Montpellier July 22. 1831
I recd. by the last mail your letter of the 15th. instant, notifying the appt. which associates me with four others, as Referees on the comparitative merits of Dissertations, invited by premiums for the best held out by the "American Peace Society"
As it will be natural that the Referees should be together at the time designated for reviewing & deciding on the Dissertations in order to avoid the delay of circulating them among the Referees distant from each other as they are, or trouble not without delay also, of multiplying copies of the Dissertations, voluminous as they may be; and as it will be impossible for me to be present whatever the time & place assigned; these considerations would of themselves oblige me to decline the trust intended for me. But I have to add, that such is my want of health and the uncertainty of its sufficient re-establishment at my very advanced age, that I ought not to permit a reliance to be placed on my being able to perform the duty, under any arrangement whatever
I must request therefore that the Society will substitute another member, assuring themselves at the same time, that in coming to this decision, I am not the less sensible of what I owe for the mark of confidence conferred on me, nor behind any in devout wishes, for such a State of the world as it is the philanthropic object of the Society to promote With friendly salutations