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1The Lighthouse Tragedy, 1718 (Franklin Papers)
Not found As a lad of twelve or thirteen Franklin “took a Fancy to Poetry, and made some little Pieces.” One of these was a ballad he remembered as “the Light House Tragedy ,” inspired by the drowning on November 3, 1718, of George Worthylake, keeper of the light on Beacon Island, with his wife and daughter. (In the autobiography he remembered it incorrectly as Worthylake and his two...
Not found The second ballad which Franklin wrote and hawked through the streets of Boston was “a Sailor Song on the Taking of Teach or Blackbeard the Pirate.” This may have been written in March 1719, after the Boston News-Letter carried a full account of the last fight and death of Captain Edward Teach on November 22, 1718. In the middle of the nineteenth century the Boston physician George...
Copy: University of Pennsylvania Library The University of Pennsylvania acquired in 1934 an eighty-six line “Elegy on my Sister Franklin,” undated but written in an eighteenth-century hand, and signed “B.F.” The Elegy opens as follows: The manuscript is a sheet of four pages and appears to be a copy of an earlier version, for the penman inadvertently skipped lines 35 and 36, but put them in at...
Printed in The New-England Courant , April 2, 1722. The first issue of James Franklin’s New-England Courant appeared on August 7, 1721, at the height of the inoculation controversy in Boston. Because the Mathers supported inoculation, the Courant opposed it; and the paper’s lively, combative essays and verses were soon directed also against the clergy, the magistrates, the postmaster, Harvard...
Printed in The New-England Courant , April 16, 1722. Histories of Lives are seldom entertaining, unless they contain something either admirable or exemplar: And since there is little or nothing of this Nature in my own Adventures, I will not tire your Readers with tedious Particulars of no Consequence, but will briefly, and in as few Words as possible, relate the most material Occurrences of...
Printed in The New-England Courant , April 30, 1722. It is undoubtedly the Duty of all Persons to serve the Country they live in, according to their Abilities; yet I sincerely acknowledge, that I have hitherto been very deficient in this Particular; whether it was for want of Will or Opportunity, I will not at present stand to determine: Let it suffice, that I now take up a Resolution, to do...
Printed in The New-England Courant , May 14, 1722. An sum etiam nunc vel Graecè loqui vel Latinè docendus? Cicero. Discoursing the other Day at Dinner with my Reverend Boarder, formerly mention’d, (whom for Distinction sake we will call by the Name of Clericus,) concerning the Education of Children, I ask’d his Advice about my young Son William, whether or no I had best bestow upon him...
Printed in The New-England Courant , May 28, 1722. Mulier Mulieri magis congruet. Ter. I shall here present your Readers with a Letter from one, who informs me that I have begun at the wrong End of my Business, and that I ought to begin at Home, and censure the Vices and Follies of my own Sex, before I venture to meddle with your’s: Nevertheless, I am resolved to dedicate this Speculation to...
Printed in The New-England Courant , June 11, 1722. Quem Dies videt veniens Superbum, Hunc Dies vidit fugiens jacentem. Seneca. Among the many reigning Vices of the Town which may at any Time come under my Consideration and Reprehension, there is none which I am more inclin’d to expose than that of Pride . It is acknowledg’d by all to be a Vice the most hateful to God and Man. Even those who...
Printed in The New-England Courant , June 25, 1722. It has been the Complaint of many Ingenious Foreigners, who have travell’d amongst us, That good Poetry is not to be expected in New-England . I am apt to Fancy, the Reason is, not because our Countreymen are altogether void of a Poetical Genius, nor yet because we have not those Advantages of Education which other Countries have, but purely...