Wednesday, 1 July, 1828

It is singular how many ways people will contrive to find out whether an individual be capable of performing anything in more than one sphere or to find whether a man is what they have a right to expect from what he professes to be, if they are incapable of judging fo rwant of proper information. This morning two of the inhabitants called on me and wished me to deliver an oration on the Fourth of July saying the people were anxious I should, indicating it would be advantageous to me as many people would attend; I should become better acquainted with the inhabitants of the surrounding country. I understood the intention well; it was merely done to see whether I could make out anything to say and say it. They concluded that if I was capable I would give no objections, and if I did not agree to do as they requested, it would be an evidence that I was incapable. But it did not take me long to decide, though well aware of my inability to do proper justice to so good and feeling a subject as the Declaration of Independence. I, however, said if it were the desire of the majority of the inhabitants, I had no objects to comply with the request and would at any rate attempt to address the people on that day, and that they could make all the necessary arrangements for that purpose. ut I must say I felt a little embarrassed even at the idea of attempting such a thing in a strange country and among strangers, and considered the request a very singular one because it indicated that they were doubtful of my ability. It is no pleasant task to undertake to do that which we are not used to perform, as in the case before me. I was not used to speak in public, to an audience, and now to do it under all the circumstances of a perfect stranger, was far from a pleasant idea. If I was acquainted with the character of the country I should not feel quite so delicate on the subject.