To Thomas B. Wait

    Philadelphia        19 January 1792

    My friend

    Yours of the 3d inst. with one inclosed from our friend [George] Peirson, came to hand the evening before last; And inclosed is an answer to his, by which you will see we have embarked—but where we shall land is a fact, where it ought to be, among the uncertainties of mercantile calculation.1 I have a strong faith, however, that nothing worse will befall us than being thrown upon some Rock, where our Lives will be safe—and having our hands & feet, as Rouseau sais, we shall find no difficulty in supporting ourselves.2 Health, honesty and perseverance are all the attributes necessary to acquire a good Living in any part of America.

    As to the part of your Letter relative to the post I can say nothing that is encouraging to your and hundreds of our friends wishes. Upon this particular subject I have wrote much and to many; as well as done all in my power, & I believe that was as much as any other man let him be who he may, could have done, had he been in my situation. Note my vanity—

    In writing upon this subject I have argued with my correspondents on principles that admited their claims were rational, whereas to you I shall hereafter speak more fully & freely. I am so unwilling to create a certain kind There is a certain kind of painful sensation, which I am so unwilling to create to the feelings of some people, that in many instances, I had rather suffer an unjust imputation myself, than, by doing myself real justice, expose the comparative futility of their pretentions. I would not have you think I am complaining for I am not—I am only making an observation that results naturally from circumstances within my knowledge.

    Should you suspect me of boasting, when I say neither you, or any other person in any part of our District can even suggest an argument or reason for extending the mail, that the general principles of Legislation will admit to have weight, and which I have not contemplated in every possible view, you wrong me—This whole subject has long been open before me; and I have pondered it well—Vanity again—Good—I can easily account for your judgment; and this always satisfies me—

    At present the Laws of the United States are published by authority at Boston, New-York, Philadelphia, Richmond & Charlestown (S.C.). This arrangement leaves a number of districts of Territory, as well as whole States, that have equal, if not stronger claims to this priviledge than Maine—Hence what you and I both wish for is not, simply to know whether it be best that the Laws shall be published, by authority, in Maine—but it resolves itself into a general question—shall they be published, by authority, in every district that has the same claims that Maine has? Again it would be wrong for me to advocate an extention of the mail to Gloucester, Hollowell & Penobscot, & yet oppose its being carried to all other places having equal claims. The general question then occurs, is it, at this time, prudent or even practicable, to construct the post office upon such principles as to extend the mail to every place through the United States having the same pretentions with those just mentioned?

    In spight of all our abstractions from local views & personal motives a degree of partially to ourselves, our friends, town, county, district and State will adhere to us; and tis best it should be so: it is the result of a most excellent general Law of our nature—And it is better that certain unwarrantable degrees of prejudice and contractedness of mind, upon some particular subjects, take place, than to have been made without this principle.

    Congress have, for several days past, been engaged on measures relative to the Western country; but as the doors have been shut I cannot tell what the measures are, or any thing about them3

    I am, my dear Sir, yours &c

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    FC, TFP