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but on consideration that my writings contained a description of experiments, which any one might repeat and verify; and if not to be verified could not be defended ; or of observations offered as conjectures, and not delivered dogmatically, therefore not laying me under any obligation to defend them; and reflecting that a dispute between two persons written in different languages might be lengthened greatly by mistranslations, and thence misconceptions of one another's meaning, (much of one of the Abbé's letters being founded on an error in the translation); I concluded to let my papers shift for themselves ; believing it was better to spend what time I could spare from public business in making new experiments, than in disputing about those already made. I therefore never answered Monsieur Nollet; and the event gave me no cause to repent my silence; for my friend Monsieur Le Roy, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, took up my cause and refuted him: my book 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 the Abbé; so that he lived to see himself the last of his sect; except Monsieur B, of Paris, his élève and immediate disciple. What gave my
book the more sudden and general celebrity, was the success of one of its proposed experiments, made by Messieurs Dalibard and Delor at Marly, for drawing lightning from the clouds. This engaged the public attention everywhere. Monsieur Delor, who had an apparatus for experimental philosophy, and lectured in that branch of science, undertook to repeat what he called the Philadelphia experiments ; and after they were performed before the king and court, all. the curious of Paris flocked to see them. I will not swell this narrative with an account of that capital experiment, nor of the infinite pleasure I received in the success of a similar one I made soon after with a kite at Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the histories of electricity. Dr. Wright, an English physician, when at Paris, wrote to a friend, who was of the Royal Society, an account of the high esteem my experiments were in among the learned abroad, and of their wonder that my 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 the celebrated Dr. Watson drew up a summary account of them, and of all I had afterwards sent to England on the subject; which he accompanied with some praise of the writer. This summary was then printed in their transactions; and some members of the society in London, particularly the very ingenious Mr. Canton, having verified the experiment of procuring lightning from the clouds by a pointed rod, and acquainted them with the success, they soon made me more than amends for
the slight with which they had before treated me. Without my having made any application for that honor, they chose me a member; and voted that I should be excused the customary payments, which would have amounted to twenty-five guineas; and ever since have given me their transactions gratis.'
Dr. Franklin gives a further account of his election, in a letter to his son Governor Franklin, of which the following is an extract.
London, December 19, 1767. “ We have had an ugly affair at the Royal Society lately: One Dacosta, a Jew, who, as our clerk, was entrusted with collecting our monies, has been so unfaithful as to embezzle near £1300 in four years. Being one of the council this year, as well as the last, I have been employed all the last week in attending the inquiry into and unravelling his accounts, in order to come at a full knowledge of his frauds. His securities are bound in £ 1000 to the Society, which they will pay, but we shall probably lose the rest. He had this year received 26 admission payments of 25 guineas each, which he did not bring to account.
" While attending this affair, I had an opportunity of looking over the old council books and journals of the society, and having a curiosity to see how I came in, (of which I had never been informed,) I looked back for the minutes relating to it. You must know it is not iisual to admit persons that have not requested to be admitted ; and a recommendatory certificate in favor of the candidate, signed by at least three of the members, is by our rule to be presented to the society, expressing that he is desirous of that honor, and is so and so qualified. As I never had asked or expected the honor, I was, as I said before, curious to see bow the business was managed. I found that the certificate, worded very advantageously for me, was signed by Lord Macclesfield then President, Lord Parker, and Lord Willoughby,
They also presented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Copley, for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by a very handsome speech of the president, Lord Macclesfield, wherein I was highly honored.
Our new governor, Captain Denny, brought over for me the before-mentioned medal from the Royal Society, which he presented to me at an entertainment given him by the city. He accompanied it with very polite expressions of his esteem for me, having, as he said, been long acquainted with my
character. After dinner, when the company, as was customary at that time, were engaged in drinking, he took me aside into another room, and acquainted me that he had been advised by his friends in England to cultivate a friendship with me, as one who was capable of giving him the best advice, and of contributing most effectually to the making his administration easy. That he therefore desired of all things to have a good understanding with me, and he begged me to be as
that the election was by an unanimous vote; aud the honor being voluntarily conferred by the society unsolicited by me, it was thought wrong to demand or receive the usual fees or composition; so that my name was entered the list with a vote of council, that I was not to pay any thing. And accordingly nothing has ever been demanded of me, Those wbo are ad. mitted in the common way, pay five guineas admission fees, and two guineas and a half yearly contribution, or twenty-five guineas down, in licu of it. In my case a substantial favor accompanied the honor.
sured of his readiness on all occasions to render me every service that might be in his
He said much to me also of the proprietors' good disposition towards the province, and of the advantage it would be to us all, and to me in particular, it the opposition that had been so long continued to his measures was dropt, and harmony restored between him and the people; in effecting which it was thought no one could be more serviceable than myself; and I might depend on adequate acknowledgments and recompenses, &c. &c. The drinkers finding we did not return immediately to the table, sent us a decanter of madeira, which the
go- . vernor made liberal use of, and in proportion became more profuse of his solicitations and promises. My answers were to this purpose ; that my circumstances, thanks to God, were such as to make proprietary favors unnecessary to me; and that, being a member of the assembly, I could not possibly accept of any; thạt however I had no personal enmity to the proprietary, and that whenever the public measures he proposed should appear to be for the good of the people, no one would espouse and forward them more zealously than my- : self; my past opposition having been founded on this, that the measures which had been urged were evidently intended to serve the proprietary interest with great prejudice to that of the people. That I was much obliged to him (the governor) for his profession of regard to me, and that he might rely