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HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
NEW YORK, July 17, 1788. MY DEAR SIR, - I watched an opportunity of conveying yours to the Monarch's hands, as you desired, and succeeded. The answer you gave was a very proper one,
in my opinion.
The Maine papers came safe to hand. I know not who or what Rigby was, except that he was, undoubtedly, a very great man, -- in his own opinion. I thought of his being Gorges's son-in-law, but Gorges died before August, 1650.*
I am glad the Virginia news reached you in proper time. We have the same kind of joyful uproars here that you have, and I am sick of them.
So the old Doctor has left off punning at last. What must the grave spirits in heaven think on the approach of so ludicrous an one as his? I did not know that P. had been aiming at a mitre. Rush's “notion” of a Clerical Congress I think would be a good one, if the reverend gentlenien could be restrained within proper limits; otherwise, such a combination would be formidable and dangerous. Rush says: “We are not far enough advanced in vice or poverty to make a foundling hospital proper in any of the cities of America.” Perhaps he is right; and perhaps such an institution would advance us in both. Would it not operate as a premium for fornication ? All your
enclosures have been forwarded. If the editor is a brother, the oration will not be thought worth two guineas.
Dr. Ebenezer Crosby (to whom I believe old Colonel Quincy, of Braintree, was guardian) died yesterday, of a consumption.
* Sir F. Gorges died in 1647. He was buried on the 14th of May.- EDs.
My mother is so ill that I have thought it advisable to send for my sister, from Philadelphia. The rest of us are well.
Our Convention is yet sitting; it is impossible to conjecture how they will determine. I am told they talk of hoth conditional amendments and an adjournment.
Love to Mrs. B., from
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, July 24, 1788.
MY DEAR SIR, -I thank you, as for all favours, so particularly for conveying my answer to the Monarch. I have this week, and not before, had sight of all his magazines, and find he is very sanguine in the opinion that Fernando Soto erected the fortifications lately found at Muskingum and other places. I have just got hold of an account of Soto's expedition in Purchas, which is, I believe, the original from whence the account that he depends upon is taken, and think it is possible to prove that he is mistaken in several points, and that his conclusion is a non sequitur. I may possibly furnish a dissertation for the Columbian on this subject. One thing, however, I want to be ascertained * of; and that is, how far southward the herds of buffaloes are found. For it is positively asserted in this account that, though they had some of the skins of these creatures brought to them by the Indians, yet they did not go so far northward as where they are found. Now, my friend, keeping this for the present as a literary secret, will you be so kind as to enquire of Mr. Hutchins, or any other capable informer, concerning the utmost southern range of this herd of animals : this will assist me in a material point. I also should be very glad to have Hutchins's map and description of Florida; for I believe I could delineate Soto's route, and fancy it would not extend farther northward than North Carolina. However, I would not be sanguine. I will inform you more of [my] mind by and bye, and in time you shall know the whole. Can
* Used in the sense of “ assured." - EDB.
you tell me all the places where these fortifications are found, and the description of them ?
If Cutler has not gone from you before this reaches you, put him in mind to make these enquiries.
Rush has written to me on the subject of the proposed hospital here, as he did to you. Our committee have not yet met again: when they do, I shall lay before them
what he says.
I suspect from your letter that your mother is about to leave you, as mine did me, 4 years ago. It is a pleasing sight for such good old folks to die tranquil and easy. I never think of my mother's death but with a soothing, placid serenity: the result of her own feelings impressed deeply on my mind. Old Daddy Quincy * died here about the time that
you mention Dr. Crosby did at New York. He was buried the day before Dr. Byles.
Mrs. B. joins in love to you and Mrs. Hazard, with, dear sir, your affectionate friend,
The inclosed is to invite Mr. Morse to Charlestown.
* Edmund Quincy, the father of Mrs. John Hancock, who died July 4, aged eighty-five. – EDS.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
Sunday evening, July 27, 1788.
DEAR SIR, — We were informed last night from Poughkeepsie that the Convention of this State had adopted the new Constitution unconditionally, by a majority of six, in consequence of which the bells were rung till midnight.
On Wednesday last, we had a grand procession. On Thursday, Greenleaf ridiculed it in his paper, and gave great offence. A number of his subscribers dropped his paper; and last night, during the rejoicing, a body of people collected at his door. I am told he fired among them, and wounded one man, and that they broke his windows, burst into his house, and destroyed his types. He made his escape by a back way. Oswald, the typographical Cain of Philadelphia, has been confined in jail since the 15th inst.; is to remain there till the 15th of next month, and to pay a fine of £10 for contempt of the court. He and his friends are trying to make the public consider this as an attack upon the liberty of the press; but the design is understood, and nothing on the subject appears, either pro or con, except in his own paper. He is generally despised.
Mr. Morse has had a violent attack of the cholera morbus this week, but is getting over it. My mother continues very ill. My daughter is not well. The rest of us enjoy usual health. Love to Mrs. B. Yours,
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, 20 August, 1788.
MY DEAR SIR, — Your last confirmed the news for which our bells had rung the day before.
We are ex
treamly happy that New York has come in. I imagine that a history of the transactions at Poughkeepsie for a month past would be a curiosity. Every southerly wind, we expect, will bring us like good news from North Carolina.
This week has also been distinguished by another event; viz., the return of the three negroes who were kidnapped from hence, as I wrote you last winter. It caused a jubilee among the blacks. Pity that the rascal who carried them off could not be apprehended. It is said he has lately been at Baltimore. However, his coadjutors here will be hawled over the coals.
These negroes, the morning after their arrival, made me a visit, being introduced by Prince Hall. said Prince to the negroes, “ there is the gentleman who has been so much your friend.” This was in consequence of the share I had in petitioning, as you know, during which, and since, I had some conferences with Prince on the subject. The fellows thanked me with a simplicity and sincerity which gave me exquisite pleasure; and I may say it to you, that this pleasure is much more than a balance for all the curses of the African dealers, distillers, &c., which have been liberally bestowed upon the clergy of this town for promoting the late law against their detestable traffick!
Hastings tells me he has sent you one of Minot's books.* It is something of a venture to write the history of living men and recent transactions. He has done it with candor, and in a pleasing manner; but I had rather write of dead men and facts long passed, where there is no fear of galling. Minot has brought Honestus upon him already, and it is probable many more of the wasps will sting him. But he is a clever fellow, and what he has
* “ The History of the Insurrections in Massachusetts in the year 1786," by George Richards Minot. --- Eds.