To Thomas B. Wait

    New York City        25 July 1790

    My friend—

    Last night I read yours of the 17th. inst. and laughed1—because it was just such an one as I had been expecting for some weeks—Indeed I had begun to wonder you had not before wrote me expressed your grief in a Letter of Condolence.

    It is four or five weeks since some of my friends have been hinting to me, in their Letters, that I must prepare for a political death—And it is curious to observe with how much caution and delicacy this is done. They want I should know my approaching fate—And yet their feelings sympathise too much with me, at to permit them expressly to tell me what they apprehend will be painfull for me to hear, to permit them expressly to tell me Hence they conclude their dolefull sentence with an encouraging but—as some words calculated to palliate the full force of what their fears have suggested—One sais, “but I am not certain” Another, “but I beleive, on whole, you will succeed”—a third—nevertheless my feeble abilities, as well as my vote, shall be exerted in my your favour—A fourth—I beleive you may be elected if you choose it—A fifth—I yet hope the best—A sixth—“the Candidates for the next federal election begin to buz buz about—And I assure you they are numerous, but—but what? But few will roll up Hill, for doziness will so seize their noddles, and then they must of course loose their way”—A seventh whose passions and affections are more lively and come nearer to friendship—“It makes me angry while I sing” of your fate &c &c &c &c

    Upon the whole I verily beleive I view the approaching election with less anxiety and concern than many of my friends—I have fewer passions, & those of a weaker kind, than what animate them, engaged in the business—To be at Congress is with me a secondary object, and rather a means to another, which I am led to think may now be effected at Biddeford or Portland as well, and perhaps better than in any public employ—To lay your curiosity, and prevent its fixing on some less meritorious pursuit I will tell you what this is—It is the acquisition of knowledge—and the application of it to the happiness of my fellow creatures.

    I shall be sorry to find, at the coming election, that friendship gives way to ambition—or that any means are made use of by the Candidates or their friends that are not agreeable to Truth, & consistant with the general peace and harmony of the people thro’ the district. That these should be preferred as much as possible is what every one ought to aim at—And, I declare, I will take no step, or speak one word that has a contrary tendency—And should any of my friends I shall certainly blaim them—

    When ’tis objected against me that I am not a man of Religion, I would not wish my friends even to deny the charge; because the people might thereby be led to imagine me religious after their own ideas of religion—which is not the fact. And as I said a few days since, in a letter to a friend, “I had rather never be again noticed by the voice of my Country, than receive their unanimous vote on the ground of my holding to many things, which, I know, they look upon [as] essential to a religious Character”2

    Yours. &c

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    FC, TFP