Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 97

ingenuity of the age could devise.
They made them a diary, a receipt book, a jest book, and a weather
prophet, as well as a calendar book of dates. The household was poor
indeed which could not scrape up a twopence or a sixpence for the
annual copy. Once bought, it hung by the big chimney-piece, or lay
upon the clock shelf with the Bible and a theological tract or two. It
was read by the light that shone from the blazing logs of the
fireplace or the homemade tallow dip. Its recipes helped the mother in
her dyeing or weaving or cooking. Its warnings of "cold storms,"
"flurries of snow," cautioned the farmer against too early planting of
corn; and its perennial jokes flavored the mirth of many a corn
husking or apple paring.]

[Footnote 118: See p. 201.]

[Footnote 119: See pp. 193-200.]

[Footnote 120: A sheet printed on one side only and without
arrangement in columns.]

[Footnote 121: Statement.]

[Footnote 122: Departure from the faith held by the members of the
synod or assembly.]

[Footnote 123: "Pro and con," i.e., for and against.]

[Footnote 124: Vaccination was not at this time known. By inoculation
the smallpox poison was introduced into the arm, and produced a milder
form of the disease.]


My first promotion was my being chosen, in 1736, clerk of the General
Assembly. The choice was made that year without opposition; but the year
following, when I was again proposed, (the choice, like that of the
members, being annual,) a new member made a long speech against me, in
order to favor some other candidate. I was, however, chosen, which was
the more agreeable to me as, besides the pay for the immediate service
as clerk, the place gave me a better opportunity of keeping up an
interest among the members, which secured to me the business of printing
the votes, laws, paper money, and other occasional jobs for the public,
that, on the whole, were very profitable.

I therefore did not like the opposition of this new member, who was a
gentleman of fortune and education, with talents that were likely to
give him, in time, great influence in the House; which, indeed,
afterward happened. I did not, however, aim at gaining his favor by
paying any servile respect to him, but, after some time, took this
other method. Having heard that he had in his library a certain very
scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire
of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favor of
lending it to me for a

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

Page 9
--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.
Page 10
_--We electrise a person twenty or more times running, with a touch of the finger on the wire, thus: He stands on wax.
Page 11
To take the charg'd phial safely by the hook, and not at the same time diminish its force, it must first be set down on an electric _per se_.
Page 13
When both can be done at once, 'tis done with inconceivable quickness and violence.
Page 16
With thin paste or gum-water, fix the border that is cut off on the inside of the glass, pressing it smooth and close; then fill up the vacancy by gilding the glass well with leaf gold or brass.
Page 17
A small upright shaft of wood passes at right angles through a thin round board, of about twelve inches diameter, and turns on a sharp point of iron fixed in the lower end, while a strong wire in the upper-end passing thro' a small hole in a thin brass plate, keeps the shaft truly vertical.
Page 18
When it is well charg'd it begins to move; the bullet nearest to a pillar moves towards the thimble on that pillar, and passing by electrifies it and then pushes itself from it; the succeeding bullet, which communicates with the other surface of the glass, more strongly attracts that thimble on account of its being before electrified by the other bullet; and thus the wheel encreases its motion till it comes to such a height as that the resistance of the air regulates it.
Page 22
Cut off the communication by thick glass or wax placed under the cushion, and no fire can be _produced_, because it cannot be _collected_.
Page 23
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.
Page 24
Page 25
Dexterously electrify one set, and its balls will repel each other to a greater distance, enlarging the triangles.
Page 30
Electrical matter differs from common matter in this, that the parts of the latter mutually attract, those of the former mutually repel, each other.
Page 33
But easiest of all between L, C, M, where the quantity is largest, and the surface to attract and keep it back the least.
Page 40
fire must leap over the vacancies; there is a certain distance which it is able to leap over according to its strength; if a number of small vacancies, though each be very minute, taken together exceed that distance, it cannot leap over them, and so the shock is prevented.
Page 42
But, if the electrical fluid so easily pervades glass, how does the vial become _charged_ (as we term it) when we hold it in our hands? Would not the fire thrown in by the wire pass through to our hands, and so escape into the floor? Would not the bottle in that case be left just as we found it, uncharged, as we know a metal bottle so attempted to be charged would be? Indeed, if there be the least crack, the minutest solution of continuity in the glass, though it remains so tight that nothing else we know of will pass, yet the extremely subtile electrical fluid flies through such a crack with the greatest freedom, and such a bottle we know can never be charged: What then makes the difference between such a bottle and one that is sound, but this, that the fluid can pass through the one, and not through the other?[8] 29.
Page 43
I feel a want of terms here, and doubt much whether I shall be able to make this part intelligible.
Page 46
Every electrician knows that a globe wet within will afford little or no fire, but the reason has not before been attempted to be given, that I know of.
Page 48
The ends of the two chains in the glass were near an inch distant from each other, the oil of turpentine between.
Page 52
Page 54
[7] See the ingenious essays on electricity in the Transactions, by Mr Ellicot.