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Benjamin Franklin Clanmother New Year's

The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin

The first “Poor Richard’s Almanack” was published by Benjamin Franklin on January 28, 1732. 

Benjamin Franklin, Joseph-Siffred Duplessis, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” was a mantra of my third-grade teacher, along with “speak little, do much.”  That was a very productive year, as I recall.  At that time, I knew only a few sayings, but I was certain that Benjamin Franklin was living, given the propensity of many to quote him liberally and frequently.

Fast forward a few years, I recognized that Benjamin Franklin was a well-known figure in American history and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.  He was legendary in his time and is still remembered for his style, philosophy, and negotiation skills.  A distinguished statesman, inventor, scientist, and writer, his credits include inventing the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. 

Poor Richard Almanack 1739 (Public Domain)

Today in the history of 1732, Benjamin Franklin published the first Poor Richard’s Almanack, famous for containing many of his celebrated proverbs. He was 26 years old.  The Almanac ran for 25 years from 1732 – 1758. It was a best seller, with 10,000 copies sold annually.

Benjamin Franklin’s impact on American society is still felt today.   As an iconic figure in American history, his influence was felt beyond the United States.

Benjamin came to Canada and almost persuaded us to join the 13 colonies.

Benjamin Franklin was very supportive of Canada and the Canadian people and was a key member of the three-person diplomatic commission sent to Montreal in 1776 to convince the Canadian populous to join the 13 colonies in separating from Britain. The commission offered inducements such as “free and undisturbed exercise of their religion”, “possession and enjoyment of their estates”, rights to enact laws governing their colony, representation in Congress, establishment of a free press, and mutual defense.

While he did not convince Canada to join the 13 colonies, Benjamin Franklin left with a soft marten fur cap obtained while on his trip to Canada.  He wore the cap during his diplomatic mission in France, 1778, which made him popular among the French people. The cap was known as the “Franklin cap” and was a symbol of the American Revolution.

Benjamin Franklin’s wisdom is still applicable today. His famous proverbs, such as “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “time is money,” are still used in modern conversations. His advice to be thrifty, industrious, and frugal still resonates with many people, and his emphasis on courtesy, humility, and respect is still relevant in our world.

As we enter a new year of opportunities and possibilities, may we remember the thought written in Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1738:

“Wish not so much to live long as to live well.”

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2023

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

40 replies on “The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin”

I am delighted that we are entering 2023 together. I am taking this thought by Ben with me into the New Year: “When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself.” 1748 Poor Richard’s Almanack.That you for a brilliant 2022, my dear friend.

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Thank you for your visit and comment! Very much appreciated. I read that when Benjamin Franklin when to France he brought along a printing press. I wondered what his printing press may have looked like and found a link to the Smithsonian.

“The Franklin Printing Press, an English common press, from the Historic Relics Collection. In 1768, Benjamin Franklin visited the printing company in London where he had apprenticed in the 1720s. Franklin purportedly took a turn at this press, although he had not operated a press when he worked there.” https://www.si.edu/object/siris_sic_10292

We have come a very long way in technology since those days. Even so, Benjamin Franklin knew a great deal about social media and would thrive in our social media environment.

Happy New Year!

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Thanks for highlighting one of our great statesmen, Rebecca. He was an interesting man, a man who could get things done. His wisdom has survived. I hope you enjoy welcoming the New Year. I count ‘meeting’ you among the bright spots of 2022, and I hope you have a wonderful year ahead.

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I am delighted that we connected in 2022, Dan. Thank you for your support, encouragement and participation in life-affirming conversations. Looking forward to connecting in 2023.

I read somewhere that Benjamin Franklin thought that George Washington should be the President because George was the tallest man in the room. Perhaps that is apocryphal. I do know that Benjamin Franklin bequeathed George Washington his walking stick. So many wonderful stories held in the folds of history.

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Thank you John for stopping by and for your comment. I have often wished I could have been a fly on the walk during the discussions between the First Fathers. I read that there was tension between John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Here is a quote from MountVernon.org

“John Adams inadvertently provided confirmation of the contemporary and near-contemporary understanding of Franklin’s wartime importance, with his acid comment in an 1815 letter to Thomas Jefferson: “The essence of the whole will be that Dr Franklin’s electric rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. Then Franklin electrified him, and thence forward those two conducted all the Policy, Negotiations, Legislations, and war.” https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/benjamin-franklin/

What I most appreciate was that they did work together, had heated debates and created an amazing beginning for a young country.

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Benjamin Franklin war ein bemerkenswerter Mensch, der ein sehr langes und produktives Leben führte. Er war ein Universalgelehrter, der als Schriftsteller, Wissenschaftler, Erfinder, Staatsmann, Diplomat, Drucker, Verleger und politischer Philosoph tätig war. Vielen Dank für Ihre Unterstützung und Verbindung im Jahr 2022. Wir freuen uns darauf, gemeinsam in das Jahr 2023 einzutreten.

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I knew little of this man, Rebecca, except that he was one of your founding fathers; a thoroughly interesting read. &
This was a great post for ‘Clanmother’ on which to end 2022.
Here’s to even more interesting posts for you in 2023. Happy New Year!
xoxoxo

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Dear Rebecca, it is 1:37am January 1 2023. I have just arrived home from a marvelous New Year’s Dance. We had a wonderful time!
However, it dawned on me that I had commented regarding Benjamin Franklin as one of ‘your’ forefathers. Do accept my apologies! I have slapped my wrist (gently) and promise to never confuse your wonderful Canada with any other country! Promise… 🙂

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My dear friend – no apologies needed. Benjamin Franklin was a global influence. Can you imagine that he came to Canada when he with 70 years old. And here is another interesting connection with Canada, which I just recently discovered:

Benjamin Franklin opened the first Canadian post office in Halifax to serve as a link between the Atlantic colonies and Britain, before going on to start mail service in Quebec. In 2013 Canada Post issued a stamp with a depiction of Benjamin Franklin. It seems that he was a founding father to many initiatives.

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Thank you for your comment, Robbie. Sorry you are having difficulty with the comments on your iphone. I find that there are many things that do not work via my iphone. For example, audio links on WordPress simple do not work for me on my iphone or ipad, but work on my computer. It is a mystery.

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I agree, Teagon. I just read an interesting article about the lightning rod. Some religious leaders at the time were concerned that Benjamin was attempting to interfere in God’s domain. He replied: “Surely the thunder of Heaven is no more supernatural than the rain, hail, or sunshine of Heaven, against the inconvenience of which we guard by roofs and shades without scruple.
“https://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2022/04/16/benjamin_franklins_greatest_invention.html

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