NOTE: Some of the transcriptions of The Courant given here have not had the proofreading corrections completed.
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 efforts to bring The Courant online.
- Background to the Courant
- The Anti-Courant.
- Number 1 August 7, 1721
- Number 18 November 27 to December 4, 1721
- Number 25 January 15 to January 22, 1722
- Number 27 January 29 to February 5, 1722
- Number 28 February 5 to February 12, 1722
- Number 35 March 26 to April 2, 1772
- Number 37 April 9 to April 16, 1722
- Number 39 April 23 to April 30, 1772
- Number 41 May 7 to May 14, 1722
- Number 43 May 21 to May 28, 1772
- Number 45 June 4 to June 11, 1772
- Number 47 June 18 to June 25, 1722
- Number 49 July 2 to July 9, 1722
- Number 51 July 16 to July 23, 1722
- Silence Dogood #1
- Silence Dogood #2
- Silence Dogood #3
- Silence Dogood #4
- Silence Dogood #5
- Silence Dogood #6
- Silence Dogood #7
- Silence Dogood #8
- Silence Dogood #9
- Silence Dogood #10
- Silence Dogood #11
- Silence Dogood #12
- Silence Dogood #13
- Silence Dogood #14
Here are letters from Silence Dogood, printed in the New England Courant. For more information about the fictitious Silence Dogood, read our Silence Dogood section of the backgrounder to the Courant.