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and I am much pleased with it. It is, I think, superior to any American publication of the kind which I have seen, and not far short of the best British, allowing for difference of circumstances. Pray, is it continued, and is it in as good repute? What is the "United States Magazine "? Such an one I think I have seen quoted. While you are at Philadelphia, revelling in the full luxury of scientific entertainment, you must think sometimes of your poor friend starving in these forlorn regions, and let him have now and then a crum from your table. Pray tell me if any thing new arises, or has arisen, in the world of literature. Something comes into my mind just now. It may possibly be new to you. A prize has lately come into Cape Ann, on board of which are some new books; one, a London magazine, gives an account (as I have it, from a gentleman of credit who saw it) of a prodigy in the musical way that [has recently] % appeared at Norwich, in England. A person of a mechanical genius made himself an organ, and got a teacher to instruct him how to play. His son, a child of 2 years and 3 months old, appeared to be in raptures while the music lasted, and when it was done fell a crying. It could be pacified no other way than by being suffered to touch the keys of the organ, when it play'd imperfectly the tune of "God save the King," which his father had been learning. He was then indulged and his genius encouraged, and at three years old became such a proficient in the science that he has played before the king and royal family. One of the prisoners aboard the prize has heard him perform to admiration. A number of particulars are told, which altogether render him a surprizing phenomenon. You 11 doubtless see or hear more of it. I wish the account might be published here.
Looking over an old paper the other day, I found an account, dated Feb. 6, 1772, of some communications to the American Philosophical Society, among which is "A Specimen of Siberian Barley, with Directions for its Culture, and an Account of its Excellence, by Mr. Isaac Bartram." I wish I could have a copy of this paper with a few grains of the said barley.
* MS. torn at this place. — Eds.
If it lies in your way to furnish me with either or both, I am persuaded you will do it. The Siberian wheat agrees so perfectly well with our climate, that I should be fond of introducing the other productions of that country.
N. B. The grains would come better if they were in the ear than loose.
I am sorry I have no better specimens of the Lapis sjpeciilaris than what I now enclose, but I hope to get more before long.
I am your faithful and much obliged friend and servant,
Jeremy Belknap. To Ebenezer Hazakd, Esq.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Philadelphia, October 2, 1780.
Dear Sir, — Yours of August 5th came to my hands on Saturday evening, and I was obliged to set out for this place the Monday morning following, which prevented my sending you an answer. It made me very uneasy, because it told me you were so; but I hoped mine from Jamaica Plain would explain matters and remove your anxiety, which I find by your favour of August 28th was the case. From the variety and uncertainty of calls upon me, such an accident may happen again. In that case, satisfy yourself by thinking, "Mr. H. would have called upon me, but something or other rendered it impracticable: I shall hear from him soon, and know the reason. He has had no cause to doubt my friendship, and I have had none to doubt his. Some unforeseen accident must therefore have prevented." When I left the Plain, I expected to winter here. I now expect to dig snow again out of the roads at the Plain this winter. Did you ever know a man kept in such constant uncertainty? Which is worst, to be fettered as you are, or to be a vagabond like myself? But why should we complain? Why expect happiness in a world which was never intended to contain it? The grand secret which will bring us as near it as any thing here is, "in whatever station we are, to be therewith content," and by " patient continuance in well doing" to gain the approbation of our own consciences, and thence derive a rational hope of " glory, honour, and immortality" hereafter.
I think you are right about Chesterfield. His honey is mixed with poison; and, in my opinion, even the best things from a man who takes consummate pains to make his son a finished rascal, ought to be suspected.
I thank you for the Lapis specularis and other contents of your letter. Though the former was not equal to what you favoured me with before, it is nevertheless highly acceptable, and considered as a valuable curiosity. Do get a copy of the parody, if you can.
The Pennsylvania Magazine you refer to, I believe exceeded any thing of the kind ever published on this Continent. The undertaker was a man of spirit, who would spare no expence to make it complete, but was discouraged from prosecuting it, by want of writers, inattention in subscribers to the article of pay, and the war which prevented a circulation of the Magazine. Having sunk a great deal of money in it, he dropped it, after publishing, I think, his eighteenth number. The United States Magazine was as paltry a performance as the other was good, and as short-lived as such a thing ought to be. In examining dead letters, I found one number of it t' other day, which I send you as a specimen.
The musical genius you mention reminds me of a similar instance I met with at Lancaster, in this State, in 1777. A child of (I think) 22 months old — he was, however, so young that he could, not talk — beat upon a drum a variety of tunes in concert with a fife (which was played upon by one of the army fifers), in such a manner as was astonishing. He kept time with great exactness, and made no mistakes in other respects. When the fifer was going to change a tune, he gave the child no warning, but played on without stopping, as if he was continuing the former tune. The child immediately perceived the change, and beat the tune the fifer played. Of all this I was an eye and ear witness. I suppose some peculiar mechanism in this child's ear enabled him to distinguish sounds more accurately than common, and that his ear was his sole guide.
I have called at Mr. Bartram's house to get a copy of his speculation upon Siberian barley, but he was not at home. I will call again, and, if possible, procure both it and some of the seed for you; but I suspect it is what you know by the name of Siberian wheat. That Mr. Bartram is a very curious man, and perhaps one of the best botanical genii on the Continent.
If you have not already heard it, you will soon, that Arnold, General Arnold, has commenced traitor, and had contracted to sell West Point to the enemy. It was found out on the day on which the Fort was to have been given up, in consequence of Major Andre's (the British Adjutant-General) being apprehended as a spy. Arnold made his escape, and got on board the Vulture sloop of war, but I think vengeance will overtake him yet. Divine justice cannot suffer crimes of such enormity to pass unpunished. Others have been deeply concerned, and will doubtless suffer the punishment due to their villainy. We have now another striking proof of the interposition of Heaven in favour of our just cause, — and, I am sorry to add, of human depravity too. It is mortifying that such rascals should have any claim to humanity, and that better men should be obliged to belong to the same genus of creatures. We have not the particulars of this affair yet, but are told many will be involved in it who are not at present generally suspected. Arnold and the Devil were burned in effigy here last Saturday night.
I must now apologize for not answering your letter sooner by informing you that I have but lately recovered from an epidemic fever which has for some time raged here, and laid violent hands upon me as well as others. It left me exceedingly weak, but I am now gaining strength fast.
I shall not close this before to-morrow, that should any thing new occur I may add it. Interim, adieu.
After thrice calling, I have seen Mr. Bartram. He has no recollection of the paper you want. I will enquire of others about it. Remember me affectionately to Mrs. B. In the greatest haste, the post just going,
Yours, Eben. Hazard.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dover, Oct. 25, 1780.
My Very Dear Sir, — I was apprehensive from your long silence that you was sick, and yours of the 2d inst., which came to hand Saturday night last, confirmed my apprehension. I rejoice that you were so far recovered as to be "gaining strength fast." Heaven grant you a confirmed state of health, that you may be able to complete the important plans you have entered upon. I should have said nothing more of your being at Portsmouth and not coming here, had you not warned me that " such an