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fever by jesuit's bark; come, I say, and see how very visibly he approbates our works of wisdom, which make us like himself. You have read the structure of this steepie—the top, a seventy feet spire without any rodthen a rod that went down zigzag, about thirty feet; then a plaistered brick and stone wall without any rod, to the ground. A dreadful cloud came over the steeple. At the first flash, away went the whole of the seventy foot wooden spire, scattered all over the church yard in splinters fit to boil the preacher's tea kettle. 'The lightning then found the iron wire, which it instantly seized on, quitting all things else for that, and darting along with it in so close an embrace, as barely to widen a little the gimblet holes through which it passed. It then followed the wire in all its meanders, whether perpendicular or horizontal-never turning either to the right or to the left, to hurt the building, but passed through it the whole length of the wire, which was about thirty feet, as harmlessly as a lainb. But soon as its dear chain was ended, it assumed the furious lion again; attacking the building with the most destructive rage, dashing its foundation stones to a great distance, and in other respects damaging it dreadfully.
Now what can be more reasonable than doctor Franklin's remarks on this very remarkable occurrence?
"1. That lightning, in its passage through a building, will leave wood, brick, or stone, to pass as far as it can in metal; and not enter those again till the metal conductor ceases.
"II. The quantity of lightning that passed through this steeple must have been very great, by its effects on the lofty spire, &c., and yet great as this quantity was it was conducted by a small wire without the least damage to the building as far as the wire extended.
"III. Hence it seems probable, that if even such a small wire had been extended from the top of the steeple to the earth, before the storm, no damage would have been done by that stroke of lightning."
A fate exactly similar to this attended the great Dutch church, of New York, in 1750. As far as the wire was extended, which was from the top of the steeple, to within a few feet of the earth, the lightning
closely accompanied it, passing with it through small holes in the floors without doing the least damage. But the instant it quitted the wire it commenced its ravages on the building
The summer of 1760 was dreadfully hot in Pennsylvania; and the thunder gusts frequent and terrible. Several ships at the wharves were struck and greatly injured. One of them in particular, a very large ship, had her mainmast torn to pieces, and her captain and three seamen killed. Of houses, both in town and country, many were struck; and some of them, as barns with large quantities of hay, and warehouses with hemp, were set on fire and destroyed to the great detriment and terror, both of the unfortunate sufferers and their neighbours.
These things though melancholy in themselves, were not without their good effects. They served to place in the strongest point of view the admirable efficacy of the newly invented lightning rods. For, while buildings destitute of them were often struck, and sometimes with great loss of lives and property, those houses that had them were hardly ever known to be hurt, though the neighbours who saw the dismal clouds when they bursted, with such hideous peals of thunder and streams of lightning, were sickened with horrid apprehension that all was lost. And even the housekeepers themselves, when recovered from their terrors and faintings, would fly shrieking from chamber to chamber amidst the clouds of sulphur to see who were dead. But behold, to the delicious wonder of themselves and congratulating friends, all were safe. But still the cry was, certainly the house was struck! the house was surely struck! let us examine the conductors.
The conductors were resorted to and examined, and behold! the wondrous laws imposed of God on the most powerful of his creatures! The furious lightnings had fallen on the houses in torrents of fire, threatening a wide destruction. But the iron rods, faithful to their trust, had arrested the impending bolts, and borne them in safety to the ground.
But it was found that the cataracts of lightning had proved too powerful for the rods; in some instances melting them in two' at their slenderest parts, and in others entirely consuming them into smoke. But though these GUARDIAN RODS had perished in their conflict with the rude lightnings, yet they had succeeded in parrying the dreadful stroke with perfect safety to the buildings and their terrified inhabitants; thus impress. ing all men with joy and thankfulness, that God had given such complete victory over one of the most terrible of all our natural enemies.
In short, to use the handsome language of president Adams, "nothing perhaps that ever occurred on earth, could have better tended to confer universal celebrity on man, than did these lightning rods of doctor Franklin’s. The idea was certainly one of the most sublime ever suggested to the human imagination. That mortal man should thus be taught to disarm the clouds of heaven, and almost snatch from his hand 'the sceptre and the rod!”
The ancients would, no doubt, have enrolled among their gods, the author of so wonderful an invention. Indeed the reputation which Franklin acquired by it, not only in America, but in Europe also, far transcended all conception. His lightning rods, or as the French call. ed them, his "paratonerres,” erected their heads, not only on the temples of God and the palaces of kings, but also on the masts of ships and the habitations of ordinary citizens. The sight of them every where reminded the gazing world of the name and character of their inventor, who was thought of by the multitude as some great magician dwelling in the fairy lands of North America, and to whom God had given controul over the elements of nature.
And equally wonderful was the change produced by them in the state of general comfort. The millions, who had hitherto trembled at the cloud rising in the heat of summer, could now look on it with pleasing awe as it rose dark and solemn, with all its muttering thunders. And even amidst the mingled flash and crash of the earth shaking tornado, the very women and chil. dren, if they had but Franklin paratonerres to their chimnies, would sit perfectly composed, silently adoring God for teaching such great salvation to men.
But the pleasure which doctor Franklin found in these plaudits of an honest world was not without an
alloy. Though the end of his labours had been to do goodl; yet he soon discovered, that there were some who sickened at his success. Alas!
“ Among the sons of men, how few are known,
Wbo dare be just to merit, not their own.” Certain invidious scribblers, in London and Paris, began to decry his well earned glory, by pretending that it was all due to the Abbe Nollet, to doctor Gilbert, or some other wonderful Frenchman or Englishman, as the real father of electricity. Franklin took no notice of all this impotent malice; nor indeed was it necessary; for soon as it dared to present its brazen front in print, it was attacked by the first rate philosophers of Europe, who nobly taking the part of Franklin, soon showed, to the general satisfaction, that whatever others may have dreamed about the late wonderful discoveries in electric city, they were all due, under God, to the great American philosopher, who for these and many other important discoveries, had a good right to share with Newton in the following bold compliment.
-Nature and nature's works lay hid in night;
A CURIOUS demonstration of Dr. Franklin's phis losophy of lightning. About thirty four years after this
. date, when Doctor Franklin, by his opposition to Lord North's measures, had become very unpopular, George III. was persuaded to pull down the sharp points of that “HOARY REBEL,” and set up the blunts of an im. pudent quack, because, forsooth, he was a loyal subject! Scarcely were the sharps taken down from the palace, to which, during thirty-four years, they had been an excellent safeguard, before a dismal cloud rose upon the city, black as midnight, and when right over the palace discharged a cataract of electric fluid, with horrid glare and thunder, stunning all ears, blinding all eyes, and
suffocating every sense with the smell of sulphur. The famous blunt conductors presented no point to catch the bolt, which dashing at the stately edifice, tore away all its gable end, marring the best apartments, and killing several of the king's servants. Shortly arrived the
packet from New York, with news of a far more dreadful thunder-clap which had bursted on poor George in America—the capture of his grand Canada army which Lord North had promised him should soon bring the rebels to their marrow bones. The next day the following pasquinade made its appearance in the newspapers:
“While you, great George, intent to hunt,
The nation's out of joint;
By sticking to the POINT.
I cannot quit this subject without observing, that from Dr. Franklin's experiments it appears, that death by lightning, must be the easiest of all deaths.
"In September, 1752," says he, “six young Germans, apparently doubting the truth of the reported force of electricity, came to me to see," as they said, “if there was any thing in it. Having desired them to stand up side by side, I laid one end of my discharging rod on the head of the first; this laid his hand on the head of the second, that on the head of the third, and so on to the last, who held in his hand the chain that was attached to the lightning globe. On being asked if they were ready, they answered yes,and boldly desired that I would give them a thumper; I then gave them a shock; whereat they all dropped down together. When they got up, they declared they had not felt any stroke; and wondered how they came to fall. Nor did any of them hear the crack, or see the light of it.”
He tells another story equally curious. "A young woman, afflicted with symptoms of a palsy in the foot, came to receive an electrical shock. Heedlessly stooping too near the prime conductor, she received å smart stroke in the forehead, of which she fell like one perfectly lifeless on the floor. Instantly she got up again