FRANKLIN, Benjamin Quotes
(1706-1790), American statesman, inventor and author
The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse.
Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.
They that will not be counselled, cannot be helped. It you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles.
There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth: the first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors—this is robbery; the second by commerce, which is generally cheating; the third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
Applause waits on success.—The fickle multitude, like the light straw that floats on the stream, glide with the current still, and follow fortune.
Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district— all studied and appreciated as they merit—are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty.
If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.—He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.
Getting into debt, is getting into a tanglesome net.
He that would have a short Lent, let him borrow money to be repaid at Easter.
He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity, will revolutionize the world.
The moral and religious system which Jesus Christ has transmitted to us, is the best the world has ever seen, or can see.
A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
Conversation warms the mind, enlivens the imagination, and is continually starting fresh game that is immediately pursued and taken, which would never have occurred in the driller intercourse of epistolary correspondence.
The most trifling actions that affect a man's credit are to be regarded. The sound of your hammer at five in the morning, or nine at night, heard by a creditor, makes him easier six months longer; but if he sees you at a billiard table, or hears your voice at a tavern when you should be at work, he sends for his money the next day.
Creditors have better memories than debtors; they are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.
Think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; will be in fear when you speak to him; will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for the second vice is lying, the first is running in debt. A freeborn man ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak to any man living, but poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.
In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eat twice as much as nature requires.
Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry. Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow. One today is worth two tomorrows; never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.
All human situations have their inconveniences.—We feel those of the present, but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.
Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.
Some of the domestic evils of drunkenness are houses without windows, gardens without fences, fields without tillage, barns without roofs, children without clothing, principles, morals, or manners.
He who rises late may trot all day, and not overtake his business at night.
One should eat to live, not live to eat.
Let honesty and industry be thy constant companions, and spend one penny less than thy clear gains; then shall thy pocket begin to thrive; creditors will not insult, nor want oppress, nor hunger bite, nor nakedness freeze thee.
A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone and die not worth a groat after all.
Ere you consult fancy, consult your purse.
Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves.
Education begins with life. Before we are aware the foundations of character are laid, and subsequent teaching avails but little to remove or alter them.
If you would relish food, labor for it before you take it; if enjoy clothing, pay for it before you wear it; if you would sleep soundly, take a clear conscience to bed with you.
There is no little enemy.
Whoever feels pain in hearing a good character of his neighbor, will feel a pleasure in the reverse. And those who despair to rise in distinction by their virtues, are happy if others can be depressed to a level with themselves.
If you do what you should not, you must bear what you would not.
None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing.
He that is good for making excuses, is seldom good for anything else.
What maintains one vice would bring up two children. You may think, perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diet a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be no great matter; but remember, "Many a little makes a mickle." Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain: and it is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel.
Experience keeps a dear school; but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.
Laws cannot prevent extravagance; and this perhaps is not always an evil to the public. A shilling spent idly by a fool may be picked up by a wiser person, who knows better what to do with it; it is, therefore, not lost.
It is the eyes of other people that ruin us. If all but myself were blind I should neither want a fine house nor fine furniture.
The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands.
A cheerful face is nearly as good for an invalid as healthy weather.
To be thrown upon one's own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; for our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible.
Frugality is a fair fortune; and habits of industry a good estate.
The way to wealth is as plain as the way to market.—It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both.—Without industry and frugality nothing will do; with them, everything.
Keep flax from fire, and youth from gaming.
A shrewd observer once said, that in walking the streets of a slippery morning, one might see where the good natured people lived, by the ashes thrown on the ice before the doors.
To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.
There never was yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
Fraud and deceit are ever in a hurry.—Take time for all things.—Great haste makes great waste.
Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy.
Honesty is the best policy.
Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul; then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.
He that lives on hopes will die fasting.
After crosses and losses men grow humbler and wiser.
Troubles spring from idleness, and grievous toils from needless ease: many without labor would live by their own wits only, but they break for want of stock.
It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their time, to be employed in its service; but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright. Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep, forgetting that the sleeping fox catches no poultry, and there will be sleeping enough in the grave!
Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy.—He that rises late must trot all day, and hall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.
Waste not, want not; willful waste makes woeful want.
What maintains one vice, would bring up two children.—Remember, many a little makes a mickle; and further, beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.
Those who love dainties are likely soon to be beggars.
Christianity commands us to pass by injuries; policy, to let them pass by us.
A good newspaper and Bible in every house, a good schoolhouse in every district, and a church in every neighborhood, all appreciated as they deserve, are the chief support of virtue, morality, civil liberty, and religion.
If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.
Justice is as strictly due between neighbor nations, as between neighbor citizens. A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang, as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang of robbers.
If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him.—An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
Employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful, and this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never, for a life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.
A Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district,—all studied and appreciated as they merit,—are the principal support of virtue, morality, and civil liberty.
Life is rather a state of embryo, a preparation for life; a man is not completely born till he has passed through death.
When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that, were the offer made me, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask, should be the privilege of an author, to correct in a second edition, certain errors of the first.
Dost thou love life?—Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
The eye of the master will do more work than both of his hands: not to oversee workmen, is to leave your purse open.
The best of all medicines are rest and fasting.
Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way. That was a true proverb of the wise man, rely upon it: "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith."
Remember that money is of a prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six; turned again it is seven; and so on till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces at every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds.
The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it.
If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.
The morning hour has gold in its mouth.
Necessity never made a good bargain.
A little neglect may breed great mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost, and for want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by an enemy, all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail.
The eyes of other people are the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.
A place for everything, everything in its place.
He that can have patience, can have what he will.
God heals, and the doctor takes the fee.
Applause waits on success; the fickle multitude, like the light straw that floats along the stream, glides with the current still, and follows fortune.
Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.
If by the liberty of the press, we understand merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please; but, if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating, and defaming one another, I own myself willing to part with my share of it whenever our legislators shall please to alter the law; and shall cheerfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others for the privilege of not being abused myself.
Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy. When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but it is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.
Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy.
Never put off till tomorrow that which you can do today.
The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of man; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
He that blows the coals in quarrels he has nothing to do with, has no right to complain if the sparks fly in his face.
Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.
Think twice before you speak, or act once, and you will speak or act the more wisely for it.
One vicious habit each year rooted out, in time might make the worst man good.
If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it!
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
Who has deceived thee so often as thyself?
Each year, one vicious habit rooted out in time ought to make the worst man good.
God helps those that help themselves.
If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.
None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing.
Slavery is an atrocious debasement of human nature.
Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the key often used is always bright.
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.
Let every one ascertain his special business or calling, and then stick to it, if he would be successful.
Wherever desirable superfluities are imported, industry is excited, and thereby plenty is produced. Were only necessaries permitted to be purchased, men would work no more than was necessary for that purpose.
He that would be master of his own, must not be bound for another.
The taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement.
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 children, vigor in the body, intelligence in the brain, and spirit in the whole constitution.
Remember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad or sits idle one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides.
Dost thou love life? then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough always proves little enough. Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.
He that hath a trade hath an estate; and he that hath a calling hath a place of profit and honor. A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.
In transactions of trade it is not to be supposed that, as in gaming, what one party gains the other must necessarily lose. The gain to each may be equal. If A. has more corn than he can consume, but wants cattle; and B. has more cattle, but wants corn; exchange is gain to each; thereby the common stock of comforts in life is increased.
Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.
Of all our infirmities, vanity is the dearest to us; a man will starve his other vices to keep that alive.
I give vanity fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to its possessor and to others within the sphere of its action; and therefore in many cases it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity, among the other comforts of his life.
Scarcely have I ever heard or read the introductory phrase, "I may say without vanity," but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed.
There is much money given to be laughed at, though the purchasers don't know it; witness A's fine horse, and B's fine house.
What maintains one vice would bring up two children.
Let thy vices die before thee.
Hast thou virtue? Acquire also the graces and beauties of virtue.
There never was a good war, or a bad peace.
The way to wealth is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality, nothing will do; and with them, everything.
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.