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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 58

will not otherwise conduct.

16. Thus wax rendered fluid, and glass softened by heat, will both of
them conduct.

17. And water, though naturally a good conductor, will not conduct
well, when frozen into ice by a common degree of cold; not at all,
where the cold is extreme.

18. Snow falling upon frozen ground has been found to retain its
electricity; and to communicate it to an isolated body, when after
falling, it has been driven about by the wind.

19. The humidity, contained in all the equatorial clouds that reach
the polar regions, must there be condensed and fall in snow.

20. The great cake of ice that eternally covers those regions may be
too hard frozen to permit the electricity, descending with that snow,
to enter the earth.

21. It may therefore be _accumulated upon that ice_.

22. The atmosphere being heavier in the polar regions than in the
equatorial, will there be lower; as well from that cause, as from the
smaller effect of the centrifugal force: consequently the distance
of the vacuum above the atmosphere will be less at the poles, than
elsewhere; and probably much less than the distance (upon the surface
of the globe) extending from the pole to those latitudes in which
the earth is so thawed as to receive and imbibe electricity; (the
frost continuing to lat. 80, which is ten degrees, or six hundred
miles from the pole; while the height of the atmosphere there of such
density as to obstruct the motion of the electric fluid, can scarce
be esteemed above [___] miles).

23. The _vacuum_ above is a good conductor.

24. May not then the great quantity of electricity, brought into the
polar regions by the clouds, which are condensed there, and fall in
snow, which electricity would enter the, earth, but cannot penetrate
the ice; may it not, I say, (_as a bottle overcharged_) break through
that low atmosphere, and run along in the vacuum over the air towards
the equator; diverging as the degrees of longitude enlarge; strongly
visible where densest, and becoming less visible as it more diverges;
till it finds a passage to the earth in more temperate climates, or
is mingled with their upper air?

25. If such an operation of nature were really performed, would it
not give all the appearances of an aurora borealis?

26. And would not the auroras become more frequent _after the
approach of winter_: not only because more visible in longer nights;
but also because in summer the long presence of the sun may soften
the surface of the great ice cake, and render it a conductor, by

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

Page 0
Page 1
coloured 1 6 Portraits of Curious Characters in London, &c.
Page 2
of 32 Biographical Sketches of Eminent British Characters 1 6 Ditto, containing a Description of the most distinguished Places in England 1 6 *** Just published, The Mice & their Pic Nic; a good Moral Tale, price with neat coloured plates 1 0 THE WAY TO WEALTH.
Page 3
] "Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the used key is always bright," as Poor Richard says.
Page 4
" II.
Page 5
" Here you are all.
Page 6
You call them goods; but, if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you.
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
'This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them.
Page 9
The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he ascribed to me; but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations.