Congressman Thatcher

    february 1789–january 1791

    * * *


    To Nathaniel Barrell

    New York City        11 February 1789

    My friend

    The enclosed papers will communicate to you all the intelligence we have here of a foreign kind—And as to domestic news, this City is more barren than old York or Saco—I am inclined to think this City is more a place of Business than Boston or Philadelphia and as evidence of this fact I will observe, that the News papers that are published here contain little of any thing besides Advertisements—whereas the daily & weekly papers published at Boston & Philadelphia have fewer Advertisements and more Anecdotes, foreign & domestic intelligence political Speculation &c &c

    Your introductory Letter handed me by Mr. Cabbot at Weston [Massachusetts] made me acquainted with a sensible, liberal & agreeable Gentleman—I assure you his Company contributed greatly to making my Journey both amusing and instructing.

    Good company is more than a balance against a bad road, or a cold season on a Journey.

    I hope you found your family well & happy on your return home—

    I still think that home is the only place for Happiness; and shall accordingly endeavour that my Studies & amusements here be such as look ultimately to increase domestic enjoyment hereafter—The merest chance & trifles have brought me into public Life, & I am too well acquainted with Life, in general, not to be fully sensible, that like causes will, in these cases, produce contrary effects—Therefore I am always ready—An increase of knowledge & a usefull communication of it to others so as to better my & their hearts is, & for a long time has been, my great object; & it is indifferent to me whether I advance in my views by reading men here, or reading books, with my dear family, upon Saco River—

    This is placing happiness upon its true basis; because it thereby becomes dependent upon no body but ones self—and what can a rational being ask for more than that his pleasure & happiness result from the voluntary exercise of his own powers—And is not this the situation of all men? I think it is—Why then, you will say, are not all men happy? Because they do not exercise their powers in that way & manner to which happiness is affixed—But here the question returns; why do they not improve their faculties as they ought in order to obtain this happiness? Because they are wrongly taught—that is—children, & grown people too, are constantly receiving Lessons that lead them to look for happiness from something out of themselves—And consequently, out of their power always to obtain—hence disappointment—Grief—perplexity—anxiety &c &c

    But I will lay aside moralising & philosophising—for the present.

    This State have not as yet made choise of their federal Senators—the two branches of their Legislature, as you will see by the papers, are so opposed to each other upon that question, let it come forward in what manner it will, that there seems no probability of their ever agreeing1—They certainly stand much in their own light—By not having a vote in the Senate they may soon see Congress remove from this State—for ’tis said the Southern States are determined to make a trial early in the first Session—farewell, for the present—

    My best compliments to Mrs. [Sarah Sayward] Barrell and Respects to her honoured Father & Mother, with perfect esteem & friendship I am my friend, yours &c

    * * *

    ALS, Barrell Correspondence