24th Jany. 31
I received long ago your interesting favor on the 31st of Oct with a pamphlet referred to, and I owe an apology for not sooner acknowledging it. I hope it will be a satisfactory one that the state of my health crippled by a severe Rheumatism, restricted my attention to what seemed to have immediate claims upon it, and in that light I did not view the Subject of your communication, ignorant as I was of the true Character of Masonry and little informed as I was of the grounds on which its extermination was contended for; and incapable as I was and am, in my situation of investigating the controversy, I never was a mason, and no one perhaps could be more a stranger to the principles, rites and fruits of the institution I had never regarded it as dangerous or noxious; nor on the other hand<,> as deriving importance from any thing publicly Known of it. From the number and character of those who now support the Chages against Masonry, I cannot doubt that it is at least susceptable of abuses outweighing any advantages promised by its patrons.With this apologies explanation I tender you Sir my respectful & cordial salutations
Draft (DLC); newspaper quotation (William & Mary).