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“ 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 breathing 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 made 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, 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 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 quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months.
“ 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 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
EXTRACYS 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 together 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 Ego *Les Metiers, I give to the philosophical society, established in New-England, of which I am a member... My quarto edition of the same Aris and Motiera, I
give to the library company of Philadelphia. Such and so many of my books as I shall mark, in the said catalogue, with he name of my grandson, Benjamin Frankiin 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 hereby 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 gi: e 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 Boston, 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 interest 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 survi. vor 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 employed 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 maiters, 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 beqaeath to the contributors 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 institution. 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 iny last will and testament, and I hereby noninate 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.
I, Benjamin Franklin, in the foregoing or annexed last will and testament, having further considered the same, do think proper to make and publish the following codicil, or addition thereto:
It having long been a fixed political opinion of mine, that in a democratical state there ought to be no offices of profit, for the reasons I had given in an article of my drawing in our constitution, it was my intention, when I accepted the office of president, to devote the appointed salary to some public use: Accordingly I had already, before I made my last will, in July last, given large sums of it to colleges, schools, building of churches, &c. and in that will I bequeathed two thousand pounds more to the state, for the purpose of making the Schuylkill navigable; but understanding since, that such a sum will do but little towards acconiplishing such a work, and that the project is not likely to be undertaken for many years to come-and having entertained another idea, which I hope may be found more extensively useful, I do hereby revoke and annul the bequest, and direct that the certificates I have for what remains due to me of that salary, be sold towards raising the sum of two thousand pounds sterling, to be disposed of as I am now about to order.
It has been an opinion, that he who receives an estate from his ancestors, is under some obligation to transmit the same to posterity. This obligation lies not on me, who never inherited a shilling from any ancestor or relation. I shall, however, if it is not diminished by some accident before my death, leave a considerable estate among my descendants and relations. The above observation is made merely as some apolosy to my family, for my making bequests that do not appear to have any immediate relation to their advantage.