Benjamin was Sent to Boston
How it works
Benjamin Franklin was born January 6, 1705, as recorded by the Julius calendar, under modern circumstances, he was born January 17, 1706. Benjamin was born into the small Milk Street home of Josiah and Abiah Franklin as the tenth of seventeen children. Interestingly, Franklin was fascinated with water and the concept of swimming, in fact, he spent most of his time deciphering ways to make him go even faster. Franklin, being a very bright and intelligent child, brought to life one of his very first inventions as avery young boy, swimming fins. This simple invention was the spark that ignited the American publisher, author, inventor, diplomat, scientist, printer, and founding father.
At age eight, Benjamin was sent to Boston Latin School, Franklin showed great promise and knowledge in his first year of attendance. However, his father withdrew him after he realized that the process would be a waste of time, knowing they could not afford the college tuition of Harvard. Benjamin was instead placed into a writing and arithmetic school not to far from his home; at age ten Franklin’s formal education ended and he began to work full time in his father’s candle and soap shop, where he boiled fats and cut wicks. He then moved on to apprentice his brother John as a printer, Benjamin mastered this trade between 1718 and 1723. In 1721, Benjamin’s brother James published a newspaper known as the Courant, this inspired Franklin’s writing even more, influencing him to write a total of fourteen works signed by his widowed middle aged female persona, “Silence Dogood.
How it works
Franklin used this persona to write from the perspective of the female mind, which, under his writing ability, proved to be quite fascinating. In 1722 James Franklin found himself in a quarrel with the General Court, this led to the printing of the Courant to be ceased at once. James tried to keep the paper alive by faking turning over of the Courant to Benjamin, yet, Benjamin was not too fond of the idea and decided to run away from home in hopes that his brother would see eye to eye with him on the scenario.
In 1724 Franklin took a ship to London with one of his good friends, James Ralph. Franklin had little trouble finding employment for his profession, in fact, he was even able to lend money to Ralph who was in the process of becoming a writer himself. He and James grew as friends and enjoyed the fascinating place that is London, however, by 1726 Benjamin had grown tired of the amusements and was considering becoming swimming teacher. However, a merchant in London offered Franklin a position in his store in Philadelphia, with this news, Franklin decided to return back home.
On the way he decided that he would create a, “Plan for Future Conduct, which was written as such, “One: It is necessary for me to be extremely frugal for some time, till I have paid what I owe. Two: To endeavor to speak the truth in every instance; to give nobody expectations that are not likely to be answered, but aim at sincerity in every word and action, the most amenable excellence in a rational being. Three: To apply myself industriously to whatever business I take in hand, and not divert my mind from my business by any foolish project of suddenly growing rich; for industry and patience are the surest means of plenty. Four: I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever(49).
Franklin began to look for a way for himself to grow both professionally and personally, therefore he established, Junto. This was a club of working men that began with around twelve members, they would often meet at a tavern or house and discuss political, religious, business, and a variety of other issues. The Junto was the start of many great innovative ideas, such as: a city watch, a police force, and a volunteer fire department. Being members of the club everyone helped each other in their own ways, Franklin would often allow members to board in his store while Deborah cooked for them; in return, they would financially and emotional help to support Franklin when he needed it the most.
In 1730 Benjamin Franklin married Deborah Reed till her death in 1774, their family consisted of three children: Sarah, Francis, and William. Francis had died at age four, from smallpox. William was Franklin’s illegitimate and very distant child who was not to fond of Deborah; William grew up to be a raging loyalist through the entirety of the revolutionary war. Sarah remained a stalwart and confident child eventually becoming one of the most popular American anthropologists of the time.
Benjamin Franklin made his first business move around the same time he married Deborah, after writing, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency, Franklin was given the job of printing Pennsylvania’s currency. He also began printing his own colonial newspaper the, Pennsylvania Gazette, as well as, Poor Richard’s Almanac. Overtime Franklin made such a profit from these works he was able to lend money to friends as well as begin investing. Soon enough Franklin would become one of the richest colonists in the north of what is now the United States.
While franklin was doing quite well as one of the few printers in town; he also took up duties within some political offices as well the job of Postmaster General. Franklin worked to establish a militia which would help to defend the colony form a variety of invasions. Holding the position of Postmaster General enabled Franklin to control the spread of certain papers as well as receive news from far away before any others.
In 1748 Benjamin Franklin had become such a successful and profitable man that was able to retire at the age of forty-two years old. He turned over his printing business to his foreman David Hall; this provided Franklin with half the shops profit for the next eighteen years resulting in around six-hundred and fifty pounds annual pension. Franklin was able to transition from a leather apron work to a gentleman, a very highly regarded status in the eighteenth century. Franklin decided instead to leave the printing business altogether and instead focus on his own scientific interests and studies. The most most well known of which is his fascination for electricity.
Franklin’s studies of electricity began in 1746 when himself and three others began to investigate and experiment with electrical phenomena. In 1751 these studies were in fact published in a book entitled, Experiments and Observations on Electricity. However, Franklin became even more invested in his studies when in 1749 he began to notice some impressive similarities between electrical sparks and lightning. Benjamin Franklin had many ideas and theories on the concept of the lightning rod; however, before Franklin began to test any of his theories, he sent his ideas for experiments to Collinson who presented them to the Royal Society in London and had them widely published. With these ideas in mind, Franklin began to experiment. One stormy day Franklin enlisted the help of his son William to help him fly a silk kite affixed with a steel rod; in hopes that the rod would draw electricity and conduct it into the key entwined at the end of the kite’s string.
Clouds passed over Benjamin’s and William’s head with no effect; until, Franklin noticed parts of the kites string stiffen and freeze. When Franklin made contact with the key at the end of the string, he was shocked. He grabbed a leyden jar and contained the rest of the electrical charge stored within the key; upon further studying Franklin noticed that the lightning and electricity produced in a lab were practically identical. Franklin then concluded that electricity and lightning are one in the same.
Franklin’s electrical studies and results proved to be very popular and successful: however, Franklin wished to be more involved with the people. In 1743 Franklin began to talk of the idea to open a college of his own; the Junto agreed with Franklin’s thoughts and encouraged his views. By 1749 Benjamin Franklin wrote, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, in this work he described the necessity of an academy and how it could be funded. Through donations alone Franklin raised two-thousand pounds; with this money he was able to negotiate to have the academy take over the Great Hall built for Rev. Whitefield that had presently fallen into disrepair. Franklin’s academy opened in 1751; with that Franklin saw his work as done and continued on to more private jobs for the better of the colony.
One of the most discussed and debated topic of the time was slavery; Franklin himself owned a few. Franklin however, did not enjoy having slaves; therefore he sold two of them in 1751 keeping one with him to use as a personal servant. Franklin argued against slavery; however, not under spiritual or ethical terms; Franklin believed that if a white owned a slave, they would become weak and eventually lead to the destruction of nations. As time progressed Benjamin Franklin began to become more and more involved in the support of black rights and education by participating in a group that “…established schools for black children in Philadelphia and the elsewhere in America (152).