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because I have engaged to do the lottery business for the managers in this journey, and have a servant with me whom they have hired by the day at a great expence, and I cannot detain him without defrauding them. This you must allow to be a good reason. The new employment was not "love," but admiralty business. I am fully convinced it is not good for man to be alone; but really I am too much hurried to think of either love or matrimony. For the same reason I have collected but very few, or no new ideas. When I meet with any, you may rely upon a communication of them. I will send with this two small glasses which are the first of the kind I have seen. I cannot find that they are of any use but to startle people with a sudden smart explosion. You see there is water in them. Scrape the ashes on one side, and lay one of them before and pretty close to the fire; the heat will make the water evaporate, and burst the glass. If you put it in the ashes, or among the coals, it will make them fly about the house.
Respects to Mrs. B. She will hardly be able to salute Mrs. H. before the war is over. Adieu, my dear sir. I am yours affectionately,
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Jamaica Plain, March 1,1781.
My DExAR Sir, — Soon after I had wrote to you from Portsmouth, Mr. Buckminster informed me you were much troubled with the rheumatism of late. How do you do now? I sympathize with all the afflicted, but more specially with my friends. If the pain is not very violent, perhaps your attention may be diverted from it for awhile by tlje enclosed papers. I want to say a great deal to you about continuing your history, and the good news which has been crowding upon us of late, but the family waits for me to breakfast. I expect to set out for Plymouth to-morrow, to copy the second volume of Records of the United Colonies. Your letters directed to Boston will find the way to me. Respects to Mrs. B. Adieu. Eben. Hazard.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dover, March 8, 1781.
Dear Mr. Hazard, — Two packets of yours, one from Portsmouth and [another] from Boston, have arrived here since I wrote last, which you might think a long time, had you not been apprized of my confinement. I was seized about the latter end of December with a rheumatism, accompanied by an inflammation, which, after pervading every limb in rotation, went off about the end of January, leaving me very weak. I was for three Sabbaths unable to preach at all, and two more I preached at my own house. I have now so far recovered as to ride (chiefly) abroad, not caring to walk much on the snow, which by its dampness causes a weakness and pain in my knees and feet. I do not expect to be wholly clear of the relics of the disorder till summer. Though my disorder was a severe pain and fever, yet, by the Divine blessing on some means used, its malignancy was abated, and its duration shortened, so I was not more than half so bad, nor did it continue more than half so long as a disorder of the same kind which I had about seven years ago. I remember Dr. Burnett, in his Life of the Earl of Rochester, tells us that "in a sickness which brought him near death, when his spirits were so low and spent that he could not move nor stir, his reason and judgment were so clear and strong that from thence he was fully persuaded that death was not the spending or dissolution of the soul, but only the separation of it from matter.'9 This passage I often re* volved in my thoughts during this sickness of mine, and had I not been persuaded of the truth of the soul's immateriality, and its capacity of thought separate from matter, I should have been convinced of it from my own experience of the same kind. For (I may say it freely to you whom I regard not only as a friend, but a Christian friend) I think I never was capable of more clear, strong, and intense application of mind upon some of the most sublime subjects than I was at the weakest stage of this illness. I took peculiar satisfaction in reflecting upon the wisdom and benevolence of the Deity, who having first secured our eternal salvation by the most astonishing of all means, which, being entirely out of our power to accomplish, was never required of us, but was the work of His own Son, has so established the order of his moral kingdom as to make our personal improvement in virtue absolutely necessary to our enjoying the blessedness thus provided for us, and has even made our enduring suffering one of the intermediate steps to our arrival at supreme happiness. With such sentiments as these so deeply impressed on my mind, I think I could have endured the trial, had it been much more severe and intense than it was, with a thankful sense of the wisdom and goodness of God therein. At the same time I was really not so capable of attending to or managing any domestic or worldly concerns as I ordinarily am in a time of health, which is to me a plain, proof that spiritual and heavenly things are properly the soul's element, and the more she is abstracted from the material world the more exalted and congenial are her enjoyments. Let us therefore look and long and pray for the coming of that glorious state, in which all the bubbles which are so apt now to amuse and employ us, shall vanish into their native nothing, and where we shall contemplate and enjoy substantial good: But I am preaching instead of writing a letter. I will descend to other matters.
One of the papers you sent me, 't is the Pennsylvania Evening Post (which, by the bye, is a very good paper), of January 13, contains the beginning of Gen. Washington's Journal of his Tour to the Ohio in 1753. As I have a regard for that character little short of veneration, every particle of intelligence concerning his life and actions, and every shred of his writings, is peculiarly pleasing to me. I beg therefore you would, if possible, procure the other papers in which that Journal is continued. And, now I am on this subject, I will tell you that I met (this winter and not before) with his Letters, some of them, I mean, to Lund Washington, &c, which were said to be found in Philadelphia when the enemy had possession of it. If you should ever meet with the papers wherein these letters are, and can part with them, pray let me have them. I am charmed beyond measure with the spirit and sentiments that appear therein. His orders to the army respecting the late meeting are admirable. If he should (as God grant he may) preserve the same character through life in which he now appears, at least to me, he will certainly merit the highest place in the Roll of Worthies. Pray who is that Lieut.-Colonel Washington that figures so nobly at the southward? Is he a relation of the General? Don't you admire Morgan's letter ?# — so modest on a subject in which he could not but appear great. I love men that think justly, and acknowledge the agency of Divine Providence in matters wherein they have a concern. A man is never more truly noble than when he is sensible that he is only a secondary instrument of bringing to pass God's great designs. I knew nothing of your being at Portsmouth till the receipt of your letter from thence. Had it been practicable for you to come here, I should have taken great pleasure in seeing you, as I was about that time first released from my confinement. The next time you visit our eastern parts, I hope there will be no impediment to your coming. The glass babbles you sent me are the same that I remember to have seen used in Dr. Winthrop's course of Experimental Philosophy, to evince the elasticity of the air. One of them was put on a lighted candle, and exploded with a report equal to a pocket pistol. There is another sort made by dropping melted glass into water, which I think he told us was a "Nodus philosophorum" and could not be explained satisfactorily. On breaking the point, the whole mass falls into dust.
* General Daniel Morgan, the hero of the Battle of the Cowpens, Jan. 17,1781. Congress awarded him a gold medal for his gallantry in that action. — Eds.
You are now, I suppose, at Plymouth. Well, if you find any thing among the Old Colony Records, or can pick up any anecdotes by conversing with Father Cotton * that will be of service to me, I shall depend on having them communicated. I want to know of that gentleman who the several persons were that stand in the College Catalogue of the name John Cotton. I cannot distinguish them all, and should be obliged to him for his information. If you meet with any thing new in the natural way, don't fail to let me partake of the pleasure. I have heard this winter of some red and yellow oker which have been discovered in this and the next town. When the snow goes off, I hope to visit the spots and examine them. I wish you joy on being elected into the new Society. You will have opportunity to serve the cause of science thereby.
I have thought that if some ingenious tradesmen were admitted to that honour, and some intelligent masters of ships, they would prove useful members by communicating experiments and observations in their respective
* This was the Rev. John Cotton, who, after preaching for some years at Halifax, in the County of Plymouth, succeeded his father as Register of Deeds for that county, which he held until his death, in 1789. He was the author of an account of Plymouth Church, appended to a Sermon of the Rev. Philemon Robbins, preached at the ordination of his son, Chandler Robbins, in 1760.—Eds.