Nov. 18th 1802.
I will not repeat to you asurances, which
I have repeatedly made, and of which at this time you
can have no doubt. Friendship contracted in the earlier
periods of youth, and strengthened by a lapse of years
needs, I hope, no proofs to confirm it. Doubts, unwelcome
doubts may sometimes intrude themselves, but on the receipt
of mutual letters they serve but to increase the mutual
pleasure. If I should not receive your letters regularly
I will impute it to anything rather than to a want of
affection in my friendship.
I was not surprized at the
choice of profession, which you had made.
"Ista veritas, etiamsi jucunda non est, mihi tamen grata est."
You will find in the prosecution of your
law studies, that that tædium, which at first attends
it, will gradually become pleasant decrease and the study in time
become pleasant. This is the effect which I have experien-
ced, for I can now, without any relation to the consequen-
ces, set down with a considerable degree of pleasure to
what I formerly considered a dry law book. But when
my friend, I look forward to the consequences, which
may result from laying a good and solid foundation,
and the consequences, which will result from a superfi-
cial knowledge of the science, from a task it becomes a
pleasure, and from a pleasure a duty.
There is no character in civil life more truly despi-
cable, there is no one, which ought to be more gener-
ally detested, than an ignorant pettifogger, who seeks by
provoking quarrels to obtain his own ends. He is
a disgrace to the profession and a curse to society.
There is no one, on the contrary,who is more respec-
table, and, I think I may add, whose situation is more
pleasant, than a lawyer, who unites to a complete
knowledge of his profession, the character of an
honest man. If I cannot be the one, I will not be the
other. I will not however despair; perhaps the imagi-
nation of youth colours the picture and renders it
more agreable than experience will find it.
However, my friend, I shall soon try, for next
October, I shall be twenty one, and shall then apply
for admission to the bar. I am not yet determined
where I shall pitch my tent, I think however at
Chillicothe our seat of government.
You seem to write as if you had an intention of visiting
this part of the world. Heaven grant it may be so.
Whether you write with a serious intention, or only
en passant, I am not only able to conjecture.
But while even the possibility remains, I will state
to you candidly the expectations, which a well read
lawyer might justly entertain on his arrival here.
Our present number of lawyers is not great for I
know by name the whole number in the Territory.
There are but eighteen practising lawyers to do the
the [best?] among these are truly persons, who are but
little indebted to education, and (modesty apart) less to
nature. This number will be much decreased by those
appointments, which will be made under a state
government. Besides my friend, this country is settling
allmost beyond the powers of calculation. People are flock-
ing in daily, and I think there is a fair prospect of
an extensive, and lucrative practice.
Our Convention are
now in session at Chillicothe forming our constitution.
They have given our State the name of Ohio. The con-
stitution will be pretty well tinctured with their
cursed democracy. Our Chancellor and Judges of our
Superior Courts are chosen by the legislature for five years.
Our Judges of the inferior Courts, and Justices of the peace
are chosen by the people. The other parts of the constitution
are similar to this.
Write me my friend an account of all
the occurrences, which take place in our old Seminary.
You cannot tell, until you experience it, how
important distance renders every little transaction.
Write me frequently, write me long letters. I, on my
part, will not be negligent. And now as my
paper is gone, and as your patience must be nearly
exhausted, I will conclude, by wishing soon to converse
with you, in propria persona, on the banks
of the Ohio.
Where and how are all our old schoolmates?