The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 107

round a tumbler, with
strings of the same, from each side, meeting above it in a knot at
about a foot distance from the top of the tumbler. Then putting in
as much water as would fill about one third part of the tumbler, I
lifted it up by the knot, and swung it to and fro in the air; when
the water appeared to keep its place in the tumbler as steadily as if
it had been ice. But pouring gently in upon the water about as much
oil, and then again swinging it in the air as before, the tranquility
before possessed by the water, was transferred to the surface of the
oil, and the water under it was agitated with the same commotions as
at sea.

I have shewn this experiment to a number of ingenious persons. Those
who are but slightly acquainted with the principles of hydrostatics,
&c. are apt to fancy immediately that they understand it, and readily
attempt to explain it; but their explanations have been different,
and to me not very intelligible. Others, more deeply skilled in those
principles, seem to wonder at it, and promise to consider it. And I
think it is worth considering: for a new appearance, if it cannot
be explained by our old principles, may afford us new ones, of use
perhaps in explaining some other obscure parts of natural knowledge.

I am, &c.

B. FRANKLIN.

FOOTNOTE:

[27] Dr. Pringle. _Editor._




_Of the Stilling of Waves by Means of Oil. Extracted from Sundry
Letters between Benjamin Franklin, L. L. D. F. R. S. William
Brownrigg, M. D. F. R. S. and the Rev. Mr. Farish._

Read at the Royal Society, June 2, 1774.


_Extract of a Letter from Dr. Brownrigg to Dr. Franklin, dated
Ormathwait, January 27, 1773._

By the enclosed from an old friend, a worthy clergyman at Carlisle,
whose great learning and extensive knowledge in most sciences would
have more distinguished him, had he been placed in a more conspicuous
point of view, you will find, that he had heard of your experiment on
Derwent Lake, and has thrown together what he could collect on that
subject; to which I have subjoined one experiment from the relation
of another gentleman.


_Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Mr. Farish, to Dr. Brownrigg._

I some time ago met with Mr. Dun, who surprised me with an account of
an experiment you had tried upon the Derwent Water, in company with
Sir John Pringle and Dr. Franklin. According to his representation,
the water, which had been in

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