Franklin was a statesman, diplomat, writer, scientist and inventor, one of the most versatile and talented
men in colonial America and a leading figure in the American struggle for independence.
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on 17 January 1706. He attended school only briefly, and then helped his
father, who was a candle and soap maker. He was apprenticed to his brother, a printer, and began writing
anonymously for his brother's newspaper. Franklin and his brother quarrelled, and in 1723 Franklin ran away to
Philadelphia. After 18 months in London, Franklin settled in Philadelphia, establishing himself as a printer. He bought
'Pennsylvania Gazette', which he edited and which became one of the American colonies' major newspapers. He also
wrote and published 'Poor Richard's Almanack', an astronomy journal.
By 1748, Franklin had made enough money to retire from business and concentrate on science and inventing. His
inventions included the Franklin stove and the lightning rod. He demonstrated that lightning and electricity are
identical with his famous kite experiment. Franklin also became more active in politics. He was clerk of the
Pennsylvania Assembly (1736-1751), a member of the Assembly (1750-1764), and deputy postmaster for the Colonies
(1753-1774), reorganising the postal service to make it efficient and profitable.
Franklin was also involved in many public projects, including founding the American Philosophical Society, a
subscription library and, in 1751, an academy which later became the University of Pennsylvania.
From 1757 to 1774, Franklin lived mainly in London where he was the colonial representative for Pennsylvania,
Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. His attempts to reconcile the British government with the colonies proved
fruitless. On his return to America, the war of independence had already broken out and he threw himself into the
struggle. In 1776, he helped to draft, and was then a signatory to, the Declaration of Independence. His illegitimate
son William, royal governor of New Jersey between 1762 and 1776, remained loyal to Britain, causing a rift that
lasted for the rest of Franklin's life.
Later that year, Franklin and two others were appointed to represent America in France. Franklin negotiated the
Franco-American Alliance which provided for military cooperation between the two countries against Britain and
ensured significant French subsidies to America. In 1783, as American ambassador to France, Franklin signed the
Treaty of Paris, ending the American War of Independence. He was extremely popular and well known in France, but in
1785 returned to America. He continued to be deeply involved in politics, helping to draft the Constitution.
Franklin died in Philadelphia on 17 April 1790.

Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.
A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave.
A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.
Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.
Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand.
I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the
obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up.
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want, neither fine
clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.
Life's Tragedy is that we get old to soon and wise too late.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
The first mistake in public business is the going into it.
There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.
There was never a good war, or a bad peace.