by the British. Ministers fought at Yorktown,nand “all the colonels of the ColonialnArmy but one were Presbyterian elders,”nas were more than half of the colonialnofiftcers and soldiers. Clark does notneven hint at any of this: he pretends thatnnone of these issues ever existed. Bynplacing Franklin in an imaginary setting,nhe profoundly distorts the period andnmakes Franklin seem both less interestingnand less understandable than he was.nClark does admit that Cotton Mather,nwhom he calls “one of the most disagreeablencharacters in early American history,”ndid exist, and that hisEssays toDonGood influenced the young Franklin.nBut he does not describe the Essays, nornFranklin’s later departure from the Calvinisticnprinciples.nWhen Franklin’s brother lost hisnprinter’s license, Ben’s name was putnforward as proprietor in a successM deceptionnof the authorities. This does notnmake Clark blink, but it might warn thencareful reader that Franklin was no saint.nIn time the brothers quarreled, and Bennleft for Philadelphia. There, Franklin’snrise was meteoric. He formed a happynand long-lived common-law unionn(though the mother of his son remainsnunknown). Franklin joined the firstnMasonic Lodge in the colonies and laternbecame a Grand Master; in Paris he wasninducted into the influential Nine SistersnLodge. His career as a printer, bookseller,nand journalist was phenomenal. PoornRichard’s Almanac was only one of hisnbest-sellers. Later he achieved internationalnfame through his experimentsnwith electricity and his invention of thenlightning rod. He did not patent this ornany other inventions, such as bifocals,nsaying that he had benefited from the inventionsnof others and did not believe inncharging for his own. Wealthy at age 42,nhe did not need the money, but thatnshould not detract from the generositynof the gesture.nThroughout his career, Franklin was anmaster of what Clark kindly calls “thencontemporary spfrit of genial misrepresentationnwhen necessary.” Since we aren28inChronicles of Culturentoday familiar with the practice adnnauseam, it might be better to term itnlying. In Franklin’s hands, it was a finenart—and it was far from genial. Some ofnFranklin’s false newspaper articles andnliterary “hoaxes” (in which he signednthe names of other persons to outrageousnletters and articles) ruinednpeople. Clark admits that Franklin, nowncredited with 20 pseudonyms, might, innreality, have used twice that number.nFranklin achieved the highest colonialnpost possible: Deputy Postmaster-nGeneral. In that position he hired cousins,nin-laws, and various relatives. As Clarknsays, this was a common practice at thentime, but Franklin’s nepotism w^as, andnremains, unsurpassed. In 1757, Franklinnwas appointed colonial Agent for Pennsylvanianand made his third Atlanticncrossing to Britain. With the exceptionnof a two-year break, he spent the next 17nyears there, and became well known innEnglish circles. (Although Clark doesnnot mention it, Franklin also became anmember of the notorious Hell-Fire Club,nwhose sexual orgies shocked even anlicentious age.) At a time when each colonynwas separate, its Agent was a verynimportant person—^more important thannClark conveys. Franklin regularly soughtnmore power. For example, he tried tonbecome Agent of Massachusetts. However,nhis efibrts were finstrated by GovernornHutchinson of Massachusetts. Innrevenge, Franklin released private let­nnnters Hutchinson had written years beforenand had them cfrculated with falsendescriptions, ruining Governor Hutchinsonnpolitically. When the Crown learnednof his action, it cost Franklin his post asnDeputy Postmaster-General. It may alsonhave lost him some lucrative real-estatendeals, although he had already receivedn20,000 acres in Nova Scotia from thenCrown (for services Clark does not describe).nClark does say that Franklin wasnnegotiating, with secret support, forn20,000,000 acres in the American West.nHe does not tell the reader that in thencourse of his real-estate deals Franklinnused bribes, inaccurate prospectuses,nforged petitions, Indian scares, secretncodes, and other methods that, no matternwhat the times, were clearly dishonest.nNor does he relate that some of his contemporariesncalled Franklin “Dr. Doubleface,”n”Old Traitor Franklin,” and then”Judas of Craven Street.”nClark does say that Franklin foughtnagainst a rupture between Britain andnAmerica “to the last minute of the lastnhour.” But he describes neither Franklin’snEuropeanization nor its significance,nthough he mentions that on his first visitnto Flanders Franklin was astonished atnthe lack of Sabbath observance. (In thenAmerican colonies even travel on thenSabbath could bring punishment.)nA he major portion of Clark’s biographynis devoted to Franklin’s period innParis. He goes on at great length, andnpaints the elderly Franklin as supernallyncharming, benevolent, and wise. This isnin keeping with legend. Unfortunately, itnis not true. Cecil B. Currey, while stiUnwith the University of South Florida,nwrote two books demolishing that myth:nCode Number 72, and Road to RevolutionnBoth evoked an uproar in the leftleaningnAmerican Historical Association.nNevertheless, Currey rather conclusivelynproves that Franklin deliberately ttappednand destroyed the reputation of his colleaguesnArthur Lee and Silas Deane, andnthat he sought to ruin John Adams asnweU. Whether Franklin was a doublenagent remains shadowy, but that hypo-n