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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 152

in Europe, continually engaged in the same researches)
at least it will shew, that the instruments put into our hands are
not neglected; and that if no valuable discoveries are made by us,
whatever the cause may be, it is not want of industry and application.

I am, Sir,

Your much obliged humble Servant,

B. FRANKLIN.




_Opinions and Conjectures, concerning the Properties and
Effects of the electrical Matter, and the Means of preserving
Buildings, Ships, &c. from Lightning, arising from Experiments and
Observations made at Philadelphia, 1749.--Golden Fish.--Extraction
of effluvial Virtues by Electricity impracticable._


§ 1. The electrical matter consists of particles extremely subtile
since it can permeate common matter, even the densest metals, with
such ease and freedom as not to receive any perceptible resistance.

2. If any one should doubt whether the electrical matter passes
through the substance of bodies, or only over and along their
surfaces, a shock from an electrified large glass jar, taken through
his own body, will probably convince him.

3. Electrical matter differs from common matter in this, that the
parts of the latter mutually attract, those of the former mutually
repel each other. Hence the appearing divergency in a stream of
electrified effluvia.

4. But though the particles of electrical matter do repel each other,
they are strongly attracted by all other matter[48].

5. From these three things, the extreme subtilty of the electrical
matter, the mutual repulsion of its parts, and the strong attraction
between them and other matter, arise this effect, that, when a
quantity of electrical matter is applied to a mass of common matter,
of any bigness or length, within our observation (which hath not
already got its quantity) it is immediately and equally diffused
through the whole.

6. Thus, common matter is a kind of spunge to the electrical fluid.
And as a spunge would receive no water, if the parts of water were
not smaller than the pores of the spunge; and even then but slowly,
if there were not a mutual attraction between those parts and the
parts of the spunge; and would still imbibe it faster, if the
mutual attraction among the parts of the water did not impede, some
force being required to separate them; and fastest, if, instead of
attraction, there were a mutual repulsion among those parts, which
would act in conjunction with the attraction of the spunge: so is the
case between the electrical and common matter.

7. But in common matter there is (generally) as much of the
electrical as it will contain within its substance.

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
Williamson, of Grandview-on-the-Hudson, to whom they had come from Vienna.
Page 1
It is supposed that not less than 50,000 People were assembled to see the Experiment.
Page 2
A little Rain had wet it, so that it shone, and made an agreeable Appearance.
Page 3
Pilatre du Rozier has seriously apply'd to the Academy for leave to go up with it, in order to make some Experiments.
Page 4
I was not present, but am told it was filled in about ten minutes by means of burning Straw.
Page 5
This Balloon was larger than that which went up from Versailles and carried the Sheep, &c.
Page 6
They say they had a charming View of Paris & its Environs, the Course of the River, &c but that they were once lost, not knowing what Part they were over, till they saw the Dome of the Invalids, which rectified their Ideas.
Page 7
so high that they could not see them.
Page 8
Perhaps Mechanic Art may find easy means to give them progressive Motion in a Calm, and to slant them a little in the Wind.
Page 9
from whence I could well see it rise, & have an extensive View of the Region of Air thro' which, as the Wind sat, it was likely to pass.
Page 10
Several Bags of Sand were taken on board before the Cord that held it down was cut, and the whole Weight being then too much to be lifted, such a Quantity was discharg'd as to permit its Rising slowly.
Page 11
Sir JOSEPH BANKS, Bar^t.
Page 12
" in my copy; also a note dated Sept.
Page 13
Faujas de Saint-Fond, Paris, 1783.
Page 14
10, "chearfully" is possibly an older spelling for "cheerfully"; p.