King: Alfred the Great ( 849-901) – “I desire to leave to the men that come after me a remembrance of me in good works.”
Most of us shuffle off this mortal coil, having carefully set down what we leave where, and to whom. Some depart with nary a word put to paper, leaving them intestate, and their relatives in-a-snit. Wills serve a useful purpose in making sure that what we couldn’t take with us, goes to who we want it to. Some of course, have more to leave than others.
Benjamin Franklin distributed a considerable amount of the most common items: property and cash, much of which went to charitable causes. Along with the bonds of several people, his beloved books and telescope, he left some more interesting bequests. To his son in law, the watch chain of the 13 States. To his daughter, “The king of France’s picture, set with four hundred and eight diamonds, I give to my daughter, Sarah Bache, requesting, however, that she would not form any of those diamonds into ornaments either for herself or daughters, and thereby introduce or countenance the expensive, vain, and useless fashion of wearing jewels in this country; and those immediately connected with the picture may be preserved with the same.” And most movingly, this gift to George Washington: ” My fine crab-tree walking stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form of the cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were a Sceptre, he has merited it”
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