Joseph Coolidge and Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge to Martha Jefferson Randolph

My dear Mother—

We are at Nahant, and I devote a liesure hour to my friends at Monticello. Our journey became at length fatiguing, owing to the excessively warm weather, crowded inns and coaches; so that we were glad to arrive at my father’s house where they had long expected us: several days were necessary to recover from the exhaustion of our ride; and Ellen, then, recd the visits of those who called upon her: of course she can, as yet, have formed no friendships, having had opportunity only to see the faces of the circle in wh. she is to live: I do not think that she is so much pleased with Boston, or its inhabitants, as I thought she would have been; both were praised too highly by those we met on our route, and who, learning her destination, thought to ingratiate themselves by speaking well of her future residence. as for the city long drought had destroyed every thing like verdure, so that the environs of Boston were as dry and dusty as her its streets, and then we arrived at midnight, on Saturday, and was too tired to look upon the fronts even, of the houses we passed; even by moonlight. Circumstances prevented her seeing, immediately, her old friends; Mrs Greenwood was ill, Mrs Ticknor absent, and Mr Baldwin also; but a few days gave her the cordial welcome not of these only; but of many others: I do not presume to say what are her impressions—but, if unfavourable, time will change them, if otherwise it will confirm them. she found letters waiting her arrival, and the following mail brought her others and renewed the anxiety wh. the former ones had occasioned; since then she has recd yours, and one, too, from Cornelia; I rejoice with her in the cheerful character they bear; her heart is so warmly with you all that any expression wh. conveys the idea of sorrow, or any kind of suffering, calls forth her ready sympathy—: she bears however her separation from you nobly, never murmuring—yet but always mindful of it: indeed, when we arrived in New York, and the had recd the many letters which had been directed to her there, for some time she seemed wholly overpowered by her recollections; her thoughts spirits deserted her; she had borne until she could resist no longer, she and wanted only an excuse for giving vent to emotions wh. had gathered free from restraint, and your messages of love furnished this: yet in a little while she was calm again.—Our journey will not furnish a subject for pleasant letters, it was too fatiguing: but when we meet again in the little tea room, or upon the terrace, she will tell you of Catskill, and the Lakes, and the beauties of Vermont, our eastern Switzerland, and of the quiet yet picturesque little villages lying along the Connecticut, and of the excellent roads, and public coaches; the civil people, “so like Virginians”, and of an extent of cultivated country, with its neat and orderly enclosures, and comfortable farm-houses wh. surpassed her expectation altogether; and then Nahant, with the first sight of the Ocean breaking over its long beach, or dashing against the high rocks, will task even her force of language; but I ought to write you more particularly about herself. first, (it will interest you, I know, to hear it,) my friends all like her; & secondly she will I am certain be a general favourite; many will love her for my sake, more for her own: the climate, too, of wh. she had heard such accts. will, I am sure, be of more benefit to her health than she can imagine—and our habits will be found to nearly resemble those to wh. she has been accustomed; [. . .] moreover, she will soon acknowledge that the reports of inconvenient independance in our domestics are very much exaggerated!

After a week in Boston we came to Nahant, at the solicitations of the Ticknors, and by advice of all my friends, for the sake of sea-air, and sea bathing: we are in an admirable hotel, where is every luxury, and where there is a choice of retirement or of society; and at wh. we hear daily from our friends in town: here we are to pass a week, and then return to prepare for housekeeping: the house is ready, and our furniture in great measure prepared: we shall hope to hear when there, of preparations for departure from Monticello of yourself, dear Mother, or Cornelia, or Mary, to pass the winter with us. the gaieties of our northern capital would well repay “the girls” for so long a journey, and opportunities of coming with a suitable escort cannot be rare, from Richmond: When once established you shall hear from us more regularly, and I shall occasionally borrowed my dear wife’s pen to recall myself to your affectionate remembrance. let us, too, hear often from you—life is so full of cares and disappointments that we require the assurance of the love of those we value to enable us to bear them with tolerable equanimity:—I am most sincerely glad to hear of Mr Jefferson’s improving health; the crowds of uninteresting men among whom I have been moving of late make me t[. . .] of him with increased veneration; and public opinion of in this section of our country had changed, of late, much, very much, in regard to him: public and private testimony to his patriotism, and character, are no longer infrequent; to his literary merits they have never been so.My dear Mother, for all the kind remembrances of me from “the mountain” to E offer my thanks; and, with the expressions of affectionate regard for all, believe me

most truly, Yrs.
J. C Jr

I have received your letter of Aug. 2. my dearest mother & will write very soon. I am staying here to recruit after a journey too long & too rapidly made not to be excessively fatiguing. Mr & Mrs Ticknor who are staying here also have been the very soul of kindness to me. were it not for them I should have but a melancholy time, for I know nobody & am too home-sick & pining after all I have left behind me at Monticello to make myself amiable to persons who having no interest at all in forming an acquaintance with me, are careless about seeking one. love to all & for yourself dearest mother the assurance that each day adds to the tenderness of my love since each day makes me more sensible of all I have lost in a separation from you, ever your own


on reading over this I thought it too unpardonably bad to be sent—but Ellen says—you will not be critical. I claim all your indulgence.

remembrances to Nicholas & Jefferson.

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); partially dated; torn at seal; addressed: “To Mrs Randolph: Monticello. Charlottesville: Albemarle Cy Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 10 Aug.
Ellen W. Randolph Randolph Coolidge
Date Range
August 10, 1825