Martha Jefferson Randolph to Nicholas P. Trist

I beg My dear Nicholas that you will never again suffer your self to be made seriously uneasy by any possible length of silence from me. I am so notorious an offender in that way that if you did but know it, I deserve thanks and praises at your hands so far, for having treated you [to] so much better than my other correspondants, husband and children excepted. as to V— I dare say she will do better now that she has a quiet room to write in. Jane’s illness which you heard of was a bilious attack which I have no doubt saved her from the fever. My little Grand daughter did not make her appearance till the middle of december, after which time I could say very little of the looks of the girls for being confined at Tufton as nurse for a fortnight before they left us, I saw them only ocasionally and then in good truth their noses were so blue and their eyes so red from riding in the wind that1 they looked most frightfully—so “ne m’en voulez plus” for my silence upon that head, but give me credit for knowing when to hold My tongue—

the secret you reccommend with so much care shall be kept as well as I can particularly as it happens to be yours in the first instance by a breach of confidence [. . .] on my [. . .] self so that in betraying you I should get my self in to a scrape

it were well for him if all his confidants had been as discreet even as I was but his family with their usual absurdity took it into their heads that he was going to make way with himself and actually raised a hue and cry after him in the neighbourhood. Jefferson met him, when he told him a letter just recieved received rendered it necessary for him to return immediately, he took leave of him and a mile or two after he Jeff. was fortunate enought to meet and Stop Col. Carr, who was in pursuit of him. he told Jefferson the whole occurence and their fears for his wits & life &c &c, and begged him to write to Papa to persuade him to return with him from Poplar forest where he meant to call but My father returned the next day having met him on the road quietly pursuing his journey and no ways disposed to hang or drown [. . .] him self this time at least—au reste her winter has been one of adventure the world have given her amongst others Mr Poinsett and Mr Van Buren the [. . .] New York Senator, with $10,000 per annum. whether they will confirm the gift remains yet to be seen. to the latter they have hardly left a choice. for Col Peyton has sworn it and all Richmond are ready to take their bible oath that he has made proposals in form. so far for the publick but as to her own family they are just as much in the dark as you are a visit to Richmond upon his own private business and an abortive attempt or rather the simple intention to extend his visit to Monticello confirmed the reports beyond My power to disprove them. She enclosed for our amusement a caricature drawn by one of the Mr Vails representing her self and the vice president on a sopha in conversation old Rufus King [. . .] with his spectacles on his nose a croupi at her feet tying her shoe string with Senator V— B—n looking on and screening the group from observation. the figures small as they are preserve the likeness, her’s at least admirably. the saucy expression which her countenance frequently assumes is perfect. Mr V— B—n we thought looked a little sullen but that might be imagination. she says the scene is from the life and that even the furniture & Picture of Lewis the 18th [. . .] with the branch candle sticks is correct. With regard to your plans for the spring .. 23 I shall turn you over to your leige lady, sure that what she approves will meet with the approbation of her family. bien entendu that we are to gain a son and not lose a daughter by the arrangement. if you know our inability to do our duty by you as yet, you will of course remain with us untill your inclination or interest would justify another arrangement. at leas[t] she shall be no addition to your expenses, and I live in hopes that we shall have it in our power to [. . .] give you more solid proofs of our affection than fair words which as some body says “butter no parsnips” our prospects are certainly brightening in every quarter. if the property can be saved there is enough of it to make them give all of our children a competence and whilst you are engaged the2 duties of your proffession you could not be attending to the farm if you could sette settle upon one at once. so if as Sir Phillip Chest[morn?] says, you can make your horses pull together I will not be the person to balk them. the girls returned from Richmond improved in health and spirits and V— has resumed her musick with a spirit that promises success she has certainly fattened and looks much better than when she left us. Mr Hackley’s claims upon the Spanish Government to the amount of $ 150,000 has been admitted by the board of commissioners so that independant of the land wh with which he has paid all his debts in Vi[rginia] and some also in New York he will have the money. he has made [. . .] his wife’s nieces and nephew’s a present of 1000 acres of Florida lands. [. . .] will ever be of any value to them or not by the very uncertain tenure [. . .] which he himself holds it, no one can say. adieu believe me with every feeling of affection and esteem Yours unalterably

remember me most affectionately to Your Mother Mrs Brown and [. . .] Browse

the violets enclosed are of your own planting though not sent by me

I am writing with a pen of the D—ls own making and do not expect you will be able to read one word of this careless scrawl burn it for God sake as soon as you have read it

RC (NcU: NPT); unsigned; in the hand of Martha Jefferson Randolph; dateline at foot of text; torn at seal; addressed: “Nicholas P. Trist Donaldsonville La fourche Louisiana”; stamped; postmarked Milton, 23 Mar.; endorsed by Trist: “Randolph (Martha) March 21. 22.”

a croupi: “languished.”

1Manuscript: “that that.”
2Manuscript: “the the.”