Ackrill, Margaret, and Hannah, Leslie, Barclays: The Business of Banking, 1690–1996, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. The authors, under the auspices of Barclays Bank, provide the closest thing to a “biography” that David Barclay would authorize, two hundred years after his death.
Alexander, John K., Samuel Adams: America’s Revolutionary Politician, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.
Anderson, M.S., The War of the Austrian Succession, 1740–1748, Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2000.
Ayer, A.J., Thomas Paine, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988. This text evaluates the major works from the pen of Thomas Paine, with a quite scholarly look at the man behind the essays.
Bailyn, Bernard, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1974.
Blakemore, Erin, Smithsonian.com, “George Washington Used Legal Loopholes to Avoid Freeing His Slaves,” February 16, 2015.
Barclay, David, An Account of the Emancipation of the Slaves of Unity Valley Pen, in Jamaica, London: William Phillips, 1801. This remarkable monograph conveys the entire story of the freeing of the slaves, which Barclay, to his horror, came to own through acquisition of the security for a failed bank loan.
Bowen, Catherine Drinker, Miracle at Philadelphia, New York: Little, Brown and Co., 1966. The definitive story of the writing of the American Constitution in 1787, with an almost day-by- day narration, exhaustively researched by the author.
Brands, H.W., The First American, New York: Anchor Books, 2002. Brands’s choice of title speaks volumes about his subject, and this is perhaps the most exhaustive recent retelling of Franklin’s incredible life. Interestingly, Brands chooses to open this massive work with the “Cockpit Incident.” How apropos!
Breig, James, “Dear Eighteenth Century,” in Colonial Williamsburg Journal, Winter 2011.
Buach, Allan J., Jr., “Charles William Frederick Dumas and the American Revolution (1775– 1783)”, Omaha: University of Nebraska, Omaha, 1966. This master’s thesis is oddly the most extensive biography of Dumas in print, despite its relatively obscure origin.
Calhoun, Jeanne A., “Thomas Lee of Stratford, 1690–1750: Founder of a Virginia Dynasty,” Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Magazine, vol. XLI, no. 1 (1991).
Center for the Study of Intelligence, “Beaumarchais and the American Revolution,” Central Intelligence Agency Documents Approved for Release, 22 September 1993.
Charles Steuart Papers, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia, “Narrative of the ‘Spanish Affair,’ Charles Steuart, August 26, 1789.”
Chisholm, Hugh, ed., “Rosslyn, Alexander Wedderburn, First Earl of,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 11th edition.
——–, “The Cistercian Order: Medieval and Early Modern Challenges,” Cistercian Abbey/ Our Lady of Dallas, cistercian.org.
Conway, Moncure Daniel, The Life of Thomas Paine, London: Watts & Co., 1909. This remains a well-documented, thorough assessment of the life of Thomas Paine, with excellent citations throughout.
Covart, Elizabeth M., “Silas Deane: Forgotten Patriot,” Journal of the American Revolution, July 30, 2014.
Currey, Cecil B., Code Number 72 Ben Franklin: Patriot or Spy? Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice- Hall, Inc., 1972. A fascinating look at Franklin and the men surrounding his life in France during the American Revolution. The author does a credible job in recalling the evidence at hand about intrigue from the American ministry to France but stops short of providing a theory for the behavior of these men.
Dumas, Charles Frederic Guillaume, Historical Account of Bouquet’s Expedition against the Ohio Indians, in 1764, Cincinnati, OH: The Robert Clarke Co., 1907. This little treatise, translated from the French by Francis Parkman originally in 1867, gives a nice memoir of a little-known military figure in the life of Franklin prior to the American Revolution. The author is, of course, Franklin’s ministry secretary to the United Provinces during the Revolution.
Ellis, Joseph J., His Excellency, George Washington, New York: Alfred E. Knopf, 2004.
Ferling, John E., John Adams: A Life, Knoxville, Tennessee: The University of Tennessee Press, 1992.
Finkelman, Paul, An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1981. An exhaustive legal evaluation of the implications of the Somersett decision in the United States, along with a host of other legal precedents and the reaction of the various states to the decisions over manumission and abolition handed down from various courts. This book provides a definitive discussion of the legalities regarding slavery that would develop in the decades between the revolution and the civil war.
Founders Online, The Final Hearing before the Privy Council…29 January 1774, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1978.
Fox, Richard Hingston, Dr. John Fothergill and His Friends, London: MacMillan and Co., 1919. The “Friends” in the title is a double entendre, recalling the Quaker (officially the “Society of Friends”) roots of Fothergill and most of the other persons discussed in this review of a now nearly forgotten pioneering physician of the late eighteenth century. The brief overview of David Barclay, as well as the discussion of the relationship between Fothergill and Franklin, are uniquely presented here.
Franklin, Benjamin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1887, extensively reprinted thereafter. Before the reader becomes apoplectically excited about hearing of the existence of this volume, be assured that it is a most incomplete work, with which Franklin dabbled only intermittently throughout his long, eventful life. I relied upon a 2015 reprint edition that required but 116 pages. While he provided us some interesting narratives about his early life, there is truly precious little here to address the intrigues of his political career. Read it for the enjoyment, but do not seek any new answers to the enigma of Franklin; they will not be found here.
“From Alexander Hamilton to Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens” [April 1779], National Archives: Founders Online, founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-02-02-0100).
Gallegos, Jeremy, “Hume on Revolution,” Boston, Massachusetts, Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, 1998, archived online.
Hannah, Leslie, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: University Press, online edition, 2019, see “Barclay, David (1729–1809).”
Heward, Edmund, Lord Mansfield: A Biography of William Murray 1st Earl of Mansfield 1705– 1793 Lord Chief Justice for 32 Years, Chichester: Barry Rose Ltd., 1979. This remains perhaps the most definitive biography of Mansfield yet compiled.
Higginbotham, A. Leon, Jr., In the Matter of Color: Race & The American Legal Process: The Colonial Period, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. This remarkably thorough evaluation of the slavery issue in the American colonies provides an excellent framework for understanding the day-to-day lives of Americans living under the long shadow of this institution in the eighteenth century. This volume, the first of an intended five-volume set, takes us from the inception of American slavery in 1619 in Virginia all the way through the American Revolution, looking at each colony individually.
Hoare, Prince, Memoirs of Granville Sharp, Esq., London: Henry Colburn and Co., 1820. This remarkable biography is based upon the extensive written material left by Granville Sharp to posterity. Sharp provides an extensive narrative of his efforts culminating in Somersett v. Steuart in 1772, but his labors on behalf of American independency (sic) and abolition of slavery went on for another forty years after Somersett.
Holbrook, Sabra, Lafayette: Man in the Middle, New York: Atheneum Books, 1977. 322
Hosmer, John K., The Life of Thomas Hutchinson, Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1896.
Hunter, Robert, The Imperial Encyclopaedic Dictionary, London, 1901, volume 4.
Independence Hall Association, Virtual Marching Tour of the American Revolutionary War, The Philadelphia Campaign, 1777, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: ushistory.org, 1999.
Ingrao, Charles, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1618–1815 (New Approaches to European History), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Isaacson, Walter, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. Here is a definitive biography of Franklin for our generation in America. A rich trove of facts and character studies, Isaacson provides a definitive timeline for the life of Franklin from birth to death. He takes full advantage of the extensive manuscripts by Franklin and for Franklin, which have been meticulously preserved in various archives throughout the world. Following him chronologically through the eighteenth century, Isaacson provides an answer for where Franklin was located, and what he was doing, throughout his long life.
Jackson, Maurice, Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009. The author introduces us to a most remarkable American colonist whose efforts on behalf of abolition of Black African slavery in America, as well as black equality, have for too long passed unnoticed. Long before Douglass, long before Garrison, long before Beecher, there was Benezet, toiling quietly in Philadelphia to promote the novel idea that all people are capable of learning, and therefore all people are deserving of freedom.
Jenkins, Howard, “The Family of William Penn (continued). IX. Thomas Penn,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 21, no. 3, 1897.
Ketchum, Richard, Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War, New York: Henry Holt, 1997.
Labaree, Benjamin Woods, The Boston Tea Party, Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1964, p. 78–79.
Leepson, Marc, Lafayette: Lessons in Leadership from the Idealist General, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011.
Middlekauff, Robert, Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996. The author reaches deep into the early life of Franklin to support the concept of Franklin’s personal motive for ultimate pursuit of American liberty through revolution.
Morgan, Edmund S., Benjamin Franklin, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002. This author delves deeply into the personal correspondence of Franklin in an effort to provide an accurate psychological profile of his subject, in order to explain his actions on behalf of American liberty. The result is a great success that provided much valuable insight; Morgan comes exquisitely close to uncovering the covert plot of Franklin and his inner circle to liberate the American colonies from the British, but at every turn, coyly turns away.
O’Meara, Walter, Guns at the Forks, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005.
Packard Humanities Institute, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. This most extraordinary collection of papers and correspondence written by Franklin and to Franklin is an invaluable resource to the serious researcher for understanding Franklin’s relationships with literally hundreds of correspondents all over the world, for essentially his entire life. Just as an example, it is clear that Franklin and Dumas, based on the sheer volume of their correspondence, were swapping letters weekly throughout the entire American Revolution. The papers are filed in alphabetical and chronological order and are easily accessed. And if any readers here have original Franklin correspondence or published material, please alert this organization as they are continuing to compile their collection and always eager for new acquisitions to this collection.
Penegar, Kenneth, The Political Trial of Benjamin Franklin, New York: Algora Publishing, 2011,
Pownall, Thomas, The Administration of the British Colonies, London: J. Walter, at Homer’s Head, 1777 (sixth edition). I cited this edition for the necessity of a second volume to elaborate on the crucial fracturing of the interrelationship between Great Britain and her North American colonies. The book is all Pownall, some awkward descriptions and complex sentences, a ready cure for insomnia. But it provides a nice introduction of the author to an American public that has long forgotten this tireless British patriot on behalf of American independence.
Proceedings of the Court of King’s Bench, George III, multiple sessions. These are readily available online and provide a fascinating first-hand account of all cases, famous and obscure, adjudicated in the Royal Courts of London in the eighteenth century.
Proud, Robert, The History of Pennsylvania in North America, Philadelphia: Zachariah Poulson, Jr., 1797. This ancient text provides a history of the Pennsylvania that Franklin would have recognized as a young man in Philadelphia, from the perspective of an author who would have known Franklin in his dotage.
Pulling, Alexander, The Order of the Coif, London: 1884, William Clows & Sons, Ltd.
Raphael, Ray, Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past, New York: MJF Books, 2004. This author lays the groundwork for righteous skepticism over the propagandist narratives of the first hundred years following the American Revolution, and invites the reader to look deeper, especially through the eyes of the contemporary authors of the eighteenth century, into the causes which precipitated the war. He points out, for instance, that it was indeed all the “Intolerable Acts” of 1774, and not simply the Boston Port Act, which led directly to revolution in Massachusetts. Indeed, we are only now, over two hundred years later, beginning to understand the true motivators of the Revolution.
Roider, Karl A., “William Lee: Our First Envoy in Vienna,” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 86, no. 2 (1978).
Schaeffer, Thomas J., Edward Bancroft, Scientist, Author, Spy, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011. This author provides a far more coherent argument and exposition about the conspiracies taking place in Franklin’s Passy during the American Revolution, accounting for the realities of the eighteenth century, including what a “secret agent” could and, more importantly, could not accomplish through the simple agency of providing information available in plain sight. It further gives a more credible sketch of the complicated relationships between Franklin, Deane, Lee, Adams, and the subject himself, Bancroft.
Schutz, John A., Thomas Pownall: British Defender of American Liberty, Glendale, CA: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1951. This author made a noble effort to reintroduce Thomas Pownall, 150 years after his death, to an American audience unaware of his existence. The book is well- researched and documented and brutally honest about Pownall and his political abilities in Parliament. It also points repeatedly to the close relationship between Pownall and Franklin in the years leading to revolution.
Stephen, Sir James, A History of the Criminal Law of England, London: MacMillan and Co., 1883, volume 1.
Trinity Writers, Oliver Goldsmith, Dublin, Ireland: Trinity College, Dublin, updated 2016.
Waldstreicher, David, Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution, New York: Hill and Wang, 2004. Here we have yet another author who had ascertained the fine points of the reasons for revolution developed by Franklin during the run-up to the American Revolution. He points out the gyrations needed by Franklin and others to keep the northern colonies focused upon freedom issues, and the southern colonies focused upon states’ rights issues, such as the right to own Black Africans. And while waxing philosophical on Franklin’s walking this fine line, he stops short of theorizing conspiracy to foment revolution.
Wallace, David D., The Life of Henry Laurens, with a Sketch of the Life of Lieutenant-Colonel John Laurens, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915. This interesting biography of the father and son Laurens by a faculty member at the University of Virginia, is clearly a latter-day attempt to repair the legacy of both. With what is known about Henry Laurens from other sources, this effort is a failure. But the sources are well-documented, and the book gives invaluable information regarding the short life of John Laurens in the Appendix.
Weber, Ralph E., Masked Dispatches: Cryptograms and Cryptology in American History, 1775– 1900, Washington, DC: Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 2002. This encryption expert traces the experience among the American revolutionaries in comparison with Dumas and Franklin in Europe and points out the facile nature of the Dumas approach, which was used successfully by the Franklins, grandfather and grandson in Passy, and Dumas at The Hague; while at the same time, the far more complex and error-prone codes of James Lovell of Massachusetts, which left the colonists more frustrated than informed, and of course left John Adams…outraged. Abigail wrote to her husband, in Lovell code, that she had no difficulty in translating the code herself, which only left Adams more outraged.
Wise, Steven M., Though the Heavens May Fall, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2005. This outstanding explanation of the complexities of the law leading to the Somerset v. Steuart decision brings eighteenth century British legal proceedings within the range of understanding for the lay reader. It is a slow, deliberate read but affords the reader the ability to sort through the proceedings and up to Mansfield’s inevitable and monumental decision. The title is a direct quote from Mansfield espousing his own concern about the implications of the decision.
I am also indebted to the various online sources provided by historical societies and historical sites, all throughout the thirteen original states, and in the United Kingdom.