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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, 

By Powhatan Bouldin, 
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

In compliance with current 
copyright law, LBS Archival 

Products produced this 

replacement volume on paper 

that meets the ANSI Standard 

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THE inquisitive reader perhaps has some curiosity to 
know how this book came to be written. 
About fifteen years ago, I resided in Charlotte, my native 
county, and my business called me to the homes of nearly 
all the old citizens. Around the social circle they often 
spoke of John Randolph — never seeming to tire of the 
theme. So interesting were they, that I determined to write 
down their recollections, intending, at some future day, to 
arrange them for a book. I had the reminiscences of my 
father, the Hon. James W. Bouldin, to begin with. To his 
were soon added those of William H. Elliott, Esq., who 
generously came forward with a most valuable contribution. 
The manuscripts of these two old citizens of Charlotte, Mr. 
Randolph's own county, formed the nucleus around which 
many others were gathered. So that, in the course of time, 
I found myself in the possession of a fund of choice ana, 
which had never been published. The recollections of a 
large number of Mr. Randolph's old neighbors and ac- 
quaintances, which have been woven into these pages, insure 
a good picture, and give a pleasing variety to the work. 


Since my task was begun, many of my contributors have 
departed this life; and it is fortunate that their testimony 
de bene esse was taken ; otherwise the world might never 
have known what sort of man John Randolph of Roanoke 
really was. The original manuscripts which go in part to 
make up this volume, constitute a precious bundle, which I 
shall preserve with "miser care,'* as memorials of dear 
friends of the olden time. 

Great pains has been taken to gather /r^j^ materials ; but, 
while gathering fresh materials, I have brought the works of 
others into requisition. Frequent quotations have been 
made from Sawyer, Garland, Baldwin, Benton and Sparks. 
If possibly a valuable book has been written, it is owing to 
the highly interesting and original contributions which have 
been kindly furnished me, and to the choice extracts from 
other sources. I claim no credit save that which attaches to 
the laborious bee, gathering its precious freight, here a litde 
and there a litde, from every blooming flower. 

I am glad to be able to furnish the reader with a good 
likeness of Mr. Randolph. The engraving is taken from a 
portrait presented by a citizen of Philadelphia to the State 
of Virginia, which several old persons, who were acquainted 
with Mr. Randolph, have assured me is an excellent like- 

It affords me great pleasure to express my thanks to several 
friends, who have, in various ways, and in a special manner. 


aided me in my undertaking: namely, Dr. H. C. Alexander,^ 
of the Union Theological Seminary ; Judge F. N. Watkins, 
of Prince Edward county, and Messrs. R. A. Brock and 
John Booker, of Richmond, Va. 

And now, gende reader, hoping that you may be pleased, 
I place the result of my labors before you ; and to all to 
whom I am, in any way, indebted for assistance, I hereby 
tender my heartfelt thanks. 


Danville, Virginia, 

January^ 1878. 


Page 3: For Parks, read Sparks, 

80 : For jesture, read gesture, 

139: For Parks, read Sparks, 

157: For timid, read >&iif^/. 




Outline of Mr. Randolph's Life, i 


His Personal Appearance — His Eyes — Voice — Incidents by Hon. 

James W. Bouldin and William H. Elliott, Esq., . . .10 


At Home — House — Diet — Horses — Dogs — English Prejudices — 
Conversations — Recollections of Wm. B. Green, Esq. — " Unfor- 
tunate Temper of the Man" — Interesting Scene in Court by 
Judge Wood Bouldin, 20 


Devotion to Old Things — Good Fortune — Electioneering among the 
People — His Church — Visit to a Young Lady — Could have 
written Childe Harold, 35 


Speeches on the Hustings — His Style of Speaking — Sketches by 
Hon. James W. Bouldin — Extract from " Schoolboy Reminis- 
cences," by W. H. Elliott — Sketch by James M. Whittle — 
Recollections by Dr. C. H. Jordan and Hon. Thomas S. Flour- 
noy — His Great Speech at Halifax Court-house against calling 
a State Convention, 47 



His Economy — Acts of Kindness — "Flowers Produce Fruit" — 
"Genius Not Desirable" — Reproof to a Schoolboy for Cut- 
ting a Cane in his Forest — Obituary of Joel W. Watkins — 

^ Treatment of Mrs. Royal — Preaching to his Slaves — Scene in 
the Library — "The Bible is True" — Incidents by Dr. Isaac 
Read, 69 


Critical — Sarcastic — Revelations of His Overseer — His Manner of 
Dealing with Overseers — Midnight Ride — Whips his Cook — 
Testimony of Joseph M. Daniel in the Will Case—" Hot Tod- 
dy"—" Boiled Pants"— The Effect of Liquor on Him— Recol- 
lections by W. B. Green, Dr. I. B. Rice and others, . . 93 


The Secret of his Success — How he carried Elections — Highly Dra- 
matic Scenes — An Overseer scared out of his Wits — A Reli- 
gious Lecture suddenly cut short — A Georgian run clean out of 
the Country — Anecdotes by Henry Carrington, Esq., . .116 


An Amusing Incident — Reception at a Private House — Could not 

have Written Don Juan, 131 


General Wilkinson's Challenge to Mr. Randolph to Fight a Duel — 

Mr. Randolph's Reply — Duel with Clay, 137 

Mission to Russia, 155. 

Reminiscences by W. M. Moseley, Esq. — Mr. Randolph's Treat- 


ment of a Certain Young Politician of Buckingham — Happy 
Retorts, . . ' i6o 


Recollections by Dr. W. S. Plumer, D. D. — Extract from the Na- 

iional Intelligencer y 1 66 


Last Speech — Secession Resolutions — How He Managed to Force 

Them Down — Rare Scenes on the Political Stage, . . .175 


Mr. Randolph's Will, 203 


Mr. Randolph's Sanity Discussed, . . . - . . .213 


Letters, 219 


John Randolph as an Orator, 232 


Death Bed Scene — Visit to His Grave by Capt. Harrison Robert- 
son — Closing Reflections, 257 


Speech on Retrenchment and Reform, 271 




JOHN RANDOLPH was the most remarkable charac- 
I ter that this country has ever produced; indeed, it is 
•^ doubted whether there ever Hved in any country a man 
so brilliant and at the same time so eccentric. A great deal 
has been written concerning him, and yet the public curios- 
ity has been by no means satisfied. We purpose to add our 
contribution, which is composed in a great measure of the 
recollections of his old constituents and neighbors. But, 
before entering upon our proper task of home reminiscences, 
let us give an outline of our subject, reserving future chap- 
ters for the completion of the picture. 

John Randolph — of Roanoke, as he styled himself — was 
born at Cawsons, near the mouth of the Appomattox river, 
on the 3d of June, 1773. His father, John Randolph, Sen'r, 
died in 1775, and his mother, whose maiden name was Fran- 
ces Bland, married St. George Tucker, Esq. By her first 
marriage she had three children, Richard Randolph, The- 
oderick Bland Randolph and John Randolph. From the 
second union were born Henry St. George Tucker, Beverly 
Tucker and Mrs. Judge Coalter. The family residence was 
at Matoax, near Petersburg, Va., until Arnold's invasion, 
when Mrs. Tucker and her young children were forced to 
flee from that part of the country to Bizarre near Farmville. 
John Randolph was only two years of age when his father 


died, and fifteen at the time of his mother's second marriage. 
His mother was a highly accomplished woman, as beautiful 
in person as she was amiable in disposition, and withal a 
woman of great piety. Often in manhood he was wont to 
remark that his mother was .the only human being who 
knew him. Through life he held her memory in the deep- 
est veneration ; indeed, he idolized her. 

At the age of nine, he was sent to school in Orange 
county, Va. ; at fourteen to Princeton, and the year follow- 
ing, to Columbia College, N. Y. When his father-in-law, 
Judge Tucker, was appointed professor of law at Williams- 
burg, Mr. Randolph was placed in the grammar school, and 
afterwards advanced to some of the higher classes. He 
seems not to have been well pleased with his teachers, that 
is to say, he complained of their partiality and incompetency, 
and expressed a very great contempt for college honors. 
Having never pursued a regular course of studies, he never 
graduated. Before leaving Williamsburg, he attended a 
course of lectures on law ; he afterwards went to Philadel- 
phia to complete his studies for that profession, entering the 
office of his uncle, Edmund Randolph, who was then attor- 
ney general. 

While at college, he had an affair of honor with a fellow- 
student, Robert B. Taylor, of Norfolk, an account of which 
is given by Mr. Lemuel Sawyer, Mr. Randolph's first biog- 
rapher. He states that the two young students " had taken 
opposite sides in politics, and were both fiery spirits and full 
of Virginia pride of chivalry. Their quarrel arose in a de- 
bating society to which they both belonged, from that most 
fertile cause, politics. For some personalities of an unpala- 
table nature, Mr. Taylor challenged him. They met in a 
field near the town, and the first fire was exchanged without 
effect. While preparing for the second, Mr. Randolph 


promised to hit him next time, which he did, dangerously 
wounding him in the hip, and he carried the ball in him to 
the day of his death. They were reconciled on the spot, 
and Mr. Randolph always spoke of him in the highest terms 
of admiration, as well of his high sense of honor as his 
superior talents." 

Though Mr. Randolph did not pursue a regular course 
at college, in the solitudes of Roanoke he, no doubt, contin- 
ued his study of the classics, and spent many of his leisure 
hours in miscellaneous reading. He had a choice selection 
of books, and it was remarkable how many notes in his own 
hand were on the margin of most of the volumes in his 
library. He was a fine Latin and English scholar, had a 
large acquaintance with history and was perhaps the best 
geographer of hisday. Mr. Parks, author of "The Memo- 
ries of Fifty Years," says : ** He knew more, and knew it 
more accurately, than any other man of his country, except, 
perhaps, that wonderful man, William Lowndes." 

Mr. Randolph was passionately fond of the sports of the 
field, and after he left college much of his time was spent in 
visiting his friends in difierent parts of the country with his 
dog and gun. He kept up a regular correspondence, how- 
ever, with his schoolmates ; indeed, letter writing seems to 
have been a source of gratification to him all his life. We 
doubt if any other man ever wrote as many letters. 

Among his early companions was one by the name of 
John Thompson — a wild, dissipated, but brilliant young 
man. A warm and lasting friendship sprang up between 
them. Mr. Randolph invited him to his house, treated him 
as a brother, and used every effort to effect his reformation, 
but without success. His letters to him are filled with the 
tenderest feeling, the soundest advice and the largest charity 
for his faults. Joseph Bryan, of Georgia, who afterwards 


became a member of Congress, was another of his youthful 
friends. When Mr. Bryan had the misfortune to lose his 
wife, Mr. Randolph took charge of the two infant children. 
John Randolph Bryan, his namesake, in the course of time,, 
married his niece. 

Mr. Randolph's brother, Richard, married Judith, daugh- 
ter of Thomas Mann Randolph, of Tuckahoe; her sister, 
Ann Gary, a woman of rare genius and personal accom- 
plishments, married Gouverneur Morris. The hero of our 
narrative never married ; but, in early youth, he formed a 
deep attachment to a young lady, whose name was Maria 
Ward — the daughter of his mother's friend. For many 
years they were engaged to be married, but for some cause 
the engagement was suddenly broken off. It is stated that 
the distinguished lover left the presence of his idol very 
much incensed, and that, when he came to his horse, which 
was tied to the limb of a tree near the front gate, he cut the 
reins loose with his knife and rode off in great haste. For 
a time, Mr. Randolph and Miss Ward were not on speaking 
terms, and they seldom met after their engagement was bro~ 
ken off. Miss Ward is described as having been a lovely 
and fascinating woman — the greatest belle of her day in the 
state. She married Peyton Randolph, son of Edmund 
Randolph, who was secretary of state under General Wash- 

It is related of Mrs. Randolph that, when Gen. Lafayette 
visited Richmond, he was so charmed with her engaging 
manners and agreeable conversation, that he proposed to 
adopt her as his daughter, and, as she was in delicate health 
at the time, he invited her to visit him in France. She died^ 
however, before he left this country for his home across the 
sea. John Randolph survived her several years, and it is 
believed that both retained, to the end of their lives, a mel- 


ancholy interest in each other. He used to call her his 
"angel," and in one of his letters, written after her death, he 
uses this remarkable expression: "I loved, aye, and was 
loved again, not wisely, but too well." 

Mr. Randolph had not only the advantage of a classical 
•education, but the most refined and elegant society, having 
^rown up with Peyton Randolph, George Mason and 
Thomas Jefferson. He had, besides, the opportunity of 
hearing the glowing speeches of Patrick Henry — an inesti- 
mable privilege to a young man of his aspiring genius. The 
glories and triumphs of Henry's eloquence was one of the 
favorite themes of his fascinating conversations. He was 
the constant attendant on the sittings of the first Congress. 
In one of his speeches to his constituents, he said : ** I was 
at Federal Hall and I saw Washington, but could not hear 
him take the oath to support the Federal constitution. The 
constitution was in its chrysalis state. I saw what Washing- 
ton did not see ; but two other men in Virginia saw it — 
George Mason and Patrick Henry — the poison under its 

It so happened that the first act which brought Mr. Ran- 
dolph into public notice, was his answer to the last speech 
of the great orator of the revolution, he then being a candi- 
date for Congress and only twenty-six years of age. And 
here we must be permitted to remark, that we have not lan- 
guage to express our admiration for his moral courage in 
undertaking such a task. 

Then it was that the bright star of his genius rose, and 
thus early did he strike the key note of his political life. 
On the occasion alluded to, he spoke in opposition to the 
alien and sedition law. His family were Whigs, opposed to 
the adoption of the Federal constitution, and it is not sur- 


prising, after it had been adopted, that he should have ad- 
vocated a strict construction of it. 

Mr. Randolph was elected to Congress, and Patrick Henry 
to the Legislature, the latter having been drawn from his re- 
tirement by the earnest solicitation of Gen'l Washington, 
who greatly needed his services to save the falling fortunes 
of the Federal party. From that time to the day of his 
death, Mr. Randolph was the able, fearless, unceasing advo- 
cate of State Rights. He, at once, took position by the side 
of such men as W. B. Giles, W. H. Crawford, and Littleton 
Waller Tazewell ; having risen to eminence more suddenly 
than any young man of his day. 

As soon as he entered Congress, he commenced his war 
of opposition, for which he was by nature preeminently 
qualified. He opposed the bill for increasing the army in 
view of our difficulties with France ; the great Yazoo fraud, 
the embargo during Mr. Jefferson's administration, and the 
entire system of restrictive commerce; the war with Eng- 
land during the administration of Mr. Madison, and all of- 
fensive war; the bill to aid the Greeks in their efforts to 
throw off the Turkish yoke; the Panama mission, and all 
foreign alliances or affiliations. He made war upon the 
national bank, tariff, internal improvement by the general 
government, the Missouri compromise — in short, every mea- 
sure which, in his opinion, was calculated, in the slightest 
degree, to enlarge the powers of the general government, or 
infringe upon the rights of the states. 

In answer to the taunts made by his political opponents, 
that he never proposed any measure, but was always pulling 
down other men's work, he replied, that he regarded it "the 
brightest feather in his cap." In a speech he delivered at 
Halifax Court-house, a few years before his death, he stated 


that " his whole aim had been to prevent, not to promote, 

There was a wide difference between Mr. Clay's policy 
and the policy of Mr. Randolph. The contrast is well 
marked by Mr. Baldwin in his " Party Leaders," who says : 

" Clay thought the general government a vast and mighty 
agency, which, made vital by the will of a free and energetic 
people, could accomplish, by its affirmative action, signal 
blessings to his country and the world. He desired to build 
up a mighty nation, whose power should be felt and acknow- 
ledged throughout the world. The American system was, 
through a national bank, to afford a national currency, and 
to facilitate the transactions of commerce ; internal improve- 
ments were to be the ties of a close commercial union and 
personal correspondence between the different sections and 
to bind the States together with bands of iron ; the tariff 
was to make us independent of foreign nations for the muni- 
tions of war and the comforts of life, and to build up vast 
storehouses of wealth for the country ; the navigation laws 
were to foster an independent marine ; the Panama mission 
to place us at the head of the continent, controlling and 
drawing its trade, and governing its policy ; the public lands 
were to give to the States the means of improving their 
communications and educating their people ; and a navy and 
army were to protect our commerce on the ocean, and com- 
mand the respect of foreign powers. He boasted that he 
was an American Citizen, and was proud of the title, 
knowing no North, no South, no East, no West. Randolph, 
on the other hand, claimed to be a Virginian, owing his pri- 
mary and only allegiance to that venerable commonwealth, 
acknowledging the Federal government but as a limited 
agency, which she, with others, had established, for a few 
simple purposes. His doctrine was that that government 


should be watched with jealousy ; that it had an inherent 
proclivity to enlarge powers, originally too strong; which 
enlargement would lead to the greatest possible evil, consol- 

It was in the year 1810 that he changed his residence 
from Bizarre, in Prince Edward county, to Roanoke on the 
Staunton, in Charlotte, in which county he owned a large 
landed estate and hundreds of negro slaves. For years he 
lived in a log house, in the midst of a dense forest The 
yard was unenclosed, the trees were unpruned, nor was there 
a flower or green shrub to relieve the wild aspect of the 
abode of this descendant of Pocahontas. 

From the time that Mr. Randolph was first elected to 
Congress, in 1798, until his death, in 1JB33, with the excep- 
tion of a few years, he was in the public service, once as 
senator of the United States, but mostly as a member of 
the House of Representatives. When he declined a re- 
election to Congress, intending to retire from public life, at 
the solicitation of his friends and admirers, he was induced 
to run for a seat in the Virginia Convention of 1829, and 
was elected. His speeches before that body, as able as any 
body ever assembled on aflairs of State, are said to have 
been the most interesting, if not the most efi*ective, that 
were made. His object was to save, as much as possible, 
the old constitution, under which he had grown up, and 
"which was the representative of all in the past that was 
glorious and honorable of the land of his fathers." He 
opposed all changes; and where he found that changes 
would be made, he endeavored to make them as slight as 

A few years before his death, he committed the great 
blunder of his political life, in accepting a mission to Russia. 
He visited Europe three times. When his eyes first met 


the shores of Old England, he exclaimed: "Thank God! 
that I have lived to behold the land of Shakespeare, of Mil- 
ton, and of my forefathers ! " 

Mr. Randolph never enjoyed an hour of good health, 
being a sufferer from bodily disease all his days. The death 
of his mother, his devotion to whom we have already no- 
ticed, was a crushing blow to him ; but a still heavier blow 
^as the marriage to another of the object of his early affec- 
tion. "Long years afterwards," says Mr. Garland, "when 
the body was locked in the fitful embrace of a feverish sleep, 
and the soul wandering in dreams, that once loved name 
has been heard to escape from his lips, in a tone that 
•evinced how deeply the love of the being who bore it had 
been engraved on the inmost sanctuary of his heart." He 
was greatly affected by the untimely loss of his brothers 
and other relatives and friends. 

Having attracted, as no other man in this country ever 
<iid, the. eyes of the world for thirty-five years, he breathed 
his last in the city of Philadelphia, on the 24th day of June, 
1833, and was buried at Roanoke under a tall pine selected 
by himself, with no marble or monument to mark the spot 
where rest the remains of the great Virginia orator, satirist, 
•and statesman. 



His Personal Appearance — His Eyes — Voice — Incidents by Hon. James 

W. Bouldin and William H. Elliott, Esq. 


R. RANDOLPH was perhaps the most impressive 
man that ever lived ; and much of what he said and 
did could be gathered from the recollections of others, 
even at this late day. And not only is this the case, but his 
image is still alive in the minds of all who had the good 
fortune to see him — his tall and slender frame, his long, 
bony fingers, his dark eyes, his withered and beardless face, 
upon which there were so many wrinkles, his graceful bow, 
his lofty bearing. 

The most remarkable feature about him was his eyes. 
They were brilliant beyond all comparison, and ever vigi- 
lant. When he first entered an assembly of people, they 
were the eyes of the eagle in search of his prey, darting 
about from place to place to see upon whom to light ; when 
his person was assailed, they flashed fire, and proclaimed a 
torrent of rage within. 

And he had a voice which was distinguished among ten 
thousand. One might live a hundred years and not hear 
such a sound as proceeded from his lungs; and the wonder 
was, why the sweet tone of a woman was so harmoniously 
blended with that of a man. He could be heard as far 
as any speaker, we presume ; and it is curious that the indi- 
vidual sitting immediately under him would experience no 


inconvenience. His very whisper could be distinguished 
above the ordinary tone of other men. His voice was so 
singularly clear, distinct and melodious, that it was a posi- 
tive pleasure to hear him articulate anything. The Hon. 
James W. Bouldin, whose "Recollections" are before us in 
the original manuscript, says: 

" I once stayed all night with Mr. Randolph at Roanoke, 
and for some reason which I do not remember I slept in 
the same room with him. Having gone to bed, Mr. Ran- 
dolph, at a late hour of the night, roused me by setting his 
books to rights and singing: 

* Fresh and strong the breeze is blowing, 
As your bark at anchor rides.' 

" I thought his singing as far surpassed other men's sing- 
ing as his speaking surpassed other men's speaking." 

Mr. Randolph was fond of music and had a talent for it ; 
but so prodigal was nature with him, that he could afford 
to let this gift lie dormant, from which others realize fame 
and fortune. He was perhaps ashamed to work in mines of 
silver and gold when diamonds were in his reach. 

The moment one laid eyes on Mr. Randolph he felt 
conscious of seeing a great man. Under great mental ex- 
citement his appearance was unusually striking. On one 
occasion, when he was about to make a speech at Charlotte 
Court-house, says the same gentieman from whose manu- 
script we quoted above: 

"As he saw the people gather around the stand, his eye 
began to kindle, his color to rise ; and as he became more 
and more animated, his eyes sparkled brighter and brighter, 
and his cheeks grew rosy, the wrinkles on his face seemed 
to disappear with the sallowness and languor, and he be- 
came almost transfigured." 


This was the case with Patrick Henry on great occasions ; 
but the appearance of Mr. Randolph was remarkable on 
all occasions. "Patrick Henry's countenance, which," Mr. 
Baldwin in his Party Leaders remarks, "under the excite- 
ment of speech was almost articulate with the emotions that 
thrilled his soul, was almost dull in repose; and Mr. Clay 
had nothing but a lofty brow and bright eye to redeem his 
face from uncommon plainness." 

There was nothing plain or common about the features of 
Mr. Randolph. When he made his appearance he not only 
caused the schoolboy to drop his paddle, while the ball 
passed unheeded by, but the pious member of the church 
forgot to say his prayers, and the grave senator turned his 
eyes from the affairs of state and fixed them on him. Other 
men were great, but it required some unusual occasion to 
bring them out. The slumbering fire must be roused upon 
the field of battle, or never waked to action. The latent 
energies must be stimulated by stirring scenes, or sleep for- 
ever. Even the immortal Clay was sometimes vapid and 
dull; Mr. Randolph never. His lamp was always burning. 
In him, the vivida vis animi was always resplendent. His 
feelings were intense, and all his faculties morbidly active. 
Hence, whatever he said or did, was done in the most 
impressive manner. His words and actions were so many 
vivid pictures which fixed themselves indelibly upon the 
minds of others. Owing to this cause, his conversations 
upon subjects the most trivial, possessed a charm which few 
could create, upon subjects the most important. 

It is a remarkable fact, that we scarcely ever heard a per- 
son tell an anecdote, or repeat a saying of Mr. Randolph's, 
without attempting to imitate his inimitable style, and mak- 
ing at the same time a most signal failure. Each seemed to 
feel it a duty he owed to the author, to convey, if possible, 


some idea of his peerless manner. This, they deemed alto- 
gether necessary to forming a proper estimate of the man. 
And as they were forced to acknowledge, that they were 
wholly inadequate to the task, we fancied we saw upon their 
countenances, mingled with a feeling of dissatisfaction at 
their own want of powers of imitation, evident traces of 
regret, that such looks and tones could never be transmitted 
to others ; that, of the magical powers which rendered him 
immortal, posterity could form no just conception. 

It is not wonderful, therefore, that so many of his sayings 
are remembered to this day. We are confident that, while 
the manner cannot be conveyed, more of the matter of what 
Mr. Randolph said, could be accurately reported from the 
memories of others, than of any man who ever lived in 
America. And the interest which he excited in his congres- 
sional district was wholly unrivalled.' Wherever he stopped, 
those who had seen him all their lives, would stare and gaze 
at him, as if he had been some show, or as if they had never 
seen him before, or anything like him. 

It is said that every great man has a glance which no one 
can imitate. A learned physiologist goes farther and states, 
that " every man of decided character reveals it in his eyes." 
We have already expressed the opinion that the most re- 
markable feature about Mr. Randolph was his eyes. The 
following incident, touching upon this point, taken from the 
written vicmoranda of Mr. Bouldin, will no doubt be read 
with interest: He says — 

"Soon after I first knew Mr. Randolph, I had occasion to 
visit Winchester, Virginia. On my way there I stopped at 
Gordonsville, and was reclining on the porch bench, being 
very tired, -when a man rode up just from Norfolk. He im- 
mediately began on politics, and told of a rencounter which, 
he said, had recently taken place between Mr. Randolph and 


a Mr. L., at Prince Edward Court-house, a few days before, 
in which Mr. Randolph was so completely vanquished that 
everybody deserted him ; but, while his young competitor 
was speaking, such was the attention paid to him, that you 
might have heard a pin fall. 

*' I obser\'ed that the tavern keeper looked very incredu- 
lous, and though he did not contradict or cross-examine 
much, he was evidently slow to believe the story. He had 
found out from my servant where I was from, and as soon 
as he had an opportunity, he asked me, when alone, how 
much of the story was true? 

" I told him that if he would say Charlotte instead of 
Prince Edward, and J/, a man in the prime of life, instead 
of L., a young man, and then say Rajidolph instead of M., 
it was all true. For that Mr. Randolph and L. had po ren- 
counter at that time; but, after several rounds, late in the 
evening, M. was left alone, except one man whom he held 
by the coat lapelle, talking to him on the same stage. This 
is literallv true. 

*'M., a lawyer of about forty years of age, was considered 
a man of talents; though he was always objected to for 

*' The landlord then explained his incredulity. He could 
not believe that any audience would desert Mr. Randolph, 
although he had not seen him since he was quite a youth. 

"He said: About '98, he and several of his neighbors 
were Federalists. They held a social club at his house: 
dinner was being prepared and the gentlemen assembling, 
when two striplings came up walking and called for dinner. 
The club being assembled in a private apartment, the boys 
called him off frequently to attend to them ; and seeing that 
they were genteel and intelligent, he asked permission to 


invite them to participate in the proceedings. They said 
very little and were modest all the time. 

" After dinner, the company, with a cooler of wine, retired 
to a shade back of the house, and commenced talking poli- 
tics very heartily. All made speeches in turn, and at last 
the landlord. When he had finished, one of the boys rose 
on his feet before him. He did not know which side he 
would advocate; but, as he was not accustomed to public 
speaking, he feared the young gentleman had risen against 
him. He raised his eyes slowly from the feet of those boys 
to the eyes of the one on foot and before him. He said, the 
moment he saw it, he was sure the d — ^1 was in it; and he 
placed his eyes again on the ground, and there let them 
remain until the shower was over. 

" Shortly afterwards, the company dispersed, and he found 
that the boy who stood before him was John Randolph, 
and the other John Thompson, on a stroll, he believed, on 
foot, over the mountains. He remarked that such a storm 
had never fallen on his head, as did on that occasion ; and 
although he had not heard him or seen him afterwards; 
yet he had heard of him, and could scarcely have believed 
his own eyes, if he had seen a youth get the better of him, 
or an audience desert him to the extent described by the 
stranger from Norfolk." 

Apropos of the same subject — 'we mean Mr. Randolph's 
eyes, we will make an extract from the " School -boy Remi- 
niscences of John Randolph of Roanoke," by the late Wil- 
liam H. Elliott, of Charlotte county, Virginia. They were 
written many years ago for the press; but the author, as 
soon as he was acquainted with the fact that we were gath- 
ering materials for the present volume, generously donated 
them to us, and we promise the reader to make frequent use 
of his valuable manuscript. Mr. Elliott is a man of decided 


genius, whose prose is only equalled by his beautiful lines ia 

" The Rev. Dr. R.," says Mr. Elliott, " taught a classical 
school in the county of Charlotte, about fifteen miles from 
Roanoke, the residence of Mr. Randolph. Here I must 
observe, by the way, that this Dr. R. was one of the ripest 
scholars and one of the most conscientious and thorough 
instructors of youth that ever engaged in that arduous and 
responsible vocation. 

"Among the pupils of this school was the writer and 
Theoderick Tudor Randolph, a nephew of him of Roanoke. 
The school was divided into two classes, one of which pro- 
nounced orations every alternate Friday evening. One class 
was named the Henrian, after the deceased orator of Red 
Hill ; the other, the Randolphian, after the then living Ran- 
dolph. The speeches were wholly at second hand — short 
extracts committed to memory from some British or Ameri- 
can orator. On speaking evenings it was usual for the 
family, and company, if there was any, to gather into the 
schoolroom to witness the performance. It so happened 
on one Friday evening that there were some visitors, and 
Mr. Randolph among them. To speak before a common- 
place crowd was a thing we had gotten quite accustomed to, 
and could go through with without having the ner\^es ; but 
to speak before Mr. Randolph was insupportable, intolera- 
ble, annihilating. The class in a body implored Dr. R. to 
excuse them from speaking on this occasion ; — but no, speak 
we must. The very reason we wished to be excused was 
his reason for ruling us up to it. 

"The company was introduced, occupying one side of the 
room, and the orators arranged on a bench on the opposite 
side. The writer, who was the youngest, and perhaps the 
most timid of the oratorical corps, had to break the ice. 


The Doctor looked towards our quarter, as much as to say, 
* Go on.* I chose not to take the hint, because I had not 
finished screwing my courage up to the speaking point. — 
Dr. R. in the meantime filling up the awkward interval with 
some commonplace remarks to Mr. Randolph. But, all 
suspense must end somehow or other. At length our dom- 
inee looked towards us with a stern expression — * time for 
exercises to commence.' It was time to move now, live or 
die. I rose, advanced a step or two on the floor, and made 
my bow, without venturing to look directly at him. I saw 
that Mr. Randolph returned my bow, though no one else 
did. I regarded all the rest of the company as only so 
many saplings in the woods. It may well be supposed that 
I commenced in a very tremulous manner; for I imagined 
he was stabbing me through and through with his perforat- 
ing dirk-like gaze. After twisting and wriggling about for 
some minutes like a worm in the focus of a sun-glass, I ven- 
tured to raise my eyes to him, and to my inexpressible com- 
fort and encouragement, I found that he had un-Randolphed 
himself, pro tern. That is to say, by quenching his eyes, 
looking down on the floor, and assuming a lisdess, uncriti- 
cising air, he had diluted himself in the crowd around him. 

" All this, I have since thought, was done to lessen, if pos- 
sible, the embarrassment of the speakers ; for he saw intui- 
tively that his presence was oppressive. But, at that time, 
when I saw him look so humble, I fancied I was getting the 
better of him. While I had him down, I poured it upon 
him ; my enthusiasm rose, and I fairly deluged him with a 
cataract of Fox's eloquence. When I concluded, he seemed 
to come partially to life ; looked up with a pleased expres- 
sion, as much as to say, That does pretty well.' 

" At the conclusion of the whole affair, he arose and col- 
lectively complimented the young gendemen on their credit- 



able performance ; but thinking, no doubt, he had witnessed 
a storm in a puddle, or a tempest in a teapot." 

That voice and that eye will long be remembered. The 
former is fresh in the memory of those from whose ears 
almost all other sounds have died away, and his " perforating 
dirk-like gaze " will be distinctly recalled, when the features 
of the most familiar friends have long been buried in ob- 
livion. Even now there are those who shrink from it; and 
although Mr. Randolph has been dead for more than forty 
years, there are doubtless some who writhe under the torture 
of his long, bony finger, which they fancy still pointing at 
them. There are words, long buried in forgetfulness, which 
if whispered in the ears of his victims, would cause them to 
startle as from a ghost of the spectred night. There are 
wounds inflicted by him, still bleeding; feelings harrowed 
up, which time cannot cure, wounded pride still drooping 
under the effects of his ridicule and scorn. Years after he 
had ceased to breathe, men would scarcely speak their 
minds, because his image was before them. So vivid was 
the mental picture that it overpowered their bodily senses, 
and it was with difficulty that they could realize the fact that 
it was John Randolph of Roanoke they had put into the 
grave and covered over with the sod. 

His influence is still felt. The hoary heads of fraud and 
corruption, when the name of John Randolph is mentioned, 
are cursed with many a retrospection. From him they may 
have received their first rebuke. His terrible image is asso- 
ciated perhaps with their earliest and bitterest recollections. 
And there remain upon the stage of life, some of his old 
acquaintances, who dwell with pleasure and pride upon the 
advantage which they derived from his valuable example. 
For, while they may be forced to own that he had many 
faults ; still they recognize in him all that is most noble and 


manly in sentiment, in personal character and accomplish- 
ments; and by those who even deny his claims to states- 
manship and utterly repudiate the controlling principle of 
his political life, he is held as a model of an oratorj equal to 
any which the Republic has produced. 



At Home — House — Diet-^Horses — Dogs — English Prejudices — Conver- 
sations — Recollections of Wm. B. Green, Esq. — " Unfortunate Temper 
of the Man " — Interesting Scene in Court by Judge Wood Bouldin. 


IN relating the anecdotes and incidents which we have in 
relation to our subject, we shall not aim at the order in 
which they actually occurred ; when we attempt any ar- 
rangement at all, it will be with the view of illustrating more 
fully some particular trait of Mr. Randolph's character. But 
even though our incidents should be out of time, we are 
consoled by the remark of Mr. Sawyer, who states that "any 
facts, circumstances, or anecdotes relating to John Randolph 
are interesting and appropriate wheresoever placed." Mr. 
William H. Elliott, to whom the reader has already been in- 
troduced, once said to the writer, that " a few pages of Ran- 
dolphiana would leaven a whole librar}\" It might have 
been stated in the beginning, that far the greater portion of 
the matters and things which we shall publish is original — 
that is, they have never been in print before. We deem it 
proper, also, to inform the reader that the individuals who 
have furnished us information, reside or resided (for some of 
them have since passed away) in the county of Charlotte. 

It was in Charlotte that Mr. Randolph lived from youth to 
old age. At his solitary residence at Roanoke he consumed 
days and nights in acquiring the knowledge of books by 
which he astonished the world. It was in Charlotte and the 
other counties of his congressional district, that he practiced 


the lessons which he learned of men, with such consummate 
ski\h From the people of his adopted county, therefore, 
may be obtained a picture of the man. They can tell what 
sort of neighbor, friend and master he was. From them we 
may best obtain a description of his personal conduct and 
manners. It would be unwise to go to a distance to obtain 
•a near view of our subject. Were we writing xh^ public life 
of Mr. Randolph, we confess we should apply to the great 
men of the nation for information, but as we desire to learn 
\i\s private character ^^^t, prefer a conversation with his plain- 
est neighbor of intelligence to one with Thomas H. Benton 
himself The great men saw him principally in public and 
on the stage ; his neighbors peeped at him behind the cur- 
tain ; and while we shall make some comments as we pro- 
ceed with our narrative, we have undertaken to furnish the 
reader with materials to enable him to form his own opinions. 
Mr. Bouldin, in his " Recollections," gives an interesting 
account of a visit he paid Mr. Randolph at his home at 
Roanoke. We give it to the reader in his own words, as 
follows : 

While I was a single man, and quite young, Mr. Randolph passed my 
residence, on his way from Prince Edward to his plantation in Charlotte, 
where he afterwards resided, and where he was buried. He said he 
would be lonesome, and asked me to go with him and stay a few days. 
No white persons were then residing there. I went with him, and stayed 
a week. It was during the war. At that time he drank but little — I 
think only wine. His manners were, during this visit, gentle and kind, 
as they always were when he was quite sober. 

It was not hunting season, and therefore we had no hunting ; but our 
horses were saddled every morning, and we rode out in the plantation, or 
not, as we liked — together or separate, as fancy led. He rode most fre- 
quently along the roads in the woods which surrounded his house. 

He was minutely attentive to all of his household affairs, and his neat- 
ness and economy were praiseworthy and remarkable. His diet, though 


simple, was excellent. His dwelling was at that time a single-story wood 
building, with two good rooms down stairs, and the roof had also two^ 
He had no unnecessary furniture, but what he had was of the neatest 
kind, and generally of the best materials. His breakfast was coffee, but- 
ter and honey, with cold bacon ham, of the best quality, dressed in the 
most palatable and neatest style. If he retired to his room, I did not 
venture to knock at his door ; and if I retired to mine, he would not call 
on me until I came out. 

His conversation during this visit was varied. His remarks on one. 
occasion were remarkable from their identity almost with a conversation 
between Bonaparte and Dr. O'Meara, many years afterwards. 

He said : •* Sooner or later Bonaparte would be put down, and that 
Great Britain would be the principal means of doing it ; but, when she 
did it, she would require remuneration for her extra services and expen- 
ses, and that she would get it.'' 

I asked him what kind of remuneration she would get. 

He said : " Various kinds. She would require of Spain that she should 
have the exclusive trade with South America, for perhaps eighty years, by 
which time she would teach the people of that country how to rear all 
the raw material for her manufactories that she got from us — ^their soil and 
climate were better than ours for that purpose." He said that " Spain- 
would grant it, and that we would lose the market for ours." 

I think Bonaparte told Dr. O'Meara that, for not doing this thing, Lord 
Castlereagh ought to have been hanged. And when I saw what Bona- 
parte said, I was struck with the coincidence of opinion. Though 
Randolph hated Bonaparte, there was a remarkable similarity, both in 
expression and opinions, between them. 

Mr. Bouldin, in his "Recollections," mentions t^o facts,, 
which, he says, " If they were generally known, have not 
generally been borne in mind by those who have spoken 
of him and his character and peculiarities." The first of 
these facts we purpose now to give the reader, reserving 
the second for future use. Says Mr. Bouldin: 

When Mr. Randolph took possession of his property,, on his attaining 
twenty-one years of age, it was mortgaged for fully as much as it was. 


worth. The estate consisted, I believe, of land and slaves only — perhaps 
some few town lots. By the time, or about the time, he went to Russia 
he paid off the last of this debt and interest, having in the meantime pur- 
chased nearly as much more property, and, I believe, paid for it. It has 
often been said by him and others, and was generally reported, that his 
estate was mortgaged for nearly or quite as much as it was worth ; but I 
speak on the authority of the late John Wickham, of Richmond, Virginia, 
who told me that he had the collection of most or all of these debts, and 
that, without giving very long credits, the property, if sold, would not 
have paid them. As to Mr. Wickham, his character is so generally 
known, that it needs not anything that I could say to give his words or 
his judgment credit. Ciratitude, however, for unexpected kindness, as 
gently and warmly bestowed as if I had either merited or had a right to 
demand it, impels me to pay some tribute to his memory. I say, unex- 
pected kindness, for I was from rumor impressed firmly with the belief 
that he was cold and selfish. I was surprised, therefore, to find him wam> 
and generous. I say, if I had merited it^ because no man merits the 
kindness of another who suffers such impressions to take hold on him from 
mere rumor, or from the prejudices of others. A more manly, noble» 
kind-hearted man I never knew; a more social, cordial, jovial fireside 
companion I never saw. As to his talents, few, if any, in this country, 
have surpassed him at the bar or as a practical farmer. 

Mr. Randolph, having no other resources but the jiroceeds of his 
crops, and the sale of a few horses of his own raisin«:j, and a portion of 
his slaves at first, paid his mortgage debt and purchased much other pro- 
perty. Need any comment be made as to his practical skill and judgment 
in business ? 

Shortly after Mr. Randolph came to the county of Char- 
lotte to reside, Miss P>ancenia Bouldin paid a visit to Roa- 
noke. Judge Beverley Tucker, his half brother, had resided 
there for some time previous, as master of ceremonies. It is 
scarcely necessary to state that Miss Bouldin remembered 
some things that transpired on that occasion. We envy not 
the intellectual treasures of the individual who came out of 
such company having received no lasting impression. 

Mr. Randolph s conversation is represented as having 


been highly entertaining, though it was rather on the 
'* teaching order." Miss Bouldin thought he would have 
been still more agreeable, if he had not been in a perpetual 
strain. He seemed to be in a stretch during the whole time. 
She felt as if she would like for him to unbend himself 

From a walk in the garden, the ladies came in with some 
heads of rye, which they were examining. 

** Ladies," said he, *' I wish you better employment." 

Mr. Tucker was caressing his pointer. "Sir," said Mr. 
Randolph, **You must never play with the thing you wish 
to command." 

When dinner was announced, Mr. Randolph was not pre- 
sent. Mr. Tucker took the foot, as usual, and they were all 
seated at the table when Mr. Randolph made his appear- 
ance. Mr. Tucker rose, saying, "We did as you told us, 
sir;" and resumed his seat. 

While they were at the table, Mr. Peter Randolph came 
in. Mr. John Randolph then seemed somewhat freer in his 

" Peter," he remarked, " you see I have not forgotten how 
to drink old Madeira." 

" It would be very strange," replied Mr. Peter Randolph, 
"if one so well versed in the practice should forget it." 

Mr. Randolph was always at work for or against the feel- 
ings of others. This trait is illustrated by a curious litde 
manoeuvre which we hardly expected of this great person- 

During the same visit of Miss Francenia Bouldin, to which 
we have alluded, the Rev. Dr. John Holt Rice came to Roa- 
noke. At meals, Mr. Tucker had invariably occupied the 
foot of the table until Saturday, which was the day of Mr. 
Rice's arrival, — then Mr. Randolph took the foot. He did 


not return thanks himself, nor did he invite the reverend 
gentleman, his guest, to do so, and it was generally under- 
stood that he had no other object in view but to. prevent 
grace being said by the minister. 

Why he should desire to prevent a blessing being asked 
on this occasion may be a matter of conflicting speculation ; 
but, in the opinion of Miss Bouldin, he merely wished to 
make Dr. Rice feel himself checked and handled. He 
really had no spite against the religious ceremony, but, inas- 
much as Dr. Rice occupied a conspicuous place in the 
•community — ^was in fact one of the most talented men in the 
county — he wanted him to understand he did not mean to 
be under him, and he chose to take this singular way of 
showing it. 

The following is from the manuscript of Mr. W. B. Green, 
a resident of Charlotte county, who was well acquainted 
with Mr. Randolph. His recollections were written in the 
year 1866, at our special request — not without reluctance, 
however, because, as he said, much that he was compelled 
to state is personal to himself They are not the less valu- 
able and interesting to the reader, however, who doubdess 
will be glad to learn something of the inner life of a most 
eccentric genius from such an authentic source. He says: 

Mr. Randolph was a frequent visitor at the house of Captain William 
M. Watkins. He was fond of horses, dogs and guns; and whenever he 
made a visit he brought some of his dogs with him, and they were suffered 
to poke their noses into everything and to go where they pleased, from 
kitchen to parlor. They were a great annoyance to ladies and house- 
keepers. This, however, was obliged to be quietly submitted to, as any 
unkind treatment to his dogs would have been regarded as an insult to 

Very early in life, and before I knew him, he had imported English 
: stallions and blooded mares, and at all times had a large number on hand. 
lie occasionally put horses on the turf; but he was generally unsuccessful. 



Speaking of horses, I may be permitted to mention an occurrence whicb. 
took place at an early period, and which may be considered characteristic^ 

It was court day and in the afternoon he oifTered for sale at public 
auction one of his best stallions. If I am not mistaken, it was Roanoke,, 
by the celebrated horse Old Sir Archie, and out of Lady Bunsbury. For 
a considerable time after the horse was put up there was no bid made ; 
but, at length, Hugh Wyllie, Esq., the owner of the celebrated race horse 
Marske, bid fifty pounds. Mr. Randolph was very indignant at so small 
a bid ; and turning fiercely on Mr. WyHie, looking him full in the face,, 
said : " Do you. Sir, bid fifty pounds for a horse that pushed Marske up to 
the throat-latch?" There was a dead silence; no one spoke a word. 
The horse was led off the yard. • 

While I am on horses I will mention another incident equally charac- 

You have doubtless heard of the great match race between Eclipse and 
Henry — the North against the South. Mr. Randolph attended the race. 
Just as the horses were about to start, a stranger stepped up to Mr. Ran- 
dolph and offered to bet five hundred dollars on Eclipse. " Done," said 
Randolph. ** Colonel Thompson will hold the stakes," replied the stran- 
ger. " Who will hold Colonel Thompson?" said Mr. Randolph. 

Randolph saw the trap, and gobbled up Colonel Thompson's friend 
without mercy. 

After Mr. Randolph's death his fine stud of blooded horses were sold 
by auction at high prices; many of them were purchased by gentlemen 
who resided out of the Stale. 

Mr. Green continues: 

Although I had occasionally seen Mr. Randolph when I resided at the 
Court-house, I did not make his acquaintance until after my removal to 
Captain Watkins's, which was in September, 1807. Here I had an oppor- 
tunity of frequently meeting him, both in public and in a private family. 
He was a frequent visitor at the house of Captain Walkins, where I then, 
boarded and where I continued to board for many years after. 

Notwithstanding the fact that I at a later period incurred the displeasure 
of Mr. Randolph, I must acknowledge that during the early part of our 
acquaintance he was polite and kind. 

Not long after I went to live at Captain Watkins's, I had a severe spell 


of bilious fever which confined me to my room for six weeks or more. I 
was very low. During my illness Mr. Randolph paid me a visit. His 
suggestions in relation to diet and his encouraging conversation and sym- 
pathy were very grateful to my feelings. 

When I first knew him he was about thirty-five or thirty-six years of 
age. He was then a Republican, and hated Federalism with a perfect 
hatred. But, notwithstanding this, he was always regarded, in heart and 
in sentiment, an Englishman to the core. In his earlier speeches he was 
guilty of what might be considered as bad taste at the present day, namely,, 
too frequently quoting and making allusions to English authors — Milton, 
Shakspeare, Tillotson, Sherlock, Burke, and so on. The coincidence of 
manner and thought between the speeches of Mr. Randolph and the writ- 
ings of Lawrence Sterne has always appeared to my mind so striking that 
I have not been able to resist the belief that he had, without making the 
acknowledgment, appropriated the manner and thought of that great 
writer. But however this may have been, I am free to acknowledge that,, 
in my poor judgment, Mr. Randolph was by far the greatest and most 
interesting speaker I have ever heard or ever expect to hear. 

About this time our difficulties with England had greatly increased — 
war became probable ; the administration resorted to measures of restric- 
tion upon commerce, such as embargo and non-intercourse laws. On these 
measures Mr. Randolph took strong grounds against the administration. 
The consequence was, that at the next congressional election he was op- 
posed by John W. Eppes, who was the son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson. 
In due time the election came on. Mr. Eppes brought with him from 
Washington what was called a cart-load of authorities, laid the books on 
the stile in front of the court-house — large tomes and documents, such as 
had never been seen by the natives. This was about fifty-five years ago. 
There was an immense crowd present. Natives and foreigners from all 
the surrounding and adjoining counties came to hear Mr. Randolph speak 
and to see the son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson. 

Eppes led off from the stile, knee-deep in books and documents. He 
was rather a dull speaker — read too much, and fatigued the people. Mr. 
Randolph in reply remarked that "the gentleman is a very good reader."*^ 
His wit and humor soon caused interruption by some of the injudicious 
and impulsive friends of Mr. Eppes ; Colonel Gideon Spencer was the 
first who interrupted him. High words ensued ; the excitement was be- 


yond anything I ever witnessed; the crowd seemed to apprehend a coUi- 
-sion of parties. Some friend of Mr. Randolph hallooed out, ** Stand firm 
and keep cool/' or something to that effect ; then we have the reply of 
Mr. Randolph which has been so often repeated that it has become stale, 
" I am as cool as the centre seed of a cucumber." 

Mr. Randolph remained on the court-yard for some time after the 
speaking was over. The excitement was even greater than before. Mr. 
Randolph at that time had an overseer by the name of P., a large, rough, 
xaw-boned man, head and shoulders above the crowd. This man P., 
with a large horseman's whip in his hand, held in a threatening attitude, 
followed Mr. Randolph through the crowd, which was waving to and 
fro, insisting that Mr. Randolph would be attacked and that he should be 
protected; while Randolph, on his part, directed P. to keep quiet. The 
day, however, passed without disturbance. 

In due time the congressional election came on, and I voted for Eppes. 
Mr. Randolph was defeated. He had proclaimed, not only in Congress, 
but elsewhere, " that he was descended from a race who never forgot or 
forgave an injury."* He certainly did not often forgive. I must remark, 
however, that the vote given for Eppes was not my only offence. On the 
revision of the State Constitution, I voted for James Bruce, the elder, in- 
stead of Randolph. In 1828 I was a member of the Anti-Jackson Con- 
vention, and used my best efforts for the election of J. Q. Adams. Mr. 
Randolph, in writing to his friends in Washington, stated that we were all 
for Jackson ; the result of the election in Charlotte showed that he was 
mistaken, although the majority was large. 

In addition to this, I had the misfortune, at a later time, to come in con- 
tact with Mr. Randolph in matters of business, the settlement of which 
might not have been satisfactory to him. I will mention two of the cases. 
There was a very unpleasant, I might say angry, controversy between Mr. 
Randolph and Robert Carrington on the subject of roads and right of 

*The following is copied from a memorandum in Mr. Randolph's own 
words : 

** Pocahontas (whose true name was Matoaca), baptized by the name of 
Rebecca, married John Rolfe, Esq., and left an only son, Thomas, whose 
only daughter married Robert Boiling, of Boiling Hall, West Riding, of 
York, who left a son, John Boiling, one of whose daughters married Rich- 
ard Randolph, of Curies, whose youngest son, John Randolph, of Roa- 
noke, married Frances Bland. Your humble servant is one of the only 
surviving issue of that marriage, and sixth in descent from Pocahontas." 


way. Under an order of the County Court of Charlotte the late Dennis 
£. Morgan, Captain Fowlkes, and myself, were directed to view the road 
and report to Court. The case was a plain one, admitting of no sort of 
doubt whatever. The commissioners went upon the road, and found 
pasted up on a gate-post a large sheet of foolscap paper, giving notice that 
all persons whose names were written thereon ' were permitted to pass 
through the plantation and use the road as formerly. The paper was filled 
from top to bottom with names, male and female ; and it was read over 
and closely examined, to see if anyone in the neighborhood, either male 
or female, who had used the road, or who might probably wish to do so, 
had been omitted ; and it was found from this examination that Robert 
Carrington's name only was omitted. The land through which this 
road passed was not a part of his homestead, but a small tract then re- 
cently purchased of Dr. Bouldin. The report of the commissioners, in 
substance, was, that the land through which the road ran was exceedingly 
poor and of but little value ; that the road had been in constant use, as 
a mill and neighborhood road, for about fifty years; and that it had been 
interdicted to Robert Carrington only. 

I will mention another case, somewhat similar to the one above. Un- 
der a decree of the county court, Joseph M. Daniel, myself and others 
(names not now recollected), were ordered to make sale of a tract of 
land adjoining the lands of Mr. Randolph, which belonged to the heirs of 
a Mr. Lipscomb. The land was sold at public auction, and Mr. Randolph 
was the purchaser. As soon as the land was knocked off, Mr. Randolph, 
somewhat excited, stepped up to me hastily with his long strides and said, 
"Mr. Green, you cannot call this real estate.^* And then said, "My at- 
torney or agent, Mr. Leigh, will have a deed written and will pay you the 
money at next court." I told him that would be entirely satisfactory. 
Whether the land could be called real estate or not, it sold for at least 
double its value. But, when I saw Mr. Leigh (now Judge Leigh) he re- 
quested me to delay making a report, saying that Mr. Randolph enter- 
tained doubts as to whether the title would be good under the circumstan- 
ces, the land having sold for more than three hundred dollars for each 
child or legatee. I felt quite confident, however, that Mr. Leigh enter- 
tained no such doubt, but was simply acting under instructions. I felt 
bound, in accordance with the decree of the court, to report the sale of 
the land, and did so immediately — stating that Mr. Randolph having left 


the county, and Mr. Leigh having declined to pay the purchase money, 
no deed had been made. On this transaction I may remark, that the land 
had been appraised according to law, and all the necessary forms gone 
through before the sale, and consequently the objection made on account 
of title was a mere pretext for delay. The explanation is simply this : 
There was an old man in the neighborhood whom Mr. Randolph called 
" the old turkey and 'coon hunter," who had greatly annoyed him by 
hunting on his plantation. This man, B., was the only bidder against 
Randolph. The land was exceedingly poor, and, to Mr. Randolph, 
worthless. It was purchased solely for the purpose of keeping out a 
disagreeable neighbor. Knowing that he had made a bad bargain, and 
having no use for the land, he determined to carry the matter into court. 
The court, however, decided against him, and ordered the money to be 
paid, which was accordingly done. I mention these transactions to show 
the unfortunate temper of the man. 

I have now mentioned in detail everything that I can recollect that in 
the slightest degree was calculated to provoke or irritate Mr. Randolph. 
And what does it all amount to ? Simply this : That on two occasions, I 
had voted for other gentlemen rather than for him; that in 1828, 1 voted 
for Adams rather than for Jackson, and had also, in two business transac- 
tions, made reports to the County court which might be considered ad- 
verse to him. This was all. 

It was, I think, shortly after the election of the State Convention, when 
I voted for James Bruce and General Carrington and others, that Mr. 
Randolph approached my old friend and partner. Captain Watkins, for 
the purpose of breaking up the mercantile business so long carried on by 
us, and conducted by myself. He opened the subject by sending a note 
to the Captain to borrow a few nails, saying that he " did not wish to have 
anything to do with Mr. Green;" and subsequently, in conversation with 
Captain Watkins, he remarked that he thought it strange that Captain 
Watkins would continue business with a man who had always differed in 
politics with him. 

Mr. Randolph regarded a difference of opinion a sufficient cause for 
severing business connections. The Captain was of a different opinion. 

These facts were derived from Captain Watkins himself. 

' But, notwithstanding all that I have related, I, at no time of my life, 
suffered myself to indulge in bitter and relentless feelings towards Mr. 


ilandolph, being always disposed to make due allowances for the unfor- 
tunate temperament of the man. And moreover, I have the pleasure to 
4cnow that some time before his death, his intolerant and vindictive feel- 
ings towards me had become considerably modified. 

Mr. Randolph once ordered all his negroes to pull fodder 
on the Sabbath. The grand jury were considering the ques- 
tion of presenting him. The Hon. Judge Wood Bouldin, 
late judge of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, who 
was an eye-witness to the scene in court, furnished us with 
the following interesting sketch of what transpired, which, 
while it portrays the character of our subject, illustrates the 
firmness and devotion to duty of one of the purest judges 
that our State has produced — ^we refer to the late William 
ieigh, of Halifax. 

The scene described occurred in the circuit court for the 
•county of Charlotte. Judge Bouldin writes : 

I was present in court at the time, And heard what passed. 

The grand jury had called up the subject in their room, and the late 
John Marshall, who happened to be a guest of Mr. Randolph, and heard 
the order given to the slaves, was summoned to prove the offence. He 
positively refused to answer, because, as he alleged, he was Mr. Ran- 
dolph's guest, and what took place under such circumstances, in his pres- 
^ence, was deemed sacred among gentlemen; and voluntarily to divulge it 
would be an act of dishonor, and in gross violation of the decencies and 
proprieties of social intercourse. The grand jury said they could not be 
governed by such a consideration in the discharge of their legal duty. 
Mr. Marshall still refusing to answer, the jury, through their foreman, ap- 
^aled to the court (Judge Leigh). The judge, without a moment's 
hesitation, announced that a guest, however unpleasant his situation might 
be, could claim no such privilege as that asserted by Mr. Marshall, and 
-ordered him to answer. 

Mr. Marshall returned to the jury room, and about that time Mr. Ran- 
dolph, in his English coach — a very clumsy vehicle, by the way — drawn 
-by four blooded horses, drove rapidly into the village, and stopped imme- 


diately in front of the court-house. He came directly into the court-roon^ 
and took his seat in front of the bar, between that and the jury bench, and 
almost immediately in front of the judge. As he took, his seat, Mr. Mar- 
shall, who had just come down from the jury room, approached him. Mr. 
Randolph, in one of his peculiar half-whispers, which penetrated every 
portion of the court-room, and which was heard as plainly as if spoken in 
the loudest tone, said to him : " I understand I am to be presented, sir,, 
and I have come to make my own defence." Mr. Marshall immediately 
replied that the matter had been dropped by the jury, and he would hear 
no more of it. 

Mr. Marshall, when sent back to the jury with orders to answer, had 
referred lo the Revised Code of 1819, the then law of the court, and 
ascertained that the act of each slave was a separate offence, and the pen- 
alty only $1.67, being below the jurisdiction of the circuit court. The 
grand jury being satisfied on reference to the statute that they had no 
jurisdiction of the offence, abandoned the investigation, and thus the 
presentment was not made. 

The foreman of that jury, if my memory is not at fault, was Mr. E. W. 
Henry, and he is still alive — the last of the sons of Patrick Henry. 

In order to let Mr. Marshall know the line of argument 
he intended to pursue, Mr. Randolph remarked privately to 
him: "The Bible justified a man in pulling his ox out of 
the mire on the Sabbath. How do they know which is the 
Sabbath ? The Jews keep the seventh day and we keep the 
first. Besides, if I hadn't pulled my fodder when I did, I 
should have been pulling the damned oxen out of the mire 
every Sabbath through the year." 

After this, we are told, some of the preachers in the county 
thought it necessary to prove to their congregations that 
they were keeping the right day. 

For the following incident we are indebted to Miss Mary 
Bouldin. It is related to show in what terror Mr. Randolph 
was held by the negroes of the neighborhood : 

Mr. Randolph was on his way to one of his quarters, in- 


tending, it is thought, to surprise the overseer. Such a step 
was in keeping with his character. 

He went by way of Judge Thomas T. Bouldin's, who hap- 
pened not to be at home. Seeing a negro in the yard, he 
hailed him. The negro paid no attention, not having heard 
him, or not recognizing his voice. He called again, in- 
quiring if there was any way through to his plantation. 
Hambleton (for that was the name of the negro) informed 
him there was no way through without pulling down fences ; 
that if he pulled them down he must put them up. *' And 
there is Jack Randolph," said he, " on the other side, who 
allows nobody to pass through his plantation." 

" ril have you to know that I am Jack Randolph myself, 
sir, and that I neither pull down fences nor put them up. If 
your master were at home, you would not talk to me after 
that style." 

Hambleton by this time became alarmed. He was one of 
those persons who could never be awed ; but he was scared 
outright; affrighted nearly to death. He meditated flight, 
but he was afraid Mr. Randolph would shoot him. At last 
he mustered up courage to go up to him ; and by way of 
apology he told him he mistook him for an overseer. 

"Sir," replied Mr. Randolph, "you knew better." 
Hambleton went with him to pull down the fences. When 
they arrived at a small stream, presenting some difficulty, he 
offered to take hold of Mr. Randolph's horse. 

"No man takes hold of my steed when I am on him," re- 
plied Mr. Randolph. 

It was thought that nothing could have been more grate- 
ful to the feelings of Mr. Randolph than to have been told, 
in the way he was, that " there's Jack Randolph on the other 

side, who allows nobody to pass through his plantation." 



He liked to have the assurance that all the negroes in the 
neighborhood were dreadfully afraid of him. To have heard 
this scene described by Hambleton himself, we are told, was 
highly interesting. From time to time, for several years, he 
w^as required by the neighbors to repeat it over and over, 
and they never ceased to be amused. 



Devotion to Old Things — Good Fortune — Electioneering among the 
People — His Church — Visit to a Young Lady — Could have written 
Child e Harold. 

THERE are those now living in the county who remem- 
ber to have seen, on one occasion, a coach and four 
coming dashing into the village of Charlotte Court- 
house, with a driver on one of the wheel horses and another 
upon one of the leaders. They came whipping with might 
and main, and in the height of their rapid career, the table 
of a poor old woman, upon which was displayed her choice 
stock of cakes, was overturned. Thereupon a shrill voice 
issued from the window, cursing and damning the driver for 
going at such a rate. 

The driver responded: *^Why, master, you told us to 
drive fast." 

There are no coaches and four in the county of Charlotte 
now. Mr. Randolph was about the last man that travelled 
in that style. His clumsy coach was imported from Eng- 
land, as was almost his entire stock of furniture and books. 
He was the last man that kept a park. 

There is a reason for these changes ; nor does it consist in 
the want of means. There are men now residing in the 
county as able to keep parks and drive four horses as Mr. 
Randolph was. The reason is that aristocratic feelings, such 
as inhabited the breasts of our forefathers of colonial times. 


have been extingnished. The gentleman who, in our day, 
should venture to keep a park and drive four horses, would 
be pronounced an aristocrat, and would hazard his election 
to any office within the gift of the people. " Aristocrat " is 
an awful cry to be raised against a politician. 

The revolution which caused the adoption of the consti- 
tution of Mason, as it is styled, produced a great change in 
the manners, customs and sentiments of our people. And 
the laws so earnestly advocated by Thomas Jefferson pro- 
duced a great change from what we were under the old 
constitution. Mr. Randolph w^as the last man in the State, 
of prominent abilities, who made open war upon the pre- 
vailing opinions, who threw himself right across the current 
and attempted to arrest its progress. He was unsuccessful, 
of course. A single individual had as well undertake to 
dike in the Mississippi, as to check a great popular move- 
ment. By skillful management he may, to some extent, 
guide it ; but never arrest it. 

Mr. Randolph's prejudices were too strong to be moulded 
by the prevailing opinions. Indeed, he w^ould have been a 
much happier man, in all probability, if he had lived in 

The old habits and customs had passed away; the law of 
inheritance and entail had been repealed ; there were no rich 
barons living in splendor, as in days gone by; when the fa- 
ther died the inheritance was equally divided among all the 
children ; the poor and the rich intermarried and mingled 
freely together; the religious forms had undergone an entire 
change ; the Church of England, which Mr. Randolph never 
could renounce, with all its pomp and ceremony, had gone 
down with the monarchical form of government, and the 
mind, taken from its ancient channel, sought out divers new 
modes of worship. 


All these changes were deprecated by Mr. Randolph ; nor 
could he ever tolerate them. His government did not suit 
him; his people did not suit him; hence, an everlasting strife 
w^ith the surrounding elements. 

We are reminded just here of a little incident related to 
us by an old lady who was personally acquainted with Mr. 
Randolph. She said: 

"On one occasion, when he was on a visit to Judge 
Thomas T. Bouldin, speaking of his devotion to old things, 
he remarked : * Now, if one of these ladies were to sing us 
an old song, and a young fellow were to come along, singing, 
as he came, one of his own composition, and were to say 
it was better, we would not believe him.' " 

The old lady who related to us this incident remarked, 
that she could see in her mind the fellow singing along as 
he came, exactly as he described him, and that the scene 
was as fresh in her memory as if it had occurred yesterday. 

Other men might describe a scene, and it would make no 
more impression than an advertisement in a newspaper; but, 
when Mr. Randolph drew the picture, it was as vividly im- 
pressed upon the imagination as if one had seen it with his 
own eyes. 

During his canvass with Eppes, when he was hard pressed, 
Hon. James W. Bouldin states that he courted the support 
of the Presbyterian church. "He spoke in high and just 
praise of Dr. Hoge, a Presbyterian minister and president of 
Hampden Sidney college ; no doubt sincerely, but more fre- 
quently perhaps and more openly than he would have done 
had he not been a candidate and hard pressed." He fre- 
quently talked about Dr. Hoge and his church, we are in- 
formed by another gendeman, in such a manner that any 
one who did not know him might think he had a notion of 
joining that denomination ; but he invariably wound up by 


Stating emphatically, that "having been bom in the Church 
of England, he did not mean to renounce it." 

He was too aristocratic in his feelings to unite with the 
Presbyterians, although there was no minister of his church 
in the county, and although he considered the Presbyterians 
the most learned of any of the other religious sects. He 
was attached to the old church and all the associations which 
clustered around it. He had no idea of substituting new 
forms and ceremonies, or rather doing away with all forms 
and ceremonies. He could not tolerate the unrestrained 
liberty of the camp meeting. 

The train of thought which we have been following brings 
to mind a little incident which happened in Mr. Randolph's 

But we must first introduce to the reader an old citizen of 
the county of Charlotte, upon whom we have drawn largely 
for opinions and facts concerning our subject. We refer to 
the late Miss Mary Bouldin, an old maiden lady, who lived 
to nearly a hundred years of age. She was one of the few 
persons we had the pleasure of meeting, when we were 
gathering up the materials for this volume, who could take 
in Mr. Randolph's whole career. This sensible old lady, 
whose mind was stored with an accurate knowledge of the 
men and things of her day, told us a great deal about Mr. 
Randolph. She might have told us what roused the gen- 
erous feelings of resentment in his youthful breast, which 
first brought into notice his high and manly courage — the 
time when he stood upon the court green and bid defiance 
to those who, he charged, had cast a foul aspersion on 
the character of his brother. And she could tell the first 
time his transcendent genius was waked into life. She re- 
membered some things that were said when Patrick Henry 
made his last speech on earth at Charlotte Court-house, and 


when Mr. Randolph, a mere stripling, had the boldness to 
answer him — the time when the crowd, filled with the elo- 
quence of Henry, and indignant that any one should attempt 
to answer him, were suddenly arrested and brought back to 
the stand by the music of a strange voice which was to en- 
chant them for many long years to come. 

O! that was a glorious scene. And Charlotte Court- 
house is classic ground, and deserves to live in ''songs of 
distant days." It was there that one sun set in all its glory, 
and another of equal splendor rose exactly on the same 

Miss Mary Bouldin watched with no ordinary curiosity 
the long and brilliant career of that courageous youth, and 
no one could be in her company, when the conversation hap- 
pened to turn upon him, without being edified and highly 

Such was our good fortune one day, when the spirited 
old lady was reminded by something that was said of a ren- 
counter which she herself once had with Mr. Randolph. 

Many years ago, she informed us, she passed through Mr. 
Randolph's plantation over into Halifax county to attend 
religious service at the Episcopal church. On her return 
she stopped at Mr. Carrington's to dine. Pretty soon Mr. 
Randolph came in. But although, as we are informed by 
others, she possessed at that time considerable personal at- 
tractions, his was not the pursuit of the lover. No, *' beauty 
had no charms" for him. But he had doubtless been brood- 
ing over his troubles in the solitudes of Roanoke (" quiet, to 
quick bosoms, is a hell "). He perhaps was suffering, from 
the want of mental stimulus, all the horrors of ennui — ** that 
dreadful scourge and enemy to human repose." His chief 
pleasure, no doubt, consisted in the exercise of his mental 
faculties, and he was then in pursuit of talents which he 


knew would afford him some sport. He was aware, more- 
over, that the lady in question would not surrender without 
a fight. 

The two were seated in the parlor alone. She said she 
saw the moment she laid her eyes upon him that he had 
some mischief in view, and she determined at a glance to 
match him. 

The subject of her going over into Halifax to the Episco- 
pal church was introduced. Mr. Randolph made a thousand 
insinuations, to the effect that his fair companion ought to 
have stayed at home and attended the "Methodist meeting- 
house " in her neighborhood. He put it in every possible 
shape. After a while he said something about the folly of 
talking about having an Episcopal church in this country. 
In England, he maintained, they could have such a church, 
but not here. It did not accord with the spirit of our insti- 
tutions; and he was proceeding in that disparaging strain, 
when the tables were suddenly turned upon him by his fair 

"I suppose then, Mr. Randolph, you are a Methodist," 
said she, in her emphatic style. 

He was highly incensed, but said not a word in reply. 
Yet, the muscles of his face seemed to contract to the size of 
his fist. Indeed, she thought his face at that time very much 
resembled a man's fist. 

The reader will better understand how much nerve it re- 
quired to make the above retort upon Mr. Randolph when 
he gets through this volume. We should like to have wit- 
nessed an intellectual battle between them ; for, if he was of 
the oak, she was not of the willow. 

Though Mr. Randolph was proud as Lucifer, and though 
the institutions of his country were repugnant to his feelings, 
and though he was of all men the least disposed to yield his 


prejudices ; still, on some occasions he let himself down from 
his lofty state. No one can remain in any country for any 
considerable time, without having his habits to some extent 
modified by public opinion. The spirit of the age is obliged 
to have its effect, not only in changing the habits, but 
moulding the minds of individuals. 

Mr. Randolph once remarked, that " if electioneering were 
allowed in heaven, it would corrupt the angels." If forcing 
a littie civility towards the common people, for whom he 
really had scarcely any sympathy, be corruption, why then 
it must be admitted that he was slightly corrupted. He was 
never so civil as on the eve of an election. It was the Sat- 
urday before the Charlotte election, as we shall learn from 
the "Recollections" of Hon. James W. Bouldin, that he 
conversed freely and familiarly with the people on various 
subjects, and evinced a great desire to make himself agreea- 
ble and acceptable. 

But, judging from one littie circumstance, which was re- 
lated to us by a reverend gentieman, whose mind was stored 
with some lively recollections of his peculiar countryman, 
we should say he had no civility to waste upon those who 
were of no use to him. 

Riding from Prince Edward court he overtook a gentie- 
man on horseback. 

"How do you do, Mr. L.?" said Mr. Randolph, in the po- 
litest manner imaginable. 

Having exchanged salutations, he informed the gentleman 
that he was a candidate again for Congress, and asked him 
outright for his vote. 

Mr. L. regretted that by the laws of the land he was not 
-entitled to vote. 

" Good morning, Mr. L.," replied Mr. Randolph abruptiy, 
and rode off. 


Some men place themselves in the middle of a stream, to 
be wafted smoothly down by a popular gale, but Mr. Ran- 
dolph would attempt to go right across, and the present end 
in view must be the object of his chief ambition, to induce 
him for a moment to humor the current. To ask an hum- 
ble voter for his support was galling to his nature ; but he 
must do it, or else remain in obscurity. And that he could 
not endure, for there was "a fire and motion of his soul" 
which would not suffer him to dwell in the solitudes of 
Roanoke. His unquiet spirit longed for high adventure. 

In many respects Mr. Randolph was one of the most for- 
tunate of men. Nature lavished upon her unhappy child 
all the noblest qualities of the head. She seems to have 
thought it but just, when she put into one side of the scale 
all that could depress the soul, to put into the other all that 
elevates the mind. She made him miserable ; but she also 
made him glorious. More fortunate than Byron, who, says 
Macaulay, was born to all that men covet and admire, he 
was sprung from a house ancient and noble, but not degra- 
ded by crimes and follies. The parent, to whom was en- 
trusted the office of moulding his youthful nature, did not 
pass from paroxysms of rage to paroxysms of fondness, at 
one time stifling him with caresses, at another time in- 
sulting his misfortunes. But she was a kind and gentie 
mother, and one who, while perhaps a little too indulgent, 
understood thoroughly the nature of her child. 

Mr. Randolph was blessed in another respect. Often 
men spend years in employments for which they have nei- 
ther taste nor talents. The prime of life is frequentiy 
wasted before they are aware of being endowed with a pe- 
culiar genius. Then perhaps it bursts upon them, as it 
were by accident, like a flood of light, and a new world is 
opened before them, filled with new life, new aspirations, 


new hopes. Mr. Randolph engaged at once in those pur- 
suits best suited to his nature. It has been said that one of 
the causes of his unhappiness was, that " he saw other men 
of less talent rising far above him in place and position.'* 
We know not to what office he aspired. He must have in- 
deed been hard to please, if being placed in a position, from 
youth to age, where he could attract the eyes of a continent 
to the splendor of his genius, was not sufficient for him. 

We have a county pride (the writer was born and raised 
in Charlotte), a State pride, and a national pride in Mr. Ran- 
dolph, but we do not regret that he was not made President 
of the United States. If, by nothing else, he was disquali- 
fied for that office by his misanthropy. Whatever pearls 
there may be in the head, if poison be in the heart, the man 
is unfit. One of his biographers might say he ought never 
to have occupied the presidential chair, " because he wanted 
the profound views of a great statesman." His views, we 
submit, were profound upon every subject he touched. 
That is not what was the matter. His affections were too 
contracted. His views were indeed profound, but he wished 
to turn them to the advantage of his own State only. His 
mind was expanded, but he could never expand his soul, so 
as to include the entire nation. It is natural and well for 
one to desire the prosperity and glory of his own State ; but 
if his feelings be as intensely Virginian, as Mr. Randolph's, 
his ambition should be limited to the highest position which 
that State can confer. And here we take occasion to re- 
mark, that the only act which mars the beauty of Mr. Ran- 
dolph's political life was his acceptance of a foreign mission. 

We repeat he was not qualified for a high executive 
office, nor do we imagine that he was much disappointed 
at not being made President of the United States. 

In his young days he obtained a license to practice law ; 


but we are quite confident he could never have succeeded at 
the bar. It would have been impossible for him to have 
•endured the necessary application to business. The field of 
politics afforded him the best opportunity of displaying his 
brilliant parts. The halls of Congress and the hustings per- 
mitted him to show to the world that he was not only a 
statesman but an orator of the first magnitude. Public life, 
moreover, suited his moody and restless temperament. He 
was not obliged to speak when the spirit did not move, nor 
to exert his body when he did not feel disposed. 

In view of this state of things we cannot blame Mr. Ran- 
dolph much for deviating even from his own high standard 
of political integrity, and for doing to the extent that he did, 
what he owned would corrupt the angels in heaven. 

The feeling described by the poet in the following lines 
was never experienced by John Randolph : 

"O, who can tell how hard it is to climb 
The steep where fame's proud temple shines afar." 

He was doomed to great mental anguish from many 
causes, and to much bodily suffering ; but the pangs of the 
want of appreciation he never knew. The world at once 
acknowledged his preeminent abilities, and he looked as if 
he felt that the eyes of the world were upon him. At an 
age when most politicians have scarcely taken the first step 
upon the ladder he had ascended the summit. He was not 
compelled to climb slowly, step by step, but by a single leap 
mounted to the top. He was called before the public as it 
were by accident, and, as he says himself, elected by " sheer 
accident." In this instance opportunity conspired with his 
tastes and talents to develop the resources of his great 
mind. And he not only was following the natural bent of 
his genius, but his constituents had taken the advice of 


Patrick Henry, and commenced with him in time. And if, 
when they elected him to Congress, the clerk before admin- 
istering the oath of office inquired what was his age, they 
were not the least chagrined, for they felt entirely confident 
that the boy in years was a man in mature reflection. 

We intimated that we knew not in what other profession 
Mr. Randolph could have distinguished himself. We forgot 
that Mr. Baldwin says he is the only man he ever heard of 
who could have written Childe Harold. There are indeed 
passages in that poem which breathe the same spirit of mis- 
anthropy and despair which pervade all the private letters of 
Mr. Randolph. Such as the following : 

** I can no longer imagine any state of things under which 
I should not be wretched." ** I am sick of both (men and 
measures) and only wish to find some resting place where I 
may die in peace." " What a fate ours would have been, if 
we had been condemned to immortality here." "Whichever 
way I look around me I see no cheering object. All is dark 
and comfortless and hopeless." " Language cannot express 
the thousandth part of the misery I feel." "They have 
dried up (his resources) one by one, and I am left in the 
desert alone." 

Such are a few extracts from the voluminous correspond- 
ence of Mr. Randolph with his most intimate friends. They 
are filled with gloomy sentiments like those we have quoted. 
But we cannot impose any more upon the reader ; the heart 
sickens at the repetition of such unmitigated woe. 

How much these expressions of Mr. Randolph remind us. 
of Lord Byron, when he sings of — 

" The dull satiety which all destroys — 
And root from out the soul the deadly weed which cloys.** 

Again : 


" We wither from our youth, we gasp away — 
Sick — sick; unfound the boon, unslaked the thirst." 

And again : 

" I have not loved the world, nor the world loved me; 
I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed 
To its idolatries a patient knee, — 
Nor coin'd my cheeks to smiles, — nor cried aloud 
In worship of an echo; in the crowd 
They could not deem me one of such ; I stood 
Among them, but not of them." 

We agree with Mr. Baldwin that Mr. Randolph could 
have written Childe Harold; but we are glad he did not 
turn his attention to poetry. If the muses had taken up 
their abode at Roanoke, a strain of bitterness and despair 
would have issued from its native wilds compared with which 
the song "To Inez" would be gay and happy. 



Speeches on the Hustings — His Style of Speaking — Sketches by Hon. 
James W. Bouldin — Extract from "Schoolboy Reminiscences," by 
W. H. Elliott— Sketch by James M. Whittle— Recollections by Dr. 
C. H. Jordan and Hon. Thomas S. Flournoy — His Great Speech at 
Halifax Court-house against calling a State Convention. 

SINCE our plan is to entertain the reader with home remi- 
niscences, we shall not dwell upon the great speeches 
made by Mr. Randolph in Congress. The world has 
been made acquainted with them by such authors as Thomas 
H. Benton and Hugh A. Garland. We shall devote our 
space mainly to the speeches he made to his constituents, of 
which very little has been said by those who have under- 
taken to describe his wonderful powers of elocution. 

The Hon. James W. Bouldin was a close observer, had a 
very accurate memory, and heard many of Mr. Randolph's 
speeches on the hustings. 

The first time I saw Mr. Randolph (says Mr. Bouldin) was at Prince 
Edward court, in October 1808 or '9. He was then at his zenith. For the 
first time since his first election, which was closely contested with Powha- 
tan Boiling, some opposition began to discover itself to him in the district. 
It was said he was to speak, and I rode twenty miles lo hear him. I re- 
member well his appearance. When I saw him he was approaching the 
court-house, walking very slowly, and alone — a tall, spare, straight man, 
very neatly dressed in summer apparel — shoes, nankeen gaiters and pan- 
taloons, white vest, drab cloth coat of very fine quality, and white beaver 


hat. Though he had no shape, but that he was forked, and had very long- 
arms, all the way of the same size, with long bony fingers, with gloves on^ 
still he had a most graceful appearance. His bow, notwithstanding it was 
slight, bending his body very little, and rather leaning his head back than 
forward, was winning to those to whom it was addressed, and seemed to 
carry with it marked attention and respect. His eyes were hazel, of the 
darkest hue, and had the appearance of being entirely black, unless you 
were very near him. They opened round, and when open nearly hid the 
lids, the dark long lashes only showing. Their brilliancy surpassed any 
I have ever seen. His appearance was remarkable and commanding, and 
would attract the attention of any one. His manner, though stately, pos- 
sessed a charm to those to whom he wished to make himself agreeable, 
but had something terrible in it to those to whom he felt a dislike. To 
mere strangers it was simply lofty and graceful. 

I said the first time I saw Mr. Randolph was at Prince Edward court,, 
in October 1808 or 1809. I saw him once before when I was at school. 
He was riding by on horseback. I had the paddle raised to strike a ball 
while playing a game of cat. So remarkable was his appearance that I 
failed to strike while gazing at him. I had no idea who he was, or that 
he was a distinguished man. 

Very soon after Mr. Randolph made his appearance, the people began 
to gather around the steps of the railing, where those who addressed them 
generally stood. Much curiosity was discovered to hear him, and I sup- 
pose of various kinds. Politicians, I imagine, wished to hear what he 
had to say on public affairs, and others for other reasons. My anxiety was 
to hear a great orator speak. He made but a short address; but I was 
much gratified. He was the first very great man I had ever heard deliver 
a public speech. 

I remember his commencement. It was thus : " After, an absence, fel- 
low-citizens, of nearly six months, I have returned to the bosom of my 
constituents to be — chastised.*' 

We have printed this sentence exactly as it was delivered. 
Mr. Randolph made a pause wherever we have placed the 
comma or the dash. The writer has heard Mr. Bouldin re- 
peat this little sentence a hundred times, as nearly as possi- 
ble after the manner of Mr. Randolph. The reader will ask> 


why so much importance is attached to this apparently tri- 
fling matter? We answer: It was not the idea, but the 
manner^ which impressed these words upon the mind. 
Strange, that thousands of expressions of other men, and 
events of momentous consequences, had been forgotten, 
while this sentence was as fresh in the old man's memory as 
if it had just fallen from the lips of the eloquent speaker. 

I remember little else now of what he said literally. He was defend- 
ing himself against charges made of his having deserted the Republican 

As to his manner, its fascination was felt by all who ever heard him, and 
those who have not, can be little edified by any attempt to describe it. 

During his canvass with Mr. Eppes, a Mr. Dabbs, a minister of the 
Baptist Association, took a very active part in the canvass in favor of 
Eppes, and introduced him to many of his brethren and others, he being 
personally an entire stranger in the district. Eppes went with him to 
many places where Dabbs had appointments to preach. Randolph went 
to very few places of worship during the canvass. He sometimes went to 
hear Mr. Hoge, a Presbyterian minister, and president of Hampden Sid- 
ney College — a man of great talents and piety, and though he had an 
impediment in his speech, was decidedly the most eloquent man I ever 
knew, except Mr. Randolph himself. 

Mr. Randolph evidently courted the support of the Presbyterian church. 
He spoke in high and just praise of Mr. Hoge, and I have no doubt sin- 
cerely, but doubtless more frequently and openly than he would have done 
had he not been a candidate, and hard pressed. 

On one occasion, at Sandy Creek, when it was rumored that Mr. Eppes 
•and Mr. Dabbs would be there, Mr. Hugh Wyllie, a Scotchman, and a 
great friend of Mr. Randolph, wrote him a note, informing him that such 
was the expectation, and inviting him down. Mr. Randolph replied, in a 
very courteous note in pencil, that he should be glad to attend worship, 
but he could not violate the Sabbath by profanely attending the house of 
God for electioneering purposes. 

This note was circulated through the congregation, and read with ap- 
probation by most of them. 

He attended many musters and public gatherings during his two can- 


vasses with Eppes, in the first of which he was beaten, and in the second 

I went with him on one occasion to a muster near where I was bom. He 
did not address the people; nearly all at that place were opposed to him. 
He took me aside, and asked me whether he had best address them. I 
told him I thought not. He talked however freely and familiarly with 
the people on various subjects. He had much to say to a certain lady wha 
was present — very intelligent, but I thought a little hysterical. He was 
polite and respectful to her, as he was always to ladies, while in their pres- 
ence. I never saw him show so plainly his desire to make himself agree- 
able and acceptable as on this occasion. 

It was Saturday night before the Charlotte election, which was the first 
in the district, the elections being then held on the different court days 
through the district. 

He went with me to Charlotte court, where I lived, and stayed in the 
room with me until Monday. He kept in his room on Sunday, except 
going to the tavern to dinner. Sunday night he slept very little, and 
looked badly in the morning — drank very little then, but freely at the mus- 
ter. , In the morning when I went to breakfast he did not go, but asked 
me to send him a bottle of wine with his breakfast. 

He was very fond of good coffee, and had it strong and excellent at 
home, but he would hardly drink it bad.* He preferred bad wine, if he 
could get neither good. He made his breakfast principally on wine, and 
drank the most of the bottle, yet it did not intoxicate him. 

Shortly after breakfast he dressed himself with great neatness and care. 
He looked very languid and pale, as he always did, when he was quite 
sober and not excited. 

There was great expectation from the orators, especially from Mr. Ran- 
dolph. My door was immediately in view of the rostrum, where he 
alwajrs stood to speak. The people began to draw around this place, to 
be sure of a stand near it, very early in the morning. 

While he was walking backward and forward, his eyes flashing with 
more and more brilliancy, as the crowd became larger and larger, he ex- 
claimed : "The subject is so large I do not know where to lay hold on it 

* On one occasion he was at breakfast, when a cup was set at his plate. 
" Servant,'* said he, " If this be coffee, give me tea, and if it be tea, give 
me coffee." 


It was still early; but said I, "Sir, you see the crowd is gathered 
around the stand, and if you do not begin, Eppes will begin first, and read 
until sunset, and you will be wearied to death before you get a chance to 
say a word." He immediately made his way through the crowd, which 
was at this time large and dense, and commenced his address. I was 
much engaged at the time, and did not go out until he had nearly gotten 

I do not know how Mr. Eppes appeared elsewhere, and in comparison 
with others; but compared with Mr. Randoph and on the hustings I 
thought him dull and heavy. He was self-possessed, and much of a gen- 
tleman, but I thought greatly inferior to Randolph in eloquence and 

Probably Mr. Randolph's greatest efforts at speaking were made during 
the canvass with Mr. Eppes, in which he was beaten. I heard many of 
them, including the one at Prince Edward court, in the Fall preceding 
the election. He was told by a friend that this was considered to be the 
best speech he ever made. He replied, that it was the only time he ever 
felt conscious of being eloquent while speaking. He remarked that he 
felt the truth of what Mark Anthony said — " Passion, thou art catching" — 
that he felt the electricity passing from him to the crowd, and from the 
crowd back to him. 

I remember but one expression, literally, during that speech. Speak- 
ing of Bonaparte's strides to universal dominion, he said : '* He stood 
with one foot upon European and the other upon American shores. It is 
said that Moloch smiled at the blood of human sacrifice running at the 
foot of the altar; this great arch enemy of mankind is now grinning and 
smiling at American blood, flowing in support of his inordinate ambi- 

He spoke for an hour, perhaps, and when he concluded, I found my- 
self musing and walking without any aim or object; and looking around, 
found the crowd gradually dispersing in the same mood. The Rev. Mo- 
ses Hoge was sitting in a chair opposite the speaker, and remained till I 
observed him, still with his mouth open, and looking steadfastly in the 
same direction. Parson Lyle was standing by him. Said Mr. Hoge to 
Lyle, ** I never heard the like before, and I never expect to hear the like 

It was at the next succeeding Charlotte court that he made the reply to 
Colonel S. that has sometimes been alluded to in print. 


Mr. Eppes had lately moved into the district, and Mr. Randolph 
charged him with having been imported, like a stallion, for the purpose 
of being run against him. He said the district had no necessity to import 
one ; they had good stock of their own. If the people did not like his 
services, they could elect one from their own stock. " Where are your 
Daniels, your Bouldins, your Carringtons," — and was proceeding with the 
enumeration, but made a pause as was much his custom (he spoke very 
slowly and distinctly). Said Colonel S., ** There are other families in the 
district as respectable as those you have mentioned." "Certainly," re- 
plied Mr. Randolph, " None more so than the S.'s, but you are an excep- 

Mr. Eppes read many documents at Prince Edward and more at Char- 
lotte court. When Mr. Randolph rose to reply, he said : " It is true I am 
not asleep, but I must confess I am somewhat drowsy. The gentleman 
may not have improved in his speaking, but he certainly gets along in his 

The collision with Colonel S., and other circumstances, made this ad- 
dress rather of the satirical order, than of the grave and sublime character 
of that at Prince Edward court. Severe repartees and remarks creating 
great mirth at the expense of others, overshadowed in a measure the able 
and eloquent view he took of the politics of that day. 

On this, or on some other occasion about that time, having been often 
interrupted with much heat by the same Colonel S., who was not only of 
a highly respectable family, but was highly respectable himself, yet a little 
too warm in party politics, Mr. Randolph was admonished to keep cool 
and not to be provoked to rashness. " I am as cool," said he, "as the 
centre seed of a ciJcumber." 

He had all the deliberation, self-possession and outward calmness that 
would belong to a man who was cool, and he was guarded; still I thought 
his mind and passions were roused to the highest pitch of excitement. 
The fiery vengeance that bums and flashes in the eyes of an enraged tiger 
cannot be mistaken for coolness, however deliberate he may be in pre- 
paring to make his spring. 

When Jerman Baker was a rival candidate for Congress, Mr. Randolph 
treated him with great kindness and forbearance, considering his usual 
treatment towards his opponents. 

On one occasion, when Mr. Baker was promising what he would do, if 
elected, Mr. Randolph, in reply, said : " The gentleman and I stand on 


very different ground. I stand on fourteen years' hard bought experi- 
ence. He is in the land of promise which always flows with milk and 
honey;" and presently afterwards he said, "A new broom sweeps clean, 
but an old one knows where the dirt lies." 

As Mr. Baker stood no chance of election, and was moderate in his 
abilities, there was no great interest in that canvass. 

"When Mr. Austin was a candidate, and Mr. Randolph declined a reelec- 
tion to Congress, expecting to go to Europe for his health, he took leave of 
his constituents by riding around to the elections, and addressing the peo- 
ple in the morning, before Mr. Austin began. These addresses were of 
a character wholly different from any made by him on any other occa- 
sion, that I ever knew of. They were filled with grave and solemn 
advices, and the most pathetic appeals to the sympathies of the district, 
without the least allusion to party or feud. 

I remember verbatim a portion of the commencement of a speech he 
made at Charlotte court, which, from its peculiar style of parenthesis, will 
be recognized by all who were acquainted with his manner of expression. 
He was excusing himself, on the ground of ill health, for declining the 
service of the people, after their long continued confidence in him. He 

" I am going across the sea to patch up and preserve a shattered frame 
— a frame worn out in your service, and to lengthen out, yet a little 
longer, (hitherto certainly,) not a very happy existence; for, excepting the 
one upbraided by a guilty conscience, no life can be more unhappy, than 
that, the days of which are spent in pain and sickness, and the nights in 
travail and sorrow." * 

During this address he remarked : " I was going to say in the sincerity 
of the poet, but the sincerity of the poet is somewhat doubted; — I can 
say with a truth, in the language of the poet, — 

* Fare ye well ; and if forever. 
Still forever, fare ye well.' " 

Just as he had concluded, and was putting on his hat (he always spoke 
with it off), as he was stepping down to the next step, weak and somewhat 
tottering, he said : " The flesh is indeed weak, though the spirit is strong." 

Mr. J. Robinson, a clergyman of distinguished ability, dined with me 
the day on which he made this speech. He was opposed to Mr. Ran- 


dolph in politics, but was a great admirer of his genius. He remarked : 
" He had not supposed that Mr. Randolph had any pathos, as he had never 
before heard him in that strain, but that now he was forced to confess, 
after having heard all the distinguished orators of the then just past age, 
from Patrick Henry down, that Mr. Randolph was the most pathetic man 
he ever heard open his lips." 

/ certainly saw tears roll dawn the cheeks of men who hated him then^ 
and would curse his memory now if he were named in their presence, 

I think these addresses did more to make firm his popularity, which, 
during the war, had been a little shaken, than anything he ever did. They 
soothed, softened, and set aside much of the bitterness which had been 
engendered during those bitter party conflicts. 

Though this was the first and only time I ever heard Mr. Randolph 
deliver a speech wholly in this strain of pathos, and sober wisdom and 
counsel, I had often witnessed touches of the same in other speeches, and 
his power of fascination in private, when he chose to exert it, with won- 
der and amazement." 

We once asked one of Mr. Randolph's old constituents to 
tell us which of all his speeches he considered the best. He 
replied, the one he made at Charlotte Court-house, soon 
after the adjournment of the Virginia Convention of 1829. 
In this address he gave an account of his stewardship 
and the proceedings of said convention. On this occasion 
he is reported to have used the following language: "I 
appear here to take my leave of you for the last time. 
Now what shall I say? Twenty-eight years ago you took 
me by the hand, when a beardless boy, and handed me to 
Congress. I have served you in a public capacity ever since. 
That I have committed errors I readily believe, being a de- 
scendant of Adam, and full of bruises and putrifying sores, 
from the crown of my head to the sole of my feet. People 
of Charlotte! which of you is without sin?*' (A voice in 
the crowd exclaimed, ' Gracious God ! what preaching.') " 

Speaking of the trust committed to him by his confiding 


constituents, the duties of which he had so long discharged, 
he made use of the following expression : " Take it back, 
take it back," at the same time moving his hand forward 
towards the multitude. Mr John Henry, son of the immor- 
tal Patrick Henry, who was present, says he instinctively 
shrank back, feeling as if the speaker was about to roll a tre- 
mendous stone upon him. Just as the orator concluded, and 
while still under the intoxicating effects of his eloquence, 
Mr. Henry's brother turned to him, and exclaimed, "He is 
almost a God !" 

For the following description of Mr. Randolph's style of 
speaking, we are indebted to Mr. William H. ElUott: 

** It has been said by some, who have heard Mr. Randolph both in 
Congress and on the hustings, that on the latter theatre he made his most 
fascinating and brilliant displays. I never heard him in Congress, but I 
cannot conceive that anything he uttered there could possibly surpass what 
I have heard on the hustings. 

Most generally, whenever it was expected he would speak, a large pro- 
portion of the crowd would anticipate his arrival by some hour or two, 
and gather around the stand to secure a close proximity to the speaker. 
But when he was seen to move forward to the rostrum, then the court- 
house, every store, and tavern, and peddlar's stall, and auctioneer's stand, 
■and private residence, was deserted, and the speaker saw beneath him a 
motionless mass of humanity, and a sea of upturned faces. When he 
rose, with a deliberate motion he took off his hat, and made a slight in- 
clination of the body, a motion in which grace and humility seemed inex- 
plicably blended. Now the grace was natural, but the humility was af- 
fected, but with such consummate address as to pass for genuine, except 
among those who know that artis est celare artem. His exordium was 
brief, but always peculiarly appropriate. His gestures were few and 
simple, yet exactly no more or fewer than what the occasion called for. 
"With many public speakers there seems to be an unpruned luxuriance of 
gesticulation, laboring most painfully to bring forth a mouse of an idea. 
But, in the case of Mr. Randolph, the idea was sure to be bigger than the 
gesture that accompanied it. His voice was unique, but yet so perfect was 


his pronunciation, and so sharp the outlines of every sound, that, as far a& 
his voice could be heard, his words could be distinguished. In short, his 
speaking was exquisite vocal music. An accurate ear could distinguish, as 
he went along, commas, semi -colons, colons, full stops, exclamation and 
interrogation points, all in their proper places. In adverting to what he 
conceived to be the overruling agency of Providence in the affairs of man, 
no minister of the gospel could raise his eyes to heaven with a look more 
impressively reverential. If the reader will look at Hamlet's advice to 
the players, and conceive it to be punctually followed to the letter, Shaks- 
peare will give him a better idea of Randolph's oratory than he can de- 
rive from any other source.* He seemed to have discarded from his vo- 
cabulary most of those sonorous sesquipedalia verba, which enter so 
largely into the staple of modem oratory, and to have trimmed down his 
language to the nudest possible simplicity consistent with strength. When 
he had gotten fully warmed with the subject, all idea of anything nearer 
to perfection in eloquence was held in utter abeyance, and when he con- 
cluded all felt that they had never heard the like before, for the speeches 
of this remarkable man were characterized by all that is conclusive in 
argument, original in conception, felicitous in illustration, forcible in lan- 
guage, and faultless in delivery." 

We purpose now to lay before the reader a highly inter- 
esting sketch of a speech made by Mr. Randolph at Halifax 
Court-house, in the year 1827. It is from the pen of the 
late Dr. C. H. Jordan, formerly a citizen of Halifax county, 
Virginia, but a resident of the State of North Carolina at 
the time of his death. Dr. Jordan was a gentleman of the 
purest type, and, as the reader will discover, a most forcible 

Accompanying his Randolphiana, he addressed to us a 
letter in which he says : " The lapse of time has greatly in- 
creased the difficulties of doing him and his subject the jus- 
tice which I so much desire. Forty years ago, I could have 
repeated whole paragraphs from his various arguments ; but 
now I cannot do it. 

* Hamlet, act III, scene II. 


In many instances, when I put his words in quotation 
marks, the language is precisely his. * In others, I have used 
the quotations with a less vivid recollection of his precise 
words. But for fear some one might think that I was dis- 
posed to appropriate to myself what rightfully belonged 
to Mr. Randolph, I have also used them, especially where 
my recollection of the sentiment is distinct." 

The article referred to is headed : " Mr. Randolph's Great 
Speech at Halifax Courthouse in the Spring of 1827." 

Dr. Jordan says : 

Mr. Randolph's was a peculiar physical organization, encasing one of 
the most astute, philosophic minds of his or any other day. No states- 
man ever looked into or predicted the future of any governmental policy 
with more accuracy than did Mr. Randolph. 

But to give those who never saw him some idea of his personal ap- 
pearance and presence, I may say that he was tall, slender, delicate and 
feeble, with a short body, long legs and arms, and the longest fingers I 
ever saw. His head was not very large, but was symmetrical in the 
highest degree. His eyes were brilliant beyond description, indicating to 
a thoughtful observer a brain of the highest order. No one could look 
into them without having this truth so indelibly impressed upon his own 
mind that time's busy fingers may strive in vain to efface the impression. 
His eye, his forefinger and his foot were the members used in gesticula- 
tion; and, in impressing a solemn truth, a warning, or a proposition to 
which he wished to call the attention of his audience particularly, he 
could use his foot with singular and thrilling effect.- The ring of the 
slight patting of his foot was in perfect accord with the clear musical in- 
tonations of that voice which belonged only to Mr. Randolph. In his 
appeals to High Heaven, the God of the Universe, the Final Judge of all 
the Earth, with his eyes turned heavenward, and that ** long bony finger" 
pointing to the skies, both gradually lowering as the appeal or invocation 
closed, the moral effect was so thrilling that every man left the scene with 
(for the time at least) a better heart than he carried there. 

The "long bony finger" really appeared, when used in gesticulation, to 
have no bone in it ; for when it had accomplished what it had been called 


into action for, it would fall over on the back of his hand, almost as limp 
•as a string, as if, having done its work, it sought repose. 

But I have digressed from what I set out to write, viz : Mr. Randolph's 
great speech at Halifax Court-house in the Spring of 1827. I would that 
the task had fallen to hands more skillful than mine ; that the power of 
that mighty effort had been portrayed by an abler pen, before force of 
circumstances devolved the duty upon me. Of the vast multitude there 
■assembled, only a few remained to wimess the fulBllment of the ominous 
predictions of the illustrious speaker. These should aid in preserving 
from oblivion the almost prophetic warnings they then received. 

He came to breast the flood then rolling on from the western portion of 
the State for a convention. In spite of all his efforts, however, the stream 
increased, until it found temporary rest in the convention of 1829. It 
had been known, for a long time, and for many miles around, that he 
would be there upon that occasion, and would address the people on that 
<}uestion. The time drew nigh; the people everywhere were talking 
about it; expectation ran high. The day arrived and the crowd was im- 
mense, the largest I ever saw at a country gathering, variously estimated 
at from six to ten thousand, representing all the bordering counties in Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina. 

As the hour approached every countenance beamed with anticipation, 
or was grave with anxiety, for the weather was a little inauspicious, and 
Mr. Randolph's health was bad. It was known that he had reached 
Judge Leigh's, but fears were entertained that he might be deterred by 
the weather. About 10 o'clock, however, the thin clouds vanished, and 
about 1 1 news passed like an electric current through the vast multitude 
that he was coming. In an instant the crowd began moving slowly and 
noiselessly towards the upper tavern. Scarcely had they reached the siun- 
mit of the slope between the court-house and the tavern when they saw 
him coming on horseback, his carriage in the rear, driven by one of his 
servants. As he drew near, the crowd simultaneously divided to each side 
of the street, making a broad avenue along which he passed, hat in hand, 
bowing gracefully to the right and to the left, until he reached the lower 
tavern. The people, with uncovered heads, silently returned the graceful 
salutation. As he passed on to the lower tavern, the multitude followed 
in profound silence, not a shout nor a word being heard. Alighting and 
going in for a few moments he soon reappeared, crossed the street, as- 
cended the steps leading over to the court-house, and began by asking : 


"Fellow-citizens: — Why in my feeble condition am I here? Love of 
your liberty, as well as my own, compelled me to come!" A mighty 
effort he said was being made by politicians to call a convention to alter 
the constitution of the State. He warned them against the danger of 
tinkering with the constitution ; said that few if any had ever been bet- 
tered by so doing ; reminded them that change was not always improve- 
ment ; that the change then sought began in the west for sectional power ; 
that it was the work of 'mushroom politicians,' seeking place and power 
in the only way in which they could attain them. 

He next adverted to the social, civil and religious liberty the people of 
Virginia enjoyed, and asked what more they wanted. ** Ah ! but," said 
he, " politicians want more ! They want the right of suffrage extended ! 
And for what? Only that upon it they may ride into office!" And here 
he denied the right upon sound governmental principles of any man to 
-vote to tax, or impose any other State burden upon the people of Virginia 
to-day, and to morrow set out for Pennsylvania or New York, there to re- 
main beyond the reach of accountability for injuries inflicted on Virginia. 
He admitted the difficulty of prescribing exact limits to the right of suf- 
frage, but believed that Virginia had come nearer to it than other States, 
viz : in allowing it to none but those who had a " permanent interest in 
the soil." This restriction he said had been adopted as a part of her con- 
stitution after mature deliberation by some of the wisest and purest states- 
men and sages the world had ever produced. 

Here he dwelt at considerable length on State and national authorities, 
defining the boundaries of each, and cautioning the people against con- 
ilict with the powers delegated to the General Government, maintaining 
that delegated power was all that it could claim, and all not thus obtained 
belonged to the States severally, or to the people. He admonished them 
to make no encroachment on the rights of the Federal Government, and 
to suffer none to be made on their own ; said that a reckless disregard 
•of these powers, or a false interpretation of them by unqualified men in 
power, had on several occasions come very nigh destroying our beautiful 
political fabric, then being watched with jealousy by every monarchist on 
earth. He adverted to Shay's and Shattock's war in Massachusetts, the 
whiskey insurrection in Pennsylvania, &c., as instances of the precipitate 
4LCtion of hasty, incompetent men; and in the same connection severely 
4Lnimadverted on the Missouri compromise as a political measure of like 


character, hasty, ill-advised, weak, and fraught only with present humilia- 
tion and future danger. 

Here he drew a striking and vivid picture of " the Old Ship of State'* 
sailing amongst these breakers, and, with extended arms and eyes raised 
to heaven, he threw his body forward (as if to catch her), crying as he did 
so in a half imploring, half confident tone, " God save the Old Ship !" 
It was the most solemn, the most impressive gesture I ever saw from any 
human being ; and so powerful was the impression made, that the whole 
multitude, many with extended arms, seemed to move involuntarily for- 
ward, as if to help save the sinking ship." 

After portraying many of the evils of an extended ballot, he raised his 
eyes to heaven, and in an humble, Christian-like manner, thanked God 
that in all our difficulties we yet had a pure judiciary. «* Fellow-citi- 
zens," said he, "keep your judiciary pure, and your liberties are safe. Le; 
it become contaminated by political strife, and all will be gone ! The 
name of liberty alone will remain to you a phantom, a will-o'-the wisp, to 
lure you on to degradation, and the destruction of all that is dear to you 
now.' From the bench to the jury box these feelings would gradually 
find their way, until courts of justice would become mere instruments for 
rewarding friends and punishing opponents. Let the candid observer of 
passing events say how far these predictions have reached their fulfilment. 

Mr. Randolph reminded his hearers that during a long life in Congress 
he had often been taunted with — "You never propose anything !" "You 
are always trying to tear down other men's work!" Pausing a moment, 
with that long finger pointing back from the top of his forehead, he said : 
" True, and I regard it as the brightest feather in my cap. My whole aim 
has been to prevent, not to promote, legislation. Our people need but few 
laws, couched in plain, simple language. Litigation would then be rarer,, 
and our troubles would almost cease !" He said it was with pain and mis- 
givings that he beheld the tendency throughout the country to excessive 
legislation, and called attention to the prediction he would then hazard,, 
that if this country should ever be destroyed it would be by * excessive 

He next gave an outline of his course in Congress, his opposition to the 
Tariff and to the United States Bank ; said there was no warrant in the con- 
stitution for any such institution as the latter ; that ours was intended for a 
"hard money" government; that he had it from many of the fathers of 
the constitution; that he had lived in their day, and was familiar with 


their sentiments on that subject. He said he would be the veriest dunce 
on earth if he were unacquainted with the fundamental principles of 
government, for he had grown up and become familiar with many of the 
leading men of Virginia who had assisted in the conception and erection 
of the mighty political fabric under which we lived, and enjoyed all the 
blessings of a free and happy people. Said he, " Mind, gentlemen, how 
you touch it ; how you set about with innovation. Once gone, you may 
never restore it. Revolutions never go back, but on and on they roll; no 
returning tide brings repose; no bow of promise spans their dark horizon. 
On and oi they go, until all is swallowed up in the abyss of anarchy and 

During the long and entertaining speech, every man, of both races, 
seemed bound to the earth on which he stood ; not one moved. 

The convention, however, was called; Mr. Randolph was elected to it; 
served with characteristic fidelity, and returned to Halifax in 1829, to give 
an account of his stewardship. By his arduous labors in that body his 
health had suffered greatly; he was too feeble to speak out doors, and the 
county court, then in session, tendered him the court-house, which he 
gratefully accepted. As he moved up to the bench, it was apparent to 
every one that he lacked the physical ability to entertain the people as he 
had done on the previous occasion. Taking his stand on the county court 
bench, and supporting himself with one hand on the railing, and the other 
on his cane, he began by returning his thanks in a polite and graceful 
manner to the worshipful court for their kindness in suspending their busi- 
ness to accommodate one who needed so much their consideration. He 
told them it must be plain to all that it was the last speech he should ever 
make in Halifax. He gave a succinct statement of all the various alter- 
ations (he would not call them amendments) proposed to the constitution, 
and advised the people to vote against them. 

He then showed what he called a trick of the convention in submitting 
the ratification or rejection of the proposed alterations to the vote of the 

" Who called the convention ?*' he asked. " The freeholders ! Who 
had the right to say whether the work was done according to their wishes 
but those who ordered it ? No one ! The non-freeholders, according to 
all the rules of legitimate induction, had no more right to vote on that 
question than the people of Hayti. " 

Mr. Randolph was, in every respect, a great man. As a statesman he 


had no superior, and but few equals. As a philosopher and student of 
history he stood in the foremost ranks, while as an orator he would com- 
pare with any that the 19th century has produced. 

His voice was uncommonly shrill, but was of that soft flute-like char- 
acter that always elicited admiration, and feeble as he was for nearly his 
whole life, he could always so modulate it as to make every member of 
the largest assemblies distinctly hear every word that he uttered, and that 
without the least strain on his vocal or respiratory organs. 

For the following curious incident we are indebted to Colo- 
nel Thomas S. Flournoy, who, though a lad at the time, has 
a vivid recollection of the scene he describes. 

He says that, in the year 1829, he and his father were on 
their way to Halifax Court-house ; about sunset they stop- 
ped at Roanoke; Johnny, Mr. Randolph's body servant, met 
them, and informed his master of their arrival. They were 
invited into Mr. Randolph's bed room, and what followed 
we will give as nearly as possible in the language of our wit- 
ness. Colonel Flournoy is a man of national reputation, and 
we are glad to have such undoubted authority for the strange 
statement which he makes. He says : " My father inquired 
after Mr. Randolph's health. His reply was: 'John, I am 
dying ; I shall not live through the night' 

" My father informed him that we were on our way to 
Halifax court. He requested us to say to the people on 
Monday, court day, that he was no longer a candidate for 
the convention ; that he did not expect to live through the 
night, certainly not till the meeting of the convention. 

" He soon began to discuss the questions of reform and 
the proposed changes in the constitution. Becoming ex- 
cited, he seemed to forget that he was a ' dying' man. In a 
short time we were invited to tea, and when we returned to 
his room we found him again in a * dying' condition ; but, as 
before, he soon began to discuss the subject of the conven- 


tion ; and becoming more and more animated, he rose up in 
bed — my father and myself being the only auditors — and 
delivered one of the most interesting speeches, in conversa- 
tional style, that it was ever my good fortune to hear, occu- 
pying the time, from half past eight, until midnight. 

"The next morning, immediately after breakfast, Mr. Ran- 
dolph sent for us again. We found him again in a 'dying* 
condition. He stated to us that he was satisfied that he 
would not live through the day, and repeated his request 
that my father would have it announced to the people of 
Halifax that he decUned being a candidate for the conven- 
tion. Once more he became animated while discussing the 
convention, and kept us till lo o'clock at his house. When 
we were about to start he took solemn leave of us, saying : 
* In all probability you will never see me again.' 

" Before we reached Clarke's Ferry, five miles distant, I 
heard some one coming on horseback, pushing to overtake 
us, which proved to be Mr. Randolph, with Johnny in a 
sulky following. 

" We traveled on together until we came to the road lead- 
ing to Judge Leigh's. Mr. Randolph then left us, to spend 
the night with Judge Leigh. The next morning, Monday, 
he rode nine miles to court, where an immense crowd of 
people had assembled to hear him. He addressed them in 
the open air on the subject of the convention in a strain of 
argument and sarcastic eloquence rarely equalled by any 

We will close this chapter with the following graphic de- 
scription of Mr. Randolph's personal appearance and style 
of speaking, by Mr. James M. Whittle, a distinguished and 
gifted member of the bar of Pittsylvania county, Virginia. 
The article is headed : '* Boyhood's Recollections of John 
Randolph of Roanoke." 


At March term 1821 of Prince Edward county court, it was expected 
that Mr. John Randolph of Roanoke would be present, on his way home 
from Washington city, on the close of the then recent session of Congress. 
I was then a boy at school in the neighborhood — in my sixteenth year. 
The universal expectation of this event, as usual, induced a general desire 
among the people to look upon this strange man, as much so to those who 
had seen him from his jouth up, to his constituents, whom he had repre- 
sented in Congress for more than twenty years, as to those who had de- 
rived their impressions of him from the tongue of rumor alone. It was 
near the time of the congressional election, for which he stood a candi- 
date; and in the session just ended had been settled, as was supposed, the 
" Missouri question," after convulsive struggles of two sessions. The 
crowd found at court was much larger than usual, and throbbing with 
anxiety to see — hopingly — to hear a man, so extraordinary in all respects, 
that a promiscuous mingling with my race, in many differing phases, in 
the long years which have since rolled away, has failed to furnish me with 
a suggestion — much less a likeness — of him. 

In a short time after reaching the court-house, groups of people were 
seen hurrying to a spot down the road, some hundred yards off. Joining 
the throng, I followed on, and discovered a dense crowd surrounding a 
person in a sulky, drawn by a gray horse, and behind it a negro seated on 
another of the same color, apparently its match. The heads of these 
animals were lifted high above the spectators, and looked down upon 
them with disdainful pride. On approaching it was observed that the 
sulky and harness were deep black, with brilliant plated mountings, the 
shafts bent to a painful segment of a circle, the horses of the best keep, 
as doubtless they were of the highest blood. The servant, who was of 
the profoundest sable, carried a high black portmanteau behind him, and 
was attired in clothing of the same hue. Quite a strong contrast — possi- 
bly designed — was exhibited between the masses of intense darkness and 
the plating, the horses, the teeth and shirt collar of the servant. The or- 
der of the whole equipage was complete. The tenant of the sulky was 
as frail a man as I have ever seen. He was conversing pleasantly with 
the people. 

I heard nothing he said. He soon bowed gracefully to the crowd, 
which gave way before him, and he passed on, it following him. The 
throng increased as he proceeded to an old-fashioned Virginia inn near 
^he court-house, by which time it was swollen by the addition of most 


of the persons on the ground, and became a dense mass. A twitch 
was felt by some of the spectators, at observing so delicate a man at the 
mercy of apparently so terrific a horse, which seemed to have its driver 
•completely in its power, but which he managed with entire composure. 
Mr. Randolph alighted with a feeble step, passed through the porch of the 
inn, into a passage, followed by a crowd, and disappeared within a room, 
the door of which was immediately closed. The people remained before 
the door of the inn, awaiting his reappearance, without noise or confu- 
sion. After lolling awhile, Mr. Randolph came out and proceeded toward 
the court-house. The crowd followed — keeping a respectful distance; 
by his side walked some of his elderly and prominent constituents, with 
whom he conversed familiarly on the way. It happened to me to have a 
position from which I could discern his form and action. He was the 
merest skeleton of a man ; any boy of fifteen could, likely, have mastered 
him. His extreme emaciation may have magnified his apparent height, 
which was about six feet. There seemed to be a want of action about 
his knees, which were somewhat in-turned. He drew them up in walk- 
ing, and did not throw his feet boldly forward. More than the usual 
amount of the bottom of the feet was seen as he moved, and he placed 
these directly forward as the Indians do. On reaching the court-house 
pale, he stopped and conversed with a good many i)eople, when a lawyer 
came up and introduced one of his brethren to Mr. Randolph. The latter 
passed through the introduction with commanding dignity and grace. 
Having passed over the steps within the court-house yard, some of his 
constituents solicited him to speak to the people; this he seemed reluctant 
to do, but after some importunity he consented, and retired to a bench 
near by, put his elbows about his knees, inserted his head between his 
hands, and seemed to be in profound meditation for a few moments. In 
this position, the want of proportion between the length of his body and 
of his lower limbs was striking, so much so that his knees seemed to in- 
trude themselves into his face. He then approached the steps with a lan- 
guid and infirm tread, ascended them, took off his hat, and made his bow 
to his audience in the most impressive and majestic manner that can be con- 
ceived. It may be doubted whether there lives in America a man who 
can do this as he did it. His countenance and manner were solemn — fu- 
nereal. Subsequent information enabled me to account for what would 
seem to have been without occasion. He had just emerged from a contest 
in Congress, running through two sessions, into which he had thrown his 



whole power, the result of which had filled him with apprehensions of the 
ruin of the Union, and from the rebound of the loosened tension he was 
left sick and solemn. The outer man was now fully presented to those 
before him. He was evidently a great sufferer from disease, and likely 
the sturdy working of his impatient intellect had strained too severely the 
feeble case which contained it. He appeared to be the Englishman and 
Indian mixed. The latter assuming the outer, the former the larger part 
of the inner man. His dress was all English — all over. His hat was 
black ; his coat was blue, with brilliant metallic buttons and velvet collar; 
his breeches and vest drab, with fair-topped English boots and massive 
silver spurs— likely they were ancestral; his watch ribbon sustained a 
group of small seals — heirlooms, it may be, from times beyond Cromwell. 
His age must have been about forty-three ; his hair was bright brown, 
straight, not perceptibly gray, thrown back from his forehead and lied 
into a queue, neither long nor thick. His complexion was swarthy ; his 
face beardless, full, round and plump; his eye hazel, brilliant, inquisitive, 
proud ; his mouth was of delicate cast, well suited to a small head and 
face, filled with exquisite teeth, well kept as they could be; his lips 
painted, as it were, with indigo, indicating days of suffering and nights 
of torturing pain. His hands were as fair and delicate as any girl's. 
Every part of his dress and person was evidently accustomed to the ut- 
most care. 

His face was the most beautiful and attractive to me I had almost ever 
seen. There was no acerbity about it that day, his manner was calm and 
bland, though sustained by a graceful and lofty dignity. It was appre- 
hended that a body so frail encased a group of shattered and tremulous 
nerves, and that the prominence of his position, and what was expected of 
him, might put these in an ague of agitation. Though he was as much ex- 
cited as a speaker could well be, yet he did not betray his emotion by any 
quivering of a lip, tremor of a nerve, or hurry of a word. He seemed in 
this, as in most other respects, to differ from all other men. He was calm, 
slow and solemn throughout his address. The text of it, as has been in- 
timated, was the ** Missouri compromise," and he expended not more than 
fifteen minutes in its delivery. His manner was deliberate, beyond any 
speaker I have ever heard. This so differed from my expectation of him, 
as to dispel the ideal of tempestuous rapidity, which his cynic and impas- 
sioned reputation had inspired. It was obvious, however, that the su- 
preme mastery which he had over himself was essential to the deadly aim 


of his arrow, and the fatal mixing of the poison in which he dipped it. 
He stood firm in his position, his action and grace seemed to be from the 
knee up. His voice was that of a well-toned flageolet, the key conver- 
sational, though swelled to its utmost compass. The grandeur of his mien 
and his impressive salutation may have composed his audience into the 
deep silence which prevailed, but the uttering of a few words disclosed a 
power of engaging attention which I have met with in no other man — his 
articulation. Without this, it is hard to conceive how, in the open air, he 
could have been so distinctly heard by so large a mass. He was greatly 
aided too by his self-possession, as in his feeble state it must have been es- 
sential, to command every faculty and every art which could contribute to 
the result desired. Not only every word and syllable, but it seemed that 
every letter of every word in every syllable was distinctly sounded. There 
was a perceptible interval it appeared between each of his words as they 
dropped one by one from his lips, and that he had supplied himself with a 
given quantum of speech before he commenced, determined by its judi- 
cious use to accomplish a proposed effect. 

These words, written and read, would hardly occasion any remark, ex- 
cept perhaps that if he had not a foresight, which was extraordinary, there 
was a rare coincidence between what he said would occur, and what, forty- 
four years afterwards, actually did occur at Appomattox Court-house — the 
overthrow of that Union under which we then lived, and that it resulted 
from the causes which he indicated. 

But his words were only a part of the performance, the uttering of but 
a few of those showed that he was an actor. They were few, so were his 
gestures, but they were as expressive as his words. I had studied some of 
the orations of Cicero, and had read of Roscius ; but I could not under- 
stand the power of the latter over his spectators until that day. Had Mr. 
Randolph lived when pantomine was in vogue, it is not unlikely that he 
could have communicated his thoughts and feelings effectually, though he 
spake never a word. As he proceeded, the impression was, there is Cicero 
and Roscius combined, two men in one, Cicero within, Roscius without. 
The auditors of course yielded themselves prompt and willing captives. 
This combination required deliberation for its display, otherwise it cannot 
be conceived how so much time was consumed in uttering so few words 
without any apparent^impatience of his hearers, or that throbbing twitter 
which is felt when expectation is excited, and held too long in suspense. 

I did not comprehend the subject he was discussing, nor know even its 


leading facts, but he dwelt chiefly on the dissolution of the Union as the 
effect of the compromise ; and here Roscius did well act his part. As if 
startled by the bursting asunder of the materials of some massive building, 
in which he was, he drew up his shoulders, his head seemed to sink be- 
tween them, his bust was bent forward, and his face filled with horror. 
His concluding words: "We fought manfully the good tight, and we are 
beaten," seem inadequate to any oratorical effect; but Roscius took them 
up, and equipped them for their work. The speaker must allude to the 
faithful valor of the combat — how ** manfully" it was fought — here the 
fever-parched lips were compressed, the finger pointed to the skies, and 
bowing in sad but lofty recognition of his fate, and with a countenance 
hung with pictures of anxiety, came the words — " We are beaten," and he 

In the Congress just ended, the State of Maryland was represented in 
the Senate by William Pinckney, Esq., who is deemed to have delivered 
the ablest speech on the *♦ Missouri question" which had ever been made 
in this country. Had Mr. Randolph been as ambitious of fame as Mr. 
Pinckney, and had devoted himself as he had done to the preparation of 
his speeches, and the manner of their delivery, it is not unlikely that Mr. 
Pinckney could with more propriety have made the motion in the Senate, 
which Mr. Randolph did in the lower House, when the former was about 
to speak : " I move that this House do now adjourn, to hear the first ora- 
tor of this or any other age." 



His Economy — Acts of Kindness — "Flowers Produce Fruit" — "Genius 
Not Desirable" — Reproof to a Schoolboy for Cutting a Cane in his 
Forest — Obituary of Joel W. Watkins — Treatment of Mrs. Royal — 
Preaching to his Slaves — Scene in the Library — " The Bible is True" — 
Incidents by Dr. Isaac Read. 

IN digesting our notes of Mr. Randolph, we found that 
the dark side increased rapidly, while we had compara- 
tively few data with which to build up the bright side. 

One of his biographers dismisses the latter branch of his 
subject in very short order. After enumerating all of his 
bad qualities, he says: "We may be asked, were there no 
virtues, no redeeming traits in the character of Mr. Ran- 
dolph ; as a counterbalance to this long array of antagonistic 
ones?" He is forced to admit ''some of a negative kind," 
which he enumerates in less than a dozen lines. 

We have been particular to note down every incident fur- 
nished us by Mr. Randolph's old neighbors and acquaint- 
ances, illustrating his good qualities, or mitigating the bad. 
Our effort is to draw him as he was. 

He is represented as being terribly repulsive to his foes ; 
but to his friends he was often gentle, kind and fascinating. 
He did not always outrage the feelings of an opponent. We 
find from the manuscript of Mr. Bouldin, that when Jerman 
Baker was a rival candidate for Cons^ress, he treated him 
with great kindness and forbearance. 

He was exceedingly cleanly in his habits, and dressed 
with great neatness and care; and ''the neatness of his 


household affairs," says Mr. Bouldin, "was truly remarkable." 
His table was furnished with food of the best quality, dressed 
in the most palatable manner, and his cellar was furnished 
with wine and other spirits of the finest description. His 
economy in housekeeping was praiseworthy and remark- 
able. And not only that, but his whole style of living was 
creditable to him. For a long time he lived in a log house, 
never in a fine one. He had no unnecessary furniture, but 
what he had was, for the most part, of the best materials. 

Those who were unacquainted with his real condition, 
who saw only his visible effects — his large tracts of land and 
his hundreds of negro slaves, were not in every instance 
disposed to commend his economy. Doubtiess there were 
those who thought he ought to have built a fine dwelling, 
and rivalled in hospitalit>' and display his ancestors of Colo- 
nial times. This is the reason why Mr. James W. Bouldin 
remarked in his sketch of Mr. Randolph, that if his indebt- 
edness was generally known it was not generally borne in 
mind by those who have spoken of him. Mr. W. B. Green, 
in his recollections, states that he happened to know that he 
was nearly always hard run for money, having himself been 
under the disagreeable necessity of calling his attention to 
the settiement of a small amount which had been due for 
several years. He states that he was also acquainted with 
other facts, in relation to his pecuniary affairs, which showed 
a want of promptitude in the settlement of accounts. It is 
true that he inherited a large and princely estate, by far the 
largest in the county, yet it was under a heavy British mort- 
gage. Mr. Green states that this mortgage was not entirely 
extinguished until after his mission to Russia. " The receipt 
of salary and outfit/' remarks Mr. Green, ** enabled him to 
pay all his debts and purchase the ' Bushy Forest ' estate." 

To show how minutely attentive he was to his plantation 




affairs, we will make an exact copy of a slip of paper in Mr. 
Randolph's own hand-writing, which was found between the 
leaves of one of his books, purchased at the auction sale of 
his effects after his death : 

** The Beds are to be shared as follows: eight yards of oznaburgs to a 

Middle Quarter, 

Simon &* Effy 
Essex &* yenny 

Mingo <Sr» yenny 
Amos dr» Agga 
yim dr» yenny 
Rogers <Sr» Hannah 
Othello <5r» Nancy 
Peter {Smith) <5r» yenny 


Ferry Quarter 
Molly J Robinson^ s wife 
Nancy, Isham^s wife 
Betty, yohny^s wife 

^ Geoffrey <Sr» Phoebe 
^ yim <5r» Garmonth 
^ York &^ Amy 
^ Abram <5r* Lavania 

Farrar {^Pompey^s wife 
^ Nero 

^ yohn &* Lucy 


fourteen beds 


Lower Quarter. 

' Abram <5r» Sarey 
^ Quashee <5?» Molly 

' Archer &* Nancy 

yerry {Heffy^s daughter, 
' Henry <5r» Lavinia 
^ Moses <Sr» Phoebe 
^ Phil ^ Amelia 

Nancy {Anthony's wife) 
Anna {Remits^ s wife) 
Old yane 

Old Aggey 
' Isham (St* Finey 



Aggy <5r- Effy 
Little Quashee 
seventeen beds 

Stockings to be given two pair apiece 
to each of the men above mamed * and 
also to the following. See over leaf 
* except Little Quashee &* Old Quashee 
who have had here. Also Waggoner 
8 yards yimmy has had. Aaron &^ little Hen- 
— ry have also had stockings here. 

40 a 

S20 yards 

Sent by Quashee. 


Stockings shared to the twenty-two men and the women 
on the other page who are to have beds and the following in 


Lower Quarter 

Middle Quarter 





Phil, Essex's son 


Phil Carpenter 


Billy {SmUh) 


Billy Carpenter. 


Ishavi <Sr» Sitf toft's son 


forty-three men | No, 

, of pair 

Jsham <Sr* Nero's son 

2 pair apiece 



Ned Carpenter 

Thiry-four women 


I ditto ditto 



Harry Carper 



Sent by Quctshee 


Ten dozen pair 


Jim Boy 

Billy {Milly's son) 


Note — The men are forty three in number, viz, 22 — 12 — ^ — 4. They 
must have two pair apiece and the women one pair {^except those who have 
a line drawn under their names. There are thirty seven women of whom 
Molly fane <Sr» Chloe at the Lower Quarter and Nanny {^Othello's wife) 
at the Middle Quarter are to have no stockings." 

Even these little memoranda, written in Mr. Randolph's 
own hand-writing, point to several traits of character — his 
attention to the details of business, his power to contract his 
ample mind to the humblest duties of life. He also kept a 
diary during the greater portion of his life, commencing his 
first entries in youth. R. A. Brock, Esq., of Richmond, has 
a copy of it, the original being in the possession of the 
grand niece of Mr. Randolph, Mrs. Cynthia B. Coleman, of 
Williamsburg, Va. 


Mr. Randolph was a good master to his servants, as a 
general rule. Though he occasionally flew out into violent 
fits of rage against them, he was for the most part very kind 
to them. He always provided well for their physicial, and 
was not inattentive to their spiritual wants. His negroes 
lived in fear of him, but they were bound to respect him. 
There was something so lofty in the bearing of their master, 
so brilliant and comprehensive in his genius, that, to their 
humble minds, he appeared almost a God. His servants 
were the best and politest in the county. One of his male 
servants could have been invariably recognized by his taking 
off his hat when he met a white man in the road ; a female 
servant would always make a courtesy. Mr. Randolph him- 
self never failed to speak to his field hands, and he knew the 
names of all of them. His manner was to take off his hat 
when he addressed his overseers. In his intercourse with 
his neighbors, to whom he took a fancy, he was punctual in 
performing all the ofiices of neighborly kindness. 

The following circumstance will show that he knew how 
to confer a great favor, and in the most becoming manner ; 
unlike some, who cancel in a measure the obligation by the 
unhappy style of conferring it. 

One of Mr. Randolph's young friends once went from 
home leaving his crop in a very bad condition. It was in 
great danger of being eaten up by the grass. To his great 
surprise and relief, when he came home he found a large 
number of plows and horses sweeping over his corn fields 
at the grandest rate. He did not know what to make of it. 
Having asked nobody for help, he was totally at a loss to 
discover to whom he was indebted for such an unusual act 
of kindness. 

They were the hands of Mr. Randolph. The overseer 
was told by him to watch the farming operations of his 


young friend, and whenever he found that he needed assist- 
ance, to render it without his asking. 

Mr. Randolph's conversational powers impressed every 
one that came within the sound of his voice. We shall not 
soon forget the pleasant hour we spent with Mrs. Joseph M. 
Daniel, the venerable wife of the witness in the will case, 
whose testimony we shall place before the reader in another 

She informed us that Mr. Randolph used to visit her 
house frequently, and that he made himself highly enter- 
taining. In the Summer time she said he frequently came 
riding on horseback, dressed in white pantaloons, white flan- 
nel coat, white vest, and white paper wrapped round his 
beaver hat. He had the most ghostlike appearance of any- 
thing she ever beheld. But as unprepossessing as was his 
personal appearance, he could make himself perfectly fas- 
cinating in his conversations, even upon the commonest 
subjects. His transcendent genius, his wonderful powers 
of description, his splendid imagination, seemed to create a 
new interest in everything he touched. His pictures of the 
objects constantly before her possessed a magical charm. 
She saw beauties which she never saw before — new beauties 
oi forniy soft notes, which had escaped her ear; and the 
garments which failed to attract her attention, when drawn 
by him, appeared rich and gorgeous as those of the bride 
decked for the hymeneal alter. 

Mrs. Daniel is a very old woman, and yet Mr. Randolph's 
description of the mocking bird is fresh and bright in her 

The following incident, related also by Mrs. Daniel, shows 
that the heart of the man who was " nearly devoid of pity," 
and who too frequendy trampled without scruple or remorse 


^ipon the feelings of others, was softened by the artless at- 
tentions of little children. 

On one occasion, says Mrs. Daniel, while he was on a 
visit to her house, one of her little girls went into the garden 
and selected a bouquet of beautiful flowers, and presented 
them to him. He seemed highly gratified : said " she had 
•chosen the old man for her valentine." 

The next time he came over he brought the sweet Httle 
^irl some delicious fruit, saying — " Flowers produce fruit." 

Sometime afterwards a member of the family visited the 
solitary home of the recluse, and found the same bunch of 
flowers, preserved in water, sitting upon his centre table. 

We pass on now to the memoranda furnished us by 
another of Mr. Randolph's old acquaintances, who told us 
of the visit which a certain young gendeman frequently 
made to Roanoke, and how ''modest, pining merit" was 
raised from despair, and a clouded eye given "a golden 

It appeared that the gentleman alluded to was a young 
man of good solid sense, but had no pretentions to genius. 
He had commenced the study of one of the learned profes- 
sions, and with that modesty, which is of itself the sign of 
merit, mistrusted his own abilities. 

Mr. Randolph poured the oil of consolation into his 
drooping breast, by assuring him that he had nothing to 
fear; that all he had to do was to persevere; that he had 
the right kind of talents to ensure success. He said that 
"genius was not desirable; that it rendered the possessor 
miserable," and pointed him to several men of his acquain- 
tance, who, without splendid abilities, had solely by indus- 
try and perseverance succeeded well in their professions. 

The young student invariably returned home from his 
visits to his distinguished counsellor greatiy encouraged. 


and in due time the best hopes of himself and his friends 
were realized. 

Mr. Randolph was very respectful to ladies while in their 
presence, though sometimes he would animadvert with sar^ 
castic bitterness on their foibles in his public speeches. 

A young gentleman of considerable parts once met with 
Mr. Randolph at the house of a friend. He was delighted 
at his good fortune in having an opportunity of conversing 
on political subjects with the famous Virginian orator and 
statesman. But whenever he introduced the subject of poli- 
tics, Mr. Randolph, after politely answering any question 
propounded to him, changed th^ conversation to something 

It was thought that he did it out of respect for the ladies 
who were present ; that he considered it out of taste to dis- 
cuss such matters in their presence. 

Very handsomely done ! A well merited rebuke ! 

That he did not respect as a lady every female dressed in 
petticoats will sufficiently appear from the following anec- 
dote. The scene described was in the county of Charlotte, 
and therefore comes appropriately under the head of home 

But we must first acquaint the reader with the fact, if he 
be not already cognizant of it, that at one time, in the city 
of Washington, resided a certain mischievous old woman 
by the name of Royal. She edited, to the infinite vexation 
of the officials in the city, a paper called " The Paul Pry," 
aften\'ards "The Huntress." The paper was sent without 
solicitation to every member of Congress, and perhaps to 
other high officials at the Capitol. But though he might 
not have requested her to send the aforesaid paper, woe to 
the member who went home without paying the subscription 
price. He was first threatened with secretary' "Sal;" and 


if he still refused to pay, he was advertised in the paper, and 
the number containing the advertisement was sent home to 
the neighbors of the delinquent debtor. 

One evening two members of Congress were walking arm 
in arm up the streets of Washington, when they were sud- 
denly confronted by the redoubtable Mrs. Royal. She 
began immediately addressing herself to one of them : " Sir, 
I understand you have turned true blue Presbyterian and a 
clock pedlar." 

She had no sooner said this than the other member beat 
a precipitate retreat, leaving his companion to extricate him- 
self as best he could. 

The reader has some idea now of what sort of woman 
Mrs. Royal was, and he has doubtless a curiosity to know 
how Mr. Randolph would treat such a person if he should 
meet her. 

He was driving out one morning in his coach along the 
public road near his house when he met the stage in which 
Mr. John C. Calhoun happened to be traveling from the 
South on his way to Congress. He ordered the driver to 
stop that he might speak to the distinguished traveler. 

The two great statesmen had no sooner recognized each 
other than Mrs. Royal put her head out of the window, say- 
ing, at the top of her voice, "Good morning, Mr. Ran- 

She had scarce uttered the salutation ere Mr. Randolph 
clapped his fingers to his nose, and making a sound, which 
indicated that he smelt an insufferable stench, told the driver 
to drive on, and thus left Mr. Calhoun to reflect upon the 
eccentric nature of the man of Roanoke. 

The scene now changes, and our hero appears in a new 
role. Again we select from the MSS. of Mr. Elliott, who 
was living at the time that he generously donated them to 


US, but who has since gone to that wide eternity, where all 
at last must find a place. William H. Elliott was a genius^ 
and was the author of several pieces of poetry of great 
merit — one, the "Cockiad," was not only published with 
flattering notices in the newspapers of this country, but was 
copied into the London periodicals. 

But to return to our subject. In his " Schoolboy Remin- 
iscences of John Randolph," Mr. Elliott records an incident, 
which illustrates a peculiar phase in his character. He says : 

I sometimes on Friday evening accompanied my school -fellow, Tudor 
Randolph, who was an amiable youth, to Roanoke, to hunt and fish and 

The house was so completely and closely environed by trees and under- 
wood of original growth, that it seemed to have been taken by the top and 
let down into the bosom of a dense virgin forest. Mr. Randolph would 
never permit even a switch to be cut anywhere near the house. Without 
being aware of such an interdiction I one day committed a serious tres- 
pass. Tudor and I were one day roving in the woods near the house, 
when I observed a neat hickory plant, about an inch thick, which I felled. 
Tudor expressed his regret after seeing what I had done, saying he was. 
afraid his uncle would be angry. I went immediately to Mr. Randolph 
and informed him of what I had ignorantly done, and expressed regret 
for it. He took the stick, looked pensively at it for some seconds, as if 
commiserating its fate. Then looking at me more in sorrow than in anger,, 
he said : ** Sir, I would not have had it done for fifty Spanish milled dol- 
lars !" I had seventy-five cents in my pocket, at that time called four-and- 
sixpence, and had some idea of offering it to the owner of the premises as 
an equivalent for the damage I had done, but when I heard about the fifty 
Spanish milled dollars, I was afraid of insulting him by ofiering the meagre 
atonement of seventy-five cents. I wished very much to get away from 
him, but thought it rude to withdraw abruptly without knowing whether 
he was done with me. " Did you want this for a cane?" No, sir. " No,, 
you are not old enough to need a cane. Did you want it for any particu- 
lar purpose?" " No, sir, I only saw it was a pretty stick, and thought I'd 
cut it." '* We can be justified in taking animal life, only to furnish u&. 


food, or to remove some hurtful object out of the way. We cannot be jus- 
tified in taking even vegetable life without having some useful object in 
view." He then quoted the following lines from Cowper: 

"I would not enter on my list of friends, 
Tho' graced with polished manners and fine sense, 
Yet wanting sensibility, the man, 
Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm." 

" Now God Almighty planted this thing, and you have killed it without 
any adequate object. It would have grown to a large nut-tree, in whose 
boughs numerous squirrels would have gamboled and feasted on its fruit. 
Those squirrels in their turn might have furnished food for some human 
beings." Here he made a pause, but looked as if he had something more 
to say, yet only added, " I hope and believe, sir, you will never do the 
like again." " Never, sir, never !" He got up and put the stick in a cor- 
ner, and I made my escape to Tudor in an adjacent room, where he had 
remained an invisible but sympathizing auditor of this protracted rebuke. 
It was some time before I could cut a switch or a fishing rod without feel- 
ing that I was doing some sort of violence to the economy of the vege- 
table kingdom. When reflecting on this passage of my boyish history, I 
have thought that Mr. Randolph's tenderness for vegetable life, as evinced 
on this occasion, was strangely contrasted with the terrific onslaughts he 
sometimes perpetrated on human feelings. But Mr. Randolph was not a 
subject for ordinary speculation. He would sometimes surprise his enemy 
by unexpected civility, and anon, mortify his friend by undeserved abrupt- 
ness. He was an edition of Man, of which there was but one copy, and 
he was that copy. Sometimes he would take the whole world in the arms 
of his affection. When in a different mood, he seemed ready to hurl the 
offending planet into the furnace of the sun. 

Mr. Randolph would sometimes unbend himself in small talk with lit- 
tle boys, but not often. On one occasion C. C, a distant relation of Mr. 
Randolph, accompanied Tudor and myself on a visit to Roanoke. At the 
close of a long Summer's day, after having hunted squirrels, climbed trees, 
swam in the river, and played marbles to satiety, we composed ourselves 
to rest, all in the same apartment — we three boys on a pallet of liberal 
dimensions, spread upon the floor, Mr. Randolph on a bed to himself, 
where stretched out at full length, and covered by a single sheet, he looked 


like a pair of oyster tongs. He had a book and a candle by him reading. 
At length he dropped the book, looked up at the ceiling, and commenced 
thus : " Boys ! why may not the earth be an animal ?" Our researches into 
natural history did not enable us to advance any striking hypothesis on 
such a subject. All continued perfectly silent. Mr. Randolph no doubt 
did not expect any ingenious suggestion in support of his theory, but asked 
the question merely for the purpose of introducing his own fanciful strain 
of remarks. He resumed : " Now the ocean may be regarded as the heart 
or great receptacle of the blood, the rivers are the veins and arteries — 
the rocks are the bones.'* Here C. C. being a sprightly youth, whispered 
in my ear, «* there is not much marrow in them bones." This sally well 
nigh cost me an irreverent chuckle — *' the trees are the hair of this animal, 
and men and other vermin inhabit these hairs. If we dig a hole in the 
earth, or wound it in any way, we find that it has a tendency to heal up." 
Tudor, who was a corpulent youth, and overcome by the exercises of the 
day, commenced snoring. Randolph's quick ear caught the sound — he 
turned his head in our direction — his eyes flashed indignation : — "Is that 
beef-headed fellow asleep already?" but as he received no further re- 
sponse than a confirmatory snort from the same quarter, he extinguished 
his candle with an impatient jeslure— wheeled himself over towards the 
wall, and seemed to seek in sleep an oblivion of his disgust." 

There was a soft place in Mr. Randolph s heart. There is 
in every one's. 

He was telling Mr. Bouldin, one day, that he and his 
brother went hunting, when they were boys, and found 
where two littie hares had been hanged by the neck. Mr. 
Bouldin said he saw the tears suspended in the eye of Mr. 
Randolph as he related to him this act of wanton cruelt>\ 

The tenure of his friendship has been pronounced " too 
frail to render it secure or ardent." He was certainly very 
changeable, except in very rare instances. This is the case, 
however, with nearly all dyspeptics. His friendship could 
stand less opposition than any man's w^e ever heard of. 
Where there was difference of opinion, his absolute spirit 
almost invariably severed the tie. He assumed the dicta- 


tor, and all who opposed him were regarded as rebels to his 
authority. He had but few friends who were not subser- 
vient to him. One had to advance his interest and har- 
monize with his opinions, or else be deprived of his favors. 

Mr. Randolph's friendship, while it lasted, was indeed 
valuable. The late Judge Thomas T. Bouldin, when he was 
a young man, was called on one occasion to the discharge 
of his professional duties in a strange place, where he was 
but little known. Being required to give security on some 
kind of bond, perhaps as trustee, he found some difficulty 
in giving the required security. It reached the ears of his 
distinguished friend, who raised his shrill voice above the 
noise of the crowd, saying he would endorse for him. 
Judge Bouldin said it at once lifted him out of his dilemma, 
and placed him on a high elevation. 

It is true that in after life his friendship was estranged ; 
but at the death of Mr. Randolph all was forgotten, except 
the acts of kindness. Gratitude in the noble breast of the 
recipient of such timely and efficient aid, caused him at that 
sad hour "to cast every bitter remembrance away," and to 
guard and protect with scrupulous care the remains of his 
former friend. 

While on a visit to Dr. Joel W. Watkins, of Charlotte, we 
jioticed a neat little frame suspended from his parlor wall. 
It contained a paper in the hand-writing of John Randolph, 
found among other papers after his death. It was an obitu- 
ary of the grandfather of the gentleman above named, and 
as every stroke of the pen of Mr. Randolph is eyed by the 
world with curiosity, we requested a copy of it, which was 
kindly given. Nowhere had we ever seen what sort of 
•obituary he could write. The reader's curiosity shall be 

"On Sunday, the 2d of January, 1820, departed this life at 



an advanced age, beloved, honored and lamented by all who 
knew him. Colonel Joel Watkins, of the county of Char- 
lotte, and State of Virginia. 

" Without shining abilities, or the advantages of education, 
by plain and straight forward industry, under the guidance 
of old-fashioned honesty and practical good sense, he accu- 
mulated an ample fortune, in which it is firmly believed, by 
all who knew him, there was not one dirty shilling, 

" The fruits of his own labors he distributed with a promp- 
titude and liberality seldom equalled, never surpassed, in 
suitable provision to his children at their entrance into life, 
and on every deserving object of private benevolence or 
public spirit, reserving to himself the means of a generous 
but unostentatious hospitality. 

" Nor was he liberal of his money only. His time, his 
trouble, were never withheld on the bench, or in his neigh- 
borhood, where they could be usefully employed. 

" If, as we are assured, the peace-makers are blessed, who 
shall feel stronger assurances of bliss than must have 
smoothed this old man's passage to the unknown world?" 

Gracefully, beautifully and trudifully done. 

Dr. Johnson once said of Mr. Campbell that he "was a 
good man, a pious man." He " was afraid he had not been 
in the inside of a church for many years ; but never passed 
by a church without pulling off his hat; this showed he had 
good principles." 

If he made this remark of Mr. Campbell, who merely 
pulled off his hat as he passed a church, what would the 
Doctor have said of Mr. Randolph who stood up in the aisle 
at Bethesda — once — ^the whole time that the Rev. Clement 
Read was preaching, with his hat off, and who, when he 
landed in London, went straightway to St. Paul's, and was 
so earnest in his devotions as to attract universal attention. 


He once rode up to a church where the congregation had 
gathered, and services were about to begin. He dismounted, 
tied his horse, went in, and selected a seat near the pulpit, 
and was so exceedingly devout and solemn in his appear- 
ance, that the minister invited him to take a seat with him in 
the pulpit, which he politely declined to do, but knelt down, 
however, during prayers, and preserved his gravity during 
the whole time. When the services were concluded, he 
mounted his horse and rode off. The eyes of the whole 
congregation were upon him from first to last. 

Mr. Randolph and the Rev. Dr. Rice had been speaking 
at Charlotte Court-house nearly all day. A clergyman of 
the Baptist denomination had attentively listened to them 
during the whole time. That night he went home with a 
brother minister: "Brother," said he, "did you hear the 
speakers?" " Yes." " Well, brother, we ought to study our 
sermons more." 

It is not improbable that they preached better ever after- 

If Randolph and Henry had been born in the county of 
Charlotte, our native county, we should have been proud of 
the honor. As it is, we have in keeping their sacred re- 
mains. But it was in the possession of these great men, 
while living in their glorious prime, which was truly valu- 
able. In the case of Mr. Randolph, this priceless intellec- 
tual jewel was possessed by the people of Charlotte for up- 
wards of twenty years. They could not claim Henry so 
long, but still he remained in their midst a sufficient time to 
sow the most precious seed. 

Who knows how much the immortal Henry is indebted 
for his eloquence to the inspirations of some divine who 
stirred from its deep foundations his mighty genius ? Who 
knows but that the first, and most powerful stimulus given 


to the genius of Randolph was received when — a youth — he 
stood behind the judges' seat and drank with rapturous de- 
light the words of Henry? And who can tell in the breasts 
of how many youths the generous spirit of emulation was 
roused and kept alive by the noble example of Randolph 
constantly before their eyes. 

The advantage to be derived to any community from hav- 
ing among them for so long a time a man of such great 
abilities and high sense of honor cannot be well calculated. 
The words of this brilliant orator formed an important part 
of the education of the people of Charlotte. Hundreds of 
persons might say, in the language of the gifted William 
H. Elliott, whose pleasing reminiscences we have already 
quoted, that " they could not recollect the time when the 
idea of John Randolph did not occupy a large space in their 
minds; that his high position, his transcendent genius, his 
fascinating manners and imposing presence all conspired to 
render him in their views as prominent and necessary an 
object in our human world as the sun in the solar system." 
And more than one can say, that for all he possesses, which 
is most valuable of the art of public speaking, he is indebted 
to the orator of Roanoke. 

Such was the curiosity which was attached to the memory 
of Mr. Randolph, that every slip of paper in anyway rela- 
ting to him was preserved by his old constituents as a pre- 
cious memorial. 

The following letter from the Rev. Abner W. Clopton 
was handed to us by the Rev. E. W. Roach, who found it 
among some old books which he purchased at Mr. Ran- 
dolph's sale. 

"Charlotte Court-house, August 23, 1832. 

" Dear Sir : — If it should meet your view I will preach the funeral of 
your servant Billy at 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the second Sabbath in 


September. Such of your black people as may attend the meeting at 
Mossingford on that day may reach your house by that time, and the meet- 
ing will be closed in time for them to reach their homes by night. 

*' As I was satisfied it would not meet your convenience to have the 
funeral preached on any day but the Sabbath, and as my services are 
already pledged for every Sabbath forenoon, I perceived, after I saw you 
last, that from previous engagements I could not obey your call at an ear- 
lier day. 

" This consideration, together with my necessary absence from home, 
almost every day since I saw you, may serve I trust as an apology for my 
silence until the present time. 

" Be good enough to inform me by Mr. C. whether the proposed ar- 
rangement will meet your wishes. 

" I am glad to hear that your health is improving. That renewed mer- 
cies may excite in your heart a more lively gratitude, and in your life a 
more devoted service to the Father of all mercies, is the desire and prayer 

of your friend. 

Abser W. Clopton." 

This Mr. Clopton was a minister of the Baptist church, a 
man of fine abilities, great integrity and piety, and a friend 
of Mr. Randolph. We were glad to be put in possession of 
this memento. It brought to mind several incidents with re- 
gard to our subject which might otherwise have been forgot- 
ten. Among other things, it reminded us of how Mr. Ran- 
delph used to deal with his negroes in a religious point of 

Mr. Randolph frequently employed ministers of the gos- 
pel to preach to his negroes, and sometimes when the ser- 
mon was over, he would make remarks himself 

He once invited the Rev. Mr. Clopton to pray for him. 
Mr. Clopton began, but was soon arrested in his petitions. 
" Stop, sir," said he, " if that is the way 
pray, you must go into the garden or gi 

On another occasion he said, " Stop, sir,' 
that manner God Almighty will damn us 


For the following contribution, bearing upon the same 
subject, we are indebted to the Rev. E. W. Roach, of Char- 
lotte county, Virginia, who received his information from the 
Rev. A. W. Clopton. From the high standing of the wit- 
nesses, the facts stated cannot be doubted. 

Mr. Randolph, from the dignity of the Rev. A. W. Clopton*s character, 
became peculiarly attached to him. He frequently invited him to his 
house to preach to his negroes, and on these occasions he would have 
them collected from his different plantations, to the number of several 
hundreds, to hear him. 

On one occasion, after Mr. Clopton had closed his discourse, Mr. Ran- 
dolph undertook to deliver an appendix. 

He dwelt on the gratitude that was due to God for his kindness, and 
illustrated by his own kindness to his servants. He spoke of the ingrati- 
tude shown to the Creator, and illustrated by their ingratitude to him. 
"My ancestors,*' said he, "have raised all of you, save one, whom T 
bought from a hard master for sympathy's sake. I have cherished and 
nourished you like children ; I have fed and clothed you better than my 
neighbors have fed and clothed their servants. I have allowed you more 
privileges than others have been allowed. Consequently any good heart 
would have shown gratitude even to me. 

But, oh ! the ingratitude of the depraved hei\rt! After all my superior 
kindness, when I was in my feeble health, sent a minister to Russia, you 
all thought I would not live to return, and you and the overseers (damn 
you — God forgive me) wasted and stole all you could, and came well nigh 
ruining me. But come back, and I will forgive; come back to God, and 
He will forgive. My negroes, hear what the clergyman says : He stop- 
ped, and said, " Don't think I mean any disrespect by calling you ne- 
groes, for I must inform you that negro is only a Spanish word for black." 

When the services closed, he took the clergyman into his library, a room 
full of shelves and books arranged in good order. Passing on to a cor- 
ner, he called for two chairs, and sat down to relate his Christian expe- 

In that comer was stored a fine family Bible, with a number of works 
for and against its authenticity. " Mr. Clopton,'* said he, " I was raised 
by a pious mother (God bless her memory), who taught me the Christian 


religion in all its lequirements. But, alas ! I grew up an infidel ; if not 

an infidel complete, jet a decided delM. But when I became a man, in 
this as well as in political and all otlier nalteis, I resolved to examine for 
myself, and never to pin my faitii to any olher man's sleeve. So I IJOOght 
that Bible; I pored over it; 1 examined it carefully. I sought and pro- 
cured those books for and against; and when my labors were ended, I 
came to this irresistible conclusion ; The Bible is true. It would have 
been as easy for a mole to have wiillen Sir Isaac Newton's Treatise on 
Optics, as for uninspired men to have written the Bible." 

A^^at a strange compound is man ! and the strangest of 
men \^ John Randolph of Roanoke. 

That is striking testimony which he gives in favor of the 
Bible, but who can account for his sudden burst of passion 
in the midst of a religious exhortation? 

When he said, "I resolved to examine for myself, and 
never to pin my feith to any other man's sleeve," he spoke 
the truth. There never lived a man who was freer from 
fiunkyism, or of more personal independence. 

If a jury of twelve of Mr. Randolph's old constituents 
and neighbors were summoned to sit upon his conduct, with 
a prosecutor sworn to do the accused justice, as well as the 
commonwealth, it would be no bad method of getting at his 
true character. 

In drawing the oudines of a picture of our subject, we 
were obliged to rely solely upon the observations of others. 
Much to our sorrow, Mr. Randolph went out of the world a 
litde while after we came into it. Much to our sorrow we 
say, because we would rather have laid our eyes upon him 
than any man living or dead. 

This being the case, we never failed, when the opportu- 
nity presented, to ask one of his old countrymen what | 
of man he^was. And though his character was said to b 
difficult, we always received a prompt and decided r 


In spite of all that has been stated of the delicacy of the task, 
we found ourselves thinking that they really understood Mr. 
Randolph better than they understood anybody else. 

Not that there were no secret springs which they could 
not see into; but his main points were so prominent. His 
eye, his voice, his demeanor were more vividly impressed 
upon them than any man's they had ever seen ; and the dis- 
tinctive traits of his moral and intellectual character were 
equally striking and prominent. 

These pages contain opinions, formed not only from read- 
ing his written life, but also from the conversations of those 
who were well acquainted with him. Nor are they our 
opinions alone, but also the opinions, for the most part, of 
the witnesses, whose testimony we have weighed and placed 
before our readers. 

But we do not expect the jury to take our word for them, 
for we have endeavored so to arrange it that our subject may 
exhibit himself, that he may be seen himself 

Mr. Randolph was very much diseased in body. Many 
allowances ought to be, and have been, made for him on that 
account ; for this reason we were anxious to have a physician 
empannelled. We knew an old gentleman who, in his day, 
was a distinguished physician, who was also a neighbor of 
Mr. Randolph's. 

This gentleman informed us that he used to say, "Mr. 
Randolph was like the toad, who had a pearl in his head, 
but poison in its bowels." But he afterwards had cause to 
somewhat modify his opinion. 

He said he could give a little incident, but he doubted 
whether it would harmonize with what we had written. He 
was aware of the harsh opinion of Mr. Randolph, which had 
gone to the world ; asked us if we had not made him all gall 
and bitterness. 


We told him we had drawn him quite bitter, but not more 
SO we thought than he deserved. Still we were anxious to 
insert anything tending to mitigate that opinion. He said, 
for the sake of truth, it would be gratifying to him to have 
an interview, which he had with our distinguished subject, 
published to the world. He thought it might give a better 
opinion of his power of forgiveness. The facts might be 
stated, and the unprejudiced reader would be enabled to 
draw his own conclusion. They might sustain him or not in 
his view. 

Mr. Robert Carrington, a neighbor and personal enemy of 
Mr. Randolph, applied to the county court of Charlotte for 
the opening of a road through the plantation of the latter. 
Viewers were appointed to decide upon the expediency of 
establishing the road ; a writ of ad quod damnum awarded, 
and a jury of twelve freeholders of the vicinage impanneled. 

When the said jury had met on the land of the proprietor 
named in the writ, at the place and day specified, he, the pro- 
prietor, made a long speech. While Mr. Randolph was 
speaking, a quantity of provisions was brought by his ser- 
vants to the ground. The speaker informed the jury that he 
had it prepared for them, thinking they would be fatigued 
and hungry before they got through. 

During his remarks, he took occasion to abuse the C. 
family very much. Mr. C. would have attempted a reply, 
but for the advice of a friend, who persuaded him he could 
not contend with his antagonist on that arena. By the way, 
Mr. C. was one of the few persons who was not afraid of Mr. 

This is the occasion on which our old friend, the Doctor, 
was present, and which gave rise to the interview to which 
we just now alluded. 

The Doctor was invited by Mr. C. to dinner, but declined. 


He told him, however, that if his house was much further 
than it really was, he would go cheerfully with him, provided 
he could get him and Mr. Randolph to be good friends. 

Mr. C. replied, if the difficulty could be honorably ad- 
justed, he would have no objection. 

The conversation occurred in the presence of several of 
Mr. Randolph's personal friends. 

Some time after that, Mr. Randolph took rooms at Mr. 
Wyatt Cardwell's hotel, at Charlotte Court-house. His 
stomach was in such a delicate state, at that period of his 
life, that he could not digest the fare he met with abroad, 
and he brought snacks with him from home generally, when 
he put up at the hotel aforesaid. 

One day he sent his servant down to the Doctor's for 
some of his sweet potatoes; said he preferred the small 
ones, that they were sweeter. 

The Doctor had his basket filled with such as he liked, 
but on the top placed a very large one. Mr. Randolph was 
highly delighted with the big potato ; called it a real " ne- 
gro potato." 

The next time the invalid saw the Doctor, which was at 
Charlotte Court-house, he invited him to his room, doubt- 
less, to thank him for his nice present. 

During this visit, the Doctor took occasion to say to his 
distinguished host that, in his recent speech, he had given 
utterance to a sentiment which he admired exceedingly. 

"And what is that, sir?" 

" You observed that the forgiveness of an enemy was the 
highest attainment of moral virtue." 

" But you recollect I said I had not attained it." 

" Mr. Randolph from that went on to remark how mag- 
nanimous it was to forgive an enemy ; giving a most beauti- 
ful lecture, equal to old Dr. Hoge in his best days." 


And this accords with the testimony of a truly devout old 
lady, who lived within a few miles of that singular man. 
She avers she never heard such a beautiful and pathetic 
•discourse on the subject of religion in all her life as he de- 
livered on one occasion at her house. The impression was 
made upon her mind that he must be a Christian, 

But to return to our narrative : 

The Doctor told him he should like to have a practical 
illustration of what he had said. 

Was he willing to make up the difficulty between himself 
and Mr. C? 

" With all my soul, sir," replied he, without a moment's 

His expression of countenance, and the promptness with 
which he met the proposal, induced his companion to be- 
lieve he was entirely sincere. 

High hopes were entertained of establishing friendly rela- 
tions between them. 

A flag of truce, as it were, had been agreed upon by both 

When the peacemaker informed a friend on the street of 
what he had done, that friend was greatly astonished, and 
would not believe it. Was Mr. Randolph ever known to 
settle a difficulty in that way? he inquired; and, like the 
doubting Thomas, he must see before he believed. 

But the difficulty was settled, and the matter taken out of 

We have thus laid before the inquisitive reader the anec- 
dote of our old particular friend, which he said he wanted to 
go in in mitigation of the character of his great fellow-man. 
He admitted that he was "full of subtlety" (that was his ex- 
pression). Nor did he maintain that he was of a forgiving 


temper, but merely thought that too much bitterness had 
been given to it. 

The foregoing incidents were related to us by Dr. Isaac 
Read, of Charlotte county, Virginia, who lived to be 92 
years of age ; but his testimony was taken twelve years be- 
fore his death. 

We purpose to give another proof that Mr. Randolph was 
not all gall ; but this time we shall have to draw upon what 
has already been published. 

The following is an extract from a letter of his to his 
nephew. Dr. Theodorick Dudley, published in 1834, selected 
from a mass of others of the same tone. The Mr. Curd 
spoken of was his overseer. 

"Roanoke, Sept. 22, 181 1. 

" Indeed, my attention had been, in some measure, distracted by the 
scene of distress which my house has exhibited for some time past. Mr. 
Curd breathed his last on Thursday morning, half past three o'clock, after 
a most severe illness, which lasted sixteen days. I insisted on his coming 
up here, where he had every possible aid, that the best medical aid, and 
most assiduous nursing could afford him. During the last week of his 
sickness I was never absent from the house but twice, about an hour each 
time, for air and exercise; I sat up with him, and gave him almost all of 
his medicines, with my own hand, and saw that every possible attention 
was paid to him. This is to me an unspeakable comfort, and it pleased 
God to support me under this trying scene, by granting me better health 
than I had experienced for seven years. On Thursday evening I fol- 
lowed him to the grave ; and soon after, the effects of the fatigue and dis- 
tress of mind that I had suffered, prostrated my strength and spirits, and I 
became ill. Three successive nights of watching were too much for my 
system to endure ; I was w ith him, when he died without a groan or a 
change of feature." 



Critical — Sarcastic — Revelations of his Overseer — His Manner of Dealing 
with Overseers — Midnight Ride — Whips his Cook — Testimony of Jo- 
seph M. Daniel in the Will Case— " Hot Toddy"— " Boiled Pants"— 
The Effect of Liquor on Him— Recollections by W. B. Green, Dr. I. 
B. Rice and others. 

ABOUT two days after a severe spell of sickness, Mr. 
Randolph was seen driving up to Watkins's store. 
Everybody was daily expecting to hear of his death. 
Those who saw him could hardly believe that it was he ; 
but it was indeed the " dying man." 

Mr. Randolph drove up before the door, and observing 
the gentieman who had waited upon him during his illness 
said: "You hardly expected to see me out so soon." His 
friend was indeed astonished at the rapidity with which he 
could recover from a spell of sickness. 

Mr. Randolph called for some red flannel. The young 
gentleman who acted as salesman brought out the article 
called for. Mr. Randolph inquired how much there was in 
the piece ? The merchant replied : " I cannot tell precisely 
without measuring it, but I recko7i there are ten yards." 

*' Reckon r reiterated the critic. " A young man reckon- 
ing ! I thought it was women who kept a reckoning, and 
that only at particular times !" 

Mr. Randolph once put up at one of those ** miserable 
inns between here and Washington," as he styled them. 
As soon as he seated himself at the table, he turned up his 


nose at the plate before him, saying it was "nasty.'* The 
lady of the house blushed up, and replied that he was mis- 
taken; the plates were clean. She took it off the table, 
however, and washed it with her own hands. Still he in- 
sisted that it was " nasty." The hostess tried to turn it oft 
in a joke, by remarking: She "had heard it said that we all 
had to eat our peck of dirt during our lives." 

"Yes," rejoined Mr. Randolph, "but I don't want to take 
all of mine at once." 

. Mr. Randolph bought a plantation of Mr. H. Read, and 
was somewhat behind in paying for it. He had been dunned 
for it repeatedly, but he had never found it convenient to 
pay. On one occasion, when Mr. Read went to Roanoke to 
collect the debt if possible, he was met by the distinguished 
debtor, who accosted him thus: 

" Sir, had it not been for your exceedingly genteel appear- 
ance, my dogs would have torn you to pieces." 

Mr. Randolph bought the " Bushy Forest" tract of land 
on Roanoke creek of Mr. Howel Read. Mr. Read was 
very reluctant to sell it, but after repeated solicitations he 
consented. When the papers were all signed, Mr. Ran- 
dolph turned around and chided him for selling the graves 
of his forefathers. Mr. Bedford, who was present at the 
time, regarded it as a most unjustifiable piece of ill-nature. 
The tall poplar tree was pointed out to us, under the shade 
of which the memorable transaction took place. 

Upon being asked the direct question what sort of man 
was John Randolph, nine out of ten of his neighbors would 
reply at once, without a moment's reflection, that he was the 
most sarcastic man they ever knew. We do not remember 
to have conversed with a single individual, learned or un- 
learned, friend or foe, who did not remark upon this trait of 
his character. 


Speaking of his powers of ridicule and sarcasm, a gentle- 
man informed us that Mr. Randolph was once inflicting 
upon a certain individual one of his severest and most un- 
merited chastisements, when a man in the crowd, no longer 
able to endure the scene of mental agony, exclaimed, " Stop, 
stop, Mr. Randolph, I would not treat a dog so." 

What must have been the ill-nature which dictated re- 
marks calling forth such an exclamation under such cir- 
cumstances? It would not have been more cruel to have 
thrust a knife into the flesh of his victim. 

Mr. Thomas Cardwell, a great admirer of talent, once 
asked the Hon. James W. Bouldin to tell him who, in his 
opinion, was the greatest man that the county of Charlotte 
had raised. 

Mr. Bouldin replied: *'Mr. Randolph could force more 
down the throats of the people than any man he ever knew, 
and that, with the exception of Mr. Randolph, the Rev. 
Moses Hoge was the most eloquent." 

Mr. Randolph would drive a man as far as he could be 
driven ; had no mercy on him. In fact, he took a pleasure 
in seeing how many humiliating things he could force a fel- 
low creature to do. He would make sport of him in his 
own house, and laugh him to scorn at his own table. He 
was familiar with the faults of everybody in reach of him, 
and when he wanted a man to move, he knew exactiy where 
to apply the goad. But when he could not drive, he would 
not insist on it. His knowledge of human nature enabled 
him to determine who was a proper subject to be operated 
on. When he found that he had mounted the wrong horse, 
he frequently got right ofl" and complimented him for his 
independent spirit. 

He once sent for all his overseers. We have this from Mr. 
William P. Harvey, now living in the county of Pittsylvania^ 


Virginia, one of the few overseers who was not afraid of 
him. It so happened that Messrs. H., C. and G. rode up at 
the same time. John, Mr. Randolph's body-servant, met 
them at the door, and requested them to pull off their shoes, 
saying his master was quite sick, and could not bear a nobe. 
John's request was complied with, and they all went in in 
their stocking feet. Mr. H. states that he found Mr. Ran- 
dolph sitting up in bed, far from being in the condition 

In a few days he sent for all his overseers again, with the 
injunction that they should come as soon as possible. John 
was at the door as before, holding in his hands several pairs 
of stockings for the overseers to slip on before they entered 
his master's chamber. Mr. G. pulled off his shoes as before; 
but Mr. H. says the game could not be played on him again. 
He had no objection to taking off his shoes if he had sup- 
posed there was a necessity for it, but he had no idea of 
doing it when he believed that it was all "pretense with Mr. 
Randolph about being so sick." 

John informed him that his orders were positi\'^ not to let 
any one in with his shoes on. Mr. H. told him "if he did 
not stand aside he would knock him down." 

As they entered, Mr. Randolph said: "Good morning, 
G.; I can afford to call you G.; but" — addressing himself to 
Mr. H., "I shall have to call you Mr, H. 

Mr. H. replied: "It mattered not with him what he .called 

" Shut your mouth, sir," said Mr. Randolph. 

Mr. H. being very much incensed opened wide his mouth 
right in Mr. Randolph's face. They then had some bicker- 
ing words. At last Mr. Randolph remarked: "See, now, 
you have gotten mad with a gouty old man." He then in- 
vited them to take a drink. Mr. W. C, who was sitting on 


the bed with the sick man, conducted them into the next 
room. After they had gotten there, Mr. C. remarked : " We 
have to swallow some hard things here." Mr. H. replied: 
"Yes; I have been swallowing chestnut burs, but I do not 
intend to do it any longer." 

Mr. Har\^ey says he witnessed the following : 

Mr. , one of his overseers, was leaning his chair 

back against the wall when the following dialogue ensued : 

"Were you ever in a gentleman's house?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Leaning your d — n greasy head against the wall ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" As d — ned a fool as you are, the wonder is how you 

"Yes, sir." 

And that was all he could get out of him. 

A highly respectable old lady in Charlotte told us the fol- 
lowincr : 

Shortly after Mr. Randolph had in a spree, as she sup- 
posed, killed several of her husband's finest hogs, he was 
visited by the injured party for the purpose of finding out 
the cause. He nerved himself up to the point of intimating 
that if his neighbor's dogs did not stop killing his hogs he 
might possibly shoot them. 

Mr. Rand^h informed him that if he killed his dogs he 
^ould shoot the best cow he had on his plantation. After- 
wards he threatened to shoot his best horse, and finally said : 
" If you kill my dogs I will kill you." 

The husband being a quiet, easy sort of man,^id not re- 
sent it, but his wife wa^ 

"Gathering her brows like gathering storm, 
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm." 



She determined to take revenge in the best way she could» 
At any rate, the next time she met him she would give him 
to understand that if he was Mr. Randolph she was Mrs. 

As good luck would have it, she one day overtook him in 
the road. He was riding in his coach ; she in a buggy with 
a fleet horse. As he was going along at a slow gait she 
passed him. But when they came to a wide space in the 
road he increased his speed and passed her. 

Again she reined up her spirited steed, and putting the 
lash to him with all her might, distanced him a second time. 
As she drove by, Mr. Randolph gave her an awful look, and 
she returned the glance. He looked at her, and she at him. 
He passed her, and she passed him : 

"Then the fight became a chase; 
She won the day; who won the race?*' 

When they came to the fork leading to her house she was 
ahead, and turning exultingly round in her bugg}- she bid 
him "Good bye." 

In a few days afterwards Mr. Randolph sent for her hus- 
band, and asked him the value of his hogs. Upon being 
informed, he gave him an order on Mr. C. for the amount 

Mr. Robert Carrington and Mr. Randolph were at va- 
riance. In fact they were mortal enemies. It appears that 
the latter had to pass through the plantation of the former 
to get to his lower quarter. Mr. Carrington determined he 
would put a stop to all passing on the part of all persons 
from the premises of his hostile neighbor, so he posted a 
servant at his gate, with a loaded gun in hand, with the 
necessary orders. Pretty soon Mr. P., an overseer of Mr. 
Randolph's, came by. The sentinel halted him, telling him 


the nature of the instructions he had received, at the same 
time requesting that he would see his master before he 
passed through. Mr. P. went to Mr. Carrington, who in- 
formed him that he might go anywhere he pleased on his 
plantation. Some time afterwards Mr. Randolph drew an 
instrument of writing condemning the conduct of Mr. Car- 
rington, and requested his overseer to endorse it. His over- 
seer promptly refused, saying Mr. Carrington had always 
treated him in a ver>' gentiemanly manner, and that he had 
nothing to say against him. Mr. Randolph thereupon in- 
formed him that he had no further use for him. "And I 
have none for you," replied his overseer, and left him. 

Mr. Randolph insisting that he had the right to go from 
one of his plantations to another through Mr. Robert Car- 
rington's, the latter addressed him a short note, prohibiting 
him, and informing him plainly that if he attempted it he 
would shoot him. Knowing of what stuff Mr. Carrington 
was made, Mr. Randolph did not venture. Mr. Carrington 
told Judge F. N. Watkins, of Prince Edward, that in reply 
to his curt note, Mr. Randolph wrote him four pages of 
foolscap, which Mr. Carrington said was as brilliant as any- 
thing Mr. Randolph ever wrote, and in which, in his way, 
he said a great many things of severity. 

When Mr. Carrington afterwards became a candidate for 
the house of delegates', although all personal intercourse be- 
tween the parties had ceased, Mr. Randolph was one of the 
first to record his vote (then viva voce) for Mr. Carrington, 
with some very complimentary remark. 

Mr. W. P. Harvey states that he was present on one occa- 
sion when Mr. P., one of his overseers, came after being sent 
for several times to get his wages for the previous year. Mr. 
Randolph was then living up stairs. Mr. Hundley was also 


" Harvey," said Mr. Randolph, "go and invite him up." 

Mr. Harvey went, and reported that P. had to go out 

"Has he the b— y ache?" 

This created quite a laugh. Mr. Harvey invited him as 
many as three times before he could be induced to go up 
stairs. Mr. Randolph received him in a very friendly man- 

" Mr. P.," he inquired, " why have you not been after your 

" I could not come sooner," replied Mr. P. 

" Well, sir, I shan't pay interest on it, as I was not able to 
go to you, and you would not come to me. There is the 
money. Count it out to him, Harvey." 

Mr. Harvey counted it. 

"Is it right?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" Count it over again." 

" Right, sir." 

"Mr. Hundley will you count it?" 

Mr. H. (not Harvey, but the other gentleman present) 
counted the money, and detected a five-franc piece among 
the silver. 

"That's right now, sir," said Mr. Randolph, "sign this re- 
ceipt without interest, else it will be said of me that I am not 
an honest man in not paying interest, when it was your 

Mr. P. stated that he preferred not to sign it. Mr. Ran- 
dolph then requested Mr. Harvey to talk to him ; but Mr. P. 
still declined to sign the receipt. Mr. R. requested the other 
gentieman present to talk to him. Mr. P. holding to his re- 
solve, Mr. Randolph said to him : " You are the d st fool 

I ever saw. You are as d ed a fool as my Bull," a negro 

whose name he had changed to Bull. 


Mr. Harvey says he never saw a man sign his name as 
quickly before. Mr. Randolph was in bed propped up. He 
sent both hands under the sheets, and P. thought he was 
after his " bull dogs," as he called them — meaning his pis- 

Mr. Harvey states that while Mr. Randolph was kind to his 
servants, he was the strictest master he ever knew. He said 
disobedience to orders was the greatest crime a negro could 
commit. Mr. Harvey states that he has heard Mr. Randolph 
say to his negroes if their overseer told them to set fire to 
the granary, corn house, stables or bams, if they did not do 
it he would kill them. 

Mr. Harvey says: He was at his house when one of his 
slaves ran from his overseer at Lower Quarter, and came to 
Mr. Randolph, complaining that his overseer was going to 
kill him, and he wanted to see master before he did. 

As soon as he said that, Mr. Randolph told Mr. Harvey 
to take him out and kill him. " D— n him, kill him. I have 
plenty negroes to kill one every other day." 

Mr. Harvey took the *'run-a-way" and gave him a thrash- 
ing. When he brought him back, Mr. Randolph remarked : 
" I told you to kill him," 

** Stand there, sir," said Mr. Randolph to the negro, while 
he wrote a note to the overseer. 

" Take that, sir ; give it to your overseer. 

Mr. Har\'ev states that he never had one to come to him 
after that. He remarks that "this harsh chat and strict 
orders were to save him from annoyance. Had it not been 
for that, his negroes would have been running from over- 
seers to * master* all the time." 

* Mr. Randolph's conduct on this occasion was adduced, on the trial of 
his will case, as evidence of his derangement; but, to our mind, it seems 
in perfect keeping with his character. 


Mr. Harvey states that when he was overseer for him, Mr. 
Randolph had four hundred and nine slaves. 

He says he has frequently heard Mr. Randolph speak of 
an overseer he once had by the name of Cumbey. He said: 
"Cumbey could do anything." They were riding in the 
plantation one day together when they came to a framed 
house, Mr. R. remarked: **He wished he had it for a store- 
house." He said in two days afterwards it walked up into 
his yard — everything complete, except the chimneys. 

Mr. Harvey mentions another of Cumbey 's performances. 

Mr. Randolph, he says, showed him a barn forty by twenty 
feet; stated that that was the "turn-round bam." Cumbey 
had it built in his absence. He told him it was in the right 
place, but that it was set wrong ; it ought to ha\'e been north 
and south. The next day he said he rode by and it was all 
right. He therefore named it the "turn-round barn." 

Mr. Harvey says Mr. Randolph once had horses saddled 
at dead of night, to ride to a certain point in the plantation. 
As they (Mr. Harvey and Mr. Randolph) rode along, Mr. 
Randolph's horse became dreadfully frightened at a bush. 
Mr. Randolph stuck the spurs deep in his side, and the horse 
plunged and reared at such a rate that Mr. Harvey became 
alarmed for the safety of the rider, and so expressed him- 
self Mr. Randolph remarked : " It was as easy to throw a 
new girth from a saddle as to throw him." He did not de- 
sist until he made his horse go up to the bush. When they 
had arrived at a certain place, Mr. Randolph observed: — 
"There is the place I want you to begin the ditch." 

Mr. Har\'ey says Mr. Randolph drank very hard, and 
took great pains to conceal it. Johnny would sooner put 
his head in the fire than invite a gentleman into his master's 
room while he was drinking. He always carried liquor in 


}iis carriage pockets ; kept a great variety in his cellar ; and, 
what is curious, he always stopped the key-hole. 

On one occasion, Mr. Randolph asked Mr. Harvey what 
he would have to drink ; said, ** he had everything." 

Mr. Harvey says he thought he would call for something 
out of season, that he might baulk him ; so he asked for 
cider. To his suprise, Johnny was ordered to go into the 
•cellar and bring up cider, which was very fine. 

When intoxicated, Mr. Harvey says, he was profane and 
obscene. He kept at least six candles burning all night 
long. The excuse he made was, that if he dreamed any- 
thing he could take hisiap desk and write it down, and then 
he would never forget it. 

He once directed Mr. Harvey to give Queen Bettys his 
cook, a whipping, complaining that, instead of making him 
a plum pudding she made him a pudding with a plum in it. 
After she had been chastised, he said, "she always made 
them right, and greatly improved in her soup." 

When entirely sober he always called old Essex "father." 
One day, the old servant came into his master's room, where 
there were several gentlemen present, in his every-day 
clothes. Mr. Randolph remarked: "Essex, if your friends 
came to see you, I would put myself in a condition to see 
them." Pretty soon afterwards Essex came back, the finest 
' dressed man almost that Mr. Harvey had ever seen. 

Mr. Randolph's orders to his negroes were to take off 
their hats whenever thqy spoke to a white man. He him- 
self spoke to each of his negroes as he came to them in the 
field. He always spoke to his overseers with his hat off. 

Mr. Randolph once got one of his overseers to do some 
writing for him. When the letter came to be backed, the 
overseer wrote " VaJ' Mr. Randolph repeated, " * Fa.,' d — n 


your * Va.,' " and tore the letter to pieces and threw them 
against the wall. He wanted it written ** Virginia'' in full. 

The above closes our memoranda from Mr. Har\'ey. We 
are glad that we had an opportunity of interviewing him, 
which was done about ten years ago, and the result carefully 
written out and filed away among the other interesting 
papers which we were keeping until the time should arrive 
when we had leisure to arrange our Randolphiana for a 
book. We say we are glad we took notes from him, because 
we feel that we must draw Mr. Randolph as he really was. 

We now turn to the reminiscences of Dr. R. B., whose 
high standing entitles him to the highest credit. 

He states that in the latter part of Mr. Randolph's life he 
sent for him in great haste. It was known all over the 
neighborhood that he was sick abed. Dr. B. went promptly 
to see what Mr. Randolph wanted with him. Upon enter- 
ing the room, he found him lying on a bed which was liter- 
ally covered with books and papers. The moment he made 
his appearance, Mr. Randolph pointed to a box, and requested 
him to hand him a certain paper, describing it. After an 
hour's search, the paper was found and handed to him. Mr. 
Randolph took it and bid him good morning ; and that, be- 
fore his guest showed any indications of his intention to 
leave. Dr. B. had scarcely gotten off his horse at home, 
before the same messenger who went for him the first time 
rode up and said that his master desired him to return im- 
mediately. On his entering the room, Mr. Randolph re- 
quested him to look in a certain box for another paper, 
which, he stated, it contained. The paper was found and 
placed in his hand. He looked at it for a few moments, and 
handed it back to his friend, with the request that he would 
put it back in the box and "seal it with the sign of the 
cross." This latter injunction was somewhat embarrassing 


to the doctor; but he placed the paper away and made the 
sign of the cross with his finger, which seemed to satisfy the 
mysterious patient. So soon as this was was done, Mr. Ran- 
dolph again bid adieu to his visitor in the same unceremoni- 
ous style. 

The Hon. James W. Bouldin prefaces his Randolphiana, 
the manuscript of which is now before us, with the following 
remark : 

" In order to make many of the following facts intelligible, 
consistent, or even credible, it will be necessary to mention 
two facts in relation to Mr. Randolph, which, if they were 
generally known, have not been generally borne in mind by 
those who have spoken of him, his character and peculiari- 

We will not in this chapter quote the first of the facts men- 
tioned by Mr. Bouldin, but the second. He says : 

From the first time I ever saw Mr. Randolph, to the last — say from 
about 1808 or '9 till his death, he drank very hard — great quantities of all 
kinds of intoxicating drink. He generally drank the best, whether wine 
or distilled spirits ; but he would drink bad if he could not get good. 

This had various and very singular effects on him. Sometimes he be- 
came drunk in the ordinary way — lost the use of his limbs, including his 
tongue, and his mental faculties became almost entirely obscured. This, 
however, I presume was seldom, as I do not recollect of having seen it 
happen more than two or three times in all my acquaintance with him. 


Generally the more he drank the stronger and the more brilliant he be- 
came, until after weeks sometimes he would become suddenly prostrate 
and sink, and so after a time he would recover. 

Although he drank much in jpublic, he drank still more in private, 
and although this fact was known to so many, yet it is a matter of great 
surprise to nine-tenths of persons to be told that he drank to excess. He 
scarcely ever drank with the illiterate or vulgar at all, even during the 
highest electioneering times. I scarcely ever saw him drinking with gen- 
tlemen, but he drank more than any of them. Still he had the power of 
fascination and charm to such an extent on most men, that though he 


•drank much, they thought it had no effect upon him. One of the most 
talented men I ever knew, General J., told me he knew that when he 
boarded with Mr. Randolph, at Crawford's, he drank more brandy (fifth 
proof French brandy) than any man he ever saw. 

If any one doubts that the brilliant intellect of the great 
statesman and orator was sometimes maddened by strong 
potations, let him read the testimony of Mr. Joseph M. Da- 
niel, one of the witnesses (and a more truthful witness never 
testified in any cause) at the trial of his celebrated will case 
at Petersburg. A manuscript report of Mr. Daniel's testi- 
mony was kindly donated to us by his venerable wife, who 
still survives him. From this manuscript we extract as fol- 

I saw Mr. Randolph at Charlotte Court-house, November court 1831, 
but observing that he received many of his old friends with more indif- 
ference than usual, I did not approach him. 

A few days afterwards some fox-hunters ran their dogs through his 
yard, and when they reached my plantation I joined the chase. During 
the chase Mr. Randolph sent for me, and when I reached his house, the 
first thing he said to me was: ** I am sorry you have turned fox-hunter." 
He inquired after the health of my family, but was less particular in his 
inquiries than usual about them, and less cordial in his reception of me. 
He inquired if I would accept the office of postmaster at Tucker's, a new 
office he wished to establish near him. I told him it would be incon- 
venient to me, and was going on to assign my reason for not accepting, 
but he stopped me, and in a rather crabbed manner said, "that is suffi- 
cient." He then turned off and addressed himself to Mr. L., who was 
also then talking to him about his horses. 

During the same month I received a note from him, one night about 
dark, urging me to come to his house on some matters of business. I ac- 
cordingly went. He met me at the door, and received me more cordially, 
and apologized for sending for me in the night. The business related to 

an overseer of his, named , whom he had that day discharged from 

his employment. 

He said that the overseer had destroyed more than he had made. He 


-suspected, he said, and verily believed, that the overseer had, at that time, 
in his wagon, a quantity of wool, leather, and some other articles I do not 
remember, and demanded of me a search warrant to enable him to search 
the wagon. He took the necessary oath and I issued the warrant. 

In a few days after, he returned from Prince Edward court, the same 

month. He again sent for me. appeared in the afternoon, ac- 

•cording to his promise to the constable, to answer the charge of stealing 
the wool and leather. After sitting with Mr. Randolph a short time, he 

proposed that we should go and try . As soon as he came in sight 

•of —~— he appeared to get very mad ; made a great many charges 
against him, and said he would swear to them. By way of getting rid of 
him, I told him he had already been sworn. I then asked him if he had 
no other evidence of his guilt. He said, "yes." Mr. P. (his overseer) 
and Mr. T. (the constable) would be ample witnesses of guilt; for they 
had found some of the leather in his chest. 

From the evidence of P. and T. (I did not examine Mr. Randolph) I 
thought the case ought to be enquired into, and committed him to jail, he 
being unable to find security for his appearance. 

The evening Mr. Randolph obtained the search warrant he complained 
of his negroes also. He said he had no doubt there was a combination 
between — — and several of his negroes that he named, in relation to 
taking and carrying off the wool. " He had," he said, " the tanner's re- 
ceipt for twenty-eight hides," I think, and the overseer had only accounted 
for a small proportion of them — I think about half. 

The next time I saw him was a month or two afterwards. He com- 
plained that a great many lies had been told about his conduct in Saint 
Petersburg and of his appearance before the Emperor of Russia ; showed 
all his clothes, and, using a quotation from Shakspeare, said, " they were 
rich but not gaudy." He then took up a volume of Shakspeare, and said 
he would read me the whole story. He commenced reading; but before 
he finished, Mr. W. M. W. came in. I went off shortly afterwards. , 

I saw him again about the last of February, or the first of March, 1832. 
I found him in the garret room, in bed. He complained that I had not 
visited him ; said that that was black Monday with him ; that, during his 
absence in Europe, his negroes had all turned rogues — those on the hill 
-worse than any. When he left he thought they were as honest and cor- 
rect negroes as any he knew. Indeed, he said there were but few men 
he would sooner rely on or believe than Daddy Essex and some others 


whose names I do not remember. But, he said, old Essex had taken to 
hard drink, and had been drinking some time before he found it out; that 
the habit was so confirmed and the propensity was so strong it had caused 
the old man to resort to dishonest means to procure it. 

He had made a will, he said, before he went to Russia, leaving his ne- 
groes, particularly those on the hill, as free as the laws of his country 
would permit; that he had left his brother Harry their nominal master, 
and had made ample provision for their suppport. But, he said, since hi& 
return, and since he found how badly they behaved in his absence, he had 
changed his mind, and none of them should be sold within five hundred 
miles of that place. 

While I was there, he had Queen in the room, searching for money 
which, he said, had been stolen from him some few weeks before. She 
searched all over the room, and said she could not find it. He was in a 
great passion with her ; abused her very much, and asked her if she had 
examined under the head of the bed. She then examined under the 
head of the bed, and pulled out a pair of blue broadcloth pantaloons,, 
very much rumpled, and on examining them found the money in the 
watch pocket, as she said, and as I believe. 

Mr. Randolph's rage seemed to be more violent, if possible, than be- 
fore. He said he would convince me or any other person that she had 
put the money in the pocket herself; and, raising himself up in the bed,, 
with the pantaloons in his hand, he handed them to me, and said : He 
would swear they had been boiled and well washed, and if the money had 
been there it would have been defaced or destroyed. At the same time 
he handed me the money to show it was uninjured. The money was not 
injured, nor did I think that the pantaloons had been washed. 

I saw him again about the middle of March of the same year, 1832. I 
found him as before in the garret in bed. He asked me if I did not think 
he was dying. I told him I thought not. He then asked me if I thought 
him tapable of making a will, or if he was in his right mind. I an- 
swered I hope you are. He handed me a paper, which he said was his 
will. He said he was blind, and could see but little, but felt on the paper 
for a wax or wafer seal. He said : " I acknowledge this to be my hand 
and seal, act and deed." 

His name was signed to the paper, which he said he had written in a 
great hurry, expecting to die every minute. I witnessed it, and he then 


requested me to send for some other witness. I accordingly sent for Mr. 
H. and Mr. C, who came and also witnessed the paper. 

He advised me if I had any money owing to me to collect it, or owing 
from me to pay it. Spoke of South Carolina nullification; said that 
dreadful times were coming. The United States Bank would be broke ; 
troops would he marching through the country; breadstuflfs would be very 
high. He advised us to make grain and no tobacco; said he would not 
take Mr. Gerard's or Mr. Bruce's bond for eighteen cents. He had, he 
said, a large sum of money in bank, and wanted me to write a check in 
favor of Henry Saint George Tucker, president of the Court of Appeals, 
to enable him to draw it all in gold and silver, not in notes, which he con- 
•sidered no better than trash. 

When he first called on me to witness the paper he told me to take it, 
and to take care of it, and made me promise to deliver it to the clerk im- 
mediately after his death; then warned me against letting it be known, 
and said if his negroes found it out they would burn my house over me. 
After I had witnessed it, however, he changed his mind, and concluded 
^to send it to his brother by an express, which I understood he did. He 
frequently repeated the words: " Take notice, I am in my right mind." 

I saw him again in April, the morning of the day he went to the court- 
house. He seemed to be in a stupor ; received me politely, and taking 
one of my hands between both of his, pressed it, and closing his eyes 
said, in a voice hardly audible, "I am dying." Asked me if I noticed 
that Nero, his dog, did not bark at me when I came in ; said that he had 
been a good guard, but now the devil had gotten into him, and he would 
bark at nobody. 

We then went into the house. His servant, John, came in after us. He 
told John to hand him old Colonel Morton's cane. He then gave it to me 
to keep; said he expected to die, and wished good care taken of it. In 
this time John went out, and locked the door after him. He asked me if 
I did not see devils, or blue devils, I forget which, standing around the 
room. I said I did not ; at which he seemed greatly surprised. 

He said he had a portrait of my mother — -a better one than I had. He 
pointed to a watch hanging up, which he said I might have. John, he 
said, was above wearing it. The watch needed some repair. Send it to 
Lynchburg, said he, and I will pay for it. 

He had just found out, said he, how it was that the portrait of my 


mother, which he said he had, was better than mine. Asked me if I had 
not observed that there was a harshness in the features in the portrait 
which I had, and accounted for it by saying that at the time it was taken 
my mother was looking at these blue devils. He then said I must go 
home, as he knew I was fond of home ; took hold of my hand and pressed 
it to his bosom, and said he loved me, and that I must not forsake him. 

The next time I saw him was in the month of September, or last of Au- 
gust. I thought him free from all excitement. 

The result of the prosecution of was, that he was examined by 

the court and acquitted. 

I believe Mr. Randolph had not a portrait of my mother in his posses- 
sion. When 's case was before me, Mr. Randolph asked me to 

swear him as a witness. I told him that he had been sworn to get rid of 
him. I did not think he was in a situation to give evidence. He was 
violently excited, and in a great rage. 

When asked the question : *' Did you think him insane when he made 
the will in March ?" Mr. D. answered : " I was not certain. I thought 
he had been drinking, as I smelt spirits very strong, and he sent me out of 
the room several times. On another occasion he sent me out of the room 
in the same manner, two or three times. Once he sent me out with a 
watch into another house to ascertain the time of day. When I came 
back I thought he smelt stronger of spirits than before, and did not seem 
to care about knowing what o'clock it was. He sent me again to find his 
English papers, saying that the servants could not find them. I brought 
them to him, and he pressed them in his hands, with the remark, that they 
were his only source of ainusement." 

"Did you perceive that he was more abusive to his servants, and 
punished them more frequently after his return from Russia than before ?" 

** Answer. He was more abusive, but I do not know that he punished 
them more frequently." 

His servants were excellent. As far as I know, there was no founda- 
tion for the charge made against them by Mr. Randolph. I had a sus- 
picion that they did trade improperly, and that some of them were guilty 
of theft while he was in Russia. But old Essex I had seen sometimes at 
the tavern in the neighborhood. 

Mr. Randolph sent for me in February, 1832, the evening before he 
went to Watkins's, and asked me to ride that night with him to some 


magistrate to have the acknowledgment of some deeds taken. He said 
he had to send them off by next morning's mail. He detained me at his 
house reading a letter to me, and I thought it was too late to go. It was 
also very cold, and I objected to going with him. He said I must not lie, 
but must go with him. He wished me to ride in the carriage, but I de- 
clined. He then said, I had better push on as if I was mounted on a 
plow horse. 

He told me to go to Watkins's stor6 and wait for him. I rode there 
and waited about an hour and a half. As he did not come, I started to 
go home; but met him on the road, and hailed him. He said he should 
be sorry to make orphan children that night, and insisted that I should get 
into the carriage, as it was so cold I should otherwise freeze. I declined ; 
but he still urged me, when I told him it would make me sick to ride in 
the carriage. He said that I must have one of his bottles of hot water. 
He handed one to me, and I took it in my hands, and put it back. He 
then said I must have some hot toddy, which he made and handed me. 
I drank part of it and gave him back the rest, which I presume he drank, 
as he did not throw it out. 

We went on a little farther, when he stopped and asked me to take an- 
other drink, which I declined, saying one was enough. He stopped some 
time. What he was doing, I do not know. He again stopped a third 
time, but did not again ask me to drink. We then went on to Watkins's 
store. When he got out of the carriage, he put his cloak over one of the 
horses. When we went in, he returned to see about some sugar which he 
said had been spilt in the carriage. I remained in the house, and when 
he came back he was rubbing his hands saying: "I am frost-bitten. I am 
frost-bitten." He then sat down and wrote letters, and I wrote the ac- 
knowledgments, which, I believe, he dispatched to the post-office that 

I went home and left him there. I did not hear any of the letters read. 

He was excited I thought by drinking, but I considered him capable of 
transacting business. He said he must send them off that night, as his 
honor was pledged to do so. I do not know when the deeds were made. 
I understand that they conveyed lots in Farmville. I am under the im- 
pression that the deeds were inclosed and sent off that night by a boy. 

I am a very near neighbor of Mr. Randolph's. Before he went to Rus- 
sia he was in the habit of visiting me frequently, but he did not visit me 
after his return from Russia. 


A few pages of the manuscript of Mr. W. B. Green will 
come in very appropriately here. He says : 

Mr. Randolph always professed to be an orthodox Christian, and con- 
sequently recognized the personality of the devil on all proper occasions. 

It was, I think, in the winter preceding his death, or perhaps the win- 
ter before, that he set out from home in a deep snow, late in the afternoon, 
to visit me, for the purpose of having some deeds certified for lots in 
Farmville, which he had sold. On his way to my house he learned (or 
imagined that he had) that the devil had gotten after me, and that I had 
left home and gone up to the Rev. Clement Read's Cmy father-in-law) to 
get him to pray for me. Hearing this on the road, he turned back at 
Overby's store and went to Captain Watkins's, where he remained all 
night. It was from him that I learned these particulars. The Captain 
also informed me that Mr. Randolph kept him up nearly all night burning 
and drinking burnt rum. He had doubtless made a free use of rum on 
the road. I was at the time at home, and quite happy. 

I have always considered it fortunate for myself that he did not come 
to my house that night, for if he had I should have been summoned to 
Petersburg instead of Captain Watkins, as witness in the will case. 
Captain Watkins, and several other gentlemen from Charlotte, were wit- 
nesses, and the former, when giving testimony before the court, mentioned 
what has been above stated. 

This was, however, by no means the first time that Mr. Randolph's 
imagination had been disturbed by the devil. Many years before he had 
been in a high state of excitement, which continued for a considerable 
length of time. The devil took advantage of this, and through key-holes 
and crevices insinuated himself into the bed rooms and all parts of the 
house, until the annoyance could no longer be borne. Mr. Randolph 
posted off a messenger to the Rev. Mr. Clopton, requesting him to come 
to his aid and abate the nuisance. I do not know whether Mr. Clopton 
went or not; I presume he did not go. 

We will now lay before the reader the Randolphiana, 
furnished us by Dr. I. B. Rice, who resided on the Staunton, 
about eight miles above Mr. Randolph's, a man of sterling 
integrity, upon whose statements the reader may implicitly 


rely. He pleads Mr. Randolph's ill health in mitigation of 
much of the irregularity of his conduct. 

After stating that "Mr. Randolph appeared among men 
-as a towering oak amongst the undergrowth of the forest/* 
he proceeded to furnish us with the Randolphiana, which 
occurred to him at the time we made our request. We copy 
literally from his manuscript. 

On one occasion, I met with him at Mrs. D.'s, in the county of 
Charlotte, on a morning visit to her. He was very agreeable; asked 

me " How is Dr. this morning,?" I remarked he was still very 

ill; that he would not take the advice of physicians, but practiced on 
himself. ''That," said Mr. Randolph, "reminds me of an old Spanish 
adage, that ' a man who practiced on himself had a fool for a physician.' " 

He found Mrs. D. busily engaged in making clothes for the Greeks. 
(At that time there was considerable sympathy expressed in this countr}' 
for the Greeks in their effort to throw off the Turkish yoke. Mr. Ran- 
dolph opposed the resolutions introduced in Congress, and on that occa- 
sion made one of the great speeches of his life.) As he left, after the 
door was closed, he saw two ragged negroes passing by. He told them 
to stop. He again knocked, and Mrs. D. returned. He pointed at the 
negi-oes, and said to her: "Madam, the Greeks are at your door^'' and 
passed rapidly away. 

He once set his hands to pulling fodder on the Sabbath. A lady re- 
marked to him that it was sinful. "No," said he, "it is the pulling my 
ass and ox out of the mire." 

In the Virginia Convention Mr. Benjamin Watkins Leigh was at a loss 
for an epithet with which to designate the Western people of Virginia. 
"Call them horned cattle," said Mr. Randolph. 

On another occasion in the Convention, when Alexander Campbell was 
replying to some personal allusions to himself, among other things he 
said : " The gentleman's remarks had no more effect than the falling of 
the last leaf in Autumn." Mr. Randolph replied: "I perceive my shot 
has stuck." 

He had made a long absence from home. On his return he learned 
that his negroes had been sick, and that one had died. Mr. Randolph 



asked if a physician had been sent for, and was replied to in the negative^ 
** Then," he said, ** the poor fellow had a fair chance, and died a natural 
/' His passion for fine horses was great, and he had many of his own to 
admire. Two of his favorite horses were once presented to public view ; 
one (Gascoigne) under size, and in other particulars defective, which he 
earnestly eulogized ; the other (Janus) a horse of great beauty and merit. 
He was asked by a gentleman what he had to say for himF ** Nothing," 
he replied ; " /le stands for himself." 

I heard a gentleman ask after his health on one occasion. His reply 
was : " Dying, sir ; this continent was not made for the white man, but 
the red man. " On another occasion his reply was : " This church-yard 
cough will surely kill me." 

My opinion for a long time has been that Mr. Randolph's mind was 
as sound as any man's, and that much of the irregularity of his conduct 
proceeded from disease of body and inebriety. I believe that he never 
had an hour of good health, nor was he ever free from physical suffering. 
A great deal of his suffering was of that class of diseases which are miti- 
gated by slimuli, which he used freely, until they brought his system into 
a terrible state of mental excitement and physical debility, and until the 
use of them was a fixed fact with him, necessary to sustain his bodily 
energies and even his life. 

Besides t^\'o valuable letters furnished us by Judge F. N. 
Watkins, we are indebted to him for some interesting notes 
concerning Mr. Randolph. We give them in his own lan- 
guage. He says: 

When I went to the bar, the Honorable James W. Bouldin was still 
in practice. In calling the docket in the county court, Mr. Randolph had 
been a party to some motion or suit. He having died, it was necessary 
to revive it, or let it go off in some way. Many of the old justices were 
afraid of Mr. Randolph (in his latter days especially). When the clerk 
called the case there was quite a pause and silence. Neither court (jus- 
tices) or counsel seemed disposed to say a word. Mr. Bouldin in his very 
peculiar and amusing way said, so that all the court could hear : " Mr^ 
Randolph is dead now ; you need not be afraid of him now." 


Mr. Randolph drove up to the old hotel in Farmville, during the last 
year or two of his life, in his carriage and four. Juba went promptly to the 
heads of the leaders, and Johnny to the carriage door. Messrs. M. and 
J. were sitting in the porch. Seeing Mr. Randolph's feeble condition, 
they hastened to the carriage to help him out and up the steps of the 
hotel. Petulantly he called Juba, and reproving him for not helping him 
out the carriage, struck him with a little cane several times. Juba re- 
minded him that his own orders required him to promptly stand at the 
horses' heads, while Johnny's duty was to help him out. Messrs. J. and 
M. assisted him to his room on the first floor, and Randolph threw himself 
on the bed. They asked whether "they could serve him, and what were 
his wishes," &c. "I gave orders," said Randolph, "to have a private 
room prepared for me, and here I am, where I can't be alone." Of 
course the gentlemen at once retired. 



The Secret of his Success — How he carried Elections — Highly Dramatic 
Scenes — An Overseer scared out of his Wits — a Religious Lecture sud- 
denly cut short — A Georgian run clean out of the Country — Anecdotes 
by Henry Carrington, Esq. 

IN one respect, Mr. Randolph's life may be regarded a 
perfect success. From the time that he made his first 
appearance upon the political arena, to the last year of 
his life, he held high and responsible positions in the affairs 
of the nation. 

"For more than thirty years," says Mr. Benton, *'he was 
the political meteor of Congress, blazing with undiminished 
splendor during the whole time. His parliamentary life was 
resplendent in talent, elevated in moral tone, always moving 
on the lofty line of honor and patriotism, and scorning 
ever^'thing mean and selfish. He was the indignant enemy 
of personal and plunder legislation, and the very scourge 
of intrigue and corruption." ** During the first six years of 
Mr. Jefferson's administration," adds the same high autho- 
rity, " he was the Murat of his party, brilliant in the charge, 
and always ready for it, and valued in the council as well 
as in the field. In- England we are informed that **his com- 
pany was sought after by the nobility and gentry', and on 
one occasion royalty itself condescended to admit him within 
the same tent." Lord L. was forced to acknowledge that 
his conversations were most dazzling even in London. 

His example of lofty purpose, untarnished honor and 


manly bearing, was worth a great deal to the nation. It is 
true that there are few great measures of civil polity which 
his admirers can lay their hands upon, and say : ** This is 
Randolph's work!" Mr. Baldwin says : "None." Mr. Saw- 
yer admits that "there were some important measures for 
which the nation is indebted to his oratorical powers, as the 
originator and successful defender;" and he mentions the 
substitution under the appropriate heads, of specific, instead 
of general and indefinite appropriations, which he brought 
about after a warm and extremely powerful discussion with 
Mr. Lowndes, of South Carolina, who advocated the old 
system. The standing appropriation of $200,000, for arm- 
ing the whole body of the militia, is also placed to his credit. 

The reader doubtless remembers that in his speech at 
Halifax Court-house, in 1827. he plead guilty to the charge 
of "tr}'ing to pull down other men's work," and boasted 
that ** it was the brightest feather in his cap." " My whole 
aim," he said, " has been to prevent not to promote legisla- 

But it is to Mr. Randolph at home that we wish to devote 
ourself mainly. He exerted an influence which no other 
man in his district or any other district ever did. His power 
was almost supreme. We stated that he never was defeated 
but once before the people, and that was by Mr. Eppes, who 
he charged was imported like a stallion, for the purpose of 
being run against him. 

Mr. Baldwin, in his Partv Leaders, savs " he was defeated, 
and without a murmur bowed his head to the stroke." 

We say emphatically that is not Mr. Randolph. He may 
have gone about in a more pleasing shape than that of a 
roaring lion, but he certainly sought whom he might devour. 
His resentment was high and lasting. He never did forgive 
those who voted against him. Mr. Baldwin invests him with 


a degree of Christian patience, which he was far from pos- 
sessing. Of all the men upon the face of the earth, we 
should say he was the least disposed to bow to a stroke of 
that sort. One of his old constituents once told us that he 
frequendy alluded to the canvass with Eppes, in which he 
was defeated, and in no pleasant manner. We were forcibly 
reminded of this remark when we read the manuscript re- 
port of the last speech he made to the people of Charlotte 
nearly twenty years after the canvass with Eppes. This 
speech, as reported by one who heard it, and took it down 
at the time, is now before us, and in it we find him cutting 
at those who assisted in returning him, " to be discharged 
from the confidence of his old constituents." We once 
heard one of the keenest observers of human nature say, 
that notu'ithstanding Mr. Randolph visited on terms of 
friendship at her brother's, she fancied she could see in his 
eye, beneath all that was superficial, that he remembered her 
father's political opposition long years before. 

The question is sure to rise in the minds of intelligent 
readers, how did Mr. Randolph gain such continued support 
of the people? What made them vote for him ? 

We have- the greatest respect for. Mr. Benton's ** Thirty 
Years" view of Mr. Randolph in Congress ; but not much 
value could be placed upon a picture of Mr. Randolph at 
homCy taken from his observatory at Washington. In our 
estimation, the likeness drawn by Hon. James W. Bouldin, 
who saw him in his house, on his plantation, and on the 
court green, is much more valuable. 

When Mr. Benton informed us that he never saw Mr. 
Randolph affected by wine, we were somewhat surprised; 
but we were still more so when he intimates that his popu- 
larity was founded upon the love and affection of his people. 
A member of Congress for sixteen years with him, and who 


afterwards published a biography of him, after speaking of 
his strong and lasting friendship for Mr. Tazewell, says : "So 
with many others, and preeminently so of his constituents — 
the people of his congressional district — affectionate and 
faithful to him, electing him, as they did, from boyhood to 
the grave." 

Again, Mr. Benton says, his friendship with Mr. Macon 
was historical. It is true that his friendship for a few, very 
few, of his neighbors, and constituents in the different coun- 
ties composing his district, was proverbial ; but it is equally 
true that his capacity for friendship was very small. 

In conversing with the old men of Charlotte, they will 
talk a long time about how Mr. Randolph flattered this one 
to carry his point; how he barbecued another for merely 
•differing with him in opinion ; how he drove men clean out 
of the country who. offended him ; how ridiculous he some- 
times made his acquaintances appear; we say they will 
entertain you a long time in this way, before they will men- 
tion one word about his friendship for anybody, or any- 
body's for him. 

The means which a master spirit employs in gaining his 
influence and establishing himself firmly upon his throne, 
must ever be a subject for curious speculation. This is par- 
ticularly the case in regard to Mr. Randolph. But, really, 
we should never get at the secret of his success if we relied 
on the books that have been written ; they being inconsis- 
tent with themselves and with one another upon this point. 

His first biographer attributes his popularity to his " acts 
of neighborly kindness," and his "free and easy manners." 
Another says, "his want of charity was his greatest defect;" 
and laments that, "to the constancy and intrepidity of Mr. 
Randolph were not allied the suavity and gentleness of man- 


ner, which had made those stern attributes to be beloved as 
well as admired." 

Mr. Baldwin states that Mr. Randolph was "eminently 
unsocial, proud, reserved, uncommunicative," and that "he 
never made a speech that he did not make more enemies 
than converts. How then did he manage always but once 
to be elected? And what becomes of Mr. Benton's theory' 
of the affection of his constituents, electing him, as they did,, 
from boyhood to the grave? And there is something almost 
laughable in the idea that Mr. Randolph owed his success 
to " his acts of neighborly kindness." He did not owe it to 
his "free and easy manners," nor to his "imposing pres- 
ence," nor to the affection of his constituents gained by any 
means ; but he owed it to his commanding genius, to the 
force of his will and the great strength of his moral and 
physical courage. And it was chiefly by flatter^-, by domi- 
neering, by bullying, that he obtained his unparalleled sway. 
But his was not the fulsome adulation applied without dis- 
crimination; nor was he an ordinary street bully. In all his 
acts he was infinitely above ordinary men. His knowledge 
of human nature was miraculous, and he had the greatest 
facility for applying his knowledge. He had unwavering 
supporters ; but for the most part they were men who had 
no affection for him , who had never received any favors at 
his hands. Some voted for him because he was an able and 
fearless exponent of their principles; but it was, as we 
stated, chiefly by arts of flattery and bullying that he ob- 
tained his almost supreme power in his district. There is 
much truth in what Miss Mary Bouldin replied, when we 
asked her how Mr. Randolph gained his position in society : 
" By kicking every body else out of their places and getting 
in himself," she said. She went on to state, that if there was 
a man who stood high in the community before Mr. Ran- 


dolph came to the county himself, a man of great talents 
and virtue, he soon gave him to understand that he, Ran- 
dolph, must be foremost, and that he did not intend to join 
in the worship of him. If a citizen of his county held a 
prominent position and opposed him, he immediately set to 
work to pull him down — and that must have been a solid 
foundation which his destructive hand could not demolish. 

No oxi^ flattered more his friends than he di.d; none were 
capable of doing it in finer style. Few could resist his arts. 
A young man of talent and promise, upon whom he chose 
for some cause or other to lavish his favors, might be con- 
scious of his insincerity, might have received the solemn 
warnings of his friends, still he would remain under the 
spell of his influence. Nor could he be led away from the 
snare by his father even, until the tempter changed his bet- 
ter nature, and "by some devilish cantrap slight," suddenly 
forced him from his presence. Then followed tears of re- 
pentance, for having neglected the advice of his parent who, 
from long observation, had discovered how easily Mr. Ran- 
dolph's friendship was estranged, and how deadly his resent- 
ment against those he once pretended to love. 

When he chose to make himself agreeable, there was a 
charm about him which was irresistible. The pious old 
lady, who religiously observed the second commandment, 
never having seen Mr. Randolph, might grieve to find her 
husband worshiping an idol below, but when she too came 
to know him well, found herself kneeling at the same idola- 
trous shrine. We should like to know how many of those 
he determined to win ever failed to be won. The only way 
of escape, we imagine, was to flee. To remain within the 
sound of that voice, when in tune, to gaze upon that eye 
when **the fire was quenched," was certain and hopeless 
captivity. It is curious how that eye and that voice could 



be made at one time the instrument of such pleasure, and at 
another of such pain ; how his presence should be so fasci- 
nating to his friends, and so terrible to his foes. But it is no 
wonder that with these extraordinary physical advantages 
and his genius he "raised emotions never felt before," and 
produced effects which the world despaired of ever witness- 
ing again. 

But, like Swift, Mr. Randolph coveted the fear of his fel- 
low man more than his love or admiration. His genius was 
idolized, but the man was not beloved. He possessed the 
art of making people in love with themselves, but not with 
him. He mixed very litde with society at home, and had 
none of those qualities which drew his supporters near. He 
looked upon mankind in the light in which they are repre- 
sented in the Scriptures, but without charity. Hence he 
preferred to govern by fear rather than by love; to drive, 
instead of leading them gently by the hand. 

We are not mistaken in saying that he possessed an in- 
fluence in his district which no other man ever did. During 
a long career of public service, as stated before, he was never 
defeated before the people but once. His conduct, in conse- 
quence of that defeat, his never forgetting it, his high re- 
sentment against those w^ho voted against him, and the 
means he adopted of repairing his loss and ensuring his 
next election, lets us into the secret of his great success, and 
utterly dispels the illusion about his "bowing his head to 
the stroke without a murmur." 

In some places we are informed the people voted for his 
opponent C7i masse. He found out the leading men in all 
the neighborhoods which went against him. It is astonish- 
ing what a knowledge he had, not only of the public affairs 
of others, but of their private concerns. It seemed he knew 
«ver}'thing that was going on, heard everything to be heard. 


and saw everything in sight, and what he could neither see 
nor hear, he had some one to tell him, even if it was a negro. 

So it was one court day he sought out a certain Mr. S., 
ivho he knew had carried a certain precinct almost unani- 
mously for Mr. Eppes. He met him with malice prepense, 
but with all the forms of the greatest politeness and friend- 

Now let the reader bear in mind that whenever Mr. Ran- 
dolph stopped for a moment on the street, the people began 
to collect around him, and if he remained long at a place 
talking politics to any one, the whole court green was gazing 
at him, and eagerly catching in every word he said. 

Mr. S. being artfully drawn into a political discussion, Mr. 
Randolph propounded to him some of the most difficult 
questions that ever were conceived of, questions which per- 
haps Webster himself could not have answered. 

His opponent being a plain farmer, who made no pre- 
tensions to deep learning, failed of course to solve the ab- 
struse problems. Mr. Randolph would then express the 
greatest astonishment that a man of his sense and weight in 
the community had not turned his attention to those matters. 

Mr. Randolph raising his voice to a pitch resembling a 
speech, by this time had gathered a tremendous crowd 
around him, who witnessed the agonizing scene. Mr. S. 
would have given his right arm for a chance to escape; but 
the inexorable schoolmaster held him on to his lessons. To 
break off and run before everybody, and with a fire in rear, 
was what he could not stand. 

Mr. Randolph kept putting knotty questions to him, which 
he failed to answer, whereupon he would repeat his expres- 
sions of astonishment. Still, all was done in such elegant 
style, that no offence could be taken. But no school-boy on 


examination ever suffered more at being found deficient than 
did Mr. S. on this memorable occasion. 

The sympathies of the spectators were all against the ig- 
norant man who undertook to control the votes of others. 
For, we may rest assured, that Mr. Randolph, before he was 
done with him, made them believe that his antagonist had 
committed an unpardonable sin. We would not be surprised 
if they were enraged both against themselves and him — 
themsehes for following the blind and him for presuming to 

This thorough examination and ex|X)sure, before a lai^e 
collection of [>eople, we are informed, completely destroyed 
the confidence of the neighbors in the political sagacity of 
the said Mr. S. At the next election Mr. Randolph carried 
the precinct by an overwhelming majorit}'. 

This unmerciful chastisement was to be, moreover, a warn- 
ing to all who should dare to take an active part against him 
for all time to come. 

Few men who, if thev had the abilitv, have the heart to 
expose a man after this manner. But, we must recollect, 
Mr. Randolph could stand no opposition, and individual 
feeling was ne\'er in his way. Nor did he regulate the pun- 
ishment according to the offence. If he were thwarted in 
the least, he would crush the very soul of his opponent. 

Attacks upon the feelings and opinions of others was one 
of the means he adopted of maintaining his supremacy. 
Hut he also made people afraid of the dirk which he wore in 
his pocket. Generally, he could pierce a man through with 
that long bony finger ; but those who were insensible to that, 
he wished to keep in dread of the solid metal. 

His plan was to make people afraid of him physically, as 
well as mentally. He frequently talked about shooting peo- 
ple. He threatened to shoot Mr. S., and actually called for 


him at a sale for the purpose; but Mr. S. stood firm and Mr. 
Randolph abandoned what he pretended was his purpose. 

He also threatened the son of Mr. S., and scared him ter- 
ribly, for talking about whipping his serv^ant, Juba. 

As to his servants, he kept them in terror of him. 

After his return from Russia, and after the Southampton 
insurrection, he gave orders that all his negroes should 
change quarters. Those at the lower should be moved to 
the upper plantation, and vice versa. At the same time he 
instituted a general search for stolen goods. 

In one of the cabins he found some wood, which he said 
he was convinced was stolen. He shut himself up in the 
same room with the suspected negro, told him he could not 
live in the same world with such a rascal, and gave him one 
gun, and he took another. The poor slave, alarmed nearly 
to death, ran up stairs and jumped out of the window. 

All this was for effect. He knew his servant was afraid to 
defend himself; nor had he the slightest idea of shooting 
him ; his sole object was to place the negro in terror. 

His method of dealing with his overseers is well known 
in the countv. We have seen how he dismissed one for not 
joining in his abuse of a neighbor, and how he made another 
pull off his shoes before he went in to see him ; we will now 
state how he served another for a slight variation of orders. 

In a spirit of spiteful annoyance to a gentleman who re- 
sided on the opposite side of Staunton river, and who kept 
a ferry, he established another, offering its use gratuitously. 
One day Mr. Randolph rode down and found York, the 
ferryman, absent from his post. The overseer was imme- 
diately summoned to explain why it was so. 

Mr. Randolph asked him if he did not tell him that York 
was to be on the bank ? 

The overseer replied that he had merely sent him a little 


way off to worm some tobacco, which he thought he could 
do, and attend to the ferry besides. 

"The next time you disobey my orders," said Mr. Ran- 
dolph, " I wish you to understand that you are to be cash- 

Mr. Randolph has the reputation of being one of the 
strangest men that ever lived ; and we have no doubt the 
reader, when he opened this volume, expected to find a re- 
cord of some of his extraordinary deeds. If not already 
satisfied that there never lived a human being like him, we 
are confident he will be when he peruses the following inci- 
dents, written at our solicitation by the late Henry Car- 
rington, of Charlotte county, Virginia, a gentleman of the 
highest standing, who was an eye witness to the scenes de- 
scribed, and whose statements are entitled to the utmost 
credit. We are glad to be able to lay them before the 
reader in his own words and graceful style. Mr. Carrington 

In 1818 I lived in Mr. Randolph's neighborhood — received much hos- 
pitable attention from him, and heard many things from him highly inter- 
esting to me at the time. He was, at that time, unconnected with the 
politics of the country, having declined a reelection to Congress. The 
year was also memorable in the history of Mr. Randolph, as being the 
time at which he made a profession of religion, had family prayers, and 
preached to his servants on Sunday. 

Many incidents that were interesting at the time have passed away. I 
recollect, however, one or two, which perhaps it may be well to preserve. 

In the above mentioned year, Mr. Randolph failed in his supply of 
tobacco plants at his lower quarter, where a man by the name of P. was 
overseer. About the first of July he ascertained that he could get plants 
from Colonel C, in Halifax.> He wrote to P. to take a boat belonging to 
the estate, cross the river to Colonel C.'s, get the plants and plant his crop. 

Some two days afterwards, he learned that the overseer had not obeyed 
the order. He was aroused. He wrote to. me to meet him on the estate 


at nine o'clock next day. On going to the place, according to his ap- 
pointment, I found him on the ground, and also Colonel C, Captain W.,. 
Captain J. S. and Mr. A. G. He proposed to us to ride with him over 
the estate and view the condition of the crops. ^ We found everything in^ 
bad order, the tobacco ground particularly out of order for planting. 

After consuming some hours in the survey, he conducted us to the gra- 
nary. There were gathered together the plantation implements of every 
description, and, in the midst, were standing two negro girls, each with a 
mulatto child in her arms. The assemblage was remarkable, aud I anx- 
iously expected a scene. He enquired of the girls where was P. They 
said that, after collecting the various articles then in our view, he disajv 

Mr. Randolph said he had ordered him also to be present ; but he diso- 
beyed because he could not stand the ordeal to which he was to be sub- 
jected. Then, turning to Mr. G., a plain but respectable citizen, who had, 
some years before, acted as steward for Mr. Randolph, he said : " I have 
invited you here to-day, Mr. G., to make to you publicly, in the presence 
of these gentlemen, all the reparation in my power for the great injury I 
have done you." 

Mr. G. seemed greatly startled. He assured Mr. Randolph that there 
was no occasion for explanation ; that he had always treated him very 

"Sir," replied Mr. Randolph, "you are greatly mistaken. For more 
than a year past, I have endeavored to show by ipy bearing towards you, 
my disgust with you and my contempt for your character. But I am un- 
deceived. This fellow. P., had induced me to believe that you were the 
father of the children now before us. But, I now know that he. P., has 
carried on the intercourse which he charges upon you, and that these are 
his children." 

Never was man more astonished than . was Mr. G. He reiterated, — 
"never, Mr. Randolph, was there a greater lie." « * * Mr.. 

Randolph all the time assuring him that he knew that he had wronged 
him, and therefore he was anxious to make the most ample apology and 

He then turned to the gentlemen present and said: "Look at these 
girls; they are my crop hands. See how their heads are combed; how 
oily their hair. Do they look like they had stood the blasts of Winter or 
Summer's sun. No, sirs; they have been in his harem." 


The scene was highly dramatic ; the acting, if it could be so regarded, 

After this scene at the granary, Mr. Randolph proposed to us to go to 
the house and get some fresh water. Mrs. P. brought us the water. Mr. 
Randolph, in our presence, said to her, he was aware of the infidelity of 
her husband, and felt for her the deepest compassion. 

Mr. P. had, in the mean time, taken himself to some house in the 
neighborhood, where, from great perturbation of spirit, he fell ill. Mr. 
Randolph sent for a lawyer and instituted several suits against him. But, 
hearing that he was seriously ill, his feelings relented. He told me it did 
not become him, a professing Christian, to persecute the man to death. 
" I must go and see him," said he ; and he did so, with the hope of curing 
and relieving him. 

He told P. that he must not let this difficulty depress him; that the suits 
he had ordered agamst him must be prosecuted to judgment, as an exam- 
ple to his successors, but that no execution should be issued. 

Mr. Randolph asked him what he intended to do. Mr. P. told him he 
wished to move west. Mr. Randolph asked him if he had money for the 
purpose. Mr. P. replied, he had not; but that he proix)sed selling the 
negro boy who waited on him. Mr. Randolph asked the price. Five 
hundred dollars, was the reply. Thereupon Mr. Randolph agreed to pur- 
chase the boy, and paid the price. 

Mr. Carrington continues : 

In August of the year 1818, there came to Mr. Randolph's a man by 
the name of M., who represented himself to be a citizen of Georgia, but 
staying at present with G. B., whose lands adjoined Mr. Randolph's, that 
he was negotiating with said B. for his land, and that he had called on 
Mr. Randolph to get some information in regard to the dividing lines be- 
tween him and B. 

Mr. Randolph said to him, that he must decline going into the matter 
of the land; but there was one subject which his conscience required him 
to bring to his mind. "Sir," said Mr. Randolph, "there is a subject of 
vastly more importance than land — the salvation of your soul. It is 
strongly impressed upon me that you are a great sinner. It is too proba- 
ble that you have already committed the unpardonable sin ; but possibly 
this may not be the case." And he urged upon him the importance of 
attending to this great matter. 


M. was amused at the freedom of Mr. Randolph's remark, and con- 
cluded to indulge in some freedom in return in regard to Mr. Randolph. 
He said: "Mr. Randolph, you can't tell me what I am thinking about." 
Mr. Randolph replied : " I should be very poorly employed in guessing 
your thoughts." 

M. at length said : " Mr. Randolph, I must tell you what I am thinking 
about — I am thinking you are an eunuch." 

Mr. Randolph immediately assumed the loftiest attitude. " Sir," said 
he, "if you had used this language to me at any other period of my life, 
you would have been instantly a dead man. Nothing restrains me from 
taking your unprofitable life but the fear of God and the grace that is 
here," (laying his hand upon his heart). "Go, sir; leave me, lest I 
be templed to sin." 

M. left in great consternation. 

Mr. Randolph came into the room where were assembled Mr. , Dr. 

and Dr. . He was greatly excited ; talked till late bed-time on 

the subject. Next morning, about day-break, he came into the room 
where the three gentlemen slept; awoke them, and said that he had made 
this M.'s conduct the subject of much reflection and of prayer; and he 
had come to the conclusion that, by no law, human or divine, ought such 
a wretch to live; that he had loaded the guns and ordered an early break- 
fast and horses, and they must all go and put him to death. 

All was hurry and preparation, and soon they were on their way to 
shoot M. Mr. Randolph declared that it was said to him in answer to 
prayer that the wretch must die. 

Arrived at the place, M. was called out, and told to take his stand, that 
they came to take his life. 

M. was greatly alarmed and agitated. He fell on his knees and beg- 
ged for life. 

Mr. Randolph made every demonstration of his deadly purpose, but 
suddenly seemed to relent, and said that as he so eagerly desired to live, 
and certainly was in no condition to die, he would grant his life, but on 
the condition that he should immediately leave the county and state, and 
never be heard of here again. Moreover, he should advertise him as a 
swindler and imposter. 

M. was too glad to accept the terms, mounted his horse, and rode off at 
a rapid pace. 



Mr. Randolph advertised in the Enquirer newspaper, in a few days, 
thereafter, the said M. as a swindler and imposter, and a purchaser of 
pretended titles to land. 

It is said, we know not how truthfully, that the last time M. was seen in 
these parts was at Halifax Court-house, riding at full speed and looking 
behind him. The image of Mr. Randolph was doubtless more indelibly 
impressed upon his mind than that of any other object on earth, and re- 
mained the dark cloud of his existence. 

This is the way Mr. Randolph resented insults from nerveless men. 
His conduct on this occasion was not that of an ordinary man with strong 
feelings, but of an extraordinary man, arbitrary, vindictive, with almost 
absolute power over others, yet under the dominion of his own violent 
passions. It is the conduct of one whose heart but not head is deranged. 

Are we wrong in saying that Mr. Randolph was the most vindictive man 
that ever lived ? For a remark, which was not intended as an insult, he 
humbled his victim to the very dust, and pronounced a judgment upon 
him more terrible and speedy in its effects than any which could proceed 
from a court of justice. We have no doubt that the reader is satisfied with 
the proof which we have adduced, and that he has rendered a verdict of 

"Well may it be said of him, that he did things which nobody else could 
do, and made others do things which they never did before, and of which 
they repented all the days of their lives, and that, on some occasions, he 
was totally regardless of private rights, and not held amenable to the laws 
of the land. 



An Amusing Incident — Reception at a Private House — Could not have 

Written Don Juan. 

THE following little incident was told to us by Honorable 
James W. Bouldin. It amused us, and may the reader. 
He says: 

Mr. Randolph once rode up to his house, saying he had 
lost his way. (They lived about fifteen miles apart.) He 
dismounted, and made himself highly entertaining. Mr. 
Bouldin says he knew it was all put on about his missing his 
way, and he determined to retaliate. So he went to Mr. 
Randolph's soon afterward and inquired for the overseer. 
After sitting an hour or two in high chat, he reminded his 
host of the object of his visit. Mr. Randolph caught his 
meaning in an instant. Said he, pulling out his watch : " If 
you really want to see my overseer, he may be found at this 
hour in a certain part of my plantation,** naming it. 

" I was once deputed," said Mr. Bouldin, "to ask him whe- 
ther we ought to send from our county delegates to the 
Charlottesville Convention on the subject of internal im- 

Said he : ** Sir, I am against cabals of all sorts. As to in- 
ternal improvement it begins here — striking his breast." 

Said I : " How do you account for wise men meeting to 
deliberate what to do with the fund for internal improve- 
ment when* that fund has no money?" 

" Ver>' easily." 


"How, sir?" 

" They are not wise men." 

"The Chief Justice was there, I think, with many other 
able men — men that he always admitted to be able." 

The foregoing little incidents were thrown in without any 
relation to the remarks which follow. 

The reader can but remember the impression made upon 
him from reading Mr. "Garland's Life of John Randolph" — 
how the latter complained of the want of society — how 
dreary and lonely he was at Roanoke. 

From the developments already made, it cannot be a mat- 
ter of surprise that he had very few visitors. We have 
heard, and we believe truly, that when some of his friends 
from a distance designed to pay him a visit, they would 
stop at a neighbor's house to find beforehand what sort of 
humor Mr. Randolph was in. If he was in an agreeable 
mood they paid the visit; if not, they returned to await a 
more favorable frame of mind. 

He visited very little himself When he did visit his 
neighbors, who were plain, unpretending people, but highly 
cultivated, and some of them wealthy, he created quite a 
sensation. He was helped out of his carriage, escorted into 
the house, and the whole plantation placed at his command, 
from the services of the landlord to those of the humblest 
slave ; from the bed-chamber of the landlady to a room in 
the garret. He has been known to accept the bed-chamber 
of his hostess repeatedly. Yet he never regarded the in- 
convenience he was putting people to ; seemed to think it 
all right that he should be waited upon as no other man was, 
forsooth, because there was no other man equal to him. 

And this reminds us of a very interesting scene which the 
late Dr. William A. Fuqua, of Charlotte county, described 
to us. 


He says on one occasion Mr. Randolph drove up in his 
coach-and-four to the house of his friend Mr. A., on his way 
to Buckingham. He was attended by two servants. The 
most unusual attentions were paid to the distinguished guest. 
Such a brushing of rooms; such cooking in the kitchen, 
and stir generally among all on the plantation, white and 
black, never was seen. Nothing could be clean enough for 
him; nothing too good for him. His friends, whom he 
visited, were afraid not to know what food suited his fas- 
tidious taste. Hence, at the table they always handed him 
something he was fond of If it happened to be fish, the 
modest hostess was overwhelmed with compliments, and he 
would talk about fish for perhaps a half an hour. 

His arrival at Mr. A.'s excited the curiosity of some nice 
young ladies, residing near by, to see the strange and unac- 
countable man. They sent over to know if Mr. Randolph 
could be seen ; the host sent to know of his guest. 

After spending some time at his toilet, and when every- 
thing was ready for the curtain to rise, the young ladies were 
ushered in. Mr. Randolph was reclining upon a sofa, with 
his head leaning upon one of his hands, and looking as if 
he was ready to expire. He showed off handsomely before 
the spectators. His polished manners and fine address 
charmed them. 

But before the performance concluded, he said something 
to make the company feel that they were "handled." He 
rang the changes on the name of one of the young ladies to 
her great embarrassment, and wound up by telling her to 
tell her mother to change her name, for she had named her 
after "a very great rascal." But, nevertheless, the young 
ladies went home highly gratified at having seen John Ran- 

Dr. Joel W. Watkins was once fox hunting : his dogs ran 


on Mr. Randolph's plantation; his overseer informed him 
he was sorry he should have to report him, his orders were 
imperative from Mr. Randolph, whose land was posted. 
That night Mr. Randolph sent a servant with a note, saying 
he did not post his land against gentlemen who rode Roan- 
oke horses, but against those who rode grass-g — ted horses. 
His (Dr. W.'s) horse could jump over any fence his (Ran- 
dolph's) d — n lazy overseer would make. 

An old lady who resided for years near Mr. Randolph's 
solitary abode, on the banks of the Staunton, informed us 
that she was one day sitting alone in her chamber, when 
suddenly appeared before her a woman dressed in white in 
the dead of winter. She was described as a beautiful crea- 
ture, but she had lost the bloom of youth, and was as pale 
as death itself She talked about her lover. She said, ** he 
would never prove false to his plighted faith ; Mr. Randolph 
would marry her yet." 

When told that she had better cease to think of him, for 
that he would never marr^^ her, ** Yes, he will," she replied. 

She talked incessantly of him, nor could she be induced 
to believe that he did not love her. Presently there came 
riding by a young gentleman leading a horse with a side 
saddle on. She darted out of the house and asked permis- 
sion to ride a few miles. The young man politely gave his 
consent; but what was his astonishment when she mounted 
astride like a man and rode off. Though greatly embar- 
rassed, he had nothing to do but to escort his strange com- 
panion to the end of her journey. 

We are informed by the same truthful lady that this same 
strange woman occasionally visited Mr. Randolph from time 
to time for several years. There was no doubt upon the 
mind of our informant that Mr. Randolph was gready an- 
noyed by his fair visitor. He sometimes rid himself of her 


by putting her on a horse with a servant to escort her, and 
sending her away in that manner. 

Had the poor creature lost her mind ? We had not sup- 
posed that any woman ever loved Mr. Randolph to that 
extent. An old lady once remarked to us that she never 
heard any of her female acquaintances acknowledge that 
she aspired to the hand of Mr. Randolph, or speak of him 
in the light of a beau. The thought of ** catching" him 
never seemed to occur to them. Nor had we ever asso- 
ciated Mr. Randolph in our mind with love scrapes and 
adventures such as are indulged in by most other men. 
When therefore we were informed that a young lady had 
fallen desperately in love with him, so as either to have 
dethroned her reason, or made her take extraordinary 
means of counterfeiting derangement, in order to procure 
an interview with him, we were surprised. And yet there 
was nothing unnatural about the story. 

Mr. Baldwin expresses the opinion that Mr. Randolph 
might have been the author of Childe Harold. We agree 
with him. But brilliant as was his imagination he never 
could have written Don Juan. There are thoughts and 
scenes described in that poem which he could not have 
painted, because he had no conception of them. The plea- 
sures of illicit love were the bane of Byron — Randolph 
never knew them. The love of the one, was ardent, pas- 
sionate ; that of the other, pure, Platonic. How could he 
have been the author of the scene commencing — 

" Twas on the sixth of June, about the hour 
Of half-past six — perhaps still nearer seven — 
When Julia sate within as pretty a bower," &c. 

He might have sung: — 


**Tis sweet to hear 
At midnight on the blue and moonlit deep 

The song and oar of Adrians gondolier 

By distance mellowed, o'er the waters sweep : 

'Tis sweet to see the evening star appear; 
'Tis sweet to listen as the night winds creep 

From leaf to leaf: 'tis sweet to view on high 

The rainbow, based on ocean, span the sky." 

All this he had doubtless felt, and might have sung as 
well as Byron himself. But how could he have concluded 
this long catalogue with the following outburst of feeling : 

<*But sweeter still than this, than these, than all, 
Is first and pa,ssionate love." 

The fair and fading woman, who left her distant home, 
and wandered in the dead of winter in search of her lover, 
returned from the shades of Roanoke as pure and undefiled 
as she came. 



General Wilkinson's Challenge to Mr. Randolph to Fight a Duel— Mr. 

Randolph's Reply — Duel with Clay. 


R. WILLIAM TOWNES, now eighty-six years of 
age, has in his possession a scrap-book of Thomas 
Jefferson's, purchased at his sale by the late James C. 
Bruce, of Halifax county, Virginia, and presented to him by 
Mr. Bruce, in which there is a letter from John Randolph to 
General James Wilkinson of the United States army, in 
reply to a challenge of General Wilkinson to fight a duel. 
As we have never seen the correspondence in print, we take 
pleasure in placing it before the public. 

In a letter offering us a copy of it, dated March 26, 1877^ 
Mr. Townes writes : 

"The quarrel between General Wilkinson and Mr. Ran- 
dolph had its origin in the grand jury room at Richmond 
at the trial of Aaron Burr. Mr. Randolph was foreman of 
the grand jury which indicted him. Colonel Henry E. 
Coleman, of Halifax, was also a member of the grand jur}% 
and from him I was informed of the particulars shortly 
after the quarrel took place." 

Mr. Randolph believed that General Wilkinson was im- 
plicated in the treason of Burr. When he, Wilkinson, 
entered the grand jury room as a witness, he was in full 
uniform as an United States General, with his side arms. 
Mr. Randolph instantly ordered the marshal to "disarm 
James Wilkinson," not even giving him a tide, which the 


marshal did ; and it seemed to give great offence to General 

The following correspondence took place afterwards in 
the city of Washington : 

Washington, Dec. 24th, 1807. 

Sir: — I understand several expressions have escaped you, in their 
nature personal and highly injurious to my reputation. The exception- 
able language imputed to you may be briefly and substantially comprised 
in the following statements: That you have avowed the opinion that I 
was a rogue — that you have ascribed to me the in/irnai disposition to 
commit murder to prevent the exposition of my sinister designs, and 
through me have stigmatized those citizen soldiers who compose the 
military corps of our country. No person can be more sensible of the 
pernicious tendency of such cruel and undeserved reflections in their 
application to public men, or private individuals than yourself; nor is any 
man more competent to determine the just reparation to which they 
establish a fair claim. Under these impressions I have no hesitation to 
appeal to your justice, your magnanimity and your gallantry, to prescribe 
the manner of redress, being persuaded your decision will comport with 
the feelings of a man of honor — that you will be found equally prompt 
to assert a right or repair a wrong. I transmit this letter through the 
post-ofifice, and shall expect your answer by such a channel as you may 

deem proper. 

I have the honor to be, sir. 

Your obedient servant, 

James Wilkinson. 
The Hon. John Randolph. 

To this letter Mr. Randolph replied as follows : 

December 25TH, 1867. 

Sir: — Several months ago I was informed of your having said that you 
were acquainted with what had passed in the grand jury room at Rich- 
mond last spring, and that you declared a determination to challenge me. 
1 am to consider your letter of the last night by mail as the execution of 
that avowed purpose, and through the same channel I return you my 


answer. Whatever may have been the expressions used by me in regard 
to your character, they were the result of deliberate opinion, founded on 
the most authoritative evidence, the greater part of which my country im- 
posed upon me, to weigh and decide upon; they were such as to my 
knowledge and to youi-s have been delivered by the first men in the Union, 
and probably by a full moiety of the American people. 

In you, sir, I recognize no right to hold me accountable for my public 
or private opinion of your character that would not subject me to an equal 
claim from Colonel Burr or Sergeant Dubbough. I cannot descend to 

your level. This is my final answer. 

John Randolph. 
Brigadier General Wilkinson. 

Mr. Randolph did not decline General Wilkinson's chal- 
lenge through fear. Mr. Randolph was a brave man, and 
had already shown it upon the field of honor by his ex- 
change of shots with Mr. Taylor; and he was yet to prove 
it upon a most signal occasion in his duel with Henr}' Clay. 

That duel was fought during the administration of Adams, 
and while he was United States senator. Mr. Randolph 
believed every word of the story of Cremer, and it was the 
following allusion to the charge of bargain and corruption 
which caused the challenge of Mr. Clay : ** This until now 
unheard of combination of the black -leg with the Puritan ; 
this union of Black George with Blifil" (an allusion from 
Fielding's novel of "Tom Jones"). 

Referring to this, Mr. Parks remarks : " Language could 
not have been made more offensive. But the fruitful imagi- 
nation of Mr. Randolph was not exhausted, and he pro- 
ceeded with denunciation, which spared not the venerable 
mother of Mr. Clay, then living — denouncing her for bring- 
ing into the world * this being so brilliant, yet so corrupt, 
which, like a rotten mackerel by moonlight, shined and 
5tunk.' '^ 

This drew from Mr. Clay a challenge, and a meeting was 


the consequence. We purpose to give Mr. Benton*s account; 
of it, which Mr. Clay said was strictly correct. 

Mr, Benton says : 

It was Saturday, the first of April, towards noon, the Senate not be- 
w^ ihat day in session, that Mr. Randolph came to my room at Brown's 
Woid« and (without explaining the reason of the question) asked me if I 
was a blood -relation of Mr. Clay ? I answered that I was; and he imme- 
<)Mite)y replied that that put an end to a request which he had wished to 
Make of me; and then went on to tell me that he had just received a 
<^llen{^ from Mr. Clay, had accepted it, was ready to go out, and would 
a|Y^y to Colonel Tatnall to be his second. Before leaving, he told me 
1« would make my bosom the depository of a secret which he should 
oommit to no other person : it was that he did not intend to fire at Mr. 
Clay» He told it to me because he wanted a witness of his intention, and 
<J|<I not mean to tell it to his second or anybody else; and enjoined invio- 
UWe secrecy until the duel was over. This was the first notice I had of 
the affiftir. The circumstances of the delivery of the challenge, I had from 
Iteneral Jesup, Mr. Clay's second, and they were so perfectly character- 
r>4ic of Mr. Randolph that I give them in detail, and in the General's own 

•* I was unable to see Mr. Randolph until the morning of the first of 
April, when I called on him for the purpose of delivering the note. Pre- 
viois to presenting it, however, I thought it proper to ascertain from Mr. 
Randolph himself, whether the information which Mr. Clay had received — 
that he considered himself personally responsible for the attack on him — 
was correct. I accordingly informed Mr. Randolph that I was the bearer 
of a message from Mr. Clay in consequence of an attack which he had 
made upon his private as well as public character in the Senate; that I 
was aware no one had the right to question him out of the Senate for any- 
thing said in debate, unless he chose voluntarily to waive his privileges 
as a member of that body. Mr. Randolph replied, that the constitution 
did protect him, but he would never shield himself under such a subter- 
fuge as the pleading of the privilege as a Senator from Virginia; that he 
did hold himself accountable to Mr. Clay; but he said that gentleman 
iMid first two pledges to redeem : one that he had bound himself to fight 
any member of the House of Representatives who should acknowledge 


himself the author of a certain publication in a Philadelphia paper; and 
the other, that he stood pledged to establish certain facts in regard to a 
great man, whom he would not name ; but he added he could receive no 
verbal message from Mr. Clay — that any message from him must be in 
writing. I replied that I was not authorized by Mr. Clay to enter into or 
receive any verbal explanations — that the inquiries I had made were for 
my own satisfaction and upon my own responsibility — that the only mes- 
sage of wiiich I was the bearer was in writing. I then presented the note 
and remarked that I knew nothing of Mr. Clay's pledges: but that if 
they existed as he (Mr. Randolph) understood them, and he was aware of 
them when he made the attack complained of, he could not avail himself 
of them — that by making the attack I thought he had waived them him- 
self. He said he had not the remotest intention of taking advantage of 
the pledges referred to; that he had mentioned them merely to remind 
me that he was waiving his privilege, not only as a Senator from Virginia, 
but as a private gentleman; that he was ready to respond to Mr. Clay, 
and would be obliged to me if I would bear his note in reply; and that he 
would in the course of the day look out for a friend. I declined being the 
bearer of the note, but informed him my only reason for declining was 
that I thought he owed it to himself to consult his friends before taking 
so important a step. He seized my hand, saying, 'You are right, sir. I 
thank you for the suggestion ; but as you do not take my note, you must 
not be impatient if you should not hear from me to-day. I now think of 
only two friends, and there are circumstances connected with one of them 
which may deprive me of his services, and the other is in bad health — he 
was sick yesterday, and may not be out to-day.' I assured him that any 
reasonable time which he might find necessary to take would be satisfac- 
tory. I took leave of hmi ; and it is due to his memory to say that his 
bearing was, throughout the interview, that of a high-toned, chivalrous 
gentleman of the old school." 

These were the circumstances of the delivery of the challenge, and the 
only thing necessary to give them their character, is to recollect that with 
this prompt acceptance and positive refusal to explain, and this extra cut 
about the two pledges, there was a perfect determination not to fire at Mr. 
Clay. That determination rested on two grounds: first, an entire unwil- 
lingness to hurt Mr. Clay ; and next, a conviction that to return the fire 
would be to answer, and would be an implied acknowledgment of Mr. 
Clay's right to make him answer. This he would not do, neither by im- 


"How, sir?" 

" They are not wise men." 

" The Chief Justice was there, I think, with many other 
able men — men that he always admitted to be able." 

The foregoing little incidents were thrown in without any 
relation to the remarks which follow. 

The reader can but remember the impression made upon 
him from reading Mr. "Garland's Life of John Randolph" — 
how the latter complained of the want of society — how 
dreary and lonely he was at Roanoke. 

From the developments already made, it cannot be a mat- 
ter of surprise that he had very few visitors. We have 
heard, and we belie\'e truly, that when some of his friends 
from a distance designed to pay him a visit, they would 
stop at a neighbor's house to find beforehand what sort of 
humor Mr. Randolph was in. If he was in an agreeable 
mood they paid the visit; if not, they returned to await a 
more favorable frame of mind. 

He visited very little himself When he did visit his 
neighbors, who were plain, unpretending people, but highly 
cultivated, and some of them wealthy, he created quite a 
sensation. He was helped out of his carriage, escorted into 
the house, and the whole plantation placed at his command, 
from the services of the landlord to those of the humblest 
slave ; from the bed-chamber of the landlady to a room in 
the garret. He has been known to accept the bed-chamber 
of his hostess repeatedly. Yet he never regarded the in- 
convenience he was putting people to ; seemed to think it 
all right that he should be waited upon as no other man was, 
forsooth, because there was no other man equal to him. 

And this reminds us of a very interesting scene which the 
late Dr. William A. Fuqua, of Charlotte county, described 
to us. 


He says on one occasion Mr. Randolph drove up in his 
coach -and-four to the house of his friend Mr. A., on his way 
to Buckingham. He was attended by two servants. The 
most unusual attentions were paid to the distinguished guest. 
Such a brushing of rooms; such cooking in the kitchen, 
and stir generally among all on the plantation, white and 
black, never was seen. Nothing could be clean enough for 
him; nothing too good for him. His friends, whom he 
visited, were afraid not to know what food suited his fas- 
tidious taste. Hence, at the table they always handed him 
something he was fond of If it happened to be fish, the 
modest hostess was overwhelmed with compliments, and he 
would talk about fish for perhaps a half an hour. 

His arrival at Mr. A.'s excited the curiosity of some nice 
young ladies, residing near by, to see the strange and unac- 
countable man. They sent over to know if Mr. Randolph 
could be seen ; the host sent to know of his guest. 

After spending some time at his toilet, and when every- 
thing was ready for the curtain to rise, the young ladies were 
ushered in. Mr. Randolph was reclining upon a sofa, with 
his head leaning upon one of his hands, and looking as if 
he was ready to expire. He showed off handsomely before 
the spectators. His polished manners and fine address 
charmed them. 

But before the performance concluded, he said something 
to make the company feel that they were "handled." He 
rang the changes on the name of one of the young ladies to 
her great embarrassment, and wound up by telling her to 
tell her mother to change her name, for she had named her 
after "a very great rascal." But, nevertheless, the young 
ladies went home highly gratified at having seen John Ran- 

Dr. Joel W. Watkins was once fox hunting : his dogs ran 


"How, sir?" 

" They are not wise men." 

" The Chief Justice was there, I think, with many other 
able men — men that he ahvays admitted to be able." 

The foregoing litde incidents were thrown in without any 
relation to the remarks which follow. 

The reader can but remember the impression made upon 
him from reading Mr. '* Garland's Life of John Randolph" — 
how the latter complained of the want of society — how 
dreary and lonely he was at Roanoke. 

From the developments already made, it cannot be a mat- 
ter of surprise that he had very few visitors. We have 
heard, and we believe truly, that when some of his friends 
from a distance designed to pay him a visit, they would 
stop at a neighbor's house to find beforehand what sort of 
humor Mr. Randolph was in. If he was in an agreeable 
mood they paid the visit; if not, they returned to await a 
more favorable frame of mind. 

He visited very little himself When he did visit his 
neighbors, who were plain, unpretending people, but highly 
cultivated, and some of them wealthy, he created quite a 
sensation. He was helped out of his carriage, escorted into 
the house, and the whole plantation placed at his command, 
from the services of the landlord to those of the humblest 
slave ; from the bed-chamber of the landlady to a room in 
the garret. He has been known to accept the bed-chamber 
of his hostess repeatedly. Yet he never regarded the in- 
convenience he was putting people to ; seemed to think it 
all right that he should be waited upon as no other man was, 
forsooth, because there was no other man equal to him. 

And this reminds us of a very interesting scene which the 
late Dr. William A. Fuqua, of Charlotte county, described 
to us. 


He says on one occasion Mr. Randolph drove up in his 
coach-and-four to the house of his friend Mr. A., on his way 
to Buckingham. He was attended by t^'o servants. The 
most unusual attentions were paid to the distinguished g^est. 
Such a brushing of rooms; such cooking in the kitchen, 
and stir generally among all on the plantation, white and 
black, never was seen. Nothing could be clean enough for 
him; nothing too good for him. His friends, whom he 
visited, were afraid not to know what food suited his fas- 
tidious taste. Hence, at the table they always handed him 
something he was fond of If it happened to be fish, the 
modest hostess was overwhelmed with compliments, and he 
would talk about fish for perhaps a half an hour. 

His arrival at Mr. A.'s excited the curiosity of some nice 
young ladies, residing near by, to see the strange and unac- 
countable man. They sent over to know if Mr. Randolph 
could be seen ; the host sent to know of his guest. 

After spending some time at his toilet, and when every- 
thing was ready for the curtain to rise, the young ladies were 
ushered in. Mr. Randolph was reclining upon a sofa, with 
his head leaning upon one of his hands, and looking as if 
he was ready to expire. He showed off handsomely before 
the spectators. His polished manners and fine address 
charmed them. 

But before the performance concluded, he said something 
to make the company feel that they were "handled." He 
rang the changes on the name of one of the young ladies to 
her great embarrassment, and wound up by telling her to 
tell her mother to change her name, for she had named her 
after "a very great rascal." But, nevertheless, the young 
ladies went home highly gratified at having seen John Ran- 

Dr. Joel W. Watkins was once fox hunting : his dogs ran 


determined to open it, and to attempt an accommodation, or a peaceable 
determination of the difficulty. In consequence. General Jesup stated the 
complaint in a note to Colonel Tatnall thus : 

" The injury of which Mr. Clay complains consists in this, that Mr. Ran- 
dolph has charged him with having forged or manufactured a paper con- 
nected with the Panama mission; also, that he has applied to him in 
debate the epithet of black-leg. The explanation which I consider neces- 
sary is, that Mr. Randolph declared that he had no intention of charging 
Mr. Clay, either in his public or private capacity, with forging or falsify- 
ing any paper, or misrepresenting any fact; and also that the term black- 
leg was not intended to apply to him." 

To this exposition of the grounds of the complaint Colonel Tatnall 
answered : 

" Mr. Randolph informs me that the words used by him in debate were 
as follows : * That 1 thought it would be in my power to show evidence, 
sufficiently presumptive, to satisfy a Charlotte (county) jury that this invi- 
tation was manufactured here — that Salazar's letter struck me as bearing 
a strong likeness in point of style to the other papers. I did not under- 
take to prove this, but expressed my suspicion that the fact was so. I 
applied to the administration the epithet. Puritanic, diplomatic, black - 
legged administration.' " 

In this answer Mr. Randolph remained upon his original ground of 
refusing to answer out of the Senate for words spoken within it. In other 
respects the statement of the words actually spoken greatly ameliorated 
the offensive report, the coarse and insulting words, " forging and falsi- 
fying," being disavowed, as in fact they were not used, and were not to 
be found in the published report. The speech was a bitter philippic, and 
intended to be so, taking for its point the alleged coalition between Mr. 
Clay and Mr. Adams with respect to the election, and their effi)rts to get 
up a question contrary to our policy of non-entanglement with foreign 
nations in sending ministers to the Congress of the American States of 
Spanish origin at the Isthmus of Panama. I heard it all, and, though 
sharp and cutting, I think it might have been heard, had he been present, 
without any manifestation of resentment by Mr. Clay. The part which 
he took so seriously to heart, that of having the Panama invitations manu- 
factured in his office was, to my mind, nothing more than attributing to 
him a diplomatic superiority, which enabled him to obtain from the South 
American ministers the invitations that he wanted, and not at all that they 


were spurious fabrications. As to the expression, *^ black-leg and Puri- 
tan^'* it was merely a sarcasm to strike by antithesis, and which, being 
without foundation, might have been disregarded. I presented these 
views to the parties, and if they had come from Mr. Randolph they might 
have been sufficient, but he was inexorable, and would not authorize a 
word to be said beyond what he had written. 

All hope of accommodation having vanished, the seconds proceeded to 
arrange for the duel. The afternoon of Saturday, the 8th of April, was 
fixed upon for the time; the right bank of the Potomac, within the State 
of Virginia, above the Little Falls bridge, was the place; pistols, the wea- 
pons; distance, ten paces; each party to be attended by two seconds and 
a surgeon, and myself at liberty to attend as a mutual friend. There was 
to be no practicing with pistols, and there was none; and the words, 
"one," "two," "three," "stop," after the word "fire," were, by agreement 
between the seconds, and for the humane purpose of reducing the result 
as near as possible to chance, to be given out in quick succession. The 
Virginia side of the Potomac was taken at the instance of Mr. Randolph. 
He went out as a Virginia senator, refusing to compromise that character, 
and, if he fell in defence of its rights, Virginia soil was to him the chosen 
ground to receive his blood. There was a statute of the State against 
duelling within her limits; but, as he merely went lo receive a fire, with- 
out returning it, he deemed that no fighting, and consequently no breach 
of the statute. This reason for choosing Virginia could only be explained 
to me, PS I alone was the depository of his secret. 

The week's delay which the seconds had contrived was about expiring. 
It was Friday evening, or rather night, when I went to see Mr. Clay for 
the last time before the duel. There had been some alienation between us 
since the time of the Presidential election in the House of Representa- 
tives, and I wished to give evidence that there was nothing personal in it. 
The family were in the parlor — company present — and some of it staid 
late. The youngest child, I believe, James, went to sleep on the sofa — a 
circumstance which availed me for a purpose the next day. Mrs. Clay 
was, as always since the death of her daughter, a picture of desolation, but 
calm and conversable, and without the slightest apparent consciousness of 
the impending event. When all were gone, and she had also left the 
parlor, I did what I came for, and said to Mr. Clay, that, notwithstanding 
our late political differences, my personal feelings towards him were the 
same as formerly, and that, in whatever concerned his life and honor, my 


best wishes were with him. He expressed his gratificaion at the visit and 
the declaration, and said it was what he would have expected of me. We 
parted at midnight. 

Saturday, the 8th of April, the day for the duel, had come, and almost 
the hour. It was noon, and the meeting was to take place at 4)4 o'clock. 
I had gone to see Mr. Randolph before the hour, and for a purpose ; and 
besides, it was so far on the way, as he lived half-way to Georgetown, and 
we had to pass through that place to cross the Potomac into Virginia at 
the Little Falls bridge. I had heard nothing from him on the point of 
not returning the tire since the first communication to that effect, eight 
days before. I had no reason to doubt the steadiness of his determina- 
tion, but felt a desire to have fresh assurance of it after so many days' 
delay, and so near approach of the trying moment. I knew it would 
not do to ask him the question — any question which would imply a 
doubt of his word. 1 1 is sensitive feelings would be hurt and annoyed 
at it. So I fell upon a scheme to get at the inquiry without seeming 
to make it. I told him of my visit to Mr. Clay the night before — 
of the late sitting — the child asleep — the unconscious tranquility of 
Mrs. Clay; and added, I could not help reflecting how different all 
that might be the next night. He understood me perfectly, and im- 
mediately said, with a quietude of look and expression which seemed 
to rebuke an unworthy doubt, "/ s/ia// do nothing to disturb the 
sleep of the child or the repose of the mother;''^ and went on with his 
employment (his seconds being engaged in their preparations in a dif- 
ferent room^, which was making codicils to his will, all in the way of 
remembrance to his friends ; the bequests slight in value, but invaluable 
in tenderness of feeling, and beauty of expression, and always appropriate 
to the receiver. To Mr. Macon he gave some English shillings, to keep 
the game when he played whist. His namesake, John Randolph Bryan, 
then at school in Baltimore, and since married to his niece, had been sent 
for to see him, but sent off before the hour of going out, to save the boy 
from a possible shock at seeing him brought back. He wanted some 
gold — that coin not being then in circulation, and only to be obtained by 
favor or purchase — and sent his faithful man, Johnny, to the United States 
Branch Bank to get a few pieces, American being the kind asked for. 
Johnny returned without the gold, and delivered the excuse that the bank 
had none. Instantly Mr. Randolph's clear silver-toned voice was heard 
above its natural pitch, exclaiming, " Their name is legion ; and they are 


liars from the beginning. Johnny, bring me my horse." His own saddle 
horse was brought him — for he never rode Johnny's, nor Johnny his, 
though both, and all his hundred horses, were of the finest English 
blood — and rode off to the bank down Pennsylvania avenue, now Corco- 
ran & Riggs's — Johnny following, as always, forty paces behind. Arrived 
*at the bank, this scene, according to my informant, took place: 

Mr. Randolph asked for the state of his account, was shown it, and 
found to be some four thousand dollars in his favor. He asked for it. 
The teller took up packages of bills, and civilly asked in what sized notes 
he would have it. I want money, said Mr. Randolph, putting emphasis 
on the word, and at that time it required a bold man to intimate that United 
States bank notes were not money. The teller beginning to understand 
him, and willing to make sure, said inquiringly, you want silver? I want 
my money was the reply. Then the teller, lifting boxes to the counter, 
said politely, " Have you a cart, Mr. Randolph, to put it in?" "That is 
my business, sir," said he. By that time the attention of the cashier (Mr. 
Richard Smith; was attracted to what was going on, who came up, and 
understanding the question and its cause, told Mr. Randolph "there was 
a mistake in the answer given to his servant; that they had gold, and that 
he should have what he wanted." 

In fact he had only applied for a few pieces, which he wanted for a 
special purpose. This brought about a compromise. The pieces of gold 
were received, the cart and the silver dispensed with ; but the account in 
bank was closed, and a check taken for the amount on New Vorlc. He 
returned and delivered me a sealed paper, which I was to o]^en if he was 
killed — give back to him if he was not; also an open slip, which I was 
to read before I got to the ground. This slip was a request to feel in his 
left breeches pocket, if he was killed, and find so many pieces of gold — I 
believe nine — take three for myself, and give the same number to Tatnall 
and Hamilton each, to make seals to wear in remembrance of him. We 
were all three at Mr. Randolph's lodgings then, and soon set out, Mr. 
Randolph and his seconds in a carriage, I following him on horseback. 

I have already said that the count was to be quick after giving the word 
fire, and for a reason 'which could not be told to the principals. To Mr. 
Randolph, who did not mean to fire, and who, though agreeing to be shot 
at, had no desire to be hit, this rapidity of counting out the time, and 
quick arrival at the command "stop," presented no objection. With Mr. 
Clay it was different; with him it was all a real transaction, and gave 


rise to some proposal for more deliberateness in counting oflf the time, 
which being communicated. to Colonel Tatnall, and by him to Mr. Ran- 
dolph, had an ill effect upon his feelings, and aided by an untoward acci- 
dent on the ground, unsettled for a moment the noble determination which 
he had formed not to fire at Mr. Clay. I now give the words of General 
Jesup : 

" When I repeated to Mr. Clay the * word' in the manner in which it 
would be given, he expressed some apprehension that as he was not ac- 
customed to the use of the pistol, he might not be able to fire within the 
time, and for that reason alone desired that it might be prolonged. I 
mentioned to Colonel Tatnall the desire of Mr. Clay. He replied : * If 
you insist upon it the time must be prolonged, but I should very much 
regret it.' I informed him that I did not insist upon prolonging the time, 
and I was sure Mr. Clay would acquiesce. The original agreement was 
carried out." 

I knew nothing of this until it was too late to speak with the seconds 
or principals. I had crossed the little Falls bridge just after them, and 
come to the place where the servants and carriages had stopped. I saw 
none of the gentlemen, and supposed they had all gone to the spot where 
the ground was being marked off, but on speaking to Johnny, Mr. Ran- 
dolph, who was still in his carriage, and heard my voice, looked out from 
the window, and said to me: " Colonel, since I saw you, and since I have 
been in this carriage, I have heard something which may make me change 
my determination. Colonel Hamilton will give you a note which will 
explain it." Colonel Hamilton was then in the carriage, and gave me 
the note, in the course of the evening, of which Mr. Randolph spoke. I 
readily comprehended that this possible change of determination related 
to his firing; but the emphasis with which he pronounced the word 
" »/</;'," clearly showed that his mind was undecided, and left it doubtful 
whether he would fire or not. No further conversation took place be- 
tween us ; the preparation for the duel was finished ; the parties went to 
their places ; and I went forward to a piece of rising ground, from which 
I could see what passed and hear what was said. The faithful Johnny 
followed me close, speaking not a word, but evincing the deepest anxiety 
for his beloved master. The place was a thick forest, and the immediate 
spot a little depression or basin, in which the parties stood. The princi- 
pals saluted each other courteously as they took their stands. Colonel 
Tatnall had won the choice of position, which gave to General Jesup the 


•delivery of the word. They stood on a line east and west, a small stump 
just behind Mr. Clay; a low gravelly bank rose just behind Mr. Ran- 
dolph. This latter asked General Jesup to repeat the word as he would 
give it; while in the act of doing so, and Mr. Randolph adjusting the butt 
of his pistol to his hand, the muzzle pointing downwards, and almost to 
the ground, it fired. Instantly Mr. Randolph turned to Colonel Tatnall 
and said : ** I protested against that hair trigger." Colonel Tatnall took 
blame to himself for having sprung the hair. Mr. Clay had not then 
received his pistol. Senator Johnson, of Louisiana (Josiah), one of his 
seconds, was carrying it to him, and still several steps from him. This 
untimely fire, though clearly an accident, necess%rily gave rise to some 
remarks and a species of inquiry, which was conducted with the utmost 
delicacy, but which in itself was of a nature to be inexpressibly painful 
to a gentleman's feelings. Mr. Clay stopped it, with the generous remark 
that the fire was clearly an accident, and it was so unanimously declared. 
Another pistol was immediately furnished, and an exchange of shots took 
place, and happily without effect upon the persons. Mr. Randolph's bul- 
let struck the stump behind Mr. Clay, and Mr. Clay's knocked up the 
earth and gravel behind Mr. Randolph, and in a line with the level of his 
hips, both bullets having gone so true and close, that it was a marvel how 
they missed. The moment had come for me to interix)se. I went in 
among the parties and offered my mediation, but nothing could be done. 
Mr. Clay said, with the wave of the hand, with which he was accustomed 
to put away a trifle, " This is child's play," and required another fire. 
Mr. Randolph also demanded another fire. The seconds were directed to 
reload. While this was going on I prevailed on Mr. Randolph to walk 
away from his post, and renewed to him, more pressingly than ever, my 
importunities to yield to some accommodation, but I found him more 
determined than I had ever seen him, and for the first time impatient, 
and seemingly annoyed and dissatisfied at what I was doing. He was 
indeed annoyed and dissatisfied. The accidental fire of his pistol preyed 
upon his feelings. He was doubly chagrined at it, both as a circumstance 
susceptible in itself of an unfair interpretation, and as having been the 
immediate and controlling cause of his firing at Mr. Clay. He regretted 
this fire the instant it was over. He felt that it had subjected him to im- 
putations, from which he knew himself to be free — a desire to kill Mr. 
Clay, and a contempt for the laws of his beloved state, and the annoy- 


ances which he felt at these vexatious circamstances, revived his original 
determination, and decided him irrevocably to carry it out. 

It was in this interval that he told me what he had heard since we 
parted, and to which he alluded when he spoke to me from the win- 
dow of the carriage. It was to this effect : That he had been informed 
by Colonel Tatnall that it was proposed to give out the words with more 
deliberateness, so as to prolong the time for taking aim. This informa- 
tion grated harshly upon his feelings. It unsettled his pur}x>se, and 
brought his mind to the inquiry (as he now told me, and I found it ex- 
pressed in the note which he had immediately written in pencil to apprise 
me of his possible chatge,) whether, under these circumstances, he might 
not ''//<>/z^/^ his adversary." This note is so characteristic, and such an 
essential part of this affair, that I here give its very words, so far as relates 
to this point. It ran thus : 

" Information received from Colonel Tatnall since I got into the car- 
riage may induce me to change my mind, of not returning Mr. Clay's fire. 
I seek not his death. I would not have his blood upon my hands — it will 
not be upon my soul if I shed it in self-defence — for the world. He has 
determined, by the use of a long, preparatory caution by words, to get 
time to kill me. May I not, then, disable him ? Yes, if I please." 

It has been seen, by the statement of General Jesup, already given, that 
this information was a misapprehension ; that Mr. Clay had not applied 
for a prolongation of time for the purpose of getting sure aim, but only to 
enable his unused hand, long unfamiliar with the pistol, to fire within the 
limited time; that there was no prolongation, in fact, either granted or 
insisted upon ; but he was in doubt, and General Jesup having won the 
word, he was having him repeat it in the way he was to give it out, when 
his finger touched the hair-trigger. How unfortunate that I did not know 
of this in time to speak to General Jesup, when one word from him would 
have set all right, and saved the imminent risks incurred. This inquiry', 
"May I not disable him?" was still on Mr. Randolph's mind, and de- 
pendent for it«i solution on the rising incidents of the moment, when the 
accidental fire of his pistol gave the turn to his feelings which solved the 
doubt. But he declared to me that he had not aimed at the life of Mr. 
Clay ; that he did not level as high as his knees — not higher than the 
knee-band; "for it was no mercy to shoot a man in the knee," that his 


only object was to disable him and spoil his aim. And then added, with 
a beauty of expression and a depth of feeling which no studied oratory 
can ever attain, and which I shall never forget, these impressive words : 
** I would not have seen him fall mortally , or even doubtfully , wounded, 
for all the land that is watered by the King of Floods and all his tributary 
streams^ He left me to resume his post, utterly refusing to explain out 
of the Senate anything that he had said in it, and with the positive decla- 
ration that he would not return the next fire. 1 withdrew a little way into 
the woods, and kept my eyes fixed on Mr. Randolph, whom I knew to be 
the only one in danger. I saw him receive the fire of Mr. Clay, saw the 
gravel knocked up in the same place, saw Mr. Randolph raise his pistol — 
discharge it in the air; heard him say, "I do not fire at you, Mr. Clay;'* 
and immediately advancing and offering his hand. He was met in the 
same spirit. They met half-way, shook hands, Mr. Randolph saying, 
jocosely, " You owe me a coat, Mr, Clay^^ (the bullet had passed through 
the skirt of the coat, very near the hip) — to which Mr. Clay promptly and 
happily replied, ^^ I am glad the debt is no greater.^'' 

I had come up, and was prompt to proclaim what I had been obliged to 
keep secret for eight days. The joy of all was extreme at this happy ter- 
mination of a most critical affair, and we immediately left with lighter 
hearts than we brought. 1 stopped to sup with Mr. Randolph and his 
friends — none of us wanted dinner that day — and had a characteristic 
time of it. A runner came in from the bank to say that they had over- 
paid him by mistake one hundred and thirty dollars that day. He an- 
swered : " / believe it is your rule not to correct mistakes except at the 
time, and at your counter.''^ And with that answer the runner had to 
return. When gone, Mr. Randolph said: ^' I will pay it on Monday: 
people must be honest if banks are not.''^ He asked for the sealed paper 
he had given me, opened it, took out a check for one thousand dollars, 
drawn in my favor, and with which I was requested to have him carried 
if killed to Virginia, and buried under his patrimonial oaks — not let him 
be buried at Washington, with an hundred hacks after him. He took the 
gold from his left breeches pocket, and said to us (Hamilton, Tatnall and 
me): "Gentlemen, Clay's bad shooting shan't rob you of your seals. I 
am going to London, and will have them made for you," which he did, 
and most characteristically, so far as mine was concerned. He went to 
the herald's office in London and inquired for the Benton family, of which 
I had often told him there was none, as we only dated on that side from 


my grandfather in North Carolina. But the name was found, and with it 
a coat of arms — among the quarterings a lion rampant. That is the 
family, said he; and had the arms engraved on the seal, the same which 
I have since habitually worn; and added the motto: Factis non verbis^ 
of which he was afterwards accustomed to say the non should be changed 
into ei. But enough. I run into these details, not merely to relate an 
event, but to show character, and if I have not done it, it is not for want 
of material, but of ability to use it. 

On Monday the parties exchanged cards, and social relations were for- 
mally and courteously restored. It was about the last high-toned duel 
that I have witnessed, and among the highest toned that I have ever 
witnessed, and so happily conducted to a fortunate issue — a result due 
to the noble character of the seconds as well as to the generous and 
heroic spirit of the principals. Certainly duelling is bad, and has been 
put down, but not quite so bad as its substitute — revolvers, bowie-knives, 
blackguarding, and street-assassinations under the pretext of self-defence. 




AMONG the papers of the late William M. Watkins, of 
Charlotte county, Virginia, was found the following 
correspondence : 

June 2nd, 1830. 
My Dear Mr. Randolph : 

Infirm as your health is, your country has 
made another call upon you for your services. I have no right to ask, 
nor do I enquire whether you will accept of this highly honorable ap- 
pointment. As a friend I have a right to say your country has no further 
claims upon you, and that you ought to consult your own comfort and 

Should you accept the appointment, a long (tho' I trust not a final) 
separation must take place between us. My heart is too full to allow 
me to express my feelings, when I think of it, as I do now think of it. 

Remember that in whatever situation you may be placed, I am your 


W. M. Watkins. 

The following is Mr. Randolph's reply : 

Roanoke, June 2nd, 1830. 

I cannot express to you how deeply I am penetrated by your note 
which Peyton has this moment handed to me. 

I have accepted the appointment in consequence of the manner in 
which it has been offered to me. Come and see me and I shall take 
pleasure in showing you the correspondence — that is, the letter of the 
P. and my reply. 

Though " seas between us broad may roll," I too shall not be unmind- 


ful of " auld lang syne," and under every change of time and circum- 
stance shall remain as I am, most truly your friend. 

J. R., of Roanoke. 
To W. M. W., Esq. 

The allusion is to Mr. Randolph's acceptance of the mis- 
sion to the Court of St. Petersburg. The following is the 
letter of the President offering him the post : 

Washington, Sept. i6, 1829. 

Dear Sir: — The office of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary to Russia will soon become vacant, and I am anxious that the 
place should be filled by one of the most capable and distinguished 
of our fellow-citizens. 

The great and rapidly increasing influence of Russia in the affairs of 
the world, renders it very important that our representative at that court 
should be one of the highest respectability ; and the expediency of such 
a course at the present moment is greatly increased by circumstances of a 
special character. Among the number of our statesmen from whom the 
selection might with propriety be made, I do not know one better fitted 
for the station, on the score of talents and experience in public affairs, or 
possessing stronger claims upon the favorable consideration of his country 
than youiself. Thus impressed, and entertaining a deep and grateful 
sense of your long and unceasing devotion to sound principles, and the 
interest of the people, I feel it a duty to offer the appointment to you. 

In discharging this office I have the double satisfaction of seeking to 
promote the public interest, whilst peforming an act most gratifying to 
myself, on account of the personal respect and esteem which I have al- 
ways felt and cherished towards you. 

It is not foreseen that any indulgence as to the period of your de- 
parture, which will be required by a due regard to your private affairs, 
will conflict with the interests of the mission : and I sincerely hope that 
no adverse circumstances may exist, sufficient to deprive the country of 
your services. 

1 have the honor to be, with great respect, 

Your most ob't serv't, 

Andrew Jackson. 
The Hon. John Randolph, of Roanoke. 


The following is Mr. Randolph's reply: 

Roanoke, Sept. 24, 1829. 

Sir : — By the last mail I received, under Mr. Van Buren's cover, your 
letter, submitting to my acceptance the mission to Russia. 

This honor, as unexpected as it was unsought for, is very much en- 
hanced in my estimation by the very timid and flattering terms in which 
you have been pleased to couch the offer of the appointment. May I be 
pardoned for saying, that the manner in which it has been conveyed, 
could alone have overcome the reluctance that I feel at the thoughts of 
leaving private life and again embarking on the stormy sea of Federal 
politics. This I hope I may do without any impeachment of my pa- 
triotism, since it shall in no wise diminish my exertions to serve our 
country in the station to which 1 have been called by her chief magis- 
trate, and under these " circumstances of a special character," indicated 
by your letter. The personal good opinion and regard, which you kindly 
-express towards me, merit and receive my warmest acknowledgments. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, sir, yoiir most obedient 
and faithful servant, 

John Randolph, of Roanoke. 

To Andrew Jackson, Esq , President of the U. S. 

He had not been in St. Petersburg a week before he left 
for London. In the last speech which he made to the peo- 
ple of Charlotte, and which the reader will find reported in 
another chapter, he states his reasons for taking that step, 
which appear to us to be most excellent; the only wonder is, 
that he accepted the mission when he must have known that 
neither the duties of the office nor the climate of Russia 
would suit him. 

Mr. Garland excuses him. "In accepting this appoint- 
ment," he remarks, " he only carried out his original design 
of going abroad in search of health, while at the same time 
he served his country in a station pressed upon him as an 
evidence to foreigners of her distinguished regard." But Mr. 
Baldwin is very severe upon him. He says, he was physi- 


cally unfit for the duties of the post; and besides, "he had 
won his influence as the great champion of the states by 
never taking pay or holding office from the Federal govern- 

In his speech on retrenchment and reform, delivered in 
the House of Representatives in 1828, he said: "I shall 
retire upon my resources; I will go back to the bosom of 
my constituents — to such constituents as man never had 
before, and never will have again ; and I shall receive from 
them the only reward I ever looked for, but the highest that 
man can receive — the universal expression of their appro- 
bation, of their thanks. I shall read it in their beaming 
faces, I shall feel it in their gratulating hands. The very 
children will climb around my knees to welcome me. And 
shall I give up them and this? And for what? For the 
heartless amusements and vapid pleasures and tarnished 
honors of this abode of splendid misery, of shabby splen- 
dor, for a clerkship in the war office, or a foreign mission, 
to dance attendance abroad instead of at home, or even for 
a department itself?" 

Who would believe that in one year seven months and 
twenty-three days from the time that he said this, Mr. Ran- 
dolph would have accepted a foreign mission to any coun- 
try, least of all to Russia? 

It was well known to his constituents that until he received 
this appointment he was exceedingly hard pressed for the 
means to meet his engagements. It was also known that in 
the latter part of his life he became exceedingly fond of 
money. The presumption, therefore, is strong, that he 
accepted the appointment for the pay. We have it from an 
official source that he received pay as minister to Russia 
from June 9th, 1830, to July 17th, 1 831, at the rate of nine 
thousand dollars per annum (nine thousand, nine hundred 


and fifty-seven dollars and seventy-one cents), and in addi- 
tion thereto was granted the usual allowance of nine thou- 
sand dollars for an outfit and two thousand two hundred 
and fifty dollars for expenses in returning to his home. 

It mars the symmetry of a beautiful political character; 
but we feel bound to state the facts as they were given to us 
by those who knew him, and to draw such conclusions as 
may seem to us reasonable and just. 

But, notwithstanding the great blemish of his acceptance 
of the mission to Russia, Mr. Randolph may be regarded 
as the most consistent statesman which this country has 
ever produced. 



Reminiscence by W. M. Moseley, Esq. — Mr. Randolph's Treatment of a 
Certain Young Politician of Buckingham. — Happy Retorts. 

FOR the following sketch we are indebted to Mr. Wil- 
liam M. Mosely, now of Danville, but who was an eye 
witness of the scene described, and at the time an in- 
fluential citizen of Buckingham. Mr. Moseley gives us an 
illustration of the merciless manner in which Mr. Randolph 
dealt with his opponents and the supreme contempt which 
he was capable of expressing. 
He says: 

The last public speech of Mr. Randolph was delivered at Buckingham 
Court-house in the year 1S33, he then being on his way to Philadelphia 
where he died shortly after. He was travelling by private conveyance, 
accompanied by his two favorite servants, Juba and John. His expected 
arrival had been previously announced, and it being the regular monthly 
term of the county court, as might have been expected, the attendance 
was unusually large, most of the old citizens of the county being prompted 
by a desire to see their former representative in Congress once more, and 
to hear him speak, perhaps, for the last time. Those who had never seen 
him, but who had heard of his reputation as a speaker, determined to 
avail themselves of this opportunity of seeing and hearing one of whom 
so much had been said. 

He reached the village at about eleven o'clock A. M., by which time a 
large concourse of people had assembled upon the court yard, and along 
the principal street, all anxiously looking for the arrival of this distin- 
guished personage; and when his carriage stopped in front of the hotel, 
it was immediately surrounded by a dense crowd — a proceeding by which 


Mr. Randolph, in his weak and nervous condition, seemed to be greatly 
annoyed. This was clearly evinced by his ai)rupt command to his servant 
who was in the act of opening the door of the carriage, to let it remain 
closed until the crowd should retire ; adding that he was no wild beast 
intended for public exhibition. The crowd, after some hesitation, retired 
to a respectful distance, whereupon, the door of the carriage was opened, 
and he descended with much difficulty by the assistance of his servants. 
He was immediately conducted to the court-house and occupied the 
judge's seat, from which, in a sitting posture, after the large court-room 
had become filled to its utmost capacity, he proceeded to deliver a speech, 
in the making of which he seemed to have had no special object other 
than that of giving his opinion as to matters and things in general. Pub- 
lic men and public measures of the past as well as of the present seemed 
to be passing in review before him, and for each of whom he seemed to 
have some unkind remembrance. His whole speech, if such it might be 
called, evinced an unhappy state of mind, if not a disordered intellect. 
No class and no profession escaped his bitter invective and withering sar- 
casm. Nothing either in church or state seemed to be progressing accord- 
ing to his liking. 

At the close of his disconnected harangue but few even of his old 
constituents ventured to approach him with anything like familiarity, not 
knowing how such advances might be received. Among the vast assem- 
blage there was but one individual who seemed willing to court his espe- 
cial attention. This was a young lawyer of much self-importance who 
had shortly before been elected to a seat in the state legislature, where he 
had gained some notoriety by a speech he made in advocacy of the abolition 
of slavery, in the course of which he took occasion to make some very 
severe strictures upon Mr. Randolph as a cruel slaveholder. This course 
on the part of this young delegate had not met with the approval of his 
constituents, as had been evinced by their refusal to reelect him. He took 
this occasion to set himself right before the people, by publicly acknow- 
ledging his political errors, and apologizing to Mr. Randolph for the 
supposed injuries he had done him. For this purpose, as soon as Mr. 
Randolph had concluded his speech, our young hero arose from his seat 
in the bar, and commenced by expressing his deep sympathy for the hon- 
orable gentleman in his seemingly great bodily afflictions, with the hope 
that his contemplated visit to Europe would result in the restoration of 

his health. He said he had always been a devoted admirer of Mr. Ran- 



dolph, and felt it due to that distinguished gentleman, as well as to his 
fellow-citizens of Buckingham, that he should embrace that opportunity of 
making a public acknowledgment of his late political errors, as evinced 
by a speech which he had made when honored with a seat in the State 
legislature, and in the delivery of which he had taken occasion to speak 
disparagingly of Mr. Randolph as a tyrannical master to his slaves. His 
course, he said, he had reason to know, had not been in accordance 
with the sentiments of his constituents, and his personal attack upon his 
distinguished friend had been made without a personal knowledge of his 
mode of treatment to his slaves. He hoped his constituents would forgive 
his past errors, and he trusted to the well known magnanimity of Mr. 
Randolph for his forgiveness of the personal injury done him in a moment 
of heated debate upon an exciting subject, the wrong side of which he 
had unfortunately taken. 

During the delivery of this ill-timed speech, Mr. Randolph sat with his 
head resting upon his hand, seemingly absorbed in deep thought ; and at 
its conclusion he straightened himself up, and fixing upon his victim a 
penetrating gaze, he proceeded as follows : "I don't know you, sir; what 
might be your name?" The name was given, when Mr. Randolph con- 
tinued his interrogatories : " Whose son are you ? where did you make 
the speech you have been talking about? and what did you say you were 
trying to speak about?" 

These questions were all answered in a hurried and confused manner, 
evidently showing that the young orator's situation was becoming unpleas- 
ant. Mr. Randolph, after asking a few more simple questions, the purport 
of which is not now remembered, concluded as follows : " I don't think 
I ever heard of you or your speech before; and, of course, I have no 
particular comment to make upon either. I knew your father, and 
have always thought he was a right good sort of a man ; and I suppose 
you are a degenerate son of a noble sire — a thing that is becoming quite 
common in this countiy. I hope my old constituents, God bless them, 
will never again be wwrepresented in the legislature, or anywhere else, by 
such a creature as you have shown yourself to be." 

It is needless to say, the applause throughout the court-room was tre- 
mendous ; and it is not believed our young hero ever entertained as good 
an opinion of himself from that day until the day of his death, which 
occurred only a few months since. 


We have recorded many of Mr. Randolph's short cutting 
thrusts, gathered from the recollections of his old constitu- 
•ents. We now purpose to give the reader a specimen of 
his wit, which Mr. Garland considers " the finest retort of 
the kind to be found in the English language." It was in 
reply to Mr. McLean, who on one occasion, during a speech 
delivered in Congress, stated "that the gentleman from Vir- 
ginia (Mr. Randolph) had displayed a good head, but he 
would not accept that gentleman's head, to be obliged to 
have his heart along with it." 

Mr. Randolph replied: 

" It costs me nothing, sir, to say that I very much regret 
that the zeal which I have not only felt but cherished on the 
subject of laying taxes in a manner which, in my judgment, 
is consistent not merely with the spirit but the very letter of 
the constitution, should have given to my remarks on this 
subject a pungency, which has rendered them disagreeable, 
and even offensive, to the gentleman from Delaware. For 
that gentleman I have never expressed any other sentiment 
but respect — I have never uttered or entertained an unkind 
feeling towards that gentleman, either in the House or else- 
where, nor do I now feel any such sentiment towards him. 
I never pressed my regard upon him — I press it upon no 
man. He appears to have considered my remarks as hav- 
ing a personal application to himself I certainly did not 
intend to give them that direction, and I think that my 
prompt disclaimer of any such intention ought to have dis-' 
armed his resentment, however justly it may have been 
excited. He has been pleased, sir, to say something, which, 
no doubt, he thinks very severe, about my head and my 

" How easy, sir, would it be for me to reverse the gentle- 
man's proposition, and to retort upon him that I would not 


in return take that gentleman^s heart, however good it may^ 
be, if obliged to take such a head into the bargain. 

" But, sir, I do not think this, I never thought it, and 
therefore I cannot be so ungenerous as to say it; for, Mr. 
Speaker, who made me a searcher of hearts, of the heart of 
a fellow sinner? Sir, this is an awful subject, better suited 
to Friday or Sunday next (Good Friday and Easter Sun- 
day), two of the most solemn days in the Christian calendar, 
when I hope we shall all consider it, and lay it to heart as 
we ought to do. 

" But, sir, I must maintain that the argument of the gen- 
tleman is suicidal — he has fairly worked the equation, and 
one-half of his argument is a complete and conclusive an- 
swer to the other. And, sir, if I should ever be so unfortu- 
nate as, through inadvertence or the heat of debate, to fall 
into such an error, I should so far from being offended feel 
myself under obligation to any gendeman who would expose 
its fallacy, even by ridicule — ^as fair a weapon as any in the 
whole parliamentary armory. I shall not go so far as to 
maintain with my Lord Shaftsbury, that it is the unerring 
test of truth, whatever it may be of temper ; but if it be pre- 
scribed as a weapon, as unfair as it is confessedly powerful, 
what shall we say (I put it, sir, to you and to the House) to 
the poisoned arrow, to the tomahawk and the scalping 
knife? Would the most unsparing use of ridicule justify a 
resort to these weapons ? Was this a reason that the gende- 
man should sit in judgment on my heart? Yes, sir, my 
heart, which the gendeman (whatever he may say) in his 
heart believes to be a frank heart, as I trust it is a brave 
heart. Sir, I dismiss the gendeman to his self compla- 
cency — ^let him go — yes, sir, let him go, and thank his God 
that he is not as this publican." 

Many of Mr. Randolph's sarcastic retorts have been pub- 


lished; we will repeat one more, taken from "The Memories 
of Fifty Years," by W. H. Sparks : 

I remember, upon one occasion, pending the debate upon the Missouri 
question, and when Mr. Randolph was in the habit of almost daily ad- 
dressing the house, that a Mr. Beecher, of Ohio, who was very impatient 
of Randolph's tirades, would, in the lengthy pauses made by him, rise 
from his place and move the previous question. The speaker would re- 
ply: "The member from Virginia has the floor." The first and second 
interruptions were not noticed by Randolph, but upon the repetition a 
third time, he slowly lifted his head from contemplating his notes, and 
said : " Mr. Speaker, in the Netherlands, a man of small capacity, with 
bits of wood and leather, will, in a few moments, construct a toy that, 
with the pressure of the finger and thumb, will cry * Cuckoo! Cuckoo!' 
AVith less of ingenuity, and with inferior materials, the people of Ohio have 
made a toy that will, without much pressure, cry * Previous question, Mr. 
Speaker! Previous question, Mr. Speaker!' " — at the same time designat- 
ing Beecher by pointing at him with his long, skeleton -looking finger. 
In a moment the house was convulsed with laughter, and I doubt if 
Beecher ever survived the sarcasm. 



Recollections by Dr. W. S. Plumer, D. D. — Extract from the National 


WE will now lay before our readers the recollections of 
Dr. W. S. Plumer, and we deem ourself fortunate in 
securing a contribution from a man of such national 
reputation, and one of the ablest and purest men living : 

John Randolph, of Roanoke, was one of the most remarkable men of 
our country. He has now been dead over forty years, yet all over the 
land, in Virginia particularly, you hear his sayings reported as if they had 
been uttered but yesterday. 

In early life he was frequently thrown into company with men more 
or less poisoned with French infidelity. Then appeared the power of 
maternal love and piety. He once said : " I should have been a French 
atheist if it had not been for one thing, and that was the memory of the 
times when my departed mother used to take my little hands in hers, and 
caused me on my knees to say; * Our Father, who art in Heaven.' " 

Many instances of Mr. Randolph's great eccentricity of character are 
still retained throughout the country. But in them the public is but little 

In pure Anglo-Saxon and in Latin Mr. Randolph was a good scholar. 
He was very familiar with Virgil. His ear was easily offended by the 
use of a wrong word, or the mispronunciation of the right word. Even 
in his last sickness, some one said: " Mr. Randolph, do you lay easy?" 
He replied: "I lie as easily as perhaps a dying man can." 

Mr. Randolph often crossed the sea. He highly valued British honesty, 
British manufactures and British laws. He admitted very readily our in- 
debtedness to the British constitution for many of our liberties, civil and 
religious. He carefully studied the writings of Edmund Burke. I long 
owned a copy of that statesman's writings, which once belonged to Ran- 


dolph. It was often underlined, and in many places the margin was 
covered with pencil notes. Mr. Randolph's great speeches gave unmis- 
takable evidence of his intimate acquaintance with Burke. 

From early boyhood I had read and heard much of Mr. Randolph. 
His early speeches were commended by Patrick Henry and other great 
men. He was wholly opposed to the war of 1812. This made him 
many enemies. For a time it cost him his seat in Congress. He never 
spoke in high terms of Mr. Madison's administration.. This was one of 
the points on which he and Mr. Clay widely differed. • But Randolph 
greatly admired Mr. Monroe and his public measures. 

In gaining a prodigious influence over his constituents, Mr. Randolph 
very successfully used two arts. One was to make young men afraid of 
his tongue. The other was to win over all the old men by special atten- 
tion. He greatly praised, he even flattered old men. But his tongue was 
a terror to the young. Often at the hustings, and sometimes in Congress, 
he said : " No man ever had such constituents." 

At one time Mr. Randolph seemed intent on vieing with others in rais- 
ing fine horses. At a heavy cost he made one or two importations. The 
result was not satisfactory. He had a few fine animals for the saddle and 
sulky ; but his own statement was that his horses were " too light for the 
draft and too slow for the turf." 

I was once in a company of gentlemen from Virginia and North Caro- 
lina, when some one said Mr. Randolph seemed to have very little self- 
knowledge. One present replied, "However that may be, gentlemen, I 
think you will admit he knows a deal about other people." 

Through life Mr. Randolph seems to have been a stranger to fear; no 
man ever saw his face blanched with terror. When a young man he was 
in Petersburg, Virginia. Being on the street some one told him of a des- 
perado near the market, who had committed some outrage and refused to 
surrender to the officer of the law. " Where is he," said Mr. Randolph, 
and immediately started down Sycamore street. A number followed. 
Coming near the violent man, he fixed his eye on him, marched fearlessly 
up to him, laid his hand on him, and said, "Constable, do your duty." 

Early in life Mr. Randolph took a lively interest and participation in 
the disputes and troubles arising out of the alien and sedition laws. This 
was in the days when the elder Adams was president. The election of 
Mr. Jeff*erson brought with it the early repeal of those odious measures, 
and was therefore hailed with joy by Mr. Randolph. To this time Mr. 


Randolph referred, during the administration of the younger Adams, when 
he said : " I bore some humble part in putting down the dynasty of John 
the First, and, by the grace of God, I hope to aid in putting down the 
dynasty of John the Second." 

It has sometimes been said that Mr. Randolph never originated or car- 
ried out any great measure. And this is true. But he thought the world 
was too much governed. He believed that beyond the protection of the 
people in their rights, most of the measures proposed under the promise of 
immense benefit to the people, were delusive and injurious. Mr. Clay's 
** American System," the " Panama Congress," and all such schemes were 
objects of his strong aversion. 

In i829-'30, "the Mother of States and of Statesmen" was honored with 
a convention to make for her a new constitution. That was by far the ablest 
and most venerable body of men I have ever seen assembled on affairs of 
State. In it were two ex-Presidents — Madison and Monroe, the Chief 
Justice of the United States — John Marshall, Littleton Waller Tazewell, 
John Randolph of Roanoke, Richard Venable, Philip Dodridge, Briscoe 
G. Baldwin, Chapman Johnson, Richard Morris, Samuel Taylor, Benjamin 
Watkins Leigh, Judge Coalter, Henry St. George Tucker, and a large 
number of men of high consideration. 

In this convention the policy of the East was to have as little change as 
possible. On the other side the desire was for great changes. Early in 
the session one gentleman used the phrase, " I protest." Mr. Randolph 
seeing that the member was likely to aid the party desiring change, under- 
took to destroy his influence by pouring ridicule on him for using lan- 
guage technically proper only in the British House of Lords. 

Another member, before his election, had opposed any convention, or 
any change in the constitution. Subsequently he was a candidate for the 
convention, and agreed to favor considerable changes, particularly in the 
matter of representation. In a speech of some power, Mr. Randolph 
compared him to the captain, so famous in a celebrated novel, who fougnt 
on any side. The chief power of the speech was probably in weakening 
the courage of the gentleman, and in restraining him from the masterly 
defence he was capable of making in any respectable cause. 

In the convention was a preacher, who had made some noise in the 
world. I was present when he rose to make his address, intended to be 
powerful. But Mr. Randolph, who was a great actor, drew many eyes to 
himself. At first he leaned forward, gazed as if with wonder and in awe. 


For two or three minules he looked and acted as if he expected something 
great. By degrees he seemed to lose interest in the speaker, and finally 
sunk back into his seat, with a strong expression of contempt on his coun- 
tenance. He had not said a word, nor violated any parliamentary law. 
The acting was perfect. It had its effect. The speaker could not rally 
the courage of his party. 

Yet near the close of the convention Mr. Randolph made a declaration 
of his good will towards every member of the body, but this came too 
late to relieve some very painful emotions in several minds. 

The new constitution was submitted to the vote of the people in 1830. 
In April Mr. Randolph addressed the people who had elected him. I 
heard his speech at Charlotte Court-house. His appearance was impres- 
sive. He was tall and thin. His beardless face was pale, and full of 
small wrinkles. He was dressed like an old man, very neatly, but very 
simply. His eyes were as brilliant as they had ever been. His long 
bony forefinger seemed to have the power of a magician's wand. In five 
days from that lime I could have repeated the whole speech. 

And yet that speech disappointed some. A stranger, of some intelli- 
gence, came there expecting to be thrilled, or melted, or aroused to indig- 
nation. But Mr. Randolph, so far from being impassioned, was as calm 
as any man ever seems to be. He affected no humor. He was as simple 
as a little child. A few times his irony was cutting, his sarcasms biting, 
his rebuke terrible, but there seemed to be no passion in it all. 

Mr. Randolph put his hearers in possession of his own thoughts. This 
was his aim. And his thoughts were indelibly impressed on the mind of 
every intelligent listener. My judgment to-day, at the distance of nearly 
forty-seven years is, that it was one of the most effective speeches I have 
■ever heard. It was conclusive. No one asked any questions. The old 
men wept. Here is one entire paragraph : " Formerly tyrants and the 
authors of misrule used to slit the noses, crop the ears, and brand the skin 
of those under their hated power. But this course made it unpleasant to 
look at their subjects. Their faces were hideous. Afterwards they tried 
another plan. They hired out their subjects to fight for foreign potentates, 
m wars in which they had no concern. Many of these mercenaries never 
returned. This plan left their country filled with widows and orphans. 
At length this scheme was abandoned. But our modem wrong-doers in 
power have found a far better way of gaining their vile ends. They give 
>to each man what they denominate a fee simple title to a piece of land, 


perhaps as much as he can cultivate. He calls it his own. His house is 
his castle. The law protects him in his possessions. He is encouraged 
to ply all the arts of industry, and to make all he can. Then the hated 
tyrants send around the tax-gatherer, three or four times a year, and take 
all he has made. This pays. Remember what I say. This one is to be 
the modem game." 

Mr. Randolph never was married. He left a will, with codicils. This 
was \'irtually set aside, after long litigation, except so much as liberated 
his slaves. However much men may have hated or pitied Mr. Randolph, 
no man ever held him in contempt. 

The following highly interesting article was clipped from 
the National IntcUigeiiccr of June 4, 1833 : 

John Randolph of Roanoke. — The following sketch of this distin- 
guished orator, written thirty years ago, but never published, is furnished 
by a gentleman who had been in habits of intimacy with him ever since. 
It was written off-hand, after residing with him in the same hotel at 
Georgetown for some weeks, in a constant familiar intercourse which has 
continued at intervals until his decease. The writer bears his testimony 
that nothing in the life and conduct of Mr. Randolph, during all their 
subsequent acquaintance, gave him occasion to believe for a moment that 
his early impressions of his character were in the slightest degree erro- 
neous. — N. Y. Courier. 

Mr. Randolph is beyond comparison the most singular and striking per- 
son that I ever met with. As an orator he is unquestionably the first in the 
country, and yet there are few men who labor under so many physical dis- 
advantages. He seems made up of contradictions. Though his person 
is exceedingly tall, thin and disproportioned, he is the most graceful man 
in the-world ; and with an almost feminine voice, he is more distinctly heard 
in the House than either Mr. D. or Roger — though the former is more 
noisy than a field preacher, and the latter more vocifierous than a crier of 
oysters. When seated on the opposite side of the hall> of Congress Mr. 
Randolph looks like a youth of sixteen, but when he rises to speak, there 
is an almost sublimity in the effect proceeding from the contrast in his 
height when seated or standing. In the former bis shoulders are raised, 
his head depressed, his body bent; in the latter he is seen with his figure 
dilated in the attitude of inspiration, his head raised, his long thin finger 


pointing, and his dark, clear, chestnut eye flashing lightning at the object 
of his overwhelming sarcasm. 

Mr. Randolph looks, acts and speaks like no other man I have ever 
seen. He is original, unique in everything. His style of oratory is em- 
phatically his own. Often diffusive and discursive in his subjects, his 
language is simple, brief and direct, and however he may seem to wander 
from the point occasionally, he never fails to return to it with a bound, 
illuminating it with flashes of wit or the happiest illustrations drawn from 
a retentive memory and a rich imagination. Though eccentric in his 
conduct in the ordinary affairs of life, and his intercourse with the world, 
there will be found more of what is called common sense in his speeches 
than in those of any other man in Congress. His illustrations are almost 
always drawn from familiar scenes, and no man is so happy in allusions to 
fables, proverbs and the ordinary incidents of human life, of which he has 
been a keen observer. His is not that fungus species of eloquence which 
expands itself into empty declamation, sacrificing strength, clearness and 
perspicuity, to the more popular charm of redundant metaphors and 
periods rounded with all the precision of the compass. Mr. Randolph is 
a man of wit, and wit deals in comparisons; yet his language is perfectly 
simple, and less figurative than that of any of our distinguished speakers. 
This I attribute to the clearness and vigor of his conceptions. When a 
man distinctly comprehends his subject, he will explain himself in a few 
words and without metaphor; but when he is incapable of giving it pre- 
cise and definite form, his language becomes figurative, and his ideas, like 
objects seen through a mist, have neither outline nor dimensions. No- 
thing is of more easy comprehension than the ideas and language of the 
great orator of Virginia. 

Though continually worried by the little terriers of the house, who 
seem to be sent there for no other purpose than to bark at him, Mr. Ran- 
dolph never becomes loud or boisterous, but utters the most biting sar- 
casm with a manner the most irritatingly courteous, and a voice that 
resembles the music of the spheres. Such, indeed, is the wonderful clear- 
ness of his voice, and the perfection of his enunciation, that his lowest 
tones circulate like echoes through the hall of Congress, and are more dis- 
tinctly understood than the roarings of M. L., the bellowings of R. N., or 
the bl eatings of the rosy and stentorian Robert Ross. In all the requisites 
of a great orator he has no superior, and in the greatest of all, that of 


attracting, charming, riveting the attention of his hearers, no equal in this 
•country, or perhaps in the world. 

Mr. Randolph has fared, as most distinguished political leaders have 
•done, in having his conduct misrepresented, his foibles exaggerated, and 
his peculiarities caricatured. The fault is in some measure his own. He 
spares no adversary, and he has no right to expect they will spare him. 
In this respect his example may well be a warning to inculcate among 
rival leaders the necessity of toleration in politics as well as religion. 
That he is irritable, capricious, and careless of the feelings of those for 
whom he has no particular respect or regard, no one will deny. That he 
is impatient in argument, and intolerant of opposition, is equally certain ; 
and the whole world knows that he is little solicitous to disguise his con- 
tempt or dislike. But much of this peevish irritability may find its origin 
and excuse in his physical sufferings. Almost from his boyhood he has 
never known the blessings of health, nor ever enjoyed its anticipation. 
His constitution is irretrievably broken, and though he may live many 
years, they will, in all probability, be years of anxiety and suffering, em- 
bittered by ridicule, instead of being soothed by the sympathy of the 
world, which is ever apt to suppose that a man cannot be sick without 
dying. Men lingering under the slow consuming tyranny of a constitu- 
tional infirmity, and dying, not by inches, but the hundredth part of 
inches, seem to me among the most pitiable of the human race. The 
world, and even their friends, come at last to believe their malady imagin- 
ary, their complaints without cause. They grow tired of hearing a man 
always proclaiming himself a victim to disease, yet at the same time 
taking his share in the business, and apparently in the enjoyments of life, 
and living on like the rest of his fellow creatures. "They jest at scars 
that never felt a wound," and the very circumstances that should excite 
additional commiseration too often give occasion to cold neglect or flip- 
pant ridicule. 

In this painful situation is Mr. Randolph at present, and it seems to me 
that an apology at least for his selfish disregard of the feelings of others 
may be found in his own hopeless sufferings and the want of sympathy. 
I know of no situation more calculated to make a man a misanthrope; 
and those who are foremost and loudest in their condemnation of Mr. 
Randolph would do well to look to their own hearts, place themselves in 
his situation, and then ask whether it does not naturally lead to, though it 
may not justify, occasional irritation, or even habitual ill temper. I here 


speak of this distinguished man as the world speaks of him. But so far 
as I saw him, and this was at all hours, he is full of benignity and kind- 
ness. His treatment of servants, and especially his own slaves, was that 
of the kindest master, 'and he always called his personal attendant 
"Johnny," a circumstance, to my mind, strongly indicative of habitual 
good will towards him. To me, from whose admiration or applause he 
could at that time at least anticipate neither honor or advantage, his be- 
havior was uniformly kind, almost afi'ectionate, and it will be very long 
before I lose the recollection of his conciliating smile, the music of his 
mellow voice, or the magic of his gentle manners. We passed our even- 
ings together, or I may perhaps rather say a good portion of the night, 
for he loved to sit up late, because, as he was wont to say, the grave, not 
the bed, was the place of rest for him. On these occasions there was a 
charm in his conversation 1 never found in that of any other person. 

Virginia was the goddess of his idolatry, and of her he delighted to 
talk. He loved her so much, and so dearly, that he sometimes almost for- 
got he was also a citizen of the United States. The glories and triumphs 
of the eloquence of Patrick Henry, and the ancient hospitality of the 
aristocracy of the Old Dominion, were also his favorite subjects, of which 
he never tired, and with which he never tired me. In short, the im- 
pression on my mind is never to be eradicated, that his heart was liberal, 
open and kind, and that his occasional ebullitions of spleen and im- 
patience were the spontaneous, perhaps irrepressible, efforts of a suffering 
and debilitated frame, to relieve itself a moment from the eternal impres- 
sion of its own unceasing worryings. 

But, whatever may be the defects of Mr. Randolph's temper, no one 
can question his high and lofty independence of mind, or his unsullied 
integrity as a public agent or a private gentleman. In the former char- 
acter, he has never abandoned his principles to suit any political crisis, 
and in the latter he may emphatically be called an honest man. His 
word and his bond are equally to be relied on, and as his country can 
never accuse him of sacrificing her interests to his own ambition, so no 
man can justly charge him with the breach of any private obligation. In 
both these respects, he stands an illustrious example to a country in which 
political talents are much more common then political integrity, and where 
it is too much the custom to forget the actions of a man in our admiration 
of his speeches. 

It is with regret I add, that this brilliant man, who has already attracted 


attention, not only of his countrymen, but of the world, will, in all proba- 
bility, survive but a few years. His health appears irretrievably lost, and 
his constitution irreparably injured. A premature decay seems gradually 
creeping upon all his vital powers, and an inevitable, unseen influence 
appears to be dragging him to the grave. At the age of thirty, with all 
the world in his grasp, wealth in his possession, and glory and power in 
perspective, he is, in constitution, an infirm old man, with light, glossy 
hair, parted over his forehead and lied loosely behind with a black riband; 
teeth white as ivory ; an eye sparkling with intellect, and a countenance 
seamed with a thousand small wrinkles. At a distance of a hundred 
yards, he will be mistaken for an overgrown boy of premature growth ; 
approach him, and at every step his appearance changes, and he becomes 
gradually metamorphosed into an old man. You will then see a face such 
as you never saw before, never v/iil see again ; if he likes you, a smile, 
such as you never beheld on the face of any other man ; and when that 
smile passes away, a countenance bearing an expression of long continued 
anxiety and sufiering that will make your heart ache. 

Such is Mr. Randolph, as he appeared to me at the age of thirty years. 
He may be wayward, eccentric, self-willed and erratic. His opponents 
sometimes insinuate that he is mad ; but this is nothing more than the 
whisperings of party malignity. Would to heaven there were more such 
madmen among our rulers and legislators to make folly silent and wicked- 
ness ashamed; to assert and defend the ancient principles of our revolu- 
tion ; to detect quack politicians, quack lawyers and quack divines, and 
to afford to his countrymen an example of inflexible integrity both in 
public and private life. l]ut he is original and unique in this as in every- 
thing else; and when he departs this scene, in which he has suffered the 
martyrdom of sickness and detraction combined, if living, I will bear this 
testimony, that he will not leave behind any man that can claim superiority 
over him as a glorious orator, a sagacious, high-minded, independent 
patriot, and inflexibly honest man." 



Last Speech — Secession Resolutions — How He Managed to Force Them 
Down — Rare Scenes on the Political Stage. 

AMONG the materials which we have collected for our 
''Home Reminiscences of John Randolph of Roa- 
noke," is a manuscript report of the last speech, or 
"long talk," made by the great orator to the people of his 
adopted county, on the 4th of February', 1S33, only four 
months and twenty days before his death. At that time he 
was quite an old man, his constitution a perfect wreck, tot- 
tering on the brink of the grave. 

Court being in session, he sent word to the magistrates 
that he had a request to make of them ; it might be the last 
he would ever make of them on earth. He desired to ad- 
dress the people, and wished the court to adjourn the mo- 
ment he made his appearance in the court-house. 

The reason assigned for making this unusual request was 
this: His mind, he stated, would only act for a short time, 
and then under the influence of artificial stimulant. The 
court, eager to hear what the dying man had to say, readily 
consented to his request. 

He made his appearance, leaning upon tu'O of his friends 
for support; and he had no sooner entered the house than it 
was filled with people. He commenced speaking from the 
chair, being too infirm to stand upon his feet. We are in- 
formed he began with three dress coats on, but that, before 
he concluded, he had on only one. His glass of toddy was 


sitting by his side, of which he drank freely from time to 
time. Though he spoke principally from the chair, ever 
and anon the "fire and motion of his soul" refused to be 
restrained by his feeble body, and at such times he would 
rise upon his feet. 

But what was the meaning of this extraordinary proceed- 
ing? What mental stimulus was moving a mind prostrated 
by disease, causing him to forget for the moment the terrors 
of the unknown world to which he was hastening, and drag- 
ging along his withered body which his spirit could scarcely 
animate? Feeble as he was, he had ridden fifteen miles, on 
a winter's day, to address the people. 

There was a scene for the moralist, the novelist and the 
painter. This is the conduct of a man whose mind was 
morbidly active, whose imagination was too much heated. 
Some might deem him mad, but such was not the case. He 
was only excited to the highest pitch by natural and artificial 

South Carolina had just passed her celebrated ordinance 
of secession, and General Jackson had issued his proclama- 
tion, and the whole country was thrown into the greatest 
excitement. Mr. Randolph began his political career upon 
the ver}*^ spot where he was then standing in opposition 
to Patrick Henry and in defence of States Rights. General 
Jackson had assailed violently his favorite idea — the doctrine 
for which he had contended during a long life. This is what 
kindled the fire within his withered breast, rousing his pal- 
sied faculties, and causing his stagnant pulse its rapid play. 

It has been objected to Mr. Randolph's patriotism that it 
was too limited — that it did not include the whole Union — 
that he did not have the prosperity of the entire country at 
heart. Mr. Baldwin has drawn an interesting parallel be- 
tween Mr. Randolph and Mr. Clay, and in no respect does 


the contrast appear more striking than in this, viz : Mr. Clay- 
knew no North, no South, no East, no West; Mr. Randolph 
knew only Virginia. Her glory was the pride of his life ; 
her prosperity the end of his efforts. He was fully persuaded 
that these depended upon the doctrine of States Rights. 
Hence, as has been remarked by Mr. Baldwin, "When- 
ever he spoke, whatever he wrote, wherever he went. States 
Rights, States Rights, were the inexhaustless theme of his 

It cannot be wondered at then that a man of his excitable 
nature, and devotion to an idea, when that idea was assailed 
by a powerful foe, should have shaken off the night-mare of 
death, to make a last spasmodic effort in its defence. His 
conduct on this occasion may be compared to the super- 
human efforts of a man to rescue a friend from impending 
danger. The physical energy displayed was surprising to 
all who were acquainted with his bodily infirmities ; but the 
mental energy exerted under the peculiar circumstances of 
his case was wonderful indeed. 

Mr. Randolph said he desired to address the people. 
Could a man in his condition deliver a public address? It 
is a matter of curiosity to see what effect had age, disease, 
-dissipation, stormy passions, intense mental, suffering upon 
that brilliant intellect and fearless spirit, which had the 
nerve in his youth to attack the gigantic powers of Patrick 

He did speak, and a report of his speech is before us. Mr. 
William B. Green, in his " Recollections" of Mr. Randolph, 
informs us that the speaker was very anxious that his speech 
should be in whole, or at least in part reported. We quote 
from his manuscripts: 

" Mr. Randolph drummed up for a stenographer. There 
happened to be present a schoolmaster by the name of Frosty 



who professed to be somewhat acquainted with the art, and 
Judge Beverly Tucker, who promised to assist Mr. Frost to 
the extent of his knowledge. The sequel, however, showed 
that neither of the gentlemen was very expert, for no part 
of the speech, so far as I know, was ever published, but 
simply the resolutions. 

" The lecture, if I may so call it, which Mr. Randolph gave 
the stenographer, was exceedingly interesting, but I am un- 
able to recall his express words, except in one or two sen- 
tences. He was anxious, as before remarked, to have the 
speech, which he was about to deliver, fully taken down; 
but, fearing that this might be impracticable, he insisted that 
the strong points, and the biting parts at least, should be 
preserved ; and in conclusion said : * When I say anything 
that tickles tinder the tail, be sure to put it down.' 

"The speech was then commenced, and he spoke for a 
considerable time with overwhelming power and unsurpassed 
eloquence. The resolutions were then passed in the form in 
which you now find them. 

" I never entertained a doubt that a majority of the com- 
mittee were opposed to them, and that had they been offered 
and supported by any member of the committee, or indeed 
by any other person than Mr. Randolph, they would have 
been voted down. It was his address, management and elo- 
quence alone, which caused their adoption. I have never 
ceased to regret that I had anything to do with the matter ; 
and I may add, that I have always regarded the connection 
which I had with the subject as the meanest act of my poli- 
tical life. 

" As an additional evidence of the power and influence 
which the speech exerted, not only upon the meeting, but 
also upon those who were casually present, I will mention a 


conversation which I had with a gentleman of Halifax county 
who was present. 

" Mr. S., a very well educated and intelligent lawyer, called 
at my house the day after the meeting. He had seen and 
heard all. This gentleman acknowledged that it was the 
most eloquent speech he had ever heard, and that though 
he was a thorough administration Jackson man, yet, under 
the excitement of the moment, had he been a member of the 
committee, he would have voted for the resolutions." 

Mr. Green was correct. No part of this speech was ever 
published. The report we have of it was not written by Mr. 
Frost, nor by Judge Tucker, but by a young man who hap- 
pened to be present, and who afterwards rose to a high posi- 
tion in society. This speech and the famous secession reso- 
lutions which were passed at the same time, and the manner 
in which Mr. Randolph procured their passage, forms the 
most interesting chapter in the history of this remarkable 

Mr. Randolph commenced by saying: "He should sub- 
ject himself to the imputation of an overweaning arrogance 
in the attempt to address the good people of Charlotte ; but 
the peculiar circumstances in which we are placed threw him 
unavoidably upon them. His being a public servant in their 
employment for thirty-five years, had given him some small 
claim to their confidence. It rested with them to accept or 
disapprove after they had heard. If the confidence which 
had been reposed in him were withdrawn, he would be the 
first to acquiesce and sanction the withdrawment? He was 
not what he had been. The prostration of his bodily powers 
was total, and if the destruction of mind had not kept pace 
with the body, they were almost abreast. Indeed it was 
hard for him to decide which rode the foremost horse. 

" I see in this assembly some who would vouch for me, if 


an endorsement were necessary, that I said I would give the 
best horse I possessed (and no small sum at that), for one- 
half hour's conversation with the President previous to wri- 
ting his annual message. ****** 

*' But after the annual message came to hand all was calm- 
ness and quietude. It acted like a charm, a quietus to my 
troubled breast. I was one of the happiest men living — in a 
perfect elysium. For, having some influence with the ruling 
party in South Carolina, I felt that that influence should be 
exerted to allay their rash and precipitate measures. Here 
I remark I am no nullifier. The doctrine of nullification 
is sheer nonsense." 

Further on he said : 

" I shall offer some resolutions to-day on this subject, not 
presuming to dictate to my old constituents, but endeavor to 
make it a subject of reference to a committee, a large, select 
committee, and I will further say, a committee of rank, 
aristocratic as it may sound; yes, rank. By rank I mean 
age, ability and integrit>' ; aye, and I will go further — I will 
say property too. In such cases, he who has a stake in 
common with us, and a stake too which he cannot carry out 
of the State, is the man to whom I wish to entrust my af- 
fairs. You all know my principles have never been dis- 
guised. I would not disguise them if I could, and I could 
not if I would. I am fond of intrinsic worth — no over- 
toned, hypocritical cant, however admirable." 

In the course of his remarks he gives us a little piece of 
human nature as follows : 

"It is natural for us to prefer our barn to our neighbor's 
house. We will do it ; we cannot subvert one of the strong- 
est of nature's principles." 

In the last "long talk" we find the following sentence, 
which breathes the spirit of misanthropy and misery : 


" I would as lief die in my carriage, or on the road, at 
some of the wretched inns, between here and Washington, as 

To what a sad pass must his life have come! *'Home, 
sweet home," had no charms for him. 

"Those wretched inns!" He could never speak of them 
without indulging in unmerited censure, nor enter one with- 
out betraying his ungovernable temper. 

But he continues: 

" What is this breath ? We may try with it to be honor- 
able, or we may endeavor to be useful, but we hold it no 
longer than it is His pleasure who gave it. He still gives me 
a little. He will take it when He pleases, and I can only say, 
* Blessed be His Holy name.' 

" This is the only thing in the way of cant you shall hear 
from me. I wull leave that for the work of enthusiasts or of 
fanatics, who live at the expense of our servants, and infest 
and eat up the houses of our neighbors. 

** In mv address at November court I meant to describe 
a certain class, which I entirely overlooked. I mean the 
Yazoo men, whose character has ever been odious to me. 
When they had much money at stake, I pledged my solemn 
word that they should find me opposing them in their in- 
iquitous fraud. When I was a candidate for Congress in the 
last war, the men of this description (and there were not a 
few in this county, and Prince Edward, too) taking the ad- 
vantage of the war clamor and my opposition to men and 
measures then, did everything they could to injure me. But 
these very men were here in October, after the war; yea, 
they went round to tow the ship back again — they had been 
bitter enemies, even when no cause existed. I well remem- 
ber the day I spoke on the stile before the old court-house 
door, when I had a brush with Colonel Gideon Spencer^ 


after which they left my opponent like the woman in the 
Scripture, who was taken in adultery ; swarmed around me 
like a friend ; and if the polls had been open then, I should 
have been elected by acclamation. But, the hunters were 
busy, and there are some voters who never throw away a 
shot, who never shoot at a dead duck. I was returned to 
be discharged from the confidence of my old constituents. 
When the polls were closed in Cumberland, I wrote to 
my friend James Garnet, and said to him, that the ac- 
counts between me and the district were fairly balanced. 
But ever since then, what is it that has bound me to my old 
district, with hooks of steel? Why did they stick to me 
even when the compensation law was passed, for which I 
voted. For that vote every man was turned out but myself 
and one other, and he, by basely turning, twisting, crouching 
and explaining, barely escaped being cashiered. 

" He reminded me of the old man and woman who lived 
in the vinegar bottle. He, with the gaff and steel spur fitted 
to his leg, rode through, and, to use a common phrase, 'was 
whipped and cleared.' He is a man more mischievous, 
bringing more misery than any man in these United States, 
with one exception — I mean the present incumbent of the 
Presidential chair. The present incumbent will have been 
that exception, if his late doctrines are acted upon. I speak 
in the second future tense — will have been that exception. 
General Jackson heretofore has opposed the doctrines con- 
tained in that accursed proclamation; I know, up to the 
present time, for I have been acquainted with his sentiments. 
He knows it, and he knows that I am not to be swerved 
from an avowal of truth ; for, in speaking of me in the pres- 
ence of a respectable clergyman of this county lately, he re- 
marked that he believed me to be invincibly honest. 

" But now, if he speaks, it will be apparent that I shall 


incur his deep resentment — he may change his opinion about 
my invincible honesty. But I will not anticipate, nor speak 
unguardedly; for, of his public services, I will speak in 
terms of respect. 

" Now, life and death are before us. We are busy, we 
ought to be busy, and, in this bustle, we ought to pay but 
little deference to men — better attend to public benefit. I, 
for one, put to hazard all the power of public men. President 
and all, and take a firm, decided stand against the present 
course of the president. 

"His message indeed charmed me; made me forget my 
miseries. But how long did I enjoy this enchantment? 
Here comes, in a few days, the proclamation, sweeping and 
blasting with death, like the simoons of Arabia or the whirl- 
winds of the Great Sahara. 

" Theretofore, to use an expression of my friend P. P. Bar- 
bour — theretofore General Jackson professed to be friendly 
to the South, to Constitutional and State Rights. This 
proves that he has no share in the live or dead stock in the 
constitution? What is proof to the point? This proclama- 
tion is hailed with the loudest hosannas by the coalition and 
Clay party. If this is his former doctrine, how comes it 
about that every old States Rights man abominates it, and it 
meets so hearty a welcome by the Henry Clay party — the 
tcltra tariff, ulU'a bank, ultra internal improvement parties — 
yes, and the whole mass of political heretics ? But real true 
believers will stand firm, even though they, like the devil, 
believe and tremble. All these combined make fearful odds ; 
but, zeal in this cause, this true religion — political religion — 
is sure to triumph. Small as the minority may be, we are 
not too small to triumph, unless betrayed by those who are 
entrusted with the ark of the covenant. I was placed in a 
small minority before — a little proscribed minority, when I 


took a stand against the employment of standing armies — 
those mercenary troops, who are old John Adams's dogs of 
war. There was Virginia to be humbled in the dust and 
ashes. You frequently find me in despicable minorities. 

" Who was General Washington — pure as he was — but a 
man? He had been prevailed upon to put himself at the 
head of the Federal party. If he had not died, we, the Re- 
publican party, could never have triumphed. But for the 
influence of Patrick Henry, General Washington wrote, say- 
ing to him that he was much needed ; solicited him to come 
to the General Assembly. I waS at March court '99, when 
Patrick Henry justified Adams and advocated the constitu- 
tionality of the sedition law. I was a stripling youth, called 
before the public by sheer accident, and was also elected by 
sheer accident. I spoke then and contended against the 
position, and have been contending ever since against it. 
But, Henry never lived to get to the House of Burgesses, 
and the resolution passed by seven votes, which, if he had 
gotten there, would have turned the scale. Patrick Henry 
was good for seven votes. Those who do not believe that 
he was good for scAen votes, know very little about the 
character of that distinguished statesman. Even those who 
were Federalists, voted against the laws and for the resolu- 
tions, for fear of losing their popularity. Yes, but for this 
powerful struggle, Adams would have been reelected; for 
Jefferson was elected by only four votes. We were inter- 
ested, and we acted, and we triumphed. 

"Now of one thing I am certain; of a fact I am con- 
vinced, and though I would I could not act differently ; it is 
in the very nature of things. It is this, man always differs 
in proportion as interest is at stake. Self lies at the founda- 
tion of every effort. Notice the affairs of families. The 
overseer is not over the employer, but he will get all he can. 


Whenever he can he will inch upon the employer, and when- 
ever the employer can he will inch upon the overseer. How 
do they bargain ? The general conditions are, you take my 
business, and I will give you so much meal, meat and money. 
If you change the condition, you change the proverb : 
* What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.' The 
overseer makes a fortune; he becomes an employer; heim- 
mediately gives you a different version of the * * * 's- 

"But, again, suppose I, by my luxury or intemperance, or 
some other way, have reduced my family to poverty? If I 
am not an overseer myself, my sons are turned over to that 
employment. We change our tone, and take the version 
that decides in favor of the overseer. 

*' It is the essence of human nature to be guided by interest, 
and when we say that our worthy President is swayed and 
ruled in this way, we say no more of him than we say of one 
another. But he has sinned, and I for one will go to him, 
like Nathan, and say, 'Thou art the man,' though I may 
risk all like Nathan did with David. 

" Mr. Randolph spoke of the Cabinet officers and their 
ladies, and stated that the proclamation was dictated by one 
of the grandest scoundrels, and put to paper by the best 
writer in the United States, one who fought with him side by 
side against the old bank. He said he was an intriguing 


partizan — dyed in the wool — one who came from the Empire 
State, from that city, worse than Paris. 

"This party cabinet was also distinguished by another 
peculiar epithet; namely, the kitchen cabinet. And as the 
old adage is, ' no person can touch pitch without being de- 
filed,' he did not choose to dirty his fingers by touching that 
dirty concern ; but lest his hands, not too clean now, should 
be soiled in the dirty fat, he would throw all the grease on 
the kitchen fire. 


" It is probable that General Jackson is obnoxious to this 
secret kitchen influence. He is charged with it; but for a 
moment we will suppose it false. Your enemies never charge 
you without having some failing in view, either supposed or 
real. They always therefore give just grounds for watchful- 
ness. The public functionaries ought therefore to abstain or 
touch lightly when they are accused, for accusers will never 
pitch on anything but faults to blast us, because nothing else 
will do that thing. 

" Not to resist this Cabinet counsel was Jackson's coward- 
ice, though not naturally a coward. I well remember that in 
the worse speech I ever made, I told you that I chose Gene- 
ral Jackson as the less of two evils. I still esteem him as a 
noble man, and he addressed me in so gentlemanly a way 
that I could not find it in my heart to desert him when I 
found he most needed help. I accepted the commission, but 
had not been in that frigid zone a week before my languished 
state of health recalled me. But still I fight under the ban- 
ner against the Bank of the United States, that mischief- 
making machine. But I left St. Petersburg for the climate, 
which, of all others, most agrees with my shattered constitu- 
tion, where I hope to eke out yet the last remains of my toil- 
some life. I could not stay at the Russian court. How 
could I go to the levees of the autocrat, and pretend fami- 
liarity with men and measures so repugnant to my views of 
liberty, or right and wrong? After Poland's blood was shed, 
not by Russian soldiers, but by Russian mercenaries, Rus- 
sian gold and Russian paper, how could I withstand or pal- 
liate that deep feeling which naturally inspired my breast? 
If I had been writhing on the rack of the Spanish inquisi- 
tion, it would have been a bed of roses in comparison of 
what my nature would have endured ! 

"But it has been alleged that I received the emolument 


and did not perform the duty. But I had a right to the 
outfit, and did not receive that With my own money I 
upheld my own credit, and the credit of the government too. 
I regarded the bill that came up before Congress, on my ac- 
count, as intended to pick a quarrel with me, instead of ad- 
vancing my pay; like a man or boy put at swing — ybu 
swing me and I'll swing you ; or boys at play — you tickle 
me and Til tickle you. My good friend S's bill very much 
grieved me. Who could listen at B. and other slanderers 
without seeing that they would cut both ways? V. was 
more honest than any, for he came out openly. How he 
has managed to prove my right you may decide. 

" Suppose a case. I am agreeing for an overseer. I agree 
to pay any time he comes. Suppose, hypothetically, the 
delay of the law. I tell him, if he sues I will carry him 
through the miserable course of our law — ten years or more. 
I can fee a lawyer (he is not able) ; and thus deprive him of 
his just due. He might take his choice. Would this be an 
act of an honest man? No. This was the act of Govern- 
ment with reference to me. He may be bad, but I promise 
not to retaliate. Let it go with this passing tribute. 

" But one thing is certain ; the compensation law brought 
returning faith in me. (Here the reporter lost something 
about Yazoo, bank, Jackson, Adams, and their doing shab- 
bily, and something about the dear county where Nat Price 

"I am not the man that I would wish to be. I never 
could suffer to be imposed upon ; I cannot permit a man to 
pull my nose or kick my backside. I am very far from 
being clear of the same faults that Jackson has. I would 
wish to turn the one cheek when the other was smitten, if I 
could ; but I cannot, and I will not be hypocrite enough to 


pretend to it. For, if I did, there would soon be occasioa 
to expose my hypocrisy. I cannot dissemble. 

" Now I don't wish that anybody should rely on my asser- 
tion. I will read something which comes from the heads of 
the church. It comes from Mr. Walsh. (Reads — no note 
of what was read.) 

" Mr. Randolph remarked, that as regarded the proclama- 
tion, A. Hamilton did not go half as far; he, Hamilton, was 
too honest a man. After reading, he made some remarks 
about a letter from Governor Hayne and his opinion of 
the politics of Calhoun — his decided opposition to Calhoun. 
But he was not disposed to set the house on fire to get rid 
of the rats, or a worse enemy, the chinches. 

"He then introduced a letter from Governor Hamilton, 
reluctantly, he said, because so complimentary; but it was 
the partial effusion of a friend. They were friends indeed. ' 
Perhaps one cause of friendship was the attachment of their 
mothers, who went together through the toils of the Revo- 
lution. He well knew her, Mrs. Hamilton, the S. & P. of all 
the chivalry of the State. But, partial as the evidence was, 
it was evidence that would be admitted in any court of re- 
cord, especially in this court, where presumptive evidence 
was well received. (Reads.) After which he produced what 
he himself styled his bald and disjointed resolutions. After 
the resolutions were read, he began again : 

" I told you, if not, I intended to tell you, that how much 
soever I might despise nullification, yet I am of the same 
land with the South Carolinians, the same to me as to Ham- 
ilton ; and however it may come to issue, I could not desert 
those whose interests were identical with mine. Lord Gray 
said once in Parliament, * I must stand by my order.* I 
have no idea of seeing them humbled at the feet of their 
task-masters. I would as soon expect a real honest man 


among the Henry Clay men, a Pole to join the autocrat to 
fight for liberty, as to expect liberty in the South and join 
the present dominant party. When do you meet with any 
from the North who neglect to write down our customs? 
Were we to listen to their religion, we would liberate our 
slaves, cure no more tobacco ; but all with them would be- 
come natural abettors to tyranny. I profess a reverence for 
true relijjion ; but I declare to you, I have as little faith in 
priests as any man living — and none in priestcraft. Their 
creed is, I must labor and they will swallow. Some of their 
tenets and allowed practices would place the South in the 
condition of San Domingo — ^in flames, and those flames 
would be quenched by the blood of the inhabitants. 

"There is a meeting-house in this village, built by a re- 
spectable denomination. I never was in it; though, like 
myself, it is mouldering away. The pulpit of that meeting- 
house was polluted by permitting a black African to preach 
in it. If I had been there, I would have taken the uncircum- 
cised dog by the throat, led him before a magistrate and 
committed him to jail. I told the ladies, they, sweet souls, 
who dressed their beds with their whitest sheets, and un- 
corked for him their best wine, were not far from having 
mulatto children. 

" I am no prophet, but I then predicted the insurrection. 
The insurrection came; was ever such a panic? Dismay 
was spread through the country. I despised it when it was 
here. To despise distant danger is not true courage, but to 
despise it when you have done all you could to avoid it, 
and it has and would come, is true courage. Look at the 
conduct of our last General Assembly. The speeches that 
were made there were little dreamed of What kind of 
doctrine was preached on the floor of the House of Bur- 
gesses? If I had been there I should have moved that 


the first orator who took the liberty to advance that doc- 
trine, should be arrested and prosecuted by the State's at- 

He concluded by saying he " envied B. W. Leigh ; that 
he was completely discomfited ; had only raised one laugh 
on so important a matter." 

The following is a copy of Mr. Randolph's resolutions, 
taken from the manuscript report of the proceedings of the 
meeting, in the well known handwriting of the secretary, 
Winslow Robinson, Esq.: 

1. Resolved^ That while we retain a grateful sense of the many services 
rendered by Andrew Jackson, Esq., to the United States, we owe it to our 
country and to our posterity to make our solemn protest against many of 
the doctrines of his late proclamation. 

2. Resolved^ That Virginia " is, and of right ought to be, a free, sove- 
reign and independent State;" that she became so by her own separate 
act, which has been since recognized by all the civilized world, and has 
never been disavowed, retracted, or in any wise impaired or weakened by 
any subsequent act of hers. 

3. Resolved^ That when, for purposes of common defence and common 
welfare, Virginia entered into a strict league of amity and alliance with 
the other twelve colonies of British North America, she parted with no 
portion of her sovereignty, although, from the necessity of the case, the 
authority to enforce obedience thereto was, in certain cases and for certain 
purposes, delegated to the common agents of the whole confederacy. 

4. Resolved, That Virginia has never parted with the right to recall the 
authority so delegated for good and sufficient cause, and to secede from 
the confederacy whenever she shall find the benefits of union exceeded 
by its evils, union being the means of securing liberty and happiness, and 
not the end to which these should be sacrificed. 

5. Resolved, That the allegiance of the people of Virginia is due ta 
HER ; that to her their obedience is due, while to them she owes protec- 
tion against all the consequences of such obedience. 

6. Resolved, That we have seen with deep regret that Andrew Jackson,. 
Esq., President of the United States, has been influenced by designing 
counselers, to subserve the purposes of their own guilty ambition, to dis- 


avow the principles to which he owed his election to the chief magistracy 
of the government of the United States, and to transfer his real friends 
and supporters, bound hand and foot, to the tender mercies of his and 
their bitterest enemies — the M//ra-federalists, M//ra-bank, «//r<7-intemal 
improvement, and Hartford convention men — the habitual scoffers at 
States Rights — and to their instrument — the venal and prosiituted press — 
by which they have endeavored, and but too successfully, to influence 
and mislead public opinion. 

7. Resolved J That Virginia will be found her own worst enemy when- 
ever she consents to number among her friends those who are never true 
to themselves, but when they are false to their country. 

8. Resolved^ That we owe it to justice, while denouncing the porten- 
tous combination between General Jackson aqd the late unhallowed co- 
alition of his and our enemies, to acquit THEM of any dereliction of prin- 
ciple, and to acknowledge that they have but acted in their vocation. 

9. Resolved^ That we cannot consent to adopt principles which we have 
always disavowed, merely because they have been adopted by the Presi- 
dent; and although we believe that we shall be in a lean and proscribed 
minority, we are prepared again to take up our cross, confident of success 
under that banner, so long as we keep the faith and can have access to the 
public ear. 

10. Resolvedj That while we utterly reprobate the doctrine of nullifica- 
tion, as equally weak and mischievous, we cannot for that reason give our 
countenance to principles equally unfounded, and in the highest degree 
dangerous to the liberties of the people. 

11. Resolved f That we highly approve of the mission of Benjamin 
Watkins Leigh, not only as in itself expedient and judicious, but as 
uniting upon the man the best qualified, whether for abilities, integrity and 
principles, moral and political, beyond all others in the commonwealth or 
in the United States, for the high, arduous and delicate task which has 
been devolved upon him by the unanimous suffrage of the assembly, and 
as we believe of the people, and which he alone is perhaps capable from 
all these considerations, united in his person, of discharging with success, 
and restoring this confederate republic to its former harmony and union.'' 

(Signed) John Randolph, of Roanoke, 



The following is a copy of the official report of the pro- 
ceedings of the meeting, signed by the secretary, and 
marked, " For Capt. Wm. M. Watkins :" 

Charlotte Court-house, Feb. 4th, 1833. 

There was an unusually numerous collection of people at Charlotte 
Court-house tc-day, it being expected that the subject of the proclamation 
would be taken into consideration, and hoped that Mr. Randolph might 
be there. Though in a state of the most extreme feebleness, he made his 
appearance last night, and to day at twelve o'clock was lifted to his seat 
on the bench. He rose and spoke a few minutes, but soon sat down ex- 
hausted, and continued to speak silling, though sometimes for a moment 
the excitement of his feelings brought him to his feet. He ended his 
speech by moving a set of resolutions, of which a copy is subjoined. 

On motion, these resolutions were referred to a commiitce consisting of 
the following gentlemen : 

Colonel Clement Carrington, Captain Thomas Pettus, Henry A. Wat- 
kins, William M. Watkins, Robert Morton, Samuel D. Morton, John 
Coleman, B. W. Lester, George Hannah, John Marshall, John Thomas, 
John H, Thomas, Henry Madison, Dr. Isaac Read, William B. Green, 
Joseph Friend, Edward B. Fowlkes, Mathew J. Williams, Samuel Ven- 
able, William Bacon, John Booth, Francis Barnes, William H. Dennis, 
Richard Venable, Jr., Joseph M. Daniel, Thomas F. Spencer, Paul Car- 
rington, John Daniel, Charles Raine, Benjamin Marshall, Colonel Mar- 
shall, J. H. Marshall, Cornelius Barnes, Dr. Hoge, Dr. Bouldin, Elisha 
Hundley, Dr. Patillo, Dr. Edwin Price, Dr. Garden, Samuel Daniel, 
Winslow Robinson, Nicholas Edmunds, Major Gaines, R. I. Gaines, Henry 
Carrington, Edward W. Henry, Thomas T. Bouldin, James W. Bouldin, 
William B. Watkins, Anderson Morton, John Morton, Thomas A. Mor- 
ton, Martin Hancock, D. B. Hancock, Clement Hancock, Colonel H. 
Spencer, G. C. Friend, Jacob Morton, Wyatt Cardwell, William Smith, 
Colonel Thomas Read, Thomas Read, Archibald A. Davidson, William 
T. Scott, Major Thomas Nelson, Isham Harvey, Dr. Joel Watkins, T. E. 
Watkins, Major Samuel Baldwin, Robert Carrington, and John Randolph 
of Roanoke. 

Colonel Clement Carrington having declined serving, and the commit- 
tee being called, Captain Thomas Pettus, J. Coleman, J. Thomas, J. H. 


Thomas, Joseph Friend, E. B. Fowlkes, William Bacon, Colonel Mar- 
shall, J. H. Marshall, Cornelius Barnes, Dr. Pattillo, Dr. Garden, Nicholas 
Edmunds, Henry Carrington, Edward W. Henry, Thomas T. Bouldin, 
Thomas A. Morton, Martin Hancock, D. Hancock, G. C. Friend, William 
Smith, Major T. Nelson, Colonel J. Harvey, Joel Watkins, T. E. Watkins 
and Samuel Baldwin, were found to be not present. 

The members present then formed themselves into a committee, Captain 
Henry A. Watkins in the chair, and Winslow Robinson acting as secre- 
tary. Captain William M. Watkins then moved that the meeting be 
adjourned to some future day, which was lost; whereupon, Captain Wil- 
liam M. Watkins withdrew from the committee. 

The committee then proceeded to take the resolutions into consider- 
ation. The first four resolutions were adopted unanimously ; the fifth with 
one dissentient voice — Mr. Green. 

On the sixth resolution there were five dissentient voices, Mr. Paul Car- 
irington, Mr. Lester, Mr. Madison, Mr. John Daniel, and Mr. Isham Har- 

The seventh resolution was carried unanimously. The eighth also was 
carried, Mr. Paul Carrington alone dissenting; and the ninth, tenth and 
eleventh were adopted unanimously. 

The committee then rose and reported the resolutions, which were 
adopted by the meeting with only two dissentient voices — Colonel Clement 
Carrington and Mr. R. W. Gaines. 

On motion of Mr. John Marshall, it was then 

Resolved, That copies of the proceedings of this meeting be sent for 
publication to the different presses in Richmond, Petersburg, Norfolk, 
Lynchburg and Fredericksburg; and that copies be also sent to Mr. Boul- 
din, our representative in Congress and his colleagues, to our Senators, to 
the President of the United States, to Benjamin Watkins Leigh, Esq., to 
the Governor of South Carolina, and to Major General James Hamilton, 
9 -commander of the State troops of South Carolina in Charleston. 

On motion of Mr. Whitfield Read, 

Resolved, unanimously. That the thanks of this meeting be given to 
Mr. Randolph for his open and decided support of the rights of the states, 
and his strenuous and efticient opposition to the odious consolidating doc- 
trine of the President's late proclamation. 

Mr. Randolph then expressed his thanks in a speech of considerable 
length, in the course of which all the warmest sympathies, which have so 



long united him to his old constituents, seeraed to be awakened, and on 

the breaking up of the meeting they parted with feelings such as no man 

besides ever excited. 

WiNSLOw Robinson, Secretary, 

We thought proper to publish a full list of the names of 
the gentlemen composing Mr. Randolph's "committee of 
rank," if for no other reason, to let the rising generation see 
who were at that day some of the leading and most substan- 
tial citizens of the county of Charlotte. 

As soon as the speaker concluded "his long talk," he 
commenced to procure the passage of his resolutions. In 
his speech he had stated that he would not presume to dic- 
tate to his old constituents. The public are well acquainted 
with Mr. Randolph's manner of doing things in the halls of 
Congress, and it may gratify a laudable curiosity to be in- 
formed how he carried on among his constituents at home. 

Captain was chairman of the meeting, but, we are 

assured tliat Mr. Randolph named every member of the 
committee. When he stated that he would not presume to 
dictate to his old constituents, he was at that very time pre- 
paring a dose which he alone could administer. 

Here is a specimen of what they had to swallow — a bitter 
pill, we are informed, to some : 

"Resolved, That we have seen with deep regret that Andrew Jackson, 
Esq., President of the United States, has been influenced by designing 
counsellors, to subserve the purposes of their guilty ambition, to disavow 
the principles to which he owed his elevation to the chief magistracy of ^ 
the government, and to transfer his real friends and supporters, bound 
hand and foot, to the tender mercies of his and their bitterest enemies — 
the «//rfl-Federalist, M//ra-tariff, »//ra-bank, M//ra-improvement, Hartford 
convention men — the habitual scoffers at States Rights." 

This is the sentiment which bank, tariff, internal improve- 
ment, Jackson men were required to endorse. 


Mr. Randolph preferred the driving process, but he occa- 
sionally flattered very adroitly. Sometimes, however, he 
encountered a man who could neither be seduced by his 
flattery nor intimidated by his threats. 

When he was getting up his committee, he said : 

"Call Colonel Clem. Carrington — the man who shed his 
blood at Eutaw — none of your drunken stagger-weeds of 
the court-yard." 

Colonel Carrington soon made his appearance, with hat 
in hand ; but, when requested to endorse the resolutions, he 
promptly said : 

" I am for Jackson and the Union, sir," and disappeared. 

Knowing that Mr. William B. Green had always been an 
unit-] Sickson man, Mr. Randolph approached him thus: 

"Mr. Green, I know you are dead shot against Jackson, 
and I appoint you one of the committee." 

Mr. Green replied: 

" I am also dead shot against nullification." 

He then commenced making explanations, saying that 
nullification was not intended, and that all would be right if 
South Carolina took the ground intended by the resolutions. 

Two or three of the gentlemen named on the committee, 
who had made objections, consented to ser\-e, Mr. Green 
himself being one of them. 

Mr. G., a young gentleman of promise, and who might 
well have aspired to political preferment, suggested an alter- 
ation in one of the resolutions. Mr. Randolph asked him if , 
every word stated in the resolution was not true. f-* 

Mr. G. replied, that the facts might all be truCj^but h^/aid 
not like the tone of the resolution — pSrhaps, the facts' were 
put forth in rather too strong a light. ^ . 

"You are right, Mr. G.," said Mr. RandoljSh in his pecu- 
liar manner, " I have lost mucl* in my life by telling the 


truth. If I were young, I would pea-vine it, too. I owe 
Mr. G. something," said he, "alter the resolution to suit 

When the amendment was made, he pronounced the res- 
olution "a little stronger than it was before." 

The following breathes the very essence of the intellectual 
tyrant. Mr. Henry Madison declined to endorse some of 
his resolutions. Mr. Randolph darted a piercing glance 
upon him, but made no open attack, as Mr. Madison ex- 
pected. But still the presumption to differ with him 
weighed upon his mind. For that night, at supper with 
a friend, he expressed his surprise that Mr. Madison re- 
fused to endorse one of his resolutions — said he could not 
understand it. The gentieman who differed with him on 
this occasion was a man of fine sense and considerable in- 
fluence. The fact that it was a matter of surprise to him 
that Mr. Randolph did not make an instantaneous direct 
attack upon him is evidence of what everybody expected 
who had the temerity to oppose him. If he came off with 
whole bones he was more than satisfied. If he escaped 
unscathed it was a subject of self-gratulation all the days of 
his life. Mr. Randolph was conscious of his mental supe- 
riority, and he had no scruples in asserting his power. He 
used various means of maintaining his dominion. He 
could nielt to tears, provoke to rashness, or drive to des- 
peration. And there was another weapon which he used 
with great effect — "severe repartees and sayings, creating 
great mirth at the expense of others." His favorite weapon 
was the whip and the spur. He might have it in his power 
to conciliate, still, if possible, he preferred to ram the pill 
down the throats of his opponents. 

When Captain William M. Watkins was spoken to, he 


positively and prompdy refused to act. Mr. Randolph was 
very indignant, and made use of harsh language. 

Up to that time Mr. Randolph had been a Jackson man. 
Mr. Watkins was also a Jackson man; nor did he desert 
him after the issue of the proclamation. Indeed he ex- 
pressed himself publicly as highly pleased with it, and full 
of admiration for it. He went to Mr. Cardwell's, where Mr. 
Randolph was staying at the time, and asked Mr. Randolph 
what he thought of it. The latter declined to express his 
opinion, but went home to prepare his resolutions, and to 
plan an attack upon his friend. 

At the meeting, while the resolutions were under con- 
sideration, Mr. Randolph took occasion to say, addressing 
himself to Captain Watkins, he did "not expect an old 
Yazoo speculator to approve of them." 

Captain Watkins rose and made a statement denying the 
charge. Mr. Randolph looked him steadily in the face, and 
pointing his long bony finger at him, said : 

"You are a Yazoo man, Mr. Watkins!" 

Mr. Watkins rose again, agitated and embarrassed, and 
made some explanator}' remarks. 

Mr. Randolph, with the same deliberation, simply re- 
peated : 

"You are a Yazoo man, Mr. Watkins!" 

Mr. Watkins rose a third time, completely overcome with 
mortification and chagrin. As he rose, his savage foe 
plunged the same dagger into his breast. 

"You are a Yazoo man," said he, when Mr. Watkins left 
the room, completely vanquished by the single word 

This scene reminds us forcibly of the description given 
of Mr. Randolph in the " Recollections" of the Honorable 
James W. Bouldin, who states "that he had all the deliber- 


ation and self-possession and outward calmness that would 
belong to a man who was cool, and he was guarded, but 
his mind and passions were roused to the highest pitch of 
excitement within." He compares him to "an enraged tiger, 
whose eye burns and flashes with fiery vengeance, but who 
prepares to make his spring with the greatest deliberation." 

This inward boiling and outward coolness is forcibly 
illustrated in his conduct with regard to Captain Watkins. 
Besides, Mr. Randolph on this occasion displayed a very 
bad quality of the heart. The gentieman against whom 
the charge of being concerned in the great Yazoo fraud was 
made was entirely innocent. He was a high-toned gentle- 
man, of the strictest integrity, and in solid abilities had no 
superior in the county of Charlotte. 

With regard to the charge made against Captain Watkins 
by Mr. Randolph, Mr. William B. Green in his recollections 

" It was but the repetition of a similar charge made many 
years before, during the administration of Mr. Madison, 
when Captain Watkins took ground in favor of that admin- 
istration, and voted for Eppes against Mr. Randolph in the 
Congressional election in 1809 or 18 10. I have never been 
able to learn the precise nature of these speculations, but 
have understood in a general way that there were two 
classes of speculators — one, a party who had combined and 
associated themselves together for the purpose of corrupt- 
ing and bribing the legislature ; the other, individuals who 
proposed to purchase land on their own accounts. 

" Captain Watkins, it was understood, belonged to the lat- 
ter class, and consequentiy was an innocent purchaser, if, 
indeed, he made any purchase. All that I know with re- 
gard to the matter is simply this : From a very earl)'' period 
(1807) I had free access to all the books, papers and ac- 


counts of Captain Watkins, without having seen the least 
trace or vestige of anything relative to the subject. And, 
moreover, Mr. Randolph was at all times (except at the 
time when he had fallen out with Captain Watkins on ac- 
count of the vote given against him for Eppes) on friendly, 
social and intimate terms with him, which I think would not 
have been the case had Mr. Randolph really thought that 
these so-called speculations were derogatory to the character 
and standing of Captain Watkins. I have thought it due to 
the memory of my old friend and partner to say thus much 
on this subject." 

The same gentleman, Mr. Henry Madison, to whom we 
referred above, as having refused to endorse one of Mr. 
Randolph's resolutions, related to us a little incident which 
shows at once what sway he held in his own county. 

Mr. Madison and his friend were riding together in a 
buggy to Lynchburg, discussing, all the way, General Jack- 
son's proclamation, which had just come out. Mr. Madison 
was pointing out its consolidating doctrines, and highly 
disapproving of them. His friend was defending them. 

A few days afterwards, they were both standing together 
in the committee room, considering Mr. Randolph's resolu- 
tions. Presently they came to one which was too strong for 
Mr. Madison even to endorse. 

Said he, to his friend, who was swallowing each resolution 
whole as they came to it: "You can't go that, can^you, after 
all you stated to me going to Lynchburg?" 

"Yes," replied his friend, "let's swallow it allP' 

Mr. Madison was admonished by another friend that Mr. 
Randolph would " kill him off" completely for presuming to 
differ with him even in one particular. 

"No," replied Mr. Madison, "I am a plain farmer; not 
conspicuous at all ; he will not disturb me. But you, who 



are an aspirant for political promotion, are die one who has 
cause to fear." 

We have thus given the reader the recollections of the old 
people of Charlotte with regard to the most extraordinary 
meeting of the kind, we dare say, which ever occurred in 
this or any other country. We obtained the facts from gen- 
tlemen who were eye-witnesses of the scene, and whose 
statements may be implicitiy relied on. As to the accuracy 
of their memories, there is littie room to doubt, when it is 
borne in mind that the most impressive man that ever lived 
was the chief actor in the scene. 

Considering Mr. Randolph's really "dying" condition, 
the reader no doubt \yas astonished at the able manner in 
which the resolutions were drawn; and there are some 
striking passages in his speech : for instance, where he 
describes the proclamation as coming " sweeping and blast- 
ing with death, like the simoons of Arabia, or the whirl- 
winds of the Great Sahara." No less striking is the passage 
in which he speaks of his mind and body being in a whip- 
ping race to destruction, and it being hard to tell which 
rode the foremost horse. 

When we came to these remarkable expressions in the 
manuscript report of his speech, we recognized them as 
exactly the same that the Hon. James W. Bouldin repeated 
to us when a boy, and which we knew by heart. 

These and other parts of the speech, which we had 
learned in the same way, satisfied us of the general accu- 
racy of the report. 

The following is another remark, which was indelibly im- 
pressed verbatim upon the minds of many, for long before 
we saw the report of the speech we had heard several gen- 
tlemen repeat it : 

"If I had been there I would have taken the uncircum- 


dsed dog by the throat, led him before a magistrate, and 
committed him to jail. I told the ladies, they, sweet souls, 
who dressed their beds with their whitest sheets, and mi- 
corked for him their best wine, were not far from having 
mulatto children." 

The allusion made by Mr. Randolph to the position taken 
by Patrick Henry, with regard to the Alien and Sedition 
law, reminds us of the written statements of three of the 
leading citizens of Charlotte in their day, viz: the Rev. 
Qement Read, Colonel Robert Morton and Colonel Clem- 
ent Carrington, all of whom were present and heard the 
speech referred to by Mr. Randolph. From the certificates 
now before us, of the above named gentlemen, we gather 
the true position of the great orator of the revolution. De- 
clining to give any opinion of the Alien and Sedition laws, 
he neither approved nor disapproved of them, his only 
object being to quiet the minds of the people and to pre- 
vent them from resorting to unreasonable methods to re- 
move any grievances that they thought they then labored 
under. He decidedly condemned the Virginia resolutions 
as tending to civil war. During his speech, Colonel Car- 
rington states that he used this language : " Let us all go 
together, right or wrong. If we go into civil war, your 
Washington will lead the government armies, and who, I 
ask, is willing to point a bayonet against his breast?" 

The Rev. Clement Read closes his certificate by saying, 
he "believed Mr. Henry lived and died a true Republican." 

Colonel Morton states that it was the last time that Mr. 
Henry appeared in public, and the first time that Mr. Ran- 
dolph appeared in public before the people of Charlotte. 
Colonel Carrington says the latter " was not much attended 


No doubt a portion of the audience left the stand in dis- 


gust, that such a young and inexperienced speaker should 
rise in reply to the great orator of the revolution ; but it is 
nevertheless true, that some of the crowd listened to Mr. 
Randolph, and may have been captivated by his eloquence. 
It was honor enough, however, for the young orator that 
they listened to him at all. It was Mr. Randolph's moral 
courage which is most to be admired on this occasion; 
there is not a braver act of the kind on record. 

But to return to Mr. Randolph's last speech: In four 
months and twenty days from the time that he delivered it 
he breathed his last. And this was his last political battle. 
In the language of Mr. Baldwin : " His political life termina- 
ted where it began, in a contest for States Rights. It began 
by lifting his lance against Patrick Henry, and ended by 
turning its point against Andrew Jackson." 




AFTER the death of John Randolph, it was ascertained 
that he had left several wills. One in the possession 
of Dr. John Brockenbrough, written in 1819; another 
ivithout date, though written in 1821, with four codicils 
dated respectively on the 5th of December, 1821, the 31st of 
January, 1826, the 6th of May, 1828, and the 26th of Au- 
gust, 1831 ; and yet another will, dated the ist of Janu- 
ary, 1832. The first, for some cause, was not admitted to 
probate, and the last was set aside, because he was not con- 
sidered of sound mind at the time. The will of 1821, how- 
ever, after a long contest, was finally established. 

As a matter of curiosity, we give it in full to our readers, 
copied literally from Grattan's Reports : 

In the name of God, Amen. 

I, John Randolph, of Roanoke, do ordain this my last will and testa- 
ment, hereby revoking all other wills whatsoever. 

1. I give and bequeath all my slaves their freedom, heartily regret- 
ting that I have ever been the owner of one. 

2. I give to my ex'or a sum not exceeding eight thousand dollars, or 
«o much thereof as may be necessary to transport and settle said slaves 
to and in some other State or territory of the U. S., giving to all above 
the age of forty not less than ten acres of land each. 

To my old and faithful servants, Essex and his wife Hetty ^ who, I 
trust, may be suffered to remain in the State, I give and bequeath three- 
and-a-half barrels of corn, two hundred weight of pork, a pair of strong 
shoes, a suit of clothes, and a blanket each, to be paid them annually; 


also, an annual hat to Essex, and ten pounds of coffee, and twenty of 
brown sugar. 

To my woman servant Nancy , the like allowance as to her mother. To 
yuba (alias Jupiter) the same ; to Queen the same ; to Johnny, my body 
servant, the same, during their respective lives. 

I confirm to my brother Beverly the slaves I gave him, and for which I 
have a reconveyance. 

I bequeath to John Randolph Clay four hundred dollars annually to 
complete his education, until he shall have arrived at the age of twenty- 
four years, earnestly exhorting him never to eat the bread of idleness or 

I bequeath to my namesake, John Randolph Bryan, my gold watch, 
chain and seals, and the choice of my horses. 

I bequeath to his brother Thomas the choice of two of my horses. 

To William Leigh, of Halifax, I bequeath to him and his heirs for- 
ever all the land on which I live, lying between the Owen's ferry road 
and Carrington's, Cooke's, Lipscomb's and Morton's lines. Also, the 
books, plate, linen, household and kitchen furniture, liquors, stock, tools, 
and everything as it now stands, hereby appointing him my sole executor. 
And I do desire that he may not be required to give security, or to make 
any inventory of anything here ; that is, at my mansion-house or the mid- 

(Cut out in the original.) B. Dudley, all the interest I have under the 
will of Mrs. Martha Corran. 

My interest, under the will of Mrs. Judith Randolph, I desire my exe- 
cutor to sell if he shall see fit, but not otherwise. 

The land above the Owen's ferry road and the lower quarter, and the 
land I bought of the Reads, to be sold at my said executor's discretion, 
and whatever m (cut out in the original) y debts I give and bequeath to 
Francis Scott Key and the Rev. Wm. Meade, to be disposed of towards 
bettering the condition of my manumitted slaves. 

I have not included my mother's descendants in my will, because her 
husband, besides the whole profits of my father's estate during the mi- 
nority of my brother and myself, has contrived to get to himself the slaves 
given by my grandfather Bland, as her marriage portion when my father 
married her, which slaves were inventoried at my father's death as part of 
his estate, and were as much his as any that he had. One-half of them. 


now scattered from Maryland to Mississippi, were entitled to freedom at 
my brother Richard's death, as the other would have been at mine. 

Witness my hand and seal. 

The name (cut out in the original.) [Seal.] 

In the presence of 

Richard Randolph, Jr. 

Codicil to this my will, made the 5th day of December, 1821. I re- 
voke the bequest to T. B. Dudley, and bequeath the same to my execu- 
tor, to whom also I give in fee simple all my lots and houses in Farmville, 
and every other species of property whatever that I die possessed of, 
saving the aforesaid specifications in my will. 

(The name cut out of the original.) 

Amelia County. 

The reason of the above revocation I have communicated to Wm. J. 
Barksdale, Esq. 

The codicil of 1826. 

In the name of God, Amen. I, John Randolph, of Roanoke, being of 
sound mind and memory, but of infirm health, do ordain this codicil to 
my last will and testament, now in the possession of Wm. Leigh, Esquire, 
of Halifax county, Virginia, executor thereof, which said appointment I 
do hereby confirm, with all the bequests made to him therein, and be- 
quests to or for the benefit of all, each and every of my slaves, whether 
by name or otherwise, and all bequests to him and them which may be 
contained in my codicil to my last will. I make the same provision for 
my body servant yoAn that I made in my will for his father £ssex, and 
the same provision for the said John's wife Betsy that I made for Hetty ^ 
the wife of Essex aforesaid, and similar provision for my man servant 
yuba, and his wife Celiac and the same for mulatto Nancey at the Lower 
Quarter, Archer's wife. And I humbly request the General Assembly 
(the only request that I ever preferred to them) to let the above named, 
and such other of my old and faithful slaves as desire it, to remain in Vir- 
ginia, recommending them, each and all, to the care of my said ex'or, 
who I know is too wise, just and humane, to send them to Liberia, or any 
other place in Africa, or the West Indies. 


I revoke all and every bequest in my said will, or in any former codicil- 
thereto (except as aforesaid, to my executor William Leigh, and my slaves^ 
whether by name or otherwise), of every description whatsoever, whether 
of my own proper estate, or in expectancy or reversion from the Bland 
and Bizarre estate, or from any other contingency or source whatsoever. 
These reversions or remainders, or executor's devises, or whatsoever the 
law chooses to call them, I bequeath to my said executor, as a fund to be 
used at his discretion for the benefit of my slaves aforesaid, the surplus, if 
any, to be his own. 

I also give and bequeath to the said William Leigh, my executor, the 
land that I bought of Pleasant Lipscomb's estate, to him and his heirs 

I also give and bequeath to my said executor and his heirs forever the 
lot of fifty-three acres of land lying at the deep gut on Staunton river, in 
Halifax county, that I bought of William Sims Daniel, and I request my 
said executor not to sell or lease the same, but to work it in three shifts, 
and to enable him to do so, I give and bequeath to him the lot of one 
hundred and seventy-five acres of land in Halifax county, which I also 
bought of William Sims Daniel, to have and to hold during his natural 
life, and at his decease to that one of his children to whom he shall be- 
queath the aforesaid lot of fifty-three acres at the deep gut. 

I give and bequeath to my friend, Thomas H. Benton, all that part of 
the tract of land that I bought of Jonathan Read's heirs, that lies on the 
south-eastern side of Little Roanoke, containing about six hundred acres, 
as a mark of my regard to one whose friendship towards me was not ex- 
pressed merely' in words. I also give him my large pistols, made by 
Woydon & Burton. 

To my friend. Dr. John Brokenbrough, I leave all my plate made by 
Rundle, Bridge & Rundle, viz : i tea pot, one coffee pot, I sugar dish and 
tongs, two tureens, 4 sauce dishes. All the rest and residue of my plate, 
furniture of every sort, plantation utsensils, &c., I give to my said execu- 
tor, Wm. Leigh, and all my books, maps, charts, pictures, prints, &c., 
except three folio manuscript volumes, bound in parchment, which I 
bequeath to the master and fellows (and their successors) of Trinity Col- 
lege, Cambridge, old England, the first college of the first University of 
the world. 

To my friend William J. Barksdale, of Haw Branch, Esquire, I be- 


queath my new English saddle and bridle, my silver spurs, my new Eng- 
lish boots and shoes, two pair each, my gold watch made by Baiwese, 
with the chain and seals, except the oldest seal with the Randolph arms 
and motto nil admirari^ which I leave to R. Kidder Randolph, of Rhode 

I also leave to the said W. J. Barksdale the choice of any of my mares 
or fillies. 

I leave to Edmond Irby, of Nottoway, the next choice of my mares or 
fillies, and any one of my horses or colts, to be selected by himself; also, 
my double barrel gun. 

To Peyton Randolph, of Buck river. Prince Edward, I leave my small 
cockney gun by Mortimer. 

All the rest and residue of my estate, real or personal, I leave to my 
executor, Wm. Leigh, hereby directing that no inventory or appraisement 
be made of my estate, and that no security shall be required of my said 
executor for the faithful discharge of the trust reposed in him — his own 
character being the best security, and where that is wanting, all other is 

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal 
(the following interlineations and expungings being first made: in the 
second paragraph the word "Essex" interlined; in the third paragraph 
the word '* former" interlined, and the word "or" expunged; and in the 
7th paragraph the words, " and tongs" interlined) this thirty-first day of 
January, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six (the whole of this 
codicil being written in my own hand). 

John Randolph, of Roanoke, [Seal.] 

In presence of 

M. Alexander, 
Nath. Macon. 

Memorandum. — The folio volumes of MS. bound in parchment, con- 
taining the records, &c., of the old London company. 

The Codicil of 1828. 

Being in great extremity, but in my perfect senses, I write this codicil 
to my will in the possession of my friend Wm. Leigh, of Halifax county,. 
Esquire, to declare that will is my sole last will and testament, and that if 


any other be found of subsequent date, whether will or codicil, I do 
hereby revoke the same. 

Witness my hand and seal. 

John Randolph, of Roanoke, [Seal.] 
May 6, 1828. 

■ Witness, 

Edmund Morgan, 
Jo. M. Daniel, 
Robert Carrington. 

N. B. — When I was about to embsu-k for Europe, in 1822, 1 did write a 
codicil on board the steamboat that was carrying me to the packet ship 
Amity, which codicil, by my direction, Mr. Leigh destroyed. 

Since writing the above, it has occurred to me that the will referred to, 
as being in Mr. Leigh's possession, makes no disposition of the land that 
I purchased of Walter Coles and Letty his wife ; also the land I bought 

of Daniel, consisting of two small tracts in Halifax ; also, of the 

land purchased of Pleasant Lipscomb's heirs. Now this writing wit- 
nesseth, that I give and bequeath the whole of the above recited lands, 
purchased since the date of my will aforesaid, to William Leigh, Esquire, 
my faithful friend, who has given me aid and comfort, not with words 
only, but by deeds. 

I also give and bequeath to him and his heirs forever, not each and 
every of the aforesaid tracts of land, but all the property of every descrip- 
tion and kmd whatsoever that 1 may have acquired since the date of that 
will aforesaid. 

Witness my hand and seal this same sixth day of May, 1828. 

John Randolph, of Roanoke , [Seal.] 

Edmund Morgan, 
Jo. M. Daniel, 
RoBT. Carrington. 

In the will above recited, I give to my said ex'or, Wm. Leigh, the 

Tefusal of the land above Owen's (now Clark's) ferry road, at a price that 

I then thought very moderate, but which a change in the times has ren- 

•dered too high to answer my friendly intentions towards my said executor 

in giving him that refusal. I do, therefore, so far, but so far only, modify 


■my said will as to reduce that price 50 per cent. ; in other words, one- 
half, at which he may take all the land above the ferry road that I in- 
herited from my father, all that I bought of the late John Daniel, de- 
ceased, and of Tom Beaseley, Charles Beaseley, and others of that name 
and family, this last being the land that Gabriel Beaseley used to have in 
possession, and whereon Beverley Tucker lived, and which I hold by 
■deed from him and his wife, of record in Charlotte county court. 
Witness my hand and seal day and year aforesaid. 

John Randolph, of Roanoke, [Seal.J 

(The words, "but so far only," and the word "from" in the preceding 
page, first interlined.) 


Edmund Morgan, 
Jo. M. Daniel, 
RoBT. Carrington. 

As lawyers and courts of law are extremely addicted to making wills 
for dead men, which they never made when living, it is my will and de- 
sire that no person who shall set aside, or attempt to set aside^ the will 
above referred to, shall ever inherit, possess or enjoy any part of my estate, 

real or personal. 

John Randolph, of Roanoke, [Seal.] 


RoBT. Carrington, 

Edmund Morgan, 

Jo. M. Daniel. 

Codicil of 1 83 1. 

On the eve of embarking for the U. S., considering my very feeble 
health, to say nothing of the dangers of the seas, I add this codicil to my 
last will and testament and the codicils thereto, affirming them all, except 
so far as they may be inconsistent with the following disposition of my 

I. It is my will and desire that my dear niece, Elizabeth Tucker Bryan, 
-shall have my lower quarter, with the lands purchased of Coles and wife 
■and of Allen Gilliam's estate, with the mill ; and I do hereby bequeath 
the same to her and her heirs forever. 



2. To my brother, Henry St. George Tucker, I give and bequeath all 
my Bushy Forrest estate, on both sides of Little Roanoke, bought of the 
Reads, and all my interest in the estate of Mrs. Martha Corran, and my 
lots and houses in Farmville. 

3. I have upwards of two thousand pounds sterling in the hands of 
Barring Brothers & Co., of London, and upwards of one thousand pounds 
of like money in the hands of Gowane Marx ; this money I leave to my 
ex'r, Wm. Leigh, as a fund for carrying into execution my will respecting 
my slaves. And in addition to the provision which I have made for my 

* faithful servant John^ sometimes called John White^ I charge my whole 
estate with an annuity to him during his life of fifty dollars; and, as the 
only favor that I ever asked of any government, I do entreat the Assembly 
of Virginia to permit the said John and his family to remain in Virginia ; 
and I do earnestly recommend him and them to my executor aforesaid 
and to my dear brother and niece aforesaid. 

4. My plate and library I leave to my dear niece, E. T. Bryan. 

Witness my hand, in Warwick street. Charing Cross, London, this twen- 
ty-ninth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, to 
which I have also appended my seal. 

John Randolph, of Roanoke. [L. S.] 

(Endorsement on ihe envelope) J. R., of R. 

In case of accident, to be sent to the U. S. 

The will of January 31st. 1832. 

In the name of God, Amen. I, John Randolph, of Roanoke, in the 
county of Charlotte and Commonwealth of Virginia, do ordain and ap- 
point this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other wills and 
testaments and codicils whatsoever, in the manner and form following, 
that is to say : On this first day of January, one thousand eight hundred 
and thirty two, to which I have set my hand and af&xed my seal, binding 
my heirs and assigns forever : 

I give and bequeath all my estate, real and personal, in possession or ac- 
tion, reversion or remainder, to John C. Bryan, only son of John Randolph 
Bryan and Elizabeth Coalter his wife, daughter of my dear sister Fanny, for 
and during the life of the said John C. Bryan, with remainder to his eldest 
son in fee simple, to him and his heirs forever: and in defect of such issue. 


then to the son of Henry St. George Tucker, called John Randolph after 
me, for and during his natural life, with remainder to his eldest son ; and 
in defect of any such issue, then to Tudor Tucker, brother of the afore- 
said Randolph Tucker, for and during his natural life, with remainder to 
his eldest son. 

And I do hereby appoint my friends, Wm. Leigh, of Halifax, and my 
brother, Henry St. George Tucker, president of the Court of Appeals, 
executors of this my last will and testament; requiring them to sell all 
the slaves and other perishable or personal property, and vest the proceeds 
in bank stock of the bank of the United States ; and in default of there 
being no such bank (which may God grant for the safety of our liberties), 
in the English three per cent, consols ; and in case of there being no such 
stocks (which also may God grant for the safety of old England) y then in 
the United States three per cent, stock; or in defect of such stock, in 
mortgages on land in England. 

From the sale of my perishable property I except my library, books, 
maps, charts and engravings included, my pictures, plate, household linen, 
and the furniture of my bed chamber in the old house, and all the furni- 
ture in the new house, wines, together with such other articles as my said 
ex'ors may deem proper to keep for the benefit of the heirs. And my 
will and desire is, that my said executors may select from among my 
slaves a number not exceeding one hundred for the use of the heir; the 
remainder to be sold. I also desire that my Bushy Forest tract of land 
may be sold and made chargeable with such debts and legacies as here- 
after I may see fit to give when I shall have more leisure to make my will ; 
this being made in consequence of having cancelled a former will this 
night in presence of Wm. Leigh aforesaid, the sole executor under that 
will, and joint executor under this will, which I make to guard against 
the possibility of dying intestate. 

I have in the bank of Virginia upwards of 20,000 dollars; of which 
sum I desire payment to be made for the land purchased by me the day 
before yesterday of Elisha E. Hundley ; and I bequeath the remainder to 
be equally divided between my said executors, Wm. Leigh and H. S. G. 
Tucker, Esquires : and I farther charge my Bushy Forest estate with a 
farther legacy to John Randolph Leigh, youngest son of Wm. Leigh afore- 
said, of five thousand dollars. 

And it is my will and desire that no inventory be taken of my estate, 
except of my slaves and horses, and that no security be given by or re- 


quired of my said executors, having full faith in their honor; neither 
shall they be held to account to any court or person whatsoever for their 
discharge of this trust so confided by me in them. 

To Dr. John Brokenbrough I leave all my French plate now in Rich- 
mond at J. P. Taylor's, also my chariot and harness and the horses called 
John Bull and Jonathan, alias John W. 

To John Wickham, Esquire, my best of friends, without making any 
professions of friendship for me, and the best and wisest man I ever knew 
except Mr. Macon, I bequeath my mare Flora and my stallion Gascoigne; 
together with two old-fashioned, double-handled silver cups, and two 
tankards unengraved — the cups are here, and the tankards or cans in 
Richmond — and I desire that he will have his arms engraved upon them, 
and at the bottom these words : " From J. R., of Roanoke, to John Wick- 
ham, Esquire, as a token of the respect and gratitude which he never 
ceased to feel for unparallelled kindness, courtesy and services." 

To Nathaniel Macon I give and bequeath my oldest high silver candle- 
sticks, my silver punch ladle with whalebone handle, a pair of silver 
cans with handles and my crest engraved thereon, my hard metal dishes 
that have my cre^t and J. R. in old English letters engraved thereon, also 
the plates with the same engraving, the choice of four of my best young 
mares and geldings, and the gold watch by Roskell that was Tudor's with 
the gold chain : and may every blessing attend him — the best, purest and 
wisest man that I ever knew. To my brother Henry Tucker, my gold 
watch, by Bauwise. The chronometer by Arnold, and knives and forks 
&c., from Rogers, to go to the heir. To Wm. Leigh, all duplicates of 
my books, and my brood mare's last chance, and Amy. To H. Tucker, 
young Whalebone and young Never Tire, also Topaz and Janus and Ca- 
milla and Marcella. 

John Randolph, of Roanoke, [ ] 




IN his Biography of John Randolph of Roanoke, Mr. Saw- 
yer has this observation : " It might be expected of him to 
decide the important question of Mr. Randolph's sanity." 
We must confess that we, at least, expected this of him. 
Nor are our expectations, we think, unreasonable. A writer 
who devotes more than a hundred pages to a particular sub- 
ject should certainly inform his readers whether his hero be 
in his senses. But Mr. Sawyer, we are sorry to say, con- 
fesses himself incompetent to judge. But, he adds, " on the 
main point, that on which the happiness of our whole lives 
in this world depends, the promotion of his self-interest and 
pecuniary independence, if perfect success is the test of 
sanity, he must stand acquitted on the charge of insanity'." 
Mr. Bouldin, it appears, agrees with Mr. Sawyer that Mr. 
Randolph's practical skill and judgment in business ought 
to be made a test. For, we remember, when Mr. Wick- 
ham remarked that he thought "there was always a vein of 
madness in him," he asked him, " how he accounted for his 
paying off those mortgages and interest and buying as 
much more property during thirty years, with negroes and 
overseers only." 

"Some," says Mr. Baldwin, "set Mr. Randolph down as a 
madman, whose sagacity was only the cunning of a lunatic, 
and his brilliancy only the occasional gleamings of light 
which are fitfully emitted from the darkness of a mad-house. 


But that others viewed him as a man eccentric indeed, but 
whose acuteness of thought, deep insight into the motives of 
men and the affairs of government, and whose perspicuity 
and prudence were nearly miraculous." 

The Hon. James W. Bouldin, from whose manuscript we 
have so often quoted, says he once asked Rev. John Robin- 
son : How is it that you all have found out at last that Mr. 
Randolph is a fool? He replied: ''I am ashamed of that; I 
know some of us say so ; I wish he had less sense ; he never 
makes one of his great speeches but it shakes the whole 
continent — every man, woman and child can repeat some of 
it. Some of his conceptions, however, though vast and 
powerful, are such, I think, as no mind entirely sane would 

The learned judges to whom was referred the question of 
his sanity, after the most thorough and patient investigation 
of the whole subject, decided that he was of sound and dis- 
posing mind when he wrote his will in 1821, but insane 
when he wrote the will of 1832. The reader will remember 
the testimony of Mr. Daniel, one of the witnesses in- that 
celebrated cause. He represents Mr. Randolph as acting on 
some occasions, in the most singular manner ; but frequently 
making use of the most striking language, full of meaning 
and consistent. When asked the direct question, did he 
think he was in a fit state of mind to make the acknowledg- 
ments to his will, he replied : " He was excited by drinking, 
but capable, in his estimation, of transacting business." 
This truthful witness had the very best opportunity of form- 
ing a correct opinion, as he lived very near him and had a 
great deal to do with him. 

Mr. Benton said, "his opinion was fixed of occasional 
temporary aberrations of mind; and during such periods he 
would do and say strange things, but always in his own 


way — ^not only method, but genius in his fantasies ; nothing 
to bespeak a bad heart; only exaltation and excitement." 
"The most brilliant talks," continued he, "that I ever heard 
from him came forth on such occasions — a flow for hours (at 
one time seven hours) of copious wit and classic allusion — 
a perfect scattering of the diamonds of the mind." 

He tells us that he once sounded Mr. Randolph to dis- 
cover what he thought of his own case. He heard him 
repeating those lines of Johnson on "Senility and Imbe- 

" In life's last scenes what prodigies surprise, 
Fears of the brave and follies of the wise ; 
From Marlborough's eyes the streams of dotage flow, 
And Swift expires, a driveller and a show." 

"Mr. Randolph," said Mr. Benton, "I have several times 
heard you repeat those lines, as if they could have an appli- 
cation to yourself, while no person can have less reason to 
fear the fate of Swift." " I have lived in dread of insanity," 
replied Mr. Randolph. 

Many a man with fewer mental troubles and mental dis- 
eases than Mr. Randolph has lived in dread of the same 
thing, but whose apprehensions were never realized. We 
are not at all surprised that a man of peculiar genius, espe- 
cially one who looks narrowly into the machinery of his 
own mind, should live in dread of insanity. It is no wonder 
that those who think "long and darkly," whose feelings are 
morbidly active, who are so constituted as to dwell upon 
a particular subject with intense interest, should be fearful of 
the effects of overaction. 

Mr. Baldwin thought him insane at times. Mr. Garland, 
on the contrary, speaking of his conduct on the occasion of 
the funeral of Commodore Decatur, says : " The cold and 
heardess world, that is unconscious of anything else but a 


selfish motive, and the ignorant multitude that followed the 
funeral pageant with gaping mouth, agreed on a common 
explanation of his extravagance by proclaiming, *the man 
is mad.' " 

There seems to be a great difference of opinion both as to 
Mr. Randolph's sanity and his habit of drinking to excess. 
Mr. Benton says, he '* never saw him affected by wine." The 
reader will remember what the Hon. James W. Bouldin said 
on tliis subject. He emphatically states, that from the first 
time he ever saw him to the last, say from 1808 or '9 till his 
death, he drank very hard, great quantities of intoxicating 

The reader will also remember the manner in which Mr. 
Bouldin attempts to account for the fact that it was not 
generally believed that Mr. Randolph drank to excess. He 
said: ** Although he drank much in public, he drank still 
more in private ; and although the public and private drink- 
ing was known to so many, yet it is a matter of great sur- 
prise to nine-tenths of persons to be told that he drank to 
excess. He had the power of fascination and charm to such 
an extent on most men that, though he drank much, they 
thought it had no effect on him." Mr. Bouldin was of a 
different opinion, however. 

The testimony of Mr. Benton and Mr. Bouldin differs; 
both may be true. But if the question were submitted to a 
judge on the bench upon the evidence of these two wit- 
nesses, he would be bound to decide, according to setded 
principles of law, that the fact of drunkenness was proved. 

He was in a drunken, prostrate condition when he made 
Mr. R. B. put the paper in the box and seal it with the sign 
of the cross; when he unconsciously bid the same person 

He was intoxicated when he took that cold ride in his 


carriage from his house to Watkins's store — the time he of- 
fered his friend the bottle of hot water, and put his cloak 
over one of his horses. He was inflamed by drink when he 
stormed and raged at his servant Queen about the bank 
note — the time he raised himself up in his bed with the 
pantaloons in his hands and swore they had been boiled. 
Nor was he at all sober when he displayed the clothes he 
wore before the Emperor of Russia, when he said, they 
were rich but not gaudy, and thereupon commenced to read 
a volume of Skakespeare, saying he would read the whole 
story ; and he was in a drunken stupor when he pressed the 
hand of his friend, and closing his eyes, whispered, " I am 

He was surely drunk when he did a thousand things 
which some attributed to madness. True, they had seen 
other men drinking vast quantities of intoxicating liquors, 
and then acting strangely and talking strangely ; and they 
had no hesitation in pronouncing such, not mad, but drunk. 
But when they saw Mr. Randolph drinking to the same ex- 
tent, and talking and acting strangely, they could not be- 
lieve it was drunkenness, but madness. 

The main question now comes up for decision — was Mr. 
Randolph a sane man ? 

There are some who attribute, in a great measure, those 
strange things, of which so much has been said, in the life 
of Mr. Randolph, to his intemperate habits. Of this num- 
ber is one of our most reliable witnesses. If the reader 
will recollect, in a conversation upon this very subject with 
Mr. WicKham, Mr. Bouldin said, "he was drunk." Mr. 
Wickham replied, " he did not know whether the intoxica- 
tion came first, or the madness came first, but they came 

We have no doubt that this is the correct opinion. He 


was no more mad than some other men under the influence 
of ardent spirits. He lost his senses from the same cause, 
and to no greater extent. 

If he were living, he might so fascinate and charm us that 
we might not believe he was intemperate ; or we might be 
afraid to say so, as thousands were. But, now that he is 
dead, and has been for some time, we think we can form an 
unprejudiced opinion, and may safely express it. 

There is not a shadow of a doubt resting upon our mind, 
of Mr. Randolph's sanity. We repeat, his nerves were of 
the finest texture of any man almost that ever lived, and his 
brain had become morbid from inordinate exercise upon 
particular subjects. 

" He had thought 
Too long and darkly, till his brain became, 
In its own eddy boiling and overwrought. 

And thus, untaught in youth his heart to tame. 
His springs of life were poisoned." 

His ner\'es were strained to the highest pitch, but he was 
not mad. To a state of high natural excitement was added 
artificial excitement, and it was while under the combined 
influence of both, that he said and did those strange things 
which induced the belief in many, that he was mad. 




WE have a small collection of Mr. Randolph's letters, 
which have never been published. They were written 
at various periods of his life, from youth to old age. 
The first, which we propose to lay before our readers, was 
written when he was at school and only fifteen years of age. 
It is said that Dryden, Swift, Goldsmith, Sir Walter Scott, 
Gibbon and Napoleon, were all dull scholars; this letter of 
Mr. Randolph's shows conclusively that he was not of that 
class. It moreover reveals his early taste for politics. 

New York, Dec. 25, 1788. 

I received my dear papa's affectionate epistle, and was sorry to find that 
lie thought himself neglected. I assure you, my dear sir, that there has 
scarcely a fortnight elapsed since uncle's absence without my writing to 
you, and I would have paid dearly for you to have received them. I sent 
them by the post, and indeed no other opportunity except by Capt. Crozier, 
and I did not neglect that. Be well assured, my dear sir, our expenses 
since our arrival here have been enormous and by far greater than our 
estate, especially loaded as it is with debt, can bear; however, I flatter my- 
self, my dear papa, that upon looking over the accounts you will find that 
my share is, by comparison trifling, and hope that by the wise admonitions 
of so affectionate a parent, and one who has our welfare and interest so 
much at heart, we may be able to shun the rock of prodigality, upon which 
so many people continually split, and by which the unhappy victim is 
reduced, not only to poverty, but also to despair and all the horrors at- 
tending it. 

Brother R. writes you, that I am lazy. I assure you, dear papa, he has 


been egregiously mistaken. I attend every lecture that the class does. 

Not one of the professors have ever found me dull with my business or 

even said that I was irregular. All my leisure time I devote to the study 

of , and then read the poets from five o'clock in the morning till 

twelve. I am constantly reading in my . The rest of my time is 

allotted to College duty. If brother Richard had written you that I did 

nothing all the vacation he would have been much in the dark — neither 

was it possible for me. We lived in this large building without a soul in 

it but ourselves, and it was so desolate and dreary that I could not bear to 

be in it. I always was afraid that some robber, of which we have a 

plenty [as you will see by the enclosed paper] was coming to kill me after 

they made a draught on the house. 

Be so good, my dear sir, when it is convenient, to send me the debate 

of the Convention of our State. My love to the families of Butler, , 

Cawsons. My love to Mr. Tucker, Jr., Miss Maria, and the children. 

Tell them I wish them a Merry Christmas. That you, my ever dear papa, 

may enjoy many happy ones, is the sincere wish of your ever affectionate 


John Randolph, Jun'r. 

P. S. My best love to Aunt Betty Carlos. Capt. Henry of Bermuda 
says that cousin F. Tucker of the Hermitage is to be married to young 
Jack Tucker. 

S/. Geo, Tucker y Esq., Petersburg. 


7^he Hon'ble St. George Tucker , Esq., 

Williamsburg, Va, 
Franked, Thos. Fred. Tucker. 

The following two were written when Mr. Randolph was 
twenty-one years of age, and reflect credit upon his matured 
understanding : 

Philadelphia, 26th January, 1794, 
My Dear Father: 

I received last night your letter of the 17th instant, 

covering a draft on the treasury for $104.27, for which accept my hearty 

thanks. I wish I could thank you also for your news concerning the 

conjectured "marriage between a reverend divine and one who has been 

long considered among the immaculate votaries of Diana.'' I can easily^ 


:guess at the name of the former; but there are really so many ancient 
maids in your town, of desperate expectations in the matrimonial lottery, 
that it is no easy task to tell what person in particular comes under the 
above denomination. 

You' may depend on my contracting no debts. I have known the 
sweets of that situation too well again to plunge into the same gulph of 
extreme misery for a long time by dint of extreme parsimony, extricating 
myself from that most horrid of all calamities. 

You have not, I perceive, received some of my letters, for immediately 
on the late change in our ministry, as 'tis styled by the countrymen here, 
I wrote to you informing you minutely of the circumstance. I have 
wished to send you several important publications ; our executive's corres- 
pondence with the ministers of France and Britain, &c. , but I had no 
mode of conveying them to you. Mr. Madison's resolutions, respecting 
the restrictions of commerce in regard to those nations not in alliance with 
us, are now before the House of Representatives, and will be, I am afraid, 
thrown out, from the circumstance of two of our southern men being 
absent — Mr. Page and Mercer. It is an unpardonable thing for men to 
offer themselves as candidates who cannot punctually attend. Mr. Madi- 
son's sentiments, and those of Columbus, are in perfect unison. 

I will now, my dear, sir, touch upon that part of your letter dated New 
Year's day, which relates to my studying in Williamsburg. I have found 
my conduct and character, during my residence in that place, canvassed 
in so ungenerous and malicious a manner, that were it not the residence 
of yourself, and your beloved family, 1 never would set foot in it again, 
but if you wish me to return, I will conquer my aversion to the place. I 
ought to have said its inhabitants, as far as 'tis in my power, and endeavor 
to avail myself of every advantage which it may afford. 

Dr. Tucker is expected in town every minute. I need not say how 
happy I shall be to see him. I am extremely unwell, owing to the 
amazing vicissitude of weather which we have experienced. For some 
days we have the air so immoderately warm that we are obliged to open 
our windows and extinguish the fire, and in the course of five hours we 
experience the utmost severity of winter. 

Present my best love to all the family, particularly Mrs. Tucker and 
Fanny. Why does not the latter write ? Believe me, my dear sir, with 
the most ardent love and sincere esteem your affectionate son and friend, 

John Randolph. 


No news of my trunk. Colonel Cole, of Virginia, has lost his youngest 
child, a girl of about fifteen months old, with the small pox. 

30th January, Wednesday. 

I have been so unwell as to be incapable of carrying this to the post 
office until to-day. Yesterday we had a most violent snow storm, which 
lasted from 10 o'clock A. M. till two this morning, during which time it 
snowed incessantly. Uncle T. is not come. No news of my trunk, at 
which I am very uneasy. I wrote to Mr. Campbell by Capt. Dangerfield 
to learn by what vessel it was sent, but have received no answer. There 
is no such thing in this city as Blackstone in 4to. The house has come,, 
as yet, to no determination respecting Mr. Madison's resolutions. They 
will not pass, thanks to our absent delegates; nay, were they to go 
through the H. of R. the S. would reject them, as there is no senator from 
Maryland and but one from Georgia. Thus are the interests of the South- 
em States basely betrayed by the indolence of some and the villainy of 
others of her statesmen, — Messrs. G — r, H — n and L — e generally voting 
with the paper men. 

Pray write at least once a week, and not such short letters as you some- 
times do. I wish very much you would indulge me with a watch. I can 
get a very good gold one for 50 Dolls : and will not sell it I assure you. 

Once more, dear father, adieu. 

Yours ever, 

J. Randolph. 

Wednesday evening, 9 o'clock. 

I was mistaken, my dear sir, when I said Uncle Tucker had not arrived 
in town. He got here the day before yesterday, and did not know where 
to find me. In my way to the post office this morning, I was told of his 
arrival, and flew to see him. He looks as well as I ever saw him, and 
was quite cheerful — made a number of afifectionate enquiries concerning 
you and your family, my brother and his wife and little boy. He cannot 
go through Virginia in his way to Charleston. I pressed him very warmly 
to do it, but you know his resolutions when once taken are unalterable. 
I gave you in a former letter a full account of our friends in Bermuda. 
My uncle says that they complain much of your neglecting to write to 
them. He seemed much hurt at the circumstance. You cannot think 
how rejoiced I was to see him look so well and cheerful. It has quite 
revived my spirits. He stays in this city a week or ten days, when he 


returns to New York, where he will remain five or six weeks before he 
goes to Charleston. If you write him, which I suppose you will unques- 
tionably do, you had better direct to New York. I shall write next post, 
till then, my dearest father, adieu. I must not forget to tell you that Dr. 
Bartlett, the spermaceti doctor, as Mr. Tudor used to call him, has turned 
privateersman, and commands a vessel out of Bermuda. Miss Betsy Gil- 
christ is to be married to a Lieut. Hicks of the British army, and Mr. 
Fibb, it is reported, is also to be married to another officer whose name I 

do not recollect. 

J. R. 
Si. Geo. Tucker f Esq.^ 

Wiliia msburgy 
Mail. Virginia. 

Philadelphia, March i, 1794. 
My Dear Father : 

I see that you begin again to cease writing to me ; 

and I hope that you will be so good as to send me a letter at least once a 
week, as you are so shortly to set out on your circuit, when I cannot ex- 
pect to hear from you as often as when you are at home. The enclosed 
letter I wrote some time ago. I have every day been expecting an op- 
portunity by which I could send it without subjecting you to the expense 
of postage, which perhaps I too often do. As the subject is an important 
one, I hope you will answer it as soon as you conveniently can. 

Yesterday the important question, whether Mr. Gallatin, a senator from 
this State, was entitled to a seat in the Senate or not, was determined 
against him. 

Ayes. Noes. 

Langdon, N. H. Livermore, N. H. 

Bradley, 1 Verm ^^°^» 1 Massachusetts 

Robinson, } ^ ^""- Strong, / Massachusetts. 

Burr,N.Y. ^^^df^'^d'JR. Island. 

Monroe, 1 ^. Foster, 


Ellsworth, 1 ^ 
IKenf Mitchell. I^^'^"- 

[ ^^""^^ King, N. York. 

Martin, N. C. Frelinghuysen, N. Jersey. 

Butler, S. C. Morris, Penn. 

Jackson, \p__^ Vining, Delaware. 

Gunn, ; ^^^- Potts, Maryland. 

Hawkins, N. C. 
Irrard, S. C. 

12 14 


The Republican party are much hurt at this decision, since in abilities 
and principles, he was inferior to none in that body. So said Mr. Taylor, 
from Virginia. Altho' he came here in 1780, took up arms in our de- 
fence, bought lands and settled, yet, nine years not having elapsed be- 
tween the time of his taking the oaths of allegiance and his election, he 
was declared not qualified according to the constitution. It was agreed 
that by art. 2, sect, i, clause 4, a resident of 14 years standing might 
take the oaths of citizenship one day and be elected the next to the presi- 
dential chair; and therefore it was apprehended that the constitution of 
the U. S. was not more vigilant with respect to the election of senators 
than presidents. Certainly, if a man be not a citizen of the United States 
at the time of the adoption of the Federal constitution, he is not eligible 
to the office of president : however, Mr. Gallatin had been nine years a 
citizen and thirteen an inhabitant when he took his seat. Query, can a 
man be a senator until he qualifies as is prescribed by art. 6, clause 3, and 
informed by c. I, 2d sess. ist congress? I wish you would inform me 
what your opinion is on the subject. 

My uncle is still in town. I saw him the day before yesterday. He 
desires me to tell you that he will write you when he arrives in New 
York. He is very well. 

In almost every one of my letters I have made enquiries concerning my 
trunk. Pray, my dear sir, inform me, if you can, where it is. Do you 
know by what vessel it was sent ? I am sans chemise and sans culottes 
in every sense of the word. Toulon is certainly retaken. The English 
are apprehensive of a descent on their coast. The vessels in ex- 
terminated. My best love to Mrs. T. & Co. 

Yours ever, 

John Randolph, Jun'r. 

When do you set ofif upon your circuit ? What districts do you visit ? 

Jack Laconic. 

St. George Tucker ^ Esq.^ 

Williamsburg, Virginia. 

Care of James Brown, Esq., who will be so obliging as to forward it by 

the first good conveyance 

The first letter in this chapter was written when Mr. Ran- 
dolph was a school boy; the second just as he reached 


maturity; we will now lay before the reader one written 
when he was fifty-three years of age. He was noted for his 
love of fine horses and opens upon that subject; but he 
touches upon several other points, and, altogether, this letter 
is not only characteristic, but highly interesting : 

Washington, January i6, 1828. 
Dear Sir: 

Your welcome letter of the 13th from Petersburg reached me yesterday. 
I waited for its receipt, that I might acknowledge that of its predecessor 
at the same time. I am sorry that I did so, for I wanted to know whe- 
ther I could advantageously place my horse, Roanoke, in your neighbor- 
hood? I am sorry that you can't take filly; but \ pledge ^ as the boys say, 
a place for her in your training stables next autumn, and another if you 
have it to spare. Could I get Boiling Graves, think you, to train for me ? 
I mean next autumn of course, for his spring engagements are no doubt 
complete. There is some mistake about that rifle. It was never sent 
home. The last time I saw it it was in J. M. & D.'s compting room. 
Have I any other article there except the fir pole from Mont Blanc? 
Uncle Nat.* is greatly mended, and I am satisfied that if the "wicked 
world cease from troubling," which they will not do in this world, I wish 
they may in the next, he would be well. He made a remark to me the 
other day, that forcibly reminded me of Gay's Shepherd and Philoso- 
pher — the best of all his fables, except "the Hare and many friends." It 
will not require your sagacity to make the application. "All animals," 
said he, " provide for their own offspring, and there the thing stops. The 
birds rear their young by their joint cares and labours. The cow suckles 
and takes care of her own calf, but she does not nurse or provide for that 
calPs calf." " The birds do not build nests for their young one's eggs, nor 
hatch them, nor feed the nestlings." 

I return the good wishes and " best regards of all your family to one 
and all. But I must particularly name the matron mother of them all, and 
Virginia. Edward I see is married. Being now aged, and having his 
full weight to carry, he will I trust ** plumb the tracky^ as I have heard 
old racers say. To George I am indebted for a very kind letter. John I 

* Honorable Nathaniel Macon. 



am satisfied, with proper training and exercise, which last depends upon 
himself, will make a fine fellow, but he must bear in mind that no nag 
can run just taken off the grass, and that with the best management he 
must sometime muzzle. The younger boys, in which members I include 
your grandson, I need not advise to diligently mind their work, which, 
at their age, is play. This they will do without aid from any quarter. 

Mr. Macon's kindness to me on all occasions, but particularly last win- 
ter and this, cannot be requited by any return that I can make. But for 
him last winter I don't know what 1 should have done. But if you were 
to hear him, you would suppose that he^ and not /, was the obliged party. 
We have had but one fair day this month (New Year's day), and but four 
in December. It has been very warm and damp — the worst possible 
weather for preserving meat. I wish that you may have ** saved your 
bacon." If practicable, I am sure that it has been done by Mrs. J.'s 
management, who, in her department, I will back against any that can be 
named ; and now you are fairly tired of a letter of two closely written 
pages. So farewell, and God bless you all. 

Yours, truly, 

J. R., of i?. 

I send George the Advocate every week. 

(Private and particular.) Yesterday our friend* and your representa- 
tive made a speech, which although, in some respects, the best I ever 
heard from him, yet was (as is too often the case with him) more inju- 
rious to us than to the enemy. It was on the slave question. 


William H. Johnson ^ Esq., 

WilkinsonvilUy Chesterfield county , Virginia, 

free, J. RANDOLPH. 

The following letter, addressed to his personal friend and 
business manager, Thomas A. Morton, Esq., of Prince Ed- 
ward, was written at the time that he was minister to Russia. 
Knowing that he was buried at Roanoke by his direction, 

* Honorable Wm. S. Archer. 


■we were surprised to see a desire expressed to lie by the 
side of his father and mother, at Matoax. We have heard 
no reason assigned for his change of feelings in this respect. 

London, Warwick St. Charing Cross. 
Dec. 6, 1830. Monday. 
My Dear Sir : 

Since the sailing of the last packet from Liverpool, I re- 
ceived via St. Petersburg your letter of the 2ist of August — the only one 
that I have had the pleasure to get from you. 

It is with no small difficulty that I summon strength to thank you for it ; 
for I am as low as I can be to be able to write at all. 

In case that you shall not have contracted for the house at Bizarre, I 
wish to countermand the request. I intended it for a purpose that now 
can never be. 

My expectations from the tobacco were very small ; but I had hoped it 
would not turn out quite so badly. Meanwhile, I have no supply from 
Government. Congress and the Virginia Assembly both meet this day, 
and I pray God to send us, the people, a safe deliverance. 

It will be very unlucky in case of a general war in Europe, which some 
look forward to, that we shall have eaten all our wheat, for I learn that 
there is a total destruction of Indian corn. 

I must refer you to the newspapers for European politics. Nothing 
will preserve peace but the dread of the "Great Powers," lest their sub- 
jects should catch the French and Belgic disease (for such they deem it). 
If they touch Belgium, France will strike. This country is in a deplora- 
ble condition of splendid misery. A great discovery has been made on 
the Continent, far surpassing any of Archimedes or Newton. The people 
have discovered the secret of their strength ; and the military have found 
out that they are the people. The teeth and nails of despotism are from 
'that day drawn and pared. 

Commend me earnestly to all my old friends and constituents. I shall 
be among them (dead or alive) next Summer. I have provided for a 
leaden coffin, feeling as I do an inexpressible desire to lie by the side of 
'my dear mother and honored father at old Matoax. 

Remember me to the old servants — particularly Syphax, Louisa, Sam 



and Phil, and be assured, my dear sir, that I set the highest value on the 
good opinion with which you have honored me, and I fully reciprocate it^ 

Most sincerely and faithfully, 

J. R. of Roanoke, 

John, my servant, is quite well ; he has not been otherwise since we 
left the U. S. ; and is a perfect treasure to me. He desires his remem- 
brance to Syphax, &c., &c. 


Thos, A, Morton^ Esq. 

Pray let Mr. Leigh know of the receipt and date of this letter. 

The following letter was written about eighteen months 
before his death. He speaks of "thankless heirs," and 
complains of having been deserted in his old age. We 
have, moreover, a picture of a man on the brink of the 
grave, whose thoughts were eager for the acquisition of 
wealth, and he seems to have intended it as a picture of 
himself. The letter is short, but it " unmasks man's heart," 
and enables the reader to "view the hell that's there." 

Roanoke, Dec. 6, 1831. 
My Dear Friend : 

This is no common-place address, for without profes- 
sion or pretension such you have quietly and modestly proved yourself to 
be, while, like Darius, I have been 

"Deserted in my utmost need. 
By those my former bounty fed." 

All this is only acting according to your character, and you can hardly 
help it now, second nature being superadded to the first. In the whole 
course of my unprofitable life I never received a letter from a man that 
affected me so deeply as yours of the 3d. 

If I can I will be with you on the 14th (the day before the sale.) I 
will bring with me the original blotter of the sale, which Creed Taylor 


'Can verify, if he be not civUiter mortuus, as I greatly fear he is. There 
is no body else left, unless it be our old friend Bedford. « * * 

But my dear friend, what are, or what ought to be, the cares of a man 
about property that believes himself to be dying? and almost, but not 
'* altogether,'' hopes it. I am now as much worse than when you saw 
me on my way to Buckingham November court, as then I was worse than 
when I left London. 

I wish to sell the lots next the warehouse at cost, and interest if to be 
had, or exchange them for others, adjoining the lots I got from your 
father and of Wathell, or those on the branch ; or I could sell all, or im- 
prove for the benefit of thankless heirs. 

" He turns with anxious care and crippled hands 
His bonds of debt and mortgages of lands." 

A long credit to me is the same as a short one ; I shan't outlive a bank 

Caught like Bonaparte by an Arctic winter, setting in on November 
(Prince Edward) court, but not like him in latitude 50-55, 1 am in 37® 30 
north, a little south of Algiers. I am tied here until the March and April 
winds and May frosts are over, if I live so long. 

Most truly yours, 

J. R., of Roanoke. 

Thos. A. Morton^ Esq, 

The last letter which we shall place before the reader is 
one written for Mr. Elisha E. Hundley, formerly of Charlotte 
county, Virginia, but now a citizen of Chicago — a letter of 
introduction to John Rowan, Esquire, of Kentucky, one of 
the most distinguished men of his day. It is as follows : 

Roanoke, August 15, 1832. 
My Dear Sir: 

This will be presented to you by my neighbor, Elisha E. 

Hundley, whose affairs take him to what, in old times, we used to call 

the Bear Grass Country. 

The estate of his relative, which Mr. Hundley goes out to settle up, 


lies within six miles of Louisville, and he may stand in need of advice. 
As there is no man in Kentucky, or out of it, more capable of aiding him 
in this behalf than yourself, I have given him this letter; but not so much 
on that account, as to recommend him to your good offices as a man every 
way worthy of them. Mr. Hundley is a plain, industrious, quiet man, 
who minds his own affairs and does not meddle with other people's busi- 
ness. He is also a pious member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. I 
have purchased his land next to my own, and thereby deprived myself of 
an excellent neighbour — but he was resolved to sell. 

My old acquaintances, the Maupins, whom we called Maupanes, Rich- 
ard especially, will oblige me by any attentions they may show Mr. H. 

I am in the most wretched health that can be conceived or endured. 

With the highest respect, D'r Sir, your faithful serv*t, 

J. R. of Roanoke, 

John Howattj Esquirej 


Mr. Hundley in his letter enclosing Mr. Randolph's to us,, 
and kindly granting us the use of it, writes that it was pre- 
sented to him "without being asked for," and adds, "I 
never leave home on a trip of business without it, as it has 
ever proved a never-failing passport to me where I was not 
known." It was written, as the reader will observe, only 
ten months before his death ; but it shows no signs of mental 
decay, and is as much like its author as anything that ever 
came from him. No other person, in the short space of a 
single page of manuscript, and that a letter of introduction, 
would have presented such a variety of subjects, nor should 
we expect to find anywhere else such a remark as he makes 
about the Maupins. It is a littie singular, that while he 
signs himself "of Roanoke," he writes — John Rowan, 
Esquire — ^the Esquire in full. The distinguished gende- 
man to whom this letter was addressed, it would seem, 
should have had the prefix " Hon." to his name since he 


had occupied the high position of senator in Congress from 
1825 to 1831. 

It appears that when he was at college Mr. Randolph 
signed his name John Randolph ; a few years aften\'ards it 
was John Randolph, of Roanoke. In the sharpest corres- 
pondence we ever read between Mr. Randolph and his 
cousin Nancy, who married Gouverneur Morris, that bril- 
liant lady severely rasps her distinguished relative for taking 
upon himself the title of John Randolph, of Roanoke. 

But the letter served more than its purpose ; never having 
been delivered to the gentleman to whom it was addressed, 
it was used on sundry occasions by Mr. Hundley in his ex- 
tensive travels in this country and in Europe. Indeed, he 
prized it so highly, that he had a hundred lithographic 
copies taken of it, to hand down to his children and grand- 
children, as a precious memorial of his distinguished friend 
and neighbor. 

We have thus exhausted our fund of letters. Our collec- 
tion, though not large, presents a pleasing variety, and every 
page of this short chapter is a valuable index to the charac- 
ter of our distinguished subject. The reader, who is curious 
to peruse other letters of Mr. Randolph, will find a great 
number in Garland's life of him. Our object was not to 
repeat what has been already published, but to furnish fresh 
food, to satisfy the appetite of the public, who, it has seemed 
to us, have devoured with more than ordinary interest every- 
thing concerning John Randolph, of Roanoke. 




TT7HATEVER doubt may exist as to whether Mr. Ran- 
yy dolph was a great man, a consistent statesman, a 
profound thinker, a logical debater, there can be none 
as to his being a great orator. 

In criticising orator>% we must be careful not to confound 
the orator with the mere logical reasoner or debater. There 
is a wide difference between them. The object of the two 
classes of speakers is different, the effect is different, and the 
criterion, by which their respective merits are estimated, is 

The logician may be able to accomplish more in the end, 
particularly in this country, where so many facilities are af- 
forded for publishing speeches; and he certainly furnishes 
an agreeable exercise for the mental faculties ; but the orator 
proper exhibits the highest order of talent, and dancing to 
the most fascinating music, is not more delightful than the 
stimulus of hearing him speak. 

The object of the mere debater, at least in the halls of 
Congress, is the remote and permanent effect. There, nine- 
tenths of the speakers address themselves mainly to the 
reporters. They do not care so much for the immediate 
effect upon their hearers, as the lasting impression upon 
their constituents particularly, and the public generally. 

The facility afforded by the press for having speeches 
reported and disseminated all over the nation, within a few 


hours after delivery, has a great tendency to decrease the 
cultivation of real oratorical talents. But occasionally there 
appears a sudden and bright light, who stirs every feeling of 
the human breast, who may, indeed, be reported, and with 
considerable effect, but whose object is immediate conviction 
and persuasion, and whose glory is to electrify his audience. 

Such was John Randolph. 

We doubt whether there ever lived a more eloquent man 
than Mr. Randolph. 

Some are eloquent in the pulpit or at the bar, but dull and 
uninteresting around the social circle. Others are gifted 
with great colloquial powers, but are unable to deliver a 
public address. But Mr. Randolph was eloquent, both in 
his speeches and in his conversations. Thpusands, who 
never had the good fortune to hear him address a public 
assembly, have felt his power of fascination in private, when 
he chose to exert it, with wonder and admiration. 

But, in our humble opinion, we should be wide of the 
mark, if, being called upon for the evidences of his great 
oratorical powers, we should point to his reported speeches. 

His speech, in answer to Mr. Everett, of Massachusetts, is 
all that Mr. Garland claims for it. It is a specimen of his 
"large acquaintance with histor}-, profound knowledge of 
human character, his copiousness of illustration, and the 
rapidity, beauty, strength and purity of his style." 

But however much we admire the beauty of the composi- 
tion, or the profundity of the views expressed, there is 
nothing in that speech which entities its author to be styled 
a great orator. We cannot tell from the length of David's 
sling, or the weight of Francisco's sword, how they wielded 
these instruments of death. We are convinced that Ran- 
dolph and Clay were orators, but not from reading their 
speeches. We might admit they were great masters of com- 


position, logical reasoners — wise men; but we should not 
be justified in pronouncing them great orators from reading^ 
their speeches. 

Mr. Randolph was an orator proper. He possessed the 
faculty of producing an instantaneous and powerful effect 
upon his auditors; and his speeches lose half their charm 
when they appear in print. Sheridan was well aware of this 
pecularity of the orator when he refused to permit his great 
speech, in the case of Warren Hastings, to be reported. 

If called upon to select the passage which we most ad- 
mire of all that we have seen from the great Virginia orator, 
we should point to a sentence in his speech made at Char- 
lotte Court-house, at the time he excused himself, on the 
ground of ill health, for declining a reelection to Congress. 
The reader will remember we gave it among the recollec- 
tions of the Honorable James W. Bouldin ; but, for the bet- 
ter illustration of our subject, we repeat it. He said : 

I am going across the sea, to patch up and preserve a shattered frame — 
a frame worn out in your service, and to lengthen out, yet a little longer, 
hitherto certainly, not a very happy existence, for, excepting the one up- 
braided by a guilty conscience, no life can be more unhappy than that, the 
days of which are spent in pain and sickness, and the nights in travail 
and sorrow. 

This passage written reads ver}' well, but of its force and 
beauty, as pronounced by Mr, Randolph, we have no ade- 
quate conception. We are told that while he was speaking, 
every bosom swelled with sympathy for the fate of the un- 
happy exile, who was going to a foreign land to " eke out 
the last remains of his toilsome life." 

But we repeat the words used on that occasion, and ad- 
mire them with scarcely a sigh. The harp is before us, with 
all its strings in tune, but in vain we attempt as he played to- 


Still, after all, this sentence may have been spoken by a 
tongue by no means eloquent. 

In the trial of a case of murder, in which Patrick Henr>' 
defended the prisoner at the bar, he made use of the follow- 
ing language : 

You have been told, gentlemen, that the prisoner was bound by every 
obligation to avoid the supposed necessity of firing, by leaping behind a 
house near by which he stood at that moment. Had he been attacked 
with a club, or with stones, the argument would have been unanswerable, 
and I should find myself compelled to give up the defence in despair. 
But surely, I need not tell you, gentlemen, how wide is the difference be- 
tween sticks or stones and double triggered loaded rifles cocked at your 

These were the instruments employed by the speaker to 
convey to the jury the terrible image which was in his own 
mind. But there appears nothing in his words which en- 
ables us to rank him one of the greatest orators the world 
has produced. And yet, we are informed, that when he 
uttered this sentence, it produced ^'paroxysms of emotion 
in every breast." 

What is there in the expression, " If we are wrong, let us 
all go wrong together?" Yet such was the effect when 
spoken by Henry with the appropriate action, that the whole 
auditory moved unconsciously with the speaker. 

If we were to take our seat by the side of some beautiful 
woman and listen to a piece of music which charmed our 
souls, and afterwards were to show the notes to a friend, 
what a faint idea he could form of the treat we had really 
enjoyed. So, if we had the good fortune of hearing a great 
orator speak, and were to adduce, as proof of it, an accurate 
report of the words which he used, how very far short we 
should fall of conveying an adequate conception of the spell 
that bound us? 


If we wanted to convey a just idea of the tumultuous rage 
of a great batde we had witnessed, we should not, when it 
was all over — the dead removed, and silence restored to 
the scene, point to the fell instruments which were used, the 
swords of the veteran warriors, the quality of the ammuni- 
tion which was belched from the mouths of the cannon ; nor 
can they be taken as the proofs of a successful battie. The 
genius of the warrior consists in the use he makes of his 
instruments of death, and the manner in which they are 
handled ; and the criterion of his merit is the actual effect 

The speech of Mr. Randolph, so highly spoken of by 
Mr. Garland, is not a complete evidence of his oratorical 
powers. There we read the strategic plans of the author; 
are enabled to conceive of his wonderful facility in gathering 
materials for crushing the feelings of his adversaries; be- 
hold the dreadful weapons he employed; but the action is 
wanting. We cannot witness the running through with the 
long bony finger, the rage of his eyes, which flashed from 
side to side, nor the awful contractions of the muscles of 
his face. We cannot tell how he bore himself upon the field 
of battle, when the cry was, '' delenda est Carthago^' nor 
how the victims of his displeasure writhed and agonized 
with pain. 

A book of military tactics affords about as much evidence 
of the genius of the warrior as the speeches of Mr. Ran- 
dolph afford of his genius as an orator. 

The evidence, we repeat, of the oratorical powers of any 
man is not to be found in his reported speeches. The ora- 
tions of Demosthenes and Cicero are perhaps the most per- 
fect models of composition of their kind which the world 
«ver saw, yet from them we can gather naught to convince 
us that they were orators of the first magnitude. If the 
speeches of Patrick Henry were ten times more logical 


than they really are ; if those of Mr. Randolph were really 
more brilliant, the language more chaste and harmonious,^ 
still, from the perusal of them, we could form but a very im- 
perfect estimate of the oratorical powers of these wonderful 

We said the object of oratory is to sway the crowd ; to 
produce an immediate effect. .Orators are fully aware of the 
advantages they possess over the historian or novelist. As 
we read the pages of the one, we pause to weigh the testi- 
mony ; to consider the truth and accuracy of the statements, 
and the representations of the other must still be held up to 
nature, to determine whether they be drawn to life. But, 
when a great orator is speaking we are filled with electricit}' ; 
it passes from him to us, and from us to him ; we catch the 
passions which burn and flash within his animated breast ; 
are hurried along from point to point, and have no time for 
sifting arguments; we are transported with the scenes he 
describes; our imagination is filled with glowing pictures: 
we are charmed, fascinated, and often our reason is led cap- 
tive by a single expression. 

In illustration of the last idea, we will mention the effect 
which the Rev. Dr. Speece says a single expression had 
upon him. He was at the trial, in one of our district courts, 
of a man charged with murder. After briefly stating the 
case, he remarks: 

A great mass of testimony was delivered. This was commented upon 
with considerable ability by the lawyer for the commonwealth, and by 
another lawyer engaged by the friends of the deceased for the prosecution. 
The prisoner was also defended in elaborate speeches by two respectable 
advocates. These proceedings brought the day to a close. The general 
whisper through a crowded house was, that the man was guilty, and could 
not be saved. 

About dark candles were brought in, and Henry rose. His manner was 



exactly that which the British Spy describes with so much felicity, plain, 
simple, and entirely unassuming. ** Gentlemen of the jury," said he, " 1 
dare say that we are all very fatigued with this tedious trial. The prisoner 
at the bar has been well defended already, but it is my duty to offer you 
some further observations in favor of this unfortunate man. I shall aim 
at brevity. But should I take up more of your time than you expect, I 
hope you will hear me with patience when you consider that d/ood is con- 

I cannot admit the possibility that any who never heard Henry speak 
should be made fully to conceive the force of impression which he gave 
to these few words, " blood is concerned." I had been on my feet through 
the day, pushed about in the crowd, and was excessively weary. I was 
strongly of the opinion, too, notwiihstanding all the previous defensive 
pleadings, that the prisoner was guilty of murder, and I felt anxious to 
know how the matter would terminate, yet when Henry had uttered these 
words my feelings underwent an instantaneous change. 

There is something almost superhuman in the gift which 
moves a crowd to tears by the utterance of a simple sen- 
tence, as Flechier did in his funeral oration on Turenne, 
when he said : " Here I am almost forced to interrupt my 
discourse. I am troubled, Messieurs! Ttirennc diesT and 
when his audience, which had been held breathless, at that 
passage, burst forth into tears and cries. 

One reason why no description can convey to another the 
impression produced by eloquence, is because of the im- 
possibility of reproducing the circumstances which gave 
effect to the original utterance. Of this there is a striking 
illustration in the life of Whitfield. 

Once, when he had an appointment to preach in London, 
before the hour came, the brightness of the morning was 
eclipsed by ominous and lurid clouds. His text was, 
** Strive to enter in at the strait gate." 

"See," said he, pointing to a shadow that was flitting 
•across the floor — "see that emblem of human life." "See 


there," as a flash of lightning lit up the deepening gloom of 
the house. " It is a glance from the angry eye of Jehovah !" 

Raising his finger in a listening attitude, as the thunder, 
gradually growing louder, burst in one tremendous crash 
over the building, he continued the instant it ceased : " It 
was the voice of God proclaiming his wrath." 

Then, as the sound died away, he knelt in the pulpit, and 
covered his face with his hands in silent adoration. 

The audience that day was under his spell, and he swayed 
them at pleasure. This induced Dr. Campbell, in his 
sketch of Whitfield, to say of that discourse, that it was 
easy to print it, but the thunder and lightning could not be 
struck off by the press. 

Neither the surrounding circumstances, nor the magnetic 
currents which pass from the speaker to his hearers, can 
^ver be reproduced by the narrator, and therefore the writ- 
ten and the reported speeches of an orator give little idea of 
his power. 

The intoxicating effect of eloquence is, indeed, delightful. 
The excitement of reading a good speech is agreeable, that 
of reading a good novel still more so, but it is nothing 
compared to the stimulant of hearing a great orator speak. 
The effect of a sudden flash from the brain of genius is a 
striking illustration of the direct influence of the mind over 
the physical system. As he becomes more and more ex- 
cited, the speaker himself is almost transfigured, his eyes 
kindle and brighten, and his cheeks grow rosy, and the 
wrinkles on his withered face disappear, and the hollow and 
meagre features of old age become beautiful objects to be- 

Such, we have seen, was the appearance of John Ran- 
dolph, on one occasion, as he walked across the floor and 
saw the people gather round the stand. But if the speaker 


is transfigured, the auditors are intoxicated with intense ex- 
citement; every heart beats rapidly, and every bosom swells 
with emotion. 

Now, to be able to stir these absorbing passions of the 
mind, to find one in a calm, cool state, unexcited by any 
strong feeling, and in a few moments to cause him to blaze 
all over, requires the most extraordinary endowments which 
the Creator bestows upon the creature. The mere dialecti- 
cian cannot begin to excite those thoughts, which exert such 
intense influence over an audience. Like a caterpillar, he 
crawls along, laying down his premises, step by step, per- 
fectly satisfied that his auditors are following him through 
his laborious journey, while the orator, with a few rapid 
strides, gains in an instant an object, which the other never 
can attain. 

The instantaneous change which the feelings of his audi- 
tors underwent when Henry uttered the words, "blood is 
concerned;" the paroxysms of emotion produced on the 
other occasion, when he spoke of " double-triggered loaded 
rifles cocked at your breast," shows the powerful and myste- 
rious effect of a single thought. But to be able to conceive, 
and clothe, and speak that single thought, as Henry spoke, 
is, perhaps, to be endowed with all the finest qualities of the 
mind, united with great physical advantages, and adorned 
by all the embellishments of art. A look or a tone may at 
first seem accomplishments of easy attainment, but when 
they produce these extraordinary impressions upon others, 
they are themselves the result of the highest mental and 
physical development. All the noblest qualities of the en- 
tire structure of man — body, mind and soul — may be re- 
quired to produce them. It is deep feeling which makes the 
sound that melts tears, and to give the expression to the eye 
which kindles fire within the human breast, may require the 


liabitual indulgence for years in the most ennobling thoughts. 
An ignorant, uncultivated man, with none of the rare natu- 
ral gifts of his Creator, cannot look like Patrick Henry when 
his arms seemed to cover the whole house ; nor like John 
Randolph when he was describing Napoleon Bonaparte's 
strides to universal dominion. 

The following incident shows the susceptibility of Mr. 
Randolph to oratorical excellence, at the same time it affords 
a striking proof of the oratorical powers of the immortal 

We quote from the manuscripts of the Honorable James 
W. Bouldin : 

Mr. Randolph, in speaking of Patrick Henry, said " he was profoundly 
■wise," and that " in eloquence his deceit was deeper than the bottom of 
the sea." 

He then told me " that when a lad he witnessed the trial of the case 
of the British debts, in which Henry appeared against the payment of the 
debts. When the case was about to come on he (Randolph) got near the 
judges by the favor of some one, and retained his position during the trial 
for that day. A dispute arose in a low tone between the judges (Iredell 
and Chase, I think) as to whether Henry was a great man and an orator. 
Chase said he was; Iredell that he was not. The dispute became so 
warm that they determined to decide the question immediately. So when 
John Marshall, afterwards Chief Justice of the United States, had finished 
speaking, they called on Henry next, though they knew that he was to 
speak last on that side." 

Mr. Henry was sitting with his head resting on the bar, wrapped up, 
and appeared to be old and infirm, and with unaffected surprise raised his 
head and said : " They had arranged for others to speak before him, that 
he was not prepared to go on." The court insisted, but Henry urged his 
age and debility as a reason for not taking the laboring oar. The court 
insisted still, when at last Henry yielded. 

After some short time he commenced to raise himself up to an erect 

position in order to speak. Mr. Randolph said he " impressed him with 



the feeling that the court were the most cruel creatures ; but he would 
reflect that this was all put on/' 

Henry complained before he had gotten fairly erect, that " an old man^ 
trembling on the brink of the grave, had been made to take the laboring 
oar in that great cause in preference to young men in the prime of life, 
and much more able than he in his best days — he who had been in his 
best days but feeble." 

Mr. Randolph said that he knew this was all deceit, but still his feel- 
ings of sympathy would return, and he would think the court guilty of 
the most wanton cruelty. 

Mr. Randolph then gave an outline of his progress, and compared him 
to the practicing of a four-mile horse — ^sometimes displaying his full 
powers for a few leaps, and then taking up. At last he got up to full 
speed, and took a rapid view of what England had done when she had< 
been unfortunate in arms, and of the condition of the people during the 
war, and what would have been their fate had England been successful, 
and having arrived at the highest point of elevation, he made one of his 
solemn pauses, and raised up his hands. Mr. Randolph said they seemed 
to cover the whole house. While the color would come and go in the 
face of Judge Chase, Iredell sat with his mouth wide open, and at this, 
pause exclaimed : ** By G — .' he is an orator. ^^ 

There was a general burst of applause through the house, which pro- 
duced confusion. After a little time Henry looked out at the window 
where there were some horses on exhibition prancing about and neighing. 
He remarked : " It was only some horses out that had produced a little 
confusion," and went on apparently unconscious of what had occasioned 
the interruption. 

Here the speaker had not uttered a dozen sentences be- 
fore he displayed the oratorical faculty, producing a power- 
ful illusion upon the imagination of Mr. Randolph, and we 
presume of the auditors generally. But the words used by 
the speaker on that occasion might well have been employed 
by one who had no pretentions to oratory. 

What was it which impressed Mr. Randolph with the feel- 
ing, in spite of his judgment, that the judges were the most 
cruel creatures for insisting on Henry's speaking first, and 


that, too, when he knew that he was far more able to take 
the laboring oar, feeble as he represented himself to be, than 
any of the learned counsel who were arranged to precede 
him? It was something which cannot be transmitted to 
paper; it was precisely that which made him preeminently 
an orator. 

Mr. Randolph was a great actor. The reader, we dare 
say, well remembers a passage in the recollections of Mr. 
James M. Whittie, which for the better illustration of our 
subject, we repeat. He says : 

His words were only a part of the performance ; the uttering of but few 
of these showed that he was an actor. They were few. So were his ges- 
tures. But his gestures were as expressive as his words. I had studied 
some of the orations of Cicero, and had read of Roscius; but I could 
not understand the power of the latter over his spectators until that day. 
Had Mr. Randolph lived when pantomime was in vogue, it is not unlikely 
that he could have communicated his thoughts and feelings effectually, 
though he spake never a word. As he proceeded, the impression was, 
there is Cicero and Roscius combined — two men in one — Cicero within, 
Roscius without. The auditors, of course, yielded themselves prompt and 
willing captives. This combination required deliberation for its display ; 
otherwise, it cannot be conceived how so much time was consumed 
in uttering so few words, without any apparent impatience of his hearers^ 
or that throbbing twitter which is felt when expectation is excited and 
held too long in suspense. 

After reading the above, we were not surprised at the fol- 
lowing, which the reader found in the sketch of Mr. Ran- 
dolph by Dr. W. S. Plumer. He says : 

In the Virginia Convention of 1829 was a preacher (Alexander Camp- 
bell, we suppose), who had made some noise in the- world. I was present 
when he rose to make his address — intended to be powerful. But Mr. 
Randolph, who was a great actor^ drew many eyes to himself. At first he 
leaned forward, gazed as if in wonder and in awe. For two or three mo- 
ments he looked and acted as if he expected something great. By de- 


grees he seemed to lose interest in the speaker, and finally sank back into 
his seat with a strong expression of contempt on his countenance. He 
had said not a word nor violated any parliamentary law. The acting was 
perfect. It had its effect. The speaker could not rally the courage of his 

Nor did he practice his art in public only ; he carried it into 
every-day life. In the dramatic scene at the granary de- 
scribed by Mr. Henry Carrington, Mr. Randolph's acting is 
pronounced " inimitable." His extraordinary conduct at the 
time that the Hon. Thomas S. Flournoy, when a boy, with 
his father visited Mr. Randolph, was, in our opinion, acting. 
For the whole programme — his pretending that he was dy- 
ing, his warming up with his subject and surprising his 
guests with a speech, his request to have his name with- 
drawn as a candidate for the Convention, bidding them 
adieu as if he never expected to see them again, and after- 
wards mounting his horse and overtaking them on the road, 
and going to Halifax court next day and making a public 
speech — all flashed across his mind the moment that his ser- 
vant announced that Mr. John James Flournoy and his son 
were at the door. 

The actor uses arts which are totally inadmissible in the 
debater. The latter expects to be reported, and hopes his 
speech will be carefully perused by those who have time to 
weigh every argument. Hence he is exceedingly particular 
about his process of reasoning, the accuracy of his state- 
ments, and the style of composition. He labors to give it 
exquisite finish and to enhance its value by all the arts of 
the logician. But the orator is not so mindful of these 
things. If he carries the crowd with him, he is satisfied. 
The demonstrations of the multitude do not make Poe a 
poet or Prescott a historian ; but they do make Henry and 
Randolph orators. 


It matters not whether the statements of the orator proper 
are true or false ; whether he covers the whole ground, or 
jumps to conclusions, or touches the subject directly at all. 
He may not be logical, may not be consistent; yet, if he 
sways the multitude, he is an orator. 

Therefore, he who should undertake to assign Mr. Ran- 
dolph his proper rank as an orator must not sit down to the 
task with a volume of his speeches, but with a record of the 
instantaneous effects of those speeches. 

Of the actual effects produced by the speeches of Mr. 
Randolph we have the most ample and satisfactory proof. 
There are still many living witnesses. True, it has been a 
long time since the spell was broken ; but they can testify as 
clearly as if it were but yesterday they felt his mental power. 

The reader has not forgotten the interesting reminiscences 
of an address delivered at Charlotte Court-house soon after 
the adjournment of the Virginia Convention of 1829. In 
this address Mr. Randolph was giving an account of his 
stewardship and the proceedings of said convention. It is 
important that we should repeat a few words uttered by the 
speaker on that occasion. He said : 

** I appear here to take my leave of you for the last time. 
What shall I say? Twenty-eight years ago you took me 
by the hand, when a beardless boy, and handed me to Con- 
gress. I have served you in a public capacity ever since. 
That I have committed errors I readily believe, being a de- 
scendant of Adam, and full of bruises and putrifying sores 
from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. People 
of Charlotte, which of you is without sin ?" 

A voice in the crowd exclaimed, ** Gracious God, what 

Speaking of the trust committed to him by his constitu- 


ents, the duties of which he had so long discharged, he 
made use of the following expression : 

*'Take it back, take it back," at the same time moving his 
hand forward towards the multitude. 

Mr. H. says he instinctively shrank back, feeling as if the 
speaker was about to roll a tremendous stone upon him. 
Just as the orator concluded, and while still under the intox- 
icating effects of his eloquence, a gentieman standing near 
turned to him and exclaimed; " He is almost a god." 

In the recollections of Dr. C. H. Jordan, the reader comes 
across this remarkable passage : 

" Here he drew a striking and vivid picture of the ship of 
state, sailing amongst the breakers, and with extended arms 
and eyes raised to heaven, he threw his body forward, as if 
to catch her, crying as he did so, in a half-imploring, half- 
confident tone, ' God save the old ship.* 

"It was the most solemn, the most impressive gesture I 
ever saw from any human being ; and so powerful was the 
impression made that the whole multitude, many with ex- 
tended arms, seemed to move involuntarily forward, as if to 
save the ' old ship.' " 

It has been said that Mr. Randolph's greatest efforts in 
speaking were made on the hustings, during his canvass 
with Mr. Eppes, in which he was beaten. Mr. Bouldin 
heard many of them. The greatest speech he ever made, 
in his opinion, was the one at Prince Edward Court-house, 
in the Fall preceding the election. 

His effort at Charlotte Court-house is characterized as 
being of the " satirical order." Severe repartees and sayings 
creating great mirth at the expense of others, are said to 
have "overshadowed in a measure the able and eloquent 
view he took of the politics of the day ;" but the address de- 
livered at Prince Edward Court-house was "sublime." 


"He spoke," says Mr. Bouldin, "for an hour, perhaps, 
and, when he concluded, I found myself musing and walk- 
ing without any aim or object, and, looking around, found 
the crowd gradually dispersing in the same mood. The 
Rev. Moses Hoge was sitting in a chair opposite him, and 
remained till I observed him, still with his mouth open and 
looking steadily in the same direction. Said he, to Parson 
Lyle, who was standing by him, *I never heard the like 
before, and I never expect to hear the like again.' " 

Mr. Bouldin, who had heard all the distinguished orators 
of that day, states that he never heard the like before or 
since, nor did he ever expect to hear the like again. 

Mr. Sawyer, his first biographer, speaks of Mr. Ran- 
dolph's sallies of wit, his biting sarcasm, his happy retorts 
and home-thrusts, his satiric turn or his playful humor, which 
rendered him a more agreeable and popular speaker than 
others who were more severe and elaborate. 

" If ridicule," says he, " be the test of truth, he had the most 
effectual way of drawing her into the light of all the orators 
of his day. With this powerful lever," he continues, "he 
could shake, if not move from its foundations, any adminis- 
tration. That it contributed in no small degree to subvert 
that of the second Adams no man can doubt, who witnessed 
his repeated and dexterous attacks and observed the effects 
of his peculiar mode of warfare." 

This is high and just praise of his powers of ridicule ; but 
he does not mention his wonderful powers of pathos. Mr. 
Baldwin, too, we think, underrates his capacity in this re- 

It is not strange that those who only heard him in Con- 
gress, should labor under the impression that Mr. Randolph 
had no pathos; but the reader will remember that Mr. John 
Robinson, one of his old constituents, who had heard all the 



distinguished orators of the day, from Patrick Henr>' down, 
gave it as his opinion that "Mr. Randolph was the most 
pathetic speaker he ever heard open his lips." 

In the halls of Congress, we presume, he seldom, or never, 
indulged in that strain ; but, we are informed that when he 
declined to run for Congress, expecting to visit Europe, he 
delivered several addresses of a character wholly different 
from any made by him on any other occasion. While 
riding around his district, taking leave of his constituents, 
he was placed under very different circumstances from those 
which called forth his mighty powers of ridicule and satire 
in the halls of Congress. He was in a situation to counter- 
feit tenderness and a generous forgiveness, if they did not 
spring from the heart, and to make appeals to the sym- 
pathies of his constituents for having to decline their service, 
after their long and continued confidence in him, on the 
ground of ill health. 

These addresses, we are informed, were filled with grave 
and solemn advices and the most pathetic appeals, with- 
out the least allusion to party or feud, and did more to 
strengthen his popularity, which, during the war, had been 
a little shaken, than anything else he ever did. They 
soothed, softened and set aside much of the bitterness which 
had been engendered during those bitter party conflicts. 
Mr. Bouldin says: **I certainly saw tears roll down the 
cheeks of those who hated him then, and would curse his 
memory now if he were named in their presence." 

The deep and dark impression which he was capable of 
making is only less wonderful than the power of genius to 
wipe it out. 

The language of the witness is strong, but all of Mr. 
Randolph's acquaintances knew how he could make a man 
hate him. His talents in this respect were wonderful. Let 


the reader turn to his speech on Retrenchment and Reform, 
note D, in the appendix, and there see his attack upon Mr. 
C, and tell us, if ever a man had, to such a decree, the fac- 
ulty of raking up, condensing, and bringing into a speech 
materials to make a man hate him. And let the reader say 
if an individual thus treated — and there were many such — 
was much to blame for cursing his memory even after he 
was buried. 

Nor was it a sudden ebullition of passion with Mr. Ran- 
dolph, soon over and forgotten. All his life he pursued his 
opponents, whose presence was hateful to him and all they 

Now, when he had retired from the victorious field, where 
he had stirred np the most violent feelings, and had left so 
many foes chafing under the wounds which he had inflicted, 
to have chosen " a mournful muse, soft pity to infuse," and 
to have persuaded his old constituents that " the heat and 
collision produced by the necessary differences of opinion 
among men, during a period of fourteen years, had passed 
off with him — that he was not conscious of having an enemy 
among them ; that, certainly, he did not feel enmit>' to any 
himself;" and to have expressed himself on this occasion in 
such a manner as to have hushed in a moment the jarring 
strings, and by a few words of tenderness to have blotted 
out a hundred bitter recollections, and melted hearts which 
had been steeled against him, changed the current of long 
years of adverse feeling, and forced unwilling tears down the 
cheeks of hatred itself, was the highest effort of genius ; and 
those tears will be received by the sentinels, who guard the 
temple of Fame, as an offering, which entitles the author to 
take his position as an orator by the side of the immortal 

Mr. Sawyer, who was an associate with Mr. Randolph for 


sixteen years in Congress, and who, as we have before stated, 
wrote a biographical sketch of him, expresses the opinion 
that he "wanted the profound views of a great statesman; 
wanted consistency of political conduct" He says : " His * 
fame is founded entirely upon his talents as an orator." But 
he does not speak in unqualified praise even of his oratory. 
He characterizes it as ** more splendid than solid. He was 
listened to," he says, "with undivided attention;" but, ac- 
cording to his view, the mind was " fascinated by the ease, 
the grace, the fluency, and the pleasing emphatic delivery of 
the speaker, not chained and carried captive in the triumph- 
ant march of a gigantic intellect, by the depth of research 
and the force of reasoning." 

We do not now propose to discuss Mr. Randolph's claims 
to statesmanship, but we feel compelled to differ with the 
biographer with regard to his oratory. 

After enumerating the bad qualities of his heart, and ex- 
pressing the opinion that there were no redeeming virtues, 
except "some of a negative" kind, we could but be disap- 
pointed when he spoke disparagingly of the noble qualities 
of his head. 

We were highl}'- gratified at the manner in which Mr. 
Baldwin speaks of our distinguished countryman, when he 
says he was " not only a consistent statesman, but a great 
man." But we are confident that even Mr. Baldwin fails to 
do the great Virginia orator justice when he expresses the 
opinion that " Henry Clay was the more eloquent of the 

The reason which he assigns for this opinion is this : He 
claims that Mr. Clay "spoke with more enthusiasm, with 
more loftiness, with better adaptation to the hearts of men ; 
and this he says is the most effective office of eloquence. It 
takes more than brains to make a man. To convince the 


judgment, you must often do more than show it a good rea- 
son. You must enlist the heart, for it sways the brains." 

From all the information which we can gather, we are 
forced to differ from the learned critic. Mr. Randolph was 
a most enthusiastic man. His deep feeling and highly ex- 
citable imagination was a marked feature of his intellectual 
constitution. It is difficult to conceive how an individual of 
his temperament could fail to speak with the greatest enthu- 
siasm. But, to speak with enthusiasm, we submit, it is not 
necessary to indulge in "sudden bursts of passionate emo- 
tion," in an "unpruned luxuriance of gesticulation." 

An orator may be enthusiastic, and still pronounce his 
words *' trippingly on the tongue, not sawing the air too 
much with his hands, but using all gently; for in the ver}^ 
torrent, tempest, and, as we may say, whirlwind of the pas- 
sions, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may 
give it smoothness." 

This is precisely the character which has been given to 
Mr. Randolph's oratory. He spoke so clearly, and with 
such perfect pronunciation, that as far as his voice could be 
heard his words could be distinguished. " An accurate ear 
could discern, as he went along, commas, semi- colons, colons, 
periods, exclamation and interrogation points, all in their 
proper places." One of the gentlemen who has furnished 
us with interesting data upon this subject, states that *' his 
manner was deliberate, beyond that of any speaker he had 
ever heard, not only every word and syllable, but it seemed 
that every letter of every syllable in every wofd was dis- 
tinctly sounded." 

And still we contend he spoke with enthusiasm, with a 
warm imagination and feelings wrought up to the highest 
pitch of excitement. The last speech he ever made to the 
people of Charlotte was the effect of the most enthusiastic 


and unheard of devotion to an idea. Nothing else could 
have roused his palsied faculties and set his worn-out frame 
in motion. 

Mr. Clay had the art of making men in love with his 
views and with himself Mr. Randolph may not have had 
the same talent to an equal degree, but that does not affect 
the question whether he spoke with as much enthusiasm. 

As to "loftiness," we should not suppose that the "grave 
and sublime" address delivered at Prince Edward by Mr. 
Randolph, in which he took such "an able and eloquent 
view of the politics of that day," was ever surpassed by Mr. 
Clay. This was the opinion of some who had heard both, 
and would be, we imagine, the opinion of a majority. 

As to "enlisting the heart, and thereby swaying the 
brains," after all the evidence we have adduced of the 
ability of Mr. Randolph to excite the tender sensibilities of 
his audience, it is hardly necessary to enlarge. We think 
we have shown him equal to Henry in pathos, and that is 
sufficient. We must be permitted, however, to observe that 
it would be difficult to persuade those enemies of Mr. Ran- 
dolph, who shed tears of sympathy for him, that Mr. Clay, 
or any other man, could have so drowned their senses, so 
intoxicated their brains. 

It does not alter the case that Mr. Randolph did not 
choose to speak often in that strain. A few instances are 
sufficient to establish his capacity: as to how often he 
exerted it, it is immaterial. 

" In particular passages," continues the gifted writer, last 
quoted, " he was brilliant as Curran and Grattan ; in all, he 
was interesting, enchaining attention, gratifying an exquisite 
taste, imparting instruction, and frequently moulding convic- 
tion ; but the permanent impression left was not so strong." 

Now, as we have argued, this "permanent" impression is 


not the criterion of eloquence. When we are comparing 
the eloquence of two great orators, the question is not the 
permanent impression, but the instantaiieotis impression. As 
in the case of Mr. Henry, one of our witnesses, of whom 
we have already spoken, we do not inquire whether the 
speaker advanced arguments which stood the test of his 
sober reason a month afterwards ; but did the orator over- 
power his reason for the moment, and seize upon his imagi- 
nation with such force as to make him actually feel that he 
was rolling a great weight upon him ? 

In the case of the jury, which Mr. Henr>' addressed, they 
acquitted the prisoner at the bar, under the wiviediaie effects 
of his speech. It is useless to inquire how strong was the 
impression of innocence a few days afterwards. The work 
of the orator was done. Mr. Bouldin, another of our wit- 
nesses, does not inform us how strong was the pervianent 
impression made upon him and others by the great speech 
of Mr. Randolph at Prince Edward Court-house; but it is 
sufficient that he states, when he concluded, he found himself 
walking and musing without any aim or object — an evidence 
that all his senses had been completely absorbed, and that 
he had been wholly under the mental influence of another. 
We are not informed whether Mr. Hoge's judgment was so 
w^ell addressed by arguments that he voted for Mr. Randolph 
at the polls; but we are told that while listening to his 
speech he sat with his mouth wide open, and remained in 
that state for several minutes after the speaker had retired 
from the stand. The individual, who thought the orator 
''almost a god" at the moment, may have taken him for a 
devil the next day ; but still the powerful illusion created at 
the time is proof of eloquence of the highest degree. The 
feeling of sympathy which came over Mr. Randolph him- 
self, while Henry was speaking, was momentary, and yet it 


is adduced as a proof that "Henry's deceit in eloquence 
was deeper than the bottom of the sea." 

But is it entirely certain that Mr. Clay surpassed Mr. 
Randolph in the "permanent impression?" If one of his 
old constituents were interrogated on this point, he would 
say, Mr. Randolph's eloquence, at a distance of thirty years, 
still haunts his mind ; and if he chanced to be one of the 
victims of his eloquence of scorn, when brought to the con- 
fessional he would be forced to acknowledge that his wounds 
were still bleeding, that his memory, in reviewing the dark 
passages of his life, would forget the bitter words of all infe- 
rior men, and dwell with hopeless persistency upon the 
inflictions of that long, bony finger. 

When Mr. Sawyer states that, as an orator, Mr. Randolph 
was more " splendid than solid," we confess we do not know 
his precise meaning. Solidity is not the criterion of elo- 
quence. If he had said that as a logician he was "more 
splendid than solid, we should not be at a loss to understand 
him. We suspect that Mr. Sawyer was criticising Mr. Ran- 
dolph's printed speeches instead of his oratory. But, even 
on this hypothesis, in our humble opinion, he is mistaken. 
His speeches are more "solid" than "splendid." As an 
orator he was perfect ; but tlie most of the splendor vanished 
the moment his words were printed. We look upon them 
as we would the instrument of some celebrated musician 
who had departed this life. The keys are in place and 
strings in repair, but the vtusic is wanting. 

Though we can form very little idea of Mr. Randolph's 
splendor as an orator, the solid part of the performance re- 
mains. We should like to be informed whose speeches were 
more "solid" than Mr. Randolph's. Mr. Baldwin tells us 
truly, that " most largely developed of all his faculties, prob- 
ably, was his quick, clear and deep comprehension." One 



of our own witnesses states, that he "thought more philo- 
sophically and profoundly than any man he ever saw;" 
another, that "his conceptions were vast and powerful;" 
and still another, that he took an " able view of the politics 
of the day;" and yet another will come forward and testify, 
that " the speeches of this remarkable man were character- 
ized by all that is conclusive in argument, original in con- 
ception, felicitous in illustration, forcible in language, and 
faultless in delivery." 

We have expressed the opinion that a speaker is not 
obliged to be argumentative in order to be solid. In his 
public addresses or his private conversations he may be 
deep and mould conviction too, and still not go through the 
form of a single argument. Mr. Randolph's speeches are 
filled with as much good, sound sense as any man's we ever 
read, and contain as many ideas in a single page. For, 
while some consume much time in laying down premises 
and advancing to conclusions step by step, he arrived at 
his conclusion at once, and condensed a long argument into 
a few words. 

If Mr. Sawyer meant to say that Mr. Randolph was too 
scattering, that he wanted connection and continuity, we 
refer him to the fable of the caterpillar and the horseman. 
The critic speaks as if he had a book of his orations in his 
hands and was reading them at leisure. The man who reads 
a speech with a view of estimating oratorical excellence for- 
gets that he cannot be hurried along with the speaker as his 
auditors were, that he cannot assume the same state of feel- 
ing yhich the orator addressed. 

But if he has no better means of estimating the genius of 
the orator than his printed speeches, the effect produced by 
the first rapid perusal is the surest test. "It requires re- 
peated perusal and reflection," says Mr. Macaulay, ''to de- 



cide righdy on any other portion of literature. But with 
respect to the works of which the merit depends on their 
instantaneous effect, tlie most hasty judgment is likely to be 
the best." 

This being the case, we should do the orator an injustice 
if we go back to correct an argument or exaggerated state- 
ment, or to expose sophistry', or to exclude extraneous mat- 
ter; because fallacies of that description are supposed to 
have been overlooked by the hearers in the bustie of the 
mental faculties, which are hurried along from point to point 
by the new scenes presented in the kaleidoscope-world of 
the orator. 

There is no record of more powerful effects produced 
upon an audience by any man than those we have men- 
tioned in the case of Mr. Randolph. If, therefore, we be 
correct in stating that the merit of oratory consists in its 
immediate effect, if he who sways the multitude at the time 
be an orator, then we have no hesitation in pronouncing 
John Randolph as great an orator as ever lived. 



Death Bed Scene — Visit to His Grave by Capt. Harrison Robertson — 

Closing Reflections. 

A FEW months before his death, Mr. Randolph deter- 
mined again to visit England, the climate of which he 
thought, above all others, most agreed with his shat- 
tered constitution, where, to use his own language, he " hoped 
to eke out yet, the last remains of his toilsome life." His in- 
tention was to go to Philadelphia to be in ume for the packet 
which would sail from the Delaware in the latter part of the 
month of April. When he arrived in Washington, he pro- 
ceeded at once to the Senate Chamber and took his seat in 
rear of Mr. Clay. That gentleman happened at the time to 
be on his feet, addressing the Senate. " Raise me up,'' said 
Mr. Randolph, " I want to hear that voice again." When 
Mr. Clay had concluded his remarks he turned round to see 
from what quarter that singular voice proceeded. Seeing 
Mr. Randolph, and that he was in a dying condition, he left 
his place and went to speak to him ; as he approached, Mr. 
Randolph said to the gentleman with him, " Raise me up." 
As Mr. Clay offered his hand, he said, "Mr. Randolph I 
hope you are better, sir." " No, sir," replied Mr. Randolph, 
" I am a dying man, and I came here expressly to have this 
interview with you." They clasped hands and parted never 
to meet again. He hurried on to Philadelphia, where he 
was taken very ill. 




For the following highly interesting account of the closing 
scene we are indebted to Mr. Garland : 

Dr. Joseph Parish, a Quaker physician, was sent for. As he entered the 
room, the patient said, " I am acquainted with you, sir, by character. I 
know you through Giles." He then told the doctor that he had attended 
several courses on anatomy, and described his symptoms with medical ac- 
curacy, declaring he must die if he could not discharge the puriform 

How long have you been sick, Mr. Randolph?" 
Don't ask me that question ; I have been sick all my life. I have 
been affected with my present disease, however, for three years. It was 
greatly aggravated by my voyage to Russia. That killed me, sir. This 
Russian expedition has been Pultowa, a Beresina to me." 

The doctor now felt his pulse. " You can form no judgment by my 
pulse; it is so peculiar." 

" You have been so long an invalid Mr. Randolph, you must have 
acquired an accurate knowledge of the general course of practice adapted 
to your case." 

"Certainly, sir; at forty, a fool or a physician you know." 

"There are idiosyncracies," said the doctor, "in many constitutions. I 
wish to ascertain what is peculiar about you." 

" I have been an idiosyncrasy all my life. All the preparations of cam- 
phor invariably injure me. As to ether, it will blow me up. Not so with 
opium ; I can take opium like a Turk, and have been in the habitual use 
of it in one shape or another for some time." 

Before the doctor retired, Mr. Randolph's conversation became curiously 
diversified. He introduced the subject of the Quakers; complimented 
them in his peculiar manner, for neatness and economy, order, comfort — 
in everything. " Right," said he, " in everything except politics — there 
always twistical." He then repeated a portion of the Litany of the Epis- 
copal church with apparent fervor. The following morning the doctor 
was sent for very early. He was called from bed. Mr. Randolph apolo- 
gized very handsomely for disturbing him. Something was proposed for 
his relief. He petulantly and positively refused compliance. The doctor 
paused and addressed a few words to him. He apologized and was as 
submissive as an infant. One evening a medical consultation was pro- 
posed; he promptly objected. "In a multitude of counsel," he said. 


"** there is confusion ; it leads to weakness and indecision ; the patient may 
die while the doctors are staring at each other/' Whenever Dr. Parish 
parted from him, especially at night, he would receive the kindest ac- 
knowledgments, in the most affectionate tones. ** God bless you ; he does 
bless you, and he will bless you." 

The night preceding his death, the doctor passed about two hours in his 
•chamber. In a plaintive tone he said, " My poor John, sir, is worn down 
with fatigue, and has been compelled to go to bed. A most attentive sub- 
stitute supplies his place, but neither he nor you, sir, are like John ; he 
knows where to place his hand on anything in a large quantity of baggage 
prepared for a European voyage." The patient was greatly distressed in 
breathing, in consequence of difficult expectoration. He requested the 
•doctor at his next visit to bring instruments for performing the operation 
of bronchotomy, for he could not live unless relieved. He then directed 
a certain newspaper to be brought to him. He put on his spectacles 
as he sat propped up in bed, turned over the paper several times, 
and examined it carefully, then placing his finger on a part he had 
selected, handed it to the doctor with a request that he would 
read it. It was headed "Cherokee." In the course of reading, 
the doctor came to the word " omnipotence " and pronounced it with a 
full sound on the penultimate — omnipotence. Mr. Randolph checked 
him and pronounced the word according to Walker. The doctor at- 
tempted to give a reason for his pronunciation. "Pass on," was the 
quick reply. The word impetus was then pronounced with the e long, 
imp^us. He was instantly corrected. The doctor hesitated on the criti- 
•cism. "There can be no doubt of it, sir." An immediate acknowledg- 
ment of the reader that he stood corrected, appeared to satisfy the critic, 
and the piece was concluded. The doctor observed that there was a great 
deal of sublimity in the composition. He directly referred to the Mosaic 
account of the creation, and repeated, " Let there be light and there was 
Jight." There is sublimity. 

Next morning (the day on which he died). Dr. Parish received an early 
and urgent message to visit him. Several persons were in the room, but 
soon left it, except John, who was much affected at the sight of his dying 
master. The doctor remarked to him, " I have seen your master very low 
before and he revived ; and perhaps he will again ! " John knows better 
than that, sir." He then looked at the doctor with great intensity, and 
said in an earnest and distinct manner, " I confirm every disposition in my 


will, especially that respecting my slaves, whom I have manumitted, and 
for whom I have made provision." 

" I am rejoiced to hear such a declaration from you, sir,'' replied the- 
doctor, and soon after proposed to leave him for a short time, to attend to- 
another patient. "You must not go" was the reply; "you cannot, you 
shall not leave me. yohttf take care that the doctor does not leave the 
room." John soon locked the door, and reported, " Master, I have locked 
the door and got the key in my pocket, the doctor can't go now." 

He seemed excited and said, "if you do go, you need not retum."^ 
The doctor appealed to him as to the propriety of such an order, inasmuch 
as he was only desirous of discharging his duty to another patient. His 
manner instantly changed, and he said, " I retract that expression." Some 
time afterwards, turning an expressive look, he said again, " I retract that 

The doctor now said that he understood the subject of his communica- 
tion, and presumed the will would explain itself fully. He replied in 
his peculiar way, " No you don't understand it ; I know you don't. Our 
laws are extremely particular on the subject of slaves. A will may 
manumit them, but provision for their subsequent support, requires that 
a declaration be made in the presence of a white witness ; and it is requi- 
site that the witness, after hearing the declaration, should continue with 
the party, and never lose sight of him, until he is gone or dead. You are 
a good witness for John. You see the propriety and importance of your 
remaining with me ; your patients must make allowance /or your situation. 
John told me this morning, " Master, you are dying." 

The doctor spoke with entire candor and replied, that it was a matter of 
surprise that he had lasted so long. He now made his preparations to die. 
He directed John to bring him his father's breast button ; he then directed 
him to place it in the bosom of his shirt. It was an old-fashioned large- 
sized gold stud. John placed it in the bosom hole of his shirt-bosom — 
but to fix it completely required a hole on the opposite side. "Get a 
knife," said he, "and cut one." A napkin was called for, and placed by 
John over his breast. For a short time he lay perfectly quiet, with his 
eyes closed. He suddenly roused up and exclaimed, "Remorse! Re- 
morse !" It was thrice repeated, the last time at the top of his voice,, 
with great agitation. He cried out, " Let me see the word. Get a dic- 
tionary, let me see the word." " There is none in the room, sir." " "Write 
it down then — let me see the word." The doctor picked up one of his 


•cards, " Randolph of Roanoke "— « shall I write it on this card ?" " Yes, 
nothing more proper." The word remorse was then written in pencil. 
He took the card in a hurried manner and fastened his eyes on it with 
great intensity. " Write it on the back," he exclaimed. It was done so 
and handed him again. He was extremely agitated. " Remorse ! you 
liave no idea what it is ; you can form no idea of it, whatever; it has 
contributed to bring me to my present situation ; but I have looked to the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and I hope I have obtained pardon. Now, let John 
take your pencil and draw a line under the word," which was accordingly 
done. ** What am I to do with the card ?" inquired the doctor. " Put it 
in your pocket ; take care of it; when I am dead, look at it." 

The doctor now introduced the subject of calling in some additional 
witnesses to his declarations, and suggested sending down stairs for Ed- 
mund Badger. He replied, "I have already communicated that to him." 
The doctor then said, "With your concurrence, sir, I will send for two 
young physicians, who shall remain and never lose sight of you until you 
are dead ; to whom you can make your declarations — my son. Dr. Isaac 
Parish, and my young friend and late pupil. Dr. Francis West, a brother 
of Capt. West." 

He quickly asked, "Capt West of the packet?" "Yes, sir, the same." 
" Send for him — he is the man — I'll have him." 

Before the door was unlocked he pointed toward a bureau and requested 
the doctor to take from it a remuneration for his services. To this the 
doctor promptly replied, that he would feel as though he were acting indeli- 
cately to comply. He then waived the subject by saying, " In England it 
is customary." 

The witnesses were now sent for, and soon arrived. The dying man 
was propped up in the bed with pillows, nearly erect. Being extremely 
sensitive to cold he had a blanket over his head and shoulders; and he 
directed John to place his hat on, over the blanket, which aided in keep- 
ing it close to his head. With a countenance full of sorrow, John stood 
close by the side of his dying master. The four witnesses — Edmund 
Badger, Francis West, Isaac Parish, and Joseph Parish, were placed in a 
semi -circle in full view. He rallied all the expiring energies of mind and 
body, to this last effort. " His whole soul," says Dr. Parish, " seemed 
concentrated in the act. His eyes flashed feeling and intelligence. Point- 
ing toward us, with his long index finger, he addressed us." 

" I confirm all the directions in my will, respecting my slaves, and di- 


rect them to be enforced, particularly in regard to a provision for their 
support." And then raising his arm as high as he could^ he brought it 
down with his open hand, on the shoulder of his favorite, John, and 
added these words, "especially for this man." He then asked each of 
the witnesses whether they understood him. Dr. Joseph Parish explained 
to them what Mr. Randolph had said in regard to the laws of Virginia, 
on the subject of manumission, and then appealed to the dying man to 
know whether he had stated it correctly. " Yes," said he, and gracefully 
waving his hand as a token of dismission, he said, "The young gentle- 
men will remain with me.*' 

The scene was now changed. Having disposed of that subject most 
deeply impressed on his heart, his keen penetrating eye lost its expression, 
his powerful mind gave way, and his fading imagination began to wander 
amid scenes and with friends that he had left behind. In two hours the 
spirit took its flight, and all that was mortal of John Randolph of Roanoke 
was hushed in death. At a quarter before twelve o'clock, on the 24lh 
day of June, 1833, aged sixty years, he breathed his last." 

For the following interesting sketch we are indebted to 
Capt. Harrison Robertson, of Danville, Va : 

In 1839, he says, being a student at Hampden Sidney College, I visited, 
in company with several fellow students, the residence of John Randolph, 
of Roanoke. His will being at that time the subject of litigation, his es- 
tate appeared to be in a condition of neglect. The grounds surrounding 
the dwelling were entirely destitute of ornament. The negro, John, who 
had been Mr. Randolph's body-servant and constant attendant for many 
years, received us and showed us the objects of interest connected with the 

There were two buildings, one a log house with two rooms, the floor 
raised but a foot or two above the ground, of a style and material the 
rudest, and such as belonged to the poorest class of white persons in the 
rural districts of Virginia. The single door opened into the sitting room, 
which communicated by an inner door with his bed room. The other 
building was a small framed house which stood about twenty yards off", 
with large, well-glazed windows, containing two rooms on the ground floor, 
raised a few feet above the ground, evidently built long after the log 


house, of better material and more civilized style of finish. John called 
this his master's "Summer House;" the log house his "Winter House." 

Entering the log house we found every article of furniture remaining 
exactly (John assured us) as it had been left by Mr. Randolph at the time 
of his departure for Philadelphia on his last journey. 

At this distance of time, many particulars which then interested me 
have escaped my recollection. The furniture, with the exception of a few 
articles, was very plain. I recollect his fowling piece?, pistols, etc., of ex- 
quisite manufacture; also his fair top boots of the best materials and finish. 
But that which I recollect with most distinctness, in regard to this sitting 
room, was a small, old fashioned mahogany stand, upon which laid a 
plain leather portfolio, a candlestick, and a half-consumed candle, and 
one or two books. John informed us that this stand and what was upon 
it, remained as it was left by his master when he ceased reading and went 
to bed, the night before he started for Philadelphia. One of the books 
was open and laid upon the open pages, the back upwards, as if it had 
just been put down by the reader. It was a thin duodecimo volume, 
bound in discolored sheepskin. On examination, I was surprised to find 
this book was McNish on Drunkenness. I opened the portfolio and found 
writing paper, some blank and some manuscripts in Mr. Randolph's own 
hand writing. I recollect particularly a sheet of foolscap which had not 
been folded, with the caption, "A List of my Principal Friends," 
followed by a list of names, numbered i, 2, 3, 4, «S:c., the numbers (if my 
memory be correct) running as high as 20. The list covered two or three 
pages. On the right hand side of the pages, opposite to each name, or to 
many of the names, were remarks indicating Mr. Randolph's estimate of 
the character of the persons named, or some special circumstance of his 
history or friendship. Among the first, if not the first, was the name of 
Thomas H. Benton. Near the middle or latter part of the list was the 
name of Robert Carrington, with the remark opposite — Mr. Randolph 
" admired him for his courage, honor, and manliness," or words to that ef- 
fect. I learned at the time and afterwards that this Mr. Carrington had 
emigrated from Virginia to Arkansas, with his family, after having lived 
many years on a plantation adjoining Mr. Randolph's, and that they had 
been at dagger's draw for years, and that no reconciliation had ever taken 
place between them. 

In the bed room we found the furniture generally of the same simple 
description. The garments and personal apparel were in some instances 


costly and elegant. The room was ill- lighted and must have been badly 
ventilated from the small size of the windows, unless the cracks in the 
log walls aided in ventilation. On the wall above the bed, hung a por- 
trait of Mr. Randolph (in oil.) I have forgotten the name of the artist, 
but the painting was well done. I distinctly recollect the beardless boyish 
appearance of the face. In the " Summer House" we found a library of 
perhaps more than a thousand volumes, embracing many of the standard 
authors of pure "English undefiled," of choice editions and binding; 
also a number of fine engravings (without frames) and books and prints of 
art and science. I saw no musical instruments. There were many manu- 
script letters, notes and cards, invitations to dinners, &c., which had been 
received by Mr. Randolph — some of them from persons of the highest 
distinction both in England and America. Doubtless, many of the like 
kind had disappeared before our visit ; for John made no objection, but 
rather encouraged us, to take away some of the notes, invitations, cards, 
etc., as souvenirs of our visit. 

The grave of Mr. Randolph was near his dwelling house, at the foot of 
a tall pine tree, the shadows of which together with the unfriendly soil, 
prevented the growth of grass upon it. It was marked by no monument 
save a large unshapely stone, placed at the head. We were told by John 
that his master caused the rock to be hauled from another part of the 
plantation with considerable labor and difficulty, and commanded that it 
should be placed at his grave at his death, and that there should be no 
other monument, and no inscription or epitaph. 

The reader is now in possession of all the facts. He has 
doubtless formed his own opinion. It was our plan for him 
to do so. Our views are merely given as a connecting link 
to hold our materiials together. The facts, anecdotes, and 
incidents, which we have recorded, are so pointed and char- 
acteristic, that, apart from the office above indicated, our de- 
ductions can be of no possible use, except perhaps to save 
some indolent mind the trouble of thinking. 

It has been said that men are neither devils nor angels. 
To every character there is a bright side and a dark side. 


There is a spot of sin upon every, face, but always some re- 
deeming feature. 

We have recorded many circumstances tending to prove 
that Mr. Randolph was proud, dictatorial, overbearing, vio- 
lent, unforgiving, void of pity, full of subdety, of gall and 
wormwood ; and as some go about hunting wild beasts for 
sport, he hunted mankind. But, on the other hand, we have 
introduced some testimony in addition to what has been 
published by others, to show that he was capable at times of 
conferring acts of the greatest generosity, and in the most 
acceptable manner; that his mind was not debauched, Ijis 
sentiments being pure, whatever his frail body might do ; 
that he was bold and fearless ; that when he was not excited 
by passion, or irritated by disease, he was gentie and kind. 
The tone of his general character was so high, so singularly 
free from abjectness, ser\dlity, or meanness of any description, 
that nothwithstanding all his faults,- we cannot say he was a 
bad man, in the sense in which that term is ordinarily used. 
Possessed of no qualities to inspire our love and affection, 
still he was free from all which excites the feeling of con- 
tempt. And he was endowed with all the noblest qualities 
of the head. He possessed a most extraordinary memory, 
a memory which seemed never to forget anything ; and yet 
it was not an unnatural development. But such a memory, 
if other qualities had not been developed in an equal degree, 
would, in all probability, have induced him to draw altogether 
upon the resources of others ; his opinions upon matters of 
state, would have been mere collations of authorities ; when 
his views upon a subject were solicited, he would have cited 
to a book. Such was not the case however. His speeches 
are filled with apt quotations ; but they are not the efforts of 
a retentive memory alone, but of a great mind drawing its 
•own conclusions, using the learning of others only to illus- 


trate and adorn. It has been said he had the imagination of 
Byron, the wit of Sheridan, and that his powers of sarcasm 
were unsurpassed. Indeed we should say that the latter 
quality was the distinctive feature of his mind. If an im- 
portant measure were before Congress, and we in search of 
the ablest debater we could find, we should select perhaps a 
Webster. But when we were driven off from all our posi- 
tions of defence, and had to rely upon thrusting as well as 
parrying, we should undoubtedly prefer a Randolph. Web- 
ster might beat him in the argument, but without exaggera- 
tion, when he fell back upon his stronghold of sarcasm and 
ridicule, when the war must be carried into Africa, there 
was no man in Europe or America that could equal him. 

But where so many features are prominent, it is hard to 
tell which is most so. We have already fully discussed his 
wonderful powers of elocution. 

When we consider Mr. Randolph's genius we are pos- 
sessed of the same feeling with Mr. Macaulay, who said: 
He "could almost forgive all the faults of Bacon's life for 
one singularly graceful and dignified passage." But our en- 
thusiasm for the abilities of a great man should not induce 
US to neglect the lessons of warning which his life is calcu- 
Irtted to teach. 

It does not require any considerable stretch of the imagi- 
Uig^tton to conceive the character of the reflections indulged 
by one of the sons of toil as he stands over the solitary 
jitttve of his illustrious countryman. He may well spare 
hiuisdf the pangs of envy. He had rather dwell in ob- 
k^t^urity all the days of his life, " his mind upon the furrow, 
i^ud diligent to give the kine fodder ;" he had rather " sit by 
the anvil and consider the iron work, fighting with the heat 
^ the furnace, the fire wasting his flesh," than to be John 
i^iftdolph. True, he can never enjoy the applause of the 


multitude, nor "sit high in the congregation," "nor in the 
judge's seat;" he has to "trust solely to his hands," and is 
"wise only in his work;" but he is more than compensated 
by not having mental troubles, "corroding joy and youth;" 
not having ascended to " mountain tops," he is not " forced 
to look down on the hate of those below." He is not de- 
voured by discontent, nor rendered miserable by remorse. 
He would not exchange one hour's joy of his cottage home, 
blessed with the comforts which his wife spreads before him, 
his little ones playing around him, for all the pleasures which 
Mr. Randolph experienced during a long life of "golden 

Nor is it difficult to imagine the nature of the thoughts 
which pass through the mind of the man of genius as he 
stands by the solitary pine over the grave of John Randolph. 
He is conscious of possessing himself more than ordinary 
abilities, but he is reminded that in order to be ensured of 
happiness here and a glorious immortality, his abilities must 
be properly directed. Possibly he may be endowed with ar- 
dent feelings : these must be controlled, else his life must be 
one of "splendid misery." Like the illustrious personage, 
whose life he contemplates, he may be formed with intense 
sensibility; this, he feels, may prove a blessing or a curse, 
according to his training. The life of John Randolph, he is 
convinced, is full of useful warning. He sees the penal t}^ of 
failing to school the affections, of cherishing the love of the 
misery of others, of giving way to a violent temper, of mid- 
night draughts. He is confident that to be eminently miser- 
able must be the lot of all such eminent men. But he does 
not admit that it was genius which rendered its possessor 
miserable. He is loth to believe that the most coveted gift 
of heaven is bestowed for any such purpose. 

We will not say that Mr. Randolph was not a Christian; 


he was evidently not what he should have been ; but who 
can tell what he would have been but for the faith which was 
given him. 

" What's done we partly may compute, 
But never what's resisted." 

We are disposed to make a great many allowances for this 
truly unfortunate man. He was born with a most ungovern- 
able temper; he suffered all his days from bodily disease, 
and he had a secret sorrow, as deep as that which "the fa- 
bled Hebrew wanderer bore." 

For his religious impressions he acknowledges himself in- 
debted to his mother. But for her training, like Byron, he 
might have defied the powers of heaven as well as earth. 

The example of Mr. Randolph affords a lesson of encour- 
agement to every mother, upon whom rests the responsi- 
bility of training up a child in the way he should go. No 
matter how wicked that child may be, no matter how violent 
his passions, she need not despair. Let her reflect that it 
was the influence of a gentle mother, which shed a ray of 
light through the dark recess of Mr. Randolph's remorseful 
heart, and enabled him, upon his dying bed, to look to the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and hope he had obtained pardon. 




AS we proposed to publish a volume of Home Reminis- 
cences^ it could not be expected that we should swell 
our pages with the numerous speeches made by Mr. 
Randolph while he was in Congress. We have selected 
one as a specimen of his style of composition, and as a 
literary curiosity — the one on Retrenchment and Reform, 
delivered in February, 1828, in answer to Mr. Everett of 
Massachusetts. It was carefully revised by its author, dedi- 
cated to his constituents, and published in pamphlet form. 
The reader will remember that the Presidential election 
of 1824 resulted in the return of Crawford, Jackson and 
Adams to the House ; no choice having been made by the 
people. Mr. Adams was elected through the influence of 
Mr. Clay. Mr. Randolph was the leader of the opposition 
party, and his speech on Retrenchment and Reform was a 
blow at the administration. 

Mr. Randolph rose and said : 

I cannot make the promise which the gentleman who has just taken 
his seat (Mr. Everett) made at the outset of his address, but I will make 
a promise of a different nature, and one which I trust it will be in my 
power to perform — I shall not say with more good faith than the gentle- 
man from Massachusetts, but more to the letter — ay, sir, and more to the 
spirit too. I shall not, as the gentleman said he would do, act in mere 
self-defence. I shall carry the war into Africa. Delenda est Carthago ! 
I shall not be content with merely parrying ; no, sir, if I can, so help me 
God, I will thrust also, because my right arm is nerved by the cause of 


the people and of my country. I listened to the gentleman with plea- 
sure — I mean to the general course of his remarks, with a single excep- 
tion, and to that part of his speech I listened with the utmost loathing and 
disgust. But disgust is too feeble a term. I heard him with horror in- 
troduce the case of the Queen of France* — and in answer to what? To 
a handbill, a placard, an electioneering firebrand. And in the presence 
of whom ? Of those who never ought to be present in a theatre where 
men contend for victory and empire. Sir, they have no more business 
there than they have in a field of battle of another sort. Women, in- 
deed, are wanted in the camp; but women of a very different description. 
What maiden, nay, what matron, could hear the gentleman without cover- 
ing her face with her hands, and rushing out of the House ? But for some 
of the remarks of the gentleman from Massachusetts, in allusion to news- 
paper publications, I should have begun in at least as low a key and as 
temperate a mood as he did. To that key I will now pitch my voice. 

I have been absent from the House for several days. I requested my 
colleague (Mr. Alexander) to state the cause of that absence, which he 
did. Yet even this could not be reported correctly. As this may be the 
last act of public duty which I shall be able to perform, at least during 
the present session, and as I have given up myself a sacrifice to its per- 
formance, I respectfully ask the House to give their attention to what I 
have now to say. I understand that during my absence I have been re- 
plied to by various gentlemen (some of whom I have not the honor to 
know by person) on difi"erent sides of the House in a manner which I do 
not doubt was perfectly satisfactory, at least to the speakers themselves. I 
certainly do not wish to disturb their self-complacency — de minimis non 
curat — whether of persons or of things. The gentleman from Ohio (Mr» 
Vance), with that blunt plainness and candor which I am told belong to 
him, and which I admire in proportion as they are rare qualities in these 
time-serving days — I like him the better for his surly honesty — I hope he 
will take no offence at the term, for I can assure him that none is in- 
tended — charged me in my absence (so my friends have informed me) 
with what I believe he would not hesitate to have charged to my face, and 
to which I have no objection, but I must except to the authority on which 
he relied, for I protest against any gentleman's producing — as proof of 
what I have at any time said — a newspaper, or anything purporting to be 

* '* The Devil himself will not eat a woman." — SHAUtPEASE. 


a register of debates, unless I endorse it, and become answerable for it, 
and more especially remarks drawn from the debates of another body, 
which, in regard to me, are particularly unfaithful. I shall show to the 
House not such matter as the gentleman from Massachusetts stirred, to the 
offence of every moral sense, of every moral being. I do not pretend to 
impose my standard of delicacy and propriety upon the gentleman, who 
will no doubt measure by his own — de gustibus non est disputandum — 
and it is not for me to interfere with the gentleman's tastes, whether in 
literature, morals or religion. I shall refer to a matter of recent notoriety, 
that will test the correctness of these reports. In the debate on the mo- 
tion of the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Hamilton), respecting a 
picture of the battle of New Orleans, I did state, as distinctly as I could 
articulate, that I had seen a monument erected to the memory of Andre, 
the British spy, in Westminster Abbey; that it was mutilated, the head of 
General Washington, and arm (I think) of Andr^ having been broken off, 
the General's, most probably, by some Tory boy, from the neighboring 
school of Westminster, and that of Andrd probably by some Whig boy in 
retaliation. The name of Hamilton did not escape my lips. I thought, 
indeed, of Hamilton, but it was of a living Hamilton — the gentleman 
from South Carolina. But then parliamentary usage does not permit us 
to speak of one another by name. Now, sir, I can show you, on the 
same authority, which was relied on by the gentleman from Ohio— al- 
though I acknowledge that the reports of that paper, so far at least as I am 
concerned, have generally been more accurate this year than I have for a 
long time known them to be before — that I am represented as saying that 
the monuments in Westminster Abbey were mutilated in the same manner 
as the tombs of Hamilton and Washington had been mutilated here. The 
word tomb never escaped my lips on that occasion. This would have 
been a palpable falsehood. Where is the tomb of Washington ? There 
is no such thing in this country, nor have I ever heard that a tomb has 
been erected to the memory of Hamilton; but I suppose that the next 
thing we shall hear will be, that the Quarterly, or some other impartial 
Review, comes out and observes with a sneer, that as Roger Sherman said 
the vote was the monument, so a gentleman from Virginia had by a speech 
in Congress built up a tomb for Washington — a " constructive" tomb — 
that existed nowhere but in his eccentric imagination. Sir, the tombs of 
Washington and of Hamilton might stand anywhere in this country unen- 
•closed; they might, indeed, be liable to injury from the beasts of the field, 



or from some invidious foreigner, but the hand of no American would 
ever mutilate them. In the course of another debate, it seems that I ren- 
dered to a gentleman from New York (Mr. Storrs) the homage which his 
abilities deserved; and God forbid that the time should ever arrive when 
I refuse to do justice to an adversary, when I shall disparage any merit 
because it is found in the person of an opponent. When that time shall 
arrive, may I never receive mercy from that fountain of it, to which alone 
we all must look if we hope for forgiveness hereafter. I said that I would 
not, like hiniy pronounce a palinodia, neither am I now going to pronounce 
a palinodia in respect to the gentleman from New York. I shall not take 
back one jot of praise bestowed upon him. With whatever views he in> 
troduced it, the doctrine has always been mine — the strict subordination 
of the military to the civil authority — Scripture is Scripture, by whom, or 
for whatever purpose it may be quoted. I know nothing of the private 
habits of that gentleman (Mr. Storrs), but I know that he has too much 
good taste not to agree with me that time may be much better spent than 
in reading the documents piled up here. Yet in the report of that de- 
bate, I was represented as saying that, like the gentleman from New York,. 
I did not — what? pronounce a palinodia? No, not at all; but that, like 
him, I did not read the documents. Sir, nobody reads the documents, for 
this plain reason, that no man can read them, and, if he could, he could 
hardly be worse employed. Sir, with a few exceptions, the documents 
are printed that they may be printed, not that they may be read. 

And now, sir, comes another charge about the miserable oppressed in- 
habitants of Ireland. This subject has been mentioned to me by no gen- 
tleman on the other side, except a member from Maryland, from the East- 
em Shore of Maryland (Mr. Kerr), who is not only by the courtesy of this 
House, but in fact a gentleman. He, in Committee on the Rules and Or- 
ders of the House, expressed to me his astonishment, that what I said on 
that occasion could have been so much misunderstood and misrepresented, 
that he heard me most distinctly. I now call on any member, who under- 
stood me differently at the time, to rise in his place and say so. [Here Mr. 
Randolph paused for a reply. None being given, and some friends hav- 
ing said across the seats that no member could or would say that he had 
understood Mr. Randolph as he had been misrepresented, Mr. Randolph 
went on.] Without meaning to plead to; that is, without meaning to ad- 
mit, the jurisdiction of the press in the extent which it arrogates to itself, 
I am perfectly sensible that no man is above public opinion. God forbid 


that any man in this country shall ever be able to brave it. This is what 
our great adversary has, with characteristic audacity, attempted to do, 
sorely to his cost and that of his less bold compeer — now braving, now 
truckling to it — bullying and backing out — all in character. * I regret that 
any one should have supposed me capable of uttering such sentiments. So 
far from it, I have been the steady, firm, constant and strenuous advocate 
to the best of my poor ability of the oppressed people of Ireland. And 
why ? For the reason I stated on a former occasion : They fought our 
battles, sir. I have known and esteemed many of them. Some of them 
have been — they are dead — others are now living among my warmest 
friends and best neighbors. In ihe course of a not uneventful life I have 
seen many things, but I have yet to see that rara avis in terris (I have 
seen a black swan) an Irish Tory. I have known Tories of every descrip- 
tion ; yes, sir, some even in Virginia — even we had a few of them during 
the Revolution, but too few to give us any trouble or alarm — but I never 
have yet seen an Irish Tory, or the man who had seen one. 

Sir, I don't read the newspapers — I don't read gentlemen's speeches, 
and then come here to answer them. But I am extremely pleased, nay, 
flattered, in the highest degree, at being told by my friends that the gen- 
tleman from Ohio attributed in his speech so much to my efforts in bring- 
ing the administration to its present lank and lean condition. The gen- 
tleman could not have pleased me better — I only fear that with all his 
bluntness and frankness the gentleman was not quite sincere, and was only 
adorning me with fillets and garlands, like the priests of the sacrifice of 
yore, previous to knocking me, and with me the party whom he strives to 
wound through my sides, on the head. He was pleased to place me at the 
head of what has been denominated the opposition party in this House ; 
but at its head, or that of any other party in this House, he will never find 
me, for reasons which I could state, but which are wholly unnecessary. 
Times are, indeed, changed with the gentleman and his friends when they 
hold this language concerning me. But a little while ago, and the friends 
of the administration, nay, the members of the administration, affected to 
consider me as one of their firmest props. They could not, indeed, vote 
for me — they were men too nice in their principles for that; but consider- 

*Thejp/«(f^, written and published nnder Mr. Glay's own proper signature, to call out 
any member of Congreoa who should prove to be the author of the letter avowed by Mr. 
Kremer, is yet unredeemed. 


ing the great benefit which they derived from my opposition, they could 
not (except for the honor of the country) regret my reelection. Amiable 
and excellent men ! But they now sing to a very different gamut. 

If any gentleman will bring against me any allegation, from a clean and 
reputable source, I will do one of two things — I will either deny it, or ad- 
mit and defend it upon my views and principles. Sir, it seems I commit- 
ted a great offence in not voting for the admission of the new States into 
the Union, and especially of Ohio. Yet, if the thing were to do over 
again, I should act precisely in the same manner, and past experience 
would teach me I was right. What were the new States ? Vast deserts 
of woods, inhabited by the Aborigines, to whom, if we come to the ques- 
tion of right, they did of right belong ; and it was a question whether 
sound policy would dictate that we ought, by creating these States, to en- 
courage sparse settlements, and thereby to weaken our frontier. I thought 
this was bad policy. Not that I am in favor of a very dense population. 
I am against the rabble of your great cities, but I am equally opposed to 
having a land without inhabitants. But, sir, I had other reasons — gravi- 
era manent. Does the gentleman from Ohio, with all his laudable preju- 
dice and partiality towards his own State, think that I, as a Virginian, 
feeling at least equal prejudice and partiality to my native land with that 
which he feels for his State, would lend my sanction to an act on the part 
of Virginia, which beggars every instance of fatuity and folly extant in 
the history of nations ? Why, sir, the Knight of La Mancha himself, or 
poor old Lear in the play, never was guilty of a grosser act of fatuity than 
was the State of Virginia when she committed that suicidal deed — ^the 
surrendering of her immense territory beyond the river Ohio, upon the 
express condition of excluding her own citizens from its benefit, when the 
country (yielded for the common good of the confederacy) should come to 
be settled. Yes, sir, it was an act of suicide— of political suicide — the 
effects of which she has felt, and will continue to feel, so long as she has 
any political existence at all. This was one of the most amiable and 
philanthropic acts of legislation, which, however good in point of inten- 
tion, lead to the most disastrous and ruinous consequences. Can the gen- 
tleman from Ohio conceive that I, a Virginian, could further this cut-throat 
policy ? I thought the Ohio a well defined natural boundary, and that we 
ought not to weaken by extending our frontier. The late war verified my 
foresight. Whom have I injured? The native savages and the trees, or 
the States that have been drained of their population to fill out Ohio ? I 


offered no wrong to the people of Ohio, for there were then none to in- 
jure. They have gone there, or have been bom since. This was the 
** head and front of my offending ;" and if the gentleman has his appa- 
ratus ready, I am prepared to undergo any form of execution which his 
humanity will allow him to inflict, or which even his justice may award. 

Smarting under the injurious election of a President against the will of 
the people, by the votes of Louisiana and Missouri balancing those of 
Pennsylvania and Virginia in this House, I spoke of ourselves as the only 
people so overwise as to acquire provinces, not that we might govern them, 
but that they might give law to us. 

And, sir, I have always held, and shall forever hold it to be the height 
of injustice (and of folly, too, on the part of the old States), that thirty or 
forty thousand persons, who so long as they remained in Pennsylvania or 
Virginia, were represented in the Senate, only as the rest of the Pennsyl- 
vanians and Virginians should, by emigrating to one of the geographical 
diagrams beyond the Ohio or the Mississippi, acquire, ipso facto, an equi- 
pollent vote in the other House of Congress with the millions that they 
left behind at home. In case of the old States, necessity gave this privi- 
lege to Rhode Island, &c.; they were coordinate States — free, sovereign 
and independent — and as such, ex vi termini^ equal to the largest; but 
here it was a gratuitous boon, at the expense of the original members of 
the confederacy — not called for by justice or equity. 

Sir, do not understand me as wishing to establish injurious or degra- 
ding distinctions between the old and the new States, to the disadvantage 
of these last. Some such already exist, which I would willingly do away. 
No, sir, my objection was to the admission of such States (whether south 
or north of the Ohio, east or west of the Mississippi) into the Union, and, 
by consequence, to a full participation of power in the Senate with the 
oldest and largest members of the confederacy, before they had acquired 
a sufficient population that might entitle them to it, and before that popu- 
lation had settled down into that degree of consistency and assimilation 
which is necessary to the formation of a body politic. The rapidity with 
which these new States fill up, would have retarded their full -participation 
in the power of their co-states but a very short time. And in that short 
interval the safety of the other States (witness the vote of Missouri for 
President) required such a precaution on their part. If I had been an 
emigrant myself to one of these new States — and I have near and dear 
connexions in some of them — I could not have murmured against the de- 


nial to forty or fifty thousand new settlers (although I had been one of 
them) of a voice in the Senate, potential as New York's, with a million 
and a half of people. 

The gentleman from Massachusetts cannot expect that I shall follow him 
through his elaborate detail of the diplomatic expenses of this govern- 
ment with which he came prepared. The House, however, will permit 
me to observe that there was a hiatus — valde deflenduSf I do not doubt, but 
certainly not deeply lamented by me — a hiatus which embraces the whole 
period of the administration of Mr. Jefferson. I am not going into the 
question of these expenses; I will stir no such matter — demands which 
have dogged the doors of the treasury so long, and so perse veringly, as 
that they have been at length allowed, some from motives of policy, others 
to get rid of importunate and sturdy beggars, although they were disal- 
lowed under Mr. Jefferson's administration. But, sir, if every claim that 
gets through this House, or is allowed by this government, after years of 
importunity (some of them of thirty years standing), is for that reason con- 
sidered by the gentleman as a just claim, and fit to be drawn into prece- 
dent, my notions of justice and of sound precedent differ greatly from his. 
I, too, am as much opposed as he can be to what is truly called the prodi- 
gality of parsimony. The gentleman thinks that the salaries of our foreign 
ministers are too low, and therefore they must be eked out by these allow- 
ances from the contingent fund — out of what is called the secret service 
money. The gentleman is right as to the existence of such a fund. It 
was appointed, and perhaps properly, for Washington was to be the first 
charged with its disbursement. But our early Presidents always made it a 
point of honor to return this fund untouched. They said to the nation, 
you trusted me with your purse — I have had no occasion to use it — ^here 
it is — count the money — there is as much by tale and as much by weight 
as I received from you. But was it ever dreamed that such a fund was to 
be put into the hands of a President of the United States, to furnish him 
with the means of rewarding his favorites? No, sir; it was to pay those 
waiters and chambermaids, and eaves-droppers, and parasites, and panders, 
that the gentleman told us of on the other side of the water — and there it 
might be all very right and proper — but not here, because we flatter our- 
selves that the state of morals in this country is such as to save us from any 
such necessity. No gentleman would understand him as speaking of the 
sums which had been placed at the disposal of different Presidents, to a 
vast amount, for the purpose of negotiating with the Barbary Powers, &c., 


but of that amount set apart and generally known as secret service money. 
Mr. Jefferson used a small portion of this fund one year, the last of his 
administration, to pay some expense in relation to Burr's conspiracy, which 
was not alloyred at the treasury. 

With regard to the old billiard table, which is said to have cost some 
fifty dollars, it is a subject that I should never have mentioned. I con- 
sider that game as a healthy, manly, rational mode of exercise, when the 
weather is such as to confine us within doors. I shall certainly never join 
in any cant or clamor against it. I look upon it as a suitable piece of fur- 
niture in the house of any gentleman who can afford it, where it is allowed 
by law, as it is here and throughout the State of Maryland, as well as many 
other States. It is a fit subject for taxation, but I should be sorry if we 
were to proscribe that manly and innocent amusement. * If I have any 
objection to that item, it is that such a pitiful article should have been 
bought. I would have given him one that cost five hundred dollars, and 
I would have voted the appropriation with cheerfulness. My objection to 
such a charge is, that it is a shabby affair, and looks too much like a sneak- 
ing attempt to propitiate, by the cheapness of the thing, popular displea- 
sure. The attempt to keep the thing out of sight only makes the matter 
still worse. I do not charge the gentleman from North Carolina with any 
such intention, but this seems to me to be too small a matter. I would 
strike at higher game. 

The gentleman from Massachusetts says that Franklin received a higher 
compensation than Mr. Adams did, and other ministers of these times. 
He did, sir, and what was the answer which that shrewd and sensible man 
gave (for poor Richard had always an eye to the main chance) when his 
accounts were scrutinized into, and his receipts were deemed exorbitant! 
It was this, sir : " Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the com.'' 
The very answer that I myself gave in Morrison's hotel, in Dublin, to a 
squireen and an agent. For a description of these varieties of the plagues 
of Ireland see Miss Edgeworth — delightful, ingenious, charming, sensi- 
ble, witty, inimitable, though not unimitated Miss Edgeworth. When 
•describing the misery of the South and West of Ireland, that I had lately 
traveled over, I was asked, " And what would you do, pray, sir, for- the 
relief of Ireland?" with an air that none but Miss Edgeworth can de- 
scribe, and that no one that has not been in Ireland can conceive. My 

*See Appendix— Note A. 


reply was, ** I would unmuzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn ;" and I 
had like to have got myself into a sad scrape hy it, as any one who has 
been in Ireland will readily understand. Yes, sir, I was disposed to give 
to the houseless, naked, shivering, half-starved Irish laborer something 
like a fair portion of the product of his toil, of the produce of the land on 
which he breathes, but does not live ; to put victuals into his stomach,. 
clothes upon his back, and something like a house over his head, instead 
of the wretched pig-sty that is now his only habitation — shelter, it is none; 
and this was just the last remedy that an Irish agent, or middle man, or 
tythe-proctor, or absentee, would prescribe or submit to. 

But to return. " These salaries are too small." I cannot agree with 
the gentleman. There is one touchstone of such a question — it is the 
avidity with which those situations are sought — I will not say by members 
of this House — we are hardly deemed of sufficient rank to fill them. A 
receivership or inspectorship of the land office must do for us ; ay, even 
for such of us as, by our single vote, have made a President. Sir, the 
generous steed by whose voice the son of Hystaspes was elevated to the 
throne of Persia, was better recompensed, as he deserved to be, than the 
venal asses whose braying has given a ruler to seven millions of freemen^ 
and to a domain far surpassing in power as well as extent that of the 
GREAT King — the Grand Monarque of antiquity! So long as these 
foreign missions are sought with avidity — so long as members of Congress,. 
and not of this House only, or chiefly, will bow, and cringe, and duck, 
and fawn, and get out of the way at a pinching vote, or lend a helping 
hand at a pinching vote, to obtain these places, I never will consent ta 
enlarge the salary attached to them. Small as the gentleman tells us those 
salaries are, I will take it on me to say, that they are three times as great 
as they are now managed, as the net proceeds of his estate, made by any 
planter on the Roanoke. But then we are told that they live at St. Peters- 
burgh and Ixjndon, and that living there is very expensive. Well, sir, 
who sent them there ? Who pressed them to go there ? Were they im- 
pressed there like D' Auterive's slave ? Were they taken, like a free-born 
Englishman, by a press-gang, on Tower hill, knocked down, handcuffed^ 
fucked on board of a tender, and told that they must take the pay and 
lations which his Majesty was pleased to allow? No such thing, sir. I 
trill now quit this subject, and say only this, that our minister (Mr. Adams) 
paid for a constructive journey — that, I think, is the phrase, which 
neither more nor less than a journey, which was never performed. 


[Here Mr. Everett made a gesture of dissent.] 

The gentleman shakes his head. Sir, we shall see more of this here- 
after, but I will reason only hypothetically. If the gentleman in question, 
while he remained at St. Petersburgh, could make the journey imputed to 
him, it beats the famous journey from Mexico to Tacubaya, as far as some 
distance, however small, exceeds no distance whatsoever. If a gentleman 
from Washington goes to Georgetown or to Alexandria ; yes, sir, to Bla- 
densburg, I will acknowledge that he performs, at least in some sense, a 
sort of journey. But not if he remains in this city, and never stirs out of 
it. However, I will not now press this matter farther — others will do 
more justice to it — de minimis non cut at. 

Paulo majora canamus : There was one remark which I took down 
while the gentleman was speaking, and which I cannot pass over. Who 
that gentleman was, described by the member from Massachusetts, who 
proposed to him that if he would move to raise these salaries that gentle- 
man would join with him and support him, I cannot conjecture or divine. 
Be he who he may, I will venture to say thus much : He is some gentle- 
man who expects to be sent upon a mission himself, and, with great fore- 
cast and prudence, he was calculating to throw upon the present adminis- 
tration beforehand all the odium of the increase of the salary which he 
hoped to finger. I am disposed to be more just to the gentleman and to 
the administration, because I believe that he will get full as much as he 
may deserve; and they have full as much weight as they can carry, with- 
out adding to it another feather. 

I am afraid that I may be charged with some want of continuity, but 
what I have to say is at least as relevant ; ay, and as pertinent too to the 
subject before the House as the handbill which the gentleman read, till 
his delicacy would permit him to read no farther, though I must confess I 
thought that he had already gone so far that there was no ultima Thule 
beyond. Sir, the gentleman might have spared himself this last exertion 
of his delicacy, and even have read to the end. There could be nothing 
more gross behind than what we had already heard, and were to hear, in 
the case of the ill-fated Queen of France. The gentleman, with much 
gravity, with some dexterity, and with great plausibility, but against certain 
principles which I have held in this House, ab ovOj and which I shall con- 
tinue to hold, usque ad mala^ till I leave the feast, spoke of the headlong 
commencement of the opposition before the administration could give rea- 
sonable cause of discontent. I have now no palinodia to sing or to chant 


upon that subject. I drew from that fountain, which never failed an ob- 
serving and sagacious man, and which even the simple and inexperienced 
•(and I among the rest) may drink at — it is nature and human life. I saw 
distinctly, from the beginning, that if we permitted this administration — 
if we listened to those who cried to u«, " Wait, wait, there is a lion in the 
path'' (and, sir, there always is a lion in the path to the sluggard and the 
dastard), and which cry was seconded no doubt by many who wished to 
know how the land lay before they ran for a port— on which side victory 
would incline before they sounded their horn of triumph. If we had thus 
waited, the situation of the country would have been very different from 
what it is now. Sir, there was a great race to be run — if you will permit 
me to draw an illustration from a sport to which I have been much ad- 
dicted — one in which all the gentlemen in Virginia, when we had gentle- 
men in Virginia, delighted, and of which I am yet very fond — I mean 
from the turf — and it must be lost or won, as the greatest race in this coun- 
try was won — I mean the race on Long Island, which I saw, and that was 
by running every inch of the ground — by going off at score — by following 
the policy of Purdy. Purdy, sir, was a man of sound sense and practical 
knowledge — a man of common sense I mean, and worth a thousand of 
your old and practised statesmen and "premature" gentlemen who never 
arrive at maturity — and who, meaning to side with the next administration 
in case of our success, were, nevertheless, resolved to get all they could 
in the meantime out of this. Sir, to one of these trimming gentry, it is 
worse than death to force him to take sides before a clear indication of 
victory; and hence the cry of its being "premature," to stir the question 
of the next Presidential election. If we had set off one session later, we 
should not have had ground enough left to run upon, to overtake, and pass, 
and beat them, before they would have passed the winning post and 
pocketed the stakes. Such would have been the effect if we had delayed 
our push, and I know no one who would have enjoyed the result and 
chuckled at our folly with more hearty glee than one of these same old and 
practised statesmen. [Here something was said which our reporter did 
not hear, and to which Mr. Everett was understood to reply, that he had 
not stated it as his sentiment, but as a fact.] I beg the gentleman's par- 
don : I never was misrepresented by him, and I never will misrepresent 
him unless I misunderstand him. But I wonder it never occurred to the 
gentleman from Massachusetts what could be the cause why such a hue and 
cry should be raised against an administration so very able (permit me in 


this, however, to differ from the gentleman — de gustibus non «/) ; what, I 
say, could have been the cause why Actaeon and all his hounds, or, rather, 
why the dogs of war were let slip against this wise and able and virtuous 
and loving administration ; these patterns of political friendship and con- 
-sistency ; and have continued to pursue them, till they lie panting and 
gasping for breath on the highway — until they realize the beautiful fable 
of the hare and many friends. The cause of all this is to be found in the 
manner in which they came into power — the cause of this "premature** 
opposition lies there, and there mainly. I would defy all the public presses 
in the world to have brought them to this pass, had there not been a taint 
of original sin in their body politic, and which cleaves to them even as 
the sin of our first parents taints our fallen nature and cleaveth to us all. 
The gentleman refers to those who compose the party called the opposi- 
tion, and says it is formed of very discordant materials. True, sir; but 
'what are the materials of the party which upholds the administration ; 
nay, of the administration itself? Are they perfectly homogeneous? I 
know one of them, who has been raised to a higher station than most men 
in this country. Was that because he opposed, or because he espoused, 
the election of the present chief magistrate? 

Let me ask the gentleman from Massachusetts what could cause the old 
Republican party in New England — the worthy successors of John Lang- 
don* — to be now found acting with us? They know — but perhaps some 
in this House do not know — they know that the southern interest is as 
much their ally in protecting them against an overweening oligarchy at 
home, as England is the natural ally of Portugal against the power of 
•Spain and France ; and though they left us for a time, yet now apprehend- 
ing danger, and seeing through the artifices of their betrayer, they have 
returned to us their old, natural, and approved allies. Have not the ad- 
ministration as well as the opposition ways and means and funds in their 
hands to obtain influence and buy success? Have they not the whole of 
the great mass of patronage in their hands ? But the gentleman says, that 
so far from taking care of their adherents, they have been too liberal in 
bestowing this upon their enemies. But it is easy to account for this. An 
ancient apophthegm tells us that it is better to judge between two of your 

*See Appendix — Note G. 


enemies than between two of your friends. In the one case you are 
abnost sure by your decision to make a friend, and in the other to lose 
one. Now, sir, our able and practised statesmen know that by giving a 
loaf and a fish to an enemy they make a friend, when by giving them to 
one of their friends they might disoblige another, who might think his 
claims disparaged — and that, sir, is the whole secret of their neglecting^ 
their friends. 

Permit me, sir, again to ask, how comes it that this administration are 
brought into their present very curious and unprecedented predicament ? 
How happens it that they alone, of all the administrations which have 
been in this country, find themselves in the minority in each House of 
Congress — ** palsied by the will of their constituents'^ — when the very 
worst of their predecessors kept a majority till midnight on the third or 
fourth of March, whichever you please to call it ? Ay, sir, under the ad- 
ministration to which I allude, there were none of these compunctious 
visitings of nature at the attacks made on private character. We had no 
chapter of lamentations then on the ravaging and desolating war on the 
fair fame of all the wise and virtuous and good of our land. The noto- 
rious Peter Porcupine, since even better known as William Cobbet, was 
the especial protegd of that administration. I heard them say, I do not 
mean the head of that administration, but one of its leaders, that he was 
the greatest man in the world ; and I do not know that, in point of sheer 
natural endowment, he was so very far wrong. Yes, sir, it was that very 
Cobbet, who, if the late publications may be trusted, now says that Mr. 
Adams has fifteen hundred slaves in Virginia. Was there any slander too 
vile, too base for that man to fabricate ? I remember well the nicknames 
under which we passed — yes, sir, I can proudly say zc/^, although the 
humblest in the ranks : Mr. Gallatin was Citoyen Guillotine, with le 
petit fenetre national at his back. The caricature then, as well as now,^ 
constituted no small part of the munitions of political war. The pencil 
and the graver (they had no want of tools of any sort) lent their aid to the 
pen and the ballad and the military band of music. " Down with the 
French !'* (that is, the best men of our country,) was the cry. My excel- 
lent and able colleague, Mr. Nicholas — one of the purest and most pious 
of men, who afterwards removed to the State of New York, and was a 
model of Republican virtue and simplicity, that might have adorned the 
best days of Sparta or of Rome — ^he, sir, having the misfortune to lose an. 


e3re, was held up to ridicule as PolyphemtMs?* You are shocked at this, 
sir; but let me tell you that it was only a little iniuxxnt, harmless, Fede- 
nd wit — and the author was the especial prot^d of "government" and its 
adherents. All chuckled over the Porcupine. To that party the present 
incumbent then belonged — and another member of this pure administra- 
tion; and these two Sedition Laws, black-cockade heroes, are recom- 
mended by the " anti-Jackson Convention" to Virginia for her Presi- 
•dent and Vice l^resident ! They have not even the merit of an early con- 
version. They are true Swiss of State — point d* argent^ point de Suisse. 
My venerable friend from North Carolina was Monsieur Ma^on, with a 
cedilla under the 9, to mark him the more for a Frenchman. I forget the 
cognomen of the learned gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Livingston) : I 
know that he was never spared. I remember well my own : I wish, sir, 
it was applicable now, for I was then a boy. Every sanctuary was then 
invaded. As to Mr. Jefferson, every epithet of vituperation was exhausted 
upon him. He was an atheist, a Frenchman ; we were all atheists and 
traitors ; our names and cause associated with the cannibals and the can- 
nibalism of the revolutionary tribunal, and with all the atrocities, the most 
atrocious and revolting of which has this day been presented to the House 
by the chaste imagination of the gentleman from Massachusetts. Yes, sir, 
then, as now, a group of horrors was pressed upon the public imagination, 
to prop the sinking cause of a desperate administration. Religion and 
order were to be subverted, the national debt to he sponged, and the coun- 
try to be drenched in its best blood by Mr. Jefferson and his Jacobin adhe- 
rents. Even good men, and not unwise men, were brought to believe this. 
Mr. Jefferson was elected; and we know what followed. But this, it may 

*He also wu deacribed as CrmiN Nioolal Geneiml Sampter, of Soath Caroliiia, a 
veteran of the BerolotioD, corered with honorable wounds and scars, was, by some of the 
myrmidons of the administration, forced from his seat in the circus, compelled to stand 
up, his hat taken from his head, and his hands forcibly made to cli^t, when Sir. Adams 
entered the theatre, and ** Had. Columbia T was stmck np by the band. This stem old 
Republican was thus inrolontarily oompeUed to Join in the incense to the idol of the day. 
He yet lives to read 1 hope this mention of him by an old Mend. 

My venerable friend, Mr. Macon, told me, within twenty*foar hours past, that the only 
time in his life that he ever drew a knife was in the play-house, when our party (myself 
«q>edally) was insulted by the military. 

Th^ used to play the Bogue^s March undo' the windows of the boose where he and 
mdiolafl and Gallatin lodged I So much for thx Rdgk op TasBoa 1 as it was Justly 
•tyled by the BepubUcans of that day. 


be said, was not done by our own people ; it was done by foreign hire^ 
lings, mercenaries. Sir, it is not only of this description of persons that I 
speak. It was done in the glorious days of the Sedition Law and the 
black cockade, when we found in General Shee and his legion protection 
against the Praetorian bands of the administration. These brave fellows 
were many of them Irish or German, and most of them of Irish or Ger- 
man parentage, chiefly from the Northern Liberties, then the stronghold of 
Republicanism; and therefore branded with the. opprobrious name of the 
Fauxboug St. Antoine, the most Jacobin quarter of Paris. 

At the very time that the act noted by the gentleman from Massachu- 
setts was passed (May, 1800), when Professor Cooper was escorted to jail,, 
a victim of the Sedition Law, the New York election then, as of late,^ 
rung the knell of the departing administration. Sir, when the gentleman 
favored us with his opinion of the present stupendous administration, I 
imagine he drew it from a comparison with some of the administrations 
which preceded it. In comparison with some of these, even this admin- 
istration is great : for we have seen the least of all possible things — the 
poorest of all poor creatures that ever was manufactured into a head of a 
department (and that*s a bold word), a member of a former administra- 
tion — almost a satire on the name. This personage, as I have very lately 
learned, in imitation of another great man from the same State, took some 
liberties in public with my name, when he had the Atlantic for a barrier,, 
the Summer before last. Like his great friend, his courage shows itself 
three thousand miles off. It is in the ratio of the square of the distance 
of his adversary. Sir, I should like to have seen how he would have 
looked, if, on finishing his harangue, he had found me at his elbow. I 
think I can conceive how he would have^//.* 

Sir, I have much to say, which neither my own weakness, nor my re- 
gard to the politeness of this House, will permit me now to say. As I 
have exonerated the principal of that weighty affair of the billiard table^ 
I also exonerate him and his lieutenant from every charge of collusion — 
tn the first instance ; and, if it is in order, I will state the reasons for my 
opinion. When the first alliance was patched up between the two great 
leaders of the East and West, neither of the high contracting parties had 
the promotion of the present incumbent at all in view. Sir, I speak 

* ** Mr. C. very humorously, and it is said very closely, mimicked Mr. Bandolph in qnot- 
ing some parts of Mr. R.'8 speech.*'— £ki2«m Ch^ercer. ** rare Ben I" 


knowingly as to one of these parties, and with the highest degree of moral 
probability of the other.* Can it be necessary that I prove this ? The 
thing proves itself. The object was to bring in one of the parties to the 
compact, whom the constitution subsequently excluded, and, of course, to 
provide for the other. A gentleman, then of this House, was a candidate, 
who, to the last hour, cast many a longing, although not lingering, look, 
with outstretched neck, towards Louisiana— ;/'«f«/(t7 quasita 7tegatur — to 
discover whether or not he should be one upon the list. Sir, it is impos- 
sible that he could, in the first instance, have looked to the elevation of 
another, or have designed to promote the views of any man, but in sub- 
serviency to his own. Common sense forbids it. But all these calcula- 
tions, however skilful, and Demoivre could not have made better, utterly 
failed. The partners had two strings to their bow — Mr. Crawford's death, 
or Mr. Clay's being ahead of Mr. Crawford, by getting the vote of Lou- 
isiana, or those votes in New York which were so strangely, and at the 
time unaccountably, given to Mr. Crawford. They took the field with a 
double percussion gun, and banged away, right and left; but, good marks- 
men as they were, both barrels missed. Louisiana refused to vote as ob- 
stinately as Mr. Crawford refused to die; and so the gentleman was ex- 
cluded. It was then that Mr. Adams was first taken up, as a pis ailer, 
which we planters of the south translate, a hand plant. 

Sir, I have a right to know ; I had a long while before an interview 
with the very great man; but not on that subject: no, Sir, — It was about 
business of this house — and he so far descended, or I should rather say 
of so very great a man, condescended, as to electioneer even with me. 
He said to me, among other things, "if you of the South will give 
us of the West any other man than John Quincy Adams for President, 
we will support him." Let any man deny this who dare — but remember, 
he then expected to be a candidate before the House himself. " If you 
will give us any other man !" Sir, the gentleman in question can have no 
disposition to deny it. It was at a time when he and the present incum- 
bent were publicly pitted against each other, and Mr. Adams crowed 
defiance and clapped his wings against the Cock of Kentucky. Sir, I 
know this to be a strong mode of expression. I did not take it literally. 
I thought I understood the meaning to be that Virginia, by her strenuous 
support of Mr. Crawford, would further the success of Mr. Adams. " Any 

* See Appendix — Note B. 


other man, sir, besides John Quincy Adams." Now, as neither Mr. Craw- 
ford nor General Jackson in the end proved to be " any other man,'' it 
follows clearly who any other man was, viz : one other man — id est, my- 
self (as a gentleman once said in this House), "we will support him.'' 
But, sir, as soon as this egomet was out of the question, we of the South 
lost all our influence, and ** we of the West" gave us of the South this very 
John Quincy Adams for President, and received from him the very office, 
which being held by him, we of the West assigned as the cause of our sup- 
port, considering it to be a sort of reversionary interest in the presidency. 
(See the letter to Mr. F. Brooke.) It was, indeed, "ratsbane in our 
mouth," but we swallowed the arsenic* 

Sir, a powerful party of New England was equally opposed to Mr. 
Adams, the high Federal party, or the Essex junto, so-called — all the suc- 
cessors of the George Cabots, and Caleb Strongs, and Stephen Higgin- 
sons — I should rather say their representatives, and all iheir surviving 
coadjutors — ^were against him, with one exception, and that was an honest 
man, of whom it was said in this House that he ought to desire no other 
epitaph but that which might truly be inscribed to his tomb: "Here lies 
the man who was honored by the friendship of Washington, and the 
enmity of his successor." Sir, who persecuted the name of Hamilton 
while living, and followed him beyond the grave? The father and the 
son. Who were the persecutors of Fisher Ames, whose very grave was 
haunted as if by vampyres? Both father and son. Who attempted to 
libel the present chief justice, and procure his impeachment — making the 
seat of John Smith, of Ohio, the peg to hang the impeachment on ? The 

* It has been suggested to me since the above was spoken, by one who ought to know a 
igood deal of New York politics, and to whom it occurred while I was making this de- 
velopment, and in consequence of it, that Mr. Adams, who could not be blind to the 
■game that was playing between Mr. G. and Mr. W^ caused the vote which Mr. Crawford 
got in New York to be given to him, then no longer the most formidable opponent, for 
the express purpose of excluding Mr. Clay, from whom the greatest danger was to be 
apprehended from the House, by ensuring Mr. Crawford's return. Thus the hiUr* were 
bit, and Messrs. C. and W. had to make terms with Mr. A. who, in requital for the vote of 
Hr. C. and his friends, graciously received them into favor. Yes, the allies completely 
circumvented by this manoeuvre on the part of Mr. A., had no other alternative than to 
go over to him, who, no doubt, nothing loth, met them full half way. 

Reader I Is there anything in Moliere or Congreve surpassing this ? Can Scapin or 
Maskwell beat this? 



^oir. I, as one of the grand jury, and my colleague, Mr. Gamett,* were 
called upon by the chairman of the committee of the Senate in Smith's 
^ase (Mr. Adams) to testify in that case. Sir, do you remember a com- 
mittee, raised at the same time in this House, to inquire whether the failure 
of Burr's prosecution grew out of "the evidence, the law, or the adminis- 
tration of the law?" For my sins I suppose I was put upon that commit- 
tee. The plain object was the impeachment of the judge who presided 
on the trial. This was one of the early oblations (the first was the writ of 
Jiabeas corpus) of the present incumbent oh the altar of his new political 
church. Who accused his former Federal associates in New England of 
a traitorous conspiracy with the British authorities in Canada to dismem- 
ber the Union? The present incumbent. Yet all is forgiven him — 
Hamilton, Ames, Marshall, themselves accused of treason — all is for- 
given; and these men, with one exception, now support him; and for 

Sir, I will take the letter to the President of the Court of Appeals in 
Virginia, and on that letter, and on facts which are notorious as the sun at 
noonday, it must be established that there was a collusion, and a corrupt 
collusion, between the principals in this affair. I do not say the agree- 
ment was a written or even a verbal one — I know that the language of 
the poet is true — that men who "meet to do a damned deed" cannot bring 
•even themselves to speak of it in distinct terms — they cannot call a spade 
a spade — but eke out their unholy purpose with dark hints, and inuen- 
does, and signs, and shrugs, where more is meant than meets the ear. Sir, 
this person was willing to take any man who would secure the end that he 
had in view. He takes office under Mr. Adams, and that very office too 
-which had been declared to be in the line of safe precedents — that very 
office which decided his preference of Mr. Adams. Sir, are we children ? 
Are we babies? Can't we make out apple-pie, without spelling and put- 

^ James M. Garnett, Esq., of the county of Essex, Virginia, a member of the grand 
jury, and also of Congress during Mr. Jefferson^s administration. Our friendship com- 
menced soon after he toolc his seat in Congress, and has continued uninterrupted by a 
single moment of coolness or alienation during three-and-twenty years, and very trying 
times, political and otherwise. I take a pride in naming this gentleman among my 
steady, uniform and unwavering friends. In Congress he never said an unwise thing, or 
gave a bad vote. He has kept the faith from 1799, when he supported the doctrines of 
Madison's famous report made at the session of the Virginia Assembly, of which he was a 
member. He came into Congress in 1803, and left it Biarch 4, 1809. 



ting the letters together — a-p, ap, p-l-e, pie, ap-ple, p-i-e, pie, apple-pie ? 
Sir, the fact can never be got over, and it is this fact which alone could 
make this administration to rock and totter to its base in spite of the indis- 
cretion (to say no worse), in spite of all the indiscretions of its adversa- 
ries. For, sir, there never was a man who had so much cause as General 
Jackson has had to say, ** Save me from my friends and I will take care of 
my enemies." Yes, sir, he could take care of his enemies — from them 
he never feared danger; but not of his friends — at least of some, whose 
vanity has prompted them to couple their obscure names with his — and it 
is because he did take care of his enemies, who were his country's enemies, 
and for other reasons which I could state, that his cause is now espoused 
by that grateful country. "But General Jackson is no statesman." Sir, I 
deny that there is any instance on record in history of a man not having 
military capacity being at the head of any government with advantage to 
that government, and with credit to himself. There is a great mistake on 
this subject. It is not those talents which enable a man to write books 
and make speeches that qualify him to preside over a government. The 
wittiest of poets has told us, that 

"All a Rhetorician's rules, 
Teach only how to name his tools." 

We have seen Professors of Rhetoric who could no doubt descant fluently 
upon the use of these said tools ; yet sharpen them to so wiry an edge as 
to cut their own fingers with these implements of their trade. Thomas tl 
Becket was as brave a man as Henry the Second, and, indeed, a braver 
man — less infirm of purpose. And who were the Hildebrands and the 
rest of the Papal freebooters who achieved victory after victory over the 
proudest monarchs and states of Christendom ? These men were brought 
up in a cloister perhaps, but they were endowed with that highest of all 
the gifts of heaven, the capacity to lead men, whether in the Senate or the 
field. Sir, it is one and the same faculty, and its successful display has 
always received, and ever will receive, the highest honors that man can 
bestow ; and this will be the case do what you will, cant what you may, 
about military chieftains and military domination. So long as man is man, 
the victorious defender of his country will, and ought, to receive that 
country's suffrage for all that the forms of her government allow her to 

A friend said to me, not long since, "Why General Jackson can't 


write'* — "admitted." (Pray, sir, can you tell me of any one that can 
write? for I protest I know nobody that can.) Then turning to my friend 
I said, "It is most true that General Jackson cannot write" (not that he 
can't write his name, or a letter, &c.), " because he has never been taught ; 
but his competitor cannot write, because he was not teachable ;" for he has 
had every advantage of education and study. Sir, the Duke of Marl- 
borough, the greatest captain and negotiator of his age — which was the 
age of Louis XIV — and who may rank with the greatest men of any age; 
whose irresistible manners and address triumphed over every obstacle in 
council, as his military prowess and conduct did in the field — this great man 
could not even spell, and was notoriously ignorant of all that an under 
graduate must know, but which it is not necessary for a man at the head 
of affairs to know at all. Would you have superseded him by some Scotch 
schoolmaster? Gentlemen forget that it is an able helmsman we want for 
the ship of State, and not a Professor of Navigation or Astronomy. 

Sir, among the vulgar errors that ought to go into Sir Thomas Brown's 
book this ought not to be omitted: that learning and wisdom are not 
synonymous, or at all equivalent. Knowledge and wisdom, as one of our 
most delightful poets sings — 

** Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one, 
Have oft times no connexion — knowledge dwells 
In heads replete with thoughts of other men ; 
Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own. 
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much ; 
'Wisdom is humble that he knows no more. 
Books are not seldom talismans and spells, 
By which the magic art of shrewder wits 
Holds the unthinking multitude enchained." 

And not books only, sir — speeches are not less deceptive. I not only 
consider the want of what is called learning not to be a disqualification for 
the command in chief in civil or military life, but I do consider the posses- 
sion of too much learning to be of most mischievous consequence to such 
a character ; who is to draw from the cabinet of his own sagacious mind^ 
and to make the learning of others, or whatever other qualities they may 
possess, subservient to his more enlarged and vigorous views. Such a man 
was Cromwell — such a man was Washington. * Not learned, but wise. 

* Washington bad a plain English education, and mathematics enough to qualify bim 
for a land lunreyor. 


Their understandings were not clouded or cramped, but had fair play. 
Their errors were the errors of men, not of school boys and pedants. So 
far from the want of what is called education being a very strong objec- 
tion to a man at the head of affairs, over- education constitutes a still 
stronger objection. [In the case of a lady it is fatal. Heaven defend me 
from an over-educated, accomplished lady. Yes, accomplished indeed, 
for she \s finished for all the duties of a wife, or mother, or mistress of a 
family.] We hear much of military usurpation — of military despotism^-of 
the sword of a conqueror — of Caesar, and Cromwell, and Bonaparte. 
What little I know of Roman history has been gathered chiefly from the 
surviving letters of the great men of that day — of Cicero especially — and 
I freely confess that, if I had then lived, and had been compelled to take 
sides, I must, though very reluctantly, have sided with Citsar, rather than 
have taken Pompey for my master. It was the interest of the house of 
Stuart — and they were long enough in power to do it — to blacken the 
character of Cromwell — that great, and, I must add, bad man. But, sir, 
the devil himself is not so black as he is sometimes painted. And who 
■would not rather have obeyed Cromwell than that self-styled Parliament, 
which obtained a title too indecent for me to name, but by which it is 
familiarly known and mentioned in all the historians from that day to this. 
Cromwell fell under a temptation, perhaps too strong for the nature of man 
to resist — but he was an angel of light to either of the Stuarts — the one 
whom he brought to the block, or his son, a yet worse man, the blackest 
and foulest of miscreants that ever polluted a throne. It has been the 
policy of the house of Stuart and their successors — it is the policy of 
kings to vilify and blacken the memory and character of Cromwell. But 
the cloud is rolling away. We no longer consider Hume as deserving of 
the slightest credit. Cromwell was ** guiltless of his country's blood." 
His was a bloodless usurpation. To doubt his sincerity at the outset, from 
his subsequent fall, would be madness — religious fervor was the prevailing 
temper and fashion of the times. Cromwell was no more of a fanatic 
than Charles the First, and not so much of a hypocrite. It was not in his 
nature to have signed the attainder of such a friend as Lord Strafford, 
whom Charles meanly and selfishly and basely and cruelly and cowardly 
repaid for his loyalty to him by an ignominious death — a death deserved, 
indeed, by Strafford, for his treason to his country, but not at the hands of 
his faithless, perfidious master. Cromwell was an usurper, 'tis granted; 
but he had scarcely any choice left him. His sway was every way prefer- 


able to that miserable corpse of a Parliament that he turned out, as a 
gentleman would turn off a drunken butler and his fellows; or the pen- 
sioned tyrant that succeeded him — a dissolute, depraved bigot and hypo- 
crite, who was outwardly a Protestant, and at heart a Papist. He lived 
and died one, while pretending to be a son of the church of England ; 
ay, and swore to it, and died a perjured man. If I must have a master, 
give me one whom I can respect, rather than a knot of knavish attorneys. 
Bonaparte was a bad man ; but I would rather have had Bonaparte than 
such a set of corrupt, intriguing, public plunderers as he turned adrift. * 
The Senate of Rome — the Parliament of England — *Mhe councils of el- 
ders and of youngsters" — the Legislature of France — all made them- 
selves first odious and then contemptible; and then comes an usurper; and 
this is the natural end of a corrupt civil government. • 

There is a class of men who possess great learning, combined with in- 
veterate professional habits, and who are ipso facto ^ or perhaps I should 
rather say ipsis factis^ for I must speak accurately, as I speak before a pro- 
fessor, disqualified for any but secondary parts anywhere — even in the 
cabinet. Cardinal Richelieu was what ? A priest. Yes, but what a 
priest I Oxensfiern was a chancellor. He it was who sent his son abroad 
to see — qnain parva sapienha regitur mundus — with how little wisdom 
this world is governed. This administration seemed to have thought that 
even less than that little would do for us. The gentleman called it a 
strong, an able cabinet — second to none but Washington's first cabinet. I 
could hardly look at him for blushing. What! Sir, is Gallatin at the 
head of the treasury? — Madison in the department of State? The mind 
of an accomplished and acute dialectician, of an able lawyer, or, if you 
please, of a great physician, may, by the long continuance of one pur- 
suit — of one train of ideas — have its habits so inveterately fixed, as effec- 
tually to disqualify the possessor for the command of the councils of a 
country. He may, nevertheless, make an admirable chief of a bureau — 
an excellent man of details — which the chief ought never to be. A man 
may be capable of making an able and ingenious argument on any subject 
within the sphere of his knowledge ; but every now and then the master 

• The Directory and the Councils (the ftret especially), we are told by high authority, 
were known familiarly in Paris by the appellation of " Let Gueux jtlnmCsJ" It was then 
and there probably that a late President of the United States ac«|nired the first rudiments 
of bis taste for etiquette nnd costume, which has since displayed itself so pitiably. 



sophist will start, as I have seen him start, at the monstrous conclusions to 
which his own artificial reasoning had brought himself. But this was a 
man of more than ordinary natural candor and fairness of mind. Sir, by 
words and figures you may prove just what you please; but it often and 
most generally is the fact, that in proportion as a proposition is logically 
or mathematically true, so is it politically and commonsensically (or rather 
nonsensically) false. The talent which enables a man to write a book or 
make a speech, has no more relation to the leading of an army or a Se- 
nate than it has to the dressing of a dinner. The talent which fits a man 
for either office is the talent for the management of men — a mere dialec • 
tician never had, and never will have it ; each requires the same degree Or 
courage, though of different kinds. The very highest degree of moral 
courage- is required for the duties of government. I have been amused 
when I have seen some dialecticians, after asserting their words — " the 
counters of wise men, the money of fools" — after they had laid down 
their premises, and drawn, step by step, their deductions,* sit down, com- 
pletely satisfied, as if the conclusions to which they had brought them- 
selves were really the truth — as if it were irrefragably true. But wait 
until another cause is called, or till another court sits — till the bystanders 
and jury have had time to forget both argument and conclusion, and they 
will make you just as good an argument on the other side, and arrive with 
the same complacency at a directly opposite conclusion, and triumphantly 
demand your assent to this new truth. Sir, it is their business — I do not 
blame them. I only say that such a habit of mind unfits men for action, 
for decision. They want a client to decide for them which side to take; 
and the really great man performs that ofiice. This habit unfits them for 
government in the first degree. The talent for government lies in these 
two things — sagacity to perceive, and decision to act. Genuine statesmen 
were never made such by mere training — nascunter nonfiunt — education 
will form good businessmen. The maxim (^nasciiur non fit) is as true 
of statesmen as it is of poets. Let a house be on fire, you will soon see 
in that confusion who has the talent to command. Let a ship be in danger 
at sea, and ordinary subordination destroyed, and you will immediately 
make the same discovery. The ascendancy of mind and of character 
exists and rises as naturally and as inevitably, where there is free play for 
it, as material bodies find their level by gravitation. Thus a great logi- 

*See Appendix — Note C. 


•cian, like a certain animal, oscillating between the hay on different sides 
of him, wants some power from without, before he can decide from which 
bundle to make a trial. Who believes that Washington could write as 
good a book or report as Jefferson, or make as able a speech as Hamilton ? 
Who is there that believes that Cromwell would have made as good a 
judge as Lord Hale? No, sir; these learned and accomplished men find 
their proper place under those who are fitted to command, and to com- 
mand them among the rest. Such a man as Washington will say to a Jef- 
ferson, do you become my Secretary of State; to Hamilton, do you take 
charge of my purse, or that of the nation, which is the same thing ; and 
to Knox, do you be my master of the horse. All history shows this ; but 
great logicians and great scholars are for that very reason unfit to be rulers. 
Would Hannibal have crossed the Alps when there were no roads — with 
elephants — in the face of the warlike and hardy mountaineers — and have 
carried terror to the very gates of Rome if hist youth had been spent in 
poring over books ? Would he have been able to maintain himself on the 
resources of his own genius for sixteen years in Italy, in spite of faction 
and treachery in the Senate of Carthage, if he had been deep in conic sec- 
tions and fluxions, and the differential calculus — to say nothing of botany, 
and mineralogy, and chemistry? "Are you not ashamed," said a philoso- 
pher, to one who was born to rule ; ** are you not ashamed to play so well 
upon the flute?" Sir, it was well put. There is much which it becomes 
a secondary man to know — much that it is necessar}* for him to know that 
a first rate man o«ght to be ashamed to know. No head was ever clear 
and sound that was stuffed with book learning. Vou might as well at- 
tempt to fatten and strengthen a man by stuffing him with every variety 
and the greatest quantity of food. After all, the chief must draw upon his 
subalterns for much that he does not know, and cannot perform himself. 
My friend, William R. Johnson, has many a groom that can clean and 
•dress a race horse, and ride him too, better than he can. But what of 
that? Sir, we are, in the European sense of the term, not a military peo- 
ple. We have no business for an army — it hangs as a dead weight upon 
the nation — officers and all. All that we hear of it is through pamphlets, 
indicating a spirit that, if I was at the head of affairs, I should very 
speedily put down. A state of things that never could have grown up 
under a man of decision of character at the head of the State or the de- 
partment — a man possessing the spirit of command — that truest of all tests 
of a chief, whether military or civil. Who rescued Braddock when he 


was fighting — secundum artem — and his men were dropping around him 
on every side ? It was a Virginia militia major. He asserted in that crisis 
the place which properly belonged to him, and which he afterwards filled 
in the manner we all know. 

Sir, I may, without any mock modesty, acknowledge what I feel, that I 
have made an unsuccessful reply to the gentleman from Massachusetts. 
There are some subjects which I could have wished to have touched upon 
before I sit down now and forever. I had the materials in my possession 
when I came to the House this morning, but I am disabled by physical 
weakness from the most advantageous use of them. 

What shall we say to a gentleman, in this House or out of it, occupying 
a prominent station, and filling a large space in the eye of his native State, 
who should, with all the adroitness of a practised advocate, gloss over the 
acknowledged encroachments of the men in power upo^ the fair construc- 
tion of the constitution, and then present the appalling picture, glaring and 
flaming, in his deepest colors, of a bloody military tjrrant — a raw-head and 
bloody-bones — so that we cannot sleep in our beds ; who should conjure 
up all the images that can scare children, or frighten old women — I mean 
very old women, sir — and who offers this wretched caricature — this vile 
daub, where brick-dust stands for blood, like Peter Porcupine's Bloody 
Buoy, as a reason for his and our support in Virginia, of a man in whom 
he has no confidence, whom he damns with faint praise — and who, 
moreover — tell it not in Gath ! had zealously and elaborately (I cannot say 
ably) justified every one of these very atrocious and bloody deeds ? Yes, 
sir, on paper — not in the heat of debate, in the transports of a speech, 
but — as the author of the Richmond Anathema full well knew — and knew 
that we, too, knew — deliberately and oflicially. Who instituted the festi- 
val of Santa Victoria on the 8th of January in honor of General Jackson, 
and of Mrs. Jackson too? The present incumbent, when Mr. Crawford 
was the great object of dread. If we did not know that lawyers never see 
but one side of a case — that on which they are retained, and that they 
fondly hope that the jury will see with their eyes — what should we say of 
such a man ? His client having no character, he attacks defendant's char- 
acter upon a string of charges, in every one of which (supposing them to 
be true) his client was self avowed particeps criminis — having defended, 
adopted, and made each and every one of them his own. Sir, such a man 
may be a great lawyer (although this is but a poor specimen of his skill in 
that line), or a great mathematician, or chemist; but of a man guilty of 



such glaring absurdity it may be fearlessly pronounced that, in the manage- 
ment of his own concerns and in the affairs of men, he has not " right 
good common sense." And here, sir, we come to that great and all-im- 
portant distinction which the profane vulgar — whether they be the great 
vulgar or the small — too often overlook ; and which I have lamely, I fear, 
endeavored to press upon the House — I mean the distinction between 
knowledge and learning on the one hand, and sense and judgment on the 
other. And there lies the great defect of the gentleman in question. I 
have heard it said of him, by those who know, and love him well, "that 
"he can argue either side of a question, whether of law, of policy, or of 
"constitutional construction, with great ingenuity and force; but he wants 
"that sagacity in political affairs, which first discerns the proper endy and 
" then adopts the most appropriate means: and he is deficient in that know- 
ledge of mankind, which would enable another (much his inferior) to 
perceive that his honest disinterestedness is played upon by those who 
" are conscious that he prides himself upon it. // is the lever by which he 
** is on ail occasions to be moved. It is his pride — an honest and honorable 
" pride, which makes him delight to throw himself into minorities, because 
"he enjoys more self-gratification from manifesting his independence of 
" popular opinion — than he could derive from anything in the gift of the 
" people. His late production — the Adams Convention manifesto, is the 
" feeblest pibduct ion of the day. The reason is, his head and heart did 
" not go together,^'' * 

This picture is drawn by the hand of a friend. As we have had billiard 
tables and chess boards introduced into this debate, I hope I may be al- 
lowed to borrow an illustration from this last game. One of these arguing 
machines reminds me of the bishop at chess. The black or white bishop 
(I use the term not in reference to the color of the piece, but of that of 
the square he stands upon) is a serviceable piece enough in his way; but 
he labors under this defect; that, moving in the diagonal only, he can 
never get off his original color. His clerical character is indelible, f He 
can scour away all over just one-half of the board ; but his adversary may 
be on the next square, and perfectly safe from his attack. To be safe from 
the bishop, you have only to move upon any one of the thirty-two squares 
that are forbidden ground to him. But not so the irregular knight, who, 
at successive leaps, can cover every square upon the board, to whose check 

*See Appendix — Note D. fAs Home Tooke found to his cost. 


the king can interpose no guard, but must move or die. Even the poor 
pawn has a privilege which the bishop has not; for he can elude his mitred 
adversary by moving from a white square to a black one, or from a black 
square to a white one, and finally reach the highest honors of the game. 
So even a poor peasant of sense may instruct the philosopher, as the shep- 
herd did, in that beautiful introduction, the finest of Mr. Gay's fables but 
one, who drew all his notions of men and things from nature. It is in 
vain to turn over musty folios, and to double down dog's ears; it does 
very well in its place — in a lawyer's office or a bureau — I am forced to use 
the word for want of a better; but it will not supply the place of that 
which books never gave, and never can give — of sagacity, judgment and 
experience. Who would make the better leader in a period of great pub- 
lic emergency — old Roger Sherman, or a certain very learned gentleman 
from New York, whom we once had here, who knew everything in the 
world for which man has no occasion, and nothing in the world for which 
man has occasion? The people, who are always unsophisticated — and 
though they may occasionally be misled, are always right in their feelings, 
and always judge correctly in the long run — have taken up this thing. It 
is a notorious fact that in Virginia, in the county courts, where men are 
admitted to sit as judges, who are not of the legal profession — plain plan- 
ters, who have no pretensions to be considered as lawyers — the decisions 
are much seldomer reversed than in those courts where a barrister pre- 
sides — his reasons may be more plausible, but his decisions will be oftener 
wrong. Yes, sir, the people have decided upon this thing. 

On my return home last March I passed by Prince Edward Court-house. 
It was court day. I had been abroad during the recess of Congress, and 
I had not seen my constituents for two years. They crowded around me, 
and many of them said, " Now we expect that you will explain to us how 
it is that we are to vote for General Jackson." They, as well as myself, 
had had objections to General Jackson, although I always said in regard 
to him, ** that I could put my finger upon his public services — that he had 
strong claims upon his country, while his competitors, and the predecessor 
of the successful one, had never rendered any for which they had not been 
amply paid, and some of them greatly overpaid." My objections to Gene- 
ral Jackson were greatly diminished by a personal acquaintance with him 
when he was last in the Senate. But to my constituents. Singling out 
one of them, a steady old planter, and staunch Republican friend, I asked 
him, " When you have had a faithless, worthless overseer, in whom you 


•could place no confidence, and have resolved to dismiss him, did you ever 
change your mind, because, for no matter what reason, you could not get 
the man that you preferred to every other? or have you been satisfied to 
turn him off, and employ the best man that you could get?" Sir, a word 
to the wise is enough. They were entirely satisfied, and in a few weeks 
^e were, as we are, unanimous for Jackson. 

I will suppose a case : I will suppose that the late convulsive struggles 
of the administration may so far succeed as they shall be able to renew 
their lease for another four years. Now if a majority of this House can't 
get along with such a minority hanging on their rear, cutting off supplies, 
and beating up their quarters, what will be the situation of the administra- 
tion then ? Sir, what is it now ? " Palsied by the will of their constitu- 
ents ^ Did anybody ever hear of a victory obtained by the Executive 
power while a decided majority of the Legislature was against it? I 
know of no such victory, but one — and that was the parricidal victory of 
the younger Pitt over the constitution of England; and he gained that 
only by the impenetrable obstinacy of the king, which then gave indica- 
tions of the disease that was lurking in his constitution, and afterwards so 
unhappily became manifest. 

The king was an honest man, and a much abler man than he ever had 
credit for. But he was incurably obstinate. He had just lost the colo- 
nies. No matter — he would risk the Crown of England itself, and retire 
to his hereditary States in Germany rather than yield; and, but for a bare- 
faced coalition, he would have so retired, and have supplied a most im- 
portant defect in the act of settlement — the separation of Hanover from 
England. But the corrupt bargain of Lord North and Mr. Fox, to share 
office between them, disgusted the people — they took side even against 
their own liberties. But here the coalition is not on the side of the peo- 
ple's rights, but against them. Mr. Pitt (the Crown rather) triumphed. 
Knaves cried Hosanna ; fools repeated the cry. England recovered by 
that elasticity which belongs to free institutions, and Mr. Pitt attained a 
degree of power that enabled him to plunge her into the mad vortex of 
war with Revolutionary France. Nine hundred millions of debt; taxes, 
in amount, in degree, in mode, unheard of; pauperism, misery, in all pos- 
sible forms of wretchedness; attest the greatness of the heaven-born 
minister, who did not weather the storm, but was whelmed beneath it, 
leaving his country to that Providence whom it pleased to rescue her in 
ier utmost need, by inflicting madness on her great unrelenting enemy, 


and sending this modem Nebuchadnezzar to grass. Mr. Pitt is as strong^ 
an instance for my purpose as I could have wanted. He was a rheto- 
rician, a speech maker ; a man of words, and good words too, at will ; a 
dexterous debater; and if he had continued to ride the Western circuit, 
he might have been an eminent wrangler at the bar, and, in due time, a 
Chief Justice or Lord Chancellor. But, for the sins of England, he was 
made Prime Minister, and at five-and-twenty, too. Mr. Pitt no more saw 
what was ahead of him, than the pauper in the parish work -house. He 
no more dreamed, when the war began, to what point he would be able 
to push his system, if system it may be called, than any clerk in his office. 
He did not even foresee the stoppage of the Bank, which he was com- 
pelled to resort to in the fourth year of the war. If he had foreseen it, 
the war would never have been made. Indeed, Mr. Pitt did not foresee • 
even the war — for in the preceding year, I think, he held out the promise 
of a long peace to the faithful Commons. 

The productive powers of a people like the English, where property is 
perfectly secure and left free to act, and where the industrious classes are 
shut out from almost any participation in public affairs, is incredible, is 
almost without a limit. Two individuals discovered each a mine, more 
precious and productive than Guanaxuato or Potosi, that furnished the 
means for his prodigality, that astonished even Mr. Pitt. These were Sir 
Richard Arkwright and Mr. Watt — the spinning machine and the steam 
engine. And this imbecile and blundering Minister has been compli- 
mented with what is due to the unrivalled ingenuity and industry of his 
countrymen.* So, sir, in like manner this young Hercules of America, 
who if we can keep him from being strangled in the cradle by the ser- 
pents of corruption, must grow to gigantic strength and stature; every im- 
provement which he makes, in spite of the misrule of his governors, these 
very modestly arrogate to themselves. 

We have been told, officially, that the President wished the great ques- 
tion to have been referred back to the people, if, by the forms of the con- 
stitution, this could be done. If I were the friend, as I am the undisguised 
enemy of this administration, I would say to them, you may be innocent, 
your intentions may be upright, but you have brought the country to that 
pass that you can't carry on the government. As gentlemen, possessing 
the least self-respect, you ought to retire — leave it — try another venue — 

* See Appendix, Note £. 


^ou can't carry on the government without us, any more than we can act 
while everything in the Executive Government is against us. Sir, there 
•are cases in which suspicion is equivalent to proof; and not only equal to 
it, but more than equal to the most damning proof. There is not a hus- 
band here who will not ratify this declaration — there may be suspicion so 
agonizing that it makes the wretch cry out for certainty as a relief from 
the most damning tortures. Such is the picture which the great master of 
the human heart presents to us in the person of the noble Moor — and 
Shakspeare seems to have known the heart of man as if himself had 
made it. Such suspicions, resting on no false suggestions of an lago, but 
supported by a cloud of witnesses and a long array of facts and circum- 
stances that no sophistry can shake, are entertained with respect to these 
gentlemen; and although they are making a convulsive effort to roll back 
the tide of public opinion, they cant allay the feeling; the suspicion rests 
upon the facts ; and, do what they may, facts will not bend at their bid- 
ding. Admit it to be suspicion, it is equally fatal as regards them and the 
public service with the reality. Mr. R. would not go in pursuit of the alibis 
and aliasses of the accused — of the tubs, whether with false bottoms or 
double bottoms, thrown out to amuse the public. The whole conduct of 
the accused had displayed nothing of the calm dignity of innocence, but 
all the restlessness of conscious guilt. Every word of Mr. Clay's late 
pamphlet might be true, and yet the accused be guilty notwithstanding. 
Mr. R. would not now examine his inconsistent declarations to different 
persons and at difi'erent times and occasions. The secretary was not the 
first witness who had proved too much. ** He who pleads his own 
cause," says the proverb, "generally has a fool for his client."* 

The gentleman from Massachusetts warned us, that if the individual we 
seek to elevate shall succeed, he will in his turn become the object of pub- 
lic pursuit, and that the same pack will be unkennelled at his heels that 
have run his rival down. It may be so. I have no hesitation to say, that 
if his conduct shall deserve it, and I live, I shall be one of Xhvitpack; be- 
cause I maintain the interests of stockholders against presidents, directors 
and cashiers. And here, sir, I beg leave to notice an objection urged, as 
I have heard, against me by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Vance). He 
says that I have been opposed to all Administrations. Sir, I deny it to be 
fact. I did oppose the elder Adams, because he attacked the liberty of 

* See Appendix — ^Note F. 


the press and of the subject, because his opinions were at war with the- 
genius of our institutions. He avowed them openly ; and I liked him the- 
better for his frankness. But I supported for more than five years the 
administration of his successor. I did for it what I could — little enough^ 
God knows. The first case in which I differed from that administration 
was the ease of the Yazoo claims, which I thought a case of flagrant cor- 
ruption ! I do not mean, and I never did believe, that there was corrup- 
tion in the president or his two secretaries ; and it did not cause me to 
separate myself from them. I separated from that administration three 
years afterwards, with pain and sorrow, and not without some anger 
too ; for I have no idea of that extreme of candor and meekness which 
denounces the measures of a government, as Bottom says in the play, 
** and will roar you as gently as any suckling dove." It is not my nature 
to do so ; and it would be criminal and ridiculous in me, because it would 
be hypocrisy to affect it. When the former restrictive system was first 
commenced, I thought I saw what I now know I did then see — the fatal 
and ruinous consequences that would grow out of it. I told Mr. Jefferson, 
candidly and frankly, that if he expected support in a certain quarter and 
did not find it, he must not impute want of candor to me. I will not 
repeat what he told me on that occasion ; it is unnecessary to say that his 
language and conduct was that of a gentleman. I frankly laid before 
him the facts and reasons which rendered such an event inevitable. I 
will not repeat what he said : but he deplored it. 

Sir, I know that he deplored it — for he told me so. And when some 
of the ear-wigSy that infest all great men, sought to curry favor with him 
by relating, after their manner, the hard and sharp things which I was 
said to have uttered on the floor of this House on that occasion, he coldly 
replied, that, to do Mr. R. justice, he had been full as explicit as severe 
in his presence. * But permit me to reimnd you, sir — for you were then 
too young to know much of these matters — that previously, but nearly at 
the time of my leaving that administration, a certain wise man from the 
East joined it, who soon after went off to Canada, under strong suspicion 
of felony ; and this was soon followed by a certain gentleman's giving in 
his adhesion, who had before been violently opposed to it, and to all its 

* How unlike the existing S3rstem of delatora, and spies, and rannera,from the Senate 
Chamber or Hall of the Representatives to the Secretary of State's office or house daring 
a debate, in which that great man does not choose to be present in person. 


best measures. Sir, I have not the least objection to its being said of me, 
that I separated myself from Mr. Jefferson, when Barnabas Bidwell and 
John Quincy Adams joined him.* 

* Nerer was an adniinistratioa more brilliant than tliat of Mr. Jefferson's np to tliis 
period. We wcie indeed in the "full tide of successful experiment.** Taxes repealed, 
the public debt amply provided for — both principiil and interest— sinecures abolished — 
Louisiana acquired — public confidence unbounded. We had all, and we wanted mure 
than all. We played for eleven and lost the game, when we held ten in hand. From the 
junction of Bidwell and Adams, we may date that embargo of fifteen months that eclipsed 
the sun of our glory, and disastrous twilight shed on more tlian hiilf the nation. Mr. Madi- 
son removed ihis tncHbiM, of wLich we were tired, but ashamed to rid ourselves. The 
arrangement with Erskine followed. At the May session of 1809 the House of Represen- 
tatives evaded a motion expressive of their approbation of the promptitude and frankness 
with which the President had concluded this arrangement. It was soon after disavowed 
by England. 

Mr. Madison's first message to Congress was sent on Tuesday, May 23,1809, announcing 
the arrangement with Eri>kine, and the consequent restoration of our intercourse with 
England from and "after the 10th day of June next.*' ** On Friday, the 2Cth, a motion 
was made by Mr. Randolph, and seconded, that the Ilonse do come to the following reso- 
lution : 

** Segolved, That the promptitude and frankness with which the President of the United 
StateH has met the overtui es of the government of Great Britain towards a restoration 
of harmony and a free commercial intercourse between the two nations, receives the 
approbation of this House." Reports Journal, 1 Sess. 11 Congress, psige 35. 

[Here is, I presume, another proof of Mr. Randolph's opposition to all administration, 
right or wrong.] 

Mr.Ezekiel Bacon, of Massachusetts, moved to amend (in order to defeat it), and Mr. 
John 0. Jackson, of Virginia, moved the indefinite postponement of both the resolution 
and amendment. It is curious to pursue the fate of this resolution through pages 39, 
when the House refused to resume the consideration of the uufinished business (which 
was Mr. Randolph's resolution) — pages 44, 45, 4G— when the consideration of the resolu- 
tion was carried by yeas G6, against nays 61 (a lean majority!) — all the decided friends of 
the administration voting in the minority, among them connexions of Mr. Bfadison liim- 
self— e. g. John G. Jackson, Richard Cutts, who were nearly connected with him by 
marriage. 8eo further, pages 48, 49, 54, when the motion for indefinite postponement 
being withdrawn by Mr. Jackson, was renewed by another member — pages 62, 63 — ^when 
(May 3lst) the resolution received the go-by by an adjournment. 

When Mr. Randolph was asked by the late Mr. Bayard and some other friend ** What 
he thought of the state of things?** He replied that ** we most have war with England.** 
** With France yon mean,** said they. (For then our interdict— taken off England— was 
in force against France.) ** No, with England. The vote of the House of Representti- 
tives, on the motion to approve the conduct of the President, assures me of that £au;t." 
And accordingly he wrote to his correspondent in Tirginia to the same effect. 

The embargo struck the first staggering blow on our agriculture, and scutUed our ships. 



Some allusion has been made to the discordant materials of the present 
opposition. They are somewhat discordant — at least they have been so. 
But are they more so than the adherents of the present administration, or 
the materials of the administration itself? I well remember almost the 
first propitiation (the first was the writ of habeas corpus) which he who is 
now the President of the United States made to Mr. Jefferson and his 
party. It was an attempt to run down the present chief justice. The 
right of John Smith to a seat in the Senate was made the peg to hang it 
on. I will tell the gentleman the whole reason why I have opposed the 
administration since that time, and may again, if, according to my judg- 
ment, they shall not consult the good of the country. It is. Sir, simply 
because I am for the interests of the stockholders — of whom I am one — 
as opposed to those of the President, Directors, and Cashiers; and I have 
the right of speaking my opinion, and shall exercise it, though it happen 
to be against the greatest and proudest names. 

Sir, I am no judge of human motives : that is the attribute of the name 
which I will not take in vain — the attribute of Him who rules in heaven, 
or who becomes incarnate upon earth : motives free from alloy belonged 
to that Divine incarnation, and to Him only, of all that have borne the 
form of man. Mere man can claim no such exemption. 

I do not pretend that my own motives do not partake of their full share 
of the infirmity of our common nature — but, of those infirmities, neither 
avarice nor ambition form one iota in the composition of my present mo- 
tives. Sir, what can the country do for me ? Poor as I am — for I am 

The landed and navigating interests have never recovered from it. It is the nidut * of 

'the manufacturing system and policy — fostered since by the war by double duties and by 

tariffs. What bounty on manufactures does the Ilarrisburg CSonvention propose that is 

equal to a total prohibition of exports? 

*The hot-bed rather, and the fonus too. Virginia may thank herself. She is the 
' author of her own undoing. Mercantile clamor induced her in an evil hour to com- 
mence the restrictive system. 81ie laid embargoes, and at length made war for ** Free 
Trade and Sailors' Rights." Cui bono f The Hartford nation, as Mr. J., their greatest, 
• although unintentional benefactor, denominated them. We took the creMt, they the cash. 
** Which had the better bargain ?" ** Honest Congreve is a man after my own heart^* 
The Hartford nation may sing now to an old tune^ 

" Populus me iibilal at mUa plaudo 
Ipse domi, simul ac nummos contemplor iu arca.''^ 

General reflections are always unjust, and therefore unwise. Mr. Randolph greatly re« 
spects many l^ew England men, and many points in the New England character. He 
regrets the change at home, as well as there, from the original distinctive marks of the 
cavalier and the covenanter. New England has no longer her Samuel Adamses and her 
Roger Skiermaus. Virginia also seeks in vain for her Washingtons, and Randolphs, and 
Blands, and Lees, and Nelsons, and Henrys. But, at the worst, the character of a miser 
is far preferable to that of a spendthrift. Even the cheat is not more contemptible than 
• the bubble. 


much poorer than I have been — impoverished by unwise legislation — I 
still have nearly as much as I know how to use — more certainly than I 
have at all times made a good use of — and as for power what charm can 
it have for one like me ? If power had been my object, I must have been 
less sagacious than my worst enemies have represented me to be (unless, 
indeed, those who would have kindly shut me up in bedlam) if I had not 
obtained it. I may appeal to all my friends to say whether " there have 
" not been times when I stood in such favor in the closet that there must 
** have been something very extravagant and unreasonable in my wishes if 
"they might not all have been gratified." Was it office? What, sir, to 
drudge in your laboratories in the departments, or be at the tail of the 
corps diplomatique in Europe ? Alas ! sir, in my condition a cup of cold 
water would be more acceptable. What can the country give me that I 
do not possess in the confidence of such constituents as no man ever had 
before? I can retire to my old patrimonial trees, where I may see the sun 
rise and set in peace. Sir, as I was returning the other evening from the 
capitol, I saw — what has been a rare sight here this winter — the sun dip- 
ping his broad disk among the trees behind those Virginia hills, not allay- 
ing his glowing axle in the steep Atlantic stream ; and I asked myself if, 
with this Book of Nature unrolled before me,* I was not the most foolish 
of men to be struggling and scuffling here in this heated and impure at- 
mosphere, where the play is not worth the candle? But then the truth 
rushed upon my mind that I was vainly perhaps, but honestly, striving to 
uphold the liberties of the people who sent me here — yes, sir, for can 
those liberties coexist with corruption ? At the very worst the question 
recurs, — Which will the more effectually destroy them ? — collusion, bar- 
gain and corruption here, or a military despotism? When can that be 
established over us? Never, till the Congress has become odious and 
contemptible in the eyes of the people. I have learned, from the highest 

*** how canst tbon renonnce the boundless store 

Of charms which Nature to her votary yields ! 

The warbling woodland, the resounding shore, 

The pomp of groves and garniture of fields, 

All that the genial ray of Morning gilds, 

And all that echoes to the song of BTen, 

All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields, 

And all tite dread magnificence of heaven, 

how canst thou renounce and hope to be forgiven?*' 


of all authority, that the first step towards putting on incorruption is the 
putting off corruption. That recollection nerves nne in the present conflict, 
for I know, that if we are successful, I shall hold over the head of those 
who shall succeed the present incumbent a rod which they will not dare, 
€ven if they had the inclination, to disobey. They will tremble at the 
punishment of their predecessors. Sir, if we succeed, we shall restore 
the constitution — we shall redress the injury done to the people — we shall 
regenerate the country. If the administration which ensues shall be as 
bad as the character of the opposing candidate [General Jackson] is rep- 
resented by his bitterest foes to be, still I had rather it were in the seat of 
power than the present dynasty, because it will have been fairly elected. 
The fountain of its authority will not be poisoned at the source. But if 
we perish under the spasmodic struggles of those now in power to rein- 
state themselves on the throne, our fate will be a sacred one — and who 
would wish to survive it ? There will be nothing left in the country worth 
any man's possession. If after such an appeal has been made to the peo- 
ple, and a majority has been brought into this and the other House of 
Congress, this administration shall be able to triumph, it will prove that 
there is a rottenness in our institutions which ought to render them un- 
worthy of any man's regard. Sir, my ^^church-yard cough^^ gives me 
the solemn warning, that whatever part I shall take in the chase I may 
fail of being in at the death. I should think myself the basest and the 
meanest of men — I care not what the opinion of the world might be — I 
should know myself to be a scoundrel, and should not care who else 
knew it — if I could permit any motive, connected with division of the 
spoil, to mingle in this matter with my poor but best exertions for the wel- 
fare of my country. If gentlemen suppose that I am giving pledges they 
are mistaken — I give none — they are entitled to none — and I give none. 
I shall retire upon my resources — I will go back to the bosom of my con- 
stituents — to such constituents as man never had before, and never will 
have again — and I shall receive from them the only reward that I ever 
looked for, but the highest that man can receive — the universal expression 
of their approbation — of their thanks. I shall read it in their beaming 
faces — I shall feel it in their gratulating hands. The very children will 
climb around my knees to welcome me. And shall I g^ive up them and 
this ? And for what ? For the heartless amusements and vapid pleasures 
and tarnished honors of this abode of splendid misery, of shabby splen- 
dor, for a clerkship in the War Office, or a foreign missson, to dance 


attendance abroad instead of at home, or even for a department itself? Sir, 
thirty years make sad changes in man. When I first was honored with their 
confidence I was a very young man, and my constituents stood almost in 
parental relation to me, and I received from them the indulgence of a be- 
loved son. But the old patriarchs of that day have been gathered to their 
fathers ; some adults remain, whom I look upon as my brethren : but the far 
greater part were children — little children — or have come into the world 
since my public life began. I know among them grandfathers, and men 
muster-free, who were boys at school when I first took my seat in Con- 
gress. Time, the mighty reformer and innovator, has silently and slowly, 
but surely, changed the relation between us ; and I now stand to them in 
loco parentis — in the place of a father — and receive from them a truly 
filial reverence and regard. Yes, sir, they are my children — who resent, 
with the quick love of children, all my wrongs, real or supposed. Shall 
I not invoke the blessings of a common Father upon them ? Shall I deem 
any sacrifice too great for them? To them I shall return, if we are de- 
feated, for all the consolation that awaits me on this side of the grave. I 
feel that I hang to existence but by a single hair — that the sword of 
Damocles is suspended over me. 

If we succeed, we shall have given a new lease to the life of the con- 
stitution. But should we fail, I warn gentlemen not to pour out their 
regrets on General Jackson. He will be the first to disdain them. The 
object of our cause has been, not so much to raise Andrew Jackson to the 
Presidency — ^be his merits what they may — as the signal and condign pun- 
ishment of those public servants on whom, if they be not guilty, the 
strongest suspicion of guilt must ever justly rest. 



Note A, page 279. — It would be matter of curious inquiry to ascertain 
how it has come to pass that in proportion as we in Virginia have pro- 
scribed or abandoned the cheerful exercises and amusements of our fathers^ 
we have become less amiable and moral as a people. When I was a young 
man, no gentleman was ashamed of playing a game of billiards or of cards. 
There was much less gaming then than now. Men then drank and played 
in public, from a spirit of society, as well as the love for both inherent in 
human nature. Publicity is the great restraint upon individuals as well as 
government. The ** hells*^ of London and the styes of Capreae and the 
Pare aux Cerfs attest this. Publicity represses excess, until the man is 
sunk in the beast and every restraint of shame thrown off. Formerly^ 
friends had it in their power to restrain the votaries of chance or of the 
bottle; but now their incurable ruin, in mind, body and estate, gives the 
first notice of their devotion to play or drink. Solitary intoxication on 
ardent spirits is the substitute for the wine table; and in some den of 
thieves, some cellar or some garret, the unhappy youth is stripped of his 
property, with no witness of the fairness of the game but his desperate 
and profligate undoers. 

In Virginia we are, and I trust shall ever be, alive to States rights. But 
have the people no rights as against the Assembly ? All oppression com- 
mences under specious pretexts. I have wondered that no rural, or rather 
rustic, Hampden has been found to withstand the petty tjrranny which has 
as good a right to take away his wife's looking-glass or frying pan as his 
billiard table. By what authority is this thing done? Under color of 
law, I know, but a law in the teeth of all the principles of free govern- 

The principle of what is called the dueling law — it ought to be called 
the perjury law — is yet more detestable. I am no advocate of dueling; 
but it may be put down by something worse. Bad as it is, it is better than 
dirking and gouging ; and they are hardly worse than calling names and 
bandying insults, if so bad. The oath prescribed by the dueling law is in 




the teeth of every principle of free government, of the act for establishing 
religious freedom, and would justify any test, religious or political, even 
an oath of belief in transubstatiation. 

We were a merry-making, kind-hearted, hospitable people, fond of 

junketting" (as the old President of the Court of Appeals used to say) ; 
and no one, as the men of Caroline county and Essex can testify, liked 

junketting" (" soberly y' as Lady Grace says,) better than Edmund Pen- 
dleton. Yes, the Mansfield of Virginia, whom he resembled in the pol- 
ished suavity of his manners, his unrivalled professional learning and 
abilities, and the retention of his faculties unimpaired to a very advanced 
old age. There is another splendid example of the same rare qualities in 
the first judicial officer of the United States. Who is fonder of a game of 
billiards, or any other innocent amusement, than the Chief Justice ? Yes, 
I regret, nay, deplore, the change from our old and innocent pastimes and 
holidays to the present state of listless ennui or prowling rapacity. In 
proportion as we have approached puritanical preciseness [and gloomy 
austerity, so have we retrograded in morals. 

I do not indeed carry the matter quite so far as an acquaintance of mine, 
who has a knack of "hitching into rhyme," and who, among other good 

advice, says : 


" Hence, if you have a son, I would advise, 
(Lest bis fair prospects you, perchance, may spoil) 
If yon would wish him in the State to rise. 
Instead of Grotius, let him study Hotle. 
And if his native genius should betray 
A turn for petty tricks, indulge the bent; 
It may do service at some future day ; 
A dextrous cur may rule a great event. 
And a stockM pack may make a President." 

Note B, page 287. — After my arrival in Europe, I saw in the newspa- 
pers Mr. Webster's toast, given, if I forget not, on the fourth of July — 
•** Henry Clay, the orator of the West," &c., &c. I quote from memory. 
N. B. — Mr. Clay was then the rival and declared enemy of Mr. Adams. 
Mr. Clay, in the debate on the Greek motion of Mr. Webster, and in the 
affair of Mr. Ichabod Bartlett (a name of omen), was ostentatious in his dec- 
larations of friendship and connection with Mr. Webster, whom he gratui- 
tously assumed to have been assailed by the said Ichabod ! that he might 
manifest his devotion to his new friend. I then looked upon Mr. Clay as 


laying an anchor to windward and eastward, and in fact offering his blan- 
dishment to New England in the person of Mr. Webster, while at the 
same time he proclaimed his strength in that quarter as the ally of Mr. 
Webster and the powerful party of which he is the leader and mouth- 
piece. If the maxim be true, ars est celare artenty then there lives not a 
less artful man upon earth than Mr. Clay. His system consists in soothing 
by flattery, or bullying — these constitute his whole stock in trade — and 
very often he applies both to the same person. The man of delicacy, to 
whom his coarse adulation is fulsome, and the man of unshaken finnness, 
when these two characteristics unite in the same person, cannot be ope- 
rated on by him. 

Mr. Webster and the rival of Chilly Mcintosh were put on the A. B. 
Committee to run down Mr. Crawford. I too, though in Baltimore when 
Mr. Floyd (my colleague) moved to raise that committee, was put upon 
it. I was not then the political friend or supp)orter of Mr. Crawford. His 
political principles, on the United States Bank and some othe» questions,, 
were to mine nearly, although not quite, as obnoxious as those of his 
competitors. I never took sides with him until he was persecuted. Mr. 
Macon and Mr. Floyd both know that, on my arrival from Baltimore, I 
peremptorily declared that I would not serve on that committee. I be- 
lieved it to be (as it was) a snare for me — a snare from which I provi- 
dentially escaped. Mr. Webster's true character first developed itself to 
me then, as at the time I told Mr. Tazewell. At the earnest persuasion of 
Mr. Macon and entreaty of Mr. Floyd, I reluctantly agreed to serve. Mr. 
Floyd being taken violently ill and confined to his bed, I abandoned my 
seat in the committee and went abroad for health. 

Note C, page 294. — A caterpillar comes to a fence ; he crawls to the 
bottom of the ditch and over the fence, some of his hundred feet always 
in contact with the subject upon which he moves. A gallant horseman 
at a flying leap clears both ditch and fence. " Stop ! ** says the caterpil- 
lar, " you are too flighty, you want connection and continuity : it took me 
an hour to get over; you can't be as sure as I am, who have never quitted 
the subject, that you have overcome the difficulty and are fairly over the 
fence." " Thou miserable reptile," replies our fox-hunter, " if, like you, 
I crawled over the earth slowly and painfully, should I ever catch a fox, or 
be anything more than a wretched caterpillar ? " N. B. — He did not say, 
" of the law." 


Note D, page 297. — Some of the members of the Richmond Adams 
Convention (I like to call things by their right names) have had, I am 
told, the modesty to say that "it was the most august body that had assem- 
bled since the Congress that declared independence! " The same decla- 
ration, in the very same words, was made in the Senate, concerning 
another "august body" — the Hartford Convention — by Mr. Otis, a mem- 
ber of said "august body." 

This moderate hyperbole, I suspect, must have come from some wise- 
acre south of Appomattox, or of Roanoke, who was at once his own 
constituent body and representative. I know many very worthy and re- 
spectable members of the "august body" — two of them, in particular, 
excellent and sensible men, my own good friends and constituents, whose 
names, I own, surprised me when appended to such a manifesto. Others, 
no doubt, are equally respectable. But what shall we say — not to the 
Secretary — no, it is needless to say anything of him. His name, associated 
with that of Chapman Johnson, must be grateful to that distinguished 
luminary of the bar and of Virginia. In our part of the country we still 
retain the old-fashioned prejudice against the three degrees of borrowing, 
begging and stealing. We still believe, in Charlotte and Prince Edward, 
that every honest man pays his just debts. If I were to go to Oakland 
(where I hope soon to be), and were to steal one of my friend William R. 
Johnson's plough horses, value perhaps sixty dollars, I should subject my- 
self to the penitentiary. But would he not rather be robbed of a work 
horse than that any man should buy Medley or Sally Walker of him 
for some thousands of dollars and never pay him. Suum cuique tribuUo 
is still held in respect with us; and we pay small deference to the opinions 
of judges, even in the last resort, whose creditors cry aloud in vain for 
justice against the dispensers of justice — a judge who finally and conclu- 
sively determines between meum and tuum, who possesses nothing suum. 
If we do have a convention, I trust that the corrective will be applied to 
Ms and some other abuses of the only privileged class among us. 

" Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness 
thrust upon them?" and this last has been the good luck of our political 
Malvolio. Like Moliere's Mock Doctor, the Virginia Assembly (who 
make towns without houses) have made him a judge in spite of himself — 
Jiialgfl lui. 

His worthy elder brother stumbled upon his office, as Falstaff says 
Worcester did upon rebellion: •* It lay in his way, and he found it." 


Some men should bear in mind the advice of Junius to Sir William 
Draper, and not attract the public attention to a character which will only 
pass without censure when it passes without observation. Quiedam causa 
modestiam desiderunt. And this is true of the persons of certain would-be 
leaders in the cause of Coalition, as it is of the cause itself. What busi- 
ness have these "most forcible Feebles" in the van of election battles? 
Who gave them the right or the power to call conventions, forsooth, and 
excommunicate and anathematize their betters, in every point of view that 
gives value to the character of man. Let them stick to their dull, heavy, 
yet light, long-winded opinions in the Court of Appeals, where to our 
sorrow and to our cost they may play "Sir Oracle" — where, when they 
ope their lips no dog must bark — but what they say must be received as 
law in the last resort — without appeal. No bill of exceptions can be ten- 
dered to their honors. Yes, let them keep to their privileged sanctuary. — 
For if these men, who are great by title and office only, shall attempt to 
interfere between men at arms, let me tell them that their judicial as- 
trology will stand them in little stead: "There is no Royal road to the 
Mathematics:" and these ^x ^rt^ champions will fare like the delicate 
patrician troops of Pompey at the battle of Pharsalia. The Tenth Legion 
will aim at their faces — and our fair-weather knights must expect to meet 
with cracked crowns and bloody noses, and to staunch them as they may. 

"But have you no respect for the ermine?" Yes, as I have for the 
lion's skin, but none at all for the ass beneath it. I was bred in a respect 
for the ermine, for I lived when Pendleton, Blair and Wythe composed 
the "High Court of Chancery" in Virginia. Yes, I respect the pure 
ermine of justice, when it is worn as it ought to be — and as it is by the 
illustrious judge who presides in the Supreme Court of the United States, 
with modest dignity and unpretending grace. I was bred in a respect for 
it approaching to religious reverence. But it is the unpolluted ermine 
that I was taught to venerate. Daggled in the vile mire of an election — 
reeking in the fumes of whiskey and tobacco — it is an object, not of rev- 
erence, but of loathing and disgust. "A parson may not" (say the canons 
of many churches) "use himself as a layman." And a judge is, so to 
speak, a lay parson. He should keep himself, emphatically, " unspotted 
from the world." A judge has political rights as well as a juror. God 
forbid that I should deny or suppress their exercise. It is the mode of 
exercise that I object to, as unbecoming, not to say indecent. 

We have no faith, on the south side of James river, in the president 


'who called or him who presided over the Richmond Adams convention — 
the successor, in form, of Pendleton and Spencer Roane. Lichas wield- 
ing the club of Hercules. A man who does not endeavor to make up by 
assiduity and study for the slendemess of his capacity and his utter want 
•of professional learning. 

They were so heartily ashamed of their president or secretary, per- 
haps of both, that their manifesto is sent forth to the world in a pamphlet, 
unattested by the signature of either. It is without teste ; and, notwith- 
standing the caption, may be said to be anonymous. The want of such 
signatures detracts nothing from its weight or value. 

But let us see the honorable means resorted to by these High Priests of 
Themis, to forward their unholy conspiracy against the South ; Virginia 
in particular. Without paying the ex-Presidents the respect of presuming 
them to be observant of that reserve imposed upon them by their position, 
and -which, of all our Presidents, one only has violated — Mr. Adams, 
senior ; or of consulting them, the names of Mr. Madison and Mr. Mon- 
roe are ostentatiously stuck up at the head of their ticket. They knew 
that these gentlemen could not, with any sense of propriety or decorum, 
accept or decline the proffered honor, until officially notified of the pro- 
ceedings by the president of the Adams convention. 

This notificatipn was held back nearly one month by the president of 
the Adams, alias " Anti- Jackson," convention (who, to our misfortune, is 
also president of the High Court of Errors and Appeals), upon a pretext 
at once frivolous and false. This trick of the highest judicial officer in 
Virginia, played off to effect public opinion, and the Vermont and New 
Hampshire elections especially, was worthy of a Newgate solicitor. It 
was done to affect public opinion, and especially the New Hampshire 
election. How short-sighted is fraud and falsehood and folly. They did 
not reflect upon the reaction when the trick could be no longer concealed. 

" There is a tide in the affaire of men, 
Which, taken at the flood, leads to Fortune." 

Mr. C. is as strong an instance of this as Shakspeare himself could have 
adduced. Hardly a second rate lawyer at the county court bar of Amherst 
and Buckingham, sheer accident made him governor of Virginia. Hap- 
pening then to be a member of the Assembly [when a very obnoxious 
character was held up for the office] — possessing good temper and amiable 
manners, and most respectable and powerful connections — the untying of 


a member's shoe caused him to be pitched upon to keep out the only can- 
didate. With that exception, the office was going a-begging. Conducting 
himself most unexceptionally and inoffensively as governor, he had a 
county y"^ and one of the finest, too, in the State, named after him, and was 
advanced to the Court of Appeals, of which he bids fair to be president; 
a court in which, if he had remained at the bar, he most probably would 
never have obtained a brief. 

My venerable friend, Mr. Macon, has more than once observed to me, 
that, with the exception of North Carolina, no state, not even Virginia, 
had named a county after or done honor to the president of the first Con- 
gress, who, if he had lived, and the day had gone against us, would, with 
another Virginian, have been singled out as the ringleaders of the rebel- 
lion, and made examples of, accordingly, in terrorem of all future of- 

I have seen the Lord Chief Justice of the court of Common Pleas, Sir 
William Draper Best and Sir John Bayley (both very infirm men) sit, day 
after day, the one at Nisi Prius, and the other on the Crown side, from 
nine in the morning until five in the afternoon, and despatch more busi- 
ness in one day, than any of our courts in Virginia transact in a week. I 
have seen a judge in Guildhall sitting in court with his teapot and bread 
and butter before him, taking his breakfast while counsel were pleading, 
that business might not be delayed. The judges in England (there are 
but thirteen for that great kingdom, where each of three counties that I 
could name contain more white people, and incomparably more wealth, 
than our poor Old Dominion) work harder and are worse paid than any 
other officers of that government. 

How is it with us in Virginia ? We find men anxious enough to get 
the appointment — but are they (in the general) as anxious to discharge the 
duties — to earn the salary as to draw it ? There are, no doubt, and to my 
personal knowledge, honorable exceptions ; but are there not too many 
instances in which very insufficient causes are laid hold on to excuse the 
judge from holding his court, and for breaking it up and going home, to 
the delay of justice and the harassment and expense of counsel, suitors 
and witnesses? Is not this a crying evil? And if the tenure by which 
judges hold in Virginia be changed, will it not be owing to their own neg~ 

* If it had been called after bis uncle, old Colonel Will. Cabell, of Union Hill, all would 
have cried, Well done ! Posterity, it is to be hoped, will know no better. 


ligence and misconduct? In England, where two counties of the northern 
circuit (York and Lancaster) contain more than two millions of inhabit- 
ants, and vastly more wealth than the kingdom of Prussia, such neglect of 
duty as occurs every day in Virginia would not be tolerated for one half 
year. " To delay justice to no one,^ and "/<? be unwilling to change the 
laws of England;^"* these are the oath and declaration of the ancient 
.Kings and Barons of England.* But we seem to be guided by maxims 
the very reverse of thdise. 

As to the laws, they are so often chopped and changed that we never 
have time to find out what the existing law is — much less to have it settled 
in the only way that it can be settled — ^by adjudication. Much of this evil 
has proceeded from the Senate, at the instance of the author of the Rich- 
mond Adams manifesto. I have seen Sir John Bayley try some six or 
eight criminals in one day, that here would consume the time allotted for 
one, or more than one, superior court. It is true there lawyers are only 
admitted to crossexamine the witnesses, and are not suffered to take up a 
day in frothy declamation to mislead the jury. But I can conceive of no 
form of trial more fair than that in England ; and the summing up of Sir 

*It is impossible, even at this day, to road the ancient evidences of our liberties, with- 
out a throb of gratitude to those brave men who extorted tlieir acknowledgment not only 
from such weak and worthless princes as John and Henry the III, but obtained their con- 
firmation by Edward the I, the Justinian of England, a warlike monarch, and perhaps 
the most sagacious and powerrul of all thnt wondrous race of kings — the Plantagenets. 

** NuXLut liber homo capiatnr velimpritonelur aut ditteitiatur de libero tetiemento suoj 
vd libertatibus vel libtris consiietudinibiu sum, aut uUagetur, aut exufet, aut aliquo modo 
deatrtuUur^neCBuper turn ibimuty nee super eum tnitlemus, nisi per legale judicium parium 
momm, vel per legem terre. KuHi vendemus^ nulli negabimtis aut differemus rectum vel 
jtuHtiam.''^ — Magna Charta, confirmed 25 Edw. I. 

No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold, or liberties, or 
free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed ; nor we will not pass 
upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of tlie 
land. We will sell to no man, we toiU not deny or defer to any man either jtutiet or 

They put the denial and delay of justice on the same foot. 

Well might Lord Chatham, in tie greatest of all his incomparable speeches, say of these 
precious words, couched in **the rude and simple Latin of the times," that they were 
" worth all the classics !" — " Nolumui leges Anglite mutari." — " We are unwilling that tha 
laws of England be changed," was the answer of those **Iron Barons" to the Sovereign 
who wished to introduce the Salic law of the continent in lieu of the English law of 
descents. This change would have deprived England of two of her most glorious reigns — 
those of Elizabeth and Anne. 


John Bayley (who is, indeed, counsel for the accused) is the most perfect 
specimen of fairness and clearness and conciseness that I have ever heard 
or can conceive. He never omits the most minute circumstance that makes 
for or against the prisoner; and without showing the least bias either way, 
he never fails to tell the jury that " if, upon the whole, they doubt, the 
accused is entitled to the benefit of that doubt." I cannot go so far as an 
Irish gentleman, whom I heard (humorously) say at Norwich assizes, 
"that it must be a pleasure to be hanged by Sir John Bayley;" but I take 
a pleasure,' and a pride too, in here naming the honor that I received in 
his acquaintance, and that of Lord Chief Justice Best, and the very kind 
attentions and hospitality by which I was distinguished by both of them, 
the last more especially. 

The trials that I speak of were ordinary cases, civil and criminal ; not 
cases of libel and treason — of political law. In England, as in other coun- 
tries, not excepting Virginia, I fear that there is always a leaning on the 
side of the bench to power, in whatever hands it may be placed. 

Note E, page 300. — Mr. Madison (I speak it without the slightest dis- 
respect to that eminent man) is a still stronger case in point than Mr. Pitt. 

Except Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Jay, * as Secretary of State, he had not 
perhaps his equal in our country — his superior nowhere — a profound 
thinker, a powerful reasoner, "with tongue or pen" — a great civilian, re- 
minding one of his prototype, John Selden; to whose " Mare clausum" 
no man was better fitted than Mr. Madison to have opposed a Mare libe- 
RUM. Yet, advanced to the helm of affairs, how consummate his igno- 
rance of men, let his selections for great offices, civil and military, tell. I 
will enumerate a few just as they occur to me, beginning with his cabinet. 

Secretary of State — Robert Smith. 

Secretary of the Treasury — George W. Campbell; also Minister to St. 

Secretary of War — Dr. Eustis. 

Secretary of the Navy — Paul Hamilton and Benjamin W. Crownin- 
shield, the Master Slender — no, the Master Silence of Ministers of State. 

* As Mr. Jay is mentioned, I cannot omit my poor tribnte to the example of consum- 
mate dignity which this great and good man has set to every other great man in retire- 
ment He has been withdrawn from public life too long (yet even here his error leans to 
Tirtue's side), about thirty years. Who sees, or has seen, his name in a newspaper? O si 
•sic omnes ! 


Shakspeare himself could go no lower. It is the thorough base of human 
nature. He seems to us to have drawn Robert Shallow, Esquire, and his 
cousin Slender, as the comparative and superlative degree of fatuity ; and 
when we believe that he has sounded his lowest note, as if reveling in the 
exuberance of his power, he produces Silence as the ne plus ultra of 
inanity and imbecility. Mr. Madison has, in this one instance, outdone 
Shakspeare himself — he gives us the real man whom the bard only drew. 

Attorney General — Richard Rush ; not being fit for Comptroller, he is 
selected to preside over the treasury! and by the Richmond Adams Con- 
vention for Vice President! 

Commander in the Northwest — "William Hull. 

Commander in the Northeast — James "Wilkinson and "Wade Hampton. 

Commander at Bladensburg — "William Winder ! assisted by " The Fly- 
ing Cabinent," as Wilkinson had the insolence to designate them in his 
diagram of that famous rout. In this memorable disengagement the 
Grand Role was played by Mr. Attorney General, "for that time only," 
without his hat. We have no " Master of the Rolls*' in our country; but, 
like the witty authors of the Rolliad, for Sir Lloyd Kenyon, we might take 
as a motto for Mr. Rush, " Jouez Men votrerole." And, verily, never did 
political adventurer make more of his parts than this solemn gentleman 
has done. Never were abilities so much below mediocrity so well re- 
warded; no, not when Caligula's Horse was made Consul. 

A few days ago I stumbled upon the following stanza of an unfinished 
poem on the Glories and Worthies of our Administration : 

*' And as for R., his early locks of snow, 
Betray the frozen region that's below. 
Though Jove upon the race bestow'd some fire, 
The gift was all exhausted by the sire. 
A sage consnm'd what thousands well might share, 
And ASHKs! only, fell upon the heir!" 

These lines are the only article of the growth, produce or manufacture 
of the country north of Patapsco, that 1 have knowingly used since the 
Tariff bill passed. They are by a witty son of a witty sire — as Bums 
sings, " a true gude fellow's get." 

Note F, page 301. — Mr. Clay took his seat in the House of Represen- 
tatives in December, 181 1 ; his first stride was from the door to the chair, 
where he commenced to play the dictator : he fixed his eyes on the presi- 
dency, and I, who had been twelve years in Congress, fixed mine upon 


him, and hare kept them there ever since. Sylla said that he snr many 
a Marins in Caesar. So I, who had heard Mr. Claj for the first time in 
the Senate the year before, on the renewal of the charter of the Bank of 
the United States, was persuaded that he would not keep the faith. With- 
out affecting an inferiority that I do not feel, I may be allowed to say, that 
my position as the gnardian of the constitution and country, against the 
assaults of a man goaded and blinded by his ambition, woold have placed 
a dwarf on a lerel with a giant. He went to Europe, and returned a 
changed man. 

And not Mr. Clay only. Mr. Monroe, the stem Bir. Monroe, for whooi 
General Washington's administration was not Republican enough, comes 
back after four years spent in Paris, Madnd, and London, to settle points 
of etiquette and invent coat patterns for our foreign ministers, because, 
fonooth, they are not Franklin's. (See Mr. Sergeant's speech.) So that, 
like the king's fool, our envoys must have a party-colored coat to make up 
for their want of sense and dignity. — « Motley is your only wear" 

Vote G, page 283. — ^With this venerable friend and sterling patriot, Bfr. 
Randolph believes that '* the great body of the people of New England 
are genuine Republicans, of steady and virtuous habits, unsurpassed by 
any other people upon earth. But they are too often hoodwinked by the 
priesthood and the press in the interest of the aristocracy. 



It is unnecessary perhaps, but candor demands the avowal, to apprize 
"** the courteous reader" that there is much in the foregoing speech that 
was not spoken on the floor of the House of Representatives. There are 
some things too, for example, page 281, lines 32 to 3S, reported not as the 
speaker said them ; but, at the distance of a fortnight, under the pressure of 
other avocations, he could not correct such parts of the report. Not recol- 
lecting what he did say, he was fain to let it stand, although he was con- 
scious that he had not said what is there set down. To his friends he is 
indebted for the restoration of many passages which their memory had 
preserved and recalled to Mr. Randolph's recollections. Of these he will 
here indicate but two relating to Mr. Jefferson, in pages 402 and 303, and 
the page preceding, referring to Othello. 

This date speaks volumes to the old, tried, consistent Republicans. 
This day, seven and twenty years ago, not two hours after its commence- 
ment, the elder Adams* took his flight from the capitol, shrouding him- 
self in darkness from the intolerable light of day and the public gaze. 
What should we have said that morning if it had been predicted that the 
son, without the recantation of a single principle, with no other recom- 
mendation but that which has been held a\)ything but a recommendation 
elsewhere, with no other recommendation but that of an approver or 
states* evidence should, in four and twenty years, succeed that father? 
Ay, and that an "August Convention" in Virginia should recommend 
and support that son for this high office against an uniform, unwavering, 
tried Republican, who had fought in the war of our Revolution, and shed 
his stripling blood for his country, and who, in the second war with Eng- 
land had crowned himself and her with imperishable renown — laurels that 

* On reaching an inn beyond Baltimore, 'tis said that Mr. Adams, walking up to a por- 
trait of Washington, and placing his finger on his lips, exclaimed, " If I had kept my 
lips as close as that man, I should now be the President of the United States." 


can never fade, that will flourish and grow green in history and in song,, 
while Mississippi shall pay his tribute to the sea! 

Men of the South! matrons and maids of Louisiana! How say you? 
Do you find against your defender? Republicans of every state -and 
clime ! How say you f Do you find for the Sedition Law and its advo- 
cates against a tried Republican in the Reign of Terror? 

** Remember March! The Ides of Mardi remembar!" 
•*8haU Borne ? SpcAk, etiike. rediear 

March 4, 1828. 


Harvard Collaga Wldanar Library 
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