Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist

dear N.

I begin with your p.s. to the letter from Mary.—The lamps will please you and wear well. only remember the directions I gave you respecting the manner of using them: Jeff’s lead is warranted of the best quality, and I know it to be the freshest in the place. Jones is it seems appointed: I have no doubt he will do very well—Walker is still young, and when Jones is tired he may be better qualified than he is at present. he is I hear no doubt fitted for the place, tho. I should not suppose him equal at present to Bonnycastle or Key. I never saw him but once, and he disappointed me then, as I think I wrote you at the time: (if Jones does not accept, or leaves you I should recommend you to appoint Walker; he will stay, and devote himself to the business, and be less capricious and crotchical than others who feel they have a reputation already, and have been sought:—He seems to me to be a high-minded man; his conduct has been dignified thoughout—of course, being poor, he was anxious to obtain a good situation, but he would not I am sure take any step which could interfere with Jones, if chosen;—Patterson you tell me recommended Jones—his—P’s—reputation is altogether local—not extending beyond Phila here he is not in much repute—but he is competent, I suppose, to judge of Jones’s qualifications whom he must know personally: Bonnycastle’s opinion I should value much more. after receiving your answer to a letter which I wrote, some time ago, respecting W’s chance—I scribbled a line or two to him, giving your opinion, unofficially; his answer was a determination to take no further step—In the first place he thought the situation must be filled already, or if not it was uncertain if he could procure sufficient testimonials of qualification to secure the place! here the matter rested until yesterday when I sent him a discretionary extract from your last:) I then called upon Mr Farrar he does not incline to take any step under present circumstances, nor to recommend anyone who would interfere with Jones but authorizes me to say that in the want of another choice, and that being Walker, the fullest and most satisfactory recommendations will be immediately furnished him from Cambridge, upon all the points named in yours: when I receive W’s answer to my letter of last evening I will see if it is worthwhile to do any thing more at present, tho. my opinion is that Jones will accept, and do very well, I am not sanguine about the success of the University. the reform began at the wrong end you should have had good schools before you had an University; it is like buying a coach with[out] horses: take into view the increasing poverty of the state, the want of proper preparation for the course of study—the inevitable departure, sooner or later, of the Professors—(foreign ones)—the jealousy of the other Colleges—of the remote parts of the state, & of the Religious every where, and you must gradually dwindle into something like Hampden & Sidney or Wm & Mary!—for your kindness in inclosing to Sparks these Letters of Ledyard’s I am greatly your debter; and let me add you have secured by yr promptness the esteem of S. himself: he leaves Boston for Washington in a day or two; if you wish any advice about the papers of Mr J. write to him immediately, in Washington.—You ask about money—there is enough of it here, and it may be hired on the best security at 5%—but I would not try to borrow 15000 dls on every acre in Albemarle, nor every slave on them. This between you and me, however, tell Mr G. there would be no difficulty if he has stock of U.S.B. or security of that sort, but for personal property in land or slaves, ’twould be a vain attempt.—You say the Blenheim land would not have brought 50 cts pr. acre—do you mean that the Blenheim horse could have been bought for 450. dollars? if so he would have found a purchaser here.—I observed that a horse of a Mr Coles obtained the premium at you[r] agricultural exhibition as being the best riding horse—how does he compare with Davis’s mare? what is J’s opinion about her—he knows what sort of horse I want—does he recommend her—from your description she must be somewhat of the kind I have been looking for—: his lowest price in the Spring would oblige me. as for the hams remember that I cannot receive them without a return—let me know their value, and ascertain what Jane would like; you lecture me about my liberality—recollect that presents are always more costly than the payment of debts—and if I am not allowed to pay for these I cannot ask for them again, and must make a present of more value than they.

as for the cider as I shall be glad to have it, and the bottling will cost nothing. I have bottles, and a man servant.—The books at length have come, Ellen is pleased, and glad to have the Dufief; and so am I the manual the quarto by Brother. where is Hilliard; and the Atlas—? thanks for securing old Cog’s money—an excellent name—his wrinkled visage has haunted me for the last month or two:—By tomorrow a vessel sails for Richmond, and the wine for Lomax and Dunglison is aboard. The bill will be sent there from Messrs Devine of this place. When Gilmer was here I took him to a wine-cave, and he asked for the address of the vender, but these wines were french, if any one in Charlottesville wants madeira, brandy, sherry, or Sicily let them write to Devine:—I cannot here refrain from mentioning Tucker’s conduct—he wrote me from N. Yk, telling me of a book he wished to publish, and begging me to sell it for him in Boston—he could get little or nothing for it there; I made an effort, went to every publisher, procured an offer from one, (only,) wrote by return of mail—(he begged me to dispatch—) telling him of the result of my effort, and writing him to come on to Boston, it was at Commencement-time—and he was within 24 hours journey: but he returned no answer; published his book in N. Yk—and took no notice in any way [. . .] the trouble he had given, or of the invitation he had recd—I thought at least if there was no other answer there would have been one in the shape of a presentation-copy—wh. would not have cost him 50 cts!—We are all well—my two babes are lovely creatures—one, all South in character, the other all North!—I am glad that your little Martha proves so healthy and interesting—. Mother and the girls are well. Cornelia had a touch of a cold, but she was more scared than hurt. Tim is going to an excellent day school in Cambridge; George is doing well—he is admirably well placed:—Why do I not receive the Charlottesville papers—I have not one in four that are printed: Mr has a letter from Mr Ramsay of Carolina, in answer to hers; very gentlemanly & kind. also one from the Col. wh. I have not seen.Can I do anything for you: what has become of the pictures at Monticello, the marble Bonaparte, the Cremonas &c &c!—(answer me, this, if you have time,) Shall we see you in the Spring? What is to be done about the books—? have you met Col. Storrow of Cy he was here in the Summer, and saw us all. I shall send the letters (Ledyard’s) by the vessel tomorrow to Peyton. Write me often, and fully. love to Virginia, & Mary; kiss for baby—& remembrance to any one whom remembrance will satisfy!—

J. C jr

Dr Bowditch has establish a Mechanicks Institute here at wh. lectures are delivered, weekly, by Farrar—Frederick—Emerson—Webster—Ware, with a masterly introductory by Everett.—Ware should have been the professor of chemistry &c—at yr University. There is a grand reformation making at Cambridge —, Bowditch is at the bottom of it. Farrar has sold the copyright of his mathema[tics] and physics—for 10 years only, for 32.000—and Colburn has sold his arithmetic & algebra for 10,000.

Boston is thriving—new manufacturer, new lines of packet-ships—new stores and private hom[es] new books, pictures, theatres, and Churches! all is life, and healthy industry—far from the engrossing discussion of angry politicks—there is great wealth, and comfort,—intell[ect] and virtue, and Contentment among us—I wish you could pass a fortnight here.

RC (DLC: NPT); partially dated; torn at seal; edge trimmed; addressed: “To Nicholas P. Trist: Monticello: Charlottesville—Albemarle: Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 4 Dec.; endorsed by Trist: “Coolidge (J.) recd Dec. 12. 27.”
Date Range
December 4, 1827