Here's how Benjamin Franklin associated Quebec with a failure in his political life

This is how Benjamin Franklin associated Quebec with a failure of his political life


Son of a Boston soap maker, embodiment of the self-made-man, scientist and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin was undoubtedly one of the first superstars of the American colonies and the young United States. The wise man from Philadelphia experienced few failures in his illustrious career, but it was in the Province of Quebec that one of his projects was thwarted.

Between 1763 and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, relations between the thirteen colonies deteriorated rapidly. Benjamin Franklin had been living in London since 1757. A sort of ambassador before his time, he represented the interests of the colonials there and envisaged a form of confederation of the thirteen colonies. This is what the drawing Join or die imagined by Franklin in 1754 bears witness to.

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson discussing the declaration of independence.

After the failure of a plan to settle the conflict between the metropolis and its colonies, the philosopher returned to Philadelphia in 1775 and quickly joined the discussions of the continental congress, the grouping of delegates from the thirteen colonies.

A grueling journey

First brought together in 1774, the delegates of the two continental congresses each time turned their gaze to the Province of Quebec. 

Their attempts at rapprochement will first take the form of letters sent to former French colonists inviting them to join the British colonies. If he is not the author of any of these missives, Franklin is associated with this effort.

Here is the letter addressed to the inhabitants of the Province of Quebec, in 1774.

The printing of these letters is produced by Fleury de Maspet. A native of Marseilles who moved to London in 1773, he would have linked up with Franklin. It is to this relationship between the two friends that Maspet's arrival in Philadelphia is later attributed. 

Fleury de Maspet

The printer also joined the delegation led by Franklin, which arrived in Montreal in 1776. It was there that he set up his press. After the withdrawal of American troops, he decided to stay in Montreal and founded La Gazette de Montréal, now The Montreal Gazette.


If the letters do not have the desired effect, much is bet on Franklin's prestige within the delegation to convince the locals. 

When he begins the journey, the famous septuagenarian wonders if he is not too old for such an adventure.

He is worried, to the point of preparing his farewells. 

< p>It could not be clearer in this passage: “I begin to apprehend that I have undertaken a Fatigue that at my Time of Life may prove too much for me, so I sit down to write to a few Friends by way of Farewell. »

The Château Ramezay around the years 1850 and 1855.

Franklin exaggerated the effects of this fatigue, he would live until 1790, but his stay at the Château Ramezay, occupied by the American rebels, will be a failure. That we treat it with all respect and that we organize a party to mark the arrival of the delegation will have no impact on the final result. 

A plaque at the Château Ramezay reminds us that at the he building was occupied by the American army.

There was little interest among the population and the religious authorities were satisfied with the British concessions contained in the Quebec Act of 1774.