Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 238

tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs
among mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and, cutting off all
amusements or other employments that would divert his attention, makes
the execution of that same plan his sole study and business.

In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name of _Richard
Saunders_; it was continu'd by me about twenty-five years, commonly
call'd _Poor Richard's Almanack_. I endeavour'd to make it both
entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand,
that I reap'd considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten
thousand.[14] And observing that it was generally read, scarce any
neighborhood in the province being without it, I consider'd it as a
proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people, who
bought scarcely any other books; I therefore filled all the little
spaces that occurr'd between the remarkable days in the calendar with
proverbial sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality,
as the means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue; it being
more difficult for a man in want, to act always honestly, as, to use
here one of those proverbs, _it is hard for an empty sack to stand

These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and nations, I
assembled and form'd into a connected discourse prefix'd to the Almanack
of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people attending an
auction. The bringing all these scatter'd counsels thus into a focus
enabled them to make greater impression. The piece, being universally
approved, was copied in all the newspapers of the Continent; reprinted
in Britain on a broad side, to be stuck up in houses; two translations
were made of it in French, and great numbers bought by the clergy and
gentry, to distribute gratis among their poor parishioners and tenants.
In Pennsylvania, as it discouraged useless expense in foreign
superfluities, some thought it had its share of influence in producing
that growing plenty of money which was observable for several years
after its publication.

I considered my newspaper, also, as another means of communicating
instruction, and in that view frequently reprinted in it extracts from
the Spectator, and other moral writers; and sometimes publish'd little
pieces of my own, which had been first compos'd for reading in our
Junto. Of these are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that, whatever
might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man could not properly be
called a man of sense; and a discourse on self-denial, showing that
virtue was not secure till its practice became a habitude, and was free

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

Page 8
A person standing on wax, and rubbing the tube, and another person on wax drawing the fire; they will both of them, (provided they do not stand so as to touch one another) appear to be electrised, to a person standing on the floor; that is, he will perceive a spark on approaching each of them with his knuckle.
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_ had less electrical fire in them than things in common.
Page 13
But the spring.
Page 18
But this wheel, like those driven by wind, water, or weights, moves by a foreign force, to wit, that of the bottles.
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--Even a thoroughly wet pack-thread sometimes fails of conducting a shock, tho' it otherwise conducts electricity very well.
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It was in this view I wrote and sent you my former papers on this subject, desiring, that as I had not the honour of a direct correspondence with that bountiful benefactor to our library, they might be communicated to him through your hands.
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And likewise the portion included in K, B, C, L, has B, C, to rest on; and so on the other side of the figure.
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Set the iron punch on the end upon the floor, in such a place as that the scales may pass over it in making their circle: Then electrify one scale by applying the wire of a charged phial to it.
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And yet the bottle by this means is charged![9] And therefore the fire that thus leaves.
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If the fire that so leaves the bottle be not the same that is thrown in through the wire, it must be fire that subsisted in the bottle, (that is, in the glass of the bottle) before the operation began.
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The particles of the electrical fluid have a mutual repellency, but by the power of attraction in the glass they are condensed or forced nearer to each other.
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I have also smelt the electrical fire when drawn through gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, wood, and the human body, and could perceive no difference; the odour is always the same where the spark does not burn what it strikes; and therefore I imagine it does not take that smell from any quality of the bodies it passes through.
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We soon found that it was only necessary for one of them to stand on wax.
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stitch'd, or 2s.