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In the mean time I beg your acceptance of my best wishes, and I remain, with unalterable respect and regard, your obedient servant.
PATRICK HENRY TO HENRY LEE.
Red Hill, 27 June, 1795. MY DEAR SIR, Your very friendly communication of so much of the President's letter, as relates to me, demands my sincere thanks. Retired as I am from the busy world, it is still grateful to me to know, that some portion of regard remains for me amongst my countrymen; especially those of them, whose opinions I most value. But the esteem of that personage, who is contemplated in this correspondence, is highly flattering indeed.
The American revolution was the grand operation, which seemed to be assigned by the Deity to the men of this age in our country, over and above the common duties of life. I ever prized at a high rate the superior privilege of being one in that chosen age, to which Providence entrusted its favorite work. With this impression, it was impossible for me to resist the impulse I felt to contribute my mite towards accomplishing that event, which in future will give a superior aspect to the men of these times. To the man especially, who led our armies, will that aspect belong ; and it is not in nature for one with my feelings to revere the revolution, without including him who stood foremost in its establishment.
Every insinuation that taught me to believe I had forfeited the good will of that personage, to whom the world had agreed to ascribe the appellation of good and great, must needs give me pain ; particularly as he had opportunities of knowing my character both in public and in private life. The intimation now given me, that there was no ground to believe I had incurred his censure, gives very great pleasure.
Since the adoption of the present constitution I have generally moved in a narrow circle. But in that I have never omitted to inculcate a strict adherence to the principles of it. And I have the satisfaction to think, that in no part of the Union have the laws been more pointedly obeyed, than in that where I have resided and spent my time. Projects, indeed, of a contrary tendency have been hinted to me; but the treatment of the projectors has been such, as to prevent all intercourse with them for a long time. Although a democrat myself, I like not the late Democratic Societies.
As little do I like their suppression by law. Silly things may amuse for a while, but in a little time men will perceive their delusions. The way to preserve in men's minds a value for them, is to enact laws against them.
My present views are to spend my days in privacy. If, however, it shall please God, during my life, so to order the course of events as to render my feeble efforts necessary for the safety of the country, in any, even the smallest degree, that little which I can do shall be done. Whenever you may have an opportunity, I shall be much obliged by your presenting my best respects and duty to the President, assuring him of my gratitude for his favorable sentiments towards me.
Be assured, my dear Sir, of the esteem and regard with which I am yours, &c.
END OF VOL. X.