“Almost every Man has a strong natural Desire of being valued and esteemed by the rest of his Species; but I am concerned and grieved to see how few fall into the Right and only infallible Method of becoming so. That laudable Ambition is too commonly misapplyed and often ill employed.
Some to make themselves considerable pursue Learning,
others grasp at Wealth,
some aim at being thought witty,
and others are only careful to make the most of an handsome Person;
But what is Wit, or Wealth, or Form, or Learning when compared with Virtue?
’Tis true, we love the handsome, we applaud the Learned, and we fear the Rich and Powerful; but we even Worship and adore the Virtuous.
Nor is it strange; since Men of Virtue, are so rare, so very rare to be found.
If we were as industrious to become Good, as to make ourselves Great, we should become really Great by being Good, and the Number of valuable Men would be much increased; but it is a Grand Mistake to think of being Great without Goodness; and I pronounce it as certain, that there was never yet a truly Great Man that was not at the same Time truly Virtuous.” ~ Benjamin Franklin, 1728