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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 95

have been from such considerations that the ancient
philosophers supposed a sphere of fire to exist above the air of our



_Queries and Conjectures relating to Magnetism and the Theory of
the Earth._

[No date.]


I received your favours by Messrs. Gore, Hilliard, and Lee, with
whose conversation I was much pleased, and wished for more of it; but
their stay with us was too short. Whenever you recommend any of your
friends to me, you oblige me.

I want to know whether your Philosophical Society received the
second volume of our Transactions. I sent it, but never heard of its
arriving. If it miscarried, I will send another. Has your Society
among its books the French work _Sur les Arts, et les Metiers_? It
is voluminous, well executed, and may be useful in our country. I
have bequeathed it them in my will; but if they have it already, I
will substitute something else.

Our ancient correspondence used to have something philosophical in
it. As you are now more free from public cares, and I expect to be so
in a few months, why may we not resume that kind of correspondence?
Our much regretted friend Winthrop once made me the compliment, that
I was good at starting game for philosophers, let me try if I can
start a little for you.

Has the question, how came the earth by its magnetism, ever been

Is it likely that _iron ore_ immediately existed when this globe was
first formed; or may it not rather be supposed a gradual production
of time?

If the earth is at present magnetical, in virtue of the masses of
iron ore contained in it, might not some ages pass before it had
magnetic polarity?

Since iron ore may exist without that polarity, and by being placed
in certain circumstances may obtain it, from an external cause, is
it not possible that the earth received its magnetism from some such

In short, may not a magnetic power exist throughout our system,
perhaps through all systems, so that if men could make a voyage in
the starry regions, a compass might be of use? And may not such
universal magnetism, with its uniform direction, be serviceable in
keeping the diurnal revolution of a planet more steady to the same

Lastly, as the poles of magnets may be changed by the presence of
stronger magnets, might not, in ancient times, the near passing of
some large comet of greater magnetic power than this globe of ours
have been a means of changing its poles,

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

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It is certainly better calculated to convey a general idea of the subject, than any attempt of the kind which has yet fallen under our observation.
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Proprietors, W.
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The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, 'Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not those heavy taxes quite ruin the country! How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?'----Father Abraham stood up, and replied, 'If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; "for a word to the wise is enough," as Poor Richard says.
Page 3
" What, though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy.
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" [Illustration] 'Methinks I hear some of you say, "Must a man afford himself no leisure?" I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, "Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
Page 5
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For, in another place, he says, "Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths.
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Darton, Junr.
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yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in gaol for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him.
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Darton, Printers, Holborn-Hill, London.