Martha Jefferson Randolph to Ann C. Morris

Dear Sister

It is really so long since I wrote last that I am ashamed of addressing one against whom I have sinned beyond the hope of pardon, but as in withholding them, I deprive you of nothing but repetitions of a truth that you already know, the scarcity of my letters ought to add some what to their value by not fatiguing, where they have no power to amuse. My health has been miserable this last summer so much so as to make Mr R— talk seriously of trying the sea air for me in which case I should have taken Morrissania in my voyage for health, change of air and exercise in a carriage I have never found to fail, and a journey to Poplar forest with my father was of infinite service to me. the neighbourhood is so thickly settled there that I was as contantly on the road returning morning visits and accepting dinner parties as I should have been in town. besides carrying our old friend Mrs Trist to her home the little town of Liberty where she will reside with Mr Gilmer’s family as long as they remain there, probably many years I have been much better since my return but still subject to headach with violent palpitations of the heart spasms in my limbs and back and frequent fevers. I believe it is owing to the critical period of life at which I have arrived and which will last some years yet I am afraid. the cold weather has in some measure restored tone to the system, and I am in hopes a Journey to Richmond which I have in contemplation will also contribute to my health and spirits—I was as much surprised as you could have been at Sister R—s suffering Meade to go to live with you without informing you of the dreadfull [. . .] infirmity under which he labours. but I was told that she gave as a reason, that if she had told you of it, and thereby prevented your recieving him, his father and himself would have accused her of ruining his prospects fortune and blasting his prospects. I dare say they might, but my God what a state of things for a mother to be suspected of designedly ruining her own children. “be to their faults a little blind, be to their virtues very kind” is good advice to Parents as well as husbands. and perhaps reproving too much, though not more than rigid justice would approve, has done more mischief than too much indulgence the voice of a Mother should not so often be exerted in anger as to become associated with disagreable feelings; no one on earth has been so essentially kind to their children as sister Randolph has been yet certainly few have met with less gratitude in return. Beverlys conduct has I fear been the worst of all. I remember you augured badly [. . .] from the specimen you saw of the family, I believe they visit, but if they do that, it is the utmost extent of their intercourse—I have been staying a fort night with my daughter Jane (Hollins) who has given birth to a fifth daughter. Margaret Nicholas who staid with her to keep house for her during her confinement, and my self who officiated as nurse, threatned if she had another girl to send Ben and Lewis down as nurse & house keeper, and she has been so well that had we put our threats in execution she might have defied our malice. the little girl will be named Mary after the one she lost this fall, and is very pretty and healthy. adieu dear Nancy believe me affectionately yours

M Randolph

remember me affectionately to Gouverneur I would send him a kiss but remember his dislike to them

I shall probably be in Richmond by the middle of January where I expect to remain the rest of the winter—Septimia Joins in love to Gouverneur. Ellen is in Washington and Cornelia and Virginia in Richmond burn this as soon as you have read it I write in haste and recovering from one of my head achs which allways leave me weak and nervous John’s had had an estate left him by the death of her uncle or rather 1 half of it her sister I suppose heirs the other adieu again dear Sister

RC (PPAmP: Smith-Houston-Morris-Ogden Family Papers); dateline below first postscript; addressed: “Mrs Gouverneur Morris Haarlem post office near New York”; stamped; postmarked Charlottesville, 10 Jan.
Air Jordan