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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 81

se_. In 1742, several ingenious Germans engaged
in this subject, of these the principal were, professor Boze
of Wittemberg, professor Winkler of Leipsic, Gordon, a Scotch
Benedictine monk, professor of philosophy at Erfurt, and Dr. Ludolf,
of Berlin. The result of their researches astonished the philosophers
of Europe. Their apparatus was large, and by means of it they were
enabled to collect large quantities of the electric fluid, and thus
to produce phenomena which had been hitherto unobserved. They killed
small birds, and set spirits on fire. Their experiments excited the
curiosity of other philosophers. Collinson, about the year 1745,
sent to the Library Company of Philadelphia, an account of these
experiments, together with a tube, and directions how to use it.
Franklin, with some of his friends, immediately engaged in a course
of experiments, the result of which is well known. He was enabled
to make a number of important discoveries, and to propose theories
to account for various phenomena, which have been universally
adopted, and which bid fair to endure for ages. His observations
he communicated in a series of letters, to his friend Collinson,
the first of which is dated March 28, 1747. In these he shews the
power of points in drawing and throwing off the electrical matter,
which had hitherto escaped the notice of electricians. He also made
the grand discovery of a _plus_ and _minus_, or of a _positive_ and
_negative_ state of electricity. We give him the honour of this,
without hesitation; although the English have claimed it for their
countryman, Dr. Watson. Watson's paper is dated January 21, 1748;
Franklin's July 11, 1747: several months prior. Shortly after,
Franklin, from his principles of the plus and minus state, explained,
in a satisfactory manner, the phenomena of the Leyden phial, first
observed by Mr. Cuneus, or by professor Muschenbroeck, of Leyden,
which had much perplexed philosophers. He shewed clearly, that when
charged, the bottle contained no more electricity than before, but
that as much was taken from one side as was thrown on the other;
and that, to discharge it, nothing was necessary but to produce a
communication between the two sides, by which the equilibrium might
be restored, and that then no signs of electricity would remain.
He afterwards demonstrated, by experiments, that the electricity
did not reside in the coating, as had been supposed, but in the
pores of the glass itself. After a phial was charged, he removed
the coating, and found that upon applying a new coating, the shock
might still be received. In the year 1749, he first suggested his
idea of explaining the phenomena of thunder-gusts, and

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Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 13
About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator.
Page 19
My brother's discharge was accompany'd with an order of the House (a very odd one), that "James Franklin should no longer print the paper called the New England Courant.
Page 36
Osborne was against Ralph, and told him he was no better a critic than poet, so he dropt the argument.
Page 38
Onion and Russel, masters of an iron work in Maryland, had engag'd the great cabin; so that Ralph and I were forced to take up with a berth in the steerage, and none on board knowing us, were considered as ordinary persons.
Page 47
Denham among the tradesmen to purchase various articles, and seeing them pack'd up, doing errands, calling upon workmen to dispatch, etc.
Page 52
"My time," says he, "will be out with Keimer in the spring; by that time we may have our press and types in from London.
Page 59
Hamilton, before mentioned, who was then returned from England, and had a seat in it.
Page 62
I now open'd a little stationer's shop.
Page 70
But there is one concluding reflection, sir, that will shew the use of your life as a mere piece of biography.
Page 90
The bringing all these scatter'd counsels thus into a focus enabled them to make greater impression.
Page 96
Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days.
Page 105
If they will have my office of clerk to dispose of to another, they shall take it from me.
Page 109
To promote that demand, I wrote and published a pamphlet, entitled "An Account of the new-invented Pennsylvania Fireplaces; wherein their Construction and Manner of Operation is particularly explained; their Advantages above every other Method of warming Rooms demonstrated; and all Objections that have been raised against the Use of them answered and obviated," etc.
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Gilbert Tennent, came to me with a request that I would assist him in procuring a subscription for.
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"LANCASTER, April 26, 1755.
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good 1 lb.
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But he had too much self-confidence, too high an opinion of the validity of regular troops, and too mean a one of both Americans and Indians.
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" I was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a military man in matters of his profession, and said no more.
Page 143
He would, therefore, sometimes call in a friendly way to advise with me on difficult points, and sometimes, tho' not often, take my advice.
Page 159
Some changes were however recommended and we also engaged they should be made by a subsequent law, but the Assembly did not think them necessary; for one year's tax having been levied by the act before the order of Council arrived, they appointed a committee to examine the proceedings of the assessors, and on this committee they put several particular friends of the proprietaries.