Vie de Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome I Suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 108

plaignit d'une douleur dans le côté gauche de la
poitrine, douleur qui s'accrut, devint extrêmement vive, et fut suivie
d'une toux et d'une respiration pénible. Quand il fut dans cet état, et
que l'excès de sa souffrance lui arrachoit quelques plaintes, il
disoit:--Qu'il craignoit bien de ne pas les supporter comme il le
devoit; qu'il savoit combien l'Être-Suprême avoit versé de bienfaits sur
lui, en l'élevant de l'obscurité, dans laquelle il étoit né, au rang et
à la considération dont il jouissoit parmi les hommes; et qu'il ne
doutoit pas que les douleurs qu'il lui envoyoit en ce moment, ne fussent
destinées à le dégoûter d'un monde, où il n'étoit plus capable de
remplir le poste qui lui avoit été assigné.

»Il resta dans cet état jusqu'au cinquième jour qui précéda sa mort.
Alors sa douleur et sa difficulté de respirer l'abandonnèrent
entièrement. Sa famille se flatta qu'il guériroit: mais un abcès qui
s'étoit formé dans le poumon, creva tout-à-coup, et rendit une grande
quantité de matière que le malade continua à cracher tant qu'il eut
quelque force. Aussitôt qu'il cessa de pouvoir rejeter cette matière,
les organes de la respiration s'affoiblirent par degrés. Il éprouva un
calme léthargique; et il expira tranquillement le 17 avril 1790, à onze
heures du soir. Il avoit vécu quatre-vingt-quatre ans et trois mois.

»Peut-être n'est-il pas inutile d'observer qu'en l'année 1735, Franklin
eut une dangereuse pleurésie, qui se termina par un abcès au côté gauche
de ses poumons, et il fut alors presque suffoqué par la quantité de
matière qu'il rendit. Quelques années après, il essuya encore une
maladie pareille: mais il en guérit promptement et sa respiration ne
s'en ressentit point.»


* * * * *


Plusieurs années avant sa mort, il composa lui-même son épitaphe. La
voici:


LE CORPS

de

BENJAMIN

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 1
His experiments in electricity and his inventions had made him known, and the sayings of "Poor Richard" were already in the mouths of the people.
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Strahan, an old friend in London: "You are a member of Parliament, and one of that majority which has doomed my country to destruction.
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I.
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Our acquaintance continued as long as he lived.
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J.
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They voted an aid of ten thousand pounds, to be laid out in provisions; but the governor refusing his assent to their bill (which included this with other sums granted for the use of the Crown), unless a clause were inserted exempting the proprietary estate[161] from bearing any part of the tax that would be necessary, the Assembly, though very desirous of making their grant to New England effectual, were at a loss how to accomplish it.
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The enemy, however, did not take the advantage of his army which I apprehended its long line of march exposed it to, but let it advance without interruption till within nine miles of the place; and then, when more in a body (for it had just passed a river where the front had halted till all had come over), and in a more open part of the woods than any it had passed, attacked its advance guard by a heavy fire from behind trees and bushes, which was the first intelligence the general had of an enemy's being near him.
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I did so soon after, but they put the paper into the hands of their solicitor, Ferdinand John Paris, who managed for them all their law business in their great suit with the neighboring proprietary of Maryland, Lord Baltimore, which had subsisted seventy years, and who wrote for them all their papers and messages in their dispute with the Assembly.
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