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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 279

the earth whatever which is, or can be,
naturally in a state of negative electricity: and though different
circumstances may occasion an inequality in the distribution of
the fluid, the equilibrium is immediately restored by means of its
extreme subtilty, and of the excellent conductors with which the
humid earth is amply provided. I am of opinion, however, that when
a cloud, well charged positively, passes near the earth, it repels
and forces down into the earth that natural portion of electricity,
which exists near its surface, and in buildings, trees, &c. so as
actually to reduce them to a negative state before it strikes them.
I am of opinion too, that the negative state in which you have
frequently found the balls, which are suspended from your apparatus,
is not always occasioned by clouds in a negative state; but more
commonly by clouds positively electrified, which have passed over
them, and which in their passage have repelled and driven off a part
of the electrical matter, which naturally existed in the apparatus;
so that what remained after the passing of the clouds, diffusing
itself uniformly through the apparatus, the whole became reduced to a
negative state.

If you have read my experiments made in continuation of those of Mr.
Canton, you will readily understand this; but you may easily make
a few experiments, which will clearly demonstrate it. Let a common
glass be warmed before the fire that it may continue very dry for
some time; set it upon a table, and place upon it the small box made
use of by Mr. Canton, so that the balls may hang a little beyond
the edge of the table. Rub another glass, which has previously been
warmed in a similar manner, with a piece of black silk or a silk
handkerchief, in order to electrify it. Hold then the glass above
the little box, at about the distance of three or four inches from
that part, which is most distant from the balls; and you will see
the balls separate from each other; being positively electrified
by the natural portion of electricity, which was in the box, and
which is driven to the further part of it by the repulsive power of
the atmosphere in the excited glass. Touch the box near the little
balls (the excited glass continuing in the same state) and the balls
will again unite; the quantity of electricity which had been driven
to this part being drawn off by your finger. Withdraw then both
your finger and the glass at the same instant, and the quantity of
electricity which remained in the box,

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 1 of 2] With His Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 3
Franklin's Motion for Prayers in the Convention at Philadelphia, 1787, to revise the then existing Articles of Confederation 286 MEMOIRS OF FRANKLIN.
Page 16
I also read _Sellers_ and _Sturny's_ book on navigation, which made me acquainted with the little geometry it contained; but I never proceeded far in that science.
Page 35
"Now," said he, "Osborne never will allow the least merit in anything of mine, but makes a thousand criticisms out of mere envy: he is not so jealous of you; I wish, therefore, you would take this piece and produce it as yours: I will pretend not to have had time, and so produce nothing; we shall then hear what he will say to it.
Page 51
My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the dissenting way.
Page 53
The first members were Joseph Brientnal, a copier of deeds for the scriveners; a good-natured, friendly, middle-aged man, a great lover of poetry, reading all he could meet with, and writing some that.
Page 62
Thus I corrected that great _erratum_ as well as I could.
Page 68
"MY DEAREST SIR, "When I had read over your sheets of minutes of the principal incidents of your life, recovered for you by your Quaker acquaintance, I told you I would send you a letter expressing my reasons why I thought it would be useful to complete and publish it as he desired.
Page 83
" I used also, sometimes, a little prayer which I took from Thomson's Poems, viz.
Page 93
Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neighbouring states, and even on the conduct of our best national allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences.
Page 115
Yale College, in Connecticut, had before made me a similar compliment.
Page 140
But, in the mean time, the packet had sailed with my sea stores, which was some loss to me, and my only recompense was his lordship's thanks for my service, all the credit of obtaining the accommodation falling to his share.
Page 145
The foregoing fact I give for the sake of the following observation: it has been remarked, as an imperfection in the art of shipbuilding, that it can never be known till she is tried whether a new ship will or will not be a good sailer; for that the model of a good sailing ship has been exactly followed in a new one, which has been proved, on the contrary, remarkably dull.
Page 156
The assessment was made upon the strictest principle of equity; and the proprietary estates bore only a proportionable share of the expenses of supporting government.
Page 168
In this frame of body and mind he continued till five days before his death, when his pain and difficulty of breathing entirely left him, and his family were flattering themselves with the hopes of his recovery, when an imposthumation, which had formed itself in his lungs, suddenly burst, and discharged a great quantity of matter, which he continued to throw up while he had sufficient strength to do it; but as that failed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressed, a calm lethargic state succeeded, and, on the 17th of April, 1790, about eleven o'clock at night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months.
Page 182
" [17] The Congress of the United States thus expressed their sentiments in return.
Page 186
the expense only of a little pen, ink, and paper: they were led by a thread.
Page 189
_ The goods they take from Britain are either necessaries, mere conveniences, or superfluities.
Page 192
I can only judge what other people will think and how they will act by what I feel within myself.
Page 196
_ Do you think, then, that the taking possession of the king's territorial rights, and _strengthening the frontiers_, is not an American interest? _A.
Page 203
Fifty of them, armed as before, dismounting, went directly to the workhouse, and by violence broke open the door, and entered with the utmost fury in their countenances.