Benjamin Franklin - Founding Father and Dad
By Holly Bliss
Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, printer, writer and founding
father of our country. Did you know he was also a dad?
He had two sons and one daughter. His youngest son died of smallpox
at the age of four. Ben became somewhat of an immunization advocate
when he wrote in his autobiography, "I long regretted bitterly, and
still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I
mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the
supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died
under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either
way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen." His daughter,
Sarah, lovingly cared for him in his old age but his relationship
with his oldest son is the most intriguing.
His oldest son, William, was illegitimate but was well loved and
raised by Ben and his wife, Deborah. Many sources hint at the
possibility that she was, in fact, his birth mother and that Benjamin
was protecting her from dishonor.
He educated his son and traveled Europe and the colonies extensively
with him, however, when it came to the Revolution, they did not see
eye to eye. William chose to side with the British. Whether it was
because William was educated in England or because he was employed as
a Royal Governor, it broke Benjamin's heart that his beloved son
turned his back on his beloved country.
When Benjamin died, he left none of his assets to William that were
linked to America, but he still couldn't totally disown him. In his
will he states, "To my son, William Franklin, late Governor of the
Jerseys, I give and devise all the lands I hold or have a right to,
in the province of Nova Scotia, to hold to him, his heirs, and
assigns forever. I also give to him all my books and papers, which he
has in his possession, and all debts standing against him on my
account books, willing that no payment for, nor restitution of, the
same be required of him, by my executors. The part he acted against
me in the late war, which is of public notoriety, will account for my
leaving him no more of an estate he endeavoured to deprive me of."
He was one of the men that struggled to give our country a life of
its own. His image in history can only be fuller when we add the
dimension of fatherhood to it.
Using her writing as paint from the canvas of her life, Holly Bliss
is an eclectic writer and mother of 4 children and many websites.
Adventures In Motherhood