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a key to the letter in my Number IV., wherein he has ingeniously converted a gentle satire upon tedious and impertinent visitants, into a libel on some of the government. This I mention only as a specimen of the taste of the gentleman I am, forsooth, bound to please in my speculations ; 'not that I suppose my impartiality will ever be .called in question on that account. Injustices of this nature I could complain of in many instances; but I am at present diverted by the reception of a letter, which, though it regards me only 'in my private capacity as an adept, yet I venture to publish it for the entertainment of my readers. ;' limi i
To Censor Morum, Esq. Busy-Body General of the - Province of Pennsylvania, and the Counties of
Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex upon Delaware. HONORABLE Sir,"
I judge by your lucubrations, that you are not only a lover of truth and equit:;, but a man of parts and learning and a master of science : as such I honor you. Know, then, most profound Sir, that I have, from my youth up, been a very indefatigable student in and admirer of that divine science, astrology. I have read over Scot, Albertus Magnus, and Cornelius Agrippa, above three hundred times; and was in hopes, by my knowledge and industry, to gain enough to have recompensed me for my money expended and time lost in the pursuit of this learning. You cannot be ignorant, Sir, (for your intimate second-sighted correspondent knows all things) that there are large sums of money hidden under ground in divers places about this town, and in many parts of the country: but alas, Sir, notwithstanding I have used all the means laid down in the immortal authors before mentioned, and when they failed, the ingenious Mr. P-d-1, with his mercurial wand and magnet, I have still failed in my purpose. This therefore I send, to propose and de sire an acquaintance with you; and I do not doubt, notwithstanding my repeated ill-fortune, but we may be exceedingly serviceable to each other in our discoveries ; and that if we use our united endeavors, the time will come when the Busy-Body, his second-sighted correspondent, and your very humble servant, will be three of the richest men in the province: and then, Sir, what may we not do? A word to the wise is sufficient. I conclude, with all demonstrable respect, yours and Urania's votary, TITAN PLEIADES.
In the evening, after I had received this letter, I made a visit to my second-sighted friend, and communicated to him the proposal. When he had read it, he assured me, that to his certain knowledge, there is not at this time so much as one ounce of silver or gold bid under ground in any part of this province; for that the late and present scarcity of money had obliged those who were
living; and knew where they had formerly hid any, to take it up, and use it in their own necessary affairs; and as to all the rest which was buried by pirates and others in old times, who were never like to come for it, he himself had dug it all up and applied it to charitable uses; and this he de sired me to publish for the general good. For, as he acquainted me, there are among us great numbers of honest artificers and laboring people, who, fed with a vain hope of growing suddenly rich, neglect their business, almost to the ruining of themselves and families, and voluntarily endure abundance of fatigue in a fruitless search after imaginary hidden treasure. They wander through the woods and bushes by day, to discover the marks and signs; at midnight they repair to the hopeful spots with spades and pickaxes : full of expectation, they labor violently, trembling at the same time in every joint, through fear of certain malicious demons who are said to haunt and guard such places. At length a mighty hole is dug, and perhaps several cart-loads of earth thrown out; but alas, no cag or iron pot is found! no seaman's chest' crammed with Spanish pistoles, or weighty pieces of eight! Then they conclude, that through some mistake in the procedure, some rash' word spoke, or some rule of art neglected, the guardian spirit had power to sink it deeper into the earth, and convey it out of their reach. Yet, when a man is once thus infatuated, he is so far from be
ing discouraged by ill success, that he is rather animated to double his industry, and will try again and again in a hundred different places, in hopes at last of meeting with some lucky hit, that shall at once sufficiently reward him for all his expense of time and labor... i This odd humor of digging for money, through a belief that much has been hid by pirates formerly frequenting the river, has for several years been mighty prevalent among us; insomuch that you can hardly walk half a mile out of the town on any side, without observing several pits dug with that design, and perhaps some lately opened. Men, otherwise of very good sense, have been drawn into this practice through an overweening desire of sudden wealth, and an easy credulity of what they so earnestly wished might be true. While the rational and almost certain methods of acquiring riches by industry and frugality, are neglected, or forgotten. There seems to be some peculiar charm in the conceit of finding money ; and if the sands of Schuylkil were so much mixed with small grains of gold, that a man might in a day's time, with care and application, get together to the value of half a crown, I make no question but we should find several people employed there, that can with ease earní five shillings a day at their proper trades.: . ! Many are the idle stories told of the private suc
cess of some people, by which others are encouraged to proceed; and the astrologers, with whom the country swarms at this time, are either in the belief of these things themselves, or find their advantage in persuading others to believe them ; for they are often consulted about the critical times for digging, the methods of laying the spirit, and the like whimsies, which renders them very necessary to, and very much caressed by, the poor deluded money-hunters. .
There is certainly something very bewitching in the pursuit after mines of gold and silver and other valuable metals, and many have been ruined by it. A sea-captain of my acquaintance used to blame the English for envying Spain their mines of silver, and too much despising or overlooking the advantages of their own industry and manufactures. “ For my part,” says he, “ I esteem the banks of Newfoundland to be a more valuable possession than the mountains of Potosi; and when I have been there on the fishing account, have looked upon every cod pulled up into the vessel as a certain quantity of silver ore, which required only carrying to the next Spanish port to be coined into pieces of eight;" not to mention the national profit of fitting out and employing such a number of ships and seamen. Let honest Peter Buckram, who has long without success been a searcher after hidden money, reflect on this, and be reclaimed