Most of these observations were based on serious accomplishments in Franklin’s life. Like Jonathan Swift, the Anglo-Irish clergyman and satirist of the seventeenth century, who greatly influenced Franklin, and Mark Twain, who carried on that rich tradition in a later century, Franklin loved to skewer the comfortable by making sport of their foibles.
Franklin began his public writing at the age of sixteen, with his Silence Dogood letters, in which he claimed to be a widow in her forties.
Included are "The Letter to a Royal Academy"; "On Choosing a Mistress"; "Rules on Making Oneself Disagreeable"; and other jibes.
Franklin's irrepressible wit found an outlet in perpetrating hoaxes, attacking marriage and other sacred cows, and skewering the English Parliament.
The young man is overflowing with sexual desire, and the writer strongly advises that he marry, going on to state the case for such a union.
The young man states objections and impediments to marriage, and the writer replies, reluctantly, that if he must take a mistress, it is better to take an older one than a younger one.
In 1990, when first published, these views would have been considered even more extremist than they are today, and while BF might have expressed the views that CJ puts in his mouth, he surely would have done so with more facility and wit than CJ manages to muster in his leaden tongued harangue.
While some of BF's writings are rhetorical gems they are 18th C usage and would be tough going for any 21st C.
He includes physiological descriptions as well as emotional reasons for this approach.
He concludes by saying that “ a younger woman will be disappointed, but an older one will be grateful.” Sci/bdorsey1/41docs/51In his business and political career, as well as his personal relationships, Benjamin Franklin had occasion to engage in conversation with a variety of people.