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follow the example of Pennsylvania. Some gentlemen here have lately talked of a similar institution, and.I believe will undertake it. Perhaps this may pave the way for others. "A Congress of Philosophers" is a pretty thought; but I question whether it could be carried into effect, for genius is envious, and you will meet with but here and there a choice spirit who is willing to communicate his discoveries. Carry your enthusiasm in favour of America as far as you please, I will most cordially join you. I will join you as far as I am able in making useful discoveries, and I will join you in publishing them for the common good. The arts and manufactures have already, for the time, made great progress among us. They will and must go farther. Let us try, from time to time, if we can't help them. Lord Bacon's philosophical works will furnish us with useful hints. Please to inform me what dyes are used with you, how they are prepared, and with whatf the colour is set, as it is called. You have doubtless rabbits or hares among you. Their fur, after the hair is picked out, or whipped out, as the hatters do it, and mixed with cotton, and both carded together, may be spun, and will make a strong warm stocking. The colour may be varied by increasing or lessening the proportion of the fur. I have seen such stockings in Maryland, and they looked well. May not the fur be mixed with wool in the same manner, and made into cloth? "Virginia cloth" is a mixture of wool and cotton, — the warp of one, and the woof of the other. The cotton is raised there.
A gentleman in Virginia gave me a spirit of his own distilling to taste, which had the flavour of the best Nantes brandy. It was made of the little black winter grape. Peaches yield a spirit of an excellent flavour. Why would not the bark of the root of sassafras, dried and powdered, make a good substitute for some kinds of spice?
But I must leave off, being hurried. I was in. Boston t'other day, and stole two newspapers from Jonathan Hastings.* Though the receiver of stolen goods is as bad as the thief, there will be no danger of your suffering by taking them. I have not had the pleasure of seeing our friend, Mr. Elliot, since he and I talked of going in company to Dover.
Affectionate regards to Mrs. Belknap from
Your friend, Eben. Hazard.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Jamaica Plain, March 10, 1780.
Very Dear Sir, — I have been too long in your debt, but could assign a good reason for it, were apologies between us lawful; but yours of February 1st did not come to hand so soon as that of February 4. I cannot account for it, unless by supposing some neglect in the person who was to carry it from Dover to Portsmouth. I thank you for your sermon, with which I was much pleased. Modern divinity, in general, does not appear to me to be scriptural; and, though it is a severe, I think it a just remark, with respect to many modern divines, that a man may sit very comfortably under their ministry for almost half a century, and go to the Devil when he has done. You meet now with little of that keen, searching, discriminating preaching, — you meet with little of that ardent yet rational zeal, — which formerly did so much honour, and made so many converts, to the religion of Jesus j and this is undoubtedly one cause, and a very great one too, of the present awful decay of vital piety. Let us, my dear sir, be incessant in fervent addresses to the Throne of Grace for speedy and plentiful effusions of the Spirit in his quickening and sanctifying influences.
* Postmaster of Boston. — Eds.
All accounts agree with yours respecting the severity of the present winter. I have letters from Philadelphia, Albany, New Jersey, and Connecticut, which particularly mention it. It bids fair to supplant the memory of "the hard winter." I have lately received a letter from the Eeverend Mr. Tennent, of Greenfield, in Connecticut, an extract from which will probably be pleasing to you, as it will in some measure gratify your curiosity respecting the Western Expedition. He writes: "Our good friend, Mr. Evans, has been with us several days. He read us his Journal of the Expedition to the Westward, which is highly entertaining. The difficulties of their march were many and great, — over mountain, through mbrasses, down and up craggy steeps, and through rapid streams almost unwadable; but the whole was endured with a becoming fortitude. He informs me that they destroyed about a hundred and sixty thousand bushels of corn, and four or five hundred huts, some of which were elegant for Indians. The expedition has been important, and, perhaps, in its consequences equal to almost any which we have made since the commencement of the war." This Mr. Evans was one of the chaplains to that expedition, and is a sensible, judicious man, and a good preacher. He formerly preached occasionally in the New South, at, Boston, and has lately had an invitation to return to Boston again.
Our news at present is that forty-two sail of vessels, loaded with provisions for the garrison at Gibraltar, have been taken by the Spaniards \ and that several of the dispersed shattered fleet which was intended for Georgia have been seen off Bermuda, dismasted; but the weather was such that they could neither get in nor receive assistance from thence. A very valuable ordnance transport belonging to that fleet was in such a situation that there was no hope of her making any port; and, after her men were taken ont by one of the enemy's privateers, she was blown up to prevent her falling into our hands. Respects to Mrs. Belknap.
I am, my dear sir, yours affectionately,
P. S. I have seen no Western papers lately.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
[jamaica Plain], March 11, 1780.
My Dear Sir, — I forgot, in my hurry, to mention several things yesterday which I at first intended. Have you the Life of William Penn (the founder of Pennsylvania) in your Biographical Collection? I have lately met with it in a magazine, and will transcribe it for you, if you have not got it. What would you think of an American Chronology? It coincides so naturally with my principal design, that I can attend to it very easily at the same time that I am engaged in the other. This idea occurred to me early, and I made a beginning several years ago, to which I have been adding since. Being out of employ lately, as the roads were so bad that I could not go to get records, I sat down and abridged Prince, leaving out the "Creation, Adam, Noah," and some other things which did not peculiarly belong to America. I then made a digest of my loose chronological memoranda, and added a number of articles from Mather, Neal, Atlas Geographus, and others, and I assure you the collection cuts no bad figure, as to size, already. It fills three sheets of such paper as this on which I now write, and this piece is but a quarter of a sheet. Upon reviewing it, I find I was rather inattentive to this part of my plan while in your State, and must beg your assistance to complete it. I will enclose you a list of the articles I have, that you may know what I want. My plan is to include every remarkable 6vent: the grants of the country and large parts of it, — i.e., the time when made, and to whom; the time of the settling of towns, and of the change of their names frpm the Indian to the present; what the Indian name was; the names of Governours and Presidents, and the dates of their commissions, &c, &c. To prevent the work's being a dull, heavy, unentertaining thing, I now and then introduce a ludicrous matter, where it can be done with propriety. I have been told there was some years ago a remarkable whirlwind, or something of that kind, which tore a vessel off the stocks at Portsmouth. Pray, can you tell when it happened?
Since I wrote you, some time ago, I have been reading Lord Bacon. He says they have in Cephalonia a dwarf oak, in the leaves of which there are tumours or blisters, containing a red dust, which they rub out, and which turns to worms. When these discover life, they kill them with wine, and with them dye a fine scarlet. Query: Whether the blistered leaves of many of our shrub oaks may not furnish something which would answer a similar purpose? He says, further, that good housewives in England frequently put their candles in flour or bran, one by one, which makes them last half as long again as they would otherwise do. If this is a fact, it is worth knowing, especially in these times, when candles are so dear. If you have any wheat bran (perhaps rye would do), I wish you would make an experiment upon a few candles, for the sake of ascertaining this matter. By " one by one" I suppose he means that each candle should be buried in the bran, so as not to touch the one which lies next to it.
We have a stone at Roxbury which appears to me to be a composition of pebble stones and petrified mud of a blueish colour, but I don't recollect my having met with them anywhere but in the neighbourhood of Boston. Have you any such with you?