Silence Dogood Essay #10

On the 13th of August in 1772, under a pseudonym of Silence Dogood, Benjamin Franklin points out in his tenth letter to the author of the New England Courant that often times women live good lives, are “bred well, and liv’d well” but are ruined when they get married and their husbands die leaving them with little to nothing except children to take care of.  To prevent their husbands’ deaths from altering their way of life in a negative way, Franklin proposes the idea of opening a service or office called “An Office of Ensurance for Widows” that would allow around 2000 women to subscribe to a service where they would pay a sum each month or quarter that would then turn into a larger sum these widows would receive within six months of their husband’s death. However, if a woman’s husband leaves her with an amount of 2000 l. after all debts have been paid, she could not claim the money because the whole idea of this organization is to “aid the poor, not add to the rich” as Franklin puts it.

This, I believe, is the premise he wants to establish this service on. Franklin would like this “Office of Ensurance to Widows” to act as an aid to those in need and not be a way for the rich to become richer. This organization for women with deceased husbands, in a larger sense, is a way that could bring about happiness and for men to “help another, without any disservice to himself.” The thing that I take away from this essay is the fact that even if “an office of ensurance for widows” is not opened, we should still be kind, willingly help others, and ask nothing in return. The last sentence that Ben Franklin writes in the tenth letter of Silence Dogood is, “For my own Part, I have nothing left to live on, but Contentment and a few Cows; and tho’ I cannot expect to be reliev’d by this Project, yet it would be no small Satisfaction to me to see it put in Practice for the Benefit of others.” Even though he has not much to give, he is still willing to see it succeed not to help himself, but to help others.

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