Richmond, April 3d 1816
My dear Major
It is most true I have been very negligent in not answering your letters – but I must plead as an excuse – my – almost detestation of writing – (save when congratulating our friend Paulding:) You ask (in a postscript of a letter which came to hand a few days ago which had been in the Post office in New York) whether I received a long letter from you while in Gibralter; I did so and answered that letter as soon as I arrived in New Port in November last – and then wrote you two or three letters from New York – now I hope this will satisfy you – on that head.
I have been here about six weeks among my friends and am ordered on to Philadelphia as a witness on the trial of Thorn – how long I shall remain there is doubtful. I will if possible again visit our friends in New York – although in their great affliction – I have long ago learned to look upon their great charms and perfections without presuming to wish they were mine. Serena was all loveliness when I left New York, but she is not for a Virginian: You mistake, I did not ever dare to look upon her but as a friend, I was not your rival. If you had possessed ten thousand a year – she would long ere this been Mrs Lee – of this enough.
If I can in my travels manage matters I will not fail to come to your part of the country. I shall return to Virginia, but I shall be happy to hear from you in Philadelphia. I have much to talk to you about when it may be our good fortune to meet, which I hope it may be shortly; But I hope you will get married, to some fine woman. It is much better than remain as we are – I only wish I was.
Will Carter has resigned – and I am &c
J B Nicolson
Source: Typescript carbon copy, Stratford Hall vertical files
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 January 3