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 69

knowledge of
them by some overt act. That the matter of the libel composed by Sidney
was an _imagining how to compass the death of King Charles II._; and
the writing of it was an overt act of treason, for that to write was to
act. (_Scribere est agere._)" It seems that the king's counsel in this
reign had not received the same directions as Queen Elizabeth had given
hers; she told them they were to look upon themselves as not retained so
much (_pro domina regina_, as _pro domina veritate_) for the power of
the queen as for the power of truth.

Mr. Sidney made a strong and legal defence. He insisted that all the
words in the book contained no more than general speculations on the
principles of government, free for any man to write down; especially
since the same are written in the parliament rolls and in the statute

He argued on the injustice of applying by innuendoes, general assertions
concerning principles of government, as overt acts to prove the writer
was compassing the death of the king; for then no man could write of
things done even by our ancestors, in defence of the constitution and
freedom of England, without exposing himself to capital danger.

He denied that _scribere est agere_, but allowed that writing and
publishing is to act (_Scribere et publicare est agere_), and therefore
he urged that, as his book had never been published nor imparted to any
person, it could not be an overt act, within the statutes of treasons,
even admitting that it contained treasonable positions; that, on the
contrary, it was a _covert fact_, locked up in his private study, as
much concealed from the knowledge of any man as if it were locked up in
the author's mind. This was the substance of Mr. Sidney's defence: but
neither law, nor reason, nor eloquence, nor innocence ever availed where
_Jefferies_ sat as judge. Without troubling himself with any part of the
defence, he declared in a rage, that Sidney's _known principles_ were a
_sufficient_ proof of his intention to compass the death of the king.

A packed jury therefore found him guilty of high treason: great
applications were made for his pardon. He was executed as a traitor.

This case is a pregnant instance of the danger that attends a law for
punishing words, and of the little security the most valuable men have
for their lives, in that society where a judge, by remote inferences and
distant innuendoes, may construe the most innocent expressions into
capital crimes. _Sidney_, the British _Brutus_, the warm, the steady

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

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in your hand.
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By making a smoke about it from burning wood.
Page 14
We judged then, that it must either be lost in decanting, or.
Page 17
On the principle, in s 7, that hooks of bottles, differently charged, will attract and repel differently, is made, an electrical wheel, that turns with considerable strength.
Page 20
Place an iron shot on a glass stand, and let a ball of damp cork, suspended by a silk thread, hang in contact with the shot.
Page 22
Friction between a non-electric and an electric _per se_, will produce electrical fire; not by _creating_, but _collecting_ it: for it is equally diffused in our walls, floors, earth, and the whole mass of common matter.
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of electrical attraction is far beyond the distance of flashing.
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_ in the most northern part, and the appearance proceeds southward, tho' the fire really moves northward.
Page 33
--Those points will also discharge into the air, when the body has too great an electrical atmosphere, without bringing any non-electric near, to receive what is thrown off: For the air, though an electric _per se_, yet has always more or less water and other non-electric matters mixed with it; and these attract.
Page 35
As the pasteboard tube hangs loose on silk lines, when you approach it with the punch iron, it likewise will move towards the punch, being attracted while it is charged; but if at the same instant a point be presented as before, it retires again, for the point discharges it.
Page 36
Nay, even if the needle be placed upon the floor near the punch, its point upwards, the end of the punch, tho' so much higher than the needle, will not attract the scale and receive its fire, for the needle will get it and convey it away, before it comes nigh enough for the punch to act.
Page 37
On the top of some high tower or steeple, place a kind of sentry-box, (as in FIG.
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Let a second person touch the wire while you rub, and the fire driven out of the inward surface when you give the stroke, will pass through him into the common mass, and return through him when the inner surface resumes its quantity, and therefore this new kind of _Leyden_ bottle cannot so be charged.
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For though the effluvia of cinnamon, and the electrical fluid should mix within the globe, they would never come out together through the pores of the glass, and so go to the prime conductor; for the electrical fluid itself cannot come through; and the prime conductor is always supply'd from the cushion, and that from the floor.
Page 49
And indeed, as that smell so readily leaves the electrical matter, and adheres to the knuckle receiving the sparks, and to other things; I suspect that it never was connected with it, but arises instantaneously from something in the air acted upon by it.