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and Philadelphia, that he called upon the printers in both cities (before he began to ride), and offered to carry their exchange papers gratis; another, from a man he employs, certifying that he did it in his presence; and another, from the Philadelphia printers themselves (Oswald was out of town then, but his foreman's name is among them), certifying that during the time the Centinel said the papers were withheld (while the Pennsylvania Convention were sitting) they were received as regularly as at other times. I shewed them, too, from the Acts of the British Parliament, that, even in England, newspapers are not considered as a part of the mail, but that the privilege of franking them is expressly reserved to the clerks in the post-office as their perquisite. All this might have appeared in the newspapers for my vindication; but I thought any thing more than the piece I sent you was unnecessary. It is a just remark I have heard made by Dr. Witherspoon, that "false reports will die much sooner than they can he killed;" and this, too, had weight with me. I felt, too, that my character was too well established to be injured by such attacks, made by such adversaries, and I knew that the attacks could not be directed against any point in which I was less vulnerable. For these reasons I have not published any thing except the "succinct state of facts/' nor shall I " deign" to publish any thing more upon the same subject, unless new reasons may occur, of which I am at present ignorant. I had it in contemplation to prosecute Oswald in Pennsylvania, but friends whom I consulted dissuaded me from it, alledging that he was going down hill very fast, and that a prosecution would support him. The veracity of ( I suppose himself) one of his correspondents has lately been disproved by " a Bostonian." It was asserted that a gentleman from New York had seen, in the papers of that place, an answer from the General Court of Massachusetts to the Governour's speech, in which they pointedly, and in express terms, reprobated the proceedings of the Convention, both " General and State." The " Bostonian" disbelieved it, and called upon Oswald to write to his correspondent printer in New York for the paper, and then to publish the answer, which he did; and it turns out to be nothing more than an extract of a Letter from Boston, dated March 19, and published in Greenleaf s paper, in this city, the 24th, which the "Bostonian" has taken proper notice of. March 19th was Wednesday; and the 24th, Monday. Query: How did that letter reach New York, so as to appear there in print by 8 o'clock A.m. on Monday 24th? Tt could not have arrived by post before the 26th. The stage left Boston on Thursday the 20th, arrived at Hartford in the evening of Saturday, 22d, and does not travel on Sunday, and the letter could not have come from Hartford hither (130 miles) on Monday before 8 o'clock A.m. There was no arrival from Rhode Island, except one vessel, which left Newport the 19th, the day the letter is dated at Boston. So much for antifederal veracity. I believe the letter was wrote here.
I have mentioned Greenleaf. He is our anti-federal printer; a poor, thick-sculled creature, and so much in debt to Oswald for his printing-office as not to dare to offend him. I suspect this made him anti-federal. He has got into a scrape, too; but, as the story is too long for me to tell, I will lend you the papers. Return them, when you have read them. In short, the poor Anti-feds, seem to have got almost to "the length of their tether," as Governour Hutchinson said. The Maryland majority has staggered them very much. South Carolina will repeat the blow, and I think Virginia will give them the coup de grace. We cannot tell how our election has gone in this State, as the ballots will not be opened and counted before the latter end of this month. I think it doubtful whether Feds, or Antis. will be most numerous in Convention, though I have little doubt that they will adopt the Constitution. It is probable that some may propose to have the breeches altered before they try them on; but I fancy the majority will be for wearing them as they are. I believe F. EL wrote the piece about the breeches.
Near Dummer School, in Newbury, is a limestone quarry; and between the strata of limestone a species of asbestos is found, of which I think I sent you a specimen formerly. I want 3 lb. or 4 lb. of this asbestos. Can you contrive to get it for me, and send it per post? It is of no value there, and I want it to make some experiments upon. If they succeed, they will probably make it valuable.
Mr. Morse told me, yesterday, he was inclined to think he should attend to the hint of making his geography American.
We are all well, and unite in love to Mrs. B. and yourself. I am, dear sir,
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
New York, May 15,1788.
My Dear Sir, — Mr. Carey has informed me that Mr. Thomas Reynolds has gone to Boston to solicit subscriptions for the Musseum, and requested me to aid him by my recommendation. I think the undertaking deserves encouragement, and therefore recommend it to your patronage. You know my friends: recommend it to them.
The Philadelphia printers, some time since, petitioned their Assembly about newspapers, which they alleged could not be sent by post in consequence of a regulation made by the Postmaster-General. It was referred to a committee, and the House finally (as appears by the newspapers) resolved that a copy should be sent to their delegates, with instructions to make full enquiry into the truth of the facts; and if the abuse complained of shall, on such enquiry, be found to exist, that the delegates use their best endeavours in Congress to obtain redress of the same. One of the delegates told me to-day that no such thing had come on yet; and, inter nos, he hinted a doubt whether the Assembly had come to any resolution about it. The petition is said to have been presented on the 24th, and read a second time on the 27th March; so that there has been time enough to send, it on. The petition has got into the papers, so that I suppose it will circulate, and you will see it. My publication, I think, contains a full answer to it, and I suppose the President (Dr. Franklin), knowing the petition to mis-state facts, has paid no attention to it.
The time is come for attending a meeting of the Society for the manumission of slaves, so I must bid you goodbye. Eben. Hazard.
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
Boston, May 15, 1788.
My Dear Sir, — You was very good to leave your wife at Dr. Rodgers's, that you might go home to write to me. I have frequently left company for the same reason; and I doubt not our feelings on such occasions are nearly alike.
We have had a ringing on the adoption of the Constitution by Maryland. In imitation of John Bull, we make as much noise as we can, when we feel joyful. I think bell-ringing is a northern way of expressing joy. England and Russia are famous for it. But what an uncertain sound is a bell! Fire, death, joy, dinner, public worship, town-meetings, and what not, all set it a-going, and we are often puzzled to know what it is for. When the ringing began for Maryland, on Tuesday last week, people ran to see where the fire was. So it was when Connecticut ratified the Constitution.
Mr. Pike has sent a letter for Mr. Morse, which I inclose. I have thanked Mr. Avery in his name, and told him to hold himself in readiness to answer more queries. He is a good-natured fellow, and ready to do good offices.
My friend and neighbour, Waters, has given me a memorandum for a book of military exercises, which he wishes you would get for him as soon as possible, and let him know the price. He is an ardent lover of military matters; and I suppose wants to introduce something new into the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company before he goes out of office, which will be the first Monday in June.
Mrs. B. has been gone to a groaning ever since midnight. It is now 4 P.m., and she is not yet returned.
Adieu. Love to your wife and mother and children. Your affectionate friend,
That I may not omit any thing which would contribute to your entertainment, I will fill this (otherwise) blank cover with a few specimens of New Hampshire eloquence, extracted from a lately published oration on education, delivered at the last Burlesque upon Commencement, exhibited at a certain sylvan academy. The author has not dignified the performance with his name; but, in a prefixed advertisement, he informs his readers that he "has not affected a florid style, or the beauties of composition." How far he has steered clear of such affectation, you may j adge from the following passages: "Education has a natural tendency to promote every good that has respect to this life, and to further the happiness of that which is to come; while, on the other hand, the want of it leaves an open door for every vile principle to send forth its stream, and every foul seed sown in Nature's garden to spring up and bring forth fruit, that tends to strengthen