Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Benjamin Franklin

American Statesman, Philosopher, Writer, Inventor, Printer, Scientist, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States

"'Tis easier to prevent bad habits than to break them."

"'Tis more noble to forgive, and more manly to despise, than to revenge an injury."

"A good conscience is a continual Christmas."

"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 the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail."

"A long life may not be good enough but a good life is long enough."

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

"Approve not of him who commends all you say."

"As we must account for every idle word, so we must for every idle silence."

"Avarice and happiness never saw each other, how then should they become acquainted."

"Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing."

"Be sober and temperate and you will be healthy."

"Calamity and Prosperity are the Touchstones of Integrity."

"Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all thins to industry. Then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep."

"Doing an Injury puts you below your Enemy; Revenging one makes you even with him; Forgiving it sets you above him."

"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 a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

"Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, an scarcely in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct. Remember this; they that will not be counseled cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you over your knuckles."

"Fatigue is the best pillow."

"Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience."

"Hast thou virtue? acquire also the graces and beauties of virtue."

"He that can have patience can have what he will."

"Honesty is the best policy."

"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments."

"If Passion drives, let Reason hold the Reins."

"If principle is good for anything, it is worth living up to."

"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 be up and doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity."

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

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

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead,, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing."

"In dealings between man and man, truth, sincerity and integrity are of the utmost importance to the felicity of life."

"Innocence is its own defense."

"Keep Conscience clear, then never fear."

"Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him."

"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."

"Man only from himself can suffer wrong."

"Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt."

"Righteousness, or justice, is, undoubtedly of all the virtues, the surest foundation on which to create and establish a new state. But there are two nobler virtues, industry and frugality, which tend more to increase the wealth, power and grandeur of the community, than all the others without them."

"Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices."

"Strict punctuality is a cheap virtue."

"The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse."

"The ancients tell us what is best; but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest."

"The modest temple of wisdom."

"The most acceptable service of God is doing good to man."

"The taxes were indeed very heavy, and if those laid on 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 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."

"There is much difference between imitating a good man, and counterfeiting him."

"There is no little enemy."

"There was never yet a truly great man that was not able at the same time to be truly virtuous."

"They that will not be counseled, cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles."

"To be proud of virtue is to poison yourself with the antidote."

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

"To God we owe fear and love; to our neighbours justice and character; to our selves prudence and sobriety."