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Massachusetts Historical Society | Silence Dogood: Benjamin Franklin in The New-England Courant

Silence Dogood essay 2: "Sir, Histories of Lives are seldom entertaining ..."

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Silence Dogood essay 2: `Sir, Histories of Lives are seldom entertaining ...`

The second Silence Dogood essay continues Franklin's fictional autobiography of the Widow Dogood and gives an account of her reaction to the minister's marriage proposal--she burst out laughing, then apologized, and upon reflection, accepted. The essay, appearing in the 9-16 April 1722 issue of The New-England Courant, summarizes her seven-year marriage (ending with the death of the minister) and acknowledges her current status as a widow who has time for conversations and a desire to share her politics. Not surprisingly, Silence Dogood's politics were much like those of the Franklin brothers: she was "a mortal Enemy to arbitrary Government and Unlimited power." The essay gives evidence of her character's outspoken nature:

I have likewise a natural Inclination to observe and reprove the Faults of others, at which I have an excellent Faculty. I speak of this by Way of a Warning to all such whose Offences shall come under my Cognizance ... .

To examine the entire newspaper, please see the online display of The New-England Courant, Number 37, 9-16 April 1722.

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