Synopses & Reviews
Momentous public affairs mingle with family concerns to give a varied interest to Franklin's papers for 1765. During the first part of the year he was busy trying to get modifications of existing British revenue laws affecting colonial trade and to persuade George Grenville to adopt a substitute for the projected Stamp Act. Failing with Grenville, he accepted the inevitable and then committed what may have been the most serious political blunder of his career; he proposed a friend for stamp distributor of Pennsylvania. The organized resistance to the act and the violence that occurred in American during the summer and fall, as reported by friends and relatives, caught Franklin completely by surprise. He rallied quickly, however, and began an active campaign, partly by letters to the English press, to bring about repeal of the obnoxious act. Meanwhile, his new house in Philadelphia was completed and his wife and daughter moved in. In answer to Franklin's eager questions, his wife Deborah wrote to him to detail about the furnishings and the allocation of rooms to members of the household. Contemporary floor plans illuminate her explanations.Mr. Labaree is Farnam Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University.