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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

by Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Part 3 Summary

  • When Franklin starts writing again, it's about five years after Part 2 (1788), and he's back in Philadelphia. He's lost lots of his papers that he would've liked to refer to, but has found one called "Observations on my Reading History" that he wrote in 1731.
  • The big idea in this paper is that people may band together in parties to create social change, but really each of them is just thinking of his or her own self-interest. Of these people, only a few of them act for the good of the many rather than the good of themselves.
  • Franklin ends the paper by saying that, because of this, he thinks someone should work on creating a political party based on virtue.
  • In thinking about these ideas, Franklin decides there should also be a religious sect united in the pursuit of virtue and the belief in one God, not divided by small differences. But even though he has lots of great ideas about it, it never gets off the ground.
  • Franklin then picks up the story of his life in 1732, when he publishes the first edition of Poor Richard's Almanac. He kept publishing it for twenty-five years because it is so successful. It is translated into French, successfully printed in Britain, and circulated by religious people and the wealthy. The Almanac has lots of advice about industry and frugality.
  • Franklin also circulates these ideas in the newspaper he publishes, the Pennsylvania Gazette. He's careful to point out that his newspaper never printed libel or gossip, unlike other papers.
  • Franklin also mentions setting up one of his journeymen in the printing business in South Carolina. When the journeyman dies, his widow takes over and is really successful. Franklin uses this example to point out the importance of educating women so that they're prepared for these kinds of circumstances.
  • Then, Franklin tells us about an Irish minister, Samuel Hemphill, who comes to Philadelphia and is very successful. Franklin is a big fan of his because his sermons emphasize virtue so much. Since other people aren't as into Hemphill, Franklin writes some pamphlets on his behalf.
  • One reason people don't like Hemphill is because they discover he borrows from other writers' works in creating his sermons. Franklin defends him because he'd rather listen to a good repeat sermon than a bad original one. The other congregants don't like it, though, so they kick Hemphill out, and Franklin stops going to their church after that.
  • Meanwhile in 1733 Franklin gets back to self-education, now working on foreign language study. He learns French, Italian, and Spanish really well. Later he discovers that learning those languages gives him a much better understanding of Latin.
  • With that, he recommends that people change the way they learn languages: instead of starting with Latin, which is hard and impractical, maybe it's better to work on one language like French that you can actually use.
  • Then, since it's ten years since Franklin left Boston, he goes back for a visit and makes up with his brother James. James is dying and asks Franklin to take in one of his sons and help him learn to be a printer. James' wife will look after the business until their son is ready for it. Franklin promises and does so, which he says makes up for how he treated his brother earlier in life.
  • In a sad aside, Franklin mentions that one of his sons died. Francis hadn't gotten shots for smallpox. Franklin regrets this and encourages other people to vaccinate their kids.
  • Back to Franklin's club, the Junto: although it had started as a secret, private club, people want to expand it to include their friends. Instead of expanding it, Franklin suggests that each Junto member should start a separate club, under the same ideas, kind of like Junior Junto branches. About five of these clubs were successful, and Franklin says he'll talk about them later.
  • Franklin then gets into his political career: in 1736, he becomes General Assembly Clerk. He's chosen again the next year against heavy competition.
  • Then, that next year, the Postmaster General offers Franklin the job of Philadelphia postmaster. This helps Franklin get more profits from his newspapers.
  • Franklin becomes more and more political: he decides to reform the City Watch. He writes a paper saying that proper people should be hired for it and they should be paid by a proportionate tax. Years later, this plan is passed as a law.
  • Franklin also creates the first fire department. He writes a paper for the Junto about the danger of fire and then helps create a group of firefighters (called the Union Fire Company). This company works so well, Franklin says, that since they started it fires no longer spread from house to house, and their rate of putting fires out is much improved.
  • Then, Franklin introduces George Whitefield, who starts preaching in Philadelphia in 1739. Franklin is amazed by Whitefield's preaching powers, and observes that Whitefield has a huge influence on Philadelphia's citizens.
  • The Philadelphians build a new non-denominational church for Whitefield and others for preaching in.
  • Whitefield makes a tour around the country preaching, and when he's in Georgia he's so impressed by the need there that he starts fundraising for an orphanage. Franklin advises him to bring the orphanage to Philadelphia, but Whitefield turns him down, so Franklin decides not to give him any money. However, when he's at one of Whitefield's sermons, Franklin is so impressed by his speech that he gives him all the money he has on him.
  • Franklin also publishes Whitefield's sermons and journals, and says that Whitefield was an honest and virtuous person, despite what some of his critics may have said.
  • According to Franklin, Whitefield is an excellent speaker with a loud voice that could travel great distances. Franklin does some math and figures out that 30,000 people can hear him at one time (with no microphone). Franklin also thinks Whitefield is better in person than on paper; other critics take his printed sermons to task.
  • Meanwhile, Franklin's business is doing well and he starts expanding his printing business with his employees.
  • One thing he doesn't like about Philadelphia is how there's no military and no university. So, in 1743, he writes a plan for creating a college and shares it with Richard Peters, a clergyman. Peters turns the scheme down, so Franklin decides to wait on it till later. Instead, he founds the American Philosophical Society.
  • On the military front, Franklin writes a pamphlet called Plain Truth that calls for an organized defense of his state. People respond so strongly to this pamphlet that they organize a meeting about it and gain 10,000 subscribers. With the money that's raised, they organize and pay for a military. Everyone wants Franklin to be colonel, but he turns it down and suggests Thomas Lawrence instead.
  • Franklin and Lawrence go with William Allen and Abraham Taylor to New York, where they borrow some cannons from Governor Clinton. At first Clinton says no, but after they have dinner and drinks he gives them eighteen.
  • Franklin becomes a valuable member of the Pennsylvania Governor's council and gets asked for his advice a lot. He has some ideas that Quakers don't agree with, though, and is advised by someone that he might get replaced at the next election, so he should resign in advance.
  • Franklin refuses, saying he won't ever ask for, refuse, or resign from office. Then he gets reelected anyway.
  • Even though many House members are Quakers, which means they're pacifists, Franklin thinks he might be getting re-elected on the strength of his support for developing an army. He believes that the Quakers don't mind preparing for self-defense.
  • As an example, Franklin talks about a fire company meeting where the company members vote on whether to apply their money to a lottery for building a battery, which pacifists would usually oppose. The company is made of twenty-two Quakers and eight non-Quakers, so Franklin thinks that it will be difficult to get enough votes to support spending money on the battery.
  • However, when it's time to vote, only one Quaker, James Morris, shows up to the meeting and votes against the measure. The eight non-Quakers vote for it.
  • During the meeting, Franklin finds out that eight other Quakers are waiting next door, and if they have to come to the meeting and vote for it, they will, even though they'd rather not. However, since the vote is eight to one, that becomes unnecessary and the other eight don't have to compromise their beliefs. Meanwhile, the fact that even more Quakers stayed away from the meeting, which means that they didn't vote against it, shows that they're not totally opposed to raising money for self-defense.
  • The Quakers' debate about whether to actively support means of self-defense is shaken when one of them, James Logan, argues for self-defense and donates money to Franklin for the battery lottery. Logan, who was secretary for William Penn, points out that it's all very well to believe in pacifism until one is actually in danger.
  • With so much time in politics, Franklin repeatedly witnesses problems Quakers face trying to reconcile their beliefs of pacifism with the demands of a state that needs military protection. They have to find loopholes in wording laws and measures so they can contribute to this kind of protection without endorsing it.
  • Franklin connects this situation of the Quakers to that of another religious sect, the Dunkers. Their leader, Michael Welfare, complains to Franklin that his people are persecuted and misunderstood. When Franklin tells him he should publish the regulations of his religion so everyone else is clear about it, Welfare refuses, saying they don't want to be trapped by a document as their beliefs evolve. Franklin finds this rare.
  • Here Franklin changes the subject by saying he's invented an open stove, and gives it to his friend Robert Grace. He writes a pamphlet to support it and refuses to take a patent on it, believing he shouldn't profit by his invention, even though other people do.
  • Franklin then returns to his project of setting up a university. Along with his friends from the Junto, he creates a plan and writes a pamphlet about it to raise subscription money.
  • They raise 5,000 pounds, choose twenty-four trustees from all different religions for a board, and ask the Attorney General, Mr. Francis, and Franklin to write a constitution for the school.
  • The trustees choose a building, hire teachers, and enroll students in 1749. When demand increases, they move to the building originally built for the preacher George Whitefield.
  • Meanwhile, Franklin partners in his printing business with David Hall.
  • The school continues to grow and is granted a Governor's Charter; it eventually becomes the University of Pennsylvania. At the time he's writing, Franklin has been a trustee of the school for almost forty years, and is really proud of the scholars it has produced.
  • Franklin now gets out of the private sector and starts working on experiments, but he is too popular to get out of politics. He works in several civic jobs, like Alderman, Justice of the Peace (which he backs out of), and Legislator. He's proud of not ever campaigning for votes or nominating himself.
  • In a treaty with Native Americans at Carlisle, Franklin goes to negotiate along with the Speaker of the House, Mr. Norris. He generalizes that all the Native Americans like to drink rum, so he and Mr. Norris withhold it until after their negotiations are over. The negotiations go smoothly, but then all the Native Americans get drunk on the rum.
  • Franklin works with his friend Dr. Thomas Bond to create a public hospital in Philadelphia. It's Bond's idea, but people don't get behind it until Franklin supports it. Franklin sets things up legally so the members of the house will get credit for supporting the hospital without actually having to donate to it, and their bill passes. Franklin is pleased with its success.
  • Franklin also is asked by preacher Gilbert Tennent to raise money for a new building for his congregation, but refuses. When Tennent asks for a list of people to ask for money, Franklin also refuses. He thinks he can't ask for too much at a time, and must be selective in championing projects. Franklin gives Tennent advice, though, which is to ask everyone he can think of for money, and Tennent does – so successfully that they have more than enough for their new building.
  • Franklin's next project is to raise money for paving the streets of Philadelphia. He writes a paper planning a solution and sends it to the House; citizens are so thrilled they are willing to pay tax for it. Then Franklin writes a bill for it, which the house passes into law.
  • The bill also includes John Clifton's idea for better city lighting. Franklin's often given the credit for this, but he says here it was really Clifton's idea.
  • This bill will be passed while Franklin is on a trip to England (he leaves in 1757). During that trip, he meets with Dr. John Fothergill, and they discuss the problem of dust not being removed by street sweepers in London. Everyone thinks it's a big inconvenience.
  • After Franklin commissions a poor woman to clean the street – it takes her three hours – he writes a proposal for street cleaning.
  • Franklin admits this is a lot of time and trouble to spend on dust, but says that a little thing like that makes for big problems.
  • Back to America, 1753: Franklin and William Hunter are made co-Postmaster Generals. It's a lucrative job and promotion. Franklin also gets honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale.
  • The next year, people are worried that they may go to war with France (this will turn into the French and Indian War). Franklin, Mr. Norris, Thomas Penn, and Secretary Peters are chosen to go make a treaty with some Native Americans.
  • Franklin writes a plan for all the colonies to unite. He shows it to James Alexander and Archibald Kennedy, as well as a Congress that represents the different colonies. Other people have made similar plans, but they choose Franklin's.
  • This plan says the colonies will have a President General, who reports to the king of England, and a Grand Council of Representatives. The Congress debates the plan while Franklin and his friends treat with the Native Americans. Ultimately, though, the plan fails, and others start to take shape.
  • Franklin talks with Governor William Shirley about the plans. He still thinks his own plan would have been the best, and, if it had been in effect, the whole Revolutionary War mess might not have happened.
  • Governor Shirley recommends Franklin's plan to the Pennsylvania Assembly, but they reject it, which Franklin finds humiliating.
  • Franklin goes to Boston and meets Governor Morris, Shirley's replacement. Morris loves to argue and quickly is at odds with the PA Assembly. Franklin is on one of the committees that rebut his ideas. Despite their personal friendship, Morris gets tired of the governing gig and quits.
  • Before that happens, the French and Indian War begins. Josiah Quincy comes to Pennsylvania to ask for help, and Franklin helps him petition the Assembly. The Assembly wants to grant him aid but the governor refuses, saying there's not enough money. Franklin suggests committing to paying through a loan with five percent interest in a year. This solves the problem.
  • England does not like the idea of the colonies uniting, and deputizes General Edward Braddock to Maryland, where he's supposed to make sure the colonies' own military defenses don't get out of hand. Franklin chills out with him in Maryland and has strong influence over him.
  • The General needs to collect wagons for supplies and can't gather enough, so Franklin offers to help. Franklin writes an advertisement calling for wagons and detailing the payment and collection scheme. The advertisement includes a letter that Franklin writes to his "friends" in Lancaster, Maryland. Franklin has to promise he'll cover the debt, with a bond, if the army defaults.
  • The advertisement/letter is reasonable, telling people that they'd have to give up their supplies anyway, so they might as well choose how that happens and get paid honestly for it.
  • The ad's success results in 150 wagons being offered.
  • Another officer, Colonel Thomas Dunbar, asks Franklin to aid some of his officers in finding supplies for the winter. Franklin turns to the Assembly for help, which they give him. He and his son William make care packages for the officers and surprise them. Everyone in the army is very pleased.
  • Braddock will die in battle in 1755, and Franklin says that luckily they'd mostly settled their accounts just a few days before that.
  • Of Braddock, Franklin also says his flaws were that he was overly confident, believed too much in his own men, and did not treat his Native American allies with respect. Braddock tells Franklin about his plans for a battle – at Monongahela, to take over Fort Duquesne – and Franklin says he's not prepared enough. But Braddock doesn't listen to Franklin's advice, and the battle is terribly lost. Braddock dies. (Interested in the battle? Check out our guide to the French & Indian War, but come right back afterwards!)
  • The colonists grow more and more dissatisfied with the British soldiers. They plunder, pillage, and take advantage.
  • One of the general's aides, Capt. Robert Orme, who's wounded along with Braddock and with him when he dies, tells Franklin that the only things Braddock says about the battle indicate his surprise and hope for better luck next time.
  • After the battle, the French army gets all of Braddock's papers, which they translate into French. Philosopher David Hume will later tell Franklin that the papers speak highly of him, but Franklin says that doesn't do him any good.
  • Franklin asked Braddock to keep the British army from enlisting indentured servants. Braddock kept this promise, but the next general, Dunbar, does not honor it. He tells Franklin that if some farmers will meet him while he's marching to New York, he'll release his servants to them, but doesn't keep that promise.
  • After this battle, many wagons and supplies are lost. Since Franklin gave his bond, people turn to him to recover their losses. Franklin has to apply to another general, Shirley, for funds. Luckily, Shirley comes through or Franklin would've been out almost 20,000 pounds.
  • Franklin adds that before this battle, Dr. Thomas Bond and Dr. Phineas Bond approach him, and ask him to contribute money to fireworks that will celebrate what they think will be a win at Fort Duquesne. Franklin says it's not a sure thing and they abandon the project.
  • After this loss, Governor Morris makes even more of an effort to raise money for military defenses from the Assembly. When the Assembly refuses, Pennsylvanians in England donate money to the cause. Franklin is one of the guys who get to be in charge of the money raised for the military, and he helps design and delegate how it should be spent. He advertises this cause by writing a pamphlet in dialogue about it.
  • The Governor puts Franklin in charge of the army on the northwest side, and Franklin's son William helps him manage it.
  • Franklin bases his army company in Gnadenhut, PA, which had been destroyed earlier by Native American attacks. (Gnadenhut, also called Gnadenhutten, is now called Leightown.) He starts preparing his army in Bethlehem, PA, to march there. Because of these previous attacks, the people in this part of PA, who are mostly Moravian settlers, are now much better prepared for fighting. Even the clergymen are ready to fight, although there are laws in place allowing them to abstain.
  • Franklin talks about this with a guy named Bishop Spangenberg, who says that their common sense overrides their beliefs.
  • They start building forts in Bethlehem and Franklin marshals his troops for Gnadenhut as it starts raining. He gives weapons to the farmers that request them, most of whom will be killed by Native Americans. Franklin says that they were lucky his group wasn't attacked in the rain, because their weapons would have been useless to them.
  • They arrive at Gradenhut and start building their fort there. There's a sawmill there that is very helpful in building forts. They also bury the dead. Franklin gives a list of figures and facts about how long it takes to fall the trees and how many trees they include in their fort. It takes them a week to build.
  • This makes Franklin think that people are happiest when they have stuff to do; when they're bored they just fight with each other.
  • Although Franklin thinks their fort kind of sucks, they have enough weapons to make it work as a defense against the Native Americans, who have no cannons. With the security of the fort as a base, he and his men assess the countryside. They see no Native Americans, but they can observe their enemies' scouting practices, such as how the Native Americans made fires that couldn't be seen by Franklin's men.
  • The fort's chaplain, Charles Beatty, complains to Franklin that no one shows up for daily prayers. Franklin advises him to pray to them when they're assembled twice a day to get their rations of liquor, and sure enough, with the promise of rum, everyone prays.
  • Franklin is just about done setting up his fort when the governor calls him back to the Assembly. He puts Colonel Clapham in charge of the forts and goes back to Philadelphia, stopping in Bethlehem on his way.
  • In Bethlehem Franklin learns about the Moravian religion, which seems very communal. They preach to different groups of people separately and have a lot of music. The church elders arrange marriages, sometimes through the use of lottery. Franklin finds this weird.
  • Back in Philadelphia, people have been elected to positions in the new army of 1200 soldiers. Franklin is selected to be a colonel. This is short-lived, though, because the English government abolishes the colonists' choices for a military.
  • While Franklin is a colonel, though, he gets honorary escorts to his house and out of town. In one example, he gets an escort of 30-40 men, mounted on horseback, who ride alongside him with their swords out. Apparently this is a very great honor. It offends one of the proprietors (the guys who own the colony and have say over its government), who complains about Franklin to the ministry and the postmaster general, Sir Everard Fawkener. But Fawkener stands by Franklin.
  • Although the governor and the Assembly, which Franklin is part of, argue a lot, the governor and Franklin stay friends, almost like colleagues. The governor asks Franklin for advice when Braddock is defeated, and wants him to take over command to recover Fort Duquesne, as a general. Franklin refuses this, and soon Governor Denny replaces Governor Morris.
  • Franklin says in an aside that, before he says more about his work in the government, he'd better talk about his reputation for science and philosophy.
  • He jumps to 1746, when he is in Boston and meets Dr. Archibald Spenser, who shows him some experiments. In Philadelphia, he meets Peter Collinson, who shares with him a glass tube that can be electrically charged. This excites Franklin to start experimenting with electricity.
  • He shares the experiments with his friends and works to create his own glass tubes. One friend, Ebenezer Kinnersley, performs the experiments as a way to make cash. Kinnersley formalizes the experiments and gives lectures about them, eventually working his way up to being a traveling lecturer.
  • Franklin writes about the experiments to Collinson, who shares them with England's Royal Society, of which he is a member. He also writes a paper on lightning and electricity, and sends it to Dr. John Mitchell, who also shares it with the Royal Society, including Dr. John Fothergill. Fothergill thinks it's important and needs to be published, so Collinson gives it to Edward Cave. Cave publishes it in a pamphlet, which is widely circulated.
  • When the Comte de Buffon reads them, he works with Thomas Dalibard to translate them into French. Franklin's papers offend the French scientist Abbé Nollet, who has different ideas about electricity. Nollet writes a book to Franklin saying why his own theories are better. Franklin considers responding to Nollet, but ends up not doing so because he thinks anyone can repeat his experiments and then figure out whether they're right or not. Franklin has the last laugh about this, because Jean le Roy argues in his favor, Franklin's book is translated into several more languages, and eventually way more people agree with Franklin than with Nollet.
  • Franklin's book is popular because Dalibard and Delor do one of the experiments he describes in it – pulling lightning out of the sky – with great success. Franklin also completes the experiment and is very pleased.
  • Dr. Edward Wright sees the response to Franklin's experiments in Paris and writes encouragingly about them to his friends in the Royal Society. This makes the Royal Society reread Franklin's other experimental papers, and a review of them by Dr. William Watson. Some of them, including Dr. John Canton, try the lightning experiment for themselves.
  • Franklin is asked to be a member of the Royal Society and given the Sir Godfrey Copley Gold Medal in 1753, when he's honored by Royal Society President Lord Macclesfield.
  • Back in Pennsylvania, Governor Denny, who wants to become his good friend, presents Franklin with the medal. He basically tries to bribe Franklin into working for him in the Assembly and to stop people from siding against him.
  • Franklin refuses, saying it would be unethical. He says he'll work for the good of the state and its people, and if the governor is working for that too, they'll make a good team. When the Assembly convenes again, though, Franklin works with the opposition against the governor. While professionally they're at odds, personally they become good friends. The governor is fun to talk to and tells Franklin all about his old friend James Ralph, saying he's politically involved, has a pension, and is making a name for himself as a prose writer (famous English poet Alexander Pope made fun of him when he tried to be a poet).
  • Franklin is chosen by the Assembly to travel to England as ambassador for their petition against the governor. The main point of the petition is that the House wrote a bill giving 60,000 pounds to the King for defense, with 10,000 under the control of General Lord Loudon, and the governor won't pass it.
  • Franklin makes arrangements with Capt. William Morris to sail for England from New York and is ready to go, with all his stuff sent to the ship, when Loudon comes to Philadelphia to mediate with the governor and the Assembly. He wants Franklin to stand in for the Assembly in mediation.
  • Loudon, Governor Denny, and Franklin meet. Franklin argues for the Assembly, while Denny says he'll be ruined if he doesn't follow his instructions, although he might go for it if Loudon encourages him. Loudon doesn't, instead telling Franklin to work on the Assembly, and that they have to come up with their own defense strategy. The English government won't help them.
  • Franklin returns to the house and they come up with another bill that the governor is willing to pass. But by this time the boat has sailed with all his stuff on it, and General Loudon takes credit for the mediation with the Assembly.
  • General Loudon gets to New York before Franklin does and has special knowledge of when the ships leave for England. Franklin asks him when to catch it, so he won't miss it, and the general tells him to be there by the next Monday, when it will leave. Franklin arrives just in time, but then learns the ship won't leave until the next day.
  • Franklin then learns the general really waffles and can't ever make up his mind. The ship doesn't leave for two more months; it's constantly being delayed to pick up letters, and the passengers get worried they won't make it to England on time. The general is constantly sending and receiving letters.
  • Franklin visits him on the ship and is met there by James Innis, who is there to deliver letters to the general and pick up some to take back. Franklin gives him letters to take back to friends in Pennsylvania. Two weeks later, they meet again. Franklin thinks he made great time, but Innis says he hasn't left yet – General Loudon hasn't given him the letters. Later, Franklin learns this is one reason General Loudon is removed from command by Prime Minister William Pitt.
  • Because the boat's passengers are worried it will leave without them, they all stay on board for six weeks while the boat is in dock. They use up the supplies they'd saved for the voyage and have to buy more. Finally they set sail. Most of the fleet goes with General Loudon to Fort Louisburg, while the boat Franklin's on goes to England. Franklin's lucky he wasn't on one of the other boats, which end up going back to New York. While the general is in Louisburg, they lose Fort George to the French.
  • In England Franklin meets up with one of those ships' captains, Captain Bonnell, who complains of the general's treatment. Bonnell was denied three days off to clean his ship by the general, even though they spent three months waiting around for him. Another passenger is so upset he threatens to sue.
  • Franklin doesn't understand how such a doofus gets power over so many and so much. But, he says, this happens all the time in the world. He thinks that after Braddock was defeated, command should have gone to General Shirley instead of General Loudon. Shirley is a reasonable, educated man and wouldn't have wasted money and supplies like Loudon did. Loudon sets up an embargo on trade, saying it is to protect supplies from the enemy, but really it is to raise profits for some over others. He ruins several ships by keeping them in the water so long. When Franklin tells Shirley he should have had more power, Shirley says he's glad he didn't.
  • While he is still in New York, Franklin applies to Loudon to get the remaining balance for the money he had borrowed on Braddock's behalf. Loudon agrees to pay pretty promptly, but then doesn't follow through. Eventually, he says he's not going to pay up for someone else, and that Franklin should ask for money at the treasury when he's in England. Franklin says he should be paid just on the money he's wasted by being in New York, and Loudon accuses him of trying to profit from the war. Franklin isn't ever paid the money as of when he's writing.
  • Back to sailing to England from New York, Franklin had been told the boat was fast, but actually it's super-slow. The Captain, Lutwidge, figures out that the ship is unevenly loaded, with too much weight in the front. When they redistribute the weight evenly, the ship starts going fast again.
  • The ship can go as fast as thirteen miles per hour by sea, which Archibald Kennedy, a navy captain on board the ship, says is impossible. He makes a bet with the captain about whether the ship can go that fast. They test the speed by throwing a log in the water after the ship, and Kennedy loses: the ship really is that fast.
  • Franklin says you can't know if a ship is going to be fast or not until you put it in the water, fully built, and test it. Each ship is different, as is its captain. He thinks someone should experiment with the best place to put each part of the ship, how much sail per kind of wind, etc., to find out how to really have a ship go fast.
  • They make good time on their passage to England, but when they get close to their destination, they run into trouble. They have to pass through a dangerous channel called St. George's in the middle of the night and their watchman isn't paying attention. The ship almost runs aground by the lighthouse there. Luckily, Capt. Kennedy saves the day by turning the ship around and narrowly keeping it from running aground (they would have all died, probably).
  • This makes Franklin think America needs more lighthouses.
  • The next day, they think they're near their destination, but can't see because of the fog. When the fog lifts, they see they have arrived at Falmouth and are safe.
  • Franklin and his son (this is the first mention the son was on the boat) go to London by way of Stonehenge and the scenic house and gardens belonging to Lord Pembroke. They arrive in London in July 1757.

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