Montpellier June 21. 1826
I received by yesterday’s Mail, your letter of the 14th. inviting, in the name of the Committee of arrangement, my presence at the celebration in the Metropolis of the U.States, of the fiftieth anniversary of their Independence.
I am deeply sensible of what I owe to this manifestation of respect on the part of the Committee; and not less so of the gratifications promised by an opportunity of joining with those, among whom I should find myself, in commemorating the event which calls forth so many rejoicing reflections on the past, and anticipations of the future career of our Country. Allow me to add that the opportunity would derive an enhanced value from the pleasure with which I should witness the growing prosperity of Washington, and of its Citizens, whose kindness during my long residence among them, will always have a place in my grateful recollections.
With impressions such as these, it is with a regret, readily to be imagined, that I am constrained to decline, the flattering invitation you have communicated. Besides the infirmities incident to the period of life I have now reached, there is an instability of my health at present, which would forbid me to indulge my wishes, were no other circumstance unpropitious to them.
This explanation will I trust be a sufficient pledge, that altho’ absent, all my feelings will be in sympathy with the sentiments inspired by the occasion. Ever honored will be the day which gave birth to a nation, and to a System of self-government, making it a new Epoch in the History of Man. Be pleased to accept, Sir, for yourself & the Committee assurances of my respectful consideration, and of my best wishes.
RC (NjP); FC (DLC).