Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 9

between
either of them and the person on the floor.

4. After such strong spark, neither of them discover any electricity.

These appearances we attempt to account for thus. We suppose as aforesaid,
that electrical fire is a common element, of which every one of the three
persons abovementioned has his equal share, before any operation is begun
with the Tube. _A_, who stands on wax and rubs the tube collects the
electrical fire from himself into the glass; and his communication with the
common stock being cut off by the wax, his body is not again immediately
supply'd. _B_, (who stands on wax likewise) passing his knuckle along near
the tube, receives the fire which was collected by the glass from _A_; and
his communication with the common stock being likewise cut off, he retains
the additional quantity received.--To _C_, standing on the floor, both
appear to be electrised: for he having only the middle quantity of
electrical fire, receives a spark upon approaching _B_, who has an over
quantity; but gives one to _A_, who has an under quantity. If _A_ and _B_
approach to touch each other, the spark is stronger, because the difference
between them is greater; after such touch there is no spark between either
of them and _C_, because the electrical fire in all is reduced to the
original equality. If they touch while electrising, the equality is never
destroy'd, the fire only circulating. Hence have arisen some new terms
among us: we say, _B_, (and bodies like circumstanced) is electrised
_positively_; _A_, _negatively_. Or rather, _B_ is electrised _plus_; _A_,
_minus_. And we daily in our experiments electrise bodies _plus_ or _minus_
as we think proper.--To electrise _plus_ or _minus_, no more needs to be
known than this, that the parts of the tube or sphere that are rubbed, do,
in the instant of the friction attract the electrical fire, and therefore
take it from the thing rubbing: the same parts immediately, as the friction
upon them ceases, are disposed to give the fire they have received, to any
body that has less. 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. We think that ingenious gentleman was
deceived, when he imagined (in his _Sequel_) that the electrical fire came
down the wire from the cieling to the gun-barrel, thence to the sphere, and
so electrised the machine and the man turning the wheel,

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 14
Pleased with the "Pilgrim's Progress," my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes.
Page 27
However, walking in the evening by the side of the river, a boat came by, which I found was going toward Philadelphia, with several people in her.
Page 33
My friend and companion, Collins, who was a clerk in the post office, pleased with the account I gave him of my new country, determined to go thither also; and, while I waited for my father's determination, he set out before me by land to Rhode Island, leaving his books, which were a pretty collection of mathematics and natural philosophy, to come with mine and me to New York, where he proposed to wait for me.
Page 34
handsomely in so short a time; therefore, seeing no prospect of an accommodation between my brother and me, he gave his consent to my returning again to Philadelphia, advised me to behave respectfully to the people there, endeavor to obtain the general esteem, and avoid lampooning and libeling, to which he thought I had too much inclination; telling me that by steady industry and a prudent parsimony I might save enough by the time I was one and twenty to set me up; and that, if I came near the matter, he would help me out with the rest.
Page 37
Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food; and on this occasion I considered, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could, do us any injury that might justify the slaughter.
Page 38
I did so, and we held it for three months.
Page 39
better at this time from the cheapness of it, not costing us above eighteen pence sterling each per week.
Page 40
As language and expression were what we had in view, we excluded all considerations of invention by agreeing that the task should be a version of the eighteenth Psalm, which describes the descent of Deity.
Page 42
I returned on board a little puzzled, but still not doubting.
Page 54
I soon perceived that the intention of engaging me at wages so much higher than he had been used to give was to.
Page 64
[100] Mr.
Page 65
About this time there was a cry among the people for more paper money, only fifteen thousand pounds being extant in the province, and that soon to be sunk.
Page 86
I did, indeed, from time to time, put down short hints of the sentiments, reasonings, etc.
Page 96
"We should have our parents and relations in high esteem, love and embrace good men, raise ourselves above corporeal affections, everywhere stand in awe of ourselves, carefully observe justice, consider the frailty of riches and momentary life, embrace the lot which falls to us by divine judgment, delight in a divine frame of spirit, convert our mind to what is most excellent, love good discourses, not lie open to impostures, not be servilely affected in the possession of virtue, advise before action to prevent repentance, free ourselves from uncertain opinions, live with knowledge, and lastly, that we should adapt our bodies and the things without to the exercise of virtue.
Page 97
Once bought, it hung by the big chimney-piece, or lay upon the clock shelf with the Bible and a theological tract or two.
Page 133
I received of the general about eight hundred pounds, to be disbursed in advance money to the wagon owners, etc.
Page 139
In one of the last, indeed, which was for granting fifty thousand pounds, his proposed amendment was only of a single word.
Page 142
We saw where they had with their hatchets cut off the charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in the woods.
Page 173
The three volume life by Mr.
Page 176
Do you think that Emerson's definition of "genius" as given in the first paragraph of his essay on "Self-Reliance" can be justly applied to Franklin? You will be interested in following Franklin's experiments in determining the value of oil in stilling the waves, and also his investigations of the Gulf Stream and of the nature of storms.