Imatges de pàgina

usual, of hemp, excepting the lower end, which was made of silk, because this substance does not give a free passage to the electricity.

11. With this kite, on the appearance of a thunder storm, he went out into the commons with his son, to whom alone he had communicated his in tentions. He placed himself under a shed to avoid the rain ; his kite was raised—a thunder cloud passed over it, but no sign of electricity appeared. The experiment had almost been given up in despair, when he perceived, in the loose fibres of the string, evident appearances of electricity. By continued observation the fact was most clearly proved ; and the honor of establishing the sameness of electricity and lightning was won by Franklin.

12. The letters which Franklin had sent to Mr. Collinson were published by that gentleman in a separate volume, under the title of “ New Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia, in America.” They were read with great eagerness, and soon translated into different languages. A very incorrect French translation fell into the hands of the celebrated Buffon, who was much pleased with it, and performed the experiments with success. A more correct translation was undertaken at his request, and contributed much towards spreading a knowledge of Franklin's prin

11. Relate the progress of the experiment. 12. Under what title were Franklin's letters on the subject printed ? How were they received ? By whose request was a correct French translation made ?

ciples in France. His experiments were repeated by most of the distinguished philosophers throughout Europe.

13. By these experiments, the truth of Franklin's doctrine was established in the firmest manner. When it could no longer be doubted, some men were anxious to take away from its merit. It was considered at that time rather mortifying to the European philosophers, to admit that an American could make important discoveries which had escaped their notice.

14. The Abbé Nollet, preceptor in natural philosophy to the royal family of France, was exceedingly offended at the publication of Franklin's letters. He had himself written about electricity, and could not at first believe that such a work had really come from America. He said it must have been composed by his enemies in Paris, to oppose his system. Afterwards, having been assured that there really existed such a person as Franklin at Philadelphia, he published a volume of letters, in defence of his own ideas upon the subject, and denying the propositions of the American philosopher.

15. Franklin thought at one time of writing a letter in reply to the abbé, and actually began one. But on considering that any one might repeat his experiments, and ascertain for himself whether or not they were true, he concluded to let his papers shift for themselves; believing it was better to spend what time he could spare in making new experiments than in disputing about those already made.

13. What was the result of the establishment of Franklin's doctrine ? 14. What was the conduct of the Abbé Nollet? 15. What course did Franklin pursue on the subject ?

16. The event gave him no cause to repent of his silence. His friend, Monsieur Le Roy, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, took up his cause, and refuted the abbé. Franklin's volume was translated into the Italian, German and Latin languages; and the doctrine it contained was, by degrees, generally adopted by the philosophers of Europe, in preference to that of Nollet.

17. What gave his book the more sudden and general celebrity was the success of one of its proposed experiments, made at Marly, for drawing lightning from the clouds. This engaged the public attention every where. The “ Philadelphia experiments," as they were called, were performed before the king and court, and all the curious of Paris flocked to see them.

18. Dr. Wright, an English physician, was at Paris when they were the talk and wonder of the day. He wrote to a member of the Royal Society an account of the high esteem in which the experi ments of Franklin were held by learned men abroad and of their surprise that his writings had been so little noticed in England. The society, on this, resumed the consideration of the letters that had been read to them, and a summary account of their doctrines was drawn up and published among their philosophical essays and transactions.

16. Did he regret his silence? State the substance of this paragraph. 17. What gave the book the more general celebrity ? 18. Who was Dr. Wright? What communication did he make to the Royal Society ?

19. To make Franklin some amends for the slight with which they had before treated him, the society chose him a member, without his having made the usual application. They also presented him with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Copley for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by a very complimentary speech from the president, Lord Macclesfield.


Appointed Postmaster-General. Journey to New Eng

land. Receives Degrees from two Colleges. Story of the Visit to his Mother.

1. Having been some time employed by the postmaster-general of America in regulating the several offices, and bringing the officers to account, upon his death, in 1753, Franklin was appointed, jointly with another gentleman, to succeed him. The American office had before this time never paid any thing to that of Great Britain; and the new posto masters were to have six hundred pounds between them, if they could make that sum out of the profits of the office.

19. What honors did the society confer upon him ? 1. What appointment did Franklin receive at this time.

2. To do this, a variety of improvements were necessary, some of which were at first very expensive; so that, for the first four years, the office became more than nine hundred pounds in debt to them. Afterwards they began to be repaid, and before Franklin was displaced, they had brought it to yield three times as much clear profit to the crown, as the post-office of Ireland. After Franklin's dismission, they never received a farthing from it.

3. The business of the post-office occasioned his taking a journey to New England, where the College of Cambridge presented him with the degree of Master of Arts. Yale College, in Connecticut, had before paid him a similar compliment. Thus, without studying in any college, he came to partake of their honors. They were conferred in consideration of his discoveries and improvements in natural philosophy.

4. It was either during this or his former journey that the story of the visit to his mother originated. He had been some years absent from his native city, and was at that period of life when the greatest and most rapid alteration is made in the human appear

Franklin was sensible that his person had


2. Was the post-office, under Franklin, a source of revenue to the crown ? . 3. What honors did Franklin receive from the colleges ?

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