Joseph Coolidge to Thomas Jefferson Randolph

My dear Sir,

I have recd your letter from washington; the check enclosed will be has been appropriated as you desire;—I have notified mr Perkins that appleton’s drft will be paid on presentation.Mr Sparks, upon whom you may remember we called while you were in Boston, is on his way to washington: You know the great facilities he possesses for introducing all literarry works to public notice—, and I have repeatedly vouched to you for his high standing among us;—would it not be well to converse with him, still further, on the subject of the Jefferson papers? his late inquiries have been almost wholly directed to the history of the times which these manuscripts illustrate; and he knows, therefore, better than any other individual, how far the information they contain, and the subjects they discuss, may be affected by existing documents—: I do not mean to advise, but only to suggest that being in Washington, with a strong feeling of respect for the memory of yr. Gdfather, he would, I believe, be (most) ready to extend his journey to Monticello, could he be permitted the examination of such of the papers as you see fit to expose: his advice upon their arrangement, the mode and time of bringing them out, and especially upon the motives wh. should influence a selection of them, he would freely communicate and discuss—: I repeat, he is a man upon whom you may implicitly depend;—

I notice the cause of yr. visit to washington, and hope you will be successful, but my wishes here are greater than my hopes: during your stay there I am anxious that you should become acquainted with some of the Eastern members: I allude particularly to Everett, and Webster, and to Mills of the Senate, and to Mr Sprague, of Maine, whom however I do not know personally; Gnl Lyman, of Boston, not in Congress, will pass a part of the winter in washington, and him, too, you will find gentlemanly and accomplished. I mention these names because I wish you to judge of the north, from northern men, and not from Southern papers!

Mother’s health I think is certainly better; and the children are both of them well behaved and improving: they go regularly to school, and I trust will be the better for their visit north;—Geo. is a sensible boy, of much character; and, if properly brot up, will make a valuable man; he studies diligently, and his master (who is excellent) is much pleased with him. Mother lives retiredly, never going out, except to Church, and for an occasional walk; Ellen keeps her company at home; She finds the climate less severe, by far much than she anticipated, indeed it has been delightful thus far—, December not yielding to May!

Some time since I forwarded to you at Tufton, a letter from B. Peyton; and two or three weeks back sent the breakfast-bowls, and cramberies, to Richmond! You do not mention them, but I trust they arrived safely: there is no allusion in yrs to the little bill at Hilliard’s for map of new England—I shall mention to mother that it stands in yr. name—and pay it, or have it transferred to close the account in their books.

I want to speak to you about the sale of the 15 January: nicholas has a list of articles which I want, and to which I beg you to refer before the day of sale. I do not remember all the articles, but among them is his best thermometer; his circular, pocket thermometer; the silver duck, used as a chocolate pot; the silver cups, marked with his initials; the astronomical clock, (if Leschot pronounces it first-rate;) & the indian sword; besides these Ellen and myself have thought of some other articles which I may as well name now as hereafter, adding only that I can receive them only on condition, that I pay for them as a stranger would do: these are, the little iron stove in the niche of the tea-Room; the octagon table with drawers (for Ellen) which stands in his library—the best of the night-stands, one of those in the chambers, of, I think, black walnut—: and the view of monticello, which hangs, I think, in the bed-room:—these I wish to have bought for me;—but before the sale will write, if possible, to Nicholas on the subject.

Mr Sparks has just left us; he will take charge of this—: his intention of visiting Washington has led me to mention that he would see you there, and to inform him of the design of yr. visit: he told me that he was intimately acquainted with many, and known slightly to most of the members; and that if he could in any way, by conversation, or otherwise, aid yr. object he would most readily:—holding the situation he does I wish him to become acquainted with every thing worth knowing in our country, and have urged him to go on and see Mr Madison; and to extend his aide to the University! he lives among men of letters, and influence here, and is free from prejudice, and may, therefore, have it in his power to do away with those of others: this has been the principal motive of my wishing him to go to albemarle; beside the hope that you would take him upon my word and make use of his experience, in relation reference to the Jefferson papers! I am almost anxious that you should consult with him, particularly about a selection, wh. from the reasons given on my first page, he is so competent to advise about.I write to you in great haste, and add merely that I have this day paid appleton [draft?] on Perkins; and that Mother had paid Hilliard: remember me to all friends—Ellen joins in good wishes;

J. C Jr
RC (ViU: ER); torn at seal; dateline at foot of text; addressed: “To—Thomas Jefferson Randolph Washington; D: C. or, at Charlottesville: albemarle Cy. Virginia” by “Mr Sparks”; endorsed by Randolph: “Joseph Coolidge Boston Dec 16 1826.”
Date Range
December 18, 1826