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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 288

Pursuance of that proposed by
Mr. Franklin, Pages 227, 228._


The Philadelphian experiments, that Mr. Collinson, a member of
the Royal Society, was so kind as to communicate to the public,
having been universally admired in France, the king desired to see
them performed. Wherefore the Duke D'Ayen offered his majesty his
country-house at St. Germain, where M. de Lor, master of experimental
philosophy, should put those of Philadelphia in execution. His
majesty saw them with great satisfaction, and greatly applauded
Messieurs Franklin and Collinson. These applauses of his majesty
having excited in Messieurs de Buffon, D'Alibard, and de Lor, a
desire of verifying the conjectures of Mr. Franklin, upon the
analogy of thunder and electricity, they prepared themselves for
making the experiment.

M. D'Alibard chose for this purpose, a garden situated at Marly,
where he placed upon an electrical body a pointed bar of iron, of
forty feet high. On the 10th of May, twenty minutes past two in
the afternoon, a stormy cloud having passed over the place where
the bar stood, those that were appointed to observe it, drew near,
and attracted from it sparks of fire, perceiving the same kind of
commotions as in the common electrical experiments.

M. de Lor, sensible of the good success of this experiment, resolved
to repeat it at his house in the Estrapade, at Paris. He raised a
bar of iron ninety-nine feet high, placed upon a cake of resin, two
feet square, and three inches thick. On the 18th of May, between four
and five in the afternoon, a stormy cloud having passed over the
bar, where it remained half an hour, he drew sparks from the bar,
like those from the gun barrel, when, in the electrical experiments,
the globe is only rubbed by the cushion, and they produced the same
noise, the same fire, and the same crackling. They drew the strongest
sparks at the distance of nine lines, while the rain, mingled with
a little hail, fell from the cloud, without either thunder or
lightning; this cloud being, according to all appearance, only the
consequence of a storm, which happened elsewhere.

I am, with a profound respect,

Your most humble and obedient servant,



[93] See the paragraph between brackets, page 267.

_A more particular Account of the Circumstances and Success of
this extraordinary Experiment was laid before the Royal Academy
of Sciences at Paris, three Days afterwards, in a Memorial by M.
D'Alibard, viz._



_Lû à l'Académie Royale

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

Page 0
Drafts of three of the letters are deposited in the University of Pennsylvania, but the existence of one letter and the whereabouts of another were unknown to the late Mr.
Page 1
It was brought early in the morning to the _Champ de Mars_, a Field in which Reviews are sometimes made, lying between the Military School and the River.
Page 2
Montgolfier himself, at the Expence of the Academy, which is to go up in a few Days.
Page 3
One is talk'd of to be 110 feet Diameter.
Page 4
Sir, The Publick were promised a printed particular Account of the Rise & Progress of the Balloon Invention, to be published about the End of last month.
Page 5
I am glad my Letters respecting the Aerostatic Experiment were not unacceptable.
Page 6
in passing thro' this Flame rose in the Balloon, swell'd out its sides, and fill'd it.
Page 7
They say they have a contrivance which will enable them to descend at Pleasure.
Page 8
It may be attended with important Consequences that no one can foresee.
Page 9
Page 10
What became of them is not yet known here.
Page 11
is altered by the Pen to show its real State when it went off.
Page 12
_Letter of November 21.
Page 13
25th" is not in the press-copy, contrary to Smyth's statement, but I have a press-copy of the French _Proces-Verbal_, therein referred to, in Franklin's handwriting with his name and eight others affixed as witnesses.
Page 14