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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 258

rung
while it was snowing, yet, the next day, after it had done snowing,
and the weather was cleared up, while the snow was driven about by
a high wind at W. or N. W. the bells rung for several hours (though
with little intermissions) as briskly as ever I knew them, and I drew
considerable sparks from the wire. This phenomenon I never observed
but twice; viz. on the 31st of January, 1760, and the 3d of March,
1762.

I am, Sir, &c.




FROM MR. A. S[79]. TO B. F.

_Flash of Lightning that struck St. Bride's Steeple._


I have just recollected that in one of our great storms of lightning,
I saw an appearance, which I never observed before, nor ever heard
described. I am persuaded that I saw _the_ flash which struck St.
Bride's steeple. Sitting at my window, and looking to the north, I
saw what appeared to me a solid strait rod of fire, moving at a very
sharp angle with the horizon. It appeared to my eye as about two
inches diameter, and had nothing of the zig-zag lightning motion.
I instantly told a person sitting with me, that some place must be
struck at that instant. I was so much surprized at the vivid distinct
appearance of the fire, that I did not hear the clap of thunder,
which stunned every one besides. Considering how low it moved, I
could not have thought it had gone so far, having St. Martin's, the
New Church, and St. Clements's steeples in its way. It struck the
steeple a good way from the top, and the first impression it made in
the side is in the same direction I saw it move in. It was succeeded
by two flashes, almost united, moving in a pointed direction.

There were two distinct houses struck in Essex-street. I should have
thought the rod would have fallen in Covent-Garden, it was so low.
Perhaps the appearance is frequent, though never before seen by

Your's,

A. S.

FOOTNOTE:

[79] Mr. Alexander Small. _Editor._




TO MR. P. F[80]. NEWPORT.

_Best Method of securing a Powder Magazine from Lightning._


----You may acquaint the gentleman that desired you to enquire
my opinion of the best method of securing a powder magazine from
lightning, that I think they cannot do better than to erect a mast
not far from it, which may reach fifteen or twenty feet above the top
of it, with a thick iron rod in one piece fastened to it, pointed at
the highest end, and reaching down through the earth till it

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