Elizabeth Trist to Catharine Wistar Bache

My Dear friend

I can not resist the impulse of my heart to communicate to you the pleasure I know you will feel as well as my self, at hearing my dear children acknowledge their happiness—in the 1st place Since I wrote to you I got a letter from Nicholas he writes that his Mother is now Madame St Julien de Tourneillon, that he has been made very happy by her union with so amiable a man, he is very fond of Browse and him self, very attentive to Grand Mother Brown and wou’d be the same to me if I was there which he hoped I wou’d be ere long, we are all happy but shoud be more so if you were hear to partake with us, we have great reason to rejoice having now a Father a friend and protector this was dated Baton Rouge 15 October says not a word of what pass’d at the examination and I felt some little mortification least he might not have acquired the applause I had hoped for, but his Mothers letter of the 21st Octo has gratified my most ardent hopes I will transcribe it and then you can Judge for your self what I have not words to express “My Dear Mother Nicholas wrote you by the last mail but I know not if he made himself the subject of his letter I received one from the President of the College which I enclose you Polly can no doubt translate it, be assured he received the premium and1 crown in the translation class and was honord in the mathematical class by being crown’d the improvement in his character exceeds my most Sanguine expectation my only regret is, Dear Mother that you are not here to share with us our present happiness Mr Tourneillon desires that I will say every thing in our joint names to induce you to pass the remainder of your days with us, and what ever money is necessary for the expence of your journey to draw on me for it, and your note will be accepted, Mr T. desires me to say that if you wish to dispose of your half of this land that he will purchase it, It has long been my wish to make you this offer as the only means of making you independent of your friends for your private expences which I know is so necessary to your happiness do not permit the interest of your Grand children to deter you, as it is for them he wishes to buy it In a few days we shall go to Town to place the Children at College, pray tell me how you direct to Mrs Bache I am sure she does not get my letters I direct to the custom House I am very anxious to hear from her &c—in a post script she says that Nix has grown five inches since she saw him and is as broad as he is long with a Northern complexion and as wild as a Deer that I wou’d not suppose that he had been a Student for the last year,” what do you think of Mr Tourneillon you can have but a faint Idea what sensations his proposals created in my bosom my pride began at first to be operated upon, to feel my self so obligated to a person I know not nor ever heard of, but upon more mature reflection I viewd it in a different light, that Mr T wish’d to gratify the feelings of his wife by enableing her to perform an act of generosity towards one, whoes happiness she is deeply interested in Polly accorded with me in opinion and I have concluded to accept the offer of his purchase, as to going to that Country at present it is out of the Question there are too many obsticles in the way of my travilling, such a journey unprotected not even a companion to make my journey appear less dreary, and the war [. . .] increases the difficulty to See my children and to see them happy wou’d be the sweetest cordial to my sperits in the world but to part from this family for ever, wou’d be greivious in the extreme; in this asylum I have found tranquility and comfort tho I must confess that the time has been when I shou’d have viewed a residence in this spot with horror if I cou’d alternately pass the remnant of my days with objects so dear to me I shou’d be too happy I have the greatest desire to know more to of this new connection and have written to the Boys for information and also to Mrs Ross She will hear all about him and if there is any thing in his character exceptionable I will answer for it, that it will not pass unnoticed by the people of Orleans I have desired her to use no reserve but communicate every thing she hears I am disposed to think most favorably of him but there is no certainty of perpetual goodness, there is so little of real honor and honesty in the world that I am afraid to trust to appearences

I have received a few days since a renewal of Mr Jeffersons constant friendship and wishes for my health and happiness with a little work entitled intercepted letters which he says may make me laugh on a gloomy day that it has the merit too of giving us a peep behind the curtain at those contemptible beings composing that Government which has forced us by its wrongs and indignities to become its enemy and has subjected us to the Mortification and Remorse of wishing some success to such a wretch as Bonaparte, that he will fall in time, his ruthless tyrannies and restless endeavours to extend them are Sufficient security. but that our peace and Safty obliges us to pray that this may not be untill the bankruptcy which he is forcing on Great Britain shall have swept her thousand Ships from the Ocean for he saw no term to the continual wars of Britain but in the downfall of her paper credit, and consequent inability to pay feed, or repair the gigantic navy which enables her to plunder every flag and to disturb the peace of every Shore the depreciation of her paper Medium acknowledged to be at 50 pr cent, and the known laws of the acceleration of decending bodies, and and of paper mediums more than of all others, is an assurance to us that her career is near its end, he then goes on to speak of the favourable turn in our affairs to the North I wou’d transcribe the whole for your amusement but I have a rhumatic affection in my fingers which makes it painful to hold the pen his letter was dated poplar Forest 25th Nov he seems to be very confident that the English had not at that moment a post or an army above Quebec Mr Randolph had just join’d Wilkinson at the date of his last letter that he had left all well at Monticello but Mrs Randolph expected very soon to be otherwise that he shou’d shorten his stay at the Forest on her account as in the absence of her husband she might have the comfort of other friends around her. I feel much for her for she must be very anxious and wretched for his safty, I feel more than I ever expected to feel for any one not more nearly connected with me I tremble every time the mail arrives lest it shou’d bring accounts of an unpleasant nature Peachey and Mary unite assurances of regard and friendship for you wishing you health and happiness with my love to the children I bid you Adieu and may every blessing attend both you and them is the prayer of

E. Trist

In looking over this letter I feel somewhat ashamed of sending it, but the task of writing another in the present state of my poor fist induces me to risk it for the eye of friendship will pass over defects and attribute my motive for heaping upon you my long epistles to the only explicable mode I have of making you a party in all that is interesting to me

once more Adieu
E. T
RC (PPAmP: Catherine Wistar Bache Papers); addressed: “Mrs Catharine Bache Princeton Jersey”; stamped; postmarked Martinsville, Virginia, 18 Dec.; endorsed by Bache: “Mrs Trist Dec 18. 1812.”

The little work forwarded by Thomas Jefferson was Thomas Moore’s pseudonymous Intercepted Letters; or, the Twopenny Post Bag. to which are added, Trifles Reprinted. By Thomas Brown, the Younger (Philadelphia, 1813; Sowerby, no. 4519).

1Manuscript: “and and.”
Date Range
December 13, 1813