Let’s take a look at Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues.
|Temperance:||Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation|
|Silence:||Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversations|
|Order:||Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time|
|Resolution:||Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve|
|Frugality:||Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, waste nothing|
|Industry:||Lose not time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions|
|Sincerity:||Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; speak accordingly|
|Justice:||Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty|
|Moderation:||Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think you deserve|
|Cleanliness:||Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation|
|Tranquility:||Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents common or unavoidable|
|Chastity:||Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation|
|Humility:||Imitate Jesus and Socrates|
As a sheer reactionary comment to the reading and the specific passage, I love the idea and the execution of this book. I haven’t read many autobiographies in my life, so i cannot say, with reasonable command, how many follow the structure of addressing it to a family member. The few ones I have read are addressed to the reader, this was addressed to his son. I enjoyed that. I found it to be an admirable, honorable, almost romantic action: telling your oldest how to live, pass traits, or truths, down to be remembered.
Look at each of the 13 articles. Are any of them extreme? They all follow the eigth virtue. Initially i wanted to write about the last paragraph of part one. Franklin tells his son the reason why he took him through his life before Pennsylvania with such excruciatingly detailed precision is because he wanted him to know how he came to his 13 truths. Ultimately his truths are the notable thing people pull and that is why i chose that to focus this little blurb on. But take a look at that last paragraph in the first section. It sets up and validates his truths, arguably leaving the unexposed to debate.