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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 92

over the explosion, but impressing with
the same force the fluid under it, creates a wave, that may run a
thousand leagues, lifting, and thereby shaking, successively, all
the countries under which it passes. I know not, whether I have
expressed myself so clearly, as not to get out of your sight in
these reveries. It they occasion any new enquiries, and produce a
better hypothesis, they will not be quite useless. You see I have
given a loose to imagination; but I approve much more your method
of philosophising, which proceeds upon actual observation, makes
a collection of facts, and concludes no farther than those facts
will warrant. In my present circumstances, that mode of studying
the nature of the globe is out of my power, and therefore I have
permitted myself to wander a little in the wilds of fancy. With great

I have the honour to be, Sir, &c.


_P. S._ I have heard, that chymists can by their art decompose stone
and wood, extracting a considerable quantity of water from the one,
and air from the other. It seems natural to conclude from this, that
water and air were ingredients in their original composition: for
men cannot make new matter of any kind. In the same manner may we
not suppose, that when we consume combustibles of all kinds, and
produce heat or light, we do not create that heat or light; but only
decompose a substance, which received it originally as a part of its
composition? Heat may be thus considered as originally in a fluid
state; but, attracted by organized bodies in their growth, becomes a
part of the solid. Besides this, I can conceive, that in the first
assemblage of the particles of which this earth is composed, each
brought its portion of the loose heat that had been connected with
it, and the whole, when pressed together, produced the internal fire
that still subsists.


[21] In an American periodical publication, this paper is said to
have been so endorsed in Dr. Franklin's hand. We extract the paper
itself, from the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society,
where it was read Nov. 21, 1788. The two papers that follow it are
from the same work, and were read in the Society the preceding day,
and the other Jan. 15, 1790. _Editor._


_New and curious Theory of Light and Heat._

[No date.]

Universal space, as far as we know of it, seems to be filled with a
subtle fluid, whose motion, or vibration, is called light.

This fluid may possibly be

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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

Page 5
When _minus_ (or when in the common state) it will attract them, but stronger when _minus_ than when in the common state, the difference being greater.
Page 6
Page 9
After such strong spark, neither of them discover any electricity.
Page 12
But if a man holds in his hands two bottles, one fully electrify'd, the other not at all, and brings their hooks together, he has but half a shock, and the bottles will both remain half electrified, the one being half discharged, and the other half charged.
Page 13
But the spring.
Page 14
Page 16
The excuse for mentioning it here, is, that we tried the experiment differently, drew different consequences from it, (for Mr _Watson_ still seems to think the fire _accumulated on the non-electric_ that is in contact with the glass, page 72) and, as far as we hitherto know, have carried it farther.
Page 19
'Tis amazing to observe in how small a portion of glass a great electrical force may lie.
Page 23
Page 24
How these ocean clouds, so strongly supporting their water, are made to deposite it on the land where 'tis wanted, is next to be considered.
Page 26
When the gun-barrel (in electrical experiments) has but little electrical fire in it, you must approach it very near with your knuckle, before you can draw a spark.
Page 33
The extremities of the portions of atmosphere over these angular parts are likewise at a greater distance from the electrified body, as may be seen by the inspection of the above figure; the point of the atmosphere of the angle C, being much farther from C, than any other part of the atmosphere over the lines C, B, or B, A: And besides the distance arising from the nature of the figure, where the attraction is less, the particles will naturally expand to a greater distance by their mutual repulsion.
Page 37
A pigeon that we struck dead to appearance by the electrical shock, recovering life, droop'd about the yard several days, eat nothing though crumbs were thrown to it, but declined and died.
Page 38
Lightning melts metals, and I hinted in my paper on that subject, that I suspected it to be a cold fusion; I do not mean a fusion by force of cold, but a fusion without heat.
Page 41
It is said in section 8, of this paper, that all kinds of common matter are supposed not to attract the electrical fluid with equal strength; and that those called electrics _per se_, as glass, &c.
Page 43
That this electrical fluid or fire is strongly attracted by glass, we know from the quickness and violence with which it is resumed by the part that had been deprived of it, when there is an opportunity.
Page 46
Every electrician knows that a globe wet within will afford little or no fire, but the reason has not before been attempted to be given, that I know of.
Page 47
And, 2dly, that the electrical fire freely removes from place to place, in and through the substance of a non-electric, but not so through the substance of glass.
Page 50
Accordingly we find, that if the prime conductor be electrified, and the cork balls in a state of repellency before the bottle is charged, they continue so afterwards.
Page 54
on the liquor.