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the adamantine chains of darkness, and to bar the everlasting gates of joy and felicity,
"There is a duty incumbent on parents towards their children, which the God of Nature dictates, and is taught them, in some measure, by the wild beasts of the field; even the nutrition of their bodies. But yet there is a second duty, of infinitely more importance; that is, their education. This duty concerns every parent, as they will free themselves from the guilt of their final undoing, prevent those hlooxmng flowers from becoming thorns, that will pierce the eyeballs of their fond and pleasing hopes. In these respects and many others, education stands in near relation to that ever blooming morn that treads on the heels of time.
"Our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, and our fathers have told us, how education exalted the land of their nativity. But, alas! those halcyon days are over and gone, and we feel the dire effects; else what meaneth this din of war in our land, with garments rolled in blood! this train of Brittain's artillery put in array against us! those lightnings that flash from her brazen batteries, and the thunders that brake from those smokey columns, with storms pregnant with leaden hail, promiscous instruments of death.
(Excellent rhetoric, but super-excellent logic.)
"He that arrives to a degree of perfection in literature may, at leisure, delight his soul in contemplating the grandeur and sublimity of Nature, in her various productions, and through that mirror descry the Deity." This metaphor, I apprehend, is borrowed from that sterling production of the late tutor, but now president, of this renowned hot-bed of literature. I mean an " Oration on Poetry, Music, and Painting," delivered at the Commencement, in 1774.# "The mind, no longer engrossed by puerile vanities, disdains all sordid amusements, but sits majestic. Then, in the palace of reason, it views the grandeur and sublimity of Nature, and through that mirror kens the Deity." And again: "When we attempt to scan the dignity of human nature, shunning with care the expansion of infinitude, we should turn to the arts and sciences, those transparent mirrors, which, like the stars in the firmament, scatter diffusive a lustre borrowed from the mind of man."
* "Essay on the Beauties and Excellencies of Painting, Music, and Poetry," &c., by John Wheelock, President of Dartmouth College, Hartford, 1774. — Eds.
What excellent proficients, under such excellent preceptors! But I have done exciting your laughter, vexation, and pity with their execrable balderdash; yet 'tis proper it should be known, that they may appear what they are, for they make no secret of their nonsense.
I intended this for the outside cover of my letter, but I have already stuffed it so full that I had as well fill it out and use another. I do not desire to have it known that I speak so freely of the above-mentioned place and persons; but I think it is a great pity either that such an institution was ever made, or that it is not better managed. The views of the persons concerned in erecting it were very different. The late G., I believe, however I may be censured for believing so, was a generous friend of science, and would have been highly pleased to have seen arts and sciences flourishing within his government. He looked upon that part of the (then) Province as destined by nature to be the most populous and rich, and rejoiced at the opportunity which presented itself of establishing a seminary of learning, which he endowed, so far as he was able (by grants of land, and by procuring donations), with a property stable, and capable of improvement, so that in time it might stand on its own legs, without any foreign assistance. So far the design was laudable and the prospect inviting. But — but — but — time and experience have proved that a selfish, contracted spirit, aided by ignorance and folly, is capable of thwarting the most generous designs, and substituting nonsense and enthusiasms in the place of learning and wisdom. The said president is reputed the writer of a lately printed versification, entitled America Invincible* I have not seen it, but understand it is of a piece with his oration, in which there are some rhythmical ebullitions interlarded.
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
New York, May 17,1788.
My Dear Sir, — I thank you for the Centinel enclosed in yours of 11th inst. Russell has acted like a candid man, and you will oblige me by thanking him for doing me so much justice. He has rightly accounted for all the Philadelphian abuse of me, and that gave rise to all which issued from more distant presses. It was natural enough for printers in distant parts of the Union to suppose, if their papers came irregularly, that it was owing to some unfriendly regulation in the post-office, especially when it was asserted by a brother printer near the headquarters of the Union; but what surprises me is, that the printers did not see the improbability of the charge brought against the P. M. G., which was that he prohibited the circulation of newspapers containing anti-federal pieces, while he promoted that of those which contained federal. To do this, he must of course examine all the papers that were published, which would fully occupy all his time and put it out of his power to do any part of his proper business. A moment's reflection must have shewn them that the charge was false; and had they attended to this circumstance, that General Washington, Dr. Franklin, and others of our most respectable characters, to whom the Union is under the greatest obligations, were abused by the same writers, at the same time, and for the same cause (i.e., being Federalists), they could have had no doubt about the reason why the charge was made. To blackguard me, in such company, was really doing me honour, though it was done unintentionally. I suspect Mr. Russel has been misinformed about the mail carriers between this city and Hartford. Prom the character of the contractor, as well as some personal knowledge of him, I do not believe he would be concerned in, or permit, such conduct as is alledged. However, though this is a matter with which I have no business, properly speaking, yet, as Mr. Russel has behaved so much like a gentleman with respect to me, I will enquire of the contractor about it when T can see him. But I believe the most of the newspapers are sent by stage, as Greenleaf (one of our printers) informed the public some time ago that his were sent in that way. Russel is wrong, if he supposes the stages generally will do to carry the mail. In point of care, they might do to the eastward of this city; and, had the proprietors asked a reasonable price, they would have got it,- but they demanded 3,014f| dollars, and I have it done now for 1,790, by men who are at every expence on account of the mail, whereas the proprietors of the stages would be at no extra expence on that account. For this reason, the Eastern stages lost the mail. Between this city and Philadelphia, stages cannot carry the mail so expeditiously as riders, for these travel night and day; besides, the drivers were so careless and inattentive to the mail, that I had a vast many complaints from passengers, among whom were some members of Congress. Indeed, even the passengers and baggage were so much neglected that the proprietors lost custom by it, and have since acknowledged it in the newspapers, and promised amendment. But enough of this. I give you the information merely that you may be able to talk upon these subjects, should you hear them mentioned in conversation. I must add that it was while the stages carried the mail that the "Centinel" complained, in the Philadelphia papers, that the "Conspirators" prevented the circulation of anti-federal papers by means of the post-office.
* See Catalogue of the Library of this Society, I. 32. — Eds.
I will deliver your message to Mr. Morse. Yes, I have the debates in your Convention. My friend Hastings sent them as soon as published.
From the resolves of the last meeting of the directors of the Ohio Company, 1 supposed our friend Cutler must go soon. I should not be fond of going to live there before the settlers had enjoyed one year s profound peace. In my opinion, he cannot give the new city a more proper name than Protepolis. Urania seems to be quite out of the way. Tempe would, I think, do much better. But I wanted something original. In this view, Genesis would do. There are Montgomerys already. The streets are to be wide.
Well, as I told you, the Philadelphia printer's petition is circulating. It was published here to-day. llussel's publication will be a good reply to it, and I suppose some of our printers will have grace enough to give it a place. His so plumply denying the assertion that "the reasons, &c," did not reach Boston till your Convention had determined upon the Constitution, will mortify the Antifeds, in Philadelphia not a little; and I think the Feds, will crow upon it.
Miss Breese is here. The Judge has lately had a fit of the gout. The rest are well, as are all my family, who love you and yours unfeignedly. I am, Your friend,
HAZARD TO BELKNAP.
New York, May 27, 1788.
Dear Sir, — I have yours of 18th and 20th May. It will not do for you to enquire why the "Extract" did not appear. Let it take its fate.