Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Franklin in London: 18 yrs:1758-1775
Franklin lived 18 years in London as the famous scientist and high-living emissary of the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts colonies. But it all ended bitterly.(Topic 661)

New topic 601: TITLE 601:Benjamin Franklin's Genealogy: Volume:
DESCRIPTION: 4316,4317, 1244,5371

Benjamin Franklin and The Facts of His Early Formative Years:

Ben Franklin's early life is full of gaps. Consequently, the man whose writings later filled eighty (80) volumes doesn't explain why he made some important decisions. As one of his other biographers once said, "Franklin doesn't tell us everything, but what he does tell us, is straight".

The implication was that he was devious, but I am more Freudian. The implication was that he was following the example of his brother James, instead of becoming a farmer, like most other men his age. And he hated James, so the question moves to -- Why did he hate James? The ultimate answer is lost but is probably childish, as I am ashamed to admit I went to Yale because that was the advice of a taxi-dancer; I went to Lawrenceville because the Mercersburg representative who was interviewing me said it was better than Mercersburg. I later protected the Mercersburg man by denying he said it, for childish reasons I don't even understand myself.

The point I am making, in case you missed it, was even a rich and famous old man sometimes prefers to be called devious, to being charged with the shameful fact of being childish. And even he has maybe forgotten which it really was.

And another comment, he had a funny relationship with women. Even for the time of the Enlightenment, he had a more peculiar conflict with the need to wear fur hats and called "Poor Richard", when he had worked very hard to be the richest man around. He retired at the age of 42 and was later given a portrait with 250 diamonds in its frame, by the King of France, no less.

We may never know the answer to questions like these, which may trace back to a childhood teaching or experience, or else have a more complicated explanation hidden in someone's closet as a letter. One may turn up, the other will not.

Originally published: Saturday, July 11, 2020; most-recently modified: Friday, July 24, 2020


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