Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ann C. Morris

I believe My dear Sister that there was some thing like a tacit agreement between us that you should take me as men do their wives for better for worse, though as a correspondant I am afraid the “better is still to come.” I have been I think rather worse than common this summer. in the early part I was visiting about a great deal and now Ellen and her family is with us in addition to Virginia’s and Jefferson’s own nine children, it is not easy to do any thing that requires a reasonable degree of quiet. we have 17 children in the house 14 of them under 12 and indeed 12 of those under 8 years of age of course incessantly “rampauging” about like so many little d—s. Virginia is in the midst of her preparations for Cuba and Cornelia will go with her Ben (the Doctor) is doing very well. he has a very good practise and still encreasing. he is to be married next month to the Youngest daughter of our old friend Mrs Robert Carter (Polly Coles). the marriage is very good in a pecuniary point of vue she has a pretty little estate in that neighbourhood, the only drawback is that he will have to give up a very good practise in this neighbour hood here and depend upon getting in to practise in the other side of the county, not as desirable a situation as the one he now holds; but she is the last of her mothers children living with her, and Mrs Carter is so infirm that it would be cruel to take her daughter from her. he will live with his mother in law, and it will give them time to prepare at their leisure for going to house keeping, a heavy expense for young people of slender resources. Ben’s practice is at present equal to a compete[nce] it may be much more in time. Lewis you know is living with me. he has a clerkship of about $ 1000 a year but he is anxious to be doing some thing for himself and of course dissatisfied with his present situation. the others are all in statu quo, and likely to remain so. Tim is a good deal of a belle she is thought pretty moves well & dances gracefully, but she is poor. that stain of poverty which nothing can wipe off will doom them all to “lead apes below.” I hope they will find them more tractable than their brethren of the upper regions, many of whom certainly give their wives as much trouble and discomfort as possible. I shall have all my family in Washington this Winter. I told you that Nicholas had bought a beautiful house a very great bargain. I shall have the use of it rent free till he returns, when I think I ought to rent a small house and have a separate establishment, although they both opose it very kindly; but I do not think it right to crowd Nicholas out of the enjoyment of his own house. and although a very rigid system of economy will be necessary for us to live upon my income, yet it may be accomplished, and many contrive to live in some degree of comfort upon even smaller means than mine. George is in Norfolk and has been for a month, although I have not seen him yet. his leave of absence by some accident was detained untill so few days remained that he would not use it. if I can not get another for him I will go to Norfolk on My way to Washington. as soon as the vessel is repaired he will return to finish his cruise. adieu dear Sister you must accept this senseless gabble for the present. I will try and do better the next time. all here join in love to G. & your self yours with cordial regard

M Randolph
RC (PPAmP: Smith-Houston-Morris-Ogden Family Papers); addressed: “To Mrs Gouverneur Morris Morissania Haarlem P. O. New York”; stamped; postmarked Everettsville, 19 Sept.