Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge), 14 March 1816

To Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge)

Monticello Mar. 14. 16.

I have been, my dear Ellen, without subject for a letter to you until one has been furnished by the sale of my tobacco. in this you also will feel somewhat of interest, inasmuch as it enables me to replenish your moyens de jouissance, by remitting to mr Barnes 100.D. for you. I do this by the present mail, and have chosen his cover because I thought it would go safer in that way; and because also it has given me an opportunity of requesting that he would furnish your wants beyond that to any extent you may call for, with an assurance of immediate replacement. you have only therefore to draw on him for the present & any further sums, as you may want them; and I assure you, my dear Ellen, you cannot give me so great a proof of your affection and confidence as by a free use of the opportunity now furnished me of doing what may be acceptable to you. Your Mama & the girls, I expect, anticipate [m]e in all the small news of the neighborhood; perhaps even in [wh]at we [h]ave heard but this morning, the death of an aunt, & birth of a [ne]ice. we had scarcely wished Jefferson joy of his daughter when we recieved the news of the death of mrs Judy Randolph. have they told you that our neighbor mr Sthreshly has sold out to Capt Meriwether thus giving us a double1 subject of regret? I thought you were to have given me occasionel if not regular reports of Congressional incidents & tracasseries, not omitting entirely the babble of the coteries of the place. do not write me studied letters but ramble as you please.2 whatever books you want, desire Millegan to furnish them and to put them into my account. by the bye do you know any thing of him? by the impossibility of my getting answers from him I begin to suspect something is the matter. When are you coming home? I shall be in Bedford all April. the void you have left at our fire side is sensibly felt by us all, and by none more than Your’s with most3 affectionate love

Th: Jefferson

P.S. my friendly respects to the President, and homage to mrs Madison & mrs Cutts

PoC (MHi); on verso of reused address cover of Joshua Norvell to TJ, 15 Jan. 1816; torn at seal; endorsed by TJ.

moyens de jouissance: “means of enjoyment.” The aunt was Judith (Judy) Randolph, a sister of TJ’s son-in-law Thomas Mann Randolph. She died in Richmond on 10 Mar. 1816 (gravestone inscription in Tuckahoe plantation cemetery, Goochland Co.; Georgetown Federal Republican, 15 Mar. 1816). Thomas Jefferson Randolph welcomed the birth of a daughter, Margaret Smith Randolph, on 7 Mar. 1816 (Shackelford, Descendants description begins George Green Shackelford, ed., Collected Papers … of the Monticello Association of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson, 1965–84, 2 vols. description ends , 1:255).

Robert B. sthreshly sold his Albemarle County land to William D. Meriwether and moved to Kentucky. TJ recorded the purchase of a “guitar” from Sthreshly and his wife on 4 Mar. 1816. This was probably the instrument (illustrated elsewhere in this volume) that, according to family tradition, TJ presented to his granddaughter Virginia J. Randolph (Trist) (Albemarle Co. Deed Book, 20:122–3; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1319–20; Stein, Worlds description begins Susan R. Stein, The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, 1993 description ends , 422–3). Later this month Virginia’s sister Ellen reported to their mother from Washington that “I cannot procure a book of instructions for the guitar in this city but I shall probably be more successfull in Baltimore” (Ellen W. Randolph [Coolidge] to Martha Jefferson Randolph, [ca. 26 Mar. 1816], RC in ViU: Coolidge Correspondence).

tracasseries: “bickerings.”

1Manuscript: “doublee.”

2TJ here canceled “if.”

3Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Barnes, John; manages funds for TJ’s granddaughter search
  • cittern (English guitar) search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); letters to search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); TJ gives money to search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); TJ seeks information from search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); travels of search
  • Cutts, Anna Payne (Richard Cutts’s wife) search
  • guitars search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; relations with grandchildren search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ sends greetings to search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ’s granddaughter visits search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); TJ’s granddaughter visits search
  • Meriwether, William Douglas; purchases land in Albemarle Co. search
  • Milligan, Joseph; TJ on search
  • music; cittern (English guitar) search
  • music; guitar search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • Randolph, Judith (Judy); death of search
  • Randolph, Margaret Smith (TJ’s great-granddaughter; Thomas Jefferson Randolph’s daughter); birth of search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); correspondence of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); family of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); family of search
  • Sthreshly, Robert B.; property of search
  • Sthreshly, Robert B.; TJ purchases guitar from search
  • tobacco; sale of search
  • Trist, Virginia Jefferson Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); guitar for search
  • women; letters to; E. W. R. Coolidge search