To Nathaniel Barrell

    Philadelphia        29 January 1800

    My dear Sir—

    Since I have not wrote you this session I have no cause to complain for your not giving me a Letter—And if it were not for a wish to send you a connected detail of the late Revolution in France contained in the enclosed paper1 I dont know that I should trouble you with a line at this time—For tho people, at a distance from the Seat of Government, generally look that way, & expect news from Congress, the moment its Sessions begin; yet, hitherto, they have done nothing of moment, unless the great length of time consumed in debating on the Letter of the Virginia boy should be considered as such2—This with some other subjects of the most trifling appearance has consumed more time than they deserve, were we to judge abstractly on the point—But my friend; these things cannot be avoided in a Government where free debate, and open Galleries are made part of the Constitu[tion.] What think you of the French Republic now?3

    When I was at your house last Fall, in conversation with Mrs. [Sarah Sayward] Barrel, & [Sarah Barrell] Keating I declaimed too much against Mary Wolstencraft—I spoke of her principally from the ideas I had imbibed of her from reading her Rights of woman—since that time I have read her post-humous works—and the Letters she wrote while she was connected with Mr. [Gilbert] Imlay—to whom she considered herself as married, tho not according to the Laws of the land—These have induced a thoro’ change of opinion in my mind of her character—I declare myself quite in love with her—I find I never was more erroneous in my judgment of a person in my life—And I forgive all her faults & blot out all her transgressions! She was a charming woman; & nothing was wanting to make her celebrated in the most elegant & delegate [delicate] circles but to have been connected in marriage with the man she loved—She was capable of Love, & constancy—I lament her death—Pray read this part of my letter to Mrs. Barrel & Keating as my apology for what I said against the unfortunate, but lovely Mary4

    I am, my dear Sir, yours most sincerely

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    ALS, Barrell Correspondence. Addressed to York, Maine; franked; postmarked.