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for each year, at a single glance. Then he wanted the produce and expences for two particular years in detail; i.e., the produce, &c., of each office for that time. Then he wished to know what I had done with the profits. To all which, I believe, I gave him satisfactory answers, though, as you may suppose, they are rather too lengthy for me to repeat here. I have not heard from him since, and expect the honour of his nomination. I have nothing to do with the French packets yet. Maybe the new government may change the system.

When I communicate what you wrote about S. A., I shall desire Dr. G. not to use your name at all. Apropos, the Doctor says in his History: "The regulars retreat [at Breed's Hill] in disorder, and with great precipitation, to the place of landing; and some seek refuge even in their boats. The officers are seen by the spectators on the opposite shore, running down to them, using the most passionate gestures, and pushing them forward with their swords." He writes me: He writes me: "This, I am told, some of the officers deny they are for saving the British honour. I have no doubt of the truth of the whole. The Rev. Mr. Thatcher, now of Boston, was, I think, one of the spectators. Pray write to him, and get him, if you can, and others with him, to attest the veracity of the historian in every part of the paragraph." As I am not acquainted with Mr. Thatcher, I must beg you to do this business for me, or consign it to your brother Morse. From real friendship to the Doctor, I wish to support his veracity; and, if the facts were as he has stated them, justice requires that it should be done; and I think the British name ought to lie under the stigma of such conduct.


So far I had written, when I was obliged to stop, and have not been able to proceed since.

Nothing done about P. O. yet, but the Committee and I

are to have a conference at my house this afternoon. Mrs. H. joins me in love to Mrs. B. All well.

I am, dear sir, yours,

I enclose Spotswood's receipt.



BOSTON, August 10, 1789.

MY DEAR SIR, —I have not yet heard of the payment of Spotswood. Is it not proper that I should have his receipt, and you Pease's? This day a Mr. Pintard* called to see me. He says he is an acquaintance of yours, and wants to form a Society of Antiquaries, &c., &c. He seems to have a literary taste, is very loquacious and unreserved. Do give me his character.

Penn is at last completed.

This biographical article is about four times as long as I expected when I first set about it. I wish you would contrive, by some of your friends in Philadelphia, to get the opinion of persons of judgment there concerning it, and particularly Dr. Franklin, who has thoroughly investigated P.'s character heretofore. Your own, also, I wish to have, and any other person's which you may think worth communicating.

Tuesday morning, August 11.

I close this letter this morning, being engaged to spend the day in a neighbouring town. I am, dear sir,

Your affectionate friend,


* John Pintard. Some of his letters are preserved among Dr. Belknap's miscellaneous correspondence. He became a Corresponding Member of this Society, and the founder of the New York Historical Society. He died June 21, 1844, in his eighty-sixth year. See Semi-Century New York Historical Society, pp. 45–

48.- EDS.


BOSTON, 19 August, 1789.

MY DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 8th to 13th came to hand last evening, inclosing one from Spotswood, in which he has the following paragraph:

"The biographical articles, or any other articles of yours, published in the Magazine during the time I had the printing or management, I considered entirely at your disposal, in any manner you might please. Besides, as you observe, I don't think the republication of them at the distant period you mention can injure the sale of the Magazine."

Thus you see, my friend, that I am free from any embarrassment from that quarter. I am doing what I can, occasionally, toward completing my biographical plan.

Within a week past, I have met with a gentleman who was well acquainted with Sir William Johnson, and resided some months at his house. He has given me some account of the early part of his life, and the manner of his acquiring and preserving an influence over the Indians. I should be much gratified by a perusal of the letters which you speak of. There are several other characters in the State concerning which I wish to enquire; viz., Peter Stuyvesant, Cadwallader Colden, one or more of the De Lanceys and Schuylers, particularly him whom the Indians called Quider. Mr. Pintard has promised to make enquiries for me concerning the first of these, a descendant from whom he is acquainted with. He left this town a day or two past, on his return to New York. He seems to have a frankness and eagerness about him, or rather in him, which render him agreeable. However, I wait to hear your character of him before I determine in favour of him, which, indeed, I am rather inclined to do than otherwise.

Now for Gordon. I hear a great deal said about him, pro and con. I believe he meant to give a true account, and I doubt not he has delivered out things as they came to his ears. I have heard it observed of him that the first report which he heard he would set down as true; and, if anybody doubted his information, or had the same story to tell different from the manner in which he related it, he would say, "Sir, I have it from the best authority."

As to the battle of 'Charlestown, I remember to have heard, in the time of it, that the British officers pricked up the men with their swords after the first and second repulse, and I never heard it called in question. I will, however, enquire of the gentleman you mention, and of another, whose station was more favourable; but this I know, that both those gentlemen have but a slight opinion of the author himself; how I shall succeed in getting them to authenticate any thing which he has said, I know not. I have lately been on the ground and surveyed it with my own eye, and I think it was a most hazardous and imprudent affair on both sides. Our people were extreamly rash in taking so advanced a post without securing a retreat; and the British were equally rash in attacking them only in front, when they could so easily have taken them in the rear. This is a general observation. There are several particular ones which occurred from a sight of the ground, which I could not have had without; and I think it essentially necessary to an historian that he should visit the spot where any such transaction passed, and minutely examine every circumstance. This I did in 1784, with respect to the battle of Pigwacket, where Capt. Lovewell was killed, and by means of it I conceived a more perfect idea of that affair than it was possible to collect from books.

By the way, my dear sir, I beg the favour of you to lend me the two letters which I wrote to you after my

return from my White Hill excursion, in July and August, 1784. I want them to refresh my memory, and enable me to give a better account of that region.

Having now finished Penn, I am looking over my New Hampshire MSS., and preparing to go on with my second volume, concerning which scarcely a week passes but I hear some enquiries. Adieu, for the present. I am going to attend an Academy meeting at Cambridge this day.


Yesterday I delivered Mr. Morse his newspaper, in my way to Cambridge. He has just got to housekeeping.

We had nothing of any great consequence at the Academy. The most material communication was a paper containing specimens of woolen cloths, coloured with the juice of a particular kind of corn, which has a purple kernel. This may be improved into a valuable dye. There is some hope now that another publication will be made by the Academy, and I suppose Thomas will be the printer. We had, also, a third copy of the inscription on Dighton Rock.

There is a bird added to the discoveries, which is said to bear some resemblance to the cassowary of the East Indies; and there are figures which resemble our Arabic numerals 18881. There is, also, a figure which seems to be compounded of two Roman capitals; thus, AA. What they will finally make of it, I know not. This communication was from Dr. Baylies, of Dighton, who lives in sight of the Rock.

Our friend Waters desires your acceptance of one of the Artillery Election Sermons; and Mr. Tappan has sent a letter here to be forwarded to you.

I think this good gentleman is in a very disagreeable predicament with regard to the controversy between him and Mr. Spring. Their sentiments respecting the depravity are too nearly alike, and he seems rather dissatis

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