Benjamin, now 16, read and perhaps set in type these contributions and decided that he could do as well himself.
In 1722 he wrote a series of 14 essays signed “Silence Dogood” in which he lampooned everything from funeral eulogies to the students of Harvard College.
He learned to read very early and had one year in grammar school and another under a private teacher, but his formal education ended at age 10.
Benjamin Franklin was a printer, publisher, author, inventor, scientist, and diplomat.
For one so young to assume the persona of a middle-aged woman was a remarkable feat, and Franklin took “exquisite Pleasure” in the fact that his brother and others became convinced that only a learned and ingenious wit could have written these essays..
To keep the paper going, he discharged his younger brother from his original apprenticeship and made him the paper’s nominal publisher. Some months later, after a bitter quarrel, Benjamin secretly left home, sure that James would not “go to law” and reveal the subterfuge he had devised.
Finding a bakery, he asked for three pennies’ worth of bread and got “three great Puffy Rolls.” Carrying one under each arm and munching on the third, he walked up Market Street past the door of the Read family, where stood A few weeks later he was rooming at the Reads’ and employed as a printer.
By the spring of 1724 he was enjoying the companionship of other young men with a taste for reading, and he was also being urged to set up in business for himself by the governor of Pennsylvania, Sir William Keith.
Franklin exchanged “some promises” about marriage with Deborah Read and, with a young friend, James Ralph, as his companion, sailed for London in November 1724, just over a year after arriving in Philadelphia.
Not until his ship was well out at sea did he realize that Governor Keith had not delivered the letters of credit and introduction he had promised.