Martha Jefferson Randolph to Joseph Coolidge

I The day I intended writing to have written to you dear Joseph, I was suffering under one of the severest attacks of headach that I have had for many years, and which I [. . .] consider a proof of returning strength; for I have always observed than when I was most debilitated, I suffered proportionably least pain. I should almost regret any renovation of strength bringing with it such a heavy penalty. Benjamen’s fever still continues, he has been confined nearly three weeks to his bed but from the gradual amendment of the last four or five days we have reason to hope it will not extend beyond the 21st day. James is riding out daily and recovering strength though very slowly. Nicholas has got a house at last that we are all pleased with. tell Ellen it is upon the 2d cross street west of the presidents house & a little more than 1 square North very near Mr Rush’s [. . .] it is a 2 story house with 2 large & 2 small rooms on a floor, one of the small rooms opening out of a large one, at the head of the private stair, & large enough for a nursery; the other also large enough for a bed room, two good publick rooms, and a small one under the nursery large enough for a breakfasting room or small dining room. 2 excellent garret rooms and an L building with an excellent kitchen and a room above good enough for Browse to ocupy he has got a place with the same salary as Nicholas, and is to come on immediately; he also will form one of the firm. the situation of the house is airy, no building near but on the oposite1 side of the street, an excellent garden, with fruit trees, vines, flowers, & & a beautiful multiflora & sweet briar shading the front porch wood house & good stable, in which we may keep a cow or two, and I think vacant ground within the enclosure of the last I am not quite certain. the rent is at the rate of 300 $ this first year, and 400 the three ensuing. we shall have 2 rooms for your accomodation and the babies when you come, and a garden for them to take the air in. our servants are young ignorant but very well disposed. the dining room servant is already admirably trained by old Mrs Tucker a [. . .] perfect Mrs Otis in training servants so much for our afairs—Jefferson beleives that he will write to you immediately, but I who know his habits of procrastination, place little confidence in his good resolves. I will tell you what he thinks upon the subject. in the first place in the first place I do not believe that any but people as deeply interested as the family would undertake a revisal of the copies, which have to be compared with the originals, & corrected upon them. the originals themselves are in many places so faded as to be almost entirely obliterated. for pages together the girls have to take advantage of the broad light of a noon day sun, frequently unable to read them but with the assistance of a looking glass applied to the back, where alone the impression shews; a few lines will some times cost as many days, this is not the state of the whole but a very considerable portion. in the next, he thinks that connecting it with so very voluminous a work as Gen. Washington’s and which will be, with a great part of the Union so much more popular, will be rather detrimental to its sale. or the great majority would, if the two were offered to gether think they could not afford to subscribe for both, that might perhaps do it if offered at any little interval of time separately. we are, the girls and My self very closely employed from 5 to 8 hours a day with them, after which they go through a second examination by the Editor, whose trouble is much lessened by our pioneering the way before him. this with the needle work on hand, will account for our writing so seldom, and for this unlady like scrawl. as in adition to all, our attentions to Benjamen who takes something every two hours or two comes like the sailor, pig tail between every other occupation. God bless you I will try and write to Ellen next week Yours most affectionately

M Randolph

love to your dear family all.

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); dateline beneath signature; addressed: “Joseph Coolidge Junr Esqr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked Everettsville, 12 May; endorsed by Coolidge: “Edgehill; May 12. 1829.”
1Manuscript: “opositete.”