Silence Dogood Essay #9

On July 23, 1722, Benjamin Franklin published his ninth essay of the “Silence Dogood” essays in The New-England Courant. In this essay, Franklin looks to explore which is worse for the Commonwealth; the “hypocritical pretenders to religion, or by the openly profane.” Through his essay, Franklin then concludes that hypocrites are worse than the people that are being openly profane. The hypocrite becomes especially worse, Franklin explains, when they are able to hold a position in government. The reason they are worse is that a hypocrite leads people to believe one thing, when they are truly not following it themselves. Franklin supports this point by explaining how the people will “take him for a Saint, and pass him for one.” While the openly profane people are letting their true values show, the hypocrites are the ones who are hiding these values and leading the people of the Commonwealth to one thing, while they are thinking another. Franklin continues to support this claim, bringing in why it is even worse when the hypocrite holds a position in the government. The hypocrite “leaves the Gospel for the sake of the law,” which Franklin goes on to further explain that while the hypocrite leads his people to believe in the religion he so believes in, he is really cheating them and will destroy them under the law. Through this, the hypocrites are deceiving the people of who they actually are. The people look up to whoever is in a government position and will expect them to do the right thing. They will understand how the openly profane are not fit for the job, and except someone who is to take it, which just might be a hypocrite. The openly profane are at least able to let the truth show about them, while the hypocrites are able to hide this truth, making them much more dangerous since people do not know their true intentions. Franklin goes on to conclude his essay with “a paragraph or two from an ingenious Political Writer in the London Journal.” In these last paragraphs it is explained how we cannot judge people based on their best abilities but “the whole of their conduct, and the effects of it.” By doing this we might be truly able to see how people are, and become aware of who may be deceiving us.

2 thoughts on “Silence Dogood Essay #9”

  1. Your evaluation of essay #9 is very good, well written and clarified and summarized what Benjamin Franklin has written. I do agree that hypocrites are worse than the openly profane. Hypocrites are not truthful and give false opinions on different matters. The openly profane are at least truthful making them a better and more genuine person.

  2. I think your review of Essay # 9 is awesome! The topic matter is very interesting- the debate between the hypocrite and the openly profane- which makes for an even more interesting response. I like how you explain Franklin’s reasoning for believing the hypocrite is worse, and I do have to say that I agree with him on that. Implementing a hypocrite into government is also very dangerous for all the reasons you have listed out already. I liked this review a lot and found it helpful in understanding the text!

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