Skip to main content

Full text of "The papers of Thomas Ruffin"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 


\ > 








^ ^ Ki 


'''-■*ii. ,. 



\ X 



t 4 

I i 



s. , 




I \ 


T I 



• • 

i i 


■ i 


C'.. . 

\ ' 

J. G. : E RC>: . \ ^' 

A i UN. P*» 

V >^ L_ V_y * • fc. I 

^ ■ \ \-..' - , ^Lrv,^-^^, \^g-) -x-gn 


|/ OF THE 







Alumni Propessoii op History in the 
UNivBRtiTY OP North Carolina 




Statb Pbzmtkbs 




Preface 8 

CbroDOlogr of ThonuM Rnffln 6 

CftlMtfar of Leiton 6 

Llfo and Charactor of the Hon. Thomaa Ruffin. By William A. Graham. . 17 

Cblof Justice ThonuM RuffliL By Franci$ Nash Z5 

The RuiBn Papere 45 



The letters and papers of the following collection were, for the most 
part, preserved by Judge Ruffin himself, and, after his death, passed 
successively to his son, the late Sterling RuflSn, his grandson, the late 
Allen J. Ruffin, both of Hillsboro, N". C, and to his grandson, Bennehan 
Cameron, of Stagville, N. 0. By Mr. Cameron, with the approval of the 
other two named, they have been entrusted to me for editing for publica- 
tion. The ones from that collection here printed have been carefully 
selected from the total of more than ten thousand letters which compose 
it. The other papers included have been partly drawn from a large 
number owned by Judge Ruffin's daughter, Mrs. Catherine Ruffin Roul- 
hac, which have been for some years in my possession, and partly from 
scattered sources. Since the Ruffin and Roulhac collections have been 
consolidated, no distinction is made between them, and, since they fofm 
the greater part of those published, I have not thought it necessary to 
indicate them. In the case of all the others, footnotes indicate the 
sources from which they have been obtained. 

My guide in making the selection of the letters to be printed has been 
solely my desire to choose all such letters as may throw light upon the 
history of the State and !N'ation, or upon the personality and character 
either of Judge Ruffin or the writers. In this connection, it is to be 
regretted that such a small number of letters written by Judge Ruffin 
are included. Few of his correspondents, apparently, preserved their 
letters with the care which he employed, and in several cases where the 
letters were kept for years, war or fire destroyed them. 

In the editorial work I have not attempted further annotation than 
that which seemed necessary to a proper understanding of the letters. 
Many of the writers, and a still larger number of persons alluded to, are 
unknown. In the case of men of established national reputation, I have 
not thought it necessary to do more than indicate, in cases of doubt, to 
whom the reference is made. 

I have sought to present the letters as they were written, without 
changes of spelling or expression. Omitted words or phrases have been 
inserted in brackets where the meaning was doubtful, an occasional 
abbreviated word has been expanded in the interest of clarity, and the 
signs <6 and £c have been always replaced by and and etc. In the interest 
of space, I have in general omitted the forms of address and closing, in- 
cluding the signatures. I have omitted many references to matters of a 

4 The North Carolina Historical Commission. 

professional^ personal, or domestic nature, always indicating the omis- 
sion of one or more paragraphs by asterisks, as * * * ; and of a sentence 
or less by periods, as, . . . 

As a proper introduction to the letters, I am reprinting the memorial 
address delivered by Qovemor William A. Qraham soon after Judge 
Ruffin's death, and a sketch of him by Francis Nash, Esq., of Hillsboro, 
published originally in the Charlotte Observer. 

In one of the later volumes will appear several addresses delivered by 
Judge Ruffin and several of his more important decisions. 

The work of editing has been greatly lightened by the use of The 
Murphey Papers, also published by the North Carolina Historical Com- 
mission, and I desire to make special acknowledgment of my indebtedness 
to the careful and thorough work on them of Mr. William Henry Hoyt. 

I take this opportunity of expressing my deep sense of obligation to 
all those who have assisted me in my laborious but intensely absorbing 
task. Without the assistance and cooperation of Mr. R. D. W. Connor, 
the work would have lacked much of its completeness. I have also been 
greatly assisted by my colleague. Dr. Eemp P. Battle, Professor Y. L. 
Collins of Princeton University, Mr. Richard H. Ritter, president of the 
American Whig Society of Princeton, President Lyon Q. Tyler of Wil- 
liam and Mary College, Mrs. Fanny Conigland Farinholt, Mr. Bennehan 
Cameron, Captain S. A. Ashe, and Dr. Stephen B. Weeks. To each of 
them I desire to express my grateful sense of their courtesy and aid. 
Above all, I desire to acknowledge the invaluable assistance rendered me 
by my wife, whose part in the preparation of the collection has been 
scarcely less than my own. t /^ t» tx 


Chapel Hill, N. C, 

May 16. 1918. 



Not. 17. Born at ''Newington," King and Queen Ck>unt7, Va. 
1801-1803. Student at Warrenton Academy, Warrenton, N. G. 
1803. Entered Junior Class at Nassau Hall, Princeton, N. J. 


Sept. 26. Received degree of A.B. from Princeton. 
1806 -1807. Law student at Petersburg, Va., under David Robertson. 

1807. Moved to "Oakland," Rockingham County, N. C. 
1807-1808. Law student under Archibald D. Murphey. 

1808. Admitted to the bar. 

June 9. Moved to Hillsboro, N. C. 
Dec. 9. Married to Anne Kirkland of Hillsboro. 
1813. Member of the House of Commons for the borough of Hillsboro. 

1815. Member of the House of Commons for the borough of Hillsboro. 

1816. Presidential elector on the Monroe ticket. 

Member of the House of Commons for the borough of Hillsboro. 
Speaker of the House of Commons. 
Dec. 16. Elected Judge of the Superior Court 

Dec. 28. Resigned from the bench to engage in the practice of law. 
1820-1822. Reporter of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. 

1824. Candidate for presidential elector on the Crawford ticket. 

1825. Elected Judge of the Superior Court. 

1828. Resigned from the bench to become president of the State Bank 

of North Carolina. 

1829. Elected Judge of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. 

1830. Moved to "Haw River." 

1833. Became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 

1834. Received degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of North 


1835. Delivered address before the Dialectic and Philanthropic Socie- 

ties at the University of North Carolina. 

1852. Resigned from the bench. 

1853. Delegate to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal 

Church in New York City. 
1854 • 1860. President of the North Carolina Agricultural Society. 

1858. Elected a Judge of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. 

1859. Resigned from the bench. 

1861. Delegate to the Peace Conference. 

Delegate from Alamance to the Convention of 1861. 
1866. Moved to Hillsboro. 

Jan. 15. Died at his home in Hillsboro. 


Greensboro, N. C Oct. 

Greensboro, N. C Oct 

HlUsboro, N. G Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C May 

Raleigh, N. C July 

PittBboro, N. C Feb. 

Raleigh, N. C June 

Hlllsboro, N. C Oct 

Hlllsboro, N. C Dec. 

Fayetteville, N. C Nov. 

Hlllsboro, N. C Feb. 

New Bern, N. C Mar. 

Asheville, N. C Oct. 

Hlllsboro, N. C Dec. 

Greenyille, N. C Mar. 

Raleigh, N. C Apr. 

Hlllsboro, N. C May 

Hlllsboro, N. June 

Hlllsboro, N. C July 

Hlllsboro, N. C July 

Rockingham, N. C Sept. 

Sampson C. H Not. 

Hlllsboro, N. C Jan. 

Perquimans County, N. C....Apr. 

Greensboro, N. C Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh. N. C July 


Place Date Written hy 

Brunswick, Va May 6, 1803 Sterling Ruffin 

Brunswick, Va Sept 8, 1803 Sterling Ruffin 

Brunswick, Va Dec. 29, 1803 Sterling Ruffin 

Jan. 29, 1804 Muscoe Gamett 

Brunswick, Va Feb. 3, 1804 Sterling Ruffin 

Brunswick, Va Mar. 14, 1804 Sterling Ruffin 

Brunswick, Va May 9, 1804 Sterling Ruffin 

Brunswick, Va June, 1804 Sterling Ruffin 

PittaYille, Va. Sept 24, 1804 William Garnett 

Oct 22, 1804 William Gamett 

Richmond, Va Not. 22, 1804 Sterling Ruffin 

Dec. 3, 1804 William Garnett 

Brunswick, Va Dec. 6, 1804 Sterling Ruffin 

Brunswick, Va Dec. 22, 1804 Sterling Ruffin 

Dec. 31, 1804 William Garnett 






Written to 

26, 1814... 

...Edward Jones 



...Edward Jones 



...Kemp Plummer and others 



...James F. Taylor 



...James F. Taylor 


, 1822... 




...Bartlett Yancey 


, 1824... 

. . . Catherine Ruffin 



...John Owen 



. . . Catherine Ruffin 



...Bartlett Yancey 



. . .Catherine Ruffin 






. . .Catherine Ruffin 



...William K. Ruffin 



. . .William K. Ruffin 


1827 . . . 

...William K. Ruffin 



...William K. Ruffin 



. . .William K. Ruffin 



...William K. Ruffin 



. . .William K. Ruffin 



. . .Catherine Ruffin 



. . .Catherine Ruffin 



. . .William K. Ruffin 


, 1828... 

...William K. Ruffin 


, 1828... 

...Catherine Ruffin 


, 1828... 

...Catherine Ruffin 


, 1828... 

. . .Joseph B. G. Roulhac 


, 1829... 

...William Boy Ian 

The RuFFii? Pafbbs. 

Brunswick, Va. 

Branflwick, Va. 
Brnnfiwlck, Va. 
Brunswick, Va. 

Brunswick, Va 

Essex County, Va 

Richmond, Va 

Princeton, N. J 

Essex County, Va 

Princeton, N. J 

Philadelphia, Pa. 

Pittsylvania County, Va. . . . . 
Petersburg, Va 

Spring Garden, Va 

Philadelphia, Pa 

Brunswick, Va 

Lynchburg, Va 

Brunswick, Va 

Brunswick, Va 

Petersburg, Va. 

Brunswick, Va. . >. 

Petersburg, Va 

Ravenna, Ohio 

Ravenna, Ohio 

Petersburg, Va. 

Petersburg, Va 

Wentworth, N. C 

Washington, D. C 

Petersburg, Va. 


Petersburg, Va 

Greensboro, N. C 

Caswell, N. C 

Surry County, N. C 

























































Sept 20, 

Sept 20, 













































D<ite WHtten by 

1805 Sterling Ruffln 

1805 William GarneU 

1805 William GarneU 

1805 William Gamett 

1805 Sterling Ruffin 

1805 William Garnett 

1805 William Gamett 

1805 William Gamett 

1805 Sterling Ruffin 

1805 Sterling Ruffln 

1805 Sterling Ruffln 

1805 WiUiam Gamett 

1805 William Garnett 

1805 Robert Ruffln 

1805 Muscoe Gamett 

1805 Sterling Ruffln 

1805 William Gamett 

1805 George Hairston 

1805 John Reynolds 

1805 William Garnett 

1805 John Reynolds 

1806 John Reynolds 

1806 George Hairston 

1806 Jane Harding 

1806 William Gamett 

1806 Spencer Roane 

1806 Ellsha Clarke 

1806 William Gamett 

1806 William Gamett 

1806 Sterling Ruffln 

1806 William P. Claiborne 

1806 Sterling Ruffln 

1807 Sterling Ruffln 

1807 William Gamett 

1807 William Gamett 

1807 John P. May 

1807 James Niblock 

1807 John F. May 

1808 Benjamin Tappan 

1808 Benjamin Tappan 

1808 William Gamett 

1808 John F. May 

1809 John F. May 

1809 James Campbell 

1810 Richard Stanford 

1810 William Garnett 

1810 Archibald D. Murphey 

1811 Archibald D. Murphey 

1811 Edward DiUard 

1813 Bartlett Yancey 

1813 Bartlett Yancey 

1813 Jesse Franklin 

1813 William Garnett 


Thb lyfoBTH Cabouka Histobioal Commission. 


Raleigh, N. C Jan. 

Raleigh, N. C Jan. 

Raleigh, N. C Jan. 

Washington, D. C Feb. 

Orange County, N. C Feb. 

Washington, D. C Mar. 

Raleigh, N. C July 

Raleigh, N. C July 

Washington, D. C Oct. 

Greensboro, N. C Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C Oct. 


Washington, D. C Nov. 

FayettevlUe, N. C Nov. 


Rockingham, N. Jan., 

Norfolk, Va Jan. 

Washington, D. Jan. 

Raleigh, N. G Jan. 

Raleigh, N. C Feb. 

Rockingham C. H., N. G May 

Hlllflboro, N. C May 

Petersburg, Va June 

Waynesboro, N. G Aug. 

FayetteylUe, N. G Oct. 

Glbralter Oct. 

FayetteylUe, N. G Nov. 

Wentworth, N. C Nov. 

MorrlsvlUe, N. C Dec. 

Washington, D. G Jan. 

Wilmington, N. C Feb. 

Washington, D. G Feb. 

Warrenton, N. G Mar. 

Rockingham Gounty, N. C....Apr. 

Raleigh, N. G June 

Oakland, N. G June 

Raleigh, N. C Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Aug. 

Ravenna, Ohio Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Aug. 

Tarboro, N. G .Nov. 

WaynesvlUe, N. G t . . .Nov. 

Raleigh, N. G Nov., 

HlUsboro, N. G Nov. 

Fayettdvllle, N. G Dec. 


Washington, D. G Dec. 

Raleigh, N. G Dec. 

Raleigh, N. G Dec. 

Oakland, N. G Dec. 

Date Written hy 

6, 1814 Archibald D. Murphey 

10, 1814 Archibald D. Murphey 

12, 1814 Archibald D. Murphey 

4, 1814 Bartlett Yancey 

27, 1814 Duncan Gameron 

5, 1814 Bartlett Yancey 

22, 1814 Joseph Oales 

29, 1814 Joseph Gales 

5, 1814 Bartlett Yancey 

26, 1814 Edward Jones 

26, 1814 Joseph Gales 

1814 A. Mellan 

3, 1814 Bartlett Yancey 

17, 1814 John MacRae 

20, 1814 Duncan Cameron 

1815 James Campbell 

16, 1815 James Campbell 

21, 1815 Bartlett Yancey 

26, 1815 William H Haywood 

20, 1815 Joseph Gales 

3, 1815 James H. Dearlng 

7, 1815 Richard Stanford 

7, 1815 JohnF. May 

25, 1816 John R. Donnell 

16, 1815 John A. Cameron 

17, 1815 William Roane 

27, 1815 George McNeill 

27, 1815 James Campbell 

30, 1815 William M. Sneed 

9, 1816 John Roane 

12, 1816 A. Mellan 

17, 1816 Bartlett Yancey 

19, 1816 William Ruffln 

22, 1816 Ira Ellis 

18, 1816 John Haywood 

25, 1816 Sterling Ruffln 

2, 1816 Thomas Henderson, Jr. 

2, 1816 Thomas Henderson, Jr. 

2, 1816 Thomas Henderson, Jr. 

9, 1816 Kemp Plummer and others 

26, 1816 Benjamin Tappan 

29, 1816 Thomas Henderson, Jr. 

30, 1816 Joseph Gales 

2, 1816 George E. Sprulll 

12, 1816 Thomas Love 

1816 William Miller 

25, 1816 James Webb 

4, 1816 George McNeill 

8, 1816 Duncan Cameron 

9, 1816 Weldon N. Edwards 

16, 1816 William Miller 

18, 1816 Richard Stanford 

18, 1816 Sterling Ruffln 

The Ruffin Papebs. 



TyBon'B, N. C Jan. 

New Bern, N. O Jan. 

Loyd's, Ya Mar. 

Oxford, N. C May- 
Oxford, N. C July 

VesuYlufl Furnace, N. C Aug. 

Lombardy Groye, Va Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C Oct. 

YesuTltts Furnace, N. C Nov. 

Wentworth, N. C Not. 

Fayetteville, N. C Not. 

Wilmington, N. Jan. 

Haw RlTer, N. C Feb. 

HillBboro, N. C. Mar. 

Morganton, N. C Apr. 

Lincolnton, N. C June 

Oakland, N. C July 

Haw River, N. C July 


Ctormanton, N. Sept. 

Petersburg, Va Oct 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec 

Washington, D. C Jan. 


Washington, D. C Feb. 

VesuvIuB Furnace, N. C Mar. 

Rockingham, N. Mar. 

Fayetteville, N. C Mar. 

Montpelier, N. C Apr. 

Petersburg, Va May 

Raleigh, N. C May 

Baltimore, Md July 

Rockingham County, N. C.July 

Wilkesboro, N. C Aug. 

Edenton, N. C Aug. 

Rockingham County, N. C Aug. 

Montpeller, N. C Sept 

Raleigh, N. C Oct 

Wentworth, N. C Nov. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Feb. 

PitUboro, N. C Mar. 

Orange County, N. C Apr. 


Haw River, N. C June 

Petersburg, Va June 

Raleigh, N. C July 

Salisbury, N. C Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Oct 

Raleigh, N. C Oct 

Date WHtten hy 

4, 1817 Archibald McBryde 

20, 1817 George B. Badger 

13, 1817 William Gamett 

17, 1817 Thomas B. Littlejohn 

5, 1817 Thomas B. Uttlejohn 

10, 1817 James Graham 

21, 1817 Richard Apperson 

29, 1817 John Haywood 

9, 1817 James Graham 

20, 1817 James Campbell 

29, 1817 John MacRae 

26, 1818 Adam Empie 

15, 1818 Archibald D. Murphey 

10, 1818 George E. Badger 

28, 1818 William Roane 

1, 1818 James Graham 

10, 1818 Sterling Ruffin 

17, 1818 Archibald D. Murphey 

15, 1818 John L. Henderson 

21, 1818 Thomas T. Armstrong 

10, 1818 John F. May 

8, 1818 Archibald D. Murphey 

17, 1818 Romulus M. Saundeni 

18, 1818 James Mebane 

18, 1818 George E. Badger 

27, 1819 James S. Smith 

7, 1819 Gabriel Holmes 

17, 1819 Montford Stokes 

1, 1819 James Graham 

19, 1819 Archibald D. Murphey 

30, 1819 George McNeill 

20, 1819 Gabriel Holmes 

13, 1819 John F. May 

20, 1819 William Polk 

8, 1819 George McNeiU 

13, 1819 Sterling Ruffin 

3, 1819 William' Roane 

4, 1819 James Iredell 

12, 1819 Sterling Ruffin 

29, 1819 Gabriel Holmes 

7, 1819.. Joseph Gales 

4, 1819 William Roane 

18, 1819 Archibald D. Murphey 

18, 1820 Archibald D. Murphey 

80, 1820 Charles Manly 

24, 1820 Duncan Cameron 

3, 1820 William H. Ruffin.^ 

5, 1820 Benjamin Smith ' '. 

19, 1820 David Robertson 

28, 1820 John Hall 

16, 1820 James Graham 

6, 1820 James F. Taylor 

7, 1820 James F. Taylor 



The North Casouna Historical Commission. 


Baltimore, Md Feb. 

Charlotte, N. C May 

Hiltoboro. N. C May 

Raleigh, N. C June 

Haw Riyer, N. C June 

New Bern, N. C June 

FayetteviUe, N. C June 

Salisbury, N. C Sept. 

Charlotte, N. C Nov. 

Washington, D. C Dec. 

Baltimore, Md Dec. 


Washington, D. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Salem, N. C Dec. 

Greensboro, N. C. -. Jan. 


Chapel Hill, N. C Jan. 

Raleigh, N. C Jan. 

Grassy Greek, N. C Feb. 

Raleigh. N. C Mar. 

Baltimore, Md Mar. 

Petersburg, Va May 

Raleigh, N. C May 

Orange County, N. C Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C Nov., 

Chapel Hill, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Jan. 

Raleigh, N. C Feb. 

Stagville, N. C Apr. 

Washington, D. C May 

Wentworth, N. C May 

Sydenham, Ga May 

Haw River, N. C June 

Greensboro, Ala June 

Raleigh, N. C July 

Lsmchburg, Va July 

Raleigh, N. C Aug. 

Raleigh, N. C Sept. 

Fayetteville, N. C Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C Oct. 

Washington, D. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Jan. 

Waehington, D. C Jan. 

Washington, D. C Feb. 

Washington, D. C Feb. 

Raleigh, N. C Mar. 

Washington, D. C Mar. 

Chapel Hill, N. C Mar. 

Washington, D. C Mar. 

Washington, D. C Mar. 

Washington, D. C Mar. 


Written by 



. . John Rocers 



..James Graham 



..John Rogers 



. .William Ruffin 



..Archibald D. Murphey 



..John Stanly 



. . Georse McNeill 



. .James R. Dodge 



..James Graham 



..Romulus M. Saunders 



..John Rogers 


. .John Witherspoon 



..Lewis Williams 



..George E. Badger 



. .C. F. Bagge 



..John M. Dick 



..Thomas Hunt 



. . Elisha Mitchell 



. .John Hall 



. .Joel Strong 



..Joseph Gales 



. . John Roffers 



. . John F. Mat 



. .William Polk 



. . Duncan Cameron 


. .John Havwood 



. .Gavin HoflTfiT 



. . Duncan Cameron 



. .Francis L Hawka 



. .Francis L Hawka 



. .Thomas D BAnnAhAii 



. .R. J. Meigs 



. .James H Ruffin 



. . Husrh Offlebv 



. .Archibald D MumhAv 



. . Samuel Stnidwlrk 1 



. . Josenh Gales 



. .Thomas Cro'wilAr It 



. .B. B. Smith 



. .B. B. Smith 



. . Duncan MdravdAn 



. . B. B. Smith 



. .Romnlufl M SanndAm 



. .William Rnffln and ntHAvw 



. .Willie P Manflmm 



. .Romulus M SanndAra 



. .Henrv Seawell 



. .Henrv SeamrAll 



. .Romulns M SAnndAi*!! 



. .William F Ruffin 



. .John W Lionflr It 



« .Romulus M SaundAi^ 



..Henry Seawell 

The RuFFii? Pafehs. 



Washington, D. C Mar. 

Chapel HiU, N. C Apr. 

Chapel Hill. N. C Apr. 

Greensboro, N. C Apr. 

Caswell, N. C June 

Wilkesboro, N. C July 


Milton, N. C July 

Warrenton, N. C Aug. 

Surry County, N. C Aug. 

Randolph County, N. C Aug. 

Bladen County, N. C Aug. 

Bladensboro, N. C Sept 



Warrenton, N. C Nov. 

Washington, D. C Dec. 

Washington, D. C Jan. 

FayettevIUe, N. C Jan. 

Fayetteville, N. C May 

Raleigh, N. C June 

Haw River, N. C June 

Richmond, Va. June 

Haw River. N. C June 

Fayetteville, N. C July 

Haw River, N. C July 

Raleigh. N. C July 

Raleigh, N. C July 

Asheboro. N. C Aug. 

Richmond, Va Sept. 

Hilleboro, N. C Oct. 

Hilleboro, N. C Nov., 

Hilleboro, N. C Nov., 

Washington, D. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 

Williamsboro, N. C Jan. 

Richmond, Va Feb. 

New Bern, N. C Feb. 

Caswell C. H Apr. 

Baltimore, Md Apr. 

Baltimore, Md Apr., 

Raleigh. N. C Apr. 

Lenoir County, N. C May 

Milton, N. C June 

New Bern, N. C July 

Milton, N. C Aug. 

Pittsboro, N. C Aug. 

Surry County, N. C Sept. 

New Bern, N. C Oct. 

Rock Rest, N. C Oct. 

The Oaks, N. C Oct. 

Raleigh, N. C Dec. 


Written by 



. . .Willie P. Maneum 



. . .William F. Ruffin 



...William H. Thompson 


, 1824... 

. . .Archibald D. Murphey 



...Bartlett Yancey 


. 1824... 

...John Finley 



. . .Archibald D Mni^nhAv 



. . .Romulus M. Saunders 



...George E. Badger 



. . .Lewis WilliftmR 



. . . John W Lione Jr 



. . .John Owen 



• . .John Owen 



. . . William Moor A 



. . .William Oamett 


, 1824... 

...WeldonN Bdwardii 



. . .Willie P. Manffum 


> 1825... 

. . . Lewis WiUiame 


. 1825... 

...W. F. Strange 



. . .Georsre McNeill 


1825 . . . 

...Charles Manly 


, 1825... 

. . .Archibald D. Murphey 



. . .William Garnett 


, 1825... 

. . .Archibald D. Mnrohev 



...Robert Strange 



...Archibald D. Murphey 



...George E. Badger 



...Hutchins G. Burton 



...John W. Long. Jr. 


1825 . . . 

...Thomas Ritchie 


1825 . . . 

. . . William A Graham 


...Francis L. Hawks 


. . .Francis L Hawka 



. . . Lewis Williams 



...William H. Haywood, 



...William Robards 


, 1826... 

...William Robards 



...John F. May 



...Edward Graham 


, 1826... 

...James H. Rulfin 



...William K. Ruffin 


. . .William K. Ruffin 



... J. Wetmore 



. . .H. B. Croom 



...Romulus M. Saunders 



. . .Geonre S. Attmora 


, 1826... 

. . .Romulus M. Saunders 



...Robert Strange 


, 1826... 

...Lewis Williams 



...Wright C. Stanly 


. 1826... 

...M. E. Jones 



. . .Romulus M. Saunders 


, 1826... 

. . . Charles Manly 


The "Sobtu Cabouna Histobical Commission. 

Milton, N. C. 

• ■ • • • 



Fayetteylllep N. G 

Newlngton, K. and Q. Co., Ya. 

Raleigh, N. C 

New Bern, N. C 

Washington, D. C 

New Bern, N. C 

Salisbury, N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

New Bern, N. G 

Haw River, N. C 

Haw River. N. G 

Haw River, N. G 

Person Gounty, N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

Haw River, N. G 

Warren Gounty, N. G 

Haw River, N. G 

Raleigh. N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

Laurel Hill, N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

Richmond Gounty, N. G 

Greenwood, N. G 

HlUsboro, N. G 

Richmond Gounty, N. G 

Richmond Gounty, N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

Raleigh, N. G 

New Bern, N. G 

Halifax, N. G 

New Bern, N. G 

Fayettevllle, N. G 

Columbia, Tenn 

Salisbury, N. G 

Loghouse Landing, N. G 

Raleigh. N. G 

Golumbla, Tenn. . 
Rockingham, N. G. 
Raleigh, N. G. . . . 
Edenton, N. G. ... 
Edenton, N. G. ... 
New Bern, N. G. . . 
Bonarva, N. G. .. 
New Bern, N. G.. 

Washington, N. G 

Edenton, N. G 

































































































Date Written hy 

1826 Romulus M. Saunders 

1826 Archibald D. Murphey 

1826 John MacRae 

1826 Archibald R. Harwood 

1827 William A. Graham 

1827 John R. Donnell 

1827 Romulus M. Saunders 

1827 John R. Donnell 

1827 James Martin, Jr. 

1827 Robert Strange 

1827 John Devereux 

1827 Archibald D. Murphey 

1827 Archibald D. Murphey 

1827 Archibald D. Murphey 

1827 James H. Rufiin 

1827 John MacRae 

1827 . .Archibald D. Murphey 

1827 Weldon N. Edwards 

1827 Archibald D. Murphey 

1827 Henry M. Miller 

1827 John D. Eocles 

1827 John D. Ecdes 

1827 John D. Eccles 

1827 John R. Bule 

1827 John D. Eccles 

Henry Dockery and others 

1827 George E Sprulll 

1827 William A. Graham 

1827 J. Macallster 

1827 Alfred Dockery 

1827 John R. Bute 

1827 John Louis Taylor 

1827 Wright G. Stanly 

1827 Joseph J. Daniel 

1827 John R. Donnell 

1827 John MacRae 

1827 Archibald D. Murphey 

1828 James Martin, Jr. 

1828 Henry S. Glark 

1828 James Iredell 

1828 William M. Green 

1828 Archibald D. Murphey 

1828 Walter F. Leak 

1828 George E. Badger 

1828 A. M. GatUng and others 

1828 James L Tredwell 

1828 Wright G. Stanly 

1828 Ebenezer Pettlgrew 

1828 William Gaston 

1828 Gavin Hogg 

1828 John Gray Blount 

1828 James I. Tredwell 

The Ruffin Papers. 



HiUsboro, N. C Mar. 

Hillsboro, N. C Apr. 

Eidentoii, N. C. Apr. 

Raleigh, N. € June 


Rldelgh, N. C Aug. 

Plymoath, N. C Sept. 

Plymouth, N. C Oct 

Raleigh, N. C Not. 

Raleigh, N. C Not. 

Raleigh, N. € Not. 

Raleigh, N. C Not. 

Raleigh, N. C Not. 

Raleigh, N. C Not. 

Bnfleld, N. O Not. 

Raleigh, N. G Not. 

Hlllsboro, N. C Not. 

Anson County, N. C Dec. 

Raieign, Nm o. •..•.•........ JL/ec. 

Qreenaboro, N. C Dec. 

Washington, D. G Dec. 

Bdenton, N. G Dec. 

Raleigh, N. G Jan. 

Haw RiTer, N. G Jan. 

Haw RlTer, N. G Jan. 

Haw* RlTer, N. G Feb. 

Raleigh, N. G Feb. 

Pltteboro, N. G Feb. 

Lexington, N. G Feb. 

Plttsboro, N. G Feb. 

Washington, D. G Feb. 

Wilmington, N. G Feb. 

Raleigh, N. G Feb. 

Chapel Hill, N. G Mar. 

Rockford, N. G Mar. 

Anson County, N. C Mar. 

Salisbury, N. G Mar. 

Washington, D. G Mar. 

Asherllle, N. G Mar. 

Plttsboro, N. G Mar. 

Greensboro, N. G Mar. 

HlllSboro, N. G Mar. 

Albln, N. G Mar. 

Salisbury, N. G Mar. 

Greensboro, N. G Apr. 

Salisbury, N. G Apr. 

Oak Hall, N. G Apr. 

Edenton, N. G Apr. 

Salem, N. G Apr. 

Weldon, N. G Apr. 

Hlllsboro, N. G Apr. 

New Bern, N. G May 

edenton, N. G May 

Date Written hy 

17, 1828 Victor M. Murphey 

7, 1828 Daniel M. Barrlnger 

18, 1828 Augustas Moore and others 

11, 1828 WUUam Robards 

1828 Thomas P. DsTereux 

7, 1828 Peter Browne 

26, 1828 Thomas Turner 

26, 1828 Thomas Turner 

16, 1828 James H. Ruffln 

17, 1828 Frederick Nash 

18, 1828 George E. Badger 

21, 1828 Frederick Nash 

22, 1828 Frederick Nash 

24, 1828 James H. Ruffln 

27, 1828 John Branch 

27, 1828 Frederick Nash 

27, 1828 Bedford Brown 

10, 1828 Adam Lockhart 

16, 1828 John Louis Taylor 

17, 1828 John M. Dick 

29, 1828 Lewis Williams 

29, 1828 Joseph B. Skinner 

20, 1829 John L. Henderson 

24, 1829 Archibald D. Murphey 

28, 1829 Archibald D. Murphey 

8, 1829 Archibald D. Murphey 

6, 1829 William Gaston 

10, 1829 Patrick Henry Winston 

12, 1829 John M. Dick 

12, 1829 Frederick Nash 

16, 1829 James Iredell 

28, 1829 Robert W. Brown 

28, 1829 WUlUm Polk 

1, 1829 Nicholas M. Hents 

2, 1829 DaTid F. Caldwell 

3, 1829 Adam Lockhart 

6, 1829 John L. Henderson 

8, 1829 Henry T. Gamett 

13, 1829 DaTid L. Swain 

20, 1829 Frederick Nssh 

21, 1829 John M. Dick 

22, 1829 James S. Smith 

28, 1829 DaTid Clark 

30, 1829 DaTid F. Caldwell 

5, 1829 John M. Dick 

11, 1829 William J. Alexander 

16, 1829 William BetheU 

18, 1829 James G. Johnston 

24, 1829 Emmanuel Shober 

25, 1829 Andrew Joyner 

27, 1829 Frederick Nash 

6, 1829 Wright G. Stanly 

16, 1829 Joseph B. Skinner 

14 The North Casolika Historical Commission. 

Place Date Written by 

Raleigh, N. C May 22, 1829 John Owen 

New Bern, N. C May 22, 1829 William Gaston 

Charlotte, N. C May 26, 1829 David F. Caldwell 

HUlsboro, N. C June 2, 1829 William J. Bingham 

HlUsboro, N. C June 12, 1829 Cadwallader Jones 

Richmond County, N. C June 27, 1829 James A. Vanghan 

Washington, D. C July 28, 1829 Henry T. Oamett 

VesuTlus Furnace, N. C Aug. 10, 1829 William A. Graham 

Caswell County, N. C Aug. 16, 1829 James H. Ruffln 

Salem, N. C Aug. 16, 1829 Emmanuel Shober 

Hllleboro, N. C Aug. 18, 1829 Hugh WaddeU 

Salisbury, N. C Aug. 31, 1829 John Giles 

Salisbury, N. C Sept 5, 1829 John L. Henderson 

Chapel Hill, N. C Sept. 8, 1829 William K. Ruffln 

Greensboro, N. C Sept 9, 1829 John M. Dick 

Oxford, N. C Sept 12, 1829 Frederick Nash 

Wadesboro, N. C Sept 22, 1829 John Giles 

Lexington, N. C Oct 6, 1829 James T. Morehead 

Chapel Hill, N. C Oct. 12, 1829 William K. Ruffln 

Richmond, Va Oct 19, 1829 William H. Brodnax 

Greensboro, N. C Not. 7, 1829 Archibald D. Murphey 

Chapel Hill, N. C Nov. 16, 1829 William K. Ruffln 

Warrenton, N. C Not. 23, 1829 James Somervell 

FayettevllI?, N. C Nov. 28, 1829 Henry Branson 

Plymouth, N. C Nov. 30, 1829 Thomas Turner 

Anson County, N. C Dec. 1, 1829 Adam Lockhart 

Edenton, N. C Dec. 10, 1829 William R. Norcum 

Salem, N. C Dec. 19, 1829 Charles F. Bagge 

Plymouth, N. C Dec. 22, 1829 Thomas Turner 

Edenton, N. C Dec. 29, 1829 Joseph B. Skinner 

Raleigh, N. C. Dec., 1829 William H. Haywood 

Haw River, N. C Jan. 13, 1830 Archibald D. Murphey 

Haw River, N. C Feb. 10, 1880 V. M. Murphey 

Haw River, N. C July 25, 1830 V. M. Murphey 

Greensboro, N. C Aug. 31, 1830 Archibald D. Murphey 

Greensboro, N. C Sept 2, 1830 Archibald D. Murphey 


Written by Place Date Written to 

Alexander McCaine .Fellspoint July 19, 1805.. Sterling Ruffln 

Elizabeth Kirkland . Glasgow Scotland . Sept 13, 1810.. William Kirkland 

William Ruffln Warrenton, N. C. .May 20, 1814. .Sterling Ruffln 

William Hinton Raleigh, N. C Aug. 8, 1814. .William Henderson 

William Henderson .Raleigh, N. C Aug. 9, 1817. .Thomas D. Bennehan 

Romulus M. Saunders Dec. 2, 1818. .William Norwood 

James Walker July 17, 1819. .Nathaniel Harris 

Nat Cutting Washington, D. C.Mar. 23, 1820.. James S. Smith 

William Polk Raleigh, N. C May 21, 1822. .Wake County Court 

John McLean Washington, D. C.Aug. 27, 1823. .B. B. Smith 

John McKechney ...Quebec June 30, 1823 .. Duncan McFadyen 

E. Freeman New Bern, N. C. .Mar. 8, 1824. .H. Potter 

William Norwood ...HUlsboro, N. C.Nov. 6, 1826. .William K. Ruffln 

The Ruffin Papers. 15 

Written by Place Date Written to 

Dnponceaa Jones ...Plttsboro, N. C.Feb. 2, 1827.. William K. Rnflln 

Henry Webb Middletown, Gonn.Feb. 21, 1827 . .William K. Ruffin 

B. McLaughlan Baltimore, Md. ...Aug. 20, 1827.. William K. Roffln 

M. G. Jenkins Baltimore, Md. ...Sept. 11, 1827.. William K. Ruffin 

B. McLAUghlan Baltimore, Md. ...Sept 18, 1827.. William K. Ruffin 

Jose Farres Baltimore, Md. . . .Sept 18, 1827. .William K. Ruffin 

M. C. Jenkins Baltimore, Md. . . .Feb. 22, 1828. .William K. Ruffin 


Thomas Ruffin's Bachelor of Arts diploma from Princeton, Sept 26, 1805. 

To the Citizens of Rockingham County, by Alexander Sneed, July, 1809. En- 
closure of James Campbell, July 26, 1809. 

B«xtract from the Lincoln and Catawba Journal of Feb. 10, 1829, signed "One 
of the People." Enclosure of William Polk, Feb. 28, 1829. 





Late Chief Justice of North Carolina 




Delivered before the Aifrieultural Society of the State, by its request, 
at the Annnal Fair ia Raleigh, Oct 2l8t, 1870. 






The patriotic people of the County of Bockingham in a public assem- 
blage at their first Superior Court after the death of Chief Justice 
SuFFiNy in which they were joined with cordial sympathy by the gentle- 
men of the bar of that Court, resolved to manifest their appreciation of 
his talents, virtues and public usefulness, by causing to be pronounced 
a memorial oration on his life and character. Such an offering was 
deemed by them a fitting tribute from a people among whom his family 
first settled upon their arrival in North Carolina, and with whom he had 
been associated as a planter and cultivator of the soil from his early 
manhood till his decease. 

The Agricultural Society of the State, of which for many years he 
had been a distinguished President, subsequently determined on a like 
offering to his memory at their annual Fair. The invitation to prepare 
such a discourse has been by both bodies extended to the same individual. 
The task is undertaken with diffidence, and a sense of apprehension, 
that amid the multiplicity of other engagements, its fulfilment may fail 
in doing justice to the subject of the memoir. 

Thomas Buffin, the eldest child of his parents, was bom at I^ewing- 
ton, the residence of his maternal Grand Father, Thomas Boane, in the 
County of King and Queen, in Virginia, on the I7th of November, 1787. 

His Father, Sterling Buffin, Esquire, was a planter in the neighboring 
County of Essex, who subsequently transferred his residence to North 
Carolina, and died in the County of Caswell. Ardent in his religious 
sentiments, and long attached to the Methodist Episcopal Church, he 
very late in life, entered the ministry, and was for a few years prior to 
his death, a preacher in that denomination. 

His Mother, Alice Boane, was of a family much distinguished in 
Virginia by the public service of many of its members, and was herself 
first cousin of Spencer Boane, the Chief Justice of that State in the past 
generation, whose judicial course, connected as it was with questions of 
difficulty and importance in constitutional law, gave him high profes- 
sional, as well as political, distinction; but it may well be doubted, 
whether, in all that constitutes a great lawyer, he had any pre-eminence 
over the subject of our present notice, his junior kinsman in North 
Carolina, then but rising into fame, and destined to fill the like office 
in his own State. 

His Father, though not affluent, had a respectable fortune, and sought 
for the son the best means of education. His early boyhood was passed 
on the farm in Essex, and in attendance on the schools of the vicinity. 
Thence, at a suitable age, he was sent to a classical Academy in the 
beautiful and healthful village of Warrenton, in North Carolina, then 

20 The Nobth Cabolina Historical Commibbion. 

under the instruction of Mr. Marcus George, an Irishman by birth and 
education, a fine classical scholar and most painstaking and skillful 
instructor, especially in elocution, as we must believe, since among his 
pupils who survived to our times, we find the best readers of our acquaint- 
ance in their day. His excellence in this particular was probably attri- 
butable to his experience on the theatrical stage, where he had spent a 
portion of his life. He made his first appearance in the State at the 
Convention in Hillsborough^ in 1788, which rejected the Federal Consti- 
tution, in search of employment as a teacher, was engaged by the Warren 
gentlemen then in attendance, and many years subsequently was still 
at the head of a flourishing school, in which our student entered. The 
system and discipline of Mr. George conformed to the ancient regime, 
and placed great faith in the rod. He is described as a man of much 
personal prowess and spirit, who did not scruple to administer it on his 
pupils, when sloth, delinquency or misbehavior required, without refer- 
ence to age, size or other circumstances. Yet he secured the respect of 
his patrons, and the confidence of the public, and inspired the gratitude 
and affection of his pupils in a remarkable degree. 

This turning aside from our subject, to pay a passing tribute to his 
old preceptor, is deemed to be justified not only by the long and useful 
labors of Mr. George, in the instruction of youth in the generation in 
which Mr. RufBn's lot was cast, but because he himself entertained the 
highest appreciation of the profession of an instructor, accustoming 
himself to speak of it as one of the most honorable and beneficent of 
human employments. Throughout his laborious and well-spent life, 
he often acknowledged his obligations of gratitude for the early training 
he had received under the tuition of this faithful, but somewhat eccentric 
son of Erin. And it may well be doubted whether Lord Eldon, in the 
maturity of his wisdom and great age, retained a more grateful and 
affectionate recollection of Master Moises of the High School of New 
Castle, than did Chief Justice Ruffin of Master George of the Warrenton 
Male Academy. 

At this institution were assembleil the sons of most of the citizens of 
Eastern North Carolina and the bordering counties of Virginia, aspiring 
to a liberal education. And here were formed friendships, which he 
cherished with great satisfaction throughout life. Among his com- 
panions were the late Bobert Broadnax, of Bockingham, subsequently 
a planter of large possessions on Dan Biver, among the most estimable 
gentlemen of his time; and Cadwallader Jones, then of Halifax, but 
afterwards of Orange, at different periods an officer in the Navy and 
in the Army of the United States, a successful planter, and a model 
of the manners and virtues which give a charm to social intercourse. 
With both of these gentlemen his early attachments were in after life 
cemented by the union in marriage of their children. Here, too, he 
found Weldon N. Edwards, of Warren, subsequently distinguished by 
much public service in Congress and under the Government of the State, 

The Buffin Pafebs. 21 

thenceforward his lifelong friend, with whom his bonds of amity seemed 
to be drawn more closely as others of his contemporaries dropped from 
around him. Of these four youths of the Warrenton Academy, at the 
banning of the nineteenth century, Mr. Edwards alone survives. Long 
may he live to enjoy the veneration and respect due to a life of probity, 
honor and usefulness. 

From the Warrenton Academy young Ruffin was transferred to the 
College of Nassau Hall, at Princeton, New Jersey. It is believed that 
his father, who was a deeply pious man, was controlled in the selection 
of this College in preference to that of William & Mary, in Virginia, 
next to Harvard University the oldest institution of learning in the 
United States, not only by a desire to place his son in an unsuspected 
situation as to his health, which had suffered from the malarial influ- 
ences prevailing in the tidewater region of Eastern Virginia, but to 
secure him as well from the temptation incident to College life, in an 
institution, in which as he supposed, there was too loose an authority 
and discipline exerted over the sons of affluence and ease. He entered 
the Freshman^ class, at Princeton, and ^'graduated at the commencement 
in 1805 ;*^ the sixteenth in a class of f orty-tWo members, "being the first 
of the second division of intermediate honors." The late Governor 
James Iredell, of !N'orth Carolina, was in the class succeeding his own, 
and for nearly the whole of his College course, his room-mate. Thus 
commenced a friendship between these gentlemen in youth, which was 
terminated only by the death of Mr. Iredell. Among others of his Col- 
lege associates who became distinguished in subsequent life, there were 
Samuel L. Southard and Theodore Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, Joseph 
IL IngersoU, of Philadelphia, the Cuthberts and Habershams, of Georgia, 
Christopher Hughes of Maryland, and Stevenson Archer, of Mississippi. 

Betuming home with his bachelor degree, Mr. Ruffin soon afterwards 
entered the law office of David Bobertson, Esquire, of Petersburg, as a 
student of the law, and continued there through the years 1806 and 1807. 
Here he was associated as fellow-student with John F. May, afterwards 
Judge May, of Petersburg, and Winfield Scott, afterwards so highly 
distinguished in arms, and the only officer down to his time, except Gen- 
eral Washington, who attained the rank of Lieutenant General in the 
army of the United States. General Scott, in his Autobiography, de- 
scribes their preceptor, Mr. Sobertson, as a Scotchman, a very learned 
scholar and barrister, who originally came to America as a classical 
teacher ; but subsequently gained high distinction as a lawyer, and was 
the author of the report of the debates in the Virginia Convention which 
adopted the Federal Constitution, and of the report of the trial of Aaron 
Burr for high treason. In a note to the same work, General Scott men- 
tions his chancing to meet Judge Ruffin in New York in 1853, while the 
latter was attending as a delegate, the Protestant Episcopal Convention, 
of the United States after a separation of forty-seven years, and recurs 

iThis to an error. Ruffin entered the Junior Class In 1808. 

22 The Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

to their association together with Judge May, as law students^ and to 
the conversation in which they then indulged^ with manifest pride and 
pleasure. He also refers to their suhsequent intercourse in the city of 
Washington, in 1861^ while Judge Ruffin was serving as a member of 
the Peace Congress, and expresses the opinion, that, ''if the sentiments 
of this good man, always highly conservative (the same as Critten- 
den's,") had prevailed, the country would have escaped the sad inflictions 
of the war, which was raging at the time he wrote.^ 

Sterling Buffin, the father, having suffered some reverses of fortune, 
determined to change his home, and removed to Bockingham County, 
North Carolina, in 1807. His son soon followed, a willing emigrant. 
It was in North Carolina he had received his first training for useful 
life: here was the home of most of his early friends, and here he con- 
fidently hoped to renew his association with Broadnax, Jones, Edwards, 
Iredell and other kindred spirits. 

He doubtless brought with him a considerable store of professional 
learning from the office of Mr. Bobertson, in which he had been more 
than two years a student, but on his arrival in North Carolina, he pur- 
sued his further studies under the direction of the Honorable A. D. 
Murphey, until his admission to the bar, in 1808. Early in 1809, he 
established his home in the town of Hillsborough, and on the 9th of 
December, in that year, he was united in marriage with Miss Anne 
Kirkland, eldest daughter of the late William Kirkland, of that place, a 
prominent merchant and leading citizen. 

The twenty years next ensuing, during which his residence was con- 
tinually in Hillsborough, comprehends his career at the bar and on the 
Bench of the Superior Courts. In 1813, 1815 and 1816, he seirved as a 
member of the Legislature in the House of Commons from this town, 
under the old Constitution, and filled the office of Speaker of the House, 
at the last mentioned session, when first elected a Judge upon the resig- 
nation of that office by Duncan Cameron. He was also a candidate on 
the electoral ticket in favor of William H. Crawford for the Presidency 

iThe mention to which Grovernor Graham refers is ae follows: 
"Mr. Robinson, in my time, had but two other students in his office — Thomas 
Ruffin and John F. May. The first of these and the autobiographer did not 
chance to meet from 1806 to 1853, a period of forty-seven years, when Mr. 
Ruffin, Chief Justice of North Carolina, came to New York as a member of the 
General Protestant Episcopal Convention. The greeting between them was 
boyishly enthusiastic. The chief Justice, at the table of the soldier, said, 
'Friend Scott, is it not a little remarkable, that of the three law students. In 
the same office, in 1805 and 1806, all yet in good preservation, our friend May 
has long been at the head of the bar in Southern Virginia; I long at the head 
of the bench In North Carolina; and you, the youngest, long at the head of the 
United States Army!' The last I saw of this most excellent man, always 
highly consenratlve, he was a member of the Peace Convention that met In 
Washington In the spring of 1861. Had hie sentiments, the same as Crltten^ 
den's, prevailed, we should now (July, 1863) have in the thirty-four States 
fewer by eeveral millions of widows, orphans, cripples, bankrupts, and deep 
mourners to sadden the land. Judge May, fortunately for him, died before 
the commencement of this horrid war." Scott, Autohioffraphy, Vol. I, pp. 11-12.. 

The Buffin Papicbs. 23 

of the United States, in 1824. But his aspirations, tastes and interests 
inclined him not to political honors, but to a steady adherence to the 
profession to which his life was devoted. He found at the bar in Orange 
and the neighboring counties to which his practice was extended several 
gentlemen, his seniors in years, who were no ordinary competitors for 
forensic fame and patronage; of whom it may be sufficient to name 
Archibald B. Murphey, Frederick Nash, WilUam Norwood, Duncan 
Cameron, (who although he had suspended his practice for a time, re- 
sumed it not long after Mr. Buffin came to the bar,) Henry Seawell, 
Leonard Henderson, WiUiam Bobards, Nicholas P. Smith, of Chatham, 
and later of Tennessee. His first essays in argument are said not to 
have been very fortunate. His manner was diffident and his speech hesi- 
tating and embarrassed. But these difficulties being soon overcome, the 
vigor of his understanding, the extent and accuracy of his learning, and 
his perfect mastery of his causes by diligent preparation, in a short 
time gave him position among these veterans of the profession, secured 
him a general and lucrative practice, and an easy accession to the Bench 
in seven years from his initiation at the bar. His reputation was greatly 
advanced and extended by the manner in which he acquitted himself in 
this office. The wants, however, of an increasing family and an un- 
fortunate involvement by suretyship forbade his continuance in a situ- 
ation of no better income than the salary which was its compensation. 
He resigned to the Legislature of 1818, and immediately returned to the 
practice. Mr. Buffin had kept up habits of close study of his profession 
before his promotion to the Bench, and the leisure afforded by the vaca- 
tions of the office was eagerly availed of, for the same object. He came 
back to the bar not only with his health renovated, which had never 
been very robust, but with a brightness in his learning and an increase 
of fame, which, in the Supreme Court then recently established on its 
present basis, and in the Circuit Court of the United States, as well as 
on the ridings in the State Courts, brought to him a practice and an 
income, which has hardly ever been equalled in the case of any other 
practitioner in North Carolina. For forty-three weeks in the year he 
had his engagements in Court, and despite of all conditions of the 
weather or odier impediments to travelling in the then state of the 
country, rarely failed to fulfill them. He held the appointment of 
Beporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court for one or two terms, 
but relinquished it from the engrossment of his time by his practice; 
and his labors are embraced in the prior part of the first volume of 
Hawks. Mr. Archibald Henderson, Mr. Gaston, Mr. Seawell, Mr. 
Murphey, Mr. Moses Mordecai, Mr. Gavin Hogg, and Mr. Joseph Wil- 
son, all metL of renown, were, with Mr. Buffin, the chief advocates in the 
Supreme Court at that period, Mr. Nash and Mr. Badger being then 
upon the Bench ; and according to tradition, at no time have the argu- 
ments before it been more thorough and exhaustive. The late Governor 
Swain being a part of this period a student of the law in the office of 

24 The North Carolina Hibtobical Cohhibbion. 

Chief Justice Taylor, in a public address at the opening at Tucker Hall, 
in which he gave many reminiscences of former times in Baleigh, men- 
tions a prediction in his hearing of Mr. Gaston to one of his clients in 
1823, that if Mr. Buffin should live ten years longer he would be at the 
head of the profession in North Carolina. By the same authority we 
are informed, that only a year or two later, Judge Henderson declared 
that he had then attained this position of eminence. Among the pro- 
fessional gentlemen he met in the wide range of his practice on the cir- 
cuits, in addition to his seniors already named, were Bartlett Yancey, 
Augustine H. Shepperd, Bomulus M. Saunders, James Martin, Thomas 
P. Devereuz, Jas. F. Taylor, Charles Manly, Wm. H. Haywood, Jr., 
Daniel L. Barringer, Samuel Hillman, John M. and James T. More- 
head, Bedford Brown, Willie P. and Priestly H. Mangum, Francis L. 
Hawks, Thos. Settle, John M. Dick, Qeorge C. Mendenhall, and several 
others, of high distinction among the advocates and public characters 
of the State; by all of whom his eminent abilities and attainments were 
fully acknowledged and appreciated. 

In the summer of 1825, upon the resignation of Judge Badger, Mr. 
Buffin again accepted the appointment of a Judge of the Superior Courts. 
His recent successes had relieved him of embarrassment, and supplied 
him a competent fortune; his health demanded relaxation and rest; and 
his duties to his family, now quite numerous, in his estimation required 
more of his presence at home than was consistent with the very active 
liff^Jie was leading. He therefore relinquished his great emoluments 
at the bar for the inadequate salary then paid to a Judge, and virtually 
closed his career as an advocate. By the bar and the public he was wel- 
comed back on the circuits, and for the three following years he admin- 
istered the law with such universal admiration and acceptance, both on 
the part of the profession and the people, that he was generally desig- 
nated by the public approbation for the succession to the Bench of the 
Supreme Court whenever a vacancy should occur. 

The reputation he had established by this time, however, did not 
merely assign him capabilities as a lawyer, but ascribed to him every 
qualification of a thorough man of affairs. It was conceded, at least, 
that he could teach bankers banking and merchants the science of 

In the Autumn of 1828, the stockholders of the old State Bank of 
North Carolina, at the head of whom were William Polk, Peter Browne 
and Duncan Cameron, owing to the great embarrassment of the affairs 
of this institution, involving disfavor with the public, and threats of 
judicial proceedings for a forfeiture of its charter, prevailed on him 
to take the Presidency of the Bank, with a salary increased to the pro- 
curement of his acceptance; and with the privilege on his part to prac- 
tice his profession in the city of Raleigh. In twelve months devoted to 
this office, with his characteristic energy, mastering the affairs of the 
Bank with a true talent for finance, making available its assets and pro- 

Ths BuFFor Pafebs. 25 

▼iding for its liabilities, and inspiring confidence by the general faith 
in his abilities and high purpose to do right, he effectually redeemed the 
institution, and prepared the way to close out in credit the remaining 
term of its charter. 

At this period, also, another place of high political eminence was at 
his choice, but was promptly declined. A vacancy having happened in 
the Senate of the United States by the appointment of Qovemor Branch 
to the head of the Navy department, and the Honorable Bartlett Yancey, 
who had been the general favorite for the succession, having recently 
died, Mr. Buffin was earnestly solicited to accept a candidacy for this 
position with every assurance of success. But his desire was, as he him- 
self expressed it among his friends, '^af ter the labor and attention he 
had bestowed upon his profession, to go down to posterity as a lawyer." 
Irrespective, therefore, of his domestic interests, and the care and atten- 
tion due to his family, of which no man ever had a truer or warmer 
conception, he could not be diverted from his chosen line of life by the 
attractions of even the highest political distinction. 

While assiduously employed in the affairs of the Bank, to which was 
devoted the year 1839, his services were still demanded by clients in the 
higher courts, and his reputation at the bar suffered no eclipse. Upon 
the death of Chief Justice Taylor, in this year, the Executive appoint- 
ment of a successor was conferred on a gentleman of merited eminence 
in the profession, and of a singularly pure and elevated character; but 
the sentiment of the majority of the profession as well as public opinion, 
had made choice of Hr. Buffin for the permanent office, and he was 
elected a Judge of the Supreme Court at the session of the Legislature 
in the autunm of 1829. In 1833, upon the demise of Chief Justice Hen- 
derson, he was elevated to the Chief Justiceship, in which he won that 
fame which wiU longest endure, because it is incorporated in the judicial 
literature of the country, and is co-eztensive with the study and adminis- 
tration of our system of law. 

Before directing attention to his labors in this highest court of appeals 
in the State, it is appropriate to remark on his prior career as an advo- 
cate, counsellor and Judge of the Superior Courts. Of his arguments 
at the bar, at nisi priw, or in the Courts of appeal, no memorials have 
been preserved save the imperfect briefs contained in the causes that 
have been reported. His nature was ardent, and his manner of speech 
earnest and often vehement in tone and gesticulation. Though versed 
in beUes lettres, and with tastes to relish eloquent declamation, it was a 
field into which he did not often, if at all, adventure. His reliance was 
upon logic, not upon rhetoric ; and even his illustrations were drawn from 
things practical, rather than the ideal. Analyzing and thoroughly com- 
prehending his cause, he held it up plainly to the view of others, and 
^th a searching and incisive criticism exposed and dissipated the weak 
points in that of his adversary: and all this, in a vigorous, terse and 
manly English, every word of which told. Few advocates ever equalled 

26 The North Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

liim in presenting so much of solid thought in the same number of words, 
or in disentangling complicated facts, or elucidating abstruse learning 
so as to make the demonstration complete to the minds of the auditory; 
capacities, doubtless gained by severe culture, a part of which, aa I 
learned from an early student in his office, had been a daily habit, long 
after his admission to the bar, of going carefully over the demonstration 
of a theorem in Mathematics. Thus habituated to abstract and exact 
reasoning, he delighted in the approach to exactness in the reasoning 
of the law, and no student could more truly say of his professional in- 
vestigations, "Labor ipse est voluptas/* The accuracy thus attained in 
his studies, gave him high eminence as a pleader, in causes both at law 
and in Equity; and among his associates usually devolved on him the 
office of framing the pleadings in the causes in which they were engaged. 
It also gave him rank among the great counsellors of the time, whose 
opinions were not the result of cramming for an occasion, or a fortunate 
authority, but the well considered reflections of gifted minds imbued 
with law as a science, and who had explored to their sources, the prin- 
ciples involved in the subjects they examined, and made them their own. 
This full development of his forensic character does not appear to have 
been manifested until after his return to the bar subsequently to his first 
service on the bench. But from this period till his second retirement, 
in 1825, he had hardly a rival in the bar of the Supreme Court of the 
State or the Circuit Court of the United States, except Archibald Hen- 
derson and Gaston, and had a command of the practice in all the State 
Courts he attended. As a Judge of the Superior or nisi prius Courts, he 
exhibited equal aptitude for the Bench as for the practice at the Bar. 
With an energy that pressed the business forward, a quickness rarely 
equalled in perceiving and comprehending facts, patient and industrious 
habits of labor, and a spirit of command which suffered no time to be 
lost, he despatched causes with expedition, but with no indecent haste. 
Whilst he presided, it was rare that any cause before a jury ever occupied 
more than a single day, and none is remembered that extended beyond 

It may be inferior to the dignity of the occasion to indulge in profes- 
sional anecdotes. The promptness, however, with which he disposed of 
a case of some novelty on the circuit, may justify a passing notice. The 
plaintiff and defendant had disputed on a matter of law, and growing 
warm in the controversy, laid a wager on the question of whether or not 
the law was as affirmed by the plaintiff; and a suit was brought to have 
the point determined. After the contract of wager had been proved, the 
plaintiff rested. The Judge called on the counsel for the plaintiff to 
prove that he had won. The counsel replied that that depended on the 
point of law which he submitted to his Honor. The Judge rejoined, 
that it was one of facts in the controversy, on which he was forbidden 
to express an opinion ; but for their trifling with the Court in instituting 
such an action, he ordered it to be dismissed, and each party to pay half 

Thb Euffiw Papers. 27 

the costs^ mth an intimation^ that it was leniency in the Court to stop 
with no greater penalty. It is worthy of remark^ that about the same 
time, as we since learn from the reports, Chief Justice Abbott, in the 
King's Bench in England^ ordered a cause ^'to be struck out of the paper/' 
the subject of the action being a wager on a dog-fight, upon the ground 
that it was insignificant, and it would be a waste of time to try it. 

In administering the criminal law, in which the extent of punishment 
generally depended on the discretion of the Judge, his sentences were 
such as to inspire evil doers with terror, but eminently tended to give 
protection to society and confidence to honest and law-abiding men. 

His accession to the Bench of the Supreme Court was a source of gen- 
eral satisfaction to the profession, and to the people of the State, by 
whom his enlightened labors in the circuits had been witnessed with 
admiration and pride. He at once took a conspicuous part in the pro- 
ceedings of this high tribunal, and for twenty-three years, that he con- 
tinuously sat there, probably delivered a greater number of the opinions 
on which its judgments were founded, than any Judge with whom in 
thid long career he was associated. These opinions are found through 
more than twenty-five volumes of books of reports, and form the bulk 
of our judicial literature for a full generation. They embrace topics 
of almost every variety, civil and criminal, legal and equitable, concern- 
ing probate and administration, marriage and divorce, slavery and 
freedom, and constitutional law, which can enter into judicial contro- 
versy, in the condition of society then prevailing in the State, and con- 
stitute memorials of her jurisprudence, by which the members of the 
profession are content she shall be judged in the present age and by 
posterity. They have been cited with approbation in the American 
courts, State and National, by eminent legal authors, and in the judicial 
deliberations of Westminster Hall ; and the North Carolina lawyer who 
can invoke one of them as a case in point with his own, generally con- 
siders that he is possessed of an impenetrable shield. It has been rare 
in England that a Judge or Advocate has reached high distinction in the 
courts both of common law and Equity. The student of the judicial 
arguments of Chief Justice Buffin will be at a loss to determine in which 
of these branches of logal science he most excelled. To the votary of 
tKe common law, fresh from the perusal of the black letter of the times 
of the Tudors and early Stuarts, and captivated with its artificial refine- 
ments and technical distinctions as to rights and remedies, he would 
appear to have pursued his professional education upon the intimation 
of Butler in his reminiscences, that '%e is the best lawyer, and will suc- 
ceed best in his profession, who best understands Coke upon Littleton ;" 
or, advancing to the modem ages of greater enlightenment and freer 
intercourse among nations, that he had made a specialty of the law of 
contracts, bills of exchange and commercial law generally; whilst his 
expositions of Equity causes will satisfy any impartial critic, that he 
was at least equally a proficient and master of the principles and practice 


of the joriflprudence of the English Chancery, and would induce the 
belief that, like Sir Samuel Bomilly or Sir William Orant, his practice 
at the bar had been confined to this branch of the profession. The 
minute distinctions between the limits of the jurisdiction of the Courts 
of Equity and common law, he comprehended and illustrated with a 
rare discrimination and accuracy. 

During the term of his service in that Court, it will be remembered by 
the profession, that three great departures were made from long estab- 
lished precedents in the English Courts of Equity, which have tended 
to give simplicity to our system, and to free it from the embarrassment 
and confusion of the authorities in the English cases; namely. First, in 
adhering to the direction of the statute of Frauds, and refusing to decree 
the specific execution of a contract for the conveyance of real estate 
required to be in writing, upon the ground that the parties had acted 
upon their agreement, and that it had been partially carried into execu- 
tion. Second, in discarding the doctrine that a vendor who had sold 
land and parted with the title, trusting his vendee for the purchase 
money, yet had a lien on the land as a security for its payment. Third, 
in negativing likewise the English doctrine of a married woman's equit- 
able right to a settlement for her maintenance before her husband should 
invoke th^ power of the court to reduce her estate to possession. These 
have been acknowledged as salutary reforms both at home and abroad, 
in all of which Chief Justice RufSn concurred and delivered leading 
arguments in their support. Accustomed tenaciously to adhere to prece- 
dents upon the theory, that the wisdom of a succession of learned Judges, 
concurred in or tolerated by the Legislature from age to age, is superior 
to that of any one man, and that certainty in the rules of the law is of 
more importance than their abstract justice; yet where there had been 
no domestic precedent, and those abroad were at variance with the com- 
mand of a statute or with obvious principles, he readily embraced these 
opportunities to symmetrize and perfect the system of practical morality 
administered in the American courts of Equity. 

His familiar knowledge of banking and mercantile transactions and 
skilf ulness in accounts, gave him a conceded eminence in the innumer- 
able causes involving inquiries of this nature. During his presidency 
in the Supreme Court, it cannot fail to be remarked that there was a 
great advance in the accuracy of pleadings in Equity causes, and in a 
general extension of the knowledge of Equity practice throughout the 
circuits. And the precision and propriety of entries in every species of 
procedure were brought to a high state of perfection, mainly by his 
investigations and labors, in conjunction with those of that most worthy 
gentleman, and modest but able lawyer, Edmund B. Freeman, Esquire, 
late Clerk of the Court, whose virtues and public usefulness, connected 
as he was for so many years in close and friendly association with the 
immediate subject of our remarks, now likewise gone down beyond the 
horizon, I am gratified the opportunity serves to commemorate. 

The BuFFor Papebs. 29 

In the department of the law peculiarly American, in which there 
comes up the question^ whether the Legislature can legislate to the extent 
it has assumed, or other expositions of the Constitutions of the State or 
Union, though the occasions for such exercises were rare in the quiet 
times of his judicial life. Chief Justice Ruffin shone to no less advantage, 
than in those dependent on municipal regulations. His conversancy 
with political ethics, public law and English and American history, 
seems to have assigned to him the task of delivering the opinions on this 
head, which have most attracted general attention. That delivered by 
him in the case of Hoke against Henderson in which it was held, that the 
Legislature could not, by a sentence of its own in the form of an enact- 
ment, divest a citizen of property, even in a public office, because th^ 
proceeding was an exercise of judicial power, received the hig^ encomium 
of Kent and other authors on constitutional law; and I happened per- 
sonaUy to witness, that it was the main authority relied on by Mr. 
Beverdy Johnson, in the argument for the second time, of Ex parte 
Garland, which involved the power of Congress by a test oath, to exclude 
lawyers from practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, for 
having participated in civil war against the government ; and in which, 
its reasoning on the negative side of the question, was sustained by that 
august tribunal. 

The singular felicity and aptitude with which he denuded his judg- 
ments of all extraneous matter, and expounded the very principles of 
the case in hand, usually citing authority only to uphold what had been 
demonstrated without it, is the most striking feature in his numerous 
opinions. No commonplaces or servile copying of the ideas of others 
fill the space to be occupied, but a manly comprehension of the subject 
in its. entire proportions, illustrated by well considered thought and 
lucid and generally graceful expression. His learning was profound, 
but not so deep as his own reflections. His powers of abstraction sub- 
jected every thing to scrutiny, and rare was the fallacy which passed 
through that crucible without exposure. If he did not develop new 
truths the old were made to shine with a fresher lustre, from having 
undergone his processes of thought and illustration. His style of writing 
was elevated and worthy of the themes he discussed. His language well 
selected, and exhibiting a critical acquaintance with English philology. 
A marked characteristic in his writings, as it was also in his conversation, 
was the frequent, dextrous, and strikingly appropriate use he made of the 
brief words of our language, usually of Saxon derivation; as in his 
response to the tribute of the bar to the memory of Judge Gaston : *TVe 
knew that he was, indeed, a good man and a great Judge." 

In the autumn of 1862, while in the zenith of his reputation, and not 
yet pressed with the weight of years, Chief Justice Ruffin resigned his 
office and retired, as he supposed forever, from the professional employ- 
ments he had so long and with so much renown pursued. But on the 
death of his successor and friend. Chief Justice Nash, in December, 

30 The North Cabolina Hutobical Commibsion. 

1858, he was called by the almost unanimous vote of the Greneral As^ 
sembly then in session, to fill the vacancy, and sat again as a Judge of 
the Supreme Court until the autumn of 1859, when failing health ren- 
dered his labors irksome, and he took his final leave of judicial life. Six 
years of rest in his rural home had induced nothing of rust or desuetude : 
he wore the ermine as naturally and gracefully as if he had never been 
divested of its folds; his judicial arguments at this time evince all that 
vigor of thought and freshness and copiousness of learning which had 
prompted an old admirer to say of him, that he was a '^m lawyer." 
It is not improbable that this preservation in full panoply was in some 
design aided by the circumstance, that in a desire to be useful in any 
sphere for which he was fitted, he had accepted the office of a Justice 
of the Peace in the county of Alamance, in which he then resided^ and 
had held the County Courts with the lay justices during this period. 
Though near ten years later, and when he had passed the age of eighty, 
in a matter of seizure, in which he took some interest for a friend, luider 
the revenue laws, in the Circuit Court of the United States, a branch 
of practice to which he had not been habituated by experience, I had 
occasion to observe that he was as ready with his pen in framing the 
pleadings, without books of authority or precedent, as any proctor in a 
Court of admiralty. 

In looking back upon his long life devoted to the profession, and the 
monuments of his diligence, learning and striking ability that he left 
behind him, it is no extravagance of eulogy to affirm, that if the State 
or any American State has fostered great advocates, counsellors or 
Judges, he assuredly was of this class. 

But when, as Coke to Littleton, we bid "Farewell to our jurisprudent,*' 
who had basked so long in the "gladsome light" of jurisprudence, we 
have not wholly fulfilled the task assigned us. Jurisprudence was indeed 
his forte; and that in its most enlarged sense, embracing the science of 
right in all its aspects. Considering how thoroughly he had mastered 
the systems prevailing in England and the United States, the fullness 
of his knowledge in kindred studies and the facility with which he labored 
and wrote, it is to be regretted that he did not betake himself to profes- 
sional authorship. But there are other aspects of his character than that 
of«a lawyer and Judge. 

At an early period he became the proprietor of an estate on Dan river, 
in Bockingham, on which he established a plantation at once, and gave 
personal direction to its profitable cultivation from that time until his 
death. Carrying his family to Raleigh for a sojourn of twelve months 
upon assuming the Presidency of a Bank as already stated, he removed 
thence to Haw river, in Alamance, in 1830, and there under his own eye 
carried on the operations of a planter with success until the year 1866, 
when the results of the war deprived him of laborers, and he sold the 
estate and removed again to Hillsborough. The law has been said by 
some of its old authors, to be a jealous mistress, and to allow no rival 

The Buffin Papebs. 31 

in the attentions of its votary. Chief Justice Euffin, however^ while dili- 
gently performing the duties of his great office, and keeping up with the 
labors of his cotemporaries, Lynnhurst^ Brougham^ Tenterden and Den- 
man, in England^ and the numerous Courts exercising like jurisdictions 
in America, found leisure to manage his farm at home as well as to 
give direction to that in Bockingham. And this, not in the ineffective 
manner which has attended the like efforts of some professional men, 
but with present profit and improvement of the estates. From early 
life he appeared to have conceived a fondness for agriculture, including 
horticulture and the growing of fruit trees and flowers, which his home 
in the country seemed to have been selected to indulge. Here for thirty- 
five years, in the recess of his Courts, he found recreation in these pur- 
suits and in the rearing of domestic animals ; the result of which was the 
most encouraging success in orchards, grapery, garden, cereal crops, 
flocks and herds. Combining a knowledge of the general principles of 
science, with fine powers of observation, and the suggestions of the most 
appiroved Agricultural periodicals, he was prepared to avail himself in 
practice of the highest intelligence in the art. It was therefore no empty 
compliment to a great jurist and leading citizen, when the Agricultural 
society of I^orth Carolina, in 1854, elected him to its presidency after 
his retirement from the Bench, but the devotion to public uses and 
service, of an experience and information in the cultivation of the soil, 
and all its manifold connections and dependencies, which few other men 
in the State possessed. He was continued in this distinguished position 
for six years, when declining health demanded his retirement; and at 
no time have the interests of the society been more prosperous, its public 
exhibitions more spirited; and it may be added, that on no occasion did 
he ever manifest more satisfaction than in the reunions of its members. 

His farming was not that of a mere amai&wr in the art, designed as in 
the case of odier public characters of whom we have read, to dignify 
retirement, to amuse leisure or gratify taste, though few had a higher 
relish for the ornamental, especially in shrubbery and flowers. This, 
he could not, or did not think he could afford, but to realize subsistence 
and profit, to make money, to provide for his own, and to enable him 
to contribute in charity to the wants of others. He consequently entered 
into all the utilities, economies and practicabilities of husbandry in its 
minute details, realizing the English proverb, quoted in the writings of 
Sir Francis Head, that ''a good elephant should be able to raise a cannon 
or pick up a pin." 

The liberal hospitality that he dispensed throughout life was a most 
conspicuous feature in the period thus devoted to practical agriculture. 
His nature was eminently social, his acquaintance in his high position 
extensive, his dwelling near one of the great highways of travel through 
the State in the old modes of conveyance, easy of access ; and the exuber- 
ance of his farm, garden, orchards and domestic comforts were never 
more agreeably dispensed, than when ministered to the gratification 

32 The Nobth Cabolina Histobxcal Comi£ib8Ion. 

of hiB friends under his own roof. The cordiality and ease with which 
he did the honors of an entertainer in an old-fashioned southern man- 
sion, is among the pleasant recollections of not a few hetween the Potomac 
and the Mississippi. It was here^ indeed^ surrounded by a family worthy 
of the care and affection he bestowed upon them, relaxed from the severe 
studies and anxieties of official life, in unreserved and cheerful inter- 
course, that, after all, he appeared most favorably. 

By his industry, frugality and aptitude for the management of prop- 
erty, he accumulated in a long life an estate more ample than usually 
falls to the lot of a member of the profession in this State; and althou^ 
much reduced by the consequences of the civil war, it was still competent 
to the comfort of his large family. 

Judge Ruffin was, until superseded by the changes made in 1868, the 
oldest Trustee of the University of the State, and always one of the moat 
efficient and active members of the Board. For more than half a centory 
on terms of intimate intercourse with its Presidents, Caldwell and Swain, 
and the leading Professors, Mitchell, Phillips and their associates, he 
was their ready counsellor and friend in any emergency; whether in 
making appeals to the Legislature in behalf of the institution for sup- 
port and assistance in its seasons of adversity, or in enforcing discipline 
and maintaining order, advancing the standard of education, or cheering 
the labors both of the Faculty and students. His criterion of a collegiate 
education was high, and he illustrated by his own example the rewards 
of diligent and faithful study. He retained a better acquaintance with 
the dead languages than any of his compeers we have named except 
Gaston, Murphey and Taylor. In ethics, history and the standard 
British classics, his knowledge was profound. In science and in natural 
history, more especially in chemistry and those departments pertaining 
to Agriculture, Horticulture, Pomology and the like, his attainments 
were very considerable, as they were also in works of belles lettres. 
Poetry, taste and fiction, at least down to the end of the novels of Scott 
and Cooper. He worthily received the honorary degree of Doctor of 
Laws from the University of North Carolina in 1834, and the like honor 
is believed to have been subsequently conferred by his Alma Mater at 

His style and manner in conversation, in which he took great delight 
and bore a distinguished part in all companies, abounded in pleasantry, 
but exhibited the same wide range of thought and information with his 
public performances, and was full of entertainment and instruction to the 
young. His temperament was mercurial, his actions quick and ener- 
getic, and his whole bearing in the farthest possible degree removed from 
sloth, inertness and despondency. In political sentiment he accorded 
with the school of Jefferson, and for more than forty years was a con- 
stant reader of the Eichmond Inquirer, the editor of which, Mr. Ritchie, 

iThis is erroneous. 

Thb Buffin Papebs. 33 

was hifl relative; though no one entertained a more exalted reverence 
for the character, abilities and patriotism of Marshall, with whom he 
cherished a familiar acquaintance while in practice before him at the 
bar, and after his own elevation to the Bench. Later in life he formed 
a like kind and admiring acquaintance with Chancellor Kent. 

In the winter of 1861, the Legislature of North Carolina, having 
acceded to the proposition of Virginia, on the approach of the late 
rupture between the States of the Union, to assemble a body of delegates 
in the city of Washington, to consider and recommend terms of recon- 
ciliation. Judge Buffin was appointed one of the members in the '^Peace 
Conference," and is understood to have taken a conspicuous part in its 
deliberations and debates. We have the testimony of General Scott, in 
his Autobiography, already quoted, that his counsels in that assembly 
were altogether pacific. President Buchanan, in his work in defence 
of his action in that important crisis, makes assertion of the same fact. 
After the failure of the efforts at adjustment, and the war in his opinion 
had become a necessity. Judge Buffin accepted a seat in the State Con- 
vention of 1861, and threw into its support all the zeal and energy of 
his earnest and ardent temper; one of his sons, a grandson and other 
near connections taking part in the dangers and privations of its camps 
and battlefields. When defeat came, he yielded an honest submission 
and acquiescence, and renewed in perfect good faith his allegiance to 
the government of the United States. Too far advanced in years to be 
longer active in affairs, his chief concern in regard to the public interests 
thenceforward, was for the conservation of the public weal, and that the 
violent convulsion of which we had felt the shock and the change might 
be x>ermitted to pass without any serious disturbance of the great and 
essential principles of freedom and right which it had been the favorite 
study of his life to understand and illustrate. 

With the close of the war his farm about his mansion having experi- 
enced the desolation of an army encampment, and its system of labor 
being abolished, he felt unequal to the enterprise of its resuscitation and 
culture, and therefore disposed of the estate and again took up his abode 
in Hillsborough. Here, in occasional occupation as a referee of legal 
controversies, in directing the assiduous culture of his garden and 
grounds, in desultory reading, in which he now and then recurred to his 
old favorites among the novels of Scott, in tlie duties of hospitality and 
the converse of friends in the bosom of his family, he passed the evening 
of his days. In the sense of imbecility or decreptitude, he never grew 
old, but was blessed with the enjoyment of a remarkable intellectual 
vigor and fine flow of spirits almost till his dissolution. And in antici- 
pation of death in his last illness, he laid an injunction on his physician 
to administer to him no anodyne which should deprive him of conscious- 
ness, as he did not wish to die in a state of insensibility. 

On the 15th of January, 1870, after an illness of but four days, though 
he had been an invalid from an affection of the lungs for a year or more, 

34 Thb Nobth CABOLmA Historical Commission. 

he breathed his last, in the 83d year of his age. His end was resigned 
and peaceful, and in the consolation of an enlightened and humble chris- 
tian faith. For more than forty years a communicant in the Protestant 
Episcopal church, he was one of its most active members in the State, 
and more than once represented the Diocese in the Triennial Conven- 
tions of the Union. 

The venerable companion of his life, a bride when not yet fifteen, a 
wife for more than sixty years, yet survives to receive the gratitude and 
afFection of a numerous posterity and the reverence and esteem of troops 
of friends. 

This imperfect offering is a memoir, not a panegyric. It contains not 
history, but particulas historic — scraps of history which it is hoped may 
not be without their use to the future student of our annals, for the char- 
acter we contemplate is destined to be historical. His life was passed 
in the public view in the most important public functions — in contact 
with the most gifted and cultivated men of the State for half a century ; 
it ran through two generations of lawyers. It was given to a profession 
in which were engaged many of the first minds of other States, and 
I can call to recollection no Judge of any State of the Union who in 
that period has left behind him nobler or more numerous memorials of 
erudition, diligence and ability in the departments of the law he was 
called to administer. The study of his performances will at least serve 
to correct the error of opinion prevailing with many at the North, that 
the intellectual activity of the South delights itself only in politics. 

To the members of the Agricultural Society and to this audience his 
devotion to, and success in agriculture is a subject of only secondary 
interest to his professional fame. It has been remarked by one of the 
British essayists, as ^'a saying of dunces in all ages, that men of genius 
are unfit for business." It is perhaps a kindred fallacy to which pedantry 
and sloth have given as much countenance on the one hand as blissful 
ignorance on the other, that high culture and erudition as in the case 
of the learned professions, is incompatible with success in practical 
affairs in other departments. We have before us the life of one who 
demonstrated in his own person, that it is possible for a great and pro- 
found lawyer to take a leading part and become a shining light in prac- 
tically promoting the first and greatest of the industrial arts, and 
although there be no natural connection between these occupations, that 
the same well-directed industry, patience and energy which had achieved 
success in the one, was equal to a like triumph in the other; whilst in 
high probity, in stainless morals, in social intercourse, in the amenities 
of life, and the domestic affections and duties, his example will be 
cherished in the recollection of his friends, and may well be commended 
to the imitation of our youth. 




Thb fibst bobn of 

Steblino Buffin and Aligb Boanb, 


King and Queen County, Vieginia, 

Nov. 17th, 1787, 

Died at Hillsbobo, Obange Co., N, 0. 

Januaby 16th, 1870. 

Obaduated at Nassau Hall, 

Pbinceton, N. J., 1806, 

Admitted to the Bab in N". C, in 1808. 

Intebmabbied with Anne M. Ejbkland 

Decembeb 9th, 1809. 


Speakeb of the House of Commons ; a tbustee of the 

TTnivebsity; twice Judge of the Supebiob Coubt; 

IN 1829, Justice of the Sufbbme Coubt, in 

which he pbesided fob 19 yeabs as 

Chief Justice 

Labor ipse est voluptas. 

In the eightj-tliird year of his life, in full possession of his faculties, 
ripe in learning and in wisdom, crowned with public honors and confi- 
dence, rich in the affection of his kindred and friends^ he closed his long, 
active, and useful life in the consolation of an enlightened and humble 
Christian faith. 

''-4 man resolved and steady to his trust. 
Inflexible to ill and obstinately just," 

That is the inscription upon Judge Ruffin's tomb in St. Matthew's 
churchyard at Hillsboro — ^his life in epitome. How severely true is 
this inscription ! How characteristic of the man ! 

On this marble the salient features of his life and work are carved, that 
all may know ^Hhat he was indeed a good man and a great judge." He 

^Beprinted from the Charlotte Observer of March 19, 1906. 

36 Thb North Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

haSy however^ erected to his own memory a more indestructible monu- 
ment than this, in the thirty-five volumes of North Carolina Reports in 
which his opinions are recorded. These can never become obsolete, for 
in them the foundations of our law are laid^ broad and deep^ strong and 

It is my purpose to write something of this great lawyer and greater 
judge, of him who for so many years lived and labored and loved within 
the little town wherein I write, side by side with Murphey, Norwood, 
Cameron, Nash, Hawks, Henderson, Badger, and later, Graham, all 
compeers in his profession and friends and neighbors in his life, and 
some of whom should occupy a niche in the temple of fame as high as 
his own, while others would be but little lower. ''Too clearly it is a topic 
we shall do no justice to in this place I One comfort is that great men 
taken up in any way are profitable company. We cannot look, however, 
upon a great man without gaining something by him." 

''The first bom of Sterling Ruffin and Alice Roane." Sterling Ruffin 
was a planter of Essex County, Virginia, a man of substance and char- 
acter. It is said that at one time he was a great fancier of race horses, 
attended the races at Richmond and other places, bet heavily and lost 
or won as it might be. He owned several horses himself, and entered 
them and backed them freely at the annual club meetings. On one 
occasion, after having sent his horses on to Richmond, he in a few days 
commenced his journey to the same city. A Methodist camp-meeting 
was in progress at a place where he stopped for the night. He attended 
it, was converted, went on to Richmond, withdrew his horses from the 
races, paying the forfeit, and sold them all at a sacrifice, and ever after- 
wards was an ardent Methodist, becoming a preacher of that denomina- 
tion late in life. His fortune becoming impaired, he removed to Rock- 
ingham County, N. C, in 1807. 

Alice Roane was of a distinguished Virginia family, being first cousin 
to Spencer Roane, the great Chief Justice. Thomas Ruffin was bom at 
Newington, the residence of his maternal grandfather, Thomas Roane, 
in the county of King and Queen, November 17, 1787. 


"His early boyhood was passed on the farm of his father, in Essex, 
and in attendance on the schools in the vicinity," says (Jovernor Graham, 
memorial oration, Raleigh, October 21, 1870. Later he was sent to the 
classical academy of Mr. Marcus George, in Warrenton, N. C. "Mr. 
George," quoting Governor Graham again, "was an Irishman by birth 
and education, a fine classical scholar, and most painstaking, skillful 
instructor, especially in elocution, as we must believe, since among his 
pupils who survived to our times we find the best readers of our acquaint- 
ance." Many years after this period, and not many months before his 
death. Judge Ruffin entered one of his granddaughters at a female school 

The Ruffin Papsss. 37 

then^ and afterwards, noted for its thoroughness. As the principals of 
the school attended the old gentleman to the door, he inquired who of 
them taught reading. Being informed, he turned to the lady and ex- 
claimed: ''Then, Miss, for Ood's sake teach the child to read!'' In 
Mr. George's school, as in near all the schools of the period, King Solo- 
mon was still an authority. Says Governor Graham : ''He is described 
as a man of much personal powers and spirit, who did not scruple to 
administer it" [the rod] "on his pupils, when sloth, delinquency, or 
misbehavior required, without reference to age, size, or other circum- 
stances. Yet he secured the respect of his patrons and the confidence 
of the public, and inspired the gratitude and affection of his pupils in a 
remarkable degree." Here, among others, Bobert Brodnax of Bocking- 
ham County, Cadwallader Jones, then of Halifax, later Orange, and 
Weldon N. Edwards of Warren, were schoolmates of young Buffin. 

He went from this academy to Princeton, where he graduated six- 
teenth in a class of forty-two in 1805. Among his associates at Nassau 
Hall were James Iredell, the younger, of North Carolina; Samuel L. 
Southard and Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey; Joseph B, Inger- 
soll of Pennsylvania ; the Cuthberts and Habershams of G^rgia ; Chris- 
topher Hughes of Maryland, and Stevenson Archer of Mississippi. All 
these were subsequently distinguished. 

After graduating at Princeton, he studied law under David Bobertson, 
Esq., at Petersburg, Virginia ; Winfield Scott and John F. May of Peters- 
burg being with him in Mr. Bobertson's office. In 1807, his father having 
removed to Bockingham County, N. C, he, too, came to this State and 
finished his studies under Judged Murphey. He was admitted to the bar 
in 1808, and located in Hillsboro for the practice of his profession June 
7, 1809. 


About 1790 there came a young Scotchman, William Eirkland, from 
Ayrshire, Scotland, to Hillsboro, to engage in mercantile pursuits. On 
the eve of Christmas, 1792, he married Miss Margaret B. Scott, and 
the following year, 1793, their oldest child, Anne, was born. In 1799 
he purchased the old Few homestead, and lived there the remainder of 
his life. 

Just east of Hillsboro, touching indeed its boundary, was a rounded 
mound, scarcely high or abrupt enough to be called a hill, whose sides 
and top were covered by an open grove of magnificent oaks, hickories, 
and maples. Through this, in 1809, ran a footpath to Ayrmount, the 
home of the Kirklands, a mile away. In this grove, the summer of the 
same year, and on a tree trunk fallen by the wayside, Thomas Buffin, the 
ambitious young lawyer, with his future already to himself secure, but 
unsuspected by others, addressed Annie M. Kirkland, then scarcely more 
than a child — not yet sixteen years of age — and was accepted by her. 
They were married December 7, 1809. 

38 Thb Nobth Carolina Histobical Commission. 

On January 3, 1811, young Ruffin purchased 43 acres of land adjoin- 
ing the town of HiUsboro on the east, and in this tract was included the 
mound with the grove on it and the fallen log. They built a little house 
near by, and there the young couple lived through tibe few first years of 
stint and poverty — a home so small and insignificant that now it would 
be contemned by a clerk on $600 salary. Soon, however, as the great 
powers of the husband were afForded more and more a scope for action, 
their financial sky brightened and they were looking forward with assur- 
ance to an early attained afDuence. Then the crash came. Mr. Ruffin 
had become surety on many undertakings of a friend and connection, 
and that friend had been unable to meet his obligations, so the young 
lawyer, with an increasing family and impaired health, found himself 
confronted with a debt, not in a sense of his own contracting, of thou- 
sands of dollars. With indomitable will and undaunted courage lie 
labored as few men have ever labored, for forty-three weeks in the year, 
riding from court to court, or arguing cases in them, until at last hia 
fortunes were again upon a firm basis. Over hill and vale and mountain, 
in all sorts of weather, on horseback or in open gig, as far west as 
McDowell County and back again to Raleigh, he went. Surely labor 
was his delight. 

Throughout all these years of struggle and of striving, of disappoint- 
ment and disgust, his wife was ever his good angel, soothing the asperi- 
ties of his temper, restraining his ardent, sometimes intense, sensibili- 
ties, stimulating his hope and his ambition, and sharing his disappoint- 
ments and trials. Meantime she was bearing him child after child, and 
caring for, guiding and controlling them all. It is said that she was the 
only infiuence that came into the life of this great but rugged personality 
to which he deferred — the kind of deference that is beautiful always, 
but is strikingly so in such a character. 

Judge Ruffin, about 1820, donated the site whereon 'St. Matthew's 
Episcopal Church and churchyard is now situated. The church was 
erected in 1826 on or very near the spot where the romance of his life 
had commenced, and the land was donated as a memorial of that event 
and a thank offering to Gk>d for the blessings it had brought in its train. 
Ah I it commenced there, but it did not end there! For, many years 
afterwards, when he comes to put off the garments of this life to lie down 
to sleep, he thus speaks of his wife as he devises her all his property : 
^^She has been as good and affectionate wife and mother as husband and 
children ever had ;" and further, "my wife, who deserves all the affection 
and honour I have ever felt for her, or could feel." 

Fourteen children were born to this couple, and only one died under 


It is said that the country lawyer must know something of everything. 
If this is true now, much more must it have been true when lawyers in 
gig or on horseback rode the circuit, with their library in their saddle- 

The Buffin Papers. 89 

bags. The capacity to acquire, and the capacity to use, knowledge are 
two Tery different things. Generally the school is the test of the former, 
life of the latter. To have both of these in an extraordinary degree makes 
a very high order of intellect. Now, Judge Ruffin's mind could not truth- 
fully be called brilliant. The limitation was upon his capacity to acquire 
knowledge; but this he obviated by incessant, earnest, untiring labor. 
Endowed by nature with an excellent judgment, the soundest common 
sense, and an indomitable will, his capacity to use the knowledge that he 
acquired was abnost imlimited. While the minds of some of his com- 
petitors may have been filled with knowledge, unassorted, ill-digested — 
a lumber room, so to say — ^his was a well-ordered cabinet, with a place 
for everything and everything in its place, all ready for use at the demand 
of the occasion. This orderliness of intellect was especially valuable 
when books were few, and those few, quite often in an itinerant practice, 
inaccessible. Very quickly would it supply the place of graces of oratory, 
and make its possessor much sought as an attorney. Judge Buffin, 
though on occasions vehement, had none of these graces, and so he had 
been some years at the bar before his excellence was appreciated and 
clients knocked at his door {e. g. He is not marked as counsel on the 
equity docket until the March Term, 1814, and then in only 12 out of 57 
cases. He commences with 3 cases in the county court, but by the Novem- 
ber Term, 1814, he was in 42 out of 72). When he resigned from the 
bench in 1818 he had as much work as one man could do, and for six 
years and more literally coined money. Gk>vemor Oraham says that 
at that period, viz., from January, 1819, to July, 1825, his income was 
greater than that of any lawyer in the history of the State to 1871. 
When it is remembered that he was in competition with such accom- 
plished lawyers as Murphey, Nash, Leonard Henderson, Cameron, 
Badger, Hawks, and others, any one of whom would have done honor to 
any bar anywhere and at any time, his extraordinary excellence as a 
lawyer can be easily seen. Quoting Oovemor Oraham: ''At first, his 
manner was diffident, and his speech hesitating and embarrassed. But 
these difficulties being soon overcome, the vigor of his understanding, 
the extent and accuracy of his learning, and his perfect mastery of his 
cases by diligent preparation, in a short time gave him position among 
these veterans of the profession and secured him a general and lucrative 


Here his excellence was supreme. Few judges in the Union have been 
of the same class as he, and none in North Carolina. If Judges Shaw of 
Massachusetts; Tilghman and Gibson of Pennsylvania, and Kent and 
Spencer of New York, have had a greater influence upon the develop- 
ment of the law in this country, it was simply because their decisions 
dealt with questions broader in their scope and more varied in their 
aspect, and not because they were greater judges. However this may be, 

40 The Nobth Carolina Histobical Commission. 

it is certain that the older text-books on several branches of the law 
fairly bristle with citations from the North Carolina Reports^ generally 
from opinions delivered bj Judge Ru£Sn| though our State was, before 
the war^ commercially unimportant, and the range of cases presented 
for judicial determination was relatively small. 

A court in which Taylor, Hall, and Henderson, Ruffin, Oaston, and 
Daniel, Nash, Pearson, and Battle sat necessarily commanded the respeet 
and confidence of courts and law writers throughout the country. 

Judge Ruffin's mental constitution was more like that of the great 
Chief Justice Marshall than of any judge of whom the writer has 
knowledge; but the defects of Ruffin's temperament, assuming that he 
had been placed on so broad a stage, would have prevented him from 
becoming so great a judge. Both were endowed by nature with what for 
lack of better term we call a ^^legal mind" ; both had great courage and 
strength of will ; both were ambitious in and for their profession ; both 
had a great capacity and fondness for labor; both had great vigor of 
understanding, and both loved the law as a science and were thoroughly 
imbued with its principles. Marshall, however, had a calm evenness of 
temper, a sweetness of disposition, a thorough control over his prejudices 
that Ruffin never had, nor could ever acquire ; so the ardor of his tem- 
perament made him, who otherwise might have been a Marshall, more 
of a Thurlow. So great, however, were the endowments and acquire- 
ments of Judge Ruffin that one can but regret that he had not been placed 
upon the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, side by side 
with Marshall. What noble discussions of fundamental questions from 
opposing points of view we should then have had I 


The salient features of Judge Ruffin's opinions are their breadth of 
view, fullness of discussion, the battle-axe force of their reasoning, the 
strength of their language, and the almost inevitable character of their 
conclusions. He cited little authority. In theory and in practice he 
followed Lord Mansfield's dictum in Cowper, page 39: ^'The law of 
England would be a strange science, indeed, if it were decided upon 
precedents only. Precedents serve to illustrate principles and give them 
a fixed certainty." To show his style, as well as to throw some light 
upon his character, I make two or three extracts from his writings. The 
following is from State vs. Boyce, on the right of the owner of slaves 
to permit them to meet and dance on his premises at Christmas: ''We 
may let them make the most of their idle hours, and may well make 
allowances for the noisy outpourings of glad hearts, which Providence 
bestows as a blessing on corporeal vigor united to a vacant mind. . . . 
There was nothing contrary to law or morals in all that, adding as it 
did to human enjoyment, without hurt to any one, imless it be that one 
feels aggrieved that these poor people should for a short space be happy 

The Ruffin Papers. 41 

at finding the authority of a master give place to his benignity^ and at 
being freed from care and filled with gladness." This from Adams vs. 
Turrentine: "Nothing is more speedily or certainly destructive of pri- 
vate and of public virtue than to relax the obligations of contracts and 
render the rights of creditors insecure. . . . The supposition cannot be 
tolerated that the law is of less binding force here than in any other 
country. The judiciary^ at all events^ can never adopt it^ unless it should 
become that greatest of curses that can befall an unhappy and degraded 
country— dependent, and then, necessarily, the weak or pliant instru- 
ment of popular impulses." 

The following is the conclusion of an address before the State Agri- 
cultural Society at Baleigh, in October, 1855 : 

"I cannot close, however, without asking you once more to cleave to 
North Carolina. Stay in her, fertilize her, till her, cherish her rising 
manufactures, extend her railways, encourage and endow her schools 
and colleges, sustain her institutions, develop her resources, promote 
knowledge, virtue, and religion throughout her borders, stimulate State 
pride and exalt her renown." 

Six months before his death, July 8, 1869, he wrote of the Ku Kltix 
organization: "The great objection is that the whole proceeding is 
against law, and civil power of government and assumes to supersede 
them by taking the power of trying, condemning, and punishing into 
their own hands. That is a power not to be entrusted to any man or 
set of men. No man can trust himself with it, much less all those indis- 
criminately with whom he is associated. Supposing them to have the 
best intentions in such case, there is danger of mistaking from want of 
a fair, open, and deliberate trial by a responsible tribunal. But in all 
events, it is an attempt in every case to do good by wrong means — a 
principle which St. Paul indignantly repelled as slanderously imputed 
to early Christians, and which from that day to this has been no less 
indignantly denounced by all good men. To do evil that good may come 
of it is a horrible heresy in religion, morals, and public policy, even if 
the good hoped for really resulted. But in truth it hardly ever does. 
Evil almost certainly follows evil, and what was begun in good faith for 
useful ends almost ever terminates in grave personal and private injuries. 
Perhaps at first only bad men are the subjects of the assumed jurisdic- 
tion ; but it may happen, and after a while almost certainly does happen, 
that good and innocent men become the victims of their arrogant and 
self-constituted tribunal, and gross outrages are perpetrated. It is 
wrong — all wrong. It is much better that offenders should escape pun- 
ishment than to attempt to repress crime by such unlawful presumptions 
and dangerous methods." 


Judge Ruffin died when the writer was a small boy, so he had little 
personal knowledge of him. Only once did he see him face to face. Sent 

42 Thb Nobth Cabolina Histobical Coicmission. 

by a relative on an errand to his house in the spring of 1869, I knocked 
at the door. It soon opened and the tall, gaunt, black-clad form of the 
great Chief Justice towered above me, with his hair all bushy and white, 
his nose like an eagle's beak, his eyes, deep-set under overhanging brows, 
calm but searching, and his smooth-shaven face all wrinkled and gray 
from age — the ruggedest and strongest face I have ever seen, and, alto- 
gether, the most impressive. Another has said: '^ Judge Ruffin, in 
person, was about six feet in height, and of a spare figure. His move- 
ments were nervous and rapid. The general expression of his counte- 
nance indicated great energy, resolution, and power. He was neat, 
uniform and tasteful in regard to dress. In his latter days his appear- 
ance was impressive and very venerable." 

Two or three anecdotes are told that illustrate the dramatic force 
that resided in the intensity of his emotions, i He was an ardent Union 
man until after his return from the Peace Convention of 1861 /and Mr. 
Lincoln's call for troops. A public meeting was held in Hillsboro in 
April of that year, that the citizens of the town might express their senti- 
ments on the alarming state of public affairs. Judge Buffin, though 
residing in Alamance until after the war, was present. In the course 
of the meeting he called the veteran Democratic politician, General 
Allison, up into the bar, and, facing the audience, stood by his side with 
one arm about him and said: '^My good old friend, I ask you what 
ought to be done, now!" General Allison's reply was inaudible, but as 
he was known to be a Union man, it was guessed. Judge Ruffin, leaving 
the old general standing, advanced a step toward the audience, and his 
whole frame in a quiver of emotion, extended his arms, bringing them 
down in vehement gesticulation at each repetition of the word as shouted, 
"I say Fight ! Fight ! Fight !" It was the scream of the eagle as he 
swoops upon his prey. The war feeling, already aroused, became the 
dominant passion in every man's breast. 

In the convention of 1861 ^%e was fiercely indignant," says Dr. Battle 
(No. 3, N*. C. 498), '^at the proposition to abolish corporal punishment. 
His reply to the argument that it was an outrage to whip a free man 
was with bitter emphasis and vehement gesticulation, as he stood in the 
aisle : 'Whip a free man I No, Whip a rogue ! Whip a rogue !' " and 
that was all, so another gentleman has informed me. Suffice it to say 
that rogues continued to be whipped until the bouleversement of the war. 

This intense and dramatic mode of expression was probably an inheri- 
tance from French ancestors, the name Ruffin itself implying a French 
derivation. Those ancestors possibly were Huguenots who had for gen- 
erations intermarried with the English. 

Judge Ruffin had a wonderfully strong constitution. When he was 
an old man one of his daughters was taken suddenly very sick at Mr. 
Cameron's Faimtosh farm. A messenger was despatched for her father, 
who then was at his farm in Rockingham County. The old gentleman, 
on horseback, leaving Rockingham early in the morning, reached his 

The Ruffin Papers. 43 

home in Alamance at noon, changed horses, and at dark arrived at 
Paimtosh — a distance of 80 miles, and was little the worse for his ride. 

"In the sense of imbecility or decreptitude," says (Jovernor Graham, 
'%e never grew old, but was blessed with the enjoyment of remarkable 
intellectual vigor and fine flow of spirits, almost until his dissolution. 
• • • On January 15, 1870, after an illness of but four days, he breathed 
his last in the eighty-third year of his age. His end was resigned and 
peaceful and in the consolation of an enlightened and humble Christian 

He was great as a lawyer, great as a judge, great as a financier, great 
as a farmer — a rugged, indomitable soul in a frame of iron, made to 
conquer, and conquering every difficulty on every side. 


From Sterling Ruffing 

jLf j^ a Brunbw[ic]k [Va.] 6th May 1803. 

Your letter inclosing sundry receipts came safe to hand in due time, 
with its contents I was much pleas'd; first, because it was much better 
dictated than ordinary, secondly, as it was well spell'd, thirdly as there 
were few omission or interlineations and fourthly as it contain'd a 
promise to be very assiduous. Let me advise my Son to be not only 
attentive to your books, but particularly so to your manners. A man 
may be better read than his neighbor, and yet not acquire half the respect 
if the other should be more accomodating. Politeness, good humour 
and charity, (by which I would be understood to mean much more than 
giving alms to the poor) will all ways as they deserve, obtain respect 
and friendship. You are now of an age to b^n at least to form some 
opinion of mankind, and the advantages which result to individuals, as 
well as to society, from a proper demeanor of conduct. By History 
observation on manners is greatly to be improved ; it will soon be time for 
you to commence that most improving study. When my Children will 
reflect on. the anxious wish which pervades the minds of their most 
affectionate Parents for their future (both temporal and Eternal) wel- 
fare, surely they will leave nothing undone which may tend to their own 
happiness, and thereby lessen the pang which arises from fear, doubt and 
a thousand nameless tremors which vibrate on the aching Heart of 
Paternal affection. I reed, a letter from your Sister since you went from 
here; she desires me to inform you that your letter had come to hand, 
and that she would have answer'd it long since, but that she did not 
know how to direct. I have given her your address, and no doubt but 
you will receive one soon. From [torn] Election I suppose you have 
heard, [torn] borne is returned majority 47 Votes; the pole will be 
purg'd, and I have no doubt but Field will oust him. Madin and Caudle 
for the County. We are all well and join in best wishes for you. 

Your afft. Father 

[Address: Sterling Ruffin 

Mr. Thomas Su£Sn 
Student at 
Warrenton Academy. 
Warrenton, N, C] 

iSterling Ruffin, the father of Thomas Ruffin. For a sketch of him, see pp. 
19 and 36, supra. 

46 Thb Nobth Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

From Sterling Ruffin, 

-. - „ Bbunsw'k. Sepr. 8th 1803 

My dear Son, 

Your two last letters on the subject of Luisiani^ have come to hand, 
with which I am well pleas'd, and for which I thank you. I am well 
pleas'd^ because jou display in your account of that country, consider- 
able (^eographycal knowledge, and an acute mind in drawing effects from 
causes, which is the grand and only principle, or foundation of Logic 
or reasoning; or in other words of becoming an Orator. I thank you, 
because you have shown such promptitude, and industry, in complying 
with my request of giving as accurate an history of that Country as you 
could collect, together with your own ideas, and reasons for such 
opinions ; all this you have done, and I assure you in a much more satis- 
factory, and masterly manner than I expected. This I hope will stimu- 
late you to persivere in your assiduity to receive information, for I think 
nothing is so great a spur to a Noble mind, as generous, honest praise, 
such as I now bestow with Heart felt pleasure on my Son. To convince 
you that I am sincere in what I have said, I inclose you a letter of your 
dear Sisters, in answer to one I wrote her; in which I only did you that 
justice which I really think your late conduct fully merits. Fronik the 
contents of her letter you will see I must have represented you as an 
amiable Lad, worthy in some instances to be followed as an example. 
Here my dear Tom, I will take the liberty of offering her as a pattern to 
you in some others. Meekness and gentleness of Temper. Oh ! my dear 
child believe me when I say that no human being can enjoy tolerable 
ease or content of mind, who is turbulent, tempestuous or tyranical in 
disposition. Meekness, gentleness, charity, and good will towards our 
fellow mortals of every discription, are the qualifications, which Qod 
bestow'd on man in his original, (or if I may be permited the expression) 
in his divine state; but oh I how deprav'd have we become — endeavor 
then my Son, to check unruly passions and sinfull desires, ere it grow 
so much into nature as to deprive you of peace here, and draw on you 
the eternal wrath of Heaven. I shall bring your Sister home next month, 
when I assure you I shall be well pleas'd to have her again under our 
immediate care and direction. A Oirl of her age, should not be left to 
the care of a boarding Mistress, as there is nothing so easily injur'd as the 
reputation of a Virgin; they are tender flowers that cannot bear the 
Wintery blasts, or Summers heats. I therefore now call upon you, 
should it please the Eternal and allwise Creator to deprive them of my 
aid, to be the protector of my familys rights and Earthly happiness. 
Latterly we have not been well, the whole of us having very bad colds 

iThe purchase of Louisiana was of course a matter of general discussion 
at this time, and there was much curiosity concerning the newly-acquired 

The Ruffin Pafebs. 47 

tho' never confin'dy and now mucli better. I shall expect to hear from 
often. May the ever Merciful Gk>d take you under his immediate pro- 
tection prayes Your truly A£F Father 

Stbblino Ruffin. 

N. B. When you write again endeavor to improove the hand, for I 
assure you it is with difficulty I can read it. S. R. 

[Address: Warrenton, N. 0.] 

From Sterling Buffin, 

,^ r. a Bbunsw'k 29th Deer. 1803. 

Jtfy I/ear Son, 

Your letter from Princeton dated the 20th Inst. I reed, a few days 
pasty which reliev'd us, from considerable anxiety for your safe arrival 
there. I am much pleas'd at the favorable opinion you entertain of 
Doer. Smith ;^ and flatter myself, that your conduct, and general de- 
meanor will be such, as to merit his esteem and approbation. Respect 
to the professors, and a strict adherance to the laws of the institution, 
together with a sufficient degree of application to your studies will cer- 
tainly produce this desirable effect. There is a certain steadyness and 
uniformity of conduct mingled with humility without servility that must 
and will make friends of all who are worthy to be received as such. You 
will not forget the advice I gave you of not being too hasty in forming 
intimate connections with strangers ; the more I reflect on that opinion, 
the more I am confirm'd in its correctness: treat all with civility and 
respect, but none with unreserv'd friendship, until you are convinced 
their characters are such as that prudence would dictate a greater inti- 
macy with them. 

I hope it will proove advantageous to you, to be in a room with the 
young (Gentleman from Phida. as he is further advanced than yourself, 
he will be able to instruct you very much. Should his character be 
worthy, I shall consider it as a most fortunate circumstance. Your 
standing in college is very pleasing to me, as it is a proof among others 
that your time at Warrenton^ has not been mispent, and as it is a ^eat 
encouragement for me to hope that you will do yourself justice in future ; 
allways remembering that your wellf are depends on the proper use of 
time, and that the expences attending your education is allmost more 
than I can possibly compass. I mean not by this to recommend parsi- 
mony or niggardliness, but a proper application of time, and prudence 
in spending your money, steering a middle course between meaness and 

iSamuel Stanhope Smith, 1750-1819, president of Princeton from 1795 to 

^Reference le here made to Ruffln's course at Warrenton, N. C, under Marcus 
George. For details, see Graham, p. 20, supra. 

48 The Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

extravagance. Tour expences in College are so much more than I cal- 
culated on^ that they appear to me to be quite enormous; there are many 
extra charges which I do not understand. How could Chamber furni- 
ture cost you so much when there are two others in the room with you? 
room rent, entrance into college beside tuition, and servant hire I do not 
understand. Inform me too how long the Session is, for if you are to 
pay $83 p. quarter, it exceeds any thing I ever knew. If you can make 
any tolerable calculation of the amount of your Years expences I wish 
you would inform me, and when the different remittances must be made, 
for you know from my little fortune, that I cannot at all times raise as 
much money as you may want, without a little notice. When you have 
no other subject of more importance to communicate give a history of 
your travels which to us will be interesting. Your Mama (as you may 
expect) was much surprised on my return to find you were gone to 
Princeton, tho much pleas'd, prefering that situation greatly to Wil- 
liamsburg, as do all your friends. Your Sister will write in a few days. 
Robt. Brodnax^ has written you, I believe he has not determined what to 
do with himself next Year. Ned Johnson I fancy goes to Williamsburg: 
what to do I know not. We are all well and send our united love to a 
great fellow allmost a man, from whom we desire and expect to hear in 
a short time. May a Merciful Ood direct your studies to the temporal 
and Eternal wellf are of your Soul and Body is the sincere and fervent 
prayer of Your Aff Father. 

Sterling Ruffiw. 

N. B. I send you all the B. N. I have by me $10. 

[Address; Mr. Thomas BufiBn 
Student at Nassau-hall 
Endorsed: Received January 7th 1804] 

From MiLscoe Oamett,^ 

January 29th 1804. 
Dr. Ruffin 

I received your envious letter a few days ago and should have answered 
it immediately. But was then at a Ball in Tappahannock where I had 
the pleasure of seeing your relations in King and Queen all in good 
health. Miss Catherine inquired very particularly after you and desired 
to be remembered to you. And now I have answered your inquiries 
with respect to your relations give me leave in turn to propound a few 

1 Robert Brodnax had been a schoolmate of Ruffln at Warren ton. The Rnffln 
and Brodnax families were closely united by ties of friendship and long 
acquaintance. In later years a son of Robert Brodnax married one of Ruffin's 

2MU8C06 Garnett, a college mate of Ruffin at Princeton. 

Thb Ruffin Pafebb. 49 

questions to you some of which I think require an answering, well to 
begin with the first What in the world has been the reason of your long 
silence perhaps you had forgotten that William had a brother when he 
was at Princeton that became acquainted with you much about the same 
time that he did, for I can in no other way account for your writing 
frequently to him without even mentioning my name in the whole course 
of your correspondence. Suppose that I had have been in some of those 
dreadful sittuations which you mentioned in your first and last letter 
how wuld I possible have guessed whare to send for your aid unless kind 
chance had have been pleased to acquaint me with the place of your resi- 
dence as you did not think proper to do it yourself. But as you have at 
last condescended as to let me know where you are to be found and as I 
still flatter myself that I possess some share [of] your friendship if I 
am ever reduced to one of those terrible extremities I shall not fail to 
make you acquainted with my situation. 

N B Upon reading this letter over I find it so filled with reproach 
that I am almost tempted to sit down and write something more on this 
side by way of salving it over but as I am in a hurry to put in the office 
for fear of the posts going by you must take it such as it is. 

[Address: Princeton, N. J.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

,-. J rr, Bbunswi'k Feby 3rd, 1804. 

My dear Tommy, '' ' 

Your letter of the 11th and 14th Ulto came to hand this day; it 
afforded us great pleasure, first as it came from you, and secondly as it 
manifested the mind being exercised by reflection ; a requisite so essential 
in the acquirement of scientific knowledge, that there is no progressing 
towards perfection without it. I am much gratified at your properly 
discriminating between the motives which produce and promote, emula- 
tion ; and cannot but hope, you will be advantaged by that laudable stimu- 
lant which appears to push you on. You have talents given you by an 
Infinitely Wise and Merciful Creator, who if I am capable of Judging 
impartially, has been very bountiful, and it certainly behooves you to 
improove them agreeably to your opportunity, and to make that use of 
them, for which they were bestow'd. On some weak and vain Minds 
this Elogium would produce a very contrary effect than what I wish, 
that is pride and contempt for those who have been less bless'd than 
themselves, instead of humility and Gratitude to the dispenser of the 
blessing, giving him all the glory as it is all his Work, taking praise to 
yourself only, for having improov'd as a free agent the talent he has 
been pleas'd to bestow on you. Nothing can give me more pleasure than 
to hear frequently from you, and to receive particular accounts of 

50 Thb Nobth Casouna Historical Commib8Ion. 

studies with the different examinations you may pass through. Whether 
the great anxiety which preys on my mind for your wellf aret, and which 
produces such repeated admonitions will be for your good, I cannot tell; 
I shall at least have the pleasing consolation of having done my duty 
towards you^ and trust to Providence for the rest ; hoping you will never 
f orgety that you are a free agent, and made capable of working out your 
own salvation. You have entered now my son, your career of life, and 
on the offset, generally depends the station we assume, or rather support 
in Society, ; therefore it is absolutely necessary, you should be very cir- 
cumspect in your demeanor; avoid all things that are censurable, and 
persue all that are praiseworthy. ''Be not deceived, evill communica- 
tions corrupt good manners" said the greatest Man that ever did or ever 
will live. If you would take him for your guide I would not fear for* 
you. I must request you as much as possible to obtain the friendship 
of Mr. Smith, as I think many advantages would result therefrom. Did 
you inclose the circular letter at his request, and is it necessary I should 
write him on the subject? I received a letter from your Uncle Tommy^ 
a few days past, in which he says he has been informed the students at 
Princeton are as extravagant and disspated as anywhere on the Conti- 
nent. I hope he has been misinf orm'd, but should he be correct, I flatter 
myself, you have been sufficiently caution'd and possess sufficient firm- 
ness, to avoid following any course that may infringe the laws of the 
institution, which no doubt are founded on Religion and morality; 
particularly as you well know how distressing it would be to your Mother 
and myself to hear of [your] throwing away your time and patrimony. 
You so well know my pecuniary circumstances, and I have before observ'd 
it, that it is scarcely necessary now to remind you, that it will not be in 
my power to give you very little more than your education ; make good 
use then My Son of your time. 

Your cousin John Roane^ was here soon after the receipt of your first 
letter, he was extremely anxious for the arrival of a Teacher from 
Princeton ; I hope you have written him ere this as he expected you to 
correspond regularly with him. Your Uncle Tom is an amiable charac- 
ter cultivate his friendship by respectfuU attention. You have not in- 
formed me how much money I must remit you nor when, tho' I suppose 
you [have] a sufficiency 'til April. Your poor little Brother has been 
at the point of Death, on the brink of Eternity, given out by the Doer. 
(Walker), but thank Ood, he is restored to us, and I hope will ever be 
in good health ; this is the first day he has been dress'd in nearly a fort- 
night, and he is now so weak and debilitated that he cannot walk alone: 
his disorder worms. The rest of us, and all your friends here are well 
Robert Brodnax is still at home, and I rather expect will not go to school 

iThls was Thomas Roane "of the Forge/' the younger brother of Ruffln's 

2The John Roane mentioned here was John Roane of "Uppowoc/' the flrat 
cousin of Ruifin's mother. She also had a brother, John Roane of "Newlngton." 

Ths Ruffin Pafsbs. 51 

any more, what are his intentions I cannot saj. Bj the first possible 
opportvohity I will make you a subscriber for the Warrenton paper. 
Your cousin Tom Ritchie^ has .purchased the Examiner at Richmond 
and will commence a paper (the Enquirer) the 15th of March from his 
great abilities and industry I expect it will be one of the best papers on 
the Continent, and shall therefore subscribe to that for you. You have 
sent me no account in your last of expenditures, I hope you are not 
allready tired of transmitting to me the way in which you lay out your 
money, or perhaps no expences have been incur'd. I want to know 
whether you have enter'd on composition, and how you like it. Your 
Mama says you must write to her a letter as long as from here to Prince- 
ton, and to compensate you, if she lives till your return she wiU g^ve 
jou as much Peach Jam as you can eat every night you stay at home. 
Minerva^ has such an antipathy to writing that it requires more influ- 
ence than I have over her to get her to write you, altho from day to day 
she promises; it is not because she does not sincerely love her Brother, 
but because like many other persons in this world she is too indolent 
to do right. We all join in love to you, and prayers to All mighty Ood 
to guard you from harm, and to direct your studies for your temporal 
and Eternal good. 

[Address : Nassau hall Princeton.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

Brunsw'k 14th March 1804. 
Yours of the Ist Inst, came safe to hand yesterday, the contents of 
which, gave both pain and pleasure. To hear of your indisposition has 
somewhat alarm'd us, particularly as it proceeded principally from 
intense study; which cause, may again produce the same effects; I have 
therefore to request you will be carefull of your health, and altho I by 
no means should be pleas'd with idleness, yet you cannot suppose I should 
be gratified by your doing an injury to your Constitution. I think it 
nothing but justice to you (and I hope it will have the desir'd effect on 

iThomas Ritchie, 1778-1864, the son of Archibald Ritchie and Molly Roane, 
the latter a great-aunt of Rnffln, was horn in Tappahannock, Va., and» after 
beginning the study of law and then of medicine and deciding against them, 
turned hie attention to Journalism. Purchasing the Richmond Examiner at 
Jefferson's request, he changed its name to the Enquirer and made it a Jeffer- 
sonian Republican paper which became exceedingly influential. No other 
Southern editor enjoyed any such influence as Ritchie came to poeeess in 
politics. During Polk's administration, and at his request, Ritchie turned his 
paper over to his sons and went to Washington as editor of the Union, which 
was the Democratic organ. 

2Minerva Ruffin, the second child of Sterling and Alice Roane Ruffln, bom 
July 24. 1789, married (1) Bdward Dillard, and (2) George McNeill of Fayette- 
vUle, N. C. 

52 The Noeth Cabolina Histokical Commission. 

your mind) to inform you^ that I have no cause of complaint against 
you for any part of your conduct as far as I am capable of judging since 
you left me. Your improovement is visible, and the close application 
which you have given, I think, I may say, has arisen from two laudable 
motives, viz : the one to g^ve me pleasure, and the other, from an allow- 
able degree of pride to excell in your class. For the first I really thank 
you, and I have no doubt, but if you live, you will see the day, that you 
will have great cause to rejoice that the latter motive operated so advan- 
tagiously. Praise to a deserving mind is a tribute which justice demands, 
and one which at this time is paid with great pleasure by me. I hope as 
the spring advances the remains of the cough which still incommodes 
you, will be removed, particularly as you will by that time, have made 
up the most of your private studies, and therefore will not have to labour 
harder than your companions. 

You have not said a word in your last letters of Doer. Smith. Is he 
attentive to you? Does he frequently offer his advise privately? or do 
you go to him for instruction? 

You must give me leave to chide you, or rather to advise you, when- 
ever I see any thing of, or from you, which I think wrong. How nnuch 
more pleasing would it have been to me to have read in your letter to 
your Sister, an account of your travels to Princeton, of your amuse- 
ments, and of the town and country about you than an illnatur'd (forgive 
the expression) philippick against the friend of your childhood, and the 
son of my best friend. If this Youth is unfortunate in his disposition 
and talents, he is much to be pitied, and for the first blam'd, inasmuch 
as it is his duty and Interest to amend it : but for the latter, tis the work 
of an allwise God whose designs are allways good, and with whose decrees 
we are not at liberty to find fault, at least in the way of ridicule. AUtho' 
this young man may never make a Milton or a Newton, nor yet a Jeffei^ 
son, yet God has bless'd him with sufficient abilities to make a good and 
usefuU member of society: He may shew mercy, do Justice, and walk 
humbly before his God. Oh ! my Son, I hope that letter was dictated 
unthinkingly and not by uncharitableness. Believe me this rebuke is 
dictated by Parental affection and a most anxious solicitude for your 
temporal and Eternal wellfare. With respect to the necessary^s of 
clothing to which you may from time to time want, it is impossible for 
me to judge ; I leave it entirely to your discretion, believing you will be 
economical, and by no means wishing you to be niggardly. Inclosed you 
will receive $100 which I suppose will do for the present, you will in- 
form me in your next when I must send more ; should it be immediately, 
fear not to make the call ; my wish is to support you genteelly, tut not 
extravagantly. Your Sister will write you soon, she has been from home 
several days, or perhaps you would have heard from her ere the recept 
of this. 

Your Mama feels herself slighted, and will continue to do so, unless 
you write oftener to her. Your friends in this Neighborhood are all 

Thb Buffin Papebs. 53 

well. Bemember ua in your regular prayers to the Throne of Grace^ as 
we do you allways^ petitioning for temporal and eternal blessings for 
the Son of Your afft. Fathsr. 

N". B. When you were initiated into the visible church of Christ by 
baptism^ I promised as your sponsor^ that you should lern the Catikism, 
the Lords prayer and the commandments, with the belief by Heart, you 
are now of an age to f uUfil the promise : You will please me by perform- 
ing it. 

[Address: Princeton.] 

From Sterling Buffin. 

Brunswick May 9th 1804. 

Your two^last letters have arrived, the contents of which gave us great 
pleasure: first and principally the recovery of your health, then the 
figure you made in the examination, and lastly the sentiments contained 
in the first relative to those unhappy fellow mortals the Africans, whom 
our ancestors have entail'd on us. You say ''if I am not pleas'd at your 
being the fifth in your class you cannot help it." You must suppose me 
too partial in the calculations I have made of your abilities if (consider- 
ing the indisposition you laboured under, together with your commencing 
late in the Season) I were not well satisfied with the stand you made. 
In so numerous a class as yours; we may reasonably calculate some of 
the cleverest young men in our Country are to be found. I cannot say 
that I should not have been better pleas'd, if you had been the first ; but 
this proceeds from the anxiety which at all times exists on my mind 
for your wellfare, I must now inform you that I shall look forward to 
the next examination with fiattering expectations that you will excell. 
You did not say whether those eight that were distinguished, were 
rewarded with any honorary present, or by what means they were dis- 
tinguished. You have not informed me when the vacation ends and 
what your studies will be in the next course. Pray does Doer. Smith or 
any other of the Professors dictate to, or tye up the consciences or 
opinions of the students on political or Beligious subjects? or are they 
left free to exercise their own reason ? a great deal has been said against 
the institution on those heads, and I hope ill founded. 

Your Uncle Tom has left us this morning, not very well, he was the 
only one of our friends that came out; tho' they were all well, and have 
promised a visit this Summer. Your Cousin Bobert from K. Co. is here, 
your Aunt and all friends are well. What is the reason you have not 
written to your Uncle ere this? He is very desirous to receive a letter 
from you, and promises to correspond regularly if you will commence 
it. I think it will afford you pleasure and improvement. Your Cousin 
John Boane I fear has not heard from you either. You will be surpris'd 

54 Thb Nobth Cabouna Hibtobical Commission. 

at receiving a letter like this from me in answer to two^ but this is i^rit- 
ten in a great hurry as I am just seting off to the post office, and having 
been engaged the whole of the last week from the time of your Uncles 
arrival I have not time or opportunity to write you fully ; you will there- 
fore expect to receive another in a few days, in which I shall consider 
the subject of Slaves as well as I am able. We are all well and join in 
best wishes for your temporal and eternal wellfare and may the Glorious 
Gk)d take you under his immediate protection and make you one of his 
choicest Vessels prayes Your most 

[Address: Princeton.] Afpbc Fathsb 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

[Bbtjnswick, June, 18Q4] 
I have no apology to offer for not complying with the promise made 
in my last, of writing again, in a few days, except that I wish'd to have 
forwarded you a small B. Note, for fear, from some unforeseen event, 
it might be serviceable to you ; as yet, I have not been able to procure 
one; and as I find from your last which has come to hand, you are 
anxious to receive the promised one, I now do myself the pleasure of 
gratifying your wishes. 

I was not surprised at reading your sentiments on Slavery, as I was 
well aware of the impressions which a different mode of treatment than 
that pursued in Virginia, would make on a Heart, which I hop'd was 
capable at all times of sympathising in the misfortunes of a fellow 
mortal ; and would as the mind matur'd, and contemplated the miserable 
situation of these unhappy beings, feel most sensibly for them; but 
alas I like all others who are not intirely void of every spark of Sensi- 
bility, you feel for th^n, lament, greatly lament their uncommon hard 
fate, without being able to devise any means by which it may be ameli- 
orated ! That they are a great civil, political, and moral evil no Person 
will deny, but how to get rid of them, is a question which has imploy'd 
many much more expansive minds than mine, without fixing on any 
rational, or probable means to make their situations more comfortable, 
without endangering the political safety of the State, and perhaps 
Jeopardising the lives, property, and everything sacred and dear of the 
Whites. You will not pretend to throw blame on the present generation, 
for the situation of these unhappy domestics, for as they are impos'd 
on us, and not with our consent, the thing is unavoidable. You will 
perhaps ask why we do not treat them with more humanity ? the answer 
is obvious: the fewer there are of this discription intermixed with the 
Whites, the more they are under our immediate eye, and the more they 
partake of the manners and habits of the whites, and thereby require 
less rigidness of treatment to get from them, those services which are 

The Kuffin Papebs. 55 

a1>8oliitelj neceesary for their support and very exiatence. Unliappily 
for us and them^ there are too many with ns to render a tolerably free 
intercourse of sentiment possible, and of course their minds have degen- 
erated into as abject slavery as their persons ; and as there is no tye of 
gratitude or affection on their parts towards their masters, nothing is to 
be expected from them, but as fear, servile fear operates on them, which 
produces a sluggishness of action, which must be increased momentarily 
by a greater degree of fear, with a greater degree of personal attention 
on our parts. It has been one of many benefits which has resulted to 
Society from the Christian Beligion to expose the impropriety of keeping 
our Brothers in bondage, and however we may at present justify our- 
selves from the peculiar situation of our Country considered politically; 
I cannot but look forward with pleasure to the time, when an Alwise, 
and Mercifull Creator will by a more universal revival of his blessed 
Beligion prepare the Hearts of all men to consider each other as Broth- 
ers, and put us more on an equallity even in temporal things — ^When 
this much to be wish'd for period will arrive, or what will be the means 
adopted for a general emancipation, I do not pretend to divine; but 
that such a time will be, I have little doubt. 

Tom you caimot conceive the happiness that I receive in believing 
from your letters that you begin to see the necessity and reallity of 
Religion ; believe me my Son, who have had a fair opportunity of esti- 
mating the pleasure of Sin, (by enjoying all the comforts that indipend- 
ance and the things of this world could bestow unconnected with a 
Spiritual love for the g^ver of these blessings) that there is no compari- 
son between the real solid happiness of a life spent in faith, bringing 
forth the fruits of the Spirit, and a hope growing therefrom that [Best of 
letter missing.] 

[Address: Princeton.] 

From William Oamehi} 

r, ry jc PrrrsviLLB [Va.] Sept. 24th, 1804. 

JJr. JtCuffin. 

You will no doubt be very much surprised at not having heard from 
me before this but I can assure you that it has not proceeded from a 
want of inclination as I have been so much engaged and so unwell 
together that I have never untill now had leisure to write. Muscoe and 
myself recvd our money the night after you left us upon which we imme- 
diately got our dismissions and set off for home where I have at length 
arrived quite sound and safe. And having now gotten over the hurry 

iWlUiam Oamett, 1786-1866, son of Muscoe Oamett and Grace Fenton Mercer 
of "Blmwood/' Essex County, Va., was a contemporary of Ruffln at Princeton 
and throughout hie life his close friend. 

56 The North Casouna Hibtobical Commission. 

and confusion of my journey I begin to feel very solicitous to know 
whether you return to Princeton again as you said when I saw you last 
that you could not inform me untill you had advised with your father 
upon the subject. My sentiments on this head you have often heard in 
conversation. I cannot therefore now offer you anything new but as 
the descision which you are about to make is of the utmost consequence, 
I think it my duty once more to trouble you with my objections to Prince- 
ton college. They are these principally these^ firstly the tyranny of the 
college government, secondly the conduct of Doctor Smith, with respect 
to politics and thereby the manner in which the sciences are taught and 
the particular branches of them which are taught. As to the first of 
my objections your own experience can so well testify to the truth of it 
I need not therefore expatiate very largely upon it. You have frequently 
seen young men given the lie in the public hall for the most trivial cir- 
cumstance and you may also very well remember to have heard of an 
instance which happened this session in which Doctor Smith behaved 
so improperly to a student as to oblige his father to force him to make 
an apology for his conduct, But it would be an endless as well as a 
needless task for me to attempt to enumerate the number of similar 
instances which have happened at Nassau Hall. I shall therefore for 
the present lay aside the objection and proceed to examine my second 
which is to the conduct of the Doctor with relation to politics. ITou 
have read his political philosophy and consequently are sufficiently quali- 
fied to judge of its tendency which is directly hostile to republican prin- 
ciples. During the whole work the writer plainly evinces his partiality 
for the british constitution and endeavours in the most insidious manner 
to excite in his pupils an aversion to our own and a hatred against the 
supporters of it whom he stigmatizes with the names of jacobins and 
anarchists. It must certainly be very disagreeable to a young man who 
has been accustomed to think independently to hear the principles in 
which he glories every day pronounced to be prejudicial to the interest 
of his country and the advocates of them loaded with the aprobious names 
demagogues and disorganizers. But I will not insist any farther on this 
objection as you have seen enough of the Doctor's conduct to enable you 
to judge for yourself. The post is almost ready to set off. I cannot 
therefore now examine my last objection which is certainly as important 
as any of them but I will say more on this subject in my next letter. 
Adieu an believe me to be Your Sincere friend 

W. Gabnett. 

P. S. I have sent you ten dollars of the money which I owe you. I 
could not get a one dollar note or I should have sent you the rest but we 
can settle it when you come to see me this fall. Write to me by the 
next post. 

[Address: Brunswick, Virginia.] 

The Ruffin Papers. 57 

From William Gamett. 

October 22 1804. 

I have for sometime past delayed writing to you under an expectation 
that I should receive an answer to the letter which I wrote you upon my 
arrival. But I have been so often disappointed that I have given over 
all thoughts of receiving one. Acting under this impression I should 
not have troubled you again but I have since thought that either my 
letter or yours must have miscarried for I am certain that you cannot 
so soon have forgotten me. Judging therefore of your friendship by 
mj own I shall continue to trouble you with my letters untill I am 
assured by their not being answered that they are disagreeable to you. 
Agreeably to your request in my last letter to you I detailed the prin- 
cipal objections which I have to Princeton college but was prevented 
from examining them all under an apprehension that I should be too 
late for the post. I will therefore^ resume the subject and proceed to 
exam.ine my remaining objections which were as well as I recollect the 
two following. Firstly to the manner of instruction pursued by the 
professors of that institution and lastly to the abridged and imperfect 
manner in which the sciences are there taught. The manner of instruc- 
tion pursued at Nassau Hall I think admirably well calculated for a 
grammar school where boys require force to oblige them to study. But 
it can never answer with young men for if they are treated as children 
they loose all respect for themselves and will of course continue to con- 
duct themselves as such. 

Acting from no other motive than that of fear they cease to think that 
they are studying for their own improvement but only in compliance 
to the will of an arbitrary despot. The consequence of this is that they 
soon learn to conceive that every moment they can escape from the eye 
of an instructor is time gained to themselves which they have a right to 
mispend as they please. Such your own experience can tell you is the 
effect produced by this system of instruction at Princeton which is 
calculated only to make young men contract a narrow and illiberal way 
both of thinking and acting. The beneficial effects of an opposite system 
is I think obvious to every person who will only reflect a momment. 
When a young man is treated as such he will learn to respect himself 
and acquire an independence of thinking which will make him scorn 
to commit an action which he thinks unworthy the character of a man. 
Stimulated by such a motive his whole endeavour will be to acquire the 
respect and esteem of those around him. But it is needless to say any 
thing farther on this subject. I will therefore advert to my last objec- 
tion which I think is of as much importance as any of them. The prin- 
cipal object of a young man in going to college is to make himself 
master of the sciences and if this object is defeated (which it certainly 
is at Princeton) I know of no other motive which he can have for going 
to one. There is not one single study of importance which is not either 

58 Thb North Casolika Hibtosical Commission. 

abridged or compiled by men who must certainly be vastly inferior in 
point of talents and information to many others who have written on 
the same subjects. Thus for instance instead Blairs lectures in two 
volumes which they study at William and Mary at Princeton they have 
an abridgement of about an 100 pages and the same is the case with 
respect to logick. The course of moral and political philosophy also 
which they study at Princeton is equally deficient both in point, sub- 
stance and length. The superiority of William and Mary over it is 
greater in these studies (which are certainly the the most important) 
than in any other for instead of Doctor Smiths Moral and Political 
philosophy they study all the most celebrated writers who have ever 
written on the subjects. But I must bid you adieu for the present. 

P. S. Let me know in your next when you intend coming to see me. 
And let me know also whether you have reed my first letter as I inclosed 
you a bank note of ten dollars^ which if you have not got I will replace, 
immediately or if my letter has miscarried mine will be returned to me. 
I shall then owe you one dollar which as I could not come at exactly we 
will settle when you come to see me which I hope will be immediately 
upon the recpt of this letter. W. Q. 

[Address: Brunswick County, Virginia.] 

From Sterling Buffin. 

BiCHMo. 22nd Nov. 1804. 
Your two letters from Princeton have come to hand ; the last I rood, 
yesterday morning at your Uncles on my way to this place. I need not 
inform you that I was much gratify'd to hear of your safe arrival, and 
of your being judged quallified to join the Senr. class at that Siminary, 
where I hope you will be enabled to graduate the next fall. I am much 
hurt at Doer. Smiths conduct towards you; and can easily see that it is 
necessary your conduct should be very circumspect to retain your present 
standing. I do not conceive this will ultimately be of disservice to you, 
as it will necessarily produce a close application to study, and a strict 
observance of College dissipline. It may for a little time be unpleasant, 
but if you retain, and come up to your resolutions mentioned in your 
last, you need not be afraid. I have no doubt but Smith is a man pos- 
sessing uncommonly strong passions, which for the want of Vital Re- 
ligion are indulged to a dangerous excess, be this to himself; conduct 
yourself with that respect towards him, which as a man in years and 
your preceptor he certainly merrits. Politeness and good manners are 
due to all, but particularly so from you to him, this may at all times 
and situations be paid without condecending to meanness or servility. 

The Ruffin Papers. 59 

which neither the laws of Ood or man exacts. Be extremely cautions 
how you speak of him to any person^ it cannot possibly render you either 
satisfaction or profit — To indulge malice is one of the Deadliest Sins, 
it is our duty to forgive others as we hope to be forgiven by Him whom 
we have offended in a much higher degree than we can possibly be : it 
is our duty and interest to pattern after the glorious example our bless'd 
Master has set us ; remember^ that while he was expiring on the cross, his 
prayer was, "Father forgfive them," (his murderers) "they [know] not 
what they do" — Oh ! my Son learn of him to do the will of Our Heavenly 
Father, which is compleatly reveal'd to us in his blessed word. There 
has nothing occur'd since you left home worth communicating. Eobt. 
Btiffin is out from Kg. Wm. all friends are well in that quarter. Boer. 
N'iblock^ appears very anxious to get a letter from you, his enquiries are 
allways friendly; a correspondence with him would not only be amusing, 
but improving to you. I expect to be at home on Tuesday next when 
I shall take your Sister who is still in Petersburg along with me. She 
no doubt will be mortified that I did not call to see her to day, but I was 
so situated as to render very inconvenient. Your letters will be fre- 
quently expected. That you may become wise, and happy is the prayer 
of Your aff . Father. 

[Address: Nassau-hall, Princeton.] 

From Sterling Ruffin, 

Brunswick 6th Deer. 1804. 

I am much gratify'd at the affectionate and dutifull remembrance of 
us, you bear in your Mind, as expressed in your last letter of the 20th 
Ulto. just received. 

Your expectations 'ere this have been satisfy'd by receiving a letter I 
wrote from Richmond in which I gave you my advice relative to your 
conduct towards Doer. Smith. My opinion is by no means chang'd by 
his present behaviour ; which has either been produced from your polite- 
ness, or from some hidden motive; in either case, it is necessary you 
should be circumspect ; and common prudence will direct you to be silent 
on his Tyranical whims. Remember an old proverb which will well apply 
to you, "Your hand is in the Lions mouth, and you must get it out as 
easily as possible." Interest keeps you at Princeton and you must make 
the best of it. I am glad that you are comfortably fix'd with room-mates. 
You have said nothing of your expences, or how your money holds out, 
of this you will inform me in your next. 

lA physician of Brunswick County, Va., and an intimate friend of the family. 

60 The North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

With respect to the plan of studies jou are to adopts and of which jon 
ask my advice^ I can only say I do not conceive you or myself as c<nn- 
petent judges as the Faculty who have from long experience adopted the 
present system of education at that seminary. 

You are as you justly observe young enough to have time for History, 
etc., other than your attention will be devoted to this year, and I am 
inclined to think from the mode recommended, or pursued, that the 
memory will be lastingly improved; and I see not why the judgment 
will not be as much exercised as by a different plan. Add to this the 
advantages which is derived from being at the head of your class, it 
gives eclat to a young man which goes with him into the World, and 
he commences business under every advantage which talents can bestow. 
Our lives are short at most, and when we have to work out our living 
a great deal depends on the outset. It is therefore my advise that you 
will so far as is in your power, conform to the system of Education laid 
down by the Professors, by which I hope you will be advantaged. 

Our friends remain as when you left us except your amiable and much 
lamented Uncle Brokenbrough^ whose death you will see announced in 
the Enquirer — That health, respect, and all the blessings of God may 
attend and await you. 

N. B. The flower seed will be sent as soon as procured. 

[Address: Nassau-hall, Princeton.] 

From Sterling Ruffin, 

Brunswick 22nd Deer. 1804. 
Yours of the 9 th Inst, came to hand a day or two ago, by which I was 
glad to find but little of your late indisposition remain'd; I flatter 
myself in this it is intirely eradicated, and that health, the greatest 
temporal blessing will be perminently establish'd on its ruins ; for which 
I hope you will endeavor to be thankful to the bountifull giver. On the 
subject of your studies, I wrote you in my last, which I imagine is at 
hand before this. The long experience of the Professors of Princeton 
together with the number of first rate Characters which have been edu- 
cated in that Seminary, induces a wish for you to conform in all things 
to their method. I am much surprised however at that expression in 
your letter, "that after graduating your head will only contain a few 
Greek and Latin phrases without knowing any thing of polite litera- 
ture.'' Without referring to the different branches through which the 
classes must pass, and of course have a pretty correct knowledge before 
they can graduate, I had made up an opinion that a great deal of polite 

iDr. John Brokenbrough, the husband of Sarah Roane, Ruffin's great-aunt 

The Ruffin Papebs. 61 

and useful learning was acquired. It is by no means mj intention should 
circumstances permit to cramp you in your education, that system most 
proper to be pursued after this Year will therefore be adopted. 

We were much pleas'd at the affection and duty you evinced by writing 
to your aged Grandmother. I am sure it gave her great pleasure to 
bear from you, which I imagine will not be diminished by being repeated. 
I can give you no information from that quarter as I have not reed, a 
letter from your Uncle since you left us, which is very unaccountable to 
me. Do you not think you might have chosen a subject in which you 
could have displayed more talents, and derived more advantage for your 
compositions than the Character of Hamilton? From your expendi- 
tures I find you are without cash, I have therefore sent you $30 which 
must answer for the present. There is no neighborhood news, every 
thing as you left us. I congratulate you on being able at last to make 
choice of a profession, it is a good one, but I expect a very laborious 
one. We join in Love and good wishes to you, and bear you allways in 
mind in our prayers to our God, who I hope will bless you temporally 
and eternally. 

[Address: Princeton, N. J.] 

From William Oarnett. 

December the 3 1804. 
I am not at all surprised to hear that neither myself nor my political 
principles are very popular at Princeton. But I must confess that I 
was a good deal astonished to hear of being considered so great a liar as 
I find I am. It is a character which I do not conceive that I by any 
means merit nor will I tamely submit to such an acusation's being 
brought against me. You will therefore much oblige me by informing 
me in your next what Doctor Smith has alledged against me and as near 
as you can remember the particular words which he made use of. I 
will also thank you to mention the reasons which have induced the stu- 
dents [to] brand me with the name of a liar as well as the names of those 
who have thought proper to make so free with my character. I wish 
you to be very particular in relating every thing which has been said as 
I mean if I find the case requires it to send on a publication to Duane^ in 
vindication of myself and also to endeavour to exhibit the character of 
Doctor Smith to the public in its true colours. In doing this I shall 
carefully avoid bringing your name in as it will serve only to exasperate 
uncle Sammy still more against you. I did not receive the letter which 
you wrote me just before you set off for Princeton untill the other day 
or I should certainly have answered it. But I must bid you farewell 

iWlIllam Duane, editor of the Aurora, the famous organ of the Repuhllcan 

63 Thb Nobth Casouna Historical Commib8Ion. 

for the present as I find my thoughts so taken np with the intelligenoe 
which your last letter contained that I cannot think of anything else 
to say. 

P. S. I shall write you a long letter by the nert post Muscoe desires 
his love to you, do write a little plainer. 

[Address: Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From William Oameti. 

December the 31 1804. 
I should have acknowledged the receipt of your last favour before 
this but I have been so much engaged in visiting about during the 
Christmas holidays that I have not had one single moment of leisure 
time. The information contained in your last letter was perfectly satis- 
factory and convinces me in what manner I ought to proceed. I shall 
for the present wave an explanation with Doctor Smith until I can 
write to Fenton Mercer^^ and know from under his own hand what it 
is that he has said of me. From your letter I observe that I am charged 
with having made three assertions highly derogatory to the character 
of Princeton college namely that the young men were dissipated that the 
government of the college was tyrannical and that political persecution 
was carried to a very great length by the professors. The two first asser- 
tions with which I am charged of having made are perfectly correct, 
but the last one is a palpable falsehood. I have always said that Doctor 
Smith's political phylosophy was decidedly inimical to republican prin- 
ciples and turned rather towards monarchy. And I have also farther 
observed that I believed he endeavoured to influence young men in 
favour of the federal administration but I have uniformly denied my 
having any knowledge of his making use of coercive measures to induce 
them to change their political opinions although I believe from what I 
heard while I was at Princeton that I might have said so without vio- 
lating truth. What I have said of the college and of the character of 
Doctor Smith I never wished to remain a secret, and feel myself grati- 
fyed at hearing that it has reached his ears. I only feel vexed at the 
manner in which he has obtained his information and at the use which 
he has put it to when I am certain that he must be conscious of the truth 

iCharles Fenton Mercer, 1778-1858, a first cousin of William Oamett A.B., 
Princeton, 1797; A.M., 1800; LL.D., 1825. His public record follows: captain 
U. S. A., 1798; lawyer; member of the legislature of Virginia from 1810 to 
1817; brigadier general of militia in War of 1812; member o7 Congress from 
1817 to 1840; member of the Virginia constitutional convention of 1829-1830. 
He was largely responsible for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and was presi- 
dent of the company. He was during all of his maturity a bitter opponent of 
slavery and the slave trade. 

Thb Ru7Fin Papers. 68 

of my observationB. I have never seen Mr. Mercer since my return from 
Princeton except for a few minutes and consequently have had little or 
no conversation with him about the College or its regulations^ he could 
therefore have obtained the information which he has thought proper 
to give Doctor Smith in no other way than by a letter which I wrote to 
my mother during my residence at Nassau Hall stating my reasons for 
wishing to leave it. As I have said before I wished Doctor Smith to 
hear what I have said of him but at the same time I think that Fenton 
Mercer coming at his information in the manner in which he did has 
acted entirely out of the character of a gentleman for disclosing it and 
for which according to the modem laws of honour I conceive I have a 
right to demand satisfaction. Remember me to all my friends but par- 
ticularly to Harrison^ and tell [him] I shall expect soon to receive a 
letter from him. farewell and believe me to be your sincere friend 

P. S. I heard of the letter which Fentoii Mercer wrote to Doctor 
Smith before you wrote to me from a young man by the name of Simson 
who had just left Princeton. He mentioned the facts which are stated 
in your letter but he could not tell whether Fenton Mercer in relating 
them to Doctor Smith had mentioned my brother and myself as being 
the authors of them. I have myself conjectured that Doctor Smith 
knowing the connexion between our families had taken it for granted 
that we were without being authorized to say so from Fenton's letter. 
If I find this to be the case the affair may be settled without being carried 
to extremities and then I shall think of my old friend 

[Address: Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

Beunsw'k, 11th Jany. 1805. 
I am now certainly indebted to you one letter as I have reed three 
since my last, tho' not all of them dated subsequent to mine ; and I with 
pleasure comply with your desire, and that duty which I owe to you and 
my own feelings, in answering them. I am greatly pleas'd at Doer. 
Smiths reconciliation and friendly demeanor towards you; and hope 
from the propriety of your general conduct, that it will not change again : 
nothing is so certain to procure respect, as a steady uniformity of upright 
behaviour, not f orgeting, never to return evil for evil, but allways good as 
far as in your power. In my last (which I hope you have reed) I 
inclosM you $30 enough I suppose for present demands, more will be 
forwarded when wanting, if it can 'be procured; times are very hard — 

iHenry P. Harrison of the class of 1805, who entered the Junior class at 
Princeton, from Spartanburg, S. C, in 1804. 

64 The Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

Yours of 27tli Deer, contain'd information that at once pleas'd and 
astonisli'd me. I was pleas'd at the particular interference of a merciful! 
providence in saving from temporal punishment by not permiting the 
mad men to be maim'd by the explosion of the house^ and far more 
mercifuU in preserving their lives while they were so unprepar'd to 
plunge into Eternity and meet the Judge of quick and Dead. It is a 
wise man my Son who improves by observation^ and as much may some- 
times be gain'd^ by marking the conduct of the wicked as the Saint, 
Worship the great Jehovah who is alone worthy to be ador'd for his 
goodness, and by no means permit yourself to attribute that to chance, 
or fickle fortune, which is so evidently mark'd with the hand of an Infi- 
nite Qod. I was astonished that such conduct should take place at that 
seminary, but much more so that the transgressors should escape punish- 
ment; and can only account for it in one way, (which however may be 
erronious) viz, that the principals were great favorites of the Pro- 
fessors, and rather then make an example of them, the whole were per- 
mitted to escape. Should this be the case, I shall entertain a more 
unfavorable opinion of Smith than before, which I am sorry to say 
was not a good one. I hope that your room companions, nor any of 
your intimates, were among the disorderly ; if they were, it is my most 
earnest desire, and serious advice, that you should at once give up their 
company and intimacy; otherwise you may before you are aware, and 
perhaps innocently, be involved in great difficulties. I am much gratified 
at your determination of combating all opposition at Princeton this 
year; it manifesto a firmness which is in all situations essential; it 
shews too a desire to adhere to principle^ which will grow into habit and 
be serviceable, and pleasurable, as long as you live. These good determi- 
nations can neither be made or kept without the assistence of the great 
ruler above, look to him therefore my dear Son for strength, and when 
good is done let him have all the credit, and when evil take it all to 
yourself. "A happy New Year to you !" Bless the hand that prolongs 
your life and your dear friends, and withholds not those comforts which 
are suited to our situation. It is well for us, nay it is necessary that 
we should look back on our lives, not only from Year to Year, but from 
day to day, and improve therefore; avoiding the evil which we have 
done, and pursuing the good. With shame and regret I acknowledge 
that I have not profited as much as time and opportunity has permitted; 
I have not grown in Grace and Divine knowledge as I should have done, 
and as is my earnest desire to do in the present year, and as I hope before 
it's too late my son will do: for as we live and have communion on Earth, 
so I wish we may do in Heaven — I feel myself greatly indebted to you 
for the disire you express of conforming, or rather of obtaining Religion 
because your Mama and myself wish it: but my Son there is a far 
greater motive which ought to operate on your mind, and that is the 
Glory of Grod and your own happiness. Bead as much as possible the 
Now testament, and use [torn] prayer to Him whose word it is, to 

Thb Ruffin Papebs. 65 

instruct, and inform you of its truth and necessity, and agree to follow 
conviction whithersoever the Spirit leads, and I douht not your obtain- 
ing what my Heart desires. You say you would make the attempt if 
you could see one advantage that would result. What interest can I 
have in deceiving you} What advantage can acme to me, or any other 
practical Christian, in attempting to impose on any person? Must not 
our declarations be founded from the clearest conviction and experience 
of the truth of our allegations} and if so, what becomes of those after 
death who have not an interest in the blood of the covenant? and none 
can have this interest unless they love Gk>d, the test of which as our Lord 
declares is the obeying of his commandments — That these things may 
sink deep into your mind and be a part of the means of bringing to truth 
is my most earnest prayer. 

We are well except Sarah who is very ill with a plurisy what her fate 
may be is very uncertain. Beceive our united Love and good wishes. 

[Address: Nassau-hall, Princeton.] 

From William Oamett. 

January 14th 1804. [1805]^ 

It is now some time since I have had the pleasure of hearing from 
you but as I know that it must have proceeded from some accidental 
circumstance I shall again write to you without waiting for an answer 
to last letter which I wrote you. I have not yet heard from Fenton 
Mercer and I therefore cannot inform you by this post in what manner 
our difference will terminate but I hope for the best. It is not my desire 
to be at variance with any man whatever but much less with one who 
is so nearly connected with me it would consequently give me infinite 
pleasure to be enabled to inform you that our difference has been amica- 
bly settled. This settlement will take place shortly as I expect to hear 
from Fenton Mercer by the next post, and if it terminates as I have 
reason to hope it will I shall then have leisure to devote a small portion 
[of] my time to the Bev. Doctor Smith who I think merits a little atten- 
tion from my hands. As to the other gentlemen mentioned in your last 
letter who have thought proper to make such severe strictures upon my 
conduct I think them beneath a public notice I shall therefore pass over 
the epithets which they have honoured me with in silent contempt. But 
if I should ever chance to meet with any of them I shall then treat them 
as all such scoundrels deserve to be treated. I have I expect already 
exhausted your patience on this subject I will therefore wave it for the 

iThe endorsements upon this letter and its contents show that It was really 
written in 1805 instead of 1804. 


66 Thb Nobth Caxouka Hibtobioal Commission. 

present and I hope in my next letter to oondude it entirely. You must 
I immagine by this time be pretty much tired of Princeton if so I wish 
you would take a dismission and come to visit an old friend who will 
always be happy to see you. I would offer to introduce you to some of 
the handsomest girls that ever your eyes beheld but as I know yon to be 
very luke warm in your devotion for this fairest and most valuable part 
of the creation I fear that it would not be a sufficient inducement. I 
must therefore depend entirely upon myself for the pleasure of a visit 
f ronl you. 
Mr. Thomas C.^ Ruffin 
New Jersey] 

From WiUiam Oamett, 

January the 21 1805 
Your ironical letter of the 10 Instant came safe to hand and I now 
take the earliest opportunity of acknowledging the receipt of it. You 
have I find made sufficient allowances for my want of punctuality in 
answering your last favour I will therefore extend the same charity to 
you whenever a similar Instance shall occur This however I apprehend 
will not be the case while you remain at Princeton as the people of New 
Jersey do not ]ike the Virginians delight in the exercise of hospitality 
and social intercourse. But are more inclined to take for their guide 
the maxim of ^'a penny saved is a penny got" than that of ''let us eat 
drink and be merry for tomorrow we die !'' It may be a matter of doubt 
with some persons which principle is the most laudable of the two. But 
for my part I feel no hesitation in declaring for the latter. For this 
very obvious reason that the disciple of this opinion will at least enjoy 
some pleasure while he lives and may possess many virtues. In fact 
such a position as this necessarily implies many very prominent virtues, 
viz such as liberality openness of heart and philanthropy. Whereas a 
disposition like the former excludes the idea of any thing like virtue. 
The man who is entirely devoted to his own interest is of all characters 
to me the most odious his narrow and contracted soul is incapable of 
feeling one single generous emotion and his icy heart is alike impene- 
trable to the genial warmth of friendship. The finer feelings of the 
soul which are such bright ornaments to the human character are entire 
strangers to his bosom and in short we behold him in every point of 
view an object which should excite hatred and disgust of every rational 
creature. From what I have said I would by no means infer that the 
maxim of Epicurus is a correct principle but I merely contend for its 

iRuffln's middle name, Carter, was dropped soon after be left Prlncetom, 

Thb BurFur Papers. 67 

superiority over the one which principally characteriseB the inhabitants 
of the state of iN* Jersey. I heard from your relations in King and 
Queen a week or two ago and am happy to inform you that they are all 
"welL John Eoane^ and Kitty^ will be here in the course of a f ortni^t 
and I shall then be able to give you a more circumstantial account of 
them. Your request concerning my commentaries upon Smiths philoso- 
phy I am not at present able to gratify. But as soon as I feel myself 
industrious enough to commence the task it shall be complied with. As 
for Hoanes academy I have not heard any thing respecting it for some 
time and am of course unable to give you any satisfactory information 
on this head. I believe that I have now answered all your enquiries 
except the one relative to myself which shall be answered in as circum- 
stantial a manner as possible. Since I quited Princeton I have been 
engaged in studying metaphysics which I commenced with Beid's essays 
and Duncans logick. The course of study which I mean to pursue for 
the balance of the winter is history and politics. So much for my 
studies and now for my amusements I occasionally visit about in the 
neighbourhood amongst my friends and receive visits from them. Every 
ihursday I go to Pittsville (which is about a mile from the house) to 
receive my letters and papers and then I always meet with a number 
of m^y friends we generally spend our time in passing about the grog 
and conversing upon the news of the day. All the Foxes near here are 
destroyed the amusement of hunting I am therefore obliged to forbear 
untill they become more plentiful. I however find game enough for my 
gun and as I am a pretty good hand on the wing I often join in shooting 
parties. This is an exact description of the manner in which I employ 
myself — and I shall expect one equally as minute from you. Muscoe 
was not at home when your letter arrived it will therefore be out of his 
power to answer it by this post, farewell and believe me to be your 
Sincere friend. 

N B Let me know in your next whether there has been any accession 
of republican students at Princeton and if it is not a secret the authors 
of those disturbances which took place on christmas. 

[Address : Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From William Oamett. 

February the 13, 1804. [1805]« 
Your letter of the 31 instant arrived while I was in King and Queen 
and I consequently could not answer it by the last mail. Since my return 
I have received another from you but as it is only a continuation of the 

iJohn Roane was Rnffln's uncle, being his mother's younger brother. 
2Catharlne Roane was the younger sister of Ruflln's mother. 
SThe endorsements upon this letter and its contents show that it was written 
in 1805 instead of 1804. 

68 Thb I^obth Cabolina Hibtobical Commission. 

former I shall comprise my reply to both of them in this letter. I hsje 
since I wrote you last had a conversation with Fenton Mercer dirou£^ 
the medium of my brother James^ respecting the reports which are in 
circulation about me at Princeton. He denies his ever having made such 
assertions of me as he is reported to have done and to prove His inno- 
cence has written on to Doctor Smith for a coppy of his letter to him. 
So that I think there can be no maimer of doubt but what we shall 
settle our difference amicably. But I will quit this subject for the 
present and advert to one which more nearly relates to yourself. My 
concern and astonishment at hearing of your dismission from the W. S.- 
was extremely great but nevertheless I think you take your removal too 
much to heart as it was not in consequence of any disgraceful action 
committed by you. 

The conscienciousness of the uprightness of your intentions should 
I conceive be sufficient to enable you to bear up under a much greater 
mortification than the one which you at present sustain. If you consider 
the motives by which you were actuated when you advocated the estab- 
lishment of this new society^ I am certain that you cannot think that 
there is any disgrace attatched to your present situation and more espe- 
cially as the students who are implicated with yourself are among the 
most respectable members of college. I do not clearly understand the 
plan on which you propose to organize the A. S.' but from the imperfect 
apprehension which I have of it it appears to me that by its being com- 
posed of members from the two highest classes in college to the exclusion 
of the lower classes it would ultimately end in the abolition of the preset 
existing societies. For this reason that as the societies now stand there 
is no body or society in college superior to them which would not be the 
case was the A. S. established. This society being composed of the best 
informed part of college would render the others much less respected 
as they would be thought much less honourable than they formerly were. 
The consequence would be that in the course of time they would be 
uterly neglected and perhaps dissolved. But as I expect the mail everj 
moment I can not express myself so fully on this subject as I intended 
to have done. 

iJames Mercer Oarnett of "Elmwood/* Essex County, Va., 1770-1843, was a 
member of the Virginia legislature for several terms, served In Consress, 
1805-1809, and was a delegate to the Virginia convention of 1829-1830. He 
was a member of the grand jury that indicted Aaron Burr. 

2The famous American Whig Society of Princeton was founded as the 
Plain-Dealing Society. Ruffln was evidently dismissed from it because of his 
connection with the founding of the Adelphic, another society, which was to 
be composed of the members of the two upper classes only. There are hlnU 
In the letters of hie reinstatement, the records of the society do not tell of his 
dismissal, and the catalogue of 1914 includes his name. 

8The Adelphic Society, which this letter indicates that Ruffln founded, was 
organized during the college year of 1804-1806. The Whig and Cliosophic 
immediately took joint action against it and succeeded in stifling it after a 
short existence. Its origin probably lay in the desire of a few men to organize 
a society which would not be as crowded as the two Halls. 

Thb Ruffin Papebs. 69 

P. S. I staid in K. and Q. 90 short a time that I could not see your 
friend of that place but I heard that thej were all well Bemember me 
to Schenk^ and tell him that I was from home when his letter arrived 

it should have been answered before this. 

[Address: Princeton.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

^ , o Fety 21st. 1806. 

My dear Son. '' 

Yours of the 25th Ulto. came to hand when I was from home on an 
excursion up Dan river in Bockingham County North Carolina, in 
search of better land than I occupy in Brunswick; to which place I 
expect to return in the next week to close a bargain for a very valuable 
tract, on what is calld the Saura town, which more than probable you 
liave heard of. Mr. Brodnax accompanies me, and in a year or two 
(if we live) we both expect to be residents of that place. There is a 
part of this land more productive than you can have an idea of, and 
more valuable than the people surrounding it think, from its being all- 
most inexhaustible and so level that there is no perceivable fall in 200 
or 300 acres. You will at once know that this is low grounds, and yet 
there never has been a crop lost by the flooding of the Biver. To enable 
me to make the purchase I have sold part of my quarter tract, and must 
sell the remainder together with this place as early as possible. I shall 
be very hard run for money, and as this debt is contracted for the tem- 
poral good of my Family, they must help me pay for it by frugality. I 
am much gratify'd by Doer. Smiths attention to you as it is a confirma- 
tion of the propriety of your demeanor, which with your age I hope will 
increase. You will find on more mature reflection your idea incorrect : 
surely it is better to have a real, than a pretended friend — say in your 
next whether it is necessary to have $150 in April, or at different periods 
through the Session. I am well pleas'd that you have got rid of Mr. 
Harrison.^ "Evil communications will corrupt good manners," and are 
at all times very much to be dreaded, particularly by Youth. I feel it 
allmost unnecessary, alltho my duty compels me to say something on the 
subject of swearing — Surely there never was so idle, so sinful and so 
unprofitable a custom so universaly prevalent as that of prophane con- 
versation. May I not flatter myself that my son will be so much the 
Gentleman, and have so much of the fear of an avenging Gk>d before his 
eyes, as to refrain from habits that are so immoral! 

No information could have been given, that would have been more 
pleasing, than your devoting a certain portion of each Day to the study 

iBvidently William Conover Schenck, A.B. Princeton, 1806; A.M., 1808; later 
a noted Ptesbyterian minister. 

2probably Henry P. Harrison of Spartanburg, S. €., a member of the class 
of 1805. 

70 The Nobth Casouna Historical Commibsion. 

of the Bible. Let me intreat you not to discontmue 80 laudable a pur- 
suity and let me beg of my dear Tom that this time may be doubled on 
every Sabbath. I thank my God that you begin to see the beauties oon- 
tain'd in this Holy Code, and that you admit it to be of Divine origin: 
the more you read and understand, the more you will admire and receive 
the truths contained therein. But my son reading alone will not do, 
humble yourself before a gracious God, and honestly confess your weak- 
ness, your ignorance, and your sinf ullness, and ask him to lead in that 
way which will be most to his glory. Remember he is a God who never 
sleeps, and is allways near to help in every time of need, be not afraid 
that he will be deaf to your wants, or that he will not grant those things 
which you essentially require for your happiness. He never yet with- 
held truth from the humble Heart, or refused bread to the hungering 
soul. When you address a throne of Grace endeavor to do it with suit- 
able reverence, and never forget to implore Mercy for your unworthy 
friends at flower Garden. 

Holy and infinitely merciful God, operate by the influence of thy 
blessed spirit on the Heart of the Son of thine unworthy servant and 
handmaid; give him grace to love and fear thee as he ought, to serve 
thee with a willing mind, and to make thy glory the principle which 
actuates his every deed. Lead him Oh. thou Gk>d of Love to the fountain 
which flow'd from the side of thine only begotten Son, and by sprinkling 
him therewith cleanse him from all pollution ; let the truth as it was in 
the blessed Jesus inlighten his mind, burst the chain of unbelief which 
inslaves his Heart, and bring him into perfect freedom, by owning him 
as thy returning son. Oh. that thou mayst give him grace to stand a 
scoffing and persecuting World, the Carnal desires of his sinfull flesh, 
and the luring baits of a tempting Devil ; and that each succeeding day 
may bring him nearer thee and his eternal rest, until it shall please thee 
to admit him into the full and compleat fruition of thyself through Jesus 
Christ our infinitely meritorious Bedeemer. 

N. B. Your Mama sends specially her love. She thinks herself 
slighted, not having reed, more letters particularly to herself. The 
Jerusalem Cherry is sent herewith. 

[Address: Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From William Oarnett, 

March the 17 1805 
Your favour of the 27 Instant should have been duly answered had 
it not have been that at the time I received it I was confined to my bed 
by a severe attack of the mumps and thereby disabled from writing. I 
was the more anxious to give a prompt reply to your last letter as I 
observed that it contained suspicions entirely unfounded and permit me 

Thb Ruffin Papebs. 71 

to say extremely illiberal. To suppose that any alteration has taken 
place in my friendship for you on account of the difPerent relations in 
T^hich we stand is to immagine me capable of entertaining sentiments 
ivhich I hold in utter abhorrence. I have from my earliest infancy 
contracted a habit of thinking and acting for myself And as I value 
the privilege more than life itself I am clearly of opinion that it should 
be extended alike to every one as a natural and inherent right of which 
they cannot in justice be dispossessed. It would therefore be in the 
highest degree prepostrious and absurd in me to break off all intercourse 
T^th a man whom I valued and esteemed merely because we differed in 
our opinions. Were I a student of Princeton college^ I should most 
undoubtedly oppose the organization [of] the Adelphic society from 
reasons which appear to me to be self evident. As the Whig society 
stands at present there is no body or corporation in college superior to 
it. By organizing one of a higher order you will most undoubtedly 
lessen the honour now attached to it and this would necessarily in the 
course of time occasion its dissolution. But as I am entirely uncon- 
nected with the Whig society I feel very little interest about it and 
indeed were I now a member of college I should censure in a most un- 
qualified manner the animosity and intemperance which the members of 
ihe W. S. have shown towards those of the Adelphic. As I can see no 
reason why men may not differ in opinion and still maintain a friendly 
intercourse with each other. I must now conclude as I am still in a 
very weak and low state of health and I am aprehensive that sitting 
still too long will injure me. 

P. S. Muscoe saw your friends in K. and Q. last week and he says 
that they are in good health 

[Address: Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From William Qamett. 

March 25th 1805. 
I sincerely participate with you in the joy which you express^ on the 
reelection of Mr. Jefferson to the office of president as it clearly demon- 
strates after a fair and impartial trial that principle will invariably 
triumph over corruption. And it further proves that truth is immutable 
that although it may occasionally be obscured it will ultimately emerge 
from the clouds which falsehood and deception have cast around it and 

iThe political opinions which Ruffln evidently shared with Qarnett at this 
time were not altered in his later life. In principle a Jeffersonian Republican, 
he was in his later years a member of the Democratic party. Such a large 
part of his life was spent on the bench that he never was for any length of 
time In active politics. But, nevertheless, he filled a number of political ofdces, 
being twice an elector, several times a member of the state legislature, and 
once speaker of the House of Commons. 

72 The Nobth Caboluta Histobical Commission. 

shine forth with redoubled splendour. There is nothing which more 
clearly substantiates what I have advanced than a comparison between, 
the acts of the present and those of the former administration. During 
the short time that Mr. Adams continued in office we beheld the influ- 
ence and power of the executive increased to hight truly alarming and 
we saw with astonishment his rapid progression in steps of tyranny and 
oppression almost without a paralile in the annals of America. By the 
embodying of a standing army the creation of a number of useless offices 
and a strict adherence to the false and accursed maxim of the britiah 
government that a public debt is a public blessing he vainly hoped to 
render himself invulnerable to any attack that could be made upon him. 
Not content however with this breastwork of Federalism he determined 
if possible to entrench himself still more strongly and to conceal from 
the scrutinizing eye of the public under the almost impenetrable coTer 
of a sedition law his many and flagrant violations of the constitution. A 
fact which evidently proves that falsehood will ever shrink from investi- 

The success which he met with in the prosecution of his nefarious 
designs plainly evince the futility of human calculation. But let us now 
quit this detestable view of public abandonment — and advert for a 
moment to the measures of the present administration here the contrast 
between the simple garb of truth and the perplexed labyrinth of false- 
hood is at once obvious. Sensible that a government founded upon the 
solid basis of integrity will always testify for itself Mr. Jefferson has 
never in a single instance attempted to impose the least restraint upon 
the liberty of the press or the freedom of speech but he has on the con- 
trary in several of his public communications invited a free inquiry into 
the conduct of the executive Knowing that measures founded upon 
principle can withstand the severest scrutiny. On whichever side we 
now cast our eyes we behold the prospect equally cheering a territory 
has been added to our country valuable on account of its extent and 
fertility and still more so as it in a great measure enables us to exclude 
from arround us a settlement of foreigners. Our public debt is daily 
diminishing our dignity with foreign nations supported the numerous 
list of taxes which were imposed upon us by the rapacity of Federalism 
are repealed and in short we And our liberty as extensive as man in his 
present corrupt and degenerate state is capable of enjoying. Such is the 
state of prosperity which by the wise and patriotic measures of Mr. 
Jefferson we now enjoy and that it may long continue Gk>d of his infinite 
mercy grant. The account which you gave of the mortification of the 
Feds of I^assau Hall was extremely diverting and the manner in which 
they displayed their disappointment shows a littleness worthy of the 
sentiments they advocate. You request that I will give you an account 
of the celebration of the 4th of March in Essex in this particular I 
cannot promise to be very exact as I was confined to my bed when it 
took place. But I will satisfy you as far as I am able. The gentlemen 

Thb Buffin Papbbs. 73 

of the county had dinner at Mr. Banks tavern in Tappahannock at 
which was drank 17 toasts prepared hj my brother James and Mr. 
James Hunter and accompanyed with appropriate music from a very 
excellent band. It would be needless for me to insert them as you take 
the enquirer in which you will find them published. An oration was 
also delivered by Mr. Horrace Upshaw in commemoration of the glorious 
and memorable revolution which that day gave birth to. Of the merits 
of this action there are various opinions some are of opinions that it 
was tolerable good others that it was neither good nor bad and others 
again say that it was indifferent but all agree that it was very badly 
delivered. Thus I have to the best of my ability given you a detail of 
our proceedings on the 4th of March. I will therefore conclude by 
assuring you that I still remain your sincere friend. 

[P. S.] Muscoe desires to be remembered to you and says that he 
should have answered your letter but he is confined with the mimips as 
soon as he gets well he will certainly do it. I expect that it would divert 
you to see him now his head is swelled to twice its ordinary size so that 
you guess he is a very great beauty. 

Col. New^ our present representative in congress has declined and 
my brother James has offered to supply his place as there is no opposi- 
tion he will certainly be elected. 

[Address: Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From William Oamett. _, i « -.^^., 

May th6 1805. 

I shall after your example without any preamble enter immediately 

upon the subject of the contemplated convention in the State of Pensyl- 

vania.^ The position which I took on this subject in my last letter I 

shall still maintain viz have the people of Pensylvania a right to alter 

their form of government and is it expedient at this time for them so 

to act. The right of the people to amend or abolish that constitution 

whenever they disapprove of it is so well known and acknowledged in 

America that I need say nothing upon this head. I shall therefore, 

advert to my last Question is it expedient for them at this time so to act. 

The great end for which government was first instituted is said by 

politicians to be the security of the life liberty and property of the 

governed. It follows as a necessary consequence that whenever any 

people find that the government under which they live is incompetent 

lAnthony New, a native of Qloucester County, Va., had been a colonel in the 
Revolution. A lawyer by profession, a Repnbllcan in politics, he had been a 
member of Congress since 1793. He was later a member of Congress from 
Kentucky from 1811 to 1813; 1817 to 1819; and 1821 to 1823. 

2The agitation in Pennsylvania for a convention was fruitless, and it was 
not until 1838 that the constitution was altered. 

74 The North Cabouna Historical Commission. 

to this important end it is expedient for them to alter or abolish it. This 
I apprehend to be the case with the people of Pensylvania after fifteen 
years experience they find that their present constitution is insufficient 
to secure to them the blessings of liberty and happiness. They have 
witnessed the most glaring acts of tyranny and oppression committed 
by their public functionaries for which they have in vain sought a con- 
stitutional redress. Would it not therefore be madness and folly in 
them tamely to submit to such wrongs when they have it in their power 
to remove the sources from whence they proceed. Shurely it would and 
I trust there is too much good sense in Pensylvania for the people to 
let slip this golden opportunity of reforming their constitution. You 
have I observe deduced a consequence from one of my arguments which 
I by no means admit to follow. Because I maintain that it is expedient 
for the people of Pensylvania to call a convention you infer from thence 
that I must necessarily advocate the proposed amendments. This I 
deny to be the case. I do not nor will not advocate any amendments 
which I have never seen. Does it necessarily follow that becauBe the 
people of Pensylvania are advised to amend certain parts of their con- 
stitution that they are also obliged when met in convention blindly to 
adopt the plan proposed to them without consulting their own reason 
at all. Certainly not they are free to judge for themselves. Should the 
alterations proposed meet their approbation they will adopt them — ^if 
not they will of course reject them and then propose such as they them- 
selves think necessary. But you argue if they reject these amendments 
the object of the convention will be defeated and I must therefore either 
concur both in the amendments and the convention or disaprove them 
both. The object of the persons proposing the amendments I readily 
admit will be defeated but that the object of the convention (which is a 
reform in certain fundamental principles of their constitution) wiU be 
rendered nugatory I deny. Certain I am that there have been outrages 
committed against the liberty and property of the citizens of Pensyl- 
vania which have undermined and saped to its foundation their present 
constitution, outrages which call loudly upon them for redress which 
warns them that unless a speedy reform takes place the beautiful temple 
of liberty will on their land be laid prostrate with the earth and the 
Gk>thic castle of despotism erected upon its ruins. It is from these 
momentous and pressing circumstances that I have been induced and 
shall ever continue to advocate the call for a convention in the State of 
Pen"*** And such is my reliance upon the judgement integrity and good 
sense of the people of that state that I am convinced they will not act 
in servile compliance to the dogmas of any set of men but in reforming 
their constitution they will adopt the opinions of other men only so far 
as they are conformable to their own. The amendments proposed by 
the persons who have advised the convention are nothing to the purpose 
they may or they may not be proper this is to be determined after the 
convention has met no man can take upon himself to say what amend- 

The Ruffin Papers. 75 

ments will take place in the constitution should the convention meet. I 
have no doubt but that there will be many alterations suggested which 
are not at this time thought of. But I have said enough on this subject 
for the present. I shall therefore take my leave of it and begin to draw 
my letter to a close. You accuse me of inconsistency when I affirm that 
you may by following my prescription recover your health in the course 
of a fortnight. To you who appear to be so callous and insensible to the 
captivating charms of the female race so considerable an efiFect produced 
from what you would term so inconsiderable a cause may indeed seem 
wonderful. But to me it does not bear the smallest mark of incon- 
sistency. I do not however in this prescription recommend the ladies 
indiscriminately to you. I mean such only as to beauty and personal 
accomplishments add the more solid and durable advantages of an 
improved and cultivated understanding. It is such ladies as these that 
recommend to your acquaintance for as to the fine ladies as they are 
termed I hold them in sovereign contempt. 

P. S. Your friends in King and Queen were all well the last time I 
heard from them as well as those in Essex excepting Mr. Edwin IJpshaw^ 
who got shot through the thigh in a duel which he fought on Saturday 
last with Carter Wood a brother of T. Woods our present representative. 

I will thank you to get me some seed of the melon genus if you can 
procure any and send me directions at what time and in what manner 
they are to be planted as well as a receipt for dressing them. 

[Address: Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From Sterling Ruffin* 

Brunsw'k 11th May 1806. 
Your letter to your Mother is at hand which gives us the pleasing 
information of your perfect recovery from the late affliction you have 
experienced. You do not say whether the vacation has ended, or when 
if not, it will — ^you do not say, whether you have chang'd your boarding 
house, or whether you still remain a labourer in your Mistress's garden ; 
and you never have said whether this garden is in the Town or Country; 
these are things we should like to know and would have afforded you the 
means of lengthening your letter. I am rather fearfull that subjects 
will fail me ere I make this a long letter, for my Mind is never prolific, 
and I confess at this time, I feel it less so than usual; and should not 
now have taken up my pen, but to gratify the solicitude of your Mother, 
added to the forwarding as soon as possible, the $20 calPd for. You 
inquire after your friends in King and Queen Ct. at which I am really 

iBdward Upshur married Lucy Roane, Ratlin's aunt 


astonisli'd as your Uncles Tom and John int^ded writing wlien I left 
them three weeks ago. Your letters to your Uncle and Grand-Mother 
were both reed, and apparently gave great pleasure^ and John ezpress'd 
great earnestness^ and promis'd himself great pleasure in corresponding 
with you: ere this I think you must certainly have reed their letters. 
Your Uncle Tom meant to advise (he said) the Study of the Law. I 
think by this time you must have decided on your profession and yet you 
have not inform'd us. You inquire where we are to move to. Our next 
change in time, will be to Sauratown^ for a part of which, (1000 Acres) 
I have just a few days ago concluded a bargain. Let not this distress 
you, as I do not propose selling more of my land here, than (1000 Acres 
of the quarter plantation) enough to enable me to make good this bar- 
gain, which will leave a sufficiency in sweet Virginia for you. A subject 
strikes my mind the persuit of which would make this a very long letter, 
but as I am not in the humour I will just drop a few hints, and leave it 
with you to improve. It is the grand part of Creation, the blessing 
given unto Man, a Woman. How is it possible that you can have a 
Heart capable of being warm'd with the genial rays of friendship; 
expanded with the pleasing sensation of love, and not respect the female 
sex. How can you view them as a nuisance, as a pest to Society when 
but for Woman you could not have existed, nay, a much more valuable 
person, even the great Saviour of fallen man. Is it because tyrannical 
custom, added to the bitterness of the Ware [sic] which prohibits their 
being educated at Colleges and obtaining classical educations and obtain- 
ing diplomas that they are not to be regarded? or is it because they are 
really below the notice of a wise man i or what is the reason that your 
letters breath nothing but disgust agst. the whole sex.^ Far be it from 

iThe following extract from a little diary containing occasional entries by 
Ruffin is interesting in connection with his views at the time this letter was 

June 9th, 1809 — This day I became a resident of Hillsborough. The motives 
for removal are to my mind, urgent in the extreme. Only one rises against it 
My Father, tho' not opposing, thinks it will eventuate in my injury. To yon. 
Oh Gk>d, I address myself. May that power which has led me thro' life thus 
far, still extend its arm of help to my weakness, still watch in aid of my blind- 
ness, still cherish and protect thy doubting and trembling servant, I pray! ! ! 

On Monday the .... day of June, 1809, I mentioned to Anna Kirkland the 
tender subject of many weeks and months reflexions. No man who has not 
felt, can conceive the hopes and fears, the pains and pleasures of early, first, 
and sincere Love. I mean that sensation which results from desire for one 
and only one woman, who is worthy of our esteem and can attach to herself 
our respect and friendship. With a trembling voice and beating heart I un- 
folded to her the secret of my soul. Agitated by a passion as warm as it was 
determined, convulsed with a fear of repulse and with conviction of my poverty 
preying on my mind, I scarce knew what to ask, scarce cared what should be 

the result. — I did oak. On this day, June 1809 » She granted. And I am 

happy! She promises to make me happy! She will do it, has done it! 

Thomas Ruffht. 

Hhjjbbobouoh, December, 1809. 

By cash pd. for hat $5. — 

By cash pd. for marriage license 2. — 

By cash pd. Parson Prather 10. — 

Thb Buffin Papebs. 77 

me to wish your time spent in Qallantrj with the fair sez^ but I cer- 
tainly should be pleased if you were to estimate them as they merit. We 
are all well and join in prayer to Heaven to bless the son of Your affct. 

[Address : Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

,, , c Brunswk 7th of June 1805. 

My dear Son, 

Your three last letters of 17th, 21st, and 23rd. TJlto are now before 
me, and in their order I shall answer them. Your first informs me of 
your choice of a profession, by which you expect to gain a livlihood, 
and no doubt pluck some laurels in your travels through the difiFerent 
wildernesses of this worlds pilgrimage, to which you desire my opinion 
and advice with respect to the mode of study for the next year. To the 
first, i. e. the study of law, I can have no possible objection, if you make 
choice of it, as best suited to your taste and talents. It is clearly my 
opinion that our avocations should be suited to our gifts, or what would 
be pleasurable, will be labourious and irksome. 

To the other, i. e. the way in which you are to spend the next year. 
I do not feal myself intirely competent to advise; but should suppose 
it would be most profitable to begin the study of your profession at once ; 
and devote a certain portion of time to history poetry etc. These are 
so intimately connected with Law, that no man can be a good barrister 
without being a good historian, and in some measure acquainted with the 
Muses. Yet I believe it is an invariable rule to unite these studies; 
i. e. to form a more intimate acquaintance with the two latter while 
you are preparing yourself to exhibit in the former, than you could 
possibly do, while in the classics. Under this impression I have written 
to Judge Roane^ (who is justly considered one of the greatest Lawyers 
in this state) to give you admittance as one of his family : from thence 
should we live, you will no doubt go to Wm. and Mary College. There 
were no illnatur'd reports circulated against Gholson;^ and the only 

iSpencer Roane was the son of William and Judith Ball Roane and was a 
first cousin of Ruflln's mother. He was born in Bssex County, Va., April 4, 
1762. He studied law under Chancellor Wythe and was immediately success- 
ful in practice. Serving a number of times in the legislature of Virginia, he 
became a judge of the general court in 1789, and of the court of errors in 1794. 
He married a daughter of Patrick Henry. He was Virginia's foremost Jurist 
at the opening of the century, and was Jefferson's choice for chief justice of 
the Supreme Court of the United States. Diametrically opposed to» Marshall 
in political belief, his appointment would probably have profoundly affected 
the history of the United States. 

^Probably Thomas Oholson, of Brunswick County, member of Congress, 

78 The Nobth CABOuifA Hibtobical Commission. 

reason he was not elected was Mclins long standing: there were about 
100 Votes between theoL 

I was greatly pleas'd at your living with Mrs. Smith, as I well know 
the advantages which will result from Female society, if it is enjoy'd 
only while at the dining table ; there is a certain ease and agreeableress 
in demeanor which never can be attained except from the company of 
Females; they can alone make the polish'd Gentleman: do not mistake 
me^ I mean not a fop; but he who in all company's can make himself 
agreeable, and allways feel himself all things to all People ; sin excepted. 
I am much afraid you are some what of a pedant in your opinion of 
Women ; remember they are made by a wise Gk>d for wise purposes, and 
were given to man as the greatest blessing Heaven could bestow ; remem- 
ber allso that they have or had, and yet may have the image of God 
stamp'd on them ; remember too that iN'ature has in most instances deah 
as bountifully towards them, as to the stronger sex, and that it is now 
owing to custom, tyrannical custom that they are generally inferior to 
Men in Moral, Civil and Political knowledge and usefullness. In Be- 
ligion there are many of them perfect patterns, and worthy to be f olloVd 
by the greatest man ; In that sphere then, which they were intended to 
move, both by Divine and human laws, they are, and ought, and will be 
respected. You say you will never mention this subject to me again, yon 
are wrong; nothing is so fatal to error as free discussion, nothing so 
enduring between friends, as free interchange of opinions, and surely 
none can, or at least ought to be nearer than a Father and Son. I have 
no doubt but I entertain many erronious opinions, as well as yourself, 
and certainly I have a right to expect by free communication both will 
be benefited. You may rely on it, I shall not dispute with you on, or 
contradict your opinion of a Dueller ; be he whom he may, he is a pest 
to society. I hope not to live to hear of your becoming one, whatever 
situation you may be placed in, for none can justify it. Your friend 
Mr. Monford did not call on us, it would have given me great pleasure 
to have seen him, and render him any service in my power. We and 
our Neighbors are generally well. We all join in love. 

[Address: l^assau hall, Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From Sterling Ruffin, 

Bbunsw'k Ist July 1805. 
The Lord has been kind and gracious, to your Earthly Father lately; 
It has pleas'd him whose wisdom and mercy is as boundless as Etemily, 
to afflict this earthly tabernacle in which my Immortal Spirit is in- 
velop'd with much pain. I have had, and am just recover'd from a 
tolerably severe attack of the Flux ; during the continuance of which, I 
felt sore in body, but thanks be to God, I had much peace of mind; 

The BuFBiN Papbss. 79 

through f aithy I saw a Country where peace and pleasure uninterrupted 
reignSy and by Qraee^ I think I had a seat prepared for me there. 

Thank Grod, I had some patience under his rod^ which I do believe 
was dipt, and chasten'd in Love^ and I humbly hope his gracious purpose 
will be answer'd, i. e. I hope it will be the means of making me more 
faithful to his Grace, and that I shall live nearer to him, and more to 
his glory than I have done before. The more I know of him who is 
enthron'd in glory and light inaccessable by mortals, the more I love 
him, and the more I wish to know ; for it is well said, ''who that loves 
can love enough." My soul is continually hungering for the perfect 
image of Christ my Saviour, and I can truly say my son, the more I 
have of it the happier I am. Remember Tom, and oh I that it may be 
deeply engraved on the tablets of your Heart, ''that without holiness 
no man can see the Lord" that is in peace; and be assur'd that this 
temper cannot be attained by living to, and for the "World, nor in any 
other way than that which is mark'd out by Qod in his holy word. 

For your sake and Qods glory I write these things. Oh I my Son, let 
not your Father appear in Judgement against you, but from this time 
seek an interest in Jesus the friend of Sinners, and live and die happy 
in the Lord. Beligion will not interfere with any of the comforts, or 
duties, of man below, but greatly highten the enjoyment, and perform- 
ance of them; and happy, truly happy is he, who keeps a good con- 
science to Qod and Man. 

Your two last letters of the same date are safe at hand. If I find it in 
my power you shall have a draft to procure the books wanted. I must 
leave the manner of your coming intirely to yourself, by water or the 
stage. I am glad that you have consulted Mr. George on the subject of 
your studies, he is no doubt fully competent to advise, and I hope will 
do it. I shall be quite willing to follow his opinion. I have an answer 
from Judge Roane, in which he says he would gladly comply with my 
request, but there are some particular circumstances which prevent his 
taking you. 

Should you now, or at any future time commence the study of Law, 
I shall endeavour to get you with some person in whose talents I can 
eonfide for the first year or two; believing it better than commencing 
at Wm. and Mary it will be sufficient to end there. Your prejudices 
against private Familys are unfortunate. Do you never mean to asso- 
ciate with any but Gentlemen, and that at a tavern t You certainly do 
not reflect on the advantages that result from different company, and at 
other places, or your eyes would be open'd to your interest. 

The longer these sentiments are cherish'd the greater difficulty you 
will experience in surmounting them; the less you mix with different 
societies, the less quallify'd you will be to fill any important station of 
life. We are happy to hear of yr. good health I pray it may continue, 
and that you may be thankfuU to the giver of that, and every good gift. 
Our friends to the N'orth are well except Lucy, who could not come with 

80 The North Cabolika Historical Commission. 

Robert in consequence of indisposition. The N. Family are not here, tho' 
they promise to be out this fall. May the Father of our Spirits bless 
you, and give you Grace and knowledge to serve him in Christ our Lord, 
prays Tour aff. Father 

[Address: Princeton, N. J.] 

From William Oamett 

July 12th 1805. 
The excuses which I made you for not being more punctual seems as 
the saying is to have gone in at one ear and come out at the other. I 
find it needless therefore to offer you any more and you must conse- 
quently be content to receive my valuable epistles as I have leisure to 
write them. But jesting apart you appear to be very much out of spirits 
and if I judge of your situation by what my own was while I lived in 
Princeton it is not without a cause. The sooner therefore you quit this 
modern Sodom and Gomorra the better and when you do set out let it 
be by land at all events. You need not be under the smallest appre- 
hension about your cash's giving out for if you find yourself in the least 
streightened you know where to apply. I shall always be ready and 
extremely happy to furnish you with any sum of money or with any 
thing else that lies in my power. And the friendship between us is so 
cordial that I hope you will never be backward in asking of me anything 
that is within the compass of my ability and I am confident that will 
always expect me to act in the same unreserved manner towards yourself. 
When the commencement draws near if [you] will let me know on what 
day you expect to be in Fredericksburg I will meet you there in a gig 
and bring [you] down to Essex, for I cannot let you pass so near with- 
[out] spending some time with me. You have I find departed from your 
intention of studying physic in favor of the law. I approve very much 
of your choice as I think your constitution much too delicate to with- 
stand the fatigues attached to the duty of a physician. I have myself 
some intention of studying one of the above mentioned professions. I 
am however as yet in doubt which but I rather believe that I shall decide 
in favour of the former. My principal inducement for adopting this 
method of gaining a livelihood is the great aversion which I have to the 
manner of cultivating our lands in Virginia by slaves. I feel myself 
utterly incompetent to the task of manageing them properly. I never 
attempt to punish or to have one punished but I am sensible that I am 
violating the natural rights of a being who is as much entitled to the 
enjoyment of liberty as myself. Under such impressions as these I can 
never be happy while I am forced to act in a manner which my con- 
science reproaches me for. Such is the all powerful reason which has 

Thb Euffin Papers. 81 

almost determined me to endeavour to live by the study of a profession 
in preference to retaining my farm and undertaking the management of 
a set of slaves. 

But enough of this stuff for the present. I have more agreeable news 
to tell you. Your Aunt Catherine Roane is now in Essex and in good 
health. I went down on yesterday to Mr. Archibald Bitchies^ in a car- 
riage and brought her Miss Brooke and your cousin Mary Ann Campbell 
to Mt. Pleasant — and they intend remaining here for ten or 12 days to 
come. I have been very bussy for several days in making preparations 
for a barbecue which we are to have on this day week and to which I 
am appointed one of the managers being so great ladies man that they 
could not do without me. 

[P. S.] Mrs. Roane says that they reed a letter from you a short time 
ago which took them 2 days to read. I could make the same complaint — 
but I believe you are incorrigible in the habit of writing bad. 

[Address: Princeton, N. J.] 

Alexander M'Caine^ to Sterling Ruffin. 

My dear Brother. [FELLSPomx [Md.?] July 19, 1805] 

Before you proceed one step towards the reading of this letter (if a 
letter it can be called) let me request you to sit down — and exercise 
patience in hearing my tale. An apology cannot be rendered for my 
silence which would weigh, if I were of sufficient note or of that impor- 
tance, that my scrawl would have been of any great service. Such as is 
the production of my pen — ^you should Have had it long before to day, 
were it not for the press of business that crowd upon me. See a Town 
in which there may be about 5 or 6000 Inhabitants, that Town visited 
with sickness, in that Town but One Minister and a Roman Priest, that 
Minister preaching three or four times in a Week — ^none to Baptize the 
children, none to visit the sick — none to marry the living, none to bury 
the dead but himself — see him also from 8 oclk in the morning — till 6 
in the afternoon engaged in a large school — after school engaged in some 
one or other of the above callings. See this man running hither and 
thither by Night and by day without any one to assist him in the dis- 
charge of these Ministerial duties — without time to read and almost 
without time to pray. See this man — and then you will see me. An 

iColonel Archibald Ritchie, the first child of Molly Roane and Archibald 
Ritchie, married his first cousin, Martha Hipkins Roane, the fifth child of 
Colonel Thomas Roane of Newington, and the younger sister of Ruffln's mother. 

2No information can be obtained concerning the writer of this letter. Evi- 
dently he was a Methodist minister who had been associated with Sterling 
Ruffln in Virginia. 


82 Thx Nobth Cabouna Hibtobical Commission. 

opportunity offering for me to write to Ireland^ I was, I think upwards 
of Two weeks in writing one single letter to my Sister, five times I was 
at it before I could finish it, the like of which I have not experienced 
before — ^yesterday I was oblig'd to stop my school a little to Baptize 
some children that were sick and in the afternoon I attended one funeral 
and married three Couple between 6 oClk and 9. You will see by these 
things I am busy. But are you never tired? may you say. Indeed I 
am. Tired — weary — sick of life — Sick — weary — tired of myself on 
account of my little Eeligion— of the World — on account of its vanity — 
on account of the Friendship of it on account of its instability. Longing 
after immorality for its substantial joys — after Heaven for its real 
pleasures and permanent Friendships. The 62 Psalm and 9 v. has made 
an impression on my mind the whole is seen as I never saw it till of late. 

The circumstances which have affected me this year, may have been 
hinted to you, if they have not been blaz'd abroad, I mean the treatment 
of some of the Virginia Conference to me. That has cool'd the ardor of 

my Zeal towards the . I am here now, the wound then inflicted 

on my feelings is cicatrized but the scar remains. I have no great 
thought of committing myself all my days into the power of any man or 
body of men whose favourite principle is a man accused of Maladminis- 
tration ought not to be allowed to produce witnesses or speak his own 
defence. This is so absurd a doctrine that no body will be found who 
will believe it — and so notorious is the fact of its being advanced by 
some of our Headmen in Conference that no one can be found who will 
deny it. To such a system of policy I enter my most solemn protest — 
and with such my honor will never be united. But enough of this ! 

I thank Qod my dear Br. I have had only one days sickness since I 
came to Fellspoint — altho' the weather has been extremely warm and 
dry. It is very healthy all things considerd — and should the Lord keep 
far from us Sickness it will be matter of Thankfulness and of Joy. You 
have understood no doubt that I am engaged in keeping a SchooL I 
could not get over it, private or pecuniary considerations were not the 
main or moving cause. I have procured an Assistant and have as many 
as keep us both pretty busy. Indeed I am so completely trammelled with 
my engagements that I know not how I could get them off were I now 
calPd from this place. 

I have often thought of my Br. Sterling and his Companions perhaps 
a day has not 

I got on as far as not when the Town Clock struck Eight I was obliged 
to drop my pen and run to School — and now about the middle of the 
day I resume the subject, and again say perhaps a day had not passed 
since I came that I have not thought of you, your family, your Br. Wm. 
and his family. I have thought of you — ^yes — and I believe you will 
have some of them while I have any at my disposal- — this is all I can 
do — and this I think I will do when I am engaged in conversing with 
MY FRIEND. Touching anything more — as to a visit to your Ifeigh- 

Thb Buffin Papsbs. 83 

bourhood or even to Yirga. I am afraid I got too much at the Con. to 
visit it again — ^not that I would be afraid to stand before the World in 
defence of Truth — ^I mention this to let you know the real motive. With 
many of my dear Brethren I am united and to all the rest I wish Peace. 

Discharging everything that might raise conjecture I will tell you 
that our Dear Doctor Coke has got a dear Penne' he was lately married 
in Bradford a Town in England to a Miss Penelope Smith possessed of 
a fortune of 30,000 £ Sterllllllll Wonders will never cease. Who 
could — ^would — fi^ould — or ought blame a young Man of 30 when the 
Old man of 60 puts his head into the Halter. This my dear Br. has 
made me a little merry when I heard of it. I dare say it will in the two 
Worlds raise many a smile — ^Farewell dear Doctor — Farewell. 

To be serious, this paper contains a mixt — a queer collection of mat- 
ter, well, forgive everything that is wrong. I did not intend to vn-ite 
such a letter when I promised to write to the Ladies — this however is 
not for them it is for you To let you know I am alive, 

Danl. Hall passed through this City a few days ago. I did not see 
him he has advertised his Chair — but whether he sold it or not, I cannot 
tell — they say he need not go to Tennessee if he is going to do as the 
other Dr. has done. Jesse Lee is gone to the Eastern Shore to a great 
Camp Meeting which is to commence the 25 Inst. He has gone largely 
into the book making no less than 4000 copies 1 1 when he will return to 
Virga is, I believe uncertain. 

And now Br. let me close by begging in the MOST SOLEMN manner 
an Interest in your prayers. Qive my love to your Companion and 
family, Br. Wm and his family — ^Br." Hobbs — Gholson Jr — the Brs; 
Saunders's — and to those that may even enquire (if any should enquire) 
for your unworthy Br. Alexandbb McCaine. 

Fellspoint July 19th 1806. 

[Address : 
Mr. Sterling Buffin 

Gholson's near Gholson's bridge 
Brunswick County. 

From Williaan, OametL 

August the 7, 1805. 
I received from you by the last mail two letters which contained as 
usual many complants against me for my want of punctuality. I have 
once before informed you that mail arrives at Pittsville on Wednesday 
evening and goes up so soon on the following morning that I cannot 
possibly answer your letters untill the post after. This excuse I think 
sufficiently accounts for my want of punctuality. I shall therefore advert 
to other circumstances of which you will probably wish to be informed. 

84 Thb Nobth Caboluta Historical Commission. 

Your aunt Roane and your cousin Miss Campbell left Mr. Pleasant 
before your letters arrived. I could ;iot therefore deliver your message 
to them. Our 4th of July was celebrated in a very different manner from 
what it was in Princeton. We had a dinner at Tappahannock prepared 
by Mr. T. Banks at which there were a number of toasts drank but we 
had no oration. The night after the dinner we had a ball at which there 
were a number of handsome girls. I know of no other circumstance 
whidi occurred on that night worth relating. You have therefore re- 
ceived a full account of all our proceedings on that important day^ and 
I have no doubt but you will think us a shabby set of rascals. I shall not 
however attempt to make any excuse for our conduct but submit our- 
selves entirely to your mercy. I am now writing in room so full of noise 
that I find it impossible to continue my letter I must therfor beg that 
you will excuse the shortness of this letter and believe me to be Your 
affectionate friend 

[P. S.] You have I fancy forgotten to procure me the seed of the 
melon genus and the receipt for dressing them which I request you to 
send me some time ago. I shall write you a long letter by the next post 

[Address : Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From Robert Ruffin} 

Floweb Garden Augst 8, 1805. 
It will do well enough ha : ha : ha you ask'd if I would have resolution 
enough to read your letter to the end if I have I am sound soul and body 
this is an unfair way of Judging what would you expect of a child who 
was put to reading before he knows his letters can you judge of his abili- 
ties from that^ suppose he cannot read you will then abandon him from 
your doctoring for I assure you this is a case to [illegible] you had as 
well have wrote in greak or hebrew as to have made those caractors I 
assure you there is but one person in this part of the world who can read 
it and that is your father to whom I had to apply for a translation. 
You desired that I would give you an account of the fourth of July in 
Brunswick which I should have done had it been conducted even toler- 
ably well but knowing it must be insippid to one who had seen anything 
like what you gave me an account of I will say nothing about it more 
than that Gholson was our president and Stith was Vice; Your Father 
gave me 15$ and told me to enclose it in my letter said he you may inform 
the boy so much for July; Uncle John Roane desired me to get from 
you an account of the proceedings and the different studies at Nassau 
Hall. I suppose he wishes to keep up the same rules and regulations 

iRobert Ruffin was a first cousin of Thomas Ruffln. 

The Buffin Papebs. 85 

at the academy and King William; there is a great preparation for a 
camp meeting which will take place the day week it is supposed there 
will be more people than was ever at one in this part of the world. We 
are all well except your mother who is frequently complaining of the 
swimming in the head but under daily expectation of the mumps break- 
ing out in the family I was down with your father at Petersburg where 
I caught it and it broke out after I got home; I saw the doctor yesterday 
he desired me to give his compliments to you. 
[Address : 
Citizen Thos. C. Ruffin 
Kassau Hall 

From Muscoe Oamett. 

August 9th, 1805. 
Be assured that however deficient I may have been in demonstrating 
my friendship towards you it has not proceeded from any real want of 
it, on the contrary instead of diminishing as you seem to think, it has 
done, I can say with truth that it daily augments. What excuse can I 
then make for my long silence? No other than that of an incorrigible 
indolence, which although you have so severely commented on I am 
forced to plead to avoid a suspicion much more alarming to my feelings, 
which is that of a deficiency in friendship. But as you are so great an 
adept in the study of the human heart, I think from our long acquaint- 
ance that you might have known mine better than to have suspected 
that my silence proceeded from any such cause. I expect your return 
with the greatest impatience, but I cannot say with certainty whether or 
not we can spare sufficient time from our studies to accompany you to 
Brunswick as we shall be at that time very busily occupied in the study 
of the French language, and several sciences. It is with the greatest 
difficulty that I can force myself to write, indeed so great is my aversion 
to it that my correspondents are perpetually rebuking me for my neglect, 
and I can assure you that you may always look upon a letter from me 
as a strong mark of my friendship for as every action of our lives is the 
result of the prevailing motive I say that for any incentive to be at any 
time sufficiently strong to overcome that innate slugishness in me as you 
are pleased to call it, is a proof of the strength of my friendship. It 
hegins to grow very late and it is time to conclude for there is such a 
noise in the house I scarcely know what I write, but luckily we have 
no political subject to discuss as you and William always have, and I 
am no preacher as you are for I can scarcely call this letter of yours 
anything but a moral lecture on Indolence and if you go on to improve 
in proportion as your commencement promised I do not doubt that you 

86 Thb North Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

will in time rival Doctor Blaire himself. I have twice hurried on 
farther than I intended and will now conclude with assuring you of the 
continuance of my friendship. 

[Address: Princeton, New Jersey.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

Bbunsw'k 12th Augst. 1805. 

Your letters of the 27th and 30th TJlto are both at hand, the first of 
which I shall attend to in this letter; the other affording important 
matter for a seperate one, if I find time and inclination to write, before 
your return; or a conversation when we meet, that I hope will be edify- 
ing to at least one, if not both. Let me only in the mean time again 
request in the most solemn manner an interest in those prayers which I 
trust you put up to a throne of Grace. Let me hope that at, or about 
Sun rising and setting you will present your Father etc. to an Almighty 
and all mercyfull Creator, and implore his pardon and blessings on 
them, as a part of them will endeavour to Remember you when they are 
pouring out their souls to Him. Prayer is certainly food for the soul, 
and it cannot be kept alive without much of it. Oh I then my Son 
intreat the Father of mercies to give you and us praying Hearts. Your 
Cousin Bobert wrote you a few days ago when I inclos'd $15. I herewith 
send $140 making the sum required. If you have reed. Hills draft you 
may make use of it in procuring books (among which I wish you to 
get me Cowpers Poems) and I will pay him. This sum $200 besides 
your furniture and such books as you will dispose of (and which cost 
you a good sum) is more than I calculated you would want, and nothing 
short of the assistance of a friend has enabled me to send it at this time. 

Alltho' I am anxious to see you, and your departure from Princeton 
immediately after the examination would hasten the time of our meeting* 
I can by no means consent to your leaving it sooner than commencement 
without the approbation of Doer. Smith. It would hurt me extremely 
if you were to come off contrary to the regulations of the Institution, 
by which your good name would be sullied. If then, you cannot make 
your arraingements with his entire consent, and come away with credit 
to yourself, you miLst stay until you get your parchment. You may say 
to Doer. Smith if he has no particular objection I wish you to leave 
Princeton as early after the examinations as possible. If you are in 
Richmond between the 20th and 25th of Septr. you will more than 
probable meet with me at the Bell.^ We are all well except your Mother 

lA well-known tavern in Richmond. 

The Buffin Papxbs. 87 

who has been latterly afflicted with her old complaint. You should be 
particular in forwarding your trunks; and as you leave liTassau hall, 
perhaps forever^ you should dispose of such things as you do not bring off. 
New Jersey.] 

From William Oamett. 

[Essex County, Va.] August 29th 1806. 
I have this moment received a letter from you but in consequence of 
the post office at Pittsville being this day put down I am obliged to send 
my letter to Laytons which I am fearful will prevent you from receiving 
it in time. You wiU however have sufficient leasure between this and 
the 20th of September to let me know the result of your application to 
Dr. Smith for permission to quit Princeton before the commencement 
takes place. If you will let me know at what time you expect to be in 
Fredericksburgh I will certainly meet you there in gig, if I can procure 
one which I think is a very doubtful matter as neither myself nor any 
of my neighbours are rich enough to burthen ourselves with so uimecea- 
sary an expence. But should I not be able to procure a gig you can 
easily get one by applying to one of the tavern keepers in Fredericks- 
burg. It is however needless to say more on the subject as we can 
arrange all matters when we meet which I hope will not long. I find 
by some observation of yours in the letters before the which I received 
from you that you have entirely misunderstood the remarks which I 
made some time ago respecting the condition of our slaves. I do not by 
any means think that it would be politic in us to emancipate them in 
their state. On the contrary I conceive that should such an event take 
place the evil done to themselves as well as to society in general would 
be incalculable. Nor do I think there can possibly exist a greater evil 
than that of partially emancipating our slaves. Besides the injury 
which you do to the community at large by turning loose upon them a 
set of men brought up as our negroes generally are you render those 
who are still retained in slavery much more discontented with their 
situation than they otherwise would be. And if you take all things into 
consideration you will find that the slaves themselves who are emanci- 
pated in this way are not in the smallest degree benefitted by it as they 
commonly act in such a manner as bring themselves under the correction 
of the law. No my plan was not to free my slaves but to dispose of them 
to some person who I would be assured would treat them well and 
thereby rid myself of the painful task of keeping them under proper 

88 The Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

discipline. This plan I think^ I shall still adhere to unless the task of 
manageing them [is] much more agreeable than I expect it is. 
[Address : Princeton, New Jersey.] 

Praesea et Curatores Collegii Neo-Caesariensis. 

Ommbua et singulis has literas lecturis 

Salutem in Domino. 

Notum sit quod nobis placet, auctoritate publico diplomate Praesidi 
et Curatoribus hujusce institutionis coUata, Thomas C. Ruffin juvenem 
ingenuum, moribus inculpatum, literasque humanioribus imbutum, ex- 
aminatione in artibus coram f acultate collegii imprimis habita, titulo, 
graduque Artium Bacalaurei adornare. 

Cujus haic membrana, sigillo collegii nostri rata, nominaque nostra 
subscripta, testimonio sint. 
Datum Aulae — ^Nassoyicae 

Sexto Kalendas Octobris 
Anno Domini Millesimo Octingentesimo quinto. 

Saml. Smith Pbaeses 
Joseph Bloomfield^ 
Joannes Bayabd^ 

ElISHA BoUDINOT* \ r^ a 

A rL 4 / Curatores, 

Ashbel Gbebn^ 

J. B. Smith*^ 

Ira Condict* 


From William, Oamett. 

September 27th, 1806. 
You will no doubt be surprised to learn that I was very much disap- 
pointed at receiving a letter from you a few days since. But as para- 

ijoseph Bloomfield, trustee of Princeton, 1793-1801. He signed this diploma 
as governor of New Jersey. 

2John Bayard, trustee of Princeton, 1778-1807. 

SElisha Boudinot, trustee of Princeton, 1802-1819. 

^Ashbel Green, professor at Princeton, 1785-1787; trustee, 1790-1812; presi- 
dent, 1812-1822. 

GJames Bayard Smith, trustee of Princeton, 1779-1807. 

6lra Condict, president of Rutgers College, and a trustee of Princeton, 

TIsaac Snowden, treasurer of Princeton, 1782-1808. 

The Ruffin Papebs. 89 

doxical as thiB may seem^ to you it is nevertheless a fact. To hear that 
you had been so near me without my having the least intimation of it 
was indeed a disappointment and more especially as you have all along 
fed me up with the hopes of seeing you this fall. It is true that you 
endeavour in some measure to palliate your conduct but I really think 
your excuse appears to be rather a lame one. If you were afraid of 
being sick could we not have taken as much care of you here as they 
could at home no the truth of the matter was you were too impatient 
to see your relations in Brunswick. You therefore stand without any 
other excuse whatever and you can only make up for your non perform- 
ance of promise by inmiediately complying with the one which you last 
made me of coming to see me as soon as you could possibly leave home. 
This I am the more anxious for you to do as I have several very im- 
portant subjects which I wish to discuss with you and which I cannot 
so well do by letter as by a personal communication. Some of these 
points we have already partially discussed whilst you were a resident 
of Nassau Hall but there are others which I wish to advise with you 
upon that relate wholly to myself and are to me of the last importance. 
Calculating certainly upon seeing you shortly I shall defer saying more 
on this subject untill I can have by a personal appearance a better 
opportunity of explaining myself. I am at present busily engaged in 
the pursuit of my studies however I cannot say as I am learning nothing 
but the f rench language. This leads me to speak of a man in whom I 
have been more deceived that ever I was before in my life. From the 
great character under which Doctor Haller entered our family I had 
calculated upon his being to me an invaluable acquisition. His great 
reputation for talents information and integrity had prepossed me more 
strongly in his favour than any stranger that I had ever seen in my life. 

You may judge therefore how great has been my disappointment 
when I tell you that I have found him entirely destitute of the first two 
requisites and I have many strong reasons to believe him to be also in a 
great measure destitute of the last. Of this I shall^ however say no more 
untill I see you and shall only observe that at present neither Muscoe 
nor myself are upon speaking terms with him. Muscoe is just recovering 
from a spell of sickness which has for some time past confined him to 
his bed or he would otherwise have written to you. We have had for 
some time past a sick family two of my brothers are just getting well 
of the fall fever and I have a brother and a sister now confined to their 
beds with it. I am in fact the only one who can be said to have entirely 
escaped from sickness this fall. Adieu. 

P. S. I wrote you at Princeton, since your return home as I did not 
get the letter which you left for me at Fredbg in some time after it was 
written and I should not then have gotten it but Mr. Potts happened 
there by accident and brought it down. Let me know when I shall 
expect you. 

90 Thb Nobth Cabolika Historical Commission. 

Our jockey club races in tliis neighbourhood took place a few dajs 
ago at which I saw Tom Boane John and archibald Ritchie they were 
all well, and spent a day with us before they returned home from the 

[Address : 
Harris Post Office 

From George Hairaton} 

^ -, . - Richmond Oct. 2nd 1805. 

JJr, rnend 

Yours from Petersburg I had the satisfaction to receive at [torn] 
gave me great pleasure to hear of your safe arrival. I have complied 
with your request in not neglecting your Diploma, and left it where 
you desired. The reason of my not putting an Adelphic ribbon to it 
you, I suppose, have heard. I was sorry to hear of the proceedings of 
that Society, with regard to you, but I do not know why I should be, 
because nothing in my opinion is more ridiculous than that of expelling 
a man from a thing which no longer exists and that too without giving 
him a hearing or even information of the business previous to their 
determination. Their conduct in this instance has been considered to 
be curious and contemptible. I suppose they found themselves fast sink- 
ing into oblivion and in order to prevent tixe members of College from 
forgetting that there was such a boddy, they proceeded to this unaccount- 
able conduct, preferring to be remembered with disgrace, rather than 
to be sunk into the gulf of forgetfulness. The ribbon on your Diploma 
is the same kind with the others who were not members of either of the 

Nothing very particular occurred on the day of commencement, the 
speakers delivered their orations rather better than usual. The remark- 
ably numerous audience appeared to inspire them with oratorical fira 
I left Princeton on thursday night and arrived here last evening in 
company with Messrs. Penn,^ Brice'^ [torn] I could not have supposed 
that parting with Friends would have been so affecting as I found it 
to be, in spite of me, I could not avoid shewing my weakness. I would 

lOeorge Hairston, of Virginia, a student at Princeton who failed to receive 
his degree in 1805 because of hie not having studied Greek, but who did 
receive a special diploma for the rest of his work. He was without doubt a 
member of the Hairston family which later settled at Sauratown in North 

2Robert C. Penn, of Richmond, Va., who remained at Princeton until May, 
1807, when, just before his graduation, he was dismissed for rebellion. 

sProbably Archibald Bryce, of Richmond, Va., a member of the Sophomore 
class at Princeton, admitted in 1805, who never graduated. 

The Buffin Papers. 91 

not undergo such an other [torn] no considerations whatever. I am 
just now hurrying off to the Fair ground. You wiU therefore excuse 
me for scribbling off these few lines in such a bungling and careless 
manner. If you can make out to understand it^ I shall be agreeably 
disappointed. I shall tomorrow proceed on my way home where I will 
be happy to hear from you at any time etc. 

[Address: Harris post office Brunswick Cty^ Ya.] 

From J. Beynolds,^ 

-. ^ ^ Princeton Novr. 20th 1805. 

Dear Muffin 

I have delayed answering your letter a few days till I would complete 
your business with Mr. Robinson^ and be able to give a full account of 
it to you. I will pay Robinson to night : as certain as death : and the 
reason why I could not sooner^ is because leaving home two weeks before 
college commenced^ I did not bring money with me : but had it forwarded 
to me at this place after I came. Pollard* has no money he says at 
present but will be able to discharge his quota immediately— John Blair^ 
has paid his part, or had money and intended to pay it. Since I wrote 
the above line I have enquired and found that neither of them have 
discharged their several accounts. I urged Pollard strongly : he declared 
to discharge it invmediately. It would be best for you^ Sir to write to 
Pollard or Blair. I know well that they are dilatory, and that my words 
have not as much force as yours. I am sorry indeed that I have it not 
in my power to send you a satisfactory account of this affair — with 
respect to myself, you may be assured of promptness in the performance 
of my part of the business, probably when you next receive a letter from 
me, I will have the pleasure writing a more account of it. 

Your departure from College without taking leave of me needs no 
apology: I am no advocate for forms and ceremonies — I am told that 
some time before your departure, you renewed your acquaintance with 
Robt: Green.' I was surprised when it was mentioned to me: and no 
way displeased at your condescension. 

Our college is very much crowded by the new students who have 
entered this fall, I believe the number is nearly 200 Every room in Col- 

iJohn Resmolds, of Shippensburg, Pa., a non-graduate member of the class 
of 1806. 

2pTobably Jonathan Robinson, of Philadelphia, a non-graduate member of 
the class of 1807. 

SRobert Pollard, of Richmond, Va., a non-graduate member of the class 
of 1807. 

4John H. Blair, of the class of 1806. 

SRobert Stockton Green, of the class of 1805; A.M., 1809; died, 1813. 

92 Thb Kobth Cabolhta Hibtoeical Commission. 

lege has its complement^ and a large number board in town. I am afraid 
that our Society will be very much crowded, as a great number will 
apply and few can be refused. 

You probably have been informed by Belnap^ or Cuthbert* that your 
brother adelphians have with the firmness of popes excommunicated 
you from their august bodies. Indeed it seems strange that a Society 
would expel a worthy member, when the next momenl it had in con- 
templation, a dissolution of itself. I heard that the cause of your ex- 
pulsion, was the divulging of some secrets, one of which was that ^'the 
society was to be dissolved at Commencement and that the records were 
to be burnt. You yourself, know best the cause, and I will leave you 
to think for yourself. 

It was my opinion that a new society would be formed this winter. 
I hardly think that it will be the Case at present — the number of Stu- 
dents so little exceeds the number of which the College has for some time 
consisted that the formation of a new society will hardly be attempted. 
You recollect I informed you of the intentions of some students together 
with myself — to establish a third Society: the business has fallen 
through — for my part think too much trouble would devolve on me if I 
attempted to carry it into execution with a few others. There would 
be great expense, and trouble for a few to carry it into effect. I hope 
to see the time, and I hope it will be soon, when we can again call you 
Whig. I then with some caution will lay before you the state of Society. 
I am of opinion that the College will never consist of many more students 
than it does at present. So many institutions have been lately estab- 
lished in the several states that, after some time this college will be con- 
fined nearly altogether to the education of the Youth of N. Jersey — 
the Jerseymen are pouring in like like the northern invaders upon the 
Roman Empire — % of the present number are all Jersey men. 

The Seniors are reciting Catoprics in Helsham* — I. M. is far the best 
scholar, will take the first honour 

Write again soon inform me of every thing. 

Mr. T. R. 

[Address : Harris's, Brunswick, Virginia.] 

iHezekiah Belknap, of the class of 1805; A.M., 1808; tutor, 1806-1807; 
librarian, 1807-1809; member of the New York assembly, 1814. Died, 1824. 

2John Alfred Cuthbert, 1788-1881, class of 1805. Lawyer, member of the 
Georgia legislature for many years, captain in the War of 1812, member of 
Congress from 1819 to 1821. federal commiseioner to treat with the Creeks 
and the Cherokees, 1829; editor of the Federal Union, 1831 to 1837. In the 
latter year he moved to Mobile where he became a county judge in 1840 and a 
circuit Judge in 1852. 

81 am unable to identify the classic mentioned. This was probably a local 
slang equiyalent. 

The Buffin Papbbs. 93 

From William Oamett. 

December 17th 1805. 

If 7011 are a man of your word this letter cannot reach you before you 
set out for Essex. But for fear that this should not be the case I have 
thought proper to answer the epistle which I received from you by the 
last mail. You mention matter which you wrote me some time ago^ but 
which I have never yet received. You may therefore judge that I 
have had sufficient reason to conclude that you were either dead or that 
some dreadful catastrophe had bef ailed you. Your letter however has 
cleared up my doubts as to your non entity and soundness of body but 
the cause of your long silence still remains unexplained. I shall not 
however urge you farther on this subject but leave you to make such 
conmients upon it as your own reflection will suggest. I believe that I 
shall conmience the study of the law after Christmas but I do not well 
know how to give up medicine a Doctor having always been a favourite 
profession with me. 

My view in studying the law if I determine so to do will be to gain 
a subsistence. 

You will no doubt be surprised to hear a man who is in possession of 
a tolerable good tract of land and negroes enough to work it talk in this 
strain. But it is nevertheless a fact that my sole object in studying the 
law is to gain a livelihood. I dislike the present system of cultivation 
in Virginia so much that I think the situation of the master but little 
preferable to that of the slave. Under the influence of these impression 
I do not think it likely that I shall long retain my farm when I arrive 
at an age which will quallify me to dispose of it. And should this happen 
which I think there is every probability of its doing I shall then need 
a profession for my support. I shall I suppose see you in a few days 
and I can then enter more largely into my views to say more at present 
would therefore be superfluous. 


[Address : 
Harris Post office^ 


From J, Reynolds. 

^ J , 3 Princeton Deer. 20th 1805. 

Dear fnend. 

Your letter afforded me much pleasure ; I neither regard the postage 

or any trouble which I may have in receiving the letters or doing any 

business for a particular friend. I do not mean by these words that I 

94 The North Cabouka Historical Commission. 

ever experienced any trouble in transacting any business relating to yon. 
I agree with you on your eulogy of Friendship. It is a sacred tie : which 
binds mortals together. Unhappy must be the man for whom there is 
no ''eye to pity or hand to save." The greatest pleasure that has been 
ever mingled with my cup of sorrow has arisen from the sympathetic 
affectionate kindness of my friends. No person (Bver needed more con- 
solation from their fellow mortals than myself. Even this moment were 
I not conscious that I have friends^ who watch with an anxious eye, 
my unhappy state of mind and body^ my evil genius might hurry me 
imperceptibly to the commission of some rash action. — I have let the 
pen very foolishly glide along without heeding what it writes. — ^You 
must know that I at present labour under a scourging disease, which 
will force me to leave College in a few days. I have resolved to take a 
dismission from College and go to Philadelphia. You may be anxious 
to know, what is the nature of the disease. I never informed any person 
but an intimate friend. You however shall know it. I always thought 
that the mention of it involved a point of delicacy and therefore I tell 
no person. But there is no shame attached to the discovery of the 
disease. If you consult any system of Surgery you will find a disorder 
called Hernia. Certainly it is one of the most afflicting diseases that 
the constitution of man is liable to. I shall be in the city on the 26 of 
Deer. It is my intention to put myself under the care of some eminent 
physician at that place, whose skill in surgery may promise a speedy 
cure. (I doubtless shall leave College and never return again.) The' I 
value somewhat a regular degree; yet when my health is put in com- 
petition with a nominal honor you know what choice is preferable. Most 
probably I shall immediately commence the practice of Physic; if I 
receive a successful cure. The operation will be somewhat dangerous, 
but I am prepared for the consequences death : or life, tho' I hope that the 
first will never happen. 


I do not wish you to write me for some time as I am not certain where 
I will reside. I will inform you by Letter from Pha. what may be the 
result of my disorder. 

I shall all ways esteem Ruffin as one of my best friends in life — ^and 
shall anxiously look forward to the day when I shall have better oppor- 
tunities of perpetuating a friendship, which if it be as pure as it is at 
present will only terminate with my existence. 

[P. S.] Ritchie sends the Enquirer yet: I only took it for one half 

[Address : 
Westward Mill 

Thb Buffin Papess. 95 

From J. Reynolds. 

^ -, - Philadelphia Jany. 18th, 1806. 

Dear Buffin 

I have been in this city 3 weeks under the care of Drs. Physick^ and 
Wifltar* — they have given me a very favourable opinion of my disorder 
in consequence of which I will leave town in a few days. Whether I 
ever shall return to College again, depends upon circumstances. My ill 
health would prevent me from going to Princeton before spring at least, 
and I have partly concluded to begin the study of Medicine. 

The faculty would be unwilling to receive me after being absent so 
long a time as four months and rather than being forced to stay at Col- 
lege another year, I'll drop the notion of taking a degree at Princeton 
College. I do not value a nominal degree: Among Bepublicans where 
equality is the favoured principle and monopoly of any kind is dis- 
carded by an intelligent people the pompous title of A.B. will have little 
efFect, when a man is to rise by his own intrinsic merit. It shall be the 
business of my whole life to investigate all the mysteries of science : and 
fleeing that I have some rudiments of taste implanted in my mind by an 
accademical education, I may be nabled to pursue them to a favourable 
issue. A degree certainly is of use to a man in the literary world, in 
the profession which he intends to pursue. If I study medicine, no 
doubt the degree of M.D. will be conferred upon me. Of the three pro- 
fessions that of Medicine will suit me best. There are bad prospects for 
Lawyer in the state of Pennsylvania. The spirit of litigation will in 
time cease throughout the IJ. States : instead of contentious strife which 
is the consequent of party spirit, and of the demoniacal effects of jacob- 
inism, universal harmony and order will arise. 

I intend to read much in the course of this winter if my health permits, 
and prepare myself for the study of Physic. I will write to the faculty 
and if they be unwilling to receive me in Spring, I will immediately 
commence study. I hope you will write to me at Shippensburg give me 
an account of every important occurrence in your sphere since I seen you. 

The Students of Princeton did not pass over Christmas without show- 
ing something of their antient infatuation — ^Drunkeness, a monstrous 
practice, was common thro' College. Little William Hamilton* of No. 
Carolina has been suspended for impertinence to Thompson.* Neile® 
is married, and gone from Princeton. Belnap is reading Law. John 


iPhilip Syng Physlck, 176S-1835, the "Father of American Surgery.' 

^Caspar Wlstar, 1761-1818, a noted surgeon who succeeded Jefferson as 
president of the American Philosophical Society. The vine, wistaria, is named 
for him. 

swilliam Hamilton, of Elizabeth City, N. C, a member of the class of 1808. 

^William Thompson, professor of languages, 1802-1808. 

5WliIlam Nelll, of Pennsylvania, 1778-1860; A.B., 1803; tutor, 1803-1805; 
moderator, Presbyterian General Assembly, 1815; president, Dickinson Col- 
lege, 1824-1829; editor and writer. 

96 The North Carolina Historical Commission. 

Scott^ is reading at Dr. Smiths. I. Smith^ and Barton^ are studying 
medicine in Philadelphia. The Whig Socy. contains 80 members^ and 
Old Morford is much of a rascal yet. Walker^ is one of the best scholars 
in the Senior class^ and has exceeded the expectations of all — ^he will 
have the third or fourth honour. 

I have been amusing myself in this City for 8 weeks. 

T. C. Ruffin. 

[Address : 
Westward Mills 
Brunswick^ Virginia.] 

Prom Oeorge Hairston. 

PiTTSLVANiA CrTY [Va.] Fcby 2nd, 1806. 

I am afraid you have before this concluded that warm friendship 
cannot' dwell in the breast of one, who has delayed answering your agree- 
able letter for so great a lenght of time, but believe me my dear friend 
it has been much less owing to inclination than to unavoidable circum- 
stances; to detail which would be useless to your generous and unsus- 
pecting heart ; and would only trouble you with excuses, which I know 
you judge to be useless. 

I have often conversed with my friends at Princeton and ihey per- 
fectly agreed with me, with regard to the tyranical and unprecedented 
conduct of the Adelphians to you. I suppose it must have been the 
expiring struggles of ambition which had no other channel through 
which to give itself vent. It was no less useless than absurd. It could 
not possibly have been productive of any good consequences whatever; 
for that was the last groan of the institution and I suppose it has almost 
sunk into oblivion. As it could have proceeded from nothing but enmity 

iJohn Morln Scott, A.B. Princeton, 1806, was a lieutenant In the War of 
1812; member of the legislature of Pennsylvania, 1816-1817; member of the 
constitutional convention of 1836; mayor of Philadelphia, 1841-1843. He died 
In 1858. 

sisaac Ambrose Smith, A.B. 1805, of Prince Edward County, Virginia; M.D. 
University of Pennsylvania, 1808; later of Louisiana. 

swilllam Barton, of Philadelphia, 1786-1856; graduated from Princeton 
in the class of 1805. He received the degree of M.D. from Pennsylvania in 
1808. While a student, following the example of the majority of his class who 
assumed names, he added Paul Crillon to his name. He was a surgeon in the 
United States Navy from 1809 to 1866, but was during that time (1816-1828) 
professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania, and professor of materia 
medica and botany at Jefferson Medical College (1828-1830). He was a very 
prolific author. 

4John Williams Walker, of Virginia, 1783-1823, a member of the claas of 
1806. He moved to Alabama where he became a very prominent lawyer, and 
after several terms in the legislature was elected United States Senator in 
1819 and served until 1822 when he resigned. 

The Buffin Papebs. 97 

I am in hopes you treat it with deserved contempt and I will spend not 
another thought about it. Writing one letter to the members was of 
more trouble than it merited. 

Little did I expect, when we parted at Princeton to have the happi- 
ness of having you or any other of my Princeton friends neighbors of 
mine. This gives me incouragement to hope that the hand of providence 
will send more of our old class mates to become neighbors of ours. Do 
not take me to be like a miser the more money he gets the less he enjoys 
what stock he has and is so craving after wealth that he becomes miser- 
able and a useless member of society. But on the contrary and if we 
should have but few neighbors we must make up the deficiency by fre- 
quent visits. You see my dear friend I already count you a visitant 
diough you speak so indeffinately of the time of your fathers moving, 
that I am some time afraid so pleasing an expectation will be frustrated. 
Must however trust in providence, qui gubernat omnia. Instead of 50 
miles it cannot be over 20 from where I expect to reside. 

I suppose you will be a little surprised to hear that I am a going to 
become a person of business. Instead of that peaceful retirement which 
I promised myself after my return home, have engaged in the laborious 
study of the Law. What produced this change I can hardly tell you. 
I must confess vanity had a little share in it, I can't say fame because 
I never expect to be immortalised by my oratory but merely to be raised 
above the grovelling multitude and to be of some benefit to my acquaint- 
ances. In order to persue my studies with the greatest advantage I have 
put myself under the instruction of Christopher Clark^ who is now in 
Congress. Write me soon what time in the Spring you intend up in 
Henry and if possible I will be at home about that time. However if 
I am not there ''Old Bob" will ; so that I am in hopes that you will not 
decline going on account of the uncertainty of my being at home. I 
understand two or three of your neighbors are about settling upon the 
same body of Land also, if any of them should come to see their intended 
residence with you. I shall be very happy to see them with you at my 
Fathers. I have had several letters from Princeton, no disturbance 
there this Christmas. Ronolds from Bichmond is sent off. Mrs. Maddi- 
son, Mr. Striker^ and his daughter Ca. have departed this life since we 
left there. But those things I suppose you have heard. 

Happiness attend you and believe me to be yours etc. 

[Address : 
Westward Mill 

Brunswick County.] 

iChristopher Clark» 1767-1828, of Albemarle County. He was several times 
a member of the legislature, and was elected to Congress In 1803 and served 
ontll 1806 when he resigned. 

2Danlel P. Stryker, of New Jersey, a member of the class of 1804. 



98 The North Oabolina Historical Commissioit. 

From Jane Harding} 

Pbtbbsbubo 24 February 1806. 
What appology, What atlionement, shall I make for neglecting to 
answer your letter so long. No doubt you have f ormd, a thousand con- 
jectures about it. I plead guilty and must throw myself on your good 
nature for forgiveness and What ever pennance you chuse, to inflict I 
am determined, to submit without a murmur, but let me beg of you not 
to be too severe, a propos of pennances I have seated myself with a 
determination to answer your letter not to make appologies, yet I know 
not how to begin, here I have been sitting this half hour, studying a 
few words and my head is so thick and conf us'd, that I find it impos- 
sible, to fix upon one that will please me. I must throw that idea aside 
and begin with the flattery you intended for me, but I am determined 
not to believe that you are capable of flattering, you are not yet in pos- 
session of that fine accomplishment. I have no doubt you intend to 
make it one of your studys if you wish to please the Ladys, according 
to Chesterfields notions, for he says the Least attention please them the 
greatest charm and flattery no matter how gross is greedily swallowed. 
I do not agree with him there I cannot admit the idea that a very u^y 
woman can be pleased with what she knows not to be her due. A hand- 
some person, such as your Brunswick Belle might expect and no doubt 
gets a sufficient quantity. You do great honour in allowing me to fill 
Minerva's place in the Epistolary way, and I promise to be better 
pleas'd with your letters than you can be with mine, for there is no 
possibility of your being edified by such Letters as I shall write yon 
but there is a possibility of my receiving the greatest instruction from 
yours. Perhaps you will observe that we do not write for edification 
or instruction but for amusement. I admit it and even for amusement 
my Letters must be dull, and insipid. I hope you will not think I am 
repeating all, this for another mouthful of flattery. No I am shure yon 
will not, for I am certain, at least I hope as a Brother you will not think 
so meanly of me. I would write you all the news if I had any worth 
relating, for I am shure you will not be pleasd with the silly chit chat 
of the town or village we live in. I shall leave that out and inform you 
of a very agreeable party I was in at Parson Harritsons. there was a 
very handsome Collection of boath Ladys and gentlemen our famns 
Paris Beau doctor Holms was there, I think the title of formal much 
more applicable than Holms — therefore doctor formal at your service, 
he appears to have study'd the graces but not sufficient to divest himself 
of a stif and formal way he has acquir'd perhaps a little practise will 
make him perfect. I do not mean to be satyrical and if I have gone too 
far I beg his pardon, need I appologise for the lenth of my letter I fear 

II am unable to locate the writer of this letter. 

The Ruffin Fapbbs. 99 

I liave tiard you with my nonsence, you must forgive me as I cannot 
have the pleasure of conversing with you, we are seperated it is true but 
I hope you will make up the deficiency by writing often and not weight 
for an answer to every letter. I hope you are above such Ceremony. I 
heard Bobert Buffin was in town last week he thought proper not to call. 
I intended to have sent some things out by him that Minerva left here. 
I shall scratch him intirely off my Books. Mrs. Jeffrs sends her Love 
to you and intends to send you a kiss on the oather side of this letter 
take good care of it and prise it for I expect you do not often have kiss's 
sent you so far. Present my love to your Fathers family and accept 
the same from your sister Jane Habdino. 

When we dwell on the lips of the lad we adore. 

Not a pleasure in nature is missing; 
May his soul be in heaven, he deservs it I am share, 

Who was first the inventor of kissing. 

— M, JeffrB, 

Patsey, I take your verses and yonr kiss, 

Snch goodly offers I can ne'er refuse; 
My soul desires to reciprocate by this 

And dedicate to you the products of its muse.i 

Harris's Post Office 

Prom WiUiam Oarnett. 

18th March 1806. 
1 have this instant received a letter from you by a private opportunity 
from Tappahannock couched in the most bitter terms of complaint 
against me for my remissness in writing to you. In reply to the allega- 
tions which you have made I can assure you that I have not only 
answered all the letters which I have received from you but have written 
many which you have never acknowledged the receipt of. This I have 
in a great measure attributed to the irregularity of the mail as all the 
letters which^ I have received from you since your return to Brunswick 
have been lodged in Tappahannock and as I but seldom go there they 
have in many instances remained for months in the office before I knew 
of their being there. Having said thus much by way of exonerating 
myself from so heinous a charge as that of a dereliction from friendship 
I must request that you will hereafter give the post master a particular 
injunction to direct your letters to Laytons instead of Tappahannock 
as he has heretofore done. This being done I can assure you that there 
shall never be an interruption to our correspondence at least as far as 

iThls is written in a differenit hand from the rest, and strongly resembles ^ 

that of Rnflln as it was at that time. 

-. 1^ .V 

100 The Nobth Carolina Historical Commission. 

it lies in my power. Your assurances of friendship were quite needless 
as I never once in mj life had the smallest doubt of your r^ard and I 
solemnly aver that my attachment to you so far from being weakened by 
our long seperation is if anything stronger than it ever was before. But 
as I am well convinced that you have every reason to place an entire 
confidence in my friendship I will urge this subject no further. You 
have requested to be informed of the place which I at this time call my 
home^ of my present employment and of the plans which I have formed 
with regard to my future destination in life. To the first of your queries 
I reply by informing you that I still continue to be a resident of Mount 
Pleasant and shall in all probability continue to be so for many years to 
come. I employ myself at this time principally in attending to my farm 
and in prosecuting a course of history which I commenced this winter 
and which I hope to conclude sometime in the course of the next. I shall 
then if I do not alter my determination commence the study of the law, 
not as a profession merely but as a science from which I may derive 
amusement and information as well as profit. Having thus given you a 
full account of my present and future plans of opperation I shall cal- 
culate upon receiving the same information from you in your reply to 
this epistle. But apropos what goddess is this who has so completely 
overturned your stoicism and obliterated from your memory those many 
wise and prudent maxims which I have so often heard you repeat upon 
the subject of matrimony. I had hitherto believed you invulnerable to 
the darts of Cupid but I find that you can no longer boast of being 
shielded by the impenetrable aegis of Minerva. Poor fellow I sincerely 
commiserate your situation and can only advise you to enlist all your 
philosophy to your aid if your case is a desperate one. My unfortunate 
brother Muscoe has very lately been in the same dilema with yoursdf 
but his Dulcinea remained inexorable to all his entreaties so that he 
has returned home quite dispirited and broken hearted. I have written 
both my ideas and my paper out and must consequently bid you adieu. 

[P. S.] I must make a request of you although I fear it will be need- 
less which is that you will write plainer. So long as we have been corre- 
sponding I still find the greatest difficulty in reading your letters. Indeed 
there are several passages in many of them which I have never yet made 
out. It is a bad habit and one which you ought to correct^ especially as 
you are to be lawyer. 

[Address : 

The Buffin Papebs. 101 

From Spencer Boane. 

^ ^ . Spbiwo Gaedbn July 28th, 1806. 

Ijear Sir: 

I received your letter of 8tli instant, only two days ago. 

I regret to inform you, that the largeness of my family at present, and 
other circumstances of a domestic nature, make it entirely inconvenient 
to receive any further addition to the family. These considerations 
have been so imperious as to compel me to decline similar applications, 
from persons I wished to oblige, in every instance except two, and those 
some years ago. 

Wishing you success in your studies, and with compliments to your 
father and family, I am, y obt. st. 

Sfenceb Roanb. 

[Address: Brunswick] 

From Elisha Clarke. 

Fhiladblfhia August 12th, 1806. 
With blushes I acknowledge the extent of interval since my last com- 
munication — but permit me to urge in extenuation of the seeming neg- 
lect, that it proceeded not my dear fellow, from the most remote view 
of dissolving that friendly correspondence, and mutuality of sentiments 
and interest for the welfare of each other, which formed so prominent 
a feature in our first letters; but from a source, to which I am really 
ashamed so often to attribute any apparent indifference to my warmest 
friends. That indolence has heretofore been almost one of my elementary 
principles, I fear too many of my friends can bear witness, but from 
this period I will never more plead it in excuse, and the strongest testi- 
mony that I can give of my newly acquired resolution will be a strict 
adherence to those principles which form its basis. Thus I might con- 
tinue the round of assurances of my sincerity, and desire to perpetuate 
that reciprocity of affection which at present exists in such an high 
degree, but I will desist, enjoying the consolation that your candour to 
excuse is not less eminent than your abilities to guage. My movements 
are very similar to yours, not more rapid in CuUen and Bush than you 
in Blackstone. As to the women, they appear at one hour of the day, 
and I at another ; but were I in your part of the world, amidst the pleas- 
ing murmurs of so many fine girls, I should from almost an innate prin- 
ciple be oblidged to assume the garb of a gallant. But in this populous 
City, though to me one of the most unsocial places that I ever was in, 
I am oblidge to move almost alone. The occurences of the day are few 
and insipid, and upon the whole I enjoy no amusement except occa- 
sionally with my fellow students. I^o appearance of the late epidemic 

102 Thb Nobth CABOLmA Historical Commission. 

scourge as yet, and from present appearances no suspicions are enter- 
tained. I am happy to hear that Dr. Niblock is doing so extremely well, 
the other two whom you mention in your letter, seem at the tune of 
fixing their place of residence to have kept in mind the old proverb, that 
birds of a feather always flock together— raXher than consult their own 
interest. The lectures are fast approaching, and as I have been a pretty 
close student all the summer, shall for relaxation take a little excursion 
in the country, probably to Princeton. 

Accept, Sir, my tenderest wishes for your prosperity and write me 

P. S. You ought to tell the Girls in Brunswk not to dispair of getting 
husbands, that there is yourself together with several others who in all 
probability will not fly elsewhere to get wives, at least without previously 
offering their services. Two of your old friends and graduates. Messrs. 
Beynolds and Barton are here studying medicine, both of whom desire 
to be remembered to you. 

[Address: Brunswick City, Virga.] 

From William Oamett. 

3^ September 1806 
I have at length received a letter from you through its proper channef 
which induces me to hope that there will not hereafter be so many 
obstacles in the way of our epistolary intercourse as there have hitherto 
been. You express a fear that sickness has made me forget my promise- 
of writing a long letter to you after I had finished my harvest — This I 
can assure has not been the case as I have never at any period of my 
life enjoyed better health than I now do. The supposed non perform- 
ance of my promise can not therefore be attributed to this cause nor is. 
it attributable to me in as much as I by writing the letter directing it to 
you and putting it in the post office did all that was in my power towards 
its accomplishment and am consequently in no degree blameable for my 
intentions not having the desired effect. I sincerely sympathise with 
you in the loss of your friend as I know by sad experience the agonising 
sensations that such an event must occasion. To most of the dispensa- 
tions of providence I think I can submit with as much fortitude as any 
man But to be bereft by death of a valuable friend is a misfortune too 
great for my philosophy I give way to the impetuosity of my feelings 
without the ability of making a strugle against them. When we reflect 
seriously upon the subject it really appears astonishing that a man after 
so severe a loss should ever recover even a tolerable degree of tran- 
quility. The state of uncertainty that we are in whether we shall ever 
meet again or if we do in what relation we are to view each other are^ 

The Ruffiw Pafebs. 108 

considerationB which fill the mind with anguish which defies the power 
of language to describe. I fear you will accuse me of being but a bad 
comforter and although I am forced to plead guilty to the charge I 
must add by way of extenuation that the subject upon which I have been 
writing has called forth feelings which though they occasionally lie 
dormant neither will or can ever be totally extinguished. The death of 
my father and a friend of whom you have frequently heard me speak 
T. Peyton often obtrude upon my mind and occasion the most melan- 
choly reflections. To pour forth my feelings in the bosom of a friend 
who I know will sympathise with me in all my afflictions affords me a 
gratification which I cannot forego. But unless yon should as well as 
my selfe be too much infected by the gloom which the subject naturally 
inspires I will dismiss it and take my leave of you. 
Westward Mills 
Brunswick Va.] 

From William Oamett. 

September 20th 1806. 
An opportunity offering of conveying a letter to you as far as Bich- 
mond through a private channel I hasten to avail myself of it; hoping 
that being so far safely carried, it may escape the f ate, which has for 
some time past befallen both my letters, and your own. I have not 
received a letter from you since early in last month. This I do not 
mention as a circumstance which should attach any blame to you but 
as an event which I greatly deplore in as much as I can devise no remedy 
against it. For myself I can safely say (and I believe that I can with 
the same propriety affirm as much for you) that I have made every 
exertion within my power to prevent this vexatious interruption. All 
the efforts which I have made to this effect have and will continue to 
prove abortive unless some radical change is made in our post office 
regulations. I shall not however relax in any degree my exertion to 
maintain an intercourse from which I derive such infinite enjoyment. 
In your last letter to me you touched upon the subject of politics. I 
have hitherto been silent on this head as it is a topic (I allude to the 
politics of the day only) which from a variety of causes requires such 
a voluminous investigation as would far exceed the limits of a letter. 
I am on this account the more anxious to see you as I wish very much 
to have some conversation with you upon a subject which has lately 
become more than ordinarily interesting. The scenes now acting in 
Europe open a wide field for speculation — Should not some unforeseen 
circumstance occur to check the ambitious views of Buonaparte I wish 
that we may not have cause to tremble for our political existence. Great 

104 The North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

Britain (whose navy as Mr. Randolph justly observes presents the only 
barrier which exists between us and French oppression appears to me to 
be almost upon the eve of dissolution. Already upon the brink of bank- 
ruptcy I do not think it possible that she can withstand the blow which 
the exclusive system that Buonaparte has established upon the conti- 
nent must necessarily give to her commerce — annihilate this and you 
at once annihilate her. — ^And that this will unavoidably be the case 
(should the exclusive system now established continue in force) appears 
to me to be susceptable of demonstration. Can England possibly support 
the enormous expenses of her government when deprived of so consider- 
able a portion of her revenue as that which she derives from her com- 
merce with the continent of Europe — certainly not, the downfall of her 
navy will be the necessary consequence of this measure and with it her 
own ruin. That my presages may prove to be unfounded I most ardently 
wish but unless something (which I do not now forsee) turns up to 
materially alter the face of things I fear that I have but little reason 
to hope that this will be the case. 

From Sterling Buffin. 

Bbukswe Septr. 20tli 1806. 
By Mr. Brodnax you will receive this, who will inform you of the 
situation of the family, and neighborhood. Inform Mr. McRae I shall 
be down between the Ist and 15th of Oct. at which time I shall calculate 
on receiving the money loan'd him, allso that which is due to Bobt. or 
rather desire Robert on his return to give McRae notice, if he has not 
done it. I received a letter from Mr. Robertson^ by Capt. Gholson soon 
after you left us saying he could not admit you a student sooner than 
Oct. neither could he then, unless you would engage for at least two 
years ; conscious that no young man could be qualify'd to commence the 
practice of the law with honor to himself and his instructor sooner: 
believing this opinion to be intirely correct and not wishing you to 
engage sooner than you are admissable by law (viz at 21 years old) I 
do not hesitate in recommending it to you, to accede to his proposition. 
His price is 25 Guineas p. annm. one half in advance the bal. at the end 
of the term. When I come down I expect to furnish the money; in the 
meantime, if circumstances should require it, you must draw on those 
notes you have. You have come to that time of life to discover your 
duty and interest so unequivocally, as to render any observations of mine 
on the importance of improving your time unnecessary; but perhaps 

iDavid Robinson, a Scotch lawyer In Petersburg, under whom Ruffin was 
now studying law. Sao Graham, p. 21, sir.yra. 

The Ruffin Papers 106 

it may not be as much so to guard you against the vices that are preva- 
lent in that place^ and to make it my particular request, that you will 
keep at a distance all characters who would lead you to the commission 
of deeds which your religion would on reflection blush to own. Your 
friend Doer. Claiborne makes it his particular request^ and thro me 
offers his advice, that you will be regular in the use of moderate exercise. 
He thinks your constitution imperiously calls for it. Tom, divide the 
day into so many parts as will render, rest, exercise, and study profitable ; 
and let not small things break in upon your system ; acquire a habit of 
firmness in making pleasure or amusement yeald to business while you 
are young, or you will find it harder than you are aware, and perhaps 
impracticable when you are old. We join in love and best wishes for 
your wellf are, and expect to hear frequently from you. 

N. B. Write to Yr. Mother particularly. 

[Address: Petersburg.] 

From William Presley Claiborne. 

«. Lynchburg 10th Oct'. 1806 

Svr — 

When I last saw you it was my intention to have spent this Winter 
in Philadelphia for the purpose of receiveing the benefit of the Physical 
Lectures, But the day after I left You I was taken so ill on the road it 
prevented my traveling and altho I had previously preceded nearly Fifty 
miles I was five days in reaching home only One Hundred and 20 miles. 
Nor had I been in Lynchburg two Hours before Dr. Cabell Senr.^ an 
eminent physician, thought it requisite to take forty large oz : of Blood 
from me, From which time I spent my time, neither in hope nor fear, 
for two and a half days; and kept my Bed seventeen. You may well 
Imagine I was, and still continue much ematiated, But I am now fast 
recovering and hope e'er long to see you in Petersburg. 

From which cause; my attention in Philadelphia this season will be 
impossible as the Lectures commence the first Week in November, and 
my strength will not admit of my traveling so fair. — I have not since 
I saw you been so lucky as to have received the scrip of a pen from Din- 
widdie where I fear my Sister is ill. Will you be so good as to inform 
me by letter Docf. Gilliam's opinion of her real situation, And your's 
of her present health — I have a task to learn, which when compleated, 
will in my Breast raise monuments of approbation, Yet hard it is, to 
know, to here, and not to see, the Object that I love you yet are happy, 
you have not known the stings of disappointed Love, You have not felt 

iDr. Oeorre Cabell. 

106 The Nobth CABOLmA Historical Commission. 

as Mr. Otway^ most gloriously express'es it when Poljdore attempts to 
overcome the Virtue of Monimia 

If to desire you more than Misers wealth. 
Or dying Men, an hour of added Life; 
If softest wishes, or a heart as true 
As ever sufferd under Loves, suspence 
Spoke e'r the tidings of his soul, 'tis I.? 

Or if you have^ some grasp of hope was left^ some spray or twig whilst 
washing down the stream wav'd by the wind to raise thee from dispair, 
[torn] thou siezd and raised thyself from misery. Yet me ! I dare not 
speak, nor look in Love, for by the Eternal Qod's e'er her I knew, my 
Bloom was blasted. In her Opinion I wore the blackest garb, that eer 
was placetL upon the back of innocence. For did she know, my mind 
cords with her own, dam'd be the Man who searches not for worth but 
covers blackness, with Curs' d sordid pelf. And she believes this groveling 
meanness mine. 

F. S. Altho I cannot bring myself to hope success, I could wish to 
know the progress of other more happy than myself, Say, does she still 
continue to retain Scott, Hinton, Snelson, etc., etc., etc., and does any 
dare to hope more than to be cast for trouble and cost, say. Time lost, 
expences to plays, Horse hire, Hair dressing, etc. For did I proceed 
this would be but my Hope, But one Hours, one sparkling look would 
ful repay an age of foulest Bondage. 

[Address : 
at Cap. Ooodwins 
Petersburg, Va.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

Brunsw'k 11th Novr. 1806. 
Last night I arrived in safety from Saura-town, and thro' mercy, 
found the Flower Garden family in good health. Your Mama sends 
your trunk containing your shirts, cravats, draws and books, which I 
hope will arrive safe. Tom, our lot is at last cast in Bockingham County, 
State of North Carolina ! I have ventured greatly to exceed my resources 
in a purchase of Land, unless a kind and beneficent Providence will aid 
me in disposing of my possessions in Brunswick. From a retrospective 
view of past circumstances, apparently accidental, and yet all working 
together for the accomplishment of the end, I have no doubt but it is 
the will of Him whose Guardian care is particularly over those who love 
him, that it should be so ; and therefore with fewer doubts I ventnr'd to 

iThomas Otway, English author and dramatist, 1652-1685. The quotation 
here Is from his most famous work. The OrpTian, 

The StTFFiN Papesb. 107 

engage. I now own the seat of Gk)v. Bobert Williams/ containing two 
thousand Acres^ for which I am to pay five hund^ pounds p. annum for 
four years, begining next JSTovr. (that is 1807). To this place I shall 
immediately move my People, and go as soon after them as possible in 
the mean time I have several, and to me, great arraignments to make, 
which perhaps, can be better done while the end proposM remains a 
secret ; you will therefore say nothing of what I am about, until you are 
licens'd by receiving an advertisement for publication. My crop of 
com on Dan River is better than I expected. Our speculation in Com 
yet wears an aspect of being profitable, but the expence of geting it to a 
cash market will be considerable. . . . Your Mama wants her dresses, 
hasten them and send them by some safe conveyance. The goods sent 
from McBaes receiv'd considerable damage and your present of the 
cheese altho charged has not arriv'd. Your Mama will visit her friends 
on York river this Winter after our goods are oflE. We expect to hear 
from you and often : let us know how you like Petersburg, its inhabitants, 
the study of the law and your progress. 
[Address: Petersburg.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

Brunswk 8th Jany. 1807. 
Yours by your Cousin I have just reed, and agreeably to your request 
hasten to answer it. I have no doubt of the propriety of your removal 
from Petersg. but I think the Spring will be sufficiently early, in the 
mean time I will endeavour to procure you a birth with Judge Haywood^ 
or some other thro' the agency of your Uncle who is now here. Your 
expences in your present situation are mostly paid for the next three 
months, in which, you will perhaps be able to read thro' Coke to much 
advantage not only having the advice of Bobertson, but allso the assist- 
ance of May your friend. Were you to quit Petersg. previously to your 
fixing elswhere, it might be attended with a loss of much time, which to 
you is invaluable. In March I expect to be with you when I will make 

iRobert Williams, 1768-1836, a native of Virginia, who had removed to 
North Carolina and owned land In Surry and Rockingham counties. He was 
a member of Congress from 1797 to 1803, and governor of the Mississippi 
Territory from 1805 to 1809. 

2Judge John Haywood, 1762-1826 ; judge of the Superior Court for the district 
of Davidson, now In Tennessee, 1785; solicitor-general, 1790; attorney-general, 
1791; judge of the Superior Court, 1794. In 1800 Judge Hasrwood resigned 
from the bench to defend James Glasgow, and In 1707 or 1708 moved to Ten- 
nessee where he had already large landed Interests. In 1816 he became a judge 
of the Supreme Court of Tennessee and held the position until his death. He 
was the author of a large number of legal works and of two histories of 

108 The I^obth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

my wishes known to Mr. Bobertson^ and no doubt his assent will easily 
be procured. I sometimes think it possible that you withhold from me 
one motive for wishing to leave Petersg. either you have got prejudiced 
against R. or I furnish you with too niggardly a hand^ which prevents 
your joining in parties with other young men; which is it? or is it both I 
I know that you have been dealt sparingly with^ but I dare say you know 
the cause, and will justify the motive; but yet, if you are rather too 
much straighten'd, dont be afraid to say so, and I will endeavour to 
strain a point. 

The Waggons have not yet retd. as soon as they do I shall bid adieu 
to B. Write me in a day or two and forward it to Danville and I shall 
get it on my way up, which will somewhat revive a wayworn traveller. 
This is the third letter to night and it's past 12 oC. That God may 
bless you and give rest and peace prays Your Affect. Father 

[Address: Petersburg.] 

From William Oamett, 

11th May 1807. 

I received a letter from you by the last mail announcing to me the 
supposed death of my brother Muscoe. In this I am happy to inform 
you that you are mistaken. The gentleman's death which you have seen 
mentioned in the Enquirer was not as you immagined my brother's but 
a distant relation of mine. I feel myself however much gratified by the 
sympathy which you have expressed for my immaginary loss. Under 
a firm conviction that the lively sensation of regret which you express at 
the death of my brother proceeds from a heart warmly interested for my 
happiness I experience an indiscribable pleasure. This would be to me 
a great source of consolation under any misfortune that could befall me. 
To know that I have a friend who would so sincerely sympathise with 
me in my afflictions as I am persuaded you would conveys to me the 
most heart felt satisfaction. There is no man in existence in whose 
friendship I have a more unbounded confidence than I have in yours. 
This confidence I hope is reciprocal. Muscoe desires to be affectionately 
remembered to you. He will write you by the next mail, in the mean 
time he requests me to inform you that he intends becoming an extremely 
punctual correspondent. His remissness hitherto has he says proceeded 
from an almost unconquered aversion that he has against writing. This 
however he advises you through me shall no longer be an impediment 
to your epistolary communications. I find that you have not received 
any of the letters which I have written you since my recovery. This I 
suppose is owing to my having directed them (at your request) to Rock- 
ingham ct house N. Carolina. In one of them I invited you to my wed- 
ding which is to take place on the 4th of June. This invitation I again 

Thb Buffin Papers. 109 

repeat but I fear that it will not be attended to. Do if you possibly can 
come over For I can with sincerity say that my desire to see you 
(instead of diminishing from the length of our separation) be comes 
every day more ardent. From the embarrassed state of my circum- 
stances (in consequence of bad crops and bad management) it will be 
entirely out of my power to visit you in any short time. The only pos- 
sible chance therefore of our meeting will be by your coming. 
[Address : Danville Virginia] 

From, William Oamett. 

1^ August 1807 
Were I in the habit of censuring (as has sometimes been the case with 
you) without waiting to hear a reason you would justly be entitled to a 
considerable share of censure from me. It has been many weeks since 
I received a letter from you during which time I have written one to 
which I expected an immediate reply. But in conformity to the prin- 
ciple laid down in the preamble of my letter I will not reproach you 
untill I hear what justification you have to make. Supposing it probable 
that the epistle above alluded to may not have come to hand I will state 
the circumstances which gave rise to it and the substance of what it 
contained. Perceiving from many letters which I have lately received 
that there is a considerable difference in our political creeds and that 
you wish a discussion upon these points I proposed not long since as in 
prelude to the controversy, the following queries: I*' Upon what prin- 
ciples do you defend the course pursued by the last congress toward Spain 
and Great Britain? 2^y What do you think of the violation of the con- 
stitution by general Wilkinson ?^ 3^3r And lastly what do you think of 
the attempt made to justify Wilkinsons conduct by a suspension of the 
habeas corpus^ act after the president had himself declared that all ap- 
pearance of danger was dissipated ?' As the subject is a very voluminous 
one you had better begin by answering one question at a time until you 
get through the whole. You can then make a general reply to my 
answers. I am at present very busily engaged in a settlement of my 
pecuniary concerns. Some of them are involved in such intricacy that 

iJames WlllLlnson, at this time a major general in the United States army 
and in chief command. After becoming Involved in the Burr conspiracy, he 
had betrayed Burr and was now very active in his attempts to break it up 
and avert suspicion from himself. 

^Reference is of course here made to the suspension of the privilege of the 
writ of habeas corpus in New Orleans. 

sin January, 1807, an attempt was made to Induce Congress to suspend the 
writ The Senate passed the bill but the House rejected it. Jefferson in his 
message had declared that there was no danger that would warrant such 

110 The Nobth Cabolika Hibtobical Commibbion. 

I believe it would require the financial skill of Hamilton or Qalatin to 
arrange them. Ab I cannot boast of the fiscal knowledge of either of 
these gentlemen I calculate upon encontering considerable difficulties 
This however is but a momentary consideration to a man of m j acknowl- 
edged industry. Do not permit our political discussions to exclude from 
your letters any thing relative to your private concern*— communica- 
tions upon this subject will always be more interesting to me than the 
discussion of any philosophical or political question. They will now be 
peculiarly acceptable as it has been such a length of [time] since I have 
heard from you. As agreeable however as is an epistolary correspondence 
with you a personal one would be much more so. This I hope to enjoy in 
the course of the fall next ensuing. I will now conclude by a quotation 
from a letter which I the other day reed from a very dissipated friend 
of mine '^May you enjoy every happiness which this world can afford 
and an eternal crown of glory in the next. 
[Address : Haw River P. O., N . C] 

From John F. May} 

r, n j» Pbtbbbbo. Sept. 9, 1807. 

Dear Ruffin, ^ ' 

I reed a few days since your letter of the 18th ult. The only one I have 
reed, from you since you left Brunswick. Hence you will not be sur- 
prised that after having twice written to you without receiving a reply 
and after the lapse of 6 months^ I entertained some fear that when you 
left Virginia^ you meant to part with Virginia feelings and to take leave 
of Virginia friends. It was however not a belief but merely a fear and 
one which never could affect me. 

I am really concerned to hear that the spirit which I had fondly 
believed animated every American and pervaded every part of the union, 
has found a non-conductor in the bosoms of the IS, Carolinians. You 
are I hope not correctly informed on the subject. Can they possibly be 
dead to the fadings of resentment which the hypocrisy and treachery 
the insults and aggressions of a pusillanimous govt, have excited in tiie 
whole American people?* Are they deaf to the voice of their peaceful 
but injured and exasperated countrymen! Are they blind to the paths 
of national interest and national glory? I hope that altho' there may 

iJohn Fitzhuffh May, 1784-1858, a flchoolmate of Ruffin in Petersburg. He 
was later one of the foremost lawyers in Virginia, a member of the l^islatore^ 
and a state Judge. 

^Reference is here made to the excitement in the country over the case of 
the "Chesapeake" and the "Leopard." The President had called upon the 
governors of the States to have in readiness their respective quotas of 100,000 
volunteers. A careful investigation of the North Carolina press of the period 
reveals no indication of any hesitancy in complying with the request. 

Ths Buffin Papbbs. Ill 

be defects in their militia Laws, there is no want of American principles 
and American feelings in the people ; that since the new volunteer system 
has been published and explained, the people of that State will come 
forward and offer their services to the Govt, with a zeal and alacrity 
increased by regret for their delay; and that tho' they may not have been 
as forward in resolving they are as prompt and determined in acting 
as any of their countrymen. But I do not mean to write an exhortation 
as you dont need one and they will not see it. 

Ton have heard ere this of the acquittal of Burr.^ He is to be tried 
today for the misdemeanor and will I expect be acquitted when a motion 
will be made to send him to Kentucky where I am informed by the 
counsel for the TJ. S. his guilt will be incontestibly proven.^ I have 
attended the trial several times, and altho' I have differed with the Ch. 
Justice several times, I do not think he deserves censures hitherto reed. 
I mean since the trial commenced. His previous conduct was placed in 
a proper point of view by my excellent frd. Leigh' in a piece wh. you 
saw in the Enqr. signed ^'a Stranger from the Country." Wirt^ is a 
prodigiously great man. I have seen him make Burr writhe and shrink 
from his terrible invective what J. B.^ could not do when he pronounced 
a ''True bill." T. B. B.® is appointed secy, of Orleans and leaves us in 
a few days. The Brest, unsolicited, wrote a very flattering letter to Gk>v. 
Page'' urging him to persuade Boiling to accept the appointment. Leigh 
and Bo. Pegram are candidates for the Assembly — a warm contest. I 
ex}>ect a bold independent majty. for L. but you know my feelings. I 
wish I could give you a 'history of our campaign." Bitchie has done 

iBarr was tried for treason In August, 1807. After his acquittal, he was 
tried on an Indictment for high misdemeanor, the charge being that he had 
begun on Blennerhassett Island an expedition against the dominions of the 
King of Spain. He was also acquitted on this charge. 

20hlo was made the place for trial and Burr never appeared. 

SBenJamln Watkins Leigh, 1782-1840, a cousin of Ruffln. Graduated from 
William and Mary College, began the practice of law, and engaged actively in 
politics. He was a member of the Virginia legislature a number of times, a 
delegate to the constitutional convention of 1829-1830, and United States 
Senator from 1834 to 1836. In politics he was in hie later years a strong Whig. 

^William Wirt of Maryland, 1772-1834, one of the most eminent lawyers in 
the United States. In 1802 he became chancellor of the eastern district of 
Virginia, United States district attorney in 1816, and was attorney-general of 
the United States from 1816 to 1826. In 1832 he was candidate for President 
on the Anti-Masonic ticket. He was the author of T?^ British Bpy, a life of 
Patrick Henry, and a number of other works. 

sjohn Randolph of Roanoke was foreman of the grand Jury which indicted 

SThomae BoHlng Robertson, 1784-1828, a native of Virginia, who had moved 
to Louisiana and commenced there the practice of law. He served as attorney- 
general under Gk>vemor Claiborne and in 1807 became secretary of the terri- 
tory. He was a member of Congress from 1812 to 1818, governor from 1820 
to 1824, and United States district judge from 1824 to 1827. 

7John Page, of Gloucester County, 1743-1808. He was a member of the 
House of Burgesses and of the colonial council, of the convention of 1776, of 
the council, and the committee of safety, and saw service in the Revolution 
as a colonel of militia. He was a member of Congress from 1789 to 1797 and 
governor of Virginia from 1802 to 1805. 

112 Thb North Gabouna Historical Commission. 

it I think pretty accurately. But he has not done justice to the Character 
of Genl. M.^ there is not bitterness enough in his constitution to portray 
that character. An obsequious devotion to the British consul, a haughty 
foolish contempt for the soldiery^ an infamous cowardice evinced during 
the Revoly. War, and a private life chequered by the most infamous 
immoralities — such is the character of Brig. Genl. M. But the Gov. and 
council will never give him another command, this is resolved on. He 
will sink again into obscurity and contempt. But this man could get a 
character sent to Salem and published I could have an act of infamous 
swindling by which he gained £10,000 represented as an act [of] mag- 
nanimity and enterprise — and could get a vote of approbation from the 
Norfolk officers, but thank God no others. You see I have no objn to 
long letters but only to long essays, disquisitions on Revenue systems 
for 1900 etc., etc. Remember me respectfly to yr father and family 
and believe assurances of my regard etc. 
[Address : 
Thos. C. Ruffin 
Student of Law 
near Danville Va.] 

From James Nihlock. 

[Brunswick Va, Nov. 3, 1807] 
With pleasure do I take the opportunity of tendering you my sincere 
congratulations on your entrance on the Sea of Life, by the honorable 
profession of the Law ; and that your ships made of so good jnaterials, 
both in Hull, mast, and rigging may with the assistance of propitious 
gales, waft you to the Haven of wealth and otium cum dignitate, is the 
sincere prayer of your warmest friend. 

From your Fathers obligation to business added to similar causes in 
myself we've had but little time to reanimate the hidden fire of past 
friendships with delights of former associations. Indeed I'm this 
moment returned from Brodnaz's where by appointment we were to 
spend the term of our last interview, his business however denied me the 
gratification. Hence am I induced to comply with the first and most 
imperious feeling of my heart, in luxurating in the anticipation of 
spiritual communion with my dearest friend which I take to be a pleas- 
ure the most delicate and divine, which the celestials in their bounty, 
have favored mortals. 

I wish my dear friend, I could write you anything novel and enter- 
taining. The Sun rises and sets every day, shines in the old way, which 
is the best tidings I can give you of my life, which is a continual revohi- 

iProbably Thomas Matthews, brigadier general of Virginia militia, com- 
manding at Norfolk. 

Thb Ruffin Papbrs. 113 

tion, the production of no novelty. The recklessness of the fall amply 
compensates for the salubrity of the past summer, and that state of 
things is peculiarly favourable to me ; who am constitutionally incapaci- 
tated from bearing continual exposure to a vertical Sun. [Illegible] 
has been for some time been laid up in Lavender but this evening seems 
to have recovered fresh spirits. His assistant is a youth of inexperience, 
ergo, not to be relied on ; between them however, I continue to keep con- 
tinually in motion ; as the good Citizens continue, or rather, are begin- 
ning to do justice the most ample to your friends claims to patronage. 

Ive been to B. Fall races, no sport. Saw the natives exhibit at the 
Ball ; none of the She's inspired me with the sensations that Bachel did 
Jacob. K'or, on the whole, did I return any more satisfied for being of 
the same Herd of animal life. 

Have not seen Petersburg and therefore none of your town friends 
since you left us. Of our first rate Belles, pardon the impiety, all being 
first; none have thrown off the tramell of celibacy and assumed the free 
and Independant air of a matron. As for Mr. Jesse, he's as much in 
Love as ever with matrimony and infinitely less with existing circum- 
stances. Difficultas in omni passu est. tell B.B. that Miss I is more 
lovely than ever. (Miracles will never cease) and in my judgment 
would bless her stars for a sight of him, to whom I would be remembered 
with interest. 

You will not fail presenting Mrs. K. and Minerva with my Sincere 
love and warmest wishes for their felicity. The first time you write give 
them a cause in which to acknowledge me. It would be like rain to the 
Sunburnt clime, or the Suns rays to the benighted wanderer. Adieu, 
may God bless and multiply your joys, to as great an excess as the reverse 
is realized in your unfeigned wellwisher. 

[P. S.] If sympathy or any other of the endearing sensations still 
possess your bosom, write. You may wish to know whether the Books I 
had let J. Oordon are all repair'd, three volumes only are missing. 
Miloe suffered those in his care to be carried off. Some of them I have 
got, and may, all of them. 

The Vicar of W-field, I have not been able to lay hold of. It is how- 
ever within the reach. 

Bbunswick Nov. 3. 
12 O Clock P. M. 

I've opened this to say, that were I as near your home as you are 
Brunswick; It would not be as Wallace Informs me. So great a dis- 
parity however, exists in the incentives that the figure is, I must confess, 
of but small force — circumstances point with more satisfaction to a call 
from you toward Christmas. 

A letter, dated August, from Ireland, says the military department is 
all verve in preparing for an American War, 

[Address : Warrenton N. Carolina.] 

114 The Nobth Cabolina Hibtobical Cobcmibsion. 

From John F, May. 

PsTEBSBG. Deer. 13tlL '07. 

Your Letter of the 20th ult. was reed, in the same season of this cli- 
mate that it was written in of jours^ just after the quarterly courts, when 
we have some little indulgence from the labors of our profession. I am 
therefore enabled to reply to it more promptly than I generally do to 
the Letters of my friendly correspondents. I am sincerely pleased to 
hear that you have obtained a License and commenced the practice of 
the Law. Ood grant (as the chancellor ^aid to me when he sent my 
License) that it may be the foundation of wealthy honor, and happiness. 
Every man can give excellent advice to a beginner; and therefore I shall 
not trouble you with any from Virginia, especially as you will have 
freight to pay — altho' if I could see you I should probably bestow it on 
you most copiously. Act with firmness, never with obstinacy — consult 
your own judgment, and your sense of propriety will be more valuable 
to you than all the advice which the world can bestow. I believe I in- 
formed you of the removal of my valuable friend T. B. Bobertson. He 
consulted with Leigh and myself about accepting the appointment. We 
were divided in opinion and he followed Leigh's advice. His removal 
from this place will be I am in hopes very beneficial to me — Hiiy brother 
Wm. who has his law business here, is destitute of both the powers of 
his inind and the greatness of his soul. E. O. Goodwyn has been ap- 
pointed Atto for Binwiddie, the day after he got his License— recom- 
mended and supported solely by the dead influence of numbers. I had 
too much prudence to oppose a candidate so reputable from his connec- 
tions, and formidable from their influence. In this Town however I 
succeeded in opposition to whole Bar except G. N. Taylor, D. Robertson, 
Allison and Leigh with the loss of only two votes on the first ballott 
Leigh is unanimously elected Capt. of the Bepb. Blues ; and I hope and 
believe will succeed him in the H. D. It is with great pleasure I inform 
you that he is as well as he could possibly be expected to have been. He 
passed thro' town on Monday last on his way to Mr. Watkins' and can 
just move about on crutches. I wish to God that after the breaking of 
one child's Leg and the Death of another after the burning of his Honse 
and the fracture of his own thigh, providence would indulge him with 
some short respite from the continuance of such afflictions. But I very 
much fear that his amiable wife is near the last stage of a consumption. 
I would almost descend to the commonplace complaints against provi- 
dence and arraign the injustice of those dispensations which can afflict 
so frequently and so bitterly so much worth and virtue. 

I am getting a very good practice in this place and Dinwiddie. I am 
quitting Ch. City for Amelia, for tho' in full business there the profits 
since the old Chancery cases were tried in the spring are too incon8ide^ 
able. Chesterfd. is still very profitable and Nottoway unprofitable. 

The Ruffin Papsbs. 115 

Amelia promises well.- I qualified in Novr. and I see there my great 
friend Wm. S. Archer^ and the most agreeable society male and female 
too, in the world. 

What do the people of N. Ca. think (if sensation has not superceeded 
reflection) about the trial of Burr, and of Qenl. Wilkinson? The ortho- 
dox opinion (i.e. of the administration party) is that he is as pure as 
virginity itself — the saviour of his country. But evidence and reason I 
think pronounce him a man whose whole life has been chequered with 
the most infamous immoralities who has been a time server to every 
administration and who in this affair has been convicted of stratagem 
fraud duplicity perjury and complicated Treachery. 

Wirt I am informed has given him up. He said not a word about his 
testimony. Wirt is unquestionably the greatest character engaged in 
the trial. With Horace he may say, "Exegi monumentum aere peren- 
nius.^' There is in his speeches an attic repartee a poignant irony a bold 
and eloquent invective which very properly castigate insolence and 
effrontery. Tho' the subject is barren as the sands of Africa (or ^^naked 
as a sleeping Venus") his argument always profound and cogent, is 
clothed in the richest and inost varied imagery that the creation can 
afford. As long as Belles letters and oratory are admired Wirts talents 
will be graduated with those of Burke for their sublimity and those of 
Swift for their variety of invention. How would a common mind have 
been routed by the motion to exclude testimony? But unmoved by that 
sudden sortie he required no closet auxiliaries, no bumpswelling lucubra- 
tions, no torturing revolution of musty folios. In a moment a perfect 
pandect was produced — digested, harmonious, consistent, mature as 
Pallas from the brain of Jove. His virtues are as much and as deservedly 
admired as his talents. But I did not intend to write a Eulogy on Wirt 
and it is time to conclude. If I thought it fair to ask not only that a 
man should read a long letter but should ffive an opinion on it too, X 
would enquire what is thia — a letter, an essay, a miscellany, or all ? 

[Address : 
Bockingham "N. Ca. 
near Danville Va.] 

From Benjamin Tappan. 

Ravekka [Ohio] Jany. 6th, 1808. 
Yours of Ifovr. 10th we reed about Christmas, unexpectedly for we 
were apprehensive that you would forget your friends of the forest — 

iWiUlam 9. Archer, 1789-1866, a native of Amelia County, Va. After »lz 
years service in the legislature he was elected to Ck)ngres8 in 1820 and served 
there for fifteen years. In 1841 he was elected to the United States Senate 
and served one term. 

116 The North Cabolina Historical CoMMisaioN. 

but not unwelcome for many a time when the mail arrived had we hoped 
to receive some evidence of your recoUection at least. You regard the 
event of your admission to the bar with the importance of a venture 
rather than that of a thorough paced lawyer, an eminent lawyer is made 
of dilligence and a moderate supply of judgment or good sense, nothing 
more is necessary, more is pernicious, but the mere lawyer is the vilest 
animal on Gfods earth both to himself and others — ^you will never be of 
that class. The bar in the Eastern and middle states have combined to 
perpetuate the reign of judicial absurdity hitherto they have succeeded 
and eloquence gives way to subtlety, the flights of genius and the embel- 
lishments of fancy are rarely adventured since the law is to decide. You 
cannot have read law without disgust, your disgust will encrease when 
you become initiated in the practice of the courts, yet you may be a 
lawyer and preserve a nice sense of honor and a steady adherence to 
sound principles, but not without dispising the pettyfogging herd with 
whom you will be compelled to associate. 

You know that wealth is a comparative appendage — ^you wish that 
you had funds to live in Ohio. I assure you that you have ample funds 
our citizens are neither so honest or discreet as to live without lawsuits, 
so that you would have some fees, a property of ten thousand dollars in 
Virginia is no nearer riches than one thousand is here. What was the 
cost of your education! mine (every sixpence) was 600 dolls, yet the 
rigid economy of Scotland boasts of as high a pedigree and as noble 
descent as the profuse liberality of England, and perhaps science do& 
not disdain to illumine the North with as pure a ray as the South. 
"Argat" if you should remove hither you would in all probability be a 
rich man. I know not exactly the extent of your finances nor the fru- 
gality of your habits tho' the former have hitherto proved sufficient 
with the aid of the latter to procure to you every advantage which might 
be desireable. 

I do not like to have you go to Mississippi territory, it seems as the' 
you would be farther from home, and if you will mount your nag and 
ride to my castle in the spring I will covenant and agree to satisfy you 
as to where it will be best to remain, then there will be one thing more 
you have fraternal and possibly filial notions, suppose I could give your 
Father an opportunity to dovhle his property by a purchase here would 
he forego slavery ? his bible he need not — be assured that I verily believe 
the country I now inhabit to b^ superior to any part of Virginia I have 
seen, if our friends were around us it would add to the real pleasures of 
existance some ten or twenty fold, and our selfishness in soliciting them 
to come is atoned to our minds by the advantages which we fancy would 
result to them. 

The Ohio Militia turned out promptly at the call of their country best 
men without arms, discipline or skillfull leaders are not sufficient for 
modem warfare, we have very few good arms, the rifle is the only weapon 
in the hands of the frontier militia, that they can use with effect. I 

The Ruffin Papxbs. 117 

suspect that ITancj would not be angry to see you step over the threshold 
of our door — she speaks of you often with sisterly affection^ as to myself 
I cultivate the earth by daily labour and read to my wife evenings. 
Write to us what you intend to do with yourself. 
[Address : Danville Virginia.] 

From Benjamin Tappan, 

Bavenna, [Ohio,] Febry 16th 1808. 

Since I wrote you last I have been informed that our Legislature in 
their wisdom have inter alia made a new county, you will possibly enquire 
how this can concern you and I will endeavor to enlighten your mind 
on the subject. The new county is so laid off that this settlement is in 
the center and accordingly my house is fixed as the temporary seat of 
justice, the probability is that the county town will not be more than 
two miles from it when it is fixed, which will be this spring. K'ow in the 
whole extent of this new County there is but one lawyer and he is a 
particular friend of yours — a question then very naturally arises in my 
mind, had not you better come here than to go to Natchez? The first 
court will sit the latter part of May — as to business I assure you that I 
have known many lawyers get rich who were inferior to you both in 
learning and tallents and I can say this without the smallest risk of 
flattery. I believe you would have business enough to support you and 
I know that as the country populates rapidly lawsuits encrease in number 
and importance, it will not be much for you a Virginian to take a ride 
here and see how the country and the people look. I have the business 
so well arranged in my own mind that I shall expect to see you alight at 
my door about the middle of May. The chance for a settlement is what 
would generally be thought a good one, yet I know not what it would 
be to you nor can know without knowing your views and prospects, the 
lawyer who first gets settled in a county town generally takes the lead 
in business — a county town by the way, with us is a central place for 
business, it will be the best town in the county, and not like a Virginia 
Courthouse, you have seen however the shiretowns in the middle states — 
one here is to be created — but property is lower and business not dull in 
the infancy of them — if you have an inclination this way or are waver- 
ing, I have said enough to determine you — ^but if you are fixed on another 
course it would avail nothing indeed it would look like selfishness to 
endeavor to induce you to alter your course. Nancy says it would be a 
good place for you, you see here an authority in point, she sends her 
love to you. 

[Address : Danville Virginia.] 

118 The Nobth Cabouna Historical Commission. 

From William Oamett, 

6th March 1808. 

Ill health and pecuniary embarrassments have laterly much inter- 
rupted my epistolary communication to you. What excuse you may 
have for your remissness in this particular I know not. I can only 
state as a fact that it is now many months since I have heard from you. 
I shall however forbear to press this subject on you. I have no expecta- 
tion of beholding you more on this side of the grave and our correspond- 
ence I have every reason to believe will soon be finally sealed by the 
termination of my existence. Since the severe attack of the nervous 
fever which I had during the winter of 1806 the state of my health has 
been such as to convince me that my constitution then received a shock 
of which I never can recover. I have now been confined at my mother's 
for three weeks with the most obstinate cough that I ever had in my 
life : it is indeed something better at this time but my indispositions are 
so frequent that it is impossible I can stand it long unless a radical 
change can be effected in my constitution. My wife's health is if possible 
worse than my own you may therefore readily conceive that my situation 
is not at all enviable. My path through life has been (no doubt for wise 
purposes) strewed with thorns instead of roses. I am destined I believe 
to date my happiness (if at all) from the hour of my dissolution. But 
this melancholy strain may perhaps be infectious. I will therefore en- 
deavour to change the current of my reflections. Tou may perhaps 
imagine from our long seperation and from the increase that I have 
made in the objects of my affection that my interest in your happiness 
has proportionally decreased. This according to the common way of 
judging is a very natural conclusion but in the present instance it is 
never the less a false one. My best wishes will never cease to attend you 
but with my existence. You must perceive from the forgoing part of 
my letter that there are insurmountable obstacles in the way of my 
visiting you, Be assured that nothing else would prevent me from doing 
what I so much desire. You were when I last heard from you unincum- 
bered with a family and enjoyed good health if therefore you still retain 
the friendship for me that you once had, you will I am persuaded put 
yourself to some trouble to gratify me by making a trip to Essex. This 
is the crucible in which I propose to analise your friendship. If it 
remains pure and unadulterated the process will not be tedious it will 
shortly be terminated by your appearance. You have no doubt heard of 
the death of your uncle Tom Roane^ he is much regretted by all his 
acquaintances and particularly so by his neighbours. It is certainly one 
of the most unfortunate families that I have ever known. Your grand- 
mother^ has lived to bury all her sons but one and he bids fair to shortly 
share the fate of his brothers. Poor old lady, death wiU probably spare 

iThomas Roane, Ruflin's maternal uncle. 
2Martha (Hipkins) Roane. 

Thb Euffin Papers. 119 

her the pain of this addition to the measure of her afflictions. She has 
lately been dangerously ill but is now I believe almost well. I have no 
news 1^ narrate and as I begin to feel something of the headache I must 
[Address : 
Lenox Castle 

ISTorth Carolina.] 

From John F. May. 

[PsTBBSBUBOy Va., Juue 16, 1808.] 

Your letter of March last reached me some time in April. My engage- 
ments at our Dist. Court, and at the May quarterly courts, and engage- 
ments more interesting to my feelings, and I had hoped more important 
to my welfare must be an apology, I do not pretend they are a justifica- 
tion, for my long neglect to answer your very friendly and interesting 
letter. If any situation of life, except an absolute inability, would 
justify such neglect of such a letter, I would most confidently pronounce 
that a justification did exist in the ceaseless and arduous duties of the 
Lover and the Lawyer, in the labours and perplexities of the one and 
the agonies and raptures of the other. I am now, however, perfectly, 
and perhaps not unfortunately, freed from all those cares and duties — 
business of every kind is embargoed, the courts will scarcely grant a 
judgment, the people are unable to pay a fee, I have been dismissed by 
her whom but the day before I had embraced and pressed to my bosom 
as the woman who was to have been the partner of my future days and 
was to have blessed them. I have nothing to do — am myself again and 
at length, my soul can, unagitated, rest. 

I dare say particulars might give you some satisfaction, but I do not 
much like writing even in general terms on these subjects and as I hope 
to see you in July (Wright tells me you'll then be here) I will defer it 
till then. In the mean time I can tell you I am the same that tho' my 
feelings have suffered for a time my reason teaches me that the suffering 
is the price of greater happiness — and that I am content. 

Thus much of myself, tho not the most interesting — yet to you not an 
uninteresting subject. 

We are still pretty warm and determined in the contest between Mon- 
roe and Madison. In this neighborhood the Madisonians are every- 
thing — we nothing. I am still and more zealously than ever in the Ran- 
dolphian Minority.* When I see the governing party denouncing this 

iRandolph, Just at this time, was using every effort to defeat Madison and 
elect Monroe, probably not for any particular desire for the latter's election, 
but to accomplish the defeat of Madison and, as he thought, disappoint 

120 Thb North Carolina Historical Commission. 

great and good man for speaking irreverently of the slippers of the 
President when I see the most unprincipled and malignant e£Fort8 made 
to humble him in the dust not for anything pretended to be dishonor- 
able — not for any attempt to violate our constitution or our rights — 
not for a departure from any one principle that is dear to republicans 
but for opposing anti-republican measures of Govt, for intemperance 
not of conduct but of expression — an intemperance which is increased 
and embittered by that unprincipled denunciation — ^when I see this same 
overwhelming majority attempting to subvert the constitution by a 
Treason bill and a court martial Law — introducing standing armies in 
contempt of all their former principles — supporting in the comnumd 
of those accursed forces in contempt of every principle of public and 
private morality, a man guilty of forgery, perjury, robbery of the mails, 
bribery, treachery, and treason — ^the H. of S. busily sacrificing their 
constl priviledges at his shrine — or at least to prevent what they suppose 
wd. be a triumph of Bandolph — when I perceive that the Yazoo monster 
after being a little while protected at court has almost ceased to be 
loathsome, execrable among them — ^when I know that Madison is the 
advocate and Monroe the opponent of these things — I cannot, I shd. 
contemn myself if I could, hesitate a moment whom to prefer ^'That 
unfortunate and proscribed state" (the minority) carries no terrors to 
me. I will not swim with the current merely because it would carry me. 
What think you of the H. of B. rejecting four times 75 to 45 Bandolph's 
motion to publish the Documents etc. and passing it the next day the 
moment the P. thought it not improper? But I should write a Book 
instead of a Letter if I were to go on upon these subjects. Farewell. 

[P. S.] I feel half disposed to give you another sheet on these subjects 
but the mail closes in half an hour. My letter, upon looking over it, 
has I think at least the merit of singularity. It has very much the cast 
of my mind and feelings — ^but when I reflect where it is to go, I feel per- 
fectly satisfied without altering a sentence or a word. 

In answer to your enquiries — Geo. Hay^ wrote to the P. IT. S. in Novr. 
that Wilkinson was beyond all question what I have represented and 
warned him against that imposition which been for some time practiced 
on him and Wirt. I cannot write, but I could tell you, some circum- 
stances that [would] astonish you. Bitchie's stories and statemts. con- 
tain about half the Truth. Hay is the writer of Hortentius. I have 
no idea of an administration caucus appointing the future Presidents 
of America. Washington and Adams could, Jefferson has, and his sur- 
vivors always will have a Caucus majority for reasons too obvious to 

[Address: Lenox-castle N. Ca.] 

lOeorge Hay was a distinguished lawyer and politician who had served In 
the Virginia legislature and who» as United States district attorney, had prose- 
cuted Burr. He was afterwards a United States district Judge. He was a son- 
in-law of Monroe. He was well known for the political articles which he wrote 
under the name "Hortensius/* and to some one of which May was now refe^ 
ring. He died in 1830. 

The Buffin Papers. 121 

From John F. May. 

Pbtbbsb'g May 27. '09. 

I am not certain exactly who owes the other a letter^ but as some 
time has elapsed since I heard any thing of you and as you have here- 
tofore been rather in advance^ I avail myself of one of the earliest leisure 
moments after my laborious and fatiguing spring circuity to renew a 
correspondence from which I always derive pleasure. I do not know 
to what cause I may ascribe it, but without any subject, as I am, impor- 
tant enough to impel me to write, or interesting enough to induce you 
to read, withdrawn as I am from scenes in which we formerly engaged 
together, it seems to me to be still necessary to commune with one 
another. It tends to revive, in my bosom at least, recollections which 
are pleasant and which bring with them no regret that they are now 
mere recollections. I can however even now almost fancy myself in the 
company of my friend and companion, removing the thin veil of vanity 
in his presence, describing my spring campaign, the contests, which have 
been well fou^t, the victories which have been gallantly won, and as 
Damum says, those which have been bravely lost. 

I think I have your sympathies for the manifold grievances to which 
we are unfortunately subject — and this brings me down quite to Mr. 
Oholson's new judiciary system — from which Good Lord deliver the 
poor Lawyer of this commonwealth. You know when I saw you I 
hoped that the courts would have been invested with chancery powers 
and expected, in that event, to be much benefitted. But the system is in 
operation with all its original imperfections aggravated by inconven- 
iences of which I could have had no conception. Dinwiddie supr. court 
and the Hastings quarterly court — ^Brunswk. supr. and Chesterfd. 
County — Dinw. quarterly and Chesterfd Supr. — Brunswk county and 
Nottoway and P. GJeorge supr courts are happily arranged by the 
supreme wisdom of the Legislature so as respectively to fall on the 
same days, and these are the only courts I wish to attend, or with any 
convenience can attend. I should not have attended P. George, but the 
same evil genius of mine contrived to get Petersbg transferred to that 
county quo ad hoc. I fear it will be impossible too, to get an alteration 
which will be in any respect important — unless as I devoutly hope the 
system be abolished. 

My friend and neighbour Mr. Wm. Knox tells me he has an imdoubted 
right to a tract of land in your state in the possession of some person 
holding under a State Grant in violation of his superior right. I have 
advised him to write to you on the subject and to institute a suit in the 
federal court. He is one of the soldiers of the revolution with a shat- 
tered fortune, a numerous family and a character never tarnished. If 
you can render him any service he will be grateful as well as he is able, 
will reward you liberally for it. Give our best regards etc. to your sister 
and family. We shd. be very glad to see her if [she] should be in this 

122 The !N'osth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

state this summer or fall. My rib is still in a delicate state of health— 
in fact has been last winter in a low state of health — but the spring we 
are flattered is bringing about its restoration. We expect to be in 
Warren in the course of the next month from which if an opportunity 
offers you will hear from me. In the mean time I bid you an affecte. 
farewell ! 

[Address : near Lenox Castle "No. Ca.] 

From James Campbell} 

[Wentwoeth, N. C, July 26, 1809.] 

I received your letter dated 10th Inst, from Brunswick. I'm con- 
vinced you spent some happy hours there with the acquaintances and 
companions of your infancy and youth. . . . 

Altho' you are situated at a distance from Sockingham, and in a 
place where objects of magnitude are apt to divert your mind from the 
recollection of your old cronies, yet I fondly hope that Oakland^ and 
its invirons are sometimes near you. . Presuming that this is the case, 
and that it will continue to be so I'm determined not to let slip any 
incident happening in the county, however trivial that I may conceive 
to be interesting to you. 

Enclosed you have the effusions of our sage. Squire Sneed. I under- 
stand a great many printed copies are in circulation. The one from 
which I took a copy being only loaned a few hours I had no opportunity 
of procuring a Printed one in time for this days mail. You will observe 
he pegs it in to Daddy Menzies, nor does he spare uncle Eobin Mallock 
etc. On perusing his circular the reader, sure enough will find the 
persons there spoken of guilty; but this is an ex parte statement. I 
have been at some pains to dive into the matter. I find that a Balance 
of £242.7.1 was struck in a settlement for the levy of 1806 as stated by 
Sneed, but the d — ^n— d rascal omitted in said statement to give credit 
for disbursements made in the same year to the amount of £222.5.4 
leaving a Balnce in the hands of the Trustee of only £20.1.9 This settle- 
ment is in the office and signed by himself, Joseph Ladd and Jacob 
Young (the refuse of the Bench)— The sums of £41.10.2 and £31.11.6 
respecting Strays which he states as "facts" would appear from his 
statement to be charges distinct from and exclusive of the Balance of 
£242.7.1 — This happens to be a falsehood for they are both included as 
appears from the Commissioners report in office. 

Well, you'll observe he stops short after ascertaining this Balance of 
£242.7.1 in place of the true Balance of £20.1.9, leaving this impression, 

iJames Campbell, a prominent citizen of Rockingham County. 
2The home of Sterling Ruffln. 

Thb Ruffin Papers. 123 

that the tnifltee had actually in his hands this sum — why did not tiie 
Knave recite a subsequent settlement several tnontha prior to the publi- 
cation of his letter, whereby a Balance of only £150.15.4 was ascertained 
to be in the hands of the trustee and which entirely did away [with] all 
and every former settlement. Since this Balance was struck Mr. Menzies 
has taken in orders and claims to the amount of £115.16.8 leaving the . 
pitiful sum of £34.18.8 proc : money due the county. 

I wish you could see into this matter as clearly as I do. The peace 
and happiness of a worthy old citizen and his family whose characters 
and reputation in life stand unimpeached, disturbed by the scurrilous 
assertions and clamorous sayings of so miserable a wretch as Alexander 
Sneedy a man of no principle no honour and to use his own words, a de- 
signing demagogue and will stick at nothing in furtherance of his 
nefarious schemes. 

The sum of £36.13. with which Mr. Gallaway^ is charged is stated 
correctly, but let me tell you that the county at this time and are this 
moment indebted to him some hundred dollars, and he was in nowise 
bound to pay a cent of it but retain that sum in part payment. Col. 
James Hunter, Thos. Learey and Thomas Henderson^ it is supposed 
have been auxiliaries to Sneed in putting out his Circular. There is no 
doubt with me but its publication was intended to affect iN'athaniel 
Scales's^ election, and also that of our friend Harden,^ for I take the 
latter to be one of those whom Sneed hits at when he talks of '^influential 
characters and designing demagogues." T'other day at Muster Harden 
handled him to a nicety. Poor Mays election in place of being better'd 
by the report will be materially injured, a great many being of opinion 
that he had a hand in the pye and that he has all along been a Sneed 
and Martins man (the minority in county matters). Enough about this 

I made a tarry of two nights at our friends at the castle about a fort- 
night ago. The old fellow is in high spirits — two of my countrymen 
were at this time visitors at the camp and lately from Edinburg, Scot- 
land, from whom I had pleasing accounts of the situation of that country. 
They are residents of Charleston and leave that place annually during 
the warm months for the iNTorthem clime. 


I shall be in the neighborhood of Oakland this Evening where I shall 
call and take dinner. 

I shd. be glad you would drop me a few lines from Hillsboro' before 
you set out to the Several Courts, in which please say what you think 

iJames Galloway of Rockingham Oounty, member of the Senate, 178^1790. 

2Thomas Henderson, of Rockingham County, member of the House of Com- 
mons, 1792-1794; member of the Senate, 1796. 

sNathanlel Scales, of Rockingham County, member of the House of Com- 
mons, 1808, 1817; member of the Senate, 1806-1812, 1821-1823. 

4M ark Harden, of Rockingham County, member of the House of Commons, 

124 The North Cabouna Hibtobical Commission. 

of Sneedfl expressions ^^designing demagogues, nefarious schemes^ mis- 
management, partial conduct" etc. ; altho' I do not see any hold that can 
be taken from these — old Menzies is staggering about at every Muster 
and gathering etc. with a pair of old saddle bags crammed full of papers, 
relating to his settlement as trustee, endeavouring thereby to discredit 
Sneeds statement, others are mute, some for suing him, others for giving 
him a drubbing. 

Wentwoeth 26th July 1809. 

[Address: Hillsboro' 

Addressed a second time 
Wm. Guston Esqr. 
Newborn North Carolina.] 

To THE Citizens of Rockingham County. 

Friends and fellow Citizens, 

The time has actually arrived when I consider it my inevitable duty 
in vindication of the rights of the people to make the following state- 
ment of facts ; and in doing so permit me by way of Introduction to take 
a retrospective view of things as they have come before us. In the first 
place it would be well to observe that the Citizens of this county have 
long paid a much higher county tax, perhaps than any other County in 
the State, when at the same time we have done nothing more conducive 
to the public benefit than other counties, and perhaps not so much as 
many of them. If this be true (and I believe it will be readily conceded) 
it is natural to inquire for the cause that has produced so striking a 
contrast. In answer to which I must be permitted to say, it has pro- 
ceeded from the mismanagement, and partial conduct of a few influential 
characters who have long had the indirect control of our public affairs ; 
a combination who have assumed to themselves the plausible character 
of being the exclusive friends of the people, with real design to direct, 
controul and counteract the public will ; — a set of designing demagogues 
who under the mask of republicanism stick at nothing in furtherance 
of their nefarious schemes, whose sole object is to monopolize power, in 
order more effectually to prey upon the substance of the people with 
impunity, and take from the mouth of labour the bread it has earned. 

It is a fact that John Menzies, county Trustee when called upon by the 
committee for a settlement of his public accounts for the year 1805 did 
produce a statement of his own (which he said was the way he had 
always settled) endeavouring thereby to bring the county in debt to him 
when in fact he was owing the county the sum of £46.19.6 as will be seen 
by the report of the committee for the said year. 

The Buffin Papess. 125 

It is a fact when called upon by the said Committee for the returns 
of the rangers which he had in his possession^ he refused to produce 
them, at the same time producing a statement of his own for the sum 
only of £41.10.2 which he asserted was the full amount he had collected 
on Strays. 

It is a fact that the Committee was then under the disagreeable neces- 
sity of calling on the rangers for copies of their returns^ which copies 
when after being compared with the statement aforesaid^ there appeared 
to be a further sum of £31.11.6 actually collected^ and in the hands of 
the said Trustee^ which he at first refused to account and settle for. 

It is a fact that on a further settlement of his public accounts for the 
year 1806 he was indebted to the county a further sum of £195.7.7 
making in the whole an aggregate amount of £242.7.1 actually collected^ 
and in the hands of the said county trustee, as will be seen from the 
report of the Committee. 

It is a fact that on further inquiry we found in the hands of the said 
county Trustee for collection the sum of £22.10.4 due on strays which 
he had failed to collect in due time as will be seen by said report — also 
in a settlement for all arrears of money due the county we found a further 
nett amount of £23.16.8 due on strays and not collected as per Strays 
Book of George Perry Esq. deceased^ as will be seen by the report of the 

It is a fact that on further examination we found in the hands of 
Nathaniel Scales Esqr. one of the commissioners appointed by the act 
of Assembly to sell and dispose of the several lots in the Power of the 
Wentworth the sum of £131.11.9 including the interest due the county 
in Bonds and money which he had failed to collect and account for in 
due time as will be seen by the report of the Committee. 

It is a fact that John Matlock Sheriff of Bockingham County, on a 
settlement with the said Committee was indebted to the county the nett 
sum of $184.25 it being the Balance of the monies levied and by him 
collected for the purpose of building a stone gaol. This Balance, he 
had failed to account and settle for in due time altho the county was 
then bound to pay and did actually pay Interest to Eobert Gallaway 
assignee of Charles L. Hunter to the amount of $63.50 in consequence 
of such failure as will be seen from the report of the Committee. 

It is a fact that Bobert Gallaway Esq Clerk of the County Court of 
Bockingham had failed to pay over to the county Trustee all fines and 
embursements by him received from May Sessions 1804 to Febry Ses- 
sions 1808 Amounting to $36.13, altho' he at the same time was drawing 
Interest to the amount of $63.50 as aforesaid on the Balance due him 
as assignee for building said stone gaol as will also be seen by the report 
of said Committee. 

And it is further a fact that in consequence of the aforesaid settle- 
ments and investigation the county court has been enabled to reduce the 
county tax the sum of two shillings and six pence on the Poll in the two 

126 The IN'obth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

last years — have repaired the courthouse at the price of $493. built two 
Bridges and purchased a sufficiency of Law Books for the use of the 
court and still have outstanding debts due the County to collect to the 
amount of $350. 

These are plain simple facts which cannot be denied. Is it not time 
for the people to look out and say that such things shall not be? 

N. B. The above statement has not been made with any invidious 
vieWy but from a Conviction (being placed in a situation to know) that 
it is my indispensable duty to let the people know how their money goes. 

(Signed) Albz. Snesd 

One of the Committee. 

From Richard Stanford.^ 

Washington City, Apl. 6, 1810 
I cover you a paper containing the opinion of the supreme Court in 
the case of ''Yazoo title/'^ and the report of Judge Johnson,* the case 
is not a little interesting here, and may therefore attract professional 
curiosity your way. 

Congress has done so little I have nothing to communicate of their 
doings, except that they have undone Macon's Bill. It is lost through 
the disagreement between the two Houses. Foreign news appearing 
rather to bear a favourable aspect, I presume the non-intercourse law 
will be left to expire with the session. This, if the Senate concur, we 
have voted to close on the 23d inst. 

The additional duties proposed on the reduction of the naval and 
military force with that of the reincorporation of the Bank U. States 
are subjects which will probably engage us principally till we rise. 

From William Oamett. 

Petbbsbubo, 12th July, 1810. 
Agreeably to your appointment, in your letter to Mr. Matthews, I 
arrived in Petersburg on yesterday, prepared to greet you as soon as 

iRlchard Stanford, 1767-1816, a native of Maryland, came to North Carolina 
in 1793 as a school teacher In the Hawflelds. He was a Republican member of 
Conjcress from 1797 to his death. 

2The reference is of course to the decision in the case of Fletcher v. Peck, 
6 Oranch, 87. 

sWilliam Johnson of South Carolina, 1771-1834; member of South Carolina 
legislature, 1794-1798; speaker, 1796; state judge; associate justice of the 
Supreme Court of the United States from 1804 to 1834. His opinion in the 
case mentioned above was a concurring one, but he differed widely from the 
Court in hie reasoning. 

Ths Buffik Fapebb. 127 

jou ahould alight from your horse. You may easily judge of the painful 
anxiety with which I watched^ both yesterday and to day^ for your 
arrival. After having traced so many wearisome steps to see you, to be 
compelled to leave this place without enjoying this pleasure, was a dis- 
appointment so little calculated upon, that it required my strongest 
efforts to support it with tolerable fortitude. But I will not reproach 
you with the mortification and chagrin, which I have suffered; I feel 
persuaded that you have a good reason for not keeping your appoint- 
ment. I cannot, however, avoid bewailing my unlucky fate; and lament- 
ing the accident, which has prevented your journey to Petersburg. I 
ah&ll hate the place as long as I live, and, with, my good will, shall see it 
to-morrow for the last time in my life. I shall reach Richmond to- 
morrow where it is probable I may stay a day. Let me here from you 
as soon as possible; but to see you in Essex would be far more agree- 
able. It [torn] would afford me some consolation for a disappointment, 
which I believe I shall, otherwise, take six months to recover. Such 
was my impatience to see you, that I left fully % of my harvest to finish, 
that I might enjoy a pleasure so long, and so fruitlessly, wished for. But 
I must conclude, for I find that this accursed misfortune hangs so heavily 
upon me that I can neither think or write of any thing else. Bemember 
me affly. to your good lady and accept the assurances of the undiminished 
friendship of your disappointed friend, 

P. S. I put up at the Bell Tavern — 

[Address : 

From Elizabeth Kirkland to WUliam Kirkland} 

,-. , n AT Glasgow 13th Sept. 1810. 

Jay dear Brother. ^ 

It is impossible for me to express the heartfelt satisfaction your letter 

date 10th May afforded your Dear Mother and all of us, to be informed 

you were well and dear Sister and family proved quite a balm to us in 

the midst of our distress. I regret sincerely that our Congratulations 

to our dear Anne on her marriage should be mixed with bitter, but to 

the will of Heaven we must submit, in a letter I sent you previous to 

the one 'you answered I mentioned to you that our dear Janes complaints 

were consumptive which alas proved f attal she died on the 24th of July 

last and a blest example she left us of christian piety, and resignation 

to the divine will she was sensible to the last moment and when she 

lElissabeth Kirkland was, as this letter shows, a sister of William Kirkland 
of Hillflboro. The latter had come to Hlllsboro some time prior to 1790 and 
lived at Ayr Mount, a mile east of the town. He was a merchant and planter, 
and the father-in-law of Ruffin. 

128 The Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

would have looked round and saw us the last last dawn she would liave 
smiled and said happy happy, as much as to say we were not to mourn 
for her, and not many minutes before she breathed her last she naiaed 
you and all the rest of her absent Brothers, indeed my dear Brother if 
our feelings would submit to reason we would rejoice at the happy change 
we have every reason to hope she has made, but nothing but the lenient 
hand of time can sooth our feelings, her poor husband is in the deepeet 
distress as you may suppose, his little Anne is a very fine child, and 
very stout grown. I hope in Gk>d she will be spared for a comfort and 
blessing to him and all her friends. Brother John and ^N'ancy has 
been at London visiting Nugent and family. John carried up his eldest 
son and daughter with him. iN'ugent had wrote for them some time ago. 
John is to be placed in a Killitary Academy for some time, Isabella is 
to be educate with their Anne, who has a governess to her self, and 
having only her she will be much the better of a companion. 

Our dear Mother joins in sending her blessing to you and dear Sister 
with our most sincere congratulations to our dearest Anne and her better 
half, may Heaven have a plentitude of its blessings upon them and may 
they be long spared for a blessing and comfort to each other, and be to 
you and our dearest Sister just what you could wish. Tell my Ifephew 
Mr. Ruffin that I shall certainly write him as soon as I am in better 
spirits assure him that nothing would make his Aunt Elizabeth so happy 
as to hear from him. I have not a doubt but he will be making me a 
very respectable woman some of these days for instance a Grand Aunl 
happen when it will none will rejoice more than me, Nugent and Mrs. 
Eirkland wrote immediately on learning their was letters from you and 
begd we would offer their best wishes and congratulations on the happy 
occasion she is a most excellent woman and is as much interested in 
you, our dear Sister and family, as if she knew you all, by the by my 
dear Wm. I am going to request a favour of you and our dear Sister if 
your next is a Boy to name it Nugent or if a Girl to call it Pheba for 
Mrs. K. I hope you will pardon my presumption and may retaliate in 
the same way as soon as I get off the stocks which I will not do till you 
honour us with your presence having put it off so long I shall defer tiU 
then. We shall certainly look forward with much pleasure to the spring 
hoping it will bring you, think how much it will gladen the heart of your 
good old Mother to see her darling William who at the very Idea of it 
seems two or three years younger already. We had very comfortable 
letters from David lately date 29th Decemr last. He was then at Goa 
in Bombay, tells his mother he had purchased a House for forty Founds 
and only wanted a good wife to make him quite comfortable and happy. 
I trust in God he will do well. John saw a young man in Ayr about 
eight months ago who had seen James about three years ago at Baltimore 
he was then a sailor in some vessel but could not tell the name of it ; they 
had been old school companions and recognized one another, tis very 
strange if he is still alive that he does not write his friends, it is truly 

Thb Buffin Papbsb. 129 

lamentable that a young man of liifi abilities should have so far forgot 
himself. I trust the Almighty God will guard and protect him from 
evil, in whatever situation of life he may be in, and that we may yet 
hear comfortable accounts of him. I regret sincerely that times have 
been so bad in America indeed it is not to be Wondered at considering 
every thing we feel it here very much, trade at present is very low, never 
was more so, we both want consumers and confidence but the blessing 
of hope is richly infused and we must not despair. The Almighty is all 
sufficient and can bring good out of evil. John is just arrived and 
sends a thousand loves to you all, and will write and give you all the 
news of .his jaunt as soon as he is fairly settled, next week is the seventh 
week at Ayr and he is just hurrying on to have matters arranged, as 
his whole time will be occupied that week with the judges, he left Nancy 
in £din[bur]g for two days with Mr. Kirklands friends, they went and 
came home by sea. Nancy was very sick but I hope she will be better 
for it as she was by no Ineans very Well wheti she went away Which made 
us urge her to go. Took a peach wishes to know if you have any mind 
of her thats the name you used to give Anne you know, our family never 
was so little as it is at present, only my Mother Anne and me at home, 
Sister Mary has been at Ayr during her abs)9nce however I hope by next 
week we will be altogether again. So you have no less than two of 
addition to your family upon my word Wm. you are very rich and I 
sincerely hope they ane all sent for a blessing to you and their dear 
Mother. Sir A. McKenzy I am sure will be very proud of his name sake, 
do you think Sister would not consent to let two of the children come 
with you to see their Grandmother it would be such a treat but we must 
not expect too much for fear we be disappointed. We rejoice to hear 
that your health is so much better, and intreat you to take good care and 
not make too free, its a blessing we too seldom prize till we are robed of 
it, again Adieu Kiss all the children for me, and when you write Betsy 
and Peggy give all our love. E. K. 

I shall conclude with our most affct love and best wishes to all yoUr 
happy f ainily. May Almighty God Bless you all is the prayer of your 
truly affect and loving Sister. E. Ejbkland. 

William Eirkland Esqr. 

Hillsborough, North Carolina.] 



The Nobth Oaboldta Hibtobical Commission. 

From Archibald D, Murphey. 
j^ ^. [September. 1810.] 

You will have learned before this reaches you, that great Part of Mr. 
Duffeys^ library was sold on this Week by the Sheriff of Chatham. I 
could not Stand by and see the Books go for Nothing. I attended the 
Sale and bid up, so as to make them bring as mVfCh as possible : had I 
not done so, the Books would not have sold for one half of their value, 
nor, I believe, for one third. The Consequence of my bidding has been, 
that a great many of the Books have fallen into my hands. Among 
which are a Number of valuable Lawbooks. I intended, if money enough 
could have been received to meet the most pressing demands, to have 
offered those books, which I purchased, for sale upon a Credit of 12 
Months for the benefit of the estate. But I find this cannot be done and 
I have to pay the Cash for them at the next Chatham County Court 
I mention these things to you, to learn whether you are disposed to take 
part or most of the Law Books etc. You may take them at the same 
Prices at which they were bid off to me. You will never meet with an 
opportunity again of getting Books upon the same terms. Let me know 
by Isaac whether you will take these Books. If you do not, I shall let 
Love and Willson have them. 

The following are some of the books with their Prices. 

12 Vols, of Modem Reports 

3 Do of WlUsons Do 
1 Do of Oowper Do 
1 Do of Douglas Do 

1 Do of Wllles Do 
5 Do of Vesey Junr. 

2 Do of Vesey Senr. 

4 Do of Cooke 

1 Latches 

8 Piere Williams 

2 Strange 

2 Henry Blackstone 

3 Dyer Do 

2 Shower Do 

3 Dallas Do 

2 Fonhlanque on Ejquity 

2 Vemons reports 

1 Cases tempore Talbot 

1 Kyd on Awards 

2 Hales Pleas of the Crown 
2 McNallys evidence 

2 Espenapi's Nisi Prius 

|18 This book generally costs |36 or 40 


general Price 

























































5 47 



6 103 


iWilliam DufTy, a prominent lawyer and member of the legislature. He 
practiced successively in New Bern, HiUsboro, and FayetteviUe. He had died 
shortly before this letter was written. 

The Suffin Papers. 131 

These books are very little injured — they are worth nearly as much 
as when Mr. Duffey got them — they will make you a very good Law- 
Library when added to those which you already have. 


[Address: Hillsboro.] 
[Endorsed : 
Mr. IhxBfB Books 
Sepr. S7th 1810 
Duffy, a few days ago died I] 

From Archibald D. Mwrphey?- 

j^ ^. HESMrrAOE. 1st January 1811. 


As soon as you reach Petersburg, enquire of the apothecaries for the 
Alcomoqvs,^ which has lately been imported into Philadelphia by Mr, 
Chevalier and advertised for sale. This is the Vegetable so much cele- 
brated lately for its efficacy in curing Pulmonary Complaints. I wrote 
to John Williams some time ago to procure some of it for me, and also 
Instructions for using it. If possible, get some of this Vegetable before 
you leave Petersburg. Dr. TJmstead has induced Jenny to believe that 
the Alcomoque will restore her to good health. 

With the greatest Anxiety for your Welfare and Happiness, I remain, 
Dear Sir, Yours Very Sincerely 


Thomas Ruffin esqr. 
[Addiiess: Hillsborough.] 

From E. Dillard? 

Pbtebsbubo 19th Feb. '11. 
I returned from an excursion into the country about 12 days ago, and 
have since been compell'd to put myself under the hands of a Physician, 

iThe omitted portion of this letter is printed in Hoyt, ed., The Murphey 
Papers, I, p. 46. 

2A South American bark which was at this time much in use. It disappeared 
from the American Pharmacopoeia about 1840. 

SEdward Dillard, captain of the Fifth U. S. Infantry until May, 1811, when 
he resigned on account of ill-health. He married Rnffln's sister, Minerva, and 
died within a few years. 

132 The Nobth Cabolina Hibtobical Commission. 

owing to an encrease of the infernal troubleeome disorder under which 

I have so long labored. I am housed and shall continue so^ literally 

feeding upon bread and water; and am determined to make use of the 

most desperate remedies^ if mild ones will not do^ to eradicate the disease. 

Permit me to plead the above as an apology for not sooner writing to yon. 


We have no news here, but what you will have seen in the papera^ 
before this reaches you. Mon. Bonny it seems, has been a little civil in 
restoring certain condenmed American property; and if it be true, which 
there can be little doubt of, that the Prince of Wales is appointed B^gent^ 
we may expect from the change in the Administration an abolition of 
the British orders in council. We can therefore reasonably antidpaie 
better times, but it may be well not to ''count the chickens before the eggs 
are hatched/' 

I have a letter from a friend in the War department which mentions 
that much longer requisitions have been made than usual for Military 
doathing, Camp equipage and other war materials and that the recruit- 
ing service has been revised, a number of the supernumerary officers 
having been detached upon that duty. From this he infers, that there is 
''a speck of War in the Horizon." I cannot tell in what quarter since 
the Florida's have submitted without a struggle. The probability is, that 
the Secretary at War intends filling up the existing Regiments for a 
permanent peace establishment. My own experience tells me that even 
this will be a very hard matter. I do not believe that it can be effected 
in five years by the present mode of voluntary enlistment. 

Congress is wonderfully engaged about — Nothing, Ood knows what 
they will do about the non-intercourse. 

Write me forthwith, and tell me candidly what are the sentiments of 
M's parents upon a particular subject. I hope and trust they are f avoi^ 
able. My furlough has been extended till the 20th next July. 

[Address: Hillsborough, N. C] 

From Bartlett Yancey?' 

Gbeensbobo : Monday morning March 1813. 
I am this far on my return from the counties of my district r I set out 
on tuesday morning, dined at your father's and went that night to Went- 
worth ; the next morning to Spring-Garden and to Bobert GkiUo way's,' 

iBartlett Yancey, 1785-1S28, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, 
a distinguished lawyer, member of Congress from 1818 to 1817, state senator 
and speaker from 1817 to 1827. He was a close friend of Ruffln. 

2A meinber of the large and influential family ^hlch was prominent in 
Rockingham County affairs for many years. 

Thb Suffin Fapxbs. 133 

that night to Joseph (Jentry's ^ the next day to several Houses in Stokes, 
on to old David Dalton's and to my very worthy and patriotick old 
friend Col. Winston's.^ In passing so far through the County, I met 
apparently with a most hearty welcome, all were my friends, and most 
actively engaged for my success hefore they saw me; I gave them a 
circular for themselves and Neighbours and a few to distribute, which 
they with alacrity promised to do, And I have no doubt will with a 
d^^ree of zeal, from Col. Winston's Went on to Gtermanton, My old 
friend Winston with me, introducing me to every man, woman and 
Child. I found all the town, except Tho : Armstrong,' (who was not at 
home,) my most decided friend: from there I went to Isaac Dalton's^ 
in whom I found a most active and valuable friend, and the next day 
I went to a muster on the borders of the Moravian settlement; Many of 
the Dutch were there and the Country just around having mentioned 
the day before, that I was expected at the muster, more than one hundred 
persons had assembled when I got there : several of my friends went on 
with me, and there I met with the Dobsons f I was introduced to many 
and had scarcely time, to shake hands and speak to them before I was 
called upon by a messinger from the Captains of both companies to 
address the men : I began, directly in the midst of them, and in a little 
time raised among them the war-whoop : I knew not how it would stick, 
hut came out with a bold front, and with warmth : at the conclusion of 
my speech which was short, almost every man, flocked to me, telling me, 
they had heard of me, but they now knew my principles and would sup- 
port me, this seemed to be the tune of all, with the exception of a single 
one, an old vulgar fellow of a Dutch-Irishman, who said he would vote 
for Martin:' Lacy'' would not have gotten a single vote there on that 
day : from the muster, I went to Salem. I expected it the bed of federal- 
ism and disaffection : but to my great surprise, I found all the leading 
men among them, the advocates of the present War, in order to get a 
honorable peace: I think they will stand divided between Lacy and 
myself, myself getting many more of them, than I expected : I went to 
town in Company with our friend Capt Harden ;' we met many of my 

1 Joseph Gentry of Rockingham, member of the House of Commons in 1804. 

sjoseph Winston was a native of Stokes County and was a major in the 
Revolution, taking quite a prominent part in the hattle of Kings Mountain. 
He was the first etate senator from Stokes in 1790, and was also a member 
of the Senate in 1791, 1802, 1807, and 1812. He was a member of Congress 
from 1793 to 1795 and from 1803 to 1807. He died in 1814. 

SThomas Armstrong of Germanton. 

4l8aac Dalton, a member of the House of Commons from Stokes in 1805, 
1806, 1814, and 1815. 

fiProbably Henry B. and William P. Dobson, both influential in the politics 
of Stokes County. 

sjames Martin, Jr., of Stokes, who was a very prominent lawyer at this 
time and had been a member of the etate senate in 1811 and 1812. He died in 

TTheophilns Lacy of Rockingham, member of the House of Commons in 
1799 and 1801. He later declined to be a candidate. 

sprobably Mark Harden. 

184 Thx Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

friends returning from the town : they told me Bloom, the tavern keeper 
was warmly my friend: that Criser was rather opposed to me^ and 
thought me too warm a politician. After I got in^ many of the yonng 
men came down to the tavern to see me^ (for it had got to salem early in 
the day, that I was to be there, that night) Among the number wiko 
came down was Criser and Stiner: Criser and myself in the presence 
of the others fell into a political conversation, and I soon found from 
him, that after the late law upon the subject of the employment of sea- 
men, he was an advocate for war : In that we agreed : I took occasion 
however, to discriminate between firmness and decision of opinion and 
virulence and madness : It seem to fit him, but I know he stood pledged 
to Lacy; during the conversation he remarked that if Lacy declined, 
Martin would get but little support: Stiner is a good Bepublican and 
Bloom tells me will support me: Criser on yesterday took considerable 
pains at the Church to introduce me to all their leading men : This town 
in politics can be revolutionized : 

It is now ascertained beyond doubt that James Martin is a candidate, 
for since the first of the week, he has been into every county of the dis- 
trict, except Caswell. He and his friends are writing and riding daily : 
Lacy has been to this place during the last week : I can hear of liini in 
many places, at some he talks of declining, at others he says, by George, 
it will not do, it looks too much like being beaten: In all my travels 
through Stokes, I never could hear of but 3 men, all of them living 
together that would support Lacy and they were doubtful: In this I 
was completely astonished: for I expected he would there get a good 
support : I am universily told he will get none : I am expected at Stokes 
Court on thursday: I propose that we should meet on Monday at Cas- 
well, and on Monday and tuesday do all the plain business, there are but 
two litigation suits on docket. Barker and Beid; Harrison and Boyd: 
Settle is concerned in both and will not be there, we can make use of that 
for a continuance. On tuesday night we will get to your fathers, and on 
Wednesday night to Qermanton: I am particularly anxious, that you 
should be with me at Stokes : you are well acquainted and I am told and 
believe you can do me good: I want to beat Martin in his own county: 
Murphy and Settle^ will attend to your business in Stokes till you get 
there, think of this proposition till Court, I am confident it will answer 
a good purpose: My friends in this county and Bockingham tell me I 
will beat either of them a good ways. Strange to tell, they say in this 
county, Martin will get none except a few in the neighborhood of Lea 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

iThomas Settle of Rockingham County, 1791-1857; member of the House ot 
Commons, 1816, 1826-1829; speaker, 1828; member of Congress, 1817-1821; 
judge Superior Court, 1832 until bis deatb. 

Ths 'Rvfttn Papbbs. 135 

From Bartlett Yancey, 

Casw!blls 2d. April 1813 : 

I have before written you from Greensboro^ but think it possible this 
may reach you before that ; as my Old friend Capt : Tait promises it a 
speedy passage. My letters from Guilford will give you a full account 
in a diort way of my late tour through the district : Your letter by Mr. 
Evans from Hillsborough I have reed, and precisely the same proposi- 
tions you make me, I have suggested in my letter to you : it will suit the 
interest of both of us, and particularly myself. 

My proposition was formed upon a Conversation with your father and 
other of my f riends, I saw upon the rout : I have this day understood, 
that the post-Boy brings certain intelligence from Lacy's neighborhood 
that he has certainly declined : I have reed, no letter from Mr. Lacy on 
the subject but it was a thing I fully expected from what I had heard of 
him on my tour : James Martin is certainly up, and making every exer- 
tion possible for success : I think I shall beat him very easy, but I mean 
notwithstanding to be active and endeavour to stur up my friends to 
activity, and impress on them to come out on the day of Election : 

I sh^ be at home on Sunday before Caswell Co. Court, and shall be 
glad of your company: We must set out on tuesday night for German- 
ton ; go to your fathers by promise : B. Ct. House to breakfast and on to 
Germanton: Campbell will expect us: 

[Address: Hillsborough. No.C] 

From Jesse Franklin?- 

SuBEY County 14th Novr. 1813. 
You will recollect we had some Conversation at Germanton last Court 
upon the Subject of a Vacancy taking place in the Senate of the TJ. S., 
upon further consideration I am inclined to believe that none will hap- 
pen — that our friend the Judge^ will continue. But if a vacancy should 
ultimately take place and our friends after Coning over the Subject, 

iJesse Franklin of Snrry, member of the House of Commons, 1793, 1794, 
1797, 1798; member of Congress, 1795 to 1797; United States senator, 1799- 
1805 and from 1807 to 1818; state senator, 1805-1806; governor, 1820; died, 

3Davld Stone of Bertie, 1770-1818; studied law under Davie and became 
prominent at the bar; was member of the Commons, 1790-1794; judge of 
the Superior Court, 1794-1798; member of Congress, 1799-1801; United States 
senator, 1801-1806, when he resigned to become a judge of the Superior Court; 
governor from 1809-1810; member of the Commons, 1811-1812; United States 
■enator, 1813 to 1814, when, the legislature having passed resolutions of 
censure on account of his opposition to the war measures of the administration^ 
he resigned. 

136 The Nobth Casoldta Histoiucal Commission. 

Should be of opinion that the use of my name as a successor will serve 
the present cause jou are at Liberty to make use of it. Not Sir that I 
have any personal wishes ever to attend the sessions of the Senate, for 
if ever I had any they have been long since gratified, and after having 
been twice Honored with that High trust. Certainly I can have no farther 
Claims of that sort upon the State, but I can never Sit down and view 
with indifFerenoe the passing events growing out of the present Contest 
in which we are engaged, but on the Contrary I feel the most Lively 
interest in the struggle, and it is with pain that I ever see thorns and 
thistles strewed in the way of those of the Majority, who must govern, 
who must necessarily point out the Course, tl^at the nation must pursue. 
I did believe that longer forbearance with the British Qovemment on 
our part would have been criminal; that from some fatality or other, 
no nation is exempt from the Horrors of war, and in their turn all must 
encounter it. That our cause is a just one and we in time must Join the 
DredfuU revelry. To meet it manfully is our proper cofurse to shrink 
from it would be a baseness to which Americans as free men, knowing and 
valluing their rights never could submit, and that a vigorous prosecution 
of the War is the only way to Honorable peace. I voted for the war, 
but not untill I believed that every effort had been made to preserve Ihe 
peace of the nation, that every point of the political compass had been 
tried, and every Honorable offer made to the present enemy; notwith- 
standing what may be said by those in the opposition. 

If a vacancy should take place and our friends can unite upon any 
(Gentleman whose prospects of success are plasible let me not stand in 
the way, 

I have not written to Judge Stone, indeed I have been at a loss How 
to answer his letter upon the subject. The Judge and Myself have ever 
been upon the most intimate terms of friendship both as publick men 
and individuals from long acquaintance and long service together. 

N. B. I wish you an agreable session and after doing much good for 
the State a Happy meeting with your family and friends. 

[Address : 
Mr. Buffin Esquire 

Member of the Legislature of the State of N*. Carolina Baleigh 
N. C. from the town of Hillsbo.] 

From William Oamett. 

2* Dec, 1813 
It is with very great pleasure that I Om enabled by the receipt of your 
letter of the 15th of Not, once more to reply to a conununication from 
you. This pleasure lis the more increased, as I had began to think that 

The Ruffin Papbbs. 187 

our correspondence liad, at lengthy reached the end of the tendency, which 
it has long appeared to have, to a termination. In June last, I wrote you 
a long letter, informing you that I should be in Bichmond at the siting 
of the chancery court, and requesting a meeting if possible at that place; 
but, as well as I recollect, I gave it a wrong direction, directing it to 
Warrenton instead of Hillsborough, I, therefore, presume that you never 
recvd it. I rejoice with you in your prospects for domestic happiness, 
which I hope you may continue to realize as long as you live. My own, 
I think, are as good as I could reasonably expect, though I am far from 
being in the flourishing circumstances, with regard to my pecuniary 
affairs, that you seem to immagine. I possess, nominally, a pretty good 
estate. I own about 8 or 9 hundred acres of Rappahannock River land, 
and about forty negroes, I have, besides, a reversionary interest, which 
I estimate at between two and three thousand pounds, but notwithstand- 
ing this, I have been embarrassed and perplexed with debt ever since I 
began life. When I came to the possession of my estate, I found it 
burthened with debt, which building and purchasing furniture towards 
housekeeping very much encreased. Since then, I have bent my utmost 
exertions towards relieving it from its heavy incumbrances, but the 
embargo threw me back very much, and I was but just recovering from 
its baneful influence when the war assailed me, and will, I fear, shake 
me to center if it continues much longer. 

My family consists of a wife^ and three children, a son, and two 
daughters, and, I think, I have as much reason to be happy in them as 
most men. As you observe with regard to your children, mine are too 
young to exhibit any strong characteristick features; they are healthy, 
and viewing them with the partiality of parent, I suppose, I can see as 
little to object to in them, as in any children I know of their ages. 

From your letter, I observe that you are in your state Legislature; 
the political ocean, I believe, is a very tempestuous one and the adven- 
turers upon it, rarely ever promote their own happiness by it; but it is 
necessary that some should buffet the storm, and patriotism requires 
that no man should hang back when his services are required. 

Your fate and mine has been very different in this respect, I have been 
long politically proscribed, and am considered, or rather affected to be 
considered, by those who aspire at despotic sway in one District, as 
nothing better than a tory. The ostensible, (though not the real cause,) 
for such an opinion, which I have good reason to believe is frequently 
expressed, behind my back and in the most insiduous and secret manner, 
is because I thought it impolitick to declare war when we did, and 
because I have taken all proper occasions to express my disgust at the 
pusillanimous conduct of our govt, towards France, and at the shame- 
lees and barefaced manner in which they have persisted in falsely afirm- 

iWilliam Garnett married his cousin, Anna ICarla Brooke. Their children 
at the time of this letter were Anna Maria Catherine, bom 1808; Muscoe, bom 
1810; and Charlotte Olympla, born 1812. 

138 Ths Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

ing that the F. Decrees were repealed when the Presidents proclamation 
declared them to be. But I have not time to go into this long and diB- 
gusting subject, I will, therefore, reserve it for another letter. 

I would not be in public life if I could, which bye the bye is well put 
in, unless my services were solicited, as I do not think my talents of 
that brilliant stamp to render it improper that I should indulge my 
predilection for a private life, and I believe it is one in which the people 
are very willing to indulge me. But I will now conclude, for the pres- 
ent — Remember me affectionately to all your family, and write to me 
as often as you can find leisure, and I promise you to do the same. 

[Address : Raleigh North Carolina] 

From Archibald D, Murphey.^ 

^ ^ ^ Ralmgh, 6th Jany. 1813.* [1814] 

Vear ICuffin, 

Your letters have this moment come to hand. I will get the Copies 

from the Clerk of the Federal Court which you wish and either bring 

them or send them to Hillsboro. I have taken up your Fathers Note 

$1461. If the Acts of 1764 and 1768 can be had in the Secretar/s 

Office, I will get copies for you. I will attend to the Cases which you 

enclosed and get a Decision on them, if possible. 


The Moravian Cause' comes on Tomorrow, and I shall not get away 
before Monday or Tuesday. Mr. Robards* is appointed Clerk — Great 
News here — Peace, I hope, is in prospect for us. The allies are trium- 
phant in all quarters — the Papers of today give us details — ^the Prince 
of Scwartszenberg acted as Commander in Chief of the Allies, Supported 
by the Army of Siberia under Blucher and the Northern Army under 
Bemadotte Blucher fought Ney on the 17th Octo., and defeated him with 
great loss. On the first day the Main Allied Army was engaged agt 
Buonaparte : On the night of that day Orders were issued by the Prince 

lArchlbald De Bow Murphey, 1777-1832, well-known to North Carolina as a 
great judge, a great statesman, and a great orator. He was one of Ruffin's 
most intimate friends and also a connection by marriage. RaflUn also for a 
short time studied law under him. 

2Thl« letter is dated 1813, but its contents show that this was an error, as 
does the letter from Murphey to Ruffln, dated January 10, 1814. 

SThis was a very important case which InTolTed the possession of and title 
to a large part of the lands of the Moravian Church in North Carolina. Murphey 
was the chief counsel for the Moraylans, and in 1814 secured a decree of the 
Supreme Court in their favor. See Benzien v. Lenoir, 4 N. C, 117. The case 
was reopened later. 

^William Robards of Granville, member of the House of Conunons in 180€ 
and 1808; etate treasurer, 1827-1880; clerk of the Supreme Court for many 
years; died, 1842. 

The Ruffin Papbbs. 139 

of Swartszenberg to renew the Attack on the next day and Notice given 
to Bemadotte and Blncher to make certain dispositions of their forces 
daring the night So that a general combined Attack might be made 
upon all parts of the French Army — the Attack was made as concerted; 
Bennington who had just arrived with the Army of Bouen, seems to have 
sustained the hotest fire and contributed to the Victory in that Quarter 
where the Allied Army under Pr. Swartszenberg fought. Bemadotte 
and Blucher carried all the positions of the French in the Quarters where 
they fought and before night the French Armies were routed and fleeing 
in all Directions. France has lost some of her best Generals. It is 
stated, but not officially, that MacDonald is taken Prisoner, and that 
Prince Poniaiowshy, who commanded the Polish Troops was drowned in 
his flight in the river Saalle. The official letters of Sir. Ch. Stewart 
written on the 19th, a few hours after the Allies entered Leipsig, an* 
nounce the Capture of Generals Sabiston, Brune, Yallary and many 
other distinguished Commanders. General Latour Manbourg lost a leg. 
Since the death of Bessieres the Duke of Istria, Manbourg has been 
esteemed the best Commander of Cavalry in Europe, except Murat the 
King of Naples. 

Buonaparte attempted a retreat by the Boad to Erforth, But Bema- 
dotte had detached such a force in that direction, that he changed his 
route, and took the road to Brunswick with the wreck of his Army. It 
is expected that by the route of the Saale he will endeavour to force his 
way to the Military posts near the Mouth of the Bhine. Gtenl. Blucher 
pursued him along this Bout and Bemadotte had Succeeded in throwing 
a Strong force between him and the Bhine in this Direction. 

In the Battle of the 17th Octo. the Saxon Troops with their Artillery 
went down and joined Bemadotte, who made a Speech to them, put 
himself at the Head and lead them against the French. In the Battle 
on the next day, 17 Battalions of German Troops with their Artillery 
went over to the Allied Army. Bavaria has joined the Allies : the Saxon 
and many of the Wirtemburg Troops having joined them and the King 
of Saxony being taken Prisoner and aU his Dominions in the hands of 
the Allies, he will of course join them. In forty eight hours, France 
has lost nearly 100,000 men and many of her best G(enerals. The Colos- 
sus of her Power is broken to pieces. Whilst she suffers this bad 
reverse of fortune in the l^orth. Lord Wellington is entering her 
Territory in another quarter. He has stormed all the line of Mili- 
tary posts at the foot of the Pyrennees and displayed the British 
Standard on the Soil of Ancient France. How many Centuries have 
passed away since this Standard was unfurled on French Ground ? 

The Prince Eegent's Speech is in the Papers of today. He announces 
the great events upon the Continent and the junction of Bavaria to the 
Coalition. He regrets the War with the United States, declares a Dis- 
position to Settle die Difference, and applauds the Conduct of his Troops 
in Canada. It is conjectured that the Flag of Truce which has arrived 

140 The Nobth Caboluta Historical Commission. 

at Annapolis brings a direct proposition from Lord Castlereagh to treat 
either here or in England^ and declining the Interference of a third 
Power. It certainly brings some proposition upon this subject and some 
say, a Minster is on Board — this is not believed. It was believed at 
Washington that in a few days Mr. Bayard would be nominated to the 
Senate as Envoy Extraordinary to England. Gk>d send us peace. My 
Heart bleeds for the unhappy sufferers on the Frontiers, whose Towns 
and Country Dwellings have been laid in Ashes, by way of retaliation 
for burning Newark. QeuL McClures friends declare he acted under 
the Orders of the Secretary of War:^ this latter Gentleman denies it 
One or the Other, or both deserve the execration of the civilized World. 
Do not our Disgraces sicken your Soulf Wilkinsons Army will, I fear, 
all be captured before I see you. It is said, they have been twice Sum- 
moned to Surrender — ^All the Officers almost, are to the South. I pray 
God to give us peace, and save us from further Disgrace. We shall get 
out of the War, loaded with Debt and taxes, Defeat and Disgrace. It is 
time for men of all parties to Unite and put into Office Men of Ability 
and Elevation of Character, that the Honour of the N'ation may be 
reestablished, and the Dominion of low passion be broken down. God 
bless you. Dear Ruffin. 
[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Archibald D. Murphey. ' 

Baleioh, 10th Jan^^. 1814: 
It is now nearly 1 Odock — engaged in the Moravian Cause which 
has already occupied two days and will probably take up two more. I 
have only time to write a few lines — ^the Judges have decided against the 
Suspension Act,^ Unanimously. 

10 Companies of detatched Militia are ordered to march from this 
State immediately to Milledgville in G^rgia — 8 of Infantry, 1 of 
Cavalry and 1 of Artillery. The Governor is in Granville, he has been 
that far and will be here tomorrow or next day. 

London papers of 14th Ifov. have been reed. — Bonaparte escaped to 
the Rhine and had reached Mainz with 20 or 30,000 men. No particu- 
lars are received as yet. 

iThe Secretary of War at this time was John Armstrong of New Tork. a 
Revolutionary soldier, the author of the "Newburgh Letters/' delegate to the 
Continental Congress from Pennsylvania, senator from New Tork, minister 
to France and to Spain, brigadier general in the UnKed States Army. He was 
forced to resign at the time of the capture of Washington. 

2Thi8 was an act passed in 1812, providing for a stay of judgment in all 
suits for debt or damage from December 81, 1812, to February 1, 1814. Tbe 
opinion in the case, Jones v, Crittenden, was written by Chief Justice Taylor, 
Judge Hall dissenting. 

Thb "RvFTui Papbbs. 141 

I enclose one of my circulars to you, I am for Mr. Eirkland. I wish 
you could think as Jas about some of the things contained in it. My love 
to Anne, Mr. Eirkland and all his family. Gk)d bless you. 

T. Buffin esqr. 

[Address : HiUsboro, N. C] 

From Archibald D, Murphey. 

r, cf Baleiqh 12th Jany. 1814. 

Dear Sir. 

We have been nearly a Week on the Moravian Cause, and we shall 

not finish it before tomorrow or next day night — We are all tired. 


[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Bartlett Yancey to Sterling Ruffin. 

Washinoton: 4th FeVy. 1814. 

1 fear that the conclusion which you have drawn with regard to my 
Silence in writing you is not dissimilar, with my own with regard to 
your Silence in writing to me : Permit me however to assure you, that 
much of my time which has been devoted to correspondence and atten- 
tion to my constituents, has been in answering letters and dispatching 
news-papers to those parts of the district where I expected they were 
most likely to answer the cause which I am endeavoring support: 
Amidst my labors of this kind, however, I cannot, nor must not subject 
myself justly to be reproached with ingratitude to my friends and my 
most able supporters : To give you a detailed account of the proceedings 
of Congress, would be pretty much like the most of the business of the 
session, uninteresting. 

Before much of the important business of the session, has been matured 
by the Committees, and brought forward in the House, Our Government 
received dispatches from the British Ministry containing a proposition 
to n^ociate for peace: this Correspondence has been published and no 
doubt you have seen it before this reaches you : These dispatches were 
communicated to Congress, and Ministers to meet at Gottenberg to nego- 
eiate. Mr. Adams, Mr. Bayard, Mr. Clay (late speaker) and Mr. Jona- 
than BusseP were appointed for that purpose: Mr. Bussel was also 

iJonathan Russell, 1771-1S82, charge d'aftaires in England at the outbreak 
of the war; minister to Norway and Sweden, 1814-181S; member of Congress, 

142 Thb Nobth Cabouna Histosioal Commibsiok. 

appointed Minister to reside at Stockholm. Notwithatanding thia ap- 
pearance of peace^ it was recommended by the President, that we ahould 
adopt suitable measures for a Vigorous and determined prosecution of 
the war^ during the next campaign. 

This course, so necessary and indispensible, was fully determined on 
by Congress, both before and after the reception of that message. We 
have learnt, the truth of that Maxim, that to procure peace and main- 
tain it, we should be prepared for war. 

Congress has accordingly passed a Bill, to fill the Ranks of the Army: 
by which they offer $124: and 160 acres of land as a bounty: $50 to be 
paid at the moment of enlistment, $50 at the place of Bendezvoua and 
24 at the end of Service : to be enlisted for five years, or during the war: 
We have also passed a Bill to authorize five of the Bogiments already 
authorized to be turned into Rifle Corps — : And this day was passed 
to a third reading a Bill to accept of the service of any Volunteer Corps, 
who are now ready and willing to go into service and continue for five 
years, or during the war. It is believed that several of the corps to the 
North, are now ready to enter the service. 

The Committee of Ways and Means have made this report in part, and 
the greater part of the present session will be devoted to providing the 
Revenue for the next year. They have reported a Bill to authorize the 
issuing of Treasury Notes and also a loan : It was to have been expected 
that the war, would have cost a great deal of money: the Expense has 
not been greater than there might be expected : The Military establish- 
ment for the last year is about 18 Millions. This Constitutes the greater 
part of the Expense. Nothing is yet heard from Mr. Gallatin. It is 
said and believed, that if he is not heard from in a short time, that thore 
will be an appointment for the treasury. Who it will be is uncertain. 

I need not tell you, I am tired of this place : of this I am persuaded 
you are already convinced. It is believed at present, that Congress will 
adjourn the last of March or first of April : It will be better to adjourn 
as soon as the public business will admit of it : It will give the Executive 
a better opportunity for the next campaign. 

It is believed our Commanders to the North, will be changed : Brown^ 
and Izard^ have been promoted to Major Genl. within a few days : Wil- 
kerson' I hope will be sent from the North, and I would be willing if he 
is willing that he should be shifted. 

iJacob Brown, 1775-1828, who after a varied career as teacher, surveyor, 
private secretary to Alexander Hamilton, judge, and colonel of militia, won 
fame In the War of 1812, and In 1821 became general in chief of the United 
States Army. 

sCtoorge Izard, 1777-1828, a member of the regular army who became a major 
general in 1814. He was governor of the territory of Arkansas from 1826 to 

sjames Wilkinson was now in command in the North. A month later he 
made a complete failure at Lacolle Creek and was suspended from command 
to appear before a court of inquiry, which he had already requested. He was 
acquitted but never was restored to command. 

Ths Ruffin Papebs. 143 

We have just heard by letters from the North, that Forsyth^ passed 
over the lines, had an engagement^ killed 160 and took about 400 prison- 
ers : Qod grant it may be true : I suppose you will see my friend Mr. 
Watt in a day or two : let him know of what I have written you : Since I 
came to this place, he passed through the city and would not call to see 
me: Mr. Williams was good enough to call and mentioned to me, that 
Mr. Watt, he expected, would do so: but he did not come nigh. Tell 
him I fear that a maxim may be applied to him in politics, which is 
sometimes said of the Christian faith, that he will not hold out to the 
end: He cannot have as an excuse, that he was a waggoner, and in a 
Waggoners garb ; for he knows me too well to know, that I should not 
be glad to see him, at any time: I will write him before long; Will you 
be so good as to inform me, by letter what are the times since the Com- 
mencement of the Revenue System? What is the complexion of the 

Upon the subject of peace you can form as good an opinion as myself : 
I see no obstacle to it and believe if the opposition made to it by the 
federalists, do not prevent it, we shall have a peace — ^but Sir, rely upon 
it, that we shall receive from them as much opposition to peace, as we 
have ever experienced in the prosecution of the war. It has already 
commenced here in public debate; the papers of that party have taken 
up the subject. Mr. Clay has left this for Gottenbergh, and will arrive 
there I suppose, about middle of March : two months I think will settle 
the question of peace or war. And thirty or fifty days bring back the 
tidings : so that from the middle of July to the first of August wiU give 
us the News. Mr. Clay was to see us ^e evening before his departure. 
He seems sanguine in his expectations of peace. But certainly could 
form but little better opinion than you or I : I do not wish Mr. Clay's 
impressions to be mentioned. Such part of this letter as you think 
expedient you will communicate to our friends and acquaintances: 
Your friend and relative Mr. Boane^ is well: My respects to Mrs. 
BufSn and the family : I hope to do myself the pleasure of staying with 
you as I pass on to Bockingham Supr. Court : Write me on the receipt 
of this. 

[Address : 
Sterling Buffin Esquire 
Bockingham Co. 
N"o. C] 

iBenjamln Forssrthe of Ctormanton, Stokes County, North Carolina. He 
was a member of the House of Commons in 1807. He went to Canada In the 
War of 1812 as a captain, and was killed In 1814. Forsyth County is named 
for him. 

ajohn Roane of Uppowoc, the first cousin of Sterling Rufiln's wife, member 
of Congress, 1809-1815, 1827-1833, 1835-1837; died, 1869. 

144 The Nobth Oaboluta Hibtobical Commibbion. 

From Duncan Cameron,^ 

Okanob Fehj 27, 1814. 

It was most sincerely my widi that our friend Mr. Naah' should have 
heen appointed to fill the vacancy on the Bench^* when I went to Raleii^ ; 
I understood the Governor* intended to nominate me — I expressed my 
disinclination to him and suggested Mr. Nash. I found that in the 
event of my refusing that he would nominate some person other than 
Mr Nash. I was finally tho' be assured very reluctantly induced to 
accept the appointment which was unanimously approved by the CToun- 
cil ; all being present. — Particulars when we meet. 

I set off for the Western Circuit on Thursday. I hope to see you in 
Hillsborough on that day. 

I wish you to attend to all my Business in the County and Supr. Co. 
of Orange, when Mr. Nash appears on the opposite side — ^he will fijiish 
my Business where his engagements will permit. He has all my papers 
and will divide with you, such as are to pass over to you. In great haste. 

[Address: Hillsboro'] 

From Bartlett Yancey. 

Ho. Rbpbbbentativbb 5th March 1814. 

Permit me to ask you if you have received 3^ dozen letters, which 
you have not answered? If so, whether you will postpone the answer 
to them till I see youf My Dr. Fellow*, I think you might have spent 
as much time as would enable you to write me : How are things going 
on in the State and how is the business of the courts going on. I shall 
be able to get home by Caswell County Court: Congress will adjourn 
on the 2nd Monday of Apl. 

Be good enough to give a friendly assistance to my business in the 
courts : I am very tired of this place : I have no intelligence except what 
you will find in the public papers : The debate on the loan Bill termi- 

iDuncan Cameron, 1777-1858, a native of Virginia, member Of the House of 
Ck>mmons, 1802, 1805, 1807, 1812-1818; member of the Senate, 1819. 1822-1824; 
judge of the Superior Court, 1814-1816; president of the State Bank. 1829-1840. 

^Frederick Nash of Orange, 1751-1858, member of the House of Commons 
from New Bern, 1804-1805; from Orange, 1814-1817; Hilleboro. 1828-1829; 
speaker, 1814; judge Superior Court, 1818-1826, 1886-1844; justice of the 
Supreme Court, 1844-1862; chief justice, 1862-1868. 

sFrancis Locke of Rowan, who had been on the bench since 1808, had just 
resigned in consequence of his election to the United States Senate. 

^William Hawkins. 

Ths Ruffin Papbbs. 145 

nates on the 3d: In this dispute the Qvida^ have been more severely 
handled, than they ever were before, they find themselves opposed by 
men of more talents and fimmess than they ever before had. 

I have just heard from our State, that Cameron is appointed judge : 
How did it happen : Write me in answer. 

[Address : Hillsborough No. Oa.] 

From William Ruffin^ to Sterling Ruffin. 

Wabbbntok 20 May 1814. 

I have not had the pleasure of hearing from you since you last left 
this place. I hope you reached Oakland in safety, and found the family 
all welL 

When you were last here, I think, you mentioned that our Friend 
Watt had a load of Whiskey to dispose of ; if he has not sold, would take 
75 Cents per Gallons, delivered here, and wait a short time for the 
money. I think I could aid him in getting rid of it, provided he would 
deliTer it soon. 

Can you make enquiry of him and let me know by return of the mail. 
If y reason for wishing to know by that time is, that I have some idea 
of going to the North, and should like to be determined before I set off. 

I received a letter from Bobert last night, dated Sachets Harbour 6 
May, he was then, thank God, well, and appears to consider the Harbour 
as secure from any attack from the Enemy and that our Fleet will soon 
be ready for service, that our force is superior to the British, and will 
of course soon obtain the ascendency upon the Lake. 

I Tery much fear we have met with a discomfiture at Oswego. Bobert 
mentions a heavy cannonaiding was heard at the Harbour on the morn- 
ing of the 6th in that direction. 

The late accounts from Europe are uncertain and contradictory. But 
they all agree that there has been several very bloody battles, and that 
G^reat] B[ritain] has abandoned the idea of dethroning Bonaparte. 
You must excuse this note, it was my intention to have written you a 
Letter. But I was prevented by companies coming in, till it was too 
late for me to indulge my inclination. But I cannot conclude without 
informing you that thro' the merciful dispensation of a Kind Provi- 
dence and an indulgent Gk)d, we are all in the Land of the living and in 
our usual health. 

iThe group of Independents headed by John Randolph. 
xWUllam Ruffin was Sterling Ruffln's brother. 


146 The Nobth Oabolika Hutobical Commission. 

The family joins me in best wishes for the health and happiness of 
you and yours. 

N. B. if you have an oppy. send me a Kegg or two of Tobacco, such 
as you had. 
[Address : 
Sterling Buffin Esq. 
Bockingham County No. Ca.] 

From Joseph Oales} 

[Raleigh, N. C, July 22, 1814.] 

Provided the friends of an Agency of the State Bank in Hillsborough 
should succeed in their wishes, which I think they will, would you be 
willing to accept of the Agency? In discussing the subject your friendly 
services to the Institution were spoken of as they deserve, and that the 
Board was informed that you recommended D. Yarborough as Agent, 
it was concluded that if an Agency was established, an offer of the Busi- 
ness should be first made to you. 

Though unauthorised, I drop you this line to enquire whether it will 
suit your convenience to accept of this appointment. I do this to save 
time. The establishment of the office depends upon a contingency, which 
if it turns out favorably, I wish the Business to be immediately effected, 
which can be done provided we have your answer in the mean tima 

Baleioh, July 22, 1814. 

The salary of the Agent wiU be $500. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Joseph Qales, 

[Balbioh, N. C, July 29, 1814.] 
I duly received your favor of yesterday by today's mail, and I write 
you a line to say that I am well satisfied with the reasons which you 
give for declining the contemplated Agency, and to inform you that the 
question of establishing Offices being somewhat connected with another 
subject at present under consideration, which has been thought of suffi- 
cient importance to call together all the Members of the Directory, which 
cannot be effected before the latter end of August, this Business has 
been postponed to that time also. 

I mention this, lest not hearing from us on the subject, you might 

iJoseph Gales, founder and editor of the Raleigh Register, at this time one 
of the directors of the State Bank. 

The Buffin Papebs. 147 

have supposed the Business was relinguished, which is hj no means the 
case. I am firmly of opinion that the office will be established in Hills- 
boro' and that our friend Mr. Yarboro^ will be the Agent. 

Baleigh, July 29, 1814. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Barilett Yancey. 

Washington 5th October. 1814. 

I have just time to write you a scrip before the closing of the mail, so 
as to meet you at CasweU Court : We are now engaged in a very unneces- 
saiy and I fear protracted debate on the question of removal Instead of 
attending to the necessary and imperious business of the nation, the 
Representatives from New York and Pennsylvania, with a few excep- 
tions, are seizing on this unpropitious time, to remove the seat of govern- 
ment to one or the other of these states. The pretended object is tem- 
porary removal, but the intention is a permanent one. If this be estab- 
lished, and those gentlemen have power hereafter to keep us in one of 
these states, the consequence will be, one will have the Congress and 
the other the President alternately. 

Besides this objection, the propositioii is at a most unfavorable time : 
In my opinion it would have a most fatal tendency upon public credit. 
I hope my business at Caswell court wiU not suffer in my absence. Mr. 
Sanders^ will afford you such assistance as may be in his power: the 
state of our finances you will see from the Beport of the Secretary of the 
Treasury are in a miserable condition. You now see what I told you, 
upon my return at the last session, that immediately upon the Bepeal 
of the Embargo, the Capital of the Country would be employed in com- 
merce, because it was more profitable, than to leave it to government. 
It is not yet ascertained what measures will be adopted by the Committee 
of ways and means. We must increase the taxes, both Direct and in- 
ternal. We shall have to raise near 20 Millions. 

I apprehend that we shall not adjourn till the drd of March ; it is im- 
possible however to say at this time. 

I should be very pleased to hear from you ; give me a general account 
of the aspect of things, and when I write you next, I will be more in 

[Written on back of letter:] Col. Bhone, now by my side, pays his 

[Address : Caswell C. H., K C] 

iDavld Tarborongh. 

sRomnlos Mitchell Saunders, of CasweU County, 1791-1867, member of the 
House of Commons, 1815-1820, 1852-1854; speaker, 1819-1820; member of Con- 
gress, 1821-1827, 1841-1845; attorney-general, 1828-1835; judge of the Superior 
Court, 1835-1840; Democratic candidate for governor in 1840; minister to 
Spain, 1846-1849. 

148 Thx Nobth Caboijna Histosical Coicicission. 

To Edward Jones?- 

^. GsBSNSBOROy Octo, 26th, 1814. 

It is essential to my reputation, that yon should declare that the 
remark which you made to day in the Court house in relation the leaf 
of the Minute Docket being torn was not intended as an insinuation that 
I had torn it, or, if such an insinuation was intended, that it was utterly 
without foundation in Truth. 

I am, 
Your Obedt. Servant 

Thomas Buffht. 
Colo. Edward Jones 


[Written on same sheet] 
October 26th, 1814. 

As to Mr. Bufin, I had not any the most remote intention to insinuate 
that he had any Agency in the interpolation of the docket had Mr. Bu£Bn 
mentioned it in court I should more courteously have explained, the 
other parts of the above note from me requires not a reply to. 

Ed. Jonxs. 

P. S. I believe there was no intended misconduct anywhere. 

To Edward Jones. 

„. Obeensbobo — Octo. 26th 1814 

It is very satisfactory and gratifying to me to learn by your note that 
no imputation derogatory to my character was intended by you today. 
Certainly any such imputation was entirely undeserved. But the in- 
ference was so obvious, that I, and no doubt others, instantly drew it 
To do me justice therefore conmiensurate with the injury I might have 
sustained, You cannot but be willing to explain it in the morning in 
Court — I am content that it should appear, as of your own mere mention, 
without any requisition from me. 

I am Sir Your obedient Servant 

Thomas Buffik. 

Colo. Edward Jones 


lEdward Jones, of Chatham, at this time solicitor general of the State. He 
and Ruffin were warm friends in spite of the feeling evident in this letter. 

Thb Buffin Papbbs. 149 

From Joseph Oales. 

[Ealbioh, N. C, Oct. 26, 1814.] 

Agreeably to promifle, I inclose you the opinion on the Libel Case^ 
wliich I reed, from Waishington. 

The opinion was given, as you will discover from reading it, without 
a sight of the Libel. I afterwards inclosed the Piece with a copy of the 
Indictment, and received the slip of Paper also inclosed. 

When you next come to Baleigh, you can return me these papers. 

Baueioh, Oct. 26, 1814. 

[In Judge Buffin's handwriting] 

Covering the opinion of A. J. Dallas Esqr. on the publication of 
'^Oraccus"; for which a prosecution had been pending in State Supr. 
Cot, as a libel. Mr. D. thinks it libellous. The Defendt. was acquitted. 
[Address : 

Thos. Buffin, Esqr. 

Endorsed : 

Jo. Gales Esqr. 

Octo. 1814.] 

From A. Meilan.^ 
My Dear Sir. [Octobee. 1814.] 

I have to return you many, very many thanks for your kind and 
friendly Civilities to me during my Besidence in Hillsborough and par- 
ticularly for the occasional Use of your Library. But as Gbod-nature 
is accustomed to be encroached upon, I have taken the Liberty of borrow- 
ing one of your Books, as a Compagnon de Voyage, but will take the 
greatest possible Care of it and return it shortly and in as good Condi- 
tion as at present. I have ventured this freedom because I do not think 
it a book that you may have daily use for. It is the Dr. and Student. 
And I perhaps should not find it in many other Libraries. 

My stay in the Low Country will depend entirely on Circumstances 
as they arise — but in whatever Situation I shall ever retain a grateful 
Remembrance of your kindness and subscribe myself 

Your sincere and obliged Hble Servt. 


iRomulufl M. Saunders was Indicted In 1813 in Stokes County for libel, on 
the basis of a communication written by him and published under the name 
"Qraccus/' favorinsr the election of Bartlett Tancey to Congress in opposition 
to James Martin, Jr., of Stokee, on whose political character the article cast 
serious reflections. He was defended by Ruffin and acquitted, October 21, 1814. 

2A foreigner who had been staying for some time in Hilleboro. 

150 The Nobth Carolina Histobical Commission. 

From Barilett Yancey. 

"Washington 3rd Ifovemr. 1814. 

I flattered myself that before this time, I should have received a letter 
from you. I am however disappointed. By the Register of last Week, 
I see that you succeeded in the defense of Mr. Sanders.^ I have reed, a 
letter from Mr. Sanders merely mentioning his acquittal I hope that 
upon the reception of this, you will give me a full account of the trial 
and the apparent impression produced upon the people by the trial and 
acquittal. Having been from our State so long and having received no 
information of a political nature, I am just as ignorant of the state and 
condition of parties, as you are of the secrets here of the opposition; 
they are somewhat at a loss in the Courts. Among them seems to be a 
difference of opinions on the correct course for them to pursue. Some 
are for the ways and means, others against it — : they move on in their 
own way of opposition without regard or respect from their political 
opponents. The Bill to fill the Ranks of the Regular Army is now 
before the House. It is yet impossible to say what will be the details 
of the Bill that will become a law. The Ways and Means have not yet 
reported their Bills, or the several resolutions decided on by the House. 
Their first proposition will be on the Bank: they are now maturing 
that, and upon that will greatly depend the other Bills. If we cannot 
establish the Bank we must then resort to Treasury Notes and lay a tax 
equal to the whole expenditure of the Government : this cannot possibly 
be paid without it be a tax in hind. You know I am friendly to a 
National Bank, on correct principles. Indeed I would almost take it on 
any terms, rather than inundate the country with paper money. 

I am sorry to inform you, that I have this moment reed, information 
directly from Kentucky, by the Representatives from the Red Banks, 
that our friend and acquaintance Richd. Henderson^ is dead. He died in 
a sudden attack on the 10th of last month. 

You have perhaps previous to this, understood, that your cousin 
Robert RufSn died at G^rge Town, on the Saturday before Congress met. 
He was in a mounted Volunteer Company. He was in good health a 
very little time before his death. 

The feds here, I understand, are in fine spirits, from the information 
they have from their friends from our State. They expect the whole 
State, with the exception of one or two members will be federal : for my 
own part / have no such expectation and am willing to indulge them 
without contradiction. 

Write me I will write you more at length. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

iSee note to letter of Gales to Ruffln, October 26, 1814. 
2Rlchard Henderson, of Kentucky, 1766-1814, the younger son of Judge 
Richard Henderson of North Carolina. 

Thb Ruffin Papbbs. 151 

From John MacBae?- 

Faybttsvilijb 17th Nov. 1814, 

Arrived in Wilmington a few days since the private armed Schooner 
Saratoga from a sucessf ul cruise in the British channel. She has brought 
in some late London dates which have been forwarded to Washington. 
In one of them I read an account of the Expedition under Lord Hill 
having their sailing orders countermanded, also an account of the de- 
struction of the British Sloop of War Avon of 20 Qims by the Amem. 
Sloop of War Wasp Capt Blakely* of equal force; the Avon went down 
a few minutes after the action with all her sails standing but her crew 
were fortunately saved by the boats of another sloop of war which was 
in sight during the action — ^the Wasp immediately left her cruizing 
ground and is probably on her return home — the papers furnish nothing 
from our commissioners, they have ceased to parley with those of the 
Enemy upon the subject of negotiations and aU the communications 
they have with each other now are in writing — the war has become of 
snch a nature now that nothing but a determined and vigorous prosecn*- 
tion of it and (some say) a change of men in power, can bring us Peace. 

In the last London papers they make great complaints of the injury 
which they suffer from Amern. Privateers which are so audacious as to 
take their property almost from their very doors. A meeting of the 
Merchants of Glasgow was held upon the subject and a memorial sent 
up to the Lords Coms. of the Admiralty. 

My respects to Mrs. R and Family and to the good people at Ayre 
Mount. I expect to have the pleasure (wffh my old woman) of taking 
a Christmas dinner with you. 

Tho. Ruffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Duncan Cameron. 

Deer. 20th 1814. 
After wading through the long Bill which you sent me by Mr. Mur- 
phey — ^I have granted an Injunction — not, because I am certain that it 

iJohn MacRae, 1793-1880, postmaster of Fayetteville for forty years, who 
was the hrother-in-law of Ruffln's wife. He was the author of a map of North 

2 Johnston Blakeley, 1781-1816 (?), was a native of Ireland who was hrousrht 
by his parents to Wilmington In 1782. He was adopted hy Colonel Edward 
Jones, who sent him to the University and procured for him an appointment 
in the navy. His exploits as commander of the Waap In the War of 1812 and 
his disappearance are too well known to require elaboration. 

152 The Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

was right to grant it — ^but lest I might be wrong in refusing it. I have 
done it penitenter et dubitanter — if I am wrong, the error will not be 

I have not been two miles from the House since I came home in 
November — and have seen but a few persons other than my own family. 
Like yourself, I want a social friend to chat with for a day. I am pleased 
with your promised visit; and shall feel highly obliged by it. I shall 
certainly be at home, and shall be much disappointed if you do not come 
to morrow or next day as promised. We are well— which I hope is the 
happy lott of your family. I am with great regard and esteem. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From James CamphelL"^ 

[RooKiNOHAM N. 0. Jany 1815] 

I've got this far — ^I could not leave Raleigh till late on Wednesday 
on acc*^^ of furnishings necessary for Bill — ^at that place I was intro- 
duced to his Excellency^ and half a Gross of the members. 

Pve nothing to boast account my Swap with A. R. 'BJ — ^Archie (the 
ewaped horse) can't knock out more than 2% in 3 miles an hour, and if 
he does not get rid of his laziness and occasional lameness he will be a 
fit subject for the Tanner and the slow : hound when he gets to Norfolk. 
I have not written to Archibald. I wish you would do so, hinting to 
him what passed 'twizt you and myself about the exchange. If he has 
not returned the large Bay request him to swap him off. If you find 
him at the Court House on Saturday the Slst Instant direct Mr. Scales 
to swap him with Mr. Murphey — ^his son has a good horse. Halifax is 
a pretty little village. Keep all the ladies about you single 'till I return — 
Will you! — Yes! well do so. Gtod bless you. 

[P. S.] The troops passed Southampton C. H. on Tuesday last, so 
wiU not touch this road till within 30 miles of Norfolk. I'm quite 
pleased with Colo. Atkinson.^ He has promised to f oUow in a few days. 
I will write to you again shortly after I get to Norfolk. In the itUerim 
shd. any new thing happen write me — a letter from you will always be 
ediilerating to my spirits. 

[Address: Hillsborough, N. C] 

iJames Campbell of Rockingham was first major of a regiment of detached 
militia which had been organized at Hillsboro, November 28, 1814, and from 
there marched to Norfolk. The companies composing It came from Chatham, 
Person, Caswell, Rockingham, Guilford, Randolph, Stokes, Surry, and Wilkea. 

2William Miller. 

sArchibald Roane Rnffln of Stokes. 

4Richard Atkinson of Person, lieutenant colonel commanding the regiment. 

The Buffin Pafsbs. 153 

From James Campbell. 

Norfolk 16th Jany. 1815. 

In the first and foremost place I beg you to excuse this course sheet 
of ration : paper. I arrived here on the 27 ultimo, nothing particular 
happening on my route excepting a complete dislodgement from Archie, 
11 miles in the rear of this place. I limped a few days from the fall I 
reed., hut marching time to good music has limbered me — our situation 
has been pitiable. Even at this time nearly two companies are yet in 
the thin tents brought down with them. We, however, have made a 
beginning to build houses for those thus situated. We have, in every 
respect, been much neglected — our supplies of provisions, wood etc. is 
very irregularly brought to us; Since, however, we have become ac- 
quainted with the heads of departments, and the proper places where 
application is to be made to remedy such negligence we are a little better 
off. We and the Field :Officers frequently call upon those officers, and 
tell them in positive tones that such remissness in their several duties 
will be reported to those having the power to punish etc. — only 8 deaths 
have happened since our arrival — 276 are reported sick and unfit for 
duty this morning; none of them dangerous. The measles is the only 
complaint prevailing — at the Peach Orchard where the 1st Begt. of 
N. C. Militia^ are stationed 61 died last month — ^the diseases there have 
aD originated from an exposure after having the measles which subjects 
the system to diseases of a mortal termination, colds settling on the 
lungs, quincys etc., etc. No appearance of the latter complaint among us 
yet. If it does creep into our Camp we may calculate on losing 73 or 
perhaps one half of our men, they being at this time in houses badly 
eover'd and on damp dirt floors. 

Camp Defiance, for so our Station is called is situated nearly a mile 
north from the main or middle street of ITorfolk, altho' from the great 
number of buildings promiscuously situated, adjoining the town on the 
road towards it, it may properly be called a part of the Borough. Until 
a few days ago. Hunter,^ Winston,' McCauley,* Doctors Kimbro*^ and 
Atkinson,^ Serjt. Major Cummings,^ two white servants and three 
ni^Toes roosted in one hut, indifiFerently covered, half dobb'd ; pots, ovens, 

iThe First Regiment of North Carolina Militia was also at Norfolk at thid 
time. As regularly constituted for the war It was composed of companies from 
Chowan, Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Gates, Hertford, Bertie, 
Northampton, Halifax, Warren, and Nash. Its regular officers were: Duncan 
McDonald, colonel commanding; Andrew Joyner, lieutenant colonel; Joseph 
T. Dlcklnflon, first major; John C. Green, second major. As it went to Norfolk, 
ao far as can be discovered, the regiment was composed of troops from Gran- 
ville, Wake, Johnston, Franklin, Warren, Halifax, Northampton, Nash, Edge- 
combe, Martin, Bertie, Hertford, and Gates. 

^Samuel Hunter of Guilford, lieutenant In the regiment. 

'Joseph Winston of Stokes, second major in the regiment 

^This is possibly Andrew McCauley of Orange. 

^The persons named cannot be Identified. 

154 Thb North Cabolina Hibtosical Commission. 

skilletSy kettles^ frying pans etc. on their right 5 Beds or Cots in the 
centre^ daily rations of green pine wood on the left, provisions for man 
and beast, saddles, bridles, Portmanteaus, Bear skins, valises, saddle 
bi^ etc., etc., in the rear, and to complete a proper foundation. Potters' 
Field (where the remains of from 10 to 15 arrive daily) 55 yards in 
front! Oh ! what a fine thing it is to be a soldier ! I'm enjoying health, 
but begin to find out that my hands will be full, and in place of my trip 
affording me a release from business, it will be quite otherwise, but you 
know I dislike being idle. Wentworth crosses my mind sometimes which 
makes me restless. From letters however from that quarter matters are 
going on smoothly. You deserve bumping — ^Why didn't you meet Simon 
and others at the C. House on the 31st ulto? If you have not done 
something in Brown's business pray, my good Mr. Buffin, set about it 
Colo. Atkinson joined us a few days ago. The Frigate Constellation 
rides before my eyes in superb style (being in the garret of a four story 
house from which I can see her in all her splendour). I have not found 
any Town acquaintances as yet, having been much confined in Camp. 
I cannot rest nor feel satisfied until I see the poor soldiers more com- 
fortably situated. The field officers, Lieutenants Sheppard,^, Webb,* 
Henderson,* Surgeons Mebane,* Kimbro', Atkinson and a few more board 
at Mr. Sutters house 200 yds from the Barracks. I've been officer of the 
day twice since I came down. This is a most arduous duty. It is this — 
This officer is compelled twice in 24 hours to visit all the guards at the 
outposts, a route of 16 miles, to be performed in the day from 10 A. M. 
to 2 oc. P. M. and in the night from 7 oc. to midnight, crossing old 
bridges of great width, gullies, marshes etc., etc. We have every day 
fatigue parties employed in draining the muster ground, cleaning before 
the huts etc. and many a good baptist and men of other profesaions 
had to use the spade yesterday (Sunday). The British Barges eaptured 
the Hampton packet tother day. We heard the firing and at the time 
had many conjectures. The Constellation manned ^d sent out 6 Boats 
full of men, but too late to see the fun. This mornings report from the 
Pleasure House states the British force to be off there, one 74, 2 frigates, 
a sloop of war and a tender. You know the Constellation has been buryed 
up here since the commencement of the War. It is hinted that she will 
shortly make a trial to get out. Colo. Atkinson and myself are the only 
two in the mess who know any thing about the game of Bagammon — 
we are at it every other Evening and play for the first kisses of the ladies 
about Hillsboro— at this time I am 10 games a-head. I am very much 
pleased with the Colonel. He requests to be remembered to you. E[eep 
to yourself what I have said about the number of sick and the situation 
of the camp. My chapeau de hrees came very securely and without Ae 
least injury from the nice cover Mrs. Billiard made for it. Do write 

iProbably Egbert Sheppard of Orange. 
2The persons named cannot be identified. 


The Buffin Papers. 155 

to me immediately on the receipt of this — tender my hett respects to 
every memher of your family. 

Tom, Pye no notion of dying, but may be I may send you a memo- 
randa from which you can make out the last speech and dying words of 

Your very Sincere friend 

J. Oampbsll. 

Capt Young^ has just reed orders from Head Quarters to march his 
men to Craney Island 6 miles off to act as artiUerists. In his company 
are Lieuts. Henderson and Webb (the latter is now in fine health and 
spirits) This situation is a very enviable one, being the only healthy 
scite abt. Norfolk and could the whole Begt. be quartered at this Station 
the lives of many fine fellows would be spared. Jno. Buffin is here 
dashing about. He looks well. 

[Address: Hillsboro' N. C] 

From Bartlett Yancey. 

Ho : Bbpkbsbntativxs, 21st Ja'y 1815. 

On yesterday evening the fate of the Bill to establish a Ifational Bank^ 
was decided. It is now or will be, when it receives the signature of the 
President become the law of the land. In common with the rest of the 
Country, you feel no doubt, such an interest, as to induce a desire on 
your part to understand its provisions. It is composed of a Capital of 
30 Millions of dollars, of the following proportions — ^In Treasury Ifotes, 
or New Stock 15 millions: In War-stock (meaning stock created since 
the war) 10 millions : In specie 5 millions, and a power on the part of 
the government to subscribe whenever directed by Congress 5 millions 
of public stock, then to be made and funded in the Bank : so that the capi- 
tal virtually is 85 millions: % of the capital in the several proportions 
mentioned above to be subscribed and paid (I believe) the fourth Mon- 
day in March, %in^ mo. thereafter ^ in 6 : and % in 8 months. The 
Bank to be established in Philadelphia, with power to establish branches 
in the several states. The other details of the Bill are pretty much like 
all other Banking institutions, with a power on the part of Congress, by 
committees to examine into the proceedings of the institution and point- 
ing out a remedy, by which an abuse of the powers and rights of the 
Bank have been made, and the mode of trial. 

A proposition for the establishment of a Bank, has been before one 
branch or another of Congress, almost the whole of the session: The 

iTliis is probably Francis Toong. 

sThis biU was vetoed by President Madison on the ground of unconstitu- 

156 The North Gabolina Historical CoMicissioir. 

great point of Controyersy between those wHo were in favor of a Bank, 
especially of the Bepublican Party^ has been as to the kind of stock of 
which the Bank was to be composed : Many thought that the greater 
part of the Capital should be War Stock, for by that means, you would 
take up the stock in the market and thereby be able to negotiate new 
loans. Others were of opinion, and of that number was myself, that 
we were under no obligations to the owners of stock except such terms 
as our contract with them imposed, and that in establishing a Bank, the 
greater part of the Capital should be New-Stock, for by that means, we 
should immediately procure a loan to that extent at par, and by that 
means, save the interest and bonus and certainly procure the loan : there 
are many other views of this subject — to numerous for a letter, that I 
will defer until I see you. 

The present plan is pretty much a compound of the two plans; and 
in my opinion better than either. It is a plan in many particulars, 
very different from either : It was adopted by the select Committee to 
whom the Bill had been referred in the House of Bepresentatives : of 
that Committee I was a member: the plan of the present Bank, I pro- 
posed myself and at first only two members of the Committee, Mr. 
Findly^ and myself voted for it: We postponed the subject for a day 
and night, and had two or three meetings on the subject: a sober and 
temperate discussion and deliberation of the Bill and a mutually dis- 
cussion of opinions ; produced an unanimous opinion on the part of the 
committee and a vote in the House of Bepresentatives of 120 to 38: 
more than half of the latter, would have voted for it, except for Consti- 
tutional obligations: it was resisted in the Senate by several of our 
political friends, upon the ground of the proportions of the capital and 
also upon the ground, that there ought to be in the bill a provision rela- 
tive to the suspension of specie payment, if in the opinion of the Direc- 
tors it should be necessary: my own opinion however is that the War- 
stock was the real objection. It is scarcely possible to imagine the 
transcendant, indirect influence of monied interests. 

I am in great haste : I have expected a letter from you before this : 
I have however reed, none, though, I have written you frequently: on 
this morning, we reed, a very able report from the Secretary of the 
Treasury.^ He asks for more taxes to the amount of several millions: 
I think it probable that we shall adopt a small income tax, to raise several 
millions ; but it is very uncertain what may be adopted, relative to taxes, 
until the subject is taken up and discussed. 

We are in daily expectation of advices from Europe: Be so good as 
make such opportunities as may be convenient when you are on your 

iWilllam Findlay of Pennsylvania, a native of Ireland, who after service 
In the Revolution became active In Pennsylvania politics, serving in the con- 
stitutional convention of 1790 and as a member of Congress, 1791-1799, and 
1803-1817. He died In 1821. He was the author of several books. 

2The secretary of the treasury at this time was Alexander J. Dallas, 1751- 
1817, a native of Jamaica, who had emigrated to Pennsylvania. 

Thb Buffin Papiebs. 157 

f eb'y circuity at the several courts^ explaining the circmnstances relative 
to the Bank, and my apologies, which you can offer, for my not having 
given the information to more. I think, perhaps, I shall write a circu- 
lar: but I have really been very busy all the session. I shall expect a 
letter from you directly. 

[Address: Hillsborough N, C] 

From William H, Haywood.^ 

State Bank of No. Cabolina 
Thomas Buffin Esquire Ralbioh 26th Jany 1815. 


I am directed on the part of the board to request that you wiU super- 
intend the suits which it may from time to time become the interest of 
this Bank to cause to be brought on notes due the bank by its customers. 
It was suggested in the board that you intended practising in the Supe- 
rior Court of this County and as it would be much more desirable and 
convenient that the suits should all be brought in this court I am directed 
to issue or cause the Writs to be issued from Wake Superior Court. 
There are now only three or four on which Writs may be issued. 

I am Sir Bespectfully 

Your Obt. Servt. 

Wm. H. Haywood, Cashr. 
[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Joseph Odles. 

[Ralbioh, N. C, Feb. 20, 1816.] 

You are right in supposing that I was one of those in favor of employ- 
ing you in any Law Business which the Bank may have. I can assure 
you that you have many Friends at the Board. I do not recoUect that 
there was a dissenting voice to your appointment. 

As the Servant of J**. Mebane* waits to take this, I have time only to 

iWiUiam H. Haywood, a native of Edgecombe County, brother of Treasurer 
John Haywood, was eashf&r of the State Bank and clerk of the United States 
district court for North Carolina. 

sjames Mebane of Orange, 1774-1857. He was educated at the University 
of North Carolina where he was one of the founders and the first president of 
the Dialectic Society. He was a member of the House of Commons, 1798, 
1801, 1803, 1818, 1820-1824; speaker, 1821; member of the Senate, 1808-1811, 

158 The North Cabolina Hhtowcal Commission. 

gay, that we have certain News that Preliminaries of Peace were 

at Ghent on the 24th. inst. that they have been ratified by the Prince 

Begent, and there is no doubt they will be ratified by the President. 

I most heartily congratulate you on this ITewB. 

I had liked to have omitted saying, Writs will be issued without giving 
you any trouble in the Business. 

Raueioh, Feb 20, 1815 

[Address: Hillsborough] 

From James H. Dewring?- 

KocKiwoHAM C. H. N. C. May 3rd 1815. 

Having understood that Genl Scott is now at Washington City, fixing 
the peace establishment — And knowing that you are personally ac- 
quainted with the Genl.* I have taken the liberty to solicit your influence 
in my behalf for a birth in that establishment— And also in behalf of 
brother Pleasant* who is a 3rd Lieutenant in the same corps (artillery) 
with myself. 

I know that a line from you if early forwarded will be amply sufficient. 

Thos. Kuffin Esqb. 

P. S. I am under orders for Columbia, S. C. — and shall march with 
my men the 4th inst. Farewell J. H. D. 

[Address : Caswell Court House, N". C] 

From Richard Stanford. 

HiLLSBOBo May 7, 1815. 
I am passing on from Person to be at the meeting of the Directors of 
the Cape Fear Navigation* on Wednesday next, at Pittsboro. If you 
are not to be at the Chatham Court, say if you have still the desire you 
expressed to me to have an interest in the company? If you have I will 
as you suggested transfer two of my shares to you, and thereby qualify 
you for a Directorship. If you feel the proper solicitude for that busi- 
ness I shall endeavour to have you appointed a director the first occasion 

iJames H. Dearing of Rockingham County, first lieutenant. Second ArtiUeiy, 
from May, 1812. He resigned in 1816. 

sit will be remembered that General Scott and Rnffin studied law together. 

spieasant Dearing, third lieutenant* Second Artillery, who was honorably 
discharged six weeks later. 

4The Cape Fear Navigation Company was chartered in 1815, succeeding the 
Deep and Haw River Navigation Company. 

Thb BuFFnr Fapbks. 159 

that offers. You can pay for the shares to Mr. Kirkland as I owe him 
a good deal more than their amount^ which is only fifty Dollars that is 
25$ a share. No instalment remains due upon my shares. 

From John F. May, 

Fbtbbsbg. June 7. 1815. 

I have not time to write you such a letter as I intended when the high 
Gt. of Chancery is over. My object at present is to introduce to you, if 
chance should throw him in your way^ my friend, my pupil, and my 
kinaman, Bob. Strange.^ He is going to N. G. with a view of obtaining 
a license and settling there as a member of our illf ated profession. Know- 
ing you both well; without writing a formal introduction, I will only 
say that when you know Strange you will find in him every thing to 
excite esteeon or attract regard — respectable talents, an honest heart — 
a true Virginian and a staunch patriot. (This latter — Ood be praised! 
I can boast of, as to all my pupils! 1) I hope he will meet with you; 
as I am anxious to make you acquainted with each other, from a firm 
belief that you will both be pleased. 

I have been very sick and very busy this spring — ^and therefore have 
not answered your friendly and gratifying letter. Mrs. May and Anne 
are well — and by the time I write you again I hope to be able to make 
mention of another of the family. 

[Address : Hillsboro' N. C] 

From John F. May. 

Pbtbbsbo. June 23d, 1815. 

Shortly after the receipt of your letter of the 31st March, I wrote you 
a hasty reply by some gentleman, not now recollected. . . . 

I was not a little gratified at the frank and friendly account which 
you gave of your prosperous situation; and that gratification was in- 
creased by the motives that dictated, and the sentiments which accom- 
panied^ the communication. You are indeed blessed by Providence, in a 
healthy climate, with a happy and growing family, with acquisitions 

iRobert Strange, 1796-1854» settled at Fayetteville and was, in 1821, elected 
to tbe House of Commons from that borough and served until 1823, and was 
a^^ln a member in 1826. In the same year he was elected a Judge of the 
Superior Court and remained on the bench until 1836, when he was elected 
United States senator. He resigned in 1840 on the issue of instruction from 
the legislature. He was later solicitor, serving until his death. 

160 Thb Nobth Cabouka Histobical Commission. 

and endowments wHich at onoe procure prosperity, and command respect 
and esteem! 1 Of your success in your profession I neyer doubted; but 
I acknowledge that it has gone beyond my expectations. Long may it 
continue — ^'Length of days be in thy right hand ; in thy left riches and 
honour. May all thy ways be ways of pleasantness; and all thy paths 
be peace.'' (I do not know that the quotation is as accurate, as the 
application is sincere.) 

My prosperity in life;, all things considered, has been considerable. 
My practice is extensive, and laborious; but its evils are mitigated by 
a knowledge that I enjoy the confidence, and am sometimes even cheered 
with the applause of those to whom it is beet known. I derive from it a 
competent support; I always can command more than is necessary for 
ordinary purposes; I am freed from the embarrassment and debt with 
which I began life and which tho' small, required time only to have 
humbled me into dust. And for these, I ought to rejoice, and do greatly 
rejoice. But I can hardly say that I am laying up any thing, as a pro- 
vision for old age or a maintenance for infancy. I have now two daugh- 
ters, having had another about ten days ago— and when I reflect, as I 
sometimes must do, upon their situation in the event of accident to 
myself, the reflection plants thorns in the roses which are blooming 
around me. But notwithstanding the baleful effects of various politick 
causes; tho' the frost of embargo blasted my first fruits; and although a 
war of extermination has been waged against the stock from whence 
they spring, still, my prospects, I think, brighten and expand. My 
practice in the town and country is, I believe, better than any of my 
competitors. In the Superior court of Chancery, it is increasing, not 
only from the counties in which I practice, but in all the adjacent 
country. I have not qualified in the court of Appeals, tho' I have about 
10 or 12 cases waiting my determination (this fall) in that respect 
My receipts I suppose are $250. they may be $300 ; for I keep few accts. 
and no genl. acct. of rects. and exps. which I never could do for three 
weeks together in my life. For fees, I usually require cash or bonds; 
and thereby save trouble as well as money. The expenoes of a town life 
are considerable and have been increased by the war; and my father's 
unfortunate situation, also requires some aid from me. 

All these things however leave pretty clear of Debt and worth from 
$8, to 10,000. In this estimate I do not include a late speculation. I 
have purchased a body of Kentucky lands on these terms — J. Wilder 
and myself in partnership — $4000. cash (all paid by W. in consider- 
ation of my admitting him into the partnership) and $5000 out of pro- 
ceeds of the sales of the Lands. This is a complete leap in the dark. I 
am told that my half is worth 10, 20, and even 50,000 Bols. but I really 
know nothing about it. I have thus followed your example ''and opened 
all my affairs to you unto the very bottom" and altho' you beat me 100 
pr. ct. in profit and loss, you have no advantage over me in the pleasure 
resulting from this open communion between friends interested in each 

The Buffin Papbbs. 161 

other's welfare — "old messmates bound together by similarity of temper 
and feelings; and identity of views and pursuits/' It would give me 
great pleasure to make our wives known to each other^ and our children, 
too, when they grow up. But unless your good woman will come here 
to see the fine London Goods, or unless there is much gold to come out 
of my Kentucky Lands, I hardly know how to accomplish it. For really 
I never have leisure to leave home ten Days, not even to go and look for 
that Oold! 

I gave to my estimable friend Strange a short letter of introduction 
to you. He is desirous of settling in the lower part of N". C. but as you 
might meet, I wished to make you acquainted. He will probably settle 
in Fayetteville, (or as the ungrateful Inhabitants say, Fateville, a cir- 
cumstance which makes me dislike the place I confess.) I have advised 
Strange to see you before he settles if he can ; because I think you could, 
and know you would, serve and aid him. 

My best respts. to yr. father, sister and family. 

P. S. . . . Tell your father I reed, the last halves of his notes. 
By the way, ask him what is difference, arithmetically, or mathemati- 
cally between two equal risks of each half, and one like risk of the whole. 
But then the puzzle must come from you, not me. You understand he 
sent one half of $720 by one mail and the other by another, and the 
disadvantage is, that if a thief takes the first half, the 2d wiU never 
escape; besides which, if the first was safe, there is still his chance for 
the second, and as the Banks will pay half to such half notes, there is 
exactly two chances of losing a half equal to one chance of losing the 

[Address : Hillsboro', N". C] 

From John R. Donnell} 

Watkbsbobo Augt. 25th 1815. 

Permit me before I conclude to congratulate you on your election 
froin the Town of Hillsboro and on the unexpected triumph of our 
Republican friends in almost every part of the State at the late Gon- 
greseional Canvass. 

[Address: Hillsboro.] 

iJolMi R. Donnell, 1791-18€4» a native of Ireland, solicitor, 1816-1819; Indfe 
of the Superior Court, 1819-1886. 


162 The I^obth Cabolina Histobioal Commission. 

From John A. Cameron} 

Fayjsttbvuxb Octo. 16th, 1815. 

I have come to the determination of becoming a candidate for the 
o£Sce of Comptroller of the State at the approaching session of Assembly, 
and take the liberty of apprising you this early with my intentions. 
This is an office of small emolument, but as I can never hope to resume 
my profession and as I miLst adopt some other pursuit, I have thou^t 
of this office as one which my education and habits qualify me for filling 
with credit to myself and usefulness to the public. 'Tis true that the 
person now in office may wish to remain so : to this I will only say, that 
I want the office, and rotation is a principle universally admitted to be 
correct amongst the friends of republican governments. I might say tis 
true, that my capacity for being useful in my profession was destroyed 
while in the service of the State, but as I do not want the office as a pen- 
sion, I forbear to urge any consideration of the kind. 

Will you be good enough to mention my intention to your colleagues 
and to each other member of the Assembly as you meet with. I shall be 
in Baleigh early in the session if in my power, but I am afraid that it 
will not be, as I expect an increase of family about that time. 

I wish you a pleasant and profitable circuit. 

Anything you may do in furtherance of my designs will be gratefully 

[Address: Guilford Ct. House.] 

From WUliam Roane? 

U. S. Ship Constellation,* Bat of Oibbaltab 17 Octr 1815 
According to promise I write this for the purpose of letting you know 
how and where I am, as well as what kind of a passage we had, On the 
10th Sept', we sailed from the capes of Yirga: on the 12 a gale com- 
menced which lasted 2 days during which time one half of the officers 
were sea sick myself amongst the number ; after which we had a pleasant 
passage being able to take an observation at meridian every day. On 
the 19th made Land a high peak on the Island of Oorvo, one of the 
Azores or western Islands belonging to Portugal, the two succeeding 

iJohn A. Cameron, 1788-1837» of FayettevlUe, a native of Virginia, member 
of the House of Commons, 1810-1812, 1820; major in the War of 1812; comial 
to Vera Cruz, 1829 ; Judge of the United States district court for Florida from 
1831 until he was lost at sea. 

2William Roane, a close relative of Rui&n's wife, was at this time a midship- 
man, having been appointed in November, 1814. He resigned in 1816. 

SThe ConBtellation was a twelve-hundred-ton shl^ with ten guns. 

The Ruffin Papbbs. 163 

days passed Fayal, (The port in which the Armstrong Privateer was 
defended so gallantly by her crew during our war with Britain) CorrO; 
Terreserra, St Oeorges, St Michaels and St Maries which appear to be 
covered with Vineyards and towns^ wherever they are habitable (being 
the most broken land I ever beheld.) .On the 30th we saw an English 
Frigat to the N'orthward^ which as soon as she discovered us bore down 
untill she came close along side when we showed the Yankie stars which 
as soon as she saw she bore away with every foot of canvas she could 
spread — 

On the 12 Sept' we came to anchor in the Bay of Algerias (opposite 
the rock of Gibralter on) on the Spanish main. On the 14th I was 
attached to this Ship. Capt (Jordon^ who is a very fatherly commander 
and who by the by has a very clever set of officers The midshipmen are 
mostly young men of genteel families many of them from Virga., a son^ 
of Mr Jones formerly the editor of a noted paper of Richmond a Ran- 
dolph* and Armsted* Also a Son* of the Rev [sic] Eldridge Gerry former 
Vice President of the U States — So of course you may conclude I am 
well pleased with my situation. 

When we first arrived our squadron was on good terms with the 
English of Gibralter, but the Scoundrels have since been giving them- 
selves some airs which will cause us to remove our head quarters even 
after having b^an to unlade our stores They have been guilty of a 
most paltry and pitiful act; that of charging us with having made 
efforts to enlist some of their soldiers As soon as the Comodore heard 
of the charge he stopt all communication with them and informed the 
governor that he would hold a court of enquiry to try the sergeant who 
was implicated by them; as soon as they learnt that he was offended 
they b^an to apologize, but he told them for his part no apology would 
do. And insisted that they should bring forward their evidence to trial ; 
the court of which no doubt you have learnt officially. Yet I will make 
one remark they accused the seargeant of offering one of their men 5 
Double loons to desert, (when it is a matter of fact that money was so 
scarce in the squadron that but few of the officers can do more than pay 
for their washing. And it has been proven that at the time the sergeant 
went on shore he had no more money than half a dollar which he bor- 
rowed«) The ship to which the sergeant belonged had more than her 
compliment of men and has since turned over to another ship 50. in 
consequence of not wanting them. We do not knowingly suffer an 
infernal British dog on board our ships. Yet that corrupt and malicious 
government by her wicked scoundrel like servents accuse our officers of 

^Captain Charles Gordon, who died in 1817. 
2Richard A. Jones became a commander in 1844 and died in 1846. 
81 am unable to locate this Randolph among four who were in the navy at 
the time. 
4Robert Armistead. 
(^Thomas R. Gerry. 

164 Thb N'orth Cabolina Historical Commissioi^. 

tampering with Iter soldiers: but thank godd they have completely dis- 
graced themselves by it and we are getting in our timbers again which 
had been hove out for storage 

Octr 25th 1815 
We are again under weigh for Malaga. 

Malaga. Octr. 27th. 1815 
After a pleasant passage we arrived on the 26th. — I have been a'shore 
and seen one of the pleasantest towns in Spain but have not time to do 
more than finish my letter as the Comodore has just made the signal 
to remove. Do write me and get the letter sent from Washington by the 
secretary of the Navy. Let me know how all friends are The sine qua 
non will take this to New York My best respects to Mrs Buffiln and all 
friends Tell sister I shall write the first opportunity Ask your Father 
to write me; as I have done him but fear his letter will not go safe as 
I left it at Gibralter 

Most respectfully sir I remain Tours 

Wm. Boane 

U S Navy 
[Address : Hillsboro N. C] 

From George McNeill} 

Faybttieville, Nov. 27th, 1815. 
• ••*•** 

We are as yet, ignorant of the proceedings of your honble. body — at 
least the papers contain nothing except the election of speaker and his 
Excel' long message. I hope you will make C. Fear navigable before 
you rise. Wishing you an agreeable Session 
[P. 8.] busy times 
Tob. $8 C 15 
Salt 151— falling. 
[Address: Raleigh.] 

From James Campbell. 

[Wewtwobth, N. C, Nov. 27, 1815.] 
Your communication by master James £. Gallaway, addressed to 
your father, and in his absence opened by me contained a paper writing 
which gladened us much. Qallaway arrived about 9 A. M. on Friday. 

lOeorge McNeill, Rnffln's brother-in-law, was a prominent merchant and 
business man in Fayetteville. 

Thb Ruffin Fapsbs. 165 

I enjoined on him secrecy as to the contents of jour letter. Young 
NathL Scales (at whose fa therms house Mr. Oallaway remained all night) 
daddy4ike gave it too much publicity, — altho' I believe unknown to 
poor Welch.^ He certainly calculated on suffering death. At 12 O'C. 
he was taken from the Jail for the place of Execution (on the west-side, 
about 150 yards below W. Wrights) attended by Thomas Moore, Robert 
and Charles Moore, Methodist preachers. I held the Governor's pardon, 
and at 2 O'clock when the ministers had nearly finished I went down 
and gave it to the Sheriff. I read it to nearly one thousand persons. 
Welch was brought back to prison where he wiU remain until tomorrow 
when he will Swear-out. He is grateful to you and your father. By 
your means his life has been spared. I was with him an hour on the 
Evening of Friday — ^he promises enou^. 

Any Parliamentary news, interesting, will be thankfully received. 
Twas fortunate you sent an express, there being no mail on Monday last. 

Wkntwobth 27 Nov. 1815. 

Settle, Hill, and Lacy are the only attomies expected. 

[Address: Thomas RufSn Esqr. 

Atto. at Law 
presently in Raleigh. 

Endorsed: Majr. Ja. Gampbel 

Novr. 1816] 

From William M. Sneed. 

MoRSisviLLs Deer. 30ih, 1815. 

The caucus at Louisburg have chosen Weldon N*. Edwards^ as their 
successor of Mr. Macon. W. P. Little^ is abo a Candidate also R. H. 
Jones^ and I. I. Hill and probably Blake Baker.' 

[Address: Hillsboro.] 

iWelch was convicted in Rockingham County in 1815 of horse stealingf then 
a capital felony, and sentenced to death. He was pardoned by Oovemor Wil- 
liam Miller on November 14, 1816. 

2Weldon Nathaniel Edwards, 1788-1873, a protege of Nathaniel Macon and 
Rnffln's schoolmate at Warrenton and lifelong friend. He was a member of the 
House of Oommons, 1814-1816; member of Congress, succeeding Macon, 1816- 
1827; state senator, 1883-1846, 1860-1864; speaker, 1860-1864; member of the 
convention of 1836; president of the convention of 1861. 

swilliam P. Little of Warren was member of the state senate, 1804-1806. 

^Robert H. Jones, member of the House of Commons, 1816-1818, 1823-1824, 
1826-1827; United States district attorney under Jefferson; attorney-general 
of North Carolina, 1828. 

BBlake Baker, attorney-general of North Carolina, 1796-1802 ; member of the 
House of Commons, 1807; Judge of the Superior Court, 1808-1818; died, 1818. 

166 Thb North Gabouna Histobical Commibsioit. 

From John Roane to Sterling Ruffin. 

Washington Jany 9th 1816. 

The state of my family and affairs prevented me^ from taking my 
seat untill Friday last since then a number of letters have engrossed my 
time so that I can give you little or nothing passing here. Late com- 
munication from England^ which you will have seen in Gazettes before 
this can reach you, create some expectation of an adjustment of differ- 
enceSy but I have not much confidence in such a result^ unless our armies 
cooperate better, than they have of late. Indeed the enemy's efforts on 
the Canadian line have been too successful to sustain a hope of advan- 
tageous terms under existing circumstances. Something must be done 
here, to correct blunders in the fighting departments, add strength and 
vigor to our enemies, and change present prospects, before an honorable 
peace can be expected. I will shortly say more of these topics, when 
time permits. 

Your friend in King Wm. are well. Present me affectionately to yr. 
family and accept yourself the best wish of yr friend etc. 

[Address : 
Sterling Ru£Sn Esqr. 
Lenox Castle 
Bockingham County 
Iforth Carolina.] 

From A. MeUan. 

Wilmington K C. 12 Feby 1816. 
I must once again intrude upon your kind and friendly disposition 
towards me and request your Assistance to obviate the objections raised 
by His Honor Judge Cameron to sign my Licence for the County Ct. 
Bar when originally presented to him about this time last year by my 
friend Mr. I^ash. You are no doubt acquainted with the Circumstances 
and therefore it is needless to trouble you with a Repetition. My then 
recent admission to Citizenship and the then political situation of Eng- 
land and America was I conceive the principal objection. A lapse of 
further time conjoined to a former Residence of Eleven years will I 
hope have the same effect in removing the former in the opinion of his 
Honour as the happy return of Peace must in reality have in removing 
the latter. You know my Dear Sir the Record is complete and ought 
therefore to be unimpeachable — that the Oath and Abjuration are bind- 
ing on me and consequently both should be reciprocally effectual in their 
operations and Consequences. But as under all circumstances I would 
more willingly owe the success of my application to friendly Exertions 

Thb BxTFFm Papbbs. 167 

and favourable dispositions than to argument or Authority I will rather 
rely on the United Efforts of others than to my own logical Deductions. 

I have written upon the same Subject to Mr. Murphey, Mr. Nash, and 
"Mr. Kirkland and sent the Certificate of my Citizenship with the incom- 
plete Licence to the latter — to be used when and how you may deem 
most advisable hoping that some private business may induce Judge 
Cameron to visit Hillsborough during the County Ct. week. I entreat 
you thus once again to exert your Influence in my behalf to present my 
respectful Begards to Mrs. Buffin and Mrs. Dillon and to believe me 
sincere in subscribing myself 

T. C. Ruffin Esqr, 

From Bartlett Yancey, 

Washington 17th February 1816. 
The interest and importance of public affairs of this place is daily 
becoming more interesting and important. With the dispatch and atten- 
tion to public business, our time would be sufficiently employed, but to 
this duty so multifarious in its parts and so important in its object is 
added the interesting question who ought to be the next President? From 
the continued paragraphs which you see issued and copied in the National 
Intellingencer, you would be induced to believe that the Republican 
party thought of no other person, but Col. Monroe. Such, however, is 
not the truth : This representation of opinion here, is not only untrue, 
but it is known to be untrue by those who daily scribble in that paper, 
upon the subject of the Frcfiidential Election. It is believed to be done 
for the purpose of giving tone to the other Republican papers of the 
Country, and by that means give tone to the party in favor of a man, 
who however respectable otherwise, requires the aid of such means to be 
palmed upon the country as the next President. I believe I am certainly 
correct when I say, that a decided majority of the party, now in Congress, 
prefer Mr. Crawford for the appointment. The choice of Mr. C. is not 
confined to a few states, but is extended to some of almost every state in 
the Union — from what has been published as proceeding from him, upon 
this subject and which has been issued to the world for the purpose of 
impressing upon public opinion, that he declines all the pretentions of 
himself in favor of Col. Monroe, you will be able to form some opinion 
of the management of this place. It is, however, considered, iJiat if 
Mr. Crawford had upon any occasion volunteered his services for the 
appointment, or declared, that he would not accept of the nomination, 
if made by tiie Republican party, he would have discovered a degree of 
arrogance and imprudence, which the whole history of his life has not 
offorded a specimen. It is known to a certainty here, by those who 
intend to contribute as far as their vote will permit, to nominate him 
for the presidency, that if selected, he will serve. 

168 The Nobtk Cabolina Historical Commission. 

With Mr. Crawford's public character you are somewhat acquainted 
and permit me to tell you^ that if you were more minutely acquainted 
with his talents and fitness for business^ it would add much to the higli 
character he now sustains in your estimation. The objection to the 
most of our great men^ is that they are more remarkable for theory than 
practice. It results from habit and education, more than nature. Such 
men seldom possess those qualifications, necessary to constitute an 
Executive officer. To this general rule Mr. Crawford is an exception. 
He is remarkable for the resources of his mind, the comprehensive, yet 
practical view, which he immediately takes of every subject. He is 
prompt in the discharge of his own duty as an officer, and enforces 
observance and attention on the part of those around him. His talents 
in this respect have been most remarkably exhibited in the war Depart- 
ment since he came into it. When he entered it he found the business 
of the whole Department much deranged. It has now assumed a system 
which in a little time, will be in such a perfect state of arrangement that 
its duties will be much easier performed, and with much greater ad- 
vantage to the country. I hesitate not to say that from the acquaintance 
I have with him, that he would make the most able President this Country 
ever had. 

I have thought proper to say this much on the subject for your infor- 
mation and those of our friends with whom you are intimate : It became 
the more necessary because I have understood, that you were among the 
number nominated for the general ticket. 

I should be very glad to hear from you and that in your letter, you 
would inform me of the public opinion of our state on this subject : A 
considerable majority of the Bepublioan Delegation of our State is 
decidedly for Crawford. I see that Oales, has come out in his B^gister 
for Monroe. I have reason to believe he had his orders from here. I 
never write as a member of Congress for the papers, but if you think any 
extract from this in the Register and Star would be productive of good, 
you are at liberty to make such extract, withholding however my name. 

Will you be so good as to write me immediately. 

From William Ruffin. 

Wabkenton No. Ca. 19 Mar. 1816. 
It was with equal surprise and mortification (I must confess) I heard 
the other day, that you had expressed yourself hostile to the Election of 
Mr. Monroe, as the next President. Knowing the correctness of your 
opinions upon political subjects (generally) and believing the BepubUcan 
Members of the last Legislature, made up the Electoral ticket with an 
eye to Monroe, I should certainly have discredited the information if the 
Gentleman had not made the assertion with so much confidence as to 

Thb Ruffin Papjebs. 169 

leave me no grounds to doubt. Still I am unwilling to believe yours was 
an unqualified expression^ and as I have experienced some anzietj upon 
the subject, I have at length determined to address jou upon the subject, 
and request the favor of you to satisfy me, as to the truth of the report. 

In the mean time will you permit me to state some of the reasons which 
have influenced my mind in favor of Monroe} First, negatively, not 
because I have an objection to Mr. Crawford ; for of this Qentleman I 
cherish the most exalted opinion, and firmly believe that the Qovemment 
might with great safety be confided to his charge. His integrity is 
irreproachable, his understanding of the first order — and his firmness 
not to be questioned. But his claim upon the publick and the publicks 
claim upon him are not reciprocal, as to cite you, we have a right to 
exact of him, his services in that station to which we may call him, when 
as a Citizen he may have no just claim to an office he may solicit — ^the 
appointment to office being frequently intended as a reward for past 
services. Again Mr. C. is of that age, that without hazarding much he 
could wait one Presidential term, and still be several years younger than 

Affirmatively, I do not know that I can say thing under this head, 
that you are not already acquainted with. Certainly there are very few 
characters now in office, who have served the Commonwealth longer, 
none in as great a variety of office, and few with the same zeal, ability 
or usefulness as Monroe. I first knew him as a soldier in the Bevolu- 
tionary army — then as a member of the Virginia legislature — a member 
of the Executive Council — next a member of the old Congress, under 
the Confederation, when he displayed his firmness and foresight in 
oppoeing the surrender of the Navigation of the Mississippi to the 
Spaniards. He was also a member of the Virginia Convention, then a 
Senator from that state, next a minister extr. and resident to France — 
after his recall, chosen Govr. of the State — once more deputed upon 
foreign service and charged with two most important negotiations — one 
was happily accomplished. Betuming to the bosom of his native Land 
was again called to the first office within the State — ^from this station 
he was called to the important offilce of Secry of State — then Secy of 
War and when "The Storm of War blew over'' did not retire to the shades 
of tranquility and ease ; but again resumed the duties of Secre'^ of State 
where we now find him. 

Where, my dear Thos. shall we find one other man passing thro' all 
the gradations of office — ^manifesting an equal degree of zeal, intellect 
and int^rity, with so little censure attaching? or how shall such a man 
be rewarded ? While the Crowned heads and Despotisms of Europe are 
lavishing their offices, their honors and their wealth upon their Vassals ? 
Shall we withhold from him the only boon worth his acceptance? Is it 
pretended that the Government would not be well administered by him ? 
What are the necessary traits to constitute a great statesman, which arer~ 
not found in Monroe? His mind clear, cool and discriminating. His 

170 The Nobth Cabolixa Hibtobical Commission. 

virtue and patriotism almost proverbiaL And his public seryices ac- 
knowledged on all bands. The only thing he can be reproached for is, 
that he is poor I (the strongest proof of his virtue) and shall it also be 
said he is friendless! Forbid it gratitude forbid it honor. 

To withhold from Monroe the office his friends now ask for him^ is 
to drive him into retirement, and cast a damp upon the vivid hopes 
of all, who look forward to a promotion in office, as a reward for past 
services; While the luster of his past life shall illumine the page of 
history, it will only shine to portray in darker colours the ingratitude of 
an ungrateful nation. What is it that prompts a soldier to seek danger 
in the ^^Cannons mouth" or the statesman to devote his time and talent 
to the General Weal? Next to a self approving mind, is public esteem 
and confidence. I could say much more but you see my mind and my 
feelings, and as far as I am capable of Judging they are in perfect accord 
and with those of my acquaintance in this part of the Country. 

My family join me in best wishes to yourself, Mrs. Buffin and aU your 
family and our acquaintances who are in Hillsboro. 

[Address : Hillsboro' No. Ca.] 

From Ira Ellis. 

1 R. coon. 1 Mink 6 Ral>blt I 0.62% 

6 M'rat. 8 Rabbit 1.76 

14 Rabbit, 2 M'rat 0.87% 

26 Rabbit 0.80 

2. M'rat, 7 Rabbit 0.62% 

4 Rabbit, 2 M'Rat 0.81% 

1 M'rat 0.25 

50 Rabbit, 2 M'rat 2.00 

3. R.Coon, 10 M'rat, 12 Rabbit 8.76 

10 M'rat, 2 R.Coon 21 Rabbit 8.50 

24 Rabbit, 3 M'rat 1.65 

25 Rabbit, 1 R.Coon, 3 M'rat 1.82% 

7 M'rat 1.76 

19 Rabbit, 1 M'rat 0.71% 

1 Rabbit, 10 M'rat 2.43% 

31 Rabbit 1.00 

25 Rabbit, 2 R.Coon, 1 Mink 1.16% 

14 Rabbit 9 M'rat, 9 R.Coon 5.18% 

9 Rabbit 1 Mink 0.60 

3 M'rat, 1 R.Coon 1.00 

6 Rabbit, 1 R. Coon, 7 Fox 2.97% 

2 Rabbit, 11 M'rat 2.60 

13 Raccoon 5.50 


36 Rabbit 1.20 2.20 

33 Do 1.00 

The Euffibt Papbbs. 171 

[RocKiNOHAM, N. C, Apr. 22, 1816.] 

Above you have a Bill of the Fur that Irwin has got for you the last 
Winter and Spring. I have charged your Father with the Amount^ and 
you may give him Credit for that sum. 

Two years ago we procured about 160 or 70$ worth and I wrote to 
you to send IN'icholas a Hat, and if you judged the services worth tn^ 
hats, you might send one for Irwin also. You sent them both. Some 
time after your Father informed Irwin he had paid you $6 for his Hat. — 
Irwin now sends you the within Fur, and leaves it with you to say how 
much he shall pay your Father beside the services rendered in purchasing 
this fur, for the Hat he has had and he will settle it with Him. If you 
have charged your Father, (as I suppose you have) for the Hat sent 
Irwin, you will Credit him for whatever you now allow Irwin for his 

BoGKiNOHAM April 22d, 1816. 

P. S. No hat expected for this Fur. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 


From John Haywood and Others. 

o. Baleioh, June 18, 1816. 


The destructive fire of last week, which has laid waste a square and a 
half of the closest built part of our City, has given to a number of our 
Citizens large claims upon the benevolence of their fellow men. — Many 
of them were thus suddenly deprived of house and home ; and all have 
seen themselves stripped in a moment, by the devouring element, of the 
hard earnings of their laborious industry. In a word their condition 
calls loudly for relief. Their neighbors acknowledge this; and feel 
every disposition to extend towards them the hand of friendly assistance. 
But in a small place, like ours, it is to be feared the degree of bounty 
must fall very far below the measure of distress. Under this impres- 
sion, a committee has been appointed with the duty prescribed to them, 
of inviting to these circumstances the sympathetic eye of our sister 
Towns: and the committee perform with pleasure, this task, confident 
that the appeals they make will be as effectual as die nature of the case 
can require. 

Permit us, therefore, to request, Sir, in furtherance of this design, 
that you will take such steps as may be usual with the view of obtaining 
from the liberality of your citizens whatever aid they may be willing 
to contribute. A trifle from each, will only be felt, by the generous 
bestowers, in the happy consciousness of relieving the sufferings inflicted 

172 The Nobth Cabouna Hibtobical Commission. 

by a terrible calamity; while the aggregate shall essentially serve in 
helping industry to recover from the blow which had destroyed its best 

Any remittances which may be made^ you will be kind enough to have 
directed to the undersigned; who pledge themselves that the suniB re- 
ceived shall be distributed with a scrupulous regard to the selection of 
such objects as may seem most to require relief. 

We tender you^ Sir, the assurances of our highest regard; and respect- 
fully remain your obedient servants^ John Hatwood, 

[Address: Hillsboro.] 

Hbnbt Sbawbll, 
Joseph Oalbs, 


A. S. H. BuBOBSy 
T. Hekdbbson, Jb. 

Frorry Sterling Suffin. 

Oakland 25th June 1816. 

By Charles you will have an opportunity of sending an account of the 

Charleston hides, that we may proportion the gain or loss and know how 

much we have received of you. Inform me when you and Mr. Scales 

will commence your business, and of course when money will be taken 

up at the Bank. I am apprehensive that I shall be harder press'd for 

cash shortly than I ever was; and therefore it is necessary to begin to 

lay up three months before. This place is entirely barren of infoima- 

tion worth communicating; dry and cold weather, bad crops, and the 

approaching election^ are the only subjects of conversation. I b^gin 

to think that Douglas^ will be permitted to stay at home, some of his 

former influential friends having declared against him. I am well satis- 

fy'd that BethelP should out pole him, altho I do not feel willing to 

assist him by my vote. How does Mr. Scott* succeed? is he likely to 

have a seat in the next Legislature? I shall endeavour to meet yon at 

the next Caswell Court. 


[Address : 
No. Carolina.] 

iWlUiam Douglas of Rockingham, who for a number of years had been a 
member of the House of Commons. He was a candidate for the Senate in 1816 
and was elected. 

2William Bethel of Rockingham who had been a member of the legislature 
at intervals since 1786, and who was to continue his membership until 1820. 

sjohn Scott of Hillsboro, who was frequently a member of the House of 
Commons from that borough. 

Thb Ruffin Papsbs. 173 

From Thomas Henderson Jr} 

Balsioh^ August 2^ 1816. 

I have received your letter which informed me that you were in- 
structed, in the event of my refusing to give up the proper name of a 
writer of my paper, of the 12th ult. under the signature of ^'a citizen 
of Wake," to commence a suit against me as the Editor.^ 

Since the receipt of your letter I have taken advice of eminent Counsel 
as well as of intelligent friends, and they have united in expressing an 
opinion that the person who threaten the suit will not be able to establish 
any libellous matter or to recover a cent of damages. Of this I have 
from the first felt individually confident. 

Not the smallest particle of animosity to either of the Public Officers 
in question governed me in giving place to the article which has offended 
them ; — on the contrary, I felt myself to be discharging merely my duty 
to the public as the conductor of one of the journals to which they recur 
for information. The same channel I held open for reply; and indeed 
1 did not at first publish the article until I had informed several gentle- 
men, of both parties of the nature of its contents, and heard their imani- 
mous opinion that it was of sufficient importance to demand an insertion. 

Now, Sir, although I consider myself entirely shielded against injury, 
or even blame for what I have done, I am still very unwilling to have 
disagreeable Utigations with my neighbors. Permit me to observe, too, 
that I cannot think they have any proper motives for persevering in the 
proceedings. They have industriously and very improperly, as I think, 
endeavoured to identify me with the author. Their object in this is of 
course best known to themselves. They have also made use of my paper, 
as offered to them, not only to vindicate themselves, but actually, as I 
have just hinted, to injure me by attempting to make me a party in a 
dispute from which I have really held myself aloof, farther than con- 
siderations of public duty urged me. 

In my opinion an opportunity has been given them to refute the 
charges against them; and I have no doubt, my readers, as I am, are 
generally convinced of their innocence. What then have they to com- 
plain of against me; or what object do they propose to themselves by a 
prosecution, in which I am assured they do not calculate on obtaining 
a verdict ? I am at a loss to know. 

My wish is, that the business should proceed no further ; but this wish 
is expressed, as I hope you will believe, frankly and candidly, without 
any fear of consequences should it not be met. I have done the gentle- 
men for whom you act no wrong; and have never myself, publicly or 
privately, expressed any opinion of their having acted improperly in 

iThomas Henderson, editor of the Raleigh Btar, 

2So far as is known, no file of the Star for 1816 Is in existence. I have been 
unable to discover anything in regard to the contents of the article mentioned. 

174 The Nobth Cabolina Hibtobical Commission. 

the discharge of their duties. They erred^ perhaps^ in not making public 
the circumstance of the 5 per cent (additional valuation of slaves) which 
at once would have put every thing in a proper point of view. The 'want 
of knowledge^ among the people, on this head, shows that there 'were 
grounds of misapprehension ; and I think it was fortunate for the repu- 
tation of the public officers that the subject was so soon agitated : — other- 
wise doubts of their correctness would still exist, and the charges which 
some individuals might have made would have been countenanced by the 
calculations of hundreds who had not a proper understanding of the 

I do hope, Sir, that upon properly weighing the subject your clients 
will see the propriety of relinguishing their intention; and sparing 
themselves, as well as me, the disagreeable feelings which law-suits for 
the imaginary reparation of character always occasion. 

Tho. Buffiin Esqr. 

Atto, at Law, 


From Thomas Henderson Jr. 
p^^ gi^ Raleigh, Augt. 2, 1816. 

Enclosed you will receive my answer to your official letter of the 27th 
ult. For your friendly letter accompanying it, I thank you, and would 
most willingly follow your advice could I do so with propriety. But 
under present circumstances (tho' I fear no such consequences) I would 
suffer the fate of Woodf all before the name of the author should be sur- 
rendered. I have neither seen nor heard from the author since your 
letter was received. 

I am. Sir, very sincerely, Tours, 

Thos. Henderson jr. 

Tho. Euffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough !N^. C] 


From Thom^is Henderson Jr. 

gr* Baleioh, Augt. 2, 1816. 

On Wednesday last I received your letter of the 27th ultimo asking 
as Attorney for Messrs Gales, Yanhook and Whitaker, the name of the 
writer of a piece lately published in the Star, under signature of ^A 
Citizen of Wake." 

Thb Ruffin Fapsbs. 175 

Having been threatened with a prosecution before I had it in my 
power to consult the Author^ and being advised that l^e piece contains 
no libel; though I abhor the idea and misery of litigation^ I have to 
inform you that the author's name will not be given up. 
I am, Sir, very respectfully Yours, 

Tho. Hsndbbson jb. 
Tho. RufBn, Esqr. 

Atto. for Messrs. Gales, 
Whitaker and Yanhook. 
[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Kemp Plummet and Others. 

Raxbioh, 9th August, 1816. 

At our last (General Assembly, and subsequent to the passing of the 
Act providing for the appointment of Electors to vote for a President 
and Vice-President of iJie United States, the Republican Members of 
that body, having convened as private citizens, proposed fifteen persons 
(of whom you are one) as fit characters to be chosen Electors under that 
act : and at the same time nominated the undersigned as a Conmxittee of 
Correspondence, to make such conmiunications as would probably pro- 
duce unity of action; without which, a small but undivided minority 
might frustrate the object of the law and the wish of a large majority 
of the people. 

In compliance with this nomination, and in the discharge of the trust 
thus reposed in us, we feel it our duty to afford every facility in our 
power to the fair and faithful execution of the law, according to its 
spirit and import. To this end, permit us respectfully to enquire of you, 
Sir, whether you will serve if elected, and whether you will vote for 
James Monroe as President, and Daniel D. Tompkins as Vice-President 
of the United States? 

A knowledge of these facts will enable us to announce not only the 
names proposed, but also the sentiments of the candidates. Did the 
functions of an Elector require discussion and deliberation, we should 
not presume to ask any question inconsistent with the free exercise of 
that judgment which should be the result of future enquiry and investi- 
gation ; but viewing the subject as presenting to the people an abstract 
proposition, which, from the necessity of the thing as well as the consti- 
tutional provision, must be answered through the Electors, as the proper 
organs of communicating their will on this single point, it would seem 
that the duty of an Elector required nothing more than to ascertain the 
opinion of his constituents, and to adopt that opinion by his vote. 

.There is, to be sure, but one candidate for each of the high stations 
mentioned ; but this circumstance does not entirely forego the propriety 

176 The Nobth Oabolina Hibtobioal Commission. 

or even necessity of the enquiry we now make, since a feeble opposition, 
acting in concert, might outweigh any fragment of a divided majority. — 
And although it be true that no man is bound by this or any other nomi- 
nation for Electors, but any man or set of men, have an equal right to 
propose other characters, yet if no ticket be held up to public view, the 
will of the majority can never be known. XJnaminity, therefore, in the 
Electoral Vote, is the great object — and it can be matter of no moment 
to the people whether they are personally acquainted with the candi- 
dates or not, provided they are satisfied as to the votes they will giva 
An answer, addressed to us at this place, at as early a day as may suit 
your convenience, is desired. 

With sentiments of respect, we have the honor to be 

Your obed't, humble seiVts, 

KxMP Plummeb,^ 
Thos. Falconer,^ 
Hknbt Potter.* 
[Address: Hillsborough.] 

To Kemp Plwmmer and Others. 

^ ., HiLLSBOBouoH. Augost 30th, 1816. 

Oentlemen — ° ^ 

I take an early opportunity of answering the questions proposed to me 

in your (Circular) Letter dated 9th Inst. I answer both of them in the 

affirmative. If chosen an Elector by the Citizens of North Carolina, I 

will serve; and, believing that the people would wish or expect me so to 

do, I shall vote for James Monroe for the office of President, and Daniel 

D. Tompkins for that of Vice-President. 

I have the honor to be, 


Your most Obed. Svt. 

Thomas Buffik. 

Ejsmp Plummeb 

Thomas Falconeb )• Esquires. 

Henbt Pottbb 

From Benjamin Tappan. 

August 26th 1816. 
It is now several years since we have heard from you and as long ago 
as Octo. 1812 since we have reed any intelligence from our surviving 
friends at Petersburg. . . . 

iKemp Plnmmer of Warren County. 
SThomas Palconer of Granville County. 
tl am unable to locate Henry Potter. 

The Euffin Papbb8. 177 

I do not know that except the wear and tear of time we have altered 
much since you saw mb, we have a son now 3^ years old^ the only child 
we have been able to raise and he promises fair, as to myself our Legis- 
lature have thought proper to make me President of the Courts of Com« 
men Pleas over a Circuit of 8 counties^ so that I have left the bar to 
younger men. 

In this State the Congress are much condemned in all quarters for the 
compensation law and the probability is that no one who voted for it 
will be reelected^ in Kenutcky but 3 of 10 present members are reelected, 
a change of men may have a good effect in bringing back the govern- 
ment to the economical principles of 1801 from which a sad departure 
hath taken place. 

IT. B. Nancey says I have made a slight mistake in the age of our 
boy and that he is 4% years old — so it is. 

From Thomas Henderson, Jr. 

Baleioh^ August 29^ 1816. 

Enclosed I send you what I deem a concilatory letter and which I hope 
will satisfy all parties. It was written after mature reflection and con- 
sultation with my friends here. 

I sent it to Mr. Gales, who I suppose has taken a copy of it, as I 
requested him to do, if he thought proper. 

[Address: Hillsboro'.] 

From Joseph Oales, 

[Raleigh, K C, August 30, 1816.] 

Col. Henderson did not shew me the Letter he has sent you till today. 

It is not so satisfactory as I could have wished but I suppose it must 
be accepted as a sort of apology. 

If it had occupied less room and been less equivocal it would not have 
been necessary to have accompanied it with the remarks which will now 
be unavoidable. 

It is the course, however, which the Col. and his friends have chosen, 
and we must make the best of it. 

When I have the pleasure to see you, I will do what is right for the 
trouble you have had in the business. 

Raueigh, Aug. 30, 1816. 

You will of course shew Mr. Van Hook the Colonel's Letter. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

178 Thb Nobth Cabolina Hibtobioal Commission. 

From Oeorge E. Spruill.^ 

Tabbobo Ifovember 2, 1816. 

In compliance with the wish which yon so kindly expressed I avail 
myself of the first opportunity of writing. Since I parted with you I 
have been in several of the lower Counties and though I did not see the 
members, I think I can calculate on the votes of those from Tyrrell and 
Washington Counties. General IredelP cordially promised me his sup* 
port, I expect the votes of the members from my own County. I have 
friends who will make interest for me in other Counties, with what suc- 
cess I [am] unable to determine. 

Such are my prospects in this part of the Country. With what suc- 
cess you have advocated my cause in the Western interest, you have, by 
this time, discovered. 

I have not seen Mordecai' since I left you; but have no doubt he will 
be a candidate. Mr. Drew^ has declared himself a candidate. ''And by 
my Gods, sir'' says he, ''I deem it no egotism to say I can beat any man 
that will offer." Credat Judaius Apella. Such is the opposition which 
I already anticipate. And to confess the truth, two such oppon^its 
against one young practitioner are fearful odds. How many more will 
spring up between this time and the election I am at a loss to discover. 
The election will hardly take place until the latter part of the Session. 
Col. Burton told me, he would certainly resign; but probably not until 
the latter part of the Session; the reason of the delay I did not learn. 
Do you think it would be worth while to go to Raleigh before the Elec- 

Such are the facts within my own knowledge, upon which my hopes 
of success are founded. Whether, these, in addition to what you know 
yourself, will justify such a hope you can determine. We so easily 
believe that which we wish to be true ; that I am always ready to distrust 
my own views of a subject in which I am myself interested. The head 
is so often the dupe of the heart, the understanding so often biassed by 
the feelings, that I almost involuntarily anticipate disappointment when 
my hopes are strongest. In the present case, I must confess I indulge 
some expectation of success ; but I shall nevertheless be prepared to meet 
disappointment. It will rest with you and Qen. Iredell whether to bring 
my name forward or not. And in making the election I doubt not you 
will exercise the same prudence and wisdom, and in both I have the 

lOeorge E. SpruiU of Halifax County, member of the House of Commons, 
1825-1830, at this time a candidate for attorney-general to succeed Hutchins 
G. Burton, who had announced his intention of resigning. 

2Jame8 Iredell of Chowan. 

SMoses Mordecai of Pitt and later of Wake, 1785-1824, one of the most dis- 
tinguished lawyers in the State at this time. He was educated at the Warren- 
ton Academy and was probably a schoolmate of Ruffin. 

^William Drew of Halifax. He was elected by the ensuing legislature. 

Thb Buffin Papers. 179 

greatest confidence, that you would in your own oasa From the interest 
which Mr. Brown has manifested in my hehalf, I doubt not he will give 
you what information lies in his power. 

I shall be anxious to hear from you, and hope you will write as soon 
as you oonyeniently can. 

Whatever may be the event of the election, I shall feel myself under 
the strongest obligations to you, for the very kind interest which you 
have taken in my favour. It will be remembered with gratitude, and 
reciprocated when occasion shall offer, with pleasure. And though I 
am unable to conmiand success I hope to do more, to deserve it. 

Tho. B. Buffin Esq. 

[Address: HiUsboro N: C:] 

From Thomas Love} 

Watnbsvilu 12th Novr. 1816. 
Permit me to trouble you with a few remarks, Bespecting the Dilemma 
that our State has got into with respect to perfecting titles to the vacant 
and unappropriated Lands within the State of Tennessee, which right 
she had previously reserved to herself by her Act of Cession; But the 
wild and unprecedented measures Taken by Congress and Tennessee on 
that Occasion, In my Humble Opinion, Calls aloud for some Legislative 
aid of Our State. If you recollect we had some conversation respecting 
that Business at our last Assembly, And would have Taken up the Subject 
at that time But the Law of Tennessee of 1812 entramelling any further 
proceedings on the part of "So. Carolina Could not then be procured. 
I shall Trouble you with but a few remarks, merely reciting you to the 
several Laws that have been enacted on that Occasion; for from my 
personal Acquaintance with you, I am well assured that from a review 
of the several Laws on that subject. You will at once discover the imposi- 
tion about to be practised on the Claimants under No. Carolina, and I 
Trust will be able to prescribe some mode to remedy the Evil. You will 
see by the Act of Cession of 1789 that ISo. Carolina Specially reserved 
to herself the right to perfecting Titles to all Bonafide Claims of Lands 
within the Limits of the Lands then intended to be Ceded ; But from the 
frequent solicitations of the State of Tennessee, No. Carolina in the 
year 1803 passed a Law, giving to Tennessee the right of perfecting 
Titles, to all the Bonafide Claims of Lands then within the limits of said 

iTliomas Love of Haywood County. He was a member of the House of Com- 
mons from Buncombe from 1797 to 1809; from Haywood, from 1809 to 1812, 
from 1814 to 1816, and from 1817 to 1821. He was a member of the Senate 
from 1823 to 1829. This total of .twenty-five terms, so far as I can discover, 
has been exceeded only once — ^by James Wellborn of Wilkes, who served 

180 The Nobth Cabouha Histobical Commission. 

State^ in as full a manner as No. Carolina had reserved to herself under 
her Act of Cession, Upon Congress first giving her Assent thereto ; K'ow 
Sir for a moment examine and see what has been the Conduct of Congress 
and Tennessee on this Occasion; In the Session of Congress of 1806, 
They have Entered into an intire new Compact^ leaving out of the 
question the Act of No. Carolina of 1803 and the Act of Cession of 1789 
which all the Laws relative to that Business grew out of, and between 
them have made a conditional line known by the name of the Congres- 
sional reservation line, which you will see described in the Act of Con- 
gress of 1806 page (87) In which Act the State of Tennessee has agreed 
to relinguish all right and claim to perfecting Titles to the Lands South 
and West of the said line to Congress, And in consideration of which 
Congress have relinguished all their right of Soil East and North of the 
said line; furthermore Congress in their goodness have made a Donation 
of a TrjEict of Land of 100,000 acres in an intire body to the State of 
Tennessee for the use of Colleges and ldO,000 acres more for the use of 
Academies and 640 acres for every six miles square for the use of schools 
etc. But not one single acre for the use and benefit of No. Carolina who 
was the original proprietors, and who had fought Bled and wasted her 
Treasures for those very Lands; You will see by the 2nd Sec. of the 
Act of Cessions, that it is Expressly Stipulated, that if the Bounds laid 
out for the Officers and Soldiers of the Continental line should not contain 
a sufficient quantity of I/and fit for cultivation that such officers or 
soldiers falling short of his allottment should be at Liberty to take his 
quota in any other part of the Lands then intended to be ceded which 
were vacant and unappropriated ; and there is a further provision in the 
same Sec. for all Subsequent Entries where there were prior Entries for 
the same spot or piece of Ground, That such subsequent Entries should 
be at Liberty to remove his Claim to any other vacant Land within the 
limits of the Land then intended to be Ceded ; The 3rd Sect. Provides 
that all the Lands intended to be Ceded^ and not appropriated as above, 
should be considered as a Common fund for the use and Benefit of the 
XJ. S. North Carolina inclusive. 

Now Sir I will ask after Congress had accepted of the Cession with 
those several Conditions, where she Acquired the right to appropriate 
one single acre, Untill all the Just Claims of No. Carolina was first 
satisfied. The late Treaty made by Qenl. Jackson^ with the Indians 
includes a Considerable portion of the Lands within the Congressional 
reservation and so soon as the Treaty shall be Batified, Those Lands will 
be subject to the satisfying of the Claims under No. Carolina ; But how 
are they to obtain Titles to their lands. Congress having no right to 
perfect Titles to none of those Lands, Tennessee has relinguished all 
the right vested in her by No. Carolina And by the Law of Tennessee 

iThe treaty referred to is the one made by General Jackson with the Creek 
Indians in 1814. 

The BuFFm Papbbs. 181 

of 1812 If No. Carolina should Send her Surveyors there to survey those 
Lands they are to [be] fined and imprissed like fugitives; This Shews 
the necessity of a prompt and Spirited interference of our Legislature 
on that subject. 

I had some conversation on that subject at our last spring Court with 
hia honour Judge Cameron, he appeared decidedly of Opinion that some 
Legislative interference of our State was highly necessary in the pro- 
tection of our rights^ And thought it would be advisable for the Legis- 
lature to appoint some man of Standing and Talents as an Agent to 
Congress and these have the matter fairly investigated. My Brother 
Robert Love^ will be at Baleigh Early in the Sessions, and will hand you 
the Tennessee Law alluded to. I hope and Trust that you will in your 
Official capacity as a representative of the people endeavour to Provide 
some means by which the Heroes of the Revolution and those who have 
paid their money for those very lands more than Thirty years can come 
at their Titles etc. 

Thomas Ruffin Esqr. 

[Address : 
Thomas Ruffin Esqr. 
Member of Assembly 
Raleigh No. Carolina.] 

From William Miller.^ 

ExBCUTivB Officb If . C. 

-,. Ralsigh Novemr. 1816. 


Upon an examination of the returns from the different counties, I 
have the satisfaction to inform you, that you are elected an Elector to 
vote for a President and Vice-President of the United States; and to 
request your attendance at this place on the first Wednesday in Decem- 
ber next for the purpose of giving your votes for these officers. 

Very respectfully 

Your Obt. Servt. 

Will. Milleb. 

Thomas Ruffin Esquire. 

[Address: Raleigh.] 

iColonel Robert Love of Haywood. 

^William Miller of Warren. Before his election as governor in 1814 had 
served eeveral terms in the legislature. 

182 Thb North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

From Dr, James Webb.^ 

,^ ^ „. HiLLSBOBO Nov 25th 1816. 

My Bear S%r 

From a conversation I had with Dr. Caldwell^ when he was last here I 
have no doubt that he will accept the Presidential Chair of our Uni- 
versity if offered to him provided the trustees give him a strong Faculty; 
in this matter you can act as circumstances and your better Judgment 
may direct. 

Your family and friends here as well as usual. 
Wishing you a short and pleasant session believe me your 

friend and servant 
[Address : J. Webb. 

The Honorable 
Thomas BufSn 
Speaker of the House of Commons 

From George McNeill, 

Fatvttevillb Decem 4th; 1816. 

Your regarded favour of the 30th Ult. covering Note of Wm B. Puckett 
Esqr. was duly received. I will attend to the collection of the note. The 
Stale Bank here will not collect ! 1 1 and the note has not time enough to 
run to be discounted even if they were discounting any paper. I have 
secured the payment of Brown note to you by agreeing to take it out in ... is a bad debt. Specie is selling at 15 p cent, and one 
person asks 25 p. cut — it is very scarce and^ while the Banks continue 
to receive it^ as they now do^ it will no doubt keep high. 

Before we reed yours of the 30th we had sent on $1100 to Bichmond 
to purchase the stock for you — ^we intended to have purchased it in 
Boston but found we should not have time to get the transfer made. We 
have something more than $1100 of yours in our hands including the 
pro[ceeds] of the silver. 

I observe what you say about the ^'School Association"' and other 
money manufacturing persons — I am no way interested in the '^Associa- 

iDr. James Webb of Hillsboro, an alumnus of the University and one of the 
most interested and active of the trustees. 

2Dr. Joseph Caldwell, who had been president of the University from 1804, 
had resigned in 1812 to give his entire attention to mathematics. He had been 
succeeded by Dr. Robert Hett Chapman who held the office until 1816. Cald- 
well was at once elected to succeed him. 

SReference is probably here made to the Fayetteville School Aseociation, 
which had been incorporated at the preceding session of the legislature. 

The Buffin Papsbs. 183 

tion" but I cannot imagine how you are to get at them^ unless you lay 
aside the Constitution, that the Assembly did (and I suppose can do 
again) when they issued the State due Bills, or treas[ur]y notes as they 
are calld. I mean that section of the XT. S. Constitution which says ''no 
State shall coin money or issue Bills of credit'' — it is to be hoped that 
the Assembly will suppress their own due Bills in the general suppression. 

I hear this morning that Mr. Daniels^ is made Judge. 

Your friends here are all quite well and join in Love and affectionate 
regards to you. 

[Address: Baleigh.] 

From Duncan Cameron. 

Deer. 8, 1816. 

I was much gratified by hearing that you were called to the chair 
during the present session of the Qeneral Assembly.^ I delight to hear 
that marks of distinction and confidence are conferred on my friends. 

The session will soon be drawing to a close — three weeks of it have 
already elapsed; and but little publick Business is done. I fear that the 
various elections will prevent the maturing of many publick acts. And 
that the present will, like many preceding it, terminate, without much 
having been done for the improvement of our judicial system, and the 
amelioration of our penal code. 

I have enclosed to you my resignation as a Judge ;^ which please do 
me the favour to present to the Assembly. Many considerations with 
which I have already acquainted you, forbid my longer exercising the 
function of a circmt Judge. I despair of seeing a separation of the 
Supreme Court from the duties of the circuit Judges — nevertheless 
should such an event take place, and my friends wished it, with the 
approbation of the Assembly, I would attempt to perform the duties of a 
member of the Supreme Court. I mention this, as it grew out of the 
conversation we had on this subject, this week. 

1 Joseph J. Daniel of Halifax, who served sixteen years as a judge of the 
Superior Court. Elevated to the Supreme Court In 1832, he served for sixteen 
years, dying in 1848. 

2Raffin had already served as a borough member of the House of Commons 
from Hlllsboro In 1813 and 1815. During the session of 1813, when the war 
fever and the excitement against David Stone was at Its height, Henry Seawell 
wrote Bartlett Yancey, In a letter dated December 17 : "It Is with the greatest 
heartfelt satisfaction I Inform you of the signal distinction our friend Ruffln 
obtained by hie conduct in this respect He has deservedly acquired a pre- 
eminence for understanding and patriotism which I trust is not to be forgotten 
and which I believe Is to make him useful in a high degree to his country and 
himself. He stands decidedly foremost on the republican side, and I rejoice 
that the interests of the community are measurably committed to so safe a 
guide." Ruflin was unanimously elected speaker on November 18, 1816. 

SRnflln was elected, on December 16, 1816, to succeed Judge Cameron and 
at once resigned from the legislature. James Iredell, his intimate friend and 
roommate at Princeton, was chosen to succeed him as speaker. 


Since I commenced writing this letter the mail has brot the news- 
papers; and from them I have learned for the first time, the result of 
the ballotting for Judge and Senator.^ Tou have indeed had tough work 
and close cutting. 

I haye not been more than two miles from the House, since I saw joo. 
My family has been, and yet is very sick. My children are all sick with 
the measles — ^some of them very sick. 

Wishing you a pleasant time of it, and a safe return to your family, 
I remain with great regard. 

[Address: Raleigh.] 

From Weldon N. Edwards,^ 

r. n ^ Washikotow Citt 9th Deer. 1816. 

Dear Buffln, 

I have postponed writing you longer than I wished — ^but hope to be 
excused, when you are assured the delay has proceeded entirely from a 
desire to collect something to write about. Indeed I wish I could even 
now present you something of Interest, but I am prevented that pleasure 
by the short time I have been here, and by the fact that no communica- 
tion, or report, except the message of the President, has been made us ; 
without which you know it is impossible to speak with any certainty of 
the measures we shall probably adopt, or even of the particular views 
of members; for conversation never becomes busy and lively untill the 
budgets are all before us. 

The Presidents communication appears not to have suddenly excited 
activity in business, nor indeed comparatively speaking, does it present 
much to be done — ^yet it has given birth to feelings of the most consolatory 
kind. The picture it presents of our pacific relations with foreign powers, 
and of the happy economy of our domestic concerns, seems to excite in 
the breast of every one sensations of joy and pride, and it is not unfre- 
quent that you hear members giving a loose to such feelings; particu- 
larly those whose exertions have mostly contributed to produce the 
present state of things. There is no doubt but our commercial relations 
with G. Britain will early command our attention in order to remedy, 
as far as practicable, that inequality of which the President so properly 
makes mention. The alterations recommended in the Judiciary* are of 
great magnitude, and certainly have their difficulties. The additional 
expense necessary is perhaps unimportant compared with other consider- 

iJames Turner resigned from the United States Senate In December and 
Montford Stokes was chosen to succeed him. 

2Weldon N. Edwards had succeeded Nathaniel Macon in Congress when the 
latter was elected to succeed Francis Locke in the Senate. 

sPreeident Madison recommended that the federal judiciary be reorganised 
so as to relieve the justices of the Supreme Court of the arduous duties of 
the circuits. 

The Buffin Fafbbs. 185 

ationB of a political nature. Some think Executive patronage already 
sufficiently great^ such would perhaps be opposed to the proposition — 
but others believe it confin'd to its proper sphere^ and without the means 
of dangerously extending itself, who would probably think the adminis- 
tration of Justice much ameliorated by it. For my own part, I hope so 
to decide the question as will be most promotive of my Country's good. 

The compensation law has furnished us with some talk out of doors, 
but there are so many floating opinions, that I cannot even guess the 
result of the proposition now before us upon the subject of it. It will no 
doubt be repealed ; but whether the old law will be restored or an increased 
p diem substituted, I really cannot telL I sometimes think the one, and 
then the other will be the case. Tou will have seen before this the speech 
of Colo. Johnson,^ preliminary to his motion to enquire into the expedi- 
ency of repealing it. He was not wanting in his usual honest zeal and 
interesting animation yet advocating the measure, while he proposed 
its repeal deprived his speech of some portion of its merit. But he says 
**vox populi, vox dei,'' is his guide. 

I have heard of the confirmation of Judge Daniel's appointment, and 
the election of Qenl. Stokes as successor to Oovr. Turner in IT. S. Senate. 
You have had many candidates before you, and, as you remarked, I 
could readily conceive the dilemma in which my very worthy friend Mr. 
Flunimer that good man, was. So many friends knocking at the portals 
of his heart, and not wherewithaU to satisfy all, must have made him 
occasionally scratch his head. Do make my respects to him, and tell 
him I wish he had the dispensation of many of the goods of this life, that 
I know all his friends would be amply provided for and fare well. Oan't 
you give him a sinecwre — He should have onet 

I heartily concur in the attempt you are making at internal improve- 
ments — ^Yet I have my apprehensions for the success of your several 
projects. Our State will never be respectable either in numbers or wealth, 
untill that all important branch of domestic economy is better encouraged 
among us — emigration and all its concomitants will always keep us 
under the Hatches unless the Legislature by its high-mindedness and 
public spirit create new inducements to the citizen to abide with us. 
Your judiciary Bill I have scarcely any hopes for, having some knowl- 
edge of the temper and disposition of members in regard to it. Expense I 
Expense I opening the avenue to the destruction of the C. Court system ! 
these will be the cry. The amendment of our penal code by a Feni- 
tentiary has its origin in the best feelings of the heart and is strongly 
recommended by humanity ; but I respectfully submit that sound Folicy 
is against it, and think the latter should always be able to withstand the 
eloquent, tho silent, language of the former. I know we difiPer on this 
subject, but can say no more here. The revision of our Constitution may 
possibly have its dangers yet if the object is to do justice and to correct 

iColonel Richard Malcolm Johnson of Kentucky, afterwards Vice-President 
of the United States. 

186 Thb IfoBTH Cabolina Histobioal CoMMissioir. 

injustice^ I think it should he assay'ed. Yet is the injustice in question 
as great as you seem to think it? Is not our population at present two 
sparse and too fluctuating? However^ it is a subject upon which I have 
not seriously reflected. This much I will venture^ that eastern and 
western jealousies seem to distract and exasperate our councils without 
any profit, as experience proves, and it is to be much wish'd that they 
may in future be buried. 

Your Land warrant will soon be obtained. It had better remain in 
my hands to draw the grant should it issue during this session. But upon 
this I will wait your advice — remember me to my friends. 

I have written much more than I intended, and without regard to 
matter or style, but I knew it was for the eye of a friend. 

The "Honble" Thos. Ruffin. 

State of Nobth Cabolina« 

His Excellency William Miller Esquire Qovemor 
Captain General and Commander in Chief. 

To the Honourable Thomas Buffin Esquire, Greeting 

We reposing special trust and confidence in your 
prudence, integrity, abilities and learning in the Law, 
[seal] do hereby authorize you, after taking Uie oaths pre- 
scribed for your qualification, to enter upon the office, 
and discharge the duties of a Judge of our Superior 
Courts of Law, and Courts of Equity, you having been appointed thereto 
by joint Ballot of both houses of the General Assembly. 

To hold the said office, exercise and perform the authorities and duties, 
and receive and enjoy the Salary annexed during your good behaviour 

In testimony whereof I have caused the Great Seal 
of the State to be hereunto affixed and signed the same 
at the City of Raleigh the 16th day of December one 
thousand eight hundred and sixteen and of the Inde- 
pendence of the United States the forty-first. 

Will Millbb. 
By the Governor 
S. T. Sanders P. Secy. 

State of North Carolina 

Supreme Court January Term A. D. 1817. 
In pursuance of this Commission from His Excellency William Miller 
Esquire Governor etc of this State, The Honorable Thomas Ruffin esquire 

Thx Kuffin Papbbs. 187 

at the Supreme Court began and held in the City of Raleigh on the first 
Monday of January A. D. 1817 took the Oaths prescribed by Law for his 
qualifications as Judge of the Supreme Oourt and Superior Courts of 
Law and Equity within State. 

In Testimony whereof I haye hereunto set my hand 
and affixed the Seal of my office at the City of Baleigh 
[sbal] the 7th day of January A. D. 1817 and 41st year of our 
Independence. Wm. Bobabds. 

From Richard Stanford. 

Washington Crry, Dec. 18, 1816. 

You have professed some friendship for our Cape Fear Navigation 
which I have no doubt you feel, — ^let me request you, therefore, to aid 
Murphy (should his larger and more general project fail) to consolidate 
into one the various laws respecting our Cape Fear company, and charter. 
We want our stock increased, and such privileges, and no other, as have 
been conferred upon other companies. I think if we are moderately 
encouraged, we may be able to go on, tho' we should fail in the encourage- 
ment we think we deserve from the State. 

We have done nothing as yet, and prepared little to do; but there 
seems to be a good deal in a course of preparation. No subject presents 
itself however either thro the message, or otherwise, which seems likely 
to produce much party division or discussion. Indeed I don't anticipate 
much division of the kind, an increase of the army is to be attempted 
(and that too from the Republican side of the question) but I don't 
know how it will go— that I shall be against such increase you will 
readily imagine, but my unfashionable notions have little effect. If it 
should be increased it will be a republican measure of course. I verily 
believe, so far from increasing, we might reduce and economize out of 
the army, and army expenditure alone enough to dispense with all the 
internal taxes at the present session, but economy-ism is now out of the 
question, Bepublicanism is the order of the day. I am really pleased, 
however, that the prospect is more than usual harmony is like to prevail 
throughout the present session. 

Even on the subject of President there seems not like to be the usual 
party division; For I do not hear, nor is it probable any Presidential 
candidate will be held up from among the Federalists. The division 
then, if any will be among those of the majority, and among them there 
are a few schismatics, not willing to have another President from Vir- 
ginia, for Monroe is certainly at present the object of the caucus; and 
if from some cause, not yet known generally, he should not be laid aside 
by his friends beforehand, he will certainly be the man. Sut the business 
is working, and it is said, a deep system of intrigue is going on from 

188 Thb North Caboliita Historical Commission. 

N. York to change the Virginia dynasty. If this be tme, we may yet 
find ourselves under the beni^ and repvilican auspices of a Tompkina. 

I have folded my arms, and am just looking on to see what they will 
make of it. 

[Address: Raleigh, N. Caro.] 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

Oakland 18th Dec. 1816. 

James arrived with William yesterday; he returns tomorrow by whom 
I write. 

Herewith you will receive One hundred dollars which I should have 
sent you sooner, had an opportunity offer'd. Maj. Campbell intended to 
visit Raleigh, but inform'd me a few days ago that he had declined it. 
Should you have as much money to spare, and an opportunity should 
offer, send Mr. McNeill $50.00 which I owe him for the Crate ; and I 
will endeavour to return it, when Wm. comes again to school. 

For ten days your Mother and myself have been much indisposed with 
the prevailing cold ; she is geting better but I believe I am waxing worse 
and worse. The papers have announced to me the great impropriety 
of your conduct, in submitting your name to be held up as Judge. Cal- 
culating from every circumstance within my knowledge, I am oUiged to 
pronounce it the most unadvised act of your life. If you were deter- 
mined to sacrifice your practice of the Law, why did you not go to Con- 
gress ? Amidst all the clouds which overshadow this misterious act there 
is a ray of light which portends some good, viz : to quallify yourself to 
fill the important station to which you are call'd, with that dignity to 
which your pride and good sense will aspire, you will have to read much, 
very much; which after one or two years should you be dispos'd to resign, 
will enable you to resume the practise with much greater prospects of 
success. I want very much to see you ; will you be at the next Caswell 
County Court? 

This is the last year of the five which Mr. Ellis and myself engaged 
for ; the business will go on as heretofore, but we shall want to close the 
whole of the first concern; and take inventory bonds etc. at the end of 
this year; you will therefore see that the necessity of my receiving an 
account of your transactions with the bank in this year. 

Send up as early as possible for your sheep, such is the injury they 
are sustaining from being too numerous, that I have lost several. 

Pray write me immediately; I am both surprised and mortify^d at 
not having heard from you since I saw you. We join in Love and prayers 
to and for you and our dear Anne and little children. May Heaven 
bless you all. 

[Address: Hillsborough No. Carolina.] 

Ths Buffin Papbbb. 189 

From Archibald McBryde.^ 

r, ct' Tysons 4th Jany. 1817. 

JL/ear Sir, 

Give me leave in the first place to offer you my sincere congratulations 
on your present appointment ; next to the public good it is my real wish 
that it may prove agreeable and advantageous to you and your family. 

The bearer Mr. Mclver read Law in my office. I think he is a very 
good young man and of respectable talents^ he obtained a County Court 
License a year ago and will apply at the ensuing supreme court for a 
Sapr. Court License. Anson County Court is on the 2nd Monday of this 
month, and it will be of some consequence to him be examined so early 
in the first week of the Supreme Court as to be at Anson Court. It 
would also oblige Dear Sir 

Sincerely Yours 

A. McBbybb. 

Be so good as to tender my respects to Mr. Murphey. 
[Address : Baleigh, N. C] 

From George E. Badger.^ 

Newbsbn Monday Jany. 20th 1817. 

I arrived here this morning and am happy in being able to inform 
you that my Mother has no objection to the proposed change in the place 
of residence. I shall leave this place for Hillsborough on Monday next 
and unless prevented by accident shall be with you on the Thursday 

I cannot conclude without assuring you that I feel grateful for the 
good opinion of me which prompted your offer to put your business 
under my care, and pledging myself that if the most persevering atten- 
tion on my part will avail anything you shall never have cause to regret 
your confidence. 

The Hon. Thos. Kuffin. 

[Address : Hillsborough N. Carolina] 

lArchibald McBryde of Moore was a distinguished lawyer. He was a member 
of Congress from 1809 to 1813. 

20eorge B. Badger of Craven. He had been licensed to practice law in 1814, 
but had been solicitor for almost the entire period since then. He was a 
member of the House of Commons in 1816 where he and Rnflln formed a warm 
friendship which lasted all their lives. When Rul&n became a Judge he offered 
his practice to Badger. 

190 Thb Nobth Cabolina Hibtobical Commibsion. 

From William Oamett. 

[Lotd's Va] 13th March, 1817. 
It is a long time, my dear friend, since I have taken up my pen to 
write to you, or since I have rec'd a letter from you. I trust, however, 
that no inference, derogatory to that friendship, which we have so fre- 
quently possessed for each other, can be drawn from this fact. I am well 
aware that age has a chilling influence, both upon our physical and 
moral nature; but as friendship constitutes one of the strongest liga- 
ments, which bind the human heart, I am persuaded that it is least 
accessible to its baleful influence. Can you reciprocate this sentiment! 
I would not for worlds think otherwise of you. For it is ^'the cherished 
madness" of my heart, (if it can be called madness, to indulge in retro- 
spections of which pain constitutes a considerable ingredient), to retrace 
many of the pleasurable scenes of our former intercourse, and to recall 
to my memory ^'departed joys," which are never to return. There is a 
melancholy luxury (if I may be allowed the expression) derived from 
reflections of this kind, which I would not exchange for years of that 
empty unmeaning kind of frivolity usually termed happiness. I have 
always been an enthusiast, in love, in friendship, and indeed in every 
thing else ; and like all other enthusiasts, I am sometimes, apt to endeavor 
to persuade myself that no one else can feel as intensely as myself, that 
I am a kind of isolated being in this respect. This disposition, however, 
to arrogate a monopoly of feeling, is checked by the consideration that 
to outward appearances there is no great difference in men. To the 
world, I make no doubt, that I appear to be as much interested in the 
common affairs of it, as other people, and as little corroded by care as 
any of them. But the state of my heart, my dear friend, presents a very 
different aspect to myself. I have [met!] with misfortunes that has 
deadened the interest that I formerly took in the concerns of this life. 
I have lost many of my dearest and most valued friends, and I have lost 
one of my children. More than a twelvemonth has elapsed since the 
date of the latter visitation, but it has made an indellible impression, an 
aching void, a chasm, which can never be filled on this side of the grave. 

may you never have a practical knowledge of the heart rending agony 
of such a misfortune. This world affords no consolation for grief arrising 
from this cause, — it is to religion alone that we can look for succor. This, 

1 know, when its influence is properly felt, contains a sovereign balm 
for every wound. But I have never yet been able to realize that fervid 
piety, that faith, which overcomes the world, and without which we are 
taught to believe that no one can be reconciled to God. I trust, however, 
in the mercy of that God whose mercies I have so often abused, that he 
will not close my eyes in darkness, without imparting to my soul a rav 
from that sun of righteousness, whose beams' can penetrate the darkest 
recesses of tomb, and make bright with the refulgence of eternal day the 

The Buffin Papxbs. 191 

gloomy passage through the valley of the shadow of death. I intended 
when I sat down to have written you a much longer letter, but I feel 
oppressed with the subject that I have inadvertently fallen into and 
must, therefore, conclude for the present. I am now by myself, and at 
Mantapike, a house that has been recently almost desolated by death, 
which must be my apology for the gloomy impression my letter. Present 
me affectionately to your wife, who I should be happy to see at my 
house, if you can ever find time to bring her to Virginia. As to myself, 
circimistances confine me almost as rigidly to my farm as if I was one 
of the slaves; it is certainly not the most agreeable profession in the 
world, for a man, who has always held slavery, of every kind, in most 
unquallified abhorrence, to be compelled to confine himself to the man- 
agement of slaves, for his subsistence, and the future support of his 
family. We must, however, take things as they happen in this life. 
Parewell, and believe me ever your most affectionate 

Wm. Gabnett. 
[Address: Warrenton, Iforth Carolina.] 

From Thomas B, Liiilejohn. 

Oxford 17th May 1817. 

By the appointment of Mr. If athanl. Robards to the Sheriffalty of 
this County, the Office of Clerk and Master will become vacant, and as 
you will have that vacancy to fill, I beg leave to inform you that I will 
he glad to receive the appointment provided you should think me qualified 
to discharge the duties of that Office. I am with great respect 

Honble. Thos. Buffin Esq. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Thom4JS B. Liiilejohn, 

Oxford 6th July 1817. 

I have the pleasure to acknowledge receipt of your much esteemed 
favor of the 30th ulto., wherein you are good enough to inform me that 
you had appointed me to the office of Clerk and Master for this County. 
If I shall not be prevented by some unforeseen event, I will be in Raleigh 
some time in the Course of next week for the purpose of taking the oaths 
of office before you. 

The Honble 

Thomas Ruffin. 

[Address: Raleigh] 

192 Thb North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

William Henderson^ to Thomas D» Bennehan? 

^ ^. Raleigh August 9th 1817. 

Dear b%r. 

Can't we keep the man* of many pursuits at home? At least let us 
endeavour to do so. He is a perfect Proteus, always varying. Here, 
he is a federalist, an admirer of Washingtons politics, no adminis- 
tration man ; in short sir he is every thing, but a federalist. I hope the 
Doctor will pardon me; The pursuit would be a fruitless one, too elevated 
for one of his political persuasion. I enclose the letter of Colonel Wil- 
liam Hinton, of this county to you, in obedience to the request of Mr. 
Dickens ;' that you may transmit it to Person before the election. Mr. 
Dickens supposes, if the charges contained in Colonel Hintons letter can 
be established in his own county ; he will command almost, an unanimous 
vote. It is then important for we are apprehensive, the contest is doubtr 
ful here, as well as in Orange. I hope not, I trust we are not so far 
declined. We can ascribe it to nothing but the supineness of Mr. 
Dickens's friends. Wake is certainly Federal, when she chuses to rise 
in her strength. Smith's friends have left no stone unturned. It is the 
intention of Mr. Dickens to make Smith commit himself, by denying the 
charge, and then to prove it. May Ood prosper every good word and 
work. ( Micklejohn ) . 

Will you let me know by the messenger, whether you will find it con- 
venient to send to Person, and whether Mr. Dickens called on you, on 
his return home. I tremble for the fate of the election. 

Thomas Bennehan. *Dr. Smith. 

[Address : Flatt River, Orange County.] 


William Hinton^ to William Henderson. 

[Aug. 8, 1817] 

In answ. to your letter I shall make use of the language that I have 

done in private, in the open streets of Baleigh, and to many of Smiths 

friends, when I believe he was in hearing, which was as follows, on the 

last day of July I saw Doct. Smith^ (for the first time) at a muster in 

iDr. William Henderson was a son of Chief Justice Leonard Henderson. 

SThomaa D. Bennehan of "Stagville," Orange County. 

sSamuel Dickens of Person County, member of the House of Commons, 1813, 
1814, 1815, 1818; member of Congress, 1816-1817. 

^William Hinton of Wake, a prominent citizen and frequently a member of 
the legislature. 

6Dr. James S. Smith of Orange, then a candidate for Congress. He was 
successful and served two terms. 

Thb Ruffin Papxbs. 193 

mj neighbourhood and when he address'd the Company he uttered aenti- 
ments veiy difiFerent from what I calculated on, for they were such as I 
should have expected from a Federalist and strongly urg'd the necessity 
of adopting Washingtons principles, and in the Course of his address 
he made use of sentiments to this effect (if not in the precise words, they 
had the same meaning) that the administration had been in an error 
mnd it was Honorable to retract. 

Some time after the Company was dismissed Mr. Fenndl and my self 
got into argument and I told Fennell that I was sorry he wou'd not 
acknowledge his error for his Friend Doctr Smith has this day in the 
course of his address honestly did acknowledge that the administration 
had been in an error and it was Honrbl to retract this Mr. Fennel rather 
denied and propos'd to me to go to Smith which I ref us'd to do and told 
him to bring him to me which he did, and the same question in substance 
was put to Doctr. Smith which he (I thought) reluctantly assented to. 
I returned him my thanks for his candure, and tum'd to Fennel and 
askM him if he was satisf yd he made no ansr. but I know from his counte- 
nance he was mortifyd and disappointed this last conversation I can 
prove by Charles King esqr. and perhaps by several others. 

Mr. Eing is not at home and Bobertsons was not present therefore I 
dislike giveing a Certificate alone but you may consult Dickins best 
informed friends and if they think this letter will be usefuU and no dis- 
advantage to me you are at liberty to make use of by sending it to 
Dickins or in any other adviseable way. 

[Address: Doctr. Henderson, Saleigh.] 

From James Oraham} 

Lincoln Vesuvius Furnace August the 10th 1817. 
I left Hillsboro within a few days after I parted with you in Baleigh. 
I assure you Sir it gave me no small degree of pain to part with many 
of my friends in and about the Soro. For although many make a pro- 
fession of Friendship, yet comparatively very few act in conformity 
with their professions; and therefore when once a person has evidence 
as high as heaven of a course of conduct which uniformly bespoke friend- 
ship of the sincerest sort ; then, that man's heart must be as cold as the 

iJames Graham, 1793-1851, a native of Lincoln County, the son of General 
Joseph Graham and a brother of Governor William A. Graham. He became 
well known as a lawyer, but was especially prominent in the politics of the 
western part of the State. After service in the legislature for some years, he 
was for six terms a member of Congress. 


194 Thb Nobth Gabolina Hibtobioai. Commission. 

ice at the north pole^ who feels no regret at parting from friends whom 
time and the ties of golden friendship haye endeared to each other, and 
who feels no degree of gratitude for an invariable hospitable and polite 
attention. It has been my lot for many years past to sojourn here and 
there without any permanent place of abode, in the course of which I 
have had favourable opportunities of testing the conduct and motives of 
many different persons in various places and situations. I therefore 
trust that I am not unable or unwilling to appreciate services and favours 
which flowed from the purest source, from friendship in the plain garb 
of simple sincerity, unsurrounded by the tinsel of parade and unin- 
trenched behind ceremonious forms. To say, therefore, that I am under 
great and lasting obligations of respect gratitude and esteem to those 
whose kindness and polite attentions I have informly received, is not 
to pay the Debt of compliments but of merit. I arrived at my fathers 
during the week of Lincoln county court. I went up to Lincolnton 
before the court adjourned and took the oaths prescribed by law which 
are usually taken on similar occasions. The bar is pretty thronged, the 
business however is chiefly in the hands of three men — ^B. Burton,^ R 
Williamson,' H. Webb.' From court I returned to my fathers where I 
have been ever since, except two days on business to Statesville: where 
I accidentally saw Mrs. Harris who was [in] good health, and hin^ 
spirits. She whispers and smiles as usual, and therefore, I said acci- 
dentally for as I was walking the street I heard her voice before I saw 
her face and then directed my course accordingly. She returns to HiUs- 
boro next week, she informed I have heard no one speak of her in Iredell 
who did not extoll her usque ad coelum. I have read vdry little law 
lately, but I shall before the last of this month pitch upon some place 
where I shall locate myself and resume my studies for one year but shall 
not make any permanent settlement, prior to the expiration of that tim& 
I should be much obliged if you would write me to Lincolnton stating 
what books I ought to read before I apply for superior court license. 
My father wishes me to go to Tennessee this fall and dispose of his lands 
in that state : but when I reflect how it would conflict with the arrange- 
ments which I have chalked out in my professional pursuits, I am 
obliged to decline it for the present. Ton, Sir, can't conceive of the 
anxiety and confusion that pervades all ranks of people in this section 
of country to remove to the Alabama, numbers have actually sold and 
many more are desirous to sell and hunt a new home in the wide wild 
wilderness. The consequence is that land here is deminishing in point 
of value, and the country loseing many of its most enterprising and 

iRobert H. Burton, 1781-1842, a son of Colonel Robert Burton of GranviUe. 
He was one of the most prominent lawyers of Western North Carolina. 

SRobert Williamson of Lincoln County, a member of the House of Commons, 
1818-1821 ; Senate, 182M823. 

SHenry Young Webb of Lincoln, member of the House of Commons, 1817. 
He later moved to Alabama and became a Judge there before its admission 
to the Union. 

Thb RuFFm Pafebs. 195 

respectable inhabitants. Crops generally, with the exception of cotton 
and very low bottom lands, are quite good and we expect to enumerate 
this among the most plentif ull years in the annals of crops. Tou may 
probably reckon I would mention something relative to the election, but 
as I know nothing respecting it and make no enquiry you will not be 
surprised that I venture no conjectures with regard to the result; for 
nothing is more certain than the uncertainty of an election; it is a 
vessel without a Helm in a boistrous sea, over or against which the 
billows of discord malice and envy beat and break. 

When I write you again I shall have struck my Tent for one year, I 
have spent my time very pleasantly since my return in examining the 
acts of Assembly and in hearing my reverend old Father recount the 
difficulties and dangers to which he was exposed in the morning of Life, 
and enumerate the characters and conduct of those who stood up in the 
perilous times that tried the souls of men : and when I bear in mind that 
his head, his hand and his thigh afford the strongest marks of the truth 
of the facts which he relates, they fill my mind with the tenderest emo- 
tions. Present, if you please, my sincerest respects and esteem to Mrs. 
Buffin to Mr. and Mrs. and Miss J. B. Kirkland and accept for yourself 
the sincerest sentiments of gratitude and warmest wishes of health and 

To Badger, Scott and Cain my respects if you please. 

[Address: Hillsboro No. Carolina.] 

From Richard Apperson. 

LoMBABDT Grove Mbcelenbubg Ya. Octr. Slst. 1817. 

I have been informed that a Mr. William Woods in the vicinity of 
Hillsborough, is an excellent waggon maker. I want two first rate road 
waggons and wish you to be so obliging as to give such information to 
Mr. Woods as that he may state to me the terms for such Waggons — all 
to be of Seasoned wood and clear of nets and ironed in every part that 
it may be necessary. If he can supply me, I shall then pay him through 
you. I have been so plagued with bad waggons that I offer that as an 
appology to you for troubling you with so trifling an agency. 

The answer of Mr. Woods will be to me and I will hereafter com- 
municate with him except in the close, and he must guarrantee the 
goodness of the waggons before the purchase money is paid — on the 
Condition alone of his warrantee do I want them and am willing to pay 
a price adequate on that account. 

The Boanoke navigation, (about which I know you have the warmest 
zeal is in bright prosperity — A few feeble efforts may probably be made 
at the meeting of the next Legislature of your State, to prove that the 

196 Thb IfoBTH Cabolina Historical Commission. 

P. and Directors have some designs agt. the town of Halifax^ Viz. that 
they will be charged with having attemted to fix the Depo at the foot 
of the falls Seven miles above by which H[alifa]x. will be abandoned. 

But the fact is that the President and Directors have had no sort of 
Interest or designs in the place of depo— or have they said anything on 
the Subject, — they say they wish to make the River navigable as the 
law directs, and that mercantile men may build their houses where th^ 
please, and circumstances point out, — they have nothing to do with 
local Interest — nor will they mind local and Interested clamour, except 
to rebutt false charges made on that account. 

Accept my warmest wishes for your health and prosperity 

[Address : Hillsboro, N. C] 

From John Haywood.^ 

Raleigh 29th October 1817. 

Tour favour of the 25th, bearing the Post Mark of the 26th Curr. at 
Fayetteville, was handed me last evening; and should have been acknowl- 
edged by this day's Mail, but for the hindrance occasioned by a sick 
Child and sleepless night. 

Among your many friends, I beg you to be assured, there is not one 
who values the favour of a Letter from you more highly than I do ; nor 
is there of the number any one individual who could feel greater grati- 
fication and pleasure at meeting or furthering any wish of yours than I 
should: — it follows then of course, My dear Sir, that instead of your 
feeling either difficulty or reserve in communicating with me freely and 
confidentially on all those occasions in which it may be supposed I have 
the power of being, in any way, useful to you or to yours, I shaU be 
flattered and obliged by your commanding my best services. 

I am happy to perceive from your Letter, that you and I feel and 
think precisely alike, with respect to removing or ousting from Office or 
appointment: — the present Incumbent of the place you mention, has 
imfortunately but too often rendered himself liable to the unpleasant 
animadversions of his Employers; and has, I apprehend, fallen under 
the displeasure of some of them : but the issue of the business depends, 
I am persuaded, very much upon his future Conduct, or rather punc- 
tuality, in making the necessary Returns etc. — as it has been principally, 
and perhaps solely, owing to inattention and remissness in that par- 
ticular, that he has been called in question, and his continuance of 
office, rendered doubtful. Thinking favourably of Mr. R. as a man, and 
deprecating the Consequences inseperable from a Removal from Office, 

i"Treasurer" John Haywood. 

The Buffin Papbbs. 197 

I have uniformly endeavoured to excuse and apologize for his remissnesfi ; 
and to appease and conciliate the Board, on all those occasions when 
lie lias been most called in question: — of the friendship and kindness 
of my conduct towards him in this regard, that (Gentleman has, I believe, 
no Imowledge or intimation whatever, as he and myself never corre- 
sponded. Although my feeble but well meant endeavours in this par- 
ticular, may possibly have contributed somewhat towards the preventing 
the disastrous effects of a pending storm, for the moment; yet I very 
much doubt whether they have produced any lasting impression or 
effect : — ^How the business will terminate, however, time alone can deter- 
mine; as both the one and the other of the Besults you mention, have 
been spoken of here. 

Ton cannot think more favourably nor more highly of the Gentleman 
you name as your friend, than I do ; and I have therefore, neither diffi- 
culty nor hesitation in saying to you, that if in the course of events it 
shall unfortunately so happen that either of the Contingencies mentioned 
in your Letter shall take place, I know not the man that I should with 
more pleasure vote for, or see the appointment offered to: — indeed it 
has been for many years my determination thus to vote, in case a vote 
should be of necessity taken whilst I have a seat at the Board: — and 
thus you see, my much valued and respected friend, that we do not think 
alike in a solitary instance only. 

You may rely on my silence with respect to the purport of your much 
esteemed favour above mentioned : and whether viewing me as a friend 
or as one of the Directors here, I am aware it is equally unnecessary that 
I should remind you, that there are few indeed to whom I would have 
written in the like unreserved and confidential manner ; and that there- 
fore you will consider this to you and to yourself only. 

I wish your Circuit happily closed, and would here offer to you my 
Congratulations on the near approach of the time, when you will be 
at liberty to return to the bosom of your family. 
Judge Buffin. 
[Address: Fayetteville N. C] 

From James Orahmn. 

Vesuvius Furnace Lincoln November the 9th 1817. 
I have a convenient opportunity of writing you by our Bepresentative 
Mr. Webb who will call at Hillsboro' as he goes to Baleigh. I wrote you 
in the month of August last time enough for the letter to have reached 
Hillsboro' before you commenced the autumnal circuit, as I never re- 
ceived an answer, I am somewhat apprehensive the letter has miscarried 
and you did not get it. I have attended the courts in three counties 
Lincoln, Iredell, and Mecklenburg ; in the first I presiune you know there 

198 The Nobth Oabouna Histobical CoMHiSBioir. 

are but two county courts in the year at which any Jury causes are tried. 
Indeed a large proportion of the business in the three counties is trans- 
acted in their respective superior courts. Having attended these courts 
and witnessing the progress of business I am convinced of the correctness 
of an observation which you once made to me '^that the western part 
of the State was not a place for a lawyer to make money'' ; there is not 
one of the profession who in this circuit makes anything more than a 
tolerable competency by his profession, hence several of the lawyers 
here, (chiefly those who have families to support,) have turned their 
attention, in part, towards some other pursuit and as I think where a 
man lives by his labour it is fair and right he should go where he can 
receive the greatest price for his labour I therefore have it in contem- 
plation to explore the Missippi State and Alabama Teritory next fall or 
winter so as to satisfy myself respecting the advantages and inducement-s 
which that country is said to afford. The Aldbama Feaver rages here 
with great violence and has carried off vast numbers of our Citizens. I 
am apprehensive, if it continues to spread as it has done, it will almost de- 
populate the country. There is no question that this feaver is contagious 
and I presume it will be so pronounced by the most celebrated political 
phicians [physicians ?] for as soon as one neighbour visits another who 
has just returned from the Alabama he immediately discovers the same 
symptoms which are exhibited by the person who has seen the allureing 
Alabama. Some of our oldest and most wealthy men are offering their 
possessions for sale and desirous of removing to this new country. How- 
ever there is a material difference between offering to sell and actually 
selling and therefore many will be obliged to relinguish their intentions. 
The Hessian Fly has commenced destructive operations this Autumn 
again upon our wheat and I am fearful, from their early appearance, 
will do much mischief in our fields. Our Cotton Crops have been assailed 
by a worm which is thought to be the same that frequently injures the 
cotton in Louisiana. I have lately read a part of my time in Lineolnton 
but principally at my Fathers. I hope you will write me shortly and 
mention what books I ought to read in order to obtain a superior court 
license and state, if you please, the order in which they ought to be taken 
up. I think it probable now I shall go to Hillsboro, and read a few weeks 
just before next July. I experience much inconveneance at present from 
not having an opportunity of talking with some one who is thoroughly 
acquainted with legal subjects and who could remove my difficulties and 
correct errors into which I sometimes slip. As to news in this question, 
we have none except the hon. D. M. Forney^ was married a fortnight 
since to Miss Brevard of this county, the Major, I am informed will 
take his Lady on to Washington with him. I have ever since my return 
here in July been desirous of forming some plan by which our trade in 
this quarter might be diverted from the chanel through it now passes, 

ID. M. Forney, 1784-1847, a major in the War of 1812; member of C?on g r oB S» 
1816-1818; state senator, 1828-1826. In 1834 he moved to Alabama. 

Thb BuFFm Papxb8« 109 

(into South Carolina) and directed to some^ good market town within 
the limits of North Carolina in order to secure to our own State the 
advantages of her labour and industry In pursuance of this desirable 
object I have drawn up a petition to the L^slature Praying them to lay 
off and open a main market Road from Fayetteville to Morganton. the 
petition, I believe, has the cordial approbation of every one west of the 
Yadkin Biver. My Father has written a memorial to the L^slature 
for the purpose of reviving and perpetuating the name and fame of a 
man who fought and fell in defence of his country. You I presume 
know I allude to Qenl. Lee Davidson.^ If the Legislature do anything 
on this subject worthy of a greatful people, God bless them, if not, vice 
v^rsa. Its high time I was going down to brother Webbs to deliver this 
clumsey letter, and I wish I could save him the trouble of Pocketing it, 
by going on myself, but thats out the question now, tho' I trust it will 
not be next summer. Present if you please my respects to Mrs. Buffin 
Mr. and Mrs. Kirkland also to Cain and Badger, tell them not to gallant 
each other any longer across the bridge, down the Biver, but fix their 
affections upon some beautiful damsel and get married and sing, wife, 
children and friends. May you and your family enjoy health and happi- 
ness here and heaven hereafter is the wish of yours 
[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From, James Campbell, 

[Wentwobth, N. C, Nov. 20, 1817] 
Let me beg of you to interest yourself, by letter or otherwise, in my 
pretensions to the appointment of Brigadier General for this Brigade. 
Abm. Philips has resigned. Judge Seawell, Mr Yancy and others hinted 
that my name in the Legislature would bear promotion with Colonels 
Hunter and Bethell. I do assure you with earnestness, Judge, that I 
seek not the appointme^ but to baffle Bethell in his career ; his conduct, 
in my view, has always been exceptionable, but that, on a recent occasion, 
such, as will forever stimulate me to thwart him in all his publick views. 
If you are not in Baleigh during the sitting of the present session do 
write to a few of your friends in the Legislature. Mr. Murphey knows 
my thirst to oppose BethelL If Hunter succeeds, the Brigade officers 
will be satisfied. If Bethell does the Field and staff will offer resigna- 
tions as fast as they can be entered. Mrs. C. joins me in best respects 
to you, your lady, and family. Very respectfully I remain, 

20.Novem— 1817 
[Address: HiUsboro] 

iQeneral William Lee Davidson who was killed at the battle of Cowan's 
Ford. Davidson County, erected in 1822, was named for him. 

200 The North Caboluta Historical Commission. 

From John MacRae. 

Fatbttbvillb 29 Nov 1817 

By a letter from Hillsborough of the 20th inst I had the pleasure to 
hear of your safe return to your Family and Friends and at so fortunate 
a time. I hope your young Son and his Mother continue to do well. 

Our much esteemed friend McMillan notwithstanding his favourable 
appearance when you sett o£F relapsed immediately and died on the 
Sunday following — a severe public loss indeed ! 

Since your departure I have had several conversations with my Father 
relative to his acceptance of the Cashiership of the Branch of die State 
Bank at this place. 

No circumstance has had so much influence in delaying his determi- 
nation to comply with the solicitations of his friends as an unwillingness 
to be the means or even to have the appearance of being the cause of the 
dismissal of so good a man as Mr. B. whose ill success in giving satis- 
faction he thinks as do many others proceeds not so much from a want 
of disposition as a constitutional failing — he has however at length sig- 
nified through his friend Mr Boylan his willingness to take upon himself 
the duties of the office but has begged of the directors to continue kis 
friend Mr. R. for a short time. I presume that he may have an oppor- 
tunity of taking the only step which can now save his feelings the wound 
accompanying a removal from Offiice. In the event of my Fathers suc- 
cess I expect to discharge the duties of the Post Office. 

I assure you I feel under great Obligations to you for the interest you 
have taken in promoting the arrangement. 

Thomas Buffin Esqr. 

[Address : Baleigh N. C] 

From Rev. Adam Empie.^ 

c,. Wilmington JanV 26, 1818. 


The Episcopal Church in this State having been organized last Spring 
and a missionary society formed I take the liberty herewith of sending 
you a copy of the minutes of our convention together with some mis- 
sionary circulars and I beg leave respectfully to solicit your aid and 
your influence in obtaining contributions for this missionary fund and 
if possible in organising the Episcopal Church in Hillsboro' for the 
purpose of sending a delegate to our next convention, which will be held 
in Fayetteville on the second thursday after Easter — the 2nd of April. 

iRev. Adam Emple was a prominent Episcopal minister. He was at this 
time rector of St. James's Churchp Wilmington. He was later presldeat of the 
CoUege of William and Mary. 

Thb Buffin Papers. 201 

I would respectfully urge this upon you and the Episcopalians around 
you. To be represented in, axid in union with our Convention is very 
desirable on account of the privileges attending it. Those who are repre- 
sented will have the advantage of regular visits from the Bishop of 
Virginia, who has taken the superintendence of the Church in this State ; 
the advantage of our missionaries who will ofBiciate among them, when 
they have not constantly a Pastor of their own, the advantage of the 
superintending care of the Church, to watch over their interests to con- 
sult their welfare and to supply them when destitute as well as to secure 
them against such impositions as they lately suffered in Salisbury. 

If we will but exert ourselves as we ought, by the blessing of Qod, we 
may soon have a flourishing Church and a Bishop of our own. The Lord 
grant this for his mercy's sake and the Lord direct and bless you and all 
of us in all things that tend to promote the welfare of Zion. 

A Bible Society has lately been formed in this town, and we hope soon 
to organize a Prayer book Society, the Constitution of both which I 
shall send you — 1 should be happy to hear that you had followed our 
example. If we can aid you either with bibles or Prayer books, tell us 
how, and we will gladly do it — and if you will form societies auxiliary 
to us, or contribute otherwise to our societies, we shall be happy to lend 
you our assistance to the utmost of our power, tho' you may perhaps find 
it more expedient to unite with some Bible or prayer book societies more 
immediately in your neighborhood. 

I shall be happy Sir to hear from you on this subject and I beg you 
or any one that does write to me to inform, whether there are any of 
the above societies in your town or Section of the country — whence you 
generally procure your books — thro what Channel it is most convenient 
for them to come, whether bibles and prayer books are much wanted in 
your part of the State, and whether the Bible and Prayer book societies 
nearest you be in this State, So Carolina or Virginia. 

I am Sir with the greatest respect 

Tr very humb® Serv*. 

A. Empie 

Hon^e Judge Euffin. 

N. B. In a small parcel accompanying this letter you will find an 
Advertisement in relation to our next Convention. If there is a printing 
ofiice in your town I beg you to have it inserted four or five times and 
to request the Printer to forward his bill to me or to Mr. Loring the 
Printer in this place. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

202 The North Casouna Hutobicax Coicmibsion. 

From Archibald D, Mvo'phey. 

^ ET • J Haw-Rivml 16ih February 1818. 

JJear Jfrtend, 

I have been incessantly engaged since I saw You, and feel Half broken 
down before my Circuit commences. I have done much business and 
hope before your Return home to do much more. My Prospects just now 
are good for the approaching Circuit. 

When you return, if you do not conclude to quit the State/ turn your 

Attention a little to the Cape Fear. The time is near at hand, when the 

entire Condition of fhat Section of the State is to be changed. 


Address: Hillsboro'. 

From George E. Badger. 

HiLLSBOBOUGH, March 10th 1818. 

I left home on the Sunday after your departure and with Mr. Nor- 
wood^ and Mr. Nash' spent the night at Mr. Cameron's.^ We passed 
Flat Biver the next morning, though it was quite deep and rising rapidly, 
but found Napper Seeds Creek^ unpassable — So determining to follow 
the precept of my Lord Chesterfield on one occasion at least, we did 
what must be done with as good a grace as possible and turning up to 
Doct. Bullock's we made ourselves comfortable there until next morning. 
On arriving at the Court House we found Judge Daniel detained by the 
waters east of the C. H. had been before us but half an hour. The delay 
of a day kept the Court open till Saturday night. On Sunday I came 
back as far as Mr. C's. and yesterday about dinner time dismounted at 
my own door. 

Your friends Messrs. Henderson® and Plummer'^ were there, well and 
in good spirits — The former has for the present forgotten his Cancer. I 
made a good Court, returned, 150 dollars, better off than I went, and only 
wish it may be ominous of the rest of the Circuit. 

iRuffln was at this time In very low spirits and despaired of the future in 
North Carolina. He was probably considering a move to the Southwest, where 
he had many acquaintances. 

2William Norwood. 

sFrederick Nash. 

^Judge Duncan Cameron's place, "Faimtosh/' in Orange County. 

BKnap of Reeds is meant 

•Probably John L. Henderson of QranviUe. 

TKemp Plummer. 

Thb BuFFm Pafbbs. 208 

I saw Mrs. BufBn today — and little Ann and Eliz who were well. Mrs. 
R. reed, a letter from Mrs. Dillard and informed me that she said nothing 
of coming to Hillsboro. I was much pleased to learn from her that 70a 
had arrived safely at Elizabeth and met with Qenl, Iredell. The im- 
mense quantities of rain which had fallen here and the swollen streams 
had given me some fears that you might meet with some difficulties. 
And I did not feel altogether easy on the score of Mr. Cain's Horse, but 
I suppose as you are silent on that head that he had performed well. 

I believe I shall not visit Salisbury this Spring. The cases in Oran- 
ville Sup. Court relating to Yinkler Jones while having been removed 
to Franklin, and a good fee Having been offered me in two other cases 
in the latter county, I think it better to go there. 150 dollars are more 
than I can expect at Bowan. But although I shall do so I do not half 
like the arrangement; But one circumstance, besides the profit I hope 
for, tends to reconcile me to it. I shall escape Judge D. If ever Heaven 
cursed a man with a most ungraceful utterance of most unintelligible 
expressions that man is D. Indeed, my dear Sir, whatever may be said 
of the value and importance of legal learning, I shall ever believe that 
the power of speaking so as to be understood, is the most important 
faculty either in a Judge or an Advocate. Of what avail is the clearest 
Judgment which arrives with the certainty of demonstration at a just 
conclusion, if the ability to convey that conclusion and the process of 
reaaoning which leads to it, to the minds of the others be wanting? What- 
ever may be the other qualifications of J. Daniel, he is certainly most 
conspicuously deficient in this form of utterance. He seems to me always 
like a full bottle, which in emptying gurgles and sputters, drop by drop, 
wanting alike the clearness and smoothness of a gentle stream and the 
dignity and force of the dashing torrent. He never gets at the right end 
of his subject, and unfortunately he seems to be entirely unconscious of 
the difficulty under which he labors. Instead of accommodating himself 
to the conformation of his mind and voice by stating in as few words as 
possible what is essential to explain the subject of which he is speaking, 
he seems always laboring to make a display, begins at a distance from 
his subject and travels towards it in such an inconvenient gait and by 
such circuitous routs that he either becomes bewildered and fails to reach 
it at all, or reaches it at last not only wearied himself but having ex- 
hausted the patience of all who are in attendance on him. But this 
though in my opinion a capital blemish in him is not the only one. I 
set it up as a principle that a man who thinks clearly, will sometimes 
speak intelligibly. This he never does and I therefore conclude that 
he is deficient in that faculty which composes and distinguishes which 
we call judgment. The want of judgment makes memory, in him a mis- 
fortune which in most men it is considered a most happy endowment. 
He has collected a confused mass of desultory information on a variety 
of subjects. If he were a man of levity, f anqr or versatile powers, he 

304. The Nobth Cabouna Hibtobical Commission. 

would improve this information to embellish his conversation. If he 
were a man of Judgment he would make it useful at once to assist his 
own opinions and to carry his meaning with clearness and force by 
illustrations of his subject judiciously selected. But as he possesses 
neither, his conversation drags on with tedious difficulty^ and his opinions 
neither attract attention by their elegance nor command respect by their 
wisdom. I know not whether I ought to ask your pardon for this free 
statement of what I conceive to be some of the capital blemishes of one 
of your Brethren. But when I write to you I must write what I think 
and what is uppermost. 

Should you be in an ill-humor when you receive this or in low spirits 
which is next neighbor to ill humor and be disappointed that I have 
offered nothing to restore your temper or to raise your spirits, be good 
enough to recollect in my justification, that I am myself sometimes 
afflicted with both these diseases of the mind. And that I never felt in 
a better humor to cut my throat than when I commenced this letter. 
BecoUect also that this little place is more barren of amusement more 
destitute of variety than is the African desert of rills or vegetation and 
that drafts on my own ingenuity to supply this deficit are seldom 

In justice to me also observe that I have done all I can for ua both — 
to please you I have told you that your wife and children are well to 
relieve myself I have refunded some Sensorial power by visiting my 
spleen on poor Judge D. and that this has been done when a Seventy 
dollar fee would be ungraciously received by me if required to take the 
trouble of writing a receipt for it. 

The ladies here have taken advantage of your absence to over power 
me. They have not oi^y threatened me widx the thunder and lighting 
of their brows and the poisoned arrows of their tongues, but have inti- 
mated that unless I shall alter my course a patriotick coat of tar and 
feathers will be my reward. What could I do. Could I stand singly 
against a multitude? I recollect Sir John Falstaff's maxim that *^dis- 
cretion is the better part of valor" and resolved to temporise. So that 
I have turned about and commenced [to be?] Eulogist. But, like Junius^ 
I am not versed in the language of encomium, and my new profession 
sits awkwardly enough upon me. Cannot you send me a skeleton, a kind 
of memorandum of the heads of a discourse in favor of the ladies! Do 
try for I am in most perilous cirsumstances. Danger threatens me on 
all sides. I have not courage to be a martyr for the faith, but wish to 
make the best time I can by a sudden apostacy. 

Thus have I commenced correspondence with you, my dear friend, 
which I assured you from the first would produce you neither pleasure 
nor profit. But if you will consent to accept this and such as I can write 
hereafter as the price of yoiir answers, when your occupations of the 
Circuit will permit you to write, I shall be a gainer indeed. 

Thb Bttffin Pafxbs. 205 

My Mother and Fanny send their best recollection and wishes to you 
and for myself the best wish I can make yon is that your private happi- 
ness and success as well as your professional reputation may be such as 
you deserve. 
Judge Buffin. 
[Address : 
The Honorable Thomas Buffin 
Care of Genl. James Iredell 

Via Petersburg Va. North Carolina.] 

From William Roane,^ 

MoBGANTON, 28th April 1818. 

Although my silence may on first glimse appear to proceed from want 
of respect, yet I am convinced when you come to hear the cause it will 
be deemed excusable. I have at various times been down the country, 
and generally calculated on being in Hillsboro; yet was prevented by 
my business, which I well know you would not approve of my neglect- 
ing; especially when I inform you that I will if possible do myself the 
great Pleasure of seeing yourself Mrs. Buffin and the little children in 
the summer: after next Guilford Coulrt. 

As to myself, I feign hope, I have so far passed the threshold of my 
profession, that with ordinary care, prudence and industry, a prosperous 
and safe passage may be had through life. Notwithstanding I am '^a 
foreigner, an alien as to this country" and ^'a citizen of another State, 
one who had no right to settle here and expect to be employed and en- 
couraged where there are so many native citizens of equal merit in the 
country." I say notwithstanding all this I hope there is a right for me 
to believe that by the year 1819 my practice in the County of Burke 
alone, will be sufficient to support me. (Although as yet I get but little 
money, it being customary, (which custom I cannot run contra to) for 
attorneys to trust their clients untill the determination of the cause in 
which they are employed.) 

Being convinced that the obligation which your kindness induced you 
to lay me under towards yourself, proceeded from friendship and a dis- 
position to serve me, I will only remark if I am as fortunate as I hope, 
I have a right to expect : I shall make an effort to discharge my contract 
with you the ensuing fall. 

iThto is the same William Roane who served in the navy. See p. 162, supra. 
Prior to hie naval service he was in the employ of Judge Murphey. 

206 The Nobth Cabouna Hibtobical Coicmibsion. 

Amongst those of your acquaintances worthy of your enquiry, there 
is no change since you were in the circuit. Paxton is well; as inert 
in his movements as ever. Though as honest a man, and of as nice and 
correct principles of honor as any man I ever saw. Old ^^Brother Robt" 
Henry is a generous man, and so also may I say of several other Oen^men 
in the profession, but as to the younger ones, they are like men of similar 
standing in other districts. You know in all professions men of envious 
and malicious dispositions will be found. As to myself I am not popular 
amongst the latter class, being to independent for a Junior. 

Accept Sir of my best wishes for the health and happiness of yourself 
and all connected with you, give my respects to Mrs. Buffin, tell the chil- 
dren (some of whom remember me) how do ye for me, and remember 
me to Mr. Eirkland Mrs. Kirkland and family. 

P. S. I hope I may be allowed to hint. I write to my friends the 
sentiments of the moment — if correct I wish but few to see them if in- 
correct none. County Court is now sitting here. 3 days ago the moun- 
tains on both sides of us were covered with snow. 

[Address: Hillsboro N. C] 

From James Qraham, 

LiNCOLNTON June the 1st. 1818. 
On my return yesterday after being absent a fortnight I found your 
friendly letter of the 15th ult., in which you very politely invite me to 
partake of your new ofBibe and likewise to assist in making preparation 
for my approaching examination for this, as well as many other indica- 
tions of friendship. I am heartily obliged to you. I am apprehensive 
however it will not be in my power to be in Hillsboro' before the supreme 
court; the county courts which I attend are just over and I have one 
month only left to read and the course which I have before me requires 
every effort which industry is capable of making. The very extraordi- 
nary anxiety which I feel on the occasion and have felt for a considerable 
time operates very materially to retard my exertions, would to God I 
could divest myself of those unpleasant feelings tho' I consider them as 
in some degree necessary and aposite to every one who has a proper 
regard for his reputation. You ask relative to my success and plans? 
My success has entirely equalled my expectations however I have rather 
considered myself as the student than the Lawyer, in the business with 
which I have been entrusted much care has been taken to guard against 
error and not without an eye to the success and interest of one whose 
character and hopes must depend somewhat upon the first impressions. 
As t^ my plans I have [not] fixed upon any which may not be changed 
by subsequent contingencies, which, by the bye, I recollect is contraiy 

Thb Buffin Papxbs. 207 

to your advice and not at peace with my notions of buBiness. I cannot 
become reconciled to this part of the country and owing to my prepara- 
tory course for application for Licence I have not been able to look 
around and contrast the different prospects. Judge Webb^ and my 
Eldest brother set off a fortnight since to the Alabama Territory they 
both contemplate moving there if the country corresponds with the repre- 
sentations and reports which they have heard. I have not seen Judge 
Burton^ since I came to town but I am Informed he has resigned. I think 
the next Legislature may take a hint from this which will induce them 
to increase the salary of the Judges and perhaps make some alteration 
in the Judiciary system: This is the general impression here and I 
believe throughout the western part of the State. 

If I can, any way, get off in time I will be in Hillsboro a day or two 
before the supreme court tho' I am fearful I cannot. It would be of 
infinite service to be examined before the fiery ordeal which awaits me, 
as I have not at present so much as an opportunity of even asking a 
Law question and of course my ideas want a good deal of pruning and 
dressing in order to pass correctly among your honours. I have found 
considerable difSculty in procuring books to read and utterly imprac- 
ticable to obtain some which I deemed essential as the mail hour is out 
and I hope to have pleasure of making a more full communication in 
person in few weeks I therefore must conclude. 

Present my respects to Mrs. Buffin and Mr. Eirklands Family and be 
assured that I remain your friend and humble Svt. 

The Honourable Thomas Buffin. 

[Address: Hillsboro' N. C] 

From Sterling Buffin. 

Oakland 10th July 1818. 
I should have sent William' down at the time you advis'd but Sally 
was unable to travel from improper shoeing. I regret exceedingly that 
the attempt to get a successor to Mr. Bogers^ did not succeed. I have no 
expectation that he will advance his scholars more this session than here- 
tofore; his system is entirely unlike every other teacher I have ever 
heard of, and I cannot but be surprised that so much talents as there 
is in Hillsboro, all of which is immediately, or remotely interested in the 

iHenry Y. Webb. 

2Burton bad been elected to tbe bencb a short time before, but after riding 
one circuit he resigned. 

swilliam F. RufDn, a younger brother of Thomas Ruffln. 

4John Rogers, a graduate of Georgetown, had for some time, been conducting 
a classical academy at Hillsboro under the direction of Rev. John Wither- 
spoon. He seems to have been a most successful teacher. 

208 Thb North Cabouka Histosical Commibbion. 

prosperity of that infltitution should suffer him to peraue it. There is 
not one fourth of the grammar which is taught by him^ and no more 
after twelve months reading than when they began. Can it be possible 
that boys not void of understanding should be justly dealt by^ and only 
read a few chapters in one small book, and a very small part of the gram- 
mer in three whole sessions ? and what is very strange to me none of you 
appear either to feel or care for it. I am fearful that I am not doing 
William justice in again commiting him to the care of that man and am 
confident that unless he improves more than he has done it will be the 
last time. Are you not one of the trustees f forget not your duty; if 
you are not pray remind those who are of the absolute necessity of 
attending more to the interest of the school than they have done. My 
note at Bank will be due next month; inclos'd you will receive $50.00 
to renew it, it is more than the sum due^ but pay it all in — ^Know of 
John when his note is payable and what is my proportion and write me 
in time. 

I have commenced building in Leaksville, and shall be very hard 
push'd for Cash. Let me entreat your exertions in favour of this point 
for the establishment of an agency of the State Bank. The question is 
not whether Leaksville is to put down Milton^ or visa versa, but whether 
both is to put down Danville and thereby bring the whole Virginia trade 
to No. Carolina. That some place above Danville, and not below it, is 
to effect this, is so evident that I am astonish^ any person or common 
observation should for a moment doubt. The truth is, that Danville or 
some higher point must ultimately succeed to a very considerable extent. 
Taking it for granted (and I believe there are none who question it) 
that the great place is to be at the lower end of the canal where the boats 
navigating Dan River will deposit their loads, it is not to be presum'd 
that any place as near that as Milton, can do much for any length of 
time; while all are making exertions for the mastery it may share with 
the others, particularly as it has had a good start, but depend upon it, 
it cannot hold out. It will be a great misfortune if so much personal 
wealth and exertion as is now centered in Leaksville should be crushed 
for the want of some aid from the publick. Jackson is now quite out 
of the question, not a single lot sold on the last day appointed for tkat 
purpose; two or three of the former partners have sold out to men of 
no enterprize or capital, and Clay gone to the western Country. Here 
it is not spoken of at all. Madison and Hairstonborough has not yet 
come into repute, at the latter place there were three or four lots cryd 
out, tho' not believed to have been sold. 

The dry weather continues. I have had not rain of any consequence 
since you left us, still my crop is tolerably good. Enquire of John 
whether he has received any information of James Roane. I shall 
anxiously wait to hear from you. Remember us affectionately to your 
uncle and family. 

[Address: Raleigh N. C] 

Ths Bttffin Papebs. 209 

From A, D, Mwrphey. 

Haw Riveb I7th July 1818. 
My Wife has been unwell for a Week past and is at this time too weak 
to ride to Hillsboro'y without a change of Weather. I beg you to send 
up my Clothes by the Stage on Sunday — ^will you be good enough to ask 
Anne to wrap them up in a Handkerchief! 

I must send my Notes to Raleigh and Fayetteville on next Week — 
I must entreat you to get Mr. Eirkland to indorse them^ lest Something 
Should prevent his Coming up on Sunday. Send them to me by Mr. 
Hunter, or by the Mail. 

Mr. Price^ is here with his Surveyor etc. They will go on Tomorrow. 
I have just finished their Instructions, which I have given much in 
' Detail, as it is out of my power to be much with them. 



Thomas Buffin esqr. 
On Monday we broke grotmd and commenced the Canal on the Cape 

[Address: Hillsboro'] 

John L. Henderson? 

Sbpteicbbr the 15th 1818. 

The office of Clerk and Master for this county will become vacant next 
court. Permit me to recommend Alfred Macay to your notice as a 
candidate to fill that vacancy. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Thomas T. Armstrong, 
2l8t Sept, 1818. 

Agreeably to my expectations when I saw you, Gtenl. Williams resigned 
his office at our last Court. Mr. Matthew Moore and I were the only 
candidates to fill the vacancy, and Mr. Moore was elected. 

Upon informing the Justices that I had been to you for the purpose 
of resigning my office, the opposite party, who are famous for intrigue 

iJonathan Price of New Bern was In charge of the surveys then being made 
for the proposed internal improvements in the State. 
2John Lawson Henderson, 1778-1844, a son of Judge Richard Henderson. 


210 Thb Nobth CABOLmA Historical Comiobsion. 

suggested that I had gone to you for the purpose of making an arrange- 
ment to have my son appointed to succeed me and this they industriously 
inculcated into the minds of the justices which tumd. the current against 
me and I lost the Election by four votes. They had no authority what- 
ever for their assertions except their knowledge of his ability to perform, 
the duties of the appointment and your well known friendship toward me. 
[Address: HiUsboro.] 

^ J, F. May to Thomas Suffin, 

FBTEBSBa. Octo. 10. 1818. 

I wrote you a hasty letter last eveng. to go by mail which I find left 
this place the day before and goes only once a week ;— I have just been 
informed of a safe private conveyance; and therefore enclose you the 
copy record, suit recently brought in the name of Jos. Bragg and 
Benjn. Jones partners etc. for my benefit. If nothing can be done, aemd 
me the record by any safe hand at your leisure. 

Yrs. cordially 

J. F. May. 

Hon. Ths. C. EuflSn. 

P. S. The addition of your second name is a mere mistake of the pen, 
growing perhaps out of old feelings and recollections. I certainly have 
no such spite as would induce me to put an alia^ to it^ especially in N. 

[Address : Hillsboro' N. C] 

From BomtUus M. Saunders to William Norwood. 

Deer. 2nd. 1818. 

Much local business is before us— on yesterday the Supreme Court 
billy with a salary of $2500 for the Judges passed the Senate and to- 
morrow it comes on in the house^ where I think it will also pass. I am 
in hopes to get off before Christmas. 
[Address : 

William Norwood Esqr. 
Atto at Law 


Thb Buffin Papsbs. 211 

From Archibald D. Murphey. 

^ TT . J Ralbioh. 3d. Deer. 1818. 

IJear Fnena, 

The Bill to appoint three Judges to Hold the Supreme Court has passed 
its Second reading in both Houses. In the Senate 42 to 16. in the Com- 
mons 80 to 44. The Salary $2500. This will surprise you as it has 
every one here. It will probably be read the third Time and passed in 
each House Tomorrow. To Night the enquiry every where is, who are 
to be the Judges? — I wish you were here to help our Friend Seawell.^ 
I fear his Chance is not good, great e£Forts are making for Taylor,^ and 
dont be surprised if he be elected. L. Henderson' will be one, I believe. 
I was waited upon this evening to know whether my name should be 
used. I intend to be governed by circumstances. If I see my way clear, 
poorly qualified as I am, I shall enter the Lists. I have been confined 
to my room constantly and know nothing but from those, who have busi- 
ness with me. James Mebane tells me, that L. Henderson, Gaston^ and 
myself will be elected, if in nomination. He is well acquainted with the 
Members and is influential. In all this you will know how easily we 
may be deceived. One day more may give a different Aspect to things, 
and probably will. 

The Salary of the Circuit Judges will be raised to $2000, 1 think they 
will probably be located. — ^We have a liberal and intelligent Legislature. 

When will you be down? No Nomination is yet made to fill the 
vacancy on the Bench. Nash,^ Toomer,* Paxton^ and Miller® will all 
be in Nomination. I can't even conjecture who will be elected. — Pray 
write to me. Bemember me Affectionately to Anne and Cornelia, to 
Mr. KSrkland and his Family. Yours Affectionately 


Honble Thos. Bu£B2i esqr. 
[Address: Hillsborough.] 

iHenry Seawell of Wake, 1772-1836. He had been appointed a Judge in 1810 
by the governor and council, but the legislature failed to confirm the appoints 
ment. He was appointed and confirmed in 1813 and resigned in 1819. 

2John Louis Taylor of Cumberland, a native of Ireland, who had been a 
Superior Court Judge since 1798. He became chief Justice of the new court 
and held that position until his death in 1829. 

SLeonard Henderson of Qranyille, 1772-1833, one of the ablest lawyers in the 
State, who had been a Superior Court Judge from 1808 to 1816. He was elected 
to the Supreme Court and became chief Justice in 1829. 

^William Gaston of Crayen, 1778-1844. His public service up to this time 
had been as a member of the House of Commons from the borough of New 
Bern for several terms and as a member of Congress from 1813 to 1817» in 
which latter position he established a national reputation. 

sFrederick Nash, 1781-1858, formerly of Craven, but now of Orange. He 
was elected to the Superior Court at this session. 

sjohn D. Toomer of Cumberland. He was also elevated to the Superior 
bench at this session. 

TJohn Paxton, who was also chosen to the Superior bench. He died in 1826. 

SGovemor William Miller. 

212 Thb North Cabouna Historical Commibbion. 

From Bomulus M, Saunders. 

Raleigh [Dec.] 17th 1818. 

The Bill relative to the Superior Courts has not been read in our 
House untill to day^ so that I deemed it useless to write you as I could 
have sayed nothing on the subject, and it being now read only once I 
can form no certain opinion. The Bill as reported gives to the Circuit 
Judges the power of fbdng time over circuits amongst themselves, if they 
can agree, if not the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is to determine. 
This is in principle location — as to its passage I think it problimaticaL 
I endeavoured to ascertain the opinion of the House as well as I could, 
and think it likely, that should it be preposed to divide the State into 
two divisions — three circuits in each, that the Judges (one half) ride 
alternately in the circuits in each division, that it would succeed. This 
however is mere opinion. The Blank was not offered to be filled in one 
house, as it was thought best to suffer it to return to the Senate. I undei^ 
stand that it will there be filled with 90$ a court. I have but little doubt 
that 100$ would succeed and I am induced to believe that this will be 
the sum fixed on. I think so from what I have heard, and from the 
circumstance of almost every attempt of raising fees, succeeding — today 
there passed the 2nd reading the bill respecting Solicitors and the House 
readily consented to give to the Attorney Genl. $100 — for attending the 
Superior Court. Miller is in nomination for Judge. 

I should have been glad to have written you to more certainty, but 
you know that '^all things are doubtful" which have to pass the ordeal 
of the Legislature. I expect the bill will pass on Saturday, if so I can 
inform you, should you not come down before on Sunday as I expect to 
be in Hillsbo^ then — ^nothing of consequence before the house. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From James Mehane. 

Baleigh December the 18th. 1818. 
Since Supper I received yours of the 16th inst. and have this moment 
returned from a consultation with Mr. Murphy on the subject of it. The 
Bill relative to the Superior Court is now before the Senate for its 
second reading as reported by the committee, and will I expect be taken 
up tomorrow but we cannot hope, however much we may desire it, that 
the judges will be both located and receive a salary of $100 pr court and 
indeed it is very doubtful whether the salary will be more than $80 pr 
court, and the riding to be regulated by the Supreme court I think it 
would be well for you to come here on Monday next that you may have 
an opportunity to suit your course to occurences, which are as yet very 

Thb RuFFm Pafsbs. 213 

Paxton, 'NeLsh and Toomer are the judges elect for the Superior Court. 
We have this day established an agricultural Society for this State and 
have elected you a member. 

As to David Fulton I some time ago searched the muster roll and could 
not find his name on it^ but I will notwithstanding make further search 
and if I can find anything that will be of use to him I will take every 
necessary step in the business. I remain respectfully your friend etc. 

[Address: Hillsboro.] 

From Oearge E. Badger. 

Raleigh Dec— 18, 1818. 

A ballotting this morning took place for three Circuit Judges — Messrs. 
Toonier Paxon and Nash and Miller were in nomination. The three 
first were elected. Toomer 160 Paxon 136 and Nash 106. Miller 60. 

The Bill to raise the salaries has not yet been acted on. It was re- 
ported with the sum Blank to the Senate, — 2000 dolls is spoken of and it 
is expected it will be taken up on Monday. There is no provision for 
locating the Judges nor have I heard that plan spoken of. 

My information is not much on the subject and in great haste 

Hon T. RufSn. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From James 8. Smith} 

WASHmoTON City, January 27, 1819. 

I have inclosed you six seed of the wild Olive. It is a beautiful ever- 
green that grows rapidly and to the hight of 40 feet and the trunk is 
in some instances two feet through it has a dark green leaf smooth on 
the surface with the edges a little serrated. 

Mr. Crawford the Secretary of the Treasury presented me about an 
hundred they grew in his garden in Georgia. He planted the seed 
about twelve years since and he informed me that the Tree is now about 
8 inches through and twenty feet high the seed must be planted where 
you wish the Tree to stand as all the evergreens are difficult to transplant. 
The seed should be planted 2^ or 3 inches deep and in light rich earth 
the sooner these seeds are planted the better as the season for vegetation 
is fast approaching. 

[Address: Hillsborough N*. C] 

iMember of Congress from the Orange district. 

214 The North Cabolina Histobicai. Commission. 

From Oabriel Holmes,^ 

[Feb. 7, 1819.] 

Without ceremony I have sent my son Lucian to Hillsborough with 
the pleasing expectation that you will take him under your care and 
patronage and permit him to read Law in your office untill you may 
think him amply prepared to take a License for the bar. Should you 
have it in your power to gratify my hopeful wishes and expectations in 
fitting my son for a license you will greatly oblige Dr. Sir yours 

Thos. Huffin Esquire 

February 7th 1819. 

[Address: Hillsboro' 

Orange County TS. C] 

From Montford Siolces? 

Washinoton February 17th, 1819. 

I am this moment favored with yours from Pittsburg.* If I did not 
suppose that your immediate Kepresentative constantly corresponded 
with, and sent you the public documents before Congress, I should not 
soon forgive myself for n^lecting to do so myself : — For be assured there 
is no man in !N'orth Carolina for whom I entertain a more sincere esteem 
than yourself. But it has grown into a kind of agreement here, that the 
Bepresentatives from the different districts send the public papers of 
importance to their respective Constituents ; and the Senators send them 
to the different Departments of the State Government. Under this im- 
pression, I have totally neglected many of my friends, who had a just 
claim to my attention, and by whom I hope not to be forgotten. 

I am sorry to be informed by you, in addition to the information from 
others that Judge Seawell was treated unfairly as well as ungenerously 
at the last Assembly at Baleigh. But after the treatment I myself re- 
ceived at the same place upon a similar occasion, I cannot be surprised 
at the degrading and disgraceful conduct of some men who foist them- 
selves into that body. It is not known to many, (because I have long 
been taught the folly of complaining,) that I was shamefully and clan- 
destinely defrauded out of my Election as Senator on the first balloting 
that took place for the six years. And the fraud was exultingly ac- 
knowledged in my presence. The circumstance being known to a few 

iQabriel Holmes of Sampson, state senator, 1807; governor, 1821; member 
of Congress, 1825-1829. 

2Montford Stokes of l^llkes, 1760-1842, United States senator, 1816-1823; 
governor, 1831-1833. 

STMs spelling for Pittsboro was not unusual at this time. 

Thb Euffin Fapxbs. S15 

of mjr friends, it rivitted them more strongly to my pretensions, and I 
was ultimately successful. This success prevented me from carrying 
the matter further. I had gained my object, and felt no disposition to 
dirty my hands with the blood of scoundrels. 

In the particular case of Judge Seawell I can only say that I am proud 
that so many of our distinguished Citizens besides yourself have given 
me their Opinions which perfectly accord with my own as to the merits 
and just pretensions of Judge SeawelL You may rely on it that I shall 
not omit any opportunity which may occur, to promote him as far as 
my feeble efforts extend.^ I will however state to you, that aldiough the 
Bill for appointing nine Circuit Judges has passed the Senate, it is very 
uncertain whether it will pass in the H. Bep. We have just passed 
finally a Bill which increases the salaries of the present circuit Judges, 
and I expect this is as far as Congress will go at this session. 

I voted against the first mentioned Bill for the 9 Circuits ; not because 
I had any objections to the Bill or the principle; but merely because, 
as regarded the state of N. Carolina, and some of the adjoining states, 
the situation of the Docket did not require such a changa 

With respect to other business before Congress, we are progressing 
slowly. The H. Bep. have spent two weeks debating the question on the 
Seminole War; and by the time they get through the Bank question, the 
Session will be nearly at an end. 

I know not your opinion on the affair of Oenl. Jackson, but for myself, 
although I admit he went to the extent of his authority, I cannot say he 
has deserved the censure of the Government. Much pains being taken 
by some of our Representatives to circulate the speech of Mr. Clay cen- 
suring the conduct of QenL Jackson, I take, the liberty of enclosing you 
GenL SmythV speech in opposition. You will judge for yourself. 

I have not written to Judge Seawell nor he to me, since I have been 
here. If you fall in with him, be so good as present my respects. 

Tho. BufSn Esqr. 

From James OraJiam, 


Lincoln Vbsuvtus Fuenace March the 1st, 1819. 

Having waited a considerable time to write you by Judge Faxton and 

at last disappointed as we have recently been informed he would ride the 

Morganton circuit instead of Hillsboro' I am now determined not to 

omit or delay any longer. I have just finished my county court circuit 

iThroush tlie influence of Stokes, Judge Seawell in 1820 was apiK)inted one 
of tike commissioners, under the treaty of Ghent, to award damages for slaves 
taken away hy the British in the war of 1812. 

^Alexander Smyth, a member of (Congress from Virginia. 

316 The North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

at Mecklenburg last week and am on the return to Lincolnton ; since Julj 
last I have added Burke and Kutherf ord to the counties in which I before 
practiced and have been favoured with Judge Faxton's business in the 
county and superior courts of Butherford. Much murmering pervades 
this riding in consequence of Faxton's presiding here this sping and 
should not be surprised if the western member in the next general As- 
sembly show his Excellency that their suffrage will not be given to a 
man who^ to say the least^ overlooks them. We have just been informed 
of the resignation of Judge Seawell and are at a loss to know who will 
be appointed in his room all that we are certain about it^ is that we 
don't want Billy Miller upon the bench. Jos. Wilson^ has just returned 
from the Alabama and has purchased Land and says he thinks he wiU 
in two or three years move to the that Country tho' here where so many 
talk of moving we believe he will not go or any other man who does not 
immediately pack up and move off after his return. Webb moved on 
the 35 of Deem last and left his land unsold. Our brethren are marrying 
here quite fast Shipp,^ Caldwell' and Martin all within two moons. The 
Catawba company has just commenced cutting a canal round the moun- 
tain Island Falls which will be about three quarters of a mile^ they 
expect to remove every obstruction in the Kiver by the 1st of October 
next from Morganton to the South Carolina line and if the ensuing 
summer should be favourable I have no doubt the work will be com- 
pleted.^ Many persons are spoken of as candidates for Congress in this 
district as yet however none have declared themselves^ it is believed Capt 
John Beid^ will oppose the present member, in the Mountain District 
Joseph M. Carson.^ Porter'' and Walker^ are the candidates and con- 
siderable exertions have already been made among their respective 
friends. Forter says he's Ball against the field and will distance the 
other two. I rather presume it will be a close race between the three. 
The seperate Supreme court seems to be quite popular in this section 
of the State and I believe the body of the people would cheerfully have 
paid circuit Judges at lea^st two tiiousand dollars per annum. I must 
ask the favour of your Opinion on a l^al question which grows out of 
the following clause in a Will — "If any one of my Legatees should die 

iJoseph Wilson of Mecklenburg, a distinguislied lawyer who served in the 
legislature and as solicitor. 

SBarUett Shipp, 1786-1869. He married Susan Forney. 

sProbably D. F. Caldwell. 

4This work was never completed. 

BJohn Reid of Lincoln, state senator, 1810-1811, 1817, and 1818. 

sjoseph M. Carson of Rutherford, member of the House of Commons, 1812- 
1815, 1836; state senator, 1832, 1836-1840; delegate to the convention of 1835. 
This was a strange slip of Qraham's as he was never a member of Congress. 

7William Porter of Rutherford, ^or many years a member of the House of 

sFelix Walker of Rutherford, 1753-1828, a native of Virginia who accom- 
panied Daniel Boone on his trip to the West in 1774. He was a member of the 
Commons for a number of terms, and after serving in Congress from 1817 to 
1823 was defeated and moved to Mississippi. 

The Evffin Fafsbs. 217 

unmarried that particular portion, hereby willed to him or her is to be 
equally divided amongst the rest of my Legatees: Or if any of them 
should marry or die without issue, that portion of property hereby vested 
in him or her shall by virtue of this will revert to the rest of my Lega- 
tees.'' Quere whether (the latter part involves the doubt) if one of the 
Daughters of the Testator marries and dies without Lisue, is her husband 
or her brothers and sisters entitled to her property. Your opinion on 
this question and a reference to the doctrine and cases on which it is 
founded will very much oblige me, as there is a diversity of opinions on 
the question, and it is probable a suit may be brought to decide it. I 
have beared nothing from Hillsboro' since last July except once by Mr. 
Mangum of Salisbury who I presume hears from the boro' more fre- 
quently than I do, and perhaps it would be dbing injustice to his feelings 
to say he hears without a palpitation a little under the left breast; the 
heat in his left side would create steam enough to propell a Seventy four. 
Blessed be the man who first invented ''the compound of hopes and fears 
made of storms and deluges of Tears." I am quite sorry I did not see 
Dr. Webb and family when on a visit to his brother here, and I being in 
Lincolnton never beared of them untill they were gone. I feel a strong 
inclination to visit Hillsboro' in June next as it is probable shall have 
some business in Fayetteville about that time, whether my situation at 
that time will permit an excurtion of that kind I am not yet certain. I 
regretted to hear our friend N. Smith of Chatham had left the state 
and also of Brother Boons' death which I fear was occasioned by intem- 
perance; its truly lamentable that a man who has married an amiable 
woman, and when of course he no longer lives for himself alone, but for 
others, should surrender himself a sacrifice to a never ceasing thirst. 
Burton and Osbom B. Pickens and B. Henrie are all heavy laden with 
the essance of rye, so much so that their vessels are a good deal crippled 
and weather beaten. I should thank you to write me in what counties 
you contemplate practicing. Present my best respects, if you please, to 
Mrs. Buffin, and Mrs. Kirkland. Tell Brother Badger and wife I con- 
gratulate them on the Marriage and only regret that I am not similarly 
disposed of. I have understood sir you intended moveing over to Dan 
River if this be correct I presume you have given out our Tour through 
the Alabama and the country west of the Mississippi River which you 
talked of last summer ; I am told by Jo. Wilson, the Alibama is as yet 
a poor country for a Lawyer. I should be glad to receive a letter from 
you shortly and be pleased to accept my best wishes for yourself and 

The Honourable Thomas Ruffin Esqr. 

[Address : Hillsboro' N". C] 

318 The Nobth Casolina Histobical Commibsion. 

From Archibald D, Murphey. 

^ n • 1 Rockingham. 19ih« March 1819: 

Dear Fnend. 

Thus far I have had a very pleasant Circuit. The Bar and the People 
have been kind and polite^ and we have done a good deal of plain busi- 
ness. If the Circuit prove as agreeable all round^ I shall be a little dis- 
appointed. I have not heard from Orange since I left it. Today I set 
out for Mr. Eoanes, and from Lumberton shall go to Fayetteville, where 
I hope to receive Letters. 

I have been to SneedsboroV 9JiA the business there is finally arranged. 
It is a pretty place, and with some exertion may be made a place of con- 
siderable Commerce. About 2.000 Bales of Cotton are received there 
this Season. The Company get about 100 Lots, some of them well 
improved, and 1160 Acres of Land lying around the Town. For this 
Property the Price is $38,410. Of this Sum $10,000 are to be paid by 
the Company, and to be paid during this Year. For the Residue the 
Company are not bound. Mr. Johnson is to receive Payment out of 
the Proceeds of the Sales. The Stock is divided into Shares of $1,000 
each, and the fraction of a Share. You will see that each Share will 
have to pay less than $300. One half of the Instalments to be paid Mr. 
Johnson, fall due in May, each Share having to advance about $135. 
at that time, and the same amount in !N'ov'. Are you disposed to take 
an Interest in the Company? Write to me at Fayetteville, and say 
whether you will take any Shares, and if so, how many. Say Nothing 
about this business, except to Mr. Hamon. He and Coke, take 2 Shares. 
Qod bless You. 

[Address: Pittsborough.] 

From Oeorge McNeill. 

Fatbttibviulb 30th Mar. 1819. 

I have reed, your esteem^, favor dated yesterday and I shall attend 
to getting the mattress — ^but there are few opportunities of sending any 
thing to Hillsborough just now. 

On the subject of Bank Stock it is difficult to form any correct opin- 
ion — the Banking business has been carried to its height and it most 
take, if it has not already taken a retrograde movement. If I had money 
to invest in Bank Stock I should prefer that of the TJnited States Bai^ 
to any other. It being at all times most easily converted into money — 
and I think the most likely to rise in price — and it will probably pay the 

lA town In Anson County, now dead. Cf. Hoyt, ed., The Murphey Papen, 
1, p. 181. 

Thb Buffin Papxbs. 219 

best dividendB. I have no doubt but that the dividends of the IT. S. 
Bank will hereafter average 8 p. Oent and if so the stock will rise to at 
least $133, and as I do not think that the local Banks will be able to 
divide more than 8 p. cent, if that, and their stock will come down to 
$120 and probably lower, the relative difference in the price of stock 
and the dividends, I account for by the 17. S. Bank having a wider field 
for opperations consequently it will attract more the attentions of Capi- 
talists at home and abroad. 

I think Phil*, and "New York the best places to buy the stock — but 
how to place funds in those places I cannot advise you, unless you can 
get a check of the State Bank — private Dfts may be had here at 60@90 
days, but that would not answer your purpose, as it is doubtful whether 
they would n^otiate and at any rate you would have to pay a commis- 
sion of 2% p. cent for doing it, — ^the Stock might probably be purchased 
as low in Charleston and you can get funds there by giving %@1 p. cent 
for checks or you can get the Charleston !N'otes at par. I would send the 
Dfts on the Gknl. Post OfBsce to Washington and direct the stock for that 
amount to be purchased there, but if preferable the IT. S. Bank will cash 
the Df t — and it is probable Ihey would give you a check on Charleston 
for the amount of it. If I wished to remit funds to "New York or Phil*. 
I would send to Charleston to do it. 

Next to the TJ. S. Bank Stock I would [prefer] Cape Fear Stock. 

Any service I can render you in the business you will please command. 

[Address: Ealeigh, BT. C] 

jProm Oabriel Holmes, 

MoNTPELLiEB. [April 20, 1819] 
Your letter dated at Raleigh mentioning the Beceipt of mine by Lucian 
and your final conclusion to receive him in your office came safely to 
hand. Permit me to assure you that no recent Occurrence has given 
rise to more grateful and satisfactory emotions than that letter. Your 
very friendly and polite assurance of disposition to serve any member 
of my family is truly flattering to my pride and sensibility. But to take 
my son in the Character of a Student immediately under your care and 
patronage, contrary to your established usage, the solicitations of many 
gentlemen notwithstanding, is to me so imperiously obligatory that the 
nature and warmth of my acknowledgments can only be appreciated in 
that bosom that gave them existence. In a conversation with Mrs. Dil- 
lard that Most amiable Lady, as well from others, I learned the latter 
point of my letter. It never occurred to me to make the necessary enquiry 
whether you received Students or otherwise. I therefore greatly fear 

220 The North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

my Dear Sir that my conduct has been intrusive and too familiar rather 
than polite and formal. Touching the time and studies of Lucian, will 
you do me the pleasure to regulate them after your own way, untill you 
think him perfectly prepared to do Justice to his client, credit to him- 
self, and not dishonour his preceptor. Then and not till then, let him 
go into the world. Lucian I hope will be industrious and attentive to 
his studies and your candour (the sine qua non) which I most heartily 
beg you will never withhold from him, cannot fail to make him usefid 
to society. Will you be so obliging as to make my unfeigned respects to 
Mrs. Kuffin, and believe me Yours very sincerely 

Thos. Buffin Esqr. 

20th April 1819. 

[Address : Hillsborough N. C] 

From John F. May. 

Fbtxbsbo. May 13th, 1819. 

Your kind letter of the 5th ult. reached me at a moment when I was 
so much oppressed with the fatigue of business, that I could not then 
answer it ; and the same cause has continued from that time till the day 
before yesterday. I was pained, no little, at the idea that I might pos- 
sibly have done, what I dare say many wiser men have done, lost a 
friend for a jest. But how to suggest the idea to you, without giving you 
cause of complaint against me for that very pain, I was utterly at a loss; 
and in that situation I remained, till I could remain so no longer. Six 
months has elapsed without my hearing from, either in the way of friend- 
ship or of business; and I knew that either was sufficient, as a motive 
of action with you, where neither could operate so strongly as in the 
case at bar, I had no idea that you had forgotten me ; for I knew that 
the feelings and the sympathies, by which we were bound, had begun 
too early, and existed too long, to have gone off in that way. I fre- 
quently heard of you and about you ; and as I always heard of your well 
being etc, I could not account for my not hearing from you. 

Your letter gave me much gratification in every view. The view of 
your feelings towards me, thus unbosomed, was gladdening; the infor- 
mation of your prosperous affairs was highly pleasing; and the flattering 
opinions expressed of me contributed their full share or influence upon 
my worse feelings. 

I have no doubt that you acted wisely in leaving the bench : and it is 
with me, a very strong proof of great wisdom, to be capable of acting 
wisely in such a situation, for I am in the daily habit of seeing wise mon 
act otherwise on such occasions. 

The Buffin Fafsbs. 221 

My own appointment in the Bank was as entirely unexpected, as it 
was unsought, by me. I was in Bichmond on the day, and had been for 
ten days before, the appointment took place. I had said, and had written 
on the very day before, that I would, on no account, be a Candidate. 
After being thus elected, I had made up my mind to resign the office; 
but the exclusive patriots here, would not give me time to get home, 
before they threatened to have me turned out next year ; and thus, by the 
wishes of friends, and the animosities of opponents, I am remaining in 
office. It does not, and shall not take me from my profession ; to which 
alone, with the blessing of Heaven, I look for a certain and ample sup- 
port for me and my family, in spite of all the calumnies of malice, and 
prejudices of ignorance. I had become, as you probably knew, heartily 
tired of the country practise; and found, in my office and in the Sup. 
Cts. of Chancery and Appeals, as much employment as I cared for. 
Hence I was withdrawing from every court, holden out of this place and 
the Capitol, except Dinwiddie. I do not think my vocations at all in- 
compatible: And altho' the writer to whom you perhaps allude, shewed 
much wit in his anger; and seemed to suppose, as he had good cause very 
earnestly to wish, that I would abandon my profession; yet neither I, 
nor my friends here, ever had an idea of that, as a consequence of my 
acceding to their wishes. 

As I presume it can afford not much cause of joy to a man who has 
to toil at half a dozen country courts for their support and maintenance, 
I forbear any congratulation upon the prospect of your being blessed, 
as we say, with just that number of children. I have exactly half as 
many, and think it enough for any reasonable man. My wife's health, 
which during last fall and Deer, was better than it had been for many 
years, has been much worse than it ever was, since the birth of our last 
but I fondly hope she is now rallying again. My children are all fine 
ones, and unusually blessed with health. 

I infer from your letter, as I occasionally now hear, that in these 
respects, you are extremely happy in your family, having, (a gang — 
shall I say — of) very fine healthy children ; and Mrs. B. enjoying very 
good health. It would give me great satisfaction to see you all ; and if 
I am ever gentleman enough to be able to leave home on visit of pure 
unmixed pleasure, I will see you. Will you not have some occasion to 
visit us soon? I think it would be well worth your while, if for no other 
purpose than to apprize the merchts. that you have come down to the 
bargain. Fare well ! Gk>d bless you and yours. 

Th. Buffin esq. 

[Address: HUlsborough "S, C] 

222 The North Cabolota Histobical CoMMisaiON. 

From WiUiam PoUc.^ 

[Ralkioh K C, May 20, 1819] 
After the Jury returned a verdict yesterday in the caae of the Newbem 
Bank vs Saml. High etc. the case of some person against Jno. D. Delacj' 
was called, upon which Mr. Seawell observed ''that CoL Polk coidd 
testify as to his Delacy's hand writing" or words to that import, and 
acoompanyed the observation with a significant laugh. It is possible 
I may have misconstrued the meaning Mr. S. had, in making the obser- 
vation he did, and that I may be better satisfied in that respect, I ask 
it as a favor that you will state to me, what were your impressions at 
the time. I make this request of you, because I know you heard the 
worda spoken and a reply made by me at the time, and my recollection 
does not serve me as to any other person who did notice the conversation. 
Your answer will much oblige. 

From George McNeill. 

Baltimobb— July 8th 1819. 

I called to see Mr. Walker as I passed thro' Petersburg and got Va. 
Bank notes for the check I remitted to him on your account ; Mr. Walker 
had been waiting, expecting to get a check from the Bank on thia place, 
but was disappointed — the Bills which the Bank expected to derive the 
funds from were returned "protested" — ^you however have gained by the 
delay — the Bank has made no dividend and stock is falling — there will 
be some discount on the Ya. notes. I have put them into the hands of 
Campbell, Bitchie and Co. (a very worthy concern) who will attend to 
the business and have the certificate stock ready here against my return 
from New York. The Dft on post office department has been paid. 
Stock is worth 89@90 in this place. 

There is much distress here, but it is confined chiefly to adventuring 
and not to the regular merchants, but the whole community is more or 
less affected by them — they are of three classes — Ist Speculators in U. S. 
Bank Stocks. 

2nd. Pirates, call^ South American or patriot Privateers. 

3 — Traders in the African slave trade, in connection with the priva- 
teers. That infamous traficing and plundering has been carried on to 

iColonel William Polk, 1756-1830, a native of Mecklenburg and a colonel in 
the Revolution. He settled at Raleigh when the town was founded and was 
thereafter one of the leading men of the place. 

2John Devereux Delacy, who came to North Carolina in 1S13 to make eurveys 
and organize steamship companies for Robert Fulton. Failing in this, he later 
entered the emplosrment of the Neuse Navigation Company. 

Thb Kuffin Papxbs. 223 

a great extent — ^most of the parties are now however reaping part of their 
reward, infamy and ruin stares them in the face — they disgrace the whole 
oountry, and ike Laws should be so amended as not to be evaded with 

I leave this evening for Phi*. My best love to you and yours and our 
Dear friends near you. 

P. S. The crops are fine, said to be better than they have, for the last 
20 years — the wheat Harvest is about one-half over in this State. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Sterling Ruffin, 

BocKiNOHAM 13th July 1819. 

For a few days past I have laboured under a cold which has so affected 
my head that I am now (altho' much better) afraid to expose myself 
too much to the Sun, which prevents my coming to Caswell to see you ; 
have therefore got James to ride down, as I am very anxious to hear 
from all my family, and friends, in Hillsboro, and to get an answer to 
my letter by William. I am well aware that the Mr. Williams's will 
be very much disappointed in not receiving payment from me agreeably 
to contract, but it will be impossible under existing circumstances, unless 
(as I observed before) Capt. Hobson should obtain payment of the 
money due him in Richmond, which is I think not to be expected. Per- 
haps in consequence of the great and unforeseen change in things, they 
may wish not to remove and it would suit their convenience to keep the 
land and give up the contract ; if so, I am entirely willing even at the 
inconvenience of living here another year. Of this you can inform your- 
self without directly making the enquiry. 

In this section of Country, we are now borne down under the extreme 
pressure for money, but the distress experienced now, is nothing to what 
will be felt ere long. Most of the dealers with the agency at Leaksville 
are farmers who have engaged largely in the purchase of tobo. which 
having almost perish'd in their hands leave them without resources to 
meet their payments at Bank, what they will do I know not. I have 
an order for what money is due Joseph Boe from your tan yard for 
clothing, which I mentioned to Mr. Eirkland, I wish you would receive 
it, and apply to my credit with you for Wms. schooling, as I suppose you 
have paid it, and let me know the amount that I may give his father 
credit for it. Let me know whether you have reed the money on Lyons 
notes, or what you have done with them. James by my advice, intends 
reading Law ; he will come down about the first of Septr. He informs 
me that Mr. Cain has invited him to his house, which friendly offer I 
have advis'd him to accept of, as it would be burdensome to you to have 

224 The North Cabolina Historical Comkission. 

him and William both, and might produce some unpleasant feelings 
with Mr. Cain and Mary — as both of your houses are small, I propose 
sending down a bed, which he and William can both occupy in your office 
if you have no objection. 

I have sent you $130.00 to exchange for Virginia, IT. S. or notes on the 
principle Bank at Baleigh which I shall want on thursday next. My 
crop is tolerably good, but we are begining to want rain. Gh>d bless you. 

[Address : Caswell Ct. House N. C] 

James Walker to Nathaniel Harris. 

g. July 17th 1819. 

I understand you mean to law me as long as you can, for takeing the 
lock off the Meeting House door, and I also hear your brother Mark 
has 100 Dollars to spend in the same way — let me give you a piece of 
good advice, when you pay your money to a lawyer for advice tell him 
the truth, the hole truth, and nothing but the truth. 

1st. I suppose the House was built a free House, for and by the 
Neighbourhood, then in that case it belongs to the neighbourhood. 2nd. 
I suppose there was a deed, executed by your father (to J. Willson, J. 
Mcf arlin, and N. Harris and their successors as Trustees for the neigh- 
bourhood) of a small tract of land including the Meeting House, then in 
that case the Meeting House belongs to the neighbourhood. 

Now Sir notwithstanding, the House being free, you being the head 
of the Methodical society at that place was applyed to for your consent 
for a Singing school to be made up and taught at that place, after a while 
you called your breathren to gather and went out into council, upon three 
things. Yiz. 1st Whether there should be a singing there or not, 2nd 
whether Linsy should be teacher, or Haley if a singing should be made 
up there. 3th to say whether it should be of working days, or of Satur- 
days and Sundays. You returned and was ask'd, have you agreed for 
singing to be here? You said we have agreed that there may. You was 
ask'd, which man have you pick'd upon? You said we have chosen 
Haley. You was ask'd what days. You said Satturdays and Sundays — 
thus Sir if you had any right to the Meeting House, you at that time 
gave it away to Haley, and the Subscribers. Yiz. every other Satturday 
and Sunday — thus Sir haveing shewn you that the House belong to the 
Neighbourhood originally and dose yet by Deed also — ^and that you 
MetJiodist gave your right of it up to Haley and the subscribers every 
other Saturday and Sunday, I proceed to lay before you some of your 
and your brodier Marks improper and unkooth conduct in that affair. 

Thb Kuffin Fapsbs. 225 

J Wikon is no more. J. Mcf arlin is gone to Tennessee^ and I am told 
carried off the Deed (and it not being recorded) so that there's bnt one 
Trustee left. Now sir what can one Trustee doe? I tell you nothing, 
without a majority, you have no more right without a majority than I 
have there must be some constituted and appointed by the neighbourhood 
before you can act, or do anything What right have you or any one to 
put a lock to that House, and lock the door against the righteful owners? 
it shews you want to Tyrenise over the neighbourhood, and usurp sole 
authority. What sort of a man must you be when you lock'd the door 
against Hailey and all the Scholars, when you picked upon the man that 
should Sing, the place, and time? how dare a man to brake his word 
especially a Christian ? What sort of a man must you be when you went 
to that house quarreled with some of the Scholars on Sunday and told 
Hailey you would lock the door if he gave any intermishon? it shews 
plainly you wish to tyranise, rule and sway, and take the rights of others 
from them. You are not a man of your word. You shews plainly how 
you would vent your splean if the Deed was made to Asbery and Hoke 
and there successors — ah how you would then make me smoke for taking 
off the lock — and it further shews you are very far from being a good 
man much less a Christian. I have said Hailey would have serv'd you 
but right when you came there quarrling and threatening, to lock the 
door, and makeing disorder there, to have taken you by the Hand, lead 
you to the door and kicked you out. If it had been some men they would 
have made no bones to have done it. I hear you have been talking with 
a lawyer. I have not seen one, let me tell you; that you are not yet 
Bonapart; when in his glory. You have not yet arive to absolute sov- 
ereignty; if you have to a demanabobs sovereignty over your Society. 
I thought to have wrote a great deal more, but I fear this will make 
Old Saton rage in you worce than ever. I trust and hope you will see 
your error, and amend your life and when you depart this life be a better 
man than you now are. I am yours etc, 

Mr. Kathaniel Harris. Jas. Walker 

N. B. I don't write this to make you mad. I have wrote nothing but 
the truth ; and what I believe to be the truth. J. W. 

[Address: Mr. Ifathanl Harris 

Orange County.] 

From William Roane, 

WiLKESBoso N. C. 3rd Augst. 1819. 
Seldom having anything to speak of than myself is the reason of my 
silence, as I have an utter avertion to anything savoring of egotism. 
Yet am I convinced that never to communicate to you my situation and 

The Nobth Cabolina Histobioal Commission. 

prospects would be slighting that friendship you hare always professed 
and exercised towards me. 

My prospects in this country are as good as those of any man in the 
State commencing life under similar circumstances. I shall in 10 or 15 
years make some property and acquire in all probability celebrity as a 
Lawyer and a popular standing as a citizen. This is a rational conclu- 
sion when we reflect that with the worst possible means I have in two 
years exceeded the most sanguine hopes of either self or friends^ and am 
I well convinced that with the same enterprise and industry I have ex- 
pended in this poor mountainous country I could have in this had I 
settled at St. Stevens or some other elegable place in the Southern section 
of the States acquired a good estate. 

To give a semblance of probability to the assertion I will give my 
reason for believing so by an example coming to my own knowledge. 
Soon after I commenced the practice of the Law — I had reading with me 
a young man of ordinary talents little industry and dissipated habits. 
This young man after reading some time and ftnding no prospect of 
acquiring in a reasonable time a License here went and settled in the 
Alabama perhaps at the falls of the Tuscaloosa and commensed practice 
in the adjoining courts just before he left me I examined him and he 
knew nothing even of the 1st Vol Black, notwithstanding that he is doing 
more business than I am and has besides acquired some property in Lands 
whilst I who have made all the exertions my body has been capable of 
have only marched on in a snail's pace. This does not suit my disposi- 
tion. I am always emulous to be amongst the foremost if I cannot go 
in front. In the foregoing statement you can see the reason of the fol- 
lowing proposition. You once made me an offer to place funds in my 
hands for a speculation I did not like. I now am going to mention a 
project which if you and your friends will join me in I shall undertake. 
I will mention the whole of my plan which is this ; to go to the Allabama 
and commence the practice of the Law — provided I can take with me 
5 or 10,000$ to lay out in Lands. I have no capital myself and so will 
have to resort to those who have and are willing to vest it in such prop- 
erty. The Terms I propose to do business on are to have one half of the 
profits at the end of 5 years or whatever other Terms may be agreed on. 

It may be probable that you who live amongst people who rarely 
engage in distant speculations of Lands, have paid but little attention to 
the subject. I will just state to you that there are immense bodies of 
fertile Lands (but little known) now subject to entry at $2 pr. acre and 
the last installment not due for 5 years, not inferior to such Lands as 
have been knocked off at the public sales at the most extravagant prices 
owing to the immense bodies laying in a wilderness state that have been 
visited only by the public surveyor wild Indian and beasts of the forest. 
I have a friend ( Jno. Caldwell of Morganton) just returned from that 
country who states that in a few weeks exploring these wilds and enduring 
some little privation he has acquired at the moderate price of $2 and 

The Kuffin Fapebs. 227 

official fees about 2,000 acres of first rate bottom land (not inferior to 
sucli as be purchased by agent at tbe public sales at the most extravagant 
prices), and says to me you or any other enterprising young man may 
do the same only by using a little industry (and he thinks in 5 years the 
same Lands will bring a thousand per ct. so fertile, such the demand and 
80 fast settling are said Lands). The TJ. S. agent for selling those Lands 
(J. Pickens) is a particular friend of whom I can command any infor- 
mation. Such being the case was I to leave here I should probably estab- 
lish myself at St. Stephens where he resides and where purchasers of both 
large and small tracts go to market and make application to such as have 
made locations and can shew the Lands and such purchases considering 
you right certain will often give $10, 16 or 20 pr. acre for your Location 
although you have made but one payment, they taking upon themselves 
to make the other payment and perfect the titles. You no doubt see 
before this what my object is therefore I have only to say if you or your 
friends have or can make up such a sum and give me such an interest 
in it as will make it an object for me to desert my present domicile, I 
should like to do so as the field for a Lawyer to display or is much more 
el^able in that country than this please write me an answer to Went- 
worth where I shall be on the 30 Instant. Present my best respects to 
Mrs. Ruffin and friends. 

P. S. I hope you will see the necessity of keeping this letter a secret 
as my practice would be injured by its being known I have the least 
thought of leaving here at any time. 

[Address: Hillsboro N". C] 

From James Iredell. 

Edenton Aug. 4th 1819. 

I beg leave to introduce to you the bearer of this letter Mr. Samuel 
FoUett. He will probably reside in Hillsborough during the fall for 
the purpose of prosecuting in a healthy part of the country the study of 
the Law in which he has been engaged some time. Permit me to recom- 
mend him to your attention as a young man of excellent moral character 
and of modest and amiable manners. 

Thomas Buffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

328 The North Carolina Hibtokical Commission. 

From Sterling Ruffin. 

BocKiNOHAM 12th Augst. 1819. 

Capt. Hobson has heard nothing from his agent on the subject of 
money, I am much afraid there will be a disappointment ; he sets off for 
Kichmd in two or three days at furthest^ whether he gets a letter or not, 
to endeavour to borrow if his own money should not have been reed. 
But there is so great a probability of his not obtaining any there, that 
I must request you to look about and stir yourself in my behalf, and see 
what can be done. Immediately on Hobsons return, (which will be by 
our Court,) I will inform you what he has done, and how much money 
I shall want. I have added unavoidably, five hundred dollars to the 
sum I have to pay Mr. Williams, for Corn etc., etc., which I have to 
pay the 15th of next month which makes me apprehend that less than 
$2000, will not answer my purpose. The crops here are ruin'd! In 
Stokes and the adjoining Countys in Virginia they are worse; com 
cannot now be engag'd at any price; and except for the plentiful crop 
of wheat. We should certainly be threatened with starvation next Year. 
My crop, altho' the dust has not been laid since the com first began to 
shoot, is very good ; with't an accident from now, it will be worth from 
$2500 to $3000. I made a most fortunate, and advantageous purchase 
of Williams, his com not costing more than about two dollars p barrel. 

Why have you not written me since Charles came up f We are quite 
anxious to hear of the State of your health. There are so many of you 
together that I ought to receive a letter from some one of you every post. 

Mr. Michaux has leasM this plantation, the terms one fourth of every 
thing made on the place, and not to graze the Land. Your Mama and 
myself enjoy our usual health and join in love to all our dear children. 
Bemember us affectionately to Mr. Kirkland and family. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Oabriel Holmes, 

MoNTPELUEB. [Sept. 29, 1819] 
Your letter of August came to hand some time this month. I should 
have answered it long since, but the indisposition of Mrs. Holmes has 
been of such a cast as to diffuse the poppy over my literary hours, she 
has been confined to her bed for five weeks. Your high commendations 
of Lucian are extremely grateful to my ear, more especially as I rely on 
your candour. But I fear the coUouring is rather florid and partakes 
too much of friendship and partiality. Your wishes, my Dear Sir, 
relative to his continuance in study till spring term are perfectly con- 

Thb Buffin Fapsbb. 229 

oordant with mj own. If I mistake not it web to please Lncian that I 
consented, even for him to conauU you on the subject, as I have placed 
him under your direction. I beg you will be his great Appolo. I trust 
that you will teU him when to apply for a license, howsoever anxious he 
may be to mount the Rostrum. Your mention' Marie and her better 
health was also extremely pleasing. Accept, I pray you our acknowl- 
edgements to yourself and Mrs. Buffin for your polite attention to her 
with assurances of our sincere esteem and affection. 

Thos. Buffin Esquire 

29th Septr. 

[Address: Hillsborough] 

From Joseph Oales. 

Balbioh, Oct. 7, 1819. 

When we were speaking on the subject of the Election of Directors 
of the Bank of the U. States, the other day, it did not occur to either of 
us, that there was to be a general meeting of the Stockholders in Phila- 
delphia on the Ist Monday of next month, to take into consideration the 
concerns of the Bank. 

Since I saw you, I have reed, a letter from my Son at Washington, 
who is a stockholder, and a Director of the Washington Branch. He 
speaks of the meeting as important, and asks if we do not intend sending 
an Agent to represent us at it, hopes to see me in that character etc. and 
concludes with sayin, that if we send, no one, he shall attend the meeting, 
and shall be glad to act for us. 

I mean, therefore, to send him my Power and those of some others 
here; and if you have not already commissioned my Friend Wm. T. 
Birch to act for you, I would propose that you send your Power to 
Joseph Gales jun. as he will be present at both meetings, and it would 
be gratifying to him, I believe, to represent us. 

[Address: Hillsborough] 

From William Roane. 

Wbntwoeth 4th Novr. 1819. 
On my arrival at this place I found your friendly letter of date 14th 
August last and I can assert with truth that nothing can give me more 
satisfaction than the free and candid remarks contained in it on the 
subject of my Last to you and weU am I convinced that when you express 
a doubt as to the propriety of your giving me advice, that such a doubt 
must be excited by modesty, for I cannot believe for one moment that it 

230 The Nobth Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

originates from a belief excited by any part of my conduct that yoor 
admonitions will not by me be considered friendly and Universally 
Thanhfvlly reed. On the Contra Dear Sir I assure you I consider your 
advice one of the best marks of your Friendship towards me^ and I also 
am convinced that the remarks contained in your Letter are true. My 
observation this fall Supr. Court Circuit tends to convince me beyond the 
possibility of a doubt of the correctness of your position. The prospects 
in the west at the time of my writing the Letter alluded to were brig^hter 
than at present^ and my prospects here at the same time were then less 
fair than at this time so that nothing but the fairest appearances of 
success ii\ so doing would induce me now to give up a certainty for an 

However I will mention to you an opinion I have entertained ever 
since I returned to the IT. S. in 1816 : That N. Carolina is not a soil 
calculated either to Display Genius or to make a mans fortune when 
compaired with many parts of the U. S. (I speak confidentially) Every- 
thing both of a political and domestic nature is tinctured with Nigardly- 
ness. This Opinion (whether correct or incorrect I cannot say) has 
been so long by me entertained as to become almost constitutional. At 
that period I calculated in this way. I have not now funds sufficient to 
enable me so to fit out as to authorize my venturing far to sea. I must 
venture on a short cruise : if successful in that then a longer and more 
distant one. Though vain, I was fearful of relying on my own talents 
far from those whom I have always found to be friends. I determined 
to take such a course as the following one. ''to wit." Qo to the Mountains 
of N. Carolina where I hope to restore my health (should I find my 
Legal Talent to authorise such a plan) procure means as soon as able 
and Transplant myself to some of the regions of the west or southwest 
where real property is to be procured (for I have always considered real 
as the most valuable property), and there locate myself for life. 

True it is that I never told you or any friend excepting A. D. Murphey 
Esquire my plan untill I wrote you. Yet have I for 3 years entertained 
the same: though from my peculiar situation I now believe it to be 
impossable to carry it into effect were it still desirable. I perceive from 
the whole tenor of your Letter that you ascribe mine to an oscillating 
disposition, which opinion of yours is perhaps justifyable never having 
heard me say I calculated on not dying a N. Carolinian when in truth 
I entertained the opinion before I was reading Law 6 months. In fact 
for the purpose of seeing the world : of learning more of mankind and 
for the purpose of forming a more correct oppinion of the place proper 
to make for myself a resting place. I say such purposes influenced 
me much at the time I*went into the American Navy. I do not say that 
I have absolutely changed my opinions yet my plans from their imprac- 
ticability can not be carried into effect. 

I assure you it gratifies me no little to receive from you such a Letter 
as yours. It is characteristic of genuine and disinterested friendship. 

Thb Buffin Fapbbs. 231 

and such Letters would be always thankfully reed, could you find idle 
time to write them in : Yet I am informed you have but little time to 
spare from the Labors of your Profession. It augurs well and I hope 
and have no doubt but your time is profitably employed. 

I congratulate you on your return of health and Mrs. BufSns also. 
Should be glad to see you all but cannot guess when I shall have a chance 
so to do. 

Please accept my respects your self present my compliments to Mrs. 
Ruffin Cousin Mary your own three oldest children (who I suppose 
recollect me) Miss C. M. Mr. Kirkland and Family. 

P. S. A. L. Erwin has several times requested me to pay you for him 
tlie amount of some Taxes you advanced on his account he appears to 
be uneasy about it suppose you enclose me a Little mem*, of the amount 
to Morganton. Tell Cousin Mary Mamma and family have been all 
very sickly and I am determined to bring them to R. again. 

[Address : Hillsboro N. C] 

From Archibald D. Mwrphey. 

Raleigh, 18th, Dec. 1819. 

Mr. Boylan^ will purchase, I believe. He came to see me last evening 
and told me, he had made up his mind to make a Contract with me to the 
Amount of eighteen or twenty thousand Dollars — in which were to be 
included, my Lands on the Yadkin, Crop and Stock ; and the balance in 
Xegroes — that he should go up with Mr. Frohock and Carter this eve- 
ning or Tomorrow. I have a Certainty of Selling either to him or Judge 

In reviewing the situation of my AfFairs and devising plans for their 
speedy Settlement, I am of Opinion I should change the Direction of 
your Generosity as to your Bank Stock. The relief which I shall get 
by the plan I first proposed, will not be much ; and I find I can easily 
meet all my engagements at the U. S. Bank for the next year by my 
Flour and Cotton and Tobacco, and certain Other Funds which I can 
place at Mr. McNeil's Disposal. I must qiake preparations to meet 
certain Debts which fall due in January, to private individuals, par- 
ticularly to John A. Ramsay. I want also make a Payment to Mr. 
Bagge.^ I have received a Letter from him on the Subject. You will 
see the force of another reason — the fact of my Selling a Valuable Part 
of my estate will be known ; it will render it more necessary for me to 
have in hand money to meet the Claims which then fall due, than if I 

iWllliam Boylan of Wake, editor of the Minerva, president of the State Bank, 
and one of the best known business men of Raleigh. 
2Charle8 F. Bagge, a banker and business man of Salem. 

232 The Nobth Cabolika Hibtobical Commission. 

did not sell. Let me entreat you then, As you have resolved to aid me, 
to give your Generosity the Direction which appears to me most ad- 
visable. I wish to get the Proceeds of your Stock in Money : Out of it 
first pay the Small Note at Fayette; and hold the other a little Time to 
meet private Claims how much I may want for this purpose, I cannot 
now tell. This Direction will best support my Credit, and aid my en- 
deavours to get through my difficulties. You may rely upon this, that 
not one cent will be misapplied. Should you agree to this, I shall have 
further to beg you to put in your own note; for they will not discount 
mine and let me take the Proceeds. I hope to pay 25 or 30,000$, before 
June — and to pay the greatest Part in next Month. I begin to see my 
way partly clear in all things relative to my Affairs, except the removal 
of certain Members belonging to Branches of my Family. This I will 
effect, even with a Sacrifice. Dont forward the Papers to Mr. McNeil, 
'till I see you. Write to me to Haw River by the next MaiL Judge 
Toomer has resigned — ^Mr. B — is talked of. 

Thomas BuffiJi esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough] 

Dear Suffin. 

From Archibald D. Mwrphey?- 

Kaluqh. 18th February 1820. 

On Monday night I promised Mr. Jessup to be at his house on my 

way to the mountain. I have seen him, and he tells me that there is an 

Abundance of Rich Ores on what he was told was our Lands. I will get 

Charles Banner and examine the Lines, and do all I can to satisfy myself 

as to the Prospects in that Quarter. Jessup thinks there is a strong 

Probability that one entire Nob of the Mountain is made up of a Rock 

which is the Matrix of a rich Copper Ore. He shewed me a Piece of the 

Rock, and shewed me the Metal which he had fused from other Parts 

of it. I entertain a doubt whether this Nob be included within Our 

Lines. I shall get all the information I can, and give it to You at Hills- 

boro' during your Court. 


Address: Raleigh. 

iThe part of this letter omitted is printed in Hoyt, ed., The Mwrphey Paper$, 
1, p. 157. 

Thb 'Rurvm Papsbs. 233 

Nat Cutting to Jwmes S, Smith. 

Wab Dbpabtment, 
Sbotion of Bounty Lands^ 
The Honble 3. S. Smith, March 23d, 1820. 


The File of documents in the case of the late Lt. Cader Parker, now 
returned to you herewith, has been laying on my Desk several days to be 
dispatched; but the current of the business of the Office has been so 
pressing and prior Claims so numerous, that I have been laid under the 
necessity of postponing this reply till the present date. 

Permit me now to State that every known Becord in the Archives of 
the Genl. Glovernment, which was supposed to have any bearing on the 
Claim, have been examined; but the Name of this original Claimant is 
no where found. 

In the course of this investigation, we have learned that a Letter from 
the Secretary of the State of North Carolina conmiunicates the impor- 
tant Fact that, in the Archives of that State, there exists a complete and 
authentic Return, or Muster-Roll, of "the North Carolina Line on Con- 
tinental Establishment" — during the Sevolutionary War: but the said 
Secretary adds the Hemark that, having no assistant in his public 
Labours, he c^imot undertake to send an authentic Transcript of the 
important Record for the Use of the General Government. Perhaps you 
may be able to effect this desirable purpose : It might be the means of 
establishing Claims in behalf of some of your Constituents, which the 
imperfect state of Revolutionary Military Records at the seat of Govern- 
ment, since the Conflagration of the War Office in the year 1800, causes 
to be rejected. 

Inclosed herewith you will find the letter of Jos, A. Woods, which you 
were pleased to transmit to this Office in your communication of the 
17th inst. The Authentic Copy of this Discharge which you asked for 
in his behalf, is folded within the Letter. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir, 

Your obedt. humbl. Servt. 

Nat. Cutting. 

234 The ITosth Cabolina Histobical Commibsion. 

From Charles Manly. ^ 

PiTTSBOBO 30th March '20. 

It seems some difference of opinion prevails as to a conversation held 
between you and myself in the presence of some gentlemen at the last 
Coanty Court of Chatham in regard to the election of Judge MangnnL^ 

I am represented to have said that I would not hold the office of Judge 
Mangum under the circumstances which he did for some immense sum. 
That you said ''then you think the office was unworthily obtained"! 
To which I replied 'TTes I do/' Or 'TTes I do by God." 

As a correct understanding of this conversation is of considerable 
importance to me I hope Sir that you will do me the favor as well as 
justice of stating as well as you can recollect the precise conversation. 
A full explanation is respectfully solicited. 

I pledge myself that your statement shall be deemed confidential nor 
will I use your name in the matter without your consent. 

From Duncan Cameron, 

Obanob Apl 24th, 1820. 

I set out on tomorrow for the Northward, (by way of Edenton) to 
place my son Thomas at school in a colder climate, than that in which 
we live, in the fond hope that his muscular strength will be increaiied, 
and his mental faculties be invigorated. The situation of my family 
prevented my being at the Sepr. Court, and I regret that I leave home 
without seeing you. 

I hope it will accord with your inclination to become a Candidate to 
represent the county in the house of Commons of the next Assembly. 
I know by doing so, you must necessarily make some sacrifice of time 
and pecuniary advantage — ^but I feel confident ihat such considerations 
will not prevent you from undertaking the duty. There is a great work 
on hand (the regeneration of our State Constitution)^ in the success of 
which I feel persuaded you feel in common with many of our friends a 
deep interest — although there are many well-wishers to the cause yet 

iCharles Manly, 1795-1871, at this time a practlclngr lawyer and secretary 
of the lK>ard of trustees of the University. He was later for many years clerk 
of the House of Commons and was elected governor in 1848. 

2Willie Person Mangum of Orange, 1792-1861, one of the most distinguished 
political figures in North Carolina. He was a member of the House of Com- 
mons in 1818, 1819, and a state senator, 1840; Judge of the Superior Court, 
1819-1820, 1827, and 1828-1829; member of Congress, 1823-1826; United States 
senator, 1831-1837, 1841-1863; president pro iem., 1841-1846. 

sjudge Cameron was an ardent advocate of constitutional amendment. 

Thb Buffin Fapibbs. 235 

the number of really efficient labourers in it in the Assembly will be but 
few. Allow me to say that I deem your aid of great importance in carry- 
ing the business through successfully and I flatter myself if you will not 
withhold it) there can be no doubt of your election, as I am entirely 
confident you will receive a general support in every part of the County. 

I fear it will not be in my power to return home by May County 
Court. I shall therefore not be able to inform the People in my proper 
person at that time, that I am again a Candidate for the Senate. I 
must therefore rely on the attention of my friends to that subject, and 
beg the favour of you to make it known to the people and to account for 
my absence from court. 

Write to me in answer to this. Address to me care of McE [illegible] 
Hale and Davidson of Philadelphia, to reach me by the middle of May, 
and if I can do anything for you northwardly, pray favour me with 
your commands. 


[Address: Hillsboro'] 

From WUliam H. Buffin} ^ t ^^^^ 

" 3 June 1820. 

This letter will be handed You by my Nephew John Haywood who 
goes to Hillsborough with a view of studying Law or Physic. Most of 
John's friends think he would probably make out the best in the latter 
profession. Should he, however, determine on reading law, and Tou 
are willing to take a student, it is preferred that he should be placed 
under Your direction and tuition. But should he resolve on the study 
of Medicine, we wish him to study with Doctor Webb of Your town; 
having no acquaintance myself with Doctor Webb, I use the freedom 
of soliciting Your aid so far as to get John in with the Doctor. 

It will readily be perceived that John's primitive education is quite 
limited, his father, the late Doctor Henry Haywood of Tarborough, 
having died when he was an infant, leaving him without estate, his 
education was in a considerable degree neglected. If, however, for want 
of more education John be deemed unable to make out tolerably well in 
the study of either profession, he can turn into the Hillsborough Academy 
and learn whatever You and Doctor Webb may deem indispensably neces- 
sary to his purpose. 

All debts or contracts for Board and tuition which John may make, 
will be accountable for, and pledge myself shall be paid without delay. 

John was at one time intended for a merchant and in order to prepare 
him for that business he was put in the store of Mr. Larkin Newby of 

iWUliam H. Ruffln was a first consln of Thomas Rulfin. 

836 Thb North Caboijna Hibtobical Commission. 

FayetteyiUe, where he remained three Years and I understand sustained 
an unexceptionable character. His term of Service with Mr. Newbj 
has expired) and he now expresses anxiety to become a student of Law 
or physic^ but seems not to care much which. 

Any advice or assistance which You may render my young kinsman 
in effecting the object of his visit to Hillsborough will be thankfully 
received by him^ and confer an obligation on 

Dear Sir 

Your most obedient 
much obliged and 
very humble Servant 


[Address: Hillsborough] 

From Benjamin Smith?' 

^ „. JuDOB MuBPHETs 5th Juuo 1830. 

Dear S%r, 

Judge Murphey had only set off a few hours after dinner yesterday. 
I sent an Express after him but he has written to me such reasons for 
not returning that I should have blamed him if he had. I consider it 
necessary to see him before I could be properly prepared to speak to 
you on business I wished and therefore yield to his invitation and persu- 
asion to meet him at Salisbury for which place I am just starting and 
may probably meet you at Raleigh during the Supreme Court. This 
reminds me of our interviews a year past which ended with thankfulness 
on my part but I fear with unfavorable impression on yours. When 
I began to converse with you I expected to receive a large sum of money. 
I was disappointed and being detained longer than I counted on when 
I left home had to borrow a small sum to defray my expenses and with 
an empty purse could not feel authorised to go further than I did. I 
requested Mr. Oastons assistance because from former payments to him 
I considered myself more at liberty. This explanation of a delicate 
nature is drawn from me and should not have been made but to rescue 
me from the appearance of trifling which is very far indeed from the 

disposition of Dr. Sir. «, ^ „ 

'^ Yours respectfully 

Benj. Smith. 

As Raleigh will be entirely out of my course home where I was ex- 
pected yesterday, I shall go across the country by Lumberton. Is the 

iBenJamin Smith of Brunswick, 1756-1826, governor, 181G-1811. 

Thb Buffin Fapsbs. 237 

liberty (I would be pleased with your taking with me) too great to ask 
jour Servant to call on Clifton and enquire for some Cloths I left to 
wash 2 shirts, a silk handkerchief, a pair of cotton stockings and to for- 
ward them hy some safe opportunity to B. B. Smith at Raleigh or Mr. 
O. W. B. Benjamin to Wilmington. He may be expected at Hillsboro 
daily and I know will take them down cheerfully. Enclosed are 25 Cents 
which I understand is the price. 
[Address: Hillsboro'] 

David Robertson^ to Thomas Buffin. 

Pbtebsbubo 19th June 1820. 

I take the liberty of introducing to your acquaintance, the bearer Mr. 
James R. Dodge^ who having lately obtained a license to practise law 
goes to your State for the purpose of permanently settling therein, and 
pursuing his professional avocations. He has resided in this place, two 
or three years, first and principally in the mercantile line, during which 
time his conduct has been, I believe, uniformly and strictly correct, and 
proper. He is a native of the State of New York where his connections 
are highly respectable. He has not read enough on legal subjects, but 
as he is very industrious studious and persevering, I entertain no doubt 
he must succeed, and that he will become a valuable member of your 
society. The countenance of respectable people at this time may be of 
incalculable advantage to him. I therefore have recommended to him 
to become acquainted with you. I know the liberaUty of your dispo- 
sition will incline you to befriend him, should it be in your power. Any 
civility you may think proper to shew to him, will be deemed a ikvor 
done to myself. I am sorry you never call to see me when you come to 
Petersburg. Mrs. Robertson and myself will be always happy to see 
yourself or any of your family in our house. I remain Dear Sir, with 
sentiments of great respect and esteem. 

Honble Thomas Ruffin Esqr. 

[Address : Orange County N. C] 

iDavld Robertson was Rullln's law teacher in Peteraburgr, Va. 

sjames R. Dodge, 1795-1880, a native of New York, had been a soldier in the 
war of 1812. Settling in North Carolina he obtained a large practice at the 
bar and served for a time as solicitor. Later he was clerk of the Supreme 
Court at Morganton. He was the warm and intimate friend of Rnffln, Badger, 
Qftston* and Leonard Henderson. 

238 The Nobth Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

From John Hall} 

Raleigh July 28th— 1820. 

According to promise^ I drop you a line in relation to the time when 
this court will rise. We will not finish this week, hut no doubt we will 
do so, on Monday. Judge Henderson and myself will certainly (barring 
accidents) leave this on tuesday next. iNTothing new has happened. 
Baleigh is becoming very tiresome. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Jam^ Oraham. 

Salisbury August the 15th 1820 

I have an opportunity of writing you by my youngest brother, Wil- 
liam, who is going on to Hillsboro to become a student in your Academy. 
He has for some time past been with Mr. Muchatt^ in Statesville, and 
we wish him to finish his education at our University and therefore have 
sent him to Hillsborough preparatory to his admittance on the estab- 
lishment at Chapel Hill, I trust he will find no difficulty in joining your 
Academy from the late period of his arrival among you ; which has been 
occasioned by a short illness of mine about the commencement of your 
present session: if however he should, I would thank you to endeavour 
to procure his admittance. My courts render it impossible for me to go 
on with my brother at this time, but I shall be compelled to go on to see 
you all in December and I wish never to be compelled to do a thing I 
regret less. I have recently heard of the resignation of his Honour Judge 
Murphy and am truly sorry the state has lost so much learning from 
the Bench : if something is not done by the ensuing Legislature to lighten 
the burden of our circuit Judges, I am apprehensive they will not last 
on the bench as long as the new moon. Judge Paxton talks of resigning 
at the expiration of the present year and before I forget let me tell you 
his Judgeship is busily employed in attempting to scale the walls of 
Fort Defiance in Wilks. When he sets out on an expedition to that 
Quarter he looks as trim and spruce as a youth of twenty and talks of 
Love as though he was wounded about the kidnies and then thinks I 

"O how this Springr of love resembles, 

The uncertain glory of an April day. 
Which now, shews forth all beauty of the Snn, 
And, by and by, a Cloud takes all away" 

iJohn Hall of Warren, a native of Virginia, had been a Judge of the Superior 
Court from 1800 to 1818. He was now a Judge of the Supreme Court. 
2Rev. Dr. Muchatt of Statesville, who conducted a classical academy. 

Thb Buffin Fapbbs. 239 

In Lincoln this year Dayid Slinford^ was elected in tlie Senate over 
Kobt. Williamson and Wm. Johnston^ and Daniel Conrad' in the 
Comons. In IredeU Co. Connor^ is elected in the senate and Falls and 
Bell in Comons. Judge Locke^ and A. Henderson^ are both elected. I 
should be glad to hear from you. I have written several times but Seed, 
no answer. Present^ if jou please, my respects to Mrs. Ruffin Mr. and 
Mrs. Kirkland and family also to Mr. Cain and wife. 

The Honble. T. Ruffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

To James F. Taylor.'^ 


„. Raleigh Octr 5. 1820. 


It having been intimated to me since I came to this place^ that at the 
last County Court of Franklin, you used Sundry expressions derogatory 
to my character, the duty is imposed on me of ascertaining the fact, and 
of vindicating my reputation. I am aware that I am under the disad- 
vantage of not being able to specify the particular expressions used — to 
whom — or on what score. But this is no fault of mine. The aspersion, 
if any, was uttered behind my back, I am obliged therefore to resort to 
others for information. I have done so, and have not succeeded in 
obtaining absolute satisfaction on either side. 

As soon as I indirectly and indistinctly understood that you had 
become unfriendly to me I applied to Mr. Badger and Mr. Olynn who 
attended that court to know whether they had heard from you any thing 
inimical to me. They both candidly answered in the negative. I then 
applied to a third gentleman. Col. Barringer,^ and required the like 
information from him. Without admitting that he heard you use offen- 
sive language, he declined saying with the others, that he had not. The 

iDavld Shaford was a well-known local politician of Lincoln County. This 
was his fifth and last term in the state Senate. 

2The legislative Journals record this name as Johnson. 

sDaniel Conrad was another purely local figure. He was seven times a 
member of the House of Commons. 

^Colonel Charles D. Connor was a state senator, 1817-1820. He was also a 
member of the Board of Internal Improvements. 

sFrancis Locke. 

•Archibald Henderson of Rowan, 1768-1822, one of the great lawyers of his 
day and a member of Congress for two terms, 1799-1803, as a Federalist. 

TJames F. Taylor of Wake, 1791-1828, member of the House of Commons, 
1828; attorney-general, 1825-1828. 

SDaniel L. Barringer of Wake, member of the House of Commons, 1813, 
1819-1822; member of Congress, 1826-1835. He later moved to Tennessee, 
where he became speaker of the House of Representatives of that State. 

240 The Nobth Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

inference is a necessary one that yon did use such language, and thai it 
was highly, offensive. I make this detailed statement, that I may not be 
answered by a requisition for specific words. Possessing as I will suppose 
you to do, those principles of a gentleman, which I am left to infer you 
have in your conversations unjustly denied to me I think you cannot 
and will not demand more precision from me, but will at once frankly 
avow or disavow the use of any expressions upon that occasion injurious 
to my feelings or character. I am Sir 

Your Obt. Servt. 

(Signed) Thomas Ruffin. 

From James F. Taylor. 
„. Ealbioh October 6th, 1820. 

I was not a little surprised yesterda:y evening to learn that some friend, 
who is more influenced by a desire to embroil others in disputes than a 
regard for his own character, has intimated to you that at the last Frank- 
lin County Court, "Sundry expressions were used by me derogatory to 
your character, and injurious to your feelings.'' And although from 
the nature of your coil upon me, it is one for inform^ian, rather than an 
explanation of expressions used upon a specified subject, yet I am dis- 
posed to waive all ceremony, and to come at once to the points on which 
information is desired. In Uiis I feel less difficulty than might have been 
anticipated, for I do not recollect to have used any expressions in regard 
to you, at all disrespectful, except upon one occasion in a private and 
confidential conversation with a (Gentleman upon the subject of the 
unpleasant misunderstanding between Mr. S * * * and Mr. Seawell, in 
the whole of which conversation, as I understand it, there was no differ- 
ence of opinion between that Gentleman and myself. I mention this 
however, with no other view than to satisfy you of the nature of the 
channels through which your intimMiona have been received. 

In the course of the conversation alluded to, the part, which it was 
understood, you had taken in the late appointment of Clerk of Wake 
Superior Court, was spoken of, and I believe, I remarked that if the 
information which I had received on the subject was true, you had acted 
a part towards Mr. S * * * which was unworthy of you, and which he 
had no right to expect from your previous offers of friendship and assist- 
ance," or something to that effect. 

The information I allude to was derived from Mr, S * * *, and a Gten- 
tleman whose name I am not at liberty to mention. Mr. S * * * had 
informed me, that at the County Court of Wake before the appointment 
of Clerk was made, you took him out, and without any solicitation on his 

Thb Buffin Papbbs. 241 

part^ offered to promote his interest as a Candidate for that office, and 
promised to use the influence which you might have, for that purpose. 
And the other Oentleman told me, that at the request of Judge Paxton 
during the week of Wake Superior Court, you undertook to ascertain 
hy particular inquiry whether the reports which had been mentioned to 
the judge of Mr. S * * * s habits of gambling and intemperance were true 
or false; and that after you had made the enquiries, you reported un- 
favorably to Mr. S • * *. 

I believe, Sir, that I have now made to you a substantial disclosure 
of the remarks made by me, and of the grounds upon which those remarks 
were predicated. 

Whether the part which you acted in that affair has been fairly repre- 
sented to me, I cannot pretend to say : and can only add that I received 
the information from a source, which justified, as I conceived, my using 
the remarks of you which I did, in the private way alluded to. 

I am Sir 

Yr. Obt. Servt. 

Thomas Ruffin Esqr. Jambs F. Taylob. 


Thomas Buffin Esqr. 

at the Eagle Hotel 

Mr. Manly. 

To James F. Taylor. 

a. Ralbigh October 6, 1820. 

Sir ' 

You judged rightly of the character of my note of yesterday. I did 
seek for informMion and not explanation in it ; because not knowing the 
expressions which had been used by you on the occasion on which they 
were used, I could not determine whether they admitted of an explana- 
tion or not Your answer however has been so open and frank that I 
now feel every disposition to come to a full explanation of the whole 
matter. Perhaps strictly speaking, I am not bound to offer to you any 
statement of my conduct relative to the appointment of the Clerk. It 
has certainly been misconstrued — tho' I was not aware of it until this 
week — as soon as I heard of it — I determined to use the first opportunity 
of placing it in its true light to Mr. 8* ** himself. That I owed to Mr. 
S * * * and to myself. To third persons however I am no way account- 
able; and should therefore have refrained from communicating with 
you, in that regard, had you not in your note waived all ceremony and 
stated the manner in which you used the expressions to be private and 
confidential, the information upon which your opinion was formed and 
that the expressions were, in themselves qualified by a declaration made 

242 Thb Nobth Cabolzha Hibtobigal Commission. 

at the same time ^'that if the information which yon had reoeiyed wu 
true" etc. I therefore feel relieved from all the difficulties whic^ for- 
mality might impose on me and am free to offer a distinct account of the 
agency which I had in the business alluded to. 

During the last Bummer Mr. Badger applied to me to recommend Mr. 
S*** for the appointment of Olerk. He pressed his Friend's claims 
strongly as he always does and at the same time stated that Dr. Hinton 
was a riyal candidate. It is unnecessary to detail the whole conversa- 
tion — ^but I stated in substance to him that I was not sufficiently ac- 
quainted with either of the Gentlemen to authorize me to interfere and 
therefore that I should be neutral. At November County Court Mr. 
Simon Turner made a similar application on behalf of Mr. Hinton. I 
told him that I had much respect for both Gentlemen as far as my alight 
knowledge of them extended, but declined an interference. Probably 
at the same Court or about that time Mr. Badger again urged me to aid 
Mr. S * * * — ^he represented him to be every way qualified for the appoint- 
ment that he had a family and that his circumstances required the 
profits of such a station. In addition he stated that he had understood 
that Mr. Turner had for more than one circuit sounded the Judges upon 
the point of this appointment and that having found no Judge disposed 
to appoint Mr. Hinton Mr. Turner had retained the Office. I felt some 
indignation at such a course and stated that I should think it right to 
oppose the views of a man^ who, not being content with the office him- 
self, insisted upon having the selection of a successor. I determined 
then to recommend Mr. S * * *, as far as I could, and afterwards men- 
tioned it to Mr. S * * * himself. I think this occurred during the month 
of January while I attended the Supreme Courts — tho Mr. S • * * says 
it was at February County Court. I will not be particular as to dates — 
tho' I think I am correct. I was subsequently spoken to by another 
person to assist in procuring the appointment of Dr. Hinton. I refused 
to do so and stated my reasons for pref ering Mr. S * * * — ^upon which 
it was represented to me that Mr. S * * * was addicted to the ruinous 
habit of gaming to such a degree as rendered it dangerous or improper 
that he should be Clerk. Not having any personal knowledge of him, 
and having no reason to doubt what I heard, I regretted that I had been 
entrapped by my feelings to declare my preference for Mr. S • * *, and 
being very averse to being instrumental in placing into that important 
offi<;e, an unfit person, I came to the conclusion of again becoming as 
I had been formerly, neutral between the two gentlemen. Perhaps I 
might have mentioned this to Mr. S * * * . But many considerations 
restrained me. I should probably wound his feelings; and I might 
embroil two men towards whom I entertained respect. I therefore con- 
tented myself with a Silent determination of neutrality which I think 
fairly preserved. Of this you will judge from what follows — I came 
down to the Superior Court on Monday morning and waited on Judge 
Paxton. He soon mentioned the Clerkship and asked me ''whether I 

Thb Buffin Fapbbs. 248 

took any part in it?" or to that effect. I told him that I did not ; that I 
believed from information which I had received that both of the Gentle- 
men would make good Clerks^ but that I did not knom enough of either 
to take it on myself to recommend him. At that time Majr. Glynn 
called me out for the purpose of getting my signature to a paper in favor 
of Mr. S* **. Bestrained by the same feelings which had prevented 
me from explaining to Mr. S * * *, I did not state to Mr. Glynn my 
reasons for refusing to sign the paper; but simply declined doing so 
ui>on the general ground that I would have nothing to do with the ap- 
pointment. I returned to Judge Paxton's room^ and he mentioned that 
lie was pleased to hear that I did not take a part in the election^ as he 
was in some difficulty about it in the election, or he was in some diffi- 
culty about it, and wanted information from some indifferent peroon. 
H!e then stated that he had formerly known Mr. S** * very intimately 
and that he was as correct a gentleman in his habits and principles, 
when he knew him, as any man could be, he had therefore been pleased 
when he heard, that he was a Candidate for the Clerkship, as he would 
be glad to serve him and he then had an opportunity. He had however 
been informed that he gamed to excess. He might have said drank too ; 
but that I do not recollect, and he wished me to say whether I knew any 
thing of it. With perfect truth I told him that I did not and that I was 
not sufficiently informed of the habits of either gentleman to be at 
liberty to take any decided part and therefore should not do so. 

Judge Paxton then applied to me to make some enquiry upon the 
subject in town which I declined as I did not like to search into the 
habits of any gentleman with whom I was unconnected. There the con- 
versation ended for that day. On the next morning the Judge renewed 
Ids application, and upon my again shewing an aversion to it, he stated 
that he claimed it as a right from me. 

That he was disposed to appoint Mr. S * * * if satisfied of the incor- 
rectness of what he had been told about him, — But that he must be fully 
satisfied upon that point before he could appoint him, for he felt his 
duty to the public to be paramount to any private inclination of his 
own, and that he was a stranger here and had no acquaintance to whom 
be could apply, under these circumstances and urgent requests of the 
Judge, I told him that if I could obtain any satisfactory information 
for him, without making particular enquiries or injurying Mr. S * * * 's 
feelings I would. I did during the week incidentally ask two or three 
gentlemen whether Mr. S * * * gambled. From one I heard that he 
played cards, but could not be called a gambler. From a second I under- 
stood that he personally knew nothing of his habits, as he did not mix 
by gaming parties, but that it was reported that he played a good deal 
and lost considerable sums of money so as materially to injure himself. 
I made these inquiries with the hope to have received such answers as 
would remove Judge Paxton's difficulties. Having received information 
of a different character, I said nothing about it, as I did not feel it to 

244 The North Cabolika Historical Commission. 

be either my duty or to be proper to volunteer it, and therefore I re- 
mained silent until the Judge^ stated on the morning of the day on -wliieh 
he appointed Mr. Hinton (on Friday I think) that he had been called 
on during the week, by several gentlemen of the city and that he had 
ascertained from them that the reports were true. He stated that liis 
mind was fully satisfied, and that he should be compelled to appoint 
Mr. Hinton— contrary as it might be to his inclination. I made no other 
communication to him on the subject than by then remarking that I 
had only had an opportunity of speaking to two or three Gentlemen 
and from them I had understood that Mr. S * * * frequently played and 
was supposed to have injured himself by it. Judge Paxton said, that 
the information which he had received was fully satisfactory to him 
and that he had made up his mind and therefore had not spoken to me 
again about it. 

I may have omitted in this statement some circumstances or expres- 
sions, but I am sure that they are not material and could not affect its 
substance. The subject was never again mentioned in my presence until 
I heard of the correspondence between Mr. Seawell and Mr. S * * * which 
is now publick and notorious — nor did I know that my name had been 
at all connected with it, until Mr. Glynn informed me on Wednesday 
night that Mr. Seawell had said in his letter to Judge Paxton that ^^I 
would concur with him in the statements therein made." Mr. Seawell 
had no authority for such remarks, and has since stated in the presence 
of Mr. Glynn, that he thinks the expression in his letter is, 'Hhat he had 
no doubt I would concur with him in the propriety of appointing Mr. 
Hinton though he had not consvited me." But whatever may be the 
expression (which I now know by the kindness of Mr. S * * *) he dis- 
tinctly disavowed to me and Mr. Glynn that he had any reason to believe 
that I would recommend Mr. Hinton. On the contrary Mr. Seawell 
did not say a word to me about the appointment during the Superior 
Court, and he had before been informed that I would not use any exer- 
tions on behalf of Mr. Hinton. 

Having stated in your letter that the expressions made by you were 
qualified, and having stated (beyond my demand) the grounds of them 
and entered into an explanation, I have considered it but candid to make 
known to you all the facts relative to this business, in order that our 
correspondence might be closed by giving you an opportunity of retract- 
ing the harsh expressions used by you, upon fuller information than 
you then had. 

Of course the introduction of the names of third persons into our 
letters is to be deemed confidential, but as to any statement made con- 
cerning myself, I shall not feel a difficulty in avowing it to any person 
interested in it. 

I am Sir your Obed Servt. 

(signed) Thomas Ruffin. 
ames Taylor Esq. 

The Buffin Papebs. 245 

From James F. Taylor. 

„. Raleigh Octo 7th, 1820. 


Your communication reed yesterday evening, represents your conduct, 
in regard to the appointment of Clerk of Wake Supr Court differently 
from what I had before been induced to believe Ivas its true character, 
and removes the grounds upon which my remarks of you were predi- 

I have no hesitation in saying that if I had then believed your conduct 
to have been what I now do, it would have given rise to no remarks from 
me, prejudicial to your feelings or character. 

I am Sir, 

Your obt. Servt. 

Thomas Ruffin Esqr. Jambs F. Taylob. 

From John Sogers. 

Baltimore Feb. 10th, 1821. 

Your letter of the 80th ult. was handed me at the post office yesterday 
where it had been lying for some time, as I go there but seldom now, to 
enquire if there be any thing for me, having been often disappointed in 
that way. 

It surprised me a good deal to hear that I had been even suspected 
of soliciting to be released from my promise to resume the management 
of the school — believe me, the report is utterly unfounded. In a letter 
that I addressed to Mr. Sneed there was something like a complaint 
that Mr. Witherspoon^ had not answered a letter of mine written soon 
after my arrival here, and a request that he would ascertain (for from 
Mr. W^s supposed indifference I began to forbode the worst) whether 
I was by any one regarded as a burthen at home, assuring him, that if 
such were the case, I would easily find employment elsewhere. 

In this way, probably the report originated — though it has pleased 
Heaven that I should be a sort of wanderer, yet I have my attachments, 
and being fond too, of keeping terms with my own heart, I do not care 
to break with it, by being faithless to my engagements I turn from the 
matter with pleasure for the more agreeable purpose of acknowledging 
the receipt of your liberal remittance — ^it was a favor disinterested, and 
conferred with the purest delicacy, circumstances that constitute a noble 
benefaction — time will discover, whether it has been worthily bestowed. 

The compliments you have the goodness to pay me, I am not vain 
enough to ascribe so much to my own merits, as to the partiality of a 

iRev. John Wltherspoon of HillBboro, a Presbyterian minister. 

246 The Nobth Cabolika Hibtoiuoal Commission. 

f riendy who would hold up to my view^ the delineation of a character, 
by which he is solicitous that I should form my own — and at this moment 
of genial f eelings^ I am almost persuaded to promise that the benevolent 
design shall not be frustrated. 

The Medical College here is, to be sure, inferior in reputation, to that 
at Philadelphia, for it is comparatively of recent existence— the chemical 
apparatus is admitted to be the most splendid in Anierica, and Professor 
Pattisons anatomical Museum, is said not to be surpassed even in 
Europe — at Phila. the classes visit the Hospital, and alms-houses every 
day, for those institutions are contiguous to the University — ^here they 
are too remote from the College to afford that advantage — ^but to obviate 
this inconvenience the students are at liberty to take part of the tickets, 
for one season, and the remainder the next, that they may have time 
enough to visit the alms-house and Hospital, or if they prefer taking all 
the tickets the first year, they can do so, and devote the following session 
to private reading dissecting and visiting those Institutions — at Phila. 
Candidates for the Doctors Degree are required to attend the Lectures, 
of each Professor during two courses — ^here the Candidates have the 
option just stated — ^upon the whole, I am satisfied that the advantages, 
of Instruction here, are equal to those at Phila. and the expenses con- 
siderably lighter. 

The Koman Catholic college here, is universally r^arded as an orna- 
ment to the state — but their discipline would be terrible to a Southern 
constitution, for they compel their pupils to be diligent, and to behave 
themselves like good boys, there being no men among them, except those^ 
having authority — their system of studies embraces the English, French, 
Spanish, Latin, and Greek languages, Moral and Natural Philosophy, 
and every branch of Mathematics. 

With respect to the other Literary Institutions in this City, I can say 
nothing more that they appear to be ably managed. On last Sunday I 
wrote to Mr. Sneed for money, but your kindness has supplied me with 
more than I shall need — it is to be hoped, that he had some intimation 
of your design, for to say nothing of the risque by mail, the possession: 
of an additional hundred would tempt me to become extravagant. Early 
in March, I hope to acknowledge your munificence in person, and to 
renew my congratulations upon the late accession to your happiness. 
Please to present my respects to the young gentleman at the office, also 
to Mr. Cain, and Mr. Eirkland — and for yourself to accept the assurances: 
of my being 

with every sentiment of respect, and affection 

your obliged friend, and Obedt. Sevt 

John Bogsbs.. 

Thomas Ruffin Esquire Hillsboro' N. C. 

Thb Ruffin Papsius. S47 

From James Orahaan, 

Chablottb May the 10th 1821. 
Dear Sir: I received from the hand of Mr. J. Martin in Statesville 
last yreek your letter inclosing for collection a Bond on Isaac L. Ward 
for Four hundred and eighty Dollars and forty four cents due Wilder 
and Shore in Petersburgh. I enquired immediately for Ward and 
ascertained he lived in Iredell, that he was somewhat involved, but had 
property in possession more than enough to satisfy the Bond I received. 
I therefore issued a writ against him returnable to Iredell county court 
on the dd Monday in this month. It is probable I shall obtain a Judg- 
ment in August and the money in November next. Iredell however is the 
worst county I ever practised in to collect money as the officers of the 
county are remarkable only for negligence tho' I keep a vigilant eye upon 
them. My circuit is almost closed, and I feel a pleasure in being able 
to inform you I have made a very good circuit notwithstanding the hard 
times cramp the people in extremis. We have had several capital cases 
on the circuit and two convictiotis of murder. Indeed the business in our 
courts has grown past expectation this spring. In Iredell I cant con- 
ceive how the people are to extricate themselves from their embarrassed 
circumstances. . . . We have had no stir yet about members for 
the next Assembly. Walker^ and Davidson^ are both candidates in their 
old Districts for Congress. No opposition as yet known — there are a 
number of Families recently removed from New York to Rutherford 
and they speak of establishing themselves together on Broad River at 
some suitable place for a Manufacturing Town near the head of Navi- 
gation, they expect to be reinforced this ensuing summer by many other 
families. Accept sir the assurances of my regard and esteem for you 
and family from your sincere friend. 

[P. S.] Present my respects if you please to my worthy friends in 

[P. S.] I wish you could make it convenient to accompany me 
through the alabama and to Florida next Fall. 

[Address : Hillsboro' N. C] 

From John Rogers. 

HiLLBBORo' May 19th, 1821. 
Your superior judgement decided at once upon the course propereet 
for me to pursue. I allude to the alternatives proposed by you soon after 

iFeliz Walker. 

2William Davidson of MecklenbtiriT. 1778-1S57, state senator for elevte terms 
between 1813 and 1830; member of Congress, 1818-1821. 

248 The North Carolina Historical Commission. 

my return from Baltimore. Every page that I turn over in my books, 
serves to impress more deeply the conviction that I am doing wretchedly. 
The Theory is clear as light to my apprehension, but what is theory in 
such a Profession as minCy without practice. The circumstances under 
which I write, must be my excuse for being forward enough to say that 
I have abilities sufficient to render me respectable as a Medical man — 
there is something too distressing for language to convey in my situation 
at this time — the distress consists in my being unable to exercise those 
abilities to any kind of advantage in this place. My heart is set upon 
graduating next year. I could stay here 'till November, and accomplish 
that object, and be withal an indifferent Physician. It is needless to 
withhold the impression of my views, for you already perceive the direc- 
tion of them. I wish to be in one of the Northern cities during the 
months of August, September, and October, in order to have the benefit 
of Hospital Practice. The very inconsiderable service I could render 
in the Academy during that time, bears no sort of proportion to the 
decisive turn which such a course would give to my future destiny. I 
know not in what light Mr. Witherspoon, or others, may view my request 
to be released from the Institution when they come to hear of it — but 
upon a full, and deliberate review of all the circumstances, I do feel 
most honestly convinced that justice to myself requires that I should 
withdraw. If some provision for my reception into the school, next 
year could be made, it would add very much to the solidity of my calcu- 
lations about the future, to say nothing of the pleasure I should enjoy 
in being able still to regard Hillsboro' as my home. It would be an 
ignoble return for your bounty to detail the means I have in view for 
repaying it, as far as Mpney is concerned. The feeling that prompted 
you to offer, and me to accept it, is best acknowledged in saying that I 
look forward to that hour, as the most triumphant of my life, when I 
shall present myself before you with the well-merited honors of my Pro- 
fession. I must not conceal from you the circumstance of my being 
attached to one of our village girls; and I mention it with a view to 
obviate any suspicion on your part of my being disposed to avail myself 
of your preferred bounty in order to further my hopes in that way, when 
the matter is fairly considered, I am sure you will agree with me in 
admitting that the consideration of your partiality for me, will have 
more weight in my favor, than that of the sums you are willing to 
advance — ^besides, were I to continue here next session, I should scarcely 
be compelled to draw upon you at all, and of course in a more independent 
condition to commence the world. However I have never yet thought 
seriously upon the subject, nor should I have mentioned it now, only I 
thought it might come to your hearing, and that of course, it would be 
best to anticipate it with a candid acknowledgement. But one thing I 
feel confident enough to promise, and that is, that no feeling of that 
kind shall have power to diminish the ambition I feel in a more impor- 
tant pursuit. 

The Buffin Papebs. 249 

[P. S.] I do not look for a written answer to this, nor require that 
you should let me know your pleasure, before you return from Kaleigh. 
The fact is in Matters of this nature, I have considerable diffidence in 
my judgment, but in yours I shall acquiesce most implicitly and cheer- 

From WHliam Buffin. 

BAUBiaH 6 June 1821. 

The enclosed letter, which I must request the favor of you to forward, 
will inform you of the death of Mr. Gk>odwin,^ and my wishes. 

Now if you think the office will suit me, and / will suit the office; I 
will then request of you another favor, which is, if you have no objec- 
tion to the course, to interest yourself in my behalf with Qeml. Holmes,^ 
Dr. TJmsted and Mr. Lacy. This you can do by letter. Perhaps you 
may think I am too old, too infirm, and should think of retiring to the 
shades of life rather than engage farther in the busy scenes of the world. 
You may be right, such a conclusion would correspond precisely with 
my feelings — but my situation will not precisely justify such an act — 
unless I could dispose of my establishment here. 

[Address: HiUsboro' N. C] 

From Archibald D. Murphey. 

^ „^ HAwRiVEBlOth June 1821. 

Dear Euffin 

At Chapel Hill I found my Boys could not get home with their Lug- 
gage Unless I returned with them. And a Letter which I received from 
Maj. Kearney of the United States Corps of Engineers requesting an 
immediate Communication on the Subject of our Sounds and the pro- 
posed Junction of the Boanoke Tar and ITeuse rivers, determined me 
to come on Home. Since I got back, I have been confined to the Table, 
to send off my Packet by the Mail of this evening. With the Packet I 
also send to Mr. Gales a considerable Portion of Manuscript. I wish 

very much to get my reports out of my way. 

* * * * * * * 

I well know my Affairs occupy much of your attention : I must beg 
your Attention to a few particular Views of them and request your 

iSamuel Qoodwin of Cumberland, comptroller of the State since 1808. 
20abriel Holmes, a member of the Council of State, as were also Dr. John 
Umstead of Orange and Theophilns Lacy. 

250 Thb Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

Advice. At this time none of mj property will Sell to any advanta^ 
except that which is most valuable. Perhaps my Mills and Negroes. 
I have had a thought of making an Offer of my Mills to Mr. Cameron. 
Unless yon would like to own them. Would it suit your Convenience 
in any way to take them ? I should like to sell with my Mills my Planta- 
tion in the Haw-Fields. The two establishments would Suit each other: 
But if I cant sell them together^ I will seperate them in the sale. It is 
possible I may be mistaken in the Value of my Mills : but I think I am 
not, and that in ordinary times they will average a net Profit of $1200 
Per Year. It is true, there is the labour of making Sale of the Gains 
of the Mill, of procuring Flour Barrels etc. But having once estab- 
lished a System on this Subject, I have found not much trouble attend- 
ing them. If yon will take the Mills, you shall have the Use of my 
Miller for 18 Months or two Years. He with Mr. Jones my Manager 
carry on the business. The Saw Mill is rotten — new Timbers are 
got for two thirds of a new one. They are not yet hauled. — ^You may 
take the Mills and Plantation together or the Mills by themselves at such 
Price as you may put on them, and if you, upon a fair Trial, find the 
Price too high, I will, if able, refund to you till they stand at what you 
may think a fair price. The Dam has undergone a thorough repair and 
is much better than it ever was before, and the Mills are in complete 
Order. I should be very unwilling to see you make a Purchase that 
might possibly prove a bad one; but believing as I do that this is by 
far the most productive property in the County and will probably con- 
tinue so, I should like for you to own it, if the purchase will not subject 
you to too much inconvenience. 

Mr. Cameron will be this way towards the close of this week. If you 
be of opinion that I had better make an Offer to him, I will do so. I 
shall be away from home, but can leave a Letter for him. I should much 
prefer that you should take the Mills and Lands both — as it may be dis- 
agreeable to you to have your name in Bank, the Debt may Stand in my 
Name, Untill you can take it up. 

If you should not like to take the Mills here, would you take the Mills 
on New Hope? The Dam is broken and it will probably cost $500 to 
repair it substantially and set the Mills to work in good Order. These 
Mills are valuable. I believe there are about 400 or 450 Acres of Land, 
of tolerable quality only. The Lands and Scite cost A. Harden $3800. 
The Mills are new — The Grist Mill is on a Small scale, having 2 pair 
of stones, and is intended only for County Grinding. But this Plan is 
most profitable in Such a Situation. It is a fine Seat for Custom. 

On the Land there is the Frame of a good Dwelling House which A. 
Harden put up. It would be worth something to you. I advised Col. 
Farrar to take $2500 for the establishment, if he could find a Purchaser. 
The residue of the Purchase Money amounts probably to $2800. He is 
bound for most of it and executions are out. 

ThB BtTFFIN Papbb8. 361 

Write to me by Henry, whom you may detain till near night for this 
purpose. I shall go day and night till I can sell and sink my Debts. 
Thomas Buffin esqr. 
^and the enclosed to Mr. McNeil. 
[Address: Hillsborough] 

From John Stanly } 

Nbwbbbn 12 June 1821. 

Mr. George S. Attmore' who does me the favor to hand you this, is a 
Candidate for the profession of the law — and will I am assured stand 
a respectable examination. He is undetermined where to locate himsdf . 
The lawyers here, as perverse as the federalists of old, neither die or 
resign, and we are crowded. If with your knowledge of the Country 
you can assist Mr. Attmore in a decision, you will serve a gentleman who 
I know will merit and gratefully remember the friendship and you 
will greatly oblige 

[Address: Haleigh.] 

From Oeorge McNeill. 

Fatbttbvillb June 22nd 1821. 

Tou are entitled to the July Dividend on the 50 shares Stock, the 
Books I believe are not closed before the 10th or 15th June. Tou may 
have your dividends transferred to, and made payable at any Office you 
may choose, by writing to the cashier of the prinL Bank to that effect — 
and if Mr. West the cashr. of the Bank in this place is not mistaken, 
you can appoint the cashr. of the Office at which the dividends are made 
payable, as Cashier, your attorney to draw the dividends and to deposit 
them to your credit in the Bank, and for which service there will be no 
charge made. I presume this is done as a mere matter of courtesy, and 
not as a duty incumbent on the cashr. Perhaps you had better not write 
to the Cashr. of the prinl. Bank, until the dividend is declared, as the 
letter may possibly be overlooked. You may at once give General in- 
structions to have all your Dividends payable in New York, untill other- 
wise directed and it will not be necessary to write again. A common 

iThis was the famous John Stanly of Craven, 1774-1834, a Federalist leader 
In the State. Twelve times a member of the House of Commons from the 
Iwrough of New Bern between 1798 and 1826, he was speaker in 1825 and 1826. 

2Mr. Attmore settled in the end at New Bern, and became a very prominent 
man In later years. 

252 The ITosth Cabolina Historical Commisbiok. 

power attory. acknowledged and certified by a N^otarj Public will I 
presume be sufficient. Mr. Irvin would I presume charge ^4 P cei^t for 
drawing your dividends etc., it would be well enough however to make 
the inquiry (not that he would charge more or less on that account) 
before giving the business to him, he has done a good Deal of such busi- 
ness for us without any charge. 

Mr. Murphey's note of $5862{f in Cape Fear Bank has been rein- 
stated this week, by paying only the discount, protest etc., but the Bank 
has notified us to inform the parties that it would not be renewed again 
without a payment of 5 P Cent. Will you mention this to Mr M., his 
notes at IT. S. B are yet under protest. 

We are owing about $11,000 in England, which we are extremely 
desirous of reducing — ^but we find it almost impossible to make coUec- 
tions in time — would it in the least interfere with your viewa, or other 
arrangements to grant us the loan of your 50 shares stock for a short 
time? The Bank is doing little or nothing now except in Pledge Stock 
and business proper (which we are afraid to give) — they discount on 
pledge of stock at 4 mo. at par value. I would not ask this if I thought it 
would in the least interfere with your arrangements, and if it should 
let it drop. We can, I believe give our note, secured by stock without 
your name appearing at all and I believe that we shall be able to take 
up the stock when you may want it by giving a very short notice — that 
we would do at all hazzards, at your convenience I shall be glad to hear 
from you on this subject. 

Mr. Strange^ is a candidate to represent the [torn] opposition to Mr. 
Canning, it will be [torn] elections. I think however from present 
appearances that Mr. Strange will be elected, it will I think be of 
service to Mr. S. to have his ambitions roused a little, but it will be a 
dreadful mortification to Mr. C. to be left at Home. 

By the mail tomorrow morning I hope to hear from Hillsborough, and 
that your little boy Peter Brown has recovered, and all friends welL We 
are all well hereabouts. Betsey joins me in love to you. 

[Address : Raleigh, N. C] 

From James R. Dodge. 

Salisbury 23 Sept. 1821. 
I confess myself guilty in not having communicated as frequently and 
freely as I promised to and as your attentions and favors shewn to me 
required, but can in mitigation, assign the same reason for the delin- 
quency that you when of my standing at the bar could have assigned, 
tibat is, taking it for granted that the feelings of those similarly situated, 

iRobert Strange. 

The Ruffin Papebs. 253 

are much the same. I have had many difficulties and vexations to con- 
tend with^ embarrassing as to me, but which would have made but a 
trifling appearance on paper, and if in some degree successful, when 
writing to a man of standing and experience at the Bar, and who knew 
me. I would not dare to attribute this casual success to merit and have 
too much of the pride of the profession to ascribe it to any thing else. 
There was then no subject but politicks in which your last advise was 
that I should not meddle, and a monotonous history of attendance upon 
courts, at this time however, I am anxious to receive advice from you. 
On my settlement in Stokes it was your opinion, If I remember right 
that it would be merely temporary and that Rowan would be the county 
in which I must ultimately locate myself. On a nearer acquaintance 
with these counties ascertaining their strength and resources, I was 
f uUy convinced of this, and was anxious to place myself so that my pro- 
fession would be of the greatest advantage. I had established something 
of a character and business in Stokes, but as the emoluments arising 
from the best in the county would be limited in comparison with the best 
in the other, it appeared to me of more consequence to serve the noviciate, 
to which we are all condemned, when afterwards was to be reaped the 
greatest benefit. So I determined upon this county, and came, it has 
always been my rule to follow decision with action but since here am 
something at loss if to settle in this Town or Lexington, here I have the 
advantage of society, can communicate with the eminent in the profes- 
sion and have no doubt of obtaining a share of business by perseverance, 
but I am under the shadow of more deserving men and it will require 
time to emerge. Now the county is as you know naturally divided into 
three parts, the people in Two of which are anxious for a legal division 
and exasperated against those of this whose interest inclines them against 
it. The division of which Lexington is the capital is a large and wealthy 
one, The inhabitants of which are almost in arms against this particular 
town. Now I think by going there I will take advantage of the general 
prejudice, may expect (as I am assured by some intelligent magistrates) 
a great proportion of the business, thus seizing f ime by the forelock, but 
must expect decided opposition from the inhabitants of this side and the 
Bar of this County, and lose the hope of improving except by reading and 
practice — ^this is with you Sir. 

Another affair is this, I have a longing desire to take four dollars a 
day of the peoples money during the next session of the Legislature it 
would have a wonderful and salutary effect upon my purse, which the 
slightest wind might now blow away. It would in some degree revive 
my spirits by changing the current in which worldly dross, as to me, has 
generally flown. Now setting aside the diffifculty of being elected (which 
is a mountain itself, but may be removed) these remain : should I not 
be elected, I lose this county court, as yet not of great value. Should 
I be elected, I lose this, Rockingham, and Stokes. I leave a gap in my 
business, or rather routine of attendance, but I put money in my pocket 

254 The Nobth Cabolina Hibtobigal Commission. 

as one of the engrossing clerks, besides I must visit Baleigh in the f alL 
Should you approve the plan I must solicit your influence. I have some 
cases in the Superior Court and would be pleased to know if Judge Nash 
would be apt to stop my mouth, should I dare to open it on this circuity 
if he will I must take an affectionate farewell of one or two of the best 
fees I ever was offered. 

[P. S.] No news. I will retain my practice in Stokes. I would not 
wish the Lexington plan mentioned until ready to act upon it. 

[Address : 

Thomas Buffin Esqr. 

at Chatham Court N. C] 

From James Oraham. 

Charlotte November the 9th, 1821. 

As to the occurrences of the day in this quarter we have none of public 
moment. We had hoped, and fondly hoped, before the last election that 
at the ensuing Legislature the Convention would have had manny able 
advocates in the Legislature; but the result of the last election in the 
western part of the State forbid us to indulge a single hope from the 
next General Assembly. Our Dockets in this quarter are quite crowded, 
and Father Norwood^ has thined them very little, he is much esteemed 
here both as a man and as a lawyer tho' he has not done much business 
on the Circuit. Present my respects, if you please, to Mistress Euffin 
and Mr. Kirkland, and family and Accept assurances of my respect and 
esteem for yourself. 

[Address : Hillsboro', N. C] 

From Bomvius M, Savaiders. 

Washington Deer. 15th 1821. 
I have now been here only two weeks and have as yet seen nothing 
of legislation. We succeeded in ousting Taylor^ as Speaker. The very 
countenance of the man indicates the meanness of his principles — altho' 

iWilliam Norwood of Orange, 1767-1840, Judge of the Superior Court, 1820- 

2John W. Taylor of New York, who had succeeded Clay as the speaker of the 
Sixteenth Congress in November, 1820. Defeated now, he was speaker of the 
Nineteenth Congress. 

Thx Ruffin Fapbbs. S55 

Mr. Barbour^ is and will make a good Speaker^ yet he wants dignity, 
and I thought it bad policy to take a Speaker from the Senate. Mr. 
McLane^ of Delaware is a man of talents and a gentleman — ^he was with 
us on the Missouri question — ^yet the circumstance of his and Bodney's' 
both being up opperated to their defeat. — ^We already hear much as to 
our next Prest. I have seen Crawford, who is as affible in his manners 
as he is dignified in his deportment and gigantic in his powers, yet every 
lever is brought to bear against him. I find that with great as with 
little men, self is the primum mobile of their actions. I have learnt here 
to my surprize that yr. representative^ is unfriendly to Crawford. K 
this be a fact he ought to be put down in Hillsb^. I hope you will see to 
it, for if North Carolina equivocates, he is gone. 

This is said to be an able Congress, as yet however its powers have 
not been displayed. There is no doubt to be much legislation, as but 
little has been done for sometime. Oenl. Jackson has resigned, the 
papers have been called for in the House, with a view no doubt to an 
investigation into his conduct.^. But it seems to me that if the Spanish 
Grovernment is disposed to pass over his conduct, we should not invite a 
scrutiny. My feelings do not lead me to take any active part in what 
is passing around me. I should greatly prefer being engaged in offering 
petitions to our County Courts at forty shillings than to be introducing 
them here at $8 per day. I would to God, my friend, that I could have 
learnt a little of that prudence which has directed you to the care of 
your family, rather than to that of the republic. But I am now in, my 
ambition has been gratifyed and I must get through as well as I can. 

What has been done with Mr. Murphey? or rather what has his sale 
done for his securities? It is important that some steps should be taken 
in his Western lands. This is poor Carters only chance — and I fear 
this is a slender one. 

Yesterday we buried Colo. Trimble,® Senator from Ohio, he died of 
wounds of the late war. But from what I have already felt of the cli- 
mate, I should not be surprised if more of us are taken off. My respects 
to yr. family. I should be glad to hear from you, if you have time. 

Yours truly 

R. M. Saunders. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

iPhillp Pendleton Barbour of Virginia, who had been a member of Congrress 
since 1814. He was later president of the Virginia convention of 1829-1830, 
United States judge in Virginia, and aesociate justice of the Supreme Court 
of the United States. 

2Lioui8 McLane was a member of Congress, 1817-1827; senator, 1827-1829; 
minister to England, 1829-1831, 1845-1846; secretary of the treasury, 1831-1833; 
secretary of state, 1833-1834. 

sc«sar Augustus Rodney of Delaware, member of Congress, 1803-1805, 
1821-1822; United States senator, 1822-1823; attorney-general during the admin- 
istrations of Jefferson and Madison. 

4Dr. James S. Smith of Orange. 

5Thi8 was the famous Clay investigation of Jackson's conduct in Florida. 

swilliam Allen Trimble, a gallant soldier of the War of 1812. 

256 The North Cabolina Histobical Comhibsion. 

From John Rogers, 

Baltimomj Dec 16th 1821 — 
I have just received a letter from Mr Witherspoon informing me 
that it was probable Mr Hooper^ would resign his Professorship in the 
University. At the same time he wishes me to have my name held up 
for the office in case an Election should take place. Before I say any 
thing further on the subject, permit me to vent my indignation at the 
inexcusable negligence of Post-masters. Every letter I receive from 
Hillsboro' is constantly kept in the office there, three days after it is put 
in the box — thus, a letter is delivered at the office either on monday, or 
thursday morning, and kept there until the next mail for Raleigh. 
Surely, if Cook, or his clerk had the smallest degree of reflection, he 
would forward it to the next office, even tho' the mail should be closed, 
as a Way-letter. And this all-important letter of Mr. Witherspoon's, 
besides being kept there three days, was detained in the offiice in thia 
city, eight days before I could get a sight of it, though I had been calling 
there daily for a week past. After all, I do hope most earnestly that 
I am not too late. The office in question, is one that I have long had my 
heart set upon, and most happy will I be, should I succeed in obtain- 
ing it. 

Before I solicit your interest, let me assure you that I am very far 
from presuming to think that I have any particular claim upon you, on 
such an occasion. Your generosity has gone greatly beyond my desert 
already, and surely, the exercise of your privilege as a Trustee, in favor 
of another candidate, shall in no respect diminish the grateful affection 
with which I must always remember you. Should Mr Hooper resign, 
and I be elected to the office, I shall leave Baltimore inmiediately on 
receiving the Intelligence. A Bachelor's degree in Medicine (and I can 
obtain it very easily at this time) will entitle me to that of Doctor at the 
expiration of three years. And to be candid with you, my solicitude to 
return home, is perhaps the most urgent consideration with me at this 
moment, for calling upon you in this abrupt way. But should another 
be chosen, I must remain here, and come forward in the beginning of 
March for the Doctor's Degree, which I have very little doubt of obtain- 
ing. Thus far, with the exception of three hours passed at the CoU^e 
daily, I have been almost constantly among the sick at the Alms-house. 
By my assiduity, I have so far gained the countenance of the attending 
Physician, as to have free access to every department at any hour — ^and 
among nearly two hundred patients of every age, and sex, from infancy 
to old age, and with the additional privilege of making up aU the pre- 
scriptions, and administering them, you may judge how fine a situation 

iWllliam Hooper, Professor of Languages In the University from 1817 to 
1822, when he resigned to reeume his work as an Episcopal minister. He was 
succeeded by Ethan Allen Andrews. 

Ths Buffin Papers. 257 

it is. Even now I have confidence enough to think that I should not 
be much at a loss as a Practitioner, in any disease whatever. For after 
all, in the practice of Medicine, there are hut few well-established prin- 
ciples, and when these are clearly comprehended, and one has had an 
opportunity of observing cases that illustrated those principles, the 
greatest obstacle is at once removed — the subsequent career of the prac- 
titioner depends altogether upon his good sense, diligent reading, and 
careful observation. Should my views with regard to the Professorship 
not be realized, perhaps it may be better for me in the end. Had I 
nothing but ambition to stimulate me to exertion in the Practice of 
Medicine, I believe I should dislike exceedingly to be numbered in the 
rear of the Profession. The gentle being who has blessed me with 
herself, depends upon me for the continuance of that comfort, and ele- 
gance she has always been accustomed to, and believe me, I am not so 
degenerate as to neglect any of the measures of improvement, which 
are calculated to ensure an object so supremely interesting. With regard 
to my pecuniary wants, one hundred^ and fifty dollars more will be 
amply sufficient, should I have to remain here till March, my expenses 
in travelling home included. My calculations with regard to expendi- 
tures, when I saw you in Raleigh, were too limited, and I hope I need 
not assure you, that I have been frugal of my little means, and that I 
have disposed of them to the best advantage. Present my affectionate 
respects to Mrs. Buffibi, Mrs Dillard, and Mrs Cain. 

Thomas Buffin Esq. 

[Address: Hillsborough Iforth Carolina.] 

From John Witherspoon. 

It was rumoured some weeks since that Mr. Hooper intended leaving 
the University for Fayetteville. Our friend Mr. Rogers, having ex- 
pressed a great desire for a situation of that kind I gave him early inti- 
mation of it. In reply to my letter he informs he had written to you 
and requested your interest in the matter. I received a note from 
Raleigh last evening, stating that Mr. Hooper had sent in his resigna- 
tion, and the writer advised me to get a recommendation in favour of 
Mr. R. sent down without delay, as the probability was, the appoint- 
ment would be made as soon as practicable. I send you one which my 
brother has drawn up, with the request of your signature, and also that 
you would, if convenient, write to the Treasurer^ on the subject. I wish 
to send the letter over to Raleigh in the morning. Mr. Rogers name I 
hear has already been mentioned to the Treasurer perhaps by yourself. 
I feel much interested for him especially as he seems so anxious to obtain 
the appointment. 

iJohn Haywood. 

258 Thb Nobth Cabolina Hibtosical Commission. 

From Lewis Williams} 

Wabhinoton December 22nd. 1821 

Your letter of the 15th Inst, came duly to hand by the mail this morn- 
ing. I am much obliged to you for the account you forwarded agreeably 
to the request contained in my letter from Baleigh. 

It will at any time a£Ford me great pleasure to give you information of 
such events of an interesting nature as may arise in the 10 miles square. 
At present we have nothing worthy of your notice^ except some talk in 
reference to the election of the next President. It is^ I think, pretty well 
ascertained that Pennsylvania will be faithful to her old attachments, 
and will support Crawford; Ohio is decided in favour of Crawford; 
Maine will do likewise, so that we have more strength according to 
present appearances than we want. It is better however that we should 
have a little to spare, than to have not quite enough. During the pen- 
dency of the Missouri Question, while it was doubtful whether the 
influence and feeling excited by it might not be carried into the next 
election of President, John Q Adams and his friends were very much 
elated. They hoped to draw off Pennsylvania, and with her assistance 
to carry all before them. But at this time they seem discomfited. Penn- 
sylvania and a portion of New York resisted the election of Taylor. This 
proves that they are no longer to be operated upon by the Missouri ques- 
tion. If New York can't get her own man, I think there is little doubt 
of her supporting Crawford, and opposing Adams. This man cannot 
be supported where he is known or seen unless by such as disregard all 
principle, and act with a view to their own ultimate elevation or ad- 
vantage. The good of the nation requires that any such looking man as 
Adams should be defeated in his pretension to the Presidency. To any 
one who has seen him this would be an all sufficient argument. 

South Carolina will be somewhat an obstacle to that unanimity which 
ought to prevail in our section of the Union. The reason of it is that she 
has citizens who aspire to the same distinction. This is pretty well 
understood. But she will be obliged finally to submit. 

It is intimated by some that the vote of North Carolina will not be 
so undivided as was, at one time, supposed. I think it a matter of great 
importance to us that we should present as solid a column as possible. 
I write for your self alone, and with great Bespect 

Thos Ruffin, Esq. 

iLewls Williams of Surry, 1786-1842, a member of Congress from 1815 to 
1842. At the time of his death he had been in Congress longer than any other 
member and was known as the "Father of the House." 

Thib Bttffin Papsbs. 258 

From George E. Badger. 

,-. , n ' 3 [Raleigh, Dec. 24, 1821] 

My dear Frtend ^ ' ' ■* 

I received your letter on the subject of your uulooked for embarrass- 
mentSy and I am truly glad that it has been in my power to return in cash 
nearly the whole of the sum you so kindly loan'd me. Above you have a 
Check for one thousand dollars. I happened to have made no disposi- 
tion of the price of ten shares of stock which I sold while in Newborn 
at par, when I heard (before receiving your letter) that you were likely 
to have a large sum to pay for Mr. Murphy and instantly resolved to 
send you that sum. I cannot but deeply regret that I have it not in my 
power to step forward in your necessity and open a purse to you with 
the same ready kindness with which yours was always open to me. It is 
vain to say a word of my willingness — ^f or that I know you will give me 
credit and I have it not in my power to back my words by deeds — strug- 
ling as I am for existence myself. But if you will point out any mode 
by which I can personally serve you, it will add one to the obligations 
I already owe you. 

With regard to the residue of the sum I owe you I expect I shall be 
able in a short time to send you a check for that, which I should prefer 
to putting another note in the Bank if it will answer your purpose, if 
not let me hear from you and I will immediately send the paper to you. 

I should feel really mortified if I thought you could for a moment 
believe that your long letter (as you term it) could produce in me other 
feelings than those of the deepest interest and concern. Indeed, my dear 
Sir, I cannot reflect on your loss and that of my dear Mrs. Ruffin without 
heartfelt sorrow and the only circumstance of alleviation is, that I hope 
neither she nor you are of the number of those who ''are without hope 
in the world." For my own part probable as I feel a similar result to 
be to myself, I thank God, that I am in some degree convinced that the 
only subject of real concern in this life is so to live as to obtain a place 
in a better and immortal existence. 

Let me hear from you soon — and direct to Warrenton. Meantime 
ofifer my sincere respect and warm affection to Mrs. Ruffin and believe 

most affectionately 

your grateful and attached 

friend and Servt. 

T. Ruffin, esq. G. £. Badger. 

Raleigh Be' 24. 1821 

[Address : Hillsborough N. C] 

260 Thb Nobth Carolina Historical Commission. 

From C. F. Bagge. 

Salem December 26th 1821. 
Last Saturday I reed your favour of the 17th instant by mail; for 
which I kindly thank you; since I received it, I have deliberately con- 
sidered its contents, but still am undetermined in what manner to act; 
The esteem I have for our worthy but unfortunate friend Judge Murphey 
will not allow me to take those advantages which justice and self interest 
would dictate in transferring his note to some friend on whose int^rity 
I could depend, and who would agreeable to my instructions attach his 
lands in the Western Country and have them sold for my use for little 
or nothing, as I still believe that in course of time these lands if not 
attached by some other persons will be the means of Judge Murpheys 
extricating himself out of his present difficulties; The other plan yon 
suggest to me to get the payment out of Captain Haralson^ appears to 
me to be more readily accomplished, although there are several diffi- 
culties in the way which might not be so easily surmounted ; the first is 
the procuring the Witnesses to the note, secondly, that the note is not 
given in the words "We or either of us" ; but says "We the undersized 
do promise to pa/'; in this wording of the Note I am not Lawyer 
enough to have an opinion on which I could rely; thirdly, the risk I 
would run in sending the note for collection by mail to Mr. Dickens,^ 
in fact I am unacquainted with the place of residence of Mr. Samuel 
Bickins, and lastly I think it would be my duty to apprize Judge Murphey 
previously of my intention, but I shall let the matter rest untill I have 
the pleasure of hearing your opinion by letter on this subject; Could I 
secure myself in the payment of Judge Murpheys note where Mr. Haral- 
son and his Brother Alex. Murphey^ are security, as well as the note in 
which you are security, I would with pleasure indulge four or five years 
for the principal, provided the interest is paid punctually and the debt 
of both these notes secured by personal security in such a maimer as to 
put it beyond doubt that the Money should be paid to me or my Execu- 
tors after four or five years ; In saying in my former letter to you, that 
if it was agreeable to you to send me a new ^ote for 4360$ my meaning 
was, that it should be signed by Judge Murphey as principal and by 
yourself as security, but on this I do not insist, and shall with pleasure 
acquiesce whatever course you deem most proper to pursue; 

iCaptaln Herndon Haralson, 1767-1847, Murphey's brother-in-law, a native of 
North Carolina, but now a resident of Tennessee. 

2Samuel Dickens had been a member of Congress from North Carolina In 
1816 and was now Murphey's land agent in Tennessee. He was later the agent 
of the University of North Carolina in prosecuting its land claims in that 

SAlexander Murphey, 1770-1822, was Murphey's older brother. He was a 
merchant and planter in Caswell County. 

The Buffin Papers. 261 

As Mr. James Martin passed through Salem on his return from Stokes 
County Court, he mentioned to me that he had understood there was a 
Company of Qentlemen in Iredell and Lincoln County who would prob- 
ably purchase a quantity of land of Mr. Murphey which he owns in the 
Western Country, perhaps on enquiry you may be able to ascertain if 
any application or contract has been made with Mr. Murphey by those 
Grentlemen, and in the event thereof something perhaps may be done 
to secure the payment either to yourself or to me ; this I merely mention 
as a report ; You may confidently rely on my keeping the correspondence 
between you and myself a profound secret from any person whatsoever, 
and I beg you to receive this letter under the impression that it was 
written by me with a friendly intention both to yourself and Judge 
Murphey : 

In case Genl. Graves should pay me any money after the rise of the 
General Assembly will it not be necessary for me to have his note in my 

I believe that there is nothing more in your letter to which it is neces- 
sary to recur, and I shall await your answer as soon as convenient; 

Thos. Buffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough 

Orange County 
North Carolina.] 

From John M. Dick} 

Greensboko Jany the 17th 1822. 

I reed your letter some time since and waited for a private convey- 
ance for the Copy of the answer you desired. I thought you might be 
disappointed if I delayed longer, and I have sent it enclosed. You will 
find it a long if not an able answer. I made the best I could out of the 
facts and I hope we will be able to prostrate your Cliant or at least come 
near it. 

You inform me that our Legislature has Legislated you out of two 
Courts and express a hope that you are the only sufferer among your 
brethren. I am a fellow sufferer with you, and we are by no means 
alone, Mr. Little, Mr. Morehead^ and several others are much injured by 
the changes. I am Legislated out of Orange County Court, and the 
Superior Court of this County will sometimes conflict with the County 
Court of Bandolph. We ought to be under great ohligations to our 

iJohn M. Dick of Onilford, state senator, 1819, 1829-1832; Judge of the 
Superior Court, 1835-1862. He and Ruffln were close friends. 

2John Motley Morehead, 1796-1866, at this time a practicing lawyer in Rock- 
Ingham County. He moved to Guilford this same year. 

262 Thb Nobth CABOLmA Hibto&ical Commission. 

friend Yancey for those favours and I hope at the next Legislature we 
will have his favours duly acknowledged. I am preparing materialB for 
a suit in Equity in this County in which we are to be associated, I will 
have them in readiness to draw a Bill at Orange County Court. 

Our Client informs me that we may expect good fees (which you know 
is a pleasant thing) and he is a man who altho he has many bad quali- 
ties has one good one^ he pays good fees. 

You gave me no information relative to your present state of health, 
which I hope is restored. 

Thomas Ruffin, Esqr. 

[Address : Hillsboro N. C] 

From Dr. Thomas HturU. 

Jy. 22*, 1822. 
Our mutual friend Judge Henderson has open* to me fully the circum- 
stances hint* at this morning an injury done a friend under any circum- 
stances should be instantly acknowledged and if possible, the neoessaiy 
atonement made. I feel the injustice done you by my observation (from 
the explanation made to our friend). My feelings on the occasion are 
as they should be, should anything further be requir* of me I am ready 
to do all things which you may ask for a restoration of your peace. 
[Address : 

Thos. Ruffin, Esqr. 

From Elisha Mitchell.^ 

Chapel Hill Jany 33d. 1823. 

It is growing late but as I see that I have considerable matter before 
me I have' taken a large sheet a good part of which at least I must fill 
before I sleep. I have four several subjects on which to write you. 

1. With regard to the books purchased from the library of the Robert 
Williams.^ I received the kind letter you had the goodness to send me 
respecting them and am blameworthy in not having sooner sent you an 
answer. I have moreover received the volumes from Mr. Manly and 
they are now at C. Hill. You said nothing in your letter respecting 

lElielia Mitchell, 1793-1857, at this time professor of mathematics and 
natural philosophy at the University of North Carolina. Later he took the 
chair of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology. 

2Probably Robert Williams of Surry. 

The Buffin Papsrs. 

the manner in which they were to be paid for. Mr. Manly was under 
the impression that the money would be drawn by a warrant from the 
Treasury. Please inform me whether it is so^ and if not I will send it 
to you in Hillsborough or see that it is in Baleigh in season to meet the 
demands of the exeoutors of the estate when it shall become due. Ton 
mentioned your having understood we had already a copy of GrotiuB 
commentary in the library at Chapel Hill and offered to take it off our 
hands in case it should be so. Kow as to what you had heard, it is true 
we had already a copy of Grotius commentary and the reason of my 
requesting the purchase of this book of the deceased Qen. Williams was 
thifl. I observed that the work offered in the advertisement was ^'Grotii 
Opera.'' Now as this book made part of a Lawyers library was it an 
unnatural conclusion in an honest parson who of course would believe 
there was no goodness but in his own gang that these same volumes con- 
tained Grotius' work on the Law of Nations and his other tracts relating 
to antiquities and Jurisprudence? Under this impression I requested 
the purchase of the books — ^hastily to be sure. As to your offer of taking 
them off our hands I remark that I suspect you were influenced by a 
desire of taking an incumbrance out of our way rather than of posses- 
sing this book. If this is so you need give yourself no uneasiness as J 
shall be able easily to exchange it in New York for other valuable works. 
I see this book is marked on the New York Catalogues at 23 Pols. But 
if on the other hand the offer was made from pure love of divinity of 
the year 1630 in latin you may have these volumes and welcome though 
I think the work of the BosenmuUers (Father & Son — ''Scolia in Fetus 
et Novum Testamentum" would be preferable. The talk about these 
books has spun out wonderfully. Within the new page we will begin a 
new subject. 

2. With regard to my becoming instructor to your son I say as follows. 
I have both thought upon the subject myself and conversed about it with 
Mr. Olmsted.^ The state of Mr. Oknsted's family is such as to forbid 
his receiving a youth into his house. Without any particle of that feeling 
which influenced the fox to aver respecting the grapes that they were 
sour I can say that 1 thank Gk>d I have no children. With me therefore 
the same obstacle does not exist as with him. When Judge Murphey 
applied to me a while ago to take a son of his I told him I consented with 
reluctance — ^but on the whole I don't know that I shall be unwilling to 
spend a portion of time every day for a year or two to come in teaching 
the language that I may become more thoroughly grounded in the rudi- 
ments. But before I agree to take your son or you to send him let us 
understand what we are both to expect. I sent for my brother in law 
from Yankee land and undertook to fit him for college and have since 
taken 3 others who could go on in a class with him and to these I devote 

iDenison Olmsted, 1791-1869, professor of chemistry and mineralogy In the 
University of North Carolina. He went to Tale In 1826 as professor of mathe- 
matics. He was the first state geologist of North Carolina. 

264 The Kobth Cabolina Histobical Commissioit. 

one hour the day between 2 and 4 besides getting time late in the eyening 
to cast my eye over the lesson. I received Judge Murphey's son and to 
him two others have since joined themselves and to these also I devote 
an hour every day. My brother in law also teaches them as well as he 
can for an hour. STow should your son come down to C. Hill to live with 
me I could only engage to spend an hour with him or with a class that 
should go on with him if there should be others whom I might receive on 
account of their being of the same standing every day and that my brother 
should do as much. For this together with his board wood washing etc 
I should ask 15 dollars a Month and if he were older I should ask more. 
I could not even if you should conclude to send him receive him under 
Three months from the present time and during the vacations I should 
probably be away. I give it you as my opinion that if Mr. Bogers were 
going to stay in Hillsborough it were better for your son to stay with 
him and perhaps you had best do nothing about the business till that 
point is ascertained. 

3. With respect to our salaries. According to the tenour of the com- 
munication made me by the committee of appointment I am undoubtedly 
entitled to about 1500 Dollars in place of the 1240 I receive. Nor was 
I at all consulted when the reduction was made. I must confess I was 
a little disturbed when I was told that the matter had been settled without 
BO much as the compliment of ^^by your leave" but I learned afterwards 
that the Trustees had yielded the thing entirely to the representations 
and solicitations of Br. Caldwell and soon satisfied myself that this excel- 
lent man whose value we shall know when he is in his grave, had not only 
intended but done all things well. The Trustees proceeded upon the 
ground that Dr. Caldwell proposed nothing which did not meet the 
approbation of his brethren and the Dr. himself proceeded upon the 
ground that we were like himself ready to yield up something for the 
common good and to suppose otherwise were to think very meanly of us. 
I do not suppose that any intimations and still less any explicit assur- 
ances were given to the Trustees as to what our views and feelings were. 
Yet they very naturally drew the conclusion that our assent had been 
given to the proposed measure. To that we have nothing to complain 
of on the part of the Trustees. Had been really consulted we should 
beyond all doubt have fallen in readily with the plan so there has been 
nothing irregular but the omission of an empty ceremony. But as you 
appear to be so sensitive upon the subject it may not be improper to say 
that probably the expectations which the Trustees authorized us in 
indulging when we left our early home have been satisfied inasmuch as 
the great increase in the value of money within the last two or three 
years has rendered our present stipend as valuable as 1500 would have 
been in times like those in which our contract was made. So that Adam 
Smith would say we had no ground for complaint even if we chose to 
complain — and Adam you know is no mean authority. Furthermore 
Mr. Olmsted enjoyed for nearly two years and I have enjoyed for a year 

The Buffin Papebs. 265 

and a half and am to occupy in future the house in which I live — a thing 
not promised by the Trustees. So that if I were to give up what was 
promised above what I receive from the Treasury I should seem to do 
very little. Knowing however what are the disposable funds belonging 
to the University and that although you are ready to do even more than 
was promised yet we cannot hope to keep our professor of Ehetoric 
except upon the present scheme I certainly cheerfully give i^p from the 
present time all claim to more than 1240 Dolls pr. Annum. And whilst 
I Tvish these matters to be communicated in the proper way to those few 
persons amongst whom the subject has been talked over^ I should be glad 
to have them after this has been done^ hushed to sleep. With regard to 
Mr. Olmsted I will observe that up to the present time we have perhaps 
shared equally with myself^ the liberality of the Trustees in Relation 
to a house but that hereafter unless the expenses I shall be obliged to 
incfur for repairs to the building I occupy should be more than I expect, 
I shall. If this house is not purchased by the Trustees, have the ad- 
vantage of him — ^he has moreover a pretty large and expensive family — 
and if the Trustees could find themselves able agreably to their vote of 
last winter to purchase his house they would do a good kind and perhaps 
a just thing. After this, one thing which is not taken into account in 
fixing the salaries of men in our situation. Shutting ourselves up as we 
do like a parcel of monks, we never learn how to do business and manage 
money and are therefore forever imposed upon. I alway think I come 
off grandly if when I make a bargain I am not cheated more than one 
third. Now that I have you as it were in my claws I will call your atten- 
tion to the enclosed in presenting which I hope you will not think I am 
stepping out of my proper sphere. 

I have not time to finish the paper referred to on the last page but may 
put it into your hands at some future time. E. M. 

[Address: Baleigh.] 

From John Hall. 

Ralsioh Jany. 30th, 1822. 

I have done as you requested me with the papers and books left in my 
possession. We expect to finish the business of court today and leave 
this to morrow. I have not forgot what you requested as to my notes, 
but I do assure [you] upon looking over them I am of opinion they 
wonld be of no use to you, but only perplex you. Had I thought of it 
when I took them I would have tried to make them of some use to you. 

Nothing has happened since you left this, we are all in statu quo. 

I hope and believe that time with your diligence will carry you thro 
your embarrassments and restore to you your wonted spirits etc. 

My respects to my friends and believe me respectfully 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

266 The North Cabolina Hibtobical Commission. 

From Joel Strong, 

Gbabsy Cbbbk 5th Feby 1822. 

I would beg leave to inform you, that I have concluded to have mj 
name put in nomination to fill the appointment of Professor of Lan- 
guages in the University, now vacant, by the resignation of Mr. Hooper. 

As you have long been acquainted with me, I shall say nothing con- 
cerning my pretensions — ^and from your uniform friendship, I make no 
doubt of your support, so far, as you may think me worthy. 

But I would assure you, that I have long since wished to devote the 
remainder of my life exclusively to litterature, and my only motive, in 
seeking this appointment, is, to enable me to do it, and at the same time, 
to make myself in some measure useful to others. 

Thomas C. Ruffin, Esquire. 

[Address: Oxford.] 

From Joseph Oaiea. 

[Raleigh, March 14, 1822] 

We have finished all the copy sent by my Son from Hillsboro, and my 
Hands will be at little until we receive more. 

The copy sent makes about 50 pages, so that it will require about twice 
as much to make up the present No.^ 

If you will let us have it, the No. shall soon be out. 

Ralxigh, Mar. 14, 1822. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From John Rogers. 

Baltimobs March 23d 1822. 

My movements have been a little eccentric of late — ^but the result 
has been propitious. In person ere long, I shall have the pleasure of 
acknowledging to yourself and Dr. Webb, with how much gratitude I am 

[P. S.] About fifteen minutes ago, I was received by the Faculty, 
as a Doctor of Medicine. My Thesis is yet to be written, which wiH 
employ me three or four days. The Commencement takes place next 
Monday week and if possible, I shall obtain permission to leave Bait 
before that period, so as to be in Raleigh by the first Monday in ApriL 

iReference is here made to Supreme Court Reports, Ruffin having been 
made reporter in 1820. His reports are to be found in 1 Hawks (8 N. C), 1-248. 

Thx Rttffin Papxbs. 207 

If yon could only know how transcendantly delightful my feelings are, 
I am sure you would excuse me for the apparent negligence and haste 
with which this is written. 
[Address : 

Dr. James Webb 

Thomas Ruffin Esquire 

North Carolina.] 

From John F, May. 

PxTSBssa. Mar. 14th, 18S2. 
I wrote some time ago to your Cashier Mr. Haywood, requesting him 
to hand you a note of Messrs Harisons, which Mr. Jones, our cashier 
had forwarded for insertion on my acct. Mr. Haywood has not answered 
my letter or Mr. Jones's; and I fear that some Bank matter may perhaps 
have ruffled his temper. It is a pity that corporations should have all 
the bad passions and feelings incident to human beings ; without a Soul 
to answer for, if not to correct and controul them. But such I suppose 
must be the fact; I cannot suppose that a man so respectable, and so 
much a gentleman as Mr. Haywood, would decline any civility or good 
office, to any stranger of tolerably decent reputation ; on the contrary I 
know that the better feelings which have characterized him thro' life, 
would make him take a pleasure, (a real tho' small still pleasure, in 
solitude after a day's business), in the reflection that he had, from the 
best and purest influences under which we ever act, done a service to 
one of his brethren, tho' a stranger ; and thus contributed to extend the 
circle of human felicity. For what a wretched condition would ours 
be, without the dispositions and feelings which lead to the many little 
kind and civil offices, that are so necessary to our comfort our conven- 
ience, and our helplessness. But Banks can have all the feelings of 
resentment which an individual has, without any of those dispositions 
and corrections which heaven has, in its mercy, created in the human 
race: and thus the cashier of the Bank of N. C. will not give a civil 
answer to a civil question asked by the Prest. of the Bank of Ya. as it 
was no doubt supposed — tho' in fact it was extended as a favour, asked 
of Mr. H. for poor me. I, by myself, I, as John Randolph said — But I 
am very far from the purpose with which I set out and which was any- 
thing rather than moralising. The note of which I speak was one handed 
to me, as agent for a most estimable woman, Mrs. Bo. Colquhoun, last 
fall. Mr. Harrison would have paid it, but for my neglect; and there- 

268 The North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

fore when she, was going to Philad*. I advanced her the money for it. 

It was not a negotiable note; and therefore not one which, here, (and 

probably in N. C.) could atricti juris, be collected at Bank; and was in 

Deer, last sent to Mr. Haywood with a request that he would cause an 

application to be made for the money. Some time in febry. I requested 

him to say whether the note was paid; and if not to place it in your 

hands. Will you do me the favour when you go to Raleigh to take 

charge of the matter for me? I have never heard one word from Mr. 

Haywood on the subject. 


I feel anxious to learn what is your situation and what are your pros- 
pectSy in relation to Murphy's affairs. I wish most earnestly that you 
may be extricated from this embarrassment upon better terms than you 
anticipated; and have several times intended to make this enquiry, but 
the pressure of business in the winter and spring prevents my doing any 
thing but bv^sinesa: 

I hope that you and your good lady are in a great degree resigned to 

the more distressing affliction of which you apprized me last fall; and 

that its effects have yielded to that influence of time and those duties of 

life, which afford the only worthy solace to the agonies of a parents' 



Th. C. Ruffin Esqr. 
[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

To William Polk} 

[Raleigh N C, May 21, 1822] 

At the Court House — 
I have seen Mr. J***H***in the street today and conceive 
that he is plainly deranged; and I have some reason to believe that in 
his state of delusion, he meditates a personal attack upon you for some 
supposed recent injury — Mr Seawell detained him over an hour this 
morning opposite the Bank from going into the Directors room, where 
he had before enquired what Directors attended. I feel it my duty to 
communicate this matter to you and to suggest that the only way to 
contend effectually with a mad-man is to avoid him. I hope his friends 
will be able to get him to go home shortly and in the mean time, that you 
remain at your own house — Mr. Seawell expresses the same hope, to 
whom I have shewn this and who desires me to add that he knows, that 
Mr H * * * is a perfect maniac and that he has the most hostile pur- 
poses towards you. At present Dr H * * * has charge of him and will 
use his best endeavours to restrain and to get him off. 

iMss. Division, Library of Congress, William Polk Papers. 

The Buffin Papibbs. 269 

From William Polk, 

[Raleigh, N. C, May 21, 1822] 
I am much obliged by the Note which you sent me this morning and 
am thankful to you and others who have interested themselves in the 
business to which your Note had allusion. 

I have told Dr. H * * * that I would not throw myself in J. H's 
way; but my dear Sir I have like other men business to perform which 
will call me from my house into the street and elsewhere ; and I cannot 
consent or submit to being confined to my domicil thro' the threats of 
any man ; and if attacked must defend myself but to avoid all this, is it 
not in the province of the Court to take cognizance of the matter and 
apply the legal preventive — to this end I enclose you an address to the 
Court, which I beg you to present in such way as your good judgment 
shall direct. 

1 O'clock 21, May, 1822. 
Mr. Ruffin. 


To the worshipful Court of Wake County. 

I have this day been informed by high and reputable authority; that 
J***H*** Esqr. of the county aforesaid, has declared it as his 
intention, to assault me, that for this purpose he carries a large Hickory 
stick, and has been in search of me, in divers parts of Kaleigh, to carry 
his declarations into effect. It is not fear of Mr. H * * *, that induces 
me to make this communication to your Worships ; but it is, that you as 
conservators of the peace, and guardians of the priviledges and f redom 
of the citizens of the County over which as a Court you preside ; will take 
measures to secure that peace and personal f redom which is likely to be 
disturbed and restrained by the menaces of the said J * * * H*** Esq 
if carried into execution. 

I am an old Man now, with a large Family under my care; and a 
member of this Family is now in a situation unqualified to bear surprise 
or distress from whatever cause, but more particularly from an assault 
on me. 

I pray the Court to take such order on the foregoing representation 
as they shall deem proper. 

Your very Obt. Ser 

Tuesday May 21, 1822. Will. Polk 

270 Thb ITobth Cabolik a Historical Commission. 

To Bartlett Yancey.^ 

Ralbioh, July 2nd, 1822. 

The sale of Rose's property will be made on Monday next to a cer- 
tainty I expect. I shall attend myself and hope the sale will be closed 
as I have had trouble enough about it, Gk>d knows, and can't think of 
taking more on me if avoidable. 

I shall be exceeding glad to see you there and beg that you will not 
disappoint me. I have many things to say to you — to communicate some 
facts and to interchange opinions upon other points. The RepublicanB 
must rouse themselves. The public mind must be enlightened ; else the 
Cause and the Country will go down. There is a powerful combination 
forming and formed against us. Don't fail to be at Person. I have no 
time to say more. 

m. B. Come early in the day, so that we may have a long talk. I 
shall be obliged to get home Monday night so as to leave again on 

From Duncan Cameron. 

Obanob Octo : 5th 1822. 

Have you heard lately from Mr. Murphy — do you expect him back 
shortly — ^if not what detains him? Report says that he is engaged in the 
purchase of property. I hope not, as I fear it will prove an unprofitable 

[Address: Hillsboro'] 

From John Haywood. 

Satubday night, [Nov., 1827] 
Your kind note of this Evening is before me: — I regret much that 
Business has so occupied you as well as myself, during the present week, 
that we have not had half an hour which might be devoted to a discus- 
sion of the meritorious claims of our absent Friend and to the placing 
them on such a Basis as will help promise to insure justice; by which 
I would be understood to mean a liberal Compensation, and one which 
should be graduated by the magnitude and importance of his late highly 

iThis letter is in the possession of the North Carolina Historical Society and 
is reprinted from The Jantea Bpmnt Hiatorical Publications, Vol. 10, No. 2. 

Thb Bttffin Papsb8. 271 

valuable services to our University '} — ^Needy as that Institution is and 
has ever been^ Mr. Murphey's late Efforts in its favour, have been 
crowned with a degree of success which I hope and trust will prove 
incalculably valuable; by placing at its disposal Funds which; with 
prudent management, cannot fail to prove commensurate to its wants, 
at all future times. As there is no man in our Country who could better 
have achieved this meritorious work or service, so there is none among 
us, that I would more willingly owe the Benefits of it to, than to Mr. 
Murphey: and in truth, I doubt much whether there is any other man 
in our State, who could have effected the delicate and difficult Business 
of that Undertaking, with that full and complete success and address 
which he has. — The University owes him much, and I consider the 
Trustees and our Citizens at large greatly indel)^ to him, on that occa- 
sion : — He has neglected his own Business, as well here as in Tennessee, 
to attend to and accomplish ours, or rather that of the University of 
which we have the Care : — as a Patriot, I doubt not he feels a Reward 
in the reflection, that he has served this Establishment, the best hope 
of our Country, and one to which he has long been enthusiasticaUy 
attached, efficiently and to the utmost of his power: but we all know, 
that whilst his invaluable time and labours have been devoted to this 
service his private affairs, and of course his family, have been neglected. 
He has laboured much and long for the public good, whilst he has accom- 
plished less for himself and family than most other men of ability and 
worth among us; and'it remains for the Trustees to take order, that his 
services to the University shall issue in a different respect. 

I love Murphey as a friend and Brother, and feel indeed a deep interest 
in all that concerns him, or his ; and on the present occasion, none among 
his many friends can be more anxiously desirous that he should be hand- 
somely and liberally treated and compensated, than I am: — I wish to 
God it was more in my power to do justice to his worth and merit, by 
pvblichly speaking of them; or to place his just Claims in such light as 
would insure their success : — The little I can do, either in the Board or 
out of doors, shall not be left undone : — I wish however exceedingly that 
you could be here, as I am persuaded you would be highly useful now 
although you might not feel free or at liberty to say much on the occa- 
sion. I trust and hope with you that Mr. Murphey will rise superior 
to those diffibulties which have latterly clouded his prospects, and de- 
pressed his Friends : — I trust his expectations in the western country will 
be fully realized ; but in the mean while, I know you will agree with me, 
that his friends here ought not to be the less industrious, in advocating 
the just claims of which I have made mention above, however he may 
be able to live without them. The Trustees of our University compose 
a numerous Body, and among such numbers some diversity of opinion 

iMnrphey had been able to aecnre for the University of North Carolina a 
compromise which had restored to it a considerable portion of its Tennessee 
lands which the State of Tennessee had refused to release. 

272 Thb ITobth Cabolina Hibtobical Comicissiok. 

may well be looked for. I wish you could attend the meetings of the 
Boardy during a few evenings ; and if it would be in your power to do so, 
I will not fail to advise you of the time when this Business will probably 
come on. I hope our country generally and the Trustees of our Uni- 
versity in particular will shew, that they appreciate these Services of 
Mr. Murphey on this interesting Mission* I am willing to believe all 
will be grateful, but, in his circumstances that is not enough ; I wish to 
see him rewarded — munificently rewarded — and this I trust and hope 
will be done. 

Judge Ruffin. 

[Address: Eagle Hotel Raleigh.] 

From Oavin Sogg} 

[Chapel Hill, N. C, Dec. 2, 1822] 
One of the members of assembly mentioned to me that there was a 
Bill before the assembly to take away from the Judges of the Supreme 
Court, the power of appointing a Reporter, and to vest it in the Assembly 
who were to appoint some person to report every year with a salary for 
his services and asked me whether I would accept the appointment: I 
answered that I had no objections to report the cases but that I would 
do nothing that would tend to displace you : He said tEat your removal 
was determined on and that my accepting or refusing would not affect 
you : I then declined giving an answer to Hie application until my return 
which would be on thursday : He said He would endeavour to keep the 
Bill on the table until my return: I left a verbal message for Mr. 
Devereux authorizing him if it would not affect you and if no one else 
was solicitous to have the appointment to let the member know that I 
would accept : But this communication was to be made only in the event 
that it was necessary to decide before my return : The conversation with 
the member was on friday last I left Raleigh on Saturday before Mr. 
Devereux had returned from Johnston Court: You have friends in 
Raleigh who will have advised you of the Bill or Resolution for I know 
not which it is: You will perceive at once that it was due to the good 
understanding between us that you should know from me in what manner 
my name became concerned in the matter : I do not know now that my 
name will ever be mentioned to the Assembly but if it should it is proper 
that you should know from me that I would not consent to receive any 
advantage or profit at your expense. 
Thos. Ruffla esqre. 
[Address: Hillsborough.] 

iGavin Hogg was a noted lawyer of Bertie County. 

Thb Rttffin Papxbs. 278 

From Duncan Cameron. 

Baueioh, Dec. 25th 1822. 

It was with great reluctance that I complied with your instructions 
in reporting your resignation as a Member of the Committee etc. I had 
fulfilled your request in that particular before the receipt of your last 
letter. I now regret that I did not take on myself the responsibility of 

withholding it. 


The Assembly is fast drawing to a close, of which I am heartily glad — 
its proceedings will be found highly unprofitable to the State, an attempt 
was made to establish Courts of Equity in each of the present judicial 
circuits, to be holden by the Judges of the Supreme Co. and to create two 
additional circuits with two Judges both of which have failed. I will 
give you some information on those subjects worthy of notice when I 
see you. I am decidedly of opinion that the Supreme Co. as at present 
organized rests on a very unstable foundation, and that unless other 
duties than those as are performed by the members of it are assigned to 
and performed by them, it cannot maintain its existence many years. 

I shall be gratified by hearing from you on your return from Danville, 
and by learning that you have gotten the business with Cabell adjusted 
to your satisfaction. I remain with regard 

[Address: Hillsboro^] 

From Francis L. Hawha,^ 

Balbigh Jany 9, 1823. 

In consequence of the act of 1822, the Judges of the Supreme Ct. 
have made me Reporter. I accepted the appointment under an assur- 
ance I had received (not however from the Judges) that you did not 
wish it. It is made my duty to report such cases as you have not, and I 
have to beg of you to furnish me with such papers as you may have, 
belonging to or connected with cases which you have not prepared for 
the press. If you can bring them with you, it will be to me an accomo- 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

iFrancis Lister Hawks, 1798-1866, the noted author and Episcopal minister, 
then a practicing lawyer. 


274 Thk Nobth Oasolina Hibtobioal Commission. 

From Francia L. Hawks. 

Raleigh Feb. 14, 1823. 

I have availed myself of the privilege you gave me when here and have 
published your last in my name, adding a note that you prepared the 
cases. My object was to secure to you some remuneration for your 
trouble. I can receive pay for it and hand it over to you, had it appeared 
in your name nothing would have been obtained. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Thomas D. Bennehan. 

Stagville 15th April 1823. 

Most sincerely do I join you in wishing that your situation waa audi, 
that you would feel willing to abandon your laborious but lucrative pro- 
fession, it is only necessary for you to continue it a few years, and our 
wishes will be gratified, and the moment you reach this point, I as t 
friend advise you either to abandon your Profession or curtail your 
labours for your life in my opinion depends on it. I have scarcely heard 
one word in this section of the county about the congressional election, 
but this much I am confident of that our people will not submit willingly 
to be saddled by D. L. Barringer, if we can possibly prevail on some 
decent man to oppose him. Be so good as to tell Mr. Kirkland that I wiQ 
write to him in a few days on the subject of Thrashing Machines. 

[Address: Hillsborough, N. C] 

From James H. Buffin.^ 

Wbntwobth 27th May 1823. 

We have this day had an election to fill the vacancy occasioned by the 
resignation of Jno. Mattock as Sheriff. There were 4 or 5 candidates 
and John O'Donnel has been the successful aspirant to the office. The 
contest was principally between Jas. Watt and him, and was very nearly 
equal, he succeeding by only two votes. His success is unpopular among 
the legal profession at this Bar. 

My love to Sister and your family: — 

Thomas Ruffin esqr. 

Hillsborough No. Ca. 

iJames Hipkins Ruflin, the younger brother of Thomas Ruflin. 

Thb Buffin Papebs. 275 

From Hugh Oglehy. 

Sydsnham Gbobgia May 31st 182a. 

Should it not be too great an infringement upon your professional 
avocations, you will confer a favour on me, by informing me of the 
situation of the Debts placed in your hands some time since on Jonathan 
Haralson. Also the result of the Suit instituted by Thos. Donoho against 
my Father and Doctor Oarland for the Land sold the Latter. Wheather 
it has been tried, or wheather you think it is probable, they will ever 
bring it to a close. My removal to this country has presented much 
better prospects in life than I had in Milton, and I hope to be enabled 
(if I can remain unmolested) by Industry, and strict Economy to afford 
tiiose who are dependent upon me for subsistance, all of the necessary 
comforts of life. 

We at this time experience considerable pressure, money is scarcer 
here than it has been known to be for several years past. There has 
been some recent improvement in the price of cotton, it is brisk sale and 
in Demand in Augusta @ 8 to 12^ cents. Politicks runs unusually high 
with us upon the next Presidential Election, how stands Mr. Crawford 
with you. Our Crops are unusually promising. Please give me an 
answer to this as early as may suit your Convenience. A Letter will 
reach me directed to Bethlehem, Oglethorpe County Oa. 

[Address : 

North Carolina.] 

From Archibald D. Murphey. 

^ r. ^ Haw Rivbb 10th June 1823. 

Dear Buffin, 

I have been specially employed in the Case of Stokes and Wellborn 
vs Waugh and Findly. It is the old Moravian Cause over again, and I 
fear a further examination of it. It is better for the Parties to have a 
Continuance: I expect Stokes and Wellborn both calculate upon my 
paying some attention to it : but I have never received any direct appli- 
cation on the subject, and therefore am not at liberty to interfere. 
Gaston appears for the Complts, I believe. Continue it, if it be mutually 

If I die in Tennessee, or on the road, in due time have me brought to 
Orange and laid by the Side of my Children. I leave my Will with my 
Wife, duly attested to pass my lands in Tennessee. I have devised the 
whole of my Lands to yourself and my son William, in Trust to pay 
my Debts, in the first place, and in the next, for the Use of my Wife. 

276 Thb Nobth Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

If I die and yon can Sell as much of my lands as will pay my Debts, and 
pay you for ike following Negroes^ Henry, Bridget and Lucy, I wiah yon 
to convey those Negroes to my Wife. She could not in any possible way 
that I can conx;eive, get along without Henry and Bridget. 

Should my Wife stand in need of any thing, I beg you to furnish it 
I shall hasten back as fast as I can: But I wish to settle $20,000 of 
Debts before I leave Tennessee. My mind will be much relieved, if I 
can effect this. I shall have a busy time, having a great Variety of 
Business to do for others as well as myself : But all of it will yield me a 
Profit, except a little Business of Mrs. Camerons. 

• •««««« 

Thomas Buffin esqr. 

N. B. I beg you to buy a Virgil with English Notes, in Raleigh, and 
send it to the Care of Mr. Johnston in Hillsborough for IJmstead. He 
will want it before you go to Caswell Court. I have no other chance of 
getting him a Virgil. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Samuel Strudwich.^ 

Nbab Gbbensbobo, Alabama, [June 15, 1823] 
I learn by Mr. Sd. Ashe who has but just returned from N. Carolina, 
that the Cape Fear N. Company have obtained a judgement on a note 
they held against me for $450. which is one half of the price of a lot I 
purchased of them at the sale. This is the second bond; the one that 
became due first I discharged. Mr. Ashe also informs that in pur- 
suance of your advice he enjoined the Cape Fear NT. Company on the 
judgement they had against him, and that it is advisable for me to 
resort to the same expedient; This I would most cheerfully do, but I 
am entirely at a loss in what manner to do it; whether the injunction 
can be had in this country and forwarded ; ot whether it can be effected 
through an agent to whom I may have communicated the grounds on 
which the injunction is solicited. Beduced as I am to this state of 
incertitude I must b^ you to furnish me with the earliest instructions 
on the subject; and if there unfortunately should not be time enongfa, 
to avail myself of an injunction, I wish you to adopt such further pro- 
ceedings on my behalf as will be to my advantage. In a letter I have 
just written to Doctor Webb I have stated as well as I could my reasons 
for praying an injunction; hoping it might perhaps have the desired 

There is another subject to which I wish to call your attention, namely 
the settlement with my Fathers estate for the monies reed, from England. 

iSamuel Strudwick was a native of Orange County who had become a resi- 
dent of Alabama. 

The Buffin Papsbs. 277 

A fifud settlement has never yet taken place^ neither has there been any 
allowance made me for the expenses incurred in conducting this business. 
The accounts exhibiting the expenses referred to, were left with you, and 
as I am in arrears to the estate, it ia of importance to me that these 
accounts should be passed to my credit. I am still desirous to have the 
question of Law relative to the distribution of this money decided by 
the Supreme Court, and altho' many may be disposed to impugn my 
motive, none have a right to do it, because none know it. The bargain 
you will recollect I made with you was that I would give you if success- 
ful $200, otherwise $50. 

I should glad to hear that you had reed, of Mr. Bruce the amount 
of the note, for which I am security, but I am a little fearful there are 
no such good tidings in store for me. Suffer me to repeat the request, 
that you will communicate with me as soon as possible, and furnish me 
with the instructions relative to this bUl of injunction I so much need. 
I have the happiness of being able to inform that the Carolina Colony 
are all well. Present my best respects to Mr. and Mrs. Eirkland and 
Mrs. Buffin and accept the assurances of sincerest esteem. 

P. S. I understand Beeves intends coming on here to take or steal, 
my Lynch negro ; I would be very thankful to you if you would take the 
trouble to give me a little information on this subject, — ^Whether he 
has any right take her into possession! And what sort of right it is, 
I have to a piece of property that ceased to be mine as soon as I lose 

June 15th 1823. 

Thomas Buffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsboro N. C] 

From Joseph Oales, 

Balbioh 1st July 1823. 
The Intendant and Commissioners of the city of Baleigh having 
entered into a contract with Capt. Theophilus Hunter for the purchase 
of his right to a certain Mill Pond on Walnut Creek and the said parties 
having agreed that the price to be paid for the same shall be ascertained 
and fixed by certain Arbitrators to be chosen by each. 

I am instructed to notify you of your appointment as Arbitrator on 
the part of the Intendant and Comms. and to request the favor of your 
services on the occasion. 

The other arbitrators on the part of the Board is Will. Bobards Esq. 
and those on the part of Theo. Hunter are Will Sneed Esqr. of Gran- 
ville and Henry Qoodloe Esq of Franklin. 

Yours respectfully 

Jo. Gaubs, 
Int*. of Police. 

278 Thb Nobth Casolina Historical Commission. 

From Thomas Crowder Jr. 

Lynchbubg 7th July 1823. 

I have long had it ia contemplation to write you but in consequence 
of an important charge^ a crowd of business and much affliction I have 
been let hitherto. I however at last have found the time. At the present 
I am recovering from a severe attack of ague and fever; the attack was 
more bilious than otherwise ; my fevers were very high frequently pro- 
ducing delirium^ but in all this the Lord was with me, insomuch that I 
could say with the great Apostle of Gentiles ^'for me to live is Christ; 
but to die is gain." 

We have a very large church in this place, consisting of two hundred 
and forty five members — our house is a very good one and remarkably 
well attended. I suppose, at moderate calculation, upon an average, 
I preach to one thousand souls every time I hold forth. We have v^y 
precious meetings among us, though as yet, no particular revival has 
taken place; yet I hope we are ripening for one. I think I have seen 
some traces of it. May the Lord hasten it on and save the purchase of 
his own blood. Amen. 

I will now change the subject for a while. The various kinds of trade 
here are dull except the tobacco trade which, by the by, is the most 
important. I have understood from my landlord, that upwards of ten 
thousand Hogsheads of tobacco have been inspected here this year ; but 
notwithstanding this the people cry here like they do there. Hard 
times! Hard times! One, (and the grand) reason of so much dissatis- 
faction in world, is the people are seeking happiness where it is not to 
be found. 

Now permit me to close by subjoining you an exortation. Beflect 
how precious and short time is, how much is already gone to waste;, the 
vast importance of redeeming the remainder; on the talents God has 
freely and mercifully given you, the awful responsibility under which 
you lay to him for an improvement of those talents; the evanescent 
nature of all things below; God's having advertised you of this and 
prepared and directed your mind to something well calculated to render 
you in part happy here and forever hereafter; and the awful thought of 
dwelling in the damnation of hell through interminable ages ; but elating 
idea of dwelling in those mansions which our blessed Emanuel has pre- 
pared for them that love him, there where glory dwells in glory and 
light beams behind light. 

Now when you have thus reflected, hasten to the Lord Jesus, the 
intrinsic eloquence of whose pleading once darkened the sun as mid- 
night, clothed Phoebus in sackcloth, dimed the stars and converted the 
whole earth, yea even rent the solid marble; and now prevails in your 
behalf : He will apply the purifying blood to your soul, hide you in the 

Thb Et7FFiN Papebs. 279 

cleft of the rock (himgelf ) cause you to see his glory and spread over 
you his broad hand of power and save you f orevermore. So adieu. 

Give my love with both hands to Mrs. Buffin, Catherine and all the 

Bemember me to all enquiring friends. 
[Address: Hillsborough N. C. 
Endorsed : 

Bevd. Thos. Crowder 

July 1828.] 

From B. B. Smith. 

Baueiqh 12th Augt. 1823. 

I have just reed from the P. M. General a copy of the letter addressed 
by his predecessor to you on the 24th May last^ and you will find it on 
the other page. I am more than ever confirmed in the belief, that the 
original must have been purloined and your plan for detection discovered. 

Let us however be on the alert, and try all expedients for I yet hope 
we shall discover the Miscreants. I have examined the northern packet 
several times from Hillsboro' but perceive you have not as yet made 
the experiment we agreed upon. You will do so doubtless whenever 
you find time. 

Thos. RufSn Esqr. 


[On same sheet of paper] 

Gbnl Post Office 
Thos. Buffin Esq. 24th May 1823. 

Hillsboro, N. C. 
Sib. The project which you suggest for discovering the depredators 
upon the mail appears to be a good one. If you will make a remittance, 
taking the same precautions as you did in the letter to Robertson & 
Kelso, appointing the 'time for Mr. Smith to open the mail and repeating 
the experiment two or three times if necessary. If any loss is sustained 
It shall be reimbursed to you by this office. Your friend ought not to 
know it is any other than a real transaction. I have written Mr. Smith 
on this occasion. 

Bespectfully etc. 

(Signd.) R. J. Mbigs. 
[Address: Hillsboro, N. 0.] 

380 The Nobth Cabouna Histobical Commission. 

John McLean?- to B, B, Smith, 

Post Offick DspASTMEirr 
Sir, 27 Aug. 1823. 

I have just received a letter from Judge Ruffin, with your postscript 
It appears to me^ that a plan somewhat different from the one proposed 
by the Judge, might be adopted with a better prospect of success. Sup- 
pose that you or the Judge should enclose in a letter fifteen or twenty 
dollars in one dollar notes, folded in such a manner, as to shew that 
something of value was enclosed, and direct this letter to some town to 
which remittances are frequently made. This letter might be mailed 
at an office, so as to require it to pass through the suspected offices. You 
or he could accompany the mail with a key to open it, and always open 
it just before it arrived at the suspected office, and immediately after 
it had passed. By this means the dishonest P. M. might be detected, 
and the evidence would, in all probability, lead to a conviction. It is 
not only desirable, that such dishonest post masters should be discovered, 
but that they should be punished. 

If you or he will undertake this plan, your ezpences shall be paid, and 
a compensation for your time, also any loss which you may sustain by 
enclosing the money above stated, shall be made good. You probably 
have a spare key in the Office, if not, I will send you one. 

This letter will authorize you or the Judge to open the mail. 

I am willing to adopt any plan most likely to detect dishonesty, but 
I should like to see the one I have above suggested first tried. 

I am very respectfully 

B. B. Smith Esquire Your obedient servant 

Raleigh, N. C. John McLeait. 

[Address: Benj. B. Smith Esquire 

Post Master, 
North Carolina.] 

From B. B. Smith, 

Post Office, 

Raubioh 2d. September 

You will find enclosed a letter from the Post Master General, on the 
subject of your late communication. He seems disposed to try a different 

iJohn McLean of Ohio, 1785-1861, M. C, 1813-1816; postmaster general, 1823- 
1829; associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1829-1861. 

Thb Euffin Papbbs. 281 

plan from the one intimated by you^ and I think it a pretty good one; 
but after all, it is only what we heretofore agreed upon^ but never carried 
it into execution. Suppose therefore we make the experiment in the 
next mail or the mail af ter, and if we should not succeed, on information 
being given to the P. M. GenL he will try the experiment suggested 
by you. 

I have given Mr. Moring, the Key to hand to you ; and after putting 
in your letters at the Post Office, you could get into the stage and ride 
a diort distance and examine the Hillsboro packet of Letters directed 
^^Northwardly." If all was safe, then you would be satisfied that no 
attempt had been made at Hillsborough to rob that mail and you might 
return. It would then have to pass thro' the Chapel Hill Post Office, 
and if at that place any violence was committed, on examining the same 
Northern Packet of Letters, here, it would be readily discovered if 
nothing was found amiss, why then I could take out your letter or letters, 
and return them to you by Mr. Moring. If we do not succeed the first 
attempt, let us continue the experiment, and I think after a while we 
shall be apt to entrap the miscreant. 

You ought to let me know privately by Mr. Moring, the address of the 
letters you intend for the experiment, so that they may not pass this 

It would I think in writing these letters, be well, to be particular in 
the phraseology, so that if they should fall into bad hands, they might 
not suppose they were caught; for in such event they might immediately 
make their escape by flight. 

I would come up to Hillsborough myself, and consult with you further 
on the subject, but it being uncertain, whether I should find you at home, 
and as it will be in your power to do every thing that I conceive to be 
necessary in the business, it is not worth while for me at present to 
visit Hillsborough. Let me hear from you as soon as practicable. I 
suppose of course that the Post Master Oenl. wrote to you, as well as 
to myself. What does he say about Cookee letters f Did he ever receive 
any from him on the subject of these robberies? 

Thomas Buffin Esqr. 


From Duncan McFayden. 

Fatbttevilub 22d Oct. 1823. 
Mr. John IT. Kirkland of this place advised me to write you as one 
of the Trustees of the University of this State and give you an account 
of the family of a Mr. Gilbert MacKechnie who died at Chapel Hill in 
June 1821. In hopes that such will facilitate the means of recovering 
any little money left by said McKechnie, I beg leave to trouble you 
with the following particulars. 

282 Thb North Gasohna Historical Commission. 

The deed was a native of the Island of Islay Argyle Shire Scotland, 
which place he left in October 1820 leaving then an aged mother in 
indigent and reduced circumstances. His only brother John MacKechnie 
left Scotland four years ago and is since living in the British Dominions 
of America. I have had a letter from him lately which I send you 
enclosed and from which you may see that it is his wish to send his 
poor mother anything that can be recovered after satisfying all demands 
against his brother^ Gilbert McKechneys Estate. The amt. left agreeably 
to Mr. J. P. Sneed's statement to me, was, after defraying all ezpences, 
about Sixty seven dollars, which sum although small would now be of 
essential service to this poor woman for whose relief alone I have been 
at so much trouble and Expense. I hope therefore that you will exert 
your influence in recovering this little sum and on remitting it to me 
or Mr. John IT. Kirkland. I shall forthwith send you and Mr. Sneed 
or either a satisfactory Bond of Indemnification. Should the enclosed 
letters from the mother and brother of the deceased be not sufficient to 
convince the Trustees of the University as to the confidence reposed in 
me by them, I shall beg leave to refer you to the following gentlemen 
for particulars respecting my character — hoping to hear from you on 
this subject when convenient, 

Angus Taylor 

Dun: Thompson 

John M. Dobbin 

John McBae. 
P. S. I enclose you also .5/ to pay the postage as I cannot get into the 
office. D. McF. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

John MacKechney to Duncan McFadyen. 

^, r^ ^# rr -I QUEBBC 80th JUUO 1828. 

Mr. Duncan Mc Fadyen 

Sir. tho I belive your are My countryman, yet I am sorry to truUe 
you as I dont Becolect of you. I had a letter Inclosed to me from John 
Gillien Losset — ^Dunes of Islay — Argyleshire which apeared to have 
been sent you from Mr. James Hogg— of Chapel hill Dated 7th June 
1821 Giving you a particular account of My Brother Gilbert McKech- 
neys Death. John Gillies is a Cusen of mine — ^he could not give me any 
other acct. of Gilberts Death only this letter — ^which I supose you send 
to my Mother Catherine Mclntyre Neanboss Islay I left Paisley 4 
years ago and My Mother G McKechney was to follow — however it was 
not to be. Now the only thing I wish you to do for me, is if you can 

Thb Kuffin Papbbs. 283 

give me any Information so as to recover his watch and seals which was 
my own, and formerly Belong to my Brother Malcolm McKechney 
Jailor, Glasgow, who Died in 1817. I was the oldest Brother — and now 
left alone however thank God I have a promising little Family of 4 
children and Considering the bad times pretty comfortable. I supose 
by the account you had from Mr. hoggs that there would be very little 
left when all was paid. Mr. hogg behaved as a friend and a Gintleman 
I wish I had it in my power to make him a Becompence — ^he will have 
my poor Mothers Blesings who is now left without a child Only me — 
and fare from him it would be an act of Charity to send her any thing 
that was lift — ^if any it Might be sent to Fetter MacEacham Spesel 
Marchant Greenock, a friend of ours. I trust these lines will come to 
your hand and an answer will Greatly obblige 

Your most Obt. Sort. 

John MaoKschnkt. 
Armoure Ordnance Department Quebec. 

K. B. there is one Malcolm MacLellon Tailor from Islay hear whom 
you know. Please to let me have Mr. Hogg address. J. M. K. 

[Address : 

Mr. Dun** McFayden 

at Mr. Taylors Mercht 

From B. B. Smith. 

Post Office 

Ealbigh 28th Octo. 1823. 
Tour favor under date of the 16th Inst, by Mr. Moring, was duly 
reed, and Agreeably to your request, I opened and particularly examined 
the mail myself and found that the two fictitious Letters sent in the 
Baleigh Packet and the one in the Petersburg Packet, were all safe, and 
no markes of violence appeared on any of the genuine Letters therein 
enclosed. They were of course forwarded. By this days mail I return 
you the money in two Letters of a similar character. One addressed 
by myself to you, covering $17 and the other by Alexander Collins, con- 
taining $20. I have taken down the number and description of the 
Bills as nigh as they could be ascertained, some of them being very 
ragged. I hope you will meet the stage and examine the Raleigh packet. 
That you may easily find and distinguish it from the other Packets I 
will direct it in large Letters, "HiUsboro, Orange CoutUy No, Ca., and 
underscore the word Hillsboro. This may save you a good deal of time, 
and after you shall have opened it and satisfied yourself, you will be 

884 The Nobth Casouka Hibtobical Commission. 

very particular in doing it up again. If everything should be rights 
why then you must wait until the mail shall be opened at the Hillaboro 
Office, and here if your Letters are not immediately delivered jou may 
easily know the reason — should they go safe to hand, it will be well to 
repeat the experiment after a while and I think we shall be pretty apt 
to catch the villain. Whenever you propose to try it again, drop me a 
line by Mr. Moring, and as before I will particularly examine the mail 
Thomas Ruffin Esqr. 

From Rarmdui M. Saunders. 

Wabhinotow Dec. 29th, 182S. 
I have the satisfaction of acknowledging the receit of yours of the 
20th inst. Your profered ^'services in defending or adjusting^ the 
demand against me, places me under additional obligations to the many 
other causes of friendship which I have already received at your hands — 
and nothing I can assure you will ever afford me more real gratification 
than to retain your good opinion and in some way be able to return the 
many favours for which I am so much your debtor. 

Do not however let me impose upon you any labour, that may be the 
least injurious to your health, which I am happy to learn has ao far 
improved, and which with care I trust will soon be entirely restored. 
You should certainly abstain from the 'cares of life' for a sufficient length 
of time to place your disorder out of the probability of returning. 

It will afford me pleasure at any time whilst here to give you such 
information upon the passing accurrances as may interest you. We 
have as you will perceive many propositions for the amendment of the 
Constitution. One would think from the number that the Abb6 Sieyes 
or his constitution making spirit had gotten amongst us. Mr. McDuffie* 
and Hayne^ are both very zealous, the former has made a very able 
report in favour of his plan and will I understand make an elaborate 
argument, the latter on introducing his into the Senate claimed credit for 
what did not really belong to him nor his plan and that of Mr. Taylor* 
last year is in principle the same — very doubtful what is to be done. Mr. 
Webster has offered a Greek resolution^ he i& an able man and when it 

lOeorge B. McDuffle, 179(^1861, member of Congress from South GaroUsa. 

2Robert Toung Hayne, 1791-1839, senator from South Carolina. 

sjohn W. Taylor of New York. 

^Greece, now in the midst of a fierce struggle against Turkey, soaght reoog- 
nitlon from the United States. There was mach feeling in the country favor- 
able to recognition. Webster's resolution provided for the appointment of a 
commissioner to Greece whenever the President darned it expedient. Webster 
and Clay both supported this vehemently, .while President Monroe and John 
Quincy Adams, secretary of state, were both insistent upon neutrality. 
The resolution was lost partly through Randolph's opposition. It was a par- 
ticularly unfavorable time for such action in view of the President's message 
at the opening of this session of Congress, promulgating the Monroe Doctrtne. 

Thb Kuffin Fapebs. 285 

comes up will no doubt support it with ability. The Tariff we sball 
again certainly have. I fear they are to get the advantage of us^ tho' 
every resistance will be made to reject or render their burthens as light 
as practicable. It is rumored that the president is in possession of im- 
portant communications from the British governments^ in relation to 
the views of the Holy allies concerning the South American republics — 
what they are will not likely be known^ before our Committee of Foreign 
relations shall propose something and probably not untill after it shall 
be known what the allies propose doing. I wish that Calhoun in his 
wild ambition may not induce the President to endanger our own peace 
by endeavouring to give consequence to the army and his extravagant 
plans for fortifications. 

It is really a source of mortification to hear to what little petty appoint- 
ments the President has condescended to prostitute himself^ in order to 
serve the selfish views of Calhoun. I learnt a day or two since^ that both 
the Senators and representators from Missouri recommended a man as 
collector in that State^ that Mr. Crawford concurred^ being an appoint- 
ment properly belonging to his depart, yet the President recommended 
, a man, a brother of little Cook's^ of Illinois, who had voted for Calhoun 
in a Legislative caucus. The Senate however had the firmness to reject 
the nomination. It is said too that Gov. Edwards^ (a man without 
moral character) would receive the nomination to Mexico, but for the 
fear of his rejection Stokes is an applicant, but poor old fellow his 
services in the cause of the '^favorite" are too feeble to insure him 

I agree entirely in your views in relation to certain characters and 
parties, and though I have strong grounds to hope for success, still there 
is much to fear. Adams and Calhoun evidently begin to jar, there has 
been one or too pieces in their papers here that evince no small degree 
of feeling. I think it more than likely therefore that Crawford would 
divide the Eastern States, should Adams be drafted. From Pennsyl- 
Tania I learn the caucus nomination will certainly succeed — that Craw- 
ford already has the largest number in the Legislature — that Jackson's 
friends will certainly go for him, as they complain of the arrogance with 
which Calhoun's friends claim them — I find too that amongst the mem- 
bers here Jacksons few supporters from that State, will vote with us in 
caucus. New York it is confidently said, will go for the Caucus — should 
De Witt C. offer, this will more likely unite the republicans. But every 
possible exertion is now making against a caucus. Calhoun has out 
spies, who bring every body that can be operated upon, to his house which 

iDaniel Pope Cook, 1795-1827, M. C, 1819-1827. 

2Ninian Edwards, 1775-1833, had been chief justice of Kentucky, governor 
of Illinois Territory for nine years, and was now United States senator. He 
was appointed minister to Mexico In 1824, bnt was recalled to answer charges. 
He had written a paper containing very serious charges against William H. 
Crawford and avowed the fact. Not being able to sustain them in any respect, 
he resigned. He was governor of Illinois from 1826 to 1831. 

S86 Thb Nobth CABOLurA Hibtosical Commission. 

is always open to his partisans. Clay's party too begin to hawl off, they 
still say they greatly prefer Crawford as Second, but they know the 
hostility of the other candidates and that Calhouns party will do any 
thing for his defeat, hence they found their calculations for the saccesB 
of Clay, they do not positively refuse and I am in hopes that enough of 
them will go in to answer our purpose. So soon as the Legislature of 
New York shall meet, which will be in January, and shall again express 
their sentiments upon a caucus, we shall mi^e a trial to have it. I 
agree with you fully as to Calhoun and I should not be greatly disap- 
pointed should he prove a second Burr. I am in hopes Mr. Macon will 
go into Caucus. Branch now admits that Mr. Crawford will get the 
vote of our State. I trust our Legislature does as hansomely in forming 
their electoral ticket as they did upon other points. I wish we may do 
as well here. I hope for the best. 
Thomas Buffin esqr. 

From William Ruffin and Others, 

gj, Baubigh, Ist January, 1824 


At a public meeting of the Members of the General Assembly, favor- 
able to the election of William H. Crawford as the next President, on 
the 24th of December, you were nominated as an Elector for the District 
in which you reside : We were appointed a Committee of Correspond- 
ence, and directed to inform you of your nomination, and enquire of 
you, whether you would consent to serve if elected, and vote for Mr. 
Crawford as President. We trust, that if you agree with us in the 
propriety of supporting Mr. Crawford, principles of patriotism, will 
induce you to comply with the wishes of your friends, in consenting to 
place your name on the Ticket' formed by those friendly to his election. 
You will be pleased to give us an answer on this subject, directed to 
William Buffin, of Baleigh, as soon as practicable. 

Very respectfully, 

B. Yawct, 
BoBT. Stranqx. 
J. Wilson, 
J. W. Clabk, 
W. Buffin. 
[Address : Thomas Buffin, Esq.] 

Thb Buffin Papebs. 287 

From Willie P. Mangum. 

,^ -, „. Wabhington City January 20tli 1824. 

My Dear Svr 

I was surprised and indeed mortified to see announced in the Star 
yesterday that our friend Mr. James Mebane had consented to hold a 
poll for one of the electors to support the election of Mr. Calhoun. I 
was mortified^ because the contest will inevitably destroy that harmony 
which is so desirable in the county^ and impair that good understanding 
which it has been my pleasure to cultivate between him and my friends. 

I have written to Mr. Mebane at great length on the Presidential 
election two or three times^ and laboured to convince him that whatever 
might be the success of Mr. Calhoun in North Carolina^ that he stands 
no chance of ultimate success, and that division in the South will very 
probably secure the election of Mr. Clay. 

I regret to see Mr. Mebane made the organ through which that party 
will express their opinions, and to see him with his personal and deserved 
popularity endeavouring to sustain a cause that cannot but be hopeless. 

The result will impair the usefulness of that very excellent man, 
without a prospect of advancing essentially the interests of his favorite 
candidate — I still hope that he will decline, and open the way to a 
gentleman who is ever ready to occupy the breach not where imminent 
perils are to be encountered but where popular favour can be wooed. 
Touching the result everything is in doubt and uncertainty. That Mr. 
Crawford is intrinsically stronger and considerably stronger than either 
of the candidates cannot be questioned. But that Mr. Calhoun cannot 
succeed I take to be equally certain. Mr. Adams is evidently on the 
decline. His best friends abate in their ardour, believing I presume 
that he cannot be carried through. Qen. Jackson is more carressed here 
than all them — and is rapidly gaining ground, and could without doubt 
get Pennsylvania, if she did not think her vote would be thrown away. 

You have seen that a convention will be held in Pennsylvania, with 
the view of designating a ticket. It is believed here that her object is 
to gain time, watch the progress of events and ultimately throw her 
strength in favour of the rising candidate. It is believed that both New 
York and Pennsylvania will make it a point not to be in the minority 
of the General Qovemment, and therefore I presume that any calcula- 
tions at this time could not be satisfactorily relied on. If the election 
shall come to the House of Beps. I assure you that Mr. Clay will be a 
dangerous Competitor. 

Since my arrival at Washington I have become more and more con- 
firmed in the belief that the best interests of this nation require the ele- 
vation of Mr. Crawford to the Executive Chair. 

You have observed the direction and progress of the present Admin- 
istration and it seems to me that it cannot be doubted that the present 
fashionable ultra republicans have gone mad further than the sound 

288 The North Cabouna Hibtobical Commissioit. 

Federalists of the old school^ and that Mr. Calhoun is at the head of the 
new school cannot be questioned. I do not believe thai there is any 
intelligent Federalist in No. Oa. that upon his own principles can keep 
pace with the new school republicans. The new school has taken the 
principles of the old Federalists but press their principles much further, 
I mean on the subjects of internal improvement etc.^ and especially in a 
latitudinous construction of the constitution generally. 

Mr. Macon informs me that even Ruf us King told him that lie was 
alarmed at the extent to which the new school were going, and that it 
had put him upon a reexamination of long established opinions. Mr. 
Webster yesterday occupied the house 2 or 3 hours on his resolution. 
The topic would seem to be barren, but he made it most interesting, and 
it is said that a more able speech has not been made in some years, in 
the House on the policy and views of the Holy Alliance he was most 
powerful, and indeed of the great men here he is the only one that in 
debate has yet manifested all the strength that I had attributed to him. 
You know that as a popular speaker Mr. Clay is perhaps unrivalled. 
Their excellence as you also know is very different in its kind. 

Mr. Crawford is still very ill, and he has been constantly confined to 
his chamber since the meeting of Congress. He is now confined in a 
dark room on account of the inflamation of his eyes. It was thought 
at one time that he would lose his sight. But at this time no doubts are 
entertained of his recovery — ^he amends but slowly, tho surely. 

Be pleased to present my respects to Mrs. Buffin, Mr. and Mrs. Cain 
and accept for yourself assurances of my high respect. 

Tho8. RufSn Esq. ^- ^- ^>^«^''- 

From Rormdua Jf . Saunders. 

Washikoton Febr. 5th, 1824. 

But little has as yet been done in Congress — tho' the papers will give 
you a full account of what has occured — the Greeks after an animated 
discussion are laid upon the table without taking any vote, where it is 
probable the subject will rest. The subject of roads and canals has been 
under discussion for more than a week, — thus we talk from day to day — 
but I fear the next subject, the tariff will eventuate more unfortunately 
for us, If so we must resort to the same kind of associations that pre- 
ceeded the war of our revolution, if we have virtue enough. 

I have just returned from Mr. Crawfords and am happy to say he is 
greatly mended— except his eyes he is well — these are still inflamed but 
much improved — he says he thinks he will be able to come out in ten 
days — it has operated much to his prejudices in being confined. We 
have determined on having a caucus on the 14th of this month — this is 
with a view of nominating Mr. Gallatin as Vice president, so as to 

Thb Buffin Fafsbs. 289 

anticipate the meeting in Fenna. calculating this to secure the vote of 
that State. Our plan is to call the caucus by getting one man from each 
State to sign the notice provided we can get one from the Majority of 
the States to sign — we think that one from fifteen States will sign and 
that our meeting will consist of at least ninety. We will then address a 
letter to such as are friendly to Crawford who refuse to go, and thus 
secure in his favour a majority of the republicans, which consist of 
about 220 in all. If we succeed as we expect, some of the New England 
States will go with us, and by the exertions of Gallatin I yet think Penna 
will come in. I fear you have formed too favorable an opinion of Clay — 
he is acting in a way calculated to forfeit our entire confidence — he 
refuses to go into caucus and has said all he wants is to get the election 
to the house tho' he is not very certain of getting in himself and he 
certainly will not if Jackson runs, and then if Crawford, Adams and 
Jackson come to the House the first must fail — Clay no doubt has 
promises from Calhouns party provided he will oppose a caucus — the 
anti-caucus party have secret meetings appoint one from each State to 
get signatures and promises against a caucus — they have I learn about 
sixty to their paper, they will either come in and attempt to vote us down 
or publish their list and swear they have a majority — ^we will not be 
voted down, even if they attempt it, tho' I do not think they will risk 
this, as we are resolved to go through. Macon will not go in — ^tho' we 
shall get his sanction to the recommendation — Branch I understand is in 
correspondence with Murphey and others upon the subject of forming a 
ticket in our State for Jackson. I yet hope we shall be able to beat the 
rascals. You must if necessary and your health permits take the field 
next summer against Mebane, tho' Calhouns party have no hopes here — 
he still holds out merely for appearances and to make the best bargain 
lie can. I rejoice in his defeat as I think him the most dangerous man 
in the Gk>vemment. 

The Minister to Mexico not yet appointed — it is said Calhoun has 
become alarmed about Dallas and as he has promised so many I should 
not be surprised if some one should get it, that has not as yet been named. 
But as the President is in much difficulty about it— chance will deter- 
mine it. 

Thomas Buffin Esq. 

To Catherine Ruffin} 

,-. T% ± ^T'l-i PrrTSBOBOUGH — February 10th 1824. 

My Dearest Child — 

My promised letter to you should have been written long ago, if I had 

not been so constantly engaged as to be unable to take the time. For I 

assure you it is not more my duty to you than it is a pleasure to myself 

iCatherine Rnffln, later Mrs. J. B. G. Roulhac, was Ruffln's eldest child. 

290 The North Oabolina Histobical Commission. 

to commence and continue a correspondence with yon. I fear howerer 
that I shall not be so agreeable as to make you desire frequent letters 
from me — for I should tell you of the faults in yours and give you odier 
advice and that is generally not very acceptable to young people. I was 
nevertheless gratified at your last letter to your Mother. It was quite 
well written in diction^ pointing, and spelling and seemed to have be^ 
written at your leisure. That is a great matter in all things. You ou^t 
always so to order your time as to do what you intend or is neoeasaiy 
in due season and without being hurried, and you will more likely thea 
do them properly and to your own satisfaction. Never, in particular, 
write carelessly and always write your best in every respect. You would 
soon acquire a habit of correctness and your letters would be sensible, 
neat and easy. I hope that you spend most of your time at home and 
especially your evenings and nights. You are too young to go much 
into company and altogether so to mix in that sort of company called 
parties. I hope you do not desire to do so and will not feel disappointed 
in not going to them. You know, your Parents did not acceded to your 
leaving them to go visiting — but to spend your time chiefly with your 
two Aunts, whose advice and attentions would restrain and improve yeiL 
I repeat the Counsel I gave you when you left us, upon that head : and 
if my words would have more authority as commands than as advice, 
you may take them in that light. You ought to be particularly careful 
not to go out at night for anything. Your throat has given your Mother 
and me a great uneasiness. It may get entirely well if you will observe 
a proper course this winter ; though by neglecting it at your present age, 
you may be an invalid through life. I have therefore to beg you to 
avoid exposure and taking cold — ^keep within doors in bad weather and 
of evenings. 

You tell your Mother that you are reading European History. That 
is very proper and I offer you my thanks and my congratulations for so 
useful and so agreeable an appropriation of your time. Our lives are 
only happy in proportion as they employed in acquiring knowledge and 
practicing virtues. But let me add, that occasional reading of a single 
volume, or a defective treatise upon one subject and then of another is 
of very little value. System and Diligence are essential to the acquisi- 
tion of correct or extensive knowledge and that alone is of value. When 
you read therefore, read, in retirement, well selected books and devote 
all your thoughts to them ; endeavour to impress important events upon 
your memory and to apply the moral considerations arising out of them, 
by reflection, to your own heart and improvement. But I would have 
[you] remember one Book above all the rest. The Book of Life, — ^which 
I trust you read daily and devoutly. The Bible is the fountain of Truth 
and the revealed will of Qod to man: In every line it contains whole- 
some instruction, reproof or comfort and is worthy of being studied and 
known of all men. But it is the surest school for those who desire to 
cultivate good feelings towards God and man, to learn our true nature 

The Buffin Fafbbs. 291 

and destiny and to live in meekness and humility. There are all proper 
tempers and dispositions for a fine woman and nothing would give me 
more pain than to see you indifferent to them. I never knew a woman 
that professed Infidelity or was careless about Eeligion who duly felt 
the weight of any duty or was useful in any of the relations of life or 
was kind in her disposition or was happy. If my opinion be entitled 
to any influence with you, you will not neglect your religious duties: 
Kemember your prayers and your Bible and fail not daily to seek for 
instruction in the former and to acknowledge your dependence in the 
latter — as you have been accustomed to observe in your excellent Mother. 
I wished to add other admonitions ; but I must reserve them for another 
letter, as I have now hardly room left for communicating the tidings 
of home ; for which I know you look in every letter from Hillsborough. 
Tour Mama and the Children as well as all our friends are quite well. 
Tour Sisters returned from Caswell last Saturday week, where they had 
spent the whole of their holidays much to their satisfaction. Anne is 
very hearty and full of glee as usual : Alice looks thiner than common, 
tho' I hope not much is the matter. William went to see his grand-mama 
the first Monday of the month, and, truant-like, he staid all the week 
and only returned on Saturday night. He is at school with Mr. Bogers 
and is reviewing his studies, so as to enter the Freshman class next Ses- 
sion at College with credit. He is also attending upon the instruction 
of a Mr. Moss, who teaches Elocution and Beading, in which William 
is very deficient. I am told that he is a remarkably correct speaker and 
an excellent Header — from which I have hopes that your brother will 
derive much improvement. Sterling is again a pupil of his Scotch friend 
upon the Hill; and Peter is Company for Elizabeth and your Mama. 
Elizabeth begins to walk, tho' she is lazy and timid. She grows and is 
in fine health and pretty as ever and well worthy of your wishing to 
see her. 

I do not know whether you stand in need of Clothes or Books; but 
for fear you should I enclose you Ten dollars for any little matter you 
may wish. I would advise you however not to consult yourself alone 
about your wants, for very few people make safe judges in their own 
matter. Tou have good counsellors at hand in your Aunts. 

Write often to your Mama and brother and sisters — Tou will shew 
your affectionate remembrance of them by doing so, besides affording 
the means of improvement to yourself and the children. I need not say, 
that I shall expect letters myself. Offer my kind regards to all our 
relations ; and receive, my Child, the assurances of the tender affections 
of your Father and Friend Thomas Buffin. 

Miss Catherine Buffin 

292 The North Cabolina Hibtobical Commission. 

From Henry SeawelL 

Washington 12th Feby 1824. 
I have been in this City ever since the 12th Hit. — ^we have gone through 
all the evidence adduced on the part of the government^ and are waiting 
upon "our Oars" for the arrival of farther testimony, which we are 
notified from the department of State, is ''speedily expected." My time 
begins to hang heavily upon me — the novelty of scene has past away: 
I have been physicked with the expression of sympathy for the Greeks; 
I have attended the Supreme Court, and heard several interesting ques- 
tions relative to State-rights discussed; and the right of Congress to 
make internal improvements, being common talk for the hackmen; I 
may say in truth, I am pretty well gorged with Washington, and would 
prefer, greatly, to be at home, or even, on my plantation at Crabtree. 
Congress is said to have more talent, than usually falls to her lot. I 
am permitted as one of the privileged order to a seat within the halL 
I have attended on most occasions of interest and heard the debates. 
Mr. Clay, very far, surpasses any other member I have heard — ^he is the 
most eloquent man I ever have met with, and possesses a voice that would 
give force to any thing he might say. I have seen Genl. Jackson and 
heard him make a short motion. The idea of his military character and 
achievements, makes all who hear him, wUling to think he makes out 
pretty well. The great men in the Supreme Court almost read their 
speeches — they have a book in manuscript, on each point, fastened to- 
gether in the form of a bill in equity, and equal in length, to Murphey^s 
bill in behalf of Stokes and Welboum now pending in the Supreme 
Court of No. Carolina. The Council in argument begin so low, as 
scarcely to be heard, and gradually swell until they fairly rave; then 
they gently subside into a soft whisper, their gesticulation is menacing, 
both to the Court and the bystanders, and an equal portion of all they 
say, is distributed to every part of the hall. The Constitution of the 
United States, appears to be acquiring in the political world what was 
ascribed to the philosopher's stone in the physical regions. It is gather- 
ing by its oum growth, the capacity of converting every thing, into exclu- 
sive Jurisdiction of Congress: for according to the construction now 
contended for, and what it is more than probable will be supported by 
the Supreme Court, the States can do nothing, what it is not in the 
power of Congress to regulate; and there is scarcely any thing they can 
act upon at all — the trade, or commerce, being subject to the regulation 
of Congress, is supposed to draw after it almost all power of regulation, 
and according to a definition given to the word "Commerce" by the Atto. 
Qenl, that it means "intercourse/' I shall soon expect to learn, that our 
fornication laws are unconstitutional: for the favorite doctrine now is, 
that all the powers which congress possess are exclusive, and consequently 
the sole power of acting upon that subject is transferred to them. As 

Ths Buffin Fafebs. 293 

to the presidency, no man knows any thing about it. "The Holy alli- 
ance" I think, have over shot the mark. The people are obliged to see, 
that it is not their right for which so much sensibility is felt ; it is a con- 
sciousness, that it requires a reunion of all the other Candidates, to out 
vote Crawford. Their object is to preverU the people from electing the 
president, in order that it may come to the house of Bepresentatives, 
when it comes there. States may, and will be divided, in some instances 
equally; the very fulcrum can then be designated, upon [which] to apply 
the efficient lever length enough is all that's wanting, little bodies will be 
raised with short levers ; post offices, collectorships, marshals. Judges of 
Territories etc., but your hi^e masses, will require more length : and as 
different lengths are to be found in the great political forest, he who 
becomes the Owner, can direct one to be cut, as easily as another — then 
to the longer grade, up to a ministership. I fear I shall not be able to 
get to Granville Court — I must again implore the mercy of my bretheren. 
I should be glad to hear from you. Accept my best wishes. 

[P. S.] I cannot perform the labour of transcribing this blotted 
sheet. You will find out my meaning and I do not write for the press. 

Mr. Buffin, 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Henry Seawelh 

^, T\ a- Bausioh 1st March 1824. 

My Dear Sir 

I returned from Washington on Saturday worn out with the fatigues 
of the stage, and am at this moment sick enough to be in bed. I am 
compelled to return by the 15th, and it is utterly impossible for me to 
be at Oranville. I have been greatly beset by Holloway, and have heard 
from Mrs. Falconer — my absence is purely accidental, for under no 
ordinary happening of events, coud I have been prevented — our Board 
was literally waiting upon the government for weeks, after having waided 
through the whole mass of evidence adduced by individuals, as a sub- 
stitute for the evidence general in its character which the government 
by the Convention was to lay before the board on the question of Average 
value we have after repeated applications and short adjournments, been 
informed by the 4th of this month the evidence is to be closed, and to 
give full time we adjourned to the 15th. I wish I could see you to talk 
about the presidential election, the event depends upon circumstances, 
and no probable calculation can be made. Mr. Calhoun who was repre- 
sented by his understrappers to be so popular as almost to render his 
election sure, "is off" There is no doubt he will aid Jackson and Adams 

294 The North Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

all his power, preferring Jackson in the first instance and any body 

before Crawford — The Holy Alliance seem determined to pnt him down — 

Many of the friends to Clay, are for Crawford in the second instance, 

and there are some N. England men who are his friends, but afraid to 

turn out against their section. So much for politicks. 


I write in great haste to send to town to go by those bound to Gran- 
ville. I am chilled with cold — and still worse have a client at my elbow. 
Qod bless you — ^remember me to all my brethren in feelings of kindness, 
and show me all the mercy you can. 

Thomas Buffin Esqr. 

[Address: Oxford.] 

E. Freeman^ to H. Potter.^ 

NxwBXBN, March 8th 1824. 

No sooner did I cast my eye upon that part of a former letter of yours, 
informing me of your being visited (infested, I should say) by two Anti- 
Trinitarian Preachers — a Father and his son — than it was impressed 
upon my mind, Whitaker and his son are ihe men! Your letter by today's 
mail has confirmed my suspicion — or rather shown me my conjecture 
was correct. The only reason why I did not mention my suspicion to 
you in my last was, I could hardly believe the young man had had the 
impudence to become a preacher. 

The character of these men I know full well. They are from New 
Bedford, Massachusetts, which is within 30 miles of my Father's house, 
and which place I have often visited, and visited this last fall. I never 
heard any good of them. I have heard from the best authorities much 
evil. Not that they were capable of doing much hurt by preaching — 
they were considered by all as unfit to preach — as too immoral even to 
preach socinianism, — The elder man had been settled over the anti- 
trinitarian Church in New Bedford a number of years and had also a 
school in that place, until last spring or summer. Beports of his stealing 
wood etc., whipping his wife unmercifully, and such like deeds had be- 
come so frequent, and his immoralities and infidelity so notorious, that 
his people (his church and congregation), tho' they had themselves no 
more true religion than the Hindoos, were ashamed of him, and were 
anxious to get rid of him. At length (his congr^ation having dwindled 

iProbably Edward B. Freeman of Halifax, 1796-1868, a native of Mi 
chnsatts, clerk of the Supreme Court, 1846-1868. 

SHenry Potter of Graven, 1766-1867, Judge of the United States District 
Court, 1801-1867. 

The Euffin Fafbbs. 295 

away to almost his own family) and the parish wishing to have another 
minister^ agreed to give him $1200^ if he would release them from their 
obligation to support him and clear out. He found this for his interest 
and left N. B. upon which they settled a Socinian by the name of 
Dewey. — The young man was considered an infidel and assisted his 
father in publishing a work which he edited^ called the ^'Christian Philan- 
thropist" — a publication of a most irreligious and immoral tendency. 
These two men, no doubt, finding their character gone in Mass^., have 
come to these ends of the earth, hoping to impose upon the good people. 
The young man has probably taken up preaching since he left his native 
State. They may have recommendations from those who were willing 
to have them leave those r^ons, and cared not for what impositions 
they might practise elsewhere. Their testimonials, if they have any, 
may be forged. It is a pity they should be permitted to impose upon the 
people any where, either as preachers or Schoolmasters. — I consider 
them dangerous men in either occupation. 

You are at liberty to show the above as far as you may think proper. 

In the extract sent to Mr. Morrison (which I did not see) I under- 
stand that some of the expressions, such as stealing wood etc., were 

From Romulus M, Saunders, 

Washington March 9th 1824. 
I wrote to Mr. Yancy a few days since. I suppose you will meet at 
HilIs[bor]o next week. We receive here such unfavourable accounts as 
to Oallatins^ being run for the Vice Presidency in N. 0. that I should 
like for you and him to have a conference upon the subject and advise 
me of the result. Mangum says his runing will endanger the success of 
Crawford in his District. You will have seen the result of the Harris- 
burg ticket for Jackson and Calhoun — these I understand are to be 
supported under the expectation of carrying the vote of N, and S. Caro- 
lina. Their nomination will certainly benefit us in the north and 
[Eastern States. From "N. York I have positive intelligence, that the 
Senate will reject the Electoral bill — that in the Senate there are two 
for one in favour of Crawford and in the other House 86— that they will 
in a few days hold a caucus and confirm our nomination. If they do 
this all will yet go right. Clay has played a desperate game and lost 
everything — he is much depressed at the Harrisburg views. He calcu- 
lated on being named as Vice Prest. there — such is his reward for his 
labours upon the Tariff. Qallatin has not yet accepted the caucus nomi- 

lOallatln, who had been nominated by the caucus for Vice President, waa 
forced to withdraw in September in the hope of helping Crawford. 

296 The North Cabolina Historical Commission. 

nation and as his own State has refused to support him, it is whispered 
that he will not. I am desirous therefore of having the views of Mr. 
Y. and yourself as to the effect of runing him in N. C. that I may com- 
municate with the party here. Branch speaks iii such positive terms — 
Mangum and Cameron as well as Lacy express such fears upon the sub- 
ject, that I entertain some danger. We are still engaged upon the 
Tariff — on yesterday we gained an important advantage by striking 
out the 3rd Section of the Bill, which imposed an additional duty, equal 
to the amount of bounty in premiums given by any foreign power — as 
conflicting with the British Treaty forbidding any preference being given 
to other powers in preference to their exports. Upon this subject Clay 
was so paralized by the news from Penn. as to have f aild completely 
and the friends of the Bill begin to despair and I yet think we shall 
reject or greatly modify it. 

Let me hear from you as soon as convenient. 

Thomas Euffin esqr. 

[P. S.] Such is Clay's state of feelings that should N, Y. come out 
for Crawford, I should not be surprised at his joining Jackson nothing 
but a union of C. and Adams friends can prevent the election of Jackson. 

From William F. Buffin. 

Chapel Hill, March 11th, 1824. 

I have entirely recovered my health again and on my return to the 
Hill found my class a good ways ahead of me in my studies, but shall 
be able to make up all before the examination in June. We are now 
studying a late edition of Modem G^graphy by Sidney Morse in 1822, 
and the Atlas we get with the G^graphy are of no earthly use, there are 
but one or two principle places laid down, (I think you have a large on^) 
if you have, send it down to me by the first stage for it is impossible to 
get a lesson correct on the one I have at present. One thing I n^lected 
to tell you when in Hillsboro last. Mr. Cain told me to tell you if you 
would give him the money when he goes to Petersburg that he will get 
better cloth for less money than you can get in Hillsborough and that he 
would charge me no profit, nothing but the cloth would cost in Peters- 
burg and that it would be better on my side considerably, or if you dont 
do that, wait untill he comes back and get a nice piece of Blue from him 
as I suppose he will get some good. I Believe I can do with a waistcoat 
until the winter, just get a coat and pr of panterloons. Dr. Caldwell 
is going to set out for London in a month or two for the purpose of 
purchasing a Philosophical apparatus and Books for the use of the 
College. Give my love to Sister and the Children and accept it yourself 

[Address: Hillsboro, N, C] 

The Buffin Fafebs. 297 

From John Long Jr} 

Washington City March 14th 1824. 

A great deal of speculation here relative to the next President. The 
Legislature of If. York has refused to repeal the Electoral Law of that 
State from which it is infered that the State will undoubtedly support 
Crawford. Calhoun has struck his flag to Qtea. Jackson and I under- 
stand the managing part of Crawfords enemies in N. Ca. are very indus- 
triously engaged in transferring the whole of Calhouns friends in that 
State to Jackson. It is possible that the people can be so blinded by the 
Sound of the peoples ticket as to submit to such Bargaining and Barter- 
ing at the will of a few unprincipled Aspiring Partisans. Would it not 
be advisable for the people during the week of their Supr Court in their 
respective counties to meet and recommend Mr. Crawford to the people 
etc. I know the Editors of the Baleigh Register would like to publish 
their proceedings and many would like to read them. I have suggested 
the plan to several of the leading men of Chatham County (Col Jones^ 
and others) should you think with me and be at Pittsboro Court I know 
you will feel interested in having it Judiciously conducted. I cannot 
entertain an opinion for a moment that there is any doubt but Crawford 
will get the vote of K . Ca.^ but I know that some of his enemies will 
not stop at any thing to carry their point and should they succeed it will 
afford a triumph that I should be sorry to witness. The nomination of 
Gallatin did not meet my approbation nor can I urge his election — 
indeed I was surprised at the Nomination and think it rather unfortu- 
nate and yet hope that he will refuse to accept. If he should not I think 
we must have our Electors in N Ca at liberty to vote for who they please 
aa Vice President. 

Should be glad to hear from you from Pittsboro. 

Thomas Buffin Esq. 

From Romulus M, Saunders. 

Washo. March 16th, 1824. 
I have this moment received from Albany the pleasing intelligence 
that the Electoral BilP is rejected. New York is now safe — the mem- 

ijobn W. Long, Jr., of Randolph, 1786-1857, M. C, 1821-1829. 

2Ck>lonel Edmund Jones. 

sThe law of New York gave the choice of electors to the existing legislature. 
The Clinton element, against the opposition of Van Buren and his followers, 
attempted to secure the passage of a law providing for their choice by popular 
vote. The bill for that purpoee was defeated, but the struggle roused so much 
feeling that Van Buren was unable to hold the legislature and the vote of the 
State was divided. 

298 The Nobth Cabolina Hibtobical Commission. 

bers of the legislature will in a few days come out for the caucus candi- 
dates — ^all we have now to fear is a union between Adams and Clay— 
the former as President and the latter Vice Prest. Clay is decidedly 
hostile to Crawford. It is difficult to say on what account unless it be 
that he is resolved on being either Prest. or Vice Prest. But I yet think 
we will defeat their machinations. 
[Address : 

B. Yancy or Thos. Ruffin Esqr 


No. Carolina] 

From Henry Seawell. 

Washington 23d March 1824. 
I am at this among the most distressed men, am gravely cooped up 
without employment, whilst I see my business at home suffering for 
want of my presence. When I am to be able to get off, I can form no 
guess. I despair of reaching home in time for Wake Supr. Court. The 
clients from whom I have received fees in that court, already b^gin the 
refunding system — it is ruinous to me — for the expenses of my situation, 
are almost equal to the emoluments. Hainds, our client in Jail, wrote 
me a note when I was at home enquiring whether in case of failure, I 
woud refund what he had paid me ? I have visitted him half dozen times 
in a loathsome dungeon ; done more drudgery than I would perform for 
the seventy dollars he has paid me, (I think it is about that sum I have 
received) and now he calls on me to return that unless I go through with 
him. There are divers cases on the Civil docket when I have been paid — 
for Gbd's sake extend to me all the clemency you can; and intercede for 
me with my other brethren, be assured it is perfectly accidental that I 
have detained so long nothing but the most ill advised course in the 
preparation of the evidence in relation to the preliminary point of 
average value coud have produced such a result. When we get over this 
point, then our course can be shaped according to our own convenience 
and I shall have abundant opportunity to attend to all my business — if 
I can be permitted to finish it^ it is as far as my previous intentions have 
extended, but if I am compelled to refund, I shall be obliged to aed^ 
indemnity, by a more vigorous effort in the practice, than I have hitherto 
made — as for politicks, they are out of my range, but I occasionally hear 
them talked about. The tariff is making slow progress, but I think it 
doubtful whether it will pass, there is at least, a hope that it will not as 
the Presidential election. I have this moment made the enquiry, with a 
view of writing you something on that head. The Oracle I have con- 
sulted is Col. Hayne of the Senate from So. Carolina, a thorough Anii- 

Thb Buffin Fafebs. 299 

Crawford, Jacksonian^ he tells me Crawford is down, and Clay very 
much on the waine, and that the contest will be close between Jackson 
and Adams. This Gentleman is my near neighbour, and possesses my 
confidence and esteem in an eminent degree. There is no labourer in 
the vineyard, more zealous or better disposed to promote its true inter- 
ests ; and there are few more sturdy, or who wield their implements to 
better advantage. On common topicks I consider his opinions a great 
degree oracular, and it is matter of great rogret to me, that so able an 
officer shoud be found in the ranks opposed to Crawford. My own 
opinion is, that Crawford is rising, that his prospects are brightening 
every day, nor should I be surprised, if he should be elected by the 
people. If J. Q. should obtain no accession to the strength of N. E. 
he must inevitably fail, and in that event, I should consider Crawfords 
election as sure, but if H. C. should be withdrawn, I have great fears 
from the west — it is much to be dreaded, that, that force will be thrown 
into the scale of Jackson — it is all important therefore, that his name 
should be kept up — and I make no hesitation in stating to you that he is 
decidedly my second man — his course has been open manly and above 
board, his sentiments upon every subject are perfectly known, he seems 
to prefer that he shoud be understood, there is no difference of opinion 
upon the Tariff bill, with respect to his sentiments — the same with Mr. 
Crawford, the motion of reference to the Secretary of the treasury was 
opposed in the H. Representatives, not from any tenderness to Craw- 
ford, but because his views and sentiments would become official and 
known to the commumty. Oreat pains have been taken, as I think, to 
make Clay inimical, personally, to Crawford, but as I believe, without 
success, his course is ^^erectus in curia" as Ch. Jus. Taylor woud say. 
My opinion is, that personally he is friendly and I have little doubt that 
if he is brought to throw his weight in the H. R. in the presidential 
election that it will be in Crawfords scale — it is asserted with much con- 
fidence here that Jackson is to get the vote of "No. Carolina, he is without 
doubt a tariff man, though it is possible his objections to some of the 
details may induce him to vote against it. The people of our State ought 
to be informed that the principle of the tariff bill is exclxision or prohi- 
bition, and that consequently the government is to be supported not from 
revenue raised by import, but direct taxes, if the importations are pro- 
hibited from foreign countries, they in return, will prohibit the intro- 
duction of our products. The effect then is to cut off all markets, and 
whence are we to pay these taxes? And is it any consolation for all 
these evils brought upon us, that it was necessary to pay the debt of 
gratitude due to the Hero? I admire the soldier who has exposed his 
life in the service of his country. I venerate the patriot in whatever 
way he may have manifested his zeal for his country's good, and as an 
officer, I know no man more deservedly entitled to the confidence of the 
government, and who woud so generally be sustained by the voices of 
his fellow citizens as Jackson, but I cannot be convinced that because 

300 The'Nobth Caboliita Histobical Commission. 

he is a good officer ; because he is a patriot^ and has the confidence of the 
people, therefore he is qualified to be the ruler of their civil affairs ; and 
therefore his views of the true policy of the government is right. 

Accept my kind wishes, remember me affectionately to all my brethren 
and believe me very sincerely. 

Mr. Euffin. 

From, Willie P. Mangum. 

Housx OF Repb. 24th March 1824. 

There is nothing new or important here, that is not to be seen in the 

I think it perfectly certain that Gen. Jackson, tho strong, cannot in 
any event be elected President. I should be gratified to feel as sure 
that Mr. Adams is not to be the man, no material however that I knoir 
of. Crawford will get at least 90 votes in the electoral college. It is 
believed however that no election will be made, unless by the H. of 
Beps — ^and there is the difficulty that Crawford has to encounter. If 
the intrigues that are on foot, I mean of the combination of the other 
candidates, shall succeed, he will be ultimately defeated — all indeed 
depends upon that and it is probable before we leave Washington, that 
the result may be anticipated with some certainty. Congress will not 
adjourn I think before 15th May, probably not before 1st June as some 

[Address : Raleigh, N, C] 

From WiUiam F. Ruffin, 

Chapxl Hill April 1st, 1824. 
I received your letter by yesterdays mail which tho greatly surprised 
me gave me the most considerable pleasure. Your first rate advice I 
shall endeavour to follow, tho I have studied harder this session than I 
ever have done in my life and still I shall not be first in my class. I 
have been second and I am a little afraid that I shall lose that, though 
it would undoubtedly be partiality in the highest degree. The Tutors 
here of late have into a plan of marking any person when he recites to 
stand against him in confering the honours, their marks are 5 for the 
first honour, 4 second, 3 third and 2 and 1 none. We recite to Mr. 
Young^ one lesson in the day and he generally gives me the first mark 

lEliflha Young, a tutor in the University. 

Thb Ruffin Papers. 301 

and never below the second and we recite to Mr. Betner^ one lesson also 

and he (Who it is given up by all the class that he is the most partial 

mean principled men on Chapel Hill^ has his favourites to whom let 

them recite ever so badly he will give the first marks) gives me generally 

the second and third marks. But may be he'll repent it sometime or 

another. And Messrs. Andrews^ and Young men who are guided as 

little by partiality as any two men I know will tell you how I recite and 

then you may at once judge impartialy whether Mr. Betner is partial 

or not, but if his low marks exclude me from my desert^ I can say with 

as good a face as any person and I am not the only that will say so that 

I have recited my lessons this session as well as and better than some 

of those to whom he through his partiality has given the marks of the 

first honour and moreover I can say that his low marks have not kept 

me from studying harder than I otherwise would have done or from 

knowing my lessons any better^ but I should not be surprised if he were 

to knock me out completely. I expect he has taken up an idea that I 

am a noisy lazy fellow and that I partake in hissing and whistling at 

him sometimes in recitation^ he gets a good deal of it some time^ I assure 

for none but his favourites care anything more about him than for the 

College Servants and indeed not as much. You advised me to read not 

novels but useful and solid Books^ but there is no more chance to read 

here since they have so greatly increased our Studies than it is to fly. 

I haven't read a half dozen Books this whole session, not even a Tragedy 

of Shakespeare as you mentioned. The members of the Senior Class 

speak this week their own composition, there were two as good speakers 

delivered on Tuesday evening as I ever heard one by James W. Bryan* 

from New Bern on A Survey of Europe and Greece, and the other by 

Henry E. Coleman^ from Halifax Virginia on Should the United States 

united with Mexico, and we had a very interesting debate on monday 

evening between Jno. W. Norwood*^ and Benjamin B. Blume* of Gter- 

manton in Stokes on Should 50 Acres of land constitute A Voter, John 

very ably supported the negative. You mentioned that you had forgotten 

that Articles I asked you to send for By Mr. Moore to Petersburg, it 

was only to give him the money to get cloth for a suit of Clothes and hat 

as he can them of much better cloth there for less money than you can 

in Hillsboro. Ask him to get Blue as nice as possibility with the money 

you will give him and a Hat of which I've told him. Give my love to 

Uncle and his family. I have written four times to Sister M. and 

iGeorg^e Shonnard Bettner of New Bern, a graduate of 1823 and a tutor in 
the University. 

2Ethan Allen Andrews, profeesor of languages In the University. 

sjames West Bryan of Craven, 1805-1864, who was a lawyer of Carteret 
County in later life. He was state senator and delegate to the convention 
of 1836. 

4Henry Emhry Coleman of Halifax C. H., Va., graduated in 1824. 

sjohn Wall Norwood of Hillsboro, who later became a prominent lawyer 
and was twice a member of the legislature. 

•Benjamin Bynum Blume of Stokes, who graduated in 1824. 

302 Thx IfoBTH Oasouna Hibtobical Commission. 

Catherine since I came from Hillsboro and they haven't answered one 
of them and I have given it up as a bad job and quit. You mentioned 
that you expect I have heard lately that all my relations are well in 
Hillsboro for your little folks were always speaking of writing to me 
but they never do it. I haven't received but one letter from Wm. this 
session and have written a dozen at least. 
[Address : 

Ealeigh, Wake County, 

N. Carolina.] 

From William H. Thompson.^ 

Chapel Hill April 10th 1824. 

The earnestness with which you have advised and the liberal accept- 
ance you have rendered me in acquiring an education, have induced me 
to call upon you again at the close of this education, for your advice 
with respect to my future course. Medicine is the profession I have made 
choice of for myself — But as I will be unable for want of funds to enter 
upon the studies directly after graduation I designed taking charge of 
some school — For this purpose I applied to Mr. Sogers to get the appoint- 
ment of assistant teacher in the academy at Hillsboro. He wrote to me 
that he had already agreed with Mr. Jno Norwood to assist him, but 
mentioned that there was a vacancy in Ebenezeer Academy at Leesburg, 
Caswell, occasioned by the dismissal of Mr Cooper, and that he would 
name me to the Trustees of the Academy if I requested it. He says 
that a salary of four or five hundred dollars may be calculated upon at 
first, and that there is every reason to believe that this sum will be 
liberally augumented as the teacher proves his claims to further remuner- 
ation. As this is the most favorable opportunity within my knowledge 
of engaging in business immediately I had thought it would be my best 
course to accept of the appointment if offered. However, as I regarded 
you as the best of friends — I considered it proper to consult you on the 
subject, before I had taken any definite step. I hope you will favor me 
with your advice in this case as soon as you can. 

When I commenced writing I intended to have concluded here — ^But 
I do not consider it to be improper to subjoin a few remarks — ^the report 
of the senior class — as it has been a subject of considerable discussion^ 
here and given rise to much unpleasant feeling and indeed some dis- 
turbance among the Dialectic members of college among whom I include 
myself — The chief cause of complaint to our members, was what we 

iWllllam Henry Thompson of Chapel Hill, a graduate of the Universitr 
in 1824. 

Thb Buffin Pafebs. 303 

conceived to be an unjust distribution of distinction by the Faculty. 
They appointed a member of the Philanthropic Society to deliver the 
latin speech. When we were all fully convinced there were four or five 
members of the D. S. who ought to have been prefered. 

This decision of the Faculty was attributed to a partialty which we 
have thought, has long existed in that body. So indignant were the 
students when the report was first received, that a general spirit of 
insubordination prevailed among the other classes, and I am proud to 
say that its suppression was owing to the influence of the senior class, 
who promised to act in such a manner as would satisfy them. Accord- 
ingly the Dialectic members of the Senior class wrote a petition to the 
Faculty requesting to be exempted from taking any part in the exercises 
of commencement. This request has not, as yet, been acted upon by the 
faculty, and so it rests here. We have no hope that the faculty will 
comply with what we ask. We only wish to show by our proceedings 
that we disapprove of the report. 

Judge Buffin. 

[Address: Hillsboro, "N. C] 

From Archibald D. Mv/rphey. 

GsKENSBOBOUGH 29th April 1824. 

I am sorry to hear of your indisposition. You must take more Care 
of yourself: your Constitution is delicate and cannot bear up against 
the exposure and Fatigue which you have of late years suffered. Your 
life is too valuable for you to run any risk of your Health : it is every 
year becoming more so, and every day imposes upon you a new duty to 
take Care of it. I hope you will Soon be well again. 

I did not know your Brother was going down from this place Untill 
the Moment he was about to start, or I Should have written to you by 
him. I have attended to your Business here, and shall again on tomorrow 
give all the satisfaction I can to your Clients. Your Absence is much 
r^retted by the People, as well as your Brethren. We have done but 
little, and it is upon the whole a poor Court. 

Capt. Estis^ had the lands Surveyed by a Mr. Beck, a Deputy Sur- 
veyor. I did not reach his House untill Sunday Morning, having been 
detained at Lexinton by the Trial of Law for Murder. He and his Wife 
would have executed the Deed According to the Survey of Beck; but 
your Brother had gone and taken with him the papers ; and Capt Estis 
told me, Mr. Michaux insisted upon a survey being made by Mr. Wil- 
liams, the County Surveyor, He promising to get Mr. Williams to make 

1 Joel Elstes, formerly of North Carolina but now of Tennessee. 

304 The North Carolina Histobical Commission. 

the survey, and I am to go to his House from Rockingham Court House 
on next Week, on this business ; When I hope, I will get everything done 
that is necessary. I am very desirous of closing it. 

I will have the necessary Orders made in your Suit with Holman. 
Mr. Hill has not been here, nor are the Costs paid. I will have an exe- 
cution issued. 

I received $50 for Mr. Caven for you, and making up Money for Mr. 
Bagge and to pay a Debt to Elisha Mendenhall, which he called on me 
for, I have used it. I expect to get it again tomorrow, and if so, I will 
Send it to you very early on friday Morning, with $25. I got for you 
from Mr. Bray. I shall be able in a few days, I hope, to pay up to Mr. 
Bagge the entire Interest upon my two Bonds. He has been here and 
seems quite content: and says upon my paying him the Interest regu- 
larly, he will give me four or five years to begin the reduction of the 
principal. I have had pretty good luck thus far on the Circuit. I am 
trying to drive some trades for Western Lands : whether I shall Succeed, 
I cannot yet tell. It is probable, I shall, in Part. 

I received on Monday a Letter from Mr. McLemore^ enclosing me a 
Map of the great Connexion of Surveys on the Holston, and Seeing the 
Tracts which Mr. Hughes^ had Selected for me, and containing Maj'. 
Horkly's Description of these Tracts. Mr. McLemore writes a long 
Letter about these lands, and lands generally in the Western District of 
Tennessee. My Lands are better than I expected. I would send you Mr. 
McLemores letter and Maj'. Horkleys Map ; but I have made a Propo- 
sition to Mr. Taney and he has the letter and map for examination : and 
I want them on next week at Rockingham. I will send them to you in 
time for you and Mr. Kirkland to examine them before Orange Court 

In my Contracts with Mr. Alston,* Col. Farrar,* Oeorge Luther and 
others, I have allowed them 20 per Cent upon the Amount of my Debt to 
them in Consideration of their taking Payment in lands. I intend to do 
the same with you and Mr. Eirkland : but you and he will get the best 
land I own. It seems from Majr. Horklys Statement that there Bxe 
upwards of 4,000 Acres of first rate land in the Tract. 

I am very desirous of closing our Contract, and wish by all means to 
do it when we meet ; and in the meantime, if you can command as much 
time, draw up the necessary Instruments. The Idea of reestablishing 
Myself at the Hermitage^ has given me new life and vigour : I once more 
begin to feel like a Citizen. 

iJohn C. McLemore of Nashville who had formerly lived in Raleigh. He 
was a surveyor and, like so many of his kind, a land dealer. 

2Robert Hughes, a lawyer of Jackson, Tenn., and Murphey's land ageot 
He married Murphey's niece. 

sProbably the Alston who sued Murphey in 1819. See Hoyt ed., The Murphey 
Papers, I, 151. 

4John Farrar of Chatham County. 

BMurphey'e home in Orange, formerly the property of his father-in-law, 
John Scott. 

Thx Kuffin Papers. 305 

I have paid Mr. Allen^ one half of his account for the Timhers he 
furnished at the Mill. I will settle, with Mr. Hinton and also Mr. Wood ; 
but I do not expect I can pay Mr. Wood on this Week. However, if he 
prefers, I will make some Arrangement for his geting his money in ten 
days. The money for the lands I will Send you. 

I pray God, Dear Ruffin, to restore you quickly to good Health, and 
to prolong your life, TJntill you can acquire that high honor and reputa- 
tion that await your Genius and honourable exertions. Bemember me 
kindly to Anne and all the Children. 

Thomas Kuffin esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough] 

From Bartleii Yancey. 

Caswell, 29th of June 1824. 

Being at Baleigh and seeing persons from almost every part of the 
State, you can give me some iN'ews on the Presidential election. Inquire 
of WiUson and others from the West: Also of the Cape Fear Coimtry. 
Inquire about the Halifax and Edenton Districts, and be so good as to 
write me by Mr. WatUngton on his return. 

I see from an intimation in the National Intelligencer, of the 22d, 
that the Committee on Investigation have retracted nothing they have 
before said, and that in the subsequent investigation^ the Secretary stands 
as fair as at first. Of this I had full confidence, because I know well, 
that if ever I saw an honest politician and an honest man, it was Craw- 
ford. Will not his affair have a powerful effect in favor of his election { 
It certainly ought, and will have an infiuence. In Rockingham, the 
upper part, they are not for Jackson: Also in the neighborhood of 
Leaksville. Otherwise we are doing very well. Write me fully. 

[Address : Raleigh, N. C] 

To Major John Owen? 

Ralexqh— June dOth 1824. 

About 18 months ago a man by the name of Moore of Orange County 

brought to me by way of Consultation the bond of James Porterfield, 

of which I annex a copy on the other side. Mr. Moore is the son of the 

man to whom the bond was given who died in some few years after the 

lAlexander Allen. 

2MaJor John Owen of Bladen, 1787-1841, member of the Honse of Commons, 
1812; state senator, 1827; governor, 1828. 


306 The North Cabouna Hibtobical Commission. 

date of the Contract leaving his son an infant of veiy tender years. 
Major Samuel Turrentine formerlj the Sheriff of Orange was the Exec- 
utor or administrator of Alexander Moore and the guardian of hia son 
and only child. Maj. Turrentine removed to Tennessee about ten years 
ago and now resides there. The bond, being a contract for Land, belongs 
to the son as heir. He seemed to know but little of Mr. Porterfield or 
his Estate and nothing of the nature of the contract, as he had but latdj 
come into possession of it from his father's representative. I told him 
that I would enquire into the affair. I did so and learnt that Archd 
McBryde Esqr of Moore County had settled Mr. Porterfield's Estate. 
I applied to him for information as to its situation. He told me diat 
he perfectly knew Mr. Porterfield's writing and from inspection that the 
bond was genuine — that he had chiefly settled the personal Estate;, not 
as Executor or administrator but as the Agent of the person who bore 
that Character — ^that he was unable to say how it now stood and never 
knew any thing about the Lands ; but that you and your Brother, or one 
of you had succeeded to the Estate as heir or devisee and that application 
ought to be made to you. Knowing that there was some landed connec- 
tion between you and my friend Mr. Murphey, I mentioned the subject 
to him and requested him to speak to you when he should see you, which 
he promised to do. I do not know whether he did or not^ but rather 
suppose that he forgot it from my not hearing from either of you about 
it, tho our conversation passed last winter. When I myself saw you 
here, it entirely escaped me, else I should have mentioned it. Mr. 
Murphey however requested me on your behalf to see my Client again 
and to know of him whether he insisted on having the land or would 
put up with money and what sum at the least. I have lately had a con- 
versation with Moore, who is an exceedingly ignorant man as well as 
in humble circumstances; for each of which reasons he is averse to 
litigation and especially at a distance. He was hence induced upon my 
advice, to agree to take in money, instead of the land, the original sum 
advanced by his father, say £120 — ^with Interest on it. 

Tou will, I have no doubt, properly appreciate this letter, which let 
me say once for all is not intended professionally to draw you into any 
admission or obligation, that would subject you to pay anything that 
you may not now be under obligations for. My object is simply to give 
you notice of the demand and the nature of it and to communicate the 
terms to which my client will assent if you feel it your interest to accept 
them. I would further enquire of you, whether, supposing the bond 
genuine and its validity imimpaired by subsequent circumstances, Mr. 
Porterfield has left Western Lands to comply with it or personal Estate 
to make it good ; and whether yourself or who else is, within your knowl- 
edge, his heir or devisee, and further, whether it would be agreeable to 
him or them to make the compromise as suggested or to offer any other. 

As I stand in the confidential relation of Counsel for Mr. Moore, I 
would add, for my own sake, the expression of my wish that you should 

Thx Kuffzn Papxbs. 307 

consult a l^gal friend before favouring me with your anawer — which I 
take the liberty of asking at as early a day as conyenient. 

The good cause of Bepublioanism and the good and great man, Graw- 
fordy are in a pretty good way in my county and District: Mebane I 
believe goes to pot this election. I hope your friends below continue 

[Address : Bladen County N. C] 

From John Firdey. 

WiLKxsBOBo' July 9th 1824. 

QejxL Lenoir^ and myself have been thinking it would be impossible 
for you to be as well prepared to enter into the trial of the Moravian 
Cause^ this term, as at the next, as the proof which you took a memo- 
randum of while we were at Baleigh can be had at the next term, if 
nothing happens; and I should be glad to know if the Supreme Court 
could order a record to be made by that officer when he would be out 
of his own County with the Books at Raleigh. 

Thos. Kuffiin Esqr. 

N, B. I presume you understand me, as I wish the above proof to be 
kept a profound secret, which you are apprized of, when you took notes 
of what could be proven. 

[Address : Baleigh N. C] 

From Archibald D. Mv/rphey. 

„ ^ ^ 13th. July 1824. 

Dear Buffln. 

• * * I am on the eve of seting out for the Western District. 

The excessive hot Weather has distressed me and delayed me. My Time 

is short and I have a great deal to do : More than I can possibly get done. 

Thus far things have gone on pretty well with me, except that my Pocket 

has been rifled and between one and two hundred Dollars stolen from me. 

This is confidential. I know the Man, and I had no more Suspicion of 

him than of you. I will tell you all about it when I see you, and you will 

be no less surprised than Myself. The Money is lost. 

iWiUlam Lenoir of Wilkes, 1751-1S39, the first president of the board of 
trustees of the University of North Carolina. He was a man of much power 
and was very Influential In his section of the State. He had been four times 
a member of the Commons and eight times of the Senate. 

2The Moravian Cause had been reopened by Lenoir in 1822. 

308 Thb North Carolina Historical Commission. 

There is no news. Great apprehensions are entertained of a sickly 
Season about this place. Dysentery and bilious fever already prevail 

I think it probable I shall so manage as to get all the Warrants of the 
Trustees which I brought out^ adjudicated and located before I return. 
We have got an Order from the Circuit Court for a Mandamus, to Mr. 
Oraham, to adjudicate the Warrants : He has appealed to the Supreme 
Court, and the Case will be argued on Monday next. We are pretty 
confident of Success. In the Mean time I have been engaged in pro- 
curing Locations for the Warrants, And have got nearly two thirds of 
them secured, for Lands equal or nearly so to the Lands of the Warrants 
of 1822. The Warrants rejected by the last Legislature and those I 
brought out this Summer (the Part remaining to the Trustees) amount 
to 50.000 Acres and a fraction. There is a flood of Warrants collected 
from a strange Construction given to an Act of the last Assembly^ and 
will be poured over the Western District in a few Weeks. However the 
Trustees of the Colledges here and myself have engaged from the Loca- 
tors all the Locations or nearly so, that are in Readiness, And in this 
way, if we can get out Warrants into the Locators's hands within the 
next six Weeks, We shall still be safe. Our Counsel here deserve the 
thanks of the Board and a very large Fee. 

Bemember me Affectionately to Anne and all your Children, to Mr. 
Eirkland and Family, and to my good Friend Br. Webb. 

Address: Hillsborough. 

From Romvlua M. Saunders. 

Milton, July 30, 1824. 

I should be extremely happy to see you, for since my return home I 
learn but little of what is passing in our own State, except what the 
papers inform me. I learn from Mr. Van Buren that the Governors 
Proclamation and the Beport of the investigating committee has had a 
powerful effect in uniting the Bepublican party in 'S, York and that 
unless he is greatly deceived the Electoral law will not be repealed. From 
Penn. Mr. Lawrie writes me, that they have strong hopes of carrying the 
vote of the State. If we hold firm in this State I yet think the good 
cause will triumph. I have no fears of my own District — tho' the oppo- 
sition is stronger than I could desire. I have had one meeting from the 
Hustings with Shepherd^ and have no cause to regret the conflict — 
altho' I am informed that the Salisbury paper has published something 
that was said by me on that occasion. 

lAogustine H. Shepperd of Stokes, member of the House of Ck>mmon8, 1822- 
1826; member of Congress, 1827-1839, 184M843, 1847-1851. 

Thx Kuffik Papers. 309 

I shall spare no occasion that I can with propriety embrace to exert 
myself in the contest. 

Will you do me the favour to present the subjoined order and accept 
the same as a present from your friend. 

I regret to hear of your indisposition and fear unless you spare yourself 
more than you have done for past years it may prove fatal to your con- 

Thos. Ruffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Oeorge E. Badger. 

Wasssnton Aug: 6th. 1824 
It is so long since I wrote to you that my silence may well seem in- 
capable either of explanation or apology. An aversion to writing in- 
creased by a long habit of self indulgence, prompted by a natural 
indolence of disposition, gives often to me the appearance of negligence 
or indifference to the kindness of my friends, and yet I may safely affirm 
it gives only that appearance. My heart is far from any indolence in 
cherishing a grateful and affectionate sense of your uniform friendship, 
and what has not been professed or declared has not on that account 
been less deeply understood or less warmly recollected. Your kind expres- 
sions in a letter to Mr. Devereux were not received by me without sensi- 
bility, coming as they did at the most trying period of my life. They 
would long since have been acknowledged but I hoped for the pleasure 
of once more seeing you this sunmier in the midst of your family. Until 
within a few days I had'nt entirely abandoned that hope. I am now 
however about starting to the Virginia Springs where I shall spend per- 
haps ten days and then hasten to the commencement of my circuit. As 
therefore I shall not see you again this Summer, I feel that it would ill 
become me again to consult my indolence and neglect acknowledging 
a kindness which has been to me at once the source of pleasure and the 
means of advantage. I have several times heard with regret that your 
health was feeble. I fear in your anxiety to provide for a numerous and 
amiable family you are tasking yourself beyond your ability to bear and 
I wish it were in my power to prevail with you to give yourself some 
relaxation. It is certain that no pecuniary advantage could compensate 
your family for the loss of yourself. In putting to hazard your life 
you are hazarding all that is valuable to them, and their claims (to say 
nothing of those which the publick justly have upon your learning and 
ability) should be a motive to proportion your labors rather to the 
Strength of your body than the energy of your mind. It appears to me, 
from the little observation I have been able to make, that this consider- 
ation is little attended to by men who have children to raise— of which 
Mr. Stanly and yourself are prominent examples. You are both putting 

310 Thx Nobth CABOLmA HifiTOBioAi. Commission. 

to risk lives of extraordinary usefulness without adequate motive or (if 
you will pardon the expression) due consideration. I should rejoice to 
hear that you had given your hody and your mind some repose from the 
incessant exertion of the last six years, and the effect would probably 
be a renovation of your health. 

In the fall of 1818 a Mr. Crittenden left in Hillsboro in my absence 
from home two small notes. If you recollect the time you may iina^:ine a 
reason why they were not attended to then. I have shamefully neglected 
them, and put away in my desk they have reposed until a letter reached 
some time ago making some inquiries. Crittenden seems from the 
memorandum he left with the notes to consider the debtor's circum- 
stances as desperate and to trust to some unexpected accession of property 
he had heard of by will or descent. I do not now remember if I took 
any steps — if I did it was nothing more than enquiry. 

Will you have the goodness to ascertain if there be any such man as 
Norman in Orange and what can be done? Crittenden said in his mem: 
that he did not wish any writ issued unless he had property. Will you 
dispose of them as you think best by suit or putting them in the hands 
of a constable) Crittenden lives in Greenville District So: Carolina. I 
inclose you the notes. 

Remember me in the kindest and most respectful terms to Mrs. Ruffii^ 
and also to Mr. and Mrs. Eirkland and believe me dear Sir 

Thos : RufBln esq. 

[Address: Hillsborough] 

From Lewis WUliams. 

SxTXBT County August 15th^ 1824. 

We are beginning active operations in the Presidential Election. No- 
effort win be spared to obtain a large majority in this County and dis- 
trict. The public mind is however a good deal estranged at present 
But I trust all things may be made straight before the Election. Oar 
Grand Jury at May Court denounced caucuses and recommended Jack- 
son. At the August Court last week they voted and gave 10 for Craw- 
ford and 6 for Jackson. This Shews the begining of a change. CoL 
David Durrett^ who is elected for the oonmions from this County openly 
and publicly in his speeches on all occasions declared for Crawford. 
The other candidates declared for Jackson. In the Senate Roberts' had 
440; Hampton 880 r' In the commons Durrett had 1057; Martin 848;^ 

iDavld Dnrett of Surry, member of the Commons, 1824-1825. 
spleasant B. Roberts, member of the Commons, 1820-1828, 1886; state seih- 
ator, 1824, 1826. 
sThomas Hampton. 
4W. C. Martin. 

Thx "Rvvrnt Papxbs. 311 

Sater 68 — Thufl it aeemB Durret has been elected by a large majority 
although he publicly declared for Crawford. From all these circum- 
stances it would appear that the people are not only changing but that 
they are not wedded to Jackson by indissoluble ties. In confirmation 
of this belief I have not seen a man who does not after the thing is 
properly explained in a personal conversation admit that Jackson ought 
not to be elected President. Much is to be done by exertions at the 
Superior Courts. Therefore as you are one of the Electors let me 
suggest the propriety of addressing the people at all of the Superior 
Courts you attend. 

Let Mangnm and such of the members to the Legislature as are 
friendly to Crawford join you and address the people at the same time. 
These joint addresses will come to the people like a greater weight of 
evidence than if only one addresses them. Franklin^ and myself have 
agreed to pursue this plan in this district, and will have the aid of such 
County members as are friendly to Crawford. If measures of this kind 
are resorted to it seems to me that an entire revolution of opinion may 
be effected in the State. Our adversaries plume themselves upon the 
majority they are likely to have. But that majority depends for its 
existence upon the want of true information respecting the claims and 
qualifications of Genl. Jackson. Let one great and simultaneous effort 
be made throughout the State, and the vote of JSo. Carolina will be given 
to Crawford without doubt. 

By letters from the City of New York and from A. Stevenson^ of 
[Richmond Ya. I am informed that those great States will give an un- 
divided vote for Crawford. I suppose you have at Hillsboro by this time 
some information from Albany. If New York and Virginia stand firm 
every thing will be safe. No delinquency should appear in the conduct 
of the good old North State. Every man should be at his post and do 
bis duty. 

Thos. Ruffin Esq. 

[Address : Hillsborough No. C] 

From J. W. Long Jr. 

Randolph Coty. August 20th 1824. 

My hasty and unexpected departure from Pittsboro prevented me 

from saying something more to you concerning the peoples ticket. I 

want you to undertake to give the people a fair and full exposition of 

the invidious scheme and its Origin; thro the Hillsboro paper. I con- 

iMeshaek Franklin. 1772-1839. 

^Andrew Stevenson of Virginia, 1784-1867, member of Congress, 1828*1884; 
speaker, 1827-1884. 

312 Thb Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

scientiously believe there is nothing wanting but a full and honest 
explanation of the thing to cause the people to denounce it as the greatest 
stride and most daring attempt ever made by a few to deceiye and 
defraud the people of their right in the most important and interesting 
subject. I know you fully understand the subject and have no doubt yon 
can have your commimication published without being known as the 
Author. I think all that is necessary is to shew what it really is and 
where it comes from and so far from its being the peoples ticket very 
few if any body will acknowledge they know any thing about it. That 
they require Crwfd to get a Majority against the world which to say 
the least of it is ungenerous and something that never was expect^ or 
required of any one man before and to Warn the friends of Jackson and 
Adams against the Intrigue of each other and finally shew that the 
Electors on the peoples ticket are not bound to vote for Either of them 
but will feel themselves at liberty if Elected to vote for a man of their 
own choice be him whomsoever he may, provided he in their Estimation 
is most likely to Succeed against Crwfd. This is nothing short of Aaking 
the people of No. Ca. to clothe those 15 Qentlemen (who seem so Ajudons 
to take upon themselves the responsibility) with the power of choosing 
a fit person to preside over them as President without being under any 
other pledge to the people than to Vote and Act against Crwfd. I was 
at Salisbury last week found the enemies of Crfd. Seemingly in hig^ 
spirits but before I left we had the information of the Adjournment of 
the N. Tork L^slature which you know was quite unpleasant to most 
of them. Amongst the rancour and disingenuous misrepresentation I 
had the satisfaction to find many of the substantial men in Rowan in 
favour of both Crwfd and Caucus and upon the whole I do believe the 
number of my friends have increased in that part of the district. But I 
can assure you that unprincipled W. Carolinian has had its poisonous 
influence in the Western part of the state where they see no other paper, 
and hear but little else on the Presidential question. Nor have we any 
chance where only that paper circulates for notwithstanding the Editors 
profession he will not publish communications on our side of the question 
satisfactorily. I find Mr. Mebane^ and Mr. Giles^ do not view the 
peoples ticket alike. Mr. Giles says if he is elected he will vote for 
Jackson unless he sees he stands no chance of being Elected in that case 
he will vote for some other person that is most likely to be elected against 
Crwfd. Mebane will vote for Jackson if he gets more votes on the 
peoples ticket than Adams if not he will vote for Adams. Qiles seems 
to know nothing about the Arrangement Mebane speaks of the people 
to signify their preference on the back of their ticket etc. I have no 
doubt but they may be made to contradict each other in their views of 
the peoples ticket so as to throw all into confusion. I know your ezperi- 

ijames Mebane of Orange. 

2john Giles of Rowan. He was defeated in this campaign. 

Thb BuFFm Fapbbs. 813 

ence has long since shown you how liable those are who are dishonestly 
engaged to be thrown into confusion. Unless the people do come to 
understand the scheme of the peoples ticket better than at present I am 
of the Opinion it will prevail in the Western part of the state. That 
they may is my sincere desire and only hope. Should be glad to hear 
from you by the [word illegible]. 
Thomas RufBn Esqr. 

Profa John Owen. 

Bladen Co : August 20th 1824. 

I was in Elizabethtown a few days ago^ and reed, from a dfram shop, 
your favor of the 30th of June^ and was at a loss to conceive who was the 
bearer of it, as it did not come by mail, but seeing it directed from 
Saleighy supposed at once that either Oenl. McKay^ or Mr. Wright,^ 
who I knew had been up in attendance on the Supreme Court — ^had 
probably brot. it down, and meeting with the Genl. soon after he told 
me he was the bearer. 

Mr. Murphy never mentioned the subject of the bond to me in any 
manner as well as I recollect, indeed, I am confident he never did, as I 
feel assured if he had done so, I could not thus entirely have forgotten it. 

No man can have a better acquaintance with the handwriting of my 
uncle James Porterfield than Mr. McBryde,' who was his personal friend 
-whilst living, and gave much assistance in the settlement of his deeply 
embarrassed estate after his death. James Porterfield died in the year 
1795, intestate, leaving considerable real and personal estate. John 
Porterfield his only surviving brother administered on the estate; my 
father, (who married the only sister) refusing to have anything to do 
with it, believing the estate more in debt than it was able to pay. 

John Porterfield in a few years after, (I believe in 98) died also, 
leaving a will and Bichard Street of Moore County (his father in law) 
and Thomas Owen^ of Bladen County, my father, his Exrs, and after 
making provision for his widow, left the balance of his estate (all real) 
to my brother James Owen and myself. 

Bichard Street has long since been ^^gathered to his fathers," and I 
know nothing of his affairs. My father died in 1805 leaving James 

iJames J. McKay of Bladen, 1793-1853, was for a time United States district 
attorney, was many times a member of the state senate, and was a member of 
Congress from 1831 to 1849, being for a number of years chairman of the 
ways and means committee. 

sprobably Joshua G. Wright of New Hanover. 

SArchibald McBryde of Moore. 

4Thoma8 Owen of Bladen, 1735-1803, was a native of Pennsylvania, and was 
a revolutionary soldier. He was a member of the provincial congresses of 
1775 and 1776, many times a member of the legislature, and for one term a 
member of Congress. 

814 Thb Nobth CABOLnrA Hibtobical CojcMnaioir. 

Moorhead of Bladen Co. and Eliaha Stedman^ of Fayetteville (who is 
still living) his Ezra. Jamea Moorhead is dead, and laaac Wri^t of 
Bladen, and Hinton James^ of Wilmington are his Exrs. — "And so 
endeth the first lesson/' 

Yon perceive that neither my brother nor myself have had anything 
to do in the settlement of James or John Porterfields or my fathers 
estate, and whether the law, which ( I believe) permits only a dealing in 
straight lines, can reach us in the settlement of this bond I know not;— 
I mean that I do not know whether there be any legal ohlig<Uian upon us 
to pay the bond, nor do I care to take the advice of any gentleman of 
the profession ; should there not be, there may yet exist — ^a paramount 
obligation ; I mean a moral, and should such a one exist, the debt shall 
be inmiediately discharged, as the means of doing so are completelj 
within our power. Upon a statement of these facts to Mr. Peter Browne,' 
if he is of opinion anything can be recovered in a court of law or equity 
from my brother and myself, the bond shall inunediately be taken up — 
if he should think otherwise, it will not lessen the moral obligation, and 
this shall be attended to in due season. 

The good cause of virtue and republicanism in my county is doing as 
well as I could wish, and doing well in two or three adjoining counties^ 
and I trust in my district will prevail, but in all Oovingtons and Le- 
grands^ Country so far as I can learn it is completely prostrate — 
Covington is personally very unpopular, and Legrands polities have 
always been doubted. In my district we have a dreadful drawback in 
Mr. Oallatin, who notwithstanding his transcendant talents and eminent 
public services is a great clog to our cause. I must confess I am dread- 
fully afraid of the issue in this state, but the final result must be 

In the counties of Robeson, Kichmond, Anson, Montgy., Mecklenburg, 
Lincoln, Burke, Buncombe and Ashe, some Missionaries ought to be 
sent out, and if Covington could be prevailed on to withdraw and Ja 
Picket^ or some other popular man put in his place, it would in mj 
opinion add many hundred votes to the Republican ticket 

Thomas Ruffin Esqre. 

[Address: Hillsborough "N. C] 

lEUsha Steadman married Thomas Owen's daasrhter Mary. 

2Hinton James waa the first student to attend the University of North 

speter Browne was a native of Scotland and was regarded for a time as the 
head of the har in North Carolina. He retired from inractlce in 1818 and 
returned to Scotland hut only remained three years, retumlna to Raleli^ to 
spend the rest of his life. He died in 1832. He and RniBn were devoted 
friends, and Ruffin named a son for him. 

4james Legrand of Montgomery, who was frequently a memher of the legiB* 

sjofleph Pickett of Anson, a local politician of much Influence. 

Thb Kuffzn Papers. 315 

From John Owen. 

Bladenbobo Septr. 28th^ 1824. 

Your very flattering letter of the 3rd inst. is duly reed. It certainly 
was not my intention to draw from you a compliment to the character 
which either my brother or myself have made with our friends in this 
State: — whatever that character may be^ it is certainly better worth 
preserving than the acquisition of a little pelf at the expense of principle ; 
and I trust neither of us would h^itate a moment to forego a much 
more imposing opportunity of enriching ourselves^ than that now pre- 
sented, out of a man both ^^ignorant and poor" — ^but enough of this. 

James Porterfield left no personal property which ever descended in 
any way to my brother or myself, nor did our mother ever receive from 
James or John Porterfield one cent of property; you have mistaken my 
letter in this regard, but probably the mistake is not material. John 
Porterfield, the only surviving brother inherited the whole of James's 
real estate, and took possession of all the personal property as Admr., 
and never accounted for one dollar to my mother — of John Porterfields 
estate (which had been James's) my brother and myself as his devisees, 
have sold a lot of ground in FayetteviUe of greater value than the amount 
of the bond to Moore, and we now claim 5000 acres of land on the Mis- 
sissippi granted to James Porterfield, the grant for which, is now in the 
possession of Mr. Murphy — it was to this grant I had allusion in my 
last letter, where I stated that we had the means of satisfying the bond — 
and this is the only land granted to him in the now State of Tennessee. 
I am sorry to say that the good cause of our Country is not doing as 
well in our part of the State as I could wish. In Sampson County, we 
shall do worse than in any county in my electoral district. The Gk>v. 
(Holmes^) and a numerous family connection are against us, and what 
is still worse, the Honble. William B. King^ of famous memory, and his 
brother Qed. Thomas 'B. King,' who formerly resided there, have spent 
the summer in that county, and have vast influence. / d/read the issue. 

Thomas Ruffin Esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

lOabrlel Holmes. 

2Wllliam R. King, 1786-1863, after service In the legislature and as member 
of Congress from North Carolina, moved to Alabama. He was United States 
flenator» 1819-1844, 1848-1863; minister to France, 1844-1846; Vice President, 

SThomas Devane King, member of the Commons, 1804-1807. 

316 , The Xobth CASouirA Historical Comjobsion. 

From Major William Moore. 

[Oct. 21, 1824] 

I have longed to see you for some time But my miBfortnne put it 
quite out of mj power to Come to see you that Bespecting our Elettion 
for the precedance I understand that you stand firm on the ground yon 
first tucke your stand for Wm H Craford wich makes me B^goioe to 
thinke that we have some men that ant to Bee Changed with Every wind 
of Ducktren that Blows know man in the world Can thinke more of 
general Jackson then I Do for the Feild dien I Do But for god sake kee 
him ther and not Let him Come to the Chaire for you Can see as well 
as me and Beter two that thers somthing in the Clouds that hant FeD 
out yet I am Like the old Roman when he says that Every good general 
ant fite for a presedance or in words for an Emprer I am sorrow when I 
Com to see some of our grate men how was at the anomation fly the 
traek I Cant See for my part what is the Reason that ther so grate 
Change in the people But ther minds has Been poisend som way or 
other I Dont know why general Jackson Should Bare all prases of onr 
Last ware for I think general Brown and general Egell and Dubum 
and pery foute harder fighting to the North then Jackson Did and 
Number of other officers not a word about them my opion is Not for 
Jackson for I think Crafford superer to him for that office and I hope 
god will Bless you for your stand I Bad at wrightin and speling Bat 
you will understand me I wuld wrot more But I Did not know whether 
it would pleas you — if I have Dun Rong I hop you will for give me for 
my Eigrance But my Love to the Rule of Right is so grat that Cant give 
it out as Longe I Live Sir Remain your Friend William Moose 

Oct. 21th 1824 

[Address: Hilsborough] 

From William Oamett. 

25th Oct. 1824. 

Our mutual avocations seem to have put an end to our epistolary 
intercourse. Indeed it is so long since we have had any communication 
of this sort^ that I cannot with certainty remember which of us is the 
debtor on this score; though if my memory is not treacherous I think 
you are the delinquent. It is not however with a view of adjusting this 
balance that I now address you. A large and growing family admonish 
me to look out for a more eligible settlement for them. My object there- 
fore is to seek cheaper lands a healthy country^ and to avoid if possible 
the inconvenience of emigrating to a state of society which if I have not 
been greatly misinformed with regard to our new State^ is but little 
removed from semi barbarous. I have lately had my attention directed 
your State as most likely to fulfil the object I have in view and I 
now of no person from whom I could obtain such satisfactory informs- 

The Ruffin Papers. 317 

tion as yurself, and I can at the same time assure you that the prospect 
of a renewal of our early friendship ofFers the strongest alleviation that 
I can promise myself of the pain of separation from all the friends of 
my youth, and I may add, the soil of my native State. But such regrets 
are unavailing when duty commands and they should if possible be 
placed out of view. To return then to my subject I wish to be informed 
at what price a good farm of 600 to 1000 acres could be purchased for 
per acre; the kind of crops that hold out the greatest inducement to 
cultivators — the proximity of such a settlement to market and lastly 
though not the least consideration the healthiness of any situation you 
may recommend. I do not wish to purchase an unimproved place that 
is in relation to buildings. My present plantation contains about a 
1000 acres, for which I can get a pretty good price; and I desire if prac- 
ticable to repurchase as much or nearly as much as I now own and to 
have a surplus to pay some debts that I owe, which I see no other pros- 
pect of paying, as the fimd that I had provided for that purpose has been 
tied up in a chancery court for 8 or 9 years ; and I presume that you are 
sufficiently well acquainted with these tribunals to judge what a forlorn 
hope this must be. It is very possible that I may have omitted many 
inquiries that a man in search of a settlement ought to make; I shall 
therefore rely upon your judgment to supply such omissions and to 
furnish me with all the information that you may deem requisite. Should 
I judge from the account I receive from you, that there is a prospect 
of bettering my condition in your country I shall visit it during the 
ensuing winter or spring. As your acquaintance must be very extensive 
I will thank you to make inquiries for me in other parts of the country 
that I may have as large a view of the subject as a man with such an 
object in view should take. I have only six children living which I 
understand is three less than your number; but from the information 
I recvd of you last summer at the springs from two of your countrymen 
Mr. Johnson and Skinner your profession promises you an ample pro- 
vision for them all. This at once reminds me of another inquiry is there 
any opening for a lawyer at your bar? I have been reading law myself 
and had some idea of commencing the practice in this State, but the 
prospect here is very discouraging. When you write direct to Loyds 
Essex County Ya. and the letter should be sent by the way of Kichmond 
and Fredericksburg or as our mails are very uncertain you could meet 
with a safe private opportunity to Kichmond Mr. Thomas Brocken- 
borough of that place would take charge of it and forward it to me. 
With assurances of the most sincere and undiminished regard I remain 
my dear friend unalterably 

[P. S.] When you see Mr. Johnson and Skinner remember me to 
them. I was much pleased with them both. Direct to Col. Wm. Gamett, 
as there is a man of my name in this county who sometimes gets my 
letters. Let me hear from you as early as possible. 

[Address: Hillsborough JN'. C] 

818 Ths North Cabouna Histobical Cojcmission. 

To Catherine Buffin. 

ir n A j^T-iJt H1LL8BOBOUOH — October 29th 1824. 

My Dearest Chtld! — 

It makes us very happy to hear 80 frequently from you and both your 
Mother and I^ as well as your brothers and sisters^ return you our thanks 
for the remembrance of us which your letters evince. We add our hopes 
that you will not relax in your diligence in that respect^ as we should be 
apt to see in it a cooling of regard. Besides frequent letters, we shall 
look for well written ones. I know you have candor, and intelligence 
enough to make both an interesting correspondent to your Parents and 
an instructive one to the younger branches of the family. Make ns ss 
happy as in your power : and begin to act upon the rule (which ou^t 
to be that of your life) of being as useful to your friends as possible. 
I do not mean to flatter you upon your capacity for correspondence 
But I assure you I derive much solid pleasure in reading some of your 
letters — those I mean in which you have taken some pains to be correct 
and perspicuous. You have a turn of thought, fancy and expression, 
which if duly cultivated will form a pretty epistolary style. Do not 
spoil it in the attempt to mend it. The art of letter writting consists 
in being easy, polite, candid and affectionate and treating a subject as a 
well bred person would in a familiar, unrestrained and good humour 
conversation. Write therefore always as you feel. This will have two 
good effects: The first is, you will escape stiffness and the danger of 
pedantry: The second is, that it insensibly tends to the cultivation of 
good feeling in the heart. One does not like at your age to play the 
hypocrite for any length of time ; nor is it agreeable at any age to expose 
ones-self even to the nearest relation by putting into the permanent form 
of writing bad feelings, the fruits of malicious, mean or censorious spirit, 
frivplity of temper, sourness, passion or any other disposition. Hand- 
some writing therefore is not the only benefit or praise that you derive 
from attention to your letters and style. Desireable as that is, there is 
another — the improvement of the heart and moral faculties — which 
excels it. I have read many essays and much praise on Candor. But 
I do not remember ever to have seen, what I conceive, its chief excellence 
noted by any author. Candor consists in speaking ones mind truly and 
sincerely — without malice and without flattery. It is a most amiable 
trait in every one and makes many friends — But it has a very powerful 
tendency to make us better within ourselves — ^Even the veriest hypocrite 
speaks to the world the sentiments of virtue and piety. We are all 
ashamed to publish our own wickedness of thought as well as of deed — 
and here lies the moral excellence of Candor : One who speakes what she 
feels and is habitually candid in delivering her thoughts is of necessity 
obliged to cherish good feelings and cultivate useful reflection; else 
either the contempt or the disgust of all around follows. Of the same 
character is an unaffected, natural and simple style of writing. Oar 

Thb Buffin Papsbb. 319 

letters, not the result of study, must either then be the offhand display of 
a good heart, filled with affection for our friends and purity of feeling, 
or must must be unacceptable for their courseness and other worse quali- 
ties as to make the writers ashamed of them. But how I have fallen 
upon these subjects for a letter I know not. When I began to write, 
nothing was farther from my thoughts than giving you either a moral 
lecture or a disquisition upon any sort of style and particularly the 
epistolary — for which perhaps no person is less qualified than myself. 
Should you however see nothing else in it, I trust you will perceive an 
anxious solicitude for your well fare and be farther led to the reflection, 
that there is no virtue or good quality that does not tend to produce 
others and that there no vice nor indeed fault, by which another is not 

Your brother has written to you. From him more news can be learnt 
tlian from me; for he knows more and is more inclined to tell it. The 
melancholy result of poor young Mr. Walker's illness has, no doubt, 
been heard at Boclc-Best. His death was much regretted by all here and 
lus funeral was numerously attended yesterday at the Church; ''How 
unsearchable are the Judgments of Gk>d; and His ways, past .finding 
out !" Here is a Touth in the prime of life and giving the earnest of 
uBefulness snatched away while an aged father and a still more aged 
G-randmother survive to mourn over the bereavement. If the old must 
die, the young may die. Neglect not therefore the all-important Duty 
of Piety — Cultivate a spirit of habitual devotion — Neglect not your 
private prayers and read the Scriptures daily. Give your Heart to Gk>d 
aud he will reward you. 

Your Mother says she will have shoes made for you next week ; which 
^th paper etc. I will bring down, when I come. I hope to be with you 
on tomorrow week. Let me hear that you have been diligent and dvJtiful 
and let me see the happy effects. 

Your Mother unites with me in the expression of our Love for you 
and in the prayer for your happiness. All the children often, nay daily, 
speak of you and love you very much. Bequite their attachment by 
reciprocating it. 

(}od bless you, my dear child ! 

Your affectionate Father, 

Thoicas Buffin. 

[Address: Bock-Best Chatham.] 

From Weldon N. Edwards, 

Wabbenton 12th Novr. 1824. 
The returns for the election in this County just reed, give Crawford 
489, Jackson 152 votes. 

320 The Nobth Cabouna Histosical Ooicmisbion. 

Some weeks ago a Borrel mare strayed from my plantation. She is 
five or six years old — goes a little lame in one hind leg — ^having been 
injured in the ancle by a plough, which tho' well is a little larger than 
the other. I recollect no white about her. She paces tolerably well — 
is of good sire. I understand she was raised by a Mr. Hart living near 
Hillsboro. Oblige me so far as to make inquiry for her of Mr. Hart, 
and if to be found secure her and give me early information of it. 

Shall be glad to hear from you during the winter. 

[Address : Hillsboro' N. C] 

To Bartlett Yancey,^ 

HiLLSBOBonoH, Decom. Srd, 1824. 

I have occasion to get a Deed here for some lands in Virginia and wish 
to know how I am to have it acknowledged by Husband and wife here, 
so as to be effectual there without further proof or proceedings. The 
Act of Assembly of that State prescribes the very form of the whole pro- 
ceeding and is to be found in ^'Leigh's Revisal" which belongs to the 
Executive Office in Raleigh, under the head of '^Deeds'' as well as I 
remember. The Act embraces the proof of all Deeds, I think ; but also 
specially provides the form of proof or acknowledgement before the 
tribunals of the Country or State in which the grantors live, when it is 
executed out of Virginia. That is the part I want and I shall feel greatly 
obliged to you for extracting those sections in totidem i^rbia and encloe- 
ing them by the return of the mail or by the first opportunity. 

We have no news here but what has got cold with you. We know not 
yet whether Clay or Crawford get into the house. For my part I feel 
very indifferent about it, because Crawford has been so abused and 
vilified and all sides have so run at him and thro' him at the Bepublican 
party that I have no hope of his final success even if once in the house. 
I do not know but it is better for the good cause and the revival of Democ- 
racy that he should be excluded. A spring will bear a certain degree of 
compression beyond that it will not be forced, and then its elastic rebound 
is certain and often fatal to the resisting power. Thus I hope it will be 
with the people and their deluders. Besides, if Clay can be brought 
on the Turf, he will make sport, be sure of it ! I His men will not go to 
Jackson or Adams, the Bepublicans would support him in preference to 
either of the others and he would get some States, this for instance, where 
neither Crawford nor his Ticket has succeeded. Besides this, I learn 
from Murphey (you have my author) that the West generally, including 
Jackson himself, will support Clay, when Jackson can not be carried. 

iThie letter is In the possession of the North Carolina Historical Societj. 
It is reprinted from The James Sprunt Historical Publications, Vol. 10. No. 1 

Thb Buffin Papbbs. 321 

This miut be the case^ for the Adams men will not — ^nay^ nobody can 
support him (Jackson) after he leaves the shoulders of the People. 
Hence I should not be surprised if Clay should be the man at last. I 
have no hope of Crawford. He is too honest and too good for the present 
day. The Republican party is down — God grant it may not be done! — 
and he has sunk with it. 

Murphey told me today that he thought Crawford much the greatest 
and best man among them. I believe the fact to be so, but did not expect 
80 candid a confession from hitn. To what sentiment or conclusion do 
you imagine it was the preface? '^That he was opposed to him and 
rejoiced in his defeat, because Virffinia was for him. He declared that 
he would rather have a weak President than that North Carolina and 
Virginia should vote together. I reminded him that in this instance 
Virginia came to us ; we being as we were eight years ago and she having 
changed. He said he knew that, but if Crawford had been elected Vir- 
ginia would have had all the credit of it and No. Ca. none! I asked 
where was our credit now? What were we to get? how to be honored, 
served, or rewarded ? I got no answer — Time will show, and my sincere 
hope and confident expectation is that many an hungry expectant will 
^aw his nails in bitter disappointment about the Ides of March next. 

I don't ask you at Raleigh to do much good — ^all we can look for is 
that you may prevent others from doing harm, which of itself, is much 
with such a gang as you have this winter. 

God bless you ! 

TnOlfAS RuFFDf . 

B. Tancey, Esq., Raleigh. 

From Willie P. Mangv/m. 

Washington 15th Dec. 1824. 

I have just returned from Baltimore, where I left William. He 
seemed never fully to realize his situation until I was about to leave 
him when he seemed deeply affected. Indeed every thing about St. 
Mary's^ wears a melancholy appearance to one from No. Carolina. 

The dresses of the Catholic teachers, the Gothic tower, the strange 
appearance of the halls hung with pictures calling up every sort of 
religious association altogether affects William in almost any other way 
than pleasantly. He will however I have no doubt become perfectly 
satisfied in a short time. There are many fine boys in the school — and 
some of them from the south and from protestant families. 

Mr. Damplon indicates, every disposition to put William in a course 
that will not at first tend to strengthen his dislike of his situation. The 

lAn old and well-known Roman Catholic institution in Baltimore. 

322 Thk Nobth Cabolina Historical Coicmibsion. 

intercourse I should think from what I observed^ is upon a more easy 
footing between the Teachers and the Students at St. Mary's than at 
Chapel Hill, and from all that I have been able to learn on the subject, 
I should think that it is one of the best institutions in the United States 
for the acquiring of the ancient and modem languages, and more espe- 
cially the latter. 

I presume you know that Mr. Damplon is a Parisian, that he lived 
and taught in Paris until he had attained a ripend manhood — and that 
under the troubles of Napoleon he left Paris for America with no other 
view than that of paying a visit to some of his friends, but contrary to 
his expectations was induced to become an officer in St. Marys. 

I had an interview of say 2 hours with him, I left him well pleased 
with his affability, easy politeness, and even courteousness. 

The check you handed to me was duly paid at the Bank in Baltimore. 

I enclose you a prospectus which will give you more fully the infor- 
mation you may desire in relation to the course of study in the Ck>llege. 

I also enclose to you Mr. Damplon's receipt for the money paid him. 

I have but a moment more to say to you, that Qen. Jackson will in all 
probability be the president. Everything however depends upon Mr. 
Clay. Crawford's friends have determined to stand upon their arms 
and receive the Cross forces of the enemy, that is to say Yirga. N'o. Ca. 
Georgia and Delaware — for it is pretty certain that New Tork true to 
her character, will abandon Crawford in the House. 

The North Ca. vote will remain firm unless under some exigency they 
shall move en masse, and with unanimity. 

I will say more to you on these subjects before long. 

Mr. Thos. Ruffin. 

Address : 

Thomas Ruffin Esquire 

North Carolina. 

Endorsed : 

Honble. W. P. Mangum 

Deem. 1824. 

From Lewis Williams. 

Washington January 1st, 1825. 

I know you feel great solicitude on the subject of the Presidential 
Election, and I do most sincerely wish it were in my power to give you 
information in any way satisfactory. The friends of Clay hold the 
balance in their hands, and no one can tell how they will act. Rumours 

Thb BuFFm Papebs. 323 

of all sorts, both strange and contradictory are circulated daily. At 
one time it is said Clays friends will support Jackson : Then Adams, and 
then again Crawford. But none of them have a just foundation I 
believe, for it seems to me that the friends of Clay intend to stand aloof 
for a while, and finally act as circumstances may require. Of one thing 
I have always been assured that Clay will cooperate with those with 
whom an association shall seem most advantageous. To ascertain this 
he and his friends will require time to look about and as the period for 
final decision has not yet arrived we of course can know nothing posi- 
tively. These remarks are made to you in confidence and I hope you will 
receive them in that way. 

Let me hear from you. 

Thomas Ruffin Esq. 

From W. F, Strange. 

Fatbttevilub, [N. C] 15th Jany 1825. 

The Judges of the Supreme Court have surely forgot the promise they 
made to Mr. Gaston of deciding as soon as possible the propriety of 
admitting aliens to practise law in this state. 

I have been very anxious indeed to learn the result, day after day 
have I gone to the Post Office expecting to have been favored with a 
letter from you on the subject, but none have I yet received. I trouble 
you with this under the impression that it will afford me some consola- 
tion to know with certainty whether they have decided the question or 
not, and it will moreover enable [me] to write home to my Brother, who 
I daresay is as anxious as myself to know the result. I wrote him some 
time ago saying I was afraid some objection might be taken to my prac- 
tising law being an alien as a Gentleman under the same circumstances 
had been refused at the last session of the court. 

I know you would have written me if the decision had been made, but 
^'hope deferred, I may almost say has made my heart sick," if you can 
find as much time I would be glad to know if there is any probability of 
their coming to a decision shortly. 

[Address: Raleigh, TS. C] 

From Oeorge McNeill. 

Fayettbville May 29th 1825. 
I wrote to you a line on the 19th Inst, directed to Raleigh, but for fear 
you may not have reed it, I think it proper to inform you that your note 
at TJ. S. Bank will be due on Wednesday. 

324 The Xobth Cabolina Hibtokical Coicscission. 

The n. S. Bank has adopted an important change in the maimer and 
policy of its business with regard to the State Banks — such as wiU 
compel the State Banks to pay specie or cease to do business. The 
IT. S. B. will receive the Local Bank notes and pay out only its own notes 
or specie, and compel the State Banks to pay up — the motive is avowedly 
to restore a sound currency. The new system is to commence on the 1. 
Sept. of which the State Banks have notice. I fear it will alarm the 
State Banks and cause them to curtail their business, thereby causing 
a great pressure on the conununity for money this summer — and par- 
ticularly in this place. 


[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Charles Manly. 

„. Kaueioh drd June 1825. 


The fourth Monday of the present month has been fixed and agreed 
on as the day on which the Conmiittee of Appointment for the University 
of No. Carolina will meet in the City of Baleigh to consider of and 
determine on the advisability of filling the Professorship of Bhetorie 
and Logic in the said Institution which has lately become vacant through 
the resignation of the Bevd. Mr. Kollock.^ 
A full meeting of this Committee is wished and expected. 

I have the honor to be 

Yr. Obt. Servt. 

Chas. Maklt. 
Secty: Trustees. 

The members of this Com. — are Gtev. Burton, Badger, Haywood, 
Hawkes, ilfash, Polk, T. Ruffin, Witherspoon.^ 
[Address: Hillsboro' No. Ca.] 

From ArchibaJd D. Murphey, 

Haw BrvxB. 5. June 1825. 
I am well again, but very weak, my Attack was bilious and very 
Severe. I called a Physician instantly, bled and took Pukes and Cathar- 

iShepard K. Kollock, a Presbyterian minister from New Jersey, had been 
professor since 1819. 

2Theee members were Hutchlns O. Burton, George E. Badger, John Hay- 
wood, Francis L. Hawks, Frederick Nash, William Polk, and John Wltber^ 

Thx Buffin Papsbs. 325 

tics, Untill my System was entirely cleaned and Set aright. I hope I 
shall now be free from further bilious Fever during the Season. 

I saw Mr. Michaux, the Claim for Insurance turns out to be a mere 
Claim, and Michaux told me it was abandoned. Old Mrs. Daniel has 
just died and left a large estate to Wm. W. Man, who is expected in this 
Month. I left his Bond with Mr. Michaux, who told me he would see 
liim and get his Deed. 

I am preparing to Set out for Tennessee. I am. now trying to raise 
some Money. For this Purpose I must go to Guilford on Tomorrow and 
sell a small Tract of land. I hope to make Several Sales this Summer : 
and if the prospect be good, I shall run the risk of loosing part of my 
Circuit next Fall. 

I shall go and see you before I set out. My business is so behind that 

I beg you to let Moreau return on Tomorrow and help me here for a 



Thomas Ruffin esqr. 
[Address: HiUsborough] 

From William OametL 

[RicHicoND, Va. June 8, 1826] 
I take the liberty of enclosing to you (and bespeaking your patronage) 
the prospectus of an agricultural paper about to be editted in this place. 
The editor is an uncommonly worthy man and he has a numerous family 
entirely dependant on his exertions for a support. 

This to be sure is merely an appeal to the good feelings of the public ; 
but I think I may promise that the paper will (from the talents and 
information engaged to contribute to it) be not unworthy of its patron- 
age. Last fall I had it in contemplation to remove to the South and 
addressed some enquiries to you relative to the prospects which North 
Carolina might hold out to an emigrant endeavoring to better the fortues 
of a large and increasing family. To this letter I never reced an answer 
and know not whether it ever reached you. If your avocations will 
permit I should be very happy occasionally to hear from you — Though 
long separated from you I have never ceased to feel the continued influ- 
ence [of] the friendship formed between us in early youth. Many and 
affecting have been the various scenes through which I have passed 
since those days of joyous youth when scarcely a ripple occurred to 
a^tate the smooth current of life. But these vicissitudes have only 
served to make me cling with increased tenacity to the remembrance of 
the happier days that I have passed with the friends of my youth. But 
I must now take my leave of you to go to the federal courts where I 


hare a suit of considerable importance to attend* farewell my dear 
friend and believe me ever yours most sincerely 

BiCHMOND 8^ June 1825 

My address is Loyds Essex County 

[Address: Hillsborough Korth Carolina] 

From Archibald D. Mwrphey. 

r, T> i*? / Haw Riveb. llth June 1825. 

Bear Buffin/. 

It is now certain that I shall not be able to go to Tennessee within 
this Month. Although I am free from Disease, I am weak, and my 
Strength returns so Slowly that I am not able at this time to make ev^a 
a Short ride without much suffering. I have put off from day to day 
seting out for the upp^r Part of Ouilf ord, Where I have some businesB 
that requires my Attention, but I still feel too weak. I have resolved to 
try the Boad on Tomorrow. I had appointed to cross the Blue ridge 
on the 28th Inst ; and have engagements in Tennessee for the early Fart 
of July. Unable to go myself, I have thought it would be prudent to 
Send Moreau : prudent in two respects. 1. Because I can depend upon 
his strict attention to every thing committed to his charge, and 2nd. 
He will become acquainted with the Situation of my Affairs in Ten- 
nessee, and in the event of my death greatly aid you in Settling them. 
I am Sorry to withdraw him from his Studies : But, Perhaps, the Trip 
may be useful to him in teaching him something of Practical Life and 
of Business. I shall be glad, if you concur with me in Opinion. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From Robert Strange. 

Fayettbvillb, July 1st, 1825. 

Concerning the vacancy in the Judiciary created by the resignation of 
Judge Badger would you be willing to use your influence in favor of 
Joseph Picket Esqr. of Wadesborough ?^ Our district is much in want 
of a Judge and has been much overlooked in the distribution of offices. 
In addition to the considerations already named I think my interest 
would be advanced in his promotion. 

[Address: Baleigh N. Ca.] 

iRuffln himself was chosen to succeed Badger, the council nominatlnsr him 
unanimously, and the legislature electing him, on November 24, 1825, wtthont 
other names being brought forward. 

Thb Buffin Papsbb. 827 

From ArcJUbald D, Mwrphey. 

Haw Eivbb, 13th July 1825. 

I heard on yesterday that you had agreed to go again on the Bench. 
I hope this intelligence is correct and that you will be commissioned 
before you leave Baleigh : I hope so^ not only on your Account, but on 
Account of the Public. Tour Constitution is wearing out. And a few 
years more of Fatigue will destroy it. Tou want rest, and the Bench is 
an honourable retreat. Tour promotion just now, will open the way to 
the Bench of the Supreme Court, to which you will be appointed on the 
first vacancy. Tour Profits may be less: but you you will be able to 
scuffle through your difficulties. The Public want you on the Bench. 
Tou will do business : you will give some energy to the Administration 
of Justice, and break down the Docket. Tou too will know how sadly 
inefficient our Judges are: they really display no Activity nor Energy, 
except in Sending a few poor Wretches to Jail. — This is inter nos, but 
it is true. 

Since Friday last, I have felt like getting well. My system has got 
right although I am very weaL Making out my Dispatches for Ten- 
nessee gave me three relapses. Moreau is, I expect on today, at Mur- 
f reeeborough. Mr. Irving and Mr. Holt went in company with him. Mr. 
HcLemore informs me that the price of Lands has advanced in the 
Western District and that sales are more brisk than heretofore. He 
advises me not to sell untill the present crop of cotton is gathered in. 
But I sent out Instructions to Mr. Hughes and Mr. Dickens to sell as 
fast as possible. Mr. Dickens wrote to me that he had sold a great deal 
of land (to use his words) since I saw him and that having arranged his 
business and gotten it into good Train, he would accept an agency for 
me and aid me as far as he could in making Sales. 

My friend Mr. McLemore is now at ITew Tork. I regret this very 
much, as Moreau could have been greatly aided by him. But in the 
style of that Friendship which he has evinced toward me, from the 
moment I saw him at Nashville, He wrote to me previous to his setting 
out for New Tork, and expecting that I would be in Tennessee during 
the Month, he says perhaps I might want some pecuniary assistance 
during the summer, and authorizes me to draw on him for any money I 
might want. He goes further, and tells me if any Person wishing to 
purchase Lands from me, should prefer any of his Lands to mine, that 
I may have as many tracts as I want, and he will take my Lands in 
exchange, and that if my Lands give out I may take as many of his 
Tracts as will answer my Purposes, and pay him whenever it may be 
convenient. Now although I have been the means of procuring thou- 
sands of acres for him as well as Col. Dickens yet this conduct of his is 
certainly generous and kind in the extreme. I mention his Letter and 
its contents, because I know you admire and esteem him. 

328 Ths Nobth Cabolina Hibtobioai. Commission. 

If you are ever bilious, you must hare observed that when an idea or 
a train of thought takes possession of the mind, you can't get rid of it 
until the Bile be corrected. Before I was taken sick, I was engaged, 
whilst travelling about the Circuit, in arranging the Plan of my intended 
Work on North Carolina. On that Week I sketched out Part of it, and 
my Mind was intent upon the subject, when the Bile first assailed me — : 
and has continued to dwell on it incessantly ever Since, Untill a few 
days past. During the Time, I arranged the Plan for the Colonial 
History of the State, Civil, Military, Legislative and Judicial: — Now, 
my reports occupy my attention. I wish the work to be done. I am not 
able as yet to do more than half as much in the day, as if my Health 
were restored. 

William is with me, and I hope he will do better. I give him encour- 
agement, and beg you to do so, when you see him. If you go on the 
Bench, He ought to exert himself day and night. 

My Wife is no better, her situation is disagreeable indeed during this 
hot Weather. I sent for Dr. TTmstead this morning and will get him to 
stay a week with her. Her Complaint is local, but will, I fear, affect 
her general Health. What is the News at Court? What is done with 
Colquets Case, etc.? 

Thomas Buffin esqr. 

{Address: Hillsboro.] 

From Oeorge E. Badger. 

Balsigh July 16, 1835. 
Since you left us I have thought seriously and anxiously upon the 
subject of undertaking your business in the Counties of Orange Oran- 
ville and Wake, and it would not be right towards you or just towards 
myself to conceal from you the result of my reflections. I left the Bench 
as you well know merely for the purpose of making money of which I 
am in great need not only for myself but for others whom I am bound to 
provide for by every tie sacred in morals and dear to affection. To dia- 
charge these obligations it is incumbent on me to consider the uncertainty 
of life and the small period, if I live, which is left me for active exertion 
to provide for ease and comfort in old age. Tour business includes one 
side of every cause of importance in your Courts — and if I undertake it 
I shall find myself in the labor of business without its reward, — ^and for 
years shall lose the profits of my exertions in three of my best courts. 
The only part of your business which promises remuneration is that 
belonging to the collection department for which I am not qualified and 
should dislike to undertake. Your business in the Supreme Court shall 
command my best exertions and unwearied industry. But under the 
circumstances in which I am placed do not think me fickle or disobliging 

The Bxtffin Papsbs. 329 

if I yield to the paramount obligations of necessity and desire to decline 
your business in the other courts. Had this view of my situation dis- 
tinctly presented itself to you it is probable you would not have proposed 
to me the undertaking. 

Indeed I think you hare some notions towards your clients of over- 
strained delicacy — you are entitled to and should retain the moneys you 
liave received unless it may be in some few cases of extraordinary com- 
plexion. Keep your fees therefore and let your clients choose and pay 
their counsel as they please. 

My affectionate and respectful regard to Mrs. Ruffin. Say to her 
for me that if she regrets your going on the Bench the inference will be 
that she desires to be a widow. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From HtUchins 0. Burton} 

State of North Carolina. 

To the Honble. Thomas RufGm. 
We reposing special trust and confidence, in your prudence, integrity, 
abilities and learning, do hereby commission you one of the judges of 
our Superior Courts of Law and Equity, you having been thereunto 
appointed by his Excellency the Govr. by and with the advice of the 
Council of State; and authorize you, after taking such oaths as are 
necessary for your qualification to enter upon and discharge the duties 
of said appointment and to receive and enjoy the salary thereunto 
annexed until the session of our next Qeneral Assembly. 

In testimony whereof I Hutchins G. Burton, Governor, 
[ssal] etc. have caused the Great seal of the State to be hereunto 
affixed and signed the same at our city of Raleigh the 18th. 
July 1825. H. G. Burton. 

By the Governor, 

Jwo. K. Campbell, Private Secty. 

From John W. Long. 

AsHBOBOTJOH Augt. 4th 1825. 
In consequence of your late appointment I fear you will not be at 
Chatham Court. Mr. McBryde and myself were making large calcula- 
tions on the advantage your attendance there would be to me in the 
present contest. I have spent considerable time in Chatham with Mr. 

i€k>vemor Barton's Letter Book, p. 19. Collections of North Carolina His- 
torical Commission. 

330 Thb Nobth Cabolina Hibtobical Commission. 

Giles at the different meetings and met with more encouragement than 
I had anticipated. From this I shall go to Forks (Rowan) with a view 
of attending a large meeting at MocksTille Saturday next then return 
to Davidson to attend the Election. Mr. Giles has been all the last month 
in Chatham and will return there, great exertions will be made hj his 
friends. What he and them may resort to in my absence is unknown 
but they stop at nothing. Even Messrs. Steadman and Colton are cireo- 
lating a report that I prevented the passage of a Bill when in the State 
Legislature to compel the Quakers to bear arms. Nothing more un- 
founded. I never acted on such a subject. Have you no businees suffi- 
cient to cause you to go to Chatham Court? If you coud be there only 
on Tuesday I am confident it woud be of infinite service to me. Mr. 
Giles some times says a great deal about the formation of the Crawd. 
Ticket at Kaleigh^ this would give you a good opportunity of contending 
with him. He at one time denyed that Jackson was in favour of the 
Tariff, l^ow he is rather denying the assertion and geting round. Bnt 
if you shoud go to Chatham Ask the candidates of that county what he 
said on the subject. I know Ramsay Underwood and several others were 
present. I still calculate upon success but must confess when I learn the 
extraordinary exertions that are making and the injurious means used 
I cant be surprised at any thing. 
Honble Thomas Ruffin. 

From Thomas BUchis, 

RicHMOi^D, Sepr. 12th, 1825. 
After an absence of 7 weeks, I returned last night to the bosom of my 
family. How much the deaths of my venerated friend^ and his good 
son, shocked me, it is unnecessary to tell a man like you. There was no 
man, whom while living, I loved more — ^no one, whose memory I shall 
more piously cherish — no one, whose dying request I would more sacredly 
respect. But, my own duties, and those which I owe to my Sister and 
her family, forbid in the most peremptory terms my officiating as Trustee 
or Exr. under my deceased friend's will. In every respect, except the 
most affectionate devotion to my Sister, am I utterly disqualified for 
these sacred trusts. Of law, and particularly of that of N. Carolina, I 
am profoundly ignorant — of the administration of the affairs of men, 
few men of my age are so wofully inexperienced. This Estate too is 
situated at a distance from me, for, to me even a journey of 50 miles is a 
tiresome Enterprise. My hands are full to overflowing of my own busi- 
ness. It has exhausted all my time; and withered the very vitals of my 
own constitution. I have just returned from a pursuit of health, across 

iRuffln's uncle, William Ruffln of Raleigh, and one of his sons had recentir 

Thb BuFFm Papsbs. 331 

the mountains^ a little improyed, it may be^ but only to meet a load of 
business and care, which will in all probability consign me to the same 
infirmities from which I have so recently attempted to save myself. In 
this state of things, how is it possible for me to discharge the trust with 
satisfaction to myself or advantage to my Sister? Mr. Ruffin would 
not probably have selected a man in the whole world, whose whose means 
were so incompetent to his wishes, one, who was more anxiovs to serve, 
and so little able. 

I have uniformly made it a point of solemn duty to refuse such offices. 
"When my brother Archibald was on his death-bed, as I supposed, I came 
to the determination to decline any share of an administration, which 
he might have committed to my charge. When my venerated father-in- 
law sank to the grave, I was compelled to turn a deaf ear to his testa- 
mentary requests; nor was my own interest sufficient in its appeals to 
change the settled purpose of my own best judgment. I must equally 
decline it in the present instance, in spite of the powerful reasons which 
you have assigned, and the strong feelings which co-operate with all 
your Arguments, 

But, may I not, my dear Sir, join my own intreaties with the wishes 
of our deceased friend, and beseech you, if possible, to accept of this 
important trust? Tour office will miJce it your duty frequently to visit 
Baleigh — ^at other periods, you can devolve the trust upon some confi- 
dential Agent. Tou know the laws. Tou know the people. Tou know 
the situation of the Estate : and I know, you possess the unbounded Con- 
fidence of the whole family. Tour character will give efficacy to all 
your arrangements ; and confidence to all your measures. 

I entreat, therefore, my dear Sir, that you would act in behalf of the 
family : do the best you can, and confer the greatest obligation on, 

[Address: Fayetteville, N. Carolina.] 

From William A. Oraham, 

Hillsborough Oct 5th 1825. 
Agreeably to promise I now undertake to write you a few lines. With 
great pleasure I inform you that your family, and friends in this place, 
are in good health — all except little Elizabeth who (Mrs. Buffin requests 
me to say) is much better than when she last wrote you. Since your 
departure the town has been visited by an unusual degree of sickness — 
no deaths however except a little daughter of Mr. Heartt and a Mr. 
Reeves from the lower part of the county — ^both of which you have no 
doubt heard of before. Wm. Adams has been at the very point of dis- 
solution for several days but is now thought by his physicians to be 
recovering. A few cool days which we have had and one or two slight 
frosts have freed us from any apprehension of the continuance of bilious 

332 Ths Kobth Carolina Historical Coicmission. 

fever, which has been the prevailing malady. As usual in Hillsboro' 
there is a scarcity of news. Were I writing to a younger friend I mi^t 
have much to say on the subject of the ladies, as it is, sufficeth to say 
that they have extorted much of the tribute which was due to Blackstone 
and Coke. It is now however the eve of our gayety. Most of those who 
have been spending the summer here will leave during the present wedc, 
and it is to be hoped those venerable masters will then be restored to their 
former dominion. I suppose you have heard of the election of Prol 
Olmsted to the prof essordiip of Mathematics in Tale CoU^e. It appears 
to me strange that they should have offered the appointment to Mr. 0. 
in preference to Mitchell who is certainly his superior not only as a 
Mathematician but in every department of science. North Carolinians 
however ought not to regret it as the loss to our own coDege is not ao 
great as it would have been in the other event. Moreau Murphey wrote 
me from Nashville 22nd August. He expected at that time to set oat 
for home about the 20th of Sept. — appears highly pleased with the 
country and the hospitality and lindness of its inhabitants. Daring the 
court here Judge Paxton handed me a letter from Brother James — it 
was written just after his diseomfiture — ^he seems a good deal chagrined— 
mentioned that it was quite currently reported through the distriet that 
Walker had transferred his interest to Carson for a valuable consider- 
ation. He congratulates himself however on being freed from the care 
and fatigue of electioneering and expressed a determination to return 
with redoubled assiduity to the duties of his profession. I expect to set 
out for Lincoln about the middle of this month in company with Mr. 
Benehan who contemplates settling himself in Wilkesboro', having been 
advised to do so by Judge Nash. My absence will not be for a longer 
period than a fortnight or three we^, as I am anxious to read a good 
part of Lord Coke before you return. I believe we had instituted our 
Moot Court before you left us. Our meetings are held weekly and con- 
fined exclusively to the discussion of questions of Law. Mr. Hawks fre- 
quently attends and delivers his opinions. It will no doubt be to us a 
source of much improvement if properly attended to. The Masonic 
fraternity of this place had a grand parade a few days since in dedicating 
their lodge. Mr. Green delivered an address in the Lodge on the subject 
of their institution after which they marched in procession to the Metho- 
dist church where Mr. Hawks as deputy grand master of the state gave 
us anotlier speech of a similar nature. In haste. 

Sincerely Your Friend 

and Most Obedt. Servt. 

Hon. Judge Ruffin. Will : A. Grahaic. 

[Address: Hon. Thomas Ruffin, 

Mail. No. Carolina 

Endorsed: Wm. A. Graham 

Octo. 1825.] 

The Buffik Papbbs. 333 

To Catherine Bufin. 

,-, «, «, J., Fatbttbville — Novemr. 12th 1825, 

My Bear Daughter! 

I have received on my circuit your very affectionate Letters. They 
merit my thanks ; of which I ought perhaps to have returned an earlier 
expression. The truth is however, that while my occupations leave me 
but little time to devote to my f riends, they likewise in a great degree 
give to my spirits a cast so sombre that I am unwilling to shew myself 
even to my children. The long journey I have taken, hath brought me 
into the company of few people, to whom I should be anxious to intro- 
duce you; and dull descriptions — in my style — of places, customs and 
things would hardly be worth your reading. They may serve to beguile 
in conversation a long winter's evening when you get home; and if of 
sufficient interest to you to be made the subjects of enquiry, I promise 
then to tell you all I have seen. As a present exception however I must 
mention that I spent two days at Bellville, the seat of Mr. John Waddell, 
whose daughters are your school mates. They deserve every good feeling 
of which you are capable, if a child be under any obligation to recipro- 
cate the good offices done to the Parent. The situation is beautiful and 
somewhat embellished by art ; but the hospitality and kindness of most of 
the very worthy proprietors with their unusual urbanity of manners . 
is the great charm of the spot, which cannot fail to attach the guest while 
there and excite a grateful remembrance after seperation. Mention to 
the young Ladies, that their Parents and friends are all well — ^having 
reached home without an accident. 

I hoped and expected to have received letters here from both your 
Mother and yourself — ^But upon my arrival today I found none from 
either. My last accounts from home relieved me from much painful 
solicitude, as they advised me of the convalescence of poor Betty and 
the recovery of your Mother and most of the Servants. I still flatter 
myself that no further sickness prevents your Mama from writing, 
because Mr. McNeills letters from your grand-father do not contain any 
such intimation. Moreover Mr. McN's carriage is now at Hillsboro 
for his children and is daily expected bade by them. I shall hear all 

It would give me great pleasure to comply with your affectionate 
request by taking the Bock Best^ road home— especially as you press 
it on me so in both your letters. But at present, I cannot promise. My 
first duty you know is further on : And without doubting my regard for 
yourself, you will permit me to add, that, naturally I wish to be soonest 
where the most of those who are most dear to me are. If I leave for 
Fayetteville in the morning, I can reach home in two days by the nearest 

iRock Rest was the Chatham County home of Colonel Edmund Jones. His 
wife conducted a school for young ladles there. 

334 The Xobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

rout, which I miut go. But if it be my fate to set out late, as I cannot 
get all the way up next day, I will call on you in the way. Don't be 
selfish and wish me the ill-fortune of a detention here, that will throw 
me upon you. 

The date of this letter reminds me that on this day fifteen years I 
was made a Father for the first time, by your birth. You are now almost 
a woman, my child ; and I trust and pray God that you have improved 
the precepts and principles in which your Mother has raised you, as, 
after her example, to be a good Woman! the friend of your sisters — ^the 
pride of your brothers — the comfort of your Parents and — if you should 
chance to be mistress of a household at a future day — the ornament and 
crown of a Husband. Your years lead us now to look for prudence and 
discretion in you, — sense and knowledge, properly mingled with good 
humour and fine feeling. I will not add an admonition — ^but simply 
desire you habitually to call up in your mind reflections upon questions 
of propriety and, in all cases in which you doubt yourself look to the 
aid of Mrs. Jones who is with you and consider, what your excellent 
Mother would herself do in your place, or would wish you to do. With 
their helps, it will be difficult to err. One caution take at my hands : The 
least, the very least of Affectation put far from you. It makes a char- 
acter partly artificial, wholly so in the end. If the property or mann^ 
affected be a virtue, do not feign it, but strive to possess it in reality. 
If a foible or a vice, it is contemptible and indelibly stamps a reproach 
upon your understanding and will finally unsettle all your best feelings. 

You must not play (at any rate) in your letters to persons older than 
yourself and particularly in those to your parents, the little trick of 
Bomance of subscribing yourself by any other than your true natm. 
By what better authority can you lay aside the baptismal appellative, 
than the baptismal vows ? Besides, it is not respectful. 

I am at Mrs. McNeill's, where I shall chiefly stay during my detention 
here. Tomorrow however I shall go from Church with Mr. Strange. 
Both of your Aunts and the children are well. I have only been here a 
few hours and have not had time to call on Mrs. Eccles — but your Annt 
Minerva says that both she and her children were in good health a fev 
days ago. I offer my most respectf ull regards to Mrs Jones and all the 
family at Bock-Best. For yourself, I renew to the Almighty the fervent 
prayers of, Dearest Catherine, 

Your most affect. Father 

Thomas Ruffin. 

P. S. The Court here will continue two weeks. 

Miss Catherine Buffin 

Bock Best 

[Address : 

Colo. Edward Jones' 

Thb Euffin Papbbs. 335 

From Francis L. Hawks. 

H1LL8BOK0' Wednbsdat morning. [Ifovember, 1826] 
Mr. Waddell^ handed me your note a short time since, and I take the 
earliest opportunity of answering it. 

The expression of which you desire an explanation, I believe I can 
readily and I hope satisfactorily explain. As to the use of the word 

In the conversation which I had with you, I gave you to understand 
that I had learned a rumour was circulating, charging me with injuring 
the characters of gentlemen in this place by publick imputations against 
them. The conversation in Mr. Ws office, I did not deem publick, and 
tho' I freely acquit Mr. W. of any thing like a breach of confidence, yet 
I must repeat that I am sure, I would have not said any thing, had I 
supposed it could ever injure you either with the publick or the gentle- 
men present. This was one reason of my use of the word, but another 
and the principal reason was this. Before I removed to this place, 
during a term of the Supreme Court, on one occasion, a gentleman of 
the bar whose name I shall not mention, coming out of court with me, 
spoke of you, of an argument which you had made, complimented your 
talents, and adverted to what others had said of you on the score of sin- 
cerity. I had heard (to be candid with you) other gentlemen who knew 
jou better than I did, speak of you in this particular, and I remembered 
too that but a short time before, I had been told of remarks of jovM 
made about me which I confess hurt me, and I also remembered, that 
after hearing these remarks, we had at the same term taken a walk 
together in which you spoke kindly to me and professed a regard for me, 
and I communicated to you in confidence as a friend, for I was willing 
to forget what I had heard, all the particulars of an old love affair of 
mine ; at the same time I conmiunicated the fact of my engagement with 
the lady who is now my wife : — when then the gentleman Before alluded 
to, spoke of the opinion of others concerning you on the score of sin- 
cerity, I mentioned that I had heard such things, and coupling what had 
1)een told me, with your professions of regard, I confess the leaning of 
my mind was that the charge was not entirely groundless, tho' I think 
that then, I said nothing like it, but left it to be inferred from my 
remark that I had heard such things. It was long after this that I had 
the conversation with your brother; when I expressed what I then felt 
and still feel, a grateful sense of your kindness in offering me your purse 
Tvhen you thought me distressed, and I have mentioned also that circum- 
stance to the very (Gentleman with whom I had the former conversation, 
as an evidence of your benevolent feelings. 

iHogh Waddell of Orange» 1799-1878. 

336 The I^obth Cabolteta Hibtobioal Gommibbiok. 

The Conversation above referred to was entirely private, between two 
friends, neither of whom intended to do you the Bmallest injury, both 
of whom looked up to you with respect, and was never meant to be 
repeated ; nor do I believe it has been by the other gentleman concerned, 
and not by me until the circumstances occurring within two or three 
days have rendered it necessary. 

Let me go a step farther, and blame me not for my frankness and 
candour. I have heard such a charge made against you by others as is 
now imputed to me ; several others : — I have heard other gentlemen say 
they had heard them made also ; when made in my presence, I cannot 
call to mind any instance in which I expressed any opinion, and I know 
that on some occasions I changed the subject of conversation. 

I believe Sir, there is no man of whom unkind things are not some- 
times said, which would, on reflection, be cause of regret to the person 
speaking them. Such things have been said of you, I know they have of 
me. My wish is to be on good terms with all men, and I am sure it is as 
far from my design to whisper away your reputation, as it is to impute 
charges against you before the publick. 

Your obdt. servt. F. L. Hawks. 

From Francis L. Hawks. 

J y p -J HiLLSBOBo — Monday bvbnino. [November, 1825] 


After leaving you this afternoon, Mr. Waddell and myself called on 
Mr. Rencher,^ and tho' they diflFer, perhaps not very materially, yet from 
the statements of both, I am compelled to believe that there has been on 
my part an indiscretion for which as I am heartily sorry I must b^ to 
be pardoned. Mr. Bencher states, that as nearly as he can recollect, 
when Mr. W. stated that he had dined with you, and your remark on 
Badger, that he was indolent, but you did not well know how to blame 
him, as you used to hate to see a client coming after dinner, I said, that 
I did not well know how to believe that, or I doubted that, for that when 
at the bar, you were as much disposed to seek popular favour as any 
lawyer among us. Mr. R. says that he understood me to speak of yon 
professionally; both he and Mr. W. however were surprised for they 
thought I spoke with asperity, and both thought that I impeached yonr 
sincerity. Mr. R. says he thought that I doubted your professional sin- 
cerity, tho' at the same time, he inferred from my language and manner 
that / would not confide in you a great deal. 

lAbraham Rencher of Chatham, 1798-1888. 

Thb RuFFm Papsb8. 337 

Now SiTy I can only say, that having until the conversation was men- 
tioned, entirely forgotten that it ever took place, I cannot, at this dis- 
tance of time, remember what I did say. One thing I do remember, I 
was hurt at the circumstance of not being invited to dine at your house 
with Badger, and felt a little mortified; and this probably gave to my 
manner the asperity of which Mr. R. and Mr. W. speak. 

A general charge of insincerity against you I meant not to make nor 
did I intend publicly, to say any tiling which might affect your character. 
In one word, Sir, so little had I of deliberate design to injure you that 
I had entirely forgotten the whole conversation. This Sir, is the simple 
fact, I have taken pains to say to Mr. W. and Mr. K both that I re- 
gretted their misunderstanding of my words and manner, and had I 
supposed that what I then said would have injured you in the estimation 
of those gentlemen, or that the public would have ever heard it^ I should 
have been silent^ for however thoughtless I may be, I do not think I am 

I have written this sir, to justify myself, for it would seem from what 
had passed between Mr. W. you, and myself that I had told you a false- 
hood before Mr. W. came up. The truth was Sir, that I did not remember 
the Conversation. I knew I had never spoken with Dr. Webb but once 
and that within ten days of any charges against me of having said things 
disrespectful of any one, and then this conversation in Ws office was 
not named, and I was perfectly thunderstruck at Waddells statement. 

To you Sir, it is of little importance, my opinion cannot affect your 
character; to me it is all important, for as I hinted to you, and indeed 
as you told me yourself, it has been industriously circulated that I have 
spoken ill of many respectable men ; I have little to lose but reputation 
for as you know that is nearly my all. Of the charges brought against 
me, I can only say they are not true. I have not abused many respectable 
men : — the author of most of the rumours and the cause of them I think 
I know. If Sir, what I have said will be satisfactory to Mrs. Ruffin 
whom it grieves me to have offended, I shall be happy; if it will not Sir, 
I must patiently submit to the consequences of my indiscretion. 

Respectfully F. L. Hawks. 

From Lewis Williams. 

Washington December 8th 1825. 

The Revd. James Parks Clerk and Master in the County of Surry has 

lately died. His family are in reduced circumstances but honest. The 

appointment of a successor is a matter in which they as well as the 

County are interested. John P. Parks son of the old man has done the 


338 The North Cabolika Hibtobioal Commission. 

business for his Father for several years. Permit me therefore to solleit 
your favourable consideration of John P. Parks who will be a candidate 
for the office held by his Father at the next Superior Court for Suny 
County in March 1826. I hope you will pardon the liberty I take and 
believe me your friend and Hble Servt. 

Hon. Thomas Ruffin. 

[Address: Hillsboro N. C] 

From William H, Haywood Jr. 

Salsioh 8th Deer. 1825. 

« « • 

Our Legislature are doing little. It is whispered still that the Ch: 
Justice will go to Guatemala. If so you are already named as his soe- 
cessor to the Supreme Court bench. 

I ¥rrite you in haste— ofFer my respects to Mrs. Ruffin 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C.] 

From WiUiamf^ Robards, 

Raleigh, December 27th, 1825. 

I should be highly gratified to see you, a few hours of social chat would 
afford infinite pleasure; I wish you no harm, but I trust you may be 
called to this place before our Court adjourns. All the Judges were in 
Court today, our Docket about the usual size. We shall do but little 
during the session. It is the opinion of many that they will adjourn 
Sunday or Monday. From what I have discovered no mischief will be 
done, and no good, to use the language of the members — they have 
attempted to legislate both the Sol. and Atto Oenl. out of office, but the 
Senate on yesterday by a large vote rejected the Bill on that subject from 
the Commons. I am writing by candle light and my eyes admonish 
me to stop. 

[Address: Hillsborough] 

From William Robards, 

Wms.bobouoh Jany 12th, 1826. 
Your friendly letter came safely to hand. I am content that yon 
accepted of my apology and will not complain of the doubts expressed 

Thx Ruffin Papsbs. 339 

of my indiflposition. It may be that I often complain and still summon 
resolution to attend to my business and perhaps at times have not suffi- 
cient cause for a murmur. I wish it had been the case during the first 
weeks in December. I assure you, without jesting, I had a severe attack, 
and feel it sensibly now, but with prudence and care I think I shall be 
able to undergo a little more drudgery. I anxiously look forward to the 
time that I can withdraw, when it will arrive my prospects at present 
do not warrant me in saying. I think if I am spared a year or so more 
I will bid adieu to public life. Judging from your letter I may conclude 
that you will even doubt this determination. 

We move on, very slow in Court — for ten days only two arguments — 
On Yesterday the Court commenced with some system. On yesterday 
Badger delivered two able arguments — One on the question involved in 
the cause from Caswell between Stamps and Graves — Whether on a 
promissory note given by Graves for a debt of John W. Graves it was 
incumbent on the Plff to prove a legal consideration, it having been con- 
tended by Seawell that on every parole contract or contract not reduced 
to a specialty, the onus was on the Ptff and not the defendant. Mr. 
Seawell was very sanguine in his opening speech, but ask'd time till 
today to reply — today a message was received from him that he was 
sick. I am inclined to say that his indisposition is something like that 
produced in the Tar River Navigation case this you must consider as 
said in confidence — although the proposition is considered plain, yet 
the argument of Mr. Seawell created doubts untill removed by the light 
given to the case by Badger — the other in answer to Wilson in a case 
from the West. The question involving the decision of the Court in the 
case of Johnson vs Martin, whether the acquittal of the defendant on a 
warrant is evidence of the want of probable cause in an action for a 
malicious prosecution, Wilson contending that the decision was errone- 
ous. I think he (B) has shown more than his usual perspicuity, this is 
saying a great deal of him. Mr. Gaston has been unwell, but is now 
able to appear in Court. 

I delivered your message to Judges Henderson and Hall, they are 
anxious to see you. We shall have a long Court unless the Equity causes 
are mostly continued. 

I have given you an imperfect sketch of our proceedings for the want 
of other matter. 

Accept my Dear Sir my sincere wishes for your welfare. 

[P. S.] I have committed several mistakes having been interrupted 
by company, my room as usual is a lounging place for several. 

340 The North Cabolina Historical CoMMissioir. 

To William Polk.^ 

j^ „, Hillsborough — February 6*^ 1826 

I have been at my plantation up the country for ten days past and 
have just returned, in time to answer you before this moming'B mail 

I cannot take on myself to receive the money mentioned in your letter, 
as it is my wish not to intermeddle with the Estate of my late Uncle in 
any such way as would compel me to qualify as his Executor. I am 
anxious however that the proceeds of the late sales should be applied to 
my Uncle's Bank debts for which I am surety; and I have no doubt but 
that his son Albert will administer with the will annexed at your next 
County Court. J shall then be at Baleigh myself with the view of 
having an administration granted and bringing about a speedy settle- 
ment of all the concerns of my Uncle. — ^At that time, every thing I appre- 
hend will be done that will give you satisfaction. — 

I am, Dear Sir, with much respect 

Tour friend & Obd* S^ 

Col^' William Polk Thomas RuFFnr. 


From John F. May, 

RiCHMD. Febry. lOth 1826. 
Yours of the dd. Jany. was duly reed, but immediately afterwards, 
the fire in Petersbg. in which my office was burned, threw my affairs 
in such a state of confusion, that I was hardly able to think of any thing. 
Added to this, the Courts of Chancery and of Appeals and the Legis- 
lature engrossed my whole time ; and more recently I and my wife and 
two children have, one or the other of us, been sick in a boarding house 
here, for a fortnight. This is the first moment that I have had time to 
^ make the necessary inquiries, at the M. A. office ; and to inform you of 
the result. The house you mention was regularly insured — and the policy 
transferred to Mr. Hunt who paid premiums for several years. He gave 
no notice of his transfer or sale; and neither he nor any power under 
him ever gave any notice of an intention to withdraw from the society. 
By law, the society would have been bound to pay for the house, if it 
had been burned, during all the period ; and they had a lien, by the same 
law, on the house and land, for the annual quotas and interest, damages 
and costs. The recovery has been according to law : you are bound on 
your warranty to your vender; and your vender is of course bound to 
you. Perhaps as the quotas have been paid, without resorting to the 

iMss. Division, Library of Ck>ngre8e, William Polk Papers. 

The Ruffin Papsbs. 341 

property^ it may be well to sue in the name of Michaux, the person 
ultimately liable, for money paid out etc. Of this, however, you and 
your counsel will judge. The country Branch of the M. A. Society 
being abolished, no more quotas are due ; and you are clear of the com- 
pany, without any act of withdrawal. 

I am now, as I always have been, a republican, not according to any 
man's patent, but according to the principles of our constitution State 
and federal. I am in favour of freehold suffrage, and an independent 
judiciary at home^ and I am opposed to caucuses, caucusmen, consoli- 
dation, dismemberment^ aggrandisement of the great states, entangling 
alliances, and skylight houses, abroad. I was opposed to Crawford, 
because all the intolerant men of all parties, and all the caucusmen, were 
for him; because he was (at least represented alternately by his friends 
to be) all things to all men — ^to the patent republicans, the only man 
who could keep up the landmarks of party; and to those federalists who 
would support him, he was opposed to party animosities, He would make 
McLane^ secry of the treasury or Webster Atto. (JenL, or Van Rens- 
salaer^ P. M. Qenl. etc. I voted for Adams as the man most likely to 
defeat this combination of Pickering* and Van Buren — ^and as, upon 
the whole, the least objectionable of the candidates — ^I mean to oppose 
him when wrong; without uniting in an indiscriminate opposition. to 
his administration; merely because we of Ya. did not have any hand 
in electing him. I voted for Randolph^ for the Senate because I have 
more confidence in him than in Adams or any other public man. I 
Toted against Giles,^ because he is embittered against almost every body — 
slanders everybody — would have no sort of influence any where, — and 
would be a bitter and malignant opponent of every man and every 
measure of the administration ; because he has sunk himself so low, as 
to be compelled to swear that he cannot get a fair trial in a suit against 
him in his own county, as Indorser of W. C. If icholas on a note to which 
lie pleads usury. I leave you therefore to say whether I am any, and 
if any what sort of politician. I have been in hopes of getting the letter 
on business which you promised. I am heartily tired of legislation ; and 
most anxious to get home; but shall be kept here for a month at least 
I fear. 

Judge RufSn. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

iLonis McLane of Delaware. 

2Probal)ly Solomon Van Rensselaer of New York, 1774-1852, at this time 
poetmaster of Albany. 

sTimothy Pickering of Massachusette. 

4John Randolph of Roanoke. 

BWilliam B. Giles. 

eprobably Wilson C. Nicholas, the close friend of Jefferson, member of 
Congress, senator, governor of Virginia. 

342 The North Cabouna Histobioal Commission. 

From Edward Oraham} 

Nbwbebn Feby. 29th 1820. 

My old^ and worthy, and I wish I could not add now unfortunate 
friend W. C. Stanly^ is shortly to see you and I understand from him 
that he is still desirous to obtain, if it may be his chance, the solicitor- 
ship of the Edenton circuit, not certainly vacant. I could not in justice 
to him or myself remain silent, or unconcerned on such an occasion, 
and however important or unimportant may be my testimony in his 
behalf I b^ you will excuse me for taking the liberty with you Sir of 
tendering it. 

I have known, and intimately known, Mr. Stanly from the days of 
his boyhood, through his school, his college his office and his profes- 
sional career. I have practiced with him upwards of 20 years, and 
kept up a familiar social intercource with him and his associates, and I 
do with a conscientious confidence say that I know of no gentleman that 
has more uniformly sustained a character for the domestic social and 
public virtues — ^no one whose professional integrity is more free from 
imputation, he is a sound lawyer, faithful in the discharge of his busi- 
ness — in industry (especially when called for), above mediocrity in 
talent and capacity inferior to few, well grounded in criminal law, and 
with talents I have thought peculiarly adapted to the creditable and 
advantageous management of pleas of the State — ^with these sentiments 
and believing too that his situation deserves and needs assistance, I 
take great pleasure in speaking of him thus — ^but you know him and 
fortunately I believe for him better than I. I believe that his appoint- 
ment would be universally acceptable that the State would be essentially 
served by his appointment, and I am not aware that any probable appli- 
cant in that event could justly complain at being postponed for him, — 
begging again your pardon for the liberty, I remain most respectfully 

To Catherine Ruffin. 

-kF J ^^7 .7j Wbwbebn March 14th 1826. 

My dear Child — 

I had heard before receiving your letter of the improvement in 

Thomas' health, by the way of a friendly note from Mr. McRae. Your 

kind letters were however not the less acceptable ; for one not only likes 

iBdward Or»liam, 1765-1888, a native of New York, who, after graduation 
from Princeton In 1785, read law with John Jay and settled In New 
and built up a large practice. 

sWrlght C. Stanly was a/classmate of RufDn at Princeton. 

The RuFFiN Papesb. 348 

to know that something favorable has occurred^ but tc^ be informed of all 
particulars, which alone give full assurance of the redl^ty of the happy 
events. I acknowledge my obligation to Providence for this signal in- 
stance of his Benificence. I pray, that my dear babe may speedily and 
perfectly complete the deliverance from disease. With his return to 
health, I anticipate the restoration of his spirits and temper, which shall 
in comfort compensate your dear Mother for all the privations of her 
watching over his sickness and his convalescence. 

I am pleased to hear that you have in prospect the leisure that promises 
a resumption of your history. I must enjoin it on you to studi/ it several 
hours daily. I suppose you are finishing Hume. That done, take up 
Hiss Aikens Memoirs of Elizabeth and James I. This course will supply 
you employment, if properly read, until my return — ^when I promise 
myself much pleasure in conversing with you upon the events recorded 
by those authors. You must allow me to hope that the time is near at 
hand, when I may do much of my reading through you, by the helps of 
our discussions of your studies. I hope that after the book is out of your 
hands, the subjects are not cast out of your mind. The true province of 
reading is not confined to a knowledge of the facts related in history. 
Beading furnishes food for reflection; and the habit is a valuable one 
and ought to be early formed of thinking and again going over in the 
mind the passages perused in the day. Such a practice serves the two- 
fold purpose of impressing the facts on the memory and leading the 
understanding into a train of exercise necessary to its improvement and 
strength. It is necessary too that you should engage often in domestic 
employments, which will set a limit to the hours employed in reading; 
for that cannot be profitably pursued under frequent and irregular inter- 
ruptions. But the needle or knitting form no impediments to thought 
or conversations ; and I fear I have observed that work wants some charm 
to keep you engaged long in it. Meditation on points of history and 
points of character in some of its personages will furnish an employment 
delightful in itself and divesting labor of all its drudgery. Lively con- 
versations with your young friends and sober and dutiful ones with your 
Mother would fill up all chasms and give the highest zest to both your 
litterary and manual pursuits. Besides the solid knowledge to be acquired 
from history, it is my request that you undertake a course of reading for 
your evenings tending to enliven your fancy and chasten your imagina- 
tion and likewise put into a proper train your notions of morals. For 
the former purpose, I suggest Select Poetry and the Spectator; Scott, 
Pope, Thompson, and Shakespeare are my favorite Poets. The Bible 
is the great fountain as well of morals as Religion and is to be best 
known. That I would follow up with the Spectator again. You see, I 
am a disciple of Addison. He is a young Lady's best instructor: His 
sentiments are all refined and chaste; his style simple, but it is elegant 
simplicity; his English, purely idiomatic; his religion, orthodox; his 
figiu-es, perfect and his Imagination lively. There is nothing coarse 

344 Ths North Caboluta Histosical Commissioit. 

from beginning to end. The Spectator is a finiBhed model of the epis- 
tolary and colloquial style. Your evening's reading, being lighter^ may 
be dlovd, to the family seated around the Tea Table. I am aware, that 
I am much wanting in my duty both to your Mother and my children in 
not affording them, by a large house, more privacy and more facility 
of study, neither retirement nor proper domestic order is completely 
attainable in our present establishment. I hope before loiig to alter that 
matter for the better. But in the mean time, I would not have yoa 
wholly neglect yourself. True Philosophy teaches us to improve all 
our present opportunities to the utmost: Make the best of what is in 
your power; and consume not your time in useless repininga at the 
absence of some desirable accomodation nor encourage a spirit of dis- 
content by brooding over past ills. Because we might do more with 
other advantages, furnishes no excuse for not doing nwcK with oor 
present opportunities. It would afford me some satisfaction to suppose 
that my footsteps were weekly traced on my various journeys bj my 
family. To think, that at the beginning of every week, you were aayisf^ 
^'Mama and Oirls, Here Papa is now;" and, on friday and satnrdayi, 
^'He is probably now travelling, solitary and slow, along ihie road or 
crossing thai River: He is thinking of us and every time he crosaes 
Neuae River he says, that he is upon his own waters and, the fantas- 
tically, yet pardonably indulges in the search for a drop of our own 
Spring Water mixed with the mass of that which now sustains his boat 
or majestically flows by him. It is but a fancy, I allow; but it would be 
a pleasing thought to me if you would hang up your map of No. Ca. in 
the dining room and thus follow me, by the aid of an Almanac which 
will tell you my Courts, over the weary space from Hillsborough back 
again. You will perceive possibly, that this pious watching of your 
fathers track may beguile you into an accurate and lasting acquaintance 
with the charts of your native State, thereby adding to the store of your 
useful knowledge, while at the same time you gratify a whim of feeling 
in me. In that way, you can see the spot on Shackleford's Banks on the 
Sea-Shore, about fifteen miles from Beaufort and about six miles to ^e 
North-East of Old Topsail Inlet, where I was gratified last week with die 
sight of a large whale. It was killed on Tuesday night : The news soon 
reached us, for boats and vessels are almost as constantly at public times 
plying on those waters as people on horse back travel our roads: A 
gentleman of the place, an old seaman and an old acquaintance of mine, 
politely provided a boat and hands; aroused me and the gentlemen of 
the Bar an hour before day on Wednesday morning and got us aboard: 
With a fine breeze and all sails set, we put to sea and by a little after 
sunrise, we were on the whale's back. Our curiosity gratified, we re- 
turned with equal safety and despatch and opened Court by 11 0*Ck. 
I had often read descriptions well drawn by naturalists of the Whale: 
But I had formed no just notion of it. The failure of accomplished and 
scientific writers [torn] a knowledge they aimed at communicating 

Ths Ruffin Fapebs. 345 

admonishes me not to attempt a description here. I will make the essay 
however, hj next month when we meet. It is a huge misshapen monster, 
of immense strength and full of fat. It was 55 feet long, tho' but a year 
old as the Mariners said. It makes about 45 Blls of oil and was worth 
$750. I cut out two of the whale bones from the mouth which I shall 
bring you. It is now nearly dinner, which I am engaged to take with 
Mr. John Burgwyn, who is very polite in his attentions. I saw Miss 
Julia day before yesterday. She enquired about you in a very friendly 
manner and desired your remembrance. She is reckoned here very 
pretty, as I understand from Mr. Stanly, who is a batchelor and knows 
therefore more of these matters than I should ever find out of myself, — 
as I have but little taste and should make no enquiries but to gratify the 
Curiosity of the woman-folks of my house-hold. I wrote to your dear 
Mother yesterday, and shall continue to do so every week. Do me the 
kind offices of geting her to acknowledge my letters, to keep me in her 
remembrance and by a visit to Fayetteville, to give me an opportunity of 
paying my respects to her at Raleigh. I shall write to your brother 
William tonight, as it begins to be time to make arrangements for his 
visit to us. In the homely phrase, I add, because I am assured that you 
feel most concern in it, that I am well. I pray Gh>d to continue to me 
and all my dear Family a continuance of the blessing of health and all 
others to make our state comfortable. To his care ; I conmiend you all, 
with my blessing and the assurances of the regard of your father, 

Thomas Ruffin. 
[Address : Hillsborough N. C] 

From James H. Ruffin. 

Caswbll Co : Ho : April 13th 1826. 
We are here in attendance upon the court, doing but little in the way 
of trying causes or receiving fees : — There is a lamentable f alling-off of 
business in the Courts in this part of the country and I fear that it is to 
be still worse in that respect. The citizens seem so much to dread the 
expenses and trouble incident to them from litigation in Court that it is 
becoming a rarity to see, upon our dockets, either the return of an 
original writ or the enrolment of an appeal. Claimants seem to consider 
all other methods preferable, for the recovery of their claims, to a resort 
to the law, and defendants view, with consternation, the power of an 
officer of the law, deeming it, in these times of scarcity, their heaviest 
curse to have any business which shall take them to what (I think) are 
f arcially called Seats of Justice, our County Courts : — If there be not an 
improvement in the business of our Courts, some of us, honorable Aitor- 
wies at Law, will have to resign our Credentials and betake ourselves to 

346 The North Carolina Historical Commission. 

emploTment more suited to our capacities and more congenial with our 
dispositions, the pursuits of agriculture or the acquisition of the knowl- 
edge necessary for the performance of some trade which will secure to 
us the means of an honest livelihood: — To compare, however, small 
things with great, there is a tide in human affairs, in which when matters 
have reached either the highest or the lowest point, have got either to the 
best or to the worst, like the pendulum of a clock, there must be an oppo- 
site vibration. It seems to me that there cannot be a greater scarcity of 
business for lawyers, and therefore, I hope, that we shall, ere long begin 
to ascend toward the summit. I do not dispair, as I hope that my busi- 
ness is increasing tho' but slowly : the people seem to look upon me, now 
as a Lawyer, which they have not heretofore done and I get some few 
more retainers than formerly. In this Court indeed, I never got any 
employment owing to the fact of my giving away so much counsel without 
having the requisite knack of asking a gratuity in return, but that must 
stop. Justice to myself and to those who are now dependent upon me 
require that such a state of things should cease, no more to occur, forever. 

I was up at Dobbs' ^ last week. He has done a great deal of work this 
year and hais the prospect of making a large and fine crop. If he, how- 
ever, fails in it, I am rwined forever as far as agricultural matters are 
concerned. My plantation must necessarily be brought to the hammer, as 
I am depressed by a weight of debt to you, Mr. Cain, and McNeill, under 
which I cannot rise. I hope, however, for better things. I shall continue 
to struggle with additional inducements to do so, having a family now 
to support. 

I have heard too from Gilliam — He too has done a good deal upon 
your plantation, having opened and cut all your ditches, and ploughed 
a good deal. 

The farmers in this part of the country are shuddering for their 
tobacco plants, it being very cold with ice in abundance for the two last 
nights. The fruit is entirely gone for this year and there are dreadful 
forebodings, that this is to be the dryest and most pinching year ever 
known in this county : indeed so well convinced of it is your old friend 
Thomas Mc(}ehee of Person, that he has for several years been making 
provision for it. 

Tancey has been offered the appointment ^of Charge des affaires to 
Peru, which he has refused and it has since been conferred upon some- 
body from Maryland,^ die same man who gave to Adams the vote of the 
State in the House of Beps. I tell you this however under strictest 
charge of secrecy as nobody in the County knows it and he is not dis- 
posed to blazon it. He was very independent in his refusal to accept and 
has put a "t)iom in the King* side/' 

I suppose we shall see you at the Convention. 

iJames H. Ruffin's overseer. 

2The appointment in fact went to James Gooley of Pennsylvania. 

Thb Ruffin Papxbb. 347 

My mother's f amily, Susan and myself are all well and desire to be 
remembered in the most affectionate manner. 
In the mean time^ dear brother, I remain 
Hon. Thos. Baffin. 
[Address : Newborn N. C] 

From William K. Ruffin.^ 

Baltimokb April 16th, 1826. 
Not long since I received your affectionate letter, which should have 
been answered immediately, and would have been, had I not been uncer- 
tain where to direct a letter to you. I intended waiting until the 25th 
of this month, but as we have a holiday I will spend a small portion of 
it in writing to you. In your last you enquired what way I had intended 
going home next Summer? if any one was going with me? the manner 
which you proposed is the one I intended tiUcing. I expected until two 
or three days ago that I would have one of my companions as a fellow 
traveller, but I believe that I will not, the companion I allude to is a 
great friend of Mr. Randolph, and he intended going to spend the sum- 
mer with him in Virginia, but Mr. Randolph is going to Europe, and 
expects to carry this young Glentlemean with him, where he will put him 
to school. In yours. Dear Papa, you told me to write a long letter, but 
indeed I do not know what to say. The boys had holiday today because 
the (Governor reviewed the troops. I saw them salute him, which he 
merely accepted with a nod, whilst they whirled their swords, and then 
let it fall nearly to the ground; there was a great concourse of people. 
I was in a house just front of the Governor and the Soldiers. I have not 
beard anything of Mr. Mangum in a week or two. I am almost per- 
suaded that he is going to play me the same joke he did last year. I 
mean ''not coming at all." It is almost time for supper, and my candle 
and pen are both failing, so I will bid you good night. May the Almighty 
protect us both this night, and raise us to our duties in the morning. 

Dear Father. April 17th, 1826. 

I rise earlier than any of the boys that I may finish this, but indeed I 
must say something of some importance before I end; what I intend 
saying has been a subject of much contemplation to me of late. You 
suppose I intend speaking of religion; by no means: when in this I 
mentioned something of Mr. Randolph I had not concluded whether I 
would mention my desire. I will say but few words concerning it, if 
you approve of it, you will let me know as soon as possible for I have 
not more than twenty days to determine ; Mr. Mangum I hope will say 

iWllllam Kirkland Raffln, Thomas RafDn's eldest son. 

348 The North Cabouka Historical Commibsioit. 

more. I send this to him that he may read it. Mr. Kandolph intended 
as I mentioned before to take a young gentleman to school with him in 
Europe^ as I am well persuaded that it is much better than this, and I 
understand that it cost Tery nearly as little there as here, moreover I 
will see the world, and get my ^ucation at the same time. Mr. R 
approTes of it, and disapproves of this, he examined one of the students 
who was and is very diligent, he says he knows nothing of latin or Eng- 
lish. I will be in a republic country and among good Presbyterians, and 
will be there prepared for any stage of life as they teach Agriculture and 
every thing fit for an American, he intends going to Switzerland, and if 
you approve of it I will go with him in May; I should like to go home 
of course but if I go, I will be obliged to do without it, however I wiE 
have this consolation that the one I go with wUl not see his relations 
either. Write to me as soon as you receive this, direct it to Mr. Mangum. 
recollect that I must determine within twenty days. Remember xne to 
my acquaintances. 

Mr. T. Ruffin. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From William K. Ruffin, 

St. Mast's Collbqb Baltimoss April [1826]. 
A circumstance ocurred today which I believe has effaced all my 
hopes; however it is not certain and the circumstance does not prevent 
you from giving an answer, it is of some importance to me, and there is 
but two weeks remaining for your determination. My young Friends 
Grand Father wrote to him yesterday and informed him that he had 
not yet resolved whether he would go or not. I should like to go, but if 
you do not approve of my desire I will be perfectly contented; if you 
do not approve of it, tell me your reason, and show me in what respect 
I err. I am under your guidance. I shall always submit to the authority 
of one, whom I love, and whose counsel I know is excellent. Mr. Mangum 
wrote to me Saturday, but for want of time said nothing of my proposal; 
he promises to write tomorrow, for which purpose I will not send this 
until I know whether his is received or not, he says that I may expect 
him this week, I hope he will come, as I desire very much to see the one, 
with whom I left my old state, and with whom I entered these walk. 
The Panama mission has passed, I do not know what Mr. Mangum's 
constituents will say when they see he is outstripped in almost all his 
endeavours. The Students spout a great deal now, indeed there is almost 
as great an opposition party (as it is at present called in Washn) as 
there is in Congress. Some and the most genius are in favour of Jack- 

Thb Buffin Fafbbs. 349 

soiiy some pretty smart fellows for Adams^ and all for Mr. Crawford. I 
am for Jackson, and it was on this account that I became a deserter, 
because I saw that Mr. Crawford was neither primus nor inferius; if 
they do not prefer him before any let him loose it altogether. The 
recreations are now turned from play to disputing and arguing; Some 
say Adams has been serving the United States all his life, he has been 
a minister to nearly all the Courts of Europe, therefore he should now 
receive his merited reward : others say Jackson has enough sense to be 
president, and likewise is not coward enough to let people insult him 
before his face; he is likewise the choice of the People. I am quite 
tired Dear Father. Please answer my letter as soon as possible. I 
have not received Mr. Mangum's yet. Adeu Dearest of Parents, and 
ever believe me to be your Affectionate Son 

Wm. K. JlUFFIN. 

[Address: Washington "N. C] 

From J. Wetmore. 

^ . Baleiqh April 25th 1826. 

I am instructed to inform you that a meeting of the Committee of 
Appointments of the University of North Carolina will be held at the 
Executive Office Raleigh on Monday the 15th of May next. 

Your attendance is requested as many of the applicants to fill the 
vacancies of the two professorships live at a considerable distance, and 
tis deemed adviseable to make the appointments as early as possible. 

I am Sir very Bespectf ully 

Your Obt. Servt. 
Honorable Thomas Ruffin J. Wstmose Secy. 


From H. B. Croom?- 

Lenoib, May 12th, 1826. 

Among the candidates for the professorship of Modem Languages 

in our University is Mr. Clossey of the city of N. York. He will be 

recommended to your Committee by his excellency Dewitt Clinton, and 

other persons of that place ; among whom are the foreign linguists, the 

iHardy B. Groom of Lenoir County, 1798-1887, was a lawyer. 

350 The Nobth Cabolina Hibtosical Commission. 

most capable judges of his qualifications as a scholar. To these testi- 
monials I would, with humility, add, that being personally acquainted 
with Mr. Clossey, I can testify to his excellent character, his great moral 
worth, and even to his uncommon skill in the modem languages. I will 
only add, that, could he receive your patronage for the appointment, I 
should esteem it both fortunate for the University and a personal grati- 
fication to your respectful humble Servant 

To the Hon. 

Thomas Ruffin. 

[Address: Hillsborough, N. C] 


From Romvius M. Saunders. 

Milton June 21st 1826. 

I have now my dear Sir to address you upon a subject, which has cost 
me the most anxious feelings of my life. In settling the business of the 
Milton Agency with the Bank of ]!9'ewbem, there is every prospect of 
my being ruined. It is not necessary now to enter into particulars about 
this unfortunate business. I trust whatever may be the result my char- 
acter will remain free from injury. I am resolved on freeing myself 
and shall dispose of as much as the whole of my property if neoeasaiy. 
to do so — my prospects in life are blasted so far as political views are 
involved. I must return to the Bar for a support and devote all my time 
to its pursuits. The prospect is rather uninviting but my family demands 
the efiFort, but for them life would be to me a burthen. I mean not to 
sink under my misfortunes, if I can find philosophy enough in my soul 
to sustain me. In this situation and with this resolution I have to throw 
myself in some degree upon my friends. I have so considered yon and 
with that impression have made this communication. It is generally 
understood that Mr. Jones^ will resign his appointment or that he will 
be ousted by the Legislature. It is my wish if the vacancy should occur 
to obtain it. You can be of service to me, if you think you can do so 
with propriety. I have consulted Mr. Yancy, who will enter with feeling 
in my favour — ^he thinks he can induce Settle* to decline and Shepherd* 
and Morehead^ may one or both be drawn oflF, in order to offer for Con- 
gress. Burton* and I think Iredell* will support me, Stanly'' would if 

lEdmund Jones of Chatham, the solicitor general. 

SThomas Settle. 

SAugustlne H. Shepperd of Stokes. 

4John M. Morehead. 

sRobert H. Burton of Lincoln. 

sjames Iredell of Chowan. 

TV^rlght C. Stanly. 

Thb Buffin Fafbbs. 351 

Hawks^ was out of the way, he has no chance — ^you and Badger can do 
much for me with Stanly and the East. Can I ask your friendly inter- 
ferance. I pledge my honor if my friends shall at any time think after 
a trial, that the public interest is not properly attended to, to resign the 
appointment if so fortunate as to obtain it. You will appreciate my 
motives in making this application. It is the first personal favour I 
have ever asked at the hands of my friends. I think I cannot be con- 
sidered as vain, in supposing I have some claims upon those with whom 
I have acted politically. Necessity alone has forced upon me to make 
the trial. It partakes too much of the Washinffton spirit to be seeking 
offices before vacancies occur — ^yet as others are making the same calcu- 
lations, I must plead their example as my apology. May I expect from 
you a free answer as to this request and what you think of my making 
the trial. 

Thomas Buffin esqr. 

[Address: Hillsborough, N. 0.] 

From Oeorge 8. Attmore. 

N^vrmuK July 13 1826.* 
I hope this may find you realizing all the pleasures and enjoyments 
which fiow from health and rest, — the last of which can be appreciated 
by none more truly than those who have undergon the fatigues and trials 
inseperably incident to our Courts. Indeed I look upon it as one of the 
peculiar and almost exclusive advantages of the profession that it confers 
such happiness on a fellow after a circuit is over and when he can look 
ahead to a ^^Millenium" of a few weeks rest and comfort. 

Will you permit me to remind you that I mentioned to you when here 
that I had at heart somewhat, a certain suit in Pitt, in which one of 
your County men, who moved from here a number of years ago and 
who has since gone from the State was a witness. I mean John T. West, 
who lived about McCawley's and whom you no doubt know very welL I 
told you I wished to discredit him believing firmly he ought to be ranked 
among the great rascals of the day and would be wherever he was known, 
and you then promised me that when you returned home you would give 
me the names of one or two persons in that part of the country who knew 
him well. As the time approaches for thinking of these things will you 
allow me to trouble you to do this. I shall be the more obliged as you 
Iluow every man in Orange better than any one else. We are to have a 
Town Meeting this afternoon to concert measures for the purpose of 
evincing our respect etc. for the "immortal Jefferson." Brother Bryan^ 

iFrands L. Hawks.. 

2John Heritage Bryan, 1798-1870, state senator, 1823-1826; M. C, 1825-1829. 

352 The Nobth Carolina Hibtobical Commission. 

is to deliver a Speech and I hope all may be disposed to award at the 
present day to so old and tried a Servant of his Country^ and patriot, 
due praise and thanks, for the devotion of a long life spent in her service. 
All your friends here are well and we frequently talk over the pleasant 
time we had with you on the last campaign. I yesterday heard Daves^ 
say that Simpson had imported your wine and was only waiting for it 
to fine before he sent it. Daves says you may promise safely to give any 
one a first rate glass of maderia when it reaches you. 

With a fond hope of seeing you this way again shortly and a very 
vivid recollection of our fine holiday at the Colonel's and Brother 
Mosely's^ I remain my dear Sir, respectfully and truly yours 

To the 

Honble Tho. Ruffin. 

[Address : Hillsboro' N. C] 

From Romvlua M. Saunders. 

Milton Augt-8th 1826 
You will readily imagine that any seeming neglect on the part of my 
friends is well calculated to add to that depression of spirits, which my 
situation necessarily forces upon me. I felt hurt at your silence and 
began to think myself deserted by those I most esteemed and in whom I 
confided in this hour of trial, but your very friendly and highly valued 
favour banished every thought of the kind and I reproached myself for 
permitting such an ungenerous feeling to have entered my breast towards 
you. I thank you my dear Sir, from the bottom of my heart thank you 
for the kind spirit it breathes and the generous sympathy it conveys, it 
will console me under fortunes pressure and will inspire me with renewed 
efforts in the discharge of my duty. 

I shall go to Granville prepared as I trust to resist the unjust claim 
against me and to show very clearly that I deserved better treatment at 
the hands of the plaintiffs. Patterson's debt ought in justice to you, 
to have been paid before this, but it has not been in my power, as soon 
as I receive from Capt. Clay the price of the negro, I shall send on the 
amt. to Mr. Scott to be paid over to whoever you may leave my note 

I acknowledge I look to the appointment of solicitor (should the 
vacancy happen) with much anxiety, to be reduced from a competancy 
to want is mortifying to the feelings — ^yet this I could submit to with 
firmness, could I see a certainty of supporting my family. This appoint- 

iProbably John P. Daves. 

2Wllllam D. Moseley of Lenoir, 1795-1863, member of the state Benat6| 1829- 
1836; president, 1832-1836; governor of Florida, 1845-1849. 

Thb Ruffin Papsbs. 353 

ment with a proper exertion would render that support certain. It 
would give me a respectable standing in the profession and by attention 
to its duties, I can but flatter with success. I only know Mr. Strange 
from character and had been led to entertain for him the highest re- 
spect — I had flattered myself too, that in him I should find a friend and 
not an opponent. I still hope so. I could claim over him no advantage, 
except residence and that I should dislike to urge. My situation is worse 
than his — as he can support himself in his profession, as he has not been 
taken from it. I could expect nothing of you, should he persist and all 
I had any right to ask was your opinion and good wishes. This I know 
would avail me much. Mr. Yancy I know thinks highly of Mr. Strange 
and would dislike to see us in contact, he will write him as soon as he 
learns his determination. I flatter myself, I shall be able to induce Mr. 
Settle to decline in my favour. Yancy thinks Morehead of Guilford 
the most to be feared, he will be on the spot and as you know from his 
character will be ''all things to all men" I understand Judge Murphy 
has some influence with him. If I do not succeed I am certain I shall 
have no cause to complain of my friends. I feel a delicaoey in asking for 
an appointment not yet vacant, yet I plead the example of others, who 
say the vacancy will certainly be made. I shall write to some of my old 
friends, as soon as I see the result of the election, so as not to be antici- 
pated by others. 

I have already disposed of one of my farms with a part of the negroes 
on it, at a very fair price, my river place I am offered $10,000 for, which 
I shall take if unable to do better and send off the negroes — this I hope 
wiU free me — if not I shall give up my ''home" and trust to fortune for a 
''resting place", for I am resolved on being once more free from debt. 
You will pardon me my friend for thus obtruding my private affairs upon 
you — if you should feel authorised, I should like to hear Mr. Stranges 
determination — rest assured, I shall not injure him in any way unless 
it be in my power to beat him and then not by any unfair means. 

Should you receive any information on your circuit, that you should 
think might be turned to advantage, I should like to be advised of it. 

Honl. Thomas Ruffin 

From Robert Strange. 

PrrTSBOBonoH August 16th, 1826. 
I received your favor of the 26th Ulto. some days ago and had in- 
tended before this to have replied ; but now avail myself of Mr. Waddle's 
return to Hillsborough so to do. 

I regret that you should be placed in any dilemma on my account, 
but it is not yet in my power to relieve you from it. Iho tutissimus in 


medio muat still be your motto upon the subject of your letter if you can 
not consistently with your feelings take a decided part in my behaK. I 
am not now prepared formally to relinquish or set up any claim to the 
office of Solicitor of the Hillsborough district should it be vacant. If 
when the time of election comes I should find my chances of succen 
equal to any other person's I will procure myself to be nominated; if I 
should find matters likely to eventuate tmfavorably I shall endeaTour 
to avoid committing myself. My present impressions are I freely con- 
fess that I should stand but little chance against the opposition I should 
probably hare to encounter, but still I am unwilling at this time to com- 
mit myself upon the subject. I duly appreciate your feelings and thank 
you for your kindness. With respect to my course as a voter your wishei 
would have their due weight with me, but I must in candor acknowledge 
that if not a candidate myself Mr. Sanders will probably have opponents 
whose claims upon my own friendship could not be postponed even to 
your right to command me, in behalf of another. Tou will no doubt 
understand that this letter is intended for no eye but your own and imder 
present circumstances espedally you will feel the propriety of my not 
giving umbrage to the friend of any who may have claims to the office. 

You will no deubt have heard before this reaches you of my name 
being before the Executive Council, quite unexpectedly, I presujme to 
you. I should have been glad of the benefit of your advice before I com- 
mitted myself had time permitted. It is now too late to say more upon 
the subject. My family were well when I left home. Please present mj 
warm regards to yours. Hoping soon to hear from you I am 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Lewis Willia/ms, 

SuBBY County Sep, 10th, 1826. 

Business of an unexpected nature obliges me to go some distance from 
home this week, and consequently will deprive me of the pleasure of 
seeing you at Wilkesborough. I looked forward with fond anticipation 
to the chat political or otherwise which we intended to hold with each 
other this week. I hope however some opportunity for it will be afforded 
before your Circuit closes. 

P. S. The old Court, or ante-relief party have prevailed in Kentuckv. 

The first Report which you gathered from the papers was premature 
and incorrect. 

Hon Thomas Ruffin. 

[Address: Wilkesboro' N. C] 

Thb Buffin Papsbs. 355 

From Wright C. Stanly. 

[N'bw Bern, N. C, Oct. 2, 1826] 
Our friend Mr. John Stanly is willing to accept the appointment of 
Judge of the Superior Court.* You are at liberty to make such use of 
this information as to you may seem fit. 

I hope you have enjoyed your health since I saw you and as the time 
is approaching when you will make the arrangements of your circuits 
for the next year, I hope you will not forget our district. 

The people and the Bar will each rejoice, if you can come among us, 
and to your friends nothing could give more pleasure than once more 
to see you. Qod bless you 

W. C. Stanly 
Oct. 2nd 1826 
[Address: Lincolnton New Bern No. Ca. 

Lincoln County N". C] 

To William K. Ruffin. 

,-. J a AsHEviLLB — October 12th, 1826. 

My dear bon. ' 

I acknowledge my obligation to you for the very affectionate letter 
you addressed to me at this place. It gratifies me to observe you thus 
particular and punctual in the performance of engagements to your 
friends and so very minute in the detail of your occupations. This 
letter is the more especially acceptable to me, as I had heard nothing 
in any way of you from the time of writing the short note from Peters- 
burg in which you mentioned being quite unwelL You now happily 
relieve my anxiety on the score of your health, and I flatter myself 
with the hope of your continued heartiness, as you most prudently 
avoided exposing yourself to infection at Norfolk, where, the Papers 
say, the Yellow-Fever prevails to a great extent. Should it appear in the 
vicinity of St. Hary's I suppose the School would immediately repair 
to Pidgeon Hill or some other convenient and unaffected situation. I 
do not omit this occasion of giving you the satisfaction of knowing, 
that, tho' my circuit is laborious in the extreme, both in making long 
joumies from Court to Court over very rugged roads in the mountains 
and in the multitude of causes standing for trial, I have not suffered 
the least indisposition since I saw you and am now entirely well. I wish 
I had time to make you acquainted, by a particular description, with 
this part of your own Country. If we live to meet and you will put me 

iVery soon after this Stanly suffered a stroke of paralysis which ended his 
pnhllc career. 

356 The North Oabouna Historical Oommissiok. 

in mind of it, I will open to you many observations about it, which I 
shall lay up in store for your amusement and instruction. Last week 
I held the Court of Haywood County, which is the South-western comer 
of this State adjoining Tennessee, So. Oa. and (Georgia. It is Alpine in 
all aspects, but the comparison ceases when the regions are regarded b 
any respect than the original faces of the Country. The population 
here is nearly equally divided between White and Indians, and the worst 
of all is, that the Savage is of the two Castes the more civilised! 

This subject puts me in mind to inquire into the Oeographical course 
at St. Mary's: I do not perceive that any portion of your time is em- 
ployed in that useful and delightful study, nor do I remember that yon 
have yet been engaged in it since your residence in the college. Is it 
not attended to with yout For my own part, I consider an extensive 
and accurate knowledge of Geography to be a most valuable and indeed, 
indispensible part of education. 

I approve of the course you are engaged in, for the present. Suffer 
me to express my earnest wish that you will devote yourself to it. I am 
particularly solicitous that you should excel in Oreek and Latin, Read 
with unabated attention to the structure and idiom of the language and 
the true measure, or, in other words, pronunciation and emphasis of its 
words. The French one would think you cannot now neglect, as I under- 
stand it to be a part of your exercises, to make that the language of 
conversation with your Masters and classmates during the present year. 
I hope you have attained such a knowledge of it, as to make it not dis- 
agreeable and perhaps easy to carry on colloquial intercourse in that 
dialect. I pray you not to neglect so great a profit as may be derived 
from these opportunities of perfecting your knowledge of the Language. 
The use in common speech will soon make your pronunciation of it cor- 
rect and the words will be so familiar that you will e'er long form the 
habit of thinking in French, without which one can never be either a 
master of the idiom of any language or even command a ready use of its 
common words. To form your thoughts in one language and then 
translate them for delivery into another will be an intolerable labor 
which will cool all worth of imagination and dull the delicately keen 
edge of it, so that conversation would be a task instead of a pleasure. 
That you will have to encounter these difficulties noux is to be expected. 
Do it and overcome them at once; for this season of youth is that in 
which impressions good and bad are easily made and made indelibly; 
when mistakes are to be expected and for that reason only excite the 
myrth of a moment in your companions, while on the instant they are 
corrected by those very companions or your teachers ; while, on the other 
hand, the blunders of riper and more pretending years might turn you 
into a standing jest. 1 never write to you without saying, "Commit to 
memory Select Excerpta from the Latin and Greek Classicks." My 
reasons for this advice I have so often both in speech and writing com- 
municated to you, that I do not consider it worth while to repeat them : 

Thb Buffin Pafebs. 357 

But I repeat the precept and bog you to consider it a part of every letter 
you receive from me. 

I can not omit to take notice of a loss that^ from your letter, I judge 
I have sustained in your institution, in your old friend Dr. Damplon. 
You call M. Tesier, the President: Has he deposed the Doctor and 
brought him to some inferior station or has my old correspondent left 
the college altogether? I shall almost be sorry to hear of either. I loved 
the Doctor's sincerity of heart and simplicity of manners as displayed 
in all his letters. I felt him to be my friend, when he refused to conceal 
your faults and I honored his sensibility when, notwithstanding those 
f atilts, he acknowledged your virtues and endeavoured to cherish them 
and loved you for them. I think you will find his value by his loss, if 
indeed he has retired from St. M's. At all events I shall like to know 
what has become of him and you must be particular in informing me. 
By the bye it may be possible that my letter to him did not reach the 
proper authorities of the College and if that be the case your last Bill 
has not been discharged, altho' I left money in the Bank at Hillsborough 
for the purpose. Enquire of Mr. Elder and let me know in your next ; 
which I shall expect you to write immediately after getting this letter. 
Address me at Charlotte, Mecklenburg, No. Ca : — 

From home I expect you have heard since I did ; both Elizabeth and 

Thomas have been very ill since you and I left them ; but thank God, 

they are now much better. Your dear Mother though is in very delicate 

health as she writes me; which makes my separation from her ten fold 

more painful to me and distressing to her. My last letter was dated the 

27th Sepr., but I expect another from her next week and until then shall 

indulge myself in the hope of an improvement in her health. My Son, 

remember all her good advice and virtuous lessons : Love her and your 

Sisters and Brothers tenderly: They deserve your warmest affections, 

for you are the object of theirs. For me I only wish you to entertain 

such sentiments as your own conscience tells you you owe to 

Your steadfast friend and affce. Father 

Thomas Buffin. 
[Address : St. Mary's College 

Baltimore Maryland.] 

From M. E. Jones} 

Book Best Oct. 18th, [1826?! 
My mind has been so filled with the melancholy perplexities arising 
from the situation of my son and Mr. Hooper the thoughts of their 

iThe wife of Bdward Jones, solicitor general of the State. Rnffln's daugh- 
ters, Catherine and Alice, both attended her school at Rock Rest, Chatham 

358 Thb Nobth Cabouna Historical Commission. 

leaving home and the exertions and forebodings about Duponceau^ in 
particular, that I have not only neglected answering your letter interest- 
ing and valuable as it is to me but the occasion of it seems for the time 
lost in my present cares and feelings. Though I would impUcitlj trust 
to the guidance of an all wise and merciful Providence my responsibili- 
ties are distressingly bewildering to me. To send Duponceau to the 
south or not has been rendered a formidable question to me within a week 
past from the opinion of Dr. Strudwick that he should go and of Dr. 
Webb that he should remain and the consequent belief of several of his 
friends that home is the best place for him. My own belief is that the 
winter here must be death to him from the maimer in which the cold 
affected him last year and the excessive increase of pain it oocasions u 
grievous for his sisters and myself to think of. We have therefore con- 
cluded it to be decidedly our duty to send him and leave the result to 
Him in whose hands we all are. The expense may be remarked by others 
and is assuredly felt by us but it will not cost more to support him 
travelling four or five months than Doctor's bills and other expenses 
amounted to last winter and we see no hope of his escaping the effects of 
climate this season should he remain here. Having saved for tiie poi^ 
pose a donation sent by a good old Irish Aunt^ of my children's we hope 
to defray his expenses without involving ourselves in debt 

I trouble you with these particulars because I am sure you are my 
friend and I wish you not to be ignorant of my motives and cirenm- 
stanoes and if I should err, which is very probable you will know that 
the life or comfort of a beloved child is no slight inducement. 

As to our removal little has been done since I saw Mrs. Devereux 
except that the gentlemen of Pittsboro have been given to understand 
that in case they provide a suitable house I will go. Mrs. Hill's house 
which is offered for the winter, is a comfortable dwelling partly fur- 
nished so that OUT removal will be attended with fewer inconveniences 
at the beginning. I think you will agree with me that I may be enabled 
to judge by opening a school there next session what our future prospects 
may be. Here even for our usual number they are discouraging as 
several are to leave us and we hear of but one or two to fill their places. 
Day scholars in Pittsboro would be something in the place of their 
vacancies. I hear from Mr. Hardin that as soon as he can he will ride 
up to shew me how prospects are brightening. In the mean time I 
shall consider your excellent instructions and endeavour to abide by 
them as nearly as I can. You have completely quieted all our thoughts 
of Raleigh though my friend Mrs. D. still thinks we might succeed there: 
As leaving this old and long loved place is no trifling consideration to 
me I have not as you advised rented it for the next year, indeed I con- 
sidered it but prudent to reserve a home in the event of our not pros- 

iHer son, Duponceau D. Jones, had been a student at tbe University in 1825, 
but failure in health had compelled his leavina. 
SEdward Jones was a native of Ireland. 

Thb Buffin Papxbs. 359 

pering in Fittsboro' besides that is very doubtful whether I could have 
rented it. I have therefore taken an overseer upon shares an active 
managing industrious man finding him three hands and' three horses 
his promise of putting the meadow land in order is one among other 
inducements and it seems very probable that after I get Charlotte fixed 
with her school within two ndles of P., I shall with Mr. Jones spend a 
great part of my time here in the warmest room I can find hoping from 
the industry and management of this man to profit something by the 
farm that has been for many years an expense which the perpetual inter- 
ruptions from so large a family helped to increase. The pains and 
trouble you have taken to advise and direct me for the ease and welfare 
of myself and family has added another to the many favors I owe you^ 
and I consider it the more because you are I know constantly press'd 
by business. I shall keep your letter to apply to in my engagements with 
the Pittsboro' Qentlemen^ and those engagements will only be on the 
renting of a house, that they are to build, if they succeed in their sub^ 
scription, giving me the privilege of purchasing on tiie terms you have 
stated. Mr. Hooper said something to me about my western land, and 
your advising me to entrust the direction of the business to a Mr. 
Dickens, but the hurry and uneasiness I felt as he was just leaving us^ 
has left his information in so confused a manner in my wretched memory^ 
that I do not know now how to proceed and the wet weather has prevented 
my sending to Chapel Hill about it, and Mr. Dickens I am afraid will 
be gone before I accomplish what I wished. You know Mr. Murpfaej 
had all the papers. And it is most likely he has left them with his agdni 
Judge Brown. I think Mr. Hooper said I must send to Judge Murphcy^ 
to know how to proceed. Mr. Hooper I suppose left Chapel Hill this 
morning or I would not have troubled you again. 

Charlotte takes every opportunity of exciteing Alice to industry and 
neatness and I trust she will be rewarded by Alice's caution in tum^ 
her feelings are so susceptible that the woi^ cannot be done in the same 
positive manner we use on such occasions with many others — she is 
quite well and learns well and would gain our hearts independantly of 
her being your daughter and Catherine's sister. 

Both my daughters join me in kind remembrances to you Mrs. Buffin 
and your daughters, 

[Address: Baleigh.] 

From Romvlus M, Saunders. 

Thx Oaks, Oct. 30th, lS2e. 
My dea/r Sir — I have been on a visit to Salisbury with a view of locat- 
ing myself at that place — as I can dispose of my property where I am 
I have thought it best to sell at once and free myself from all difficulties. 

360 The North Cabolina Histobical Commission. 

Salisbury for practice presents a better opening than Milton and it will 
be the means of mj being more extensively supported from the West and 
I should havb nothing elsewhere — I regret giving up old attachments, 
but feeling must yield to necessity. Upon the subject of Solicitor I 
learnt from Mr. Yancy and Murphy as I came by Guilfd. that Jones 
would be forced to give way — that he had not been in a situation to 
attend to business since leaving Randolph, that at Stokes he was pre- 
sented and would be at Guilford — unless they could get him to resign — 
and that he was too drunk to talk with. Mr. Yancy had thought it best 
for me that he should stay in another year^ but he told me frankly that 
the sentiment was too strong against him and advised me to prepare for 
the contest. Settle has positively declined and will he says support me 
warmly. My friends had opened the subject with Shepherd at Greensb® 
and I shall know his resolution at Bockingham. From what I heard 
Shepherd will yield to me and go to Congress himself. The contest is 
expected to be between Nash^ Morehead and myself. I trust Strange 
will be out of the scrape — ^he certainly cannot succeed. I had an inter- 
view with Fisher^ — he will support me — but said he disliked opposing 
Morehead warmly and had promised Morehead at Court not to be active 
against him. It is all important for me to secure the support of Govr. 
Stokes, Mr. Murphy says you can assist me in that quarter. I dislike 
throwing myself on my friends where from their situation delicacy 
forbids an interfearance — but I know your discretion will direct you 
-where to stop and beyond that I shall not expect you to go. I must under 
this restriction ask you to speak to Stokes, if at Iredell — and if not 
requiring too much that you will please to write to some member from 
the East, Lem Martin^ or any one else, that you might feel at liberty to 
address. I should like this to be in terms to resist any objection on the 
score of qualification — ^your name would secure me essentially. I fear I 
shall tire your patience^ yet when you know the difiB.culties that surround 
me with a family that deserve a better fate, I know you will pardon 
my anxiety. 

I have no local news, but what Mr. Carter will be able to give yon. 
The state of the political world, leaves things doubtful as between 
Adams and Jackson. Our friend McLean and his party have succeeded 
in Delaware and Van Buren, considers himself safe in New York, which 
is a great point. 

I fear Mr. Murphy will not be successful in his application, I wish it 
was in my power to be of more service to him. I am glad to hear of your 
good health. The contest between Giles and Archer is warm and doubt- 
ful — you will see Giles meanness in implication Mr. Crawford with the 
habeas corpus business and letting Adams off. I have written to Gales 
and Seaton for fear it might escape others — tho' they may not publish, 
if they dare refuse. 

iCharles Fisher of Rowan. 

2probably Leonard Martin, member of the H'>u8e of Commons from Hertford. 

Thb Ruffin Papsbs. 361 

I should be glad to hear from you on the circuity if time allows. 
Hon Thos, Ruffin. 

[P. S.] I learnt from your Brother at our Court that your Mother 
was a good deal indisposed but was better. 
[Address : Hon. Thomas Ruffin 
jMr. Carter. Iredell Court] 

From William Norwood to William K, Ruffin. 

HiLLSBOBOUOH^ November 6th; 1826. 

Ashamed of not having returned your kind favour I come now to make 
atonement for my shameful negligence though you may think it a slight 
reparation. Indeed I am so unaccustomed to write letters^ having never 
yet carried on a regular correspondence^ that I am a stranger to that 
punctuality which correspondents require of each other. 

I read with great pleasure your warm, rapturous manner of speaking 
of your college studies, they certainly are the most pleasant which you 
will engage in. I speak this from my own experience. When I contrast 
the refined and elegant classics, the beautiful effusions of Horace, the 
sublime epic of Virgil, the impassioned bursts of eloquence which were 
poured forth by the princes of Roman and Grecian oratory, and more 
than all the lofty flights of the father of song, with the dull, monotonous, 
uninteresting writings of the knights of mortar and pessel, involved in 
the mystical veil of science and covered by a rubbish of technical terms, 
J sigh to travel again on classical ground, and would almost submit to 
become again a school boy. 

Though your letter gave me general satisfaction, there was one part 
which alarmed me not a little. I allude to the strain of catholic feeling 
which pervades the whole, no doubt you intended it all in fun, but I 
think I can detect in the zeal with which you speak a real attachment 
to the catholic church, Now I am not one of those violent, prejudiced 
persons who thoughtlessly and unconditionally condemn the catholicks. 
So far from this there are many things in their faith which I admire. I 
know it to be the religion of romance. I know it to be the church from 
-which we derive the ordinances of the Apostles. But I also know that 
our own church possesses all its authority, all its beauties, all its advan- 
tages ; without those superstitious rites, that idle parade, that ostentatious 
form of pomp, those absurd doctrines, in a word without those abominable 
and detestable corruptions which are a disgrace to any religion, an impu- 
tation upon the character of civilized men. To speak plainly, our church 
is just the roman catholic church purified, and cleansed from all that 
is objectionable in it. Choose not then the unclean instead of the clean, 

862 The "Nortk Cabounjl Histobical OoMMissioir. 

but hold fast the faith of your forefathers. Let their church be your 
church, their religion your religion, and their heaven, your heaven. 

^unc canamuB minora paulo. 

As to myself, my life is of such an even tmor that there is nothing 
relative to my pursuits which would interest you. We hold an election 
tomorrow to choose a congressman to supply the place of Judge Mangiun. 
The candidates are J. Mebane and General Barringer. It is doubtful 
which will be elected. In regard to matrimonials, Miss Elizabeth Flem- 
ing will be led to the sacred altar on the 16th of this month, Miss Ann 
NsLsb has plighted her troth to Mr. B. Alston, but when the joyous event 
will take place I cant tell. It is also reported that Mr. Cole and Miss 
Susan Taylor are engaged. Also Dr. Shepperd and Miss Strudwick. 
There are many other little reports in circulation, which are not worthy 
to be related. I could say more, but maybe I have already encroached 
too far upon your indulgent patience. Write to me soon, and accept 
renewed assurances of my esteem and friendship. 

[Address : Mr. William K. Ruffin 

St. Mary's OoYkfge 

Baltimore Md.] 

From Charles MarUy. 

IUlbioh 5th Dee. 1836. 

As the period for the Annual meeting of die Trustees of the Uni* 
versity is at hand when a Report on the Finances will be expected of me, 
may I take the liberty of inquiring whether the Moore Claim committed 
to you for collection is in statu quo, or progressing, or retrograding, or 
how else? 

Without some wind fall or God send our Revenue will fall awfully 
short of the estimates. 

The reported deficit in the revenue of the Nation will be a mere Baby 
to it. Very respectfully 

Yr. obt. Sevt. 

[Address : Hillsboro. No. Ca.] Chas. Mahlt. 

From Romulus M. Saunders. 

Milton Deer. Mi, 1826. 
I regret I did not see you on my way home. I dosed my unfortunate 
business with the Bank, it wfll take all my property to free me. 

Thb Ruffik Papbbs. 363 

I still feel anxious, about the solicitorship. Stanlj will support me 
and Spaight thinks I will get the vote of the Newbem and Ed^iton cir- 
cuits. Judge Nash out of the way and all will be safe. I submit to 
whatever course my friends may take. I have not been able to get the 
money from Oapt. Clay, as he sayd the State Bank has an execution vs 
him. I enclose an order for $325 at 90 days, which he promises shall be 
punctually paid, you will apply it to Patterson's debt and if there is 
anything behind I will forward it. 

In great haste as I start to-day. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Archibald D. Mturphey, 

^ „ ^ Union Hotel, 12th Dec : 1826. 

Dear Euffin, 

Mr. Anderson is looking out for a Scite on the river for his Gotten 
Factory. He applied to me by a Letter for information, and Among 
other Places, I reconmiend the Scite at the Mills, on the race near the 

Mr. Staley has at his request examined the river, but which place he 
recommended, I do not know. A few days ago, Mr. Anderson wrote to 
me again, asking the Price of the Mills, etc. I am answering him by 
^ving him an account of the Annual Tolls (average) for the last ten 
years, telling him, they varie from 1500 to 1800 Bushels of Grain, and 
that the Books of the Mill might be examined for his Satisfaction — 
that the Carding Machine would, when kept in order, average $150 per 
year, — that you, however, could give him as much information on the 
general Subject as I could, — that you had estimated the Mills and the 
Miller (Jerry) at $6,000 when you purchased in 1821, and at the same 
price when I repurchased — ^that since the repurchase the Under Works 
of the Mill, had been built over and would not require any costly repairs 
for 12 or 15 years — that these Works had cost upwards of $600--that all 
necessary repairs from time to time could be made by the Miller, TJntill 
the Under Works rotted — ^I stated the Average Profits of the Mill annu- 
ally at $1000, Out of which the Superintendent was to be paid. 

I do not know Whether he be seriously inclined to purchase: I hope 
he is. He will probably call on you, and if so, I will thank you to give 
him Such Information as You are in possession of. I mentioned the 
large Store House: but omitted the very commodious establishment for 
the White Man, who might be employed to manage the Mill, — I mean 
the Houses where Mr. Jones lives — : And I also omitted to mention 
the little red House on the Mill. I told him the whole esta1>lishment 
had cost me upwards of $9,000, excluding the Miller Jerry. 


364 The North Casolina Historical Commission. 

The Mills have an Advantage as a Scite ; public roads pass by than, 
there is a good Bridge across the river^ and the place is one of Notoriety 
and Business. 

As all the Purchase money would go to yourself, I am very desirous 
of making a sale. I shall be in Hillsboro', again on Sunday evening 
next. In the mean time, I hope Mr. Anderson will call to see yon. 

Judge Ruffin. 

[Address: Hillsborough.] 

From John MacRae. 

Fatbttbvills 18 Dec. 1826. 

I take the liberty of enclosing an advertisement which I wish yon to 
hand to Mr. Heart and at the same time prevail upon him to take some 
notice of my work in the editorial column of his paper.^ It has become 
a matter of some importance to me that it should succeed as the contrsetB 
already made will involve as a large an expenditure of money as the 
preparations have of time and labour, if leisure and inclination serre 
and you would take the trouble to write a paragraph for Mr. Hearts 
paper it would perhaps be more to the purpose. 

I design to render my application to the Legislature for assistance^ 
although to a moderate amount, the importance of the work and the 
smallness of the reward I think ought to insure success to the appli- 

I have every confidence from the means in my power I shall be abk 
to make a correct map of the State, and the improvements that have 
been made in this day connected with map making will enable me to 
make an elegant one. If you can I hope you will oblige me with yonr 
assistance in this business either by such friendly advice or suggestioxtf 
as you think would be servicable or as opportunity may offer with an? 
of the members of the Legislature. 

All our friends here are welL 

[Address: Hillsborough N". C] 

From A. R. Harwood? 

Newington King and Quern Deer. 29th, 1826. 
Your very friendly communication of the 15th of this month has beM 
duly reed, and would have been answered sooner, but for my absence 

iThe HilUhoro Recorder, edited by Dennis Heartt, known familiarly tf 
"the father of the press." 

2Archlbald Roane Harwood was Ruffin's first cousin. He married M&rtba 

The Ruffin Papess. 365 

'rom home, attending the funeral obsequies of my deed, father-in-law 
i/Lr. Fauntleroy ; at the time of its arrival at our post office. 

Permit me, now to assure you, my Dr. Sir, that I reciprocate most 
kreartily, the kind expression of kindred affection, contained in your 
etter, and to promise on my part, to cherish such an interchange, as 
)ught to characterize affectionate kinsmen. You do me injustice my 
Dr. Sir, in supposing that your leading subject, would impose on me a 
I ''troublesome conmiission," and might lessen the value of your corre- 
ipondence — be assured the reverse is the fact, and that the zeal and 
ifiFection manifested for the welfare of our dear Aunt, greatly enhances 
the value of your conmiunication. As it regards the trust confided to 
ne, I can only say, that it shall be executed with every degree of prompt- 
ness in my power, and that every effort shall be made to obtain for the 
land the best possible price. You shall be regularly advised of every 
}tep taken, and when the sale shall be effected. I trust you will not 
a^Iect the settlement of the property as suggested in your letter. I 
sun truly happy to learn that in adversity our Aunt sustains herself with 
t>ecoming fortitude; I had ever considered her a woman of the first order, 
but it was in the walks of ease and affluence that I had known her, and 
Lt is in the school of adversity alone that we are to look for a true develop- 
caent of the human character ; and to hear that in this school, her virtues, 
Etnd all the traits characterizing a great mind are made to shine the 
brighter, is consolation indeed! 

I have four children, one son and three daughters, and had the mis- 
Fortune to loose a fine son 18 months old, about two years since. We are 
tnuch at a loss for schools for our children having none in our vicinity 
and disliking extremely to board them out so young. The bloom and 
plnmptitude of my wife, might justify a hope, that we should attain 
your number, if my own powers should not fail, but of this I am not so 
certain, altho' I am at present in fine health and weighing nearly three 
hundred^ — ^And whilst on this subject permit me to hope, that you may 
%ot hang at nine. A volatile and social disposition in early life induced me 
for some years to live a little ahead of my resources, and the consequence 
has been in these adverse times, that I have been constantly poor and 
pennyless, but the cares of a rising family and the inconvenience of 
pecuniary pressure, have taught me lessons of economy which I hope 
w^ill enable me to get on better in future ; and should you ever have it in 
your power again to visit old Newington, altho you could not be reed, 
in the elegance of former days, I can promise you an equal share of 
cordiality and friendly feeling. 

My Brother Thomas^ resides in Tennessee and at the rect of my last 
letter was quite well, he has seven or eight children and a bright prospect 

iThe Roane genealogy, compiled by Bennehan Cameron, shows that his 
family consisted of eleven children — four sons and seven daughters. 
2Thoma8 Roane Harwood. 

366 Thb Nobth Cakoluta Histobical ComriBsiozr. 

for several more, he congratulates himself that they are in a fertile land 
where the necessaries of life are easily procured. 

Your relations in this quarter are quite well and I doubt not wiQ be 
much pleased to hear from you. I have been expecting Colo. Ritchie 
here for two days past, and hope to get his assistance in the disposal of 
the land. Present me I pray you to your Mother and all the family witk 
feelings of the warmest affection, and accept for yourself assurances of 
my highest regard 

[Address : Hillsborough "N. C] 

To William K. Ruffin. 

,, n ^ HiLLSBOBOUGH, Decomr. Slst, 1826. 

My Dear Son— 

I feel conscious of culpably neglecting the duty I owe you of answerii^ 
your letters sooner. My fault is brought directly and pointedly to mj 
view by the receipt yesterday of the dutiful letter you wrote me on the 
22nd day of the present month : So that I have determined to dedicate 
even this Sunday evening to you, rather than suffer another poet to go 
empty of the tidings you are so anxious to hear from home. 

I am pleased to see so much solicitude in you about your expenditmsB, 
because it argues more discretion and more prudent thought about mj 
interests and comforts than you formerly evinced. I perceive however 
that you are not a very a^cturate accountant; for none of the items from 
your book agree with Mr. Elder's statement to me. Agreeably to your 
request I give you herein a copy of the latter, accompanied with the 
expression of my satisfaction at its reasonableness in comparison with 
your former Bills. Do not understand this however as my license to 
relax in your economy, for my circumstances more than ever require yov 
to avoid all extravagance, to be careful of your clothes, and to purchase 
nothing unnecessary. I do not understand, by the way, how you come 
to be charged for six months washing and twenty weeks pocket moncj 
up to the 14th Deer ; for you did not return to St. Mary's 'till the 8th 
Septr. The difference is too small for me to bring to the notice of Mr. 
Elder especially as it probably grew out of a natural inadvertence to the 
fact of your being absent for two months in the summer, but I have 
called your attention to it, because I would desire only to impress on yonr 
mind the necessity in matters of business, of being perfectly exact in 
making charges against others and as prompt in looking into your 
Accounts and detecting the errors on either side and equally punctual is 
demanding and making the payments at the proper and precise moment. 
This is a subject to which, from youth and inexperience, you have not 
turned your thoughts. It is one, too, on which I have often thought most 

Thb BuFTm Papebs. 367 

parents much in fault; as few fathers teach their sons proper lessons of 
prudence at an age sufficiently early to have them engrafted into the 
motives of their future action. I wish you not to be ignorant of the 
great importance, not only of carefulness and thrift in gaining and 
expending money^ but keeping f aithful, correct and fair accounts of all 
that passes through your hands. The greatest genius will have his 
affairs always in confusion who omits this slight duty^ performed by 
even the plainest man of business^ who is not wanting in integrity. He 
who keeps no accounts is always liable to imposition from others and 
f requently^ before he is aware of it, is involved in difficulty from which 
no subsequent exertions can extricate him. My own habits have been 
very particular in this respect, so that it is now easy for me to shew all 
my dealings through life and how every dollar that came into my hands 
has been disposed of, of my precision you may perhaps in time have some, 
experience yourself, which formerly I feared you would find sore to you. 
I keep very regular accounts against you and shall continue so to do^ 
for the equal affection I bear all my children forbids that I should bonf er, 
much less squander on one of you an undue proportion of my small earn- 
ings. I trust however now^ from the earnestness of your feelings on this 
point, that I shall have no further occasion to complain or, rather, that 
in manhood, you, yourself, will find no occasion to indulge vain regrets 
at the inconsiderate follies of your boyhood. I have every hope, that 
you think and feel properly about this matter, especially as your Uncle 
Alexander tells us an anecdote, much to your credit, of your refusal to 
accept from him a part of your Grand Father's bounty to him which 
passed through your hands. You did only right, my son; for you knew 
that I had directed you to be supplied by the college with as much money 
as I thought you oughi to have. Besides that, it was generous not to 
diminish your Uncle's supply, which he might need at Washington, tho' 
upon his own liberal offer. Tou shewed a proper estimate of his wants 
and a proper pride in your own character. I do not wish you to go 
without your reward for so praiseworthy a forbearance and therefore 
request that as soon as you wish, you would provide yourself with a pair 
of dress-pantaloons in the place of those which you and your friend Mr. 
Bryan exterminated. Judging from the pleasure you seem to have 
anticipated from the society of your Uncle on his return to Middletown, 
you must have been greatly disappointed at his not making his second 
appearance at Baltimore. We were greatly surprised here by his arrival 
in last Wednesday's stage and still more distressed when he informed 
us that the cause was his discharge from Capn. Partridge's School. He 
unfortunately became involved in a broil with a fellow student at Wash- 
ington, which came to a personal conflict and ended in the dismission 
of both the parties. Alexander received much provocation, which cer- 
tainly palliates his fault: Nevertheless, it is a serious misfortune to 
him, interrupts his studies and increases the expense of his education 
and greatly distresses your Grand Papa, whose heart was much set upon 

368 Ths Nobth Cabouna ELibtosical CoicioBfliov. 

Alexander's steadiness and studiousness. I believe there are still some 
hopes that he will be re-admitted and he intends to apply for a restora- 
tion. If granted, he will return without delay, in which case you may 
expect to see him during next month. If boys could only be made sensible, 
how trivial they will hereafter regard the little hardships they dot 
encounter and how very futile they will consider the occasions and 
excuses for their bickerings amongst each other, they would sulHoit ehee^ 
fully to all such occurrences rather than inflict on the bosoms of their 
Parents the bitter pangs of having censured and suspended Sons. Mj 
Son 1 I confidently rely on you to spare your Mother and Father soeh 

These Christmas times have been enjoyed by your friends here is 
cheerful moderation by their interchange of visits and entertainments, 
without much shew or merriment. Our household is much thinner than 
usual and. therefore more quiet, tho' not the less happy. Your Sister 
Catherine is still in Caswell keeping company with your Grand Mother 
during the absence of your Uncle James' wife who went to Person is 
November, where she has given birth to a fine son, named after its tvo 
Orand-f athers, "James Sterling" Your Uncle seems highly delighted and 
says tho' he has red hair and a freckled face, that he is a right likdj 
Boy. Alice and Peter also spend the hoUidays in Caswell : They went 
up on the 23rd and will remain until the last of January. Annie and 
Sterling and the two little ones, Betty and Thomas, remain with yonr 
Mother. Sterling begins school again tomorrow; which seems quite 
satisfactory to him, tho' he has had a vacation of only one week and 
that he has chiefly spent keeping store at six pence a day for your Grand- 
father. All are well in Caswell, as we hear from your Uncle John, who 
passed there yesterday on his way home from Danville, to which place 
he had been, I believe, with the view of extending your connections. 
Whether his prospect of turning a Sweetheart into a Wife be of good or 
ill promise, we know not as yet. Next week he will set ofF to Georgia 
with your dear Aunt Patsy and her three little children. The season of 
the year is unfavorable and forebodes inclement weather; but your Aunt 
has been so long from her husband that she does not seem willing even 
for these causes to delay her journey longer. 

Mr. Campbell says, he has not heard from you since you left us. I am 
glad to hear you say the fault is with the Post-Office and not yourselL 
He loves you so much and has been so kind to you and has so few com- 
forts that grow out of friendship and the sympathies of the heart that 
it would be unpardonable in you to n^lect him. I advise and beg yon 
to write to him often and in terms of the utmost respect. Your sister 
Annie too says, you are her debtor for a letter, which your Mama tells 
me was a very pretty one and deserved an answer. I leave it to your 
own sense of propriety to dictate the proper terms of congratulations 
to your Uncle James and Aunt Susan upon the happy addition to their 
family and joys. I do not doubt but you will be wicked enough to wi^ 

Thx Ruffin Papbbs. 369 

Uncle John ^'good luck'' without any malicious hint from me. Your 
Qrand-Papa is always greatly pleased at getting a letter from you : Ought 
you to fail in anything that would please himf Tour Aunt Susan Kirk- 
land has been two months more at reading and speaking French, so that 
she is quite Oallick. If you are not afraid to encounter her, I should 
think a correspondence in that language would be quite agreeable and 
edifying to both of you. Your Uncle Alexander when your Mama scolds 
him for his bad conduct, revenges himself by telling her, as a set off, 
that you are quite a Roman Catholic! Your Mother does not suffer much 
uneasiness at what he says; for none of us believe it. If credited, it 
would make many long faces here, I think. For myself I do not look 
upon the difference of Sects amongst Christians, as of so much conse- 
quence in itself : But for that very reason, I have long considered it very 
proper for each person to attach himself to that persuasion which he can 
not only call a Church of Ood, but also, the Church of his Fore Fathers. 
The Protestant Episcopal Church is that of your family and is in itself, 
by its formularies, doctrines and practices, excellent, presenting strong 
restraints to vice and excitements to virtue as any denomination what- 

I have written you so long a letter, that I will now only add the bene- 
diction of your Mother and also of 

Your affect. Father 

Thomas Ruffin. 

Copt of toub Account. 

Sepr. 8 — ^to Catholic Manual k binding In July last I 1.25 

Spanish Dictionary 18.50— Spans. Oram. |2. Bx- 

tract8» |2 7.50 

Le. Bnine'6 Telemarque $1.12^ — ^Algebra $1.50 Pro- 
sody 50 cts 8.12)i 

Decern 4 2 pr shoes — 1 pr Boots mended ft 2 pr shoes mended. . 7.25 

** 14 Washing ft mending for 8 months, dne 15. 

Doctors Fees $4. Infirmary $1. Paper ft qnils |8. . . . 8. 

Pocket Money daring 20 weeks O 25 cts $5. Postage 
82.98 ....... 7.98 

Mr. Kelly's Bill for Music !!!!!!!!!!!!.'!!.'!!!!!.*!!.'! 17.25 
Six Months board ft tuition in advance beginning 
today 115. 

Bzchange for discount on money 7.12 


Be sure not to complain about this Bill nor allege any improper mis- 
take in it. I do not know that there is any ; and if there is I am certain 
it is entirely innocent. 

[Address : St. Mary's College 

Baltimore Maryland.] 


370 Thx Nobth Cakouna Hibtobical Coicicissioir. 

From William A. Orahatn. 

Raleigh [Jan. 6, 1827] Fbidat mobning 10 o'clock. 

I this morning waited on Judge Henderson, but owing to the non- 
attendance of Judges Taylor and Hall my examination has been deferred 
untill this evening or tomorrow morning. Your letter to GenL IredeQ 
I have not yet had an opportunity to deliver. Mr. Stanly I am informed 
by Judge Henderson is something better this morning; iho doubts of hii 
recovery are yet entertained. He was on the floor replying to Mr. More- 
head on the subject of the bill to establish courts of Equity etc., when he 
found his faculty of speech fail, and apologized to the house for not pro- 
ceeding. A motion was then made by Fisher that the committee rise— 
which was agreed to and Mr. Stanly took the chair. The bill being 
reported to the housCi a motion was made to adjourn, which he had no 
sooner put, than he sunk in his chair and was carried out. QenL Ireddl 
is chosen speaker pro tem, having arrived here yesterday just at ni^t 
and it being excessively cold both then and at this time I have scarce^ 
seen any one who could tell me any news. The last two or three dajs 
have been spent by the Legislature in discussing the bills relative to the 
time of meeting of the Genl. Assembly — to prevent free persons of color 
from coming into the state — to regulate the manumission of slavee. Mr. 
Murpheys memorial^ was reported on yesterday in the house of Com- 
mons. The report professes to authorize the Prest and directors of the 

Literary fund to raise dollars for the purpose of accomplishing the 

prayed for objects. I regret that I have not been able to hear more 
fully, and inform you in eztenso respecting the transactions here. 

P. S. I understand here that Mr. Blume late of Hillsboro, is to be 
married in a day or two to a rich widow in Southampton. Should t 
private conveyance present itself I will endeavour to give you a more 
satisfactory account of things here. W. G. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From John JB. Donnell,^ 

NxwBBBN Jany: 10th, 1827. 
Very soon after the vacancies on the Bench are filled, it will become 
necessary to think about the arrangement of the Circuits for the yetr. 
Presuming that the appointments will still leave the majority of our 

iThie memorial was presented by John Scott on January 6, 1827. It wbs 
concerned with the authorization of a new lottery for preparing and publlshlaf 
a history of North Carolina. 

2John R. Donnell of Craven, Judge of the Superior Court, 1819-183$. 

The Rupfin Pafbbs. 371 

Brethren in jour yicinitj I take the liberty of suggesting to you that I 
would be quite satisfied with the Edenton Riding in the Spring and the 
14'ewbem in the Fall. I would^ I believe, have no objection to going to 
the Mountains next Fall, but presume it is a favorite Fall Riding to 
most of the Judges and that our Circuit will be less desirable to any other 
than to me. 

Be pleased to let me know as early as convenient what arrangement 
is proposed, and accept the assurance of my esteem. 

Honl. Thomas Ruffin. 

[Address : Hillsboro, N. C] 

From Joseph J. Daniel. 

Halifax 15th January 1827. 
I have thought of the following arrangement of the circuits for the 
year 1827. You will be so good as to shew it to Judge Norwood and 
make up your opinion on it, if you are not pleased with it, make such 
alterations as you think proper and have them published. You will 
recollect that I was on the Mountain circuit last Spring and that I was 
on the Edenton circuit fall before last. 

SPBiiro Faix. 

Mountains, — Strange Mountains — Donnell 

Cape Fear, — ^Martin Cape Fear Daniel 

Hillsborough — ^Ruffln Hillsborough Rut&n 

Newbem — Norwood Newbem Martin 

Edenton — Donnell Edenton Strange 

Raleigh — Daniel Raleigh Norwood. 

I think it is as good an arrangement as I can think of. Mr. Martin 
practised in the Mountain and Hillsborough circuits and he ought not 
to be assigned to either this year. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Romulus M, Saunders. 

Washington Jany 15th 1827 
I had expected before this to have had the pleasure of hearing from 
you, but it seems you are contented with your domestic quiet, tho' I know 
you are not indifferent to the tempest which at present beset the vessel 
of state. 

372 Thjb Nobth Cabolina Historical Commission. 

The intelligence from England^ has been received here not with much 
emotion — the promptitude and the speech of the minister have given 
rise to some conjectures that the war may become a general one and as 
the fate of Cuba is important to us, the administration here may think it 
advisable to take some steps on the subject. The next advices however 
will be of a more decisive character and show how the thing is to 

As to the Inn's and the Outs, things here are made at present to depend 
very much upon movements at home — the Legislatures are looked to from 
this with feeling — the recent defeat of Mr. Randolph^ has been received 
with much congratulation by the administration men and not with a 
good grace by the oppositionist — ^he was not of much weight per se — yet 
the fear is his defeat may have an effect. Tyler it is said is personaUj 
friendly to Clay. This is not exactly in character with the old dominion. 
But the election of McLean^ and Ridgely^ from Dele^. is of much more 
consequence, as it gives a majority in the Senate — should CoL Benton^ 
be re-elected — of which there now seems to be serious doubts — tho' the 
rumor of the day is that Ellis'^ will beat Seed^ — the ascendency in the 
Senate is of vital importance to both parties. The prospects I consider 
as favorable to Jackson. Van Buren is very confident that New York 
will give him a majority, if so the result is certain. I acknowledge how- 
ever they are not to be calculated upon with much certainty. Clay it is 
confidently believed will run for Y. President, if he can consent to yeald 
his present situation. 

I must now cast an eye homewards. The elections for Judges have 
gone against Mangum. I am sorry for him, tho' as far as I am p6^ 
sonally concerned Martins^ success will aid me, as I have determined on 
locating at Salisbury. I am now a law student and shall be so for years, 
and whatever hard labor and persevering effort can do I will effect, tho' 
I acknowledge I look to the prospects ahead, not with the most sanguine 
hopes. From what I hear I expect some steps will be taken against 
Jones, if he is ousted I very much fear Shepperd will avail himself of 
feelings growing out of the recent election for Judges. Will it be pos- 
sible to detach Strange from him ? 

iJohn Randolph had Just been defeated for reelection to the Senate by 
John Tyler. 

2Louls McLane. 

SHenry M. Ridgeley. 

^Thomas Hart Benton. 

BPowhatan EUle of Mississippi. 

SThomas B. Read of Missieslppi. 

7Manirum was appointed to the bench by the governor and council in 182« 
to succeed Frederick Nash. It was not a popular appointment and the legis- 
lature elected James Martin of Rowan. 

Thx Ruffin Papbbs. 373 

From, John R, Donnell. 

NxwBBBN Jany, 15th 1827. 

Yours of the 6th inst is just receiyed, as mine to you by the last mail 
will have been I trust, ere this. In that I suggested that I would like 
the Edenton Circuit this spring and the Newbem or Morgan in the Fall. 
I rogret that you should have proposed the Morgan Riding for me this 
Spring and earnestly hope you will be able satisfactorily to yourself and 
our Brethren so to arrange it as to send me to Edenton this Spring. In 
the Fall you might give me Newbern, Morgan, Raleigh or Cape Fear 
either of which I would as soon have as Hillsboro but my preference 
would be I believe in the order named. 

The HonbL Thomas Ruffin 

Ps. Be pleased to let me know as early as possible the arrangement 
finally adopted. 

[Address: Hillsboro* N. C] 

From James Martin, Jun. 

Salisbubt Jany 26th 1827. 

I received your letter of the 21st and am quite obliged to you for the 
friendly and cordial gratulation which you express at the result of my 
election. It is an appointment the responsibilities of which cause me to 
accept with fear and trembling. It is a consolation however to me to 
know that in the office I shall be enabled to claim you as a brother as I 
always have as a man, claimed you for a friend. 

The arrangement of the fall circuits is very much against my wishes. 
I suppose it is the very worst. To a western citizen it is appalling to be 
sent there in the fall season of the year. I do trust that the Legislature 
will make some alteration which will paleate in some measure the 
dangers of that circuit. 

[Address: Hillsborough, N. C] 

From Robert Strange. 

Fatettbville January 27th, 1827. 

I received your kind friendly and flattering letter of the 21st inst. on 

Friday last instead of Wednesday as I should have done from its date 

and postmark. The arrangement made for the next two Circuits does 

xne more than justice, having the Hillsborough Circuit for the Fall is 

874 The North CABOLmA Hibtobical Commission. 

more than an equivalent for the extra share of difficulties which are 
thrown upon me in the Spring, and indeed (as I could hardly expect 
to ride my home Circuit) I believe all things considered that I am as 
well disposed of even in the Spring as I could have chosen for myself. 
The interest you express in my affairs is highly gratifying. Your advice 
will always be gratefully received upon all subjects ; and when not fol- 
lowed it will not be, that it is not respected. 

I was induced by a variety of considerations to meet promptly with 
my approbation the proposals which were made to me to suffer my name 
to be held up for one of the late vacancies upon the Circuit Bench 
although no one can be more conscious than myself of my unfitness for 
the station or better convinced that I owe my success entirely to the kind 
feelings of that portion of my Fellow Citizens who had the power of 
selection and not to any professional reputation possessed by me. 

I will not disown entirely the influence of ambition in Uie matter for 
I do not profess to be either above or below any of the passions by which 
others of the race to which I belong are ordinarily moved, but I tnzst I 
am not so much under the influence of Ambition or any other passion to 
lose sight of those duties which I owe to myself and family. The strong 
inducement then with me was a belief that I could make it instrumental 
to the great end of relieving myself from those pecuniary difficulties 
which have been crowding upon me year after year ever since my outset 
in life and which are even now continuing to multiply. Not as you maj 
justly conclude by holding the office many years, but by availing myself 
of the strong stimulus which the responsibility of *the station applies to 
the mind, the opportunity which it affords of acquiring practical and 
theoretical learning in the profession of Law : of disemcumbering myself 
with a mass of unprofitable and troublesome business which has accumu- 
lated upon my hands in the course of ten or a dozen years practice; of 
getting rid of many bad professional habits acquired in days of inexperi- 
ence; of looking around for a more advantageous spot in which hereafter 
to locate myself ; of casting myself loose from many trammells by which 
I should have continued bound so long as I remained at the Bar and 
thus putting myself in a better situation to avail myself of any more 
advantageous location which I might discover; and lastly as men are 
operated upon in no slight degree by the names of things by returning 
to the Bar somewhere or other with the professional character which the 
fact of having been upon the Bench per se bears with it. 

I can not but foresee difficulties after all in changing my abode and 
am by no means certain that it will be even practicable; and on the 
other hand should I change at all I am by no means certain that the range 
of my selection will be co-terminous with the State. Be assured however 
that I am far very far from indulging the dream of retiring from ih^ 
toils of the profession. No ! a life of labor is my destiny while life itsdf 
lasts and as illy as I am qualified for thai, I am more illy qualified for 
any other species of labor than that of the Law. I must therefore stick 

Thx RuFFm Papbbs. 875 

to it. I wish this communication of my views confined to yourself. 
Perhaps I need not have said so. But it ought not to be a matter of 
astonishment if one who had suffered so much for the want of prudence 
and caution should now seem to possess an overstock of those virtues. 

You are far ahead of us as in all other things in your success in ''multi- 
plying and replenishing the earth.'' 

Hoping soon to hear' from you again. I conclude by offering to Mrs. 
RufSn and family in which I am joined by Jane and my little ones my 
most affectionate regards — and to yourself the high respect and esteem of 

Yrs. Most Sincerely 

BoBT. Strange. 

[Address: Hillsborough N. C] 

From Duponceau Jones to William K. Buffin. 


[PiTTSBOBO, Feb. 2, 1827.] 
It seems as if fortune has some particular spite to me. I have again 
to remain from college on account of my health however I hope it will 
be only a few weeks before I can go again and there I intend to stay till 
I graduate sick or well. I hope since your heart is so much set upon it 
that your father will be able to educate you at St. Mary's but it would 
^ve me much more pleasure and (in my opinion) be much better for 
you to get your education in your own state ; Indeed I think we ought 
to be too patriotic to owe the education of our young men to neighboring 
states when we have a flourishing college of our own whatever danger 
you might run of becoming a heretic. I have another very weighty 
reason for your coming to C — hill which no doubt will be influential. 
The brother of the '^girl on the hill" will graduate in six months after 
iwhich (I understand) brother and sister father and mother will bid an 
eternal farewell to Carolina and remove to some of our western wilds 
it will be five years before you leave St. Mary's seven before you can go 
out there and before that time alas ! some otiier mortal may be blessed, 
whereas if you come to Chapel-hill besides the use you might make of 
the visit you would of course make to Hillsboro in 4 years you can 

^aduate and study a profession and be at liberty to follow Miss 

to the end of the world. I hope my logic will not be without eSetat in 
inducing you to return to Carolina. Beally I am ashamed to write so 
much nonsense but I have no news to entertain you with as Horace says 

Dulce est desipere in loco. 

I now recollect a piece of news that I might have given you. Mr. 
Gauldwell on going to Raleigh for the salarys of the professors found 
the treasury of college empty. It seems the trustees appointed a com- 

376 Thb Nobth Cabouna Hibtobical Commission. 

mittee to supply Nichols^ the architest (employed to build a cliapel) 
with money, this Nichols managed the business so adroitly, by applying 
to each member of the committee without the knowledge of the rest, that 
he has completely emptyed the treasury to the amount of many thousands 
the matter is going to be examined into which greatly enrages Colond 
Polk one of the committee thus the matter stands. The professors not 
at all contented with their empty pockets Col. Polk furious the oommittee 
in great wrath and the whole board in great perplexity. 

College is not at all overstocked with men of genius indeed as you see 
by my last it has very few of any kind there are several very smart 
fellows in the class that I will join. 

Do you read no modem authors William besides your College duties 
there is Hume — ^but I b^g your pardon I forgot he was altogether hereti- 
cal, but there is RoUin I would think you must take great pleasure in 
reading him especiaUy if you can do it in f rench he is a Catholic and 
truly pious and any person may be benefited by his remarks on the wan 
and bloodshed which he relates and also on the sublime philosophy of 
some of the heathen philosophers. 

I believe I have always forgotten to give you the respects of my mother 
and sisters they always wish to be remembered to you and whenever I