Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 150

were
not attack'd in our march, for our arms were of the most ordinary
sort, and our men could not keep their gun locks[104] dry. The Indians
are dexterous in contrivances for that purpose, which we had not. They
met that day the eleven poor farmers above mentioned, and killed ten
of them. The one who escap'd inform'd that his and his companions'
guns would not go off, the priming being wet with the rain.

[104] Flint-lock guns, discharged by means of a spark
struck from flint and steel into powder (priming) in an
open pan.

[Illustration: "We had not march'd many miles before it began to rain"]

The next day being fair, we continu'd our march, and arriv'd at the
desolated Gnadenhut. There was a saw-mill near, round which were left
several piles of boards, with which we soon hutted ourselves; an
operation the more necessary at that inclement season, as we had no
tents. Our first work was to bury more effectually the dead we found
there, who had been half interr'd by the country people.

The next morning our fort was plann'd and mark'd out, the
circumference measuring four hundred and fifty-five feet, which would
require as many palisades to be made of trees, one with another, of a
foot diameter each. Our axes, of which we had seventy, were
immediately set to work to cut down trees, and, our men being
dexterous in the use of them, great despatch was made. Seeing the
trees fall so fast, I had the curiosity to look at my watch when two
men began to cut at a pine; in six minutes they had it upon the
ground, and I found it of fourteen inches diameter. Each pine made
three palisades of eighteen feet long, pointed at one end. While these
were preparing, our other men dug a trench all round, of three feet
deep, in which the palisades were to be planted; and, our waggons, the
bodies being taken off, and the fore and hind wheels separated
by taking out the pin which united the two parts of the perch,[105] we
had ten carriages, with two horses each, to bring the palisades from
the woods to the spot. When they were set up, our carpenters built a
stage

[Illustration: "Our axes ... were immediately set to work to cut down
trees"]

of boards all round within, about six feet high, for the men to stand
on when to fire thro' the loopholes. We had one swivel gun, which we
mounted on one of the angles,

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
None of the letters appear in Sparks' edition of Franklin's Works, and while all but one are included in the collections compiled by Bigelow and Smyth, there are numerous inaccuracies, some of which will be specified hereafter.
Page 1
(THE FIRST HYDROGEN BALLOON.
Page 2
Since writing the above, I am favour'd with your kind Letter of the 25th.
Page 3
Among the Pleasanteries Conversation produces on this Subject, some suppose Flying to be now invented, and that since Men may be supported in the Air, nothing is wanted but some light handy Instruments to give and direct Motion.
Page 4
It has been even fancied that in time People will keep such Globes anchored in the Air, to which by Pullies they may draw up Game to be preserved in the Cool & Water to be frozen when Ice is wanted.
Page 5
Enclosed is a Copy of the _Proces verbal_ taken of the Experiment made yesterday in the Garden of the Queen's Palace la Muette where the Dauphin now resides which being near my House I was present.
Page 6
in passing thro' this Flame rose in the Balloon, swell'd out its sides, and fill'd it.
Page 7
This Balloon of only 26 feet diameter being filled with Air ten times lighter than common.
Page 8
Thus the great Bulk of one of these Machines, with the short duration of its Power, & the great Expence of filling the other will prevent the Inventions being of so much Use, as some may expect, till Chemistry can invent a cheaper light Air producible with more Expedition.
Page 9
FRANKLIN Sir JOSEPH BANKS.
Page 10
The Wind was very little, so that the Object, tho' moving to the Northward, continued long in View; and it was a great while before the admiring People began to disperse.
Page 11
S.
Page 12
Il avoit perdu son air inflammable par le Robinet qu'on avoit laisse ouvert expres pour empecher l'explosion a trop grande hauteur.
Page 13
" Since Franklin's copy of the _Proces-Verbal_ differs only in his spelling the word "_sang-froid_" instead of "_sens-froid_," I do not print it.
Page 14
" "Aiant encor" might be "Ayant encore", as printed in the "Journal des scavans" of January 1784, but was not corrected here; p.