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soned for ship-building. I suppose you have often seen such; if not, I will send you one. I thank you for your congratulations on my being elected a Fellow of the Academy. It was a mark of polite attention I had no right to expect, and I am happy in it, as it will give me an opportunity of serving the cause of science, though it lays me under additional obligations. Your hint about admitting tradesmen and masters of vessels is a good one, and I will communicate it. Have you Father West's Sermon preached at Plymouth, on the Anniversary of the Landing there? The text is part of the last chapter of Isaiah. If you have not, I will send you one.
Eemember me affectionately to Mrs. Belknap, and be assured of the cordial esteem and sincere friendship of
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Dover, April 23, 1781.
Dear Sir, — Nothing could be a more grateful entertainment to me than the perusal of those Records which you have taken so much pains to transcribe. Had you not made the offer of sending them, I should not have dared to ask such a favour, and even now I am extremely scrupulous about accepting the offer, lest any accident might befall them, in their progress here and back again. I will however leave you to determine the matter as you please. I expect to preach at Portsmouth next Sabbath. If Noble should bring them on Friday to his house, I will take as good care of them after they come into my hands as their value deserves, and return them by the same, or whatever other conveyance you shall direct. I was last week at Portsmouth, looking out for some further materials to work up into my History. I applied to Mr. Michael Wentworth, and was informed that Mr. Hazard had been before me, and had got what he could furnish. Be so kind as to let me know what papers you had from him, and whether they will be of service to me or not.
Pater West's Sermon# I have heard of, but not seen. If you will send me one, I shall be much obliged to you.
As to my health, it is now pretty well established. I came on foot from Portsmouth last Friday, whither I went by water two or three days before, and though my feet were very wet, yet by using proper precautions I took no cold.
How long shall you be at Jamaica Plain? I ask this Question to prevent, if possible, a disappointment similar to what I suffered the fall before last, when you set off for Philadelphia, the day before I came to Boston.
The intelligence I wanted from Father Cotton is not of sufficient importance to be the subject of a particular letter. Had you received mine while you were there, it might have come in, in the course of an evening's conversation. I am surprized to hear that those letters of General Washington's are counterfeits. What interest could anybody have in forging them? As to " Campbell's Cherokee Expedition " f I don't recollect what has been said about it. But, if there is any modesty in the narrative, it differs exceedingly from that of another "Western Conqueror."
I am quite willing to allow that the " natural tendency of pain and confinement is to concentrate the thoughts." I a little suspected my theory before you furnished me with this hint, from recollecting the decay of the mental powers by age. We are not without need of correction from one another, and we often find occasion to correct ourselves.
* The Rev. Samuel West, D.D., whom Dr. Belknap was fond of styling "Pater West," was minister of New Bedford. He died in 1807, aged 77. He was a strong Whig during the Revolution. He deciphered Dr. Church's letter. He was a member of the Convention for forming the Constitution of Massachusetts, and also of that which adopted the Constitution of the United States. — Eds.
t Colonel Arthur Campbell's Expedition against the Cherokees took place near the close of 1780. His report of its result to Mr. Jefferson is dated 15th January, 1781. —Eds.
I think you have well observed that " the doctrine of Original Sin will not sufficiently account for the strange and absurd conduct of mankind, the guilt descending from that source being but trifling compared with artificial depravity" What if we should enquire somewhat freely upon this subject? as thus: Is not the depravity of mankind wholly artificial? Is guilt transmissible? If so, by what law? Is it by an establishment of the Creator? Where is that establishment to be found? You also well observe, that "men are governed principally by their senses, and are not so much affected by future and invisible as by present and sensible objects." May we not then further enquire, Why do the senses govern rather than reason? Is it not because the senses and appetites are sooner in exercise, and thereby get the man in subjection before reason is mature enough to operate? And will not this help us to account for the early and universal depravity of mankind, without recurring to the idea of " descending guilt"? Is not guilt an abuse of moral agency, and therefore in its own nature personal? Can it be set on a footing with disadvantages, incapacities, and imperfections which are indeed transmissible by a standing law of the Creator?
You also justly remark that " unbelief must be the root of the evil." Was it not the original root of the evil which crept into Paradise, and drove our first father from it? And are we not imitators of him in that respect? Must not the sin of unbelief be great in proportion to the greatness of the object which is proposed to be believed, and our advantages for apprehending it? I fully agree with you that "no other system than the Gospel makes it a man's interest to do his duty," — that is, makes it certain that it is his interest; and for this reason I apprehend the Gospel must appear Divine, because it is fitted to the state man is in. It does not require him to be abstracted from himself, and to pursue virtue idr virtue's sake only, but because it is conducive to his own happiness. So far from endeavouring to eradicate this natural principle, the Gospel is grafted upon it.
I have only thrown out these things as subjects of enquiry. If you and I should not think in one channel, we need only propose our thoughts one to the other; and, as I am persuaded we both aim at the truth, if our enquiry be conducted with that openness of mind which the importance of the object demands, we shall be in the ready way to come at it. For my part, I find it a thing extremely difficult to disengage myself from early prejudices and the force of human authority. I have been labouring to do it for many years, but dare not say I have wholly overcome, though it is my sincere desire to do it.
I shall add no more at present, but that Mrs. B. desires you to accept her kind regards, and that I am, dear sir, with much truth, your respectful, obliged, and affectionate friend, Jeremy Belknap.
To Ebenezer Hazabd, Esq.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Portsmouth, May 14, 1781.
My Dear Sir, — I intended setting out for the Plain this day, but I happened to dine on Saturday at Little Harbour; and in the course of conversation obtained a promise of certain papers, and that they should be brought to me here to-day. They were worth waiting for. Ergo, I procured for you duplicates of the printed papers given me some time ago, and have left them (with Pater West's Sermon and some Philadelphia papers) in the hands of our friend Dr. Bracket, who will forward them to you. I have not leisure to examine the letters and other papers given me this morning (I suppose there are 100 of them), but shall do it upon my return to Roxbury, and you shall have thue use of all that can be serviceable to you. You will see by my success the propriety of an hint I gave you, and the necessity there is for your getting the better of a small constitutional infirmity', if you intend to make a good historian. Acting suaviter in modo, sed fortiter in re, and perseverando, a man may do almost any thing. Remember that. I beg you will by no means be discouraged from prosecuting your History. It is necessary to prevent the loss of all the time and labour what you have already done has cost you, and you may rely on every assistance I can give you either personally or through the instrumentality of others. By the odd connection of the parts of the last sentence, I have placed myself in a more important light than I intended, or is proper: excuse it. It was perfectly extemporaneous.
Mr. Jaffrey * furnished me t'other day with a grant to Mason, dated March 9th, 1620, t Mason's Will (from which I made some extracts), and Robert Mason's Petition to King Charles II. against Massachusetts. If you choose to see them, I will send them to you. I mentioned your History to him, as I think he can furnish materials for it. He said he would cheerfully afford you every assistance in his powrer, and from his manner I have no doubt he will do it. Deacon Jefferies of Boston (who, I think you told me, has Governour Usher's papers) is his kinsman, and he promised me to give you a letter to him. | I am mistaken if it will not be worth your while to call upon him, when you come to town; and, if you think proper, you may introduce the business by letting him know I had informed
* This was probably George Jaffrey, from whom the town of "Jaffrey," N. H., was named. He died in 1801, aged 85. — Eds.
t This was Mason's grant of " Mariana." Its true date was March 9 1621, O.S. — Eds.
t Probably David Jeffries, the Town Treasurer. — Eds.