Benjamin Franklin the Womanizer


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"Behind every great man stands a woman, and behind every great nation, there are wise and courageous women who shape its destiny."

—Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, a man of letters, science, and politics, was a revered figure in American history.

A polymath and a founding father, his contributions to the fields of electricity, literature, and diplomacy are well-documented.

However, there is another side to this esteemed gentleman that often goes unmentioned—Ben Franklin’s womanizing nature and his dalliances with the fairer sex.


Deborah Read
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It was the year 1730, and young Benjamin Franklin, a lad of five-and-twenty, had journeyed from Boston to the bustling city of Philadelphia.

There, in the vibrant heart of the New World, he sought to make a name for himself.

His heart, full of ambition, his head, brimming with ideas, and his pockets, near empty, Benjamin was poised for the great adventure of his life.

As fate would have it, our young hero stumbled upon a winsome lass named Deborah Read, who was a vision of wholesome beauty, her countenance radiant with the promise of virtue and good sense.

In her company, the ambitious lad found solace and support, and before long, a tender affection blossomed between the two, as natural as the sun's rise over the Eastern seaboard.

A Marriage Most Uncommon

A heart, once captured, knows no bounds, and so it was that young Benjamin Franklin and the lovely Deborah Read entered into a common-law marriage.

Now, this arrangement, you must understand, was not an uncommon practice in those days when the colonies were yet young and the rules of society still forming. It was a union born of love and mutual respect, a partnership to face the trials and tribulations of life together.

However, there is no rose without its thorns, and this marriage was not without its own peculiar complications.

It seems that the fair Deborah Read had a secret, a dark cloud that hung over her head like a summer storm, threatening to rain down upon her and young Benjamin.

The Specter Of The Past

For, you see, our fair Deborah was still legally bound to another man, a scoundrel who had abandoned her and fled to the distant shores of the West Indies, leaving her to face the world alone.

This dastardly fellow had found his way into the young woman's heart, only to leave it shattered like a ship dashed upon the rocks.

When this unsavory truth came to light, Benjamin Franklin, was faced with a most vexing conundrum.

Would he stand by his beloved Deborah, despite the taint of her previous marriage, or would he turn his back on the woman who had captured his heart?


portrait of Madame Brillon of Passy
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In the grand tapestry of life, some threads are woven together by the delicate hand of destiny.

So it was with the esteemed Benjamin Franklin and the enchanting Madame Brillon of Passy, who found themselves entwined in a friendship that crossed both the Atlantic Ocean and the barriers of language.

Madame Brillon, you see, was a Frenchwoman of considerable charm and talent, an accomplished musician and a social butterfly who fluttered among the luminaries of her day.

It was in the year 1777 that she and Franklin became acquainted, and from that moment on, their correspondence became a treasure trove of wit, wisdom, and playful banter.

A Clever Proposition

As the years went by, Franklin and Madame Brillon exchanged many a missive, their letters filled with keen observations, philosophical musings, and the occasional saucy remark.

It was in one such letter, penned with the sly hand of a seasoned raconteur, that Franklin proposed a most peculiar remedy for the maintenance of good health.

This remedy, which he dubbed the "air bath," was a testament to his ingenuity and sense of humor.

It involved disrobing, allowing the gentle breezes to caress one's skin, and permitting the invigorating air to rejuvenate the body from head to toe.

A Lady's Blush

Now, you must understand, my friends, that in the days of Benjamin Franklin, such a suggestion was not to be taken lightly. The very notion of disrobing and exposing oneself to the elements was enough to make even the most hardened sailor blush like a schoolgirl.

But to Madame Brillon of Passy, a woman of considerable wit herself, Franklin's saucy proposal was met with a sly grin and the sparkle of amusement in her eyes.

For she knew that beneath the playful jest, there lay a deep and abiding affection, one that transcended the boundaries of propriety and made their friendship all the more cherished.


a French party in the 1700s
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The year was 1776, and our beloved Mr. Franklin, now a man of some renown, found himself called to serve his country as an diplomat in the fabled city of Paris.

Here, amidst the cobblestone streets and the sweet scent of romance that wafted through the air, his Francophile heart swelled with affection for the customs, culture, and people of this enchanting land.

In the Parisian salons and soirees, Mr. Franklin's wit and charm knew no bounds, and he soon became a celebrated figure among the city's elite.

It was in these hallowed halls that he became acquainted with the fairer sex, who, like moths drawn to the flame, could not resist the allure of his intellect and charisma.

The Captivating Madame Helvétius

Among the many French ladies who found themselves captivated by our esteemed Mr. Franklin was one Madame Helvétius, a widow of considerable wit and beauty.

It was said that the two shared a bond that went beyond mere friendship, their intellectual pursuits and mutual admiration fueling the fires of a rumored love affair.

This union of kindred spirits, though never confirmed, added a touch of mystery and intrigue to the storied life of our beloved polymath.

For who can resist the allure of a clandestine romance, nestled in the very heart of the City of Love?

A Queen's Admiration

Mr. Franklin's charm, however, did not stop at the doors of the Parisian salons.

His reputation and magnetism reached even the highest echelons of French society, capturing the attention of none other than Queen Marie Antoinette herself.

So taken was the queen by our illustrious Mr. Franklin that she bestowed upon him a most flattering sobriquet: "L'ambassadeur électrique."

This nickname, a nod to his groundbreaking work in the field of electricity, served as a testament to the awe and respect with which he was regarded in his adopted home.


portrait of Anne Catherine Hoof Green
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As the years wore on and the winds of change swept across the Atlantic, our esteemed Mr. Franklin found himself called home to the land of his birth.

America beckoned, her arms outstretched to welcome back her prodigal son. It was here, in the bustling cities and the quiet countryside, that he would once again make his mark upon the world.

Yet, despite the many challenges that awaited him, Mr. Franklin's heart and mind remained ever open to the possibilities of friendship and connection.

It was not long before he encountered a woman of great spirit and determination, a kindred soul who would leave an indelible impression upon his life.

The Resolute Mrs. Green

This woman, my friends, was none other than Anne Catherine Hoof Green, a widow who had taken it upon herself to continue her late husband's printing business.

Undaunted by the trials of life and the weight of her responsibilities, she had forged ahead, carving out a place for herself in the male-dominated world of the press.

Intrigued by her tenacity and impressed by her skill, Mr. Franklin could not help but be drawn to Mrs. Green.

The two struck up a close friendship, their mutual respect and admiration providing the foundation for many a spirited conversation.

The Sage And The Printer

As their friendship blossomed, Mr. Franklin found himself in the role of mentor to the intrepid Mrs. Green.

He offered his sage advice on matters of the press, sharing the knowledge and wisdom he had gleaned from his own illustrious career.

Their relationship, though platonic, was a testament to the founding father's ability to charm and connect with women from all walks of life.

In the steadfast Mrs. Green, he found a confidante and companion, one who shared his passion for the written word and the power of the press.


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Life, my friends, is a many-faceted jewel, reflecting the light of our virtues and the shadows of our vices. In the case of the inimitable Benjamin Franklin, a man of prodigious intellect and talent, there existed a darker corner of his heart, one that drew him to the mysterious and tantalizing world of the Hellfire Club.

This secretive society, whispered about in the dimly lit corners of London's taverns, was known for its debauched gatherings and licentious behavior.

It counted among its members several high-ranking politicians, influential ladies, and our esteemed Mr. Franklin himself.

The Siren Call Of The Club

What, one may wonder, could have lured a man of Franklin's caliber to the seductive embrace of such a disreputable organization? Was it the allure of the forbidden, the siren song of a secret world that beckoned him from the safety of his respectable life?

Perhaps it was the thrill of danger, the intoxicating mixture of power and pleasure that drew him to the Hellfire Club, like a moth to the flame.

Or maybe it was a desire to explore the depths of human desire, to cast off the chains of propriety and indulge in the wild abandon of his more hedonistic side.

A Shrouded Past

Alas, the extent to which our beloved Mr. Franklin participated in the club's scandalous activities remains shrouded in mystery.

Did he partake in the debauchery, or was he a mere observer, a silent witness to the carnal desires of his fellow members?

Though we may never know the full truth of his involvement—the very fact that he held membership in such a notorious organization speaks to the complexity of his character—a man of many contradictions and hidden depths.


portrait of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson
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In his twilight years, Franklin's affections turned to a younger woman by the name of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson.

The pair exchanged letters of a most tender and poetic nature, with Franklin referring to her as his "Dear and much Esteemed Friend."

Though their relationship never progressed beyond the written word, their correspondence offers a glimpse into the softer, more romantic side of America's founding father.


Ben Franklin
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As the sun began its slow descent toward the horizon, casting its golden light upon the autumn of our esteemed Mr. Franklin's life, his affections found themselves drawn to a bright and shining star in the form of a younger woman by the name of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson.

This remarkable lady, a poet and a scholar in her own right, captured the imagination and heart of our beloved founding father, igniting a flame of friendship that would burn brightly in the twilight of his years.

The Dance Of Words

In the pages of their letters, Mr. Franklin and the fair Elizabeth engaged in a delicate dance of words, their quills weaving intricate patterns of affection, admiration, and wit.

Their correspondence, filled with tender phrases and poetic musings, offered a window into the softer, more romantic side of the man who had once harnessed the power of lightning.

Franklin, ever the gentleman, referred to her as his "Dear and much Esteemed Friend," a title that spoke volumes of the depth of his regard for this remarkable woman.

The romantic adventures of Benjamin Franklin serve as a reminder that even the most esteemed figures in history were, at their core, human beings with passions, desires, and flaws.

While his contributions to science, literature, and diplomacy are well-documented, it is his amorous nature and his relationships with women that offer a more intimate look at the man behind the myth.