Thomas Mann Randolph to Joseph C. Cabell
|Dear Sir,||Monticello December 29th 1813|
Mr W. Cary has just shewn me two letters from Colo J. H. Cocke by which I find that he waves his claim to fill the place in the Militia of our state rendered vacant by the death of General Guerrant, in favor of Colo W. C. Nicholas of albemarle. Mr Cary, who is the relation and friend of Colo N., assures me that the health of that gentleman does not admit of his assent to the wishes of his friends, to bring his name forward on this occasion, and that he has himself declared it formally. Colo Cocke, and some other gentlemen, in whose judgement and sincerity I have the utmost confidence, have done me the honour to suggest that I might possibly be voted into that post. Indeed, I am told that you have added to the honour by declaring your approbation, and my friend Mr Garth allso; for which I am to both of you truly thankfull. I am even urged very warmly by many friends to make known to you my willingness to [serve], if elected, which is the object of this letter. The President had given me in my absence, upon the application of my Wife, the place of Collector of the Revenue for our District. I am inclined to believe it will yield an income of nearly 4000$. the year. My affairs are greatly embarrassed by the loss, which I now fear is total, of more than 2600 Barls of flour last year by the Blockade. The wellfare of my family, indeed the preservation of what estate I enjoy, commands me to retain that place. But the two Mr Carys, my friends, the neighbours of Colo Cocke, inform me that General Taylors time at Norfolk will expire in February, and that the Brigadier now appointed is destined to succeed him. This opens a field indeed worthy of ambition, for the chance of entering which I would not only resolve at once to abandon all other hopes, but even all other duties. I feel myself impatient to risk honour, fortune, life in such an undertaking as the defence of that place. Even the many chances of mortification from rejection weigh nothing with such hopes. I have a firm belief that my being appointed to that command would be acceptable to the President. I feel entirely certain that many General officers of the U.S. Army deem me competent to it. My confidence in myself has never been blind. Indeed I have scarcely ever in my life felt confidence before. Whether it be purely founded in reason, or merely grown up from Enthusiasm I cannot tell, but I [. . .] feel the strongest desire to have the direction of the opposition which must be made to the enemy in that quarter next spring, if the War should not terminate sooner. But I have said too much for the hurry I am in, the mail hour being allready come, and the information but just received. I trust my fate to you, and conclude with beging you to manage as much as possible my want of modesty, if I have been too sanguine. It is the command only I want. For nothing less could I give up my hopes of retrieving my affairs. I know there can be no official certainty in such a case; but the Governor would not hezitate to say what he intends as to the successor of Taylor; and his uttering a word on such a subject would be certainty to me.
Excuse my freedom and believe me to be most sincerely your friend