“…shocked…”

Image: *Prometheus is a 1934 gilded, cast bronze sculpture by Paul Manship, located above the lower plaza at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York City. It depicts the Greek legend of the Titan Prometheus, bringing fire to mankind by stealing it from the Chariot of the Sun.

From: Chapter Four (c.1748-1757) of Benjamin Franklin in London (2016) by George Goodwin:

“It was for his work in the field of physics and specifically in that of electricity that (Franklin) won an astounding international reputation in middle age, and the reason Immanuel Kant described him in 1755 as “the Prometheus of modern times”…*

…The colonial American had, using his acute analytical powers, made a major breakthrough in theoretical physics with his one-fluid theory that identified the two kinds of electricity as positive and negative and their tendency to seek equilibrium. He had introduced names and concepts still in use, such as battery, charge, conductor, plus, minus and many more…

…The Oxford English Dictionary notes that the first literal use of the word “electrify” was in 1747, but its first figurative use, as in “to startle, rouse, excite, as though with an electric shock”, dates to 1752, the year when Franklin’s scientific eminence was recognised.

It was thus no surprise that in 1757, with the French and their Indian allies on the march in Pennsylvania and the Assembly and the Proprietors once again at an impasse over the provision of money for proper defence, it was Franklin whom the Assembly authorised to travel to London to address their concerns to Penn directly. Though in view of what they thought of each other, it promised to be an interesting meeting.

…(Franklin) had been shocked by the mixture of arrogance and ineptitude of the British generals in the early stages of what would be a global war between Britain and France.”

*“Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley (1797–1851).

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