Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I don't know if I would have been best friends with the guy but...

Benjamin Franklin said some pretty solid things but I can't help but think he was a bit of a fat head. From his "The Way to Wealth": "my Brother Authors....have been very sparing in their Applauses; and no other Author has taken the least Notice of me, so that did not my Writings produce me some solid Pudding, the great Deficiency of Praise would have quite discouraged me. I concluded at length, that the People were the best Judges of my Merit; for they buy my Works; and besides, in my Rambles, where I am not personally known, I have frequently heard one or other of my Adages repeated...this gave me some Satisfaction, as it showed not only that my Instructions were regarded, but discovered likewise some Respect for my Authority; and I own, that to encourage the Practice of remebering and repeating those wise Sentences, I have sometimes quoted myself with great Gravity."

Was he joking? I don't know - it seems as though he took himself quite seriously. Here's a bit more of "The Way of Wealth".

"The Hour of Sale not being come, they were conversing on the "Badness of the Times, and one of the Company call'ed to a plain clean old Man, with while Locks, "Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the Times? Won't these heavy Taxes quite ruin the Country? How shall we ever be able to pay them? What would you advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up, and reply'd..."Friends," says he, "and Neighbours, the Taxes are 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 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. However let us hearken to good Advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves.

It would be thought a hard Government that should tax it's People one tenth Part of their Time, to be employed in its Service. But Idleness taxes many of us much more, if we reckon all that is spent in absolute Sloth, or doing of nothing,with that which is spent in idle Employments or AMusements, that amount to nothing. Sloth, by bringing on Diseases, absolutely shortens Life. Sloth, like Rust, consumes faster than Labour wears, while the used Key is always bright...But dost thou love Life, then do not squander Time, for that's the Stuff Life is made of."

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