Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge to Benjamin F. Randolph

My dear Benjamin,

I have had a little photograph taken which they tell me is not much uglier than I am myself, and I enclose one in this letter for Sally & yourself.

I cannot tell you how unhappy I am in the present conflict between the North & South. The idea of Civil war makes all the blood in my body run cold. I admit that the South had great cause of complaint, but I do think South Carolina greatly to blame in her violent measures. The Union is a thing too sacred to be cast aside like an old garment, and Secession, instead of being the first impulse, should have been the last resort after all efforts for redress had failed. I do not know what sort of Confederacy that can be, which the Cotton states propose, where each one will have a right to Secede the first time the whim may arise. I think Virginia & the other border Slave States will be miserably out of place in a Coalition of which Cotton is to be the supreme Lord, and where they have less to hope for than in their present position. I hope they will stand firm till the whole matter can be submitted to the whole people, instead of to a few wrangling politicians. For my part though I am a true Southern woman, and that a residence of 36 years at the North has never shaken my allegiance or my affection for the South, yet I love the Union and the Stars & Stripes, the only things around which all Americans can rally.

We are all as usual here. I hope you hear & see a great deal of Isaetta, to whom & to Mr Hubbard I beg to be affectionately remembered. I receive frequent letters from Mr Coolidge. He was again at Hong Kong after five weeks spent in Japan. I think he will be at home by the month of May. Sidney is returning home from New Mexico (where he was with Capt Talcott) and I expect him in Boston some time next month. Farewell my dear brother. A great deal of love to Sally & to Lewis. God bless you all.

Ever most affectionately your sister,
Ellen W. Coolidge.
Tr (ViU: Trist-Burke Family Papers, Mss 6696); in the hand of Martha Jefferson Trist Burke; with note by Burke: “Copied from the original letter preserved by Cornelia J. Taylor– ‘Lego’ Albemarle County Va Dec. 3d 1897. by M. J. T. Burke.”
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