Chief Events in Franklin's Life

[Ending, as it does, with the year 1757, the autobiography leaves important facts un-recorded. It has seemed advisable, therefore, to detail the chief events in Franklin's life, from the beginning, in the following list:

1706 - He is born, in Boston, and baptized in the Old South Church.

1714 - At the age of eight, enters the Grammar School.

1716 - Becomes his father's assistant in the tallow-chandlery business.

1718 - Apprenticed to his brother James, printer.

1721 - Writes ballads and peddles them, in printed form, in the streets; contributes, anonymously, to the "New England Courant," and temporarily edits that paper; becomes a free-thinker, and a vegetarian.

1723 - Breaks his indenture and removes to Philadelphia; obtaining employment in Keimer's printing-office; abandons vegetarianism.

1724 - Is persuaded by Governor Keith to establish himself independently, and goes to London to buy type; works at his trade there, and publishes "Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain."

1726 - Returns to Philadelphia; after serving as clerk in a dry goods store, becomes manager of Keimer's printing-house.

1727 - Founds the Junto, or "Leathern Apron" Club.

1728 - With Hugh Meredith, opens a printing-office.

1729 - Becomes proprietor and editor of the "Pennsylvania Gazette"; prints, anonymously, "Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency"; opens a stationer's shop.

1730 - Marries Rebecca Read.

1731 - Founds the Philadelphia Library.

1732 - Publishes the first number of "Poor Richard's Almanac" under the pseudonym of "Richard Saunders." The Almanac, which continued for twenty-five years to contain his witty, worldly-wise sayings, played a very large part in bringing together and molding the American character which was at that time made up of so many diverse and scattered types.

1738 - Begins to study French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin.

1736 - Chosen clerk of the General Assembly; forms the Union Fire Company of Philadelphia.

1737 - Elected to the Assembly; appointed Deputy Postmaster-General; plans a city police.

1742 - Invents the open, or "Franklin," stove.

1743 - Proposes a plan for an Academy, which is adopted 1749 and develops into the University of Pennsylvania.

1744 - Establishes the American Philosophical Society.

1746 - Publishes a pamphlet, "Plain Truth," on the necessity for disciplined defense, and forms a military company; begins electrical experiments.

1748 - Sells out his printing business; is appointed on the Commission of the Peace, chosen to the Common Council, and to the Assembly.

1749 - Appointed a Commissioner to trade with the Indians.

1751 - Aids in founding a hospital.

1752 - Experiments with a kite and discovers that lightning is an electrical discharge.

1753 - Awarded the Copley medal for this discovery, and elected a member of the Royal Society; receives the degree of M.A. from Yale and Harvard. Appointed joint Postmaster-General.

1754 - Appointed one of the Commissioners from Pennsylvania to the Colonial Congress at Albany; proposes a plan for the union of the colonies.

1755 - Pledges his personal property in order that supplies may be raised for Braddock's army; obtains a grant from the Assembly in aid of the Crown Point expedition; carries through a bill establishing a voluntary militia; is appointed Colonel, and takes the field.

1757 - Introduces a bill in the Assembly for paving the streets of Philadelphia; publishes his famous "Way to Wealth"; goes to England to plead the cause of the Assembly against the Proprietaries; remains as agent for Pennsylvania; enjoys the friendship of the scientific and literary men of the kingdom.


1760 - Secures from the Privy Council, by a compromise, a decision obliging the Proprietary estates to contribute to the public revenue.

1762 - Receives the degree of LL.D. from Oxford and Edinburgh; returns to America.

1763 - Makes a five months' tour of the northern colonies for the Purpose of inspecting the post-offices.

1764 - Defeated by the Penn faction for reelection to the Assembly; sent to England as agent for Pennsylvania.

1765 - Endeavors to prevent the passage of the Stamp Act.

1766 - Examined before the House of Commons relative to the passage of the Stamp Act; appointed agent of Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Georgia; visits Gottingen University.

1767 - Travels in France and is presented at court.

1769 - Procures a telescope for Harvard College.

1772 - Elected Associe Etranger of the French Academy.

1774 - Dismissed from the office of Postmaster-General; influences Thomas Paine to emigrate to America.

1775 - Returns to America; chosen a delegate to the Second Continental Congress; placed on the committee of secret correspondence; appointed one of the commissioners to secure the cooperation of Canada.

1776 - Placed on the committee to draft a Declaration of Independence; chosen president of the Constitutional Committee of Pennsylvania; sent to France as agent of the colonies.

1778 - Concludes treaties of defensive alliance, and of amity and commerce; is received at court.

1779 - Appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France.

1780 - Appoints Paul Jones commander of the "Alliance."

1782 - Signs the preliminary articles of peace.

1783 - Signs the definite treaty of peace.

1785 - Returns to America; is chosen President of Pennsylvania; reelected 1786.

1787 - Reelected President; sent as delegate to the convention for framing a Federal Constitution.

1788 - Retires from public life.

1790 - April 17, dies. His grave is in the churchyard at Fifth and Arch streets, Philadelphia. Editor.