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Ben Franklin wrote in his Autobiography (in his 50's) that he was he bacame a Vegetarian at age 16. Years later, he wrote the remainder of his Autobiography, and did not take a different stance on that well noted concern. Recently, a 21st century author has disputed claims that Franklin was a vegetarian. Who are you going to believe? Some 21st century author just trying to make a buck who never met Franklin?, or Ben Frankin himself, in his own words, in his own "AUTO-biography"? (not Biography, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, the FULL Autobiography (not just the first section written in his 50's), which I read from stem to stern, end to end, and it took 2 years to read it).

"When about 16 Years of Age, I happen’d to meet with a Book, written by one Tryon, recommending a Vegetable Diet. I determined to go into it. My Brother being yet unmarried, did not keep House, but boarded himself & his Apprentices in another Family. My refusing to eat Flesh occasioned an Inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon’s Manner of preparing some of his Dishes, such as Boiling Potatoes or Rice, making Hasty Pudding, & a few others, and then propos’d to my Brother, that if he would give me Weekly half the Money he paid for my Board I would board myself. He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional Fund for buying Books:" -BEN FRANKLIN Chapter 1 "The Autobiography" E302.6F7A2
ONLINE VERSION also available (now more directly at) The word "Flesh" is capitalized in the Vintage Press version, but not in some other publications.

FRANKLIN WAS A VEGETARIAN for at least part of his life, probably most of it. I have read his AUTOBIOGRAPHY twice. It has been suggested by some, that at one point he may have gone back to eating fish; however, this is in dispute, and comes from a humorous drawing with comments (not in The Autobiography), of one fish eating a smaller fish who was eating an even smaller fish. I feel that he was just being sarcastic with his comments added to his humorous drawing proclaiming "I feel better when I eat fish" (I think the comments were intended as a cartoon with baloon comments, that the fish were saying, I like eating fish, while going after one, and being chased by another, and perhaps mocking those who say they feel better eating fish, or perhaps some sort of political cartoon), and some say it may have even been written by someone else other than Franklin (but I think it was Franklins cartoon).
After reading his entire Autobiography, I get the impression, that he might have swayed from being vegetarian, breifly, while stranded in England, but at time of writing the first and major portion of The Autobiography, he did consider himself a vegetarian, and he did not back down from that while writting the latter half (which consists of mainly a long list of official acomplishments, mostly honors, and organizations he created).
Franklin was in charge of a group of soldiers building a fort in the wilderness (around the time of The Revolution), and a list of supplies he ordered for the soldiers included "beef tounge", but it does not mean that he had any.
He does proclaim that he became a vegetarian, but not specifically that he ever gave it up. (If he did go back to eating fish, which I doubt, it quite possibly may have been due to lack of Vitamin B, found in liver, but rarely found in vegetarian foods, Lack of B Vitamins causes depression. But now the B vitamins are now easily accessible by getting a "Vitamin B Complex" or "B Stress Formula" at your local store). Even in the 1930's it became the "In Thing" to be a Vegetarian (to be humane to animals), but without B Vitamins, many became depressed and suicidal.

Anthropologists & Human Evolutionists point out that man is slow to evolve, we today, are the same as those who lived in the times of the building of The Pyramids, and the same as ancient cave dellers, both metally and physically, there has been little evolutionary change since then (Technology has advanced greatly, due to greater population density resulting in "greater communications"). John Robbins "Diet for a New America" points out that the human intestine is not the design and pattern of a carnivore intestine, and it is a result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. It is quite possible, that the ancients grew B Vitamins from "cultures" as vitamin manufactures do today. Possibly this was done in Franklins time, possibly in Jesus' time.

There is strong evidence that Jesus was a vegetarian and did not eat fish. A Fish is a Christian symbol, probably comming from the Sign of Pisces. The signs of the Zodiac were found on the ceiling of a Temple in Egypt built back in the times of the building of the Pyramids (and Jesus did travel to and did study in Egypt, which was a major civilization in those days). Some of the early Christians were astrologers, and possibly Jesus was too (and there is evidence to this in his astrological chart, Grand Trine and Grand Cross linking at his U-ra-nus in Aries (the mind) in the 4th House (private life, which is not known by his fame). Chart at JESUS' CHART

One way or the other Pisces "The Fish" is the sign which pertains to Religion, and these origins were well before the birth of Jesus. Perhaps the founders of the Christian Church would turn over in their graves if they heard that Eating fish was the current "Christian thing to do"

I personally feel that todays religious stances against both Astrology and Veganism, are a Blastphamy to the origins of the Christian Church, its Founders, and Jesus himself. Not of mal intent from Holy persons with good intent, but thru thousands of years of of individuals using the religious system to their own personal whims.

The largest astrological book collection (as of the 1960's) was/is in the Vatican Library. The Eastern Orthodox (other half of the Christian Church, which split in 1050, year of the great Super Nova in the Sky) encourages you to "Fast" for the 40 days & nights of Lent, and at the end of Lent, the Preist comes out and proclaims, that after fasting, "this is the way you are supposed to be". And there are many other Fasting times thru the year.

A couple of people have written, stating that many Catholics in those days did not consider Fish to be Meat. To which I respond: 1) Still today many Catholics do not consider both Bird and Fish to be "meat". The official term as per dictionarys states BOTH useages of the word "meat", excluding fish and birds, and including fish and birds as the term "meat". Catholics tend to consider Fish and Birds as not meat, not animals, etc. 2) Franklin was not a Catholic. Franklin was in no official association with any major religion, except that he socialized "hung out" with many Quakers (not Shakers, not Amish, but Quakers aka Society of "Friends"). I went to a Quaker School as a kid, and used to attend the West Coast "Friends" Yearly Meeting, and there were many vegetarians there, certainly not the majority, but more than your average group of middle class America. 3) I have read Franklins Autobiography, and know that when he went vegetarian, he did not eat fish either. Only later in his life did he draw a cartoon with one fish eating the next which was eating the next, and so on (a humorous joke, a cartoon) with the statement saying that if they eat each other, then he could too. I am convinced that this was not giving up being a vegetarian, but that it was just a Joke in an attempt to bring some light to people in general, a socio-political cartoon. It may be possible that Franklin gave up being a vegetarian briefly in his later life, but I doubt it after reading the entire "AUTObiography" as well as much of "Writings" by Franklin (compelation of papers by Franklin) and if you read what HE says, he was a vegetarian (who may have strayed from it when stranded in England, possibly, but it sounds like if so, that was not a permanant situation). There are lots of "half assed" vegetarians in the world. I used to be one of them. Now I am a Strict vegetarian vegan. Perhaps some day someone might look back at my life and say "he was not a vegetarian, because he gave it up for a few years" (family, social, and business reasons, and only reluctantly and with the intent of going back to it). But I am a vegetarian and vegan today, and have been for many years.

There are 5 living Kingdoms of Scientific Classifications
*Fungi (mushrooms)
The last 3 (Fungi, Protozoa, Micro-organisms) are hard to avoid, being in everything) but Fish & Birds are members of the Animal Kingdom (as are snails, ants, and bugs); and that's Official
Some other accounts of Franklin may say different, but I go by what the man said himself, in his own AUTO-Biography, which he wrote himself. Franklin wrote his Autobiography at a later age, and specified that he went on a Vegetable Diet, and Refused to eat Meat, and this is written as a major importance in his life.