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offence to those from whom his support must come), all his remaining time will be little enough to prepare for the Sabbath; and, besides this, you know he must study to add to his stock of knowledge in divinity, or his sermons will soon become "a tale that has been told," and he will sink in the opinion of his people.
The last Egg is, if possible, worse than the first. If your Hens can do no better, they ought not to lay at all. The Address which accompanies it discovers peculiar skill in composition. Query: Whether a certain person's having been employed in making coffins might not have furnished the hint of one rising from the dead? My miscellanea curiosa have been increased by the addition of the anecdote. The thievish rascal of a representative ought to have been knocked on the head with the hammer as soon as it was found. Did I live in the State in which this remarkable event took place, I would take pains to ascertain the fact; and, having done this, would make a point of telling the story, and letting it be known who the representative was, to prevent his ever being in power again, and to deter others from similar practices. Such villains ought to be exposed, in justice to society. I have not been to Boston since my return from Fishkill, but sent your letter to town by one of Dr. Gordon's deacons, and have no doubt Mr. Elliot has received it. I hardly know how to answer your question about sending letters per post for other people, enclosed under cover to me. There are, strictly speaking, no express rules about it; but it has not been customary, and I believe the Postmaster-General would consider it an unwarrantable extension of my privilege.
Dr. Gordon sends his respects to you, and requests a copy of the sermon you gave me in return for the enclosed.
Burnaby and the newspaper would have gone by last post, but he neglected calling upon me on his way to Boston. They will accompany this, but I cannot tell when, for the depth of the snow is so great that I think the post cannot come in for a day or two yet. I do not remember having ever seen so much snow on the ground at once before. It is extremely favourable for the winter grain, and promises us plentiful crops.
Dr. G. has lately got his people to consent to pay him his salary (the peace sum) in produce, at peace price. This guards effectually against depreciation, and does no injustice to the people. Perhaps this hint may be of use to you.
My respectful compliments to Mrs. Belknap, and' be assured, my dear sir, of the sincere friendship and esteem of
Your very humble servant, Eben. Hazard.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Vert Dear Sir, — I have now only time to acquaint you that I received yours of the 4th inst.,# with Burnaby's Journal, and some papers, &c. I herewith send you one of my lately printed sermons (the meanness of the paper can only be apologized for by the wretchedness of the times) and one of those which Dr. Gordon desires in return for his Thanksgiving Discourse, for which I beg you will make my acknowledgements. I would have sent him one of the others, but have only a very small number given me, too small to furnish one apiece for such of my friends as I should be glad to send them to.
I shall soon write again and make the extracts which I
gave you reason to expect. The most leisure season of the
year for me is generally in February and March. The
weather has been excessively severe and the snow is deep.
'I was obliged to sustain the rigour of last Friday night, which our people say was the coldest in the memory of man (by the freezing of some springs), on the western side of a very high mountain about twenty-four miles north-west from hence, where I had made an excursion to visit and preach to the new settlers. I think there is not a colder situation in North America. But what is remarkable the snow is not so deep back in the woods as it is here. The spring and better travelling will be very acceptable.
* Ultimo. — Eds.
Mrs. Belknap desires her compliments, and I am with due regard and esteem your affectionate friend,
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Jamaica Plain, Feb. 18,1780.
I Am much obliged to you, my dear sir, for the extracts from the "Essay on the Agitation of the Sea," &c.# They are certainly ingenious; and I have met with no facts, or accounts of facts, to contradict them. If they contain too much learned refinement for the unenlightened mind of a tyro, they may, at least, be placed in a note for the entertainment of the literati. Having never been farther east than Huntingdon, upon Long Island, I have never seen the Pine Plain; but, so far as my recollection serves, the writer's remarks about that at Hempstead are just. Should my life be spared, it is not improbable I may have an opportunity of visiting both, and the hints you have favoured me with will serve to direct my enquiries; and I don't know but your account of the Gay Head may tempt me to go there when it may be comfortably, conveniently, and safely practicable. I never knew any thing about it before, except that there was such a place. How strangely thoughts pop into one's head! I was just going to wish that you had "attained to the virtue of celibacy," and that things were so ordered that we could be fellow travellers in quest of knowledge.
* Seep. 251. —Eds.
The "loose stones containing a ponderous substance" remind me of a stone, of which there is great plenty at Lancaster, in Pennsylvania. It is of a dark reddish brown, or chocolate colour; very ponderous. Some are, I believe, exact squares, others oblong, and highly polished; none are large. By way of finding out their contents, I put one into a shovel, and placing it over the fire, increased the heat by blowing. The stone emitted a very strong sulphureous smell; and, upon being cooled, I easily reduced it to powder by rubbing its contents between my finger and thumb. I afterwards broke several, and in some saw plainly veins of sulphur. My little museum contains numbers of these stones, some of which shall be sent you for the gratification of your curiosity, if I can recollect it, the first time I can get at them.
I think I mentioned to you formerly a ponderous mineral put into my hands by Deacon Brooks, of Exeter. A silversmith at Philadelphia made experiments upon it, and found it to be the Lapis calaminaris, which contained almost pure zink, or spelter, — an essential article in the composition of brass, and 1 lb. of it worth, at that time, as the silversmith informed me, as much as 3 lbs. of copper.
I am informed that there is near Lancaster (I think) in this State a quarry of slate, which, when first taken out of the earth, is so soft and pliable that it may be moulded into any form, but after being exposed to the air awhile becomes as hard as any slate whatever. A gentleman near Dr. Gordon's has his house covered with it, and it stands both the heat of summer and the frost of winter exceeding well. Query: Might not this, in its soft state, be used as a cement, or for rough-casting the outsides of houses, or for plastering cellars to keep the frost out, &c.? For these purposes it might be transported from place to place in light casks. Judge Sewall, of York, informed me of copperas found in New Hampshire, and shewed me some of it. Upon the Ohio and Mississippi, petrefactions, I am told, are frequently found. I have several small branches of trees, pieces of buffalo's dung, &c, which were brought from thence, and given me by my uncle, who visited those parts. I have been credibly informed that several kinds of paints, jalap, and rhubarb are found in Virginia and North Carolina. Multangular brilliant stones, resembling crystal, and highly polished, garnets, &c, have been found in several States. Now I am upon the subject of natural curiosities, I will mention one I met with in Virginia. The road crossed a valley, in which was a small rivulet. The hill on each side of the valley was divided by the road, and each hill was filled with strata super strata of scallop -shells. The summits of the hills were, I suppose, fifteen or twenty feet above the road, and covered with a growth of timber. Some of the trees were large. Is not this a proof of an universal deluge? or, rather, of one in America? The ising-glass at Boscawen must certainly be valuable, though I don't know to wdiat uses manufacturers apply it. How far is Boscawen from Dover? and how far is Pigwacket? Do you understand whether there is slate, as well as grindstone, there? Could I easily accomplish it, I should like to visit both places. I have no doubt that America furnishes every necessary, as well as many conveniences, for its inhabitants. Nothing is wanting but men of genius, of a proper cast, with suitable encouragement, to bring to light these present secrets of Nature. I have wished to see discoveries of this kind entered upon with spirit. I have made such remarks as my abilities and opportunities would admit, and have endeavoured to stimulate others to it; but one-half of mankind seem to think it sinful to knowr more than their grandfathers, and seven-eighths of the other half are too lazy to trouble their heads about knowing any thing. The American Philosophical Society will tend greatly to remove these difficulties, and I hope that other States will