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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 204

Read at the Royal Society, Dec. 18, 1755.

_Philadelphia, March 14, 1755._


I. Electric atmospheres, that flow round non-electric bodies, being
brought near each other, do not readily mix and unite into one
atmosphere, but remain separate, and repel each other.

This is plainly seen in suspended cork balls, and other bodies

II. An electric atmosphere not only repels another electric
atmosphere, but will also repel the electric matter contained in the
substance of a body approaching it; and without joining or mixing
with it, force it to other parts of the body that contained it.

This is shewn by some of the following experiments.

III. Bodies electrified negatively, or deprived of their natural
quantity of electricity, repel each other, (or at least appear to do
so, by a mutual receding) as well as those electrified positively, or
which have electric atmospheres.

This is shewn by applying the negatively charged wire of a phial to
two cork balls, suspended by silk threads, and many other experiments.


Fix a tassel of fifteen or twenty threads, three inches long, at one
end of a tin prime conductor (mine is about five feet long, and four
inches diameter) supported by silk lines.

Let the threads be a little damp, but not wet.


_Pass an excited glass tube near the other end of the prime
conductor, so as to give it some sparks, and the threads will

Because each thread, as well as the prime conductor, has acquired an
electric atmosphere, which repels and is repelled by the atmospheres
of the other threads: if those several atmospheres would readily mix,
the threads might unite, and hang in the middle of one atmosphere,
common to them all.

_Rub the tube afresh, and approach the prime conductor therewith,
crossways, near that end, but not nigh enough to give sparks; and
the threads will diverge a little more._

Because the atmosphere of the prime conductor is pressed by the
atmosphere of the excited tube, and driven towards the end where the
threads are, by which each thread acquires more atmosphere.

_Withdraw the tube, and they will close as much._

They close as much, and no more; because the atmosphere of the glass
tube not having mixed with the atmosphere of the prime conductor, is
withdrawn intire, having made no addition to, or diminution from it.

_Bring the excited tube under the tuft of threads, and they will
close a little._

They close, because the atmosphere of the glass tube repels their
atmospheres, and drives part of them

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 13
_But dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of_, as Poor Richard says.
Page 22
In short, wherever you come, you will have the respect and admiration of all the world.
Page 28
It is commonly asserted, that without self-denial there is no virtue, and that the greater the self-denial the greater the virtue.
Page 66
The Star Chamber, which in the time of Elizabeth had gained a good repute, became an intolerable grievance in the reign of this _learned monarch_.
Page 80
Even the sanguinary author of the _Thoughts_ agrees to it, adding well, "that the very thought of _injured_ innocence, and much more that of _suffering_ innocence, must awaken all.
Page 83
There is, however, one late instance of an English merchant who will not profit by such ill-gotten gain.
Page 98
Page 102
I am going from the Old World to the New, and I fancy I feel like those who are leaving this world for the next; grief at the parting; fear of the passage; hope of the future: these different passions all affect their minds at once, and these have _tendered_ me down exceedingly.
Page 110
This is a fresh instance, for by letters just received I find that I was about the same time chosen President of our American Philosophical Society, established at Philadelphia.
Page 111
' A melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be! With us in America marriages are generally in the morning of life; our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon; and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of cheerful leisure to ourselves, such as our friend at present enjoys.
Page 114
_ "Passy, June 7, 1782.
Page 131
Similar cases in the affairs of life have since frequently fallen under my observation.
Page 149
This advice, thus beat into my head, has frequently been of use to me; and I often think of.
Page 164
When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an encumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them.
Page 171
" * * * * * "_Dr.
Page 178
If one might indulge imagination in supposing how such a globe was formed, I should conceive, that all the elements in separate particles being originally mixed in confusion, and occupying a great space, they would (as soon as the almighty fiat ordained gravity, or the mutual attraction of certain parts and the mutual repulsion of others, to exist) all move to their common centre: that the air, being a fluid whose parts repel each other, though drawn to the common centre by their gravity, would be densest towards the centre, and rarer as more remote; consequently, all matters lighter than the central parts of that air and immersed in it, would recede from the centre, and rise till they arrived at that region of the air which was of the same specific gravity with themselves, where they would rest; while other matter, mixed with the lighter air, would descend, and the two, meeting, would form the shell of the first earth, leaving the upper atmosphere nearly clear.
Page 216
These northeast storms are generally very violent, continue sometimes two or three days, and often do considerable damage in the harbours along the coast.
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Page 231
Under the care and management of man, the labours of the little silkworm afford employment and subsistence to thousands of families, and become an immense article of commerce.
Page 233