Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 122

to be swept up and carried away before the shops are open, is
very practicable in summer, when the days are long; for, in walking
through the Strand and Fleet Street one morning at seven o'clock, I
observed there was not one shop open, though it had been daylight and
the sun up above three hours, the inhabitants of London choosing
voluntarily to live much by candlelight and sleep by sunshine; and yet
they often complain, a little absurdly, of the duty on candles and the
high price of tallow.

Some may think these trifling matters, not worth minding or relating;
but when they consider that though dust blown into the eyes of a
single person, or into a single shop, on a windy day is but of small
importance, yet the great number of the instances in a populous city,
and its frequent repetitions, give it weight and consequence, perhaps
they will not censure very severely those who bestow some attention to
affairs of this seemingly low nature. Human felicity is produced not
so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by
little advantages that occur every day. Thus, if you teach a poor
young man to shave himself and keep his razor in order, you may
contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a
thousand guineas. The money may be soon spent, the regret only
remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he
escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their
sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors. He shaves
when most convenient to him, and enjoys daily the pleasure of its
being done with a good instrument.[148] With these sentiments I have
hazarded the few preceding pages, hoping they may afford hints which
some time or other may be useful to a city I love, having lived many
years in it very happily, and perhaps to some of our towns in America.

Having been for some time employed by the postmaster-general of
America as his comptroller[149] in regulating several offices, and
bringing the officers to account, I was, upon his death, in 1753,
appointed, jointly with Mr. William Hunter, to succeed him, by a
commission from the postmaster-general in England. The American office
never had hitherto paid anything to that of Great Britain. We were to
have six hundred pounds a year between us, if we could make that sum
out of the profits of the office. To do this a variety of improvements
were necessary. Some of these were inevitably at first expensive, so
that in

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

Page 0
_ _And indeed the scene he opens, strikes us with a pleasing astonishment, whilst he conducts us by a train of facts and judicious.
Page 2
Again, when the bottle is electrised, but little of the electrical fire can be _drawn out_ from the top, by touching the wire, unless an equal quantity can at the same time _get in_ at the bottom.
Page 3
Page 4
The consequence is, spark follows spark till the equilibrium is restored.
Page 5
Lay two books on two glasses, back towards back, two or three Inches distant.
Page 7
--If you present the point in the dark, you will see, sometimes at a foot distance, and more, a light gather upon it like that of a fire-fly or glow-worm; the less sharp the point, the nearer you must bring it to observe the light; and at whatever distance you see the light, you may draw off the electrical fire, and destroy the repellency.
Page 8
Page 16
The excuse for mentioning it here, is, that we tried the experiment differently, drew different consequences from it, (for Mr _Watson_ still seems to think the fire _accumulated on the non-electric_ that is in contact with the glass, page 72) and, as far as we hitherto know, have carried it farther.
Page 19
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.
Page 27
This is supposed to account for the _Aurora Borealis_.
Page 28
--For as whatever body can insinuate itself between the particles of metal, and overcome the attraction by which they cohere (as sundry menstrua can) will make the solid become a fluid, as well as fire, yet without heating it: so the electrical fire, or lightning, creating a violent repulsion between the particles of the metal it passes thro', the metal is fused.
Page 30
If more is added, it lies without upon the surface, and forms what we call an electrical atmosphere: and then the body is said to be electrified.
Page 37
If the electrical stand be kept clean and dry, a man standing on it when such clouds are passing low, might be electrified and afford sparks, the rod drawing fire to him from a cloud.
Page 42
And yet the bottle by this means is charged![9] And therefore the fire that thus leaves.
Page 43
I feel a want of terms here, and doubt much whether I shall be able to make this part intelligible.
Page 44
The quantities of this fluid in each surface being equal, their repelling action on each other is equal; and therefore those of one surface cannot drive out those of the other: but, if a greater quantity is forced into one.
Page 46
Put a wire into the tube, the inward end in contact with the non-electric lining, so it will represent the _Leyden_ bottle.
Page 47
Page 54