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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 246

pamphlet, entitled _Proposals Relating to the Education of
Youth in Pennsylvania_. This I distributed among the principal
inhabitants gratis, and as soon as I could suppose their minds a little
prepared by the perusal of it, I set on foot a subscription for opening
and supporting an academy; it was to be paid in quotas yearly for five
years; by so dividing it, I judg'd the subscription might be larger, and
I believe it was so, amounting to no less, if I remember right, than
five thousand pounds.

In the introduction to these proposals, I stated their publication, not
as an act of mine, but of some _publick-spirited gentlemen_, avoiding as
much as I could, according to my usual rule, the presenting myself to
the publick as the author of any scheme for their benefit.

The subscribers, to carry the project into immediate execution, chose
out of their number twenty-four trustees, and appointed Mr. Francis,
then attorney-general, and myself to draw up constitutions for the
government of the academy; which being done and signed, a house was
hired, masters engag'd, and the schools opened, I think, in the same
year, 1749.

* * * * *

In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr. Spence, who was lately
arrived from Scotland, and show'd me some electric experiments. They
were imperfectly perform'd, as he was not very expert; but, being on a
subject quite new to me, they equally surpris'd and pleased me. Soon
after my return to Philadelphia, our library company receiv'd from Mr.
P. Collinson, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a present of a
glass tube, with some account of the use of it in making such
experiments. I eagerly seized the opportunity of repeating what I had
seen at Boston; and, by much practice, acquir'd great readiness in
performing those, also, which we had an account of from England, adding
a number of new ones. I say much practice, for my house was continually
full, for some time, with people who came to see these new wonders.

To divide a little this incumbrance among my friends, I caused a number
of similar tubes to be blown at our glass-house, with which they
furnish'd themselves, so that we had at length several performers. Among
these, the principal was Mr. Kinnersley, an ingenious neighbor, who,
being out of business, I encouraged to undertake showing the experiments
for money, and drew

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 41
* * * * * I am charmed with your description of Paradise, and with your plan of living there; and I approve much of your conclusion, that, in the mean time, we should draw all the good we can from this world.
Page 56
The longest duration of finite happiness avails nothing when it is past: nor can the memory of it have any other effect than to renew a perpetual pining after pleasures never to return; and since virtue is the only pledge and security of a happy immortality, the folly of sacrificing it to any temporal advantage, how important soever they may appear, must be infinitely great, and cannot but leave behind it an eternal regret.
Page 78
In the midst of his search he was suddenly called away on business of importance; he forgot to lock the door of his room.
Page 124
You tell me that she will certainly cheat us, and that she despises us already.
Page 136
people of France, who happened to respect me too much and him too little; which I could bear, and he could not.
Page 154
I bore with him, and now you are to bear with me: for I shall probably _bavarder_ in answering your letter.
Page 158
My health and spirits continue, thanks to God, as when you saw me.
Page 159
"MY DEAR FRIEND, "A long winter has passed, and I have not had the pleasure of a line from you, acquainting me with your and your childrens' welfare, since I left England.
Page 178
If one might indulge imagination in supposing how such a globe was formed, I should conceive, that all the elements in separate particles being originally mixed in confusion, and occupying a great space, they would (as soon as the almighty fiat ordained gravity, or the mutual attraction of certain parts and the mutual repulsion of others, to exist) all move to their common centre: that the air, being a fluid whose parts repel each other, though drawn to the common centre by their gravity, would be densest towards the centre, and rarer as more remote; consequently, all matters lighter than the central parts of that air and immersed in it, would recede from the centre, and rise till they arrived at that region of the air which was of the same specific gravity with themselves, where they would rest; while other matter, mixed with the lighter air, would descend, and the two, meeting, would form the shell of the first earth, leaving the upper atmosphere nearly clear.
Page 192
The ground heaved and swelled like a rolling sea, and several houses, still standing, were shuffled and moved some yards out of their places.
Page 195
Experiments afterward made on lightning obtained from the clouds by pointed rods, received into bottles, and subjected to every trial, have since proved this suspicion to be perfectly well founded; and that, whatever properties we find in electricity, are also the properties of lightning.
Page 196
If the conductor be good and of sufficient bigness, the fluid passes through it without hurting it.
Page 202
Thus the sun, shining on a morning fog, dissipates it; clouds are seen to waste in a sunshiny day.
Page 208
But air flowing on and near the surface of land or water, from all sides towards a centre, must at that centre ascend, the land or water hindering its descent.
Page 211
Now I suppose this whirl of air will at first be as invisible as the air itself, though reaching, in reality, from the water to the region of cool air, in which our low summer thunder-clouds commonly float: but presently it will become visible at its extremities.
Page 223
This, indeed, I have not tried, but I should guess it would rather be driven off through the vessel, especially if the vessel be metal, as being a better conductor than air; and so one should find the basin warmer after such mixture.
Page 232
The season in which the fly laid its eggs Linnaeus knew to be about a fortnight (I think) in the month of May, and at no other time in the year.
Page 233
and applied as manure; and now, it seems, that the same putrid substances, mixed with the air, have a similar effect.
Page 234
After our return to England, as often as I happened to be on the Thames, I inquired of our watermen whether they were sensible of any difference in rowing over shallow or deep water.
Page 242
As we are accustomed to see all the animals with which we are acquainted eat and drink, it appears to us difficult to conceive how a toad can be supported in such a dungeon: but if we reflect that the necessity of nourishment, which animals experience in their ordinary state, proceeds from the continual waste of their substance by perspiration, it will appear less incredible that some animals, in a torpid state, perspiring less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment; and that others, which are covered with scales or shells which stop perspiration, such as land and sea turtles, serpents, and some species of fish, should be able to subsist a considerable time without any nourishment whatever.