Elizabeth Trist to Nicholas P. Trist

My Dear Nicholas

I am fill’d with extreme anxiety by your long silence: it is very mortifying to one so tenderly attach’d as I am to my Grand Sons to be neglected by them, I have written twice since I recd yours of the 22 Feby which was the last I have had the pleasure to receive from you I have not seen or heard from your Brother for more than two weeks tho he has been at Monticello, I am told for more than three weeks I try to make excuses for him we have had bad weather some part of the time and as Mr Jefferson set out last Monday was a week for Poplar Forest if he went in the Landau thy they must have taken five Horses and that is I believe all except the mules and working Horses they keep about the establishment, your Horse I understand has an incurable lameness and I dont suppose any one will buy him, for the times are become hard as the Farmers say, constant failures taking place among the Merchants and traiders in all the Cities produce of all kind fallen Tobacco five Dollars a hundred flour 5 Dollars pr barrel the best superfine, and Cotton is as low as 20 cents no demand for it in Europe therefore it will be incumbent on us to be as econimical as possible I have not heard from your Mother since the 24th of Jany indeed I get few letters from any quarter even Mary Gilmer has not written since the 11th of March, I wish Peachey may not embarras him self by his late purchase he calculated making a considerable sum by his Tobacco in that he will be disappointed and I fear those who have bought the land in Henry will find it difficult to make their payments but there is one comfort that the land produces sufficient Bread and meat and there is no danger of starvation. I hope you are doing your self credit and preparing your self for future usefulness in life, yours is a period when the Passions are all afloat but I hope you have sufficient firmness to withstand all temptations that will give you pain on reflection and do all in your power to repay the labour of your Father and the tender exertions of your Mother by answering their expectations, I dont calculate on living to see you establish’d in life I grow more infirm and I am tired of being a burden on my friends which will increase with my years and tho my friends are as kind and attentive as ever I still feel delicate about wearing out welcome as the old saying is, if I was able to pay for my Board in some respictable family I cou’d visit my friend occasionally and not feel the pain of obligation; do you think you will be able to pay us a visit next summer. I wish to get back to Bedford early in the Autumn if I hear nothing to prevent me, Peachey when he was here did not ask me when I intended to return perhaps he was impress’d with the Idea that I was better pleased at being among my friends in this Neighbourhood where I cou’d be better accomodate[d] my neice and the children I am satisfied wou’d be happier to have me with them, I hope to be at Monticello in the course of next month tho I am very comfortable here Mrs Divers is better tho procrastinates his recovery by staying too long in his Garden the ground is damp but he is naturally industrious and rather too worldly minded for a man of his fortune, but habit for he made his fortune, has rendered it so familleer that he can not withstand the temptation for employment out of doors he must see into all his concerns, and Martha is careful of many things, every thing is conducted with ease, no scolding no punishments going forward, tho they have so many about the establishment frugality and persevirance industrious habits are are sure to lead to independance if not to wealth, I hope your self and Brother may persue the same plan your Grand Father Trist if living wou’d have been an example worthy of immitation your poor Father took too much after me influenced more by feelings than Prudence but I believe if he had lived he wou’d have conquerd his disposition to generosity a large fortune may be soon finishd and it desends to weakness when it exceeds the bounds of prudence I am sorry to see in the papers that Mr Livingstone has been deprived of his property in the Bature he is allow’d a part, I believe but, his expectations have been disapponted, Brows says that he has plenty left to Give fortunes to his children. He is a most industrious indifatigable man but [. . .] I fear is not as strict in Principle as he ought to be, but that is not for us to say I am sorry that your self nor Brother have not written to Madame as I have nothing more to write about I shall conclude with wishing you health and happiness and believe me your sincere Friend and affectionate Grand Mother

E. Trist

I heard that Virginia had acompanied her Father to Richmond a few days since Ellen is still there

RC (DLC: NPT); addressed: “Mr Nicholas P. Trist west Point New York”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 24 April; endorsed by recipient: “April 22d 1819.”