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with him the suffering of Washington's army at Valley Forge he remarked, “Ça ira, Ça ira" (It will all come right in the end); these words were treasured in the memory of the people, and became the national cry in their own great revolution.

Franklin's duties in France not only involved great responsibility, but were often exceedingly trying and burdensome, yet he always performed them cheerfully and with remarkable skill and success.

The financial difficulties with which he was constantly harassed are suggested by a passage in a letter to one of his countrymen who was urging him for money : “The continental vessels of war which come to France have likewise required great sums of us to furnish and refit them, and supply the men with necessaries. The prisoners, too, who escape from England claim a very expensive assistance from us, and are much dissatisfied with the scanty allowance we are able to afford them. The interest bills above mentioned, of the drawing of which we have received notice, amount to two mil. lion five hundred thousand dollars, and we have not a fifth part of the sum in our banker's hands to answer them ; and large orders to us from Congress for supplies of clothing, arms, and ammunition remain uncomplied with for want of money. In this situation of our affairs we hope you will not insist on our giving you a farther credit with our banker, with whom we are in daily danger of having no farther credit ourselves.” Once when several ships loaded with American products for sale in France fell into the hands of the enemy, he remarked resolutely : “The destroying of our ships by the English is only like shaving our beards, that will grow again. Their loss of provinces is like the loss of a limb, which can never again be united to their body.” His persistent patience and skillful diplomacy overcame all obstacles, and he obtained many and large sums of money, both as gifts and loans, without which the war could not have been continued.

Finally, the war was ended, and the last important act of Franklin's long and illustrious diplomatic career was signing the articles of peace with England. To his friend Mary Stevenson he wrote: At length we are at peace. God be praised,

and long, very long, may it continue. All wars are follies, very expensive, and very mischievous ones. When will mankind be convinced of this, and agree to settle their differences by arbitration? Were they to do it, even by the cast of a die, it would be better than by fighting and destroying each other.”

Franklin now loved France as he had once loved England, and his friends urged him to spend the rest of his days among them, warning him of the danger of an ocean voyage at his advanced age.

But he replied : “ The desire of spending the little remainder of life with my family is so strong as to determine me to try at least whether I can bear the motion of the ship. If not, I must get them to set me ashore somewhere in the Channel and content myself to die in Europe.” He was seventy-nine years old, and to the usual infirmities of age were added frequent and painful attacks of the gout. When the time of his departure came, the queen sent him her own litter, that he might reach his ship with as little pain as possible, and from the king he received a portrait of his Royal Majesty, framed in a double circle of four hundred and eight diamonds.

On the morning of September 13, 1785, Franklin found himself “ in full view of dear Philadelphia.” His arrival was announced by a discharge of cannon and the ringing of all the church-bells. Crowds of his fellow-citizens greeted him at the wharf and escorted him to his home. He was immediately elected member of the city council, and the council and assembly then made him president of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “I had not firmness enough,” he says, resist the unanimous desire of my countryfolks ; and I find myself harnessed again in their service for another year. They engrossed the prime of my life. They have eaten my flesh, and seem resolved now to pick my bones.”

When the convention met to frame the Constitution, the venerable Dr. Franklin,” as people now called him, was the most conspicuous member. Madison tells us that while the last members were signing the important document, “Dr. Franklin, looking toward the president's chair, at the back of

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which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him that painters bad found it difficult to distinguish, in their art, a rising from a setting sun.

“I have,' he said, often and often in the course of the session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.

His last years were filled with suffering, but he was always cheerful, and while his body was racked with pain his mental faculties remained clear and vigorous. In 1788 he wrote: You kindly inquire after my health. I have not of late much reason to boast of it. People that will live a long life and drink to the bottom of the cup must expect to meet with some of the dregs. However, when I consider how many more terrible maladies the human body is liable to, I think myself well off that I have only three incurable ones : the gout, the stone, and old age; and, those notwithstanding, I enjoy many comfortable intervals, in which I forget all my ills, and amuse myself in reading or writing, or in conversation with friends, joking, laughing, and telling merry stories, as when you first knew me, a young man about fifty." He once said : “I often hear persons whom I knew when children called old Mr. Such-a-one, to distinguish them from their sons, now men grown and in business ; so that by living twelve years beyond David's period I seem to have intruded myself into the company of posterity, when I ought to have been abed and asleep.”

It was a boon of providence that Franklin was permitted to live to see the new government established, and his hopes for the new nation realized. When Washington became president, he wrote to the great chieftain : “My malady renders my sitting up to write rather painful to me; but I cannot let my son-in-law, Mr. Bache, depart for New York without congratulating you by him on the recovery of your health, so precious to us all, and in the growing strength of our new government under your administration. For my own personal ease, I should have died two years ago ; but though those years have been spent in excruciating pain, I am pleased that I have lived them, since they have brought me to see our present situation. I am now finishing my eighty-fourth year, and probably with it my career in this life ; but whatever state of existence I am placed in hereafter, if I retain my memory of what has passed here, I shall with it retain the esteem, respect, and affection with which I have long been, my dear friend, yours most sincerely.” The end came a few months later, April 17, 1790. It was fitting that these words of farewell should be addressed to one with whom he divided the highest honors of the Revolution, for no other one of the builders of our nation approaches Washington and Franklin in greatness of achievement and nobility of fame.

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