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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 96

exemple fut
suivi par les universités d'Edimbourg et d'Oxford. Les premiers
philosophes de l'Europe ambitionnèrent d'entrer en correspondance avec
lui. Les lettres qu'il leur écrivit, contiennent des idées savantes et
profondes, exprimées de la manière la plus simple et la plus naturelle.

Les Français possédoient alors le Canada, où ils avoient, les premiers,
fait des établissemens. Le commerce que cette colonie les mettoit à même
de faire avec les Sauvages, étoit extrêmement lucratif. Ils avoient
trouvé là, un débouché considérable pour les produits de leurs
manufactures, et ils recevoient en échange une grande quantité de belles
fourrures, qu'ils vendoient chèrement en Europe. Mais si la possession
du Canada étoit très-avantageuse à la France, les habitans des colonies
anglaises souffroient beaucoup de ce qu'il lui appartenoit. Les Sauvages
étoient en général jaloux de cultiver l'amitié des Français, qui leur
fournissoient abondamment des armes et des munitions. Quand la guerre
avoit lieu entre l'Angleterre et la France, les Sauvages s'empressoient
de ravager les frontières des colonies anglaises. Bien plus: ils
commettoient de pareils excès, lors même que la France et l'Angleterre
étoient en paix.

D'après ces considérations, il n'étoit pas douteux que l'Angleterre ne
fût intéressée à acquérir le Canada. Mais l'importance de cette
acquisition n'étoit pas très-bien sentie à Londres. Franklin publia
alors un pamphlet, dans lequel il démontra, avec la plus grande force,
les avantages qui résulteroient de la conquête du Canada.

On traça aussitôt le plan d'une expédition, à la tête de laquelle fut
mis le général Wolfe. Le succès en est connu. Par le traité de paix
signé en 1762, la France abandonna le Canada à la Grande-Bretagne; et
par la cession, qu'elle fit peu après, de la Louisiane, elle perdit
toutes ses possessions dans le continent d'Amérique.

Quoique Franklin fût alors très-occupé de politique, il trouvoit le
moyen de cultiver les sciences. Il étendit ses recherches sur
l'électricité, et fit un très-grand nombre de nouvelles expériences,
particulièrement sur le tourmalin. Il n'y avoit encore que très-peu de
temps qu'on avoit découvert la singulière propriété qu'a cette pierre de
s'électriser positivement, d'un côté, et négativement de l'autre, sans
friction, et par la seule action de la chaleur.

Le professeur Simpson de Glascow, communiqua à Franklin quelques
expériences que le docteur Cullen avoit faites sur le froid, produit par
l'évaporation. Franklin les répéta, et il trouva que lorsqu'on pompoit
l'air dans le récipient de la machine pneumatique, le froid y augmentoit
à un tel degré, même en été, que l'eau y étoit convertie en glace. Il se
servit de cette découverte pour expliquer un nombre de phénomènes, et
particulièrement un fait, dont les physiciens avoient jusqu'alors
cherché vainement la cause; c'est que

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 12
--Method of relieving Thirst by Seawater 264 To the same.
Page 21
Virtue is the best preservation of health, as it prescribes temperance, and such a regulation of our passions as is most conducive to the well-being of the animal economy; so that it is, at the same time, the only true happiness of the mind, and the best means of preserving the health of the body.
Page 57
This, however, is a mistake.
Page 63
Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigour from a popular examination into the actions of the magistrates; this privilege, in all ages, has been, and always will be, abused.
Page 67
, divinity, law, and physic, were, for no other offence than writing on controverted points of church government, exposed on public scaffolds, and stigmatized and mutilated as common signal rogues or the most ordinary malefactors.
Page 79
The streets of New-York are paved with rough stones; these, indeed, are not washed, but the dirt is so thoroughly swept from before the doors that the stones stand up sharp and prominent, to the great inconvenience of those who are not accustomed to so rough a path.
Page 87
Besides this, it happened frequently that when I came home at one, the dinner was but just put in.
Page 139
After so long a silence, and the long continuance of its unfortunate causes, a line from you was a prognostic of happier times approaching, when we may converse and communicate freely, without danger from the malevolence of men enraged by the ill-success of their distracted projects.
Page 147
I see in some resolutions of town meetings a remonstrance against giving Congress a power to take, as they call it, _the people's money_ out of their pockets, though only to pay the interest and principal of debts duly contracted.
Page 169
"This, together with the little time one of my age may expect to live, makes it necessary for me to request earnestly, which I hereby do, that the Congress would be pleased, without farther delay, to examine those accounts, and if they find therein any article or articles which they do not understand or approve, that they would cause me to be acquainted with the same, that I may have an opportunity of offering such explanations or reasons in support of them as may be in my power, and then that the account may be finally closed.
Page 171
Price.
Page 173
"Confiding in your compliance with this earnest request, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately, B.
Page 182
Is not the finding of great quantities of shells and bones of animals (natural to hot climates) in the cold ones of our present world, some proof that its poles have been changed? Is not the supposition that the poles have been changed, the easiest way of accounting for the deluge, by getting rid of the old difficulty how to dispose of its waters after it was over! Since, if the poles were again to be changed, and placed in the present equator, the sea would fall there about fifteen miles in height, and rise as much in the present polar regions; and the effect would be proportionable if the new poles were placed anywhere between the present and the equator.
Page 187
This effort in some earthquakes, he observes, is so vehement, that it splits and tears the earth, making cracks and chasms in it some miles in length, which open at the instant of the shock, and close again in the intervals between them; nay, it is sometimes so violent that it forces the superincumbent strata, breaks them all throughout, and thereby perfectly undermines and ruins the foundation of them; so that, these failing, the whole tract, as soon as the shock is over, sinks down into the abyss, and is swallowed up by it, the water thereof immediately rising up and forming a lake in the place where the said tract before was.
Page 193
* * * * * _To David Rittenhouse.
Page 198
Small ragged parts of clouds, suspended in the air between the great body of clouds and the earth (like leaf gold in electrical experiments) often serve as partial conductors for the lightning, which proceeds from one of them to another, and by their help comes within the striking distance to the earth or a building.
Page 201
_, to the degree of boiling, its particles, in quitting it, so repel each other as to take up vastly more space than before and by that repellancy support themselves, expelling the air from the space they occupy.
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Fig.
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E.
Page 229
Another.