Assassin’s Creed III Recreates Ben Franklin Doling Out Sex Advice

Assassin’s Creed III Recreates Ben Franklin Doling Out Sex Advice

In 1745, all-time-great American Ben Franklin wrote a letter to his friend advising him that if his friend was still going to “persist in thinking of a commerce with the sex inevitable” after getting married, this friend should get a mistress — an old mistress.

It’s a hell of a letter.

And, for some reason, Franklin’s “wisdom” is being conveyed anew in slightly edited form by the virtual Ben Franklin in the new blockbuster Revolutionary-era game Assassin’s Creed III. That’s right: millions of development dollars and hundreds of game creators have been marshalled not just to create an action-adventure set in 18th-century Revolutionary War pre-America; it’s also been spent to dispense some of Franklin’s weirdest advice.

Sure, you can particiapte in the battle of Bunker Hill and pal around with Paul Revere in this game, but this is re-living history.

This scene with Franklin is accessible within the first couple hours of ACIII. We’ve captured it above so you can see it. Some might consider it a spoiler, so be forewarned. Some might consider it Franklin being a bit of a nut. Well, yeah.

Scholars should note that Franklin’s advice has been re-written a bit by the game developers. The language is a little more modern and a shade more tawdry.

Here’s the original version of his advice, taken from the full letter, which you might want to read along with as the video plays, to see what they’ve changed.

1. Because They have more knowledge of the world, and their minds are better stored with observations, their conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreeable.

2. Because when women cease to be handsome they study to be good. To maintain their influence over men, they supply the diminution of beauty by an augmentation of utility. They learn to do a thousand services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old woman who is not a good woman.

3. Because there is no hazard of children, which irregularly produced may be attended with much inconvenience.

4. Because through more experience they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an intrigue to prevent suspicion. The commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the affair should happen to be known, considerate people might be rather inclined to excuse an old woman, who would kindly take care of a young man, form his manners by her good counsels, and prevent his ruining his health and fortune among mercenary prostitutes.

5. Because in every animal that walks upright the deficiency of the fluids that fill the muscles appears first in the highest part. The face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the neck; then the breast and arms; the lower parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: so that covering all above with a basket, and regarding only what is below the girdle, it is impossible of two women to tell an old one from a young one. And as in the dark all cats are grey, the pleasure of corporal enjoyment with an old woman is at least equal, and frequently superior; every knack being, by practice, capable of improvement.

6. Because the sin is less. The debauching a virgin may be her ruin, and make her for life unhappy.

7. Because the compunction is less. The having mad a young girl miserable may give you frequent bitter reflection; none of which an attend the making an old woman happy.

8th and lastly. they are so grateful!!

Sure, Ben Franklin. Whatever you say.


  • Does anyone get the feeling the developers of AC3 were trying to get the message across that looking back on histories legends for inspiration or influence is a bad idea? they called Washington incompetent and a hypocrite, that Ben Franklin was half insane and that Jesus Christ was good intentions blown out of proportion by time.

    • I dunno, I haven’t played AC3 yet (waiting on PC release), but in the other games they seemed to have a pretty good opinion of people such as Machiavelli, even going back to AC1 with how they portayed Richard I.

      I am looking forward to playing this game a lot, just because of its perspective on history. I loved all the hints in the Glyph puzzles in AC2, insinuating things about various historical figures.

    • Some of Shaun’s emails have that sort of theme as well, that using 18th century letters as a basis for modern living (“the Founding Fathers wanted X”) is a pretty bad idea.

    • I think that the developers have always attempted to show historical figures in a way that’s more grey than black and white. History has a habit of painting the winners as pure, perfect people only fighting for what was right, and the losers as terrible, horrible beasts of man. “History is written by the victors”, and with this comes the victors written in an extremely positive light, and the rest painted as sub-human.

      However, the reality is that these historical figures were imperfect men, just like everyone else. Sure, their actions helped shape history (or, at least, how history is told), but they certainly weren’t ‘super-human’ in nature. Some had idiosyncrasies that a lot of people would look down upon in modern times. Others had a fondness for the drink, women, gambling, violence, etc. Some did things just as terrible as those who were painted as the ‘bad guys’, and some ‘bad guys’ did things that were much less horrible when taken out of history’s context. And many did things that, while acceptable in their time, would be extremely frowned upon or even illegal now.

      All in all, these people were men and women, just like us. I think that the Assassin’s Creed series attempts to show that while these people did things that shaped the course of history, in the end they were still men, and despite all the flaws inherent in humanity, such things are still possible in modern times by modern, regular people, and aren’t just the domain of the perfectly virtuous or the most monstrous of men (aka, the black and white, which just does not exist in humanity).

      tl;dr: Humanity is not black and white as history paints it, so the AC series attempts to show these historical figures in a more human light.

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