Mary J. Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge
|Monticello July 20th 1828|
Nicholas somewhat exaggerated the matter my dear sister when he said that we all complained of your silence, it is true that mama murmured at the plan of writing but once a fortnight & seemed to think she could not so readily submit to use economy in this particular instance, as she could in most others, but I thought it was perhaps as often as you could write with any sort of convenience, & except in one instance when we heard nothing of you for the space of three weeks, and mama began to grow uneasy. I gave you great credit for the punctuality you had shown in giving us news of yourself, since you parted with those who had been so long in the habit of taking that trouble off of your hands—the Convention broke up yesterday after sitting from Monday till Saturday and I hope that some good may result to the land from the united wisdom of so many eminent men. Mr Madison, Mr Monroe, Chief justice Marshal &c were among the number of the delegates chosen by the people & who did not disdain to serve on this occasion. there was some little jarring between Fenton Mercer & Chapman Johnson during the debates but it was happily terminated by a perfect reconciliation between the parties & harmony restored, and the members have nearly all dispersed & betaken themselves to their homes again. Mr & Mrs Madison are still in the neighbourhood but not with us, Mr M.s business in with the other visitors & the convention required his constant presence among them, & she after a f giving a few days to the society of her friends here, returned to watch over her husband at the University. the session of the visitors having been interrupted by the met meeting of the convention, will recommence tomorrow & probably continue several days longer, but I am afraid we shall not again see Mrs Madison as we have no means of going to her & her dread of our mountain road will prevent her returning to us. she has been talking over all our plans with us, with the interest she usually takes in the concerns of her friends, & Mr Madison & herself both seem to think that mama’s finances are not in a state to allow her to live in Philadelphia. Mrs M. seems to think that Washington would be preferable & that people in straightened circumstances enjoy greater advantages of society there than they could do elsewhere. I believe we should all be well pleased with it as a place of residence, & though not quite so near you as if we lived in Philadelphia, we should still have diminished the distance between us considerably & h should have got rid of the worst & most difficult part of the journey. I might hope one day to see you in Boston & it would be no longer so impossible for you to visit us—but these I fear are mere castles in the air for I [. . .] have very little hope that we shall be able to afford to live in a town and some obscure village will most probably be our destination. I acknowledge that I have always disliked the idea of living in a village, even long [. . .] before I had any thought that such an abode would ever be mine, & in giving up my own home I give up all my local attachments and think I should prefer going to some town to being fixed any at any place in the country, at least I had rather make the trial; how I should like it, I could not of course tell until I had tried, but we cannot choose for ourselves & must endeavour to make ourselves contented with what ever falls to our lot, though it may not perhaps be exactly what we think would make us happiest. but of that we are such bad judges ourselves very often that [. . .] the knowledge of our own short sightedness, ought to show us the folly of complaining of providence & dispose us to to submit in silence to its decrees. these are trite remarks that are in every body’s mouth, but they are seldom attended to until they are felt. you will expect that I should say something of Mama. she was complaining a little yesterday but I think that her health & spirits are as good as they have been at any time since her return, except the first week, when the amendment in both was very considerable. Nicholas has been confined to his room several days with a bowel complaint but is getting well. dysentary & measles are prevalent through out the neighbourhood & the latter has proved so fatal, to grown persons particularly, that I am avoiding it carefully. I am just getting over (I hope) an attack of dyspepsia, from which I have become a frequent & I may say a great sufferer & Virginia increases so rapidly in size that I think there is no longer any room for doubt in her case. the rest of the family are well generally or nearly so. Mary Randolph is here on a visit to Tim & we are expecting Jane & Mary Cary daily. Mrs Carter, Mrs Judge Brook & Col. & Mrs Storow called on us yesterday evening. we had for a few days last week, crowds of people, belonging to, or in the train of the convention and were told afterwards that we had given great offence by refusing them admission into the house. as there was no sort of foundation for this report, so far as regarded our alleg alledged want of hospitality at least, we have mentioned the circumstance since to some persons, who may if they please contradict it—though I believe we are all too indifferent about the matter to take much trouble to set people right on the subject—we have heard of John Carr in Baltimore but he has not reached home. give my love to Joseph & thank him for the dress he was so kind as to send me. it is really acceptable as we bought but one common frock & a dress frock apiece & that came to a good round sum for so many.
Monticello was advertised for sale last week—if nobody will buy it, it is thought that it may perhaps be rented as a public house. this idea shocked me at first, but I suppose we shall get accustomed to it in time. ever dear sister yours with sincere affection
I did not know that mama was writing until I had finished my letter.