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 206

time to time, till I
am almost ashamed to resume the subject, not knowing but you may have
forgot what has been said upon it.

Nothing certainly can be more improving to a searcher into nature than
objections judiciously made to his opinion, taken up, perhaps, too
hastily: for such objections oblige him to restudy the point, consider
every circumstance carefully, compare facts, make experiments, weigh
arguments, and be slow in drawing conclusions. And hence a sure
advantage results; for he either confirms a truth before too slightly
supported, or discovers an error, and receives instruction from the

In this view I consider the objections and remarks you sent me, and
thank you for them sincerely; but, how much soever my inclinations lead
me to philosophical inquiries, I am so engaged in business, public and
private, that those more pleasing pursuits are frequently interrupted,
and the chain of thought necessary to be closely continued in such
disquisitions is so broken and disjointed, that it is with difficulty I
satisfy myself in any of them; and I am now not much nearer a conclusion
in this matter of the spout than when I first read your letter.

Yet, hoping we may, in time, sift out the truth between us, I will send
you my present thoughts, with some observations on your reasons on the
accounts in the _Transactions_, and on other relations I have met with.
Perhaps, while I am writing, some new light may strike me, for I shall
now be obliged to consider the subject with a little more attention.

I agree with you, that, by means of a vacuum in a whirlwind, water
cannot be supposed to rise in large masses to the region of the clouds;
for the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere could not force it up in
a continued body or column to a much greater height than thirty feet.
But if there really is a vacuum in the centre, or near the axis of
whirlwinds, then, I think, water may rise in such vacuum to that height,
or to a less height, as the vacuum may be less perfect.

I had not read Stuart's account, in the _Transactions_, for many years
before the receipt of your letter, and had quite forgot it; but now, on
viewing his draughts and considering his descriptions, I think they seem
to favour _my hypothesis_; for he describes and draws columns of water
of various heights, terminating abruptly at the top, exactly as water
would do when forced up by the pressure of the atmosphere into an
exhausted tube.

I must, however, no longer call it

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 2
The weather was so favorable that there were few days in which we could not visit from ship to ship, dining with each other and on board of the man-of-war; which made the time pass agreeably, much more so than when one goes in a single ship; for this was like traveling in a moving village, with all one's neighbors about one.
Page 3
" Instead of giving his efforts to the proposed change of government Franklin found greater duties.
Page 11
Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping mold and the molds for cast candles,[21] attending the shop, going of errands, etc.
Page 14
Page 27
She invited me to lodge at her house till a passage by water should offer; and, being tired with my foot traveling, I accepted the invitation.
Page 32
About the end of April, 1724, a little vessel offered for Boston.
Page 34
This afterward occasioned me a good deal of uneasiness.
Page 38
I disliked both, but agreed to admit them upon condition of his adopting the doctrine of using no animal food.
Page 41
But, as I may not have occasion again to mention the other two, I shall just remark here that Watson died in my arms a few years after, much lamented, being the best of our set.
Page 49
She was a widow, an elderly woman; had been bred a Protestant, being a clergyman's daughter, but was converted to the Catholic religion by her husband, whose memory she much revered; had lived much among people of distinction, and knew a thousand anecdotes of them as far back as the time of Charles II.
Page 69
I considered my giddiness and inconstancy when in London as in a great degree the cause of her unhappiness, though the mother was good enough to think the fault more her own than mine, as she had prevented our marrying before I went thither, and persuaded the other match in my absence.
Page 78
Page 93
I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon made myself so much a master of the French as to be able to read the books with ease.
Page 120
" I bid her sweep the whole street clean, and I would give her a shilling.
Page 135
In conversation with him one day he was giving me some account of his intended progress.
Page 147
] [Footnote 168: A member of the light cavalry.
Page 151
But between us personally no enmity arose; we were often together.
Page 160
The conversation at first consisted of mutual declarations of disposition to reasonable accommodations, but I suppose each party had its own ideas of what should be meant by "reasonable.
Page 162
Accordingly they petitioned the king in Council, and a hearing was appointed in which two lawyers were employed by them against the act, and two by me in support of it.
Page 171
It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.