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 193

like a ruffling wind, or a hollow, rumbling thunder, with brimstone
blasts, that they durst not come ashore. The consequence of the
earthquake was a general sickness, from the noisome vapours belched
forth, which swept away above three thousand persons.

After the detail of these horrible convulsions, the reader will have but
little curiosity left for the less considerable phenomena of the
earthquake at Lima in 1687, described by Father Alvarez de Toledo,
wherein above five thousand persons were destroyed; this being of the
vibratory kind, so that the bells in the church rung of themselves; or
that at Batavia in 1699, by Witsen; that in the north of England in
1703, by Mr. Thoresby; or, lastly, those in New-England in 1663 and
1670, by Dr. Mather.

* * * * *

_To David Rittenhouse._

_New and curious Theory of Light and Heat._--Read in the American
Philosophical Society, November 20, 1788.

Universal space, as far as we know of it, seems to be filled with a
subtile fluid, whose motion or vibration is called light.

This fluid may possibly be the same with that which, being attracted by,
and entering into other more solid matter, dilutes the substance by
separating the constituent particles, and so rendering some solids
fluid, and maintaining the fluidity of others; of which fluid, when our
bodies are totally deprived, they are said to be frozen; when they have
a proper quantity, they are in health, and fit to perform all their
functions; it is then called natural heat; when too much, it is called
fever; and when forced into the body in too great a quantity from
without, it gives pain, by separating and destroying the flesh, and is
then called burning, and the fluid so entering and acting is called

While organized bodies, animal or vegetable, are augmenting in growth,
or are supplying their continual waste, is not this done by attracting
and consolidating this fluid called fire, so as to form of it a part of
their substance? And is it not a separation of the parts of such
substance, which, dissolving its solid state, sets that subtile fluid at
liberty, when it again makes its appearance as fire?

For the power of man relative to matter seems limited to the separating
or mixing the various kinds of it, or changing its form and appearance
by different compositions

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 1
Quarrels with the Proprietary Governors 246 XVI.
Page 8
The homelier prose of Bunyan and Defoe gradually gave place to the more elegant and artificial language of Samuel Johnson, who set the standard for prose writing from 1745 onward.
Page 16
The conventicles having been forbidden by law, and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their mode of religion with freedom.
Page 23
a fancy to poetry, and made some little pieces; my brother, thinking it might turn to account, encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads.
Page 31
Honest John was the first that I know of who mix'd narration and dialogue; a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting parts finds himself, as it were, brought into the company and present at the discourse.
Page 48
Bard, came out to me and said the governor was extremely busy in writing, but would be down at Newcastle, before the ship, and there the letters would be delivered to me.
Page 55
Those who continued sotting with beer all day, were often, by not paying, out of credit at the alehouse, and us'd to make interest with me to get beer; their _light_, as they phrased it, _being out_.
Page 60
My distemper was a pleurisy, which very nearly carried me off.
Page 65
acquir'd a good estate; and says he, "I foresee that you will soon work this man out of his business, and make a fortune in it at Philadelphia.
Page 66
We found a house to hire near the market, and took it.
Page 75
the printing-house with him.
Page 81
These I esteem'd the essentials of every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another.
Page 87
8} 9} Work.
Page 99
3 Vi 4 40 8 Moon sets 9 30 _V Mon.
Page 122
And this is not the only instance of patents taken out for my inventions by others, tho' not always with the same success, which I never contested, as having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes.
Page 132
"That the mud, when rak'd up, be not left in heaps to be spread abroad again by the wheels of carriages and trampling of horses, but that the scavengers be provided with bodies of carts, not plac'd high upon wheels, but low upon sliders, with lattice bottoms, which, being cover'd with straw, will retain the mud thrown into them, and permit the water to drain from it, whereby it will become much lighter, water making the greatest part of its weight; these bodies of carts to be plac'd at convenient distances, and the mud brought to them in wheelbarrows; they remaining where plac'd till the mud is drain'd, and then horses brought to draw them away.
Page 163
This daily expectation of sailing, and all the three packets going down to Sandy Hook, to join the fleet there, the passengers thought it best to be on board, lest by a sudden order the ships should sail, and they be left behind.
Page 175
_ If you would have a faithful Servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.
Page 179
_ "This paper appears to contain the first suggestion, in any public form, for an _American Philosophical Society_.
Page 186
_The Letter against Inoculating the Small Pox, (Sign'd Absinthium) giving an Account of the Number of Persons who have dy'd under that Operation, will be Inserted in our next.