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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 247

operation, the different effects of the same
quantity of electric fluid passing through different quantities of
metal. A strip of tinfoil, three inches long, a quarter of an inch
wide at one end, and tapering all the way to a sharp point at the
other, fixed between two pieces of glass, and having the electricity
of a large glass jar sent through it, will not be discomposed in the
broadest part; towards the middle will appear melted in spots; where
narrower, it will be quite melted; and about half an inch of it next
the point will be reduced to smoke.

You were not mistaken in supposing that your account of the effect of
the pointed rod, in securing Mr. West's house from damage by a stroke
of lightning, would give me great pleasure. I thank you for it most
heartily, and for the pains you have taken in giving me so complete a
description of its situation, form, and substance, with the draft of
the melted point. There is one circumstance, viz. that the lightning
was seen to diffuse itself from the foot of the rod over the wet
pavement, which seems, I think, to indicate, that the earth under
the pavement was very dry, and that the rod should have been sunk
deeper, till it came to earth moister, and therefore apter to receive
and dissipate the electric fluid. And although, in this instance,
a conductor formed of nail rods, not much above a quarter of an
inch thick, served well to convey the lightning, yet some accounts
I have seen from Carolina, give reason to think, that larger may
be sometimes necessary, at least for the security of the conductor
itself, which, when too small, may be destroyed in executing its
office, though it does, at the same time, preserve the house. Indeed,
in the construction of an instrument so new, and of which we could
have so little experience, it is rather lucky that we should at first
be so near the truth as we seem to be, and commit so few errors.

There is another reason for sinking deeper the lower end of the
rod, and also for turning it outwards under ground to some distance
from the foundation; it is this, that water dripping from the eaves
falls near the foundation, and sometimes soaks down there in greater
quantities, so as to come near the end of the rod, though the ground
about it be drier. In such case, this water may be exploded, that is,
blown into vapour, whereby a force is generated, that may damage the
foundation. Water

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 24
_ It might be better, perhaps, as was said before, if the crown appointed a vice president, to take place on the death or absence of the president general; for so we should be more sure of a suitable person at the head of the colonies.
Page 61
An act, for striking and issuing the sum of 40,000_l.
Page 90
_But what is the prudent policy, inculcated by the remarker to obtain this end, security of dominion over our colonies? It is_, to leave the French _in_ Canada, to "check" their growth; _for otherwise, our people may "increase infinitely from all causes[48].
Page 103
All this might have happened, as soon as America's distaste of the sovereign had exceeded the fear of the foreigner; a circumstance frequently seen possible in history, and which our ministers took care should not be wanting.
Page 109
Otherwise, that very universal estimation is an inconvenience, which paper-money is free from; since it tends.
Page 128
I have frequently mentioned the _equitable intentions_ of the house in those parts of the act, that were supposed obscure, and how they were understood here.
Page 165
They reflected how lightly the interest of _all_ America had been estimated here, when the interests of a _few_ of the inhabitants of Great Britain happened to have the smallest competition with it.
Page 186
Page 208
_The settlers of colonies in America did not carry with them the_ laws of the land, _as being bound by them wherever they should settle.
Page 212
of all forts and places of strength, is, and by the laws of England ever was, the undoubted right of his majesty and his royal predecessors, kings and queens of England, within all his majesty's realms and dominions[112]," in like manner as the supreme military power and command (so far as the constitution knows of and will justify its establishment) is inseparably annexed to, and forms an essential part of the office of supreme civil magistrate, the office of king: in like manner, in all _governments under the king_, where the constituents are British subjects and of full and perfect right entitled to the British laws and constitution, the supreme military command within the precincts of such jurisdictions must be inseparably annexed to the office of supreme civil magistrate, (his majesty's regent, vice-regent, lieutenant, or locum tenens, in what form soever established) so that the king cannot, by any[113] commission of regency, by any commission or charter of government, separate or withdraw the supreme command of the military from the office of supreme civil magistrate--either by reserving this command in his own hands, to be exercised and executed independent of the civil power; or by granting a distinct commission to any military commander in chief, so to be exercised and executed; but more especially not within such jurisdictions where such supreme military power (so far as the constitution knows and will justify the same) is _already_ annexed and granted to the office of supreme civil magistrate.
Page 250
This you will see more particularly in a printed resolution of the congress.
Page 266
So I thought to myself, since I cannot do any business to-day, I may as well go to the meeting too, and I went with him.
Page 270
By the collision of different sentiments, sparks of truth are struck out, and political light is obtained.
Page 282
Moses denied the charge of peculation, and his accusers were destitute of proofs to support it; though _facts_, if real, are in their nature capable of proof.
Page 315
He, that gets all he can honestly, and saves all he gets (necessary expences excepted), will certainly become _rich_--if that Being who governs the world, to whom all should look for a blessing on their honest endeavours, doth not, in his wise providence, otherwise determine.
Page 324
Permit me to mention one little instance, which, though it relates to myself, will not be quite uninteresting to you.
Page 338
nor the other.
Page 375
I found the ministers of France equally impressed with his talents and integrity.
Page 413
_Rowley_, Dr.
Page 420
may be electrised positively and negatively, 291.