Joseph Coolidge to Nicholas P. Trist

Dear Nicholas


I write to you once more on the subject of the approaching sale at Monticello, and wish this letter to be the one which directs you in the purchase of the several articles for our acct, the amount of which Jefferson will draw for, though B. Peyton, upon T. Bulfinch & Co, at 3 days Sight.—I mention this because writing a few days since to Jefferson I named several things which, upon reflection, we do not care to have. the expence of transportation and shipping being greater upon them than their value warrants: these are the walnut night stands and such like, which I now countermand:—In the first place, I want you to understand that Ellen is very anxious to have, for her own use, something which she habitually used in his chamber; and I can recollect nothing which will answer so well as the octagon table upon which I used to read, and where His papers were kept:this I have spoken of in my letter to Jefferson, and I did so because everything else seemed too large for our house or too old for our house for transportation. This therefore dear N. I wish you to buy for Ellen! In the same room are his thermometers and his astronomical clock: the best thermometer, the one upon which he mainly relied: (I suppose it is the one at the head of his bed, I wish purchased for myself, and with it, the swedish pocket thermometer! as for the clock, it is larger than is used with us, (where the small french clocks are the only ones seen,) and the danger and expense of getting it to Boston will be great; nevertheless if Leschot, upon examination, pronounces it unworn and first rate, let me have it: for this purpose I must beg of you to contrive to get Leschot to go Monticello before the sale, and thoroughly satisfy himself of its value–: I have seen lately an astronomical clock made by the first living artist, jewelled and as perfect as any can be, keeping time with the Greenwich regulator, which cost only two hundred dollars–; this at Monticello never could have been worth half that sum, and I only want it on the conditions I have specified; but if these be fulfilled, I repeat, secure it for me. Then, dear N. comes the Indian sword which Henry Lee mentions in his letter: from something which passed in conversation with yourself I have the impression that Jefferson considers this as his own; of course, then, I have nothing to say—but if otherwise let no one have it but myself:—I am not sure that I understood, perfectly, what passed on this subject; it was in the day we dined at Tufton; Mr Jefferson’s gun—the Pistoia barrel, or Brescia barrel (was the subject of conversation, and there was some allusion to the sword; I only add, therefore, if it be procurable, let me have it: I remember dear N—, nothing more of the furniture of these rooms (the chamber & library,) but the simple drawing—a front view, I think, of Monticello itself, this or the one in the dining room Ellen wishes of sold. On the memo. I gave you, before parting, I said buy for me the duck—the silver chocolate-pot—made from the Etruscan model—and those silver drinking cups which he was wont to use: and I now renew my request. There was one thing more which I named to Jefferson in my letter by Sparks, and that was the small iron stove which stands in the niche of the tea room, it will do for the dressing room of Ellen’s chamber.

If in the preceding memoranda I have named any thing which you mean to purchase don't let me interfere with you—:I have had reference to the sale of furniture only—and have made no mention of books, busts, pictures &c—This is because I suppose these things will be sold at Philadelphia or New Yk, of course, if this is the case, the violins will not be sold, and I therefore say nothing about them—; but, if in the sale of the furniture there are any other articles which you think, from their connection with Him, or from their own nature, I should purchase [. . .] I wish you, buy them for me: (of this kind is the sleeping venus over the mantlepiece of the drawing :) = the books, of course will not be sold at this time, but, if at all, will probably accompany the pictures:

The Brescia table, wh. I named to you before, I do not now care for— the octagon table will be a substitute:—I have an idea that in my letter to Jefferson I said something about the turning machine, upon wh. He hung his clothes— his coats and waistcoats &c—which stands between the library and the beed-chamber:—but this, Ellen tells me, is a fixture and I of course do not want it. There is nothing more that I know of to add: and I repeat the request that you will use your own discretion in buying for me any little article wh. I have not specified, and which you think I should value.=In my letter to Jefferson I begged him to invite Mr Sparks to albemarle or rather to permit him when there (wh for he wishes to see Mr Madison & the libr the University) to examine the manuscripts, and to converse with him upon their arrangement and selection–:I then pledged myself most unequivically for the high sense of honor and justice of this gentlemen, whose course of life is such as to enable him to give great and valuable advice upon the subject of the publication of these papers.I wish if he does come that you would find him out, and introduce yrself in my name, and talk much and freely with him.Hilliard, Gray & Co have sent on a young man, a clerk, to assist Jones, the bookseller, and all orders thro. him will, I doubt not, be immediately attended to—but do not on this acct. hesitate to ask any thing of me which it is in my power to perform for you. I have not yet bought the wine for Dunglison because I hoped that every letter would give me some directions about it; it can be done at any moment in a few minutes time; but I have not heard from you about the whip, or whether you recd. the gloves by Jefferson, or whether his cranberries arrived safely— please inform me on this head:—and whether you recd Foster’s, and Tucker’s report, which I sent you:—all go on well here— mother is essentially recruited, was twice in one day upon a sleighing party—and Septim. and Geo. are bo[th] studious and give satisfaction at school—Tim having yesterday won the silver medal—: She is taking lessons in music and goes to little balls and parties with her young school girls—but Geo. is too shy as yet for this: he has many acquaintance however and is seemingly happy—: Mother is quite spoiled by the Boston preaching, and dreads the necessity of listening to Mr Hatch after Greenwood, & Ware, & Channing! Has the Col. gone—? and how comes on the plan for yrself wh. I heard something of in one of yours? write to me soon: tell Cornelia the box has not arrived, we were compelled to eat Christmas dinner without her ham, thank her for her beautiful lines enclosed in the letter wh. came yesterday, and give my best love to all. kissing little Mat. affectionately

ever yrs, dr N.
J.C. Jr

what a glorious example S. Carolina has set. may every state follow it.

RC (DLC: NPT); torn at seal; one word illegible; addressed: “To—Nicholas P. Trist. Charlottesville; Albemarle Cy Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Boston, 5 Jan.; endorsed: “Coolidge (Joseph) Jan. 5. ’27.”
Date Range
January 5, 1827