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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 246

rays, by collision, by friction, by hammering,
by putrefaction, by fermentation, by mixtures of fluids, by mixtures
of solids with fluids, and by electricity. And yet the fire when
produced, though in different bodies it may differ in circumstances,
as in colour, vehemence, &c. yet in the same bodies is generally the
same. Does not this seem to indicate that the fire existed in the
body, though in a quiescent state, before it was by any of these
means excited, disengaged, and brought forth to action and to view?
May it not constitute a part, and even a principal part, of the
solid substance of bodies? If this should be the case, kindling fire
in a body would be nothing more than developing this inflammable
principle, and setting it at liberty to act in separating the parts
of that body, which then exhibits the appearances of scorching,
melting, burning, &c. When a man lights an hundred candles from the
flame of one, without diminishing that flame, can it be properly
said to have _communicated_ all that fire? When a single spark from
a flint, applied to a magazine of gunpowder, is immediately attended
with this consequence, that the whole is in flame, exploding with
immense violence, could all this fire exist first in the spark? We
cannot conceive it. And thus we seem led to this supposition, that
there is fire enough in all bodies to singe, melt, or burn them,
whenever it is, by any means, set at liberty, so that it may exert
itself upon them, or be disengaged from them. This liberty seems to
be afforded it by the passage of electricity through them, which
we know can and does, of itself, separate the parts even of water;
and perhaps the immediate appearances of fire are only the effects
of such separations? If so, there would be no need of supposing that
the electric fluid _heats itself_ by the swiftness of its motion, or
heats bodies by the resistance it meets with in passing through them.
They would only be heated in proportion as such separation could be
more easily made. Thus a melting heat cannot be given to a large wire
in the flame of a candle, though it may to a small one; and this not
because the large wire resists _less_ that action of the flame which
tends to separate its parts, but because it resists it _more_ than
the smaller wire; or because the force being divided among more parts
acts weaker on each.

This reminds me, however, of a little experiment I have frequently
made, that shows, at one

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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, in December, 1905, and previously had belonged to G.
Page 1
The Champ de Mars being surrounded by Multitudes, and vast Numbers on the opposite Side of the River.
Page 2
A Note secur'd from the Weather had been affix'd to the Globe, signifying the Time & Place of its Departure, and praying those who might happen to find it, to send an account of its State to certain Persons at Paris.
Page 3
Pilatre du Rozier has seriously apply'd to the Academy for leave to go up with it, in order to make some Experiments.
Page 4
The Night was quite calm and clear, so that it went right up.
Page 5
This Paper was drawn up hastily, and may in some Places appear to you obscure; therefore I shall add a few explanatory Observations.
Page 6
When it went over our Heads, we could see the Fire which was very considerable.
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Montgolfier the very ingenious Inventor.
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Beings of a Rank and Nature far superior to ours have not disdained to amuse themselves with making and launching Balloons, otherwise we should never have enjoyed the Light of those glorious objects that rule our Day & Night, nor have had the Pleasure of riding round the Sun ourselves upon the.
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Balloon we now inhabit.
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great Balloon was near, and a small one was discharg'd which went to an amazing Height, there being but little Wind to make it deviate from its perpendicular Course, and at length the Sight of it was lost.
Page 11
Charles voulant profiter du peu de Jour qui lui restoit, pour.
Page 12
Il avoit perdu son air inflammable par le Robinet qu'on avoit laisse ouvert expres pour empecher l'explosion a trop grande hauteur.
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Pilatre du Rozier" should be "M.