Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist

dear Nicholas—.

I write to you at the particular desire of Mr Sparks, who has been for two years in vain trying to obtain copies of letters (5 or 6 in number.) written by Mr J. to Ledyard the traveller, in the years 1785., 1787. & 1788—: these have been promised him by Jefferson, but have never been recd—and I, then at last wrote to Peyton, in Richmond, giving extracts from J’s letter which I have seen, and begging him—P—to have copies made and instantly forwarded: Peyton writes me that there are no letters to be found, among Mr Jefferson’s, to Ledyard; but that must be a mistake; as Jeff. had referred to them, and even designated their number and date in a letter to Sparks!—The life of Ledyard is now in the press, and nearly all printed: it was one of the wishes of Mr Jefferson that it should be written; and, to effect this, he restored all of Ledyard’s letters to himself, to his family, many years ago—; he did not give copies of his own letters, because he doubtless thought that the originals had been preserved; which proves not to have been the case.Sparks in his conversation to-day, expressed a good deal of sorrow at the indifference and neglect of his letters in to Jefferson, but added that from his interview with yrself he thought well of you, and was sure that you would interest yrself in his behalf—; do, therefore, by the earliest possible oppty, let us have Copies of these letters: they cannot, as it is, be pubished in the body of the work and must come out on a flying sheet, to be afterwards inserted in the volume.I depend upon you to shew Sparks that all are not unwilling to acknowledge, by their Services, the kind interest he has ever taken in the family;—besides, it may be of use; his Review can essentially aid the publication of Mr J.’s work, when subscription papers are issued.

now—for one thing more—: old Willard has never recd from Capt. Perry the money for the clock, which he Sold him—: will you see that Brockenbrough, in paying Perry, reserves the amo. due to Willard, as he promised?—again—Walker, who was [. . .] mentioned from Cambridge, as a fit person for the vacant professorship, has been provisionally1 engaged, at a handsome salary, as teacher at Round Hill, Northampton; he tells me that his Bro. (now in Phila.) writes that Patterson has declined the offer of the Situation in Charlottesville; and advises him, Walker, to make application for it! He begs me to ask of you, confidentially, what his chance his is, and whether you recommend him to offer for the newly created post, to which he feels himself, and is thought by Mr Farrar, more competent than for the first. He is young, ardent, ambitious, used to government, and would work day & night, and has applied himself to these studies entirely, the last two years; and, in good measure, to the practical parts, Such as lecturing about application of steam, and, I believ[e] rail-roads &c. &c: In your letter about Sparks write also respec Walker, you may do it to me unreservedly, and rely on my discretion.

and now for yourself—, the lamps are not yet Sent—: the reason is that a great variety of new patterns, and of various qualities, are hourly expected from London, and I have been waiting for them! yr. oil, and Cannister, are both ready, and will be sent with Jefferson’s paint the very moment the lamps are chosen.We are again in town, our little house is comfortable and elegant, and our winter will, I hope, be agreable. Mother and Tim are at Cambridge, most charmingly situated: the dearest wish of every heart at Monticello, and Edgehill, would be gratified, could you know the family, and see the apartment, and become acquainted with her friends, in Cambridge! the plan is that one of the three shall always be with us; Cornelia is now here; and, on her return, Tim, or her Mother, will follow; in this way all will be well: as for George, thought though I would not, knowingly, exaggerate, yet I fear that the simple description of his situation will Sound like extravagance to you: Suffice it, the school is of the first class—; the family of the highest respectability; the location admirable; and the boys of his own age—: his teacher speaks well of George; his complexion is clear, his eye radiant, and [. . .] movements happy—: blessed is the chance which places him [. . .] and no sacrifice but is worthily made in his behalf—. Often, dear Nicholas, do I wish for you;—with great delight would I welcome seeing you here; point out to you the many sources of happiness I enjoy, and feel assurd in sure of yr. Sympathy—! but, my paper is nearly covered, & it only leaves me room to add that all are well; that Cornelia is essentially improved Since her arrival—has invitations to 4 or 5 balls and Evening parties, this week, and that the approaching winter promises to recompense her for the desagrémens of the last.I hear that Gilmer is returned—what does he say of Boston?—he, however, saw but little, for he had but little time.

Ever, dr. N. Yr friend
J C jr.

Capt Basil Hall, the Loo Choo man, and author of Journal of a Voyage to the Pacific &c, is in Boston, and writing a Book upon America: and no man in England possesses greater talent at observation and a greater view of Science and practical knowledge than He: if I could choose from all Europe a man to write about us, it should be Hall; his book will do infinite Service at home, and not a little here. It will correct prejudice [in] the one country and vanity in the other.

I hear that Mr Jones, of Phila. is a candidate for the new Professorship, but, they say, he is not fit for it.

RC (DLC: NPT); torn at seal; addressed: “To Nicholas P: Trist: Charlottesville, Albemarle County: Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 17 Oct.; endorsed by Trist: “Coolidge (Jos.) recd Oct. 27. –27.”
1Manuscript: “proisionally.”
Date Range
October 16, 1827