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Antique History, Ben Franklin - His Edict From the King of Prussia

Mar 9, 2008
Among antique history books the bravery and wit of Benjamin Franklin has no equal. Here we discuss one of those rare events of history that has been hidden in some dusty book: there are many more fully known events that led up to the American War of Independence.

After the men of the King had nailed up the latest and final straw Edict from The King in every town center, taxes to be raised, all guns and muskets to be handed in, British soldiers could enter any home, public or private meetings of more than a certain number required a permit.

Events were virtually out of hand already and soon to be worse as more British troops and Prussian and Hessian mercenaries were on their way. King George and his Cabinet had issued this Edict to the people of America: until civil order could be regained it was suspended.

Any small gatherings would be investigated, homes could be entered or confiscated at well, taxes were to be increased across the board to pay for the expenses of the military taking of Canada. Already heated emotions among the colonists exploded into a call for action.

Some were still loyal to the king, or in fear of their lives if they did take arms, but they hid in their homes. In Philadelphia, Ben Franklin could see the anger in the streets and the gathering crowds waving their muskets and waving their torches.

With the morning tide, Franklin was on a ship to England. Being a printer, he had a folio of fine paper and quills and ink. He had a copy of the Edict from the King of England to the Colonists of America, and work to do.

By the time in 1775 that Benjamin Franklin as Post Master General of North America arrived to a warm welcome at the estate of his superior officer, my ancestor Sir Francis who was Post Master General of the British Empire. He was welcome to stay as long as he wished.

Within the week Sir Francis hosted a formal dinner for senior members of the Cabinet with serious news from America about their ally Prussia, who were supplying troops for the fight in America. They were all in attendance, and had an early dinner at the insistence of Dr. Franklin and Sir Francis.

After dinner they retired to the Formal Room. Dr. Franklin described how in his position of Post Master General of North America he had come upon documents on their way through the post and felt he should rush a copy to alert them himself.

The gentlemen became more alarmed as Dr. Franklin produced from his fine folio a fine bound scroll and showed it around briefly to a rising sense of excitement. He asked and was quickly granted universal agreement to proceed.

Dr. Franklin basically had rephrased the Edict from King George to America. This was a captured spy Edict from the King of Prussia to the people of England, and took away all the civil liberties with insult of every Englishman, who should know that troops of Prussia were being sent to London as we speak.

The grand room was soon in an uproar: the Prime Minister was prepared to call an extra ordinary Cabinet Meeting. Voices were calling out for a march on Berlin, when some noticed that Dr. Franklin and Sir Francis were standing aside with wry smiles. It was a hoax!

Dr. Franklin had powerfully made these these powerful men walk a few moments in his own moccasins. Their laughter and red faces at the raw human emotion that respect or arrogance can bring out in the other did not change the mind of the king, alas. But that was as close as it came to making some thing work.

He should have been on the next ship to America, for soon Dr. Franklin was thanked for his deceit by spending a short time in the Tower, until Sir Francis was able to convince the sometimes lucid King George that Dr. Franklin was a scientist for the ages, not a revolutionary. He was both.

And we should remember with a smile and a twinkle one more small insight into his very brilliant mind that would also act when action was required. So when your king or queen gives you an unjust edict, repeat it back but in reversed roles: reverse psychology that forces them into your role, or shoes. It did have a profound affect on these men, but the King was not there. Benjamin Franklin had very brilliantly played a psychology and sociology experiment on these powerful men and it had worked powerfully on their emotions, once he had convinced their minds this was fact.
About the Author
Derek Dashwood enjoys news behind the news, seeing how small acts can lead to wise changes. Or in this case not. But we can smile at the brilliant efforts by Dr.Benjamin Franklin, a giant for the ages who read and could create Rare History Books
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