Documentary Editing, Association for


Date of this Version


Document Type



Documentary Editing, Volume 22, Number 1, March 2000.

ISSN 2476-1796 (electronic); ISSN 2167-1451 (print)


2000 © the Association for Documentary Editing. Used by permission.


When Benjamin Franklin left Philadelphia for France in October 1776, he took along his sixteen-year-old grandson, William Temple Franklin, who would remain in Paris, serving as his secretary, for the entire eight-and-a-half-year mission. Also in tow was another grandson and Temple's cousin, Benjamin Franklin Bache. Benny, as he was usually called, was born in August 1769. No letters survive to indicate why Benny, who had just turned seven, was being sent abroad. His departure, following the death of his sister Sarah at eight and a half months, must have been an emotional one. But high aspirations for the young boy's education evidently persuaded his parents to let him go off, leaving behind only a brother, William, three and a half years old.