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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 293

dissipated too soon to be
perceived upon touching those parts of the apparatus, which served
to conduct it. This, I say, in general prevented our verifying Mr.
Franklin's hypothesis: but our worthy brother, Mr. Canton, was more
fortunate. I take the liberty, therefore, of laying before you an
extract of a letter, which I received from that gentleman, dated from
Spital-square, July 21, 1752.

"I had yesterday, about five in the afternoon, an opportunity of
trying Mr. Franklin's experiment of extracting the electrical fire
from the clouds; and succeeded, by means of a tin tube, between three
and four feet in length, fixed to the top of a glass one, of about
eighteen inches. To the upper end of the tin tube, which was not
so high as a stack of chimnies on the same house, I fastened three
needles with some wire; and to the lower end was soldered a tin cover
to keep the rain from the glass tube, which was set upright in a
block of wood. I attended this apparatus as soon after the thunder
began as possible, but did not find it in the least electrified,
till between the third and fourth clap; when, applying my knuckle
to the edge of the cover, I felt and heard an electrical spark; and
approaching it a second time, I received the spark at the distance of
about half an inch, and saw it distinctly. This I repeated four or
five times in the space of a minute, but the sparks grew weaker and
weaker; and in less than two minutes the tin tube did not appear to
be electrified at all. The rain continued during the thunder, but was
considerably abated at the time of making the experiment." Thus far
Mr. Canton.

Mr. Wilson likewise of the Society, to whom we are much obliged for
the trouble he has taken in these pursuits, had an opportunity of
verifying Mr. Franklin's hypothesis. He informed me, by a letter from
near Chelmsford, in Essex, dated August 12, 1752, that, on that day
about noon, he perceived several electrical snaps, during, or rather
at the end of a thunder-storm, from no other apparatus than an iron
curtain rod, one end of which he put into the neck of a glass phial,
and held this phial in his hand. To the other end of the iron he
fastened three needles with some silk. This phial, supporting the
rod, he held in one hand, and drew snaps from the rod with a finger
of his other. This experiment was not made upon any eminence, but in
the garden of

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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 4
choice, I should have no objection to go over the same life from its beginning to the end: requesting only the advantage authors have, of correcting in a second edition the faults of the first.
Page 34
I had made some courtship during this time to Miss Read; I had a great respect and affection for her, and had some reasons to believe she had the same for me; but as I was about to take a long voyage, and we were both very young (only a little above eighteen), it was thought most prudent by her mother to prevent our going too far at present; as a marriage, if it was to take place, would be more convenient after my return, when I should be, as I hoped, set up in my business.
Page 36
But as I may not have occasion to mention the other two, I shall just remark here that Watson died in my arms a few years after, much lamented, being the best of our set.
Page 66
busy just now that he cannot write you an answer, but will do the best he can.
Page 70
of _a wise man_; and the wisest man will receive lights and improve his progress by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise man.
Page 84
{ 2} _Afternoon.
Page 86
I had not been early accustomed to _method_, and having an exceeding good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method.
Page 104
They were fine cannon, 18 pounders, with their carriages, which were soon transported and mounted on our batteries, where the associators kept a nightly guard while the war lasted: and, among the rest, I regularly took my turn of duty there as a common soldier.
Page 138
Without my having made any application for that honour, they chose me a member; and voted that I should be excused the customary payments, which would have amounted to twenty-five guineas; and ever since have given me their transactions gratis.
Page 147
This deliverance impressed me strong with the utility of light-houses, and made me resolve to encourage the building some of them in America, if I should live to return thither.
Page 157
This discovery he applied to the solution of a number of phenomena, particularly a single fact,.
Page 160
These amendments the Assembly considered as inconsistent with the spirit of liberty.
Page 161
Page 179
At the end of the second hundred years, I would have the disposition of the four millions and sixty-one thousand pounds divided between the inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia and the government of Pennsylvania, in the same manner.
Page 186
_ I think the inhabitants of all the provinces together, taken at a medium, double in about twenty-five years.
Page 196
They continually gained ground, and have driven the Indians over the mountains, without any troops sent to their assistance from this country.
Page 199
* * * * _Q.
Page 202
All of them were scalped and otherwise horribly mangled.
Page 213
But shall we imitate idolatrous papists, we that are enlightened Protestants? They would even have been safer among the negroes of Africa, where at least one manly soul would have been found, with sense, spirit, and humanity enough to stand in their defence.
Page 218
And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time: and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, _That_ GOD _governs in the affairs of men_! And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.