The Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin: A Prelude to the American Revolution

By Kenneth Lawing Penegar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8. CIRCLES OF SUPPORT

THE CLOSEST CIRCLE

If he was alone by choice it would be for writing, to read or invent something, for Benjamin Franklin was a gregarious man. He made friends wherever he lived or traveled. Sometimes the friendship was limited to correspondence. Once begun that way, some relationships grew into something more personal. Franklin kept a number of friends over great distances and considerable time. Among those he could count as close friends in London of 1774 were those who shared the house of his lodging for all the time he lived there, sixteen years in all.

On that Saturday evening in January of 1774 when he returned from the exhausting episode in the Privy Council chamber to his home in Craven Street, it is almost a certainty that he chose to spend the evening in the company of one or more of a small group of intimates who had become his London family. Of all the attachments that Franklin established during his adult life, these would be among the most enduring. Certainly few could have been more personally supportive.

Mrs. Margaret Stevenson, a widow, was both his good and trusted friend and also his landlady, the role in which Franklin first knew her. Knowing that her famous lodger had been before Council that day, she might have prepared dinner for him, trusting that he would not likely go

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The Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin: A Prelude to the American Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Table of Contents xi
  • Author’s Preface 1
  • Introduction and Overview 5
  • Chapter 1- A Duel in Hyde Park 21
  • Chapter 2- Private Letters, Public Causes 26
  • Chapter 3- Imperial over-Reach- The Polhical Context of the Letters 42
  • Chapter 4- Harvest of Sphe- Reaction in the London Press 50
  • Chapter 5- Preliminary Hearing 63
  • Chapter 6- Showdown in the Cockpit 75
  • Chapter 7- The Verdict 93
  • Chapter 8- Circles of Support 101
  • Chapter 9- Other Perils and Aftershocks 120
  • Chapter 10- Second Thoughts 135
  • Chapter 11- Going Home, Looking Back 147
  • Post Script 169
  • Afterword 171
  • Appendix- Essay and Verbatim Records 187
  • Acknowledgments 255
  • Selected Bibliography 257
  • Index 261
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