Benjamin Franklin

Our friend and we were invited aboard on a party of pleasure, which is to last forever. His chair was ready first, and he has gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and know where to find him.

Ben Franklin was a little stout later in life and it was said that in Paris a young woman, tapping him on his protruding abdomen, said,”Dr. Franklin, if this were on a woman, we’d know what to think.” And Franklin replied,”Half an hour ago, Mademoiselle, it was on a woman, and now what do you think?”

“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” in a draft of the Declaration of Independence changes it instead into an assertion of rationality. The scientific mind of Franklin drew on the scientific determinism of Isaac Newton and the analytic empiricism of David Hume and Gottfried Leibniz. In what became known as “Hume’s Fork” the latters’ theory distinguished between synthetic truths that describe matters of fact, and analytic truths that are self-evident by virtue of reason and definition.

The electrical matter consists of particles extremely subtile, since it can permeate common matter, even the densest metals, with such ease and freedom as not to receive any perceptible resistance.If anyone should doubt whether the electrical matter passes through the substance of bodies, or only over along their surfaces, a shock from an electrified large glass jar, taken through his own body, will probably convince him.Electrical matter differs from common matter in this, that the parts of the latter mutually attract, those of the former mutually repel each other.