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Benjamin Franklin (Politician)

Remember that time is money.
Benjamin Franklin time
Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.
Benjamin Franklin society
Every Body cries, a Union is absolutely necessary, but when they come to the Manner and Form of the Union, their weak Noddles are perfectly distracted.
Benjamin Franklin perfect
Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we may easily bear the latter.
Benjamin Franklin men
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Benjamin Franklin liberty
We hear of the conversion of water into wine at theas of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
Benjamin Franklin love
As toof Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and His Religion, as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to His divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon...
Benjamin Franklin art
Mankind naturally and generally love to be flatter'd: Whatever sooths our Pride, and tends to exalt our Species above the rest of the Creation, we are pleas'd with and easily believe, when ungrateful Truths shall be with the utmost Indignation rejected. "What! bring ourselves down to an Equality with the Beasts of the Field! with the meanest part of the Creation! 'Tis insufferable!" But, (to use a Piece of common Sense) our Geese are but Geese tho' we may think 'em Swans; and Truth will be Truth tho' it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful.
Benjamin Franklin love
I believe there is one Supreme most perfect being. ... I believe He is pleased and delights in the happiness of those He has created; and since without virtue man can have no happiness in this world, I firmly believe He delights to see me virtuous.
Benjamin Franklin happiness
Ambition has its disappointments to sour us, but never the good fortune to satisfy us.
Benjamin Franklin men
Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.
Benjamin Franklin society
History will also afford frequent Opportunities of showing the Necessity of a Publick Religion, from its Usefulness to the Publick; the Advantage of a Religious Character among private Persons; the Mischiefs of Superstition, &c. and the Excellency of theabove all others antient or modern.
Benjamin Franklin story
Much less is it adviseable for a Person to go thither [to America], who has no other Quality to recommend him but his Birth. In Europe it has indeed its Value; but it is a Commodity that cannot be carried to a worse Market than that of America, where people do not inquire concerning a Stranger, What is he? but, What can he do?
Benjamin Franklin people
The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action ... 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: — the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; ... 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily...
Benjamin Franklin life
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. 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. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
Benjamin Franklin travel
[T]he good [that] particular men may do separately, in relieving the sick, is small, compared with what they may do collectively.
Benjamin Franklin art
[Referring to private hospital funding alone:] That won't work, it will never be enough, good health care costs a lot of money, remembering 'the distant parts of this province' in which 'assistance cannot be procured, but at an expense that neither [the sick-poor] nor their townships can afford.' ... '[This] seems essential to the true spirit of Christianity, and should be extended to all in general, whether deserving or undeserving, as far as our power reaches.'
Benjamin Franklin art
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin liberty
[A] great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges.
Benjamin Franklin great
He has paid dear, very dear, for his whistle.
Benjamin Franklin
Has not the famous political Fable of the Snake, with two Heads and one Body, some useful Instruction contained in it? She was going to a Brook to drink, and in her Way was to pass thro’ a Hedge, a Twig of which opposed her direct Course; one Head chose to go on the right side of the Twig, the other on the left, so that time was spent in the Contest, and, before the Decision was completed, the poor Snake died with thirst.
Benjamin Franklin time
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
Benjamin Franklin light
The art of concluding from experience and observation consists in evaluating probabilities, in estimating if they are high or numerous enough to constitute proof. This type of calculation is more complicated and more difficult than one might think. It demands a great sagacity generally above the power of common people. The success of charlatans, sorcerors, and alchemists — and all those who abuse public credulity — is founded on errors in this type of calculation.
Benjamin Franklin success
God grant, that not only the Love of Liberty, but a thorough Knowledge of the Rights of Man, may pervade all the Nations of the Earth, so that a Philosopher may set his Foot anywhere on its Surface, and say, “This is my Country.”
Benjamin Franklin art
As toof Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present , some Doubts as to his divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.
Benjamin Franklin art
Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.
Benjamin Franklin die
Let all Men know thee, but no man know thee thoroughly: Men freely ford that see the shallows.
Benjamin Franklin man
Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.
Benjamin Franklin you
The Way to
Benjamin Franklin
If you desire many things, many things will seem but a few.
Benjamin Franklin desire
Various incomplete editions of this work were published from 1791 onwards; Franklin is known to have worked on it intermittently from 1771 to 1789. The work is traditionally divided into four parts, based on the time of writing. The page references given below are taken from J. A. Leo Lemay and P. M. Zall, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography (W. W. Norton and Company, 1986).
Benjamin Franklin writing
Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.
Benjamin Franklin man
So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.
Benjamin Franklin mind
Indeed I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory Words, Without Vanity I may say, etc. but some vain thing immediately follow'd. Most People dislike Vanity in others whatever Share they have of it themselves, but I give it fair Quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of Good to the Possessor and to others that are within his Sphere of Action: And therefore in many Cases it would not be quite absurd if a Man were to thank God for his Vanity among the other Comforts of Life. [Part I, p. 2]
Benjamin Franklin art
From a Child I was fond of Reading, and all the little Money that came into my Hands was ever laid out in Books. [Part I, p. 9]
Benjamin Franklin art
My Parents had early given me religious Impressions, and brought me through my Childhood piously in the Dissenting Way. But I was scarce 15 when, after doubting by turns of several Points as I found them disputed in the different Books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some Books againstfell into my Hands; they were said to be the Substance of Sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that they wrought an Effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them: For the Arguments of the Deists which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much Stronger than the Refutations. In short I soon became a thorough Deist. [Part I, p. 45]
Benjamin Franklin art
This Library afforded me the Means of Improvement by constant Study, for which I set apart an Hour or two each Day; and thus repair'd in some Degree the Loss of the Learned Education my Father once intended for me. Reading was the only Amusement I allow'd myself. I spent no time in Taverns, Games, or Frolics of any kind. And my Industry in my Business continu'd as indefatigable as it was necessary. [Part II, p. 64]
Benjamin Franklin time
These Names of Virtues with their Precepts were
Benjamin Franklin wit
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 completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my Humility. [Part II, p. 76]
Benjamin Franklin art
In 1736 I lost one of my Sons, a fine Boy of 4 Years old, by the Smallpox 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 if a Child died under it; my Example showing that the Regret may be the same either way, and that therefore the safer should be chosen. [Part III, p. 83]
Benjamin Franklin art
Upon one of his [George Whitefield's] Arrivals from England at Boston, he wrote to me that he should come soon to Philadelphia, but knew not where he could lodge when there .... My Answer was; You know my House, if you can make shift with its scanty Accommodations you will be most heartily welcome. He replied, that if I made that kind of Offer for Christ's sake, I should not miss of a Reward.—And I return'd, Don't let me be mistaken; it was not for Christ's sake, but for your sake. One of our common Acquaintance jocosely remark'd, that knowing it to be the Custom of the Saints, when they receiv'd any favor, to shift the Burden of the Obligation from off their own Shoulders, and place it in Heaven, I had contriv'd to fix it on Earth. [Part III, p. 89]
Benjamin Franklin war
Governor Thomas was so pleas'd with the Construction of this Stove, as describ'd in it, that he offer'd to give me a Patent for the sole Vending of them for a Term of Years; but I declin'd it from a Principle which has ever weigh'd 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. [Part III, p. 98]
Benjamin Franklin art
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. [Part III, p. 108]
Benjamin Franklin art
I've lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth — That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that except the Lord build the House they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, — and I also believe 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.
Benjamin Franklin time
I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.
Benjamin Franklin art
In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, — if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.
Benjamin Franklin time
Whilst the last members were signing it Doctor Franklin looking towards the President's Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. “I have,” said he, “often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.”
Benjamin Franklin happiness
A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.
Benjamin Franklin you
I think opinions should be judged of by their influences and effects, and if a man holds none that tend to make him less virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded that he holds none that are dangerous; which I hope is the case with me.
Benjamin Franklin hope
We are a kind of posterity in respect to them.
Benjamin Franklin respect
But I must own that I am much in the Dark about Light. I am not satisfy'd with the doctrine that supposes particles of matter call'd light continually driven off from the Sun's Surface, with a Swiftness so prodigious!
Benjamin Franklin art
For my own Part, when I am employed in serving others, I do not look upon myself as conferring Favours, but as paying Debts. In my Travels, and since my Settlement, I have received much Kindness from Men, to whom I shall never have any Opportunity of making the least direct Return. And numberless Mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited by our Services. Those Kindnesses from Men, I can therefore only Return on their Fellow Men; and I can only shew my Gratitude for these mercies from God, by a readiness to help his other Children and my Brethren. For I do not think that Thanks and Compliments, tho’ repeated weekly, can discharge our real Obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator.
Benjamin Franklin art
The Faith you mention has doubtless its use in the World. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavour to lessen it in any Man. But I wish it were more productive of good Works, than I have generally seen it: I mean real good Works, Works of Kindness, Charity, Mercy, and Publick Spirit; not Holiday-keeping, Sermon-Reading or Hearing; performing Church Ceremonies, or making long Prayers, filled with Flatteries and Compliments, despis’d even by wise Men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The worship of God is a Duty; the hearing and reading of Sermons may be useful; but, if Men rest in Hearing and Praying, as too many do, it is as if a Tree should Value itself on being water’d and putting forth Leaves, tho’ it never produc’d any Fruit.
Benjamin Franklin reading
That Being, who gave me existence, and through almost threescore years has been continually showering his favors upon me, whose very chastisements have been blessings to me ; can I doubt that he loves me? And, if he loves me, can I doubt that he will go on to take care of me, not only here but hereafter? This to some may seem presumption ; to me it appears the best grounded hope ; hope of the future built on experience of the past.
Benjamin Franklin love
Idleness and Pride Tax with a heavier Hand than Kings and Parliaments; If we can get rid of the former we may easily bear the Latter.
Benjamin Franklin men
But your Squabbles about a Bishop I wish to see speedily ended. ... Each Party abuses the other, the Profane and the Infidel believe both sides, and enjoy the Fray; the Reputation of Religion in general suffers, and its enemies are ready to say, not what was said in the primitive Times, Behold how these Christians love one another, but, Mark how these Christiansone another! Indeed when religious People quarrel about Religion, or hungry People about their Victuals, it looks as if they had not much of either among them.
Benjamin Franklin love
Here Skugg lies snug As a bug in a rug.
Benjamin Franklin lies
In 200 years will people remember us as traitors or heros? That is the question we must ask.
Benjamin Franklin people
You and I were long friends: you are now my enemy, and I am yours.
Benjamin Franklin friends
We hear of the conversion of water into wine at theas of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy. The miracle in question was only performed to hasten the operation, under circumstances of present necessity, which required it.
Benjamin Franklin love
Here you would know and enjoy what posterity will say of Washington. For a thousand leagues have nearly the same effect with a thousand years.
Benjamin Franklin joy
All Wars are Follies, very expensive, and very mischievous ones. When will Mankind be convinced of this, and agree to settle their Differences by Arbitration? Were they to do it, even by the Cast of a Dye, it would be better than by Fighting and destroying each other.
Benjamin Franklin lies
There never was a good war or a bad peace.
Benjamin Franklin war
I wish the Baldhad not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Theis a much more respectable bird.
Benjamin Franklin men
Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.
Benjamin Franklin freedom
Remember me affectionately to goodand to the honest heretic . I do not call him honest by way of distinction; for I think all the heretics I have known have been virtuous men. They have the virtue of fortitude or they would not venture to own their heresy; and they cannot afford to be deficient in any of the other virtues, as that would give advantage to their many enemies; and they have not like orthodox sinners, such a number of friends to excuse or justify them. 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 has brought upon him the character of heretic.
Benjamin Franklin men
That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a maxim that has been long and generally approved; never, that I know of, controverted.
Benjamin Franklin guilt
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.
Benjamin Franklin death
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Benjamin Franklin learn
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Benjamin Franklin you
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
Benjamin Franklin knowledge
Lost time is never found again.
Benjamin Franklin time
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
Benjamin Franklin success
Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.
Benjamin Franklin happiness
We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.
Benjamin Franklin work
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Benjamin Franklin writing
It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
Benjamin Franklin man
Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.
Benjamin Franklin love
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklin death
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Benjamin Franklin man
Well done is better than well said.
Benjamin Franklin
Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.
Benjamin Franklin fear
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
Benjamin Franklin happiness
Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.
Benjamin Franklin good
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means. 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.
Benjamin Franklin good
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do.
Benjamin Franklin
It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.
Benjamin Franklin work
Energy and persistence conquer all things.
Benjamin Franklin persistence
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Benjamin Franklin
Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Benjamin Franklin war
Diligence is the mother of good luck.
Benjamin Franklin good
Honesty is the best policy.
Benjamin Franklin best
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
Benjamin Franklin knowledge
Anger is never without reason, but seldom with a good one.
Benjamin Franklin good
One day is worth a thousand tomorrows.
Benjamin Franklin day
You may delay, but time will not.
Benjamin Franklin time
You will find the key to success under the alarm clock.
Benjamin Franklin success
He that can have patience can have what he will.
Benjamin Franklin patience
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
Benjamin Franklin education
Take time for all things: great haste makes great waste.
Benjamin Franklin time

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