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died there, 19th May, 1856. In a letter from him to Mr. John Langdon Sibley, written about two months before his death, he says: "The Belknap letters are the property of Erskine Hazard, Esq., No. 1 Clinton Street, Philadelphia. His brother Samuel, an antiquarian, who has published, under the direction of the State, several volumes of Pennsylvania Archives, supposed his father had destroyed them. ... I am transcribing all that is serviceable for my purpose, in a l^irge volume, to be deposited with the Presbyterian Historical Society." Our associate, the Rev. George E. Ellis, D.D., who had been commissioned by the Historical Society, with the concurrence of Miss Elizabeth Belknap, to procure these letters for the Society, then opened a correspondence with Mr. Webster, and continued it with Mr. Samuel Hazard, which fortunately resulted, after some delay, in securing the letters. They were sent to Miss Belknap in 1860, and were m the following year presented by her to the Society, as reported by Dr. Ellis at the meeting in January, 1861. In a letter to him from Mr. Samuel Hazard, dated 6th July, 1860, he says: "I am now happy to learn that she [Miss Belknap] presented her father's papers to the Society 5 and to carry out her good designs, by adding, as a part of her donation, the letters to my father lately come into my hands from Mr. Webster's estate, they are sent, as you request, by express," &c. In this letter, he refers to the great intimacy which existed between his father and Dr. Belknap, and to the unreserved character of the correspondence. "The Doctor," he says, "was one of the most agreeable letterwriters I ever read."
The freedom with which this correspondence was conducted on both sides, after the acquaintance of the parties to it had ripened into friendship and intimacy, would have operated as an obstacle to its publication at a much earlier period; but time disposes of all such questions. There is much relating to Dr. Belknap's private and personal affairs, but it all serves to give a picture of the time; and every thing relating to him who was the principal founder of this Society must be regarded with interest by its members for all time. The details of the preparation and publication of the History of New Hampshire, a work which placed its author in the front rank of our native writers, will not be without interest and value. In printing these letters, the spelling of the original has been preserved, but abbreviated words have usually been spelled out at length. In the few instances where a sentence or part of a sentence has been omitted, such omission is indicated by asterisks or dots. It will be noticed, in this correspondence, that letters are occasionally acknowledged to have been received, on both sides, which are here wanting. The fact that so many of the letters are preserved is an indication of the respect which each party to the correspondence cherished for the other, and for the products of his pen.
The principal facts in Dr. Belknap's life are too well known to be enumerated here at length. He was the eldest child of Jeremiah Belknap, and was born in Boston, 4th June, 1744. He graduated at Harvard College, in 1762, at the age of 18 years. During the time he was preparing for the ministry, he taught school at different places. On the 18th February, 1767, in his 23d year, he was settled over the parish in Dover, N. H. The salary agreed upon was £100 ($333.33) per annum; and the sum of £150 was voted in addition, with which to provide for himself a house. On the 15th June, 1767, he married Miss Ruth Eliot, daughter of Mr. Samuel Eliot, bookseller in Cornhill, Boston, and sister of the Mr. Samuel Eliot mentioned in this correspondence, an eminent merchant, and benefactor of Harvard College. Dr. Belknap remained with this parish in Dover for twenty years, a faithful and honored minister, through a most trying period in the history of the country, oftentimes subjected to the most serious inconveniences. His salary, pittance that it was, could not be collected; and he was often obliged to labor in the field to keep his family from want. To his most intimate friends only would he ever after allow himself to utter a word of complaint; but some of his letters to his friend Hazard, dated not long before he left Dover, were written from the depths of his experience, sometimes almost with a wail, in contemplating his own needs and those of his family for a more enlarged sympathy, and for the society of friends of a more generous culture. In the autumn of 1786, at the earnest solicitation of Mr. Hazard, he visited Philadelphia, and made the acquaintance of many distinguished men in that city, some of whom were desirous that he should take up his residence there; and Dr. Belknap seems himself to have seriously entertained the thought. But the call to the church in Long Lane, Boston, opening to him the prospect of a home in his native city, of the enjoyment of the society of his kindred and friends, and of a wider field for the exercise of his talents, was a temptation not to be resisted; and the negotiations of Mr. Hazard in his behalf were broken off.
His salary here, at first, was small; but, unlike his experience in his former pastorate, he would be likely to receive the sum which was settled upon him. He was offered 21. 8s. Od. per week, or about $416 per annum, with the stipulation, for an increase, if the society should increase. "The Boston clergymen at that time, with few exceptions, were obliged, by the inadequacy of their salaries, to resort to other means of support for their families; and for this object Mr. Belknap received at his house a few young men to instruct in higher branches than were taught in the public schools." (Life, pp. 146, 147.) His installation took place on the 4th of April, 1787.
A person of Dr. Belknap's learning and character could not fail, in a community like Boston, to command unqualified respect and confidence. His active mind led him to take an interest largely in public affairs. He became Overseer of the College, was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of other associations, clerical and lay. He had published the first volume of the History of New Hampshire during his residence in Dover, and it had been printed by Robert Aitken, of Philadelphia. The second and third volumes were prepared and printed in Boston. He now wrote the Foresters, and the Lives contained in the two volumes of American Biography, some of which, as well as the Foresters, had been originally published in the " Columbian Magazine," at Philadelphia.
In August, 1790, a plan was drawn up by Dr. Belknap as a basis for an Historical Society, or rather u an Antiquarian Society," as the "plan" was labelled, which he submitted to a few gentlemen. A heliotype facsimile of this plan, in his own handwriting, is given at page 231 of Vol. II. Out of this grew the Massachusetts Historical Society, the first recorded meeting of which was held at the house of Mr. William Tudor, in Court Street, 24th January, 1791. The number of Resident Members, and also that of Corresponding Members, was limited to thirty each. The Society was incorporated in 1794, and the limit then fixed was sixty for Resident Members, with no limit for Honorary Members. In 1857, the Society was authorized by the Legislature to elect one hundred Resident Members.
The latter part of Dr. Belknap's correspondence shows that he had had serious warnings as to his health, which admonished him to set his house in order. "On the morning of the 20th June, 1798, at four o'clock, he was attacked with apoplexy, which deprived him of the powers of speech and motion, and he died before eleven."
Dr. Belknap left a large number of manuscripts. Those in his own handwriting were principally note-books, with extracts, a continuation of his American Biography, and interleaved almanacs. He kept copies of but few of his own letters. A great number of miscellaneous letters addressed to him are preserved among his papers. These include many written in answer to inquiries made by him of persons principally living in New Hampshire, when he was writing the History of that State. Much of this correspondence will well repay perusal and publication.
The Committee on the Belknap Papers felt that it would be desirable to print a volume of Dr. Belknap's own letters; and they were enabled to do this by the recovery of his correspondence with Mr. Hazard. It seemed to them, also, that an additional value would be given to these letters by placing -before the reader, at the same time, the letters of Mr. Hazard, which were counterparts of Dr. Belknap's letters. Besides, Hazard's letters are admirable in themselves.
Dr. Belknap's correspondent, Ebenezer Hazard, was a member of one oi the old families of Philadelphia. His father, Samuel Hazard, and his grandfather, Nathaniel Hazard, were merchants in that city. Their ancestor, Thomas Hazard, settled in this country in 1636.
Mr. Hazard was born in Philadelphia, 15th January, 1744. He was one of the students of the Rev. Samuel Finley, D.D. (afterward President of Princeton College), at the Academy at Nottingham, Maryland, where some of the most distinguished men of the country laid the foundation of their eminence and usefulness. He graduated at Princeton College in 1762. Devoting himself to a business career, he removed to the city of New York, and from 1769 to 1775 he was a member of the firm of Npel & Hazard, and that of Benedict & Hazard, as publishers and booksellers.
Taking an active part in the cause of his country, Mr. Hazard early became prominent as he was earnest and energetic. From 1775 to 1789 he was connected with