To John Fellows July 31, 1805
From the original letter at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
N. Rochelle July 31 ’05
I received yours of the 26 Inst. in answer to mine of the 19th. I see that Cheetham has left out the part respecting Hamilton and Mrs. Reynolds but for my own part I wish it had been in. Had the story never been publicly told I would not have been the first to tell it; but Hamilton has told it himself and therefore it was no secret, but my motive in introducing it was because it was applicable to the subject I was upon, and to shew the revilers of Mr. Jefferson that while they are affecting a morality of horror at an unproved and unfounded story about Mr. Jefferson they had better look at home, and give vent to the horror, if they had any at a real case of their own Dagon and his Delilah of a thousand dollars. It was not introduced to expose Hamilton for Hamilton had exposed himself, and that from a bad motive, a disregard of private character. “I do not (said Hamilton to Mrs. Harris),”I do not care a damn about my private character. It is my public character only that I care about.” The man who is a good public character from craft, and not from moral principle, if such a character can be called good, is not much to be depended on. Cheetham might as well have put the part in, as put in the reasons for which he left it out. Those reasons leave people at liberty to suspect that the part suppressed related to some new discovered criminality in Hamilton, worse than the old story.
I am glad that Palmer and Foster have got together. It will greatly help the cause on. I enclose a letter I received a few days since from Groton in Connecticut. The letter is well written and with a good deal of sincere enthusiasm. The publication of it would do good but there is an impropriety in publishing a man’s name to a private letter. You may shew the letter to Palmer and Foster. It is very likely they may know the writer, as Groton is about five or six miles from Stonington where Mr. Foster lived, and where, I believe, Mr. Palmer has some relations. As there is not an expression in the letter that renders it unfit for publication provided the name be omitted, or the initials J__ C__ be put in the room of it, I, for one, agree to the publication of it. It will serve to give confidence to those who are not strong enough in the true faith to throw off the mask of hypocrisy, as is the case in Connecticut, and there is no one vice that is more destructive to morals than this yanky-town vice, hypocrisy, is. - If the concluding paragraph be omitted, and the address at the top be in the plain style as I have put it, it will lose the appearance of a private letter. I have put out the word Sir in three or four places. Cheetham can have no reasonable objection against publishing it. It is a letter without offence, and he has some atonement to make for what was in his paper the winter before last, about the “mischievous writings of Thomas Paine.” If you give the letter to Cheetham, I wish him to return it to you after he has used it, or you to call for it.
I am glad you have seen Mr. Barret; but it is very extraordinary that you had not seen him before, for certainly a man in business is always to be found though he may not be always at home the first time. Your former letter might have been interpreted to signify that he kept out of sight, for you had called at least a dozen times.
It is certainly best that Mrs. Bonneville go into some family as a teacher, for she has not the least talent of managing affairs for herself. She may send Bebee up to me, I will take care of him for his own sake and his fathers, but this is all I have to say.
Remember me to my much respected friend Carver and tell him I am sure we shall succeed if we hold on. We have already silenced the clamour of the priests. They act now as if they would say, let us alone and we will let alone — You do not tell me if the Prospect goes on. As Carver will want hay he may have it of me, and pay when it suits him; but I expect he will take a ride up some Saturday afternoon and then he can chuse for himself.
I am master of an empty house or nearly so. I have six chairs and a table, a straw-bed, a feather-bed and a bag of straw for Thomas, a tea kettle, an Iron pot, an Iron baking pan, a frying pan, a gridiron, cups, saucers, plates and dishes, knives and forks, two candle sticks and a pair of snuffers. — I have a pair of fine oxen and an ox-cart, a good horse, a chair, and a one-horse cart, a cow, and a sow and 9 pigs. When you come you must take such fare as you meet with, for I live upon Tea, milk, fruit pies, plain dumplings, and a piece of meat when I get it; but I live with that retirement and quiet that suit me. Mrs. Bonneville was an encumbrance upon me all the while she was here, for she would not do anything, not even make an apple-dumpling for her own Children. - If you can make yourself up a straw bed, I can let you have blankets and you will have no occasion to go over to the Tavern to sleep. -
As I do not see any federal papers, except by accident, I know not if they have attempted any remarks, or criticisms on my 8th letter, the piece on Constitutions, Governments and Charters, the two numbers on Turner’s letter, and also the piece to Hulbert. As to anonymous paragraphs it is not worth noticing them. I consider the generality of such Editors only as a part of their press and let them pass.
I want to come to Morrisana, and it is probable I may come on to N. Y. but I wish you to answer this letter first.
Yours in friendship