Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 102

"Portsmouth, August 17, 1761.


"I am now waiting here only for a wind to waft me to America, but cannot
leave this happy island and my friends in it without extreme regret,
though I am going to a country and a people that I love. I am going from
the Old World to the New, and I fancy I feel like those who are leaving
this world for the next; grief at the parting; fear of the passage; hope
of the future: these different passions all affect their minds at once,
and these have _tendered_ me down exceedingly. It is usual for the dying
to beg forgiveness of their surviving friends if they have ever offended
them. Can you, my lord, forgive my long silence, and my not
acknowledging till now the favour you did me in sending me your
excellent book? Can you make some allowance for a fault in others which
you have never experienced in yourself; for the bad habit of postponing
from day to day what one every day resolves to do to-morrow? A habit
that grows upon us with years, and whose only excuse is we know not how
to mend it. If you are disposed to favour me, you will also consider how
much one's mind is taken up and distracted by the many little affairs
one has to settle, before the undertaking such a voyage, after so long a
residence in a country; and how little, in such a situation, one's mind
is fitted for serious and attentive reading, which, with regard to the
_Elements of Criticism_, I intended before I should write. I can now
only confess and endeavour to amend. In packing up my books, I have
reserved yours to read on the passage. I hope I shall therefore be able
to write to you upon it soon after my arrival. At present I can only
return my thanks, and say that the parts I have read gave me both
pleasure and instruction; that I am convinced of your position, new as
it was to me, that a good taste in the arts contributes to the
improvement of morals; and that I have had the satisfaction of hearing
the work universally commended by those who have read it.

"And now, my dear sir, accept my sincere thanks for the kindness you
have shown me, and my best wishes of happiness to you and yours.
Wherever I am, I shall esteem the friendship you honour me with as one
of the felicities of my life;

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

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Page 6
Lay the book on a glass or wax; and on the other end of the gold lines, set the bottle electrised: then bend the springing wire, by pressing it with a stick of wax till its ring approaches the ring of the bottle wire; instantly there is a strong spark and stroke, and the whole line of gold, which completes the communication between the top and bottom of the bottle, will appear a vivid flame, like the sharpest lightning.
Page 7
Page 10
As the vessel is just upon sailing, I cannot give you so large an account of American Electricity as I intended: I shall only mention a few particulars more.
Page 14
Then taking the bottle in one hand, and bringing a finger of the other near its mouth, a strong spark came from the water, and the shock was as violent as if the wire had remained in it, which shewed that the force did not lie in the wire.
Page 18
In a circle on the table which supports the wheel, are fixed twelve small pillars of glass, at about four inches distance, with a thimble on the top of each.
Page 21
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having fertilized a country of very great extent.
Page 28
surface of your body; whereas, if your clothes were dry, it would go thro' the body.
Page 31
Page 32
Thus will a quantity of the electrical fluid be drawn out of B, and thrown on A.
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 36
Now if the fire of electricity and that of lightening be the same, as I have endeavour'd to show at large in a former paper, this pasteboard tube and these scales may represent electrified clouds.
Page 37
Lightning has often been known to strike people blind.
Page 44
more of this electrical fluid than other common matter: That when it is blown, as it cools, and the particles of common fire leave it, its pores become a vacuum: That the component parts of glass are extremely small and fine, I guess from its never showing a rough face when it breaks, but always a polish; and from the smallness of its particles I suppose the pores between them must be exceeding small, which is the reason that Aqua-fortis, nor any other menstruum we have, can enter to separate them and dissolve the substance; nor is any fluid we know of, fine enough to enter, except common fire, and the electrical fluid.
Page 47
And this can only be done in glass that is thin; beyond a certain thickness we have yet no power that can make this change.
Page 48
And as the oil of turpentine being an electric _per se_, would not conduct what came up from the floor, was obliged to jump from the end of one chain, to the end of the other, through the substance of that oil, which we could see in large sparks; and so it had a fair opportunity of seizing some of the finest particles of the oil in its passage, and carrying them off with it: but no such effect followed, nor could I perceive the least difference in the smell of the electrical effluvia thus collected, from what it has when collected otherwise; nor does it otherwise affect the body of a person electrised.
Page 49
For if it was fine enough to come with the electrical fluid through the body of one person, why should it stop on the skin of another? But I shall never have done, if I tell you all my conjectures, thoughts, and imaginations, on the nature and operations of this electrical fluid, and relate the variety of little experiments we have try'd.
Page 54
[12] See farther experiments, s 15.