Marie Trist Jones Tournillon to Nicholas P. Trist

Your letter of the 22d of September produced in me a variety of sensations, delight at the proof of friendship Mrs Randolph and her family have given you; and melancholy at the possibility that in a few years you may be more indifferent to their good opinion, for I agree with Mrs R— that a change of sentiment is probable at your age, particularly as I hear the Lady has not great personal charms which appears to be of the first importance in the eyes of older and rational more rational Men than my dear Nicholas; but Oh, how insignificant is beauty in a partner for life in comparison with virtue, good sense, good temper, and an affectionate heart, which I have every reason to believe the lady in question possesses, for it is her inheritance; be assured the ardent wish of your Mother is, that you her darling Son may preserve the esteem of that family for she will then be convinced you merit the good opinion of all others. I have no doubt you will find the restraint and regularity of your present life rather irksome but habit will soon reconcile you and when you are sensible of the advantages you derive it will become agreeable, for my dear child you have passed the last three years in such a desultory manner that you would have become unfit for any pursuit. write me a regular account of all that has or will happen to you since you left Monticello, while there I considered you under the guidance of your better genius, but now my anxiety will be ever on the stretch for you, above all things keep in mind that your Father and myself are your real and indulgant friends; respect the opinion of those around you particularly on religious subjects, you owe it to yourself and the society you will mix with to conform in some degree to their habits. do not neglect writing frequently to your grandmother Trist as you know she will feel sensibly any neglect from you. When you see Mrs Bache and the Jones family assure them that I preserve a lively recollection of the many happy days I passed in their society, and a grateful one of the numberless proofs I received of their friendship; should you meet with Mrs Robert Livingston assure her also of my affectionate remembrance. the cotton has been greatly injured by a severe frost your Father who calculated on 600 bales I fear will not make more than forty, should next year be as dry as this I know not what will become of the cotton planters; your father was on the point of purchasing [. . .] Estate $10000 Cash and 100,000 in eight annual payments, but just before the affair was concluded the old gentleman interferred and would not consent to his Sons selling. My dear mother has been in very bad health and I think more changed than any person I ever saw. I cannot express the pain it gives me to see her decline so rapidly, alhough she is sensible of it her spirits are not bad, the manner that you and your brother have conducted yourselves is a great source of consolation to her and your little sister who is the best and gayest kind I ever saw in her pastime, Julian has grown rather turbulent and prefers his fathers society to hers but he never forgets his Brs. let me know whether each state is entitled to send any particular number of cadets to your college, and what interest is necessary to be admitted. your Father desired me to say that he will send you three hundred dollars, adieu my child I am all impatience to hear from you.

M. T.
RC (NcU: NPT); partially dated; addressed: “N. P. Trist Cadet West Point New York”; stamped; postmarked Lafourche, 22 Nov. 1818; endorsed by Trist: “my mother 19th November 1818 La fourche.”
Mary Trist Jones Tournillon
Date Range
November 17, 1818