Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Mary Jefferson, [14 June 1797]

To Mary Jefferson

[14 June 1797]

I learn, my dear M. with inexpressible pleasure that an union of sentiment1 is likely to bring on an union of destiny between yourself and a person for whom I have the highest esteem. A long acquaintance with him has2 made his virtues familiar to me and convinced me that he possesses every quality necessary to make you happy and to make us all happy. This event in compleating the circle of our family has composed for us3 such a group of good sense, good humor, liberality, and prudent care of our affairs, and that without a single member of a contrary character, as families are rarely blessed with.4 It promises us long years of domestic concord and love, the best ingredient in human happiness, and I deem the composition of my family5 the most precious of all the kindnesses of fortune. I propose, as in the case of your sister, that we shall all live together6 as long as it is agreeable to you; but whenever inclination convenience or a curiosity to try new things shall give a wish to be separately established,7 it must be at Pantops, which in the mean time while under your improvement will furnish to Mr. E. useful and profitable occupation as a farmer, and to you a8 occasional rides to superintend the spinning house, dairy &c. You might even have a room there to be in comfort if business or variety should induce a short stay. From thence to Edgehill we can make a road on the dead level which shall make it as near as to Monticello.9 But I should lose myself, my dear Maria, in these reveries as I always do when I think of yourself or your sister, did not the discordant noises,10 the oppressive heats and other disagremens11 of this place awaken me through the channel of every sense to very different scenes.12 I long the more to be with you, and therefore see with the utmost impatience day after day drawn out here in useless debate, and13 rhetorical declamation. Take care of your health my dear child for my happiness as well as your own and that of all those who love you. And all the world will love you if you continue good good humored, prudent and attentive to every body, as I am sure you will do from temper as well as reflection.14 I embrace you my dear in all the warmth of my love,15 and bid you affectionately adieu.

Dft (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); undated; unsigned; with numerous emendations, the most important of which are noted below; endorsed by TJ on verso “Jefferson Maria. June 14. 97.” Tr (ViU: Margaret and Olivia Taylor deposit); probably 19th century transcript secured by Sarah Nicholas Randolph and made from the now missing RC; with some variations, one of which is noted below (see note 8) and minor changes in abbreviations, punctuation, and spelling; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson to Maria Jefferson.”

1Preceding four words interlined in place of “a mutual inclination.”

2TJ here canceled “[developed?] to me.”

3TJ first began this sentence “It completes the circle of our family and by composing it of members <and former> it has made up for us” before altering it to read as above.

4TJ first wrote “as no family can shew” before altering the passage to read as above.

5TJ here canceled “the happiest circumstance with which fortune.”

6TJ here canceled “but whenever.”

7TJ here canceled “as Mr. Eppes.”

8TJ here canceled “daily ride.” Preceding word lacking in Tr.

9TJ first wrote “shall be little more than 2 mile and a half” before altering the passage to read as above.

10TJ first wrote “the noises, the stenches and” before altering the passage to read as above.

11Preceding three words interlined.

12TJ first wrote “to a very different state of things” before altering the passage to read as above.

13TJ here canceled “vain.”

14Preceding six words interlined.

15TJ here canceled “for you.”

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