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ern coast from north to south, there would have been so much difficulty iu accounting for the population of this continent? Or if the inhabitants of it had been suffered to remain in the state they were at first found to this day, whether it might not have been possible to trace their origin with much greater precision than it was when America was first discovered on the eastern shores? There is one enquiry I would be glad to have resolved; and that is, whether what we call Indian corn be common in Tartary? The emigrants to America must have brought it here, or it must be indigenous. If the latter, it must be found somewhere wild, like the wild oats and rice that Carver speaks of, and which, by the way, I last summer saw growing in some of the branches of the Amariscogin and Connecticut Rivers, northward of the White Mountains, and a dainty repast it proved to our poor horses.
How one thought makes way for another! Did you observe, in a late paper, that a sort of grain, the produce of a perennial shrub, had been discovered in Chili? Is it so, or not? Now comes another question. What is the perpetual motion of Kentucky?
Tour account balanced gives me much satisfaction, and I an* most sincerely obliged by your exertions in my favour. I wish Mr. A.'s account was as well settled. I have sent him 5 guineas in one letter, and Mr. Libbey has sent 2 guineas, and one Jo in another. I hope to hear they have arrived. I shall be able to pay him only by such driblets, and how long time it will take no mathematician can calculate. Many subscribers are yet deficient, even of those who paid the advance. I wish you would put A. in mind of his promise to send me his account current. I shall then know what he has received of subscribers in your quarter. I think I ought to make an apology to you for asking so many questions and favours of you; but, when you recollect that I am placed in such a sequestered spot, and have so little communication with the world, and yet have an insatiable curiosity, and, I hope, an honest desire to do things right, you will form the apology yourself. If you should see my Josey, please to tell him we are all well the 17th February. Mrs. B. joins in affectionate salutations to you and Mrs. H., with your much obliged friend, Jeremy Belknap.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Philadelphia, March 9,1785.
Dear Sir, — I have been so irregular a correspondent of late that I hardly know which of your letters have been answered; but, as I find some in my unanswered pocket, I shall take it for granted I am in your debt for them.
The 5 guineas you sent, and the 2 guineas and 1 Jo from Mr Libbey, have got safely into Mr. Aitken's hands. Cannot answer your question about the Tree Toad. You seem to have misunderstood me respecting the 2d volume of your History. I do not wish you to contract a new debt by printing it, but only to get a second volume ready for publication. This will be advantageous in two points of view: in the first place, should you live and find it adviseable at any time hereafter to print, the work will be ready as soon as the time arrives; in the next place, should you die, leaving it in MS., your family may be benefited either by printing or selling the MS., as circumstances may direct. I wish to hear whether your General Court have given you any patronage. It would be of great use to us, were we to follow Dr. Prices advice; but we seem in general more fond of leading than of following. I have long thought there was something singular and peculiar in the American character. In many things, we act like other folks; but, if any thing is to be done by us which excites the expectation of the European nations, I will defy them altogether to guess how we will do it; nor can we ourselves tell long before the moment for action arrives. The Confederation should be strengthened by vesting greater power in Congress; but I fear that the jealousy of some of the States, and the narrow prejudices of others, will prevent it, until necessity compels them to it. Yes, we are to have a federal town, and I believe it will be a public benefit: it is disreputable as well as inconvenient for Congress to be running about from State to State, as they have done for some time past. Ambassadors could never know where to find them. Should they fix in any of our capitals, their councils would be in great danger of being influenced by the politics of it. A federal town will be a kind of centre of union, out of danger from local politics, and, if properly managed, may be made to pay something clever in discharge of our national debt, by the sale of the lots, which will be greatly increased in value by every house built in the town. I should be very glad if Congress were enabled to pay their debts; but the money expended for a federal town would give each creditor so small a sum as not to be worth accepting. The conduct of the Spaniards on the Mississippi must "kick up a dust:" if Congress don't take the matter up, the settlers in the neighbourhood will. I should not be at all surprized at hearing that they had taken New Orleans from the Spaniards.
If I can possibly redeem time enough, I will enquire about furs, though I apprehend it is rather late in the season. I know the beaver is very scarce here, and therefore would command a good price.
Your Jack Frost was not offered to Aitken, because he does not print a newspaper, and it was not large enough to print by itself. I told him of your intention respecting him, for which he was obliged to you. Had I told you this, and waited to hear from you before Jack made his appearance, he would have been out of season; for you know he was intended for New Year. I therefore gave him to Bailey. The hand of Joab was not in the Sketches of American History. You do not know the writer, though I have sent you several of his performances. Freneau is supposed to be the person.
I will enquire about Cook's Voyage. It would be difficult to say, with any degree of certainty, what could have been done towards accounting for the population of this continent, had Columbus steered a different course from what he did; and perhaps it will not be more easy to determine whether, if the Indians had been left in statu quo, we could trace their origin with more precision than now. We should have only their traditions about it, and they would be so enveloped in fable that it would be impossible to get at any thing like truth. Romans, in his History of Florida (which, by the bye, is a paltry performance), says that the Creeks or Choctaws, I forget which, shew you a fissure in the earth, through which they say their nation rose into existence at once, and frightened the preoccupants of the country almost to death by their sudden and extraordinary appearance.
If I meet with any one who can give me information about Tartary and Indian corn, I will make suitable enquiries, and send you the result. I never heard of Indian corn being found growing wild.
If I saw in a late paper the account of the grain discovered in Chili, it has escaped my memory. Perpetual motion has always appeared to me too much like an absurdity to be worth thinking of. That of Kentucky, I apprehend, must be the restlessness of the inhabitants.
I will remind Mr. A. of his promise to send your account current: he has either seen or heard all those parts of your letters, in which you discover your anxiety to settle with him; and, as he is convinced of the honesty of your intentions, he bears the disappointment like a philosopher, though he is much in want of money. You
need never be uneasy about asking me questions: it will Vol. i. 27
always give me pleasure to answer them, if I can. Only remember this, that, if I omit taking notice of any, it must be ascribed to that distraction which a constant hurry and great variety of business naturally occasions. You may guess at my present situation, when I inform you that this letter has continued on the anvil till the night of the 11th, though begun on the 9th of the month. I am again interrupted, and must take a new heat at another time.
Some time since, Congress resolved "that the postmaster general remove on or before the 21st of March/' in consequence of which I expect to set out for New York next Thursday: when there, I shall endeavour to get permission to return and remain here till the federal town is built. If I fail in this, my family and furniture must be removed too, and New York be the place of our abode till the federal town is ready for us; so you see ice are pilgrims and strangers here. None of my family likes the idea of a removal, but we must stick to our bread and butter. Your Josey is very hearty and well; so are all my family, who join in sincere regards for yours, with your friend, Eben. Hazard.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
New York, March 24,1785.
You remember, my dear sir, that I informed you I was ordered to remove to this city on or before the 21st inst. Last Saturday I arrived here, but solus, and in hopes of being permitted to return and remain at Philadelphia until the federal town should be built. Disappointed in this expectation, I am to remove my family as soon as roads, &c, will permit, and to become a New Yorker again. Your letter of 21st inst. went to Philadelphia, and was returned to me with the specimen of copper