Before anyone freaks... Amazon.com: Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School (9780898048018): Benjamin Franklin, Carl Japikse: Books
This book is hilarious, though quite true:
I am excerpting a portion here Titled: A Letter To A Royal Academy
a letter written to a Dr. Richard Price, England in 1783
To the Royal Academy of Brusselles~
Gentlemen, I have perused your late mathmatical Prize Question, proposed in lieu of one in Natural Philosophy for the ensuing year, viz:
(translated from French) 'Given any single figure, inscribe therein another smaller figure, whihc is also given, as many times as possible.'
I was glad to find by these following Words-
(translated from French) 'The academy has judged that this discovery, by widening the boundaries of our knowledge, will not be without utility-'......
...Permit me to then humbly propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, etc. of this enlightened Age.
It is universally well known, that in digesting our common Food, there is created of produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great quantity of Wind.
That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid smell that accompanies it.
That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.
That so retained contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Diseases, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, & c. often of the destructive or the Constitution & sometimes of Life itself.
Were it not for the odiously offensive Smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People wold probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are in spitting or in blowing their Noses.
My Prize Question therefore should be: 'To discover some drug, holesome and not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food or Sauces, that shall render the Natural Discharges, of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.'
That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much Addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate: While he that has lived some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may anywhere give Vent to his Griefs unnoticed. But as there are many to whom an entire Vegetable Diet would be inconvenient, and as a little Quick Lime thrown into a Jakes will correct the amazing Quantity of fetid Air arising from the vast Mass of putrid Matter contained in such Places, and render it rather pleasing to the Smell, who knows but that a little Powder of Lime (or some equivalent) taken in our Food, or perhaps a Glass of Limewater drank at Dinner, may have the same Effect on the Air produced in and issuing from our Bowels? This is worth the Experiment.
Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that our our Water, A few stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets. And why should it be thought more impossible in Nature, to find Means of making a Perfume of our Wind
than of our Water
For the Encouragement of this Enquiry let it be reasonably considered of how small Importance of Mankind, or to how small a Part of Mankind have been useful those Discoveries in Science that have heretofore made Philosophers famous. Are there twenty Men in Europe at this Day, the happier, or even the easier for any Knowledge they have picked our of Aristotle? What Comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his Bowels! The Knowledge of Newtons Mutual Attraction
of the Particles of Matter, can it afford Ease to him who is racked by their mutual Repulsion
, and the cruel Distensions it occasions? The Pleasure arising to a few Philosophers, from seeing, a few Times in their Lfe, the Threads of Light untwisted, and separated by the Newtonian Prism into seven Colours, can it be compared with the Ease and Comfort every Man living might feel seven times a Day, by discharging freely the Wind from his Bowels? Especially if it be converted into a Perfume: For the Pleasures of one sense being inferior to those of another, instead of pleasing the Sight
he might delight the Smell
of those about him, & make Numbers happy, which to a benevolent Mind must afford infinite Satisfaction. The generous Soul, who endeavors to find out whether the Friends he entertains like best Claret or Burgundy, Champagne or Madeira, would then enquire also whether they chose Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot, and provide accordingly. And surely such a Liberty of Ex-pressing
, and pleasing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for.
In short, this Invention, if compleated, would be, as Bacon
expresses it, bringing Philosophy home to Mens Business and Bosoms
. And I cannot but conclude, that in Comparison therewith, for universal and continual UTILITY, the Science of the Philosophers abovementioned, even with the Addition, Gentlemen, of your 'Figure quelconque'
and the Figures inscribed in it are all together, scarely worth a FARThing
Blue portions were italicized.