If you cannot obtain peace
1819 Sep 23
My Dear Friend,
If you cannot obtain peace but 'by selling out and leaving the country' I fear your pursuit of happiness will not be completely successful. Peace of mind depends very little upon place - or many may be [satisfied] as well when viewing the walls of a large city as when wandering in a forest.
Thousands and tens of thousands have for a few years past been removing to the city of New York as the place, which of all others, promised the most happiness; but look at the disappointed wretches now - how they flee from it as from the jaws of death! When man says I will do this and it shall make me happy, he is generally disappointed unless he does that which God has promised shall be accompanied with a blessing. Do not calculate too much upon a change of place.
If the creditors of Peter have no case, on which to rely but the one from a + Vesey, their claims and threats need not disturb you. No you may sleep soundly eat heartily and set them at defiance. Van Gusen + Co I presume have not noticed their cause and of course have abandoned their claim against you. You can therefore come visit us for a month and then go to [Tappan] + from thence to Rochester.
I understand from Gerritt that Judge Miller has refused to discharge Peter. Upon what ground his [unreadable] has not seen fit to declare. Peter's situation is much to be regretted. He must be treated tenderly and cautiously or he is ruined forever. Although much of his distress is the fruit of his own folly, yet must he, ought he be given up to certain ruin? A man inward to [Cabam?] may be turned naked and penniless upon the mould without greatly guarding his morals; but a man caught up as Peter has been, will when reduced to indigence, as often resort to the commission of offences, as the means of acquiring a support as to the [labors] of the field or shop. The more tenderly a child has been brought up, the more necessary to protect him when a man. This, however, is a painful subject and one on which you must have thought much.
I am Dear Friend
Peter Smith Esq
Johnstown 23 Sept 1819