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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 13th 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 1687, in opposition to the prayer of the petition 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 urged 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 a fever and complaint of his breast, which terminated his existence. The following account of his last illness was written by his friend the 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 extremely painful paroxysms, he was obliged to take large doses of laudanum to mitigate his torturesstill, 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 he 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 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.
"About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with a feverish indisposition, without any par
*This speech will be found among his Essays.
ticular 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 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 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 :—
(like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out,
yet the work itself shall not be lost,
FROM THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF
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 quartò edition of the same," Arts et les 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.
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 Boston, to be by them, or the person or persons who shall have the superintendence 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 a 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 employed for making the Schuylkil 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 appointments 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, have be