Expériences et observations sur l'électricité faites à Philadelphie en Amérique

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 2

peu obscurs dans l'original. Pour la
commodité des lecteurs, on a rapporté en notes au bas des pages, les
changemens que Mr. Collinson avoit fait imprimer comme additions &
corrections à la suite des Lettres.

Quoique la plupart des Physiciens se soient exercés depuis plusieurs
années sur la matière de l'électricité: quoique leur zèle ait été
récompensé par des succès assez brillans, on verra par les recherches &
par les découvertes de M. Franklin, que cette matière est encore neuve à
bien des égards. On sentira en même tems qu'il y a cependant lieu
d'espérer qu'en multipliant, à son exemple, les expériences & les
observations dans des vûes nouvelles, on parviendra un jour à pénétrer
un mystère qui n'importe peut-être pas moins à l'utilité commune qu'à la
la curiosité de l'esprit. On y arrivera même d'autant plus vite & plus
sûrement, qu'on se hâtera moins de hazarder des systèmes. On n'a pas
encore assez de faits sur ce sujet pour qu'il soit permis d'y joindre
des hypothèses.

«C'est (dit M. de Buffon[1]) par des expériences fines raisonnées &
suivies que l'on force la nature à découvrir son secret; toutes les
autres méthodes n'ont jamais réussi, & les vrais Physiciens ne peuvent
s'empêcher de regarder les anciens systèmes comme d'anciennes rêveries,
& sont réduits à lire la plupart des nouveaux comme on lit les Romans.
Les recueils d'expériences & d'observations sont donc les seuls livres
qui puissent augmenter nos connoissances. Il ne s'agit pas, pour être
Physicien, de sçavoir ce qui arriveroit dans telle ou telle hypothèse,
en supposant, par exemple, une matière subtile, des tourbillons, une
attraction, &c. Il s'agit de bien sçavoir ce qui arrive, & de bien
connoître ce qui se présente à nos yeux; la connoissance des effets nous
conduira insensiblement à celle des causes, & l'on ne tombera plus dans
les absurdités qui semblent caractériser tous les systèmes; en effet
l'expérience ne les a-t-elle pas détruits successivement? ne nous
a-t-elle pas montré que ces élémens que l'on croyoit autrefois si
simples, sont aussi composés que les autres corps? ne nous a-t-elle pas
appris ce que l'on doit penser du chaud, du froid, du sec & de l'humide,
de la pesanteur & de la légèreté absoluë, de l'horreur du vuide, des
loix du mouvement autrefois établies, de l'unité des couleurs, du repos
& de la sphèricité de la terre, & si je l'ose dire des Tourbillons?
Amassons-donc toujours des expériences & éloignons-nous, s'il est
possible, de tout esprit de système, du moins jusqu'à ce que nous soyons
instruits, nous trouverons assûrément à placer un jour ces matériaux, &
quand même nous ne serions pas assez heureux

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 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 11
Perhaps it is only negligence.
Page 41
From my example a great many of them.
Page 63
As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rank in England, see Judge Fortescue, _De laudibus Legum Angliae_, written about the year 1412, in which is the following passage, to show that good juries might easily be formed in any part of England: "Regio etiam illa, ita respersa refertaque est _possessoribus terrarum_ et agrorum, quod in ea, villula tam parva reperiri non poterit, in qua non est _miles_, _armiger_, vel pater-familias, qualis ibidem _Frankleri_ vulgariter nuncupatur, magnis ditatus possessionibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii _valecti_ plurimi, suis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad faciendum juratam, in forma praenotata.
Page 66
_From Mr.
Page 79
But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined: while my attention was taken up, and care employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason.
Page 95
This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and, therefore, that the safer should be chosen.
Page 98
The utility of this institution soon appeared; and many more desiring to be admitted than we thought convenient for one company, they were advised to form another, which was accordingly done; and thus went on one new company after another, till they became so numerous as to include most of the inhabitants who were men of property; and now, at the time of my writing this (though upward of fifty years since its establishment), that.
Page 110
My allegation, on the contrary, that it met with such approbation as to leave no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand pounds by voluntary donations, they considered as a most extravagant supposition, and utterly impossible.
Page 118
In gay conversation after supper, he told us jokingly that he much admired the idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give him a government, requested it might be a government of blacks; as then, if he could not agree with his people, he might sell them.
Page 119
Hamilton, grew tired of the contest and quitted the government.
Page 123
about eight hundred pounds, to be disbursed in advance-money to the wagon owners, &c.
Page 126
In their first march, too, from their landing till they got beyond the settlements, they had plundered and stripped the inhabitants, totally ruining some poor families, besides insulting, abusing, and confining the people if they remonstrated.
Page 154
du Faye, but it was for many years neglected.
Page 155
And perhaps we have more reason to be surprised that a practice, however rational, which was proposed about forty years ago, should in that time have been adopted in so many places, than that it has not universally prevailed.
Page 160
Under the Marquis of Rockingham's administration, it appeared expedient to endeavour to calm the minds of the colonists, and the repeal of the odious tax was contemplated.
Page 173
Many public institutions experienced his well-timed liberality, and he manifested a sensibility of heart by numerous acts of private charity.
Page 178
And if the number of appliers so entitled should be so large as that the sum will not suffice to afford to each as much as might otherwise not be improper, the proportion to each shall be diminished, so as to afford every one some assistance.
Page 206
Thus one describes his being saved when his party was defeated: "We turned to flight; the gathering vengeance spread On all parts round, and heaps on heaps lie dead.
Page 211
Get home to your own country, and there take care of yourselves, for there we intend to come and kill you.
Page 219
, our author and his son voluntarily traversed the country, in order to collect a sufficient quantity; and effected their purpose, by pledging himself to the amount of many thousand pounds, for payment.