Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ann C. Morris

It is a very long time dear Sister since I have written any thing that deserved the name of a letter to you, more than a twelve month I beleive, for the last scrawl written upon a torn-sheet really did not deserve that name. I am sorry that you should have been distressed by any thing that appeared in the correspondence. My dear Father and Mr Morris lived in times of such horrible party violence as I hope we shall never again see; now that our government is now Organised and has been long enough in operation to be finally settled down [. . .] at what (not with standing Occasional storms) it will probably remain at I hope. but it was not so in their day, when both parties were tried trying to model it according to their own ideas, of the best—it is only one of the many proofs of the malignancy of party spirit, when two men whose hearts abounded with the milk of human [. . .] kindness and who to my certain knowledge had entirely kind, and friendly feelings to each other and a good deal of respect also, should under the influence of political excitement say any thing that their friends should could regret. I saw so much of that at the time, when even affectionate brothers, and friends, suffered such feelings to make them forget what they owed to each other, that it neither surprised nor distressed me on either side, except as I feared it might affect you, who had not been as I was in the very focus of political violence: and who I was constantly exposed to see the most cruel slanders against my dear father circulated and in many instances deceiving good and honorable men, who were not sufficently acquainted with his private character to understand how impossible it was for there to be any truth in them, but who knew him only through the medium of the bad passions which party spirit excites & which like the jaundice, colours every object, even the purest white—I am extremely anxious to go to Boston and it would give me a great deal of pleasure to spend some days with you but it is useless to make any promises for I am so entirely governed by circumstances that I never know what I can do; and prompted by my wishes I often promise without reflection, what I can not perform: I will only promise then dear Sister that if I can I will see you on my way, and stay as long with as I can, if I go. but that question remains to be setled. I must first pay my half yearly bills when, if enough remains to carry me there I most assuredly will go, but I am rather afraid that the probabilities are against me. Virginia is not living in Carters ville, but Norfolk. she hired some of her servants to Harriet, enough I presume to pay her board, but of that I am not certain you know that upon Mr Taylor’s death Harriet broke up her school and went to keep a boarding house with Jane: Virginia with her two youngest daughters went to board with them, but I rather think from some things I have heard that she will not remain. I do not know what her plans are as she never writes to me now, nor do I blame her, for I am such a miserable creature about writing my self, that most of my correspondents have dropped me. Cary’s brook the house at least is still unsold, and likely to remain so as they are determined not to sacrifice the property. if I were consulted I should say return there the plantation is so valuable a one that it furnished her with meats, butter, bread, fuel, and ve fruits & vegetables in very great abundance, and the little money she would require for her self and two girls neither of them going in to company would not be felt. more over, she would be there to enquire in to and give an eye to Timberlake, who has had the sole controul & management of the estate, selling property, paying the debts & & &, and I have heard him spoken of as a man who would take every advantage within the strict letter of the law. no one seems to attend to their affairs and I am very much afraid things are not going on as they should do, I have heard that she is very much streightened for money. but after all my information is not from the fountain head. I beleive I told you that Jane was married to a presbiterian clergiman and living here she had a fine son born in february the same night that Virginia’s little boy was born. and Wilson who married Jane Margaret Carr, and Mary Fairfax had each a daughter a fortnight after. you have heard also of Harriet Hackley’s marriage with Capt Talcot stationed at old pointold point. it was perhaps the thing on earth to give her mother most pleasure. Ellen Bankhead is to be married early in July to John Carter the eldest son of My old friend Polly Coles, that was. he is a most excellent young man strictly moral, good tempered and wealthy. it is a marriage most eminently calculated as far as human foresight goes to make her happy

I beleive I told you also at the time of the sale of the house at Monticello and most of the land. the house and 500 acres of the land was purchased by a Doctor Barclay grand son of old Mrs Barclay sister of Mrs Simms. I daresay I often repeat what I have already told you, but it is better to hear a thing twice than not to hear it at all Virginia’s dear little boy shews no symptom of returning hearing—he is a lovely fellow, very intelligent, & sprightly, and certainly the happiest and most intere[sting] child in the family—adieu My dear Sister the girls join in love to Gouver[neur] and your self. most affectionately yours

M Randolph
RC (PPAmP: Smith-Houston-Morris-Ogden Family Papers); torn at seal; dateline at foot of text; addressed: “Mrs Gouverneur Morris Morrissania Harlam P. O New York”; stamped; postmarked City of Washington, 4 June.