Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 84

against the unremitting attraction of ancient
habits, and the force of perpetual temptations. This being acquir'd
and establish'd, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to
gain knowledge at the same time that I improv'd in virtue, and
considering that in conversation it was obtain'd rather by the use of
the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I
was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me
acceptable to trifling company, I gave _Silence_ the second place.
This and the next, _Order_, I expected would allow me more time for
attending to my project and my studies. _Resolution_, once become
habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavours to obtain all the
subsequent virtues; _Frugality_ and Industry freeing me from my
remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make
more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, etc., etc. Conceiving
then, that, agreeably to the advice of Pythagoras[67] in his Golden
Verses, daily examination would be necessary, I contrived the
following method for conducting that examination.

I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the
virtues.[68] I rul'd each page with red ink, so as to have seven
columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a
letter for the day. I cross'd these columns with thirteen red lines,
marking the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the
virtues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a
little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been
committed respecting that virtue upon that day.

[67] A famous Greek philosopher, who lived about 582-500
B. C. The _Golden Verses_ here ascribed to him are
probably of later origin. "The time which he recommends
for this work is about even or bed-time, that we may
conclude the action of the day with the judgment of
conscience, making the examination of our conversation
an evening song to God."

[68] This "little book" is dated July 1, 1733.--W. T. F.

_Form of the pages._



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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

Page 1
Page 4
Place a man on a cake of wax, and present him the wire of the electrified phial to touch, you standing on the floor, and holding it.
Page 6
Page 7
less, according to the quantity of Electricity.
Page 13
But the spring.
Page 14
Glass, in like manner, has, within its substance, always the same quantity of electrical fire, and that a very great quantity in proportion to the mass of glass, as shall be shewn hereafter.
Page 20
allowing (for the reasons before given, s 8, 9, 10,) that there is no more electrical fire in a bottle after charging, than before, how great must be the quantity in this small portion of glass! It seems as if it were of its very substance and essence.
Page 22
When the surface of water has the least motion, particles are continually pushed into the situation represented by FIG.
Page 23
If air thus loaded be compressed by adverse winds, or by being driven against mountains, &c.
Page 24
How these ocean clouds, so strongly supporting their water, are made to deposite it on the land where 'tis wanted, is next to be considered.
Page 25
Page 27
When there is great heat on the land, in a particular region (the sun having shone on it perhaps several days, while the surrounding countries have been screen'd by clouds) the lower air is rarified and rises, the cooler denser air above descends; the clouds in that air meet from all sides, and join over the heated place; and if some are electrified, others not, lightning and thunder succeed, and showers fall.
Page 28
Page 29
TO Mr.
Page 31
'Tis supposed they form triangles, whose sides shorten as their number increases; 'till the common matter has drawn in so many, that its whole power of compressing those triangles by attraction, is equal to their whole power of expanding themselves by repulsion; and then will such piece of matter receive no more.
Page 35
It is suspended by silk lines, and when charg'd will strike at near two inches distance, a pretty hard stroke so as to make one's knuckle ach.
Page 39
The circumstances of the breaking of the glass differ much in making the experiment, and sometimes it does not break at all: but this is constant, that the stains in the upper and under pieces are exact counterparts of each other.
Page 48
Now the globe being turn'd, could draw no fire from the floor through the machine, the communication that way being cut off by the thick glass plate under the cushion: it must then draw it through the chains whose ends were dipt in the oil of turpentine.
Page 49
a strong purgative liquid, and then charged the phial, and took repeated shocks from it, in which case every particle of the electrical fluid must, before it went through my body, have first gone through the liquid when the phial is charging, and returned through it when discharging, yet no other effect followed than if it had been charged with water.
Page 52