Joseph Coolidge to Martha Jefferson Randolph and Nicholas P. Trist
|My dear madame.||[ca. 9 Dec. 1830]|
Ellen and myself have congratulated each other many times since you left us that you should have embraced the only interval of fair weather for your journey: we hope that you arrived without accident or great fatigue, and have often since occupied ourselves in imagining the eager interest with wh. you would be recd and George also, after an absence which to others may have seemed long, but to us appeared but short. I had determined to write you, yesterday, but was delayed—in the eveg Mr Sparks passed an hour or two with us, and made a request wh. I undertook to communicate to you—
He has, you know, been engaged for several years in preparing documents &c to write the history of this country, and previous to this to publish the collected writings of General Washington: to effect this he has visited all the original thirteen States, and made a voyage to Europe; to examine the archives of London and Paris—: these he was permitted by special license thoroughly to exam inspect, and was also allowed by Lafayette, when in Paris, to copy private letters from among the mass of his papers—and moreover has subsequently recd from the old General original, and autograph, unpublished memoirs upon various subjects connected with his times and history.—You already know that he is in possession of all of General Washington’s Papers—; he has also been authorized to examine and use the papers of President John Adams—and in fact those of almost every one of the old men of our revolution. among them John Jay—Robt Morris &c. &c. He is very anxious to be permitted to look over the papers of Governeur Morris—he has in his possession very many of his writings addressed to Washington & others, and is therefore anxious to see more of them—finding them to be replete with talent and information. He does not wish them to publish, with any view to profit—but merely to examine them for the purposes of illustration, and to subserve the cause of historic truth. He has made inquiry at New York in what way he might obtain access to them, but no individuals there would venture to make application for him, or even to encourage him in the [. . .] hope of getting sight of them by any means whatever:—As a last resort he is solicitous to obtain a letter of introduction from yourself—which will at least give him an opportunity of visiting mrs Morris, and of explaining to her the extent of his wishes in this respect. I have assured him and so has Ellen that you will do him this kindness, and have even ventured to add that if any person living has influence with Mrs Morris it is yourself. perhaps it may not be inexpedient to mention that upon the controverted point respecting the author of the original idea of a canal to Lake Erie, upon which Mrs Morris has published a pamphlet which claims for her husband this honor Mr Sparks is known to entertain opinions similar to her own. So great is his perseverance, so unshrinking his defence of truth, and so entire his freedom from prejudice and his disposition to do justice to all men that as an american and a lover of my country I am anxious that every facility should be granted him of investigation upon the subjects wh. occupy his attention. If therefore you will enclose a letter for [. . .] Mrs Morris to him at New York to the care of Messrs Carvills—Booksellers—you will greatly serve him and myself.
|My dear nicholas—|
please procure for me (from Gales & Seaton, or elsewhere) one, or two copies of a pamphlets by Richard Rush, containing his character of Canning, & his sketch of John Randolph, and forward them by mail, as soon as your convenience will permit—to