Martha Jefferson Randolph to George Wythe Randolph

I should have written to you again My dearest George although you have not answered My first hurried scrawl, but I was so closely confined during the last weeks of your poor father’s illness, that I hardly left his bed side for a moment. and since his death, I had not courage to be the first to give you the painful news. it will be a comfort to you to know that he had returned to live with his family, that he had made friends with your brother, who sat up with him and nursed him, to the last moment. indeed your brothers all sat up with him by turns, and he died in peace and love with all his family, and old friends and neighbours, who visited him, and watched in turn with the boys. he never was well enough to answer your letter although it gave him great pleasure. I hear of you through your sister and Mr Coolidge who always mention you in their letters, but I should wish to hear from your self My dear boy, and to know what you are doing. it is a great comfort to me to hear what a good character you bear in school, and the only consolation that I had in leaving you, was the thorough conviction that I was securing your future happiness and welfare. your success in life will depend as much upon the habits formed in youth as upon your natural talents and disposition. how many men of fine talents and excellent dispositions are lost for want of the early habits of self command and industry, which I am sorry to say are more rarely to be met with to the south than they ought to be. where the number of slaves, make people indolent and idle, and consequently encourages a habit of self indulgence, as ruinous to the moral character as to one’s fortune

Monticello is to be sold this fall with the remaining property of the ent family. I have not decided yet where I shall fix, that will depend upon circumstances, but probably in some of the Northern towns where My little income will best support My large family, and where I shall be content convenient to all my children. God bless you My beloved; present my respects to Mr & Mrs Wells, and accept a mother’s blessing and her unalterable love

M Randolph

all join in love to you

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); dateline below signature; note by Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge: “to George W. Randolph.”