To Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.
Philadelphia Oct. 25. 1791.
The first part of our journey was pleasant, except some hair-breadth escapes which our new horse occasioned us in going down hills the first day or two, after which he behaved better, and came through the journey preserving the fierceness of his spirit to the last. I believe he will make me a valuable horse. Mrs. Washington took possession of Maria at Vernon and only restored her to me here. It was fortunate enough as we had to travel through five days of a North East storm, having learned at Mount Vernon that Congress were to meet on the 24th. instead of the 31st. as I had thought. We got here only on the 22d. The sales at George town were few, but good. They averaged about 2400. dollars the acre. Maria is immersed in new acquaintances; but particularly happy with Nelly Custis, and particularly attended to by Mrs. Washington. She will enter with Mrs. Pine a few days hence.
Congress met to-day. The President’s speech ran on the following subjects.—The Indians.—A land law. Militia law. Post office. Weights and measures. Navigation and commerce.—The English minister, Mr. Hammond is arrived. Affairs in France are going on well. Their new legislature is probably now sitting. I imagine a general peace has taken place through Europe.—Present my warm affections to my daughter and kiss little Anne for me. Adieu my dear Sir Your’s affectionately,
RC (DLC); addressed: “Mr. Thomas M. Randolph junr. esq. Monticello. By the Richmond post”; franked. PrC (DLC: TJ Papers, 69:11954); mutilated so that about a fourth of text is lost, including dateline, and mistakenly filed under 24 Nov. 1791.
Nelly Custis: Eleanor Parke Custis (1779–1852), a granddaughter of the Washington’s who lived with them much of the time because her father (John Parke Custis) died in 1781 and her mother (Eleanor “Nelly” Calvert) was ill (Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Diaries of George Washington [Charlottesville, 1978], iv, 109; Rutland, Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M.E. Rachal, Robert A. Rutland and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962—, 14 vols. description ends , xiv, 56). Mary Pine, widow of artist Robert Edge Pine, operated a boarding school near TJ’s house in Philadelphia until the end of May 1792 when she closed it to return to England (Robert G. Stewart, Robert Edge Pine [Washington, D.C., 1979], p. 25–6, 35–7; TJ to Thomas Mann Randolph, 1 June 1792).