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Ben Franklin

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of the transcriptions of The Courant given here have not had the proofreading corrections completed. Use these to enjoy the flavor of the content. Please check original sources when citing these documents.

New England Courant
New England Courant

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The New-England Courant, founded in 1721, was the creation of James Franklin, Benjamin's big brother. The 15-year-old Benjamin was a printer's apprentice for the Courant, Boston's third newspaper. Never content simply to set type, young Benjamin Franklin invented Silence Dogood, a fictional widow of a country minister who held strong opinions. Silence contributed 14 pieces to the Courant, which were well received.

During Benjamin's apprenticeship, he was mistreated and beaten by James. Yet, James must be recognized, too, as one of the first to suffer a jail sentence for "libel" — which in his day meant printing anything that was not popular with the government. Benjamin fled to Philadelphia to escape his brother's abuse.

Printing was Franklin's trade for life, and he prospered. In the Silence Dogood pieces you will enjoy the wit, wisdom and world view that today is so strongly associated with Benjamin Franklin.

The Independence Hall Association recognizes the Massachusetts Historical Society for their kind permission to present "The Courant" online.

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