Martha Jefferson Randolph to Joseph Coolidge

Dear Joseph

I have written the letter of introduction for Mr Sparks & enclosed it to him in N. York as you desired, and as I had some sins of negligence unatoned towards the good lady, I wrote her another long explanatory & conciliatory letter to procure prepare for Mr Sparks as amiable a reception as my influence could procure; still I will not pretend to promise more than a civil letter of refusal to my self & a decent reception for him. although I have done my best to awaken her patriotism and pride for her husband’s fame placing him in all the good company with all the great men of the revolution whose papers have been submitted to Mr Sparks inspection.

We had a delightful journey except the first & a part of the second day, when I felt too sad & sick, to be amused by any thing; but change of scene and very pleasant travelling companions produced [. . .] their effect upon my spirits & health, and upon the whole I was very [comfo]rtable. M Judge & Mrs Wayne joined us in N. York and also her mother an old acquaintance of mine, formerly mrs Campbell now the relict of the Revd — Collock of Savannah, who bestowed upon Mrs Wayne a classical education; either him self or his reputation were well known to Mr Bailey the facinating Mrs Gracie also was of the party, she is a lovely creature with a charm of manner that Ellen would call truly Southern. as for me who am very much in the habit of admiring and loving without reference to the degrees of latitude under which my idols were born, I found her charming before I knew that she was a South Carolinian we left her in Baltimore but she came to see me as soon as she arrived without waiting for a first visit. I got also well acquainted with the Crowninshields & Mr Sprague who travelled the whole way with us has also been to see me since our arrival. I found N. in high favour with the P—t and I can not help beleiving that he will reap derive some solid advantage from it. I found every body well but Tim who has been much worse than I was aware of. to my great sorrow she is taking calomel, her course is so nearly over that I shall not interfere but most assuredly if I had been at home she never should have begun it. the Diary of an Annuyee is Mary’s, she lent it to Mrs Barrel in a some what battered state, the binding which Ellen abuses so much is probably of Dedham manufacture. E may send it with the Genealogy when she has copied it, and a copy of the scheme for a botanic garden which you promised to have copied for me. E was anxious to know about little J—n’s hearing. there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that he is totally without the sense, although his poor Mother still clings to some thing like a proof to the contrary, such as his father’s stopping his crying in the night by chiding him in a rough tone but no noise that can be made behind him, even ringing a bell or shaking the keys, excite the least attention, nor calling him by his name, yet catch his eye and his countenance lightens up in a moment. the peculiar expression of his countenance really denotes an absence of external impressions; it is grave even to sadness unless you catch his eye, when like a mirror in it instantly reflects the expression of your own. poor dear little fellow his misfortune makes him a thousand times more dear to me than any degree of personal beauty or talent could. it is a wise provision of nature that, which encreases the love of the parent in proportion to the necessities of the offspring. poor little fellow I never see him without a painful swelling of the heart and a desire to press him to my bosom. Martha is pretty and well behaved. I found my little nest warm and very clean, but a clatter of tongues that would have silenced the Masons of Babel. the girls say they dont always talk as much, I hope so, for I am sure I should soon be as deaf as a post if it were to continue. My neighbour are coming to welcome my return in spite of bad weather which gives leaves me but little [. . .] time to write except by candle light, that circumstance must excuse the slovenly state of this letter. I will write to Ellen and also to dear little Nell whom I beg you to thank for her two sweet little letters which I will certainly answer. adieu dear Joseph I am si peu demonstrative that you never will know how much I love you unless I tell you so permit me then to assure you that your own Mother & wife excepted few if any of your friends love you are as warmly and sincerely attached to you as your friend and Mother

M Randolph

every one here join in love to Ellen & your self pray remember me with every sentiment of esteem and affection to Mrs Coolidge & Mrs Storer not for getting the other ladies of the family when George’s trunk is sent will you write a [. . .] line to let me know when to expect it and to whose care addressed

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Letters); dateline at foot of text; one word partially obscured by seal; addressed: “Joseph Coolidge Junr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked City of Washington, 16 Dec.; endorsed by Coolidge: “Washington 15 Decr 1830.”