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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 247

up for him two lectures, in which the experiments
were rang'd in such order, and accompanied with such explanations in
such method, as that the foregoing should assist in comprehending the
following. He procur'd an elegant apparatus for the purpose, in which
all the little machines that I had roughly made for myself were nicely
form'd by instrument-makers. His lectures were well attended, and gave
great satisfaction; and after some time he went thro' the colonies,
exhibiting them in every capital town, and pick'd up some money. In the
West India Islands, indeed, it was with difficulty the experiments could
be made, from the general moisture of the air.

Oblig'd as we were to Mr. Collinson for his present of the tube, etc., I
thought it right he should be inform'd of our success in using it, and
wrote him several letters containing accounts of our experiments. He got
them read in the Royal Society, where they were not at first thought
worth so much notice as to be printed in their Transactions. One paper,
which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the sameness of lightning with
electricity, I sent to Dr. Mitchel, an acquaintance of mine, and one of
the members also of that society, who wrote me word that it had been
read, but was laughed at by the connoisseurs. The papers, however, being
shown to Dr. Fothergill, he thought them of too much value to be
stifled, and advis'd the printing of them. Mr. Collinson then gave them
to _Cave_ for publication in his Gentleman's Magazine; but he chose to
print them separately in a pamphlet, and Dr. Fothergill wrote the
preface. Cave, it seems, judged rightly for his profit, for by the
additions that arrived afterward they swell'd, to a quarto volume, which
has had five editions, and cost him nothing for copy-money.

It was, however, some time before those papers were much taken notice of
in England. A copy of them happening to fall into the hands of the Count
de Buffon, a philosopher deservedly of great reputation in France, and,
indeed, all over Europe, he prevailed with M. Dalibard to translate them
into French, and they were printed at Paris. The publication offended
the Abbe Nollet, preceptor in Natural Philosophy to the royal family,
and an able experimenter, who had form'd and publish'd a theory of
electricity, which then had the general vogue. He could not at first
believe that such a work came from America, and said it must have been
fabricated by his enemies at Paris, to decry his system. Afterwards,
having been assur'd that there really existed

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
Smyth, the editor of the last and most complete edition of Franklin's Works,[1] who made careful search for the original documents.
Page 1
Montgolfier, of Annonay, was repeated by M.
Page 2
One of 38 feet Diameter is preparing by Mr.
Page 3
One is talk'd of to be 110 feet Diameter.
Page 4
Page 5
I am glad my Letters respecting the Aerostatic Experiment were not unacceptable.
Page 6
but there was at the same time a good deal of Anxiety for their Safety.
Page 7
He informed me that they lit gently without the least Shock, and the Balloon was very little damaged.
Page 8
In this Country we are not so much afraid of being laught at.
Page 9
30, 1783 Dear Sir, I did myself the honour of writing to you the Beginning of last Week, and I sent you by the Courier, M.
Page 10
Between One & Two aClock, all Eyes were gratified with seeing it rise majestically from among the Trees, and ascend gradually above the Buildings, a most beautiful Spectacle! When it was about 200 feet high, the brave Adventurers held out and wav'd a little white Pennant, on both Sides their Car, to salute the Spectators, who return'd loud Claps of Applause.
Page 11
Page 12
_ au nomme Bertrand.
Page 13
_ This has never been published so far as I know.
Page 14