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Mrs. 'Silence' Do-Good Won't Shut Up!

She ain't no lady. She is Benjamin Franklin. As a teenager, Franklin is apprenticed to his older brother, James, as a printer. James publishes The New England Courant, so Benjamin submits a few articles for the newspaper, but James refuses to print them. The Courant is one of the first newspapers to accept letters to the editor, so young Franklin writes a letter under the pen name, "Mrs. Silence Do-Good" (actually spelled: "Dogood" but pronounced "Do Good.") She is a struggling widow with wit and wisdom on subjects ranging from the absurdity of women's hoop-skirts to the blind zealotry of many religious leaders. Her letters are an instant success. As the Do-Good Letters become more-and-more critical of the government, James Franklin is taken into custody until he reveals who "Mrs. Do-Good" really is. (He has no idea.) The government is not the only one seeking Mr's Do-Good's identity. Several men have offered marriage proposals. After James is released, Benjamin will break his apprenticeship and high-tail it to Philadelphia. His brother is very angry. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The "Do-Good" name came from the title of a book on "Do Good" projects for the community. Over the years, Benjamin Franklin wrote under several pen names including the tradesman: "Anthony Afterwit", the math wiz: "Poor Richard Saunders", and the elderly "Pennsylvanus". He said that a pen name allowed him to convey a message specific to his audience. It also allowed him to express his wit and humor more freely. Obviously, "Alex Shrugged" is a pen name. I do not fear being found out. I use it because it allows me the freedom of my opinion without worry that friends and relatives will be forced to defend me when I write something controversial. My family and friends love me. They don't always agree with me. Using a pen name allows them some deniability and it allows me some flexibility. [5] [6] [7]

Samuel Adams Doesn't Know Jack About Beer... Yet

Yes. Samuel Adams is born this year in Boston. His second cousin (the future President John Adams) has not yet been born. Samuel's family owns a malting company. As he gets older he will work for his father, Samuel Adams, Senior, at the malting facility, but he will not work as a brewer. His education at Harvard will prepare him for a career in politics. We will remember him best as an organizer against the Boston Occupation after resistance to the Sugar Act and Stamp Act brought an occupation force into Boston. With so many British soldiers in the city, friction was inevitable. Some historians suggest that Samuel Adams agitated the population into a riot that resulted in the Boston Massacre. The evidence for this is thin, though. Others suggest that he had an American Revolution in mind long before 1775, but his letters only called for reform of the system before that time. The "Sam Did It!" school of history has been losing credibility. [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As I recall from my general reading, Samuel Adams was no kind of brewer at all and neither did he have any interest in the business. The Boston Beer Company that produces Samuel Adams Beer was founded in 1984. Jim Koch named his new beer, "Samuel Adams Boston Lager" to honor the Boston American patriot. The beer became popular, in 1985 after it was named "Best Beer in America" at the Great American Beer Festival. I have never been a big beer drinker so I don't have an opinion on how good it might be. I simply laugh when I see commercials with a fellow in a three-cornered-hat as if the company had been in business since the American Revolution. It isn't the same company and the recipe is from the 1950s. My son-in-law used to drive a beer truck and he seemed to think that the popularity of a beer had less to do with its taste and more to do with its backstory. [9] [10]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1722, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Silence Dogood. Hoaxipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 February 2016. “The readers of the Courant thought she was a charming woman. So charming, in fact, that a few of the male readers wrote in, upon learning that she was single, and offered to marry her.”
  2. Silence Dogood, No. 1 - 1:8a. Benjamin Franklin Papers (April 2, 1722). Retrieved on 2 February 2016. “It may not be improper in the first place to inform your Readers, that I intend once a Fortnight to present them, by the Help of this Paper, with a short Epistle, which I presume will add somewhat to their Entertainment.”
  3. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. Packard Humanities Institute (2016). Retrieved on 2 February 2016.
  4. Silence Dogood - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 February 2016. “Mrs. Silence Dogood was a pen name used by Benjamin Franklin to get his work published in the New-England Courant, a newspaper founded and published by his brother James Franklin. This was after Benjamin Franklin was denied several times when he tried to publish letters under his own name in the Courant. The 14 Mrs. Silence Dogood letters were first printed in 1722.”
  5. OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 February 2016. “OSHA's mission is to 'assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance'.”
  6. Mather, Cotton. Bonifacius: Essays to do Good. Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints. ISBN 9780820110325. 
  7. Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684807610. “Mather's tract called on members of the community to form voluntary associations to benefit society, and he personally founded a neighborhood improvement group, known as Associated Families, which Benjamin's father joined. He also urged the creation of Young Men Associated clubs and of Reforming Societies for the Suppression of Disorders, which would seek to improve local laws, provide charity for the poor, and encourage religious behavior.” 
  8. Samuel Adams - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 February 2016. “Adams continued to work on getting the troops withdrawn, and keeping the boycott going until the Townshend duties were repealed. Two regiments were removed from Boston in 1769, but the other two remained. Tensions between soldiers and civilians eventually resulted in the killing of five civilians in the so-called Boston Massacre of March 1770. According to the 'propagandist interpretation' of Adams popularized by historian John Miller, Adams deliberately provoked the incident to promote his secret agenda of American independence. According to Pauline Maier, however, 'There is no evidence that he prompted the Boston Massacre riot'.”
  9. The History Of Samuel Adams Beer. Mental Itch (2016). Retrieved on 2 February 2016. “Samuel Adams Beer began all the way back in 1860 when the original recipe was first developed by Louis Koch from St. Louis Missouri. The beer was first sold under the name of Louis Koch Lager until around the early 1950s.”
  10. The Boston Beer Company Investor Relations Center - About Us. bostonbeer.com (2016). Retrieved on 2 February 2016. “Jim walked bar-to-bar with a briefcase full of beer that he called Samuel Adams Boston Lager, in recognition of one of our nation's great founding fathers, a revolutionary man of independent mind and spirit.”

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