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