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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 113

liberty to expand itself; and
it will spread on a surface that, besides being smooth to the most
perfect degree of polish, prevents, perhaps by repelling the oil,
all immediate contact, keeping it at a minute distance from itself;
and the expansion will continue till the mutual repulsion between
the particles of the oil is weakened and reduced to nothing by their

Now I imagine that the wind, blowing over water thus covered with
a film of oil, cannot easily _catch_ upon it, so as to raise the
first wrinkles, but slides over it, and leaves it smooth as it finds
it. It moves a little the oil indeed, which being between it and
the water, serves it to slide with, and prevents friction, as oil
does between those parts of a machine, that would otherwise rub
hard together. Hence the oil dropped on the windward side of a pond
proceeds gradually to leeward, as may be seen by the smoothness it
carries with it, quite to the opposite side. For the wind being thus
prevented from raising the first wrinkles, that I call the elements
of waves, cannot produce waves, which are to be made by continually
acting upon, and enlarging those elements, and thus the whole pond is

Totally therefore we might suppress the waves in any required place,
if we could come at the windward place where they take their rise.
This in the ocean can seldom if ever be done. But perhaps something
may be done on particular occasions, to moderate the violence of the
waves when we are in the midst of them, and prevent their breaking
where that would be inconvenient.

For when the wind blows fresh, there are continually rising on the
back of every great wave a number of small ones, which roughen its
surface, and give the wind hold, as it were, to push it with greater
force. This hold is diminished, by preventing the generation of
those small ones. And possibly too, when a wave's surface is oiled,
the wind, in passing over it, may rather in some degree press
it down, and contribute to prevent it, rising again, instead of
promoting it.

This as mere conjecture would have little weight, if the apparent
effects of pouring oil into the midst of waves were not considerable,
and as yet not otherwise accounted for.

When the wind blows so fresh, as that the waves are not sufficiently
quick in obeying its impulse, their tops being thinner and lighter
are pushed forward, broken, and turned over in a white foam. Common
waves lift a vessel without entering it; but these

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
_ Sold by W.
Page 1
half bound 1 0 Wonders of the Horse, recorded in Anecdotes, Prose and Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Tales of the Robin & other Small Birds, in Verse, by Joseph Taylor 2 6 Instructive Conversation Cards, consisting .
Page 2
COURTEOUS READER, I HAVE heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by others.
Page 3
--"But, dost thou love life? then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of," as Poor Richard says.
Page 4
Many, without labour, would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock;" whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect.
Page 5
" "If you would be wealthy, think of saving, as well as of getting.
Page 6
Remember what poor Richard says, "Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
Page 7
" And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune.
Page 8
" At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but "For age and want save while you may, No morning sun lasts a whole day.
Page 9
Page 9, "grevious" changed to "grievous" (much more grievous) Page 11, "waisting" changed to "wasting" (wasting time must be) Page 12, "mak" changed to "make" (We may make).