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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 153

a
joiner, with whom D'Alibard had left directions how to proceed, and by
M. Raulet the prior of Mary-la-ville. An account of this experiment was
given to the Royal Academy of Sciences, by M. D'Alibard, in a memoir,
dated May 13, 1752. On the 18th of May, M. de Lor proved equally
successful with the apparatus erected at his own house. These
philosophers soon excited those of other parts of Europe to repeat the
experiment, among whom none signalized themselves more than Father
Beccaria, of Turin, to whose observations science is much indebted. Even
the cold regions of Russia were penetrated by the ardour for discovery.
Professor Richman bade fair to add much to the stock of knowledge on
this subject, when an unfortunate flash from his conductor put a period
to his existence. The friends of science will long remember with regret
the amiable martyr to electricity.

By these experiments Franklin's theory was established in the most
convincing manner. When the truth of it could no longer be doubted, envy
and vanity endeavoured to detract from its merit. That an American, an
inhabitant of the obscure city of Philadelphia, the name of which was
hardly known, should be able to make discoveries and to frame theories
which had escaped the notice of the enlightened philosophers of Europe,
was too mortifying to be admitted. He must certainly have taken the idea
from some one else. An American, a being of an inferior order, make
discoveries! Impossible. It was said that the Abbe Nollet, 1748, had
suggested the idea of the similarity of lightning and electricity in his
_Lecons de Physique_. It is true that the abbe mentions the idea, but he
throws it out as a bare conjecture, and proposes no mode of ascertaining
the truth of it. He himself acknowledges that Franklin first entertained
the bold thought of bringing lightning from the heavens, by means of
pointed rods fixed in the air. The similarity of lightning and
electricity is so strong, that we need not be surprised at notice being
taken of it as soon as electrical phenomena became familiar. We find it
mentioned by Dr. Wall and Mr. Grey, while the science was in its
infancy. But the honor of forming a regular theory of thunder-gusts, of
suggesting a mode of determining the truth of it by experiments, and of
putting these experiments in practice, and thus establishing the theory
upon a firm and solid basis, is incontestibly due to Franklin.
D'Alibard, who made the first experiments in France, says that he only
followed the tract which Franklin had pointed out.

It has been of late

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Gibbon wrote _The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, Hume his _History of England_, and Adam Smith the _Wealth of Nations_.
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II BEGINNING LIFE AS A PRINTER From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid.
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I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come round by sea.
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He was at first permitted to preach in some of our churches; but the clergy, taking a dislike to him, soon refus'd him their pulpits, and he was oblig'd to preach in the fields.
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Franklin.
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1 bottle flour of mustard.
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Among these I saw some letters of the general to the ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had rendered the army, and recommending me to their notice.
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We met with no Indians, but we found the places on the neighbouring hills where they had lain to watch our proceedings.
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Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the governor and the House, in which I, as a member, had so large a share, there still subsisted a civil intercourse between that gentleman and myself, and we never had any personal difference.
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I set out immediately, with my son, for London, and we only stopt a little by the way to view Stonehenge[116] on Salisbury Plain, and Lord Pembroke's house and gardens, with his very curious antiquities at Wilton.
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However, an Express gone by from Stockholm, doth not confirm.