Joseph Coolidge to Martha Jefferson Randolph

dear M.—

I doubt not your anxiety to hear from our new comer will make a letter welcome altho. it dates but two days after the one announcing his first arrival: Ellen is quite well, and her infant—although he did make his appearance three weeks too soon is thriving—being what mrs Christian calls “an uncommon [. . .] strong child”! He is at present no beauty—has dark hair, & blue eyes, and like Bess a short neck—: where they get this from I know not. Ellen’s is long enough, and my own does not require strec stretching; but this boy has absolutely none at all! tant pis pour lui!—We have not given him a name: my own I dislike—what with Joseph [. . .] , and the other Josephs, it has a disagreable sound and association: it is not so bad as many others—but twenty years ago names which now are ridiculous were then well enough—viz, Timothy, Ebenezer, Israel &c &c. and twenty years hence, this of mine will be as bad as Peter or David are now:—Nell calls the boy Tommy: she goes about the house whispering mammas sick, mamma’s sick! Tommy’s sleep—(Tommy is a sleep)—so that the people seem to have given him a name, of their own accord.as for myself tho E. is strenuous to have him called after my Father, I cannot yet consent—it seems [. . .] singular that while I am thinking about changing my own name I should give to another that which I reject myself: so that I wish you all to give me a list contg the name which the several members of the family prefer—beginning with your own and then following through the whole range.The appearance of a boy, so contrary to our fears, so much better than our hopes—must excuse my saying so much about a name: there will be time enough for you all to make up your minds, as he will not be baptized for two months or three. my Sister E. will be confined in Feby and we mean to carry both the babies to Dr Freeman, that his venerable hands may confer upon them the Christian rite.—In closing then this matter I will only add that I prefer some family name, such as shall be well sounding, when united with my own, and of an agreable associations! my sister, if she has a boy, means to call him Coolidge Swett.We are in a terrible ferment here: failures are frequent and heavy—at least there have been two considerable ones—: we have turned out Mr Quincy from the Mayoralty and put in Mr Otis. of this I am glad as it comes at a time when the absurd clamour of about the Hartford Convention has been [. . .], (but it has been met here as it merited—) They are also trying to put in Ticknor as president of Harvard College, against the will of the community—I know not if they will dare trifle so far with the decided wishes of the intelligent many, who have grown up and are advocates for a state of things very different from that which once existed! We are moreover full of a proposed rail road—and mean to turn our old theatre into an Opera House, and are in treaty with a French Company from New Orleans—Our new Hotel is up—that is the walls—and roofed and slated—it has a fine front, moreover the athenæum holds its annual meeting and yr. unworthy son-in-law and his coadjutors are again arrayed against Ticknor & Co. We have a trial—too—Webster against Theodore Lyman—which has caused the community to take sides—and a ladies Fair in addition which produced $2680. clear profits! add to this annuals & souvenirs and new years presents and new publications and last of all the lighting of the town, and the shops with gas, and the opening of the new bridges and one or two grand parties on Beacon St, and one or two marriages—and you have all the news.I wish, if you meet with Prof. Lomax, you would tell him that I shall send him a Law Journal—the first no of which has just been published here—and I beg of you to offer also our good wishes to Prof. Tucker on his marriage!Nicholas wrote me that he is still entangled with the paper—advise him! pray you, to sell out at a loss if necessary. he cannot prudently carry on a printing press at Charlottesville while he is himself in Washington: if it does not injure him in a pecuniary view, it will distract his mind and keep [. . .] an anxious and agitated state: He wrote me that he should send me copies of a book pu just published in Charlottesville, to be distributed here among Editors and Reviewers: he had better do so! as there are works of the same description just published in New York by Prof. Austin.I close my dear Mr with renewed assurances of Ellen’s well-doing, and of her boys—the doctor and herself and my own eyes conspire to tell me that you have no cause for alarm or anxiety on her a/c

ever yrs.
J. C jr.

our beautiful Hospital has been on fire, and was with difficulty saved

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); dated conjecturally based on Coolidge to Randolph, 29 Dec. 1828, announcing birth; one word obscured by seal; addressed: “To Mrs Randolph: Monticello, Charlottesville, Albemarle Cy Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 1 Jan.