Martha Jefferson Randolph to Dolley Madison

A hope of being able through your medium to serve an unfortunate family reduced to absolute want, has indu[ced] me to write to you My Dear Mrs Madison as the only person to whom I could with propriety apply in the present emergency. you have no doubt heard of the total ruin of David M. Randolph. he is himself gone to England upon a scheme so little likely to succeed, that nothing but despair could have suggested it. his family in the mean time are entirely destitute, but My Sister with an energy that does her honour [. . .] has resolved to open a boarding house in Richmond by which means she will I hope be enabled to suport her self and younger children. her eldest son is also provided for for the present, there remains only Beverley whom the [. . .] immediate subject of this letter. their object is to obtain for him, if possible, an under clerkship in one of the offices; in Mr Madison’s would be the wish of his friends, but if not in his, in any other that could be obtained. you were never backward in the cause of humanity, in the present case, My Dear friend, I must beg you to end the suspence in which the poor youth is kept, as soon as possible, that if he should be dissappointed, his friends may see what else can be done for him

I wish I had a right to complain of your with holding from a friend in solitude, so great a source of amusement as your letters but I deserve to do pennance for my sins, and you have been spared the ennui of reading letters dull, as the surounding scenery mountains covered with snow are not calculated to inspire or amuse the fancy. mine seldom wanders from my own fire side unless it is to pay you a little visit occasionally, from which however I am soon recalled to decide upon the merits of a misshapen letter or assist in the labours of the grammar or spelling book. your boy is a very fine one in his mother’s eyes. I am sorry he will not have it in his power this winter to challenge Master Cutts and the ragged boys, on F street to a game of marbles give my best affections to Miss Cutts and believe me My Dear Mrs M. yours sincerely

RC (MCR-S: Mary Elizabeth Estelle Cutts Collection); dateline beneath signature; endorsed by Madison: “Mrs Randolph of Monticello. Jany 15. 1808.”
Dolley Madison
Date Range
January 15, 1808