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From: dkeren@world.std.com (Daniel Keren)
Subject: Franklin Forgery (Re: Benjamin Franklin on Jews)
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Date: Sun, 4 May 1997 19:48:30 GMT
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NSWPP-CSU  writes:

[Antisemitic speech allegedly given by Benjamin Franklin]

This is a notorious forgery; I am reposting a comment by 
Prof. Jeffrey Shallit, as well as some additional data

I suggest you try reading Boller and George's fine book, _They
Never Said It_. The Franklin quote is a forgery.  I quote from 
page 27:

 "The Franklin quote apparently first turned up on February 3, 1934
in William Dudley Pelley's pro-Nazi sheet, _Liberation_, published
in Asheville, North Carolina.  According to Pelley, it was taken 
from notes made by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, delegate to the
Constitutional Convention from South Carolina... But there is 
no Pinckney diary, and historian Charles Beard, after a thorough 
investigation... concluded: "This alleged `Prophecy' ascribed to 
Franklin is a crude forgery.. . There is in our historical 
records no evidence whatever of any basis for the falsehood." 

"On one occasion, when the Hebrew Society of Philadelphia sought 
to raise money for a synagogue, Franklin signed the petition
appealing to "citizens of every denomination" for contributions. 
Nevertheless, during the 1930s and 1940s, the Franklin forgery
was cited time and again in the Nazi press in Germany, broadcast 
over the Nazi radio... It was popular, too, in neo-Nazi circles
in the United States." 

Another good source for a discussion of the Ben Franklin hoax is 
Morris Kominsky's excellent (but hard to find) book, "Hoaxers:
Plain Liars, Fancy Liars and Damned Liars" Branden Press 1970 
(available through inter-library loan via Woodbridge New Jersey
public Library--I xeroxed most of it)

Mr. Kominsky notes the hoax reported in a 1966 issue of 
THUNDERBOLT, a publication of the National States Rights Party.
He notes the rumor made the rounds in 1934 by William Dudley 
Pelley, professional anti-Semite, leader of the Silver Shirts 
(SS--get it?).  He attributed it to the diary of Charles Pinckney 
of South Carolina who was a delegate to the Constitutional 
Convention of 1787.  When challenged, Pelley claimed to have 
taken it from a copy of the diary which was the property of an 
unidentified descendent of Pinckney.  Historian Charles Beard 
made a search for this 'diary' and Henry Butler Allen of the 
Franklin Institute in Philadelphia issued a statement in 1938
that the diary did not exist and based on an analysis of the 
language in the anti-semitic speech attributed to Franklin, the 
language used was not Colonial English.


-Danny Keren.

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