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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 220

so
a friction between them, will not collect any fire; nor, I suppose,
would a sphere of salt revolving in water; the water adhering to,
or incorporating with those electrics _per se_. But granting that
the friction between salt and water would collect the electrical
fire, that fire, being so extremely subtle and active, would be
immediately communicated, either to those lower parts of the sea
from which it was drawn, and so only perform quick revolutions; or
be communicated to the adjacent islands or continent, and so be
diffused instantaneously through the general mass of the earth. I say
instantaneously, for the greatest distances we can conceive within
the limits of our globe, even that of the two most opposite points,
it will take no sensible time in passing through: and therefore
it seems a little difficult to conceive how there can be any
accumulation of the electrical fire upon the surface of the sea or
how the vapours arising from the sea should have a greater share of
that fire than other vapours.

That the progress of the electrical fire is so amazingly swift, seems
evident from an experiment you yourself (not out of choice) made,
when two or three large glass jars were discharged through your body.
You neither heard the crack, was sensible of the stroke, nor, which
is more extraordinary, saw the light; which gave you just reason to
conclude, that it was swifter than sound, than animal sensation, and
even light itself. Now light (as astronomers have demonstrated) is
about six minutes passing from the sun to the earth; a distance, they
say, of more than eighty millions of miles. The greatest rectilinear
distance within the compass of the earth is about eight thousand
miles, equal to its diameter. Supposing then, that the velocity of
the electric fire be the same as that of light, it will go through a
space equal to the earth's diameter in about 2/60 of one second of a
minute. It seems inconceivable then, that it should be accumulated
upon the sea, in its present state, which, as it is a non-electric,
must give the fire an instantaneous passage to the neighbouring
shores, and they convey it to the general mass of the earth. But such
accumulation seems still more inconceivable when the electrical fire
has but a few feet depth of water to penetrate, to return to the
place from whence it is supposed to be collected.

Your thoughts upon these remarks I shall receive with a great deal of
pleasure. I take notice that in the printed copies of your letters
several things are wanting which

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

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_ B.
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I apprehend it was given to Governor Pownall, 1754, for the purpose of being inserted in his memorial; but this point of anecdote I cannot sufficiently ascertain.
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_ 9.
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_ 2_d.
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It was answered, that no such thing was intended by the act: and that by lots was meant only such ground as _had_ been surveyed and divided into lots, and not the open undivided lands.
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Smith, Mr.
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It cannot, surely, be my promoting the change from a proprietary to a royal government.
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_Q.
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_ DEAR FRIEND[140], You will have heard before this reaches you, of a march stolen by the regulars into the country by night, and of their _expedition_ back again.
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_ [164] Numbers, chap.
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person more proper to be applied to for redress in all the grievances we suffer from want of manners in some people.
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no account to enter into a public dispute with any man; for I judged it would be equally unpleasant to me and my readers, to see this paper filled with contentious wrangling, answers, replies, &c.
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"Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the used key is always bright," as poor Richard says.
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Hours of each night in which we burn candles 7 ------- Multiplication gives for the total number of hours 1,281 These 1,281 hours multiplied by 100,000, the number of inhabitants give 128,100,000 One hundred twenty-eight millions and one hundred thousand hours, spent at Paris by candle-light, which, at half a pound of wax and tallow per hour, gives the weight of 64,050,000 Sixty-four millions and fifty thousand of pounds, which, estimating the whole at the medium price of thirty sols the pound, makes the sum of ninety-six millions and seventy-five thousand livres tournois 96,075,000 An immense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.
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My present friends are the children and grand-children of the friends of my youth, who are now, alas no more! And I must soon follow them; for, by the course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or eight minutes longer.
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Franklin a copy of the same in three volumes quarto, accompanied with the elegant collection of plates, and a very polite letter from lord Howe, signifying, that the present was made with his majesty's express approbation; and the royal society having, in honour of that illustrious navigator, one of their members, struck some gold medals to be distributed among his friends and the friends of his voyage, one of those medals, was also sent to Dr.
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Affairs of great importance shall be referred to the whole committee.
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D.
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further particulars of, 551.
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_Keith_, sir William, Franklin patronized by, i.