Page images

pal borrowed more easy, each borrower shall be obliged to pay, with the yearly interest, one tenth part of the principal; which sums of principal and interest, so paid, shall be again lent out to fresh borrowers.


In a late Boston paper the friends of humanity have read with much pleasure that doctor Franklin's legacy to the indigent young married tradesmen of that town, of $4444 44 cents, is now increased to $10902 28 cts. after having been the means of setting up 206 poor young men; besides 75 others, who are now in the use of the capital.


The Death of Doctor Franklin. ONE cannot read the biography of this great man without being put in mind of those sweet though simple strains of the bard of Zion.

“Happy the man, whose tender care

Relieves the poor distrest;
When he's with troubles compass'd round;

The Lord shall give him rest.
If he, in languishing estate,

Oppress’d with sickness, lie,
The Lord shall easy make his bed,

And inward strength supply,"

The latter end of doctor Franklin affords glorious proof that nothing so softens the bed of sickness, and brightens the gloom of the grave, as a life spent in works of love to mankind.

See George Washington, who by an active and disinterested benevolence, was called “THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY.” See Martha Washington, who by domestic virtues, and extensive charities, obtained to herself the high character of "THE MOTHER TO THE Poor.”—both of these found the last bed spread as it were with roses; and the last enemy converted into a friend. Such is the lot of all who love; “not in word, but in deed and in truth."

The friends of doctor Franklin never entered his chamber without being struck with this precious text, "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.” Though laid on the bed whence he is to rise no more, he shows no sign of dejec. tion or defeat. On the contrary, he appears like an aged warrior reposing himself after glorious victory; while his looks beaming with benevolence, express an air pure and serene as the Heaven to which he is going. Death, which most sick people are so unwilling to mention, was to him a favourite topic, and the sublime conversations of Socrates on that great subject, were heard a second time, from the lips of our American Franklin, pregnant with "immortality and eternal life.No wonder then that with such views doctor Franklin should have been so cheerful on his dying bed; so self-possessed and calm, even under the tortures of the gravel, which was wearing him down to the grave. "Don't go away,” said he to the Rev. Dr. Colline, of the Swedes church, Philadelphia, who, as a friend, was much with him in his last illness, and at sight of his agonies and cold sweats under the fits of the gravel, would take up his hat to retire--"O no! don't go away,” he would say, "don't go away. These pains will soon be over. They are for my good. And besides, what are the pains of a moment in comparison of the pleasures of eternity”

Blest with an excellent constitution, well nursed by nature's three great physicians, temperance; exercise, and cheerfulness, he was hardly ever sick until after his seventy-sixth year. The gout and gravel then attacked him with great severity. He bore their excruciating tortures as became one who habitually felt that he was as he said, in the hands of an infinitely wise and benevolent being, who did all things right.

His physician, the celebrated Dr Jones, published the following account of his last illness.

“The stone, had for the last twelve months confined him chiefly to his bed; and during the extreme painful paroxysms, 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 with his family, and his friends who visited bim, 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 of doing good, which was the distinguishing characteristic of his life, but the fullest possession of his uncommon mental abilities; and not unfrequently indulged himself in those flashes of wit and entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard him.

“About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with 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, 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 the Supreme Being, who had raised him from small and low beginnings to such high rank and consideration among menand 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 an imposthumation in his lungs, suddenly burst, and discharged a great quantity of matter, which he continued to throw up while he had strength, but, as that failed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressed--a calin lethargic state succeeded-and, on the 7th of April, 1790, about eleven o'clock at night he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eightyfour years and three months."

Come holy calm of the soul! Espressive silence come! and meditating the mighty talents of the dead, and their constant application to the glory of the giver, let us ascend with him on the wings of that blessed pro. mise, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord! even so saith the spirit, for they rest from their labours and their works do follow them."

That Franklin is now enjoying that rest which arenaineth for the people of God—and that while many a blood-stained monster, who made great noise in the world, is followed by the cries of thousands of widows and orphans, Franklin dying in the Lord, and followed by the blessings of thousands, fed, clothed, educated, and enriched by his charities, is in GLORY, may be fairly inferred from the following most valuable anecdote of him.

Naturalists tell us, that so great is the paternal care of God, that every climate affords the food and physic best suited to the necessaries of its population. What gratitude is due to that goodness, which foreseeing the dangers impending over this country from British injustice, sent us two such protectors as Washington and Franklin? The first, (the forerunner of the second,) like the lightning of Heaven, to expose the approaching tempest; and the second, like the rock of the ocean, to meet that tempest in all its fury, and dash it back on its proud assailants? And how astonishing too, and almost unexampled that goodness, which with talents of wisdom and fortitude to establish our republic, combined the cardinal virtues of justice, industry, and economy that alone can render our republic immortal?

Hoping that our youth may be persuaded to love and imitate the virtues of the men whose great names they have been accustomed, from the cradle, to lisp with veneration, I have long coveted to set these virtues before them.

haired men of other days, have given me from their aid. The following I obtained from the Rev. Dr. Helmuth, of the German church, Philadelphia. Hearing that this learned and pious divine possessed a valuable anecdote of doctor Franklin, I immediately waited on him. “Yes, sir,” said he, "I have indeed a valuable anecdote of doctor Franklin, which I would teil you with great pleasure; but as I do not speak English very well, I wish you would call on David 'Ritter, at the sign of the Golden Lamb, in Front street; he will tell it to you better. "I hastened to Mr. Ritter, and told him my errand. He seemed mightily pleased at it, and said, "Yes, I will tell you all I know of it. You must understand then, sir, first of all, that I always had a prodigious opinion of doctor Franklin, as the

The grey

usefulest man we ever had among us, by a long way; and so hearing that he was sick, I thought I would go and see him. As I rapped at the door, who should coine and open it but old Sarah Humphries. I was right glad to see her, for I had known her a long time. She was of the people called Friends; and a mighty good sort of body she was too. The great people set a heap of store by her, for she was famous throughout the town for nursing and tending on the sick. Indeed, many of them, I believe, hardly thought they could sicken, and die right if they had not old Sarah Humphries with them. Soon as she saw me, she said, 'Well David, how dost?

""O, much after the old sort, Sarah,' said I; 'but that's neither here nor there; I am coine to see doctor Franklin.'

««Well then,' said she, 'thou art too late, for he is just dead!' “Alack a day,' said I, then a great man is gone.'

“Yes, indeed,' said she, “and a good one tou; for it seemed as though he never thought the day went away as it ought, if he had not done somebody a service. However, David,' said she, she is not the worse off for all that now, whero he is gonc to: but come, as thee came to see Benjamin Franklin, thee shall see him yet.' And so she took me into his room. As we entered, she pointed to him, where he lay on his bed, and said, 'there, did thee ever see any thing look so natural?"

“And he did look naiural indeed. His eyes were close--but that you saw he did not breathe, you would have thought he was in a sweet sleep, he looked so calm and happy. Observing that his face was fixed right towards the chimney, l cast my eyes that way, and be. hold! just above the mantle piece was a noble picture! O it was a noble picture, sure enough! It was the pic; ture of our Saviour on the cross.

"I could not help calling out, 'Bless us all, Sarah!' said I, 'what's all this?'

"What dost mean, David,' said she, quite crusty:

"Why, how came this picture bere, Sarah?' said I, 'you kuow that many people think he was not after this sort,'.

« PreviousContinue »