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clouds of a thunder-gust are most commonly in a negative state of electricity, but fometimes in a positive state;” and from thisit follows, as a neceslary consequence, “that, for the most part, in thunder-strokes, it is the earıh that strikes into the clouds, and not the clouds that strikes into the earth.” The letrer containing these observations is dated in September, 1753; and yet the discovery of afcending thunder has been said to be of a modern date, and has been attributed to the Abbe Bertholon, who published his memoir on the subject in 1776.
Franklin's letters have been translated into most of the European languages, and into Latin, In proportion as they have become known, his principles have been adopted. Some oppofition was made to his theories, particularly by the Abbe Nollet, who was, however, but feebly supported, whilst the first philosophers of Europe stepped forth in defence of Franklin's principles; amongst whom D'Alibard and Beccaria were the most distinguishtd. The opposition has gradually ceased, and the Franklin system is now universally adopted, where science flourishes.
The importan: practical use which Franklin made of his discoveries, the securing of houses from injury by lightning, has been already mentioned. Pointed conductors are now very common in America ; but prejudice has hitherto prevented their general introduction into Europe, notwithstarding the most undoubted proofs of their utility have been given. Bit mankind can with difficoliy be brought to lay atide established practices, or to adopt new ones. And perhaps we have more realon to be surprised that a practice, howeszsüzi IsVOL. I.
tional, which was proposed about forty years ago, should in that time have been adopted in so many places, than that it has not universally prevailed. it is only by degrees that the great body of man. kind can be led into new practices, however salutary their tendency. It is now nearly eighty years fince inoculation was introduced into Europe and America ; and it is fo far from being general at present, that it will, perhaps, require one or two centuries to render it fo.
In the year 1745, Franklin published an account of his new invented Pennsylvania fire-places, in which he minutely and accurately states the ad vantages and disadvantages of different kinds of fire-places; and endeavours to few that the one which he describes is to be preferred to any other This contrivance has given rise to the open ftoves now in general use, which however differ from i in construction, particularly in not having an air box at the back, through which a constant supply of air, warmed in its pallage, is thrown into the room. The advantages of this are, that as a stream of warm air is continually flowing into the room, less fuel is neceffiry to preserve a proper tempera
ture, and the room may be fo tightened as that no - air may enter through cracks; the consequences of wbich are colds, toothaches, &c.
Although pl.ilofophy was a principal object of Franklin's pursuit for several years, he caufined himlelf not to this. In the year 1747, he became a member of the general affernbly of Penniylvania, az a burgess for the city of Philadelphia. Wari disputes at this time sublisted between ine senibly and the proprietaries ; each contending tar rimenbey conceived to be their juft rights. Tom. in, a friend to the rights of man from his infancy, oon distinguished himself as a steady opponent of he unjuft schemes of the proprietaries.
He was oon looked up to as the head of the opposition; ind to him have been attributed many of the fpiited replies of the assembly, to the messages of the sovernors.
His influence in the body was very great. This arole not from any fuperior powers of loquence ; he spoke but seldom, and he never was known to make any thing like an elaborate haangue. His speeches often consisted of a single entence, or of a well-told story, the moral of which was always obviously to the point. He never attempted the flowery fields of oratory. His manber was plain and mild. His style in speaking was, like that of his writings, remarkably concite. With this plain manner, and his penetrating and folid judgment, he was able to confound the most eloquent and subtle of his adversaries, to confirm the opinions of his friends, and to make converts of the unprejudiced who had opposed him. With a fingle observation, he has rendered of no avail an elegant and lengthy discourse, and determined the fate of a question of importance.
But he was not contented with thus supporting the rights of the people.
He withed to render them permanently secure, which can only be done by making their value properly known; and this muit depend upon increating and extending information to every class of men. We havc aliea. dy teen that he was the founder of the public library, which contributed greatly towards improving the minds of the citizens. But this was not fufficient. The schools then subsisting were in ge, ieral of little utility. The teachers were men ill qualified for the important duty which they had undertaken; and, after all, nothing more could be obtained than the rudiments of a common En. glish education. Franklin drew up a plan of an academy, to be erected in the city of Philadelphia, suited to the state of an infant country ;' but in this, as in all his plans, he confined not his views to to the present time only. He looked forward to the period when an institution on an enlarged plan would become neceffary. With this view he considered his academy as “ a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning, more extensive, and suitable to future circumstances. In pursuance of this plan, the constitutions were drawn up and signed on the oth of November 1749. In these twentyfour le most respectable citizens of Philadelphia were named as trustees. In the choice of these, ind in the formation of his plan, Franklin is said to have consulted chiefly with Thomas Hopkinson, Efq. Rev. Richard Peters, then secretary of the province, Tench Francis, Esq. attorney-general, and Dr. Phineas Bond,
The following article shews a spirit of benevolence worthy of imitation; and, for the honour of our city, we hope that it continues to be in force.
" In case of the inability of the rector, or any master, (established on the foundation by receiving a certain falary) through fickness, or any other natural infirmity, wheieby he may be reduced to poverty, the trustees shall have power to contribute to his support, in proportion to his distress and merit, and the stock in their hands."
The laft clause of the fundamental rules is ex reffed in language lo tender and benevclent, lo
truly parental, that it will do ever lasting honour
to the hearts and heads of the founders. Cits
" It is hoped and expected that the trustees will make it their pleasure, and in some degree their business, to visit the academy often; to encourage ind countenance the youth, countenance and allist the masters, and by all means in their power advance the usefulness and reputation of the design, that they will look on the students as, in some measure, their bwn children, treat them with familiarity and aflection; and when they have behaved well, gone hrough their studies, and are to enter the world, hey thall zealously unite, and make all the interest hat can be made, to promote and establish them, Whether in buliness, offices, marriages, or any ()ber thing for their advantage, preferable to all şther persons whatsoever, even of equal merit.”
The constitutions being figned and made public, with the names of the gentlemen proposing thenfelves as trustees and founders, the design was fa kell approved of by the public-spirited citizens of Philadelphia, that the sum of eight hundred pounds per annum, for five years, was in the course of a few weeks lubfcribed for carrying the plan into execution ; and in the be; inning of January fola. lowing (viz. 1750) three of the schools were openel, namely, the Latin and Greek schoo's, the Blathematical and the English schools. lunce of an article in the orginal plan, a school fo' educating fixty boys and thirty girls (in the Charter fince called the Charitable School) was ojened, and amidit all the difficulties with which the trustees have struggled in respect to their funds has ftill been continued full for the space of forty years; so that allowing three years education for