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This correspondence between Dr. Jeremy Belknap and Ebekezer Hazard covers a period of about twenty years. It is quite probable that we have here the earliest letters that passed between them; and we may conjecture, in the absence of more trustworthy information, that their acquaintance was made at the time Mr. Hazard was visiting New Hampshire in the pursuit of materials for the great work he was engaged in, of which two volumes only were finally published, — the "Historical Collections," — in 1792 and 1794.
Mr. Hazard's letters were part of the Belknap donation to this Society, in 1858, and are referred to in a report on that valuable gift in the " Proceedings" for March of that year, at page 295, in which it was said that "it would be desirable to receive Dr. Belknap's part of that correspondence, which is in possession of some member of the family of Mr. Hazard."
Application for Dr. Belknap's letters had been made to Mr. Samuel Hazard, the eldest son of Ebenezer Hazard, by Miss Jane Belknap, now Mrs. Marcou, at the time she was preparing the excellent Life of her grandfather, published in 1847. But Mr. Samuel Hazard was not aware of the existence of the letters. He supposed they had been destroyed by his fathier. It appears that the letters were then in the possession of the Rev. Richard Webster, the historian of the vPresbyterian Church of the United States, who lived at Mauch Chunk, Pa., and who