The letter below, almost 200 years old, is on display at the McDuffie Museum. It required 251/2-cents postage. All spellings below have been transcribed directly from the letter.
Mr John Buchanan
Winsboro Fairfield Co
Dist So Carolina
Wrightsboro Feb 9th 1815
My much respected friends, I employ many of my passing moments in thinking of you & my other Carolina friends, altho your not hearing from me, by letter, would indicate the contrary. My culpable tardiness in writing has arisen from the importance & multiplicity of the duties which have devolved upon me. Not long after I came to this place, my partner in the practice accepted a place in the medical department of the army. This threw the whole business here into my hands, which were already full. The season being unusually sickly during the fall, I was not able to attend to all the applications. Finding myself, in many cases, considerably deficit, I was forced assiduously to study, whenever I had even the smallest leisure.
Retrospecting my acquaintance with you, I find in it many interesting circumstances which greatly endear to me the recollection of you. Tho the merciful & alleviating hand of time may efface from the mind its sorrows & afflictions, as characters on the sand of the sea shore are destroyed by its ceaseless waves, yet the mournfully pleasing remembrance of friends is indelibly written on the minds of the virtuous & magnanimous by all their former affection & kindness. There is a divinity in benevolence, which transforms all persons into the likeness of the great benefactor of men & causes even the vicious & prophane to have strong predilictions in their favour. In it the righteous see the imitation of him who causes the rain to desend on the wicked as well as the righteous.
I shall never be able to discharge the debt of kindness I owe my Carolina friends.
To them my feelings are particularly allied. It is a physiological truth that parts of simular structure, however distant, have a direct sympathy with each other. Does not something analogous to this take place in the members of the body of Christ? Taught we are, by the Redeemer & induced by our sensations to love every Christian, but to love with peculiar fervour those whose minds & manners are most simular to our own. The electric fluid passes not with greater celerity thro its conductors, than sympachilic joyfull or mournfull sensations are propigated among those who are enchained to each by the cords of the Lord. My fears, my hopes, are both excited, whenever I think of Winsboro. I love you, & therefore I hope for your prosperity. I would much rather live where I could frequently see you than where I do. It is probable I shall be denied this privilege till the mode of our present connection with matter be destroyed. Then journeying to some of those immense systems beyond the limits of ours, which no glass has ever enabled the human eye to see, I shall meet & hear you say O the depth both of the wisdom & knowledge of God: or rather, in the New Jerusalem, shall we mingle our voices in singing Worthy is the Lamb that has died, etc.
My father & mother in Christ, do you still retain the consolations of piety -- the evidence of forgiving love -- the spirit of adoption? Is the path along which you walk more and more luminous? O may your remaining days be marked with chearful obedience & resignation to the divine will. How prospers your circuit & society? My affectionate remembrance to former friends, particular to your president & companion, Sister Means and family. I expect an immediate answer from you, & shall be greatly disappointed if I receive it not. Request Brother Judge to let me hear of the prosperity of his district. In the bonds of the most respectfull, sincere, & Christian love, I remain yours.
Robert L Kennon
J & S Buchanan
P. S. I expect to be in your State & perhaps to see you in April. My health is very good.
Excuse my paper & writing.