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

Silence Dogood essay 12: "Sir, It is no unprofitable tho' unpleasant Pursuit, diligently to inspect and consider ..."

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Silence Dogood essay 12: `Sir, It is no unprofitable tho` unpleasant Pursuit, diligently to inspect and consider ...`

In Silence Dogood essay 12 from the 3-10 September 1722 issue of The New-England Courant, Dogood writes about the vice of drunkenness. Without using a stern tone she uses the technique of ridicule to point out the effects of excessive drinking:

What Pleasure can the Drunkard have in the Reflection, that, while in his Cups, he retain'd only the Shape of a Man, and acted the Part of a Beast; or that from reasonable Discourse a few Minutes before, he descended to Impertinence and Nonsense?

Even the comments about the seeming benefits of drinking in moderation are laced with irony:

'Tis true, drinking does not improve our Faculties, but it enables us to use them; and therefore I conclude, that much Study and Experience, and a little Liquor, are of absolute Necessity for some Tempers, in order to make them accomplish'd Orators.

Franklin's gift for words is apparent towards the end of the essay when Dogood lists all the harmless sounding terms used to describe a state of drunkenness: "boozey, cogey, tipsey, fox'd, merry, mellow, fuddl'd, groatable, Confoundedly cut, See two Moons, are Among the Philistines, In a very good Humour, See the Sun, or, The Sun has shone upon them ... ."

To examine the entire newspaper, please see the online display of The New-England Courant, Number 58, 3-10 September 1722.

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