Page images

ed Erika, or purists, for the abolition of piracy and slavery. This pretended African speech was an excellent parody of one delivered by Mr. Jackson of Georgia. All the arguments urged in favor of negro slavery, are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving the Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a demonstration of the fu« tility of the arguments in defence of the slave trade, and of the strength of mind and ingenuity of the author, at his advanced period of life. It furnished too a no less convincing proof of his power of imi. tating the style of other times and nations, than his celebrated parable against persecution. And as the latter led many to search the scriptures with a view to find it, so the former caused many persons to search the book stores and libraries for the work from which it was said to be extracted. *

In the beginning of April following, he was attacked with a fever and a complaint of his breast, which terminated his existence. The following account of his last illness was written by his friend and physician, Dr. Jones, '. '

“The stone, with which he had been afflicted for several years, had for the last twelve months confined him chiefly to his bed; and during the extreme painful paroxysms, he was obliged to tako large dosts of laudanum to mitigate his tortures still in the intervals of pain, he not only amused himself with reading and conversing with his fami. ly, and a few of his friends who visited him, but was often employed in doing business of a public as well as private nature, with various persons who waited on him for that purpose ; and in every in. stance displayed, not only that readiness and dispo.

* This specch will be found among the essay se


siion of doing good, which was the distinguishing charai teristic of his life but the fullest and clear- est possession of his uncommon mental abilities ; and not úplrquently indulged himself in those jeux d'esprit and entertaining anecılotes, which were the delight of all who heard him. ' . “ About sixteen days before his death, he was

seized with a feverish indisposition, without any particular symptoms attending it, till the third or 'fourth day, when he complained of a pain in his le ft breast, which increased till it became extremely acute, attended with a cough and laborious breathe ing. During this state, when the severity of his pains somctimes drew forth a groan of complaint, he would observe--that he was afraid he did not bear them as he ought-acknowledged his grateful sense of the many blessings he had received from the Supreme Being, who has raised him from small and low beginnings to such high rank and consideration among men and made no doubt but his present afflictions were kindly intended to wean him from a world, in which he was no longer fit 10 act the part assigned him. In this frame of body and mind he continued till five days before his death, when his pain and difficulty of breathing ene tirelt left him, and his family were flattering thema selves with the hopes of his recovery, when an ime posthumation, which had formed itself in his lungso suddenly burst, and discharged a great quantity of matter, which he continued to throw up while he had sufficient strength to do it ; but, as that lails ed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressedacalm lethargic state suce eded-and, on the 7th of April, 1790, about eleven o'clock at night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months,

[ocr errors]

" It may not be amiss to add to the above account, that Dr. Franklin, in the year 1735, had a severe pleurisy, which terminated in an abscess of the left lobe of his luings, and was then almost suffo. Cated with the quantity of the discharge. A second attack of a similar nature happened some years af ter this, from which he soon recover+d, and did not appear to suffer any inconvenience in his respiration froin these diseases."

The following epitaph on himself, was written by him inany years previous to his death;










Extracts from the last Will and Testament of

. ' Dr. Franklin. With regard to my books, those I had in France, and those I left in Philadelphia, being now assem, bled together here, and a catalogue made of thein, it is my intencion lo dispose of the same as fol


My history of the Academy of Sciences, in sixty or seventy volumes quarto, I give to the philosophical society of Philadelphia, of which I have the honor to be president. My collection in folio of Les Arts &? Les Metiers, I give to the philosophi. cal society, established in New England, of which I am a member. My quarto edition of the same Arts and Metiers, I give to the library company of Philadelphia. Such and so many of my books as I mark in the said catalogue, with the name of my grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, I do hereby give to him, and such and so many of my books, as I shall mark in the said ci talogut wiih ile name of my grandson William Bach«, I do hereby give to him: and such as shall be marked with the name . of Jonathan Williams, I hereby give to my cousin of that nsme. The residue and remainder of all my books, manuscripts and papers, I do give 'to my grandson William Temple Franklin. My share in the library company of Philadelphia I give to my grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, confiding that he will permit his brothers and sisters to share in the use of it.

I was born in Boston, New England, and owe my first instructions in literature to the free grammar schools established there. I therefore give Due hundred pound sterling to any executors, to be

by them, the suruivors or survior of them, paid 0ver to the managers or directors of the free schools in my native town of Boston, to be by them, or the person or persons who shall have the superintendance and management of the said shools, put out to interest, and so continued at interest for ever; which interest annually shall be laid out in siiver medals, and given as honorary rewards and ually by the directors of the said free schools, for the encou. ragement of scholarship in the said schools, belonging to the said town, in such manner as the discre. tion of the select men of the said town shall seem meet.

Out of the salary that may remain due to me, as president of the state, I give the sum of two thousand pounds to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of them, paid over to each person or persons as the legislature of this state, by an act of assembly, shall appoint toʻreceive the same, in trust, to be employed for making the Schuylkill navigable.

During the number of years I was in business as a stationer, printer, and postmaster, a. great many small sums became due to me, for books, advertisce ments, postage of letters, and other matters, which were not collected, when, in 1757, I was sent by the assemby to England as their agent-and, by subsequent appointments continued there till 1775, wh'n, on my return, I was immediately engaged in the attairs of congress, and sent to France in 1776, where I remained nine years, not returning till

1 85 ; and the said debts not being demanded in - such a length of time, are become in a manner obe silte, set are nevertheless justly due.-These, aš. tiev are stated in my great folio ledger, E. I be. queath to the contributors of the Peons, Ivania bus

« PreviousContinue »