When Benjamin Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm in his famous experiment, his illegitimate son William was his only companion. Together they traveled through the western wilds of Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War, fought in the colony's fractious political battles. Ben helped his son attain the post of Royal Governor of New Jersey, and William's governmeWhen Benjamin Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm in his famous experiment, his illegitimate son William was his only companion. Together they traveled through the western wilds of Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War, fought in the colony's fractious political battles. Ben helped his son attain the post of Royal Governor of New Jersey, and William's government hired Ben to represent the colony in London. But when war came, father and son were split: one acclaimed as a patriot hero, the other a loyalist condemned by his countrymen. In William Franklin, Sheila Skemp tells the story of this fascinating and complex man, a man with a foot in both worlds--he loved both King and country, and saw the interests of both as inextricably intertwined. She follows William's early years as a militia officer in the wars with the French, his life as a law student in England, and his long tenure as Royal Governor of New Jersey. Skemp highlights the close personal and political relationship between father and son, depicting such ironic episodes as William's defense of his father against charges that Ben was the author of the infamous Stamp Act. But as the years passed, Ben, in London, grew increasingly bitter toward the Crown, while William, in America, remained devoted to the King. By the time war came, their loyalties were divided, their relationship destroyed. Skemp traces William's career through the tumult of revolution and exile. Refusing to follow his fellow royal governors into asylum, he was arrested by the patriots and jailed; his wife soon died, and his property was confiscated. Upon release, William became president of the Board of Associated Loyalists in New York, where--neglected by the British and despised by the revolutionaries--he authorized one of the most notorious atrocities of the war, the hanging of Joshua Huddy. At war's end, Franklin fled into exile in England, hated by his countrymen, and disowned by the father he still venerated, and even loved. Sweeping and authoritative, William Franklin captures some of the great issues and personalities of the Revolutionary era, and the bitterness of a family split between father and son, patriot and loyalist....
|Title||:||William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King|
|Number of Pages||:||388 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King Reviews
Really does a great job highlighting how very alike Patriots and Loyalists were. It wasn't a case of the people who believed Englishmen can only be taxed by themselves opposing the people who believed that their ultimate loyalty was to the Crown. Rather, both groups believed BOTH that Englishmen could only be taxed by themselves AND that their ultimate loyalty was to the Crown, and it was simply a matter of which one won out when they were finally, and unwillingly, forced to choose one over the other. Also brought into focus something about Benjamin Franklin that I already knew the fine points of, but had never really connected into a theme: that he actually did a pretty poor job reading the mood of the colonists during that 1763-75 when he was supposedly the true voice of the colonists in London. His appearance before the House of Commons arguing against the Stamp Act is legendary, but he only had to make it because he had blundered so badly beforehand, when he had recommended a friend of his for the post of Pennsylvania stamp distributor, so enraging the Philadelphia mob that a an angry crowd converged on his house in Philly and would have burnt it to the ground had his wife not refused to leave it. Or there was his initial reaction to the Boston Tea Party, to demand that the city of Boston should reimburse the East India Company for the lost tea. Ben also comes off looking very bad with his utter, unfeeling disownment of William during and after the war, insisting that William should have taken Ben's side in the Revolution out of family loyalty even though he disagreed with him, a really striking bit of hypocrisy from a man who had never practised much family loyalty himself and who had always raised his son to think for himself and follow his own convictions. But my biggest takeaway from the book is to look at the three generations of Franklin men--Ben, William and William Temple--and realise that it's the two who lived in England (Ben and William Temple) who took the side of the Patriots, while the only one who stayed in America (William) who stayed loyal to the Crown. On both sides, they became so disgusted with the self-seeking and corruption they saw from the side that they could study up close, that they ended up idealising the more distant side as unrealistic paragons of virtue. A note: pictured on the cover is not William Franklin, but William Temple Franklin. As an author myself, I can't imagine how Sheila Skemp's stomach must have dropped through the floor when she realised that.