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bloody and desperate battle in 1725. The holes made by the bullets (which have since been cut out) are yet visible in the trees, and the names of the dead in the bark. This pond is about two miles long and one wide, and empties into Saco River.
The next day, Friday, we set out for home; came down on the S.W. side of Saco River; passed by a great fall, up which the salmon cannot rise because of a projecting rock; crossed the Great Ossapy River (not fordable) by swimming our horses after a canoe. Got to Massabesick at night.
Saturday P.M. arrived safe at home, having made about 20 miles in company with a man from Saco, going in pursuit of his wife, who had run away with a company of Shakers, taking with her a borrowed horse, and 25 dollars out of her husband's desk, in his absence. The poor man, if he cannot find her, must lose his money, and pay for the horse, which some men would be glad to do for the sake of getting rid of such a wife.
Since my return, Mr. Cutler has sent me the result of his calculations respecting the height of the Mountain,* which, in round numbers, he makes 9,000 feet above the level of the sea; the height of the summit from our tent, 5,500 feet; and the height of the tent above the sea, 3,500. These numbers, he thinks, cannot be far from the truth. By mensuration of an height after he left me, and comparing it with the pinnacle of the White Mountain, he thinks the height of it above the Plain must be as much as 300 feet, though at first he judged it short of 150. The appearances in those mountainous regions are extremely deceptive, and it will take a person several days to get used to them, so as to know how to form any tolerable judgment of heights and distances. Several instances of this occurred in our progress. While we were at Eaton,
* Prof. Bond estimates the height of Mount Washington, above the level of the sea, to be 6,500 feet. - EDS.
which is below Conway, we were on the side of a mountain; to the west of us was a smaller mountain, and beyond that one much higher, which seemed to rise but a little way from it; and yet between those two mountains was the breadth of an whole township; viz., Burton. Some of our company could scarcely believe it when it was told them. I remember another, when I was at Oxford, on Connecticut River, ten years ago. I was desired to give my opinion of the height of a precipice on the (then) New York side of the river, opposite to where I stood. I answered, 100 feet, at most. We then crossed the river, and I found, to my amazement, upon comparing the height of trees under the precipice with the precipice itself, and the growth upon it, that it was more than double the height I had supposed.
Mr. Cutler has unhappily mislaid or lost the notes which he took of the sun's altitude at the Notch, so that I cannot give you the latitude; but I am satisfied it must be as much as 44° 10', perhaps 20'.
I have now, my dear sir, given you an account of what I have seen (i.e., I and my company; for we were all very communicative, and what one knew we all knew. This was acting like sons of science, was it not?). To complete my narrative, however, I must tell you what I have not seen. This is necessary, because many stories have. been told of these Mountains, and many visionary expectations have been formed from them.
To begin as high as possible, then, I saw no silver mines, though I have often heard of such (but never believed it), and though a month before I went some persons, attended by a certain German who pretends to be a great mineralogist, went to these Mountains, and pretended that they had discovered something of great value, which they made a profound secret of. It has been said that there is a mineral, which is supposed to be lead, but no person knows where to find it. We were in hopes of dis
covering limestone, which would have been of more service to the country than silver or gold mines, and for this purpose carried a quantity of aqua-fortis; but, on applying it to those rocks or fragments of rocks which seemed most likely, no effervescence could be produced. We were told, and sometimes warned in very pointed terms, of the multitude of rattlesnakes which we should find there; but I saw not a serpent of any kind in the whole march, except a common striped snake, not 20 miles from home. I need not add that we saw no hobgoblins, demons, nor cacodemons, no wandering ghosts, nor the least appearance of Hobamoke, though I suppose Dr. Mather would have said we had invaded his territories, being "Prince of the Power of the Air." We saw no beasts of prey, nor no game, excepting two partridges and two pigeons, which we killed. Fish we caught a few in Ossapy Pond, baiting our hooks with whortleberries; but, had we had time, we might have got plenty of trout in almost all the rivers. We saw the track of one moose, and abundance of sable-traps, and one bear-trap, which were left by the hunters the last season.
If you think it proper to communicate any part of this narrative to your friends, I am not against it; but, as you have hinted something about a memoir to the Society, I will think of putting it into a form suited to the gravity of a philosophical body. I could wish, if it be not too much trouble, that you would read such parts of it as you may think fit in the hearing of my son, when you are well enough to visit Mr. Aitken; for I always endeavor to acquaint my children (as they are able) with matters of curiosity, and Jo has a large share of it.
Should you ask what is the cause of the white appearance of these Mountains, I would tell you in one word, snow, which lies on them, commonly, from September or October till July. There is no white moss, nor white flint, nor white rocks, which can give any such reflection
as is caused by the snow; and, after the snow is gone, they appear, at the distance of 60 or 70 miles, of a pale blue, inclining to a sky colour; at the distance of 10 or 15 miles, they are of the gray colour of the rock, inclining to brown. From the account given in these letters of the White Mountains, you will be able to correct one which I think I formerly sent you a copy of, written by G. S. to Marbois, and you will see an essential difference between a first and second-hand description in point of propriety, I mean not of rhetorical flourish.
Mr. Cutler says the degree of heat by the thermometer, on the summit of the Mountain, was equal to the mean degree with us in March and November; viz., 44.°
This is also different from S.'s description of wintercold in summer, and the danger of freezing in this intolerable climate.
For your farther gratification, I have copied a plan which I took from one in Mr. Whipple's possession, shewing the course of the rivers and the situation of the part of the Mountains. His plan extended no farther N., so that the northern part of our circuit, and his plantation, are not comprehended in it. I have added the sketches of the appearance of the Mountains on the E. and the N.W., and marked their area as nearly as I could. The roads in which we travelled are marked with a pricked line.* By the way, if I should be able to obtain a pretty correct map of N. H., to be annexed to my 2d volume, could I get it engraved at Philadelphia?
Please to tell Josey that his grandmama is in a declining way. The rest of the family are well, and send their love to him.
Mrs. B. desires an affectionate salutation to you and Mrs. Hazard, as does your very much obliged friend and humble servant, JERE. BELKNAP.