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[Sept.] 5th [gap] Receive letters & papers
frm N.Y. Letter from Brown, Johnson, & Smith

First in B’s hand writing

“Your letter was very acceptable & seasonable: It cheared us poor
solitary beings with this plaguey fever at our doors, in our cupboards
& in our beds.

Johnson & I are pretty well, but E H S, by midnight sallyings
forth, sudden changes of temperature, fatigue & exposure to a noon
day sun, is made sick. perhaps it would not have been so if this
Demon had not lurked in the air. Tomorrow it is hoped he will be
able to answer your questions as to the prevalence & comparative
malignity of this disease himself.

This afternoon I revised the last sheet of Wieland. It will form
an handsome volume of 300 pages. Some ten or twelve have been
added since you last saw it.

I have written something of the history of Carwin which I will
send. I have desisted for the present from the prosecution of this
plan & betook myself to another which I mean to extend to the size

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of Wieland, & to finish by the end of this month, provided no yellow
fever interpose to disconcert my schemes.

Your letter bespeaks you to be happy. Why is it so? I just now
asked W J. He says you are constitutionally cheerfull & having got-
ten rid of a certain pestering coadjutor, your constitution, in that
respect is at liberty to shew itself. I ascribe it partly to this cause
& partly to the congenial aspect of nature that surrounds you, to
domestic happiness, to literary & luxurious leisure, rendered more
pleasg by contrast & to health. Am I not right?

Why are your christian allusions so frequent? “Caute & timide”
say I, which for your edification I translate “slow & sure”. Your
motto is, perhaps too much like that of a young prodigal which he
inscribed upon his coatch “Nec lenti nec trepide” which a by stander
interpreted into “Nec or nothing.”

In Wm Johnson’s hand.

W J, as you conjectured, is doing nothing: not absolutely nothing,
but nothing interesting to an “infidel philosopher.” Yet he rejoices
in the works and fame of his friends. Charles feels all the joy and
parental exultation of an Author having this day, been delivered, by
the aid of H Caritat & J & J Swords of an handsome duodecimo,
the offspring of that fertile brain which already engendered, two
more volumes. This borders upon the prodigious!—300 pages in a
month! Yet he is neither in a delirium or a fever! What an admir-
able antidote is philosophy.

But mind Charles, & let us have no allusions to the Vulgar cant
of the religionists: I commiserate your situation: so destitute of
intellectual food: You had better leave a dull uninteresting country
scene & join us. The Town is the only place for rational beings.
Under the shield of Philosophy what have we to fear? As to fever,
it is a being of such unaccountable origin, such amazing attributes,
and such inexplicable operations, that I deliver it over to the
Doctor, to be treated of secundum artem. That is to say, according
to his trade. What can we do for you?

[Alexander] Somerville has shut up shop, and eloped into the
Country. The Weekly magazine is not, therefore, to be procured.
The 2d edit: of Caleb Williams you have. There are new Books here
to be obtained.

I rejoice that you are happy at Amboy. I leave the philosopher
Charles to search for the Causes. If you want occupation let us
hear from you by every Amboy Packet in french or english.

In E H Smith’s hand.

These gay friends of mine have so covered the paper with their
gambols that nothing but coldness and conclusion, dullness & death-
heads are left for me.

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Had you seen me extended on my bed yesterday, rejecting (alas
the while!) half a dozen applications from the sick & confined to pills
& potions, you would have trembled for the safety of your poor
philosopher. To-day, however, I have sitten up ‘till this hour; &,
if the day be fair, tomorrow shall resume my customary functions.

Our fever has been confined to made ground and its vicinity, ye
east side of ye Town. There it is no longer safe to remain. You would
be astonished at the desertion of Pearl, Water, Front &c Streets,
which exceeds that of 1795. On this account the fever cannot be
said to increase much, tho’ some are taken with it every day: the
numbers each day being less than at first.

It is impossible to estimate the mortality its comparative extent
in relation to 1795: no regular acct being kept. But I imagine it is
less than in that year. I compute that about one in ten die; & that
not more than one in a hundred would perish, with early attention
& faithful nursing.

The sad Geological observations, in which there is every thing but
order, consistency & novelty, are J P Smith’s of ye Phil. Cheml Socy.

Our Mineralogical Society progresses very well. We have had
within the last month a number of communications. But this Fever
will prevent our meeting to night. The thing you brought with
you was sand enveloped with clay, the Clay appeared very fine.
Collect some more of it. Hopkins is out of town. Love to Mrs D.

By order of the Con
E H Smith (this day 27)

Tuesday noon, Sept 4, 1798

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