Benjamin Franklin (1705/6 - 1790)

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Benjamin Franklin was awarded an honorary A. M. (atrium magister/Master of Arts) from the College of William and Mary on April 2, 1756. The below translation from the original Latin text was provided courtesy of Dr. Nicholas S. Popper. The original entry can be found in the Faculty Minute Book, 1729-1784, page 52.

At a meeting of ye President & Masters of W&M College of William and Mary Present Ye Reverend T Dawson A.M. President Ye G Robinson A.M. W Preston A.M. R Graham A.M. J Camm A.M. EM: Jones A.B. Ye Day Ben Franklin Esquire favour’d ye Society with his Company, & had ye Degree of A.M. conferred upon him by ye Reverend G Dawson A.M. President, to whom he was in publick presented by the Revered W. Preston AM.

A copy of ye Diploma Praeses & Magistri Collegii Guil: & Mar in Virginia omnibus, ad quos hos praesens scriptum pervenerit, salutem in Domino sempiternam. Quum in Charta Regia nobis concessum & confirmatum fuit, ut eos quos se literis & studiis suis praecipue ornarunt, gradibus Academicis decoremus; Quum volumus in huismodi Honorem inprimis evehi virum inclytissimum, quo nobis & Juventuti Virginiensi exemplum valde egregeium proponamus; Cuumque Benjaminum Franklin Armigerum nobis commendarunt gradus artium magistri a diversis collegiis Americanis in eum collatus, quinetiam Honores a Rege Cristianissimo [I think], a regia scientarum apud Padisios Academia, a regia societate Londinensis [] accumulati, nec non eiusdem celebritas & Gloria, ob miras in Philosophia naturali patefactiones excogitatas, per totam Literarum Rempublicam evulgata, idei[ripped] frequenti senatu die secondo mensis april anno.

The President and Masters of the College of William and Mary in Virgina to all, to whome this present writing will come, eternal greetings in the Lord.

Because it was granted and confirmed to us in the Royal Charter, that those who especially adorn themselves with letters and studies, we might honor with Academic degrees. Because we want a renowned, celebrated man to be the first honored wit this degree, who we might declare to be a great example to us and to all Virginia youth; Because Benjamin Franklin Esq has been granted a Masters of the Arts by several American colleges, and indeed has accumulated honors from the Most Christian King [I think this might be wrong, it is slight obscured, but if it is correct it refers to the French King], from the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris, from the Royal Society in London, and likewise his fame and glory, on account of his miraculous devised revelations in natural philosophy, has been promulgated through the entire republic of letters, similarly from this whole assembly [this is a conjecture, words obscured,] on the second of the month of April.

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