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out an order from government, it is not probable that the Kingdom of Heaven will suffer much from his violence. The newspapers will inform you of the public proceedings.
I don't know what is to become of Rhode Island and North Carolina. I shall go on in the old
I shall go on in the old way with them till I receive new orders.
It is not a little mortifying to me that you never received Dr. Clarkson's letter. It came to my hands, but after the Eastern mail had left the office. There was a letter from me to you in that mail. I thought it of importance that the Doctor's letter should go on without delay, and therefore either sent it to the stage-house, or carried it myself (I forget which), to go as a way letter. It was enclosed, I think, with one from Mr. Morse, and the cover had my name on it. As Providence ordered matters, the letter could have been of no use except as a proof of the Doctor's attention and sympathy. However, he did write, and I forwarded the letter. So much time has elapsed since, that I cannot, with precision, fix upon the faulty person, or I would certainly do it, and make him find the letter, too. It was an instance of unpardonable carelessness in the stage folks.
Mr. Morse proposed the geographical plan to me, and, like you, “ I put it down among my consideranda ;” but I have neither leisure nor abilities equal to such an undertaking.
May 3. Monsieur l'Abbé must be in a distressing situation ; and so must his clerk, notwithstanding he is in possession of the 60 dollars, for I think robbing the church is not a venial sin. To those who have no interest in the business, the story is laughable enough. Congress have chosen Dr. Provost and Mr. Linn their chaplains. By way of saving time and money, they have ordered a bill to be brought in for the impost, and intend to have a separate one for tonnage, which was at first designed to have been included in the same Act.
Mrs. H. and Master Sam sat out by water for Shrewsbury at 4 o'clock this morning. They are not expected to return before the nuptials are celebrated. I shall not be able to be present at the ceremony, for I find Congress expect information from me of what is necessary to be done about my department; and I am engaged in drawing up an act which will fully communicate my ideas, and will take some time. Moreover, I find the old P. M. G. has come here to solicit for my office, and have been told there will be another competitor or two; and though I do not apprehend any alterations will be made in offices which are already filled, yet it will not do to be out of the way when the loaves and fishes are dividing, lest it should be thought I have eaten and am satisfied, and my share should be given to somebody who is hungry.
I expect Mr. Morse here next Saturday night, on his way to New Jersey. With love to Mrs. Belknap, I am, dear sir, Yours affectionately,
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Boston, 20 May (1789), evening.
MY DEAR SIR, - I have had a fatiguing week, and have been very sick part of the time; nor am I well yet. Mr. Morse's instalment was well conducted, and every one seemed to be pleased. He has the character of an agreeable and a growing man, and I am glad he is settled where he can have so many literary advantages as at Charles
You have not given me the character of his intended bride.
I never was much acquainted with Fenno. He is ingenious and sprightly; has in some sort been an adju
tant-general to Russel in the printing way, particularly in the Poet's Corner. He failed in business here, and has gone to New York, in hopes of retrieving matters in the printing way; and I wish him success, because I believe he is clever.
Nothing can add a greater lustre to General Washington than the deep sense of religion which seems to fill his soul. O my friend, it is the best of omens.
66 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy steps.”
Have you seen Mr. Necker's treatise on the importance of religious opinions? It is excellent. Does it not seem as if religion was coming into vogue among the great ? Adieu, my friend, and believe me, with love to you and yours, Your ever affectionate and grateful
P.S. We have lost the Abbé.* He has gone, they say, to Maryland, to answer to Dr. Carrol, his superior, for some misconduct. He is, I believe, but a speckled bird.
My letter to Fenno was to desire him to send me his paper; and I expected it to-night, but am disappointed. When you see him, I wish you would tell him to send me the papers from the beginning. He must be correct, or he will not succeed.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Boston, 8 May, 1789.
MY DEAR SIR, - I have a budget to open, and scarcely know on what subject to begin. General Washington is the greatest and best man that ever appeared at the head of any nation since the days of Moses and Joshua. His speech, his answers to the various addresses, shew such a spirit of devotion, modesty, patriotism, firmness, and integrity, that his country may well expect honour and safety under his administration. By his resolution of seeing company only two days in a week, he seems to have devoted himself to business, and to have adopted that maxim of one of the Emperors, --- Decet imperatorem stantem mori.
* This was the Abbé La Poterie, a chaplain of the French navy. See Bowen's “ Picture of Boston,” p. 130; Proceedings Hist. Soc. for March, 1858, p. 308. Eps,
Much, I find, has been said upon the duty of 6 cents on molasses, both in Congress and here. I am sorry they will not hearken to what the members from this quarter have suggested. If the object is to ruin our distilleries, they have made it too apparent at once, and the means which they have adopted will be totally ineffectual. Do they not know that the sea-coast of this State is as favourably adapted for smuggling as any part of the world? Do they not know that the people are long practised and very adroit in this art? Are they so weak as to rely on the honour of mercantile people to support the Constitution, and increase the revenue, when so contrary to their private interest ? If the duty is finally fixed at 6 cents, they will gain no revenue from it, and will not discourage distillery. If they reduce it to 3, it will probably be paid. I wonder that men of such sagacity, as some of the speakers undoubtedly are, should run the risque of imposing a duty so unpopular at the commencement of the Constitution. We have been in a state of disaffection to government for many years, and I was in hope we should now have one that would conciliate us; but, if they press this matter, they will find their laws evaded (and General Gage once wrote to the British Ministry, in 1774, that this people were “very dexterous at evasions"), their revenue officers insulted, and this branch of revenue totally unproductive. Molasses is used here in great quantity as food. The bakers consume a great deal for gingerbread; scarcely a family but uses from 10 to 20 gallons in a year. They might as well lay a duty on milk. You may depend upon it, that, if this matter is pushed, smuggling will be practised, everybody will connive at it, and Congress will not be able to prevent it.
The Jersey girls have shown as much attachment to General Washington as the militia of that State did of alertness in the time of the war. They sung him into their State at Trenton, and sung him out at Elizabethtown Point.
Will Mr. Morse bring a singer to Charlestown? Now I have mentioned him, I must tell you the reasons which I have for disapproving the giving up part of his salary. I doubt not that his motives were good; but the same goodness, if he had considered the matter more attentively, would have led him to a different conduct. Salaries are generally ticklish things, and the increase or diminution of them produce difficulties either on one side or the other, or both. Most ministers have less than enough ; very few, or none, a surplus. Suppose, then, that a minister in the neighbourhood of Charlestown was pleading for an increase of his salary: what effect would the giving up a part of Mr. Morse's have upon it? Would they not say, There is your brother M., he is content with less, and why cannot you ? He shews that he is not “after the fleece, but the flock” (a very favourite expression on such occasions). Thus a plea which ought to be attended to, and might be well founded, will be silenced at once; and Mr. M., though he meant perfectly well, may be the occasion of doing an injury to his neighbour. A minister should consider, not only what he can or ought to receive, but what the people can or ought to give. If they are able and willing to give 11 dollars per week, he ought to receive it. If it is more than he wants, there are ways enough in which he may dispose of it to serve the interests of his people; but, if he declines accepting it, he may do an injury to his neigh