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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 250

I was not
then capable of knowing, I shall never be able to forget; for as he,
poor Man, stood upon the Deck rejoycing at my Birth, a merciless Wave
entred the Ship, and in one Moment carry'd him beyond Reprieve. Thus was
the _first_ Day which I saw, the _last_ that was seen by my Father; and
thus was my disconsolate Mother at once made both a _Parent_ and a

When we arrived at _Boston_ (which was not long after) I was put to
Nurse in a Country Place, at a small Distance from the Town, where I
went to School, and past my Infancy and Childhood in Vanity and
Idleness, until I was bound out Apprentice, that I might no longer be a
Charge to my Indigent Mother, who was put to hard Shifts for a Living.

My Master was a Country Minister, a pious good-natur'd young Man, & a
Batchelor: He labour'd with all his Might to instil vertuous and godly
Principles into my tender Soul, well knowing that it was the most
suitable Time to make deep and lasting Impressions on the Mind, while it
was yet untainted with Vice, free and unbiass'd. He endeavour'd that I
might be instructed in all that Knowledge and Learning which is
necessary for our Sex, and deny'd me no Accomplishment that could
possibly be attained in a Country Place, such as all Sorts of
Needle-Work, Writing, Arithmetick, &c. and observing that I took a more
than ordinary Delight in reading ingenious Books, he gave me the free
Use of his Library, which tho' it was but small, yet it was well chose,
to inform the Understanding rightly and enable the Mind to frame great
and noble Ideas.

Before I had liv'd quite two Years with this Reverend Gentleman, my
indulgent Mother departed this Life, leaving me as it were by my self,
having no Relation on Earth within my Knowledge.

I will not abuse your Patience with a tedious Recital of all the
frivolous Accidents of my Life, that happened from this Time until I
arrived to Years of Discretion, only inform you that I liv'd a chearful
Country Life, spending my leisure Time either in some innocent Diversion
with the neighbouring Females, or in some shady Retirement, with the
best of Company, _Books_. Thus I past away the Time with a Mixture of
Profit and Pleasure, having no Affliction but what was imaginary and
created in my own Fancy; as nothing is more common with us Women, than
to be grieving for nothing, when we have nothing else to grieve for.

As I would

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

Page 1
Page 6
_ _SIR_, In my last I informed you that, in pursuing our electrical enquiries, we had observed some particular Phaenomena, which we looked upon to be new, and of which I promised to give you some account, tho' I apprehended they might possibly not be new to you, as so many hands are daily employ'd in electrical experiments on your side the water, some or other of which would probably hit on the same observations.
Page 9
Thus you may circulate it, as Mr _Watson_ has shewn; you may also accumulate or substract it upon or from any body, as you connect that body with the rubber or with the receiver, the communication with the common stock being cut off.
Page 12
Place two phials equally charged on a table at five or six inches distance.
Page 13
But the spring.
Page 14
--And this restitution cannot be made through the substance of the glass, but must be done by a non-electric communication formed without, from surface to surface.
Page 19
And when the spark is drawn through paper, all round the hole made by it, the paper will be blacked by the smoke, which sometimes penetrates several of the leaves.
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
--The detach'd particles of water then repelled from the electrified surface, continually carry off the fire as it is collected; they rise, and form clouds, and those clouds are highly electrified, and retain the fire 'till they have an opportunity of communicating it.
Page 24
more speedily and easily deposite their water, having but little electrical fire to repel and keep the particles separate.
Page 28
surface of your body; whereas, if your clothes were dry, it would go thro' the body.
Page 31
If more particles enter, they take their places where the balance is equal between the attraction of the common matter and their own mutual repulsion.
Page 32
Now bring these balls again into contact, and the electrical atmosphere will not be divided between A and B, into two smaller atmospheres as before; for B will drink up the whole atmosphere of A, and both will be found again in their natural state.
Page 36
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.
Page 40
fire must leap over the vacancies; there is a certain distance which it is able to leap over according to its strength; if a number of small vacancies, though each be very minute, taken together exceed that distance, it cannot leap over them, and so the shock is prevented.
Page 42
I know it is commonly thought that it easily pervades glass, and the experiment of a feather suspended by a thread in a bottle hermetically sealed, yet moved by bringing a nibbed tube near the outside of the bottle, is alledged to prove it.
Page 44
When the glass has received and, by its attraction, forced closer together so much of this electrified fluid, as that the power of attracting and condensing in the one, is equal to the power of expansion in the other, it can imbibe no more, and that remains its constant whole quantity; but each surface would receive more, if the repellency of what is in the opposite surface did not resist its entrance.
Page 46
Put a wire into the tube, the inward end in contact with the non-electric lining, so it will represent the _Leyden_ bottle.
Page 49
For if it was fine enough to come with the electrical fluid through the body of one person, why should it stop on the skin of another? But I shall never have done, if I tell you all my conjectures, thoughts, and imaginations, on the nature and operations of this electrical fluid, and relate the variety of little experiments we have try'd.
Page 52
There is added a copious Index of the Terms contained in the Work, answering the End of a Dictionary of General Geography.