Instead, Ben ended up as an apprentice to his half-brother James, who was a printer. Ben loved to read and write poetry, so this job seemed as good as any. At the age of twelve he signed an indenture lasting nine years. While learning the trade from James, Ben worked on his writing, copying the style of essays he read in a copy of a magazine. When James started a paper in 1721, called the New England Courant, Ben submitted a series of essays to the magazine under the pseudonym Silence Dogood. The essays made fun of Boston society and became very popular. In 1722, the Massachusetts government put James in prison twice for criticizing it in his newspaper–freedom of the press as we know it did not exist then. During these periods, Ben published the paper under his own name. When James returned from prison, he and Ben had several arguments. James likely sensed that his younger half-brother was
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Ben, New England Courant, pseudonym Silence Dogood., printing shop. Ben, printer. Ben