August: Franklin began writing his Autobiography
June 20: Having previously freed his slaves, Franklin first wrote against the institution of slavery in “The Somersett Case and the Slave Trade.”
Franklin clandestinely obtained the correspondence of Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson and Lieutenant Governor Andrew Oliver with English authorities, and finding that it advocated repressive measures, sent it to Massachusetts Speaker Thomas Cushing.
September: Franklin published anti-British policy satires "Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One" and "Edict by the King of Prussia".
Franklin surmised that the common cold was passed from person to person through indoor air.
January: News of the Boston Tea Party reached London.
January 29: Franklin was accused of stealing the Hutchinson letters, excoriated and denounced as thief by Solicitor General Alexander Wedderburn before the Privy Council. Franklin refused to respond to Wedderburn's accusations.
January 31: Franklin removed from his position as Deputy Postmaster General in America by the British government
May 3: Effigies of Wedderburn and Hutchinson carted through Philadelphia, hanged, and burned by electricity.
December 14: Deborah Franklin, who had not seen her husband in ten years, suffered a stroke and died in Philadelphia, aged sixty-six.
Late January: Franklin conferred several times with William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, on Chatham's unsuccessful plan to reconcile Britain and her North American colonies.
March 20: Franklin left London, and arrived in Philadelphia on May 5
May 6: Franklin elected a delegate to the Second Continental Congress
August 23: King George III declared that the American colonies were in rebellion
January 17: Franklin turned 70
February: Congress ordered new designs for fractional dollars; Franklin created thirteen linked circles in his "Fugio" design (later used on first United States coin, the Fugio cent of 1787)
June 1: Continental Congress appointed Franklin to the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence
June: William Franklin sent under guard to Connecticut to be imprisoned. Franklin, in Congress, declined to intercede for his son.
July 4: Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
September 26: Continental Congress appointed Silas Deane, Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson to serve as Commissioners to France; Jefferson declined
October 27 through December 3: Franklin traveled from Philadelphia to France taking grandsons William Temple Franklin (William's illegitimate son) and Benjamin Franklin Bache (eldest of Sarah's children)
January 5: Commissioners formally requested French aid
January 13: Commissioners received verbal promise of two million livres.
February 27: Franklin moved to Paris suburb of Passy, where he remained during French mission.
February 6: Franklin, on behalf of the United States of America, signed the Treaty of Amity…symbolically, Franklin wore to the signing ceremony same brown velvet suit he had worn when accused by Wedderburn before the Privy Council.
June 17: France declared war on Great Britain