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Happy Birthday, Ben!

H. Wright Smith, Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was born on this day in 1706. The Libraries recently published a printed lectureBenjamin Franklin's Political Arithmetic: A Materialist View of Humanity by Joyce E. Chaplin, the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University. Excerpts from the lecture are also available: parts one, two, and three.

Always quotable, here is a random and subjective selection of some of his witty aphorisms:

A place for everything, everything in its place.

At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.

I guess I don't so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old.

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.

There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

There was never a good war, or a bad peace.

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

When in doubt, don't.

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Fish and visitors smell in three days.—Elizabeth Periale


  1. Malcolm Johnston

    Benjamin Franklin was a surprisingly witty man. Another personality who shares his birthday (Jan 17) is Jim Carrey.

  2. peluang usaha ahasu gnaulep

    great man! Benjamin Franklin!

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