By 1775 most colonists in America were feeling impoverished by the high prices from England, and the small returns on all their efforts to trade their logs and corn for their machine made tools. And as the Industrial Revolution began to surge with blast furnaces burning coal, steel was being made. A canyon had been bridged by a steel bridge, and steel tracks were running over it. Meanwhile, more taxes, less rights, a king in and out of madness.
The most furious were those in New England, who began to visit England and the Midlands, make friends, evade the spies and get a quick ship back to America. And bit by bit, some secrets were getting out. But then, soldiers from England were searching for unlicensed factories in America, and with the taking of Canada, the French attacks had stopped along the New England coasts. Who needed Britain?
The Edict from King George posted in every town center was the final straw: all civil liberties were suspended until order could be regained. Soldiers from England or Prussian mercenaries could enter the home of any colonist. Taxes and fines would all be raised to support the army. Assembly of more than a certain number now would require a permit. In Philadelphia, Ben Franklin saw mobs of angry people gathering in the streets, some waving their guns or muskets.
Dr. Franklin was on the first ship to England on the morning tide with a folio of fine paper, quills and ink. When he arrived in capacity of Post Master General of North America he was welcomed by his superior officer Sir Francis and soon out at his Buckingham Shire estate. Within a week Sir Francis, a senior member of Cabinet and Post Master General of the British Empire, had arranged a formal dinner to hear news from America which regarded their ally Prussia.
The dinner was held early, on the request of Dr. Franklin so all could feel their healthy lifestyles and not anxious with his rather disturbing news. They retired to the Formal Room, where Dr. Franklin produced his very grand looking folio. From this he produced a fine looking document in a scroll. He unrolled and and passed it around for all to see, and said with their permission he would read the entire contents, all were agreed. And Ben Franklin had very carefully reprinted the Edict from King George to a fictional Edict from The King of Prussia.
Soon the room was in an uproar: according to this document which had been captured by several spies sent by the King of Prussia, the Prussian soldiers were about to turn on the British, allow America freedom but conquer England. All rights of the people of England were suspended, troops were on their way, give no quarter. Some one said never trust a Prussian, another replied on to Berlin, the Prime Minister was outraged. Until some noticed wry smiles on the faces of Dr. Franklin and my ancestor Sir Francis: it was a hoax.
Dr. Franklin should have been on the next ship to America, so had to endure a spot of fear in the Tower. Sir Francis was a favorite of of the king not withstanding his rather too sympathetic attitude to America. A ship was arranged up the Thames to the dock at the Tower. Ben and Frank never met again, but remained friends in correspondence the rest of their lives. And both treasured that afternoon between the War Cabinet, Ben, Frank, and the King of Prussia.