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looking for letters from Mr. Eliot, in about 3 weeks from this time.
Mrs. B. joins in congratulations on the (supposed) nuptials, and wishes you every kind and degree of happiness, as does your sincere and obliged friend,
Mr. Bailey's extracts, which compose a considerable part of his paper, are very agreeable to me. I hope, when Mr. Aitken begins his, he will dedicate one or two pages to the same purpose, and l6t it answer, in part, the end of the Reviews. I fancy I could get some subscriptions for such a paper as his will be.
Bell, I see, has got a book of Travels through North America, by Abbe Robin: pray, what is it, and who is Abbe Robin ? #
Will the Map of the United States, advertised by Wm. McMurray, answer the character given of it?
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dover, Sept. 20, 1783.
My Dear Sir, — I have no letter from you this week; nor did I expect it, as you told me in your last that you was likely to be engaged in business that required your personal attendance out of town. But I have received a gleam of consolation by some hints in the papers that Congress are desirous of returning to Philadelphia, and that your Legislature have given them an invitation: if this is determined, as I hope it will, you will still reside there, which I will " hold up both hands for," as an old Eepresentative said about burying. Governour Shirley.
* L'Abbe Robin was a chaplain in Rochambeau's army in America. His "Nouveau Voyage dans TAmerique Septentrionale, en Tannee 1781," &c, was'published in 1782. An English translation of it was published at Philadelphia in the following year. — Eds.
You will think by the enclosed that I have been very industrious this week, for me, in the copying way. You have here the 7th and 8th chapters. I wish I could have divided the work more equally: some of the chapters are much longer than others, but the nature of the matter required such an unequal division. I have put a loose piece of paper between the leaves toward the end of the 8th chapter for your inspection. It will serve to give a true picture of the temper and language of the people at that time; but I cannot determine, though I have been debating it with myself the last 24 hours, whether it will suit the gravity and decency of an History or not. I know some readers will be pleased, perhaps others will be disgusted. I therefore beg to refer the matter to your decision, and, if you think it best to let it go in, please to make a mark of reference at the end of the paragraph where the story of Mason and Barefoote being thrown into the fire is recited, and let it be a marginal note there,
A gentleman fully competent to the business has been making enquiry the week past, in Portsmouth, for bankbills and bills of exchange: but neither can there be had. He informs me that finance notes and bank-bills are plenty in Boston, and the former may be had at 5 per cent discount: the latter are not sold with any. I shall immediately write to Boston, and get some friend there to negociate for me; and, as soon as the result is known, you shall have it.
I cannot yet hear of a passage for Jo. The tailors are fitting him up for his voyage.
With Mrs. B.'s kindest respects, I am, dear sir,
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
February 4, 1780 *
Dear Sir, — Having promised you an extract from "An Essay on the Agitations of the Sea, and some other Remarkables attending the Earthquakes of 1755/' t being some remarks on Long Island, I now shall transcribe it; and, if you do not think it of any importance in a geographical account of the country, you will at least be pleased with the novelty and ingenuity of the hypothesis which it is brought to support; which is, "that lands may be supposed to decline in their altitude by settling in masses, i.e. by a real lowering of the body of the ground with respect to the surface of the sea/' &c.
To ascertain this matter, the author says that "observations should be made on the coasts of such countries as are subject to earthquakes; because if the high inlands settle, the coasts, or at least some parts of them, may be expected to rise" And he says, "There are some appearances that our North American shores have suffered in this manner ;" and gives " a specimen of this kind, which accidentally fell in his way some years before, and was the first occasion of his present way of thinking." This specimen is the extract which I promised you, and which is as follows: —
P. 8. "On Long Island, between Southold and New York, are two remarkable plains, one called the Pine Plain, and the other Hampstead. The first is a barren land, with little or no soil, and thinly scattered with pitch pine. It is twenty miles over, and very level excepting some little descent towards a small watercourse about the middle of it. In passing the small descents here, I observed, where the ground was worn to a little depth in the road, a number of very smooth-looking stones. I found them polished, and rounded off at all corners like our common beach stones. The earth thereabouts contained many of them, some of which I dug out of the banks on each side of the road. These stones were all of the common sort, which are naturally rough, unless long justled against one another by waters in motion, the dashing of wayes, &c. This, therefore, I imagined to have been the case here in some period of ancient time, the island having, as I supposed, been once under water, and since emerged.
* This letter, misplaced in the MS. volume, should have immediately preceded that on p. 31.—Eds. t Seep. 25. —Eds.
"The other plain is called Hampstead. It lies near the west end of the island, and agrees with the former in its very equal, horizontal surface; but in other respects it is a place of a very different aspect and kind. It is clear of all woody growth, unless at the eastern entrance to it. The soil is deep and rich, and the herbage more than sufficient for the numerous flocks and herds that graze in all parts of it. It is more walled by rising lands, to the northward more especially, which, perhaps, might be one original cause of its extraordinary soil; for I imagine, by this circumstance, in the latter part of the island's emerging progress, it might hold the waters as in a bason, to settle more or less every tide, while perhaps it constantly washed over the other to the last, and left it clean and bare. It seems that the same smooth and polished stones are to be observed here as I mentioned in the other. A reverend gentleman, who has often travelled it, and is well acquainted with the island, assures me that he has seen many there too; and, upon my observing to him the particulars above, he gave me the following remarks: e The same smooth stones I have frequently observed at Hampstead Plains, where the surface is by any means removed; particularly in the small, gradual descents which are about the middle of these plains; though toward the west end, which is the highest of the plain, there is a large descent and nothing but sand appears. The town of Hampstead which bounds the south side of the plain, at the west end, is nothing but a sand heap.' (To ^vhich he* adds:) 'I think there are neither rocks nor hills to the south, but vast meadows; and about a quarter of a mile from the shore there is a bank of sand, near 100 miles long, intersected by a few inlets, through which the tide ebbs and flows, and forms a channel between the island and the bank.' Thus far he.
"The island is long and narrow, pointing north-east and south-west, situated near the main land, and parallel to the general range of the coast, which agrees well enough with an apprehension of its having been forced up by the weight and settling of the neighbouring continent, especially as there are no marks of former volcanoes or subterraneous fires: neither does the shape of the island agree to any such original; in which case it should have been rather circular, if we may judge by what has been observed in such cases."
There is a very remarkable place at the west end of Martha's Vineyard, called Gay Head, which I think deserves to be taken notice of in an American geography, not only for the beautiful appearance which it exhibits at a distance, from the reflection of the sun-beams on its various coloured cliffs, but for the materials of which it consists. I was there once when very young and not capable of making the most accurate observations; but I well remember that the cliffs consist of red, blue, and white marie (the red and blue are used as paints, the white serves for pipe-clay); there is also a yellowish appearance intermixed, which is caused by a vast number of loose stones, containing a ponderous substance, which is either some mineral or else sulphur. I remember I brought away a number of these stones, which I gave to