To Elizabeth Wayles Eppes
Richmond Mar. 7. 1790.
I had much wished to have had the pleasure of visiting you at Eppington before my departure, but the letters I receive from New York do not permit me to protract my stay a moment. Yesterday we finished our great business and tomorrow I set out. Our family, the new part as well as the old, will pay their respects to you at Eppington as shortly as they can. I shall avail myself of that occasion of having Polly left under your motherly care, which you have so kindly desired. She will have opportunities of learning from you many things of the most useful in life, which her sister also would have been the better for, had not circumstances necessarily removed her out of the way. Polly has occasion for a little help in writing. She is fond enough of reading and will require no pressing on that head for any thing but her Spanish. I have insisted on her reading ten pages a day in her Spanish Don Quixot, and getting a lesson in her Spanish grammar, all which she can do by herself, but not being very easy to her1 she is sometimes willing to avoid it. I hope I shall be permi[tted] to come home in the Fall and either to meet you at Monticello or see you at Eppington. In the mean time be assured my dear Madam of the unalterable attachment of Your’s affectionately,
PrC (CSmH); faded.
On the preceding day TJ had received two letters … from New York, both from James Madison (see Madison to TJ 11 and 14 Feb. 1790). Polly’s instruction in Spanish had been begun by TJ some time earlier (see Diary of Nathaniel Cutting, under 10 Oct. 1789; Vol. 15: 497). On TJ’s view of the importance of the study of the Spanish language for Americans, see his letter to Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., 6 July 1787. Mrs. Eppes replied to the above from Eppington on 23 May 1790 as follows: “The contents of your favour by Mr. Eppes shall be much attended to. We have had the pleasure of the dear Girls company only a week. The reason of their not visiting us was the want of horses, which we were very happy in removing as soon as we heard of it, for I assure you I was not a little mortified at never hearing from them.—I hope you find yourself agreeablely situated. Our best wishes for your health & happiness. Your affectionate friend, E. Eppes” (RC in possession of Robert H. Kean, Richmond, Va., 1945; endorsed as received 5 June 1790 and so recorded in SJL).—An entry in SJL under 18 Feb. 1790 shows that TJ received a letter from Francis Eppes, dated at Eppington 12 Jan. 1790, but it has not been found.
1. These two words badly faded; reading verified from 19th century Tr in ViU.