Martha Jefferson Randolph to Nicholas P. Trist

No apology is due to me Dearest Nicholas for any delay in answering my letters, who have now before me two of yours unanswered. It is really a singular circumstance that loving you, and thinking of you as much as I do, I should still be so much under the influence of a habit contracted in early life as to neglect you. the difficuly with which I wrote english when I first returned to this country fixed gave rise to [. . .] the habit and the cares of my family and frequent interruptions from company have confirmed me past correction in it. Your last letter was most gratefull to us all, as it brought a confirmation of your recovery, not perfect however, untill your strength returns also; and distant as the period still is with you, cold weather must come at last I wish in the mean time I could send you a few of our cool dry bright nights free from musquitoes and insects of every kind, but I believe upon the whole we shall gain by keeping them for you till your return; and if I could convince you of what I so religiously believe myself, that you could never keep your health in that climate. it would be some compensation for the sacrifice that you will make in giving it up. but health and gold are not often the produce of the same soil: the abundance of the former which I think we may venture to ensure to you, as you have given up the use of tobacco “entirely and forever” must indemnify you for a more moderate share of the latter—Although our prospects are certainly improving, yet they are still unsettled, and the short crops of this year after the total failure of the last, renders our situation more precarious; yet I hope notwithstanding hard times & & the probabilities of “weathering the storm” are in our favour. too much however must depend upon contingencies for me to be entirely easy—The university will gain the more perhaps from the next assembly, for what it lost by the last. the sentiment of dissaprobation and vexation at their having stopped short, after having gone so far, was very general so much so that the candidates in many of the counties declared them selves friends of the university to gain popularity. I certainly do look forward to the time when Virginia will again recover the high station she once held amongst her sister states. I see no reason why with equal advantages as to education, her sons may not again as in former times give lustre to the land of their birth, and that My dear father has had so great a share in restoring her to her lost glory, is a cordial to my heart, and I hope will be a solace to his declining years. his old age as yet has few of the infirmities, and none of the decrepitude incident to his advanced years and I hope as his affairs become more prosperous, the natural chearfulness of his temper so important to health, and life even will at his age, will return. he will make this year from 30 to 40 hogshead of tobacco at Poplar forest, which untill this year the first of Jefferson’s superintendance has regularly brought him in debt. the drought in this neighbourhood has been so dreadfull that many people will not make bread, but we have not suffered as much I believe as our neighbours although the crops are very short.—

Your old friend Miss Betsy Carr is married to a clergy man of the name of Paxton, poor, but I believe they are gone home to housekeeping, and Margaret Peyton also is married. Francis is not wanting in inclination to follow the example, but Miss E is upon her high horse in consequence of a letter written by his father last winter intimating the expediency of delaying the business a little; but as the cause of his objection is removed, I suppose when she has pranced and curvetted a little longer to shew with what dignity and grace she can manage her high mettled steed she will condescend to listen to reason. Mr R— who left us this morning, in thanking you for your kind remembrance most cordially returns you his. I seldom remember comissions of the kind, if I had the expression “Our dear Nicholas” used in one of his letters would have convinced you if you could have doubted it, that the palsy of his fingers had never reached his heart. of that however you could require no new assurances. you have long been the child of our affection and whether you give us a legal right to call you so or not w[e will?] never cease to love you. but it is time to put an end to this b[. . .] I believe it is fortunate for you that My letters [. . .] are “like angels visits, few and far between” it would be a horrible imposition to have to read many such. remember me to dear Browse tell him his withered rose is in a state of perfect preservation, and likely to remain so, but not so the old french wardrobe. even “sir Jervase’s trunk” was exausted at last, and if he does not come soon there will not be a decent suit left for the wedding. adieu, all here join in love to you both, and from my self dear Nicholas accept the unalterable love of an affectionate Mother

V. is at Ashton, and thanks to Dr Watkins wonderfully improved in health. Ellen will write soon, she is at present nursing a sick friend Miss Woodward. remember me with respect and affection to your friend,

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 and postmarked; endorsed by Trist: “Randolph (Martha) Sep. 1. 22.”