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DEAR SIR : You perceive, from the very first word I have written, that I address you with the same feelings with which we parted. There are certain expressions in your letter of April last, which, if you recollect, you must acknowledge, are not calculated to conciliate : they spring, however, so manifestly from a zealous attachment to Col. Burr, and a misapprehension of my feelings, that they have produced none of those sensations which, under different circumstances, they would not fail to excite. I pass them over, too, the more readily, as I am persuaded from your temper, the moment of discovering your error will be the moment of regret at having indulged it. Suffer me then to assure you, I have inflicted none of those wounds upon my " friends or relatives " which you apprehend. Col. Burr feels that he has not the smallest grounds of resentment against me ; he is perfectly satisfied ; nor does there exist a shadow of that animosity between us that you deprecate. The fact is, from not having a view of the whole ground, you have judged precipitately and erroneously of my error, in giving faith to the letter attributed to Col. Burr by Gen. Wilkinson, I have long been satisfied from several quarters. Nothing but the shape, apparently so unquestionable, in which it came, could have gained it credit with me, for a moment. These things, however, will shortly be put to rights. As soon as the trial, now pending at Richmond, is over, the event of which, I am persuaded, can not but be favorable, Col. Burr will be with us. A letter from him, of the 12th instant, announces health, spirits and confidence. Your letter was received the beginning of the present month, and, but for the necessity of ascertaining the intentions of Col. Burr upon the subject of it, should have been acknowledged immediately. I forwarded it to him directly, and have just heard from him. He informs me that the bill-holders have instituted no suit against you, but are at present expecting payment from him; that he has hopes of shortly effecting an arrangement by which he shall be able to meet the bills himself, which will, of course, relieve you, and render a reference to me unnecessary. He adds, that a gentleman, as agent for him, was to set out in a few days for the western country, through whom you should hear further and more amply upon the subject. These expectations of Col. B., I trust, will be accomplished. I have this day written to him, making certain offers which, I hope, will facilitate them ; but should they unfortunately fail, I shall certainly consider myself bound, both in honor and justice, to fulfill my engagement to you. The total failure of my crop, caused by the storm of last fall, has occasioned me a temporary embarrassment; but should your reimbursement devolve upon me, I shall cheerfully make any arrangement for a settlement which may prove satisfactory : the troubles and vexations you have under gone, the dreadful solicitudes and painful situation, so long endured by your amiable family, have my liveliest sympathies. The energy of mind, which distinguishes Mrs. Blennerhassett, has had a painfully ample field for exertion ; but the storm is past, and better moments, I trust, are about to arrive. Of the friendly attentions and unremitting hospitalities received from you during our tour through the western country, allow me to assure you of my grateful recollections. Were it within the scope of probabilities, I need not tell you how much pleasure the presence of yourself and family, at the Oaks, would give us. Tender, I pray you, to Mrs. Blennerhassett, my profound and most friendly respects.
Believe me, with much esteem, your very obedient,
HARMAN BLENNERHASSETT, ESQ.
P. S. Being unwell myself, Mrs. Alston has acted as my amanuensis. It is so customary at this time to publish extracts from every letter in which the name of Col. Burr happens to be mentioned, that I was about to observe to you, what you will readily perceive without the observation, that this is not meant for the same purpose, but merely for your own perusal.
Having acted as amanuensis for Mr. Alston, I now believe to speak for myself, and inquire after the health of Mrs. Blennerhassett ; her fortitude has, I hope, supported her through the troubles of the winter. May they be the last she has ever to encounter. I wrote to her last autumn, but I suppose my letter has not reached her. The fulfillment of our mutual promise of corresponding would afford me great pleasure ; for it will now be the only means of supporting a friendship, which I flatter myself commenced in conformity of sentiment and sincerity ; but whatever may be the length of our separation or discontinuance of intercourse, the happy days I spent on the Ohio, and the character of Mrs. B., will remain indelibly impressed on the mind of her friend and admirer. T. B. ALSTON.
- Joseph Alston
- The Blennerhassett Papers, Embodying the Private Journal of Barman Blennerhassitt, and the Hitherto Unpublished Correspondence..., 1864