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occupations, wherein all the active powers and many of the productions of nature are constantly employed, and by furnishing specimens of what is curious from abroad. Many things are familiar to them which speculative men might be glad to be acquainted with.
I am, dear sir, with much respect, in which Mrs. B. cordially joins, your obliged and affectionate friend,
P. S. How long shall you be at Plymouth? To Ebenezee Hazard, Esq.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Jamaica Plain, April 17, 1781.
This, my dear sir, will be literally a lucubration, being written by candle-light, which is rather extraordinary; for if my eyes serve me faithfully in the day-time, as they usually do, and have done to-day, I think it a piece of justice to give them what an Irishman might call an holiday at night. I returned last night from Plymouth, and, although I am so old a traveller, my bones are so sore, and my joints so stiff, that I move very clumsily and in great pain. This I attribute to my confining myself closely to writing for above five weeks, and not using any exercise in that time. Upon my return, I received your favour of 8th ult., which was not sent to me because I was expected back much sooner. I sincerely rejoice at your having so far recovered your health, and hope your next will inform me that you are perfectly free from every bodily infirmity. Be careful not to expose yourself unnecessarily, and be especially upon your guard against a damp air for fear of a relapse. Dr. Burnet's * assertion respecting the effect of death upon the soul I have no doubt is well founded; and there have certainly been many remarkable instances of activity and vigour in the soul, when its feeble tenement has been almost decayed; but can it be inferred from hence that this is uniformly the case? I think not. If it were, I apprehend the increase of the "vivida vis animi" would be in exact proportion to the decay of the body, but observation teaches us it is not so. Have not pain and retirement (the usual concomitants of sickness) a natural tendency to concentrate the thoughts, and, by bringing them to a focus, make them more intense? May not those clear views of things, whether natural or divine, which the sick are sometimes favoured with, be as easily and as well accounted for in this way as in any other? The subject your thoughts ran upon in your sickness has often engaged my attention and excited my astonishment. Even a superficial view of the Christian scheme, and the outlines of the plan of Divine government, are sufficient to fill the soul with admiration of the wisdom and benevolence of God; but a more accurate examination of them cannot fail of producing rapturous adoration. No other system makes it a man's interest to do his duty, and therefore no other system contains so much wisdom and bids so fair for success. Why then is it not more attended to? This is a natural question, but difficult to answer. The doctrine of original sin will not, in my opinion, sufficiently account for the strange and absurd conduct of mankind in this respect. The guilt descending from that source appears to me but trifling compared with artificial depravity. Unbelief must be the root of the evil. Men are governed principally by their senses, and these are not so much affected by things future and invisible as by present and sensible objects. Were the former to make as deep an impression as the latter, and did men really believe it to be their interest to be virtuous, a principle of self-love would drive them to it. But it was not my intention when I began to attempt a discussion of theological questions. I shall therefore proceed to other subjects to which I am more equal.
I have been very anxious to see the remainder of General Washington's Journal, but cannot meet with it. The printer of the paper in which the first part was contained is an eccentric kind of genius, and I think it very probable he never published the sequel of the Journal, though he promised it. Should I meet with any thing relating to the General, you shall be gratified with it. He is truly a great and amiable character. I will take an opportunity of writing to Philadelphia to enquire about the Journal, and endeavour to get the letters, which (by the bye) I believe were nothing more than well-executed counterfeits* Colonel Washington, I think, is the General's brother's son, but of this I am not certain.! Yes, I did "admire Morgan's letter." It was as clear a proof of magnanimity as his victory. What do you think of Campbell's Cherokee Expedition? Don't you observe a striking difference between the narratives of the two Western conquerors? You may rely on it that whenever I go to Portsmouth I shall, at the same time, intend to visit Dover; and if you do not see me there, it will be owing to my being disappointed. The bubbles I sent you were part of the only parcel of them I ever saw. I could see nobody who knew the use of them, and found it out by making different experiments. .They are a pretty contrivance for shewing the elasticity of the air. I had no small diversion with them. I have seen the other kind you mention, but cannot account for the effect produced by breaking the point. Perhaps it might be done with the assistance of an air-pump. It was not the "Old Colony Records" I went to Plymouth for (those I had gone through before), but the Records of the United Colonies of New England; viz., Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Newhaven, which entered into a " Confederation" in 1643 for their " ?nvtvall healp and softy." Each annually chose two "commissioners," who met in the different colonies in rotation, and formed what we now term a congress. They had the direction and management of all matters of general concernment,—in short, very much such powers as the present Congress, — and were moreover agents for the corporation for propagating the Gospel amongst the Indians. They kept a regular journal of their proceedings, and this journal is called The Records, &c. It commences with the Confederation in 1643, and ends in 1678-9. The commissioners' transactions are minutely entered till 1665, when Connecticut and New Haven were united, but not so particularly afterwards. Each Colony had a cdpy of the Records, but of the four only two remain, and, lest these should be lost or destroyed, I took the trouble of transcribing the whole, as I think them important. The originals form 2 volumes in folio. My transcript is contained in two 4to volumes, the first of 242 pages, and the other of 399. The last is what I have lately transcribed.
* These forged letters were first printed in London, in 1777, and in the following year in Rivington's Royal Gazette. They were, in 1796, included in a volume published in New York. — Eds.
t Lieutenant-Colonel William Washington was a son of Baily Washington, of Stafford County, Virginia. — Eds
Judging of you by myself (which I am persuaded is a good rule in the present case) 1 am confident you wish to have an opportunity of reading them, and I shall have no objection to gratifying you, if it can be done consistently with the safety of the manuscript, which I confess I value very highly, as the fruit of great labor and expence. Noble will carry it safely as far as Portsmouth. If you can contrive a plan for its security between Dover and Portsmouth, every difficulty will be removed, and, upon your informing me when you wish to have it, it shall be sent. Had I received your letter before I left Plymouth, I could easily have procured the information you want about the Cottons. But it can be had yet by writing to the old gentleman, which I will do when I have an opportunity. I met with nothing "new in the natural way," but picked up something old in the artificial way, which I think a valuable acquisition. It is a circular picture of about five inches diameter, emblematical of January. The device is two men and two women sitting drinking, and on the background is a door through which you see people seating. It has been printed from copperplate, pasted on a planed piece of maple, and coloured. Round it, on the maple, is this inscription: "Janus loves good drincks, warme cloathes convenient bee: and sporting on the ice affordeth passing glee." A circle on the outside of this, which fills up the remainder of the maple, is gilt, which I suppose answered to our fram.es. This picture is one of twelve (The Months) which belonged to Gover Edward Winslow, and was brought over by him in 1620.
Another curiosity I picked up was a French copper coined in 1646. On one side is the head of Louis XIV., and on the other a female figure (with a snake in each hand), treading with one foot upon a lion and the other on an eagle. The inscription is " Vincendi sunt hoc preludia mimdi." There is no difficulty in deciphering these hieroglyphics, and, if it would not look like a pun, I would say that we shall see them in plain English by the time this war is over. Another addition to my collection was a sermon on the Sin of Self-love, preached by Elder Cushman in 1620.# These are all, except a few salts, very curiously formed in the place where timber is sea
* This sermon was preached by Kobert Cushman, the father of Elder Cush man, on the 9th of December, 1621, at Plymouth; and was printed in the following year in London. Judge Davis edited an edition of it, printed at Plymouth in 1785, and mentions an edition printed at Boston in 1724. The copy procured by Hazard may have been of this edition, unless he was so fortunate as to find a copy of the original edition. But two copies of this last are now known to be extant, one of which is in possession of the writer of this note. — Eds.