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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 264

from such
practice, though constant experience shows its inutility. A late
piece of the Abbé Nollet, printed last year in the memoirs of the
French Academy of Sciences, affords strong instances of this: for
though the very relations he gives of the effects of lightning in
several churches and other buildings show clearly, that it was
conducted from one part to another by wires, gildings, and other
pieces of metal that were _within_, or connected with the building,
yet in the same paper he objects to the providing metalline
conductors _without_ the building, as useless or dangerous.[82] He
cautions people not to ring the church bells during a thunder-storm,
lest the lightning, in its way to the earth, should be conducted down
to them by the bell ropes,[83] which are but bad conductors; and yet
is against fixing metal rods on the outside of the steeple, which
are known to be much better conductors, and which it would certainly
chuse to pass in, rather than in dry hemp. And though for a thousand
years past bells have been solemnly consecrated by the Romish
church[84], in expectation that the sound of such blessed bells would
drive away those storms, and secure our buildings from the stroke
of lightning; and during so long a period, it has not been found by
experience, that places within the reach of such blessed sound, are
safer than others where it is never heard; but that on the contrary,
the lightning seems to strike steeples of choice, and that at the
very time the bells are ringing[85]; yet still they continue to bless
the new bells, and jangle the old ones whenever it thunders.--One
would think it was now time to try some other trick;--and ours is
recommended (whatever this able philosopher may have been told to the
contrary) by more than twelve years experience, wherein, among the
great number of houses furnished with iron rods in North America, not
one so guarded has been materially hurt with lightning, and several
have been evidently preserved by their means; while a number of
houses, churches, barns, ships, &c. in different places, unprovided
with rods, have been struck and greatly damaged, demolished or burnt.
Probably the vestries of our English churches are not generally well
acquainted with these facts; otherwise, since as good protestants
they have no faith in the blessing of bells, they would be less
excusable in not providing this other security for their respective
churches, and for the good people that may happen to be assembled
in them during a tempest, especially as those buildings, from their
greater height, are more exposed to the

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Bishop of St.
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Then I walked up the street, gazing about till near the market-house I met a boy with bread.
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In the mean time, that hard-to-be-governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way, which were attended with some expense and great inconvenience, besides a continual risque to my health by a distemper which of all things I dreaded, though by great good luck I escaped it.
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None of the inconveniences happened that we had apprehended, she proved a good and faithful helpmate, assisted me much by attending the shop; we throve together, and have ever mutually endeavored to make each other happy.
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If this correspondent had known the nature of your reputation as well as I do, he would have said, Your former writings and measures would secure attention to your Biography, and Art of Virtue; and your Biography and Art of Virtue, in return, would secure attention to them.
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, and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present.
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Walking the rounds, too, was often neglected, and most of the nights spent in tippling.
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Page 99
Returning northward, he preach'd up this charity, and made large collections, for his eloquence had a wonderful power over the hearts and purses of his hearers, of which I myself was an instance.
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Robert Grace, one of my early friends, who, having an iron-furnace, found the casting of the plates for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in demand.
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Our answers, as well as his messages, were often tart, and sometimes indecently abusive; and, as he knew I wrote for the Assembly, one might have imagined that, when we met, we could hardly avoid cutting throats; but he was so good-natur'd a man that no personal difference between him and me was occasion'd by the contest, and we often din'd together.
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And, after my return from the frontier, he would have had me undertake the conduct of such an expedition with provincial troops, for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar and his men being otherwise employed; and he proposed to commission me as general.
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" By some accidental hinderance at a ferry, it was Monday noon before I arrived, and I was much afraid she might have sailed, as the wind was fair; but I was soon made easy by the information that she was still in the harbor, and would not move till the next day.
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of the Attorney and Solicitor-General.
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1780 Appoints Paul Jones commander of the "Alliance.
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.