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 162

* * * *

"_Mr. Jordain._

"Philadelphia, May 18, 1787.


"I received your very kind letter of February 27, together with the cask
of porter you have been so good as to send me. We have here at present
what the French call _une assemblee des notables_, a convention composed
of some of the principal people from the several states of our
confederation. They did me the honour of dining with me last Wednesday,
when the cask was broached, and its contents met with the most cordial
reception and universal approbation. In short, the company agreed
unanimously that it was the best porter they had ever tasted. Accept my
thanks, a poor return, but all I can make at present.

"Your letter reminds me of many happy days we have passed together, and
the dear friends with whom we passed them; some of whom, alas! have left
us, and we must regret their loss, although our Hawkesworth[33] is
become an adventurer in more happy regions; and our Stanley[34] gone,
'where only his own _harmony_ can be exceeded.' You give me joy in
telling me that you are 'on the pinnacle of _content_.' Without it no
situation can be happy; with it, any. One means of becoming content with
one's situation is the comparing it with a worse Thus, when I consider
how many terrible diseases the human body is liable to, I comfort myself
that only three incurable ones have fallen to my share, the gout, the
stone, and old age; and that these have not yet deprived me of my
natural cheerfulness, my delight in books, and enjoyment of social

[33] John Hawkesworth, LL.D., author of the Adventurer, and
compiler of the account of the Discoveries made in the South Seas
by Captain Cook.

[34] John Stanley, an eminent musician and composer, though he
became blind at the age of two years.

"I am glad to hear that Mr. Fitzmaurice is married, and has an amiable
lady and children. It is a better plan than that he once proposed, of
getting Mrs.

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

Page 2
Page 3
If the bottle had an electrical atmosphere, as well as the wire, an electrified cork would be repelled from one as well as from the other.
Page 6
Page 7
By breathing on it.
Page 8
We had for some time been of opinion, that the electrical fire was not created by friction, but collected, being really an element diffus'd among, and attracted by other matter, particularly by water and metals.
Page 12
But if a man holds in his hands two bottles, one fully electrify'd, the other not at all, and brings their hooks together, he has but half a shock, and the bottles will both remain half electrified, the one being half discharged, and the other half charged.
Page 13
Besides the phial will not suffer what is called a _charging_, unless as much fire can go out of it one way, as is thrown in by another.
Page 14
We judged then, that it must either be lost in decanting, or.
Page 15
Page 20
--Even a thoroughly wet pack-thread sometimes fails of conducting a shock, tho' it otherwise conducts electricity very well.
Page 21
Page 22
In air compressed, these triangles are smaller; in rarified Air they are larger.
Page 25
If a country be plain, having no mountains to intercept the electrified clouds, yet is it not without means to make them deposite their water.
Page 29
Page 30
But tho' the particles of electrical matter do repel each other, they are strongly attracted by all other matter.
Page 34
These explanations of the power and operation of points, when they first occurr'd to me, and while they first floated in my mind, appeared perfectly satisfactory; but now I have wrote them, and consider'd them more closely in black and white, I must own I have some doubts about them: yet as I have at present nothing better to offer in their stead, I do not cross them out: for even a bad solution read, and its faults discover'd, has often given rise to a good one in the mind of an ingenious reader.
Page 36
The horizontal motion of the scales over the floor, may represent the motion of the clouds over the earth; and the erect iron punch, a hill or high building; and then we see how electrified clouds passing over hills or high buildings at too great a height to strike, may be attracted lower till within their striking distance.
Page 40
Were these two points perfectly equal in acuteness, the leaf would take place exactly in the middle space, for its Weight is a trifle, compared to the power acting on it: But it is generally nearest the unelectrified plate, because, when the leaf is offered to the electrified plate at a distance, the sharpest point is commonly first affected and raised towards it; so that point, from its greater acuteness, receiving the fluid faster than its opposite can discharge it at equal distances, it retires from the electrified plate, and draws nearer to the unelectrified plate, till it comes to a distance where the discharge can be exactly equal to the receipt, the latter being lessened, and the former encreased; and there it remains as long as the globe continues to supply fresh electrical matter.
Page 48
I likewise put into a phial, instead of water,.
Page 52