Benjamin Franklin Bache Edit Profile
Bache was a good student at the University of Pennsylvania, having graduated in 1787; later at a school in Geneva, Switzerland, he won the school prize for translating Latin into French. Perhaps affected by being taken from his family at such a young age, as well as his grandfather's lengthy absences due to his diplomatic work, Bache appeared depressed and shy as an adolescent.
In 1776 at the age of seven, Benny—as his grandfather called him—journeyed to France with Benjamin Franklin on his diplomatic mission to persuade France to enter the Revolutionary War on the side of the Americans. In a scene that became famous in France, Benjamin Franklin met Voltaire at Paris' Masonic lodge. Franklin brought young Bache along and asked for Voltaire's benediction.
After the war and the ratification of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin witnessed his grandson William Temple Franklin denied a governmental post. As a result, Franklin taught Bache the printer's trade. While Bache did enjoy modest success as a printer, it was as a newspaper man that he became famous.
George Washington, a good friend of Benjamin Franklin, was a frequent target of Bache's political editorialism. Bache saw Washington as too ready to accept accolades, which lead Bache to fear Washington was assuming aristocratic airs of acting in a tyrannical manner. He was also a major supporter of French-American relations, and criticized what he perceived as Washington's hostility to French diplomacy and his overtures towards reconciliation with England.
Bache was a supporter of Thomas Jefferson, and was one of the targets of the Federalists' Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The acts had a harsh impact on Bache, as the paper was threatened with postal boycotts, by mobs of federalists supporters threatened his family, and the Federalists sent "committees of surveillance" to spy on Bache's activities. The acts had a direct, harsh effect. Bache was arrested on June 26, 1798 for "libeling the President, " however; he died in prison during a yellow fever epidemic before his trial was heard.
Bache ardently defended the cause of the French Revolution and was one of the directors of the Democratic Society of Philadelphia.