Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 26

of electrical attraction is far beyond the distance of
flashing.

36. When a great number of clouds from the sea meet a number of clouds
raised from the land, the electrical flashes appear to strike in different
parts; and as the clouds are jostled and mixed by the winds, or brought
near by the electrical attraction, they continue to give and receive flash
after flash, till the electrical fire is equally diffused.

37. When the gun-barrel (in electrical experiments) has but little
electrical fire in it, you must approach it very near with your knuckle,
before you can draw a spark. Give it more fire, and it will give a spark at
a greater distance. Two gun-barrels united, and as highly electrified, will
give a spark at a still greater distance. But if two gun-barrels
electrified will strike at two inches distance, and make a loud snap, to
what a great distance may 10,000 acres of electrified cloud strike and give
its fire, and how loud must be that crack!

38. It is a common thing to see clouds at different heights passing
different ways, which shews different currents of air, one under the other.
As the air between the tropics is rarified by the sun, it rises, the denser
northern and southern air pressing into its place. The air so rarified and
forced up, passes northward and southward, and must descend in the polar
regions, if it has no opportunity before, that the circulation may be
carried on.

39. As currents of air, with the clouds therein, pass different ways, 'tis
easy to conceive how the clouds, passing over each other, may attract each
other, and so come near enough for the electrical stroke. And also how
electrical clouds may be carried within land very far from the sea, before
they have an opportunity to strike.

40. When the air, with its vapours raised from the ocean between the
tropics, comes to descend in the polar regions, and to be in contact with
the vapours arising there, the electrical fire they brought begins to be
communicated, and is seen in clear nights, being first visible where 'tis
first in motion, that is, where the contact begins, or in the most northern
part; from thence the streams of light seem to shoot southerly, even up to
the zenith of northern countries. But tho' the light seems to shoot from
the north southerly, the progress of the fire is really from the south
northerly, its motion beginning in the north being the reason that 'tis
there first seen.

For the electrical fire is never visible but when in

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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 1
up of short words; and the strong sense, clear information, and obvious conviction of the author himself, make most of his moral exhortations perfect models of popular eloquence, and often the finest specimens of a style which has been too little cultivated in his native country.
Page 4
Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter, wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others who are within his sphere of action: and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the other comforts of life.
Page 22
By this means he set many facts in a ridiculous light, and might have done mischief with weak minds if his work had been published; but it never was.
Page 23
Then I turned and went down Chestnut-street and part of Walnut-street, eating my roll all the way, and, coming round, found myself again at Market-street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the river water; and, being filled with one.
Page 32
I had hitherto kept the proposition of my setting up a secret in Philadelphia, and I still kept it.
Page 38
We both of us happened to know, as well as the stationer, that Riddlesden, the attorney, was a very knave; he had half ruined Miss Read's father, by persuading him to be bound for him.
Page 40
Pemberton,[7] at Baston's Coffee-house, who promised to give me an opportunity, some time or other, of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extremely desirous; but this never happened.
Page 62
, and though there was a report of his death, it was not certain.
Page 67
there were notes, likewise in thy writing; a copy of which I enclose, in hopes it may be a means, if thou continued it up to a later period, that the first and latter part may be put together; and if it is not yet continued, I hope thee will not delay it.
Page 86
The man came every now and then from the wheel to see how the work went on; and at length would take his axe as it was, without farther grinding.
Page 88
My list of virtues contained at first but twelve: but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride showed itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent (of which he convinced me by mentioning several instances), I determined to endeavour to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest; and I added _humility_ to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.
Page 91
prayer, and thanksgiving.
Page 92
I considered my newspaper also another means of communicating instruction, and in that view frequently reprinted in it extracts from the Spectator and other moral writers; and sometimes published little pieces of mine own, which had been first composed for reading in our _Junto_.
Page 116
As we passed through New-York, I had there shown my project to Mr.
Page 119
As I was in the Assembly, knew its temper, and was Mr.
Page 147
"We have had an ugly affair at the Royal Society lately.
Page 167
All the arguments urged in favour of negro slavery are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving of Europeans.
Page 172
It may be presumed the historians of the American revolution will exhibit them in proper colours.
Page 186
_Q.
Page 204
If an Indian injures me, does it follow that I may revenge that injury on all Indians? It is well known that Indians are of different tribes, nations, and languages, as well as the white people.