Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) was born in Boston but moved at an early age to Philadelphia where his countless talents and unlimited energies found expression in successful contributions as a statesman, diplomat, scientist, editor-author, and philosopher. During the Revolution he was appointed American Minister Plenipotentiary to the French Court enabling him to function also as the Navy's representative in Europe. He promoted the plan to bring the war to British shores, supporting Lambert Wickes' spectacular raids and enabling John Paul Jones to perform his daring feats by providing funds, attending to purchases and repairs, and determining questions of authority and discipline. His astute and visionary policies merit for him deserved recognition in the annals of the infant Navy as well as esteem as a founder of the United States. (The first four ships of the name honor Benjamin Franklin; CV-13 perpetuates the names of these ships.)
(ScFr: dp. 5,170; l. 265'; b. 53'8"; dr. 17'; a. 1 11", 34 9", 4 100-pdr. r.)
The fourth Franklin, a screw frigate, was laid down at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in 1854, and built in part of materials salvaged from the ship-of-the-line. For a time housed over, she was launched on 17 September 1864; commissioned on 3 June 1867 at Boston; and on 28 June sailed from New York as flagship of Admiral Farragut who assumed command of the European Squadron. Relieved by Ticonderoga she arrived back in New York on 10 November 1868.
Her second European cruise, beginning on 28 January 1869, was as flagship for Rear Admiral W. Radford. She served with the European Squadron until 30 September 1871 when she sailed for the United States. On 13 November 1871 she was decommissioned at Boston.
Recommissioned on 15 December 1873, she sailed on the North Atlantic Station. On 11 April 1874 she stood out to sea to join the European Squadron as flagship until 14 September 1876.
Franklin was placed out of commission at Norfolk on 2 March 1877 and recommissioned the same day as Receiving Ship for the Norfolk Station, continuing in this service until 14 October 1915 which marked her final decommissioning. She was stricken from the Navy Register on 26 October 1915 and sold.