Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ann C. Morris

Dear Sister

I passed through New York in the month of July when it was full of cholera, and I was in great haste to reach Boston before Mr Coolidge sailed for Canton in China. My poor Ellen had just lost her second daughter a lovely creature of five years old, and her husband was on the wing for a long voyage from which the speediest return will be 18 months more probably two years; if he finds he can do a business worth the sacrifice he will return, and carry her back with him, and it will be far less distressing to me to part with her, than to see her suffer what she did when he left her: God preserve me from such another day. she has shewn great fortitude, but her health has suffered very [. . .] much from the conflict—her children are all boarded out at a farm house in the country where we visit them once a week, and where they must remain till we leave this house which will be early in October: they were in such delicate health that the physicians have forbidden their return to the city till cold weather—

My grand daughter Ellen Bankhead, was married to John Carter the eldest son of My old friend Polly Coles that was, afterwards Mrs Robert Carter the day before I left Washington, and has returned with him to Virginia. her eldest brother John will be married this winter to a Miss Christian, the family live some where in the neighbourhood of Richmond. Mr Bankheads young wife has conducted her self pretty much after the example of her cousin Mrs Brockenbrough, they are distantly related, and her conduct to his children has been very much what Mrs Randolph’s was to your father’s, to drive them from the house by unkind treatment. Willie the youngest is living with me and going to school in Washington. Tom the next, is going to school, and John will undertake the management of his father’s affairs in spite of Mrs Bankhead’s opposition, who will probably annoy them in every way she can; but as they will have a separate house, and he will have the business in her his own hands, I hope she can not effectually injure him.

if you read the papers you will see that the state of Virginia seems to be disposed to take the subject of liberating her slaves into serious consideration My dear Jefferson came forward last winter very boldly in the cause, My father’s political enemies make every thing a party matter in which he has ever been concerned, and visit upon Jefferson “the sins of his Grandfather” he was assailed with sneers & ridicule by some, and malice abuse in every shape which avi avarice & malice could suggest, but I hope the cause of justice and Mercy will [. . .] finally prevail, and that the fears of the people will at least counteract their avarice if their sence of justice can not do it. when I left Washington I had not made up My Mind as to the length of My visit here, but as one of the girls will take my place when I go return, and I can not afford the two trips in the year, I shall stay till next may or June. Ellen will probably board some where in the Country during the summer, and which ever of the girls comes to take My place will come on when she returns to her own house; as the board however cheap will still be more than I can afford. you will direct your letters to the Care of Thomas Bullfinch by which means they will be put in his box & attended to at once. adieu dear Sister remember me affectionately to Gouverneur and accept for your self the cordial good wishes of your friend & sister

M Randolph
RC (PPAmP: Smith-Houston-Morris-Ogden Family Papers); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “To Mrs Gouverneur Morris Morrissania Harlam P. O New York”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 7 Sept.