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Ben Franklin

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


New-England Courant.

Issue 27

From Monday January 29. to Monday February 5, 1722.



Aliud est maledicere, aliud accusare. Cic.

A JUDICIOUS Author observes, That there is no thing in which Men more deceive themselves than in what the World call Zeal. There are so many Passions which hide themselves under it, and so many Mischiefs arising from it, that some have gone so far as to say, it would have been for the Benefit of mankind, if It had never been reckoned in the Catalogue of Virtues. The fatal Effects of Zeal among our Selves, has almost Perswaded me to be of this Opinion. A furious pretended zeal, which only regards Matters of Opinion, has been improv'd against my self with a Design to destroy my Reputation and Interest amongst those Who are Strangers to my Person: And that this Design might be the better carried on, some Persons have been so undutiful to the Reverend Dr. Increase Mather, as to perswade him to Prefix his Name to an Advertisement in the last Weeks News-Letter and Gazette, wherein the mildest Appellation I meet with, is that of a wicked and cursed Libeller. This Charge I now lye under from the oldest Minister in the Country and in order to clear my self self I shall first give an Account of the first Cause of the Difference between us.

The Week before the Courant of Jan 1. came out, a Grandson of Dr. Increase Mather brought me the following Account of the Success of Inoculation in London,

A passage in the London Mercury, Sept 16. 'Great Numbers of Persons in the City and the Suburbs are under the Inoculation of the Small Pox. Among the rest, the eldest Son of a noble Duke in Hanover Square, had the Small Pox inoculated upon him.

This he said his Grandfather desir'd me to insert in my next, and affirm'd that he had transcrib'd it himself, and that it was Word for Word with the Account in the London Mercury. About Noon on the Day that the Courant came out, I saw the Four first Pages of the London Mercury of Sept. 16 and found nothing in them, but that the eldest son of a noble Duke in Hanover Squares, had the small Pox inoculated upon him INCOGNITO. Here our young Spark was detected in a downright Falshood, and lost his Credit with Courant; and I had great Reason too to believe that the Part of the above Paragraph was not in the other Half-sheet of the Mercury, because both Passages related to Inoculation, and might (no doubt) have been as well inserted together. The next Week I inserted a Letter in the Courant, which asserted, That the former Part of the Passage, viz. Great Numbers of Persons in the City and the Suburbs are under the Inoculation of the Small Pox, was not to be found in the London Mercury of that Date, but at the same time inform'd us, that there were some Accounts like it in a Weekly Mercury, which wanted Confirmation, and with the Addition of the Word Incognito. So that tho' the Author of this Letter cou'd not find the former Part of the above Passage in the London Mercury, yet his main Design was to show, that those who sent the said Passage to me, design'd to impose on the Publick by leaving out the material Word Incognito; and the Truth of this can be prov'd by many who have seen but the First Four Pages of the Said Mercury. However, I am now in-form'd by Gentlemen whom I dare believe, that the former Part of the said Passage is to last Half- Sheet of the London Mercury Sept 16. so that I have been impos'd on by both Sides, and shall take Care for the future, not to insert any thing in the Courant upon the Word of another.

I come now to consider the Doctor's Advertisement; and shall first observe, that those who first took the Advantage of my Credulity to deceive the World, (by leaving out the Word Incognito,) are those who now call me a cursed Libeller.

The Doctor first endeavours to clear himself of the Imputation of being one among the Supporters of the Courant, but at the same time Acknowledges, that he had paid me for Two or Three of them. He might as well have said he had paid me for many more, as to have put me to the Trouble of

proving it. Whether he remembers it or no, his Grandson Eiles, by his Order, desir'd me to set him down as a Customer Some Time ago; but upon the Appearance of a Letter in the Courant, wherein a certain Clergyman was touch'd upon, he dropt it as a Subscriber, but sent his Grandson almost every Week for a considerable Time to buy them; by which Method he paid more for the Paper and was more a Supporter of it, than if his Name had been Continu'd in the List. At length, being weary with sending, he became a Subscriber again, and expres'd no Dislike of the Paper till after Mr. Musgrave had publish'd his Grandson's Letter in the Gazette of Jan. 25. So that he both had and paid me for one Paper after that which he so much dislikes. The Truth of this I am ready to declare upon Oath, against the Testimony of all the Men in the Country. And that he has been a Subscriber, and consequently a Supporter of the Paper, the following Letter under his own Hand, will sufficiently Prove.

Mr. Franklin,
I Had Thoughts of taking your Courant (upon Tryal) for a Quarter of a Year; but I shall not now. In one of your Courants you have said that if the Ministers of God are for a Thing, it is a Sign it is from the Devil, and have dealt very falsely about the London Mercury. For these and other Reasons, I shall NO MORE be concerned with you.
your well wishing, but grieved Friend,
L. Mather.

In the next Place he says, In one of his vile Courants, he insinuates, that if the Ministers of God do approve of a Thing, its a sign it is of the Devil, which is a horrid Thing to be related.

The Words in the Courant are in a Dialogue (by an unknown Hand) between a Clergyman and Layman, and are exactly as follows,

Cl. But I find, all the Rakes in Town are against Inoculation, and that Induces me to believe it is a right Way.

Laym. Most of the Ministers are for it, and that induces me to think it is from the D---l, for he often makes use of good Men as Instruments to obtrude his Delusions on the World.

The Doctor must know, that Satan once stood up against Israel, and provoked DAVID to number the People. Feab, his wicked General, was not so easily provok'd to this is Evil: The King's Word was abominable to him. This is Doctrine which I have often heard from the Pulpit, and if I am condem'd for Publishing it, may venture to say (in the Words of the Doctor's Grandson, that I have Company of which I need not be ashamed.

Again, And altho' in one of the Courants it is declared, that the London Mercury Sept. 16. 1721. affirms, That Great Numbers of Persons in the City and Suburbs are under the Inoculation of the Small Pox; in his next Courant he asserts, That it was some busy Inoculator, that imposed on the Publick in sayings so.

I desire him to consider, that what I declared in one Courant was at his Desire, and what I asserted in the next was at the instance of another; so that I am but a Publisher of what one declares and another asserts.

Then (after telling us that he has read those Words in the London Mercury) he Says, And he doth frequently abuse the Ministers of Religion, and Many other worthy Persons, in a Manner which is intollerable.

One of there worthy Persons he hints at, has been since presented by the Grand Jury for cohabiting with a Woman as his Wife, who was never known to be so; and another has not yet been able to clear himself of the Charge against him.

Again, I can well remember when the Civil Government could have taken an effectual Course to supports such a cursed Libel.

Here the Doctor calls the Courant a cursed Libel, and yet tells us the Government cannot supports it; which he owns there is nothing in the Paper against Law, and plainly proves what he says to be a curse causeless, which shall not come.

Again he says, I cannot but pity poor Franklin, who the but a young Man, it may be speedily he must appear before the judgment seat of God, & c.

I shall make no other Answer to this, than, That there is no Man, living which doeth good and sinneth not, and that I expect and Hope to appear before God with safety in the Righteousness of Christ.

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In the last Place he says, I cannot but advise the Supporter of this Courant, to consider the Consequences of being partakers in other Men's Sins, and no more to countenance such wicked Paper. (He might have added, as I have done.)

Here I may justly observe, that if I may lawfully print the Courants, then I may as lawfully get my Living by selling them; and the Doctor may as well publish an Advertisement to advise Persons not to buy Goods of any Particular Merchant Shopkeeper, as to advise them not to countenance the Courant. I desire him to consider how it would be taken, if upon a Misunderstanding, between any Particular Minister and my self, I should publickly advise his People not to hear him, or contribute to his Support.

I shall conclude with saying, that the Doctor's great Age, his exemplary Piety, and the Consideration of his being impos'd on by others, would have prevented my Making any Remarks on his Advertisement, if my own Character had not been intimately concern'd in it.

I would likewise the Enemies of the Courant not to publish anything more against it, unless they are willing to have it continu'd: What they have already done has been resented by the Town so much to my Advantage, that above Forty Persons have Subscrib'd for the Courant since the first of January, many of whom were before Subscribers for the other Paper: And by one Advertisement more, the Anti-Couranteers will be in great Danger of adding Forty more to my List by the first of March.

P.S. In a Pamphlet Lately Publish'd under Colour of vindicating the Ministers, I find all Persons are again advis'd not to countenance the Courant; and those who do so, are threatened with Severe Judgements from heaven. I shall take Notice of what concerns my self in my next, if a profane Son of Corah, a child of the old Serpent, & c. may be allow'd to defend himself.

The Reader is desired to Observe that in the following Letter, those passages which are Comma'd are taken from a Sermon of the Rev. Mr. Foxcrost's, intitled, A Practical Discourse relating to the Gospel Ministry.

Miseras imimicat Urbes, Hor.

To the Author of the New-England Courant.

As the Dispensers of the Gospel in their Publick Preaching ought not (like Fawning Parasites) "to Daub and Palliate, to Prophecy smooth Things, and sow Pillows, tempering their Speech to the corrupt Palate, and the Itching Ear". So when they undertake to convince Gainsayers, "they must take Care not charge Persons at random, or on every light Occasion. They must take heed ----- how they denominate any Act a Crime by an ill Gluso, on perverse Innouendos: and then they must see to it, they go upon substantial Grounds, and plain Matter of Fact, and beware how they draw the Bow upon bare Surmise, or doubtful Report, and hear-say, least all be Stigmatiz'd as meddling Curiosity, or unchristian Calumny.

Ministers may not foist their own Whims and Notions into the Pulpit; much less may they Vent their own Spleen, and Revenge their private Quarrels there. Railing Billings-gate Language is a Disgrace to the Stage, and Much More so to the Sacred Place of Thunder; For let that be once admitted, what Infinite Confusions will the World soon be involv'd in! Moreover, when Men go to the Publick Worship, They will scarce know, whether it be to hear the Gospel, or to be Huss'd and Bug-bear'd; to be "outrag'd with Magisterial Censures, and Unmannerly Satyr". Indeed, were the Christian Religion, to be Propagated, like the Mahometan, with Fire and Sword, such Preaching would be well enough adapted to serve its interests; but surely, it is contrary to the Scope of the Gospel, (that mild and gentle Dispensation,) to the Example of the Prince of Peace, and highly unbecoming his Embasssadors. Therefore when they are delivering the Divine Message, they should "lay aside all hard Speeches, 'and grievous words which do but stir up anger, and lanch out Men's Inflamed resentments. They may 'contend earnestly for the Faith, and not Charge with 'thunder, or spit the vemon of untemper'd zeal, which 'is the grand original of most of those sad confusions, 'that ever infested Christian World.--- When Men 'carry (into the Pulpit) the poison of Asp under their 'Lips, and are all wild-fire and flame, waspish and 'hussy, the strange unhallowed incense of their 'stormy passion, and opprobrious Invectives will 'darken the air, cloud the light, and make the truth of God of none effect"

Ministers should perswade Men, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ; but the reverse of this, tends to obstruct their Ministry, and Prejudice Men against their Persons; it tends to abase "the majesty of the Pulpit, degrade the dignity of a venerable institution, and put a strong temptation before some to cry out, --- This foolishness of preaching! What would the Babler say"? Yea, it tends to make Men resolve even Religion it self into nothing but superstitious whimsy, 'or mere frenzy, and think all their most zealous Sermons upon it are but imposture and a mock-shadow, the bubling of a disturbed fancy, or the bablings of cunning hypo-

crisy; that they do but act a Part, and preach only because tis their occupation, and by this craft they get their living & so branding 'all as religious policy, to prepare and pave the way to filthy lucre, supporting that gain is all their godliness.

But mildness and gentleness in Preachers, admirably Corresponds to the Example of Christ, who was meek and lowly; the most Transcendent Pattern for Ministers to copy after: It will render their Persons amiable, and is most likely to recommend their Preaching to the Love and Esteem of their bearers.

Ministers then, must "study to compose their looks and form their behaviour to the utmost decency and solemn air, as they wou'd not deseat their great design, unravel their Work, and prevent the good entertainment of their Message"

Yours, &c.



Petersburgh, September 1. The Czar has cause'd to be engrav'd a new Hydrographical Chart of the Captain Sea, according to the Observations of the Geographers and Astronomers whom his Czarish Majesty sent thither two Years ago, to take an account of the Situation and Course of the Coasts of that Sea, and to mark out the exact Latitudes of them. Some of those who were sent on this Errand have reported since their Return, that they went 150 Leagues up into the Country on the N.E. Side of that Sea, where they found a large Stone Edifice above half cover'd with Sand, whose Fabrick or Manner of Building well nigh resembles that of the Ruins of the ancient Persepolis: That within it they found Presses made of a black and very hard Wood, in which were shut up above 3000 Volumes bound in the Shape of large Books in Qarto, whose Leaves that were a quarter of an Inch thick, were of a blue Colour, and written with white Characters: That they would have brought away this Library, but the Superstitious inhabitants of the Country would not let them; because regarding that Structure as a Consecrated Monument, they should think themselves guilty of profaning it, if they Suffer'd any thing to be taken from it. The Muscovite Travellers nevertheless found Means of filching away three of the Volumes, which they have brought hither, where no one can be found who can decypher the Characters; and therefore the Czar has been obliged to order the first Pages of those Books to be copy'd that they may be sent to the Learned in France and England, to see if they can make any Thing of them. The Learned of this Country conjecture, that the Place where this Building stands, is that where formerly stood the Capital of the Scythians, known in old Histories by the Name of Issedon Scythica, tho' the Ancients gave it a far distant Situation.

Rome, September 9, On the Third Instant we had a furious Tempest; the Lightning fell in ten Places of this City, and set fire to several Buildings; among others to the Magazines of the Colisco, ten of which are entirely consumed.

Geneva, Sept. 28. Letters from Orange, Barbatane and Lyons say, that the Report of the Plague's being at Avigton is but too true; that it rages likewise at Bedatide, two League from thence, and that the Inhabitants of Lyons are beginning to shut themselves up in their Houses.

Boston, Feb. 5. They write from Newhaven that there was lately near that place a Child born with one Body, two Heads, four Arms and four Legs, which it's said had some Life in it at the first.

Custom House, Boston, No. Vessels arrived here last Week.

Cleared Out.

Thomas Child for Barbadoes, William Hinder for Antigua, Thomas Clifton for London, John Gerald for Amsterdam

Outward Bound

Thomas Copping and Jonathan Rowse for North Carolina, George Coombes for Maryland.


All Persons Indebted to the Estates of Oliver Noyes Esq; Deceased, are hereby Notified to balance their Accompts by the first of March next, or without fail they may expect to be Arrested to April Court. Any Persons may settle their Accompts with said Estate, at the warehouse next adjoining to the Golden ball in Merchants Row, where daily Attendance is given.

N.B. The Dwelling House near the Town Dock In Corn-Market, belonging to said Estate to be let on reasonable Terms.

A servant Maid's Time for Three Years And an half to be dispos'd of on reasonable Terms. Esquire of the Printed hereof.

All Persons indebted to the Estate of Robert Calef, late of Roxbury, deceas'd, are desired to pay their respective Debts to Joseph Calef in Water-Street, Boston, Administer, to whom those who have any claims on the said Estate may apply themselves for payment.

This Paper (No 27) begins a new quarter; and those who have not paid for the last, are desired to send in their Money, or pay it to the Bearer. Those who incline to take it, are desir'd to signify it at the Place of Sale, or at the Blue Ball over against the Star Tavern in Union Street.

Boston: Printed and Sold by J. Franklin in Queen Street, over against Mr. Sheaf's School, where Advertisements and Letters are taken in by J. Edwards at the Corner Shop on the North Side of the Town-House.

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