A Summary View of the Spontaneous Electricity of the Earth and Atmosphere: Wherein the Causes of Lightning and Thunder, as Well as the Constant Electrification of the Clouds and Vapours, Suspended in the Air, are Explained. With Some New Experiments and Observations, Tending to Illustrate the Subject of Atmospherical Electricity; to which is Subjoined the Atmospherico-electrical Journal, Kept During Two Years, as Presented to and Published by the Royal Society of London

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author, of whom it may be had; sold, 1793 - Electricity - 160 pages
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Page 73 - ... those parts of the earth that are overloaded with it, to those that are exhausted of it. The same cause by which a cloud is first raised, from vapours dispersed in the atmosphere, draws to it those that are already formed, and still continues to form new ones, till the whole collected mass extends so far as to reach a part of the earth where there is a deficiency of the electric fluid, and where the electric matter will discharge itself on the earth. A channel of communication being thus produced,...
Page 70 - ... perfect animal, which, in proportion to its size, is so liberally supplied with nerves; nor do the nerves seem necessary for any sensation which can be supposed to belong to the electric organs. And, with respect to action, there is no part of any animal with which I am acquainted, however strong and constant its natural actions may be, which has so great a proportion of nerves. If it be, then...
Page 40 - ... future discoveries should prove them not wholly right, yet they may in the mean time be of some use, by stirring up the curious to make more experiments, and occasion more exact disquisitions. I conceive, then, that this globe of earth and water, with its plants, animals, and buildings, have diffused throughout their substance, a quantity of the electric fluid, just as much as they can contain, which I call the natural quantity. That this natural quantity is not the same in all kinds of common...
Page 77 - To understand this, suppose the common quantity of Electricity in each part of the bottle, before the operation begins, is equal to 20; and at every stroke of the tube, suppose a quantity equal to 1...
Page 70 - Walsh's experiments, that the will of the animal does absolutely control the electric powers of its body; which must depend on the energy of the nerves. How far this may be connected with the power of the nerves in general, or how far it may lead to an explanation of their operations, time and future discoveries alone can fully determine.
Page x - I heartily beg that what I have here done may be read with candour; and that the defects I have been guilty of upon this difficult subject may be not so much reprehended as kindly supplied, and investigated by new endeavours of my readers.
Page 16 - These balls will, every time they are heated, give the electrical fluid to, or take it from, other bodies, according to the plus or minus state of it within them. Heating them frequently, I find, will sensibly diminish their power ; but keeping one of them under water a week did not appear in the least degree to impair it.
Page 74 - ... that the clouds ferve as conductors to convey the electric fluid from thofe places of the earth which are overloaded with it, to thofe which are exlwufted.
Page 65 - ... be the effeft of furprife, though it was fufficient to difcourage him from perfifting in any farther attempt at that time. He therefore drew in his kite, and retired to a fhop till the ftorm was over, and then went to his houfe, where he found his parents and friends much more furprifed than he...
Page ix - ... own mistakes. Or, if little and envious souls should take a malignant pleasure in detecting them for him, and endeavouring to expose him, he is not worthy of the name of a philosopher, if he has not strength of mind sufficient to enable him not to be disturbed at it. He who does not foolishly affect to be above the failings of humanity, will not be mortified when it is proved that he is but a man.

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