the room, and the air rendered very
dry by means of a fire: electrify the apparatus to a considerable
degree; then touch the tin tube with a finger, or any other
conductor, and the balls will, notwithstanding, continue to repel
each other; though not at so great a distance as before.
The air surrounding the apparatus to the distance of two or three
feet, is supposed to contain more or less of the electrical fire,
than its common share, as the tin tube is electrified positively,
or negatively; and when very dry, may not part with its overplus,
or have its deficiency supplied so suddenly, as the tin; but may
continue to be electrified, after that has been touched for a
Having made the Torricellian vacuum about five feet long, after the
manner described in the _Philosophical Transactions_, vol. xlvii. p.
370, if the excited tube be brought within a small distance of it,
a light will be seen through more than half its length; which soon
vanishes, if the tube be not brought nearer; but will appear again,
as that is moved farther off. This may be repeated several times,
without exciting the tube afresh.
This experiment may be considered as a kind of ocular demonstration
of the truth of Mr. Franklin's hypothesis; that when the electrical
fluid is condensed on one side of thin glass, it will be repelled
from the other, if it meets with no resistance. According to which,
at the approach of the excited tube, the fire is supposed to be
repelled from the inside of the glass surrounding the vacuum, and to
be carried off through the columns of mercury; but, as the tube is
withdrawn, the fire is supposed to return.
Let an excited stick of wax, of two feet and an half in length, and
about an inch in diameter, be held near its middle. Excite the glass
tube, and draw it over one half of it; then, turning it a little
about its axis, let the tube be excited again, and drawn over the
same half; and let this operation be repeated several times: then
will that half destroy the repelling power of balls electrified by
glass, and the other half will increase it.
By this experiment it appears, that wax also may be electrified
positively and negatively. And it is probable, that all bodies
whatsoever may have the quantity they contain of the electrical
fluid, increased, or diminished. The clouds, I have observed, by a
great number of experiments, to be some in a positive, and others
in a negative state of electricity. For the
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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.