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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 215

feet up from the ground to the place where the bell hung,
over which rose a taper spire, of wood likewise, reaching seventy
feet higher, to the vane of the weather-cock. Near the bell was fixed
an iron hammer to strike the hours; and from the tail of the hammer
a wire went down through a small gimlet-hole in the floor that the
bell stood upon, and through a second floor in like manner; then
horizontally under and near the plaistered cieling of that second
floor, till it came near a plaistered wall; then down by the side of
that wall to a clock, which stood about twenty feet below the bell.
The wire was not bigger than a common knitting-needle. The spire was
split all to pieces by the lightning, and the parts flung in all
directions over the square in which the church stood, so that nothing
remained above the bell.

The lightning passed between the hammer and the clock in the
above-mentioned wire, without hurting either of the floors, or
having any effect upon them (except making the gimlet-holes, through
which the wire passed, a little bigger,) and without hurting the
plaistered wall, or any part of the building, so far as the aforesaid
wire and the pendulum wire of the clock extended; which latter
wire was about the thickness of a goose-quill. From the end of the
pendulum, down quite to the ground, the building was exceedingly
rent and damaged, and some stones in the foundation-wall torn out,
and thrown to the distance of twenty or thirty feet. No part of the
afore-mentioned long small wire, between the clock and the hammer,
could be found, except about two inches that hung to the tail of
the hammer, and about as much that was fastened to the clock; the
rest being exploded, and its particles dissipated in smoke and air,
as gunpowder is by common fire, and had only left a black smutty
track on the plaistering, three or four inches broad, darkest in
the middle, and fainter toward the edges, all along the cieling,
under which it passed, and down the wall. These were the effects and
appearances; on which I would only make the few following remarks,

1. That lightning, in its passage through a building, will leave wood
to pass as far as it can in metal, and not enter the wood again till
the conductor of metal ceases.

And the same I have observed in other instances, as to walls of brick
or stone.

2. The quantity of lightning that passed through this steeple must
have been very great, by its

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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 16
_ "III.
Page 39
You know I understand all the inferior animal tongues.
Page 52
If he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no farther acquaintance with him.
Page 62
Therefore, as soon as they arrive within hearing, they stop and halloo, remaining there till invited to enter.
Page 84
prize goods, under pain of losing the freedom of the burgh for ever, with other punishment at the will of the magistrate; the practice of making prizes being contrary to good conscience, and the rule of treating Christian brethren as we would wish to be treated; and such goods _are not to be sold by any Godly man within this burgh_.
Page 86
" With unchangeable esteem and affection, I am, my dear friend, Ever yours.
Page 98
We can only add, that if the young lady and her friends are willing, we give our consent heartily and our blessing.
Page 101
And as many of the terms of science are such as you cannot have met with in your common reading, and may, therefore, be unacquainted with, I think it would be well for you to have a good dictionary at hand, to consult immediately when you meet with a word you do not comprehend the precise meaning of.
Page 113
"Mentioning Colonel Onslow reminds me of something that passed at the beginning of this session in the house between him and Mr.
Page 129
Your great comfort and mine in this war is, that we honestly and faithfully did everything in our power to prevent it.
Page 148
I perfectly agree with all the sentiments you have expressed on this occasion.
Page 154
"I must agree with you that the gout is bad, and that the stone is worse.
Page 165
As many of the first set were averse to this and chose to withdraw, it was necessary to settle their accounts; so all were adjusted, the profits shared that had been accumulated, and the new and old proprietors jointly began on a new and equal footing.
Page 183
* * * * * _To M.
Page 188
That where there happens to be such a structure and conformation of the interior part of the earth, as that the fire may pass freely, and without impediment, from the caverns wherein it assembles unto those spiracles, it then readily gets out, from time to time, without shaking or disturbing the earth; but where such communication is wanting, or passage not sufficiently large and open, so that it cannot come at the spiracles, it heaves up and shocks the earth with greater or lesser impetuosity, according to the quantity of fire thus assembled, till it has made its way to the mouth of the volcano.
Page 195
can drive into it? Is it not thus that the surface of this globe is continually heated by such repeated vibrations in the day, and cooled by the escape of the heat when those vibrations are discontinued in the night, or intercepted and reflected by clouds? Is it not thus that fire is amassed, and makes the greatest part of the substance of combustible bodies? Perhaps, when this globe was first formed, and its original particles took their place at certain distances from the centre, in proportion to their greater or less gravity, the fluid fire, attracted towards that centre, might in great part be obliged, as lightest, to take place above the rest, and thus form the sphere of fire above supposed, which would afterward be continually diminishing by the substance it afforded to organized bodies, and the quantity restored to it again by the burning or other separating of the parts of those bodies? Is not the natural heat of animals thus produced, by separating in digestion the parts of food, and setting their fire at liberty? Is it not this sphere of fire which kindles the wandering globes that sometimes pass through it in our course round the sun, have their surface kindled by it, and burst when their included air is greatly rarefied by the heat on their burning surfaces? May it not have been from such considerations that the ancient philosophers supposed a sphere of fire to exist above the air of our atmosphere? B.
Page 206
But if there really is a vacuum in the centre, or near the axis of whirlwinds, then, I think, water may rise in such vacuum to that height, or to a less height, as the vacuum may be less perfect.
Page 228
Now, how many rivers that are open to the sea widen much before they arrive at it, not merely by the additional waters they receive, but by having their course stopped by the opposing flood-tide; by being turned back twice in twenty-four hours, and by finding broader beds in the low flat countries to dilate themselves in; hence the evaporation of the fresh water is proportionably increased, so that in some rivers it may equal the springs of supply.
Page 244
Ingenious reasoning, refined and subtile consultation, were in him combined with prompt resolution and inflexible firmness of purpose.
Page 246
98 impaartial --> impartial 3.