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Some books were put into the hands of Mr. Thomas Dobson for sale, of which he has promised me the account. this afternoon. If I receive it, it shall be forwarded herewith. The books in my hands, and those in Mr. Dobson's, will remain subject to your future orders; and any balance that may be due from him will be paid as you shall direct.
From a hint prefixed to the 2d volume of the American Biography, I find that materials for a 3d were collected. Should it be proposed to publish this, or any other of your father's works not already in print, I beg to be considered as a subscriber.
I have lately returned from a visit to the family of Judge Breese, at Shrewsbury, in New Jersey. This gentleman is lately deceased. He was father to Mrs. Morse, of Charlestown. His widow is sister to Mrs. Hazard, whom I left there.
With my best respects to your mother and family, I am, sir,
Your very humble servant,
P. S. I enclose Mr. Dobson's account.
HAZARD TO MRS. RUTH BELKNAP.
[CHARLESTOWN,] Friday, October 28, 1803.
MADAM, -Since I saw you at Judge Davis's, the American Biography has frequently occurred to my mind; and, in consequence of our conversation on that occasion, I feel more anxious that the work should appear, for I fear that the materials collected with so much labour will be again dispersed, and no benefit accrue from them, either to the family or to the public. I think a plan may be formed for preventing so disagreeable a result, and therefore take the liberty of suggesting in writing what I before mentioned
verbally, with the addition of one or two new ideas. So far as I can learn, the Historical Society consider Dr. Belknap as the father of that Institution, and retain great respect for his memory. Many of the members retain the attachment of personal friendship, and will be glad of an opportunity both of extending his literary fame, and of shewing their regard for his family. I therefore think it probable that they will chearfully undertake to complete the 3d volume of the Biography for the press, and and apprehend it may be done without difficulty, as follows: Let a friend in whom you can confide (a member of the Society) be informed for what Lives any materials are collected. Let him watch opportunities, as they occur, of hinting the plan to the members, and of engaging the assistance of such as will be suitable, and may be depended on. Let each choose the Life he will complete, and the materials for it which have been collected be put into his hands. In this mode, a number may be employed at once, each will have but little to do, so that the undertaking will not be burthensome to any, and the publication will be expedited. It can, and I am confident will, be done, without any expence or risque to the family; and any profit that may arise will be theirs. At the same time, a suitable preface may secure to the memory of our friend the honour both of the original design and of collecting many of the materials.
Your knowledge of the members will leave you at no loss to whom to mention the proposal; and I beg you to be assured that I will, with great chearfulness, take my share both of the labour and expence. I am, madam, Your very sincere friend and humble servant,
MRS. RUTH BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
SIR, - With the most sincere gratitude, I thank you for your very kind attention to the most important business I have in this world. Your ideas and mine would exactly coincide on the subject, had I not hitherto tried the same plan, in vain. I have wished one hour's conversation with you in Mr. Belknap's study, alone, where all the materials are carefully preserved, in the same state in which they were left.* You would have a much better idea of them by seeing them one half hour, and I could give you the state of the case much better than in writing. If you can afford one hour, and will appoint it, it would be a great satisfaction to me, for I know of no man in whose disinterested friendship I can so sincerely confide.
Your very obliged and sincere friend,
HAZARD TO MRS. RUTH BELKNAP.
CHARLESTOWN, October 31, 1803.
MADAM, — I am extremely sorry that I cannot have the pleasure of seeing you again before my return home; but it will be impracticable, as I contemplate going to-morrow, and this day will be necessary for requisite arrangements. Plans which are not effectual at one time may succeed at another through a change of circumstances, this frequently happens. Perhaps, therefore, there would be no sufficient reason for discouragement in the present case; and, might I be permitted to advise, I should recommend an application to some judicious friend (and of such you cannot be destitute) for his opinion and advice in the case. A
* These MS. materials are now in possession of this Society. See Proceedings for March, 1858, p. 295. — Eds.
man of science will be the most eligible. Excuse the freedom I have taken. It arises from friendship, and a sincere desire to serve you. I am, madam,
Your most obedient servant,
HAZARD TO MRS. RUTH BELKNAP.
PHILADELPHIA, May 28, 1804.
MADAM,In the midst of hurry and numerous avocations, I have examined the two manuscripts, but find so little in them respecting any one person that it will not be possible to write a Life from them. One, indeed, relates entirely to the College. The other, I observe, is No. 14; and I think it not improbable that the prior volumes may contain more materials for the Lives of the same persons, or some of them; but, as this is uncertain, I will return what I have, if Mrs. Breese can conveniently take them. Mrs. Breese is the mother of Mrs. Morse,* and sister to Mrs. Hazard, and will spend some time at Dr. Morse's. She will be accompanied by her daughter, Miss Breese, who was formerly at Charlestown. I know they will be glad of an acquaintance with yourself and the young ladies, and I think you will be pleased with an acquaintance with them.
Mrs. Hazard joins in affectionate remembrance of yourself and family with
Your friend and very humble servant,
* Step-mother. The mother of Mrs. Morse was Rebecca Finley, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Finley, D.D. Her father, Judge Samuel Breese, of Shrewsbury, N.J., married, for his second wife, Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of Garland and Jane (Chevalier) Anderson. Mrs. Anderson married, for her second husband, Joseph Arthur, and their daughter Abigail was the wife of Ebenezer Hazard. Mrs Hazard and Mrs. Breese were therefore half-sisters. Mrs. Morse was the only child of her mother, who died soon after the birth of her daughter, hardly nineteen years of age. — EDS.