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A I






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Omitted Chapters of History



DISCLOSED IN THE LIFE AND PAPERS



OF

EDMUND RANDOLPH



GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA; FIRST ATTORNEY-GENERAL UNITED STATES
SECRETARY OF STATE



BY



MONCURE DANIEL CONWAY

AirmOK OP ^* PINB AND PALM," " THB WANDXHING JEW," WTQ,



SECOND EDITION



NEW YORK A LONDON

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

S)(< Jfivatknhotkn ^ims
1889 ^



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COrSTRIGHT

Bt G. p. Putnam's Sons
1888



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Nkw York



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CONTENTS.



Page
Prepack v

Chapter

I. — The Randolphs i

II. — " A Child of the Revolution ^ ... 14

III. — In Washington's Family . . . . .23

IV. — The Virginia Convention of 1776 ... 28

V. — The First Attorney-General of Virginia . 36

VI. — Congress, 1780-1782 43

VII. — ^Three Letters to Jefferson . . . .52
VIII. — Correspondence with Washington . . .57
IX. — Randolph's Draft of a Constitution . . 71
X. — ^The English and American Constitutions . 86
XL — The Last Struggles of Sovereignty . 94
XII. — How Virginia was Carried for the Consti-
tution 103

XIII. — The Interregnum 117

XIV. — Launching the Constitution . *. . .123

XV. — Res Angusta MiLiTiiE 132

XVI. — ^The First Attorney-General . _. , . 139

XVII. — The Founding of Religious Freedom . . 156

XVIII. — State Amenability 167

XIX. — Henfield's Case 182

XX. — Randolph and Jefferson 187

XXI. — Secretary of State, 1794 211

XXII. — A Wintry Summer 226

XXIII. — Fauchet 237

XXrV. — MS. BY Washington 251

XXV. — A Fatal Victory 256

XXVI. — The Intercepted Letter 270

XXVIL— The Ordeal 282

iii



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IV CONTENTS

Chapter Page

XXVIII. — ^Revelations from English Archives . . 290

XXIX. — A Suspended Sword 305

XXX. — "PrAcieuses Confessions" 311

XXXI.— The "Overtures" 317

XXXII.— Mr. WoLCOTT 326

XXXIII.— Col. Pickering 335

XXXIV. — Washington in Judgment 346

XXXV. — Germanicus in Exile 358

XXXVI. — The Fictitious Default 370

XXXVII. — A Last Tribute to Washington. , . . 378
XXXVIII.— The Brave Heart Broken . . • .3^4

Index 395



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PREFACE.

In a room of the Virginia Historical Society there is a portrait
so blurred that the face is repulsive. It is the alleged portrait of
a man described by his contemporary, William Wirt, as of " a
figure large and portly ; his features uncommonly fine ; his dark
eyes and his whole countenance lighted up with an expression of
the most conciliatory sensibility ; his attitudes dignified and com-
manding ; his gesture graceful and easy ; his voice perfect har-
mony ; and his whole manner that of an accomplished and
engaging gentleman." The portrait at Richmond, repudiated
when painted, suffered all manner of ill usa^e ; and its fate
resembles that of the man for whom its dauber meant it, —
Edmund Randolph. Painted by partisanship as he was not, his
name has been marred by every prejudice, and his fame left to
his country in conventionalized disfigurement. The Centenary
of our Constitution has already brought a gallery of fresh histori-
cal portraits of its leading framers, but one panel, like that of
Falieri at Venice, is vacant ; there is no portraiture of the states-
man^to whom the initiation and ratification of the Constitution
were especially due, except a blackened effigy hung up by enemies
in a moment of partisan passion. This traditional effigy of Ed-
mund Randolph I have examined by the light of facts and
documents to which historians appear to have had no access,
with growing conviction that the nation knows little of a very
interesting figure in its early history.

The true portraiture, personal and political, might have been
given in small compass ; but behind the vacant panel have been
found facts and documents of wider scope. The more important
of these have for many years been slumbering in families with



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Vl PREFACE.

which I have a certain intimacy. These suggested the probable
existence of others, which I have sought in many States and
cities, including those of Europe. The result has been an accu-
mulation of unpublished material, the reduction of which to the
dimension of this volume has been the hard part of my task. Of
course the elucidation of these papers has required occasional
citation of others already published.

The historical student of our near future will, let us hope, be
able to express gratitude to his government for the Bureau of
Manuscripts, connected with its history, proposed by the Con-
gressional Library Committee (f888). My own gratitude re-
members the fact that our national negligence has some offset
in the enterprise and liberality of our great private collectors*
To their collections I have referred in loc,^ but must here ac-
knowledge the services I have received from Mr. McGuire of
Washington, Mr. Dreer of Philadelphia, -Mr. Gratz of the same
city, Dr. Fogg of Boston, Dr. Emmet of New York, Mr. Ford of
Brooklyn ; also from Mr, Paul Ford, Mr. Worthington Ford, and
Dr. Brock, of Richmond. To Mr. J. R. Garrison of the Treasury
Department I am indebted for assistance in revising Randolph's
. accounts. Mr. Wilson Miles Cary, of Baltimore, has helped me
in the genealogies. To Mr. Fenton, of London, and Mr. Durand,
of Paris, I owe acknowledgments. To Mrs. St. George Tucker
Campbell, a descendant of George Mason, and Miss Kate Mason
Rowland; to the Hon. John Jay; to many descendants of
Edmund Randolph, — especially Peter Vivian Daniel, Mrs. Wil-
liams, and Edmund Randolph Robinson of New York, — thanks
are cordially given for the use of their family papers; also ta
Mrs. Edmund Randolph of California.

My work has been a labor of love and justice. It was in a
field largely untilled, and no doubt has many imperfections. But
I have done my best, and ask a patient and unbiassed attention
to facts whose importance will not be denied.



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. X



V



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EDMUND RANDOLPH.



CHAPTER I.

THE RANDOLPHS.

" Our homes are all haunted ! ** The words were archly
spoken by the lady of a historic mansion in the ancient capital of
Virginia. "I am proud to say we have two ghostly annual
visitors in this veiy house — one the great man who built it, the
other a beautiful girl in bridal dress.'* A great man and a beauti-
ful bride, — what house in Williamsburg has not known these?
The old town is by no means a ruin ; its picturesque homes, its
parish church — fairly filled by refined people, who sit beneath
mural tablets of their ancestors ; its neatly kept university, whose
venerable president awaits the return of . its renown ; all
suggest a departure of master spirits from forms still fair, which
they might well Iovq to revisit. It is a land of legends. One
sits in rooms of quaint elegance, beneath pictures of noble and
lovely faces, at tables adorned with heirlooms of porcelain and
silver ; and, listening to brave anecdotes that fade into dreams
when passed from their habitat, establishes a certain intimacy
with the old figures. They become more real than the people
one meets on the street. On the portico of Wythe House, who
cannot see sitting in the summer afternoon the sage chancellor?
On the day, say, when Edmund Randolph brings him the offer of
a seat on the Supreme Bench, then goes home to report to the



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2 EDMUND RANDOLPH.

President that, while happy at being honored by Washington, he
is too happy in his little legal monarchy to leave it. In Tazewell
Hall, home of the Randolphs, now occupied by a northern family
of Hamiltons, what reunions of republican and federal shades have
prepared Imaginary Conversations for some American Landor !

The historic imagination may grow more realistic as it enters
the college park, passes the marble Lord Botetourt, and crosses
the threshold of the first light-house of learning built in the
South. As one enters the warm library the portraits have a self-
conscious look: has President Blair been remonstrating with
Professor Dew for having written the first pro-slavery book, or
Bishop Johns deplored the rationalism of Bishop Madison ?
What American can enter without awe the Chapel, where have
been uttered the youthful thoughts and aspirations of Blair,
Mercer, Jefferson, Monroe, Marshall, Wythe, the Pages, Lees,
Nelsons, Randolphs ? Fires have scathed these ancient walls and
destroyed their tablets, but faithful records illumine them with
scenes they have witnessed.

Out of the great days that have shone on it since the English-
Indian school of 1660 was transformed into the college of 1693,
let us select one whose memorial is a unique pamphlet : " An
Oration, in Commemoration of the Founders of William and
Mary College, 15 August 1771. By E. Randolph, Student.
Williamsburg: Printed by William Rand. 1771." What a glori-
ous summer day was that when from far and near the gentry
came to bear witness to the latest flower of an old race, and
recognize in its colors the flush of their own blood ! For what
gentleman or lady could be unrelated to the Randolphs, and not
stir with gentle pride at hearing how young Edmund, at eighteen,
had won fame for scholarship and easily borne the palm for
eloquence ?

Dashing along the park are gay equipages, heraldic decora-
tions, negroes in liveries, eclipsing the civic robes of their masters.



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A YOUTHFUL ORATION. 3

and ladies in court dresses beaming on roadside adorers. Inside
the theatre are lustres no masquerade can reproduce. Governor
Nelson and his Council, the Harrisons, Pages ; Wythe, with his
law-student, Jefferson ; Patrick Henry, just admitted to the bar ;
have come in courtly dress. Among the students are Taylor of
Caroline, Innes, Nicholas, and many another destined to shine in
history. Randolphs have come from many regions to rejoice
with the King's Attorney that his only son, with Mr. Speaker
Peyton Randolph that his darling nephew, with beautiful Ariana
and Susannah that their beloved brother, wears the mantle
of an ancestry famous in the annals of literature and jurispru-
dence. That the young orator was of manly beauty, his voice
winning, his manners engaging, ample testimonies exist. This
first effort received the unusual compliment of publication by the
faculty. A few sentences will suffice a generation which can
hardly renew its youth so far as to gain the enthusiasm of a com-
munity in its springtide, gathering the first-fruits of its own
culture.

" I should be ungrateful indeed did I not with pleasure embrace
this opportunity to commemorate the munificence of our royal bene-
factors. For, as far as I can trace back the scenes of life, or recall the
fleeting ideas of childhood, these walls, reared by the pious hands of
William, have sheltered me in my infant studies. I am well aware that
I shall sink in the attempt, but I depend on your benignity to support
me. I am conscious also that it requires an Apelles to portray an
Alexander ; but should I be fortunate enough to drop, during this
•essay of youth, any thing worthy your attention, I should exclaim
^pTfHa with more than Egyptian joy, as having found my reward in
the approbation of the learned." " Cadmus instructed Greece in let-
ters, and Greece was grateful : Triptolemus first opened to the aston-
ished world the treasures of the teeming field, and the astonished world
demonstrated their gratitude by following his example. But can we,
the offspring of his care, mention the name of William and not be en-
raptured with his praise ? To him it is perhaps owing that the savage
Indian is not now defiling this holy spot, exulting in barbaric triumph
over his captive fellow-creature pinioned at the stake of slaughter, and



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4 EDMUND RANDOLPH.

panting with an impious thirst after the unhappy victim's blood/'
"Arise, renounce the errors of your age, and approve yourselves
worthy of royal patronage ! If past hours have escaped unimproved,
quit not the present opportunity, but, like the holy patriarch, clasp the
parting angel to thy bosom until he bless thee. Let future statesmen^
future lawyers, future divines, here spring up, but such statesmen, such
lawyers, such divines, as shall strive to do honor to their family, their
country, their Alma Mater."

The memory of this oration, of the graceful and modest
orator, of the enchained audience, long survived, and mothers
pictured the scene to stimulate the ambition of their sons : Fran-
ces Bland Randolph, for instance, whose son, John Randolph of
Roanoke, wrote that " the bent of his disposition *' came from
his mother's expression of a wish that he might be as great a
speaker as Edmund Randolph.

The oration over, Williamsburg occupies itself with sports.
In the evening the theatre will be crowded ; the play may even
be " Every Man in his Humor," by Ben Jonson, who used to call
Thomas Randolph, the poet, his " son." Or the grand hall and
drawing-room of Tazewell Hall will be gay with dancers. And
when the summer vacation is fairly opened, young Randolph and
his sisters, with select companions, may voyage on the beautiful
river, touching at home after home of their relatives, and gather-
ing at last in grand pic-nic beside the picturesque ruin of the first
home of the Randolphs in the New World. There, in Turkey
Island, they would read on a gravestone : " Col. William Ran-
dolph, of Warwickshire, but late of Virginia, Gentleman, died
II April 1711."

The ancient gravestone remains to-day. When laid, it was
the lowly memorial of a brave ancestral history, and might sym-
bolize the foundation of a national history. The English Ran-
dolphs had attained high rank in the time of Edward I. Thomas
Randolph is mentioned in " Domesday Book ** as ordered to do
duty against the king of France. Sir John Randolph, Knt.^



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THOMAS RANDOLPH, THE POET. 5

was a Commissioner to summon Knights (1298) ; John Randolph
of Hampshire, connected with the Exchequer (1385), was an emi-
nent judge, and other judges of the name are mentioned in
Conway Robinson's " History of English Institutions '* ; Aveiy
Randolph was Principal of Pembroke College, Oxford (1590);
Sir Thomas Randolph was an ambassador of Queen Elizabeth.^
A nephew and namesake of the latter was Thomas Randolph,
the poet (1604-34), so beloved of Ben Jonson and his circle. Of
him Feltham wrote :

" Such was his genius, like the eye's quick wink.
He could write sooner than another think ;
His play was fancy's flame, a lightning wit,
So shot that it could sooner pierce than hit"

A monument by Sir Christopher Hatton was erected to the
poet (Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge), and, in memory of
his youth and his virtues, a fit inscription might have been found
in a poem of his own :

" Wouldst thou live long? The only means are these,
'Bove Galen's diet, or Hippocrates' :
Strive to live well ; tread in the upright ways.
And rather count thy actions than thy days :
Then thou hast lived enough amongst us here ;
For every day well spent I count a year.
Live well, and then how soon soe'er thou die.
Thou art of age to claim eternity."

Colonel William Randolph of Turkey Island, though founder
of the famous race of Virginia Randolphs, was not the first of the
family in that colony. His uncle Henry came in 1643, and left a
widow who married Peter Field, an ancestor of Jefferson. Col.
William arrived in Virginia in 1674, the year after this uncle's
death. In the civil wars the fortunes of the family, who had been
devoted loyalists, were broken. The young cavalier was not,
however, without some means. He was taken by Governor Sir
William Berkeley to his heart, was the particular friend of Lady
Berkeley, and at once took a high position in the colony. He



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•O EDMUND RANDOLPH.

iixed himself at Turkey Island, — ^which may then have been an
island, — ^twenty miles below the point on James River where
Richmond now stands. He endeared himself to the worthy Col.
William Byrd, whose letters show Randolph a gentleman of high
character. He was a member of the House of Burgesses, and,
a probable tradition says, one of the Governor's Council. His
ship plied between Bristol and Turkey Island, where, with his
own brick, was built the grand mansion with lofty dome, whose
ruin remains. He became the possessor of vast plantations ; was
active in the work of civilizing the Indians ; a founder of William
and Mary College. "William Randolph, Gentleman," is a trustee
in its royal charter. The houses he is said to have " built "
{for his sons), has led some literalist to suppose him a carpenter.
He was on the first Board of Visitors of the College. The traces
of this old colonist in Virginia, during the thirty-seven years of
his life there, are altogether pleasant to follow. His wife was
Catherine Isham, of the neighboring estate, Bermuda Hundred.
The patriarchal pair had seven sons and two daughters. The
sons were distinguished from numerous relatives by the estates
or homesteads their father bequeathed them : William (Jr.) of
Turkey Island, Thomas of Tuckahoe, Isham of Dungeness,
Richard of Curies, Henry of Chatsworth, Sir John of Tazewell
Hall (Williamsburg), Edward of Breno. With exception of Ed-
ward, who settled in England, these sons all entered with energy
on the affairs of the colony. William (b. 1681) was a Visitor of
the College, a burgess, a councillor of State, and treasurer of the
colony in 1737. Isham (b. 1687) finished his education in Lon-
don, where he married in 1717, and returning to Virginia, built
the grand mansion at Dungeness, in what is now Albemarle
County, which he represented in the House of Burgesses (1740).
He was Adjutant-General of Virginia, but devoted himself
mainly to science. He and his hospitable household are honor-
ably mentioned in the memoirs of Bartram, the naturalist. He



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SIR JOHN RANDOLPH. T

died in 1742. Richard also was a burgess, and for a time treasurer
of the colony. Heniy did not marry ; with this exception all of
the children married and had families. The Rev. Dr. Slaughter,
historiographer of the Diocese of Virginia, informs me that there
are persons descended from all of the married sons of William
and Catharine Randolph. The descendants are even less notable
for their number than their eminence. Besides the twoscore
Randolphs known to the catalogue of William and Mary College,
many of other names were descended from William of Turkey
Island ; and among these may be named William Stith, historian
of Virginia; President Jefferson, Chief- Justice Marshall, Harry
Lee of the Legion, Gov. .Pleasants, General Robert E. Lee,.
Admiral Wormeley, R. N.

The most eminent son of Col. William was Sir John Ran-
dolph, — ^perhaps the only native of this country ever knighted —
bom at Turkey Island in 1692. After graduation at " William
and Mary," he studied law at Gray's Inn, London, and was soon
after appointed King's Attorney in Virginia. He was a Trustee
of William and Mary College, and represented it in the House of
Burgesses. In 1732 he visited England on colonial business, and
was knighted. The first number of the first Virginia newspaper
{Gazette^ 6 Aug. 1736) reports :

" The House, having attended the Governor in the Council Chamber
and being returned, Mr. Conway put them in mind of t^e Governor's,
commands to make choice of a Speaker, and did nominate and recom-
mend Sir John Randolph, as having given undeniable proofs of his
abilities, integrity, and fitness to execute that important task; and
several other members spoke to the same purpose. Then Mr. Harri-
son proposed Mr. Robinson for Speaker, and with him Mr. Carter and
Mr. Berkeley agreed. But Mr. Robinson, standing up in his place,,
declared that he did not expect to be made a competitor with the gen-
tleman that was named ; that he was no ways qualified, and prayed
that Sir John Randolph might be chosen without any opposition. And
he was accordingly chosen by all the rest of the members, and con-^



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8 EDMUND RANDOLPH.

ducted to the Chair by two members ; and being there placed made a
speech to the House."

In the " Virginia Historical Register," IV. and VI., may be
found this speech and others that passed between the Speaker
and Governor Gooch; and also an account of the magnificent
reception accorded Sir John at Norfolk, on occasion of his
appointment as Recorder of that town. Sir John is said, by
William Stith, son of his sister Mary, to have intended to write
a preface to the laws of Virginia, "and therein to give an
historical account of our constitution and government, but was
prevented from prosecuting it to effect by his many and weighty
public employments, and by the vast burden of private business
from his clients." The materials he had collected were used by
Stith in his history of Virginia. His library is believed to have
been the finest in Virginia. His mural tablet in William and
Mary College was destroyed by fire, but its Latin epitaph is pre-
served in President Ewell's history of the college. He died in
the year after he was made Speaker. He was the first to be
buried in the college chapel, to which he was borne by six poor
men, among whom was divided twenty pounds, according to his



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