To Nathaniel Barrell

    Philadelphia        1 July 1797

    My dear Sir

    I am very much gratified that you have not wholly forgot your old friend; And that an event which he feels no disposition to blush at, & which, you compliment me, in saying “is a thousand times better than you should have effected had you been in my situation,”1 has once more brought me to your remembrance—It is now within a few days of the close of the second Session since I have had the pleasure of reading a Line from you—

    After the above approbation of my conduct in circumstances of some delicacy, I trust you will at least excuse me for not following your directions relative to the inclosed Letter2—I love your zeal & unalterable attachment to your friends; & I am persuaded you will indulge them in particular cases to give it a new direction if it should appear to them to be likely to mar the great object you & they have in view—Duelling is imprudent and unwise upon the ground of Atheism—And upon any system that admits of a future state of retribution it becomes a crime not to be named but with horror & detestation—

    Courage does not consist in courting unnecessary danger; nor is it evidence of cowardice to avoid it when the Laws of God, or the Society we live in, do not command us to face it.

    This is the first time I have mentioned this affair in any Letter I have wrote—And probably this will be the last, as we shall adjourn in a few days. When I see you, which I hope will be this summer we will discuss this & other subjects more at large; for if I can get time to make a visit from home but three days I, with Mrs. Thatcher, will spend one of them at your house—

    The state of politics is too complex, to enter upon in a Letter. Nothing short of a large book could give a tolerable idea of the situation of America at this time—And much of that must be conjecture—

    Make my respects to Mrs. [Sarah Sayward] Barrell & [Sarah Barrell] Keating, & believe me to be with every sentiment of esteem & friendship, my dear Sir, your obedient Servant

    * * *

    ALS, Barrell Correspondence. Addressed to York; franked; redirected to NB, “Now at Joseph Moodys Esqr. Kennebunk”; received 14 July.