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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 197

measured, and, in different strokes, is certainly very various, in
some much greater than others; and as iron (the best metal for the
purpose, being least apt to fuse) is cheap, it may be well enough
to provide a larger canal to guide that impetuous blast than we
imagine necessary: for, though one middling wire may be sufficient,
two or three can do no harm. And time, with careful observations
well compared, will at length point out the proper size to greater

Pointed rods erected on edifices may likewise often prevent a stroke,
in the following manner: An eye so situated as to view horizontally
the under side of a thunder-cloud, will see it very ragged, with a
number of separate fragments, or petty clouds, one under another,
the lowest sometimes not far from the earth. These, as so many
stepping-stones, assist in conducting a stroke between the cloud
and a building. To represent these by an experiment, take two or
three locks of fine loose cotton, connect one of them with the prime
conductor by a fine thread of two inches (which may be spun out of
the same lock by the fingers) another to that, and the third to the
second, by like threads.--Turn the globe and you will see these locks
extend themselves towards the table (as the lower small clouds do
towards the earth) being attracted by it: but on presenting a sharp
point erect under the lowest, it will shrink up to the second, the
second to the first, and all together to the prime conductor, where
they will continue as long as the point continues under them. May
not, in like manner, the small electrised clouds, whose equilibrium
with the earth is soon restored by the point, rise up to the main
body, and by that means occasion so large a vacancy, as that the
grand cloud cannot strike in that place?

These thoughts, my dear friend, are many of them crude and hasty;
and if I were merely ambitious of acquiring some reputation
in philosophy, I ought to keep them by me, till corrected and
improved by time, and farther experience. But since even short
hints and imperfect experiments in any new branch of science,
being communicated, have oftentimes a good effect, in exciting the
attention of the ingenious to the subject, and so become the occasion
of more exact disquisition, and more compleat discoveries, you are
at liberty to communicate this paper to whom you please; it being of
more importance that knowledge should increase, than that your friend
should be thought an accurate philosopher.



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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Illustrated by twenty-two Cuts on Wood.
Page 1
Proprietors, W.
Page 2
Page 3
--How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep! forgetting that, "the sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that there will be sleeping enough in the grave," as Poor Richard says.
Page 4
" [Illustration] 'Methinks I hear some of you say, "Must a man afford himself no leisure?" I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, "Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
Page 5
Darton, Junr.
Page 6
Remember what poor Richard says, "Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
Page 7
"--What would you think of that prince, or of that government, who should issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude? Would you not say that you were free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edict would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government tyrannical? And.
Page 8
When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but, as Poor Richard says, "Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.
Page 9
--I am, as ever, thine to serve thee, RICHARD SAUNDERS.