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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 280

uniformly diffusing itself,
the balls will again be separated; being now in a negative state.
While things are in this situation, begin once more to excite your
glass, and hold it above the box, but not too near, and you will
find, that when brought within a certain distance, the balls will
at first approach each other, being then in a natural state. In
proportion as the glass is brought nearer, they, will again separate,
being positive. When the glass is moved beyond them, and at some
little farther distance, they will unite again, being in a natural
state. When it is entirely removed, they will separate again,
being then made negative. The excited glass in this experiment may
represent a cloud positively charged, which you see is capable of
producing in this manner all the different changes in the apparatus,
without the least necessity for supposing any negative cloud.

I am nevertheless fully convinced, that these are negative clouds;
because they sometimes absorb, through the medium of the apparatus,
the positive electricity of a large jar, the hundredth part of
which the apparatus itself would have not been able to receive or
contain at once. In fact, it is not difficult to conceive, that a
large cloud, highly charged positively, may reduce smaller clouds to
a negative state, when it passes above or near them, by forcing a
part of their natural portion of the fluid either to their inferior
surfaces, whence it may strike into the earth, or to the opposite
side, whence it may strike into the adjacent clouds; so that when
the large cloud has passed off to a distance, the small clouds
shall remain in a negative state, exactly like the apparatus; the
former (like the latter) being frequently insulated bodies, having
communication neither with the earth nor with other clouds. Upon the
same principle it may easily be conceived, in what manner a large
negative cloud may render others positive.

The experiment which you mention, of filing your glass, is analogous
to one which I made in 1751, or 1752. I had supposed in my preceding
letters, that the pores of glass were smaller in the interior parts
than near the surface, and that on this account they prevented the
passage of the electrical fluid. To prove whether this was actually
the case or not, I ground one of my phials in a part where it was
extremely thin, grinding it considerably beyond the middle, and very
near to the opposite superficies, as I found, upon breaking it after
the experiment. It was charged nevertheless after being ground,
equally well as before, which

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 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 9
Jordain 187 To Miss Hubbard 189 To George Wheatley 190 To B.
Page 27
end of its creation better than I.
Page 34
It is therefore to be hoped that they may in time discover likewise that it is not hurtful to those who are in health, and that we may then be cured of the _aerophoba_, that at present distresses weak minds, and makes them choose to be stifled and poisoned rather than leave open the window of a bedchamber or put down the glass of a coach.
Page 47
There are a great many retailers who falsely imagine that being _historical_ (the modern phrase for lying) is much for their advantage; and some of them have a saying, _that it is a pity lying is a sin, it is so useful in trade_; though if they would examine into the reason why a number of shopkeepers raise considerable estates, while others who have set out with better fortunes have become bankrupts, they would find that the former made up with truth, diligence, and probity, what they were deficient of in stock; while the latter have been found guilty of imposing on such customers as they found had no skill in the quality of their goods.
Page 57
And when a duty is laid for a particular public and necessary purpose, if, through smuggling, that duty falls short of raising the sum required, and other duties must therefore be laid to make up the deficiency, all the additional sum laid by the new duties and paid by other people, though it should amount to no more than a halfpenny or a farthing.
Page 69
_; and the writing of it was an overt act of treason, for that to write was to act.
Page 72
But how shall we farmers be able to afford our labourers higher wages, if you will not allow us to get, when we might have it, a higher price for our corn? By all that I can learn, we should at least have had a guinea a quarter more if the exportation had been allowed.
Page 80
Simple and mild laws were sufficient to guard the property that was merely necessary.
Page 95
was angry_.
Page 98
I am glad you have resolved to visit sister Dowse oftener; it will be a great comfort to her to find she is not neglected by you, and your example may, perhaps, be followed by some other of her relations.
Page 100
_ "Craven-street, May 16, 1760.
Page 106
"It is a common but mistaken notion here, that the colonies were planted at the expense of Parliament, and that, therefore, the Parliament has a right to tax them, &c.
Page 109
I think I formerly took notice to you in conversation, that I thought there had.
Page 147
Page 160
_ "Philadelphia, April 15, 1787 "MY DEAR FRIEND, "I am quite of your opinion, that our independence is not quite.
Page 161
"As to my malady, concerning which you so kindly inquire, I have never had the least doubt of its being the stone, and I am sensible that it has increased; but, on the whole, it does not give me more pain than when at Passy.
Page 177
Amontons calculated that its density increasing as it approached the centre in the same proportion as above the surface, it would, at the depth of---- leagues, be heavier than gold; possibly the dense fluid occupying the internal parts of the globe might be air compressed.
Page 199
As frequent mention is made in public papers from Europe of the success of the Philadelphia experiment for drawing the electric fire from clouds by means of pointed rods of iron erected on high buildings, &c.
Page 209
I find this in Pere Boschovich's account of it, as abridged in the Monthly Review for December, 1750.
Page 217
I have not my notes with me here in England, and cannot, from memory, say the proportion of time to distance, but I think it is about an hour to every hundred miles.