According to a newspaper report which appeared in 1747, Polly Baker, the unwed mother of five children, is said to have been tried in a New England court (having previously been whipped publicly) where she defended- with some vigor- her ""Industry, Frugality, Fertility, and Skill in Oeconomy"" and also her first duty to ""Encrease and Multiply"" in the new country. Her situation, and her speech, captivated the British press; an English deist canonized her, and a French historian championed her. And there were reverberations of all kinds before Franklin admitted the invention of Miss Baker and her historical and personal (Franklin's own illegitimate son?) antecedents are pursued here with great patience. It provides a literary and historical curiosity and while based on considerable serious research- is an attractive presentation.