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Colonies, I can go on but slowly. However, "Nil tam difficile est, quod non solertia vincat;" and I expect, by perseverance, to get through before long.
Are you yet supplied with a thermometer? I can now get you one with an ivory scale.
I see, by the Centinel, that my cousin Morse has been attacked. He seems to have the luck of it. I have but lately received his Geography, though his letter accompanying it is dated in May. But, from what I have yet seen of it, I think it the best thing of the kind that I have met with, even though Mayhew's and other great men's names are omitted. I intend to advise him, if he prints another edition, not to confine himself so much to Guthrie's Table, but to form one of his own, and that relating principally to American events and literati. I am surprized at his omitting the Indian apostle Elliot, whose translation of the Bible one would suppose would never be forgotten, on such an occasion, by a divine.
Mrs. H. and two of our children are at Shrewsbury. They have been from home three weeks; and, when they went to Shrewsbury, had but just returned from Bethlehem. Change of air and exercise are thought necessary both for Mrs. H. and our daughter, who is in an infirm state. Our eldest son is at an academy, at Woodbury, in New Jersey, about 9 miles from hence; and I receive pleasing accounts of him.
I beg an affectionate remembrance to Mrs. Belknap, and am, dear sir,
Your sincere friend,
BELKNAP TO HAZARD.
BOSTON, July 22, 1793.
DEAR SIR,It is a long time since I heard from you. suppose you are so immersed in business that you have no time to write. I believe that some questions which I asked you have not been answered, but I have forgot them. If you have my former letters at hand, you may recover them.
I have lately been obliged to remove to the South End, and now reside opposite to where the old Liberty Tree once stood. In removing, I was obliged to borrow a trunk to contain the remainder of your 1st volume, in which they still remain, in my study.
David West is willing to be your bookseller, but does not incline to take these books into his possession. He says he has not room, and it is probable that most of them must be returned. However, when your 2d volume comes out, he will receive and dispose of it for you. You had better, therefore, send the packet directly to him. I am too far removed out of the way to take charge of them, but will give him the subscription list. (The number is 45; but some of the subscribers are removed, and others have not taken the books. I think 40 will be enough to send of the 2d volume.) It is very uncomfortable to be tossed about, and give such high rent. To avoid it in future, I have bargained for a lot, and am meditating the building of a house, if I cannot buy one to my mind. It is said by somebody (I forget who) that 4 things are necessary to make a man: 1. That he should plant a tree. 2. That he should write a book. 3. That he should get a child. 4. That he should build a house. The three former I have done several times over. The last remains to complete the character of a man. I suppose you have completed it.
Enclosed with this I send you one of Pater West's books on "Liberty and Necessity." It is intended to sap the foundation of the Hopkinsian Theology.
Mrs. B. and family are in tolerable health, and desire their affectionate regards to you and yours. I am, dear sir,
Your friend and humble servant,
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
PHILADELPHIA, August 27, 1793.
MY DEAR SIR, Our friend Morse brought me yours of 22d ultimo. It gave me pleasure to hear from you, and I felt satisfaction in the reflection that I had written to you, though I found, by yours, that you had not received my letter.
I know how to sympathize with you on account of your trouble in removing, and your disagreeable situation as a tenant, in being subject to a repetition of it. That vile business of removing has deranged all my methodical system, and confused my papers in such a manner that it costs me much time to find any one I want; but, should my life be spared, I shall have them in better order than ever, for I have now an house of my own, in which I have a small, snug, retired room, appropriated to my own use. My carpenter has made me a case, in which are a shelf to hold account books, 24 pidgeon-holes for current papers, and 14 drawers, of different sizes, to contain papers which are done with for the present, but may be called for hereafter; the whole enclosed, and a good lock to the door.
Having done with my index to volume 2, I intend to devote the morning, before breakfast (which is all the time I have), to folding, marking, and sorting my papers;
and, when this is accomplished, I shall feel a little more comfortable. My library is already arranged.
If you can spare money to buy a lot and build an house, I think you would find it worth while, even though the interest of the money should amount to more than you could hire an house for. In this way my rent amounts to about £240, this currency, which is more than I have ever paid before; but I have an excellent house, built to suit my own convenience. I am not called on for rent, and cannot be removed; and I think these an ample compensation for the advanced rent. Yes, upon the plan you mention, I am more than a man; for, besides doing all the rest, I have built five houses.
"More than a man" reminds me of an Indian speech I found in the Minutes of Council of this State. A speaker, belonging to the 6 Nations, mentioned a treaty to which the Catawbas and Cherokees were invited. The Cherokees attended, but "the Catawbas refused to come, and sent us word that we were but women; that they were men, and double men; .. that they could make women of us, and would be always at war with us."
With respect to my books, I wish you to do just as you think best. If you think they will not be called for, it will perhaps be best to return the most of them; and yet I should not like to have none in your market, because somebody or other may call for a sett. Suppose you should put a copy or two in the hands of each of your booksellers, in whom you can confide? The 2d volume shall be sent to David West, as you desire. Those folks with small shops are generally pushing, and sometimes take more pains to dispose of books than more important bibliopolists. If Mr. Appleton will not take the 2d volume, I should wish him to return the 1st. Every subscriber was undoubtedly considered as subscribing for the whole sett, and it will not do to let one volume go without the rest,
because it will spoil a set. Thank you for Pater West's pamphlet, which I shall endeavour to read attentively. I have a good opinion of him as a man of abilities and candour, but I confess I do not like his subject. The writers upon it that I have hitherto met with (as I suspect all others must) have but darkened counsel by words without knowledge.
This city is remarkably sickly at present. The prevailing disorder does not appear to be accurately defined or understood. It is highly infectious, and generally proves mortal. I do not know even the symptoms attending it. Many suppose it to have been imported, or occasioned by so many French coming in crowded vessels from Cape François. Others think it arises from the season, which has been remarkably dry and sultry; and we have had very little thunder. Query: whether the large number of conductors fixed to the houses in this city may not, by imperceptibly drawing off the electric fluid from the clouds, and thereby preventing thunder, contribute very much to increase diseases?
We have the influenza among us, too. Mrs. Hazard has it pretty severely, but I do not apprehend any great danger from it. The rest of us are well.
Pray is the publication of the Historical Society's Collections continued? I have not seen any of them for a long time. Herewith you will receive some duplicates.
Mr. Morse informs me that the 2d volume of the Academy's Transactions is in the press. I shall be glad of a copy, when published. Please to inform the editor of this. With love to Mrs. Belknap, I am, dear sir, Your sincere friend,