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

By Kenneth Lawing Penegar | Go to book overview

AFTERWORD

PART I. REMAINING MYSTERY

Many details are recorded about Benjamin Franklin’s long life, much of it in his own correspondence and other papers. Yet the things that are not known, especially about this short segment of his time in London, intrigue us and afford historians and biographers a continuous temptation if not to speculate then at least to offer plausible constructions of these gaps in our knowledge.

So it has been with several mysteries in the Hutchinson letters affair and its aftermath. Certainly the leading one of these is the question, who indeed was his source for the letters?


Franklin’s Source

Probably the most compelling reason advanced thus far for trying to find an answer to that question is simply that the information could well tell us more about his understanding of the letters and his judgment about their use. Without that knowledge we are forced to scour Franklin’s own explanation for that understanding.

Almost equally compelling as a reason to inquire and pose some plausible answers to the who question is the plain fact that Franklin himself stoutly stuck to his promise and determination to keep that person or persons’

-171-

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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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