Benjamin Franklin letters found in London

A political science professor from the University of California San Diego have discovered 47 letters by and about Benjamin Franklin that hadn't seen the light of day for more than 250 years. Benjamin Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. He was also one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

Benjamin Franklin

Alan Houston, the professor, stumbled upon the documents during a research trip to the British Library in November 2007. The collection of 47 letters, all dating back to the spring and summer of 1775, were found in the Copies of Letters relating to the March of General Braddock. The letters were copied by Thomas Birch, a compiler and transcriber of historical documents.

Houston’s discovery has remained a secret for two years while he had the documents verified for authenticity. All 47 letters, with an explanatory forward by Houston will appear in April’s issue of The William and Mary Quarterly.

The 47 letters, include letters to and from Franklin’s son William; letters to and from Braddock or his secretary, William Shirley Jr.; a letter to Franklin’s wife, Deborah;(supposedly a “hot” one) and a letter from the governor of Massachusetts, William Shirley Sr. Houston said the letters reveal little new information about Franklin, but they show his skill as a negotiator and his role as a military strategist.