There is a famous quote found in all sorts of media involving the alcoholic beverage of beer, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Many people attribute this quote to Benjamin Franklin without even asking the question, did he really say it?
Anyone who asks themselves this question and decides to do research, is going to be disappointed. Benjamin Franklin did not actually say or use this particular phrase. In fact, Benjamin Franklin was not much of a beer lover. However, he did like wine. The quote that is constantly attributed to Benjamin Franklin is actually a misquote of a letter that he wrote in 1779 to the Abbe Morellet, addressing one of his friends. In the letter Franklin mentions the origin of wine and that before wine, man had only water to drink. He says that in this time, man could not discover the truth and instead went astray. Then, after the great flood, God gave man wine in order to quench their thirst and this allowed them to discover many truths. Here is the actual quote from Benjamin Franklin, “We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy. The miracle in question was only performed to hasten the operation, under circumstances of present necessity, which required it.” In the actual quote about wine, is the infamous wording of the misquote, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
From this, we can see that sadly, this very famous quote is actually false. However, Franklin was not against alcoholic beverages and instead possessed a love of wine; something which he considered to be very important and a sign of God’s love for mankind.
Quotes Uncovered: Beer or Wine as Proof?
After reading essay number nine from the fourteen Silence DoGood essays, one simple phrase came to my mind, which summarizes the entire essay; do not judge a book by its cover. This one phrase describes the whole message that Benjamin Franklin is trying to convey, which pertains to hypocrisy and how people can be very different than what we initially perceive them to be. In the very beginning, Franklin asks the question, does a commonwealth suffer more from people who pretend to be good and religious, or the openly profane individuals? He continues, saying that the pretenders are the ones who cause a place to suffer the most, and is very diligent in supporting this point. For example, “A notoriously profane person in a private Capacity, ruins himself and perhaps forwards the Destruction of a few of his Equals…” In this single line, Franklin is telling us that the openly profane person is only a danger to himself and maybe a few of acquaintances, and is in no way a major force of damage to the public because people are already aware of this persons nature and know to avoid and distrust them. He continues on and mentions the hypocritical person, “but a publik Hypocrite every day deceives his betters and makes them Ignorant Trumpeters to his supposed Godliness.” Here, similar to the previous line about the profane person, Franklin describes the danger posed by a hypocrite. When someone who has bad intentions is perceived as good, it is easier for them to get their way and advance their own agenda. They are able to deceive people who trust them and use this trust to make people “Ignorant Trumpeters”; as in the people have no idea that they have been deceived and blindly accept what has been told to them because they are not aware of the truth. He goes on to state that no one is exempt from this categorization; even clergymen. Everyone is liable to be good on the outside but possibly be thinking their own temptations and goals rather than the good of the public. He concludes this essay by saying that in order for mankind be happy, we must learn to judge people by their whole conduct and what effects this may have, not just the good deeds that they do in the public eye.
This Obelisk was erected in 1827 by citizens to replace the original marker, that Benjamin Franklin had erected to honor his parents, since the original was worn because of the passage of time. The inscription on the stone reads, “Josiah Franklin And Abiah his Wife Lie here interred. They lived lovingly together in Wedlock. Fifty-five Years. Without an Estate or any gainful Employment, By constant Labour and Industry, With God’s Blessing,They maintained a large Family, Comfortably; And brought up thirteen Children, and seven Grandchildren Reputably. From this Instance Reader, Be encouraged to Diligence in thy Calling, and distrust not Providence. He was a pious & prudent man, She a discreet and virtuous Woman. Their youngest Son, In filial Regard of their Memory, Places this Stone. J.F born 1655—-Died 1744. Ætat 89 A.F. born 1667—-died 1752——85” (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin with related Documents, Second Edition, P. 35-36) With this inscription, Benjamin Franklin is telling us to take a lesson away from how his parents were, telling us to be effective and hard-working in our calling or profession, and to not ignore God.