Martha Jefferson Randolph to Joseph Coolidge

No apology is due My dear Joseph for the earnestness with which you urge Cornelia’s visit. believe me you can not be more anxious about it than I am, and I hope we shall be able to accomplish it without resorting to the means you propose. not that my heart does not admit to their fullest extent your claims as an excellent and loved son, but that in the present instance there is no occasion for availing our selves of your the priviledge which that character gave gives you. neither was there ever an objection upon the score of propriety to the the escort offered, for certainly next to her own brother, yours was the most natural and the most proper. but having never contemplated the probability of the thing for this winter no preparations of any kind had been made, and however trifling, they would still have required more time to make than might have been convenient to your brother to spare. having told you of the probability of her visiting you it may not be improper to mention the cause of her brother’s accompanying her, which hitherto has appeared to be the most improbable of all possible events you have already seen in the papers something of a lottery in which My dear father was concerned. the case is simply this. his affairs are much deranged, and the enormous expense of this establishment has made him extremely1 unhappy for the fate of his family. the impossibility of selling property for any thing like it’s real value determined him to petition the assembly to permit him to dispose of it in a it by lottery as the only means that would enable him to by which he could obtain a price that would enable him to pay his debts and retain a support for his old age and a home for his family. it has been granted with some opposition, but finally by a great majority; and under such restrictions as his friends thought necessary to preserve his character from reproach. the property is to be valued upon oath by commissioners chosen by the legislature and tickets issued only so far as the property so valued will fetch cover. when these arrangements are completed Jefferson will go on to New York on that business, and so f near you will not stop short of Boston. he thinks that he will be ready by the middle of March but knowing how very uncertain such calculations are I do not expect they will be ready before the latter end of the month; however this is only my own private opinion, better judges think otherwise. we had not forgotten Mann. but he will also be detained by the settlemt settlement of his own affairs till the end of the month, when he will go by sea, where in that stormy season I could never risk her. I am glad that My dear Ellen judged so wisely upon the subject, I was afraid that the “reversion of Monticello” as one of the prizes would have h affected her spirits. but she will recollect that the bitterest pang so far as relates to the loss of a home so dear is already past. when the time comes for us to leave it, it can occupy but a small place in my thoughts or feelings—

You will not be surprised to hear that Ellen Bankhead and the poor little infant will live with me. poor little fellow the time is not come yet when I can look at him with any feeling but sorrow. the natural consequence of our having the children was a reconciliation with the father and I must do him the justice to say that his conduct as far as it has come under my observation since our renewed intercourse, has been unexceptionabl[e] in all the various relations and situations in which it was my sad fate to see him. and for several months past he has abstained from the vice which caused so much unhappiness in the family. I have no right to ex believe but that there will be frequent relapses. but I think that his character is much softened from physical causes, that intemperance no longer produces madness as it formerly did, and that his feelings are entirely kind to every member of the family. My dear Jefferson determined at once to make up their difference and is very anxious to have little Thomas Bankhead. but he is now going to a school from which we have great hopes (Mr Deverell ) an advantage that he would not have at Tufton to which place there is no good [. . .] school convenient. you have something to forget and forgive My dear Joseph, and Ellen a great deal, but the circumstances which carried My beloved and sick father to the house, to the bedside of our lost saint, for so in truth I may call her, will have their full weight with you both. to all that she has left behind her, and loved, I pledge my self to shew that kindness which it was my misfortune not to have had it in my power to shew to herself—

God bless you both I will write to My dear Ellen soon. I have written but seldom this winter but you have known through others that I was generally wealth well in health, which under existing circumstances was all that could be hoped, and more than could have been expected. adieu My dear Joseph accept all a mother’s love from yours most affectionate[ly]

M Randolph

Mr Gilmer is dead burn this scrawl as soon as you have read it My eyes are so bad that if there was no other reason I can scarcely write at all

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); dateline below signature; addressed: “To Joseph Coolidge Esqr Senior Junior Esqr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by Coolidge: “Monticello—1 March 1826.”
1Manuscript: “extrmely.”