Vie de Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome I Suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 81

que M. Kinnersley avoit raison, et que
l'électricité vitreuse et l'électricité résineuse de Dufay n'étoient
autre chose que l'état positif et l'état négatif, qu'il avoit d'abord
observés; c'est-à-dire, que le globe de verre chargeoit positivement le
principal conducteur, ou lui communiquoit une plus grande quantité
d'électricité, tandis que le pain de résine diminuoit sa quantité
naturelle, ou le chargeoit négativement.

Ces expériences et ces observations ouvrirent aux recherches un nouveau
champ, dans lequel les physiciens entrèrent avec ardeur; et leurs
travaux ajoutèrent beaucoup à la somme de nos connoissances.

Au mois de septembre 1752, Franklin commença un cours d'expériences,
pour déterminer l'état de l'électricité dans les nuages; et après un
grand nombre d'observations, il reconnut que les nuages orageux étoient
très-communément dans un état négatif d'électricité, mais quelquefois
aussi dans un état positif. De là il inféra nécessairement que le plus
souvent les coups de tonnerre étoient l'effet de l'électricité de la
terre, qui frappoit les nuages, et non de celle des nuages, qui frappoit
la terre.

La lettre, qui contient ces observations, est datée du mois de septembre
1753. Cependant la découverte de l'ascension du tonnerre passe pour être
assez récente, et est attribuée à l'abbé Bertholon, qui publia un
mémoire sur ce sujet en 1776.

Les lettres de Franklin ont été traduites non-seulement dans la plupart
des langues de l'Europe, mais en latin. À mesure qu'elles se sont
répandues, les principes qu'elles contiennent ont été suivis. Cependant
la théorie de Franklin ne manqua pas d'abord d'adversaires. L'abbé
Nollet fut un de ceux qui la combattirent: mais les premiers physiciens
de l'Europe en devinrent les défenseurs; et parmi ces derniers on doit
distinguer Dalibard et Beccaria. Insensiblement les ennemis disparurent;
et maintenant par-tout où l'on cultive la science de l'électricité, on a
adopté le systême de Franklin.

Nous avons déjà fait mention de l'important usage que Franklin fit de
ses découvertes, pour préserver les maisons des redoutables effets de la
foudre. Les conducteurs sont devenus très-communs en Amérique: mais
malgré les preuves certaines de leur utilité, le préjugé les empêche
encore d'être généralement adoptés en Europe. Les hommes se déterminent
difficilement à renoncer à leurs coutumes pour en prendre de nouvelles;
et, peut-être, devons-nous plutôt nous étonner de voir qu'un usage
utile, qui n'a été proposé que depuis environ quarante ans, soit déjà
établi en beaucoup d'endroits, que de ce qu'il n'est pas encore
universellement suivi. Ce n'est que par degrés que les choses les plus
salutaires peuvent être mises en pratique. Il y a près de quatre-vingts
ans que l'inoculation a été introduite en Europe et en Amérique.
Cependant, elle n'est pas d'un usage général; et il faut, peut-être,
encore un ou

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 3
In the colonies there was the thrift that comes from narrowest means; but the people refused to answer parliamentary levies and claimed that they would lay their own taxes through their own legislatures.
Page 9
There fell lately into my hands, in London, a collection he had made of all the principal pamphlets relating to public affairs, from 1641 to 1717; many of the volumes are wanting, as appears by the numbering, but there still remain eight volumes in folio and twenty-four in quarto and octavo.
Page 15
Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned early in the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted.
Page 26
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Page 37
" I agreed that this might be advantageous.
Page 41
But he never fulfilled his promise.
Page 42
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Page 71
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Page 72
My original habits of frugality continuing, and my father having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently repeated a proverb of Solomon, "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men,"[110] I from thence considered industry as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encouraged me, though I did not think that I should ever literally "stand before kings;" which, however, has since happened, for I have stood before five, and even had the honor of sitting down with one (the King of Denmark) to dinner.
Page 74
At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things;" and I imagined, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some morality.
Page 86
I had purposely avoided them; for, being fully persuaded of the utility and excellency of my method, and that it might be serviceable to people in all religions, and intending some time or other to publish it, I would not have anything in it that should prejudice any one, of any sect, against it.
Page 88
"That the view of these parties is their present general interest, or what they take to be such.
Page 101
[127] The sight of their miserable situation inspired the benevolent heart of Mr.
Page 102
Whitefield was in London, when he consulted me about his orphan house concern, and his purpose of appropriating it to the establishment of a college.
Page 104
Peters, who was out of employ, a fit person to superintend such an institution, I communicated the project to him; but he, having more profitable views in the service of the proprietaries, which succeeded, declined the undertaking; and, not knowing another at that time suitable for such a trust, I let the scheme lie awhile dormant.
Page 115
At midnight a number of them came thundering to our door, demanding more rum, of which we took no notice.
Page 121
My proposal communicated to the good doctor was as follows: "For the more effectual cleaning and keeping clean the streets of London and Westminster[147] it is proposed that the several watchmen be contracted with to have the dust swept up in dry seasons, and the mud raked up at other times, each in the several streets and lanes of his round; that they be furnished with brooms and other proper instruments for these purposes, to be kept at their respective stands, ready to furnish the poor people they may employ in the service.
Page 134
They consisted of twenty parcels, each containing 6 lbs.
Page 145
This silly affair, however, greatly increased his rancor against me, which was before not a little on account of my conduct in the Assembly respecting the exemption of his estate from taxation, which I had always opposed very warmly, and not without severe reflections on his meanness and injustice of contending for it.
Page 146
I forget now the advice I gave; but I think it was that Dunbar should be written to, and prevailed with, if possible, to post his troops on the frontiers for their protection, till, by reenforcements from the colonies, he might be able to proceed on the expedition.