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national convention for forming the constitution, the first person he called upon was Dr. Franklin; and, when he passed through that city on his way to New York, where he was to be invested with the office of President of the United States, he paid him the same tribute of respect. Although his malady and his sufferings continued, yet no material change in his health was observed till the first part of April, 1790, when he was attacked with a fever and a pain in the breast. From that time he was constantly under the care of Dr. John Jones, an eminent physician of Philadelphia, who wrote the following account of his illness and death. “The stone, with which he had been afflicted for several years, had, for the last twelve months of his life, confined him chiefly to his bed; and, during the extremely 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 by 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 of a private nature, with various persons who waited upon him for that purpose; and, in every instance, displayed not only the readiness and disposition to do good, which were the distinguishing characteristics of his life, but the fullest and clearest possession of his uncommon abilities. He also not unfrequently indulged in those jeux d'esprit and entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard them. “About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with a feverish disposition, without any particular symptoms attending it till the third or fourth day, when he complained of a pain in his left breast, which increased till it became extremely acute, attended by WOL. I. 67 SS
a cough and laborious breathing. During this state, when the severity of his pains drew forth a groan of complaint, he would observe, that he was afraid he did not bear them as he ought; acknowledging 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 men; and made no doubt but that 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 until five days before his death, when the pain and difficulty of breathing entirely left him, and his family were flattering themselves with the hopes of his recovery; but an imposthume which had formed in his lungs, suddenly burst, and discharged a quantity of matter, which he continued to throw up while he had power; but, as that failed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressed; a calm, lethargic state succeeded; and on the 17th instant (April, 1790), about eleven o'clock at night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months.”” In a letter from Dr. Rush to Dr. Price, dated at Philadelphia, a week after this event, the writer says; “The papers will inform you of the death of our late illustrious friend Dr. Franklin. The evening of his life was marked by the same activity of his moral and Intellectual powers, which distinguished its meridian. His conversation with his family, upon the subject of his dissolution, was free and cheerful. A few days before he died, he rose from his bed, and begged that it might be made up for him, so that he might die in a decent manner. His daughter told him, that she hoped he would recover, and live many years longer. He calmly replied, “I hope not.’ Upon being advised to change his position in bed, that he might breathe easy, he said, “..A dying man can do nothing easy.”— All orders and bodies of people among us have vied with each other in paying tributes of respect to his memory.” " The following extracts are from a letter written by Mrs. Mary Hewson to Mr. Viny, one of Dr. Franklin's early friends in England. “We have lost that valued, that venerable, kind friend, whose knowledge enlightened our minds, and whose philanthropy warmed our hearts. But we have the consolation to think, that, if a life well spent in acts of universal benevolence to mankind, a grateful acknowledgment of Divine favor, a patient submission under severe chastisement, and an humble trust in Almighty mercy, can insure the happiness of a future state, our present loss is his gain. I was the faithful witness of the closing scene, which he sustained with that calm fortitude which characterized him through life. No repining, no peevish expression, ever escaped him, during a confinement of two years, in which, I believe, if every moment of ease could be added together the sum would not amount to two whole months. When the pain was not too violent to be amused, he employed himself with his books, his pen, or in conversation with his friends; and upon every occasion displayed the clearness of his intellect and the cheerfulness of his temper. Even when the in
* Dr. Jones added the following particulars. “In the year 1735, Dr. Franklin had a severe pleurisy, which terminated in an abscess of his lungs; and he was then almost suffocated by the quantity and suddenness of the discharge. A second attack, of a similar nature, happened some years after, from which he soon recovered; and he did not appear to suffer any inconvenience in his respiration from these diseases.”
532 LIFE OF FRANKL IN. [1790.
tervals from pain were so short, that his words were frequently interrupted, I have known him to hold a discourse in a sublime strain of piety. I say this to you, because I know it will give you pleasure.” “I never shall forget one day that I passed with our friend last summer. I found him in bed in great agony; but, when that agony abated a little, I asked if I should read to him. He said, Yes; and the first book I met with was Johnson’s ‘Lives of the Poets.” I read the Life of Watts, who was a favorite author with Dr. Franklin; and, instead of lulling him to sleep, it roused him to a display of the powers of his memory and his reason. He repeated several of Watts's “Lyric Poems, and descanted upon their sublimity in a strain worthy of them and of their pious author. It is natural for us to wish that an attention to some ceremonies had accompanied that religion of the heart, which I am convinced Dr. Franklin always possessed; but let us, who feel the benefit of them, continue to practise them, without thinking lightly of that piety, which could support pain without a murmur, and meet death without terror.”” The funeral solemnities took place on the 21st of April. It was computed that more than twenty thousand people were assembled. In the procession were the clergy, the Mayor and Corporation of the City, the members of the Executive Council and of the Assembly of Pennsylvania, the Faculty and Students of the College of Philadelphia, the Philosophical Society, and several other societies, followed by a numerous train of citizens. All the bells of the city
* See the London Monthly Repository, Vol. XVI. p. 3. An account of Mrs. Hewson and of her family may be seen in the present work, Vol. VII. p. 150. The letter from which the above extracts are taken, is dated at Philadelphia, May 5th, 1790.
were muffled and tolled; the flags of the vessels
* See APPENDix, No. VII. SS