Satire In Benjamin Franklins Age Of Reason

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Satire In Benjamin Franklins Age Of Reason

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Ichabod Henroost complains of a gadding wife. Abigail Afterwit would like to know when the editor of the rival paper, the Gazette, "intends to have done printing the Carolina Addresses to their Governor, and give his Readers Something in the Room of them, that will be more entertaining. Some of these papers represent native wit, with only a general approach to the model; others are little more than paraphrases of The Spectator. And sometimes a Spectator paper is inserted bodily, with no attempt at paraphrase whatever. They also published poetry, histories, autobiographies, etc. Ben Franklin, journalist [Benjamin Franklin] saw the printing press as a device to instruct colonial Americans in moral virtue.

Frasca argues he saw this as a service to God, because he understood moral virtue in terms of actions, thus, doing good provides a service to God. Despite his own moral lapses, Franklin saw himself as uniquely qualified to instruct Americans in morality. He tried to influence American moral life through the construction of a printing network based on a chain of partnerships from the Carolinas to New England. Franklin thereby invented the first newspaper chain, It was more than a business venture, for like many publishers since, he believed that the press had a public-service duty. When Franklin established himself in Philadelphia, shortly before , the town boasted three "wretched little" news sheets, Andrew Bradford 's American Mercury , and Samuel Keimer 's Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences and Pennsylvania Gazette.

This instruction in all arts and sciences consisted of weekly extracts from Chambers's Universal Dictionary. Franklin quickly did away with all this when he took over the Instructor, and made it The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette soon became Franklin's characteristic organ, which he freely used for satire, for the play of his wit, even for sheer excess of mischief or of fun. From the first he had a way of adapting his models to his own uses. The series of essays called "The Busy-Body," which he wrote for Bradford's American Mercury in , followed the general Addisonian form, already modified to suit homelier conditions. The thrifty Patience, in her busy little shop, complaining of the useless visitors who waste her valuable time, is related to the ladies who address Mr.

And a number of the fictitious characters, Ridentius, Eugenius, Cato, and Cretico, represent traditional 18th-century classicism. Even this Franklin could use for contemporary satire, since Cretico, the "sowre Philosopher", is evidently a portrait of Franklin's rival, Samuel Keimer. As time went on, Franklin depended less on his literary conventions, and more on his own native humor.

In this there is a new spirit—not suggested to him by the fine breeding of Addison, or the bitter irony of Swift, or the stinging completeness of Pope. The brilliant little pieces Franklin wrote for his Pennsylvania Gazette have an imperishable place in American literature. The Pennsylvania Gazette , like most other newspapers of the period was often poorly printed. Franklin was busy with a hundred matters outside of his printing office, and never seriously attempted to raise the mechanical standards of his trade. Nor did he ever properly edit or collate the chance medley of stale items that passed for news in the Gazette. His influence on the practical side of journalism was minimal. On the other hand, his advertisements of books show his very great interest in popularizing secular literature.

Undoubtedly his paper contributed to the broader culture that distinguished Pennsylvania from her neighbors before the Revolution. Like many publishers, Franklin built up a book shop in his printing office; he took the opportunity to read new books before selling them. Franklin had mixed success in his plan to establish an inter-colonial network of newspapers that would produce a profit for him and disseminate virtue. After the second editor died his widow Elizabeth Timothy took over and made it a success, — She was one of colonial era's first woman printers. Editor Peter Timothy avoided blandness and crude bias, and after increasingly took a patriotic stand in the growing crisis with Great Britain. However, Franklin's Connecticut Gazette —68 proved unsuccessful.

Early theatrical notices may also be followed in The Virginia Gazette , a paper of unusual excellence, edited by William Parks in Williamsburg, the old capital of Virginia. Life in Williamsburg in had a more cosmopolitan quality than in other towns. A sprightly essay-serial called The Monitor, which fills the first page of The Virginia Gazette for twenty-two numbers, probably reflects not only the social life of the capital, but also the newer fashion in such periodical work. It is dramatic in method, with vividly realized characters who gossip and chat over games of piquet or at the theatre. The Beaux' Stratagem , which had been played in Williamsburg three weeks before, is mentioned as delightful enough to make one of the ladies commit the indiscretion of giggling.

The Monitor represents a kind of light social satire unusual in the colonies. After , general news became accessible, and the newspapers show more and more interest in public affairs. The literary first page was no longer necessary, though occasionally used to cover a dull period. A new type of vigorous polemic gradually superseded the older essay. A few of the well-known conventions were retained, however. We still find the fictitious letter, with the fanciful signature, or a series of papers under a common title, such as The Virginia-Centinel , or Livingston's Watch-Tower. The former is a flaming appeal to arms, running through The Virginia Gazette in , and copied into Northern papers to rouse patriotism against the French enemy. The expression of the sentiment, even thus early, seems national.

Livingston's well-known Watch-Tower , a continuation of his pamphlet-magazine The Independent Reflecto r, has already the keen edge of the Revolutionary writings of fifteen and twenty years later. The fifty-second number even has one of the popular phrases of the Revolution: "Had I not sounded the Alarm, Bigotry would e'er now have triumphed over the natural Rights of British Subjects. This section is based on Newspapers, — by Frank W. Weekly newspapers in major cities and towns were strongholds of patriotism although there were a few Loyalist papers. They printed many pamphlets, announcements, patriotic letters and pronouncements.

Isaiah Thomas 's Massachusetts Spy , published in Boston and Worcester, was constantly on the verge of being suppressed, from the time of its establishment in to and during the American Revolution. In the Spy featured the essays of several anonymous political commentators who called themselves "Centinel," "Mucius Scaevola" and "Leonidas. Rhetorical combat was a Patriot tactic that explained the issues of the day and fostered cohesiveness without advocating outright rebellion. The columnists spoke to the colonists as an independent people tied to Britain only by voluntary legal compact. The Spy soon carried radicalism to its logical conclusion. When articles from the Spy were reprinted in other papers, the country as a whole was ready for Tom Paine's Common Sense in The turbulent years between and were a time of great trial and disturbance among newspapers.

Interruption, suppression, and lack of support checked their growth substantially. Although there were forty-three newspapers in the United States when the treaty of peace was signed , as compared with thirty-seven on the date of the battle of Lexington , only a dozen remained in continuous operation between the two events, and most of those had experienced delays and difficulties through lack of paper, type, and patronage. Not one newspaper in the principal cities, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, continued publication throughout the war.

When the colonial forces were in possession, royalist papers were suppressed, and at times of British occupation, revolutionary papers moved away, or were discontinued, or they became royalist, only to suffer at the next turn of military fortunes. Thus there was an exodus of papers from the cities along the coast to smaller inland places, where alone it was possible for them to continue without interruption. Scarcity of paper was acute; type worn out could not be replaced. The appearance of the newspapers deteriorated, and issues sometimes failed to appear at all. Mail service, never good, was poorer than ever; foreign newspapers, an important source of information, could be obtained but rarely; many of the ablest writers who had filled the columns with dissertations upon colonial rights and government were now otherwise occupied.

News from a distance was less full and regular than before; yet when great events happened, reports spread over the country with great rapidity, through messengers in the service of patriotic organizations. The quality of reporting was still imperfect. The Salem Gazette printed a full but colored account of the battle of Lexington, giving details of the burning, pillage, and barbarities charged to the British, and praising the militia who were filled with "higher sentiments of humanity. When they were permitted to do so, they printed fairly full accounts of the proceedings of provincial assemblies and of Congress, which were copied widely, as were all official reports and proclamations.

On the whole, however, a relatively small proportion of such material and an inadequate account of the progress of the war is found in the contemporaneous newspapers. The general spirit of the time found fuller utterance in mottoes, editorials, letters, and poems. In the beginning, both editorials and communications urged united resistance to oppression, praised patriotism, and denounced tyranny; as events and public sentiment developed these grew more vigorous, often a little more radical than the populace.

Later, the idea of independence took form, and theories of government were discussed. More interesting and valuable as specimens of literature than these discussions were the poems inspired by the stirring events of the time. Long narratives of battles and of heroic deaths were mingled with eulogies of departed heroes. Songs meant to inspire and thrill were not lacking.

Humor, pathos, and satire sought to stir the feelings of the public. Much of the poetry of the Revolution is to be found in the columns of the newspapers, from the vivid and popular satires and narratives of Philip Freneau to the saddest effusions of the most commonplace schoolmaster. The newspapers of the Revolution were an effective force working towards the unification of sentiment, the awakening of a consciousness of a common purpose, interest, and destiny among the separate colonies, and of a determination to see the war through to a successful issue.

They were more single-minded than the people themselves, and they bore no small share of the burden of arousing and supporting the often discouraged and indifferent public spirit. It was established by Shepard Kollock at his press during in the village of Chatham, New Jersey. This paper became a catalyst in the revolution. News of events came directly to the editor from Washington 's headquarters in nearby Morristown , boosting the morale of the troops and their families, and he conducted lively debates about the efforts for independence with those who opposed and supported the cause he championed.

Kollock later relocated the paper twice, until , when he established his last publication location in Elizabeth under the same name. The Elizabeth Daily Journal ceased publication on January 2, after having been in continuous publication for years, the fourth oldest newspaper published continuously in the United States. Many of the papers, however, which were kept alive or brought to life during the war could not adapt themselves to the new conditions of peace.

Practically all were of four small pages, each of three or four columns, issued weekly. In , the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first American daily. There was a notable extension to new fields. In Vermont, where the first paper, established in , had soon died, another arose in ; in Maine, two were started in In , the first one west of the Alleghenies appeared at Pittsburgh, and following the westward tide of immigration the Kentucky Gazette was begun at Lexington in Conditions were hardly more favorable to newspapers than during the recent conflict. The sources of news were much the same; the means of communication and the postal system were little improved. Newspapers were not carried in the mails but by favor of the postmen, and the money of one state was of dubious value in another.

Consequently, circulations were small, rarely reaching a thousand; subscribers were slow in paying; and advertisements were not plentiful. Newspapers remained subject to provincial laws of libel, in accordance with the old common law, and were, as in Massachusetts for a short time in , subject to special state taxes on paper or on advertisements. But public sentiment was growing strongly against all legal restrictions, and in general the papers practiced freedom, not to say license, of utterance.

With independence had come the consciousness of a great destiny. The collective spirit aroused by the war, though clouded by conflicting local difficulties, was intense, and the principal interest of the newspapers was to create a nation out of the loose confederation. Business and commerce were their next care; but in an effort to be all things to all men, the small page included a little of whatever might "interest, instruct, or amuse. A new idea, quite as much as a fire, a murder, or a prodigy, was a matter of news moment. There were always a few items of local interest, usually placed with paragraphs of editorial miscellany. Correspondents, in return for the paper, sent items; private letters, often no doubt written with a view to such use, were a fruitful source of news; but the chief resource was the newspapers that every office received as exchanges, carried in the post free of charge, and the newspapers from abroad.

Newspapers became a form of public property after Americans believed that as republican citizens they had a right to the information contained in newspapers without paying anything. To gain access readers subverted the subscription system by refusing to pay, borrowing, or stealing. Editors, however, tolerated these tactics because they wanted longer subscription lists. First, the more people read the newspaper, more attractive it would be to advertisers, who would purchase more ads and pay higher rates. A second advantage was that greater depth of coverage translated into political influence for partisan newspapers.

Newspapers also became part of the public sphere when they became freely available at reading rooms, barbershops, taverns, hotels and coffeehouses. The editor, usually reflecting the sentiment of a group or a faction, began to emerge as a distinct power. He closely followed the drift of events and expressed vigorous opinions. But as yet the principal discussions were contributed not by the editors but by "the master minds of the country. When Alexander Hamilton , James Madison , and John Jay united to produce the Federalist Essays, they chose to publish them in The Independent Journal and The Daily Advertiser , from which they were copied by practically every paper in America long before they were made into a book.

When the first Congress assembled March 4, , the administration felt the need of a paper, and, under the influence of Hamilton, John Fenno issued at New York, April 15, the first number of The Gazette of the United States , the earliest of a series of administration organs. The editorship of the Gazette later fell to Joseph Dennie , who had previously made a success of The Farmer's Weekly Museum and would later found The Port Folio , two of the most successful newspapers of the era. Partisan bitterness increased during the last decade of the century as the First Party System took shape.

The parties needed newspapers to communicate with their voters. New England papers were generally Federalist ; in Pennsylvania there was a balance; in the West and South the Republican press predominated. Though the Federalists were vigorously supported by such able papers as Russell's Columbian Centinel in Boston, Isaiah Thomas's Massachusetts Spy , The Connecticut Courant , and, after , Noah Webster 's daily Minerva soon renamed Commercial Advertiser in New York, the Gazette of the United States , which in followed Congress and the capital to Philadelphia, was at the center of conflict, "a paper of pure Toryism", as Thomas Jefferson said, "disseminating the doctrines of monarchy, aristocracy, and the exclusion of the people.

Fenno and Freneau, in the Gazette of the United States and the National Gazette , at once came to grips, and the campaign of personal and party abuse in partisan news reports, in virulent editorials, in poems and skits of every kind, was echoed from one end of the country to the other. The National Gazette closed in due to circulation problems and the political backlash against Jefferson and Madison's financial involvement in founding the paper. The Aurora , published from Franklin Court in Philadelphia, was the most strident newspaper of its time, attacking John Adams' anti-democratic policies on a daily basis. No paper is thought to have given Adams more trouble than the Aurora. His wife, Abigail, wrote frequent letters to her sister and others decrying what she considered the slander spewing forth from the Aurora.

Jefferson credited the Aurora with averting a disastrous war with France, and laying the groundwork for his own election. Following Bache's death the result of his staying in Philadelphia during a yellow fever epidemic, while he was awaiting trial under the Sedition Act , William Duane, an immigrant from Ireland, led the paper until and married Bache's widow, following the death of his own wife in the same Yellow Fever epidemic.

Like Freneau, Bache and Duane were involved in a daily back-and-forth with the Federalist editors, especially Fenno and Cobbett. He edited it for four years, writing the equivalent of 20 volumes of articles and editorials. As a partisan he soon was denounced by the Jeffersonian Republicans as "a pusillanimous, half-begotten, self-dubbed patriot", "an incurable lunatic", and "a deceitful newsmonge Pedagogue and Quack. Even the use of words like "the people", "democracy", and "equality" in public debate, bothered him for such words were "metaphysical abstractions that either have no meaning, or at least none that mere mortals can comprehend. It was with the newspaper editors, however, on both sides that a climax of rancorous and venomous abuse was reached.

Chief of these was Cobbett, whose control of abusive epithet and invective may be judged from the following terms applied by him to his political foes, the Jacobins: "refuse of nations"; "yelper of the Democratic kennels"; "vile old wretch"; "tool of a baboon"; "frog-eating, man-eating, blood-drinking cannibals"; "I say, beware, ye under-strapping cut-throats who walk in rags and sleep amidst filth and vermin; for if once the halter gets round your flea-bitten necks, howling and confessing will come too late. In such States too, there generally, not to say always, exists a party who, from the long habit of hating those who administer the Government, become the enemies of the Government itself, and are ready to sell their treacherous services to the first bidder.

To these descriptions of men, the sect of the Jacobins have attached themselves in every country they have been suffered to enter. They are a sort of flies, that naturally settle on the excremental and corrupted parts of the body politic The persons who composed this opposition, and who thence took the name of Anti-Federalists, were not equal to the Federalists, either in point of riches or respectability. They were in general, men of bad moral characters embarrassed in their private affairs, or the tools of such as were. Men of this caste naturally feared the operation of a Government imbued with sufficient strength to make itself respected, and with sufficient wisdom to exclude the ignorant and wicked from a share in its administration. This decade of violence was nevertheless one of development in both the quality and the power of newspapers.

News reporting was extended to new fields of local affairs, and the intense rivalry of all too numerous competitors awoke the beginnings of that rush for the earliest reports, which was to become the dominant trait in American journalism. The editor evolved into a new type. As a man of literary skill, or a politician, or a lawyer with a gift for polemical writing, he began to supersede the contributors of essays as the strongest writer on the paper.

Much of the best writing, and of the rankest scurrility, be it said, was produced by editors born and trained abroad, like Bache of the Aurora , Cobbett, Cooper, Gales, Cheetham, Callender, Lyon, and Holt. Of the whole number of papers in the country towards the end of the decade, more than one hundred and fifty, at least twenty opposed to the administration were conducted by aliens. The power wielded by these anti-administration editors impressed John Adams, who in wrote: "If we had been blessed with common sense, we should not have been overthrown by Philip Freneau, Duane, Callender, Cooper, and Lyon, or their great patron and protector.

A group of foreign liars encouraged by a few ambitious native gentlemen have discomfited the education, the talents, the virtues, and the prosperity of the country. The most obvious example of that Federalist lack of common sense was the passage of the Alien and Sedition laws in to protect the government from the libels of editors. The result was a dozen convictions and a storm of outraged public opinion that threw the party from power and gave the Jeffersonian Republican press renewed confidence and the material benefit of patronage when the Republicans took control of the government in The Republican party was especially effective in building a network of newspapers in major cities to broadcast its statements and editorialize in its favor.

Fisher Ames , a leading Federalist, blamed the newspapers for electing Jefferson: they were "an overmatch for any Government The Jacobins owe their triumph to the unceasing use of this engine; not so much to skill in use of it as by repetition. The newspapers continued primarily party organs; the tone remained strongly partisan, though it gradually gained poise and attained a degree of literary excellence and professional dignity.

The typical newspaper, a weekly, had a paid circulation of The growth of the postal system, with the free transportation of newspapers locally and statewide, allowed the emergence of powerful state newspapers that closely reflected, and shaped, party views. The number and geographical distribution of newspapers grew apace. In there were between and ; by there were , and during the next two decades the increase was at least equally rapid.

By papers had spread to the Mississippi River and beyond, from Texas to St. These pioneer papers, poorly written, poorly printed, and partisan often beyond all reason, served a greater than a merely local purpose in sending weekly to every locality their hundreds of messages of good and evil report, of politics and trade, of weather and crops, that helped immeasurably to bind the far-flung population into a nation. Ryfe, "News, culture and public life: A study of 19th-century American journalism. As the number of cities of 8, or more population grew rapidly so too the daily newspapers were increasing in number. The first had appeared in Philadelphia and New York in and ; in one appeared in Boston.

By there were twenty-seven in the country—one in the city of Washington, five in Maryland, seven in New York, nine in Pennsylvania, three in South Carolina, and two in Louisiana. As early as the Detroit Free Press began its long career. The political and journalistic situation made the administration organ one of the characteristic features of the period.

Fenno's Gazette had served the purpose for Washington and Adams; but the first great example of the type was the National Intelligencer established in October , by Samuel Harrison Smith , to support the administration of Jefferson and of successive presidents until after Jackson it was thrown into the opposition, and The United States Telegraph , edited by Duff Green , became the official paper.

It was replaced at the close of by a new paper, The Globe , under the editorship of Francis P. Blair , one of the ablest of all ante-bellum political editors, who, with John P. Rives , conducted it until the changing standards and conditions in journalism rendered the administration organ obsolescent. The Globe was displaced in by another paper called The National Intelligencer , which in turn gave way to The Madisonian. Thomas Ritchie was in called from his long service on The Richmond Enquirer to found, on the remains of The Globe , the Washington Union , to speak for the Polk administration and to reconcile the factions of democracy.

Neither the Union nor its successors, which maintained the semblance of official support until , ever occupied the commanding position held by the Telegraph and The Globe , but for forty years the administration organs had been the leaders when political journalism was dominant. Their influence was shared and increased by such political editors as M. Their decline, in the late thirties, was coincident with great changes, both political and journalistic, and though successors arose, their kind was not again so prominent or influential. The newspaper of national scope was passing away, yielding to the influence of the telegraph and the railroad, which robbed the Washington press of its claim to prestige as the chief source of political news.

At the same time politics was losing its predominating importance. The public had many other interests, and by a new spirit and type of journalism was being trained to make greater and more various demands upon the journalistic resources of its papers. The administration organ presents but one aspect of a tendency in which political newspapers generally gained in editorial individuality, and both the papers and their editors acquired greater personal and editorial influence. The beginnings of the era of personal journalism were to be found early in the 19th century. Even before Nathan Hale had shown the way to editorial responsibility, Thomas Ritchie , in the Richmond Enquirer in the second decade of the century, had combined with an effective development of the established use of anonymous letters on current questions a system of editorial discussion that soon extended his reputation and the influence of his newspaper far beyond the boundaries of Virginia.

Francis and the Troy Times , and Charles Hammond and the Cincinnati Gazette , to mention but a few among many, illustrate the rise of editors to individual power and prominence in the third and later decades. Notable among these political editors was John Moncure Daniel , who just before became editor of the Richmond Examiner and soon made it the leading newspaper of the South. Perhaps no better example need be sought of brilliant invective and literary pungency in American journalism just prior to and during the Civil War than in Daniel's contributions to the Examiner.

Though it could still be said that "too many of our gazettes are in the hands of persons destitute at once of the urbanity of gentlemen, the information of scholars, and the principles of virtue", a fact due largely to the intensity of party spirit, the profession was by no means without editors who exhibited all these qualities, and put them into American journalism. William Coleman , for instance, who, encouraged by Alexander Hamilton , founded the New York Evening Post in , was a man of high purposes, good training, and noble ideals. The Evening Post , reflecting variously the fine qualities of the editor, exemplified the improvement in tone and illustrated the growing importance of editorial writing, as did a dozen or more papers in the early decades of the century.

Indeed, the problem most seriously discussed at the earliest state meetings of editors and publishers, held in the thirties, was that of improving the tone of the press. They tried to attain by joint resolution a degree of editorial self-restraint, which few individual editors had as yet acquired. Under the influence of Thomas Ritchie , vigorous and unsparing political editor but always a gentleman, who presided at the first meeting of Virginia journalists, the newspaper men in one state after another resolved to "abandon the infamous practice of pampering the vilest of appetites by violating the sanctity of private life, and indulging in gross personalities and indecorous language", and to "conduct all controversies between themselves with decency, decorum, and moderation.

The editorial page was assuming something of its modern form. The editorial signed with a pseudonym gradually died, but unsigned editorial comment and leading articles did not become an established feature until after , when Nathan Hale made them a characteristic of the newly established Boston Daily Advertiser. From that time on they grew in importance until in the succeeding period of personal journalism they were the most vital part of the greater papers. In the s new high speed presses allowed the cheap printing of tens of thousands of papers a day.

The problem was to sell them to a mass audience, which required new business techniques such as rapid citywide delivery and a new style of journalism that would attract new audiences. Politics, scandal, and sensationalism worked. James Gordon Bennett Sr. He despised the upscale journalism of the day—the seriousness of tone, the phlegmatic dignity, the party affiliations, the sense of responsibility. He believed journalists were fools to think that they could best serve their own purposes by serving the politicians. As Washington correspondent for the New York Enquirer , he wrote vivacious, gossipy prattle, full of insignificant and entertaining detail, to which he added keen characterization and deft allusions. Bennett saw a public who would not buy a serious paper at any price, who had a vast and indiscriminate curiosity better satisfied with gossip than discussion, with sensation rather than fact, who could be reached through their appetites and passions.

The idea that he did much to develop rested on the success of the one-cent press created by the establishment of the New York Sun in To pay at such a price these papers must have large circulations, sought among the public that had not been accustomed to buy papers, and gained by printing news of the street, shop, and factory. To reach this public Bennett began the New York Herald , a small paper, fresh, sprightly, terse, and "newsy".

Our only guide shall be good, sound, practical common sense, applicable to the business and bosoms of men engaged in every-day life. News was but a commodity, the furnishing of which was a business transaction only, which ignored the social responsibility of the press, "the grave importance of our vocation", prized of the elder journalists and of the still powerful six-cent papers. The Herald, like the Sun, was at once successful, and was remarkably influential in altering journalistic practices. The penny press expanded its coverage into "personals"—short paid paragraphs by men and women looking for companionship. They revealed people's intimate relationships to a public audience and allowed city folk to connect with and understand their neighbors in an increasingly anonymous metropolis.

They included heavy doses of imagination and fiction, typically romantic, highly stylized. Sometimes the same person updated the paragraph regularly, making it like a serial short short story. Moralists were aghast, and warned of the ruin of young girls. Commenting on censorship of books in the s, New York Mayor Jimmy Walker said he had seen many girls ruined, but never by reading. More worrisome to the elders they reflected a loss of community control over the city's youth, suggesting to Protestant leaders the need for agencies like the YMCA to provide wholesome companionship.

Personals are still included in many papers and magazines into the 21st century. In a period of widespread unrest and change many specialized forms of journalism sprang up—religious, educational, agricultural, and commercial magazines proliferated. For example, between and , the Diocese of St. Louis Daily Leader —56 , and the Western Banner — The paper tried to balance support of the Union with its opposition to emancipation, while maintaining Irish American patriotism.

Evangelical Protestants began discussing temperance, prohibition, and Even broach the subject of votes for women. The leading abolitionist newspaper was William Lloyd Garrison 's Liberator , first issued January 1, , which denounced slavery as a sin against God that had to be immediately stopped. Many abolitionist papers were excluded from the mails; their circulation was forcibly prevented in the South; in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Alton, and elsewhere, editors were assaulted, offices were attacked and destroyed; rewards were offered in the South for the capture of Greeley and Garrison; in a few instances editors, like Lovejoy at Alton, lost their lives at the hands of mobs.

Nearly every county seat, and most towns of more than or population sponsored one or more weekly newspapers. Politics was of major interest, with the editor-owner typically deeply involved in local party organizations. However, the paper also contained local news, and presented literary columns and book excerpts that catered to an emerging middle class literate audience. His reasons for vegetarianism were based on health, ethics, and economy:. When about 16 years of age, I happen'd to meet with a book written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. I determined to go into it This was an additional fund for buying books: but I had another advantage in it I made the greater progress from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking.

Franklin also declared the consumption of meat to be "unprovoked murder". Nonetheless, Franklin recognized the faulty ethics in this argument [] and would continue to be vegetarian on and off. Franklin sent a sample of soybeans to prominent American botanist John Bartram and had previously written to British diplomat and Chinese trade expert James Flint inquiring as to how tofu was made, [] with their correspondence believed to be the first documented use of the word "tofu" in the English language.

Franklin's "Second Reply to Vindex Patriae ", a letter advocating self-sufficiency and less dependence on England, lists various examples of the bounty of American agricultural products, and does not mention meat. The concept of preventing smallpox by vaccination was introduced to Colonial America early in the eighteenth century, but was not immediately accepted. James Franklin's newspaper carried articles in [] that vigorously denounced the concept. Therefore, when four-year-old 'Franky' died of smallpox, opponents of the procedure circulated rumors that the child had been vaccinated, and the vaccine was responsible for his subsequent death. He wrote in his Autobiography: "In I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way.

I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen. Franklin is known to have played the violin, the harp, and the guitar. He also composed music, notably a string quartet in early classical style.

He worked with the London glassblower Charles James to create it, and instruments based on his mechanical version soon found their way to other parts of Europe. Franklin was an avid chess player. He was playing chess by around , making him the first chess player known by name in the American colonies. Franklin was able to play chess more frequently against stronger opposition during his many years as a civil servant and diplomat in England, where the game was far better established than in America.

He was able to improve his playing standard by facing more experienced players during this period. He regularly attended Old Slaughter's Coffee House in London for chess and socializing, making many important personal contacts. No records of his games have survived, so it is not possible to ascertain his playing strength in modern terms. Franklin was inducted into the U. Chess Hall of Fame in The main character leaves a smallish amount of money in his will, five lots of livres , to collect interest over one, two, three, four or five full centuries, with the resulting astronomical sums to be spent on impossibly elaborate utopian projects. From to , the money was used mostly for mortgage loans. When the trust came due, Philadelphia decided to spend it on scholarships for local high school students.

In , a group of prominent ministers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania , proposed the foundation of a new college named in Franklin's honor. Constitution, and the only person to sign all three documents, Franklin is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His pervasive influence in the early history of the nation has led to his being jocularly called "the only president of the United States who was never president of the United States". Franklin's likeness is ubiquitous.

From to , Franklin's portrait was on the half-dollar. On April 12, , as part of a bicentennial celebration, Congress dedicated a foot 6 m tall marble statue in Philadelphia's Franklin Institute as the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. In London, his house at 36 Craven Street, which is the only surviving former residence of Franklin, was first marked with a blue plaque and has since been opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House. A total of 15 bodies have been recovered. They note that while Franklin likely knew what Hewson was doing, he probably did not participate in any dissections because he was much more of a physicist than a medical man. Franklin has been honored on U. The image of Franklin, the first postmaster general of the United States, occurs on the face of U.

From through , the U. Post Office issued a series of postage stamps commonly referred to as the Washington—Franklin Issues where Washington and Franklin were depicted many times over a year period, the longest run of any one series in U. Along with the regular issue stamps Franklin however only appears on a few commemorative stamps. Some of the finest portrayals of Franklin on record can be found on the engravings inscribed on the face of U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American polymath and a Founding Father of the United States — For other uses, see Benjamin Franklin disambiguation. Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis , Deborah Read. William Francis Sarah. Franklin's birthplace on Milk Street in Boston. Further information: Early American publishers and printers.

Deborah Read Franklin c. Common-law wife of Benjamin Franklin. Sarah Franklin Bache — Daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Deborah Read. Pennsylvania Historical Marker. Further information: List of places named for Benjamin Franklin. Historian Friedrich Christoph Schlosser remarked at the time, with ample hyperbole, that "Such was the number of portraits, busts and medallions of him in circulation before he left Paris, that he would have been recognized from them by any adult citizen in any part of the civilized world. Cambridge University Press. The Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on March 5, Retrieved April 25, University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence.

Retrieved June 7, Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved October 19, United States Postal Service. Retrieved May 29, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. JSTOR Foundation for Economic Education. Retrieved December 30, The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Franklin. Wood The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. Penguin Press. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Macmillan's pocket English and American classics. New York: Macmillan. Retrieved February 1, Creativity Research Journal. S2CID The library: an illustrated history. New York: Skyhorse Pub. Retrieved October 7, Pennsylvania History : 21— Journal of American Ethnic History. Fides et Historia. Journalism Quarterly. Journal of Southern History. Connecticut History.

Retrieved September 21, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online ed. Oxford University Press. Subscription or UK public library membership required. Tise, Larry E. University Park, Pa. OCLC Retrieved February 26, American Philosophical Society. Archived from the original on May 7, Retrieved February 9, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Info Please. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Frog Books. Houghton Mifflin Company. Philadelphia: George W. LCCN At Washington Avenue". Philadelphia's Lost Waterfront. The History Press. Penn Medicine.

Retrieved August 22, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 10, Smith, D. Philadelphia , Printed by B. Franklin and D. Retrieved August 20, Benjamin Franklin Exhibit. The History of the College of William and Mary. Richmond, VA: J. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Retrieved June 20, Leo Lematy, "Franklin, Benjamin". American National Biography Online , February The RSA. Retrieved September 16, National Park Service ". The Kate Kennedy Club. Archived from the original on March 27, Life of Benjamin Franklin. US History. HarperCollins Publishers. Accessed September 16, Henretta, ed.

Documents for America's History, Volume 1: To The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson. The Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Algora Publishing. Archived from the original on January 3, Great Britain: Sutton Publishing, Originally published in Argosy magazine, July , pp. January 15, Hayek: A Collaborative Biography. Palgrave Macmillan. The question at the heart of this volume is the reliability, indeed, the fundamental honesty, of Donald McCormick, best known under his nom de plume, Richard Deacon. Colonial Williamsburg Journal. Retrieved April 19, Boston: Whittemore, Niles and Hall. Retrieved December 16, Retrieved January 27, American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 28, Archived from the original on October 23, Retrieved February 27, Eccentric France: Bradt Guide to mad, magical and marvellous France.

Retrieved March 17, Archived from the original on May 16, George Washington: American Symbol. Benjamin Franklin Historical Society. Retrieved September 17, February 1, Retrieved February 17, National Constitution Center — constitutioncenter. Retrieved June 22, Library of Congress. Companion to the French Revolution. New York: Facts on File. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Colonial America Reference Library. Franklin's interest in electricity originated when he saw a traveling scientific lecturer, Archibald Spencer, perform an "electricity show" in Boston, Massachusetts. Franklin Papers. Archived from the original on October 20, Retrieved May 1, World of Scientific Biography. Science World. Archived from the original on February 18, Retrieved February 15, Archived February 18, Archived from the original on December 17, Retrieved April 23, Harvard University Gazette.

Retrieved August 9, Benjamin Franklin, A Biography. Random House. Museum of Science Boston. The New York Times. June 1, Retrieved March 16, Physics Today. Bibcode : PhT Alan Houston Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement. Yale U. Leo Lemay Bernard Cohen Journal of Economic History. Kammen Cornell U. Archived from the original on December 2, Retrieved December 11, Ocean Explorer: Readings for ocean explorers. Archived from the original on December 18, Retrieved July 15, A1, B7 February 6, Duke University Press.

Retrieved October 2, Heidorn, PhD. Eclipsed By Storm. The Weather Doctor. October 1, Retrieved December 3, The True Benjamin Franklin 5 ed. Philadelphia: J. Lippincott Company. London: Longmans, Brown, and Co. Archived from the original on January 28, Retrieved September 14, Retrieved June 30, Experimental researches in electricity. Franklin's experiments on the non-conduction of ice Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania. Pergamon Press. In the fourth series of his electrical researches, Mr. Gratzer, Eurekas and Euphorias, pp. In Willcox, William Bradford ed. The papers of Benjamin Franklin: January 1 through December 31, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Lemay, p. Archived from the original on May 31, Benjamin Franklin Papers. Archived from the original on July 26, Retrieved December 24, Autobiography and other writings. Cambridge: Riverside. InterVarsity Press. Other Deists and natural religionists who considered themselves Christians in some sense of the word included Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. The Grand Convention , pp. The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit of Capitalism". Translated by Peter Baehr; Gordon C. Penguin Books. The Political Thought of Benjamin Franklin. Lindsey Press, ". Archived from the original on March 26, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. Chapter IV. Archived from the original on May 28, The American Mercury, Volume 8. Garber Communications. It is well known that in his youth Benjamin Franklin was a thorough-going Deist, but because he proposed that prayers be said in the Constitution Convention of many have contended that in later life he became a pious Christian.

University of Missouri Press. Despite being raised a Puritan of the Congregationalist stripe by his parents, who "brought me through my Childhood piously in the Dissenting Way", Franklin recalled, he abandoned that denomination, briefly embraced deism, and finally became a non-denominational Protestant Christian. The Historian. National Archives Oxford University Press , , pp. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. Retrieved June 12, Retrieved March 23, December Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society.

The English Literatures of America, — Psychology Press. The Vegetarian Resource Group. In , Franklin had set up a printing house in partnership with Hugh Meredith and the following year became the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette gave Franklin a forum for agitation about a variety of local reforms and initiatives through printed essays and observations. Over time, his commentary, and his adroit cultivation of a positive image as an industrious and intellectual young man, earned him a great deal of social respect.

But even after Franklin had achieved fame as a scientist and statesman, he habitually signed his letters with the unpretentious 'B. Franklin, Printer. In , Franklin was initiated into the local Masonic Lodge. He became Grand Master in , indicating his rapid rise to prominence in Pennsylvania. That same year, he edited and published the first Masonic book in the Americas, a reprint of James Anderson's Constitutions of the Free-Masons.

Franklin remained a Freemason for the rest of his life. Deborah Read Franklin , circa Daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Deborah Read. At the age of 17, Franklin proposed to year-old Deborah Read while a boarder in the Read home. At that time, Read's mother was wary of allowing her young daughter to marry Franklin, who was on his way to London at Governor Sir William Keith's request, and also because of his financial instability. Her own husband had recently died, and Mrs. Read declined Franklin's request to marry her daughter. While Franklin was in London, his trip was extended, and there were problems with Sir William's promises of support. Perhaps because of the circumstances of this delay, Deborah married a man named John Rodgers.

This proved to be a regrettable decision. Rodgers shortly avoided his debts and prosecution by fleeing to Barbados with her dowry, leaving Deborah behind. Rodgers's fate was unknown, and because of bigamy laws, Deborah was not free to remarry. Franklin established a common-law marriage with Deborah Read on September 1, , and besides taking in young William, together they had two children.

The first, Francis Folger Franklin, born October , died of smallpox in Their second child, Sarah Franklin, familiarly called Sally, was born in She eventually married Richard Bache, had seven children, and cared for her father in his old age. Deborah's fear of the sea meant that she never accompanied Franklin on any of his extended trips to Europe, despite his repeated requests. Deborah Read Franklin died of a stroke in , while Franklin was on an extended trip to England. In , at the age of 24, Franklin publicly acknowledged an illegitimate son named William, who would eventually become the last Loyalist governor of New Jersey.

While the identity of William's mother remains unknown, perhaps the responsibility of an infant child gave Franklin a reason to take up residence with Deborah Read. William was raised in the Franklin household but eventually broke with his father over opinions regarding the treatment of the colonies by the British government. The elder Franklin could never accept William's decision to declare his loyalty to the crown. Any hope of reconciliation was shattered when William Franklin became leader of The Board of Associated Loyalists—a quasi-military organization, headquartered in British occupied New York City, which, among other things, launched guerilla forays into New Jersey, southern Connecticut, and New York counties north of the city.

In the preliminary peace talks in with Britain " Franklin insisted that loyalists who had borne arms against the United States would be excluded from this plea that they be given a general pardon. He was undoubtedly thinking of William Franklin. He settled in England, never to return. In , Franklin began to publish the famous Poor Richard's Almanack with content both original and borrowed under the pseudonym Richard Saunders, on which much of his popular reputation is based. Franklin frequently wrote under pseudonyms. Although it was no secret that Franklin was the author, his Richard Saunders character repeatedly denied it.

Wisdom in folk society meant the ability to provide an apt adage for any occasion, and Franklin's readers became well prepared. He sold about ten thousand copies per year a circulation equivalent to nearly three million today. Franklin's autobiography, published after his death, has become one of the classics of the genre. Daylight saving time DST is often erroneously attributed to a satire that Franklin published anonymously.

Franklin was a prodigious inventor. Among his many creations were the lightning rod, glass armonica a glass instrument, not to be confused with the metal harmonica , Franklin stove, bifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter. Franklin never patented his inventions; in his autobiography he wrote, " His inventions also included social innovations, such as paying forward. Franklin's fascination with innovation could be viewed as altruistic; he wrote that his scientific works were to be used for increasing efficiency and human improvement.

One such improvement was his effort to expedite news services through his printing presses. As deputy postmaster, Franklin became interested in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns. While in England in he heard a complaint from the Colonial Board of Customs: Why did it take British packet ships carrying mail several weeks longer to reach New York than it took an average merchant ship to reach Newport, Rhode Island — despite the merchantmen having a longer and more complex voyage because they left from London, while the packets left from Falmouth in Cornwall?

Franklin worked with Folger and other experienced ship captains, learning enough to chart the current and name it the Gulf Stream, by which it is still known today. Franklin published his Gulf Stream chart in in England, where it was completely ignored. Subsequent versions were printed in France in and the U. This find received front page coverage in the New York Times. It took many years for British sea captains finally to adopt Franklin's advice on navigating the current; once they did, they were able to trim two weeks from their sailing time. In , oceanographer and cartographer Matthew Fontaine Maury reminded that Franklin only charted and codified the Gulf Stream, he did not actually discover it:. Though it was Dr.

Franklin and Captain Tim Folger, who first turned the Gulf Stream to nautical account, the discovery that there was a Gulf Stream cannot be said to belong to either of them, for its existence was known to Peter Martyr d'Anghiera, and to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in the sixteenth century. In , Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society to help scientific men discuss their discoveries and theories. He began the electrical research that, along with other scientific inquiries, would occupy him for the rest of his life, in between bouts of politics and moneymaking.

In , he retired from printing and went into other businesses. He created a partnership with his foreman, David Hall, which provided Franklin with half of the shop's profits for 18 years. This lucrative business arrangement provided leisure time for study, and in a few years he had made discoveries that gave him a reputation with the educated throughout Europe and especially in France. His discoveries resulted from his investigations of electricity. Franklin proposed that "vitreous" and "resinous" electricity were not different types of "electrical fluid" as electricity was called then , but the same electrical fluid under different pressures. He was the first to label them as positive and negative respectively, and he was the first to discover the principle of conservation of charge.

In he published a proposal for an experiment to prove that lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a storm which appeared capable of becoming a lightning storm. On June 15 Franklin may possibly have conducted his famous kite experiment in Philadelphia, successfully extracting sparks from a cloud, although there are theories that suggest he never performed the experiment. Others, such as Prof. Georg Wilhelm Richmann of Saint Petersburg, Russia, were indeed electrocuted during the months following Franklin's experiment.

In his writings, Franklin indicates that he was aware of the dangers and offered alternative ways to demonstrate that lightning was electrical, as shown by his use of the concept of electrical ground. If Franklin did perform this experiment, he may not have done it in the way that is often described, flying the kite and waiting to be struck by lightning, as it could have been dangerous. The popular television program MythBusters simulated the alleged "key at the end of a string" Franklin experiment and established with a degree of certainty that, if Franklin had indeed proceeded thus, he would undoubtedly have been killed. Instead he used the kite to collect some electric charge from a storm cloud, which implied that lightning was electrical.

On October 19 in a letter to England explaining directions for repeating the experiment, Franklin wrote:. When rain has wet the kite twine so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it streams out plentifully from the key at the approach of your knuckle, and with this key a phial, or Leiden jar, maybe charged: and from electric fire thus obtained spirits may be kindled, and all other electric experiments [may be] performed which are usually done by the help of a rubber glass globe or tube; and therefore the sameness of the electrical matter with that of lightening completely demonstrated.

Franklin's electrical experiments led to his invention of the lightning rod. He noted that conductors with a sharp rather than a smooth point were capable of discharging silently, and at a far greater distance. He surmised that this knowledge could be of use in protecting buildings from lightning by attaching "upright Rods of Iron, made sharp as a Needle and gilt to prevent Rusting, and from the Foot of those Rods a Wire down the outside of the Building into the Ground; Would not these pointed Rods probably draw the Electrical Fire silently out of a Cloud before it came nigh enough to strike, and thereby secure us from that most sudden and terrible Mischief!

In recognition of his work with electricity, Franklin received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in and in he became one of the few 18th- century Americans to be elected as a Fellow of the Society. The cgs unit of electric charge has been named after him: one franklin Fr is equal to one statcoulomb. Franklin was, along with his contemporary Leonard Euler, the only major scientist who supported Christiaan Huygens' wave theory of light, which was basically ignored by the rest of the scientific community. In the 18th century Newton's corpuscular theory was held to be true; only after the famous Young's slit experiment were most scientists persuaded to believe Huygens' theory.

On October 21, , according to popular myth, a storm moving from the southwest denied Franklin the opportunity of witnessing a lunar eclipse. Franklin was said to have noted that the prevailing winds were actually from the northeast, contrary to what he had expected. In correspondence with his brother, Franklin learned that the same storm had not reached Boston until after the eclipse, despite the fact that Boston is to the northeast of Philadelphia. He deduced that storms do not always travel in the direction of the prevailing wind, a concept which would have great influence in meteorology. Franklin noted a principle of refrigeration by observing that on a very hot day, he stayed cooler in a wet shirt in a breeze than he did in a dry one.

To understand this phenomenon more clearly Franklin conducted experiments. In on a warm day in Cambridge, England, Franklin and fellow scientist John Hadley experimented by continually wetting the ball of a mercury thermometer with ether and using bellows to evaporate the ether. According to Michael Faraday, Franklin's experiments on the non-conduction of ice are worth mentioning although the law of the general effect of liquefaction on electrolytes is not attributed to Franklin.

However, as reported in by Prof. Bache of the University of Pennsylvania, the law of the effect of heat on the conduction of bodies otherwise non-conductors, e. Franklin writes, " A certain quantity of heat will make some bodies good conductors, that will not otherwise conduct And water, though naturally a good conductor, will not conduct well when frozen into ice. An aging Franklin accumulated all his oceanographic findings in Maritime Observations, published by the Philosophical Society's transactions in It contained ideas for sea anchors, catamaran hulls, watertight compartments, shipboard lightning rods and a soup bowl designed to stay stable in stormy weather. Franklin is known to have played the violin, the harp, and the guitar.

He also composed music, notably a string quartet in early classical style, and invented a much-improved version of the glass armonica, in which the glasses rotate on a shaft, with the player's fingers held steady, instead of the other way around; this version soon found its way to Europe. Franklin was an avid chess player. He was playing chess by around , making him the first chess player known by name in the American colonies. His essay on the "Morals of Chess" in Columbian magazine, in December is the second known writing on chess in America. This essay in praise of chess and prescribing a code of behavior for it has been widely reprinted and translated.

He and a friend also used chess as a means of learning the Italian language, which both were studying; the winner of each game between them had the right to assign a task, such as parts of the Italian grammar to be learned by heart, to be performed by the loser before their next meeting. In , Franklin created the Union Fire Company, one of the first volunteer firefighting companies in America. In the same year, he printed a new currency for New Jersey based on innovative anti-counterfeiting techniques which he had devised.

Throughout his career, Franklin was an advocate for paper money, publishing A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency in , and his printer printed money. He was influential in the more restrained and thus successful monetary experiments in the Middle Colonies, which stopped deflation without causing excessive inflation. In he made a case for paper money to the British House of Commons. As he matured, Franklin began to concern himself more with public affairs. In , he set forth a scheme for The Academy and College of Philadelphia.

He was appointed president of the academy in November 13, , and it opened on August 13, At its first commencement, on May 17, , seven men graduated; six with a Bachelor of Arts and one as Master of Arts. It was later merged with the University of the State of Pennsylvania to become the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin became involved in Philadelphia politics and rapidly progressed. In October , he was selected as a councilman, in June he became a Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia, and in he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly. On August 10, , Franklin was appointed joint deputy postmaster-general of North America. His most notable service in domestic politics was his reform of the postal system, but his fame as a statesman rests chiefly on his subsequent diplomatic services in connection with the relations of the colonies with Great Britain, and later with France.

In , Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond obtained a charter from the Pennsylvania legislature to establish a hospital. Pennsylvania Hospital was the first hospital in what was to become the United States of America. In , he headed the Pennsylvania delegation to the Albany Congress. This meeting of several colonies had been requested by the Board of Trade in England to improve relations with the Indians and defense against the French. Franklin proposed a broad Plan of Union for the colonies. While the plan was not adopted, elements of it found their way into the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. He used Tun Tavern as a gathering place to recruit a regiment of soldiers to go into battle against the Native American uprisings that beset the American colonies.

Reportedly Franklin was elected "Colonel" of the Associated Regiment but declined the honor. After his return to America, Franklin became the Society's Corresponding Member and remained closely connected with the Society. In , he was sent to England by the Pennsylvania Assembly as a colonial agent to protest against the political influence of the Penn family, the proprietors of the colony. He remained there for five years, striving to end the proprietors' prerogative to overturn legislation from the elected Assembly, and their exemption from paying taxes on their land. His lack of influential allies in Whitehall led to the failure of this mission. Whilst in London, Franklin became involved in radical politics. During his stays at Craven Street between and , Franklin developed a close friendship with his landlady, Margaret Stevenson and her circle of friends and relations, in particular her daughter Mary, who was more often known as Polly.

In , he visited Edinburgh with his son, and recalled his conversations there as "the densest happiness of my life". He also joined the influential Birmingham based Lunar Society with whom he regularly corresponded and on occasion, visited in Birmingham in the West Midlands. In , soon after Franklin returned to Pennsylvania, the western frontier was engulfed in a bitter war known as Pontiac's Rebellion. The Paxton Boys, a group of settlers convinced that the Pennsylvania government was not doing enough to protect them from American Indian raids, murdered a group of peaceful Susquehannock Indians and then marched on Philadelphia.

Franklin helped to organize the local militia in order to defend the capital against the mob, and then met with the Paxton leaders and persuaded them to disperse. Franklin wrote a scathing attack against the racial prejudice of the Paxton Boys. At this time, many members of the Pennsylvania Assembly were feuding with William Penn's heirs, who controlled the colony as proprietors. Franklin led the "anti-proprietary party" in the struggle against the Penn family, and was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House in May His call for a change from proprietary to royal government was a rare political miscalculation, however: Pennsylvanians worried that such a move would endanger their political and religious freedoms.

Because of these fears, and because of political attacks on his character, Franklin lost his seat in the October Assembly elections. The anti-proprietary party dispatched Franklin to England to continue the struggle against the Penn family proprietorship, but during this visit, events would drastically change the nature of his mission. In London, Franklin opposed the Stamp Act, but when he was unable to prevent its passage, he made another political miscalculation and recommended a friend to the post of stamp distributor for Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvanians were outraged, believing that he had supported the measure all along, and threatened to destroy his home in Philadelphia. Franklin soon learned of the extent of colonial resistance to the Stamp Act, and his testimony before the House of Commons led to its repeal. With this, Franklin suddenly emerged as the leading spokesman for American interests in England. He wrote popular essays on behalf of the colonies, and Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts also appointed him as their agent to the Crown. News of his electrical discoveries was widespread in France. His reputation meant that he was introduced to many influential scientists and politicians, and also to King Louis XV.

This reformed alphabet discarded six letters Franklin regarded as redundant c, j, q, w, x, and y , and substituted six new letters for sounds he felt lacked letters of their own. His new alphabet, however, never caught on and he eventually lost interest. Darwin at Litchfield. Franklin belonged to a gentleman's club designated "honest Whigs" by Franklin which held stated meetings, and included members such as Richard Price and Andrew Kippis. He was also a corresponding member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, which included such other scientific and industrial luminaries as Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Josiah Wedgewood and Erasmus Darwin.

He had never been to Ireland before, and met and stayed with Lord Hillsborough, whom he believed was especially attentive, but of whom he noted all the plausible behaviour I have described is meant only, by patting and stroking the horse, to make him more patient, while the reins are drawn tighter, and the spurs set deeper into his sides. In Dublin, Franklin was invited to sit with the members of the Irish Parliament rather than in the gallery.

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