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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 157

so a blunt
body presented cannot draw off a number of particles at once, but a
pointed one, with no greater force, takes them away easily, particle
by particle.

18. These explanations of the power and operation of points, when
they first occurred to me, and while they first floated in my mind,
appeared perfectly satisfactory; but now I have written them, and
considered them more closely, I must own I have some doubts about
them; yet, as I have at present nothing better to offer in their
stead, I do not cross them out: for, even a bad solution read, and
its faults discovered, has often given rise to a good one, in the
mind of an ingenious reader.

19. Nor is it of much importance to us to know the manner in
which nature executes her laws; it is enough if we know the laws
themselves. It is of real use to know that china left in the air
unsupported will fall and break; but _how_ it comes to fall and _why_
it breaks are matters of speculation. It is a pleasure indeed to
know them, but we can preserve our china without it.

20. Thus in the present case, to know this power of points may
possibly be of some use to mankind, though we should never be able
to explain it. The following experiments, as well as those in my
first paper, show this power. I have a large prime conductor, made
of several thin sheets of clothier's pasteboard, formed into a tube,
near ten feet long and a foot diameter. It is covered with Dutch
embossed-paper, almost totally gilt. This large metallic surface
supports a much greater electrical atmosphere than a rod of iron of
50 times the weight would do. It is suspended by silk lines, and
when charged will strike, at near two inches distance, a pretty hard
stroke, so as to make ones knuckle ach. Let a person standing on the
floor present the point of a needle at 12 or more inches distance
from it, and while the needle is so presented, the conductor cannot
be charged, the point drawing off the fire as fast as it is thrown
on by the electrical globe. Let it be charged, and then present the
point at the same distance, and it will suddenly be discharged. In
the dark you may see the light on the point, when the experiment is
made. And if the person holding the point stands upon wax, he will
be electrified by receiving the fire at that distance. Attempt to
draw off the electricity with a

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

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Page 461
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Page 542
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Page 614
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You would have me.
Page 696
I received and read the Letter from my dear and much respected Friend with infinite Pleasure.
Page 746
[Q] Exodus, ch.