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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 superintendence and management 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, have 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 dificulty 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 be inevitably 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 allow and deduct the amount, or pay the balance, if they find it against me.
I request my friends, Henry Hill, Esq. John Jay, Esq. Francis Hopkinson, 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 ex. pense or ceremony as may be.
Philadelphia, July 17th, 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 following codicit, or addition thereto.
It having long been a fixed and 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: accordingly 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 Schuylkill navigable; but understanding since, that such a sum would 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 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, if it is not diminished by some accident before my death, leave a considerable 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 grammar schools established there. I have therefore considered those schools in my will.
But I am also under obligations to the state of Massachusetts, 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 myself been 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, that 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, hereinafter 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 respectable 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 hereinafter prescribed; all which bonds are to be taken for Spanish milled dollars, or the value. thereof in current gold coin: and the manager shall keep a bound book, or books, wherein shall be entered the names of those who shall apply for and receive the benefit of this institution, and of their sureties, together with the sums lent, the dates, and other necessary and proper records respecting the business and concerns of this institution; and as these loans are intended to assist young married artificers in setting up their business, they are to be proportioned by the discretion of the managers, so as not to exceed sixty pounds sterling to one person, nor to be less than fifteen pounds.
And if the number of appliers so entitled should be so large as that the sum will not suffice to afford to every one some assistance, these aids may therefore be small at first, but as the capital increases by the accumulated interest, they will be more ample. And in order to serve as many as possible in their turn, as well as to make the repayment of the principal 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 in, shall be again let out to fresh borrowers. And it is presumed, that there will be always found in Boston virtuous and benevolent citizens, willing to bestow a part of their time in doing good to the rising generation, by superintending and managing this institution gratis; it is hoped, that no part of the money will at any time lie dead, or be diverted to other purposes, but be continually augmenting by the interest, in which case there may
in time be more than the occasion in Boston may require: and then some may be spared to the neighboring or other towns in the said state of Massachusetts, which may desire to have it, such towns engaging to pay punctually the