Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge with Notes by Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge Directed to Joseph Coolidge
|[Edge]hill Oct. 27. 1833|
Its It is a long time dear Ellen since I have had a letter from you. Virginia enclosed the one you wrote to her containing your final determination to remain in Boston this winter. Tim only wishes “that Sister Ellen had her energy she would be bound that she would find a way to hurry the babies from steam boat to stage and from stages to rail road cars with out giving them time to cry or be left be hind.” we were all grieved at your final determination and much disappointed; although knowing the difficulties, and your immagination which softens nothing of trouble to come. I was perhaps less sanguine in My expectations Jefferson has been pressing us to stay the winter with him and when amongst other objections I urged your coming he said that was none, why could not Ellen come on also. of his wishes upon that subject I said nothing to you at the time from the conviction that no anxiety of theirs could have made you tolerably comfortable in such an over grown family. they could not possibly with any degree of crowding have given you more than one room, and the wash for such a multitude I think would have been more than Jane could possibly have accomplished, but he has been so much accustomed to be crowded that he has lost the art of calculating: however I mention his proposal to you now that you may no see that you are not forgotten, or overlooked by your friends at home. [. . .] we have determined however to remain here this winter as we can not have you with us in Washington. in the first place in a pecuniary point of view we shall certainly save very much by the arrangement, although I determined at once that I would not add so much to the size of his family without contributing also to it’s [. . .] expenses the common rate of board in the neighbourhood is $100 per annum, we do not contemplate remaining beyond the latter end of April or first of May when Nicholas Julian, & Mr Leon, will again be added to our family. the expense of housekeeping when you add the expense that of fuel & hack hire, which cant altogether be dispensed with in Washington, would be much higher than board in the country. I think also Septimia’s health is precarious, she complains steadily of a pain in her side which has rather encreased of late so as to incommode her when lying on that side a winter’s rest will do her no harm, though she is dreadfully annoyed by the arrangement. but how little would these reasons have weighed dearest Ellen against the pleasure of having you and your dear little ones sporting around me this winter and to believe and hope as I should have done, that they were gaining health and strength by the free exposure to the open air which our climate generally, and our house particularly, with it’s extensive south piazzas admit to so great a degree. when it was wet under foot they might have raced about to their hearts content in them, or on the gravel walks, or in a very extensive paved back yard where the dogs and Georges tame crows live and sport in the sunshine, sheltered from every evil but falling weather. and the basement dining room a very large & warm room would in the worst weather have given them ample room for exercise you have no idea what a disappointment your not coming was to us all, and I still think although an arduous undertaking it might have been accomplished. from Mrs Storer’s dissuading you I am afraid there are other reasons, and that Mrs Coolidge’s health is even more precarious than usual. if so you were right not to leave Boston after the anxiety that Joseph expressed that you should be with her. [. . .]*
*(This is a mistake, Aunt Storer’s objections were founded on the difficulty of getting another house when I wished to return—your mother is in better health than last winter.)1Dear Mary will be with you I presume nearly as soon as this letter. I suppose she will leave Washington to morrow or the next day with the Doctor and Mrs Dunglison now with us, but who will be going about that time. what day Mrs Greenwood will set off I do not know, but presume she would like to be in Boston a day or two before Sunday. I was at church yesterday and saw your friend Mrs Walker, she looked very well and sent a great deal of love to you. many other of your friends enquired particularly about you. I believe I told you that Carlton was sold and purchased by Alexander Rives, who married Isabella Weydown—A man came here calling himself Hart, said he was come to purchase Monticello that he was commissioned by a company of gentlemen asked me some questions about it and finally said that it was for me. that it was a shame that it should go out of the family and that these gentlemen had determined to buy the place and give it to me. I told him that I was very much oblidged to them but that it would be of no use to me, that not only I could not afford to live there, but that I could not even afford the necessary repairs requisite for immediate use that it would be a source of sorrow and mortification to have it going to ruin in my hands, and that I had infinitely rather see it in the possession of some one who would keep it in order. and more over Doctor Barclay asked $10,000 for the house & 230 acres of the land, when he only gave $7000 for it & 500—he has sold all the [. . .] wood lands cut down the grove, and ploughed up the yard to the very eg edge of the lawn and planted it in corn. the terrace is a complete wreck, I suppose it would take between two & three thousand dollars to make it comfortable; to enclose the land and other repairs. all the fuel would have to be bought & timber for enclosing it & [. . .] I dissuaded him from having any thing to say to it, but he said those who meant to give it to me meant to p enable me to live there. how much [. . .] it take to keep it up as it should be 3, 4, 5, 6000 $ I told him I really did [. . .] know, having never contemplated the possibility of it’s ever coming in to my possession I never had bestowed a thought upon the subject he said some thing about a annuity but he was such a wild talker that if any thing of the kind had ever been contemplated I hardly think he would have been the person selected for such a negotiation. but I suspect that he had spread the report behind him as he came, for he told me that Judge Barbour had said in answer to it that “we virginians talk,” but you New Yorkers act.” he went to Monticello where Dr Barclay mad man as he is can mannage pretty well in some things he told him that if it was for me he would consent to take 10,000 $ but that to no one else would he let it go for the a much larger sum perhaps 50,000. and he is gone off full tilt to New York determined he says to give the 10,000. he told the girls that Dr B— shewed him the orriginal MSs of the notes on Virginia which he said Jefferson had left with other rubbish, but that he would not take $50,000—[. . .] that manuscript is really missing, Jefferson has never seen it although he had heard of it’s existence, but Dr Barclay when Jefferson called upon him for it declared that he had it not and that what Dr Hart had taken for the manuscript were a few sheets perhaps proof sheets with marginal notes in My fathers hand writing. Jefferson and Lewis went up to gether when the papers were moved, and every drawer, press, closet, and cranny of the room were thoroughly searched and emptied, even the little closet above the alcove. I am very sorry that such a report should get abroad for it would injure Jefferson very much. after the papers were removed the family were there repeatedly and they insist that nothing could have escaped them but certainly there is some thing very misterious in the disappearance of the manuscript, and I have by no means as much confidence in Doctor Barclay’s assertions as J— has besides that Sam Nicholas told him the same thing, that a friend of his had seen it, but talking the matter over with Lewis & perhaps Nicholas they determined that it must be a mistake. it certainly has dissappeard and there seems to be pretty strong evidence of it’s having been seen in Dr B—s hands, but he denies it positively. Jefferson went up on purpose to claim it of him
Eward Coles is going to be married to a Miss Robertson of Philadelphia I have filled my letter so as to leave no room for love to dear Joseph when you write to him to My babies and Aunt Storer whose acquaintance I am delighted Mary should Make also Uncle Storer Mrs Coolidge and your father not forgetting the B—
instead of doing which I send it to you dearest because it contains much you will like to hear, but I trust to your either burning or carefully preserving it—it should be for no eyes but ours. E. W. C.2
Tim sends her love and begs when you wish to come you will call upon her the babies shall be hurried off in great style she is still very fond of children and a great favorite with them she thinks water might be dispensed with on the road there certainly would not be much time for the nicities of the toilet.