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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 177

matter of this terraqueous globe.
If so, the terms _electric per se_, and _non-electric_, should be
laid aside as improper: and (the only difference being this, that
some bodies will conduct electric matter, and others will not) the
terms _conductor_ and _non-conductor_ may supply their place. If
any portion of electric matter is applied to a piece of conducting
matter, it penetrates and flows through it, or spreads equally on
its surface; if applied to a piece of non-conducting matter, it will
do neither. Perfect conductors of electric matter are only metals
and water. Other bodies conducting only as they contain a mixture
of those; without more or less of which they will not conduct at
all[59]. This (by the way) shews a new relation between metals and
water heretofore unknown.

To illustrate this by a comparison, which, however, can only give
a faint resemblance. Electric matter passes through conductors as
water passes through a porous stone, or spreads on their surfaces as
water spreads on a wet stone; but when applied to non-conductors, it
is like water dropt on a greasy stone, it neither penetrates, passes
through, nor spreads on the surface, but remains in drops where it
falls. See farther on this head, in my last printed piece, entitled,
_Opinions and Conjectures, &c._ 1749.

_Query_, What are the effects of air in electrical experiments?

_Answer._ All I have hitherto observed are these. Moist air receives
and conducts the electrical matter in proportion to its moisture,
quite dry air not at all: air is therefore to be classed with the

Dry air assists in confining the electrical atmosphere to the body
it surrounds, and prevents its dissipating: for in vacuo it quits
easily, and points operate stronger, _i. e._ they throw off or
attract the electrical matter more freely, and at greater distances;
so that air intervening obstructs its passage from body to body
in some degree. A clean electrical phial and wire, containing air
instead of water, will not be charged nor give a shock, any more
than if it was filled with powder of glass; but exhausted of air, it
operates as well as if filled with water. Yet an electric atmosphere
and air do not seem to exclude each other, for we breathe freely
in such an atmosphere, and dry air will blow through it without
displacing or driving it away. I question whether the strongest dry
north-wester[60] would dissipate it. I once electrified a large
cork-ball at the end of a silk thread three feet long, the other end
of which I held in my fingers, and whirl'd it round, like a sling one

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

Page 6
He was chosen president, or governor, of Pennsylvania, and the faith of the people in his wisdom made him delegate to the convention which framed the Constitution in 1787.
Page 26
In the mean time, the boatman and I concluded to sleep if we could, and so crowded into the scuttle with the Dutchman, who was still wet, and the spray beating over the head of our boat leaked through to us, so that we were soon almost as wet as he.
Page 45
He seemed quite to forget his wife and child, and I, by degrees, my engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that was to let her know I was not likely soon to return.
Page 54
These he had agreed with at extremely low wages per week, to be raised a shilling every three months, as they would deserve by improving in their business; and the expectation of these high wages, to come on hereafter, was what he had drawn them in with.
Page 55
Our printing house often wanted sorts, and there was no.
Page 57
At Burlington I made an acquaintance with many principal people of the province.
Page 75
Franklin died Dec.
Page 79
| M.
Page 81
16, 17.
Page 86
It will be remarked that, though my scheme was not wholly without religion, there was in it no mark of any of the distinguishing tenets of any particular sect.
Page 100
He was at first permitted to preach in some of our churches; but the clergy, taking a dislike to him, soon refused him their pulpits, and he was obliged to preach in the fields.
Page 101
Page 112
It was to be paid in quotas yearly for five years.
Page 117
The subscriptions accordingly soon exceeded the requisite sum, and we claimed and received the public gift, which enabled us to carry the design into execution.
Page 119
John Clifton,--his giving a sample of the utility of lamps by placing one at his door,--that the people were first impressed with the idea of enlighting all the city.
Page 128
Page 132
The service will be light and easy, for the army will scarce march above twelve miles per day, and the wagons and baggage horses, as they carry those things that are absolutely necessary to the welfare of the army, must march with the army, and no faster; and are, for the army's sake, always placed where they can be most secure, whether in a march or in a camp.
Page 144
The officers, meeting, chose me to be colonel of the regiment, which I this time accepted.
Page 150
Our new governor, Captain Denny, brought over for me the before-mentioned medal from the Royal Society, which he presented to me at an entertainment given him by the city.
Page 171
all spirit and virtue.