New indentures were drawn up but not made public. Failing to find work in New York City , Franklin at age 17 went on to Quaker-dominated Philadelphia , a much more open and religiously tolerant place than Puritan Boston. One of the most memorable scenes of the Autobiography is the description of his arrival on a Sunday morning, tired and hungry. By the spring of he was enjoying the companionship of other young men with a taste for reading, and he was also being urged to set up in business for himself by the governor of Pennsylvania, Sir William Keith. Not until his ship was well out at sea did he realize that Governor Keith had not delivered the letters of credit and introduction he had promised.
In London Franklin quickly found employment in his trade and was able to lend money to Ralph, who was trying to establish himself as a writer. The two young men enjoyed the theatre and the other pleasures of the city, including women. Franklin argued in his essay that since human beings have no real freedom of choice, they are not morally responsible for their actions. This was perhaps a nice justification for his self-indulgent behaviour in London and his ignoring of Deborah, to whom he had written only once.
He later repudiated the pamphlet, burning all but one of the copies still in his possession. By Franklin was tiring of London. He considered becoming an itinerant teacher of swimming, but, when Thomas Denham, a Quaker merchant, offered him a clerkship in his store in Philadelphia with a prospect of fat commissions in the West Indian trade, he decided to return home.
Denham died, however, a few months after Franklin entered his store. The young man, now 20, returned to the printing trade and in was able to set up a partnership with a friend. Two years later he borrowed money to become sole proprietor. His private life at this time was extremely complicated.
Deborah Read had married, but her husband had deserted her and disappeared. At this point Deborah may have been the only woman in Philadelphia who would have him, for he brought to the marriage an illegitimate son, William, just borne of a woman who has never been identified. They had a son, Franky, who died at age four, and a daughter, Sarah, who survived them both. William was brought up in the household and apparently did not get along well with Deborah. Despite some failures, Franklin prospered.
Indeed, he made enough to lend money with interest and to invest in rental properties in Philadelphia and many coastal towns. By the late s he had become one of the wealthiest colonists in the northern part of the North American continent. As he made money, he concocted a variety of projects for social improvement. In he organized the Junto , or Leather Apron Club, to debate questions of morals , politics, and natural philosophy and to exchange knowledge of business affairs.
The need of Junto members for easier access to books led in to the organization of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Through the Junto, Franklin proposed a paid city watch, or police force. A paper read to the same group resulted in the organization of a volunteer fire company. In he sought an intercolonial version of the Junto, which led to the formation of the American Philosophical Society.
In he published Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsilvania ; in the Academy of Philadelphia, from which grew the University of Pennsylvania , was founded. Although still a tradesman, he was picking up some political offices. He became clerk of the Pennsylvania legislature in and postmaster of Philadelphia in Prior to , though, his most important political service was his part in organizing a militia for the defense of the colony against possible invasion by the French and the Spaniards, whose privateers were operating in the Delaware River.
Benjamin Franklin only had two years of formal education.
In Franklin, at age 42, had become wealthy enough to retire from active business. He took off his leather apron and became a gentleman, a distinctive status in the 18th century. In the s electricity was one of these curious amusements. In the winter of —47, Franklin and three of his friends began to investigate electrical phenomena. Franklin sent piecemeal reports of his ideas and experiments to Peter Collinson, his Quaker correspondent in London.
Since he did not know what European scientists might have already discovered, Franklin set forth his findings timidly. In the 18th century the book went through five English editions, three in French, and one each in Italian and German. The experiment he suggested to prove the identity of lightning and electricity was apparently first made in France before he tried the simpler but more dangerous expedient of flying a kite in a thunderstorm. But his other findings were original. He created the distinction between insulators and conductors.
He invented a battery for storing electrical charges. He coined new English words for the new science of electricity— conductor , charge , discharge , condense , armature , electrify , and others. And he demonstrated that the plus and minus charges, or states of electrification of bodies, had to occur in exactly equal amounts—a crucial scientific principle known today as the law of conservation of charge see charge conservation. Despite the success of his electrical experiments, Franklin never thought science was as important as public service.
As a leisured gentleman, he soon became involved in more high-powered public offices. He became a member of the Philadelphia City Council in , justice of the peace in , and in a city alderman and a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. Thereafter he began to think in intercolonial terms. The plan called for the establishment of a general council, with representatives from the several colonies, to organize a common defense against the French.
But Franklin had become acquainted with important imperial officials, and his ambition to succeed within the imperial hierarchy had been whetted. But Franklin and some of his allies in the assembly had a larger goal of persuading the British government to oust the Penn family as the proprietors of Pennsylvania and make that colony a royal province. Except for a two-year return to Philadelphia in —64, Franklin spent the next 18 years living in London, most of the time in the apartment of Margaret Stevenson, a widow, and her daughter Polly at 36 Craven Street near Charing Cross.
His son, William, now age 27, and two slaves accompanied him to London. Deborah and their daughter, Sally, age 14, remained in Philadelphia. In this preface Father Abraham cites only those proverbs that concern hard work, thrift, and financial prudence. Everyone wanted to paint his portrait and make mezzotints for sale to the public.
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Franklin fell in love with the sophistication of London and England; by contrast, he disparaged the provinciality and vulgarity of America. He was very much the royalist, and he bragged of his connection with Lord Bute, which enabled him in to get his son, William, then age 31, appointed royal governor of New Jersey. Reluctantly, Franklin had to go back to Pennsylvania in in order to look after his post office, but he promised his friends in London that he would soon return and perhaps stay forever in England.
After losing an election to the Pennsylvania Assembly in , Franklin could hardly wait to get back to London. Deborah stayed in Philadelphia, and Franklin never saw her again. Though he was influenced by the German Akzidenz Grotesk typeface designs, Fuller Benton decided to name his new font to honor Franklin , who was an influential typesetter and publisher of his time.
Franklin lived a long life — he died on April 17, , at the age of His last words were reportedly: "A dying man can do nothing easily. His passing marked a period of mourning for the citizens of Philadelphia, but also across the pond as his good reputation extended there after years spent as the first US ambassador to France. According to the Constitution Center, the French adored Franklin, and considered him a "Renaissance man" because of his many talents. As a result, the French National Assembly went into mourning after he died.
One of its members, Count Mirabeau, believed Franklin was "able to restrain thunderbolts and tyrants. Melina Glusac.
Unusual facts about Benjamin Franklin - INSIDER
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Benjamin Franklin. Wikimedia Commons. Keep scrolling to learn more facts about American history's "Renaissance man. Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. He mentioned that the main course was going to be turkey and how he planned on preparing it : "A turkey is to be killed for our dinner by electrical shock, and roasted by the electrical jack, before a fire kindled by the electrified bottle.
11 Surprising Facts About Benjamin Franklin
He later told his brother in a letter that the biggest injury he sustained was to his ego. Also during the picnic, Franklin also planned on using electricity to ignite flammable liquids, drink a toast in electrically heated glasses, and set off explosions. Franklin thought that nudity was good for one's health, so he regularly took "air baths" to ward off illness. To increase the air circulation in his home, he'd open up the windows and sit in front of them without any clothes on.