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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 260

and the other
notes of the octave with the seven prismatic colours, _viz._ C, red;
D, orange; E, yellow; F, green; G, blue; A, indigo; B, purple; and C,
red again;--so that glasses of the same colour (the white excepted)
are always octaves to each other.

This instrument is played upon, by sitting before the middle of the
set of glasses as before the keys of a harpsichord, turning them
with the foot, and wetting them now and then with a spunge and clean
water. The fingers should be first a little soaked in water, and
quite free from all greasiness; a little fine chalk upon them is
sometimes useful, to make them catch the glass and bring out the tone
more readily. Both hands are used, by which means different parts are
played together.--Observe, that the tones are best drawn out when the
glasses turn _from_ the ends of the fingers, not when they turn _to_

The advantages of this instrument are, that its tones are
incomparably sweet beyond those of any other; that they may be
swelled and softened at pleasure by stronger or weaker pressures of
the finger, and continued to any length; and that the instrument,
being once well tuned, never again wants tuning.

In honour of your musical language, I have borrowed from it the name
of this instrument, calling it the Armonica.

With great esteem and respect, I am, &c.



_Respecting the best Mediums for conveying Sound._

_July 20, 1762._


I have perused your paper on sound, and would freely mention to
you, as you desire it, every thing that appeared to me to need
correction:--But nothing of that kind occurs to me, unless it be,
where you speak of the air as "the _best_ medium for conveying
sound." Perhaps this is speaking rather too positively, if there be,
as I think there are, some other mediums that will convey it farther
and more readily.--It is a well-known experiment, that the scratching
of a pin at one end of a long piece of timber, may be heard by an
ear applied near the other end, though it could not be heard at the
same distance through the air.--And two stones being struck smartly
together under water, the stroke may be heard at a greater distance
by an ear also placed under water, than it can be heard through the
air. I think I have heard it near a mile; how much farther it may be
heard I know not; but suppose a great deal farther, because the

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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

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Page 53
He looks upon his fellow-creatures who died about noon to be happily delivered from the many inconveniences of old age; and can, perhaps, recount to his great grandson a surprising tradition of actions before any records of their nation were extant.
Page 62
You saw that we, who understand and practise those rules, believed all your stories; why do you refuse to believe ours?" When any of them come into our towns, our people are apt to crowd around them, gaze upon them, and incommode them where they desire to be private; this they esteem great rudeness, and the effect of the want of instruction in the rules of civility and good manners.
Page 71
But the wisdom of government forbade the exportation.
Page 74
You would wonder what this privilege of _whitewashing_ is: I will endeavour to give you some idea of the ceremony, as I have seen it performed.
Page 77
and the frame shine, it is sufficient; the rest is not worthy of consideration.
Page 79
Notwithstanding this, I can give you the strongest assurances that the women of America make the most faithful wives and the most attentive mothers in the world; and I am sure you will join me in opinion, that if a married man is made miserable only _one_ week in a whole year, he will have no great cause to complain of the matrimonial bond.
Page 88
At other times, when I came at the same hour, _she wondered I would stay so long, for dinner was ready about one, and had waited for me these two hours_.
Page 105
The ministry that made the act, and all their adherents,.
Page 120
Then, said she (with that pleasing gayety so natural to her), _I wish they had_.
Page 123
as the dangers of the sea subsist always, and at present there is the additional danger of being taken by the English.
Page 126
If these are the principles of your nation, no confidence can be placed in you; it is in vain to treat with you, and the wars can only end in being reduced to an utter inability of continuing them.
Page 135
Brandlight and Sons, which I have forwarded.
Page 151
' Your expectation was ill-founded; for you would not believe your old friend, who told you repeatedly, that by those measures England would lose her colonies, as Epictetus warned in vain.
Page 158
He has associated to himself a very skilful English farmer, lately arrived here, who is to instruct him in the business, and partakes for a term of the profits; so that there is a great apparent probability of their success.
Page 167
If my present state of health continues, I hope to finish it this winter: when done, you shall have a manuscript copy of it, that I may obtain from your judgment and friendship such remarks as may contribute to its improvement.
Page 170
"I received one of the bags of sweet corn you was so good as to send me a long time since, but the other never came to hand; even the letter mentioning it, though dated December 10, 1787, has been above a year on its way, for I received it but about two weeks since from Baltimore, in Maryland.
Page 182
starting game for philosophers, let me try if I can start a little for you.
Page 190
The Philosophical Transactions furnish us with abundance of histories of earthquakes, particularly one at Oxford in 1665, by Dr.
Page 209
The same was supposed to have been first a spout, for it is said to be beyond doubt that it gathered in the neighbouring sea, as it could be tracked from Ostia to Rome.