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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 254

foundation, which being near the earth are generally
moist, and, in exploding that moisture, shattered them. (_See page_
358.) Part went through or under the foundation, and got under the
hearth, blowing up great part of the bricks (_m_)(_s_), and producing
the other effects (_o_)(_p_)(_q_)(_r_). The iron dogs, loggerhead
and iron pot were not hurt, being of sufficient substance, and they
probably protected the cat. The copper tea-kettle being thin suffered
some damage. Perhaps, though found on a sound part of the hearth,
it might at the time of the stroke have stood on the part blown up,
which will account both for the bruising and melting.

That _it ran down the inside of the chimney_ (_k_) I apprehend
must be a mistake. Had it done so, I imagine it would have brought
something more than soot with it; it would probably have ripped off
the pargetting, and brought down fragments of plaster and bricks. The
shake, from the explosion on the rod, was sufficient to shake down a
good deal of loose soot. Lightning does not usually enter houses by
the doors, windows, or chimneys, as open passages, in the manner that
air enters them: its nature is, to be attracted by substances, that
are conductors of electricity; it penetrates and passes _in_ them,
and, if they are not good conductors as are neither wood, brick,
stone nor plaster, it is apt to rend them in its passage. It would
not easily pass through the air from a cloud to a building, were it
not for the aid afforded it in its passage by intervening fragments
of clouds below the main body, or by the falling rain.

It is said that _the house was filled with its flash_ (_l_).
Expressions like this are common in accounts of the effects of
lightning, from which we are apt to understand that the lightning
filled the house. Our language indeed seems to want a word to express
the _light_ of lightning as distinct from the lightning itself. When
a tree on a hill is struck by it, the lightning of that stroke exists
only in a narrow vein between the cloud and tree, but its light fills
a vast space many miles round; and people at the greatest distance
from it are apt to say, "The lightning came into our rooms through
our windows." As it is in itself extremely bright, it cannot, when
so near as to strike a house, fail illuminating highly every room
in it through the windows; and this I suppose to have been the case
at Mr. Maine's; and that, except in and

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Page 1
with Biographical and Interesting Anecdotes 1 6 Watt's Catechism and Prayers, in 1 vol.
Page 2
COURTEOUS READER, I HAVE heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by others.
Page 3
" Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose: so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.
Page 4
Page 5
" Here you are all.
Page 6
Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly, and half starved their families; "Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire," as Poor Richard says.
Page 7
"Vessels large may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore.
Page 8
" The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it; or, if you bear your debt in mind, the term, which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short: "Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders.
Page 9
Richard says.