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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 115

land upon, when
sickness made it more necessary, but could not effect a landing
through a violent surf breaking on the shore, which rendered it
impracticable. My idea was, that possibly by sailing to and fro at
some distance from such lee-shore, continually pouring oil into the
sea, the waves might be so much depressed, and lessened before they
reached the shore, as to abate the height and violence of the surf,
and permit a landing; which, in such circumstances, was a point of
sufficient importance to justify the expense of the oil that might
be requisite for the purpose. That gentleman, who is ever ready
to promote what may be of public utility, though his own ingenious
inventions have not always met with the countenance they merited, was
so obliging as to invite me to Portsmouth, where an opportunity would
probably offer, in the course of a few days, of making the experiment
on some of the shores about Spithead, in which he kindly proposed
to accompany me, and to give assistance with such boats as might be
necessary. Accordingly, about the middle of October last, I went with
some friends to Portsmouth; and a day of wind happening, which made
a lee-shore between Haslar-hospital and the point near Jillkecker,
we went from the Centaur with the long-boat and barge towards that
shore. Our disposition was this: the long-boat was anchored about a
quarter of a mile from the shore; part of the company were landed
behind the point (a place more sheltered from the sea) who came
round and placed themselves opposite to the long-boat, where they
might observe the surf, and note if any change occurred in it upon
using the oil. Another party, in the barge, plied to windward of the
long-boat, as far from her as she was from the shore, making trips
of about half a mile each, pouring oil continually out of a large
stone-bottle, through a hole in the cork, somewhat bigger than a
goose-quill. The experiment had not, in the main point, the success
we wished, for no material difference was observed in the height or
force of the surf upon the shore; but those who were in the long-boat
could observe a tract of smoothed water, the whole of the distance in
which the barge poured the oil, and gradually spreading in breadth
towards the long-boat. I call it smoothed, not that it was laid
level; but because, though the swell continued, its surface was not
roughened by the wrinkles, or smaller waves, before-mentioned; and
none or very few white caps (or waves whose tops turn over

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

Page 0
Darton, Junr.
Page 1
& T.
Page 2
Page 3
" What, though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy.
Page 4
Handle your tools without mittens: remember, that "The cat in gloves catches no mice," as Poor Richard says.
Page 5
A little neglect may breed great mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost;" being overtaken and slain by the enemy; all for want of a little care about a horse-shoe nail.
Page 6
" But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice.
Page 7
But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue.
Page 8
And when you have got the Philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.
Page 9
] W.