Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ann C. Morris

I was extremely Mortified dear Sister at having past through New York without seeing you as I had intended. but we were detained so long in Baltimore by a violent cold and sore throat that I had, that we were obliged to come on as rapidly as possible that Jefferson might return immediately. as it was if we could have forseen it, I might have spent some hours with you, for the weather was so bad that instead of sailing at three o clock as we expected, when we were getting in to the hack and all our baggage on, we were told that the captain said he would not venture out in such a fog and that we should not sail till 9 o clock the next morning. however I shall return in may when I propose staying with you as long as Jefferson’s time, always limited will allow. our circumstance[s] so far appear entirely desperate. the lottery has not succeeded, and I look forward to nothing but maintaing my self and 7 children by the profits of a school which I shall open immediately upon my return to Virginia. the doors of our beloved home have been closed for ever upon My devoted family. My 2 younger children and My self are staying with Ellen, and all the rest have removed to Tufton. the establishment at Monticello will be broke up, and where I shall go circumstances will determine. the affairs of the estate will probably be arranged this winter so as to pay the debts, and I trust the legacies. but for me nothing will remain but an education given in happier days and for very different purposes—

My health which had been declining rapidly rendered some change necessary absolutely necessary. and the journey to Boston was chiefly under taken [. . .] with that view, and I am certainly much stronger and better than I was in a place before I left home where I had suffered so much that it seemed impossible for me to recover either health or spirits—God knows what, or where, my future lot will be cast. but I am determined to bear up to the utmost against adversity, and not to throw the burthen of my support upon one who has not only a large, but a growing family, who have so long been deprived of those exertions so necessary to every one’s success in Virginia perhaps more than most places. adieu dear Nancy I should have written sooner but I was so completely overwhelmed with my journey when I arrived that I was confined to my bed and did not recover from the cold I had taken and the fatigue and loss of sleep in the stages and steam boats for some time. remember me affectionately to Gouverneur and accept for your self the affectionate greeting of your friend and sister.

M Randolph

The Cary’s brook house is burnt to the ground I know no particulars but that most of the furniture is saved though much injured and the family for the present at Oakhill—excuse this illegible incoherent scrawl. [. . .] but I thought it better to send even this than to delay another mail—when perhaps I may not have more time.

RC (PPAmP: Smith-Houston-Morris-Ogden Family Papers); addressed: “To Mrs Gouverneur Morris Morrissania Harlaem P. Office New York”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 5 Dec.