« 上一頁繼續 »
sect called 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 favour 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 utility 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 imitating 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 attack. . ed with a fever and complaint of his breast, which terminated his existence. The followiog account of his last illness was written by his friend and physician, Dr. Jones.
66 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 take large doses of laudanum to mitigate his tortures still, in the intervals of pain, he not only amused himself with reading and conversing with his family, and a few friends who visited hiin, but was often employed in doing business of a public as well as private nature, with various per. sons who waited on him for that purpose ; and in every instance displayed, not only that readiness and disposition of doing good, which was the distinguishing characteristic of his life, but the fullest and clearest possession of his uncommon mental abilities; and not unfrequently indulged himself in those jeux d'esprit and entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard him.
* This speech will be found in the yolume of Essays.
« 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 left breast, which increased till it became extremely acute, attended with a cough and laborious breathi..g. During this state, when the severity of his pains sometimes 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 that Supreme Being, who had raised him from small and low beginnings to such high rank and consideration among men-and no doubt but his present afflictions were kindly intended to wean him from a world, in which he was no longer fit to 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 intirely left him, and his family were flattering themselves with the hopes of his recovery, when an imposthumation, which had formed itself in his lungs, sudden. ly 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 failed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressed--a calm lethargic state succeeded-and, on the 17th of April, 1790, about eleven o'clock at night, he expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months.
66 It may not be amiss to add to the above account, that Dr. Franklin, in the year 1735, had a severe pleu. risy which terminated in an abscess of the left lobe of his lungs, and he was then almost suffocated with the quantity and suddenness of the discharge. A second attack of a similar nature happened some years after this, from which he soon recovered, and did not appear to suffer any inconvenience in his respiration from these diseases."
The following epitaph on himself, was written by him many years previous to his death :
Its contents torn out,
Lies here, food for worms;
In a new
EXTRACTS from the Last Will and Testament of Dr.
WITH regard to my books, those I had in France, and those I left in Philadelphia, being now assembled to. gether here, and a catalogue made of them, it is my intention to dispose of the same as follows:
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 honour to be president. My collection in folio of Les Arts & Les Metiers, I give to the philosophical 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 shall 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 catalogue with the name of my grandson, William Bache, I do hereby give to him: and such as shall be marked with the name of Jonathan Williams, I here. by give to my cousin of that name. 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 one hundred pounds sterling to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of them, paid over to the managers or directors of the free schools in my native town of Bos. ton, to be by them, or the person or persons who shall have the superintendance and management of the said schools, put out to interest, and so continued at in. terest for ever; which interest annually shall be laid out in silver medals, and given as honorary rewards annually by the directors of the said free schools, for the encouragement of scholarship in the said schools, belonging to the said town, in such manner as to the discretion 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 such person or persons as the legislature of this state, by an act of assembly, shall appoint to receive the same, in trust, to be em. ployed for making the Schuylkill navigable.
During the number of years I was in business as a stationer, printer, and post-master, a great many small
sums became due to me, for books, advertisements, postage of letters, and other matters, which were not collected, when, in 1757, I was sent by the assembly to England as their agent-and by subsequent appointment continued there till 1775—when, on my return, I was immediately engaged in the affairs of congress, and sent to France in 1776, where I remained nine years, not returning till 1785 ; and the said debts not being demanded in such a length of time, are become in a manner obsolete, yet are nevertheless justly due. These as they are stated in my great folio ledger, E. I bequeath to the contributers of the Pennsylvania hospital ; hoping that these debtors, and the descendants to such as are deceased, who now, as I find, make some difficulty of satisfying such antiquated demands as just debts, may however be induced to pay or give them as charity to that excellent institu. tion. I am sensible that much must inevitably be lost; but I hope something considerable may be recovered. It is possible too that some of the parties charged may have existing old unsettled accounts against me; in which case the managers of the said hospital will allow and deduct the amount, and pay the balance, if they find it against me.
I request my friends Henry Hill, Esq. John Jay, Esq. Francis Hopkinson, Esq. and Mr. Edward Duffield, of Bonfield, in Philadelphia county, to be the executors of this my last will and testament, and I hereby nominate and appoint them for that purpose.
I would have my body buried with as little expence or ceremony as may be.
Philadelphia, July 17, 1788.