Benjamin Franklin Quotations

Ben Franklin

A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.

Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.

A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.

At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; at 40 the judgment.

Be civil to all. Sociable to many. Familiar with few.

Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, and countenance.

Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.

Clearly spoken, Mr. Fogg; you explain English by Greek.

Creditors have better memories than debtors.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

Despair ruins some, presumption many.

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

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

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

Genius without education is like silver in the mine.

Half the truth is often a great lie.

He that composes himself is wiser than he that composes a book.

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

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

He that won't be counselled can't be helped.

He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.

He who multiplies riches multiplies cares.

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.

I am for doing good to the poor, but...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. I observed...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.

I am what I am and that's all that I am and if I'm supposed to be somebody else, why do I look like me?

If a man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.

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

If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?

If your head is wax, don't walk in the sun.

If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.

In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.

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

Kill no more pigeons than you can eat.

Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no ambition corrupt thee, no example sway thee, no persuasion move thee to do anything which thou knowest to be evil; so thou shalt live jollily, for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.

Let the child's first lesson be obedience, and the second will be what thou wilt.

Mankind are very odd creatures: one half censure what they practice, the other half practice what they censure; the rest always say and do as they ought.

Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself a slave to it.

Many complain of their memory, few of their judgment.

Many have quarreled about religion that never practiced it.

Many men die at twenty-five and aren't buried until they're seventy-five.

Mine is better than ours.

Most fools think they are only ignorant.

My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chided for my singularity, but, with this lighter repast, I made the greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension

Necessity never made a good bargain.

No nation was ever ruined by trade.

Nothing gives an author so much pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors.

One today is worth two tomorrows.

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.

Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.

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.

Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Serving God is doing good to man, but praying is thought an easier service and therefore more generally chosen.

Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful.

Success has ruined many a man.

The absent are never without fault. Nor the present without excuse.

The discontented man finds no easy chair.

The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands.

The heart of a fool is in his mouth, but the mouth of a wise man is in his heart.

The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but it is still nonsense.

The most exquisite folly is made of wisdom spun too fine.

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

Those who beat swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't.

Thou can'st not joke an enemy into a friend, but thou may'st a friend into an enemy.

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

To bear other people's afflictions, everyone has courage and enough to spare.

To find out a girl's faults, praise her to her girl friends.

Vice knows she's ugly, so puts on her mask.

We are more heavily taxed by our idleness, pride and folly than we are taxed by government.

When I was young and had time to read, I had no books. Now that I am old and have the books, I have no time to read.

Who has deceived you so often as yourself?

You can bear your own faults and why not a fault in your wife?

Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains, after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.