To Louis Sébastien Mercier
Washington Feb. 6. 1803.
I recieved by mr Paine the letter of 12th. Fructidor which you were so kind as to write me. I some time ago testified, in a letter to the President of the National institute, my grateful sense of the honor done me by that society: and in reply to your obliging expressions on the same subject, I can only reiterate assurances of my thankfulness for the partial light in which they have been pleased to view me. with every affection for science, & every disposition to promote it which can animate the [heart] of man, it has been my fortune to be obstructed from it by circumstances, and to be destined to pass my life in labours less pleasing to my natural propensities: labours too which, however well intended, do not always leave the mind as well satisfied with their result, as with that of a geometrical problem.
Madame Bonneville has not yet arrived. should she visit this part of our republic, be assured, Sir, that I shall [. . .] [shew her] those attentions which her [merits] and your recommendation entitle her [to expect]. long acquainted with your distinguished work as a writer, often nourished by information from your pen, I have peculiar satisfaction in being furnished with an occasion of expressing to you the sentiments of my esteem and assurances of my high respect and consideration.
P.S. Feb 10. on conversing with mr Paine I find I was mistaken in a supposing Made. Bonneville not arrived. she is in New Jersey, and was the bearer of your letter, which mr Paine delivered me, and I thought he had recieved it from you.
RC (DLC); blurred; at foot of text: “M. Mercier.”