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J[ohn] R[andolph] to MVB, 1 February 1829

My dear Sir

On returning to my apartment after a few minutes absence, I find Mr Dudley’s card & your very welcome letter. At present we are buried under snow; but as soon as we are thawed, or dug out I shall wait upon your friend in person. I have no doubt that I shall find his merits entirely unexaggerated by your pen.

Your message has been so praised by friends & foes (I mean political foes—for I do not believe you have a personal enemy in the world), that it will not stand in need of my commendation. I will only tell you what I said to Hale not half an hour ago; before I got your letter, “That you came nearer to our old doctrines than any other prominent publick man that I knew of, & that, in my opinion, nothing but your position prevented your coming still closer to them.”

You will be pleased to hear that Mr Macon is enjoying himself at home, without casting one longing, lingering look back upon the life that late he led. No vain regrets poison his retirement. He fox hunts with great success, having had but one blank day, & then as he was returning home his hounds caught two fine wild Turkeys. Hear his own account of it, recd. this morning.

“I went a hunting last saturday, one of the neighbours with me. We trailed a fox till near noon. Coming home (not in good spirits, as we did not start him, though the dogs behaved well) we started a large Turkey-Cock, which they caught in less than thirty yards; & before my neighbour, who took him from them, could cut his throat, they started another which flew. They pursued & caught him also, soon after he was on the ground. My neighbour encouraged the Dogs & I tried to stop them, but in vain. I took the second Turkey from them. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +. I ought to have told you that the Turkies had squatted in a small patch of briars, so that the Dogs had nearly an equal start with them: they were very fat, indeed. The one that flew the Dogs followed by sight until he lit on the ground & then soon caught him. They were not out of my sight during the chase: they will hereafter chase turkeys, I fear, as they were inclined to do it before.”

I need not, I am sure, offer any excuse for this long extract. You know the man & know how to venerate his character. I would rather possess such a fame than that of any of our publick men since Genl. Washington.

Be so good as to name me kindly to your son John, and to Mr. Bleecker. How is it that you omit all mention of John.

With much regard I am,

Dear Sir, sincerely Yours

J.R of Roanoke

As this letter is not to the “Governour” I feel at liberty to address myself to the “Man”. <illegible>

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Source: ViU University of Virginia
Collection: Papers of John Randolph of Roanoke (ViU)
Series: Series 5 (1 January 1825-3 March 1829)