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appointed commissioners to examine into the foundation of this pretended science. Dr. Franklin was one of the number. After a fair and diligent examination, in the course of which Mesmer repeated a number of experiments, in the presence of the commissioners, some of which were tried upon themselves, they determined that it was a mere trick, intended to impose upon the ignorant and credulous. Mesmer was thus interrupted in his career to wealth and fame, and a most insolent attempt to impose upon the human understanding baffled.

The important ends of Dr. Franklin's mission being completed by the establishment of American Independence, and the infirmities of age and disease coming upon him, he became desirous of returning to his native country. Upon application to congress to be recalled, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed him, in 1785. Some time in September of the same year, Dr. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia. He was shortly after chosen a member of the supreme executive council for the city, and soon after was elected president of the same.

When a convention was called to meet in Philadelphia, in 1787, for the purpose of giving more energy to the government of the union, by revising and amending the articles of confederation, Dr. Franklin was appointed a delegate from the state of Pennsyl vania. He signed the constitution which they proposed for the union, and gave it the most unequivocal marks of his approbation.

A society for political inquiries, of which Dr. Franklin was president, was establised about_this period. The meetings were held at his house. Two or three essays read in this society were published. It did not long continue.

in the year 1787, two societies were established in Philadelphia, founded on the principles of the most liberal and refined humanity-The Philadelphia Society for alleviating the miseries of public prisons: and the Pennsylvania Society, for promoting the abo lition of slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the improvement of the condition of the African race. Of each of these Dr. Franklin

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was president. The labours of these bodies have been crowned with great success; and they continue to prosecute with unweared diligence, the laudable designs for which they were established.

Dr. Franklin's increasing infirmities prevented his regular attendance at the council chamber; and in 1788, he retired wholly from public life.

His constitution had been a remarkably good one. He had been little subject to disease, except an attack of the gout occasionally, until about the year 1781, when he was first attacked with symptoms of the calculous complaint, which continued during his life. During the intervals of pain from this grievous disease, he spent many cheerful hours, conversing in the most agreeable and instructive manner. His faculties were entirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.

His name as president of the abolition society, was signed to the memorial presented to the house of representatives of the United States, on the twelfth of February, 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in them by the constitution, in discouraging the traffic of the human species. This was his last public act.-In the debates to which this memorial gave rise, several attempts were made to justify the trade. In the Federal Gazette of March 25th, there appeared an essay, signed Historicus, written by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a speech, said to have been delivered in the Divan of Algiers, in 1587, in opposition to the prayer of the pcution of a 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 used in favour of negro slavery, are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving of Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a demonstration of the futility 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 persons 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 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 paroxysins, 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 cheerfully with his family, and a few 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 instance displayed, not only that readiness and disposition of doing good, which was the distinguished 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.

"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 the 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

* This speech will be found among his Essays.

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 entirely 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 absess 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 events.

The following epitaph on himself, was written hy him many years previous to his death





(like the cover of an old book,

its contents torn out,

and stript of its lettering and gilding,)
lies here food for worms;

yet the work itself shall not be lost,

for it will (as he believed) appear once more
in a new

and more beautiful edition,
corrected and amended






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 et les Metiers," I give to the American philosophical society, established in New England, of which I am a member. My quarto edition of the same, "Arts et 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 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.

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