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

By Benjamin Franklin

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terms asked for the copyright of the
English edition were high, amounting to several thousand pounds,
which occasioned a little demur; but eventually they would no doubt
have been obtained. Nothing more however was heard of the proposals
or the work, in this its fair market. The proprietor, it seems,
had found a bidder of a different description in some emissary of
government, whose object was to withhold the manuscripts from the
world, not to benefit it by their publication; and they thus either
passed into other hands, or the person to whom they were bequeathed
received a remuneration for suppressing them. This at least has been
asserted, by a variety of persons, both in this country and America,
of whom some were at the time intimate with the grandson, and not
wholly unacquainted with the machinations of the ministry; and the
silence, which has been observed for so many years respecting the
publication, gives additional credibility to the report._

_What the manuscripts contained, that should have excited the
jealousy of government, we are unable, as we have never seen them,
positively to affirm; but, from the conspicuous part acted by the
author in the American revolution and the wars connected with it, it
is by no means difficult to guess; and of this we are sure, from his
character, that no disposition of his writings could have been more
contrary to his intentions or wishes._

_We have only to add, that in the present collection, which is
probably all that will ever be published of the works of this
extraordinary man, the papers are methodically arranged, the moral
and philosophical ones according to their subjects, the political
ones, as nearly as may be, according to their dates; that we have
given, in notes, the authorities for ascribing the different pieces
to Franklin; that where no title existed, to indicate the nature of a
letter or paper, we have prefixed a title; and lastly, that we have
compiled an index to the whole, which is placed at the beginning,
instead of, as is usual, at the end of the work, to render the
volumes more equal._

_April 7, 1806._





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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

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Place it on a non-electric, and touch the wire, you will get it out in a short time; but soonest.
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Take a book whose cover is filletted with gold; bend a wire of eight or ten inches long in the form of (_m_) FIG.
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--To electrise _plus_ or _minus_, no more needs to be known than this, that the parts of the tube or sphere that are rubbed, do, in the instant of the friction attract the electrical fire, and therefore take it from the thing rubbing: the same parts immediately, as the friction upon them ceases, are disposed to give the fire they have received, to any body that has less.
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--But if another bottle which had been charged through the coating be placed near the same wheel, its wire will attract the thimble repelled by the first, and thereby double the force that carries the wheel round; and not only taking out the fire that had been communicated to the thimbles by the first bottle, but even robbing them of their natural quantity, instead of being repelled when they come again towards the first bottle, they are more strongly attracted, so that the wheel mends its pace, till it goes with great rapidity twelve or fifteen rounds in a minute, and with such strength, as that the weight of one hundred _Spanish_ dollars with which we once loaded.
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--If one of these thin bottles be electrified by the coating, and the spark taken out thro' the gilding, it will break the glass inwards at the same time that it breaks the gilding outwards.
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Perhaps if that due quantity of electrical fire so obstinately retained by glass, could be separated from it, it would no longer be glass; it might lose its transparency, or its brittleness, or its elasticity.
Page 25
Take two round pieces of pasteboard two inches diameter; from the center and circumference of each of them suspend by fine silk threads eighteen inches long, seven small balls of wood, or seven peas equal in bigness; so will the balls appending to each pasteboard, form equal equilateral triangles, one ball being in the center, and six at equal distances from that, and from each other; and thus they represent particles of air.
Page 34
Thus a pin held by the head, and the point presented to an electrified body, will draw off its atmosphere at a foot distance; where if the head were presented instead of the point, no such effect would follow.
Page 36
Set the iron punch on the end upon the floor, in such a place as that the scales may pass over it in making their circle: Then electrify one scale by applying the wire of a charged phial to it.
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If one strip of gold, the length of the leaf, be not long enough for the glass, add another to the end of it, so that you may have a little part hanging out loose at each end of the glass.
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Thus the difference of distance is always proportioned to the difference of acuteness.
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The ends of the two chains in the glass were near an inch distant from each other, the oil of turpentine between.
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For the globe then draws the electrical fire out of the outside surface of the phial, and forces it, through the prime conductor and wire of the phial, into the inside surface.
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Under each Branch is given an Account of its Object and Use, an Explanation of the Terms, the History of its Rise and Progress, with Rules for exhibiting it to the best Advantage.
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[11] Gilt paper, with the gilt face next the glass, does well.