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Ben Franklin


New-England Courant.

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

Issue 1

Monday August 7, 1721

Homo non unius Negotti: Or, Jack of all Trades.

It's a hard Case, that a Man can't appear in Print now a Days, unless he'll undergo the Mortification of Answering to ten thousand senseless and Impertinent questions like these, Pray Sir, from whence came you? And What Age may you be of, may I be so bold? Was you bied at Colledge Sir? And can you (like some of them) square the Circle, and cypher as far as the Black Art? &c. Now, tho' I must confess it's something irksome to a Man in hast, thus to be stop'd at his first setting-out, yet in Compliance to the Custom of the Country where I now set up for an Author, I'll immediately stop short, and give my gentle Reader some Account of my person and my rare Endowments.

As for my Age, I'm some odd Years and a few Days under twice twenty and three, therefore I hope no One will hereafter object against my soaring now and then with the grave Wits of the Age, since I have dropt my callow feathers, and am pretty well fledg'd: but if they should tell me that I am not yet fit nor worthy to keep Company with such Illustrious Sages, for my Beard do'sn't yet reach down to my Girdle, I shall make them no other Answer than this, Barba non facit Philosophum.

I make no question my gentle Readers, but that you're very Impatient to see me entirely dissected, and to have a full View of my outward as well as inward Man, but as I stopt short just now, merely to oblige you, so I shall stop as short here, and give no farther Account of my self until this Day fortnight, when you shall have a farther Account of this useful Design, and of my great endowments of Body and Mind.

And to engage the Word to converse farther with me, they'l find me in the good Company of a certain set of men, of whom I hope to give a very good Account,

Who like faithful Shepherds take care of their Flocks,
By teaching and practising what's Orthodox,
Pray hard against Sickness, yet preach up the POX!

N. B. This Paper will be published once a Fortnight, and out of mere Kindness to my Brother-Writers, I intend now and then to be (like them) very, very dull; for I have a strong Fancy, that unless I am sometimes flat and low this Paper will not be very grateful to them.

abnormis sapiens.- Hor.

At the Request of several Gentlemen in Town: A Continuation of the History of Inoculation in Boston, by a Society of the Practitioners in Physick.

The bold undertaker of the Practice of the Greek old Women, notwithstanding the Terror and Confusion from his Son's Inoculation-Fever, proceeds to inoculate Persons from Seventy Years of Age and downwards.

The Select Men (or Managers of the Town Affairs) in duty bound to take Cognizance of the Matter, desire a Meeting of all the Practitioners in Town, to have their Opinion whether the Practice ought to be allowed or not; they Unanimously agreed that it was rash and dubious, being entirely new, not in the least vouched or recommended (being merely published, in the Philosophick Transactions by way of Amusement) from Britain, tho' it came to us via London from the Turk, and by a strong viva voce Evidence, was proved to be of fatal & dangerous Consequence. B---n is desired by the Select Men to desist.

Notwithstanding the general Aversion of the Town, in Contradiction to the declared Opinion of the Practitioners, in Opposition to the Selectmen, and in Spite of the discouraging Evidences relating to this Practice, Six Gentlemen of Piety and Learning, profoundly ignorant of the Matter, after serious Consideration of a Disease, one of the most intricate practical Cases in Physick, do on the Merits of their Characters, and for no other reason, with a Vox prateriaq; nihil, assert, &c. If This Argument, viz. their Characters, should prevail with the Populace (tho' here I think they have missed of their Aim) who knows but it may oblige some profane Person to canvas that fort of Argument. I think their Character ought to be sacred, and that they themselves ought not give the least Occasion to have it called in question. They set up for Judges of a Man's Qualifications in the Practice of Physick and very lavishly bestow all the fulsome common Place of quack Advertisements. One would think they meant some Romantick Character, something beyond that of candid Sydenham, the sagacious Radcliff, or the celebrated Mead: they might indeed in respect of his moral and religious Qualifications, which lay properly under their Cognizance, have said, that he was a modest, humble Man of Continency, Probity, &c.

At first reading of this Composure, many were persuaded, that it was only a piece of Humour, Banter,

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Burlesque, or Ridicule on the Inoculator, &c. in treating a Character of low Life with a sort of strain'd Sublime, in a P--t manner; but were surprized to find two Gentleman, not in the Question, having given no Shadow of Offence, called Illiterate, Ignorant, &c. This (as they prophesied) the Town takes very much amiss. B--n was represented in a soft Manner, as illiterate, ignorant, rash, &c. only with respect to the Small Pox, and the dubious, dangerous Practice of Inoculation; these Gentleman are called so in gross. Why should Gentleman otherwise well qualified be called illiterate, Ignorant, &c. because they did not idle away four Years at Colledge, as some of our learned Men have done?

The Operation itself is not much greater than Bleeding, Blistering, &c. to the Eye; and here they rest, and form a prejudge in Favour of it; not proceeding farther to consider seriously the Evidences of its dismal Consequences, and Instances amongst ourselves of the violent high Fevers it hath prodcued. Old Mr. W--b in a few Hours underwent the hot Service of bleeding Vomiting, Blistering, Poultices, &c. and narrowly escaped with his Life. Is this no more than Bleeding or Blistering? Infatuation I think is like to be as Epidemick a Distemper of the Mind, as at present the small Pox is of the natural Body.

Westfield, July 19.

Mr. Daniel Bagg from Albany reports that there has lately been a great Fire at Quebeck, by which 150 Houses are laid in Ashes.

Boston, August 2.

At a Town's Meeting of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the town of Boston (legally Warn'd) for electing four Gentlemen to serve them in the great and general Court or Assembly to be held in Boston, on the 23d instant, John Clark, Elisha Cook, William Hutchinson Esqrs; and Mr. William Clark Merchant, were by a great Majority chosen their Representatives.

On last Thursday Morning sixty odd soldiers went on Board the Transport from Castle William, being part of those Troops which were raised by the Government, to check the daring Insults and intended Hostilities of the eastern Indians, and by eleven at Noon they sailed from Nantucket. It is not doubted, but that they reached Arrrowsick by the next Day in the Evening, the Wind blowing fresh at South-west and West South-west during that interval.

The whole quota design'd for the Expedition will (in all likelyhood) be there in a few Days, and there is no question, but that (by the Blessing of God) such a Numbers of Troops, so well equipt and led by such Officers, will be more than sufficient to put a stop to the threatning Danger, and bring the Indians to our own Terms.

Nothing can be more grateful to those poor, affrighted Strangers in those Parts than this well-timed Expedition, for it cannot be imagin'd with what Horrour and confusion those poor People were siezed, when they received the cruel (but unexpected) Menaces of those treacherous Barbarians.

Boston, August 5.

His Excellency the Governour having issued out a Proclamation to make Vessels perform quarentine that come from France, &c. The following Letter from a physician at Aix (giving an Account of the Plague) may not be amiss.

The Contagious Distemper, which has became the Reproach of our Faculty here for above a Month past, is more violent than that at Marseilles; it breaks out in Carbuncles, Buboes, livid Blisters, and purple Spots; the first Symptoms are grievous Pains in the Head, Consternation, wild Looks, a trembling Voice, a cadaverous Face, a coldness in all the extreme Parts, a low unequal Pule, great Pains in the Stomach, Reachings to Vomit, and these are follow'd by Sleepiness, Deliriums, convulsions, or Fluxes of Blood, the Forerunners of Sudden Death. In the Bodies that are open'd, we find Gangrenous Inflammations in all the lower Parts of the belly, Breast and Neck. Above fifty Persons have died every Day for three weeks past in the Town and Hospitals. Most of them fall into a dreadful Phrenzy, so that we are forc'd to tie them.

Boston, Aug. 7. Entered Inwards.

Samuel Northey Sloop Sarah and Mary, Edward Limington Richard and Elizabeth, John Snoad, Seconer Ann, & John Rows Sloop Speedwell from North Carolina, Rich Foster Briganteen Adventure and Richard Thomas Briganteen Hauk from Surranam, Francis Fowles Snow George from Bristol, Joshua Pickman Pink Lark, and William Scot Ship Eagle from London, and Robert Butler Ship Margaret from the Isle of May.

Cleared Out.

John French Ship Barbadoes Merchant, and John Stevens for New Hampshire, John Sampson, Charles Whitfield, and James Cahoon for Newport, Peter Murdoch, and Jer Attwater for Connecticut, John La Goss Sloop Tryal, & Francis Bignals Sloop Gray bound for Leward Islands, Jeremiah went for St. Christophers, William Mason Sloop Pelican for Maryland, Roger Dench and Peleg Durfie for Newfoundland, and Samuel Dolly for North Carolina.

Outward Bound.

Thomas Elison Sloop Joseph for New York, Joseph Farrington Ship John and Mary for Leward Islands, John Dauvergue Ship Durel for the Bay of Biscay, William Brocks Ship Sarah for West Indies, Nehem. Done Sloop Mary Ann for Barbados, Joseph Bissel Sloop Dove for Annapolis Royal Mal. Salter Sloop Fisher for North Carolina, Robert Butler Ship Margaret for London.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by J. Franklin, at his Printing House in Queen Street, over against Mr. Sheaf's School, Where Advertisements are taken in.

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