Saturday, July 2, 2011

Last Words of the Last Surviving And Only Catholic Signer of Declaration of Independence- CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON

The death of the last signer of the of the Declaration of Independence was rather a big deal in United States and was marked nationwide. Indeed for many a vital link to a sort of "apostolic age" of the still young Republic had been lost. Here is an account of his last moments (Page 369) that happened on 14th of November, 1832

" It was toward sundown in the month of November, and very cold weather. In a large room — his bed- room — a semicircle was formed before a large, open fire-place. The venerable old man was in a large easy-chair ; in the centre, before him, a table with blessed candles, tique silver bowl of holy water, and a crucifix ; by his side the priest, Rev. John E. Chaunce, President of St. Mary's College and afterwards Bishop of Natchez, — in his rich robes, about to offer him the last rites of the Holy Catholic Church.

On each side of his chair knelt a daughter and grandchildren, with some friends, making a complete semicircle ; and just in the rear, three or four old negro servants, all of the same faith, knelt in the most venerating manner. The whole assemblage made up a picture never to be forgotten. The ceremony proceeded. The old gentleman had been for a long time suffering from weak eyes, and could not endure the proximity of the lights immediately before him. His eyes were therefore kept closed, but he was so familiar with the forms of this solemn ceremony that he responded and acted as if he saw everything passing around.

At the moment of offering the Host he leaned forward without opening his eyes, yet responsive to the word of the administration of the holy offering. It was done with so much intelligence and grace, that no one could doubt for a moment how fully his soul was alive to the act."

The narration of Dr. Steuart then enters into the little details illustrating his piety, his unfailing courtesy. When pressed to take food after his long fast, " in the most gentle and intelligent manner he replied, ' Thank you, Doctor, not just now ; this ceremony is so deeply interesting to the Christian that it supplies all the wants of nature. I feel no desire for food.1 In a few moments more one of his granddaughters and the doctor lifted him from the chair and placed him in his bed. He said to them. ' Thank you ; that is nicely done.' "

When again urged to take some nourishment, he refused, and soon after fell into a doze. While sleeping, his position seemed to become uncomfortable, and the doctor lifting him to an easier one, he looked up and, seeing who it was, said, " Thank you, doctor." These were his last words. "

It was after midnight, the hour not exactly remembered, when the vital spark went out without a struggle, he breathing as calmly as if falling into a gentle sleep." ' Doubtless it was some time in this, his last illness, and he had been for weeks " declining from ossification of his heart and the debility of old age," that he gave utterance to the sentiments recorded by the Rev. Mr. Pise, and often quoted as the " last words " of Charles Carroll of Carrollton :

" I have lived to my ninety-sixth year ; I have enjoyed continued health, I have been blessed with great wealth, prosperity, and most of the good things which the world can bestow — public approbation, esteem, applause ; but what I now look back on with the greatest satisfaction to myself is, that I have practiced the duties of my religion."


SJ Reidhead said...


The Pink Flamingo

James H said...

Thanks. I thought it was interesting and Holy Death that was nice. He was very active almost till the end. This is one reason why in so many parts of the USA you see so many places named Carroll because he was the last one so there were lots of celebrations of his life in his older days

Anonymous said...

Very descriptive blog, I loved that a lot. Will there be
a part 2?

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