealth . . . thereby secures virtue, it being more difficult for a man in want to act always honestly. . .
Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.
God helps them that help themselves.
Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.
Our friend and we were invited aboard on a party of pleasure, which is to last forever. His chair was ready first, and he has gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him.
I never knew a man who was good at making excuses who was good at anything else.
Where there is hunger, law is not regarded; and where law is not regarded, there will be hunger.
A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.
Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.
The tongue offends and the ears get the cuffing.
I early found that when I worked for myself alone, myself alone worked for me; but when I worked for others also, others worked also for me.
When you taste honey, remember gall.
Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who kept their swords.
You cannot always run from a weakness. You must sometime fight it out or perish.
If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another.
Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy; and he that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him.
John F. Kerry
Marine Le Pen
John le Carre
James Howard Kunstler
John of Kronstadt
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