Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 85

as bright as the edge. The smith
consented to grind it bright for him if he would turn the wheel. He
turned, while the smith pressed the broad face of the ax hard and
heavily on the stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing. The
man came every now and then from the wheel to see how the work went
on, and at length would take his ax as it was, without farther
grinding. "No," said the smith, "turn on, turn on; we shall have it
bright by and by; as yet, it is only speckled." "Yes," says the man,
"but I think I like a speckled ax best." And I believe this may have
been the case with many, who, having, for want of some such means as I
employed, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad
habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle,
and concluded that a "speckled ax" was best. For something, that
pretended to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me that
such extreme nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery
in morals, which, if it were known, would make me ridiculous; that a
perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being
envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults
in himself, to keep his friends in countenance.

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to order; and, now
I am grown old and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it.
But on the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been
so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the
endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been
if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by
imitating the engraved copies, though they never reach the wished-for
excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavor, and
is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little
artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor owed the constant
felicity of his life, down to his seventy-ninth year, in which this is
written. What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of
Providence; but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness
enjoyed ought to help his bearing them with more resignation. To
temperance he ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still
left to him of

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

Page 1
_London_.
Page 2
If you attempt to throw more in, it is spued back thro' the wire, or flies out in loud cracks thro' the sides of the bottle.
Page 3
FIG.
Page 6
_Sept.
Page 13
12.
Page 15
remain in the first bottle.
Page 16
If the picture were highly charged, the consequence might perhaps be as fatal as that of high-treason; for when the spark is taken through a quire of paper laid on the picture, by means of a wire communication, it makes a fair hole through every sheet, that is, through 48 leaves, (though.
Page 20
Place an iron shot on a glass stand, and let a ball of damp cork, suspended by a silk thread, hang in contact with the shot.
Page 23
26.
Page 25
The electrified particles of the first cloud close when they lose their fire; the particles of the other cloud close in receiving it: in both, they have thereby an opportunity of coalescing into drops.
Page 27
As electrified clouds pass over a country, high hills and high trees, lofty towers, spires, masts of ships, chimneys, _&c.
Page 29
the melted part would burn the floor it dropp'd on.
Page 34
and receive what is so discharged.
Page 36
And lastly, if a needle fix'd on the punch with its point upright, or even on the floor below the punch, will draw the fire from the scale silently at a much greater than the striking distance, and so prevent its descending towards.
Page 37
the punch; or if in its course it would have come nigh enough to strike, yet being first deprived of its fire it cannot, and the punch is thereby secured from the stroke.
Page 38
Lightning melts metals, and I hinted in my paper on that subject, that I suspected it to be a cold fusion; I do not mean a fusion by force of cold, but a fusion without heat.
Page 43
Nor have we any way of moving the electrical fluid in glass, but one; that is, by covering part of the two surfaces of thin glass with non-electrics, and then throwing an additional quantity of this fluid on one surface, which spreading in the non-electric, and being bound by it to that surface, acts by its repelling force on the particles of the electrical fluid contained in the other surface, and drives them out of the glass into the non-electric on that side, from whence they are discharged, and then those added on the charged side can enter.
Page 45
The surface that has been thus emptied by having its electrical fluid driven out, resumes again an equal quantity with violence, as soon as the glass has an opportunity to discharge that over-quantity more than it could retain by attraction in its other surface, by the additional repellency of which the vacuum had been occasioned.
Page 48
For though the effluvia of cinnamon, and the electrical fluid should mix within the globe, they would never come out together through the pores of the glass, and so go to the prime conductor; for the electrical fluid itself cannot come through; and the prime conductor is always supply'd from the cushion, and that from the floor.
Page 51
_The consequence might perhaps be fatal_, &c.