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different persons, supposing them to have more curiosity to preserve them, or discover what they contained, than myself, in which I was mistaken. There were, also, specimens of petrification; one of which, being perfect stone on one side and perfect coal on the other, I brought away, and (like a fool) gave it to a person who was making a collection of curiosities, which is now scattered and lost by his death. There was, I well remember, an whole stump of a tree standing on one of the cliffs, one side of which was burnt to coal, and the other completely turned to stone. There was also an appearance of a considerable body of earth at the edge of the cliff, having settled the depth of two or three feet below the surface of the adjoining grounds, and as it was the year after the great earthquake, I remember the compar^y who were with me thought it was done at that time.

The settling, or rather sliding, of land into adjoining waters, is a thing not uncommon, especially in the bends of large and rapid rivers; a melancholy instance of which happened some years ago in the neighbourhood of Quebec, when an house with its inhabitants were overwhelmed in the sinking earth.

Now I have got into this track I will mention a discovery which has been some time since made within this State, but which has not been much known till very lately. It is of that species of talc vulgarly called ising-glass, and which is described in the Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, under the title of Specularis Lapis. There is a quarry of it at Boscawen, a town lying above Penicook (so famous for Eggs) on Merrimack River, which contains large broad leaves, some say 18 inches, and some more, in bigness; but it is certain that plates of 7 by 9 have been cut and used as window-glass, and, in the present scarcity of that useful article, this substitute is so valuable as to have been sold last fall for a dollar per square. It is said there is a very great plenty of it. Possibly it may exist elsewhere. There is a stream about six miles from hence, known by the name of Ising-glass River, where specimens of the same substance have been observed. I intend in the spring to make a particular examination of the ground thereabout.

I hear there is a species of grind-stone lately discovered at or near Pigwacket, which is said to be equall in fineness of grit to that which comes from Nova Scotia. Doubtless, this part of the globe is as well stored with useful minerals, fossils, and earths as any other quarter, it being equally the product of infinite wisdom, power, and benevolence. It would be well if there could be some method taken by persons properly qualified to make search after the productions of nature, and premiums given for discoveries and communications of discoveries. The American Philosophical Society might possibly do something in this way; or, if there were inferior societies, or boards of correspondents, in the several States, connected with the principal one at Philadelphia, and united in the same views, there might by such means be some valuable things brought to light, which, if discovered by individuals, are but imperfectly known, or neglected, or undervalued, or perhaps concealed, so as to be of no general use. Why may not a Republic of Letters be realized in America as well as a Republican Government? Why may there not be a Congress of Philosophers as well as of Statesmen? And why may there not be subordinate philosophical bodies connected with a principal one, as well as separate legislatures, acting in concert by a common assembly? I am so far an enthusiast in the cause of America as to wish she may shine Mistress of the Sciences, as well as the Asylum of Liberty.

Should any thing else occur which may serve for your use or amusement, it shall be communicated by, dear sir, Your affectionate friend,

Jeremy Belknap.


Philadelphia, Sept. 24,1783.

Dear Sir, — Since my return, I have received your favours of 25th and 30th iilt. and 1st inst. The 3d, 4th, and part of 5th chapters have come safe to hand. We have got one way or other about half the proposed edition subscribed for, and therefore may print very safely; but I have no returns made me yet, except what I have informed you of; and I think (as Mr. Aitken has an unfinished job in hand) we shall not begin the History 'til about a month hence. Should you be asked about it, you may say that the southern returns are not yet made, and therefore we cannot tell what number is subscribed for; but it is probable it will not be long before the printing will be begun. I have not the return of Survey you want, unless it is amongst my Massachusetts papers in Dr. Gordon's hands, which I expect to receive soon. If I find a safe conveyance, I will send you De la Vega. Shall take the same liberties with your History, as to correcting, pointing, &c, as if it was my own. We shall keep a look-out for your son: he shall have all the friends I can procure him. Your friend was married the 11th September: he has administered your salutations to the bride. He was married on Thursday: on Friday his wife's sister lost a child, which was buried on Saturday. You may guess at his situation, obliged to rejoice and mourn at the same time: it was singular.

We came to town last Thursday evening, since which we have been very busy receiving congratulations and compliments. This ceremony will continue 'til the end of this week, and after that we shall begin to settle a little.

Respects to Mrs. B. from

Your friend, Eben Hazard.


Sept. 29, 1783.

My Dear Sir, — I was so engaged one way or another, the last week, that I could not do any thing at copying, but hope to do something this. I desired Mr. Joseph Russell to procure a bill or bank note to the value of £20, our lawful money, for you, and he has promised me, by the last post, that he will do it and send it forward to you. When it reaches you, I shall be glad of a receipt.

He also tells me that he has collected a number of subscriptions, and that he will engage one hundred copies, and be accountable to Mr. Aitken for the pay. This is generous and clever, and that is his character. His hundred, added to the rest, will make above five hundred in N. H. and Massachusetts.

We have nothing remarkable here except a wet and changeable season. The seaport towns are very sickly, and we hear Philadelphia is remarkably so, which makes us concerned about Jo, though no passage presents as yet.

I am, dear sir, with much esteem,

Your obliged friend and servant,

Jer. Belknap.


Philadelphia, October 1, 1783.

Dear Sir,—For want of better paper, I am obliged to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 12th ult. upon this. Thanks to you for your remembrance of your friend and his bride: they were united the 11th, according to agreement; and,v thus far, your wishes for their happiness are accomplished. "Esto perpetua," as Father Paul of Venice prayed for the liberty of his country.

VOL. I. 17

Our friend, the Freemason, wrote me some time ago that he only waited for me, but I thought he was in jest: from your account, there seems to be something serious in the affair. The youth, the inexperience, and the feelings of 17 may assist him in carrying on the siege; but, perhaps, they may produce inconveniences afterwards. So young a person can hardly have sufficient acquaintance with the management of family affairs: pray, what is his age? The latter half of your 5th, and the whole of your 6th, chapters arrived safely. While I was out of town, the paper-maker called with 25 reams paper, for which Mr. Bryson paid him, so that we have now 36 reams ready. I think you have done capitally about subscriptions in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. We have not been successful here, though we published our design in three different papers. The country of which you write is so far from hence, that people this way seem to feel no interest in it: they have, moreover, an aversion to subscriptions, having been frequently cheated either by the book not being published at all, or done in so slovenly a manner as not to be worth half the money. I am not without hopes that, when we have published, numbers will purchase who will not subscribe. As to my collection, it goes on very slowly; indeed, no addition has been made to it for a long time, except the last volume of the Pennsylvania Assembly's Minutes, which I petitioned for, and obtained a present of from the House. Between courting, marrying, building, and a thousand other things, I have been too much hurried to think of the collection: if the cares of the world don't encrease too fast upon me, I may perhaps find leisure to resume it. When I consented to delay the printing of your History, I had the transmarine edition in my mind, and was in hopes we should hear from Mr, E. by the time we should begin to print; whether we do or not, I think it will be adviseable to begin. When Mr. Aitken determines upon his newspaper, I will let you

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