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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 97

the rumbling
sound being first heard at a distance, augmenting as it approaches,
and gradually dying away as it proceeds? A circumstance observed by
the inhabitants of South America in their last great earthquake, that
noise coming from a place, some degrees north of Lima, and being
traced by enquiry quite down to Buenos Ayres, proceeded regularly
from north to south at the rate of [___] leagues per minute, as I was
informed by a very ingenious Peruvian whom I met with at Paris.



_On the Nature of Sea Coal[22]._

**** I am persuaded, as well as you, that the sea coal has a
vegetable origin, and that it has been formed near the surface of
the earth; but as preceding convulsions of nature had served to bring
it very deep in many places, and covered it with many different
strata, we are indebted to subsequent convulsions for having brought
within our view the extremities of its veins, so as to lead us to
penetrate the earth in search of it. I visited last summer a large
coal-mine at Whitehaven, in Cumberland; and in following the vein
and descending by degrees towards the sea, I penetrated below the
ocean, where the level of its surface was more than eight hundred
fathom above my head, and the miners assured me, that their works
extended some miles beyond the place where I then was, continually
and gradually descending under the sea. The slate, which forms the
roof of this coal mine, is impressed in many places with the figures
of leaves and branches of fern, which undoubtedly grew at the surface
when the slate was in the state of sand on the banks of the sea.
Thus it appears that this vein of coal has suffered a prodigious
settlement. ****



[22] Retranslated from the French edition of Dr. Franklin's works.


_Effect of Vegetation on noxious Air._

**** That the vegetable creation should restore the air which is
spoiled by the animal part of it, looks like a rational system, and
seems to be of a piece with the rest. Thus fire purifies water all
the world over. It purifies it by distillation, when it raises it in
vapours, and lets it fall in rain; and farther still by filtration,
when, keeping it fluid, it suffers that rain to percolate the
earth. We knew before, that putrid animal substances were converted
into sweet vegetables, when mixed with the earth, and applied as
manure; and now, it seems, that the same putrid substances, mixed
with the air, have

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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 25
If these concentring currents of air be in the upper region, they may, indeed, descend in the spout or whirlwind; but then, when the united current reached the earth or water, it would spread, and, probably, blow every way from the centre.
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But if the whirl be strong, and there be much dust on the land, and the column W W be raised from the water, then the lower part becomes visible, and sometimes even united to the upper part.
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These bubbles I used to suppose to be coats of water, containing within them air rarefied and expanded with fire, and that, therefore, the more friction and dashing there is upon the surface of the waters, and the more heat and fire, the more they abound.
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While organised bodies, animal or vegetable, are augmenting in growth, or are supplying their continual waste, is not this done by attracting and consolidating this fluid called fire, so as to form of it a part of their substance? And is it not a separation of the parts of such substance, which, dissolving its solid state, sets that subtle fluid at liberty, when it again makes its appearance as fire? For the power of man relative to matter, seems limited to the separating or mixing the various kinds of it, or changing its form and appearance by different compositions of it; but does not extend to the making or creating new matter, or annihilating the old.
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ten years, and during all that time, after the first change, I perceived no alteration.
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_ _Extract of a Letter from Mr.
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|Hour|Hour|Temp|Temp |Wind|Course|Dist-| Lat |Long |Remarks.
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_ The chimney being first well swept and cleansed from soot, &c.
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But take out the tube, stop its bottom with a finger and fill it with olive oil, which is lighter than water, then stopping the top, place it as before, its lower end under water, its top a very little above.
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Figure 5.
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At present they have generally but one remedy, which perhaps they have known effectual in some one case of smoky chimneys, and they apply that indiscriminately to all the other cases, without success,--but not without expence to their employers.
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_The Third Class_ To be taught speaking properly and gracefully; which is near a-kin to good reading, and naturally follows it in the studies of youth.
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_Of the Employment of Time, and of Indolence: particularly as respecting the State.
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But if, while I feed them, I employ them, some in spinning, others in making bricks, &c.
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passes through water, 202.
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242, 258.
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