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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 89

fragments thrown into this oblique position, the disjointed
ends of a great number of strata of different kinds are brought up
to day, and a great variety of useful materials put into our power,
which would otherwise have remained eternally concealed from us. So
that what has been usually looked upon as a _ruin_ suffered by this
part of the universe, was, in reality, only a preparation, or means
of rendering the earth more fit for use, more capable of being to
mankind a convenient and comfortable habitation.

I am, Sir, with great esteem, yours, &c.



[20] See this paper afterwards printed in the _Philosophical


Occasioned by his sending me some notes he had taken of what I had
said to him in conversation on the Theory of the Earth. I wrote
it to set him right in some points wherein he had mistaken my

_Passy, September 22, 1782._


I return the papers with some corrections. I did not find coal mines
under the calcareous rock in Derbyshire. I only remarked, that at
the lowest part of that rocky mountain which was in sight, there
were oyster shells mixed in the stone; and part of the high county
of Derby being probably as much above the level of the sea, as the
coal mines of Whitehaven were below it, seemed a proof, that there
had been a great _bouleversement_ in the surface of that island, some
part of it having been depressed under the sea, and other parts,
which had been under it, being raised above it. Such changes in the
superficial parts of the globe, seemed to me unlikely to happen,
if the earth were solid to the centre. I therefore imagined, that
the internal parts might be a fluid more dense, and of greater
specific gravity than any of the solids we are acquainted with, which
therefore might swim in or upon that fluid. Thus the surface of the
globe would be a shell, capable of being broken and disordered by
the violent movements of the fluid on which it rested. And as air
has been compressed by art so as to be twice as dense as water, in
which case, if such air and water could be contained in a strong
glass vessel, the air would be seen to take the lowest place, and
the water to float above and upon it; and as we know not yet the
degree of density to which air may be compressed, and M. Amontons

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

Page 82
Within a few miles above and below this moveable line of separation, the different waters mix a little, partly by their motion to and fro, and partly from the greater specific gravity of the salt water, which inclines it to run under the fresh, while the fresh water, being lighter, runs over the salt.
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13, 1780.
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I was, however, greatly obliged to Captain Bentinck, for the chearful and ready aids he gave me: and I ought not to omit mentioning Mr.
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It may be softened by toasting.
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| | | | |Oct 29, 1776 | | Nov | | | | | | | | | | | | 1| 10 | | | 78 |WSW | E½N | 109 |No ob|68 12| | | --| | 4 | 71 | 81 | | | | | | | | 2| 8 | | 71 | 75 | N | | | | |Some sparks in | | --| 12 | | | 78 | | | 141 |ditto|65 23|the water these| | --| | 4 | 67 | 76 | | | | | |two last nights| | 3| 8 | | | 76 | NW | ESE½E| | | | | | --| 12 | | | 76 | | EbS | 160 |37 0|62 7| .
Page 201
Boerhaave, whose authority alone might be sufficient, in his _Aphorisms_, mentions, as one antecedent cause of pleurisies, "A cold air, driven violently through some narrow passage upon the body, overheated by labour or fire.
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Now if smoke cannot rise but as connected with rarefied air, and a column of such air, suppose it filling the funnel, cannot rise, unless other air be admitted to supply its place; and if, therefore, no current of air enter the opening of the chimney, there is nothing to prevent the smoke coming out into the room.
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For if there be a large opening to a chimney that does not draw strongly, the funnel may happen to be furnished with the air it demands by a partial current entering on one side of the opening, and, leaving the other side free of any opposing current, may permit the smoke to issue there into the room.
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Luckily the inhabitants of London have got over that objection, and now think it rather contributes to render their air salubrious, as they have had no general pestilential disorder since the general use of coals, when, before it, such were frequent.
Page 244
Yet the conservation while it lasted, so much delayed the consumption of the coals, that two fires, one made in the morning, and the other in the afternoon, each made by only a hatfull of coals, were sufficient to keep my writing room, about sixteen feet square and ten high, warm a whole day.
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The fresh coals, while the grate continues in the same position, will throw up as usual a body of thick smoke.
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A string of strong cartridge paper (over-lapping a little at its joints) is regularly tacked down upon the sheeting, under the copper covering, as the work proceeds from eaves to ridge.
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| | l |ell, tell.
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Page 305
Things, that _boni mores_ forbid to be set to sale, are become its objects, and there are few things indeed _extra commercium_.
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_] Could Spain and Portugal have succeeded in executing their foolish laws for _hedging in the cuckoo_, as Locke calls it, and have kept at home all their gold and silver, those metals would by this time have been of little more value than so much lead or iron.
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_On the criminal Laws, and the Practice of Privateering.
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If war should arise between the two contracting parties, the merchants of either country, then residing in the other, shall be allowed to remain nine months to collect their debts and settle their affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their effects without molestation or hindrance; and all women and children, scholars of every faculty, cultivators of the earth, artisans, manufacturers, and fishermen, unarmed and inhabiting unfortified towns, villages, or places, and in general all others, whose occupations are for the common subsistence and benefit of mankind, shall be allowed to continue their respective employments, and shall not be molested in their persons, nor shall their houses and goods be burnt, or otherwise destroyed, nor their fields wasted, by the armed force of the enemy into whose power, by the events of war, they may happen to fall; but if any thing is necessary to be taken from them for the use of such armed force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable price.
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of slavery, or attempting to mend the condition of slaves, it put me in mind of a similar speech, made about one hundred years since, by Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim, a member of the divan of Algiers, which may be seen in Martin's account of his consulship, 1687.
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_Wire_ conducts a great stroke of lightning, though destroyed itself, i.