Martha Jefferson Randolph to Catharine Wistar Bache

A thousand thanks My Dear Mrs Bache for your very friendly letter, and I am equally obliged to you for the friendly construction you were so good as to put upon my apparent neglect of it—it found me the second day after my arrival at this place, in the midst of unpacking opening arranging and all the various etcetera’s of beginning to keep house at a place so often deserted by it’s Master, and where at all times there is so much to do.

that occasioned the loss of a post, and before the return of an other my children had g begun to break out with the measles which has since been going through the family, attended by consquences as bad as the disorder it self; no physician in the neighbourhood and Mr Randolph constantly absent upon the very charming business of canvassing1 that you can form no idea of the trouble and anxiety I have had in the last 6 weeks; however they are safely through it, all but Ellen who did not take it altho sleeping in the bed with her sister during the time of her illness and beeing continually in the midst of it since untill 10 days ago. it is a subject of dread and anxiety removed from my mind to effect which I would again willingly undergo all I have suffered in the last 6 weeks. Mr R has offered for Congress, in this county he got 511 votes to 96 only against him, and would have gotten many more but the croud in the court obliged upwards of a hundred persons to go away with out voting and the badness of the weather deterred as many more from coming all decidedly friendly to him. however he lost in a Amherst more than he gained in Albermarle owing to the truly regal influence of the Cabells who possess almost all the wealth and that sort of respectability which wealth gives, in the county Mr R—s friends not daring to oppose them stayed generally at home the most determined and independent of them formed a guard about his person to protect him from insult, a necessary precaution in a county many degrees more savage & ferocious than any thing we have been accustomed to. their election was not as full as ours and 60 of those bad votes which may if occasion should require be [. . .] expunged. Fluvanna will decide the contest it remaining with her to give a majority. the event is however vastly doubtfull so much so as to baffle all human calculation from the misfortune of a weak stomach which2 will not allow Mr R to drink grog with the people and his total want of a musical ear which absolutely incapacitates him from dancing with them. two considerations of the first magnitude in Fluvanna and in both of which Col Cabell excells. the event alone can determine whether the want of such weighty advantages can be possibly compensated for by good sense & virtuous principles. their Majesties the people must decide the contest between a sound head & heart on one side and a pair of light heel and capacious stomach on the other after having impartially (I hope) weigheg weighed the merits of the contending parties they will in the plenitude of their wisdom (I had allmost said drunkeness) decide and what ever that decision is you shall hear by the next post monday is the d important day Mr Randolph arrived late last evening and was again off eally early this morning consequently he could not write to you, for which he desired me to apologise, and to mention at the same them that the offer contained in your last of remitting to him the 300 $ would be particularly acceptable at this time, as one execution is allready taken out against him as bail for Doctor Bache for to Martin Key to the amount of nearly 100 dollars and that judgement will be unavoidably rendered against him soon for several hundred pounds which the present embarassmen[t of] affairs renders it impossible for him to discharge witho[ut] sacrifices, he will however him self write fully to you upon the subject next week. the danger of losing the post obliges me to conclude, with every warm and affectionate feeling for your self and family and ardent wishes for your happiness and welfare believe me my Dear Mrs Bache yours sincerely

M. Randolph
RC (Heritage Auctions, auction 6054, New York City, 8 Apr. 2011, lot 34038); torn at seal; addressed: “Mrs Doctor Bache Settle near Bristol Pensilvania”; stamped; postmarked Milton, 22 Apr.; endorsed by Bache: “Mrs Randolph 1803.”
1Manuscript: “cavassing.”
2Manuscript: “whill.”
Catharine Wistar Bache
Date Range
April 21, 1803
Heritage Auctions, auction 6054, New York City, 8 Apr. 2011, lot 34038