you will mark out for me such a brief general outline as may prevent me from doing any thing outré, or getting foul of an interdicted subject. 2 [unsigned]
MANUSCRIPT: NYPL-GR (draft) ADDRESS: Wm. J. Spooner Esq. PUBLISHED (in part): Life, I, 170-171.
Great Barrington, May 5, 1821
I have this day received yours of the 28th of April. 1 I am much concerned at the account you give of your health. I hope however that you have not all the cause for apprehension you suppose. I myself, at your age, and all along since till within two or three years was occasionally affected with symptoms similar to those you describe, and I have known others to be so, who yet escaped the consumption. I think, therefore, that though there is every reason for prudence and caution in every thing that concerns your health, yet you ought not to give way to despondency.
I am glad you have concluded to come and stay awhile with me. You shall not be troubled with too much company--at least you will not if you choose--there is no compulsion here about paying visits. If you will invest me with authority for that purpose which I think you ought to do, and which I must claim (for persons who have your complaint, although they acknowledge the necessity of prudence in regard to their health as a general rule, are often perversely imprudent in particular instances) I will order the matter so, that you will not visit too much; and people, you know, are visited in proportion as they visit.
I like your plan of studying Botany this season. I think it will be apt to improve your health and strengthen your constitution. I know not where health abides, if it be not in the fields; and when the capricious nymph deserts me, as she often does, in my office, I am driven to seek her in the open air, and dig for her in my garden, or go after [her] to the groves and mountain tops. I think you can pursue the study of that science