The late eighteenth century was a mercurial age in the United States: warring against England, establishing new governments, building a national identity, exploring the hinterland and refining an American identity in prose and verse. Ebenezer Hazard ...
- a classicist and natural scientist - became postmaster general in 1782. A prolific letter-writer, his favourite correspondent was Jeremy Belknap, a clergyman and historian. Their letters to each other provide an informative and insightful history of the time through everyday events. Communications during wartime were hazardous and unreliable: both men followed the common practice of the day in referring to important people by their initials, but they also took this further, developing a code in order to deceive anyone who might read their correspondence either by chance or design. Lawson's work illuminates this exchange, allowing modern scholars to see the historical landscape through the thoughts and experiences of two Enlightenment thinkers during the American War of Independence.