The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Principles Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
The Breaking into this Money of Vernon's was one of the first great Errata of my Life. And this Affair show'd that my Father was not much out in his Judgment when he suppos'd me too Young to manage Business of Importance. (1.48)
Again, Franklin's father is right: he's got some growing up to do and some big stuff to work on. But also, when Franklin screws up, he does it big time, and he's not afraid to own up to it. This isn't just borrowing money, Franklin's taking it without permission. It's almost stealing. He's breaking the trust Vernon has in him, and because of how many times Franklin brings this up and harps on it, we know how much he regrets this error later.
Before I enter upon my public Appearance in Business, it may be well to let you know the then State of my Mind, with regard to my Principles and Morals, that you may see how far those influenc'd the future Events of my Life. (1.88)
Well, this isn't exactly cocktail party chitchat. Nor is it the kind of thing you'd want to hear on a first date. Indeed, this kind of statement isn't for the faint of heart, which is maybe why Franklin doesn't hit us with it until he's most of the way through Part 1. What it does, when it shows up, is reveal to us the connection Franklin's making between his inner self and his actions, and impresses on us that this link between the two is a really important part of how he's telling his story.
I grew convinc'd that Truth, Sincerity and Integrity in Dealings between Man and Man, were of the utmost Importance to the Felicity of Life, and I form'd written Resolutions, (which still remain in my Journal Book) to practice them ever while I lived. (1.89)
Sounds familiar; we might have the same kind of thoughts on New Year's Eve – resolve to do better, be better, etc. But Franklin seems more invested in this kind of self-improvement, working on it actively and in the long term. Something for us to think about is how much these qualities of "Truth, Sincerity, and Integrity" show up in the Autobiography, and whether Franklin seems to have achieved good, consistent practice of them.