We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



Between 1757 and 1775, the American colonies sent Benjamin Franklin on several trips to England to represent their grievances to the British government. While there, Franklin indulged his many interests with other great writers and scientists of the age, including James Boswell, Joseph Priestley, Adam Smith, and Capt. James Cook. Henry Steele Commager describes the paradox of Benjamin Franklin in his introduction to Franklin’s autobiography: “A statesman, he professed no theory of politics; a scientist, he was untroubled about the nature of Man or of the Universe but took both as he found them….His moral code consisted chiefly in doing good, and when he sinned, he sinned if not complacently at least resignedly, reflecting that it was the nature of man to sin.” The failure of Franklin’s diplomacy to prevent the American Revolution, however, filled him with lasting regret. Historians Sir Robert Paul and Lady Reid talk about Franklin’s life in London at 6 p.m. at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. (202) 357-3030. $14. (Janet Hopf)