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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 273

that in those _small_ experiments
it is evident the points act at a greater than the _striking_
distance; and in the large way, their service is _only expected_
where there is _such_ nearness of the cloud, as to _endanger a
stroke_; and there, it cannot be doubted the points must have some
effect. And if the quantity discharged by a single pointed rod may
be so considerable as I have shown it; the quantity discharged by a
number will be proportionably greater.

But this part of the theory does not depend alone on _small_
experiments. Since the practice of erecting pointed rods in America
(now near twenty years) five of them have been struck by lightning,
viz. Mr. Raven's and Mr. Maine's in South Carolina; Mr. Tucker's in
Virginia; Mr. West's and Mr. Moulder's in Philadelphia. Possibly
there may have been more that have not come to my knowledge. But in
every one of these, the lightning did _not_ fall upon the _body of
the house_, but precisely on the several _points_ of the rods; and,
though the conductors were sometimes _not sufficiently large and
complete_, was conveyed into the earth, without any material damage
to the buildings. Facts then _in great_, as far as we have them
authenticated, justify the opinion that is drawn from the experiments
_in small_ as above related.

It has also been objected, that unless we knew the quantity that
might _possibly_ be discharged at one stroke from the clouds,
we cannot be sure we have provided _sufficient_ conductors; and
therefore cannot depend on their conveying away _all_ that may fall
on their points. Indeed we have nothing to form a judgment by in
this but past facts; and we know of no instance where a _compleat_
conductor to the moist earth _has_ been insufficient, if half an
inch diameter. It is probable that many strokes of lightning have
been conveyed through the common leaden pipes affixed to houses to
carry down the water from the roof to the ground: and there is no
account of such pipes being melted and destroyed, as must sometimes
have happened if they had been insufficient. We can then only judge
of the dimensions proper for a conductor of lightning, as we do of
those proper for a _conductor of rain_, by past observation. And as
we think a pipe of three inches bore sufficient to carry off the
rain that falls on a square of 20 feet, because we never saw such a
pipe glutted by any shower; so we may judge a conductor of an inch
diameter, more than sufficient for any stroke of lightning

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 15
They were wretched stuff, in the Grub Street[28] ballad style; and when they were printed.
Page 22
When he found I would leave him, he took care to prevent my getting employment in any other printing house of the town, by going round and speaking to every master, who accordingly refused to give me work.
Page 30
He had a house, indeed, but without furniture, so he could not lodge me; but he got me a lodging at Mr.
Page 33
My father, though he did not approve Sir William's proposition, was yet pleased that I had been able to obtain so advantageous a character from a person of such note where I had resided, and that I had been so industrious and careful as to equip myself so.
Page 45
At Palmer's I was employed in composing[67] for the second edition of Wollaston's "Religion of Nature.
Page 52
made me, probably I should not so soon have returned to America.
Page 61
Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterward surveyor general, who loved books, and sometimes made a few verses.
Page 68
The old folks encouraged me by continual invitations to supper, and by leaving us together, till at length it was time to explain.
Page 70
It might, too, be much better done if I were at home among my papers, which would aid my memory, and help to ascertain dates; but my return being uncertain, and having just now a little leisure, I will endeavor to recollect and write what I can; if I live to get home, it may there be corrected and improved.
Page 77
Page 86
(James ii.
Page 94
After ten years' absence from Boston, and having become easy in my circumstances, I made a journey thither to visit my relations, which I could not sooner well afford.
Page 106
" I heard, however, no more of this; I was chosen again unanimously, as usual, at the next election.
Page 123
Thus, without studying in any college, I came to partake of their honors.
Page 130
Whereas, one hundred and fifty wagons, with four horses to each wagon, and fifteen hundred saddle or pack horses, are wanted for the service of his Majesty's forces now about to rendezvous at Will's Creek, and his Excellency, General Braddock, having been pleased to empower me to contract for the hire of the same, I hereby give notice that I shall attend for that purpose at Lancaster from this day to next Wednesday evening, and at York from next Thursday morning till Friday evening, where I shall be ready to agree for wagons and teams, or single horses, on the following terms, viz.
Page 140
The Indians had burned Gnadenhut, a village settled by the Moravians, and massacred the inhabitants; but the place was thought a good situation for one of the forts.
Page 152
Page 157
While we stood there, the ship mended her pace, and soon left her neighbor far behind, which proved clearly what our captain suspected, that she was loaded too much by the head.
Page 170
the worth of water.
Page 176