Elizabeth Trist to Nicholas P. Trist

My very dear Child

Your letter of the 25th Jany reach’d me on the 7th I had been expecting to hear from you and began to be anxious, not because I did not get a letter as soon as I wish’d but the severity of the winter made me fear for your health in that bleak Northerly situation where exposures are apt to create plurisys and other inflamatory disorders, tho anxious I flatterd my Self with the hope as you were exempted from Military duty you wou’d have a better chance to escape but how greatly I shou’d have sufferd if I had heard of your illness while you were at the worst period of it, I am glad that you are so prudent as to take care of your Self, had you no Physician to attend you? your disorder seems to have been an intermittant fever which is not a very common complaint at this season unless a person has been afflicted with it in the Autumn you must be bilious and ought to take medicine when you feel any Symptoms of its return, your constitution naturally is a good one but your Brother has from Infancy been subject to bilious attacks which makes me fear that he cannot live in a Southron climate—tho I wou’d by no means have you to expose your self unnessarily yet a want of exercise is prejudicial to health particularly when a person has been accustomed to use a great deal, we have experienced very severe weather have had nine snows which kept possession of the ground till within a day or two and we are threatend with more Virginia wrote me that the Thermometer was as low as five at the Mountain, some days the weather has been very cold than become moderate the Severest cold we have had commenced on the evening of the 24th Jany and Continued till the 26th Mrs Randolph arrived on the 23d in health and spirits and the children in fine health Mr Randolph returnd on the 27th to Richmond George has improved so much by his travils that he has become a great swearer and sets his [. . .] oathes to musick has lost all that diffidence he formerly possesed I recd a letter from your Brother dated 20th Jany he assured me that he had recoverd from his indisposition, but had delivered no letters not even to Mrs Bache which is what I cant pardon his excuse is a very lame one that practising demure looks as he had not proper command of countenance but he assures me that he shall wait on her very soon I suppose he told you that he was invited by Mr Patterson to spend the evening with him where he met with a Party of 30 Gentlemen the literati of Phild, I had the pleasure to receive a letter on the 1st instant from your dear Mother date 4th Jany she mentiond having recd the day before a letter from our dear Browse date 3d Dec and one from her no less dear Nicholas of the 25th of Nov, she says that they are at a non plus about remiting Money, as Mr Callander was then in Louisiana and she did not know who else to confide in, but hoped shortly to send me 150$ in some secure manner, which I shall be glad to get, as, I am reduced to ten Dollars and unless I get it I must give up my journey to Liberty the roads will prevent me for some time Cornelia wrote me on the 4th she regrets that the roads being so bad as to prevent Virginia and her self from visiting me even on Horseback but I am in hopes that we shall have no more severe weather Your Mother gives you great credit for your forbearance remaining so long at West Point with out having visited me and another Lady, she had that evening assisted your Father in repacking a very handsome sword, Dark, and crimson velvet belts embroiderd in gold which he had sent to Paris for I hope these things will not put it into your head to be a Soldier by Profession, I hope you will never take up arms but in defence of your Country I wou’d as soon hear of your turning Highway man as to join any army; from ambitious motives war is at best a horrid calamity and those who wage war for the purpose of subjugating Nations to their will are guilty of a heneous crime No My Dear Nicholas when the hour arrives when you must quit this world let not y[our] Conscience upbraid you with having done any thing [. . .] dishonor humanity that of fighting to agrandise your fame is an ignoble principle the very reflection of having assisted to destroy the human Race to entail misery on our fellow beings is a poignant stab to a feeling heart and what yours I am certain cou’d never be easy under Remember what your Father Phil sufferd in having taken the life of a fellow being tho he did it in justification of his own honor and lost none by the action yet it prey’d upon his mind what then must be the reflection of those who are instrumental in heaping misery on thousands how many widows and Orphans are thrown on the world destitue and wretched I shou’d glory in seeing you at the plough tail rather than hearing of your being a General in a foreign servise, if your Country is invaded do your utmost in its defence I shou’d be asham’d of you, if you did not but as I have said enough on the subject I shou’d be glad if you had the means of buying some of the public lands as they are I am told selling cheap—a son of Wilson Nicholas is going to establish him self on the Red River and I understand that Jefferson Randolph intends embark on that scheme but I am certain that neither his Grand Father or Mother will ever consent to his going to reside there there is little or nothing to be made in this Country at present nor any where else but that may not always be the case, are you not glad that the Queen of England has defeated the Machinations of her enemies Judge Carr and seven or eight of his friends are to dine with us to morrow the family Unite in wishing you health and happiness and believe me your sincerely your affectionate Grand Mother

E. Trist
RC (NcU: NPT); misdated; torn at seal; addressed: “Mr Nicholas–P–Trist West Point New York”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 13 Feb.; endorsed by the recipient: “Mrs E. Trist Feby 9th 1821.”