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Benjamin Franklin Returns To Philadelphia
Proclaim L̶i̶b̶e̶r̶t̶y̶ Tranq Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.
If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.
― Benjamin Franklin
As a boy, Benjamin Franklin invented what swimmers train with today called hand paddles, resembling fish fins, for more efficient swimming in his local pond.
The future Docteur Franklin’s formal education lasted only two years and by age nine he was working for his father around the house. As a boy, he devoured books as Americans today devour junk food, tabloids, sportsball, and bizarre video confessionals of perfect strangers eating junk food inside their parked cars.
At age twelve, he signed a nine-year indentured servant contract in the printing press of his brother James who produced the first independent newspaper of the American colonies —The New England Courant—often publishing essays that challenged authorities and the stifling status quo of Puritan Massachusetts.
Franklin secretly submitted essays to his brother’s publication under the pseudonymous Silence Dogood, a widow he invented who made witty and scathing social observations that were a hit with readers.
When his brother was jailed for questioning the competence of Massachusetts authorities in capturing and prosecuting pirates, Benjamin took over three printings of the weekly Broadside at age fifteen.
In one he published the first printed challenge in the colonies toward crown authorities regarding freedom of press, speech, and conscience. He did so in defense of his brother, in a piece partially lifted from a London Spectator article, under the widow Dogood’s name: Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right of another.
That was in 1720, in Boston.
Today, the most famous journalist in the world Julian Assange is rotting in a British prison at the behest of the Rotting American Empire that Franklin helped found as a Republic. A meme maker and online shit poster Douglass Mackey faces ten years in prison for a Twitter meme mocking Clinton voters in the 2016 election, announcing that they could vote by text message. The Department of “Justice” proudly announced his conviction for conspiring to threaten voter rights by distributing “disinformation” to voters. He had 58,000 Twitter followers at the time in a nation of 320 million.
When Franklin eventually confessed to his brother of authoring Dogood’s pieces, his brother James was not amused. Tired of his brother’s poor treatment, including occasional beatings, Benjamin broke his contract and ran away at age seventeen.
In September 1723 he boarded a ship for Philadelphia with a single Dutch dollar and a copper shilling in his pocket—money from selling books. The first person he met was a young woman Deborah Read who observed him in odd attire eating a roll not long after he disembarked. They would enter into a common law marriage six years later.
With a population of 2000, and the local economy less robust than Boston, Franklin found the Quakers of Philadephia more diligent, unpretentious, friendly, and tolerant compared to the Puritans. It was a setting more suitable to his character.
Franklin had no trouble finding work in one of Philadelphia’s printing presses and made such a strong impression with his character and work ethic that within eighteen months he was on his first journey to London with letters of reference and credit from Pennsylvania’s colonial governor to acquire materials so he could establish his own printing press in Philadelphia.
When he arrived in London he discovered those letters weren’t worth much and set about finding work in one of London’s many print shops where he drank water instead of Ale, and out-hustled his local colleagues.
These were just the first eighteen years of Franklin’s life.
It’s hard to imagine a seventeen-year-old with no formal education jetting off to Philadelphia today with the equivalent of fifty bucks and a bread roll. Even a young white man with years of trade experience, a strong work ethic, and an affable character would find it impossible to battle unions, illegal immigrants, HR commissars, and their diversity initiatives. More on present-day Philadelphia later.
Franklin retired independently wealthy at the age of forty-two, the owner of several publishing houses throughout the colonies. Yet incredibly all of his big accomplishments in life were still ahead of him.
He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, battery, glass harmonica, and the Franklin stove. He refused to patent any of his inventions offering them to the public with an honorable justification: “That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.”
Franklin established the first public library ‘a system of book sharing to spread knowledge’ and published the most popular Almanac— Poor Richard’s—which sold thousands of copies annually.
It offered endless quotable aphorisms, often pilfered and made better.
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
Lost Time is never found again.
Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.
A friend in need is a friend indeed!
Fish and guests stink after three days.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
He founded what would become the present-day University of Pennsylvania and the American Philosophical Society.
When he was appointed deputy postmaster of the American colonies he spent five months traveling thousands of miles north and south to find ways of transporting mail more efficiently, cutting the time it took a letter from Philadelphia to reach New York from three days down to one.
On his many voyages across the Atlantic to and from London he conducted experiments on water and air temperatures and theorized there was a ‘jet stream’ moving west to east and south to north in the Atlantic Ocean that made the journey weeks shorter in that direction.
In 1753 Franklin was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society for his experiments and discoveries around electricity. The University of St. Andrews awarded Franklin, a man with two formal years of “schooling” an honorary doctorate and he was thereafter referred to as Dr. Franklin.
Franklin’s prose and ideas were praised by Immanuel Kant and Voltaire. He not only met Mozart in Paris, but Mozart even composed several pieces for the musical instrument Franklin had invented, the glass harmonica or ‘armonica’.
When he served as an American envoy to the French court of Louis XVI during the Revolutionary War he was already a household celebrity in France. His charm, wit, and wisdom helped him win a Treaty of Alliance with France in 1778, an essential treaty that without, America’s independence may never have been won.
Benjamin Franklin is known as The First American.
Recently I was captured by Walter Isaacson’s biography of Franklin which kept me occupied for days, contemplating the early founding of The United States of America, the many internal conflicts— economic, social, and religious, requiring diplomacy and compromise, and wondering what those founders would think of their experiment today.
I wondered if Franklin could, would he have invented a time machine to see how long Americans could keep the Republic he said they’d had after the final signatures, including his own, dried on the Constitution’s parchment?
What if Franklin could stroll through his hometown of Philadelphia today?
Would he shake his head at the naive leftist “journalist” who boasted of being unafraid of rampant drugs and crime in Philadelphia, only to be shot dead by a home intruder a few months later? What about the same poor schmuck mocking Scott Adams as ‘Nostradamus’ only days before his ill-fated home adventure?
Would Franklin say to never speak ill of others, even if they’re dead?
In the days the Franklin biography held me captive, Philadelphia made global headlines for nights of “random” looting, murders, carjackings, and the kind of mayhem sadly expected in a Democrat-run city with a Soros-funded District Attorney implementing intentionally destructive policies of Anarcho-Tyranny for which he was elected.
What would Franklin think of the subversive financial speculator and teenage Nazi collaborator George Soros destroying American cities?
What would he think of a Congress and Executive that permits it?
These and many other questions led to the following letter, as imagined through the voice of a time-traveling Benjamin Franklin.
In the Year of our Lord 1755, I found myself beneath cover near a Field in Philadelphia, my Kite aloft in the stormy Sky, and a Metal Key affixed to its String. The electric Ambiance was almost palpable and just as I was contemplating the imminent Unveiling of Nature's Secrets, a Bolt of Lightning struck with great Magnitude. The world around me shimmered, and in an Instant, I found myself transported through Time and Space.
I dusted my figure from an electric slumber and began walking the Streets of my City in the year 2023. The ground beneath me was covered with some Substance softer than Cobblestone, yet harder than Earth. I observed many curious Spectacles. Foremost among these was my encounter with a former slave, a Mendicant, who greeted me with a disarming Smile and an Air of Curiosity. I placed in his palm a few silver pieces. He praised my now unusual attire as ‘Digs’ while proclaiming me a 'Damn Good Nigga’ with his gratitude for my generosity.
Then, as I proceeded, I beheld other Individuals with Mien most peculiar. Their Eyes, glazed like porcelain Saucers, roamed freely, disconnected from the Earthly Plane, their Bodies carried along by the Winds of Idleness and Intoxication, as though they were not truly of this World but of some Ether beyond. "Thems is Tranq Zombies Nigga," my newfound Acquaintance called them, a Species I found to be both tragic and perplexing.
While I assured my guide I was neither Slave nor free Negro, he insisted on addressing me as one of his own perhaps in an affectation of camaraderie.
Wishing to further educate myself about this new Epoch, I ventured toward the Courthouse, that Beacon of Justice and Civilization. On the stroll, my Negro guide marveled at me as I admired the sight of these mechanized Horseless Carriages buzzing to and fro, many powered by electricity.
Surrounded by high structures of glass and metallic features we witnessed a man seated before the Wheel of one of these clever inventions idle on the street side. Other hooded men approached the opening in his carriage with metallic miniature Flintlocks and demanded he remove himself and hand over his Pouch and Pocketbook before they raced away with their newly acquired property.
My guide insisted that carjackings, as he called them, were common, and there was no need to inform the authorities about “Niggas just being niggas.”
We arrived at the Courthouse just in Time to witness Men in custody for similar offenses being released into the Embrace of Society, the shackles of Accountability seemingly left to rust in some forgotten Corner.
"No cash bail for Niggas," my Guide explained with a shrug.
I inquired if bail applied to non-Niggas and he simply shrugged again.
The Scales of Justice have become as Feathers, too Light to tip in any Direction.
"What happened to the Virtue of Consequence?" I pondered aloud, though more to myself than to him. "It seems this Age has abandoned not only the Waistcoat but also the basic Tenets of Justice."
He shrugged once more, as if to say that he, too, was merely a Drifter in this sea of Anomaly and Paradox, a Vessel carried forth by Winds he neither understood nor controlled.
As I ambulated away from this bewildering concept of inverted Justice, my thoughts took a Turn toward the Philosophical. One might argue that Time is like a River, its charged Current carrying us inexorably forward. Yet even Rivers can be redirected, their Courses altered by the Application of Unreason and Will to signal virtues where none exist at all and the result is a defiant Shock indeed.
Could it be that the River of Time had sprung a Leak, its Waters now pooling into stagnant Puddles of Apathy and Injustice?
It is said that a Fish knows not that it swims in Water until it is removed from the River. So too, it seems, do Men of this Age know not the Waters through which they pass each Day, oblivious to the Currents that have carried them so far from the Shores of Wisdom and Reason.
I could only Hope that these Citizens of whatever nation this has become would soon awaken to the Reality of their Situation, lest they drift even further into the mists of Unreason, a Land covered with decaying metropolises that no reasonable being should desire to call Home.
As I traversed the Streets I began to observe the Inhabitants and their peculiar Customs. My Adventures that followed, involving mendicants, 'tranq zombies,' and the seemingly laissez-faire Judiciary System, left me with much to contemplate about the State of Man and Society in our lost Republic.
Thus, in the Vessel of this modest Narrative, I commit my Observations to you, dear Americans, in the hopes that Reflection may yet yield Reformation. Lest we all drift into the mists of Unreason, may we be like Kites, ever striving upwards, yet grounded firmly in the Principles that make us truly Human.
Mentally exhausted from my experiences I inquired with my guide about the next Ship leaving for France. He found good humor in my question and promptly informed me of new methods of travel that evolved from the Air Balloons I saw in the Jardins Tuileries of Paris in that beautiful summer of 1783.
Upon arriving at the Port of air travel for my departure to Paris where I hoped to find solace and clarity I was hastily accosted by Men in blue Shirts wearing purple Gloves, who molested me with vigor before ejecting me from the Port for ill-tempered questions regarding rights and laws, of which I was told none applied to any citizen who is deemed a ‘terror’ threat without suspicion or just cause.
I have since sequestered myself to an open Field eagerly awaiting the next storm so that a Bolt of luck might transport me to anywhere else on the timeline of history than where I presently find myself in Philadelphia in the year 2023.
To the generous mind, the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.
— Benjamin Franklin
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Thank you for sharing.