Thomas Jefferson Papers

Elizabeth Trist to Thomas Jefferson, 11 July 1816

From Elizabeth Trist

Bird wood 11th July—16

My Valued Friend

If I had obey’d the impulse of my heart I shou’d long ere now have express’d my thanks for your favor of the 28th of April but the fear of being troublesome to my friends often deters me from writing, altho the last Winter and Spring almost incapasatated me from making the attempt my Spirits flag’d and I retain’d only the remembrance of what had occasion’d me unhappiness, and constantly in a state of Somnolency induced me to believe I shou’d become inanimate but thank God I am better, tho I daily feel the effects of age I need not assure you how much it revived me to have proof of your being in existance and in good health and on Peacheys Return from Albemarle he confirmd the glad tidings to us, that he never saw you in better health or in as good spirits God grant that the blessing may be long continued to you The news paper of last week announces the Death of our friend Hawkins I was not surprised for his life has been prolong’d beyond my expectation, but the loss of a friend can not but excite emotions, I believe he has done a great deal of good in melioration of the Savage life—tho I believe he made many enemies among the white Settlers in establishing the Rights of the Indians but time will do justice to his memory and acknowledge his Philanthrophy—I was surprised to see Charles Thompsons name in the paper for I was under the impression of his being defunct some years, have you ever seen his translation of the Bible? I want an Edition of that Holy Book printed with a large letter pray recommend to me what edition you think the best I think your predictions will Soon be verified with regard to France and England if the News papers are to be depended upon. a Storm is gathering which will revolutionize england and emancipate france from her present oppressors—I agree with you that it wou’d have been better for the happiness of mankind If Bonaparte had been a Prisoner in St Helena instead of destroying the human race by his ambitious projects, I used to consider him in a very advantagious point of view till he made that campaign in Russia never was any thing more horrid then the description given by Labaume of the sufferings misery and Death of 400 thousand Souls that composed the french Army besides the destruction they caused in Russia, and the misery they have entail’d on that people So much for large standing armies, for it appears that the state of the french Army made it necessary to undertake somthing to appease the discontent which prevaild in consiquence of their inactive state, Pillage and promotion seem’d to be the general motive that led to that campaign and perhap[s] it is well for mankind that they met so severe a check God grant that we may never keep up a large Army in time of Peace we have much to be thankful for that our destinay has removed us from the Neighbourhood of such Sanguinary people, Mr Gilmer and my Neice join me in wishing you long life and health and every other blessing that can rend[er] the evening of your days pleasant and happy and believe me your Sincere friend

E, Trist

RC (MHi); edge trimmed; endorsed by TJ as received 11 Aug. 1816 and so recorded in SJL.

Peachy R. Gilmer, on his return from Albemarle County, confirmed TJ’s good health. The longtime federal Indian agent and former United States senator Benjamin hawkins died on 6 June 1816 (Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 25 June 1816). Eugene labaume wrote a Relation Circonstanciée de la Campagne de Russie (Paris, 1814, and other eds.). Trist’s niece (neice) was Mary House Gilmer.

A letter from Trist to TJ’s granddaughter Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge), not found, was enclosed in this letter (see Trist to TJ, 10 Oct. 1816).

Index Entries

  • Army, U.S.; opinions on standing army search
  • Bible; large print edition of search
  • books; on history search
  • Coolidge, Ellen Wayles Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter); and E. Trist search
  • Gilmer, Mary House (Peachy R. Gilmer’s wife); sends greetings to TJ search
  • Gilmer, Peachy Ridgeway; sends greetings to TJ search
  • Gilmer, Peachy Ridgeway; visits Monticello search
  • Hawkins, Benjamin; as Indian agent search
  • Hawkins, Benjamin; death of search
  • Indians, American; and B. Hawkins search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • Labaume, Eugène; Relation Circonstanciée de la Campagne de Russie search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Gilmer, Peachy R. search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; armies of search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; criticized search
  • Relation Circonstanciée de la Campagne de Russie (E. Labaume) search
  • Russia; Napoleon defeated in search
  • The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Covenant (C. Thomson) search
  • Thomson, Charles; The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Covenant search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; and E. W. R. Coolidge search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; and TJ’s health search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; friends and family of search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; health of search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; letters from search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; on European affairs search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; on Napoleon search
  • Trist, Elizabeth House; on standing armies search
  • War of1812; histories of search
  • War of1812; privations caused by search
  • women; letters from; E. Trist search