Cornelia J. Randolph to Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge, with Postscript by Virginia J. Randolph Trist

Since I wrote to you Dear sister Mr Donnelson has come back to Washington; how the president will settle matters about his private secretary I do not know, but Nicholas is very unwilling that any thing should be said about his having been chosen. therefore, though it is improbable that you should have mentioned it, seeing that nobody in Boston cares a straw, probably, who is the president’s private secretary, still as you may see some one from Washington N. begs me to write to you to beg you will not breathe it. We have not mentioned it here & as he has not yet entered upon his duties it is not suspected. here N. seems to be growing in favour with the president, & we all like the old man more & more. he is no common man, he has character & decision enough to do any thing however great; his talents the war proved; his integrity & disinterestedness every day makes more apparent, the firmness of his friendships, his warmth of heart time gradually discovers; the dignity & grace of his manners you yourself have witnessed; in short we are all Jacksonians, warm & true. I must tell you two [. . .] anecdotes I heard last night; one a painter told; Gen. J. was sitting for his picture & just opposite him hung the portrait of his wife; the painters back was to it & he had forgotten it when he observed the tears stealing down the old man’s cheeks. The other is—he (the president) has a bullet I believe, in his arm, probably lodged there in some duel of his young & savage days, which h gives him much pain now, & formerly while he was in congress brought him almost to the point of [. . .] death, he was then attended by a miserable old [. . .] creature here Dr Sim, & his friends tried all means to induce him to employ another physician, but he steadily refused; at last they applied to Mrs Jackson, told her of his danger & advised her to use her influence with him to get a more competent physician; his answer to her was “Dr Sim* is my friend, if I give him up it will ruin his reputation & take the bread out of his children’s mouths, I never will do it, he shall either kill or cure me.”

We expect Jane & Mr Smith to arrive in Washington to day; Mary Fairfax is with them, she is to return immediately to Orlando who would scarcely spare her long [. . .] enough to go to the wedding; he is attending medical lectures in Philadelphia.

We got a letter from Sarah Nicholas a few days ago saying that John spoke in very high terms of George, but advised that he should not remain on board ship during the whole cruize, that he should return home. what his reasons were for this advice I do not know; probably on account of his educ[ation] which I suppose (at least his latin & greek) must be quite n[eglect?]ed in such a ship as the John Adams.

We shall leave this for Virginia this day week.

Adieu dear sister I am in great haste; give my love to Joseph & kisses to the children

yours affectionately
C. J. R.

*V. says Dr S. has not a child in the world but he has a wife & no fortune but his profession.

I shall write, dearest Sister, as soon as Mama is gone

RC (ViU: Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge Correspondence); torn at seal; addressed: “To Mrs Joseph Coolidge Junr Boston Massachusetts”; stamped; postmarked City of Washington, 18 May; endorsed by Coolidge: “Cornelia. 18 May. 1831”; with additional notes by Coolidge: “anecdotes of Gen. Jackson. All my family Jacksonian.”