Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Martha Jefferson Randolph to Thomas Jefferson, 20 November 1816

From Martha Jefferson Randolph

Monticello Nov. 20, 1816

My Dearest Father

We recieved your letters last night only, and the necessary preparations for the boy’s Journey would take up so much of the day that we determined not to send them till to morrow morning 21st Wormley will see to every thing but the bulbous roots. the kinds you mention are all growing at present and could not be moved with out destroying them but I have sent you a number of off sets of tulips and hyacinths some blooming roots and some that will not bloom till the ensuing year but I believe all of the finest kinds they were intended to have been planted in the borders last fall but were kept out waiting for a bed to be prepared for them. the others can be dug up at the proper season and planted next summer or fall. you will have seen by the papers the death of Gouverneur Morris. his loss will be irreparable to his wife by lessening the little consequence that I am afraid she had, and exposing her unprotected to the persecution of his heirs who have been dissapointed by the birth of her child of his large possessions. I wrote to her upon the occasion althoug[h] we had not previously corresponded, but poor creature she is surrounded by ennemies and never in more need of the countenance1 of her family than at present. adieu My Dearest Father we are All well but poor Ann Mr Bankhead2 has returned and recommencd his habits of drunkeness Mr Randolph has taken in to his own hands the mannagement of his affairs and if his family are much disturbed or endangered will take at once the steps necessary for their protection, as circumstances may require. sending him to the mad house is but a temporary remedy, for after a few weeks he would be returned with renewed health to torment his family the longer. I really think the best way would be to hire a keeper for him to prevent his doing mischief, and let him finish him self at once. his Father is utterly in dispair, and told Aunt Marks that but for Ann and the children he never wished to see his face again. he so entirely threw off all respect for the old gentleman as to tell him he would be master in his3 own house and called for a decanter of whiskey and drank off4 two draughfts to his face the more to brave him, Adieu My Dearest Father

with tender and unchangeable love Your affectionate Daughter

M Randolph

the large crown imperial root is for Mrs Eppes, if you go that way the smaller ones are not blooming roots yet, but will be in a year or 2. the tulips & hyacinths are mixed but Cornelia knows them all. I have sent you besides the first letters 3 I believe of which I altered the direction 3 packets enclosing many letters5 each the second via Richmond and the 3 went off6 yesterday 19th before I recieved your letter, for they close the mail on Monday. which will accou[nt] for one packet going by Richmond, the mail being closed before my letters were sent to Charlottesville I have also sent all the weekly registers as I recieved them 4

RC (MHi); edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ as received 23 Nov. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 24 Nov. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest.”

the boy’s journey was to be undertaken by John Hern and Randal Hern. Flower borders had encircled Monticello’s West Lawn since late in TJ’s presidency (Betts, Garden Book description begins Edwin M. Betts, ed., Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824, 1944 description ends , opp. 335). An undated Dft of the letter Randolph wrote to Ann Cary Morris about this time is in NcU: NPT. TJ’s granddaughter cornelia J. Randolph was with him on this visit to Poplar Forest.

A letter from Edmund Bacon to TJ of this date, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 23 Nov. 1816 from Monticello at Poplar Forest.

1Reworked from “support.”

2Manuscript: “Bankead.”

3Manuscript: “hi.”

4Manuscript: “of.”

5Manuscript: “letter.”

6Manuscript: “of.”

Index Entries

  • alcohol; abuse of search
  • alcohol; whiskey search
  • Bacon, Edmund; letter from accounted for search
  • Baltimore, Md.; newspapers search
  • Bankhead, Ann (Anne) Cary Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter; Charles Lewis Bankhead’s wife); children of search
  • Bankhead, Ann (Anne) Cary Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter; Charles Lewis Bankhead’s wife); mentioned search
  • Bankhead, Charles Lewis (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead’s husband); alcohol abuse by search
  • Bankhead, John; relationship with C. L. Bankhead search
  • crown imperial lily search
  • Eppes, Martha Burke Jones (John Wayles Eppes’s second wife); M. J. Randolph sends plants and seeds to search
  • flowers; sent to TJ search
  • health; alcohol abuse search
  • Hern, John (TJ’s slave; b.1800); sent to Poplar Forest search
  • Hern, Randal (TJ’s slave; b.1802); sent to Poplar Forest search
  • Hughes, Wormley (TJ’s slave; b.1781); sends plants and seeds to TJ search
  • hyacinths search
  • lily; crown imperial search
  • Marks, Anne Scott Jefferson (TJ’s sister; Hastings Marks’s wife); mentioned search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); flowers at search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); plants grown at search
  • Morris, Ann Cary Randolph (Gouverneur Morris’s wife; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s sister-in-law); and M. J. Randolph search
  • Morris, Gouverneur; death of search
  • newspapers; BaltimoreNiles’ Weekly Register search
  • Niles’ Weekly Register (Baltimore newspaper) search
  • plants; sent to TJ search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ’s grandchildren visit search
  • Randolph, Cornelia Jefferson (TJ’s granddaughter); and plants for TJ search
  • Randolph, Cornelia Jefferson (TJ’s granddaughter); visits Poplar Forest search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); and A. C. R. Morris search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); and C. L. Bankhead’s alcoholism search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); forwards TJ’s correspondence search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); letter from search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); sends plants and seeds to TJ search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); and C. L. Bankhead’s alcoholism search
  • slaves; travels of search
  • tulips; bulbs sent to TJ search
  • whiskey; mentioned search
  • women; letters from; M. J. Randolph search