[Hand of G. Petrie:]
November 7, 1838.
My dear Friend,
Your letter, which I have just received, has given me some pain. You have mistaken me entirely, and I did not imagine that I had written a word that could lead you to suppose that (I) was in the slightest degree angry with you. You say that this is the third time that I have been so, but I assure you that you are in error at least in the number thus made out. I do not recollect ever having been angry with you, for, it is a fact, I do not preserve in my memory any recollection of feelings of this nature towards my friends; but I am certain I was actuated by no such feeling when I sat down to write my last letter to you. I had no reason to do so, and though I commenced on a somewhat bantering humour I soon laid it aside and wrote with the gravity and sincerity which this subject and my respect for you required, and believe me that when I said that I expected to be enlightened as usual by your remarks I said it with perfect
sincerity and truth - aye truth without the slightest admixture of flattery. If I were capable of writing to you in the heartless way, which you have supposed, I should despise myself, and more particularly at a time when you require everything to cheer you under your toils. Do not for a moment harbour such a thought. However worded my hasty letter was, which though I wrote it I never read, you will, I trust, find on a careful reading, nothing in it but (what) was intended to be useful in your future researches. In fact, I had for some time previous, intended to write to you on the subject, to warn you & O'Conor of the chance of error, in the conclusions you were raising[?] as to the ages of buildings from their architectural peculiarities, but with my habitual habit of procrastination I deferred it till your letter gave me the requisite spur. But do not mistake me. I do not say you are wrong or that I am right in my doubts. I only wish to excite you to the most careful observation, by being acquainted with the shadows of doubt which have crossed the mind of one who had originally come to the same conclusions you now hold.
In this way you will be able to give the most invaluable aid to the establishment of the truth, which is what we have equally in view. And for my part I shall feel as much pleasure in having my doubts proved to be unsubstantial or [?] otherwise, and I am equally sure that you will feel equally glad to abandon an opinion the moment you discover sufficient evidence of its erroneousness. The subject is indeed one of such extreme difficulty, that it requires all the facts which observation of the most accurate kind can accumulate to enable us to determine unerring criteria of the age of a building. All the architectural antiquaries of England had latterly come to the conclusion that there was not a vestige remaining of a church in England of Saxon work. But Mr. Rickman has discovered by a simple peculiarity, that of "the long and short" masonry, that there are remains anterior to the Normans, and I mention this as an instance [of] how easily the most judicious observers even may fall into error. But my space warns me to close, and I shall only add that I have always regarded you as a sincere friend - that I do so still - and that I hope you (will) never suppose from any thing I may hastily write that I am or can be less than,