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"General Clear is certainly a man of no redress, and never was sanctified for a commander."
"Our men behaved with great turpitude at the vacation
of Ti , for General Burgoyne shot language at them
with a view to intimate them, but it only served to astimate them, for they picked up the dientical language, and shot it back so as to do great persecution, for the weather was so hot that their wounds purified immediately."
The said Democritus, it is said, has greatly augmented his vocabulary and other curious collections this winter. I think he takes a good method to preserve himself from the spleen.
P. S. You don't mention whether you received the sermons I sent you and Dr. Gordon.
March 17, 1780.*
I don't know whether you will think me a good or bad correspondent, for filling up every grain of paper. My only apology for being so prolix this time is, that when I get into a fit of writing, and am not interrupted by other matters, I am apt to disgorge plentifully. If I do not nauseate you, I shall be thankful.
My respects to Dr. G. Mrs. B. joins in compliments. Yours affectionately,
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Jamaica Plain, April 1, 1780.
Reverend And Very Dear Sir, — I am to acknowledge the receipt of your three very obliging letters of March 13th, 17th, and 25th, which all came to hand by last post, but too late to be answered on his return. I thank you for them all, and for the Lapis specularis which one of them contained. The uses to which you inform me it is applied doubtless make the discovery of it a valuable acquisition, but I am apt to think it may be made to serve other purposes. From the very regular disposition of its pores, which renders it so transparent, I think it might be used instead of glass for making common specula; and had I quicksilver, I would make the experiment by foliating a piece of it, but, for want of this necessary ingredient, this experiment must be deferred. Its name and appearance suggested this hint. I find that fire destroys its transparency entirely, and its elasticity in some measure, as you will see by the enclosed piece. The Mack upon one part of it was occasioned by its resting on the charred part of a log. The effect fire has upon it leads me to suspect it contains certain metalline qualities; and I imagine it would answer for coating phials used in electrical experiments, and not only in that, but in foliating lookingglasses, and other instances, be a good substitute for tinfoil. May it not be reduced to a powder, and used for clarifying liquors? You will easily perceive these are hasty thoughts, and intended only as hints. It is not in my power to sa}^ when I shall have the pleasure of seeing you, as I am under sailing orders for Philadelphia, for which place I expect to set out next Tuesday. My stay there will not be longer than is absolutely necessary; for, as I think I begin to see the end of my work in this State, I shall be glad to get back, in order to finish it. Two months' application more, I believe, would compleat it. I should be very happy in going with you to Boscawen, &c, but my business must be attended to in preference to the gratification of my curiosity and pleasure. I have not read any thing upon natural history, nor can I tell you who is the best author upon that subject. Should I meet with any thing of the kind which I think would 9 please you, I will endeavour to secure it for you. It is a study which would suit my taste exactly, and, had I leisure,
* This was written on a sheet which enclosed the preceding letter. — Eds.
I think I should prosecute it with some tolerable degree of assiduity; but my present vagabond mode of life will admit of nothing more than picking up hints. Nothing further is yet done about the Massachusetts Philosophical Society, but I think the design will not be dropped. I thank you for the extracts from Hennepin. They are entertaining; but I question whether his observations on the tides in the lakes were made with a sufficient degree of accuracy. His remarks upon the Indians are undoubtedly just; and, although many good men have been very zealous for their conversion to Christianity, their zeal always appeared to me not to be according to knowledge. What the designs of Heaven respecting those poor creatures may be, none can tell; but their present mode of living and their education are much, against their conversion, and past experience has too plainly shewn the futility of attempting to alter either. "The kindness and flatteries" of the French made them Roman Catholics; and, with a pot of cider, Dr. Johnson, of New York, converted some to Churchmen. A new blanket would make the best of them Mahometans! Did not Henry VIII. proceed upon the same principle with Hennepin (in his decision respecting the coats) when he converted the abbey lands, &c, to
Protestant uses? I wonder that 5s talent was not
sooner observed to lie in speaking. The State has certainly suffered much by so capital an oversight. The speech about the " Vacation of Ti" ought to have placed him in the chair for life, long ago. I intend to write to Democritus, and tell him that, as Continental Collector-General of Curiosities, I have a claim upon him for the whole speech. He will send it to me, and then, if you choose it, you shall have a copy. There is no danger of your wanting men of learning to fill public offices, now a " door" is opened in the woods, through which "streams" of science may flow and make water upon the General C. and the Congress, and purify them from every " vile principle " which would tend to "strengthen the adamantine chains" of slavery and "bar the everlasting gates" of freedom. It is a great pity that an institution which, in proper hands, might be very useful, should be so scandalously prostituted. Better times may produce a beneficial change. Colleges have begun to attract public attention. The Pennsylvanians have dignified theirs with the title of University. I am informed the Convention of the State intend doing the like honour to your alma mater; and, as your G. C. copy all laudable examples, no doubt Dartmouth will be thought of, too. They certainly would never make it an university, without providing it with proper masters. Are the trustees men of learning?
I have just recollected that I omitted enclosing you such chronological memoranda as I had concerning New Hampshire, which I promised to do, but this must be deferred for want of time. I often am obliged to write in such haste that I hardly know what I do write. Other business pressing upon me has prevented my proceeding farther till April 4, and now I can hardly write, having just finished splitting a " mortal great" log for the sake of exercise, which makes my hand shake. I went to town yesterday, but had not the pleasure of seeing our friend, Mr. Elliot. I wish he did not live so far out of the line of my business. Boston affords nothing new but complaints upon complaints. I have been credibly informed that a person, who used to live well, has been obliged to take the feathers out of his bed, and sell them to an upholsterer, to get money to buy bread. Many, doubtless, are exceedingly distressed; and yet, such is the infatuation of the day, that the rich, regardless of the necessities of the poor, are more luxurious and extravagant than formerly. Boston exceeds even Tyre; for not only are her merchants princes, but even her tavernkeepers are gentlemen. May it not be more tolerable for Tyre than for her! There can be no surer sign of a decay of morals in a large city than the tavern-keepers growing rich fast:
We have nothing particular from the westward. The enclosed newspapers are all I have lately received. That from New London contains some curious Connecticut manoeuvres, which, I am told, have raised no small flame in that State. No man who regarded the honour of the State, I think, could be pleased with such villainy in its legislators. I don't know whether the enclosed extract from a deed will give you hints of any transaction you are unacquainted with; but, as it relates to a part of the country of which you have wrote the history, I thought I would copy it and send it4o you.
The following is a copy of a note found in Mr. Stilman's pulpit about a month ago: "The prayers of this congregation are desired for our paper-currency, in a weak and low condition by reason of its depreciated and fluctuating state, that indulgent Heaven would, of its infinite mercy, be pleased to restore it to its former value, or speedily fit' and prepare it for its great and last change." There may be wit in it; but I hate such trifling with serious things.
I expect to set out for Philadelphia to-morrow. Remember me affectionately to Mrs. Belknap. I am, my dear sir,
Your sincere friend and very humble servant,
The post will now begin to come twice a week from Philadelphia to Boston.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD,
Dover, April 1, 1780.
Dear Sir, — I hope before this time you have received my two letters of last week, one of them enclosing a piece of the Lapis specularis, which I think must be ranked