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among the most curious as well as useful works of Nature, and the discovery of which at this day is a very singular blessing, as it serves so exceeding well the purpose of windows. One property of it I have since discovered is that it will bear a considerable degree of heat, even the being laid on glowing coals for some time without the least injury.

By your last, I find that you have received my sermon, which I was afraid had miscarried. It is a plain practical performance directed to the heart, which is the seat of true religion. It was desired for the press by a number of honest, sensible country-people, and I took 'more pleasure in gratifying them than if a General Court had made a similar request. That preaching which commends itself to the taste of people of common sense and honesty has in general a good claim to the character of useful. You will be pleased, I dare say, to hear that after three years' vain endeavours on my part to get my salary fixed on a better foundation than a sinking currency, and after I had given up the point entirely, my people have, of their own accord, rated me five hundred bushels of corn for the year ensuing; which though not quite equal to the value of the original contract, yet is so much beyond any thing which I had any reason to expect, that it pleases me much and shews a disposition in them consistent with their former professions of regard to me. It will have one effect, which, however irksome in the operation, will finally produce solid good. I mean a discrimination of characters. Some will fall off and turn Baptists, but those who remain will be the more closely united and zealously engaged; and I had rather have a few solid firm friends than a collection of people round me who aregoverned by no fixed principle of action.

I should be very glad to see and to have Mr. Penn's Life, but I am loth you should be at the trouble to transcribe it with a view to forward me in a Biographical Collection. I have, as you know, from the beginning, spoken of such a performance rather as a thing that T wish for than one which I shall ever execute; and every day convinces me that my diffidence is well founded. I see no prospect of ever doing any thing in the business which will compensate the pains of your making collections for me. I wish, as you have already two sprouts growing out of your main stem, viz., a Geographical and a Chronological, you would let a third, viz., a Biographical, vegetate along with them. I will lend you any assistance in either of them which lies in my power, and, when you send along your list, will supply it as far as I can; but I had rather you would come here and fumble over my old papers yourself, I have a collection of newspapers of my own from 1756 downward, arid a borrowed one from 1727 to 1753, both of which will afford at least dates of many remarkable transactions and events. The public records which I had when you were here are not yet returned; and I suppose, if I should never return them, they never would be enquired after, for I dare say there are not three persons now in office or authority that know any thing about them.

The whirlwind, which you speak of as at Portsmouth, was at Amesbury about seven or eight years ago. I think there is a particular account of it in my papers, and, when I can, I will look it up. It was very remarkable. We intend to make your proposed experiment on candles in bran. I can't, however, conceive of its having any other effect than keeping them as good as they are when put into it; which, where large quantities are made at once, with a view to keeping a long time, must be a great saving, since it is a known fact that old candles will not burn so long as new.

We have none of the Roxbury stone here, nor indeed but few of any kind. There is, however, a kind of whetstones on the shore of our river, just by the falls, not unlike the Norway rags as they are called, and which answer nearly as good a purpose.

Pray let me know of your next intended movement, and which way it is likely to be. I hope to be at Boston by the last of May. Perhaps 1 may see you there then. I shall wish you here before.

Mrs. B. desires her compliments. My regards to Dr. G. 1 am, dear sir, your very affectionate friend,

Jeremy Belknap.

P. S. I met with "an odd quotation" in Hervey's Letters, No. 183, the reading of which made me think of you. And, as it may afford you some consolation in your present state of " virtuous celibacy/' I will transcribe it.

"I cannot but admire the wisdom of Nature in denying to men and women that foresight when they are young, wThich they acquire at a greater age; for, without that, I believe the world could not subsist above fourscore years, and a new creation of men would be wanted once every hundred years at least; since the inconveniences of marriage are experimentally known to overbalance the conveniences. This young folks will not believe, and thus the world is peopled."


Philadelphia, May 5, 1780.

My Very Good Friend, — Your favour of April 1st has overtaken me here, and I could wish to answer it properly ; but, as it is post-day, I am in the midst of business and hurry, and must write briefly. I am happy that your people have paid so much attention to your comfort and their own honour lately: it ought to have been done sooner. The secession of the malcontents will be beneficial, as it will remove a dangerous leaven, which might frequently

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be troublesome. Upon my return to Jamaica Plain, I will transcribe and send you Penn's Life. It will not do to increase my number of "sprouts;" the "main stem" would be injured by it. It is not improbable that I may pay you a visit soon after my return. The piece of Lapis specularis you sent me I have given to Mr. Rittenhouse, who is a member of the American Philosophical Society. I had not leisure to talk with him about the experiments I hinted to you, but intend him another visit.

The French at Martinique have been strongly reinforced lately, and are said to be much superior to the English. We have nothing lately from Charlestown. Remember me to Mrs. B.

Yours, Eben. Hazard.


Doveb^ June 5,1780.

My Dear Friend, — Your kind attention to me since you have been at Philadelphia (two marks of which I have received, viz., May 5th and 12th) is extremely pleasing to me. I should have wrote you again much before this time, had I not expected you soon to return to your old quarters; but I will let it alone no longer, and if this letter should chance to go to Philadelphia, and then pursue you back to Jamaica Plain, I suppose it will not make much difference as to the time of your receiving it.

The subject of it shall be a remarkable phenomenon which has much engaged the attention, and employed the tongues of all and the. pens of some. I mean the darkness which overspread almost the whole of New England on the 19th of May. As I am no theorist, I shall not trouble you with any conjectures, but shall rather give you a detail of such facts as either fell under my own observation or are creditably evidenced by others. In the morning there was some distant thunder in the south-west with rain; the forenoon was cloudy, but the sun appeared now and then. About 10 or 11 o'clock the clouds presented an unusual spectacle, being of a yellowish hue, and reflecting such a light on all the objects below them. Within an hour it grew dark, and the darkness kept increasing till one o'clock, when we lighted candles, and kept them burning all the afternoon. It was not the darkness of a thunder-cloud, but a vapour like the smoke of a malt-house or a coal-kiln, and there was a strong smell of smoke the whole day, as there had been for some days before. You must note that for about ten days before, the weather had been very dry, and this being the season for burning the woods to plant corn on the new lands, the fires had burnt to a considerable degree, and the rain which fell that morning was not sufficient to extinguish them. For 4 or 5 days the air had appeared very full of smoke, and it seemed to be low, so that the sun totally disappeared above half an hour before setting, and the low grounds were most filled with smoke. A man who was planting corn on a piece of low land, the Wednesday before, told me the smoke was so thick that he could not see from one end of the row to the other; and I wrell remember that either on Wednesday or Thursday every part of our house was full of smoke, as well as all the surrounding air, and I examined to see if it proceeded from our own fire, but was satisfied it was the same vapour that the air was full of.

I shall now mention some corroborating circumstances to prove that smoke must have been a principal ingredient in the thickness of the vapour of that day. A man who was upon the river affirmed to me that the surface of the water, especially near the shore, was covered with a dark, sooty scum. Some of our neighbours set their tubs to catch rain water (for there was a drizzling, at times almost the whole

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