Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist

dear N:

I have your letter of Aug 1.many are the complaints which I have made against you, but your pardon is accorded:—so many things occur to me which I should be glad to say to you that I am at a loss to begin—take some of them as they arise. I am glad that you stood upon points with Key —; he is one of those Englishmen who have succeeded in making their nation hated in every part of the known world!—I approve of the change you mention in the arrangements at the university, but believe there is not a man in america, who is competent to the place, who would accept it: you must therefore run the risk of another importation. what you write me about him makes me shudder more and more at the prospect of mother's return; upon this she is decided—I doubt if any thing can alter her resolution.—for she is sure that were she to remain He would be here; but then quelle scene! imagine him in this part of the country where public opinion is infinitely stronger than the laws which it confirms and never [contrasts]: I know that E. dreads it so much that Mr & myself have kept it entirely secret from her that He ever even talked or thought of such a thing;—yet knowing him, as I do, I am in hourly expectation of his appearance, of his breaking in upon us as did Mrs Morris, and her son who is so swollen and dropsical that he arrests the eyes of every one near him!—My own clear opinion is that Jeff. should hold, most obstinately, every advantage he has obtained and that the laws should give to Mr the guardianship of the children; for if she ever leave George, who is a promising boy of admirable qualities, he would threaten, and perhaps actually succeed in getting him into his own hands: for who, here, could prevent it. this will prevent Mr from leaving him; she will sacrifice herself to prevent her Children from being sacrified: Could she remain here, everything would conspire to make her comfortable; the widow of one of our Professors, has a pleasant and comfortable house, with only one child, a boy, older than George by a year or two: she supports herself, in part, by receiving boarders, and would be willing and glad to give up the young men, students, for mother &c.—If Mary and Cornelia did not come on, the expences of her. Tim. & G, here, would be small. George would be ½ a mile, only, from Mr Wells’s School, where he could go as a day scholar; and mother would have the constant company of Tim, whom she could educate, and if she wished of Mrs Peck, the lady of the house; who being a smart, managing woman would have all trouble about servants, providing, &c—. here, too she would be in speaking distance of a very charming family—Mrs Dana's and if she saw fit Tim could be placed as a day scholar at an excellent institution not 30 yards distant from her own door—: There are objections to this plan: I do not think that I could consent to mothers boarding in Cambridge, while her daughter had a house of her own in Boston; there would be reasons for consenting, to, and others for opposing such a plan: that she might be near to George, perfectly independant &c would be in its fain;—but to allow her to spend her widow's mite, when I could give her a home, seems unfeeling in the extreme; neither do I think my family would consent to it! however, the principal objection in her mind would be the fear that He would join her here: that arising from the expence would be done away in great part if the girls remain with Va—this would establish you master at Monticello—and He, perhaps, would migrate in disgust.—One thing I ought to add—if, considering the number of in my family, and the smallness of the house, and the annoyance to a man of my habits, of two children who have not been accustomed to controul, and who bring visitors of their own age, at all hours, to the interruption of peace and comfort, if, I say, I consent to their boarding at Cambridge, I shall feel it my duty to do all in my power to aid them in the expenses of such a situation: upon the whole I think this would be for the best: let Mr & Tim & Geo. remain among those with whom they now are acquainted, at 2 ½ miles distance from Ellen, in a popular and pleasant village, and where they will be perfectly independent, and devoid of all care of housekeeping where one or both of the children can go to an admirable school, and where all could visit us whenever they please, for there are coaches—hourly, to Boston, and most respectable conveyances—where they would be within 1 mile of my Aunts stores—and where we could visit them whenever we rode, that is to say almost every afternoon,—let such I say be the arrangement, and time, I think, will shew that it is the best for all parties.

I am in daily expectation of the coming of the Labranches, to whom I wrote at New York: they have two younger brothers here under Shepherd's care who means to place them under Mr Wells where I propose to send Geo.—In all these arrangements it seems to me that we are in danger of losing your visit—if mother remains here you certainly will not come, and if she does not it seems doubtful:—this will be a disappointment to me and Ellen. I counted upon opening yr. eyes to the true state and character of the North; though I must confess that you are among the fairest southerns [. . .] I have met with. In reference to the books—when you come here we will talk of the matter: but if you meet Gen. Cocke tell him I am obliged, greatly, by his offer of the riding horse, and accept his terms—(to procure him one of our Cleaveland Bays, if any one can be found—)—it is a passion which I cannot gratify—that of possessing a high bloody blooded, long, sinewy, clean, soft haired thin skined, well limbed saddle horse!—we have, I hesitate not to say it the finest roadsters in the world, creatures that can go from 17 miles in an hour, upon the test—; not one or two only, but all of them, worth 500 each—but I do not believe that is a first rate running horse in the State New England!—do you think, after such a speed as you report of—that he would darken my doors?

I recd the Va Advocate, with my name upon it, and presume you have subscribed for me:—make up a memo. of what I owe the estate for the purchases at time of sale, deduct from it what you have recd from Dunglison &c—and pay the balance from the sum recd on a/c tally—

by so doing you will oblige, Yrs,
J. C jr.

If you come on do not make it later than Octr and stay as long as possible, &

N. B.—make no preparations before you leave. I mean buy no hat, no boots nor any thing else till you reach this place: you may get better here, and not spoil them in travelling.

RC (DLC: NPT); addressed: “To Nicholas Philip Trist Esqr Charlottesville; Albemarle County: Virginia”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by Trist: “Coolidge (J.) recd Aug. 17 ’27.”