From: DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN NAVAL FIGHTING SHIPS, Vol. II, pp. 442-43.
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' specta cular 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.)
(Sch: t. 60; a. 6 guns)
The first Franklin was originally a Marblehead fishing vessel fitted out by order of Colonel Washington in 1775. She was part of the fleet of schooners under Commodore John Manly that captured numerous British vessels. She was returned to owner in 1776.