Franklin’s Snub

I mentioned reading where Benjamin Franklin’s treatment in Europe may have contributed to his anti-British sentiments in a previous post.  I said I didn’t have the cite, but this looks like the passage I wanted to quote: library.untraveledroad.com/Ch/JLord/Beacon/Founders/Franklin/Franklin.htm</a>:

Franklin’s situation in London now became uncomfortable; he was deprived of his office of deputy Postmaster-General of the Colonies, which he had held since 1753, was virtually discredited, and generally snubbed. His presentation of the petition afforded an opportunity for his being publicly insulted at the hearing appointed before the Committee for Plantation Affairs, while the press denounced him as a fomenter of sedition. His work in England was done, and although he remained there some time longer, on the chance of still being of possible use, he gladly availed himself of an opportunity, early in 1775, to return to America. Before his departure, however, Lord Chatham had come to his rescue when he was one day attacked with bitterness in the House of Lords, and pronounced upon him this splendid eulogium: “If,” said the great statesman, “I were prime minister and had the care of settling this momentous business, I should not be ashamed to call to my assistance a person so well acquainted with American affairs,—one whom all Europe ranks with our Boyles and Newtons, as an honor, not to the English nation only, but to human nature itself.

”From this time, 1775, no one accused Franklin of partiality to England. He was wounded and disgusted, and he now clearly saw that there could be no reconciliation between the mother-country and the Colonies,—that differences could be settled only by the last appeal of nations. The English government took the same view, and resorted to coercion, little dreaming of the difficulties of the task. This is not the place to rehearse those coercive measures, or to describe the burst of patriotic enthusiasm which swept over the Colonies to meet the issue by the sword.”

Another source points out that Franklin was an intensely loyal British subject who looked forward to the time when he would take an active role in Britain’s imperial schemes.   His son, William, was the Loyalist Governor of New Jersey during the War for Independence.  Anyway, this seems to be backed up by this statement in another source:  ” Hopes for a peaceful solution ended as he was systematically ridiculed and humiliated by Solicitor-General Alexander Wedderburn, before the Privy Council on January 29, 1774. He returned to Philadelphia in March 1775, and abandoned his accommodationist stance.”  Franklin remained silent throughout the attack. He would later write of the incident: “Spots of Dirt thrown upon my Character, I suffered while fresh remain; I . . . rely’d on the vulgar Adage, that they would all rub off when they were dry.”

See this letter from Franklin regarding this incident

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