Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 23

fire gives repulsion to the
particles of water, and destroys their attraction of cohesion; hence common
fire, as well as electrical fire, assists in raising vapours.

17. Particles of water, having no fire in them, mutually attract each
other. Three particles of water then being attached to the three particles
of a triangle of air, would by their mutual attraction operating against
the air's repulsion, shorten the sides and lessen the triangle, whereby
that portion of air being made denser, would sink to the earth with its
water, and not rise to contribute to the formation of a cloud.

18. But if every particle of water attaching itself to air, brings with it
a particle of common fire, the repulsion of the air being assisted and
strengthened by the fire, more than obstructed by the mutual attraction of
the particles of water, the triangle dilates, and that portion of air
becoming rarer and specifically lighter rises.

19. If the particles of water bring electrical fire when they attach
themselves to air, the repulsion between the particles of water
electrified, joins with the natural repulsion of the air, to force its
particles to a greater distance, whereby the triangles are dilated, and the
air rises, carrying up with it the water.

20. If the particles of water bring with them portions of _both sorts_ of
fire, the repulsions of the particles of air is still more strengthened and
increased, and the triangles farther enlarged.

21. One particle of air may be surrounded by twelve particles of water of
equal size with itself, all in contact with it; and by more added to those.

22. Particles of air thus loaded would be drawn nearer together by the
mutual attraction of the particles of water, did not the fire, common or
electrical, assist their repulsion.

23. If air thus loaded be compressed by adverse winds, or by being driven
against mountains, &c. or condensed by taking away the fire that assisted
it in expanding; the triangles contract, the air with its water will
descend as a dew; or, if the water surrounding one particle of air comes in
contact with the water surrounding another, they coalesce and form a drop,
and we have rain.

24. The sun supplies (or seems to supply) common fire to all vapours,
whether raised from earth or sea.

25. Those vapours which have both common and electrical fire in them, are
better supported, than those which have only common fire in them. For when
vapours rise into the coldest region above the earth, the cold will not
diminish the electrical fire, if it doth the common.


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