Dismissing your business partner
Unknown hard choice of Benjamin Franklin
On small but interesting aspect of Benjamin Franklin’s life (BF) is dismissal of his business partnership.
One aspect quite unknown (or at least to me) of BF was that at some point in time started a business with a partner, a printing house, and after sometime BF decided to dismiss the partner. There isn’t a lot written in the note of dismissal about it or why. I cannot imagine if it was painful or not to conclude that it was better to proceed alone.
The topic of the dispute was a printing house bought in a join venture by BF and Hugh Meredith, who is described a as “honest, sensible, observant man, a wide reader, though a poor printer who was addicted to drink.” The partnership was dissolved by July 1730 when was 24 years old.
Printing was a big business at the time, specially for BF, impactful and thought-provoking writings could see the sunlight trought one of the most prominent papers until 1800. The newspaper, the Penn Gazette, was acquired by the partnership from a previous owner and was instrumental for many writings oppossing British rule.
Reading the note and BF’s biography is interesting. Seems to me that reading English from 300 years ago bears some resemblance to reading Spanish from 500 years ago. The spelling changed but most of the grammatical structure and syntax stayed. In BF’s archive appears to be a note of an agreement between him and his partner that the latter renounces all his rights and obligations in the partnership.
There isn’t that much written on the decision making of that particular situation. The note is particularly succinct and to the point. Doesn’t explain why they are parting ways even if in BF’s authobiography there are additional indications.
It’s worth noting that the note is a miniscule part of all the writings by BF conserved by the archive by Yale. It contrast with so many stories of many contemporary stories of successul entepreneurs in their early twenties that had VC funding and didn’t dismiss any partners because of friendship.
Dismissal note: https://franklinpapers.org/yale?vol=1&page=175a