Benjamin F. Bache, I, journalist

Is your surname Bache?

Research the Bache family

Benjamin F. Bache, I, journalist's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Benjamin Franklin Bache, I

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: September 10, 1798 (29)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States (Yellow Fever)
Place of Burial: Christ Church Burial Ground, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Bache, Sr., 2nd US Postmaster General and Sarah “Sally” Bache
Husband of Margaret "Peggy" Hartman Duane
Father of Dr. Franklin Bache; Benjamin Bache; Brevet Brig. General Hartman Bache (USA) and Richard Bache
Brother of Dr. William Franklin Bache; Sarah (1) Franklin Bache; Elizabeth Franklin Harwood; Col. Louis Bache; Deborah Duane (Bache) and 3 others

Occupation: journalist, printer and publisher, Printer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Benjamin F. Bache, I, journalist

  1. Benjamin Franklin Bache (b. 1769, d. 1798 during the Philadelphia Yellow Fever outbreak) married Margaret Markoe, leading journalist who died while imprisoned under the Sedition Act by the Federalists.

Benjamin Franklin Bache M 12 Aug 1769 in Philadelphia, [county], Pennsylvania, USA Edit

Benjamin Franklin Bache (1769–1798), son of Richard and Sarah Bache and the grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was an American journalist. He headed the openly Jeffersonian publication, the Philadelphia Aurora, which is notable for being some of the impulse behind the Alien and Sedition Act.

Early life

As a young boy, Bache spent time in France with his grandfather, notably attending school with John Adams' son and future president John Quincy Adams in Passy. He was said to be a good student, even winning the school prize for translating Latin into French at a school in Geneva, Switzerland. Perhaps due to his grandfather's habit of being away without visiting for long periods of time, Bache was described as a depressed and shy adolescent. Though sensible and reasonable, Bache was said to often come across as cold and lacking fantasies or needs.

Upon returning to Philadelphia, Bache was ushered into work as a printer at his grandfather's old shop, prefiguring his future career as a newspaper editor. He took lessons for a time under François Didot, a well acknowledged and respected printer.

Newspaper career

Following his grandfather's death in 1790, Bache inherited his printing equipment and many of his books. He followed in his grandfather's steps by establishing, seventy years after the New England Courant was first published, The Philadelphia Aurora. The paper was notoriously passionate, even surpassing grandfather Benjamin Franklin's fierce pro-French and democratic stances.

Bache's articles denounced Federalists. The papers openly discredited both George Washington and John Adams. Among Bache's more controversial statements was the suggestion that Washington had secretly been collaborating with the British during the American Revolution. Bache was subsequently arrested after the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, legislation supported by then-President Adams. This law may have been written, at least in part, as a response to Bache's statements.

Bache died from yellow fever at the age of 29 before he could stand trial, and is buried in the Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.[1] He is regarded by many Americans as an early champion of the Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment.

Early Life

In late 1776, Benjamin Franklin departed for France on a diplomatic mission. He was accompanied by his seven year-old grandson, Benjamin Bache (middle name “Franklin’), referred to by Franklin as “Kingbird” or “Benny.” At his famous grandfather’s house in Passy (near Paris), young Bache received the best possible tutelage in the printing arts from not only his grandfather, but also the best French printers of the day.

After Benny Bache returned with Franklin to America in 1785, he finished his education at the University of Pennsylvania (then known as the Philadelphia Academy), and in 1787 entered into a printing/publishing business in Franklin Court with his grandfather. The printing house stood in the courtyard, on the north side of the Franklin mansion. Benny married Margaret Hartman Markoe in 1791, and the couple moved into their house at 112 High Street (now 322 Market Street) in mid-1792.

The Aurora

Bache’s early efforts in the printing trade included the publication of children’s books, Greek and Latin texts, and Bible stories for local schools. He also set up a type foundry and book bindery in the printing house, but those ventures failed early on. In fact, it wasn’t until after his grandfather’s death in 1790 that Bache began to make his mark with the publication of a daily newspaper. By the early 1790’s, the Aurora had become the most influential newspaper in the United States.

With the U.S. Capital residing in Philadelphia from 1790 to 1800, the Aurora became the voice of opposition against the perceived (and sometimes real) pro-British sympathies of the Washington and Adams administrations, as well as their “federalist” allies in Congress. With the tacit support of Thomas Jefferson and open support of other “democratic republicans,” the Aurora mercilessly attacked the federalists and helped shape the character of two-party politics in America.

Later Life and Legacy

In keeping with his grandfather’s legacy, public service was deeply important in Benny’s life. His persistence in calling for more transparency in government and greater freedom of the press was a pioneering exercise of First Amendment rights, an effort that kept government censorship out of the press and laid a foundation for the next two centuries of journalism in America.

In June of 1798, Bache was indicted by the Adams administration for seditious libel. While awaiting trial later that summer, one of the worst yellow fever epidemics in local history swept through Philadelphia, claiming the life of the 29-year-old editor on September 10. After Bache’s untimely death, there were rumors of federalist attempts to buy out the Aurora, but his widow, Margaret, retained and continued to publish her husband’s newspaper, with William Duane at the editorial helm. William and Margaret married in 1800, and successfully continued the newspaper through the year 1822. NPS.Gov

Journalist. The grandson of statesman Benjamin Franklin, he was known as "Benny" to his grandfather, who doted on his namesake. He and cousin William Temple, joined their grandfather to France, receiving an education in there and in Switzerland. When Franklin died in 1790, Benjamin Bache at his bedside. With the inheritance Franklin left him, Bache started the “General Advertiser”, later renamed the “Aurora”. This newspaper became one of the staunchest and most vocal anti-Federalist weekly editions, mocking Presidents George Washington and John Adams equally. Bache edited the “Aurora” from 1791 to 1798. Under the Sedition Act of 1798, he was arrested for his comments of the government and President, while awaiting trial, he came down with yellow fever, dying in September 1798. His widow and William Duane continued to publish the “Aurora” after his death.* Reference: Find A Grave Memorial - SmartCopy: Jun 28 2019, 15:47:24 UTC

view all

Benjamin F. Bache, I, journalist's Timeline

August 12, 1769
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
October 25, 1792
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
September 16, 1794
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
August 7, 1796
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
September 3, 1798
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
September 10, 1798
Age 29
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Christ Church Burial Ground, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA