Benjamin Franklin crossed the Atlantic Ocean eight times in his lifetime, his
first voyage at age 18 to London and his last trip at age 79, returning from
France back to Philadelphia. Franklin discovered early on that he didnt
suffer from seasickness, which was a good thing, as the perilous transatlantic
crossing usually took at least six weeks and could take as long as two or three
months. He used much of his time at sea for writing and conducting experiments.
Franklin began his lifelong fascination with natural science while crossing
the ocean. On a number of voyages, Franklin took daily measurements of water
temperature and performed other experiments that led him to create the first
chart of the Gulf Stream. He also made a number of observations about meteorology
and improved navigational techniques.
Here is a summary of Franklins eight voyages:
• Franklin embarked on his
first transatlantic voyage on November 5, 1724, aboard the London Hope,
landing in London on December 24.
• In July of 1726, Franklin began his voyage back to the colonies. Because
of headwinds, they didnt actually leave the English coast for almost
twenty days. Franklin finally reached Philadelphia in October.
• Franklins next crossing was in 1757, when he traveled to London as
the agent of the Pennsylvania assembly.
• In the summer of 1762, Franklin sailed westward to the colonies. On the
way to America, the ship stopped at the island of Madeira, off the coast of
• In the winter of 1764, Franklin was re-appointed Pennsylvanias agent
to England and sailed back to London.
• Franklin returned to America in March of 1775. He made the voyage with his
grandson Temple. They arrived in America in May.
• In the early winter of 1776, Franklin, accompanied by two grandsonsTemple
Franklin and Benny Bachemade the voyage from America to France aboard
the ship Reprisal.
• In 1785, Franklin left France for England in early summer, and then set
sail for America in late July, arriving in Philadelphia in September.
copyright 2002 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.