Bache, Benjamin Franklin

Bache, Benjamin Franklin

(bāch), 1769–98, American journalist, b. Philadelphia; son of Richard BacheBache, Richard,
1737–1811, American merchant, b. Yorkshire, England. He came to New York City in 1765 to join an older brother in the mercantile business. Bache soon moved to Philadelphia in the interest of the firm, which had built up a large West Indian trade.
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 and grandson of Benjamin FranklinFranklin, Benjamin,
1706–90, American statesman, printer, scientist, and writer, b. Boston. The only American of the colonial period to earn a European reputation as a natural philosopher, he is best remembered in the United States as a patriot and diplomat.
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. In 1790 he founded the Philadelphia General Advertiser (later the Aurora). As the champion of the Jeffersonians, Bache's paper denounced the Federalists bitterly, and he was arrested under the Sedition Act (see Alien and Sedition ActsAlien and Sedition Acts,
1798, four laws enacted by the Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress, allegedly in response to the hostile actions of the French Revolutionary government on the seas and in the councils of diplomacy (see XYZ Affair), but actually designed to destroy Thomas
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) but was released on parole. He died soon afterward of yellow fever.
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Bache, Benjamin Franklin

(1769–98) journalist; born in Philadelphia (a grandson of Benjamin Franklin). From the age of seven to 16 he lived in France under his grandfather's supervision and learned the printing trade there. On Franklin's death in 1790, Bache inherited a printing house in Philadelphia, where, at the age of 21, he established a newspaper called the General Advertiser (later the Aurora General Advertiser). He came to be nicknamed "Lightning Rod Junior." Although his paper, unlike others, covered congressional proceedings at length, it was mainly devoted, in the tradition of the time, to virulent and reckless attacks on political opponents—in Bache's case, George Washington (who was accused of having "debauched" the nation as president), John Adams, and the Federalist Party. During the Adams presidency, Federalist sympathizers wrecked Bache's shop on one occasion; on another, he was severely beaten by a Federalist he had slandered. He was also arrested and held briefly on charges of libeling the president. Not long afterward, he fell victim to a yellow fever epidemic.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.