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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 278

the other, I rammed the
powder hard between them in the middle of the tube, where it stuck
fast, and was in length about half an inch. Then leaving the wires in
the tube, I made them part of the electric circuit, and discharged
through them three rows of my case of bottles. The event was, that
the glass was broke into very small pieces and those dispersed with
violence in all directions. As I did not expect this, I had not, as
in other experiments, laid thick paper over the glass to save my
eyes, so several of the pieces struck my face smartly, and one of
them cut my lip a little so as to make it bleed. I could find no
part of the amber; but the table where the tube lay was stained very
black in spots, such as might be made by a thick smoke forced on it
by a blast, and the air was filled with a strong smell, somewhat
like that from burnt gunpowder. Whence I imagined, that the amber
was burnt, and had exploded as gunpowder would have done in the same
circumstances.

That I might better see the effect on the amber, I made the next
experiment in a tube formed of a card rolled up and bound strongly
with packthread. Its bore was about one-eighth of an inch diameter.
I rammed powder of amber into this as I had done in the other, and
as the quantity of amber was greater, I increased the quantity of
electric fluid, by discharging through it at once five rows of my
bottles. On opening the tube, I found that some of the powder had
exploded, an impression was made on the tube, though it was not hurt,
and most of the powder remaining was turned black, which I suppose
might be by the smoke forced through it from the burned part: some of
it was hard; but as it powdered again when pressed by the fingers, I
suppose that hardness not to arise from melting any parts in it, but
merely from my ramming the powder when I charged the tube.

B. FRANKLIN.




TO THOMAS RONAYNE, ESQ. AT CORKE[91].

_On the Electricity of the Fogs in Ireland._


_London, April 20, 1766._

SIR,

I have received your very obliging and very ingenious letter by
Captain Kearney. Your observations upon the electricity of fogs and
the air in Ireland, and upon different circumstances of storms,
appear to me very curious, and I thank you for them. There is not,
in my opinion, any part of

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Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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eminence and wealth.
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a fancy to poetry, and made some little pieces; my brother, thinking it might turn to account, encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads.
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[30] Temple Franklin considered this specific figure vulgar and changed it to "stared with astonishment.
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He let me into Keith's character; told me there was not the least probability that he had written any letters for me; that no one, who knew him, had the smallest dependence on him; and he laught at the notion of the governor's giving me a letter of credit, having, as he said, no credit to give.
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6d.
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My mind having been much more improv'd by reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that reason my conversation seem'd to be more valu'd.
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Andrew's in Scotland) gave a contrary opinion: "For the industry of that Franklin," says he, "is superior to anything I ever saw of the kind; I see him still at work when I go home from club, and he is at work again before his neighbors are out of bed.
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These things I mention as a caution to young printers, and that they may be encouraged not to pollute their presses and disgrace their profession by such infamous practices, but refuse steadily, as they may see by my example that such a course of conduct will not, on the whole, be injurious to their interests.
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We had from the beginning made it a rule to keep our institution a secret, which was pretty well observ'd; the intention was to avoid applications of improper persons for admittance, some of whom, perhaps, we might find it difficult to refuse.
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_ [84] The Franklin stove is still in use.
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It was about this time that another projector, the Rev.
Page 144
But I ventur'd only to say, "To be sure, sir, if you arrive well before Duquesne, with these fine troops, so well provided with artillery, that place not yet completely fortified, and as we hear with no very strong garrison, can probably make but a short resistance.
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Shirley, was killed by his side; and out of eighty-six officers, sixty-three were killed or wounded, and seven hundred and fourteen men killed out of eleven hundred.
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[103] Pronounced Gna'-den-hoot.
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I found they work'd for a common stock, ate at common tables, and slept in common dormitories, great numbers together.
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And my new honour proved not much less brittle; for all our commissions were soon after broken by a repeal of the law in England.
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He would, therefore, sometimes call in a friendly way to advise with me on difficult points, and sometimes, tho' not often, take my advice.
Page 183
Whoever shall secure the said Servant so that his Master may have him again, shall have _Three Pounds_ Reward, and reasonable Charges paid, by _Rice Prichard.