To Nathaniel Barrell

    Philadelphia        26 December 1792

    My dear Sir—

    I have entered so deeply into the French Revolution, & take such pleasure in seeing a minute account of the progress of their Government, thro’ its various stages, from a Despotism to a pure republican form, that I wish every body may feel, on this occasion, as I do myself—The inclosed paper will give you a more accurate detail of the late success of the french Arms against the combined force of the Despots of Europe than any heretofore published1—And will I trust afford you the same pleasure it has given me—

    I must confess that, at the time, I first saw the late Constitution of France, which acknowledged a Royal, hereditary Executive, I was rather inclined to approve of the System; and believed it was sufficient, for the great cause of freedom, that the huge image of Despotism in France was should, like the Image of Nebuchadnezezer, be broke into pieces.2 But since the affair of the tenth of August, I am now convinced that was not sufficient;3 And do think that nothing short of a total demolition of every part & principle of their old Government will serve the cause of Freedom—The ancient Constitution of France and every seperate piece & branch of it must, like the Calf of Aaron, be ground to powder,4 before a genuine Republic can be established—The very name of King would injure the cause—Hence I am among the number of those who applaud the decree of the National Convention which abolishes a King and every badg[e] of Royalty5—I look upon the inhabitants of France, since this Decree, to be in a state of equality, & proper subjects of a representative Government founded on the Rights of Man6—Indeed, I have I am as great an enthusiast in the cause of French liberty as Luther was in the Reformation7—I almost bring myself to believe I shall live to see a Republican Government spread through Europe; & the Grand Seniour [Sultan] himself doing homage to its shrine—

    I have not heard a word from you or our friend the Doctor since I spent the agreeable evening at your house on my Journey to Boston;8 & you were so obliging as to give me a pass from your house to Portsmouth [New Hampshire], for which I acknowledge myself your debtor—I hope you will make a second visit this winter to Biddeford, I should be happy to be at home to recieve you & Mrs. [Sarah Sayward] Barrell; but since I am deprived of this agreeable pleasure, I have deputised my dear wife to contribute all in her power to make your visit pleasing—

    Yesterday I received a Boston paper containing a statement of the Votes at the late election for national Representatives9—And I must declare, that, next to the pleasure it must will be naturally concieved I ought to feel at seeing a generous majority of the votes of the District given to myself for so important & honorable a Trust as that of a Representative of the people of the State for two years, it affords me a very rational satisfaction to find that [Daniel] Davis & [William] Lithgow stand highest on the pole for Represen to Represent Cumberland & Lincoln10—Because, it is a satisfactory evidence that the many objections made to them, on account of their being Lawyers, were deemed, by an enlightened people as having no weight—I will acknowledge I did not apprehend much danger from this objection as it included myself in its terms, equally as these Gentlemen; for it had been tried, at each of the preceeding elections, but without effect; and some of the most severe pieces published in the papers against Lawyers endeavoured, for particular reasons, to except me from the force of the Objection. Yet I always felt hurt at these objections—Because, in a free Government a mans profession, let it be what it may, ought not to be made an objection to his recieving the suffrages of the people & serving them in a public capacity, provided he is quallified with ability & integrity—I also had reason to believe that some persons taking advantage of what they took to be a popular prejudice against Lawyers made use of that objections to serve particular purposes—purposes purely selfish11

    I do not mean to say, at this time, that Davis or Lithgow are possessed of more abilities, or generally are better qualified to serve the public than other Candidates—On this point let every elector judge for himself—but I wish him not to be decieved by objections that are only such, in name, & are addressed to their prejudices, rather than their understanding—

    A man is a Lawyer—therefore he ought not to recieve the votes of his fellow citizens—

    A man has black hair, therefore the citizens ought not to give him their votes—One of these arguments is as reasonable as the other—

    You will rejoice with me in hearing that Mr. [John] Adams is certainly re-elected Vice-President by a good majority of Votes12

    I am, my dear Sir, yours &c

    * * *

    ALS, Barrell Correspondence