To John Dickinson Washington, Jan. 13, 1807MY DEAR AND ANCIENT FRIEND,
-- I have duly received your favor of the 1st inst., and am ever thankful for communications which may guide me in the duties which I wish to perform as well as I am able. It is but too true that great discontents exist in the territory of Orleans. Those of the French inhabitants have for their sources,
- the prohibition of importing slaves. This may be partly removed by Congress permitting them to receive slaves from the other States, which, by dividing that evil, would lessen its danger;
- the administration of justice in our forms, principles, & language, with all of which they are unacquainted, & are the more abhorrent, because of the enormous expense, greatly exaggerated by the corruption of bankrupt & greedy lawyers, who have gone there from the Ud S. & engrossed the practice;
- the call on them by the land commissioners to produce the titles of their lands. The object of this is really to record & secure their rights. But as many of them hold on rights so ancient that the title papers are lost, they expect the land is to be taken from them wherever they cannot produce a regular deduction of title in writing. In this they will be undeceived by the final result, which will evince to them a liberal disposition of the government towards them.
I have tired you, my friend, with a long letter. But your tedium will end in a few lines more. Mine has yet two years to endure. I am tired of an office where I can do no more good than many others, who would be glad to be employed in it. To myself, personally, it brings nothing but unceasing drudgery & daily loss of friends. Every office becoming vacant, every appointment made, me donne un ingrat, et cent ennemis. My only consolation is in the belief that my fellow citizens at large give me credit for good intentions. I will certainly endeavor to merit the continuance of that good-will which follows well-intended actions, and their approbation will be the dearest reward I can carry into retirement.
God bless you, my excellent friend, and give you yet many
healthy and happy years.