Anonymous to Amos Kendall, 12 August 1839
Anonymous to [Amos Kendall], 12 August 1839
August 12th, 1839
I stoped yesterday evening at Col. Johnsons watering establishment and remained until to-day. The old gentleman seems to enjoy the business of Tavern Keeping as well as any host I ever stopped with, and is as bustling a landlord as the most fastidious traveller could wish. The example of Cincinnatus laying down his public honors and returning to his plough should no longer be quoted as worthy of imitation, when the Vice President of these United States, with all his civic and military honors cluttering around his time honored brow, is, or seems to be so happy in the inglorious pursuit of tavern-keeping—even giving his personal superintendence to the chicken and egg purchasing and watermellon selling department.
But in truth the old Colonel is engaged in all this, although it is affirmed, and my observations confirmed the affirmation, that he devotes most too much of his time to a young Delilah of about the complexion of Shakespears swarthy Othello.
This is said to be his <
illegible> wife; his second, which he sold for her infidelity, having been the sister of the present lady. She is some eighteen or nineteen years of age and quite handsome—plays on the piano, calls him my dear Colonel and is called my dear in return, and is said to be very loving and devoted.
Seriously though, as an abstract principle in morals, this may be all right, but as an outrage against the feelings of community, educated to look upon such things with disgust and abhorrence, I look upon it as deserving the most signal reprobation. I am perhaps not so great a moralist myself as I should be. I have been less than I now am, but neither now nor at any time, would I so act in defiance of public opinion for all the honors Col. Johnson ever has enjoyed, twice told. How can he expect friends to countenance and sustain him, when he seems to have lost all self-respect, and openly and shamelessly lives in adultery with a buxom young negro wench? It is too bad, and I could hardly have believed it but from occular demonstration of the fact.
Our friend Moore was married a few days after I reached Harrodsburg. He married well, in every respect, and I trust will be much better.
Letter is incomplete. Writer's name withheld by Amos Kendall.