Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Does it not seem to have a great affinity with water, since it will quit a solid to unite with that fluid, and go off with it in vapour, leaving the solid cold to the touch, and the degree measurable by the thermometer?

The vapour rises attached to this fluid, but at a certain height they separate, and the vapour descends in rain, retaining but little of it, in snow or hail less. What becomes of that fluid? Does it rise above our atmosphere, and mix equally with the universal mass of the same kind? Or does a spherical stratum of it, denser, or less mixed with air, attracted by this globe, and repelled or pushed up only to a certain height from its surface, by the greater weight of air, remain there surrounding the globe, and proceeding with it round the sun.

In such case, as there may be a continuity or communication of this fuid through the air quite down to the earth, is it not by the vibrations given to it by the sun that light appears to us; and may it not be, that every one of the infinitely small vibrations, striking common matter with a certain force, enter its substance, are held there by attraction, and augmented by succeeding vibrations, till the matter has received as much as their force can drive into it?

Is it not thus that the surface of this globe is continually heated by such repeated vibrations in the day, and cooled by the escape of the heat when those vibrations are discontinued in the night, or intercepted and reflected by clouds?

Is it not thus that fire is amassed, and makes the greatest part of the substance of combustible bodies?

Perhaps when this globe was first formed, and its original particles took their place at certain distances from the centre, in proportion to their greater or less gravity, the fluid fire, attracted towards that centre, might in great part be obliged, as lightest, to take place above the rest, and thus form the sphere of fire above supposed, which would afterwards be continually diminishing by the substance it afforded to organized bodies, and the quantity restored to it again by the burning or other separating of the parts of those bodies?

Is not the natural heat of animals thus produced, by separating in digestion the parts of food, and setting their fire at liberty?

Is it not this sphere of fire which kindles the wandering globes that sometimes pass through it in our course round the sun, have their surface kindled by it, and burst when their included air is greatly rarified by the heat on their burning surfaces?

[ocr errors]

over

IN the foregoing work, a paper is mentioned in which Dr. FRANKLIN, among his other conjectures and imaginations (as he modestly stiles them) supposes it possible, by attentive observations made during the summer, to foretel the mildness or severity of the following winter.

6 When in summer (says he) the sun is high, and long every “ day above the horizon, his rays strike the earth more directly, « and with longer continuance than in the winter: hence the « surface is more heated and to a greater depth, by the effect 66 of these rays. When rain falls on the heated earth and sinks u down into it, it.carries down with it a great part of the heat " which by that means descends still deeper.—The mass of “ earth, to the depth of perhaps 3 feet, being thus heated to a “ certain degree, continues to retain its heat for some time. “ Thus the first snows that fall in the beginning of winter, sel« dom lie long on the surface. Afterwards, the winds that blow

the country, on which the snows had fallen, are not ren6 dered so cold as they would have been, had these snows re-, “ mained; and thus the approach of the severity of the winter « is retarded.

“ During several of the summer months of 1783, when the 6 efforts of the sun's rays to heat these northern regions would “ have been great, there existed a constant fog over all Europe, “ and great part of North America. This fog was of a peculiar « nature: it was dry, and the rays of the sun seemed to have “ little effect towards dissipating it, as they dissolve a moist fog « arising from water. They were indeed rendered so faint in

passing through it, that when collected in the focus of a burn~ ing glass, they would scarce kindle brown paper. Of course “ their summer effect in heating the earth was exceedingly di“ minished: Hence the surface was early frozen: Hence the “ first snows remained on it, and received continual additions: “ Hence the air was more chilled, and the winter more severely VOL. I.

M 4

* cold: And hence the winter of 1783—4 was more severe than * any that had happened for many years."

IN the philosophical and political career of this great man, numerous are the instances which might be given to confirm the truth of an observation already made, that one ruling passion formed the motive of every action" a desire to do good and to communicate.” His address, in this, was great, adapting himself to subjects and persons, with the most winning affection and familiarity, as occasion required from the earliest to the latest period of his life.

In a letter, which he wrote to his sister in 1738, he conveys the first great lesson of religion, by a pleasant criticism on some verses written by his uncle, one line of which was

Raise faith and hope three stories higher." The meaning of three stories higher," (he said)“ seems « somewhat obscure. You are to understand then that Faith, 6 Hope, and Charity, have been called the three steps of Jacob's « ladder, reaching from earth to heaven: our author calls them 6 stories of the Christian edifice. Thus improvement in religion « is called building up, or edification. Faith is then the ground “ floor, and Hope is up one pair of stairs. My dearly beloved ^ Jenny, do not delight so much to dwell in these lower rooms,

but get as fast as you can into the garret, for in truth the " best room in the house is Charity."

IN a letter, written when in France to Dr. MATHER of Boston, he attributes his disposition of doing good, to the early impression of a book which attracted his notice when he was a boy, called Essays to do Good, written by Dr. Mather's father. - It had been, says he, so little regarded by a former possessor, that several leaves of it were torn out, but the remainder gave me such a turn of thinking, as to have great influence on my conduct through life; for I have always set a greater value on the character of a doer of good, than on any other kind of

reputation; and if I have been, as you seem to think, a useful “ citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book.

He proceeds.-The last time I saw your father was in the “ beginning of 1724. He received me in his library, and on my

[ocr errors]

taking leave, shewed me a shorter way out of the house, . through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam over “ head. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying

me behind, and I turning partly towards him, when he said “ hastily, Stoop! stoop! I did not understand him, till I felt my a head hit-against the beam. He was a man that never missed an occasion of giving instruction, and upon this he said to me

You are young, and have the world before you ; stoop as you go " through it, and you will miss many hard thumps. This advice, “ thus beaten into my head, has often been of use to me through “ life, and I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and mis“ fortunes 'brought upon people by carrying their heads toe “ high."

POSTSCRIPT.

May 1st, 1802. WHILE this Eulogium was originally in the press, the following verses, beautifully poetical and descriptive of the character of DR. FRANKLIN, were found on the writing-desk of my study; but whether dropped there by some one of the nine muses, or by what mortal favorite of theirs, I could not then learn. They were accompanied with a request, that they might be annexed to the Eulogium; but apprehending that the publisher, Mr. Bache, who was Dr. Franklin's grandson might think it indecent in him to give circulation to the two last stanzas, however much he might approbate the three first; they were suppressed at that time, and from a persuasion also, that, at a future day, they might more easily be endured by the warmest of Dr. Franklin's surviving friends.

The verses were found in the hand-writing of my dear deceased wife, and not recollecting, at that time ever to have seen or read them, and asking from what original she had copied them, she laughed, as I thought, at the scantiness of my reading on a subject so recent as the death of Dr. Franklin, whose panegyrist I had been appointed, by a grave society of philosophers. I replied, with a mixture of a little raillery in my turn, that if she would not satisfy me respecting the author of the verses, or from what source she had copied them, I should consider myself as happily yoked to a very good poetess, and ascribe the composition

to herself, unless clubbed between her, and her dear friend Mrs.
Ferguson. I knew either of them to be capable of the work,
and from the spirit, wit and manner of it, as well as from fre-
quent hints in their conversation, concerning Dr. Franklin,
whose genius and talents they both admired, I knew also that
the two last stanzas, as well as three first accorded well with
their sentiments. Since this note was prepared for the press,
I have discovered by means of a worthy friend (B. R. M. Esq.)
that the rev. Jonathan Odell, formerly missionary at Burlington
New Jersey, and now secretary of the British province of New-
Brunswick was the real author. I had indeed suspected him to
be so, and questioned him accordingly, (for he dined at my house
that day), but it seems that he joined with the ladies to keep me
in suspence, and in conveying a satirical hint, by means of the
verses, that I was a very warm panegyrist.-

VERSES ON THE LATE DR. FRANKLIN.
LIKE Newton sublimely he soar'd

To a summit before unattain'd;
New regions of science explorid,

And the palm of philosophy gain'd.

With a spark that he caught from the skies,

He display'd an unparrallel'd wonder,
And we saw, with delight and surprize,

That his rod could protect us from thunder.

Oh! had he been wise to pursue,

The path which his talents design’d,
What a tribute of praise had been due

To the teacher and friend of mankind!

But to covet political fame,

Was, in Him, a degrading ambition;
A spark which from Lucifer came,

Enkiddled the blaze of sedition.

[ocr errors]

Let candor, then, write on his urn

Here lies the renowned inventor,
Whose flame to the skies ought to burn,

But, inverted, descends to the center!

« FöregåendeFortsätt »