We have often wished that we could put Great Britain under sail, bring it over to this country and anchor it near us.
--William Franklin to William Strahan, April 25, 1763
THE MYSTERY of why Franklin tarried in England two years longer than necessary is probably connected with William. William, who had won Strahan's praise for being "one of the prettiest young gentlemen"1 he had ever known from America, had completed his legal studies at the Middle Temple, put on his lawyer's gown, and been called to the bar in Westminster Hall. He was a young man of charm and polish, expensively dressed, well-traveled. Cambridge, Oxford, Scotland, the Netherlands--wherever his father went, he went too. His father's friends were his friends. The two of them were looked upon, said Strahan, as brothers, intimate and easy companions. Well aware of his father's extraordinary devotion, William was moved on one occasion to blurt out his own: "I am extremely oblig'd to you for your Care in supplying me with Money and shall ever have a grateful Sense of . . . the numberless Indulgencies I have receiv'd from your paternal Affection. I shall be ready to return to America, or to go to any other Part of the World, whenever you think it necessary."2
Now that William was in his thirties, his education complete, it was time to settle him in the world. Franklin entered a prolonged and secretive period of political maneuvering. He could count on a number of influential friends on the Board of Trade and the Privy Council. There were many in government circles who felt it would be wise to strengthen the father's loyalty to the crown by giving the son a position in government. In the summer of 1762, William was abruptly catapulted into the limelight: He was made royal governor of New Jersey.
Franklin never cared to divulge whatever role he had played in the appointment but according to John Penn, nephew of Proprietor Thomas, the whole business was transacted so rapidly that "not a tittle
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Publication information: Book title: The Private Franklin:The Man and His Family. Contributors: Claude-Anne Lopez - Author, Eugenia W. Herbert - Author. Publisher: W. W. Norton. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1975. Page number: 93.
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