« PreviousContinue »
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:
Its contents torn out,
Lies here, food for worms;
In a new
EXTRACTS from the last Will and Testament of Diri
FRANKLIN. 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 them 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 & Les Metiers, I give to the philosophical society, established in New-England, of which I am a member. My quarto edition of the same Arts and Metiers, I
give to the Library Company of Philadelphia. Suck 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 grammarschools 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 superintendance and manage. ment 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 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 Schuylkill navigable.
During the number of years I was in business as a stationer, printer, and postmaster, 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, are become in a manner obsolete, yet are nevertheless justly due-These, as they are stated in my great folio ledger, E, I bequeath to the contributors of the Pennsylvania hospital; hoping that those debtors, and the descendants of such as are deceased, who now, as I find, make some difficulty of satisfying such antiquated demands as just debts, may however be induced to pay or give them as charity to that excellent institution. I am sensible that much must incvitably be lost; but I hope something considerable may be recovered. It is possible too that some of the parties charged may have existing old unsettled accounts against me; in which case the managers of the said hospital will al. low and deduct the amount, and pay the balance, if they find it against me.
I request my friends Henry Hill, Esq. John Jay, Esq. Francis Hopkinon, Esq. and Mr. Edward Duffield, of Bonfield, in Philadelphia county, to be the executors of this my last will and testament, and I hereby nominate and appoint them for that purpose.
I would have my body buried with as little expence or ceremony as may be. Philadelphia, July 17, 1788.
CodiciL. I Benjamin Franklin, in the foregoing or annexed last will and testament, having further considered the same, do think proper to make and publish the follow. ing codicil, or addition thereto:
It having long been a fixed political opinion of mine, that in a democratical state there ought to be no offices of profit, for the reasons I had given in an article of my drawing in our constitution, it was my intention, when I accepted the office of president, to devote the appointed salary to some public use: According I had already, before I made my last will, in July last, given large sums of it to colleges, schools, building of churches, &c, and in that will I bequeathed two thousand pounds more to the state, for the purpose of making the Schuylkiil navigable; but understanding since, that such a sum will do but little towards accomplishing such a work, and that the project is 'not likely to be undertaken for many years to come and having entertained another idea, which I hope may be found more extensively useful, I do hereby revoke and annul the bequest, and direct that the certificates I have for what remains due to me of that salary, be sold towards raising the sum of two thousand pounds sterling, to be disposed of as I'am now about to order.
It has been an opinion, that he who receives an estate from his ancestors, is under some obligation to transmit the same to posterity. This obligation lies not on me, who never inherited a shilling from any ancestor or relation. I shall, however, it it is not diminished by some accident before my death, leave a considera. ble estate among my descendants and relations. The above observation is made merely as some apology to my family, for my making bequests that do not appear to have any immediate relation to their advantage.
I was born in Boston, New-England, and owe my first instructions in literature to the free grammarschools established there. I have therefore considered those schools in my will.
But I'am under obligations to the state of Massachugetts, for having, unasked, appointed me formerly their agent, with a handsome salary, which continued some years; and although I accidentally lost in their service, by transmitting Governor Hutchinson's letters, much more than the amount of what they gave me, I do not think that ought in the least to diminish my gratitude. I have considered that, among artisans, good apprentices are most likely to make good citizens; and having been myself bred to a manual art, printing, in my native town, and afterwards assisted to set up my business in Philadelphia by kind- loans of money from two friends there, which was the foundation of my fortune, and of all the utility in life that may be ascribed to me,I wish to be useful even after my death, if possible, in forming and advancing other young men, th may be serviceable to their country in both these towns.
To this end I devote two thousand pounds sterling, which I give, one thousand thereof to the inhabitants of the town of Boston, in Massachusetts, and the other thousand to the inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia; in trust, 'to and for the uses, intents and purposes, herein after mentioned and declared.
The said sum of one thousand pounds sterling, if accepted by the inhabitants of the town of Boston, shall be managed under the direction of the select men, united with the ministers of the oldest episcopalian, congregational, and presbyterian churches in that town, who are to let out the same upon interest at five per cent. per annum, to such young married artificers, under the age of twenty-five years, as have served an apprenticeship in the said town, and faithfully fulfilled the duties required in their indentures, so as to obtain a good moral character, from at least two respecto able citizens, who are willing to become sureties in a bond, with the applicants, for the repayment of the money so lent with interest, according to the terms