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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 86

clouds that
strike into the earth." The letter containing these observations is
dated in September, 1753; and yet the discovery of ascending thunder
has been said to be of a modern date, and has been attributed to the
Abbé Bertholon, who published his memoir on the subject in 1776.

Franklin's letters have been translated into most of the European
languages, and into Latin. In proportion as they have become known,
his principles have been adopted. Some opposition was made to his
theories, particularly by the Abbé Nollet, who was, however, but
feebly supported, while the first philosophers in Europe stepped
forth in defence of Franklin's principles, amongst whom D'Alibard and
Beccaria were the most distinguished. The opposition has gradually
ceased, and the Franklinian system is now universally adopted, where
science flourishes.

The important practical use which Franklin made of his discoveries,
the securing of houses from injury by lightning, has been already
mentioned. Pointed conductors are now very common in America; but
prejudice has hitherto prevented their general introduction into
Europe, notwithstanding the most undoubted proofs of their utility
have been given. But mankind can with difficulty be brought to lay
aside practices, or to adopt new ones. And perhaps we have more
reason, to be surprised, that a practice however rational, which was
proposed about forty years ago, should in that time have been adopted
in so many places, than that it has not universally prevailed. It is
only by degrees that the great body of mankind can be led into new
practices, however salutary their tendency. It is now nearly eighty
years since inoculation was introduced into Europe and America; and
it is so far from being general at present, that it will, require one
or two centuries to render it so.

In the year 1745, Franklin published an account of his new-invented
Pennsylvania fire-places, in which he minutely and accurately states
the advantages of different kinds of fire-places; and endeavours to
show that the one which he describes is to be preferred to any other.
This contrivance has given rise to the open stoves now in general
use, which, however, differ from it in construction, particularly in
not having an air-box at the back, through which a constant supply of
air, warmed in its passage, is thrown into the room. The advantages
of this are, that as a stream of warm air is continually flowing into
the room, less fuel is necessary to preserve a proper temperature,
and the room may be so tightened as that no air may enter through
cracks--the consequence of which are colds, tooth-aches, &c.

Although philosophy was a principal object of Franklin's pursuit

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 28
, is not virtuous; but that, in order to be virtuous, he must, in spite of his natural.
Page 41
Page 51
Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries.
Page 62
"We have," say they "as much curiosity as you; and when you come into our towns, we wish for opportunities of looking at you; but for this purpose, we hide ourselves behind bushes, where you are to pass, and never intrude ourselves into your company.
Page 63
A magistrate who sincerely aims at the good of society will always have the inclinations of a great majority on his side, and an impartial posterity will not fail to render him justice.
Page 76
You may have seen a house-raising or a ship-launch, when all the hands within reach are collected together: recollect, if you can, the hurry, bustle, confusion, and noise of such a scene, and you will have some idea of this cleaning match.
Page 83
This conscientious man is a Quaker.
Page 99
"I am glad to hear Jamey is so good and diligent a workman; if he ever sets up at the goldsmith's business, he must remember that there is one accomplishment without which he cannot possibly thrive in that trade (i.
Page 114
A young angel being sent down to this world on some business for the first time, had an old courier-spirit assigned him as a guide; they arrived over the seas of Martinico, in the middle of the long day of obstinate fight between the fleets of Rodney and De Grasse.
Page 131
might form a better judgment than any other person can form for him.
Page 133
It does.
Page 143
"In looking forward, twenty five years seems a long period; but in looking back, how short! Could you imagine that 'tis now full a quarter of a century since we were first acquainted! it was in 1757.
Page 158
My health and spirits continue, thanks to God, as when you saw me.
Page 159
How Eliza began to grow jolly, that is, fat and handsome, resembling Aunt Rooke, whom I used to call _my lovely_.
Page 168
Page 169
"It is now more than three years that those accounts have been before that honourable body, and to this day no notice of any such objection has been communicated to me.
Page 187
He adds, that though the abyss be liable to those commotions in all parts, yet the effects are nowhere very remarkable except in those countries which are mountainous, and, consequently, stony or cavernous underneath; and especially where the disposition of the strata is such that those caverns open the abyss, and so freely admit and entertain the fire which, assembling therein, is the cause of.
Page 210
Between _a a a a_ and _b b b b_ I suppose a body of air, condensed strongly by the pressure of the currents moving.
Page 217
Suppose a long canal of water stopped at the end by a gate.
Page 219
Thus, if you take a dollar between your fingers with one hand, and a piece of wood of the same dimensions with the other, and bring both at the same time to the flame of a candle, you will find yourself obliged to drop the dollar before you drop the wood, because it conducts the heat of the candle sooner to your flesh.