Thomas Jefferson Papers

Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge) to Thomas Jefferson, 19 March 1816

From Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge)

Washington March 19th 1816

My dear Grandpapa

Your letter of the 14th reached me yesterday and I hasten to return you thanks for this new proof of your affection. the remittance made to Mr Barnes will indeed add considerably to my moyens de jouissance, & I need not tell you how gratefull I am for your kindness. I have no idea that my wants will exceed the 100.D. but if they should I will apply as you have directed.

If I have not written to you hitherto it has been because I found myself unable to perform my promise of giving you the little news of Congress. I do not hear subjects of the kind much spoken of either at home or abroad. I have very little acquaintance with the members, who are not in the habit of visiting familiarly in the family; some of them attend the drawing rooms regularly, but these parties are always crouded, and the conversation consists of compliments, & common place observations made ‘en passant.’ I did not know untill I came here, how much more amusement may sometimes be found in the solitude of one’s own chamber, than in a gay circle. The Election of the next President is a subject so interesting to every body, that even the most idle and indifferent think and talk a good deal about it. the merits of the candidates are discussed, & even the ladies of their families come in for their full share of praise or blame. Mrs Monroe has made herself very unpopular, by taking no pains to conceal her aversion to society, & her unwillingness to be intruded on by visitors. The English Minister and his lady Mr & Mrs Bagot arrived in town last evening. she is niece to the Duke of Wellington and said to be a great dasher, if the word is well applied, she will not make a good model for our city ladies, who are generally willing to fashion themselves after any thing foreign, & particularly English.

There was a report in circulation some short time ago that Milligan had broken, but I believe it was without foundation, for Mr Barnes tells me he is doing very well.—I heard of the death of my Aunt & the birth of Jefferson’s daughter immediately after they took place.

I have so little interesting to write about my dearest Grandpapa, that I cannot flatter myself, my letters will give you pleasure, except as they are proofs of my affection. with ‘congressional incidents & tracasseries’ I am unacquainted, because those with whom I associate, either take no interest in, or forbear to speak of them; and the babble of the coteries of the place I can never remember an hour. I wish very much to visit Baltimore this spring, I have a curiosity to see the place, & shall probably never again have so good an opportunity; this wish gratified, I shall have no other but to return to the bosom of my family, where alone I can expect to find real happiness.

Adieu my dearest Grandpapa, I remain most affectionately yours

E. W. Randolph.

P. S. Mrs Madison & Mrs Todd desire to be particularly remembered to you. Mrs Cutts I have not seen since I recieved your letter.

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 22 Mar. 1816 and so recorded in SJL.

moyens de jouissance: “means of enjoyment.” my aunt: Judith Randolph. Thomas Jefferson Randolph’s daughter was Margaret Smith Randolph.

In describing to her mother her plans to visit baltimore and Philadelphia, Ellen noted that “I feel secure of Grand Papa’s approbation. but for him I could never have thought of it, for I should have had no means to execute the plan. he wrote to me to say that the sale of his tobacco afforded him an opportunity for encreasing my ‘moyens de jouissance’ and God knows how much they are increased. my stock was reduced very low, the money I brought with me frittered away I know not how. circumstances seem to have combined to make my trip expensive” (Ellen W. Randolph [Coolidge] to Martha Jefferson Randolph, [ca. 26 Mar. 1816] [RC in ViU: Coolidge Correspondence]).

Index Entries

  • Bagot, Charles; British minister plenipotentiary to U.S. search
  • Bagot, Mary Charlotte Anne Wellesley-Pole (Charles Bagot’s wife); and Washington society search
  • Barnes, John; manages funds for TJ’s granddaughter search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); letters from 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
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; relations with grandchildren search
  • Madison, Dolley Payne Todd (James Madison’s wife); TJ’s granddaughter visits search
  • Milligan, Joseph; solvency of search
  • Monroe, Elizabeth Kortright (James Monroe’s wife); popular opinion of search
  • politics; elections 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
  • tobacco; sale of search
  • tobacco; TJ’s income from search
  • Todd, Lucy Payne Washington (Thomas Todd’s wife); sends greetings to TJ search
  • Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of (formerly Viscount); family of search
  • women; letters from; E. W. R. Coolidge search