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  • June 1October Edition

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Joshua Kelly, Reporter

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Since the end of the year draws near, it would only be fitting to find out “the ends” of famous persons, via their last words.

Quotes to draw from:

Oliver Cromwell: “It is not my design to drink or to sleep, but my design is to make what haste I can to be gone.” This man, who was the Lord Protector of England from 1653 to ‘58, died quietly in his bed due to a urinary infection in 1658. However, the happenings of his body make a more telling tale of his legacy. In his time as Lord Protector, he had made quite a few enemies due to his staunch position against the Catholics. In Fact, they hated him so much that the took his body out of his resting place at Westminster Abbey and posthumously decapitated him, dumped his body and put his head on a spike in 1661.

Winston Churchill: “I am bored with it all” dying of a stroke on 1965. He, as one of the most beloved politicians in British history, received what was up to that point the largest funeral in history, with 350 million people watching it live on television (and 25 million from Britain) and was one of the few funerals to have been attended by the current queen.

Marie Antoinette: “Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose” as she stepped on the foot of an executioner shortly before the executioner did his job. She, being the former French queen from Austria, became the face of decadence to the French revolutionaries, in large part due to her extravagant overspending in the court. After the abolition of the French monarchy in the French Revolution, she was imprisoned before being executed via guillotine in 1793.  

Archimedes: “ Do not disturb my circles!” Was the last utterance of one of the greater mathematicians of antiquity when during the Siege of Syracuse (during the second Punic war) he was killed while trying to protect his experiments in 212 B.C.

Socrates: “Crito, we ought to offer a rooster to Asclepius, see to it and do not forget.” Was his last words to his disciples as he had drunk a mixture containing poisonous hemlock. Socrates, one of the paramount philosophers, was sentenced to death for corrupting the youth and impiety or questioning them, as it is. Asclepius was the deity of good health to the Greeks, and as such offering a rooster to him is not a sacrifice of mourning, but of thanksgiving. Thus his martyrdom was made complete.

Cicero: “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me promptly.” was this great senators surrender to his assassin, sent by Marcus Antonius, whom Cicero had opposed. Cicero had become the very locus of the idea of liberty and of republicanism, but Antonius is most often remembered for opposing Augustus Caesar.

Benjamin Franklin: “A dying man does nothing easy” was his reply to his daughter, Sarah Franklin, when she suggested that he should change his resting position so that he could breathe easier, and so he then proceeded to die of a kidney infection on 1790. Being a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and in addition, one of the most premiere politicians in all of American history has earned him the respect of all Americans who know anything of the nation’s founding.

Emperor Julian: “You have won, Galilean!” was the apostate’s last cry to the heavens as he died of a spear wound to the liver in 363 A.D. This quote is in reference to his reign’s campaign against the spread of Christianity (The Galilean being Jesus.) Though his reign saw a resurgence of pagan worship, his death saw the end of this and as should be evidently clear, Christianity won out in the end.

Nostradamus: “Tomorrow I shall no longer be here.” This was his last prophecy out of his many, as he had died of his Gout on the day he predicted, July 2nd, 1566. Whether by sheer luck or by the divine knowledge it is at least claimed that he has prophesied many events, including the French Revolution, both World Wars, 9/11 and much more.

Leonardo Da Vinci: “ I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality that it should have.” Was the final quip, while he died under the patronage of the French king, Francis I, who claimed to have Da Vinci held in his arms as he died. In addition to creating a plethora of paintings which need no name, he was an inventor beyond his time and anatomical discoveries that would have revolutionized the medical field if they had been published.

Sir Isaac Newton: “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” This last quote before he fell asleep for the last time in 1727 when he had by that time pioneered both the concept of modern physics and of calculus almost single-handedly. His analogy still rings true, as the last century alone has brought forth of knowledge of the understanding of the universe which has never been rivaled before, not even by Newton himself.

Voltaire: “Now is not the time for making new enemies” were supposedly the last words of Voltaire as a priest desperately tried to bring him Catholicism. Voltaire was perhaps the first man to ever advocate for the right of freedom of speech and religion, and as such has become the bedrock of our nation and all self-respecting democracies.

Charles Luciano: “Tell Georgie I want to get in the movies one way or another.” This was his last reply to the American producer Martin Gosch when he died of a heart attack soon after in 1962. Luciano was one of the most notorious mob leaders of all time, at one point he became the most powerful gang in the whole United States. However, he was eventually caught under and charged for prostitution in 1936. He was supposed to serve jail time for 30 years, but in 1942, he was set free after he agreed to give the US Navy intelligence from New York harbor and to stop all strikes planned from that harbor. In exchange, he was sent to exile in Italy for the rest of his life.

Thomas J Grasso: “ I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s; I got Spaghetti. I want the press to know this.” This was the last statement of this man convicted of two murders, as he was executed via lethal injection in 1995. As a last meal, he requested two dozen steamed mussels, two dozen steamed clams, a double cheeseburger from Burger King, a half dozen barbecued spare ribs, two strawberry milkshakes, half a pumpkin pie with whipped cream and diced strawberries and a can of Spaghetti-O’s. He got everything except for the Spaghetti-O’s, which was replaced by regular Spaghetti, hence the quote.

Louis Pasteur: “I cannot” was his response to a maid offering him milk as he lay on his death dead after he suffered a stroke in 1895. He was a man renowned for his insight into microbiology and he invented the Germ Theory of disease, revolutionizing our methods of combating disease. Additionally, he invented a method of disinfecting drinks (including milk) by pasteurization.

Reverend Jim Jones: “…take our life from us, we laid it down, we got tired. We didn’t commit suicide. We committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.” Was the last sentence of the last speech of the leader of the People’s Temple, a communist-Christian cult which, although originated in America, meet its fate in Guyana. As he mixed biblical sermons with the words of Marx, he garnered both the attention of thousands of people and of the government. Eventually, after the San Francisco Chronicler began investigating allegations of abuse against the Cult members from Jones, he and several hundred of his followers move to Guyana and founded Jonestown. After some time, people who defected from the cult gained the attention of the government, which sent Congressman Leo Ryan to investigate human rights abuses who was joined by several news teams. As Leo was about to leave on a plane, Jones sent an armed brigade to kill the delegation. Although they did kill the congressman, most of his team escaped. Convinced that the government would retaliate, he ordered his 900 followers to commit subside by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-aid, killing almost everyone, including Jones.

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Supposedly, “Applaud, my friends, the comedy is finished.” However, there are varying accounts of what this grand composer while on his deathbed in 1827. Another candidate for his last words was “Pity, pity – too late” when he found out that his publisher had given Beethoven a gift of twelve bottles of wine. Yet another person suggested that he said nothing at all, but instead, he angrily shook his fist to the heavens as thunder struck. Even the exact cause of his death remain somewhat of a mystery. Though it is clear his death was probably related to his heavy liver damage, it is not clear what exactly caused it or even if that killed him. For example, he had an extremely heavy drinking habit, the alcohol in which would damage a good chunk of his organs. However, in order to sweeten of poorer wines, the lead would sometimes be used, which in the quantities that he drank would certainly cause lead poisoning.

James French: “Hey fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? French Fries!” This was the last quote before the execution of this man (in 1966), who killed a motorist who picked him up after he hitchhiked. Too afraid to commit suicide, he murdered his cellmate, which made the state of Oklahoma execute him. He was the last person to be executed via electric chain before the supreme court case ruled it in violation of the 8th amendment in Furman vs Georgia

Genghis Khan: “Let not my end disarm you, and on no account weep or keen for me, let the enemy be warned of my death.” Was probably the historical last words of this conqueror, who created the largest contiguous empire in history, and killed so many people that carbon emissions in the atmosphere were greatly diminished. He made this quote as he campaigned against the Tanguts, a people from western China.  According to tradition, however, his last words were recorded as he was dying a natural death, he said “Hero! A real hero!”

 

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