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 197

a conductor, the fluid quits them and
strikes into the earth. A cloud fully charged with this fluid, if so
high as to be beyond the striking distance from the earth, passes
quietly without making noise or giving light, unless it meets with other
clouds that have less.

Tall trees and lofty buildings, as the towers and spires of churches,
become sometimes conductors between the clouds and the earth; but, not
being good ones, that is, not conveying the fluid freely, they are often

Buildings that have their roofs covered with lead or other metal, the
spouts of metal continued from the roof into the ground to carry off the
water, are never hurt by lightning as, whenever it falls on such a
building, it passes in the metals and not in the walls.

When other buildings happen to be within the striking distance from such
clouds, the fluid passes in the walls, whether of wood, brick, or stone,
quitting the walls only when it can find better conductors near them, as
metal rods, bolts, and hinges of windows or doors, gilding on wainscot
or frames of pictures, the silvering on the backs of looking-glasses,
the wires for bells, and the bodies of animals, as containing watery
fluids. And, in passing through the house, it follows the direction of
these conductors, taking as many in its way as can assist it in its
passage, whether in a straight or crooked line, leaping from one to the
other, if not far distant from each other, only rending the wall in the
spaces where these partial good conductors are too distant from each

An iron rod being placed on the outside of a building, from the highest
part continued down into the moist earth in any direction, straight or
crooked, following the form of the roof or parts of the building, will
receive the lightning at the upper end, attracting it so as to prevent
its striking any other part, and affording it a good conveyance into the
earth, will prevent its damaging any part of the building.

A small quantity of metal is found able to conduct a great quantity of
this fluid. A wire no bigger than a goosequill has been known to conduct
(with safety to the building as far as the wire was continued) a
quantity of lightning that did prodigious damage both above and below
it; and probably larger rods are not necessary, though it is common in
America to make them of half an inch, some of three quarters or an inch

The rod may be fastened to the wall, chimney

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 1
Here he remained till 1785, the favorite of French society; and with such success did he conduct the affairs of his country that when he finally returned he received a place only second to that of Washington as the champion of American independence.
Page 4
He died in 1702, January 6, old style, just four years to a day before I was born.
Page 17
" If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines, "Immodest words admit of no defense, For want of modesty is want of sense.
Page 18
[3] [3] I fancy his harsh and tyrannical treatment of me might be a means of impressing me with that aversion to arbitrary power that has stuck to me through my whole life.
Page 19
When he found I would leave him, he took care to prevent my getting employment in any other printing-house of the town, by going round and speaking to every master, who accordingly refus'd to give me work.
Page 27
On my doubting whether my father would assist me in it, Sir William said he would give me a letter to him, in which he would state the advantages, and he did not doubt of prevailing with him.
Page 36
As they two went home together, Osborne expressed himself still more strongly in favor of what he thought my production; having restrain'd himself before, as he said, lest I should think it flattery.
Page 40
Then he endeavored to get employment as a hackney writer, to copy for the stationers and lawyers about the Temple, but could find no vacancy.
Page 48
It is the more remarkable, as being formed when I was so young, and yet being pretty faithfully adhered to quite thro' to old age.
Page 59
They were sensible of the difference: it strengthened the hands of our friends in the House, and they voted us their printers for the year ensuing.
Page 61
About this time there was a cry among the people for more paper money, only fifteen thousand pounds being extant in the province, and that soon to be sunk.
Page 72
Not having any copy here of what is already written, I know not whether an account is given of the means I used to establish the Philadelphia public library, which, from a small beginning, is now become so considerable, though I remember to have come down to near the time of that transaction (1730).
Page 82
8 } 9 } Work.
Page 83
{ 2 } { 3 } { 4 } I enter'd upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continu'd it with occasional intermissions for some time.
Page 91
Of these are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that, whatever might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man could not properly be called a man of sense; and a discourse on self-denial, showing that virtue was not secure till its practice became a habitude, and was free from the opposition of contrary inclinations.
Page 99
This I advis'd; but he was resolute in his.
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[10] [10] See the votes.
Page 117
Those we found inconvenient in these respects: they admitted no air below; the smoke, therefore, did not readily go out above, but circulated in the globe, lodg'd on its inside, and soon obstructed the light they.
Page 118
were intended to afford; giving, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean; and an accidental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and render it totally useless.
Page 131
George Croghan, our Indian interpreter, join'd him on his march with one hundred of those people, who might have been of great use to his army as guides, scouts, etc.