Ben Franklin pops off some motions

Ben Franklin is altogether awesome, even now after so many years (about 200+) have gone by. I would love if he were still around as, of all the “Founding Fathers”, he is probably the only one who would, with a little effort, enjoy the present day immensely.

Back when he was still actively publishing his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, which is a story in itself, he would insert little nonsense to fill up the page. Here is one I turned up on the mostly excellent1 franklinpapers.org website:

Whereas I am credibly informed, that Alexander Conundrum, Esq; in several Companies both public and private, hath been pleased to give himself strange Airs, in regard to my Character; Now this is to inform the said Alexander, that I intend to be my self personally present in propria persona at the next Court of Common Pleas, to be held for the City and County of Philadelphia, where if he happens, as is customary with him, to behave himself any ways impertinently, viz. by standing up and making any of his surprizing Motions, in a Cause wherein he is altogether unconcerned; or if he pop off any of his unaccountable Speeches, such as to the great Astonishment of his Hearers he uttered in Kent County Court; Then, and in such Case, I say, with the same Freedom he hath used me, I shall take the Liberty of making a few Observations on his Conduct.

But if the said Alexander let me alone, and behave himself modestly, I do assure him I shall carry my self towards him with all the Respect due to a Brother of the Quill.

Timothy Scrubb

“Brother of the Quill” appears to be a euphemism for lawyer. “suprizing Motions” sounds like unexpected diarrhea and “popping off” has got to be the greatest way of making a speech ever. I have no idea if this is based on an actual event or affair, or if he just fabricated it out of whole cloath.


  1. Their so-called “license” is, however, copyfraud
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