BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S LANDLORD
T he Philadelphia sage landed in France on 3 December 1776. A seventy-year-old widower, he was accompanied by two of his grandsons, William Temple Franklin and Benjamin Franklin Bache. The older of the two, usually referred to as "Temple," was the illegitimate son of Franklin's own illegitimate son William. The latter was the final colonial governor of New Jersey and a staunch Loyalist. By the time that Benjamin left for France, William had been imprisoned by the patriots. William and his father had become completely and, as time would tell, permanently estranged.1 The sixteen-year-old Temple was now being cared for by his grandfather, who hoped that a trip to France would round off the youth's education. The elder Franklin also planned for Temple to help him as a private secretary.
The other grandson, seven-year-old " Benny," was the son of Franklin's daughter Sarah. The old man brought him along so that the boy could learn French and go to a continental school.
The threesome sailed to France in the American frigate Reprisal, commanded by Captain Lambert Wickes. The ship entered Quiberon Bay in Brittany on 29 November, but contrary winds prevented it from proceeding up the Loire to Nantes. Impatient to get to work and eager to escape his uncomfortable accommodations, Franklin decided to go ashore as fast as possible. On 3 December he and his two grandsons boarded a small fishing boat and traveled to the village of Auray. From there he wrote three letters announcing his arrival. They were to his old friend Dr. Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg, to Silas Deane, and to Thomas Morris, the younger half-brother of Robert Morris.2 Thomas had been