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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 73

en donne une raison très satisfaisante.]

63. Il y a encore une expérience qui nous a étonnés, & que jusqu'ici on
n'a pas expliquée d'une maniere satisfaisante; la voici. Placez un
boulet de fer sur un verre, & qu'une balle de liége humide, suspendue
par un fil de soye, vienne toucher le boulet: prenez une bouteille dans
chaque main, l'une électrisée par le _crochet_ & l'autre par le _côté_:
appliquez le fil-d'archal _donnant_ au boulet qu'il électrisera
positivement, & le liége sera répoussé. Ensuite appliquez le
fil-d'archal _recevant_, qui tirera l'étincelle donnée par l'autre;
alors le liége retournera au boulet: appliquez-le même une seconde fois
& tirez une autre étincelle; alors le boulet sera électrisé
négativement, & le liége dans ce cas sera repoussé comme auparavant;
appliquez encore le fil-d'archal _donnant_ au boulet, pour lui rendre
l'étincelle dont il a été privé, & la balle de liége retournera;
donnez-lui en une autre, qui sera une addition à sa quantité naturelle,
& le liége sera repoussé une seconde fois.

L'expérience peut être répétée de la sorte aussi long-tems qu'il y a
quelque charge dans les bouteilles. D'où il résulte que les corps qui
ont moins que la quantité commune d'électricité, se repoussent l'un
l'autre, aussi bien que ceux qui en ont plus.

Étant un peu mortifiés de n'avoir pû jusqu'ici rien produire par nos
expériences pour l'utilité du genre humain, & entrant dans la saison des
grandes chaleurs, pendant lesquelles les expériences électriques sont
moins agréables, nous avons pris la résolution de les terminer pour
cette saison un peu gayement par une partie de plaisir sur les bords de
la Skuylkill[29]. Nous nous proposons d'allumer les esprits des deux
côtés en même-tems, en envoyant une étincelle de l'un à l'autre rivage à
travers la rivière sans autre conducteur que l'eau, expérience que nous
avons exécutée depuis peu au grand étonnement de plusieurs spectateurs.
Nous tuerons un dindon pour notre dîner par le choc électrique, il sera
rôti à la broche électrique devant un feu allumé avec la bouteille
électrisée, & nous boirons les santés de tous les fameux Électriciens
d'Angleterre, de Hollande, de France & d'Allemagne dans des tasses
électrisées[30], au bruit de l'artillerie d'une batterie électrique.

_29. Avril 1749._

[Note 29: Rivière qui baigne un côté de Philadelphie, comme le Delaware
baigne l'autre côté. Les bords de ces deux rivières sont ornés des
maisons de campagne des bourgeois, & des charmantes demeures des
principaux habitans de cette colonie.]

[Note 30: Une tasse électrisée est un petit vase de verre fin, presque
rempli de vin, & électrisé comme la bouteille. Cette tasse étant portée
adroitement aux lèvres, donne un coup, si le

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