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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 99

fact to some
philosophical friends on my return to England, but it was not much
attended to. I suppose I was thought a little too credulous.

In 1765, the Reverend Dr. Chandler received a letter from Dr.
Finley, President of the College in that province, relating the
same experiment. It was read at the Royal Society, November 21 of
that year, but not printed in the Transactions; perhaps because
it was thought too strange to be true, and some ridicule might be
apprehended, if any member should attempt to repeat it, in order to
ascertain, or refute it. The following is a copy of that account.

"A worthy gentleman, who lives at a few miles distance, informed
me, that in a certain small cove of a mill-pond, near his house, he
was surprized to see the surface of the water blaze like inflamed
spirits. I soon after went to the place, and made the experiment with
the same success. The bottom of the creek was muddy, and when stirred
up, so as to cause a considerable curl on the surface, and a lighted
candle held within two or three inches of it, the whole surface was
in a blaze, as instantly as the vapour of warm inflammable spirits,
and continued, when strongly agitated, for the space of several
seconds. It was at first imagined to be peculiar to that place; but
upon trial it was soon found, that such a bottom in other places
exhibited the same phenomenon. The discovery was accidentally made by
one belonging to the mill."

I have tried the experiment twice here in England, but without
success. The first was in a slow running water with a muddy bottom.
The second in a stagnant water at the bottom of a deep ditch. Being
some time employed in stirring this water, I ascribed an intermitting
fever, which seized me a few days after, to my breathing too much of
that foul air, which I stirred up from the bottom, and which I could
not avoid while I stooped, endeavouring to kindle it. The discoveries
you have lately made, of the manner in which inflammable air is in
some cases produced, may throw light on this experiment, and explain
its succeeding in some cases, and not in others. With the highest
esteem and respect,

I am, dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant,



[24] From his Experiments on Air, Vol. I. page 321. _Editor._


_On the different Quantities of Rain which fall at different
Heights over the same Ground._

[No date.]

On my return to London

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

Page 0
And shall we, brother Englishmen, refuse good sense and saving knowledge, because it comes from the other side of the water?_ _The following may be had of the.
Page 1
with Biographical and Interesting Anecdotes 1 6 Watt's Catechism and Prayers, in 1 vol.
Page 2
'It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their time to be employed in its service: but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing.
Page 3
on diseases, absolutely shortens life.
Page 4
'But with our industry we must likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others: for, as Poor Richard says, "I never saw an oft-removed tree, Nor yet an oft-removed family, That throve so well as those that settled be.
Page 5
" Beware of little expences; "A small leak will sink a great ship," as Poor Richard says; and again, "Who dainties love shall beggars prove;" and moreover, "Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
Page 6
Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of; they think "it is day, and will never be night:" that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding; but "Always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom," as Poor Richard says; and then, "When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.
Page 7
Darton, Junr.
Page 8
Page 9
Page 9, "grevious" changed to "grievous" (much more grievous) Page 11, "waisting" changed to "wasting" (wasting time must be) Page 12, "mak" changed to "make" (We may make).