Saturday, September 29, 2012
283. Ben Franklin Promoted Virtue Cultivation
1784 was the year when Benjamin Franklin was seen to start his endeavor to advocate the use of Confucian moral philosophy to cultivate individual virtue. It was in this year that he revealed his readers of his personal experience in cultivating his own virtue. He wrote in this year a pamphlet of advice, entitled “To Those Who Would Remove to America.”
Franklin advised to the Europeans who wanted to move to North America that one could obtain success in the United States, if one had good virtue. He said to them that “the only encouragements we hold out to strangers are a good climate, fertile soil, good pay for labour, kind neighbors, good laws, liberty and a hearty welcome. The rest depends on a man’s own industry and virtue.” The message Franklin conveyed is very clear. If one wanted to be a successful person, he must possess good virtue. With it you would achieve success anywhere in the world. If you don’t have good virtue, you wouldn’t be a successful person even in a place as plentiful as the United States-- the recently independent country, full of opportunities and good conditions.
In 1790, largely confined to bed, Franklin, who had finished his last will, struggled to add to his autobiography another seven and half pages. In these last pages Franklin still encouraged people to cultivate their virtues.