Benjamin Franklin’s Death

Franklin’s grave in Philadelphia, PA

Benjamin Franklin was a very accomplished man, but he was not immune to sickness. In his later years, he suffered from obesity and gout, which made it difficult for him to move around. He was already in poor health when he signed the US Constitution at the age of 81 in 1787. After that, he was rarely seen in public.

When his daughter, Sarah, suggested that he lie on his side on the bed so that he could breathe easier, he told her, “a dying man can do nothing easy.” On April 17, 1790, Benjamin Franklin died from a pleuritic attack at his house in Philadelphia. He was 84 years old at that time. His grandsons, Bennie and William, were at his side when he died.

Funeral and Grave

The funeral was held on April 21, 1790, and over 20,000 people attended–the largest funeral Philadelphia had ever seen. It took place in the State House and was officiated by the clergy of Philadelphia. The pallbearers were some of Franklin’s friends and colleagues, including Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council members. His coffin was carried by the citizenry of Philadelphia. After the funeral, Franklin was interred in Christ Church Burial Ground. His grave is still there today, and it is one of the most visited graves in Philadelphia.

Franklin wrote an epitaph for himself when he was younger, at the age of 22. It read:

“The Body of B. Franklin Printer; Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more, In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and Amended By the Author.”

However, in his final will, he asked for his grave to simply read “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin.”

When his death was announced, the Constitutional Assembly in Revolutionary France went into a state of mourning for three days, and memorial services were held all around the country. Members of the Paris Commune even met and authorized a public eulogy for him to be delivered by famous orator Abbé Fauchet.

Franklin’s death was a great loss to the fledgling United States of America. He was an important part of the country’s beginnings, and he will always be remembered in history books.