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please. He has done this so long that I think there can be little doubt of it in future. I am glad that my letters afford Mrs. B. amusement. Tell her that I shall watch opportunities of communicating agreeable information, and from the goodness of her son's character and conduct I am persuaded she will receive it frequently. Remember me very affectionately to her, and tell her that Mrs. H. will be happy to see her. I am, dear sir,
Yours, Eben. Hazard.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dover, March 18, 1784.
Dear Sir, — Your favours of the 10th and 23d came to hand yesterday, and not before. The continuance of my son in the good graces of the family where he resides gives me the highest satisfaction, and from the account you give me of your feelings for him and me (if I had no other proof) I can confidently rely on you to be his faithful friend and overseer. You ask me whether those feelings were not similar to my own: to which I answer that they differ only in this. I had the fullest confidence in your integrity and friendship, both in recommending my son to Mr. A. and him to me. The prospect was inviting, and every thing concurred to satisfy me that it was my duty to place him there. Under this impression, I committed him to the care of a gracious Providence; and though I was anxious to hear of his safe arrival, and passing through the small-pox, yet, as I knew you nor no other person could be answerable for events, had he been lost at sea, or died of the sickness, I should not have entertained any such thoughts as you express by " repenting of having taken your advice/' I had revolved the whole matter deliberately in my mind, in the season of uncertainty, and was then as well fixed in thi& conclusion as I am now. I enclose you a power of attorney, drawn agreeable to your form, with the addition of the precise age of my son, that there may be no misunderstanding on that head. You must allow me to repeat my thanks for your obliging care of him and goodness to me.
It is not probable that I shall visit Philadelphia so early, if ever, as to interrupt the mysteries of Lucina, in the celebration of which I wish you may be as punctual tp the day as to the month: if it should fall four days later than the 11th, it will coincide with the dies natalis of your humble servant, who will then complete his 40th year.*
I cannot enough express my gratitude to the good Ulysses for his superlative kindness to me and mine. How should I enjoy myself in the frequent company and conversation of such friends! But this is not the case. I have not one of the right sort within a dozen miles of me: I mean a sympathetic and congenial soul, with whom I can mix essences, and talk upon every subject with equal ease and pleasure.
I am sorry the paper-maker has disappointed you: however, 1 had rather give the additional price than run the chance of getting worse paper and retarding the publication. Suppose an additional shilling were put on each book sold to non-subscribers: would there be any disingenuity in it? This would more than pay the extra price of the paper.
When the ceremony of binding Jo is performed, I wish you would take that opportunity to comment upon the several articles in the indenture, that he may have his duty fixed in his mind, and remember that each part of the covenant is a condition on his part of the fulfilment of the stipulation of his master. I leave it to you to determine whether it will be best for the indenture to remain in your hands, or be sent to me after they are executed.
* Dr. Belknap is said to hare been born "4th June, 1744," probably O.S., corresponding to the 15th, N.S.—Eds.
The weather and travelling, for a month past or more, have occasioned some irregularity in conveying my letters to the post-office and receiving yours from thence. One of the last that I made up waited here at a tavern, a whole week, for a conveyance. I then took it up and covered it again, but it lay several days longer, and finally, having an opportunity, sent it to the post-office in Boston. You may possibly get this equally soon.
Mrs. B. joins in cordial salutations to yourself and Mrs. H., with your affectionate and obliged friend,
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dover, March 28, evening, 1784.
Dear Sir, — I am pleased to find by yours of the 1st inst., received this day, that your "wrath" about the paper has subsided, an*d that you have procured some of another person; so that my book is now likely to go on. I hope some of the copies will be done, so as to be at Boston by the time of Election; when, if I am there, I shall expect many interrogations, and wish they may by that means be prevented. When I read your many apologies occasioned by an hurry of business, and consider that your department, from the numerous foreign connexions which have of late years been formed in the country, must have extremely increased its importance and utility, I cannot but consider you as an instance of Solomon's observation, "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." When, at the same time, I reflect on your continued and unremitting attention to me and my concerns, I draw an argument as much in favour of
VOL. I. 21
your benevolence as of your industry, and have a proportionable exercise of gratitude.
As for your puffing "Professor of book auctioneering/' I think it is a pity that a man of his enterprising make (and I am told he is of a friendly turn too) should have so little self-knowledge, and so much conceit and arrogance. The assembly did wisely to throw his petition under the table.
There is advertized by Oswald "An Essay on Matter/' which, by the contents, seems to be a work of genius. Pray what is its character, and is it worth my sending for? I see Bell has reprinted the Life of Wortley Montague: that must be a curiosity, if it is well written. Pray let me have your opinion of both, before I send to Mr. Aitken any directions about putting up my books.
That Josey is well and does well gives me singular pleasure. If Mr. A. can make him a profitable apprentice to him, I hope he will be so to himself when he comes of age.
Mrs. B. begs her respects to you and Mrs. Hazard, as does your affectionate and obliged
I sent Jo's cyphering book and a power of attorney last week.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dover, April 11,1784, evening.
My Dear Sir, — The papers contained in your packet of March 18 afforded me much pleasure: some of the pieces, particularly the Dialogue of the Dead Dog and Cat, and the experiment to prove the inflammability of bowel-air, served to dissipate the stagnating vapours of a week's confinement.
What a set of wags you have at Philadelphia! How can your Society bear such ridicule? or what have they done to deserve it? Are your streets really so dirty as the dialogue represents them? I observe you repeat your invitations to me to come there. I am extremely obliged by your kind wishes, and should be as much pleased as you can be with the prospect, if I could fairly enjoy one, of going there. Though I may, as you say in the Quaker phrase, "feel a drawing," yet something more is necessary. Could I, like them, take a certificate from the monthly meeting for a viaticum, and leave my people to entertain themselves with six or eight Sabbaths of silence, it would be an easy matter for me to take such a journey. But I must wait till my finances are in such order as to have enough to spare for the purpose of supplying my pulpit, and bearing my expences, before I can think of performing the journey in earnest: if this should ever happen, I shall then obey "the drawing" with the greatest pleasure.
You have answered my query respecting subscription to formularies as I expected; and I suppose, if I should stand up before such a venerable body, and have the question put to me, Do you believe or assent to the doctrines contained, &e.? I should answer in much the same manner as a brother of mine did before a Council respecting the Cambridge platform, "Yes, I believe it so far as it is agreeable to the Scripture;" which did well enough for the moderate part of the Council; and, as to the bigots, they were too blind to see through the artifice. Now, if your synods were composed only of moderate men who view the declaration as nugatory and kept up only for form's sake, and would be content with such an answer (which in reality means nothing at all), I could make such a declaration before them; and so I could respecting the articles of the Church of England, and the decrees of the Council of Trent. But, if an hearty assent to the doctrines delivered in the Assembly's Confessions and