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I do not think it will be worth while to send more of your books here at present; but I think it will be for your interest to have them in the hands of a bookseller. Though Fenno has advertised them faithfully (and gratis too), they do not sell, which I ascribe to my living in an inconvenient part of the city, and too remote from the theatre of business. Evans cannot help being an enthusiast, as he is such by nature.
Judge Breese desires me to thank you very particularly for your "excellent sermon." It is much approved here by our serious folks. I congratulate you on your doctorate. Pray do you find any remarkable increase of theological knowledge in consequence of it? In this instance, I think the University has acted wisely; but it is much to be regretted that academical honours, and especially doctorates, have been so lavishly bestowed. This is a general remark, and not to be confined to Cambridge.
The enclosed certificate ought to have been sent you
Since my last, I have received Apollos to complete my set to No. 27 inclusive, and some supernumerary ones, which I now return you. Mrs. Hazard and Sam are at Shrewsbury. I am
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, August 22, 1792.
DEAR SIR, Yours of the 7th inst. came to hand yesterday; and I have since, with some difficulty, procured Philadelphia bank-bills to the amount of 35 dollars, and branch bills to 30 dollars. Of these latter I had some scruple whether to send them or not, till, conversing with Mr. Russel, he told me that the Philadelphia Bank would take those bills, which are endorsed by him, in exchange for
others.* I have an opportunity of sending these by Alexander Hodgden, Esq., late Treasurer of this Commonwealth, and my landlord, a very worthy gentleman, and good friend of mine, who will deliver them to you, and take your receipt.
I have received about 10 or 15 dollars more on your account, which I cannot conveniently get exchanged at so short notice, therefore will keep them as a nest egg. I am, dear sir,
Your friend and servant,
Pray put my books into the hands of Dobson, and let him have commissions on the sales.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, August 27, 1792.
DEAR SIR, Last week I sent you 65 dollars in bank bills, by Mr. Hodgden, our late Treasurer, and my good friend. It is possible you may receive this first, as Mr. H. will stay some days at New York.
I have 27 of your books yet on hand, and I believe Mr. White has 8 or 9 in his bookstore. I have kept an advertisement in two of the papers for several weeks, and have sent copies of it enclosed to each subscriber, which in some cases has proved a good hint, in others has not been attended to.
As you made use of the penny-post to deliver my books in Philadelphia, I have thought of something of the same kind; viz., that you should make out bills, leaving a blank for the name of the subscriber, and an order at the bottom of each bill, leaving a blank for the name of the person to
* How could there be any scruple about sending the bills of the Branch Bank of the United States, established at Boston? EDS.
whom the payment is to be made, and sign the order yourself. Then I will employ a man to deliver the books and receive the pay, to whom you must allow some commission. If this plan suits you, send me the bills as soon as you please; but let not my name appear in any of them. There should not be less than 40; for, although there are not quite so many books on hand, nor so many subscribers delinquent, yet possibly some of the bills may be mislaid, and may need to be renewed. If you adopt the same mode in other places, it may be best to have printed
Mr. Miller has informed me that, in the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, a question was put, "whether those who believe in the doctrine of universal salvation are to be admitted to the ordinances and privileges of the Christian Church?" and that it was determined in the negative. If the records of that body are open, I should be much obliged by your procuring for me a copy of this vote, authenticated by the proper officer; and, if you can tell me any of the circumstances of the transaction, I shall be gratified.
You have, according to the custom in such cases, congratulated me on a certain academical feather which has lately been stuck in my cap. I thank you for your goodwill, but I should have been much better pleased if there had been no occasion for this exercise of it; and, had I been apprized that such a thing was meditated, I would have suppressed it in embryo. I was first alarmed with it whilst attending a meeting of the Overseers, by the Secretary reading a vote of the Corporation, and presenting it to the board for their concurrence. I would even then have objected to it, but was informed that some of my best friends, who had privately moved it in the Corporation, would be much hurt; so I found myself obliged to consent to the sacrifice. The only consolations that attend it are that it is not of my seeking, and that no fees
were paid for it. If there is any honour in it, it must arise from this: that it was conferred by those who know me best, and not by a foreign university. To your question whether I do not experience an accession of theological knowledge in consequence of it, I cannot give a serious answer.
Perhaps you have the same idea of a doctorate that you have of a pumpkin, that its belly is full of seed, which may, if properly managed, yield a large crop? If so, you must wait another season before I shall be prepared to give you an answer; for all depends on cultivation. To be, as Pope says, "stuck o'er with titles," is what I never coveted. I have an ambition only to be useful in the world, and the thing which I most dread is to live so long as to be past doing any good.
I am pleased that my Sermon is approved. If you think you could dispose of any of them to advantage, either by sale or gift, any number that you please shall be sent.
My labour for the 23d October is nearly accomplished. I find myself obliged to dip deeper into antiquity than I was at first aware, but I think I can vindicate Columbus against those who would rob him of his fame, not excepting M. Otto.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
PHILADELPHIA, September 9, 1792.
MY DEAR SIR,I sat down to write to you on Friday evening, as Mr. Hodgson was to leave town yesterday morning, but was prevented by company's coming in. Having seen him at church to-day, I snatch a moment to acknowledge the receipt of your letters. From your
account of Mr. Walcutt, I take him to be a singular character; but he ought, notwithstanding, to allow others to testify their gratitude for the favours he confers. However, we must take the world as we find it. Maybe he may want something done here; and then, remember, I am his man. I don't know what to think of Carey's collection, but very much doubt his succeeding. That he should be admitted to the secret journals of the Old Congress, would be extraordinary indeed.
It is said to be true that C. Thompson is engaged in a new translation of the Bible. Whether it will be either profitable to himself or edifying to others, time must determine; but it appears to me very doubtful. The Bible seems to be an object of great attention of late. We have had, within a few years, five American editions of it that I can reckon up; and now Dobson and some others have published proposals for a new edition, in 2 large volumes folio !
I am glad to find that you are engaged in preparing a Century Sermon, though it will probably prove a difficult task, the facts, the important facts, which ought to be mentioned, are so numerous, and the time allotted to recite them in so short. You have this in your favour: that the present generation will give an historical discourse a. much more patient attention than a sermon on the distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel. You have another advantage, which is that the copy prepared for the press may be enlarged with the addition of such things as time would not admit to be properly noticed when the discourse was delivered. I take it for granted that the discourse is to be printed; and, as I think it will sell, I suggest the thought of publishing a pretty large edition, as what will probably yield you (or the Society) an handsome profit.
I thank you for the hints of what is said about my book. From these, I find I have gone on too extensive a plan. Hutchinson, I knew, was in many hands. So are