Franklin, William, 1731-1813

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William Franklin was born in 1731, the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin; his mother's identity is unknown. Prime Minister, Lord Bute, named William Franklin to the position of Royal Governor of New Jersey when the office became available in 1762. At first, Franklin was greeted in New Jersey with trepidation, as it was assumed that his famous father had obtained the office for him. In contrast to the low expectations of him, William Franklin became one of the most effective royal governors New Jersey had. Franklin engaged in reforms, such as improved roads and bridges throughout the colony. Franklin's popularity as governor diminished, however, after the Stamp Act crisis in 1764. He continually supported the Crown's policies, which also created a rift with his more rebellious father, Benjamin. Consequently, the two men cut ties with each other in 1775. After the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, Franklin left for England, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

From the description of William Franklin papers, 1756-1813. (New Jersey Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 54023638

Governor of New Jersey and son of Benjamin Franklin.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to William Strahan, 1781 Dec. 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270751419

Illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin; last royal governor of New Jersey.

From the description of Letter of administration : Perth Amboy, N.J., 1771 Apr. 24. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 145506982

William Franklin was the son of Benjamin Franklin, the Governor of New Jersey, and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1768.

From the description of Correspondence, 1759-1812. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122440503

William Franklin was the son of Benjamin Franklin and the last colonial governor of New Jersey.

From the description of Papers, 1760-1813. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122540035

Stephen Adye was a British Army officer who, while serving as the Deputy Judge Advocate General of North America, wrote an important tract on courts martial in 1769. Originally published in New York and then London, Treatise on Courts-Martial, to which is Added an Essay on Military Punishments and Rewards would serve as the standard for military judicial practices in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During the American War for Independence, Adye served as an officer under General James Pattison during the occupation of New York City.

From the guide to the Stephen Payne Adye correspondence, 1769-1783, 1769-1783, (American Philosophical Society)

William Franklin was the son of Benjamin Franklin. He was the last Royal Governor of New Jersey (1763-1776) and was put in prison for his Loyalist sentiments.

From the description of Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1778. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155885692

Governor of New Jersey.

From the description of Papers, 1756-1813. (New Jersey Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 70954667

From the description of William Franklin correspondence, 1765-1782. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79451847

Gov. of New Jersey. Son of Benjamin Franklin.

From the description of Copies of autograph of 2 letters : to William Strahan, 1763 & 1764. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270751283

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Burlington, to Dear Friend, 1771 Jun. 21. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270751286

From the description of Autograph letters signed (8) : to William Strahan, 1763-1781. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270751273

Epithet: Inspector, Army Medical Board

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000215.0x0001fa

William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, served as the Governor of New Jersey; in 1768, he became a member of the American Philosophical Society.

From the guide to the William Franklin correspondence, 1759-1812, 1759-1812, (American Philosophical Society)

Shortly after his birth in London in 1760, William Temple Franklin was sent out to be raised by a string of foster mothers. The illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin's illegitimate son William and of an unidentified woman of apparently ill repute, Temple was kept far away from the public eye as his father advanced in career and social standing. When Temple was two, his father married respectably and left England to become Royal Governor of New Jersey, and only at age four would Temple begin his slow integration into the fractious Franklin family.

Kept ignorant of his parentage, Temple was introduced into Franklin's Craven Street home as "William Temple," a protégé of his grandfather, while the expenses of his lodging and schooling were funneled quietly through Margaret Stevenson to his absent father. Temple enjoyed the benefits of an excellent education and an amiable social circle and was considered a charming, if sometimes irresponsible young boy, yet it was only years later, when he was asked to accompany his grandfather on his return to Philadelphia in the spring of 1775, that he was at last apprised of his identity. The news, as he soon discovered, was a mixed blessing. Simmering tensions between Benjamin and William over both personal and political differences came to head in May 1775 when the three generations of Franklins met in at Joseph Galloway's farm at Trevose, Bucks County, Pa., to reacquaint themselves and attempt to reconcile. Rather than reunion, however, this meeting provoked a rancorous split between the elder, headstrong Franklins, with the flighty Temple caught in the middle. Although Temple left Trevose with William to become acquainted over the summer, Benjamin insisted that he return to Philadelphia in the fall to begin college -- and not coincidentally, to remain under Benjamin's close supervision.

At the end of an indifferent year at the College of Philadelphia, Temple received news that his father had been declared "an enemy to the liberties of this country" and thrown into prison. Benjamin grew alarmed when Temple decided to travel to New Jersey late in the summer to console his step-mother Elizabeth, and wrote to his grandson to express concern for his safety being so near British lines, but beneath that, he feared that Temple was falling under the sway of Loyalist sympathies. Having already lost a son to the Tories, Benjamin was determined not to lose his grandson. In early September, Benjamin quashed Temple's request to visit his father in prison, claiming at first that useful intelligence might be passed to the enemy, but adding later that he prevented the visit out of "tender Concern" for Temple's welfare during the perilous trip to Connecticut.

In the long run, Benjamin won out in the contest for Temple's loyalties, and when the aging diplomat was called upon to travel to France to secure support for the American cause late in September 1776, Temple came along as his personal aide. From his grandfather's side, Temple was provided with a uniquely privileged view on the sensitive negotiations between the fledgling United States and the French crown, and his grandfather regularly favored him with highly visible assignments to prepare him for future betterment. In December 1777, for example, Temple was selected to deliver the critically important Treaty of Amity between France and the new United States to the French ministry.

Yet despite his grandfather's assistance, Temple did little to distinguish himself, attracting a chorus of doubters as time progressed. Grown into a feckless, seemingly aimless young man, Temple was inclined to dandyism and took to the social life in France with as deep an enthusiasm as his grandfather, but without the wit or intellectual depth, and certainly without the personal discipline and commitment to Republican principles. Worse, Temple seems to have acquired an aptitude for infelicitous choices, gladly embracing the Mesmerist fad, for example, despite his grandfather's reservations on the subject, and even joining the pro-Mesmer Société d'Harmonie. Perhaps to prove his mettle and his commitment to serious matters, Temple teamed up with the Marquis de Lafayette in the summer of 1779 (a fellow fan of Mesmer) to plan an invasion of Britain, but like many of Temple's plans, this one never came to pass.

Despite his grandson's insouciance, Benjamin continued to work on Temple's behalf, initiating him into his Masonic Loge des Neuf Soeurs and scheming, as he once had for William, to see Temple marry well. In 1781, Benjamin attempted to strike a match between Temple and Cunegonde, daughter of Franklin's beloved Mme Brillon. "Having almost lost my own daughter because of the wide distance between us," he wrote to Mme Brillon, "I hoped to find another one in you, and still another in your daughter, to take care of my old age." Citing Temple's Protestantism as an excuse, however, the Brillons rejected the union. In characteristic Franklin fashion, Temple rebounded by taking up with a married neighbor at Passy, Blanchette Caillot, with whom he had a natural son, Théodore.

Through his grandfather's influence in 1782 -- and over the opposition even of many of Benjamin's allies -- Temple landed the most important assignment of his career when he was appointed as Secretary to the Peace Commission. But rather than advancing his prospects, this appointment may actually have hindered them by piquing the jealousy and animosity of his rivals. It is likely that the failure of Benjamin's efforts to win a ministerial appointment for Temple in 1783 can be attributed to a combination of resentment over Benjamin's manipulation and Temple's personality, which everyone but Benjamin now considered disreputable. When Polly Stevenson visited Benjamin at Passy in 1784, even she was disimpressed with the man Temple had become, writing that he had become "so engaged in the pursuit of pleasure that he is not an amiable or respectable character."

Before their returning to the United States in 1785, Benjamin and Temple parlayed with William yet again in a half-hearted attempt to work out their differences. Although there was no reconciliation, William agreed (not entirely willingly) to aid his son by selling him his New Jersey and New York properties at a bargain price. When Benjamin died on April 17, 1790, Temple inherited his library and became his literary executor. Although this seemed to instill an enthusiasm in Temple over plans to publish his grandfather's works, once again things did not go as planned. Gathering the manuscript of the autobiography and some important correspondence that he intended to use to update it, Temple returned to England in 1792 only to find that a French translation of it had already appeared. He decided, however, to continue on with his project, working slowly to produce a more complete edition.

Reuniting with his father in 1792, still unmarried, Temple chafed under William's demands that he find a wife, and shortly after fathering another illegitimate child, Ellen, with the daughter of his father's second wife, Temple broke bitterly away and moved to Paris. Without his grandfather's guiding hand, Temple continued on the same aimless path. His three volume edition of the Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin did not appear until 1817. He lived the last six years of his life with his English mistress Hannah Collyer, whom he finally married a months before his death in 1823.

From the guide to the William Temple Franklin Papers, 1775-1819, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Bache family papers, 1770-1890 (bulk), 1770-1923 (inclusive), Bulk, 1770-1890, 1770-1923 (Bulk 1770-1890) American Philosophical Society
creatorOf William L. Clements Library. William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers, 1665-1885. University of Michigan, William Clements Library
referencedIn Bache Papers-Castle Collection, 1766-1946. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. William Franklin papers, 1756-1813. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf New Jersey. License to practice law, 1765 Oct. 28, Burlington. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Stephen Payne Adye correspondence, 1769-1783, 1769-1783 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn William Franklin Papers, 1757-1813 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Jonathan Williams Papers, 1763-1802 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Autograph letter signed : Burlington, to Dear Friend, 1771 Jun. 21. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Jared Sparks collection of documents concerning the American Revolution, 1740-1866 . Houghton Library.
referencedIn Benjamin Vaughan Papers, 1746-1900 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Vol. LXX (ff. 355). 17 Aug.-23 Oct. 1814.includes:f. 1 Sir Walter Stirling, 1st Baronet; of Faskine: Letter to the 2nd Earl of Liverpool: 1814. f. 3 Francis Basset, Baron De Dunstanville 1796: Correspondence with the 2nd Earl of Liverpool: 1812-181... British Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Correspondence, 1759-1812. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Papers, 1756-1813. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Indiana Company. Records, 1775-1779. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Washington Irving's Life of George Washington Miscellany, Volume XI, Miscellany, 1755-1835. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805. LS : London, to William Franklin, 1766 Sept. 13. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin Papers Part 13 -- Miscellaneous Franklin Materials, 1640-1791 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Clinton, Henry, Sir, 1738?-1795. Henry Clinton papers, 1736-1850. University of Michigan, William Clements Library
referencedIn DeCou, George, 1861-1950. Papers, [17--]-[19--]. Historical Society of Moorestown
referencedIn Aaron Vanderpoel papers, 1770-1866 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of Shelburne papers, Shelburne, William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne, 2nd Earl of, papers, 1665-1885 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Anderson family. Papers, 1762-1950. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Howell, Benjamin, 1786-1852. Howell family of New Jersey papers, 1703-1919. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Autograph letters signed (8) : to William Strahan, 1763-1781. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Miscellaneous Benjamin Franklin Collections, 1710-1822 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Henry Clinton papers, Clinton, Henry papers, 1736-1850 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin Papers Part 13 -- Miscellaneous Franklin Materials, 1640-1791 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Franklin-Bache Papers, 1707-1799 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Miscellaneous Benjamin Franklin Collections, 1710-1822 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin Papers, 1730-1791 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Behind the Veil: Documenting African-American Life in the Jim Crow South Records, 1940-1997 and undated, (bulk 1993-1997) David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Castle-Bache Collection, 1683-1922 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf William Franklin correspondence, 1759-1812, 1759-1812 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. William Franklin correspondence, 1765-1782. Library of Congress
referencedIn Bache family. Papers, 1770-1890 (bulk), 1770-1923 (inclusive). American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson papers, 1752-1795 Library Company of Philadelphia
referencedIn Vol. XVIII. (XVII. ff. 434). 1 Jan.-10 Aug. 1803.includes:f. 1 John Leard: Instructions to, from the Navy Commissioners: 1802, 1803. f. 3, 8 John Tyson: Letters to Lord Nelson: 1799-1805. f.5 William Marsh: Letters to Lord Nelson: 1799-1805. f. 10... British Library
creatorOf New Jersey. Governor (1763-1776 : Franklin). Order, 1769 Jan. 3, to pardon Susanna Reinier. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Gage, Thomas, 1721-1787. Thomas Gage papers, 1754-1807, bulk 1759-1775. University of Michigan, William Clements Library
creatorOf Sydenham family. Papers, 1759-1867. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Letter of administration : Perth Amboy, N.J., 1771 Apr. 24. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Johnson, William, Sir, 1715-1774. Sir William Johnson letters [manuscript copy], 1761-1772. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Stevens family. Stevens family papers, 1663-1959. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Eardley-Wilmot, John, 1750-1815. Eardley-Wilmot correspondence, 1768-1817. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Eardley-Wilmot, John, 1750-1815. Eardley-Wilmot correspondence, 1768-1817. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Freehold (N.J.). Citizens. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1769. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Autograph letter signed : New York, to William Strahan, 1781 Dec. 6. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Anderson family. Anderson family papers, 1762-1950. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Byers, William Vincent. The First American movement west, 1750-1850. / William Vincent Byers, 1913-1914. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Williams, Jonathan, 1750-1815. Selected papers, 1771-1813. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Adye, Stephen Payne, d. 1794. Correspondence, 1769-1783. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Franklin-Bache Papers, 1707-1799 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Bamberger, Louis, 1855-1944,. Autograph collection, 1683-1929. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf William Franklin miscellany, 1764-1776 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Papers of William Franklin, 1775-1776. Library of Congress
creatorOf Ely, Edwin A., 1836-1927,. Autograph collection, ca. 1663-1890. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Vol. XIII.includes:ff. 3-32b William Somerville, MD; FRS: Letter, etc., to Lord Palmerston: 1816.: Signed.ff. 3-32b William Franklin, Inspector, Army Medical Board: Letter, etc., to Lord Palmerston: 1816.: Signed.ff. 3-32b (signed) Sir James Mc... British Library
referencedIn New York and New Jersey boundary dispute, [ca. 1750]-1866. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf William Temple Franklin Papers, 1775-1819 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Timothy Horsfield Papers, 1684, 1733-1771 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Miscellaneous Benjamin Franklin Collections, 1710-1822 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790. Autograph letter signed : London, to his son, 1767 Mar. 19. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Pennsylvania. Provincial Council,. Report of the Commissioners to the Albany Congress : ms., 1754 Aug. 6. Rosenbach Museum & Library
creatorOf Vanderpoel, Aaron, 1799-1870. Aaron Vanderpoel papers, 1770-1866. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Benjamin Franklin Papers Part 1 -- Letters to Franklin, 1730-1776 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790. Letter, 1766, Dec. 20 : London, to John Swinton, Edinburgh. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Trumbull, Jonathan, 1710-1785. ALS : Lebanon, Conn., to Andrew Adams, 1777 Dec. 5. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Thomas Gage papers, Gage, Thomas, papers, 1754-1807, 1759-1775 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Great Britain. Secretary of State. A List of Offices in the North American and West Indian Colonies, 1775 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn William Temple Franklin Papers, 1775-1819 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Lippincott, Richard, 1745-1826. Richard Lippincott papers, 1782. Library of Congress
referencedIn Stevens family. Papers, 1663-1959. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1778. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Franks Family Papers, 1711-1821, [1965-1968] American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn William Franklin Papers, 1757-1813 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Jonathan Williams selected papers, 1771-1813, 1771-1813 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790. Papers. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Hart, John, 1711?-1779. John Hart papers, 1761-1778 1777-1778. New Jersey Historical Society Library
referencedIn Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790. Benjamin Franklin collection, 1753-1771. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Papers, 1760-1813. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Stockton, Richard, 1730-1781. Autograph petition, 1768 [no month, no day], Burlington, N.J., to Gov. William Franklin. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Eardley-Wilmot correspondence, 1768-1817 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Portrait file: Guide. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Vol. XXI. (XX. ff. 363). 1 Jan.-10 Mar. 1804.includes:f. 2 Captain John Whitby, RN: Letters to Lord Nelson: 1803-1805. f. 3 Alexander Comelate, of Ancona: Letters to Lord Nelson: 1804. f. 7 Captain Samuel Sutton, RN: Letters to Lord Nelson: 1801-18... British Library
referencedIn Sarah Franklin Bache Papers, 1768-1807 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn United States. Continental Congress. Resolution, 1776 June 19, regarding the examination and imprisonment of William Franklin. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn Smith family. Papers, 1733-1831. Rutgers University
creatorOf Franklin, William, 1731-1813. Copies of autograph of 2 letters : to William Strahan, 1763 & 1764. Pierpont Morgan Library.
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