32. Letter by William P. Van Ness to Nathaniel Pendleton


July 16, 1804


July 16, 1804.

Dr. Sir:

I went to the City yesterday for the express purpose of conferring with you on the subject of the contemplated publication. One of my children was extremely unwell when I left home and a short time after my arrival in town, a servant was sent to inform me that she was in extreme danger. To this unfortunate situation of my family, I bef you to ascribe my apparent inattention to the appointment of yesterday. I regret extremely that your first determination to publish on this day has been abandoned, because it will be extremely inconvenient for me to meet you. I shall, however, be in town by twelve o’clock, & inform you of my arrival & where I shall be happy to see you.

The objections that occured to me upon a slight view of you statement were, first that my reasons for not receiving the last communication from Genl. Hamilton were not explicitly assigned. I allude to the paper you offered the day after the message had been delivered, and the answer received. Second to the introduction of a copy of a paper which you read to me at your house but was not delivered me and of course never seen by my principal and as you afterwards furnished me with a written communication of an import somewhat different, I think that the only one that should be noticed. If all that was informally said on both sides is to be introduce, it will lead to a very long and intricate statement. One or two other things were presented to my mind at the moment of perusal, but of inferior importance. It is solely for the purpose of conversing with you on these points that I should prefer a short suspension of the publication and not to create unnecessary delay. While, however, the Coroner’s Jury is sitting, and the public mind is highly excited, I conceive that good rather than evil consequences would result from the proposed delay. Of this, however, you will judge & will, I trust, pursue such measures as are best calculated to allay the irritation which prevails.

Pardon me for not copying this letter, the gentleman is waiting for it, and when we meet, I will solicit of you permission to transcribe it.

I shall advise you of my arrival which will be as early as the state of my family’s health will permit, certainly by one o’clock. In the meantime, I will prepare my statement & submit it to your inspection.