Montpr. Decr. 23.
On my return from a visit to our University I recd your letter of the 10th. If I commend your zeal on a subject you deem both just & important, I must regret that you ascribe to my opinion on it, an influence wch experience does not warrant; and that you cast your eye on one only of the grounds on which I declined an interposition. The other, my advanced stage of life, and the appropriation of its remnant to other objects, formed the stronger plea; and every day admonishes me of its increasing validity. A naked opinion could claim no attention, and an analytic and argumentative one, if less unworthy of it, would require more thought & time than I could spare for the task. Should this explanation be unsatisfactory to your youthful ardour & vigour, I hope your days will be prolonged to a date, when you will be sure to do justice to it.
I beg you to be assured that this frankness is in perfect consistency with the favorable sentiments and friendly wishes, of which I offer you a repeated expression