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England. In 1777 he was appointed plenepo. tentiary from Congress to the French court. Having at length seen the full accomplishment of his wishes, by the conclusion of the peace in 1783, which confirmed the independence of America, he requested to be recalled, and was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson. Before he left Europe, however, he effected a treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and Sweden; and a similar treaty was concluded also with Prussia. These treatises are replete with benevo. lence, and perhaps an unparallelled instance of this kind may
be found in the 23d article of the latter. “If war should arise between the contending parties, all merchant and trading vessels, employed in exchanging the products of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human life more easy to be obtained, and more general, shall be allowed to pass free and unmolested and neither of the contracting powers shall grant or issue
any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering them to take or destroy such trading vessels, or to interrupt such commerce.". The article concerning the treatment of prisoners of war is also remarkable for it's truly benevolent spirit. The whole treaty is a singular phænomenon in the history of nations. Military powers uniting to alleviate the miseries of war, to lessen the horrors of blood-shed, and relieve the distresses of their enemies, is the best lesson of humanity which a philosophical king, acting in concert with a philosophical patriot, could possibly give to the princes and statesmen of the earth. Privateering is certainly totally contrary to the princi. ples of equity and morality. The practice is altogether robbery, and is as much a violation of justice as any other species of theft or plander whatever. The
states of America have put in practice the benevolent principles of our author for abolishing privateering, by offering in all their treaties articles of this nature. Would it were universally adopted by all nations on the earth!
Franklin arrived safe at Phila. delphia in September 1785, and was received amidst the acclamations of a vast multitude, who conducted him in triumph to his own house. He was after wards twice elected president of the assembly. In 1787, he was appointed a delegate from Pennsyl. vania, for revising the articles of confederation; and signed the new constitution in the name of the State. In concluding the deliberations on this important transaction, he delivered a truly wise and patriotic speech recommending perfect unanimity in adopting the resolutions of the majority, tho' not entirely con. formable to the opinions of individuals, as was the case with respect to himself. The high regard in which he was held by his fellow-citizens appeared in his being chosen president of various societies, among which were the “ Philadelphia Society for alleviating the miseries of Prisons," and of the “Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery.”. His last public act was signing a memorial on this subject, Feb. 12, 1789. Dr. Franklin during the greatest part of his life had been very healthy. He bad, however, in 1735, been attacked by a pleurisy, which ended in a suppuration on the left lobe of the lungs, so that he was nearly suffocated by the quantity of matter thrown up. But from this, as well as another attack, he recovered so completely that his breathing was not afterwards in the least affected. As he advanced in
years, he became subject to fits of thegout, to which, in 1782, a nephritic colic was superadded. His memory was
uniformly tenacious, and his faculties were entirely, unimpared, even to the hour of his death. 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 paina ful paroxysms, he was obliged to take large doses of laudanum to mitigate his tortures; still, in the inter. vals 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 a 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 him
elf in those jeux d'esprit and entertaining anecdote 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 among men, and made no doubt but his present afflictions were kindly in
tended 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 im. posthumation, 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 become 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.”
He left one son, governor William Franklin, a zealous loyalist; and a daughter, married to Mr. William Bache, merchant in Philadelphia, who' waited on him during his last illness. Three days before he died, he begged that his bed might be made, in order to die in a decent manner; to which Mrs. Bache answered, that she hoped he would recover and live many years.
He replied, "I hope not.” To the two latter he bequeathed the principal part of his estate, during their respective lives, and afterwards, to be divided equally among their children. To his grandson, William Temple Franklin, esq. he left a grant of some lands in the state of Georgia, the greater part of his library, and all his papers. He left also several public legacies: to the Philadelphia library, 3000 vol. umes; to judge Hopkins, his philosophical apparatus; and to the president of the United States, a gold-headed cane in the following words. “My gold-headed cane, curiously wrought in the form of a cap of liber. ty, I leave to my friend and the friend of mankind,
General Washington; if it were a sceptre he has mer. ited and would become it." He made various be quests and donations to cities, public bodies, and individuals, and requested that the following epitaph, which he composed for himself many years previous to his death, should be inscribed on his tomb-stone.
it's contents torn out,
lies here, food for worms ;
in a new
Philadelphia never displayed a scene of superior grandeur than at the funeral of this great man. His remains were interred on the 21st, and the concourse of people assembled was immense. The body was attended to the grave by thirty clergymen, and persons of all ranks and professions, arranged in the greatest order. All the bells in the city were mufiled and tol. led, accompanied by a discharge of Artillery; the newspapers were put in mourning; and nothing was omitted which could shew the respect and veneration of his fellow-citizens. The congress, on this occasion, ordered a general mourning for
one month throughout the united States; and the National Assembly of