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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 294

a gentleman, at whose house he then was.

Dr. Bevis observed, at Mr. Cave's, at St. John's Gate, nearly the
same phenomena as Mr. Canton, of which an account has been already
laid before the public.

Trifling as the effects here mentioned are, when compared with those
which we have received from Paris and Berlin, they are the only ones,
that the last summer here has produced; and as they were made by
persons worthy of credit, they tend to establish the authenticity of
those transmitted from our correspondents.

I flatter myself, that this short account of these matters will not
be disagreeable to you; and am,

With the most profound respect,

Your most obedient, humble servant,


No. 2.

_Remarks on the Abbé Nollet's Letters to Benjamin Franklin, Esq. of
Philadelphia, on Electricity: by Mr. David Colden, of New York._

_Coldenham, in New York, Dec. 4, 1753._


In considering the Abbé Nollet's Letters to Mr. Franklin, I am
obliged to pass by all the experiments which are made with, or in,
bottles hermetically sealed, or exhausted of air; because, not being
able to repeat the experiments, I could not second any thing which
occurs to me thereon, by experimental proof. Wherefore, the first
point wherein I can dare to give my opinion, is in the Abbé's 4th
letter, p. 66, where he undertakes to prove, that the electric matter
passes from one surface to another through the entire thickness
of the glass: he takes Mr. Franklin's experiment of the magical
picture, and writes thus of it. "When you electrise a pane of glass
coated on both sides with metal, it is evident that whatever is
placed on the side opposite to that which receives the electricity
from the conductor, receives also an evident electrical virtue."
Which Mr. Franklin says, is that equal quantity of electric matter,
driven out of this side, by what is received from the conductor on
the other side; and which will continue to give an electrical virtue
to any thing in contact with it, till it is entirely discharged of
its electrical fire. To which the Abbé thus objects; "Tell me (says
he), I pray you, how much time is necessary for this pretended
discharge? I can assure you, that after having maintained the
electrisation for hours, this surface, which ought, as it seems to
me, to be entirely discharged of its electrical matter, considering
either the vast number of sparks that were drawn from it, or the time
that this matter had been exposed to the action of the expulsive

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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 15
Now it was that, being on some occasion made ashamed of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed learning when at school, I took _Cocker's_.
Page 16
I was charmed by it, adopted it, dropped my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer; and being then, from reading _Shaftesbury_ and _Collins_, made a doubter, as I already was in many points of our religious doctrines, I found this method the safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took delight in it, practised it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee; entangling them in difficulties, out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved.
Page 33
He was to preach the doctrines, and I was to confound all opponents.
Page 36
, but no excuse could be admitted; produce I must.
Page 38
On my expressing some concern about what I should do, he advised me to endeavour to get some employment in the way of my business.
Page 47
I soon perceived that the intention of engaging me, at wages so much higher than he had been used to give, was to have these raw, cheap hands formed through me; and, as soon as I had instructed them (they being all articled to him), he should be able to do without me.
Page 48
Keimer himself treated me with great civility and apparent regard, and nothing now made me uneasy but my debt to Vernon, which I was yet unable to pay, being hitherto but a poor economist; he, however, kindly made no demand of it.
Page 51
Though purblind man Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link, His eye not carrying to that equal beam That poises all above--" and which, from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness, and power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the world; and that vice and virtue were empty.
Page 53
The rules that I drew up required that every member in his turn should produce one or more queries on any point of morals, politics, or natural philosophy, to be discussed by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased.
Page 55
I requested Webb not to mention it, but he told it to Keimer, who immediately, to be beforehand with me, published proposals for one himself, on which Webb was to be employed.
Page 64
In Queen Mary's days, either his wife, or my grandmother by father's side, informed my father that they kept their Bible fastened under the top of a joint-stool that they might turn up the book and read in the Bible; that, when anybody came to the dore, .
Page 79
_Temperance_, for example, was by some confined to eating and drinking; while by others it was extended to mean the moderating of every other pleasure, appetite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our avarice and ambition.
Page 105
And this is not the only instance of patents taken out of my inventions by others, though not always with the same success; which I never contested, as having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes.
Page 127
As soon as the loss of the wagons and horses was generally known, all the owners came upon me for the valuation which I had given bond to pay.
Page 141
The answer was, "I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday next; but I may let you know, _entre nous_, that if you are there by Monday morning, you will be in time, but do not delay longer!" By some accidental hinderance at a ferry, it was Monday noon before I arrived, and I was much afraid she might have sailed, as the wind was fair; but I was soon made easy by the information that she was still in the harbour, and would not move till next day.
Page 148
You must know it is not usual to admit persons that have not requested to be admitted; and a recommendatory certificate in favour of the candidate, signed by at least three of the members is by our rule to be presented to the society, expressing that he is desirous of that honour, and is so and so qualified.
Page 154
His friend, Mr.
Page 165
Franklin did not suffer his political pursuits to engross his whole attention.
Page 166
His faculties were entirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.
Page 213
But shall white men and Christians act like a pagan negro? In short, it appears that they would have been safe in any part of the known world, except in the neighbourhood of the _Christian white savages_ of Peckstang and Donegall! Oh ye unhappy perpetrators of this horrid wickedness! reflect a moment on the mischief ye have done, the disgrace ye have brought on your country, on your religion and your Bible, on your families and children.