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dence in the care and attention of their friends. Dr. Gordon has just arrived here. With every sentiment of respect and esteem for yourself and Mrs. B., I am
Your friend, Eben". Hazard.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Doveb, Oct. 17,1783.
My Dear Sir, — Since I wrote you last week, I have had the very great pleasure of hearing that Mr. Eliot is arrived, after a passage of 30 days, at Plymouth. No letters have as yet come to me from him; but I have one from Mr. Longman, written before Mr. E.'s arrival, of which I shall give you a copy, that you may be better able to form a judgment of what is proper for me to do: —
"London, July, 1783.
"Sir, — Your favour of the 3d of December came safe to my hands, under cover from my good friend, Mr. Eliot. It will always be a pleasure to me to render every service in my power to any of his connections. Am much obliged by the offer you have made me of purchasing the copyright of your History of N. H. *The following considerations will clearly shew the impropriety of my engaging in it: first, that it would be absolutely necessary for me to have the MS. in my possession for a reasonable time, to take the opinion of some literary friend upon the execution of it; secondly, as you have not mentioned what consideration you should expect for it. Perhaps these objections might be got over; but the most material with me is the apprehension that the History of one particular province in New England would not be of sufficient importance to engage the attention of this country, and particularly as it is at present brought down no lower than the year 1714. Upon the whole, it appears to me to be most for your advantage to print the book in America, and that when printed a number of copies should be immediately sent over here, which may be sold for your benefit. If this method should be adopted, and you should think it right to consign them to me, you may depend on my best services in promoting the sale; and I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,
"P.S. Gov. Wentworth has been with me, and proposed writing to you."
To this last mentioned I wrote at the same time that I did to L., desiring him to forward my views, which from his former friendship and candid acceptance of that part of my work which was written before his departure I thought I had reason to expect. From him I have not yet heard.
What alteration may have been made in Mr. L.'s mind since Mr. E.'s arrival, or whether any, must be judged of by the letters which shall next come to hand. At present we can only query this. If neither Longman nor any other printer there should be prevailed on by Mr. E. to undertake an edition, would L.'s proposal to send over part of the edition for him to sell be the next best measure? Or is it adviseable at all, and, if it is, how many more than 1000 copies would it be adviseable to print for this purpose? And how much more expence will be incurred by adopting this plan? If I was within one hundred miles of Philadelphia, I would certainly take my horse and hold a council with you and Mr. Aitken on the subject. (How clumsily that is expressed! But you will not think that I mean that my horse should be of the council.) At present it is impossible, and therefore I must beg of you to consider the matter, and let there be some provisional measures adopted. As it is not impossible there may be a change in favor of our first plan, I think it cannot be amiss (unless in the mean time we should hear decisively) to send, as I desired, one copy of each sheet, as it comes from the press, to Mr. Eliot. It will, at least, be shewing some attention to him, and I have given him ground to expect it.
Monday, October 20.
A violent storm Saturday and yesterday has prevented all intercourse with Portsmouth. So know not whether there be any thing from you la&t post.
I have been so hurried about domestic affairs that [I] could not do any thing at transcribing last week.
With respects to your other half, in which mine joins, I am your sincere and obliged friend, J. B.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Philadelphia, October 22,1783.
My Dear Sir, — Though you had heard nothing from me between August 27th and October 4th, you must ere now have received several letters from me. The excuse you thought of was my apology for my silence. Hope you will hear soon from England. Yesterday I bespoke the remainder of the paper for your History. The ninth chapter is received. Do send your son as soon as you can. You seem to hear more of sickness in Philadelphia than we do who live here. We have no news. Adieu.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dovek, Oct. 23,1783.
Dear Sir, — In my last week's letter, I gave you a copy of Mr. Longman's letter. I have heard nothing more since, excepting that the gentleman mentioned in the postscript is at Halifax, .being appointed surveyor of the king's woods in Nova Scotia and Canada; so that I can expect no assistance from him other than what he may have said or done before he left England. It cannot possibly be long before I hear from Mr. Eliot, which will settle all doubts.
Yours of the 1st inst. came to hand after I had despatched my last. The Freemason's age is 29. Miss, in her teens, is rather solid than gay, and is said by those wrho are best acquainted with her to have an excellent mind. He follows on very closely, having made three journies since the middle of July.
I suspected that your collection would be retarded by the engagements you have lately entered into. I have long felt that the concerns of a family are a great hindrance to scientific labours, and especially during the late reign of war, pap£r money, regulation-acts, beggars on horseback, &c, &c, &c, when the most of my attention was engaged in keeping the belly and back from grumbling, and the kitchen-fire from going out. There is now a dawn of what we have often wished over a glass of wine; viz., "better times." I mean in a family way, for as to public matters I am afraid that the end of one revolution will be the beginning of another. But I won't teaze you with my " closet conjectures."
There is one passage in my third chapter, which, upon recollection, I wish expunged. It is when speaking of the ill policy and inefficacy of the sanguinary laws made by the fathers of New England against the Quakers. I have suggested that, had they varied the mode of their severity, and laid them under such disabilities as to prevent their recovering debts, and inheriting or purchasing real property, they might have kept them out of the country. I disapprove this, not because of any alteration in my views of the matter, but because it, being only my opinion, cannot make a proper historical reflexion, and may cause some uneasy sensations in the minds of some of that people, and perhaps make them think that if I had been in power I would have adopted some such method. And as I am, and have long been, on friendly terms with a great number of that sect, I would not have any thing appear which might make an impression on their minds unfavourable to me. I beg, therefore, that you would revise that part, and obliterate what I have here mentioned, which I think can be done without injury to the work. Here I must apply to myself a couplet, which I somewhere met with; if it is not in Pope's Essay on Criticism, I know riot where it is; but the topography is not material. It is this: —
"Poets lose half the praise they would have got,
Our good friend Lawrence Sterne calls discretion an "understrapping virtue." It may do for such eccentric geniuses to talk so, but we middling folks can do better with it than without it. (By the way, can you tell me what is the price of the Philadelphia edition of his works ?) And I believe that even they themselves, thrice sublimated as they are, could not do at all, unless their friends had a share of it sufficient for both. But it is not an uncommon thing for men to mistake their own characters and qualifications. I heard a young fellow once say, he never would choose a wife by the "frigid maxims of prudence, but by the impulse of the heart/' And yet I know no man who discovers more prudence in his general conduct than he, though he is not married. I know another who wrote me a piece of advice on the choice of a wife, in which were these lines: —
"But if to sooth the cares of life,
* These lines are from Waller, but are not quoted with literal correctness. — Eds.