« AnteriorContinuar »
deed; but the disease has surprizingly abated, and the fugitive inhabitants are beginning to return, though I fear imprudently, for there are yet remains of the disorder among us, and it yet proves mortal to some. Our attentive committee have advised them to wait till we have had some heavy rains, and frost; but it is probable that inconvenient situations, the calls of business, or something else, will impel many to neglect this salutary advice. We have had no rain yet, but the weather has been cold and windy for several days. The day before yesterday there was a very small flight of snow, which was but just perceivable, and this morning I saw ice about as thick as a dollar, which had been thrown out of a bucket of water in the yard. Having mentioned our committee, I cannot help observing that the city is much indebted to them for their exertions. The "guardians of the poor" had all fled, except three, who were almost worn out with fatigue, and were obliged to call for help. A number of the citizens voluntarily stepped forward to their assistance, and the good effects of it were soon visible. They made ample provision of every kind for the poor sick, and have doubtless been the means of saving many lives. Their vigilance and care are still continued, and without abatement. Some of them devote their whole time to the business. Such citizens are of inestimable value!
During the disorder, our physicians in general (except two, who fled in the beginning of it, and have not yet returned) have been very sedulous and attentive; but it was an unfortunate circumstance that they were unacquainted with the disease, and ignorant of the proper mode of treating it. A Dr. Stephens, from the West Indies, recommended the cold bath, bark, wine, &c, and was successful in this practice in the case of Colonel Hamilton, whose letter upon this subject I suppose you have seen. Dr. Rush reprobated it, and insisted upon copious evacuations by bleed
ing, &c., and he said so much about his success in the newspapers that he got a great run of business. He is apt to be sanguine (excuse the word, I do not mean a pun), and many think he carried bleeding to excess. I have heard it remarked that his patients do not recover their strength as soon as those of some other physicians. The public mind was exceedingly perplexed by the discordant and opposite opinions of the doctors, which they imprudently published in the newspapers. Dr. Rush was puffed off as an oracle by some, and, in every newspaper, "Dr. Rush's Mercurial Sweating Purge" met the eye, like the advertisements of a mountebank ; while others insisted that his mode of practice would prove fatal, and an opposite one ought to be pursued. "Who shall decide, when doctors disagree?" I believe experience, at the cost of many lives, has done it; and, as far as I can learn, it seems now to be agreed that bleeding and purging, according to the state of the pulse, are necessary in the beginning; and bark, wine, and nourishing food, as soon as the disorder is checked.]
I have now furnished a pretty good paragraph for your son's paper what follows is more for yourself.
I have been told, in such a way that I believe it, that the idea of mercury was suggested to Dr. R. by another physician, who also practised bleeding several days before him, and mentioned that also to him: he took the hint, flew to the newspapers, and got the credit of the discovery. "Sic vos, non vobis."
Such of our citizens who have heard of the benevolent intentions of the inhabitants of Boston feel suitably upon the occasion. "Beggars must not be choosers," but I believe cash would be more acceptable than any thing else, because with that any thing else can be procured; and, if specific articles are sent, it is probable there may be among them some of which there is already a redundancy, and others which may not be suitable.
All about whom you particularly enquire, I believe, are alive and well. Dr. Green and family went to Princeton before the fever occasioned alarm, to see one of their children, who was thought to be dying; he was then called farther from home, to see a dying brother-in-law; and, by that time, our inhabitants were flying in all directions, to avoid the disorder, and he has not returned; indeed, some of us advised him to stay where he was. Dr. Ewing consulted his safety by removing early; many of his congregation, as well as of all others, have fled, and he has no church, his old one having been pulled down to make room for an handsome new one, yet unfinished. The Mayor is the person you suppose. He has staid, and been useful among us, though our Recorder and all our Aldermen have fled. His wife is not dead, but getting well. If you attend to the character I gave you of Sangrado, at the commencement of your correspondence, you will not be surprized at his dropping it. Though, to do him justice, he has not had time for corresponding lately. I do not know where Mr. Annan is. Mr. Snowdon called to see me this morning, and says Cornelia and all the rest are well.* He desired his and her respects to you. They expect to return to the city
Yes, you have had ceremony enough with your one man. A gentleman met another, when the news first came to town: "Well," said he, "Governour H., I see, has paid the debt of nature." "Yes," replied the other, “and I had almost said it is the first debt he ever paid." †
Does the Historical Society continue its publications? I have not seen any for a long time. The last I see in my collection is for February last; but, as my papers, &c., are yet deranged, I may have received later.
* Mr. Snowdon was the husband of "Cornelia," and she was the daughter of Dr. Gerardus Clarkson. — EDS.
† Hancock died Oct. 8, 1793. — Eds.
The disorder may be said to be gone. We have this day a snow-storm and sleet. Our inhabitants are returning fast. Dr. Green preached for us last Sabbath, and has gone to bring his family home. I am told that N. Balch can furnish you with a great deal of biographical information, if he will, and that he is in possession of the whole business of resigning the government, &c. ; but he must be taken in his own way. You probably know what that is. Draco, a writer in the Centinel in 1788, I think, is said to have collected many authentic facts.
We have lately had an immigration of patriots from Hispaniola. It seems the negroes reign now at Cape François. Among the patriots is the general who commanded the Black Corps, as I am informed. Some of the aristocrats, who have been here some time, got hold of him; he was either thrown, or fell from the vessel, into the river; and, while in the water, they made an inhuman attempt to murder him, by throwing bricks, stones, &c., at him. He was saved by the intervention of some Americans, who happened to see the affair, and is now securely lodged. This business occasioned our Mayor's proclamation, which you will doubtless see.
So your brother Thayer has attacked you. I hope this will not occasion a revival of the dispute about Protestants and Papists. If you If you want any information upon that subject, for your own satisfaction, you will find plenty in an 8vo volume called "Free Thoughts on the Toleration of Popery," which was published a few years ago, while that matter was before Parliament. Perhaps it may be found in the College Library.
My family are all well. I heard from my eldest son yesterday. He is at school in the country, and I am told
* Abbé John Thayer, the Roman Catholic clergyman in Boston. See p. 240. - EDS.
is growing fat; which, from the proficiency he makes in learning, is a circumstance I should not have expected. Love to Mrs. Belknap. I am, dear sir, Your friend,
P. S. I have to make another index for my 2d volume. The first was consumed in the fire at Dobson's. I believe I have the rough-draught safe. Our love to Mr. and Mrs. Morse, when you see either.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, November 20, 1793.
MY DEAR SIR, —I hope, by this time, that your city is delivered from the dreadful calamity with which it has been visited; and I further hope that such a "sore visitation" as you have experienced will operate as a check upon the prevailing taste for enlarging Philadelphia, and crowding so many human beings together on so small a spot of earth. I wish, also, that Baltimore may take the hint; and, in short, that none of us may be so fond of following the fashions of the Old World in building great cities.
I wrote to you about three weeks ago, by the post, to which I have had no answer.
My wish is, when you can find it convenient, that you would be so good as to make enquiry of the several persons who had any of my books to sell, and get what money you can of them; and, if there be more than sufficient to pay your own balance, let Scotus have the rest. I have completely paid off all my paper and printing debts here, and I wish to finish at Philadelphia.
Your books remain in a trunk, in my study, ready to be delivered to your order. The number is 23.