Benjamin Franklin- a timeline of greatness
Benjamin franklin a time line of greatness By C.Keene Chapter 1 Early days Benjamin Josiah Franklin, commonly referred to as the "first American" was born on Milk Street, Boston, Massachusetts (January 17th 1706) was the offspring of Josiah Franklin and his second wife Abiah Folger, the context behind these two figures will help shape the perception and mould young Benjamin's ideals later in life and even during his early years. Benjamin was the youngest son of Josiah and Abiah; high hopes were established for Benjamin but financially they couldn’t meet these hopes as such. Josiah Franklin (December 23, 1657 - January 16, 1745) was an English businessman, after his migration to the colonies, he later became a soap and candle maker, during his time in Massachusetts he became part of the congregational old south church; his wife Abiah Folger (1667-1752) was born into a puritan family, this is important in understanding the progression of a young Benjamin as he picked up the ideals of the puritan faith and this is essentially what helped him develop and become the man we know today, Abiah first gave birth in 1690 and Benjamin was the 8th out the 10 children. I feel like I it is important to list that during the year 1717, he became interested in the works of Defoe, Plutarch and cotton Mather, his natural inquisitee was shown when he developed a pair of flippers to aid his swimming of which he was passionate about, he tied a wood plank to his feet and then had two hand held planks for his hand, although he deduced they were heavy and uncomfortable, he still noticed a difference in the speed he swam, this was remarkable especially for this time, he taught himself to swim in a time period where water was seen as something bad to be around and swimming was scarce. Post to this he tied to indenture as a cutler and briefly worked alongside his father, but ultimately ended up as a printer's apprentice with his half-brother. Josiah wanted Franklin to become a clergyman, this is because Josiah believed all of his children should have a trade and due to Benjamin's nature, he believed he should have served the church and during that time, ministers were held in high regard, but alas the only schooling the young Benjamin could get was two years, the money ran out and Benjamin aged 12 was sent to his half-brother James' print shop, James being the son of Josiah prior marriage, Benjamin signed a 9 year indenture, this became because of Benjamin's' love to read even though he did not receive a formal education, the print shop allowed him to develop his writing and reading talents, he did this by developing and practising rewriting essays from excerpts from his favourite magazine "the spectator" he rewrote in order to present a new way to engage his readers, despite his brothers lack of interest to broaden Benjamin's literary boundaries, during his tenure at the beginning he wrote a ballad about Edward Teach (Blackbeard) about his capture which is shrouded in mysticism itself and had actually happened around the time of his writing, Blackbeard terrorised the east coast of which franklin lived on, his writing style has been described as vivid and this matured beautifully as he matured also. While acknowledging new sense of freedom in 1720, he moved away from the family home into a boarding house, not bound by rules as such and his thirst for knowledge and invention he decided it would be in his best interest to shift his religious devotion in a way, he stopped going to church and focused the time on studying and developing himself, Benjamin still hungry for more literature decided to try save money and adopted vegetarianism in order to fund his book love, it is worthy to note this wasn’t his only motivation for vegetarianism, he did note he had a distaste for flesh. 1721, this is a turning point in his literature career, his brother James starts a newspaper under the name of "The New England Courant" this was essentially a revolutionary paper, in Boston there was three newspapers and the courant being one was different because the other two ran stories of news from around Europe, in this James found his niche he ran articles, ship times, news, opinions and advertisements all from home, James was very much interested in running infotainment articles and in this franklins saw his opportunity, under the pseudonym Silence Dogood, Benjamin had tried to publish these letters in his own name prior (7 times) but was ultimately rejected every time, the Silence Dogood letters amassed to a 14 articles ran in 1721, at the age of 16, Benjamin had created this persona of a middle aged widow who would send a letter biweekly and would leave it under the door of the print shop in order to keep the guise going. The articles were indeed a hit with the public, they presented a humorous tone and a satirical view of the Boston society of the time, an excerpt from one of his articles is as follows: "since it is observed, that the Generality of People, nowadays, are unwilling either to commend or dispraise what they read, until they are in some measure informed who or what the Author of it is, whether he be poor or rich, old or young, a Schollar or a Leather Apron Man, &c. and give their Opinion of the Performance, according to the Knowledge which they have of the Author's Circumstances, it may not be amiss to begin with a short Account of my past Life and present Condition, that the Reader may not be at a Loss to judge whether or no my Lucubrations are worth his reading" the article is highly informative and entertaining, the satire is disguised here as it takes the form of poking fun at his own identity, nevertheless you can see from this article that he is indeed entertaining the public with his humour, more of the criticism can be seen in his later works as they become more apparent in his writing as he progresses, and can be seen as follows in his opinionated response to hoop petticoats, "These monstrous topsy-turvy Mortar-Pieces, are neither fit for the Church, the Hall, or the Kitchen; and if a Number of them were well mounted on Noddles-Island, they would look more like Engines of War for bombarding the Town, than Ornaments of the Fair Sex." As you can see he used this platform as a sort of point of view and voice of a woman to push the subject of equality towards women in this very society, on the last letter Benjamin confessed his authorship of the letters, prior to the guise he was not allowed to physically pen paper for the newspaper because he knew his brother wouldn't welcome his works to the paper, for his actions his brother scolded him even the fame and literary talent didn't mean much to his brother. Chapter 2 The start of freedom His brother, James, was imprisoned for three weeks under the ground of criticism of the Massachusetts government, of which he printed, the problems for James was that in colonial America, freedom of press wasn’t a right that came into existence, this gave Benjamin the opportunity to take over the press company for the three weeks his brother was imprisoned, during the course of his captaincy he decided to publish the paper in his name which would later be his demise at the printing company, James returned and this was a breaking point for him, they argued and this led to a sour taste for his brother Benjamin, at sometimes he would physically abuse him, all this became too much for Benjamin. Benjamin, who quit the print shop decided to hopefully find work within another Boston print company, but his brother had intervened and advised the companies not to hire Benjamin, this really left Benjamin with no choice but to leave the city he was born in, at this time an apprenticeship was more than a stepping stone, it was a business contract of which leaving was not permitted, by leaving the Courant, Benjamin had indeed broken one of the terms of his contract, but what was Benjamin to do, stay and endure oppression of his talents and face abuse, unfortunately he was heavily regarded as a fugitive from the law, so at the age of 17, Benjamin sailed to New York in hopes of a printer job, his efforts failed and as a secondary plan he walked to New Jersey, and took a boat to Philadelphia, he had arrived in Philadelphia and from his appearance you could tell his travels had indeed taken a toll on him, his clothes crumpled and creased, he had little money on him but still decided to buy some rolls, during this he had accrued the attention of a young Deborah Read who's first impression was that of a man who appeared peculiar or of interest, as such Benjamin who was down on his luck, used his unshakeable character turned him into a prosperous man in Philadelphia, he did end up lodging with Read during his time in Philadelphia as they ran a boarding house on 318 market street. It is important to note he didn’t fully leave his family and hometown of Boston, he did in fact return to Boston in hoped of securing a loan from his father for a print shop, but his efforts fell short when his father denied him the loan, so he decided to return to Philadelphia and this leads us to the Governers intrest. As time rolled on they took to spending more time with each other as her perception of him shook, this time they spent allowed Read to be certain she wanted to marry Benjamin but Benjamin himself was not too interested in such a thing. Benjamin was young and wanted to make his way in the world, this really shows his puritan views on the matter, the fact he believes in hard work and making his way in the world. Philadelphia was geographically a larger city than Boston so the opportunity for him was there, he found work in his trade as an apprentice printer. All his hard work did not go unnoticed, he attracted the attention of the royal governor of Philadelphia, Sir William Keith, he advised Benjamin to open his own print shop and offered patronage via a letter of credit to Great Britain, Benjamin would travel to England specifically London, as Benjamin arrived he noticed the governor had not came good with his credit, this left him stranded in London, he spent two years in the industrial city, he worked once again as a printer with a highly regarded print shop in order to fund his travel home. Benjamin's co-workers were less dedicated, and often out getting drunk, but this wasn't in Franklins young nature, he made a great impression and used his strength to his advantage, he was able to carry two heavy trays while the others could only carry one, this sort of raw determination and passion is visible even if so subtly in his nature, once again his hard work had payed dividends, he left this job to work another with James Watts, who ran a larger shop in comparison to the previous one, Franklins business intelligence was working again, being an avid swimmer since he had taught himself, in a time where swimming was scarce he offered swimming lessons for the public using the Thames, this way he was able to make more money, it was even a consideration to make this his full time profession, albeit the letter of credit from the governor had fell short, his time in London had not gone to waste, the cultural significance on Benjamin was monumental, the theatre and literature were adored by Benjamin, the culture was more formal than he was used to and the attractions always peaked his interest. It was here he refined his ability even further, he broke free of the shackles that bound him by his youth, he was able to express himself especially in his first pamphlet titled a dissertation of liberty and necessity, a pleasure and pain, arguing that an omnipotent God is not compatible with human free will and morality. Chapter 3 The journey home and hereafter The year is 1726, a Quaker merchant by the name of Thomas Denham, Denham was described by Benjamin as an exemplar role model and held with fondness in his autobiography, Denham who was heavily in debt heard of Benjamin's predicament about the Governor and the credit and took him back to Philadelphia, Denham had Benjamin put to work in his book and shop which specialised in imported goods; while this is occurring, it is interesting to note that with Benjamin's absence, Deborah Read had found another and settled down under her mother's encouragement. During this, he had his first pleurisy attack, pleurisy is inflammation on the lining of the lungs causing pain with breathing and coughing, the treatment generally requires antibiotics but can resolve by itself and if left untreated can develop into numerous different problems. He leaves his job with Denham and meanwhile has an affair with a woman, this affair leads to his illegitimate son William of who he estranges over political allegiance later, the silver lining being he picks up a job with an English print man called Samuel Keimer, as Keimer couldn’t find anyone who cut currency quite like Franklin did, currency being an issue in colonial America with its scarcity and this was because England did not supply the colony with enough. As you can imagine Benjamin is still hungry for self-improvement and knowledge, from this he creates a Junto, also known as the leather apron club, it was a place Benjamin could embody his mind in, we can tell this because they discovered philosophy, business and morals as we can tell prior to this, that was Benjamin's forte and interest, it was a mutual interest group that he drew the idea of by its predecessor clubs and the London coffee houses he had saw, the mutuality even extended to business patronage of which they sent money to each other's enterprises. Interestingly so that all the members were avid readers and of such had understood that people of less financial stability could not fully reap the rewards from the books, a proposition to house or pool their books together in a mutual place so that all the junto's men could access them but also their personal favourites, a basis for a subscription library of which funds were pumped back into the library to fund more books, worthy of noting is the man by the name of Louis Timothee who was hired in 1731 as a librarian. But all this does not come until later in 1731. 1728, Benjamin partners with Hugh Meredith, they had both worked under Keimer of which Meredith had started at age 30, Meredith was in fact an original member of the junto, this shows the connection the two had developed and this would aid in their partnership that was just budding, Meredith's father had invested half of the initial amount, and as such they bought Keimers universal instructor in all arts and sciences and the Pennsylvania gazette in 1729, in 1730 Benjamin had opted to buy out Meredith's share of the stake and by 1732 he completely owned the gazette. He wrote the articles of belief and acts of religion, in a nutshell this was the belief that a divine being would not in fact be interested in the needs or prayers of what is described as earthlings, even with this mortem words, he still believed and pushed this warm and loving God, often describing him as "powerful" "wise" and his "friend", alongside his views he provided sample prayers. Slightly taking an off tangent, Deborah Read who had married prior to Benjamin's return, had been abandoned by her husband who fled the country with a single slave, this means once again Benjamin and Read spend ample amounts of time together, Benjamin does feel like he lays some of the blame and in 1730 they tried to exchange vows but because of her prior marriage of which had not legally ended, they were denied and had to settle for a common law marriage, they did board William his illegitimate son with them, but in 1732 Francis Folger Franklin was born, he would in fact later die from smallpox, in 1734 Sarah Franklin was born, she would later go on to marry and bore several children and would outlive her father, she had the relationship with her father that William did not, she supported the revolution and later in her life became his hostess post her mother's death in 1774. Chapter 4 Taking shape Benjamin who was an avid supporter of appear currency in a time where it was viewed so negatively, he produced the nature and necessity of paper currency, in this he presented the views he had on the economy but was still smart enough to warn of over inflation or over printing, it was indeed a suceess and pushed the legislature to pass a bill that increases the currency initially he wasn’t given the job of printing said currency: In the very same year he does purchase the Pennsylvania gazette from Keimer, as he was now owner of the paper he made some editorial changes, Keimers plan was to print the encyclopaedia in the gazette, this was scrapped and instead Benjamin decided to contribute to the paper under aliases, with his Midas touch, the colonies soon saw his very paper become the most popular; 1730 came around, in this year he decided to as we aforementioned buy out Meredith and then retain sole rights, pursue his common law marriage with Read, what happens in this year will lay the seed for his moulding of Philadelphia; He becomes the state printer of Pennsylvania, this entails printing the very currency his nature and necessity of a paper currency created in abundance in comparison to the scarcity as seen before. Fire was indeed a very high threat and destroyed livelihoods, in colonial America many houses were made of logs or other wood building materials, and this meant that even a small fire could destroy the only worldly possessions a family could have; Benjamin had saw this threat and laid the seeds for later, he instigated acts and programs in aid of fire prevention, but not until later would this actually come to being. 1731, Benjamin Franklin joins the freemasons, all secrets and shrouded tales aside, the freemasons were a group of distinguished gentlemen who met at the lodge, he was a very active member of the freemasons , freemasonry is by no different to the junto he operated prior, the only major differences lying in the communal efforts, this was what his junto lacked to be considered a pseudo freemason group non-affiliated with them of course, the freemasons were active in the community, had prestige and manners and even showed love of the arts and patronage to others, charity is a main discourse in the freemason chapter, this was what his junto lacked, the modesty of the group was unrivalled, in my eyes and probably in Benjamin's, they represented his ideals and passions to a tee. In my earlier paragraph I mentioned he laid the foundation for an early library, it is on the 1st July his library company drew up the library's company articles of association, the article stipulated that the first members after the initial fifty were to be approved by directors, pay subscription and sign the articles, the acquiring of new books were the director's jobs, non-members were indeed allowed to borrow books, albeit they had to leave the currency value of the book which would be returned upon depositing the book. 1732 gave Benjamin the birth of his second son Francis Folger Franklin, unfortunately he would die at the age of four due to small pox, his name derived from Benjamin's maternal families last name, he was undoubtedly proud of his heritage, as they were one of the first to settle in America, albeit that Benjamin did not attend church as frivolously as he did in the past, Francis was indeed baptised at the Anglican church Deborah attended; it is possible that this child could have become their heir to Benjamin and even he saw the possibility too, he was described as "precocious, curious and special" by Benjamin himself, but his untimely death leaves many what ifs to be answered. Benjamin did try again to find a niche in his printing company and created the first German newspaper in the colonies by the name of Philadelphische Zeitung, he did not use the standard German text print and instead stuck with the Caslon Antiqua, which is different to the standard German Fraktur type, it did only last briefly but is important in showing Benjamin's initiative and want to provide for others. This is indeed a milestone in his life and probably what helps create his fame for later generations, the poor Richards almanack was published in December 8th 1723, this was an annual almanack which ran from 1723 to 1758 and did exceptionally well for a pamphlet at that time, print runs went to 10,000 yearly; this included seasonal weather forecasts, puzzles and household hints; it was an extremely witty pamphlet and coined many phrases that are still used to this day such as, "a friend in need, is a friend indeed", "today is yesterday's pupil" and arguable the most famous "a penny saved is a penny earned": In order to maintain sales, he produced stories in the almanack that progressed through the years and the colonials would have to buy it to keep up with the protagonists, it did not come without criticism in the form of jealousy as James Russel Lowell said " we shall find out that Franklin was born in Boston, and invented being struck with lightning and printing and the Franklin medal, and that he had to move to Philadelphia because great men were so plenty in Boston that he had no chance" at the time of Benjamin's statute unveiling in his hometown, Boston. Back in Boston, his brother James had passed away, once again his kindness, forgiving and sense of family showed again, his almanack being huge seller in the colonies, he sent five hundred copies to James' widow, men in colonial times were the main providers for the family, equality wasn’t saw as an issue back then as in wanting to be improved; the copies that Benjamin had sent to James' widow could be sold to pay for her way.
Appointed clerk of the PA assembly, this very year he becomes the currency printer for New Jersey when he signs a contract but it wouldn’t be until 1740 he would become the actual printer for the colony, he used a copper plate press he had built to print the money, as we can tell from this he was still exhibiting the goodwill nature of understanding economy and progression of the colonies, this progression is needed in order to not wither under crown rule and raise a higher standard of living, keeping in mind that the colonies had a real scarcity of money and when Philadelphia had statred printing more money to eliminate the use of fake money or exchanges, the economy in the colony grew heavily from what it had once been. As said earlier, he was instigating a set of acts or measures to prevent or put out fires in the colonies, this year of 1736 would be when he finally gets his wish, this comes about by a visit to his native Boston, the Bostonians were better equipped this his adopted city of Philadelphia to fight fires, upon returning he consults his junto for advice on how they could firefight, albeit that any man could rush to the fire and put it out, he noted that they were limited by their abilities and the most efficient and best way to distinguish a fire, would be to create a group of men who belong to a fire engine a club of sorts who only job is to tend to fires, constant instigating and even writing an anonymous letter to his own paper on the subject of the fires was enough for a band of 30 men to show up and on December 7th 1736, the union fire company, it did become a desirable job but he urged them to create their own fire station and this created around 7 stations, Philadelphia soon became one of the safest places for fire. In 1737, he becomes the post master of Philadelphia, printers in that period would often also become a postmaster, it allowed them to easily distribute and co-ordinate news, what is interesting to note is that they were allowed to say which newspapers would travel free in the mail and which would not, the previous postmaster had forbidden Benjamin's gazette to travel with the mail, another post master by the name of Elliot Benger had added the finances of the neighbouring post offices part of Benjamin's duties, but as Bengers health worsened Benjamin lobbied the British for the post of postmaster general of America, August 10th 1753 he got his wish and alongside with William Hunter, he became joint postmaster of general of America, the changes hereafter would mould the postal service, but we will discuss these closer to the time of changes.1740, he is now the official printer of New Jersey. 1741, the Franklin stove was invented, safety and efficiency are what it brought about, lack of central heating and the fact that heat rises through convection currents meant that the heat just rose out through the chimney, Benjamin's idea was to enclose it in a cast iron box, this way it would radiate from the all of the sides and the rate of wood burn and flow could be adjusted also, stray sparks could easily happen and it would spell disaster for the house, the Franklin stove reduced this chance and as a such, wood fires from fireplaces could be vastly decreased: Benjamin once again ventured in print with a magazine, one of the first of its kind albeit failed after just 6 issues it was called, The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America, as you can tell from the title, it pokes towards a more American identity, as if the plantations are the only British thing there and that they just so happen to be on America and this was indeed the focus of the publication. Benjamin met a lecturer by the name of Archibald Spencer, he was amused and intrigued and did in fact act as his agent thereafter, he sold tickets and organised venues for Spencer all the while running advertisements for him in the gazette; Spencer used a Leyden jar which stored static electricity, he mentored Franklin in the art of electricity until Franklin decided to buy all of his electrical equipment for his own personal use and study. This is where his fascination for electricity really took off, with the amusing spencer as his mentor he strived to learn. A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge in the British plantation of the America, this was Franklins proposal for his philosophical society, modelled on the royal society of London; he believed in a society that spanned the colonies and in turn traded science as well as technological advancements, the colonies were well established and over a century old, all this could be used to maintain a thriving and bustling colony, he did offer to serve as a secretary till one more is available; inferences especially can be made here, Benjamin is uniting the colonies, not quite in a way the revolutionary war did but you can see the early onset of Benjamin's support, his propositions and pamphlets titles promote American identity even if by so subtly, his philosophical society united the knowledge of the colonies the best he could, and ever so subtly you can see he doesn’t believe he should be head of all these things, but rather a group of people, the inference even if so controversial can be said he believed the same of the colonies, that they should be ran by people and not by one person. Sally was born in 1743, born Sarah Franklin, she was baptised in Christ Church, later on she would bear several children and outlive her father, she supported his patriotism and even in later life after her mother's death in 1774, she became his hostess. Chapter 5 Post death of his father His electrical studies have now begun, all the while he decides to print The Plain Truth, this was his attempt to persuade the Quaker dominated Philadelphia to band together a militia to stop intruding French, Spanish and Native American forces, this did indeed work, they backed him so long as he would help establish the force of which he did, what is most notable of the pamphlet is that it included the first political cartoon in America, the famous snake cut into 13 pieces one of each represents the 13 colonies adorned with the motto "join or die", this references the fact that colonies must join their defences together. Benjamin's interest with electricity infatuated him, he described it as "For my own part, I never was before engaged in any study that so totally engrossed my attention and my time as this has lately done" so much so, he was garnished with a gift from a Londoner called Peter Collinson who gifted him an static electricity tube, this is the very tube that helped lead him to his theory that electricity is not in fact created but transferred where he even coined the terms positive, negative, plus and minus to describe his case; he used the tube to demonstrate static charges, by rubbing the leather and closing the open end of the tube with a cork, you can put a static charge in the tube, Benjamin theorised that the atmosphere was transferring the static into the atmosphere inside the tube; his theory became essential to what is now modern physics. 1748, Benjamin enters into a partnership with David Hall and then retired from printing, Benjamin was already rich, he partnered with many and even provided the first franchise of which he would but the printing presses for a person who then would give him one third of the profits for six years, after the six years were up he would offer them the opportunity to pay for the presses, at the age of forty-two he retired from printing, this meant he had created enough revenue to retire and this also allows Benjamin to continue in his endeavours that would change the world and better the colonies, his purpose in life, as so he felt it was. 1749, arguably his best lasting impression besides his discoveries in electricity happened in this very year, he printed a pamphlet by the title of, publick academy of Philadelphia, this formed the foundation of the university of Pennsylvania, his propositions led to a committee of 24 trustees to purchase the already pre-existing building that had not truly been finished, Benjamin's idea was to be able to provide an education to all, the gentry went alongside the working class, universities provided courses for the Christian ministry whereas Benjamin curriculum would prepare people for business, government and public service, in the long run this would allow for a more progressive colony and for proper training, the prior training they would receive would go hand in development and relations between other colonies raising the standard of which they live in, Benjamin served as president until 1755 and then a trustee until his death in 1790. The year is 1751, a huge year for franklin and even the world of science is coming up, Peter Collinson had just produced a letter about electricity, currently in France inferences of the nature of electricity were made and even using conductive rods and a Leyden jar, Benjamin who had at the end of 1749 had created analogies in his memoirs of the nature of lightning and electricity, in 1752 he had conducted the very famous kite experiment, the conductive rods experiment was saw to be fatal so instead Benjamin used a kite with wet hemp string to work as a connecter rod, he stayed grounded and silk string was on his sons end to insulate him, meaning there was less chance of him getting electrocuted, he tied a key to the kite and then in turn the key was connected to a Lyden jar, keeping in mind a Lyden jar is an early form of a capacitor, he was not struck by lightning at all but he did noticed the frayed ends were repelling each other and deduced the Lyden jar was charged and as he moved his hand to the key, he received a shock, this proved his ideas of the electrical properties of lightning; his discovery led to him receiving a Copley medal from the royal society of London, he became the deputy postmaster of the North America this very year also In 1752 Benjamin decided to start towards an insurance company with regards to the fire problem, he got together with firefighters and also with his voluntary corps and sat and chewed out how it would go, several meetings ensued and it was discussed until articles of insurance were created, it was publicly unveiled and subscribers at first were scarce but then seventy citizens signed up, a board of directors and a treasurer ensued, the subscribers met and decided to set up the insurance company for the city, fines for tardiness were issued for the meetings and these went to civic improvements, this further supports his ideals of a better Philadelphia, the way the policy worked was that they paid for a seven year insurance and upon expiration the premium would be returned if not under certain exclusions, and as for policy safety, any non-legal specifications were denied a policy. Chapter 5 Formation of his colonial unity plan 1754, his plan for colonial unity is complete, he presents it to Albany congress alongside a Pennsylvania delegate, the main idea of the plan was to unite all thirteen colonies, it was met with some apprehension as they thought it may weaken certain colonies but this time period was littered with hostility, being part of the crown meant that French forces could attack and that the expansion of colonies had meant they bordered Native American territories, the northern colonies felt more at risk because they were ever so close to the Canadian border of which France was at; it was an early attempt to unify the colonies under defence, the plan was not accepted under the fact that some colonies felt unified policies made difficult to agree with them because of all the Native American tribes and that certain people though it would be to gain power over the colonies: after the revolutionary war, they would draw upon this plan for ideas and inspiration for the articles of confederation. Benjamin in 1757 became an agent of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Massachusetts, Georgia, New Jersey. Pennsylvania was essentially owned by the Penn family, it had legislature to pass its own laws but if the Penn family wanted to veto it, they could, because of this veto powers, the frictions between the colonists and the Penn family grew, they elected Benjamin to go to England and represent them and persuade king George II to overturn the Penn families power and make them no longer exempt from taxation, the Penn family had huge land holdings and didn’t pay any tax on these, he was there for five years and proved unsuccessful in his attempt so he returned back in 1762. With Benjamin being the deputy post master general of North America since 1752, he had the power to change the way the mail was, his plans were clear, he started the surveying of the postal routes upon his return in 1762; prior to this he changed the postal system and increased efficiency, he did this by making them work during the night, deliverance of post for a penny if they had not been claimed from the post office, publishing the names of post waiting for people in the papers, remembering how he was treat when he was banned from being allowed to distribute his gazette via mail; abolished this and allowed all papers to be delivered for a nominal fee, promoting fairness towards all printers and papers and stopping the snuffing of competition and livelihood. His invention sense started again and in 1762 he had created the glass harmonica, glasses with water that you ran a wet finger across to create music were already an idea but they were very clunky and hard to move, Benjamin's idea was this on a rotating table, he described it as "notes incomparably sweet to any other" and it was said to only need tuning once and then never again, the tune could be changed by simply differing pressure on the discs, the pedal would rotate the glass discs helping to relive the pain on the wrists that occurred with the standard wine glass music: In Europe it was a hit, even Mozart and Beethoven created compositions for it, but soon hereafter people started to believe that the music could make you go insane and its popularity heavily declined. In 1764-5 he did map the gulf stream but his real achievement came in 1776, he was examined before the house of common in relation to the stamp tax, if you don’t know what the stamp tax is, its where a product would have to taxed and when it was taxed it would be stamped with the seal of the king, it was all to do with paper being stamped, now the tax was incredibly high on these and Benjamin was examined because of this, when asked if all could pay said taxes his reply showed research and humility "not all, some counties were frequently ravaged by the enemy and left impoverished" what is interesting is that he was asked "do you think the stamp task can be enforced by arms" and his reply is foreshadowing of the future "Suppose a military force sent into America; they will find nobody in arms; what are they then to do? They cannot force a man to take stamps who chooses to do without them. They will not find a rebellion; they may indeed make one" and this is what helped break the back and start a period of hate and resent to the crown and eventually the revolution, and Benjamin suggested that if the act is not repealed the colonists would boycott British trade and would certainly do fine without he British goods. 1668-70, Benjamin was made the colonial agent of Georgia, Massachusetts and New Jersey, essentially a colonial agent is a selected person who lives in London as a representative of that colony, they go forward to stress the needs and position of the colony, Benjamin was saw as a very influential and loved character, he changed things for the better and any colony would have been well done with him as their agent, they handled the legislation and appeals, this is where Benjamin would have thrived, we have already saw that he felt passionate about the abolishing of the stamp tax, of which he won and it was repealed, this wasn't a minor victory so if he could achieve this, who knows what else he could achieve when representing the masses. 1771-2, Benjamin begins writing his autobiography, this isn't so important at the time but in our generation, it will give us an insight into his feelings, his problems and more that are only subjective to him, we can unearth much more and make inferences from his writings that will change the landscape and ideas we had about that time period. In 1774 he was brought before the privy council over the Hutchinson letters, it was a series of letter that increased the tension between the colonies and the British government, Benjamin came into these letters that were addressed to a Whately, about a packet of twenty, upon reading them he understood that the knowledge of these leaked letters would turn the anger of the colony away from the British parliament, he sent these letters to the clerk of Massachusetts Samuel Adams, they were shocked but instructed to keep this letters between them, they applied to Benjamin for an ease on these rules, Benjamin agreed but under the condition that they aren't to copied or printed but they could be shown to anyone, they led a campaign against Hutchinson and ultimately ended up publishing the letters after some remarks from Hutchinson that insinuated that he would overthrow the constitution of this government and have arbitrary power in the province, the letters were released in the gazette in 1773, he was reviled in the privy council over his part in the affair and was blasted as being thieving and dishonest and ultimately relived of his post as postmaster general and the petition for Hutchinsons removal was disbanded and described as "groundless" and "vexatious", there were many ways in which he could have acquired those letters but the general consensus is he received them from Thomas Pownell. As a result of this affair, the coercive acts which sought to punish the tea party and governorship of Massachusetts was given to the commander of the British forces in North America. Deborah died in 1774 of a stroke, she was Benjamin's wife for 44 years, his daughter Sarah would now become his hostess. 1775, Benjamin is delegate of Pennsylvania in the second continental congress, he serves on the secret correspondence, this is essentially a group that with help strengthen ties with other potential allies as well as make new allies, the congress recognised that a war may be approaching and as such needed safety and help in order to be able to strengthen and protect the thirteen colonies, in steps Benjamin, Benjamin Harrison V, Thomas Johnson, John Jay, Robert Morris and John Dickinson; Benjamin was a strong presence in this, he messaged a Spanish Prince and Americophiles in France to rally the support needed, he visited France later and this will be discussed later, at this point the thought of going back to the way things used to be seemed nearly impossible, tax and many other issues have driven a stake in the loyalty that they had to the crown, the time for action was coming and they knew this, that's why they set up this very committee. While on this committee, the very people wanted to sway away from the crown, they set up an independent postal system, Benjamin was by far the most qualified as he held that job title for years prior to his dismissal by the crown in 1773; he was given an annual salary of one thousand dollars a year and a budget of three hundred and forty for a secretary and comptroller, the title he was given was postmaster general of what is now known as the United States Postal Service, this job entailed all the postage offices from Massachusetts to Georgia, he was also allowed to hire as many post masters as he wanted, this really show the trust and care he had for the now emerging unity that was around the corner. In 1776 shays rebellion had just arose, a rebellion led by Daniel Shays, he took four thousand rebels to protest against the fact that many farmers couldn’t pay for taxes and were heavily indebted and in order to stop repossession, they tried to force closure of the courts, they did try to fight at the Springfield armoury and this rebellion was stopped, but the farmers fell into armies led by Daniel Shay even though one thousand were imprisoned, they felt and said they acted in the spirit of revolution; at this same time a different group of individuals decided to meet to discuss economics of the colonies and the policies of the colonies that came at loggerheads and how they could reform or mend them for smoother action. Now for the arguably the most important part he had to play in the unity of the colonies, he serves on the very committee that draft the declaration of independence, the committee was made up of thirteen delegates, one from each colony, the time of pleasantries had left and now was the time to start the pushing away from England, the past year had been rough for the colonies, they fought the crown over "taxation without representation", as we can see taxation played arguably the biggest part in the formation of the United States that we can see in the years later, the tax was saw as impeding and trampling on the colonies because they weren't consented and saw as unjust, they were just that, unconsented drastic policies and laws to make money for the crown, the colonies were highly populated and yet the representation of them in British legislature was next to non-existent, this led to a month later after this initial meeting, the famous John Hancock on July 4th signed the Declaration Of Independence, he was the only delegate to sign that day, many more would sign on August 2nd and the final signatory Matthew Thornton signed on November 4th, The lee resolution or "the resolutions of independence" stated "Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances. That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation" this meant the colonies are now free from British control and can conduct business as they feel just. First part of business was strengthening the now United States of America, Franklin was sent to France to secure an alliance, even though they were now independent the war would last till 1783, Franklin while in France would be loved and adore both for his achievements and for his personality, he was in circles of science and literacy while there and rose to a high standard in France, yet even with all this his diplomatic duty success was slow in coming, France was indeed secretly aiding the colonies but were fearful of British victory, so until they were assured of colonial victory, they kept it secretive, what changed this idea of a doubtful colonial victory; the battle of Saratoga, the colonials beat the British and showed that an American victory was highly possible and just like that, they showed support in just a few months later, delegates from the United States and France met to sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance on February 6th 1778, it is noted that this was decisive of an American victory over the British. Like all wars, the post war settlement needs to occur, and who better to negotiate peace with the English than Benjamin, he signed the preliminary treaty with the English, the French were trying to push for unfavourable terms for the Americans such as being confined to the east of the Appalachian Mountains, John Jay who was a representative of the United States understood he could get a much better deal if he res-routed past France and went straight to London to negotiate with the English directly, this proved to be an ideal tactic, they saw the opportunity to get America to its feet and then they would have a very prosperous trading ally to have, the treaty that was accepted included terms such as, gaining all area east of the Mississippi, south of Canada and north of Florida and that the northern border would be the same as it is today, British loyalists and merchants were allowed to recover their property and finally the Americans were given fishing rights to fish off the coast of Canada, and here we have it, a new country with who they can later form a working and lasting relationship with. Here we have something in his life that isn't to do with diplomacy like the aforementioned, Franklin was getting old by this time and needed two sets of glasses, one for being short-sighted and one for being longsighted; the pain of removing one set of glasses for another became a chore and it wasn’t him that just experienced this, the solution for him was simple, take the lenses out of the glasses and cut them in half, now put the two types of glasses lenses on top of each other and then fit them into the pre-existing frame, he now only had one pair for both conditions, he could look out of the bottom lenses and read but then go out and look through the top lenses to fulfil his daily chores, he coined them bi-focal and they helped eliminate the pain of constant changing of glasses. He was elected the supreme executive of Pennsylvania, he held the constitutional convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, although his contributions were very little, he still signed the document and rightly so, he was arguably one of the most important men in the course of revolution, everything he pushed for and insinuated and worked for had happened, the only man to sign the four documents, the Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Alliance with France, The Treaty of Paris and The united States Constitution; if we look back and remember the Albany plan, that was used as inspiration for the congressional committee, so even though his part was small, his works helped influence the constitution regardless. 1789, Benjamin wrote an anti-slavery treatise, although he owned slaves, he was quoted in saying "slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that is very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open up a source of serious evils", later he becomes the president for the promotion of the abolition of slavery, although slavery will not be abolished till many years later, he still made waves with such an issue, he strived for this and there wasn’t a place he wouldn’t try assert his case, but unfortunately for him and the slaves, many southern states relied on slaves and to take away the slaves so early into unity would break them away, a civil war almost sixty five years prior to the one of the very same issue, Benjamin's case was taken with little head and you could say fell on deaf ears, he even provided a petition for the house of representatives to gradually abolish slavery, but North Carolina and Georgia argued that in the Bible it was it was a permitted teaching and was needed to sustain the souths economy but the main issue was that they believed they couldn't be side in side and never mix; when Benjamin died on April 17th 1790, his petition withered away and joined him; the Pleurisy we saw earlier in my book had claimed him at the age of 84 and his age was respectable for a person of that time, the intelligence and personality he had never withered but his body did and that’s what's sure. 20,000 mourners attended his funeral, this shows he was loved by many and always will be, leaving his marks on the would but most importantly the city that made him and the city he made, the city of Philadelphia Although the absolute utmost care has been taken to fact check and re read, some mistakes may remain but they should be small mistakes, if there are any mistakes you see please leave them in the reviews, I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it, thank you for your time and I hope it has helped better understand the greatest man to be adopted by the city of Philadelphia
Benjamin Franklin- a timeline of greatness
- ISBN: 9781370707119
- Author: callum keene
- Published: 2017-09-21 01:35:08
- Words: 8752