Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge

Dear Ellen

Mr Bailey left us yesterday morning and by him Joseph will receive the thermometer & Oliver Cromwell, and Nell a little present from her Aunt Trist. I have been am very much mortified at not having been able to go out to get some trifle for each of my darlings but for the last month I have been very unwell, two pretty severe attacks of fever that confined me to my bed a week each time and in the intervals a little slow fever hanging over me that has weakened me excessively without confining me but obliges me to pass a part of every day on the bed the weather is so fine that I shall be able to take exercise soon which will I hope restore me—

I have several nights left out the green house plants by means of a thermometer which enables me to guess what the night will be and severe as the winter has been thought some seedling yellow jessamine with no protection but the house side has lived through it in the open air. I do not know whether Mr Webster or Mr Bailey will mention Poindexter’s bill. Mr Webster was one of the committee and seems to have interested him self in it. he told N— (but this is between ourselves) that the next session they would bring it forward under a different shape and try to obtain a grant of land that it would be easier to get 50,000 acres of land from Congress than a small sum of money and if the land is well located it may be a principallity. Mr Poindexter who came to take leave & explain the matter to me told me he could be of great service to me in the location upon which the value would depend entirely he says he brought it forward late in the session when nothing could be done to enable the members to make up their minds give it the advantage of one session which would justify their taking it up at once when Congress meets and dispatching it. I have been told it was a popular measure. but after all the feeling that I have can hardly be called hope, so faint that I have scarcely thought of it. for my self I have withing a trifle of enough but to be able to assist my dear children would be happiness too great I am afraid for me—George is gone to school they say a very good one. I shall be on my self in May, and think it possible if the school does not deserve it’s character that I may bring him back with me. we have been much dissapointed in Harriet, her understanding is very mediocre, and she is excessively vain. her flirtation with Browse went so far at last that I was very glad when she went away. I suspect he is more deeply touched than he has ever been yet though N— thinks if he is kept out of her way it will blow over. she is after all but a common place character mere wax in her mothers hands whose side she should never leave, and whose reputation has shed a halo over her head which her own acquirements or natural powers never could have done how ever great allowances are to be made for a new & trying situation in which she was placed. she was very much admired, & flattered, and is no wise deficient in the little flirting ways of attracting the young men adieu my dear daughter kiss all the darlings for me and also dear Joseph, remember me particularly to his family and other friends not forgetting good mrs Coxe say some thing kind also to Armine & [. . .] such of your household as I am acquainted with. I wish if Joseph does not object that you would visit Mrs Webster when she returns—God bless you [. . .] excuse this scrawl but I am still trembling from the effects of last nights fever

Yours ever & unchangeably
M Randolph
RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); dateline beneath signature; addressed: “To Mrs Joseph Coolidge Junr to the care of J. Coolidge Junr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked City of Washington, 9 Mar.; with notes by Coolidge: “Relief from Congress.”