Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge

Dear Ellen

Your interest in dear George will make you anxious to learn the important event that has taken place in his short history Jefferson saw John Nicholas in Baltimore who is going out in the John Adams upon a cruise of 3 years, to the mediterrannean, Constantin[o]ple & &. he pressed upon him very much as the navy was to be his George’s destination to send him at once with him, and under his controul; he says there their education goes on as regularly at sea as on shore the attention to morals very strict, their expenses nothing, so that after every long cruise they bring home from 700 to 1000 $ and even more like that by going now instead of waiting till he was 15, he would gain 2 years in his promotion, and the certainty of going in an excellent [. . .] ship on a pleasant cruise under the immediate surveillance of one who will be as an elder brother to him. his reasons prevailed, but there seemed to be a difficulty in getting a place in a ship to which, there has had been a general rush, but the memory of My dear father still sheds it’s blessing on his children the order was made out at once and although the warrant cant be given untill after a trial of 6 months yet his pay commences from the day in which he was ordered in to active service the 31st of March. [. . .] Our own state has “cast us in the corners of neglect” but the general Government have been in both administrations equally friendly and I think there are rational hopes of it’s doing something for us. from the moment I was convinced it was for his advantage I was anxious for success and there never has been a moment in which I should have repented, yet I acknowledge it has been a dreadfull sacrifice and one that I shall not immediately recover. I shall see him once more but whether at Edgehill or here I do not yet know. the vessel will probably sail the latter end of May or the first of June—Doctor Dunglisson told Jefferson that Ben was the first in all his classes, he will take one course in Philadelphia and be examined and receive his Diploma there after which Jefferson has been advised to make him apply for a place of Surgeon’s mate in the Navy. the Salary is $500 and the practice much greater than a young physician could ever begin with and if promoted the salary is $1000, in either case if he wish to quit the navy & practice any where else he would have gained much experience & his savings. Lewis is a very hard student, and very correct and particular in the choice of his associates. Jefferson thinks he has found favor in the eyes of a very sweet little girl a fortune, whose mother visited them repeatedly last summer at Edge hill and whose brother has given Lewis a very pressing invitation to spend the vacation with them. Mrs Bennet Taylor is the [. . .] Mother. the children are wealthy & independent oof of her. all this of course is secret history. whether Lewis’s pride will not stand in the way of his preferment will be determined in the [. . .] remains to be seen, even should there be no other obstacle the boys are all of them correct prudent & much and very industrious. I am not forgetful of those first and dearest blessings to a mother, & yet the long sepparation separation from and hardships of a sea life to the youngling of the flock has cost me some bitter tears and will cost me many more before I become accustomed to it. he will be in Norfolk probably by the time you receive this. if John Nicholas goes to Edgehill as he has partly promised it will hasten our journey there. if he does not it will be [. . .] cheaper for him George to come from Norfolk here to see us—the thing is not spoken of here because it might bring on the question of when did you apply? and so many have made I suspect prior applications, that it might raise a cry of favoritism and excite ill will not only against the president but against us also. after a time people will no longer be so particular in their enquiries. My health is not good, but I have no doubt change of air & Scene, after I recover from the approaching trial will produce their usual beneficial effects. kiss the dear children all of them for me I would not say so to them but certainly Nell and Tom have entwine[d] them selves more closely about My heart than the others, sweet as they are remember me most affectionately to Joseph, his Mother Mrs Storer Mrs stearns when you see her, and many others from whom I have received very kind attentions too many to name in a letter never forgetting your own household. God bless you My dear daughter excuse this sloven[ly] [. . .] but my heart is sad & my heart hand tremulous, Yours unchangeably

M R.
RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Letters); dateline below signature; mutilated at seal; addressed: “To Mrs J. Coolidge Junr to the care of Joseph Coolidge Junr Boston Massachusetts”; endorsed by Coolidge: “1831”; notes by Coolidge: “George to go on board.”