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William Franklin

Franklin, William, c.1730–1813, last royal governor of New Jersey; illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin. He grew up in Philadelphia, served in King George's War, and was (1754–56) comptroller of the general post office in Philadelphia. In 1757 he went with his father to England, where he studied law and through influential friends was appointed (1763) governor of New Jersey. Although well-liked at first, his strong attachment to England and British authority soon made him unpopular. After the American Revolution began, he sided with the Loyalists and quarreled bitterly with his father. The New Jersey congress ordered (1776) his arrest, and he was imprisoned in Connecticut until he was exchanged in 1778. Franklin went to England in 1782, never to return. In 1784 he was reconciled with his father.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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