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Franklin, William 1729-1813

Royal governor; born in Philadelphia in 1729, only son of Benjamin Franklin. It is not known who his mother was. About a year after his birth Franklin was married, took his child into his own house, and brought him up as his son. He held a captain's commission in the French War (1744-48). From 1754 to 1756 he was comptroller of the colonial post-office, and clerk to the Provincial Assembly. He went to London with his father in 1757, and was admitted to the bar in 1758. In 1762 he was appointed governor of the province of New Jersey, remaining loyal to the crown when the Revolution broke out, and in January, 1776, a guard was put over him at his residence at Perth Amboy. He gave his parole that he would not leave the province. In June (1776) he called a meeting of the legislature of New Jersey, for which offence, defiance of public opinion, he was arrested and sent to Connecticut, where for more than two years he was strictly guarded, when, in November, 1778, he was exchanged. He remained in New York, and was active as president of the Board of Associated Loyalists until 1782, when he sailed for England, where he was allowed by the government $9,000 and a pension of $4,000 a year. His father willed him lands in Nova Scotia and forgave him all his debts, nothing more. In his will, Dr. Franklin observed concerning this son, from whom he was estranged: “The part he acted against me in the [428] late war, which is of public notoriety, will account for my leaving him no more of an estate he endeavored to deprive me of.” He died in England Nov. 17, 1813.

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