Imatges de pàgina

the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, came to Franklin with a request that he would assist him in procuring subscriptions to erect a new meeting-house. It was to be devoted to the use of a congregation he had gathered among the original disciples of Mr. Whitefield. Franklin was too wise to make himself disagreeable to his fellow citizens, by such frequent calls upon their generosity, and absolutely refused. The gentleman then desired he would furnish him with a list of the names of persons he knew by experience to be generous and public-spirited. This, also, was refused; for it was hard that their kind compliance with a request of charity should mark them out to be worried by all who chose to call upon them.

18. Franklin was then asked to give his advice. That I will do,” he replied ; "and in the first place, I advise you to apply to all those who you know will give something; next, to those of whom you are uncertain whether they will give any thing or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and lastly, do not neglect those who you are sure will give nothing; for in some of them you may he mistaken." The clergyman laughed, and promised to take his advice. He did so, for he asked of every body, and soon obtained money enough to erect a spacious and elegant meeting-house.

19. Franklin now exerted himself in several matters that, however small they may seem, affected the convenience and comfort of his fellow citizens in a great degree. This was in respect to cleaning, paving, and lighting the streets. By talking, and writing in the papers, he was able to introduce great changes in these matters, which were very important to the cleanliness and good appearance of the

17. What did Mr. Gilbert Tennent request of Franklin ? How was his request treated ? 18. What advice did Franklin give ?


Spence's Experiments in Electricity. Franklin repeats

them. Makes important Discoveries. Letters to Collinson. Experiment with the Kite. Publication of his Letters. Anecdote of the Abbé Nollet.

Fame of Franklin. Elected a Member of the Royal Society.

1. It was in the year 1746, that Franklin first attended to the branch of philosophy in which he afterwards became so distinguished. During that year he was in Boston, and there met with a Dr. Spence, who showed him some experiments in electricity. It was a subject altogether new to him, and, though the experiments were not very well performed, they surprised and pleased him.

2. If you take a stick of sealing-wax, or a glass tube, or a piece of amber which has been a long

19. To what smaller matters of public interest did Franklin now attend ?

1. When did Franklin first attend to electricity? 2. Relate the substance of the second paragraph.

time untouched, and bring it near some small pieces of paper, chaff, or other light substance, it produces no impression upon them. But if you first rub lightly and briskly the wax, the tube, or the amber, with a piece of dry woollen cloth, or cat skin, and then bring it near any of these light substances, you will find that they fly to it, and remain upon it. The power which attracts these substances, and which is excited by the rubbing, is called electricity.

3. It is so called from a Greek word which signifies amber, the substance in which this power was first observed. Amber is a brittle mineral substance, of a yellow, and sometimes a reddish brown color. It is found in several countries in Europe, and has recently been found in the United States, at Cape Sable, in Maryland. This is the substance with which the first electrical experiment was performed, ages ago, by a Greek philosopher of the name of Thales.

4. Several centuries passed without any thing being known upon this subject, beyond the fact that these substances possessed this power. At length it began to attract the attention of modern philosophers. In 1742, several ingenious Germans engaged in the subject, and the results of their researches astonished all Europe. They obtained large apparatus, by means of which they were en

3. From what is the word electricity derived ? What is amber ? Where is it found ? 4. When was the subject first examined by "modern philosophers ?

abled to collect large quantities of the electric fluid, and produce several wonders which had been before unobserved.

5. These experiments excited the curiosity of other philosophers. Mr. Peter Collinson, fellow of the Royal Society of London, about the year 1745, sent to the library company of Philadelphia a glass tube, with some account of its use in making such experiments. Franklin eagerly seized the opportunity of repeating those which he had seen at Boston, and, by much practice, acquired great readiness in performing those of which they had an account from England.

6. He was soon enabled to make a number of important discoveries, and his house was, for some time, continually full of people who came to see the new wonders.

His observations upon the subject were, from time to time, communicated to his friend Collinson, in a series of letters, the first of which is dated March 28, 1747. These were read before the Royal Society, where they were not at first thought worthy of much attention.

7. In the year 1749, Franklin first suggested the idea of explaining the sameness of electricity with lightning. A paper upon this subject, which he wrote for Mr. Kinnersly, was read before the members of the Royal Society, and excited a hearty

5. What did Mr. Collinson send to Philadelphia ? 7. When did Franklin first suggest that electricity and lightning were the same ?

laugh. But it was the lot of this neglected theory to be generally adopted by philosophers, and to bid fair to endure for ages.

8. It was in the same year, that Franklin started the plan of proving the truth of his doctrine, by actually drawing down the lightning, by means of sharp-pointed iron rods raised high into the clouds. It was not until the summer of 1752, that he was enabled to complete his grand discovery by actual experiment.

9. The plan which he had first proposed was, to erect a box on some high tower, or other elevated place, from which should rise a pointed iron rod. He thought that electrified clouds, passing over it, would impart a portion of their electricity, which would be made evident by presenting a key or the knuckle to it. There was at this time, in Philadelphia, no opportunity of trying an experiment of the kind. But while Franklin was waiting for the erection of a spire, it occurred to him that he might have a more ready access to the clouds by means of a common kite.

10. He prepared a kite by fastening two cross sticks to a silk handkerchief, which would not suffer from the rain so much as paper. To the upright stick he affixed an iron point. The string was, as

8. Ilow did he propose to prove the truth of his doctrine ? When did he prove it by actual experiment? 9. What plans had he at first proposed? What occurred to him afterwards ? 10. How did he prepare the kite ?

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