Charles L. Bankhead to Thomas Mann Randolph
|My Dear Sir.||Charlemont 3rd April 1825|
your affection towards me has been severely tested, & yet your deportment in our Casual entercourse, convinces me that it still exists. My anxiety to preserve it, is the cause of this address.
Coloo S Carr. has for years been to me, a sly & insido insidious foe. I believe, although before a Court I could not prove it, but I sincerely believe, that he fomented the discord which has caused me anguish, privation, loss, & endless regret. That he has lately used my name in a way which no one shall do, who associates wh with gentleman gentlemen, I know. I proclaimed that I would insult him the first time I saw him; I did so. I have always suspected him to be weak of spirit, but had no Idea that the weakness of his mind, eaqualed his want of valour. He stands now a recorded dastard. It is some what novel that a Colo of cavalry, should e intrench himself behind the law, & swear the peace against an indevidual, who although obscure, has always ranked with gentlemen. His calculation was, that his oath, combin’d with a hosts of witnesses, would enduce the court to bind me in so high a penalty, that I could not give security, & that he would enjoy the satanic pleasure of seeing me in jail; he was disappointed; he calculated too that the tenure by which I hold my Estate would increase the difficulty of my procurring security, & thought me friendless; in that he was also disappointed; one of his witnesses Joel W. Brown I can prove to be perjured. & no one of his witnesses them Established what he wished, Viz. that I wore a dirk & pistol to assassinate him. I observed to the court in an audeable voice, that the Colos fears had magnified his danger; he replyed by asking me to use his own words to “try it again.” The redoubted Coloo should have reflected whilst inviteing me in open Court to try it again, that he was useing every effort to tie my hands, The fact is he feels himself thwarted in his unmanly & base design, & has placed me in a situation, which disables me (even should his desperation prove a substitute for valour, & prompt him to such a step) to afford him an opportunity of bleaching his sullied honour; He exhibited a Letter as he called it, but more properly a note, which I wrote him from Port Royal, some time in 1822, you will confer a favour on me by asking him to show you that, should he evince any unwillingness to do so, which I think probable, I refer you to our friend Gordan who heard it read, his exhebition of that note to the Court to Establish on my part “malice prepens” is a striking evidence of his mental debility. That letter contained a tender of friendship or hostility, it was an appeal to his honour, and engenousness, expresed a desire that he would do as his honourable Brother Peter would have done. He is sly, hypocritical, & as vindictive as his timidity will allow him to be, such was his mortification at my having obtained security that he absolutely reprimanded one of them & told him that he certainly would have to pay the penalty, that circumstance if no other does but that proves that he promised himself some diabolical hope from the peculiar tenure by which I hold my property, that my securities were to suffer. James Dinsmore Eli Alexander & Chas I Meriwether. I could have obtained more but they did not request it, & the notice given me being short & myself so unwell, that the sherriff granted me the indulgence of one day. The penalty is $1000 which shall not be forfeited. The Belted Knight however thinks that I will, I call him Belted because he is literally so. He wearse all sorts of concealable arme arms, & I have from good authority, that he has deposited with Leonard a celebrated smith near the University a Butchers knife to have a steel scabbard made for it, poor fellow I pity him, but I avow to heaven I do not fear him. If such things were to be sold in Charlottesville, I would really buy him a neat Ivory handle dirk & a hansome pair of Brass barrel pistols & present them to him, I view an incensed coward more dangerous than the bravest man, Coloo C. might encounter me in some sequestere’d spot & shoot me & swear that I attackd him; having insulted him in publick would counta countenance his tale; where there are witnesses I know he will be harmless. having been well informed that attempts will be made to induce on my part a violation of the peace I have determined to avoid all public places, consequently will not be at the Election unless I hear from one of whom I have asked the favour that, my vote & the little influance I might have, may be ncessary in your behalf but I can not believe that an old & approved agent of the people will be excluded by a young man & in state affairs Certainly inexperienced
“nosce te Ipsum” is a favorite maxime with me & I fear I shall, not have the self command to submit to an insult; although I could now do so without incuring a blemish; it would certainly be very dishonourable to involve my friends & securities. The right of self defence however no citizen can be deprived of in this country & with a view to that even I shall cary a stick onlyaffectionately yrs.