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BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, 19 September, 1789.
MY DEAR SIR, Our papers of this date will give you an account of something in France similar to what has been done in America. I am sorry they massacred the officers of the Bastile. Had they confined them, and let them have opportunity to make their defence, it would have been more congenial to the spirit of liberty; but it was the effect of furor brevis, to which all men are subject.
Inclosed you have a paper copied by Mr. Thacher from an account he wrote of the Charlestown battle, while it was young and fresh, and which he is willing Dr. Gordon should have. He says, upon farther recollection, that he is not certain that boats came round Morton's Point; but he is sure they were driven down to the edge of the water by our people's fire, and driven up again by their own officers.
I am willing to be the instrument of conveying any information or correction to Dr. G., but do not desire to be known or spoken of as such.
I send you, also, Dr. Marant's sermon at the Negro Lodge. I did not hear it, but those who did say it is much improved since the delivery. This I can easily believe from what I observed myself when I heard him preach. He is American born, but went to England, and was nurtured in the Countess of Huntingdon's hot-bed for Methodists, in Wales. The negroes here are proud of having a preacher of their own colour. The writing on the outside leaf of the sermon is, I suppose, his own. Let his honour the Judge have the reading of it, if you please; and, after you have both read and laughed at it, return it.
When Levi Pease's next quarter is due, if you will give him an order on me for 50 dollars, I will pay it, and should be glad you would order Bryson to pay Spotswood the same sum. I expect to go to Portsmouth and Dover on Monday. I have not seen either of those places for almost three years. I have been looking over and arranging my, MSS., which have lain in chaos since my removal, and am now bent on pursuing the New Hampshire History. I thank you for sending me one of my White Hill letters. There is yet another which I wish to have; and there are among your pamphlets some which will be of service to me: viz., Ethan Allen's Account of New York Proceedings respecting Vermont; Do. Vindication of Vermont's Opposition to New York; Vermont's Appeal to the Impartial World; Concise Refutation of the Claims of New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Vermont.
Last evening I sent to the post-office, and had a message from Mr. Hastings, to this purport: that Mr. Hazard desired me to excuse his not writing to me, on account of his peculiar situation. I can form but two conjectures concerning this peculiarity; viz., sickness and business. The former I hope it is not. The latter is extreemly probable. In either case, you are entirely excusable. Mrs. B. made a visit to Mrs. Morse last week, and carried one of the sisterhood (Brother Clarke's wife) with her. Mrs. Morse is much approved, and has made herself very agreeable, both in Charlestown and Boston.
I am, my dear sir, your sincere friend,
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
DOVER, August 16, 1784.*
MY DEAR SIR, -To proceed methodically, I must discharge myself of arrears, or, in the sea phrase, make up lee way, before I give you an account of my late tour. I am four letters in debt. Yours of the 5th of July requested me, if I had any more subscription money, to forward it. This I had not, having sent it last fall. There was scarce any advanced in Boston or its environs; but Mr. Russell, who subscribed for 100, had offered to advance, if desired. As I received this letter of yours about three or four hours before my setting out on my journey, and there happening to be a person then at my house bound to Boston, I wrote to Mr. Russell on the subject, and since my return have received an answer from him that he had supplied Mr. Aitken with a quantity of pasteboards and scabboards; and that, from a letter he had received from him, he expected to get 600 of the books out in 10 days, from which he concluded that Mr. A. did not need any farther assistance. I am very sorry it is not in my power to do any better, but really it is not.
By yours of the 10th I find you have some knowledge of Paddy the Socinian, though he has none of you.† I think I never met with a person who was really a man of
* This letter and that immediately following it, containing Dr. Belknap's familiar account of his tour to the White Mountains, have been discovered in a miscellaneous collection of Dr. Belknap's letters, since the printing of those on pp. 380 and 381 of Vol. I. (at which place they properly belong), and also since the printing of Dr. Belknap's Journal of his Tour to the Mountains, on pp. 386-401 of that volume. Dr. Belknap, as appears by this correspondence, several years after these two letters were written, and while he was preparing his third volume of the History of New Hampshire" for the press, had requested Mr. Hazard to return them to him. Therefore they were not found among Dr. Belknap's letters which were returned at a later day by Mr. Hazard's family, but were preserved in another collection, and were overlooked when copying the others for the press. Although that part of these letters containing the account of his tour to the White Mountains is substantially the same as the Journal, we do not feel at liberty to omit it. - Eps. † See Vol. I. p. 370.- EDS.
sense, and a scholar, whose company was so disgusting to me. I heard him preach once, and he performed very well. His subject did not lead him to express his peculiar sentiments. It was a vindication of the ways of Providence, in suffering the wicked to prosper and the righteous to be afflicted in this world. I hear he has since preached in one of the politest vacant assemblies, and been much admired; but his company is as perfect a contrast to their late minister's as can be.
In the same letter, you take occasion, from what I said when at Boston, to express very kindly a strong expectation of seeing me at Philadelphia. 'Tis true I did indulge the pleasing thought; but, within these few days since my return, my mother has been taken ill, and her disorder threatens to be lingering and distressing. I must not therefore think of being absent while such a material revolution in the family as will be occasioned by her sickness, and (if it should please God so to order) death, is expected.
I have received all the sheets now, and find no material error in the appendix. I wrote you from Portsmouth, last week, how many copies to send to Boston and Portsmouth; and I hope, before this arrives, they will be shipped.
Gov. Belcher's Letter-Books, you know, were sold at Russell's vendue for waste paper. Some of them fell into hands unconscious of their worth, and were torn up. Four volumes were recovered by Mr. Russell for my use, but they are only borrowed of the owners, and must be returned when I have done using them, or when called for. When I have them in hand again, I may find something for your amusement; and, if I have time, will transcribe it.*
Your last of the 26th is chiefly in answer to one of
* The Massachusetts Historical Society have the Letter-Books of Governor Belcher, in eight volumes, containing his correspondence from 1731 to 1754.- Eds.
mine. But I am much afflicted with the fears you express of losing your child. 'Tis an event which, through Heaven's mercy, never yet happened in my family; but I have several times come so near it as to feel the distress in a very high degree; yet it was always mixed with such "strong consolation" concerning the future state of dying infants, and the mercy of the Supreme Disposer, as I believe would have induced a patient resignation to the divine will, and an increase of love to the divine character and ways. Should you be called to "give up your comfort to the Lord," may he grant you the superior blessing of an assurance that "the promise is to your children as well as to you," and that this promise is not merely, according to some expositors, a covenant of outward privileges, but a promise of eternal salvation, — such a promise as is worthy of a God to give.
How does your gout? I find it has not the same effect on your nervous system as a cousin-german complaint has repeatedly had on mine; otherwise, you could neither have composed letters, nor have held your pen to write them. I recommended to you, in my last, a beefstake poultice, which I learnt from Mother Wesley's primitive Physic, and have found benefit by. It seems to sooth and soften the dry skin, and helps perspiration in the swelled part; but I hope by this time you have laid aside your wooden legs, and are restored to health and business.
As it is now highly improbable that I shall visit Philadelphia this season, you need not defer completing my son's indentures with Mr. Aitken.
[Tour to the White Mountains.]
Now for the White Mountains. I cannot at present give you a complete account of the observations made by Mr. Cutler, who was our mathematician, because I have not received the calculations from him, and he had not