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your and Mrs. Hazard's kind condolence, and am, with best respects to her,
Your very affectionate
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, February 18, 1789.
MY DEAR SIR,I have, as you will see by the enclosed, complied with your desire respecting Trenchard. One thing, however, I must suggest (but you will keep it wholly to yourself). When Spotswood wrote to me that I was to carry on the work alone, he added that "he had a flattering prospect of new resources." From a letter and enclosures, which I received from Dr. Rush the other day, I suppose he is engaged as a writer. He says, after quoting a text of Scripture, "The time is short:" "This is my apology for troubling the world with so many of my opinions upon paper. A weak breast daily tells me that I hold my life by a precarious tenure." The enclosures are: A Moral Thermometer, and an Account of the German Inhabitants of Pennsylvania, which appear to be proofsheets of a new number of the Columbian Magazine. I mention this, that you may be apprized what company you are likely to have, if you combine your interest with Trenchard.
Adieu. My son is no better.
Wingate is here, and will go on to-morrow for New York. He is your good friend, and so wishes to be
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
NEW YORK, March 7, 1789.
DEAR SIR, I have been disappointed in my intention of answering your letters for several posts, and even now
it is after 10 o'clock at night. There is no disposition to treat the Monarch uncandidly; but, if ever I have any connection with him, I shall be very cautious. I think him a trifling character. Aunt Hazard talks strongly of visiting Charlestown, and of taking her husband with her, when she goes. It will rest with our new masters to determine it. It is not to be wondered at, if W. S. gives you some specimens of "Ohioisms," as he is within inhaling distance of the vapors of that river. The transmigration of the animal into the vegetable, I think, is a good one. The President's note has been forwarded. It is a pity the information from Marietta had not been accompanied with some of either the roots or seeds of the plant. Do communicate the "plan for making a map of the country in a compendious way." Dr. Duffield's letter must have satisfied you about Peregrine Pickle, and probably contained extracts from the minutes of Presbytery.* Our Magazine is yet in statu quo; so is my affair with Congress. There was a report of the Committee handed in; but I understood it was withdrawn, to be altered before being entered on the minutes. It is said Mr. D. intended to put some Cayenne pepper in it; but, before it could be done, Congress died, and the new one never met, so that there is no report about it. Thus have the cunning been taken in their own craftiness. A member told me, t'other day, that it was evident to Congress that the whole originated in private pique, and nothing would have been done.
I have seen Dr. Gordon's History. You have a just idea of the style; but the book is valuable, as containing a great deal of useful matter. The Doctor expects a second edition will be called for, and wants corrections for that.
It is not improbable that Dr. R. writes for the Columbian Magazine. The Moral Thermometer is published in it, as well as the account of the Germans.
* See note on p. 108. - Eds.
Wingate and Langdon, cum aliis, are here, but no House formed yet. I have called to see several of the members, and Gerry among the rest. He returned my visit to-day.
Morse's affair is no secret now. I cannot tell what Ma'am's fortune will be; but she will have something, and I believe M. will have a good wife. O yes, "seekers" enough! and numerous will be the disappointments.
I see many strange faces in town, and we are all alive. Trenchard has not written to me yet. When I sent your letter, I wrote a line to inform him that, though I had received the January Magazine for Mr. Morse, none had come to hand for you or me as usual. I have received the January and February Magazines to-night, but no letter; so I suppose he is thinking. The man you tell me is now editor is a man of genius, a violent Anti-fed., poor as Job, proud as Lucifer, and of a quick and most outrageous temper. Our new federal edifice is not yet compleated, but is so near it that the members in town meet there daily, and adjourn. I suppose another week will finish it. How goes on the 2d volume of your History? A Mr. Vaughan (son to the Vice-President of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia) tells me the 1st is much admired in England, where they wish for the second; and, if I understood him rightly, there is a bookseller in London who would have it printed, and give you half the profits. When you think of printing, I may perhaps hint to you a better plan.
Mrs. H. is gone to bed, but, if she was here, would send love to Mrs. B., as I do.
P.S. I cannot meet with Knox's Essays yet.
NOTE. The person designated as "Pickles" and "Peregrine Pickle" on the preceding pages was the Rev. William Pickle, who was deposed from the ministry by the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1787 or 1788. — Eds.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, March 14, 1789.
MY DEAR SIR, -The plan for making a map, which I hinted at, was introduced by an observation made at Salem during the great fire in this town two years ago. A gentleman there saw the light of it, and took the bearing by his compass. This hint being communicated, accompanied with a proposal that the Academy would take some measures to form a map of the State, brought upon his legs a veteran lawyer, R. T. P.,* who seconded the motion, and thought it might be done very easily and cheaply, and without the help of a chain, which, he said, considering the inequality of the ground, was a very uncertain way of measuring distances, especially great ones. He proposed that beacons should be fired on hills, in the night, at appointed times, and observers stationed by them, furnished with compasses, cannon, and watches; that the bearings should be taken by the compasses, directed to the light; that the cannon should be discharged, and the distances judged of by the progress of sound, allowing a certain number of feet to a second. Such was the plan! This is nocturnal surveying! No allowance was proposed to be made for refraction of rays, nor variation of watches, nor different densities of medium, nor currents of air. No, all was plain, and void of difficulty. Now would it not be a curious improvement in geography to publish a map "drawn from actual surveys made in the night"? Who would not think the author dreamt his map, and drew it in his sleep?
Dr. Duffield has given me a full account of Peregrine, and I have sent it to Brother Buck; but I hear the creature is still at Exeter, and very popular.
* Robert Treat Paine.-Eds.
Dr. Gordon's plan of this harbour is put into the hands of a very intelligent ship-master, who is a thorough pilot, for correction, if needed. I cannot get a correct plan of the streets, but such a one as can be had shall be sent you.
My 2d Volume has no more done to it than when I left New Hampshire. Two chapters only are written. Do tell me the "better plan," and who the London bookseller is. I have no great opinion of him to whom I sent some of the 1st Volume to sell.
My son is extremely ill, cannot lie in bed, and is almost worn to death by sitting up. His distress is beyond any thing that ever I was witness to. Adieu. Pray for us. Love to Mrs. H.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
NEW YORK, March 14, 1789.
DEAR SIR, The letter for Dr. Clarkson was received at night, and forwarded the next morning. His answer may be soon expected, and shall be duly attended to. I wish you had thought of writing to him sooner.
The Church of Rome has often felt the truth of her maxim, that "ignorance is the mother of devotion," and, I imagine, will have a new proof of it in her attempt at an establishment in Boston. Superstition cannot acquire many votaries in a country which has been so completely illuminated by the Gospel as New England; and the Abbé will probably find that though the laudable Catholicism of the day affords the most ample toleration and security to his sect, yet the people will not esteem it their duty to pay towards the support of a religion which they deem anti-christian.