The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 151

land. And
accordingly some old sea-captains, of whom enquiry has been made, do
affirm, that the fact agrees perfectly with the hypothesis; for that
in crossing the great ocean, they seldom meet with thunder till they
come into soundings; and that the islands far from the continent have
very little of it. And a curious observer, who lived thirteen years
at Bermudas, says, there was less thunder there in that whole time
than he has sometimes heard in a month at Carolina.


[43] An _electrified bumper_ is a small thin glass tumbler, nearly
filled with wine, and electrified as the bottle. This when brought to
the lips gives a shock, if the party be close shaved, and does not
breath on the liquor.--April 29, 1749.

[44] Thunder-gusts are sudden storms of thunder and lightning, which
are frequently of short duration, but sometimes produce mischievous

[45] This was tried with a bottle, containing about a quart. It is
since thought that one of the large glass jars, mentioned in these
papers, might have killed him, though wet.

[46] We have since fired spirits without heating them, when the
weather is warm. A little, poured into the palm of the hand, will be
warmed sufficiently by the hand, if the spirit be well rectified.
Ether takes fire most readily.

[47] These facts, though related in several accounts, are now
doubted; since it has been observed that the parts of a bell-wire
which fell on the floor, being broken and partly melted by lightning,
did actually burn into the boards. (See Philosophical Transactions,
Vol. LI. part I.) And Mr. Kinnersley has found that a fine iron wire,
melted by Electricity, has had the same effect.


_Introductory Letter to some additional Papers._

_Philadelphia, July 29, 1750._


As you first put us on electrical experiments, by sending to our
Library Company a tube, with directions how to use it; and as our
honorable Proprietary enabled us to carry those experiments to a
greater height, by his generous present of a complete electrical
apparatus; it is fit that both should know, from time to time, what
progress we make. It was in this view I wrote and sent you my former
papers on this subject, desiring, that as I had not the honour of a
direct correspondence with that bountiful benefactor to our library,
they might be communicated to him through your hands. In the same
view I write and send you this additional paper. If it happens to
bring you nothing new, (which may well be, considering the number of
ingenious men

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