Electric ...
Ben Franklin


New-England Courant.

NOTE: Some of the transcriptions of The Courant given here have not had the proofreading corrections completed.

The Anti-Courant

THE Little-Compton Scourge: Or, The Anti-Courant.

The Acute Descartes very wittily observes, that there is no Bequest of Heaven to Men, which is so equally and happily distributed among the Species, as the Intellectual Talent. The Distribution is Universally well-liked of; you never hear any Man murmur and repine at the Fates, for his own scanty Allowance. Every Man blesses himself that he is no Fool, and thanks his Stars, that he does not want wit. So that this one Instance must forever stand as a grand Exception to the general Maxim, No Man is content with, his own Condition. Self-conceit supplies the want of Sense; and fancied Wit yields a Man as full Consolation as a true Consciousness of real and extra-ordinary Understanding. It is well, This is the Case of the miserable and dull Couranto, who, had he a true light of himself, and what a wretched Figure he makes in writing, would quarrel with all Mankind for having more Wit than himself.

Wit! what is that? Pray, from whence came it? What Age may it be of? Was it bred at College, or in the Apothecary's Shop, Sir. --- Pray, Sir, don't be angry at these Enquiries; for it is none of yours or our Families Pedigree or Education we are enquiring for. You have no acquaintance with it yet; you must live near twice twenty and three Years more, after you can court so mortal an Enemy into your favour and win so delicate and coy a Guest into your side and mortal Embraces.

But yet that you may know the Stranger when you have (if it be possible, which I much doubt) a chance fight of her, Let me tell you in the Name of an Apothecary, she is cloathed in a Latin Dress, and that she is much for a pertinent and nice Patching her unfortunately tattered Cloaths, with the best and brightest Pieces from your true Roman Authors. As For Example, Barba non Facit Philosophum. Qua genus aut flexum variant, quacunque novato, &C. propria qua Maribus tribuuntur MASCULA dicas.

And further, if ever it should be your good, though doubtful Fate to have a glance View of her, observe her Gate, watch her Motions, till she is out of Sight, as to one She'll tread in Metre, (for she is a pretty Antic Dame too) and you shall find pieces of Hexameters and Pentameters beat out in Time. Both of them ; Von pratereaque nihil, and, Vox et praterea nihil.

As soon as ever you have arrived at so much Knowledge of her, if she flies from you after all, hallow out for your Life, and tell her that you know Mr. Bickerstaff (for you are a Man used to it and must not mind a Lie and that he was a pure Cunning Man. That you tried to come into the World just as he did; and should you perswade her you are as much like him as Lackey and Link Boy to Mr. Gentleman, you are well off.

But, Sir, what did you say your Age was? Some odd Years, and a few Days under twice twenty three. Good Sir, your writing betrays you in some Odd Year of your Age. Others will more readily think, by your raw Scribbling, that Years had not much to do here, and that Days better became your reckoning.

You are confident of Readers and good Success with them. Never a Jack without a Jill. To your comment you have a dull Parity of Readers ready to your

Click for Ben Franklin Posters

Hand, who have long been plagued for Want of Works fit for their Reading. And now the poor Souls are blest. And they put Confidence in your dull and necessitated Fidelity. Soar now and then, Mr. Grubstreet; but do not be two frequent in your Flights, and they'll promise to Keep you in Sight.

Take Courage, poor Couranto, and don't disturb your self with Foolish Fears, of creating Impatience in your Gentle Readers. It would be hard to make Gentleness become Impatient. Never fear, you will find good Quarter from the Gentle; and till you possess the Talent of Satire (which such an innocent Creature as you can never be guilty of) you may keep in with the Men of Passion and Resentment. Your harmless Lashes, which rather tickle them into a Laugh at the awkward Flogger, than gaul them in the sore Place, will never displease them.

But to be sure get your self Dissected (according to your Promise) that the World may have a full View of your Outward Man, for you are a Misterious Piece of Skin, that cannot disclose your Exteriors without the Help of Anatomy. And, Sir, as for the Dissection for the Discovery of the inward Man, the World thinks it needless, for that your Works declare, your Guts are in your Brains.

However, not to make you STOP SHORT three Times (as in your late Advertisement) we will permit you to let us have every Fortnight an Account of your Robust Body, and your Cloudy Mind.

And do not fail to give an elaborate and impartial Account of the good Company of a certain set of Men; otherwise your Silence in this Matter, may give the World shrewd Grounds of Suspicion, of what the excellent, immortal, and profoundly learned Dugard (for we must quote, you know, the best Latin Authors) once said of the Goat, which here is no Catechresis, Vir Gregis, ipse CAPER deerraverat.

Go on, Monsieur Courant, and prosper; Fear not to please your stupid Admirers, which will be an easy Task, if you will but consult your own heavy Genius, and write in your native Stile, of which you have been so sharp and discerning as to give us the apt and proper Character, VERY, VERY DULL!

I should Sir, be unjust and defraud you of your due, if I did not send you a little Rythme (with small Variation, from a candid, sagacious, and celebrated Author) in Recompence of your wondrous witty Triplet.

Go on, dull Soul, labour in Spite
Of Nature, and your Stars to write.
Zechariah Touchstone.

Aug.10. 1721.

P. S. It were to be wished the Select Men, for the Peace of the Publick, would oblige Mr. Couranto to be, Homo unius Negotii.

Quare, whether the Term [Extrafundamental] may be allowed. The younger Scaliger is of Opinion, Extragrounded, is a word of better Import. Take Notice, the candid Coxcombins, and the celebrated Scornsensius do not scruple to declare that both the former Criticisms are EXTRAGROUNDLESS.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by J. Franklin, over against Mr. Sheaf's School in Queen-Street. Price 3d.

Click for Ben Franklin Posters