Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Wayles Eppes, 1 May 1793

From John Wayles Eppes

Eppington May: 1st. 1793.

Dear Uncle

I received two days ago your favor of the 14th. of April, and although I am apprehensive I have already trespassed too far on your goodness, must accept of the offer you have been kind enough to make of discharging Gordons account. Forgetfulness on the part of the Creditor is but too general, and the present instance of negligence may afford you just grounds for supposing, I am not altogether clear of a foible, so common with my countryman.

My father expects on the 12th. of May a final decree with regard to Cary’s Executors until which time he has postponed writing.

I am happy to inform you that the reports so injurious to the reputation of Miss Randolph, which have for some time1 engaged the public attention are now found to be absolutely false. Richard Randolph delivered himself up at last Cumberland Court, has been since tried by a call court, and acquitted with great honour. Mr. Marshall and Mr. Campbell were present at the trial and declare, that nothing was proved which could even afford grounds for a suspicion, that either of the parties accused had acted even imprudently, much less criminally. His own relations were his prosecutors and particularly active. The people of Cumberland who carried their prejudices so far that a strong guard was necessary to protect Mr. Randolph on his way from the prison to the court house unanimously cried out shame on the accusers after the evidence was heard. It is a striking instance of the length to which the inveteracy and malice of relations may be carried when they once depart from that line of conduct which should ever be2 observed among near connections.

I inclose a letter for my Cousin with my best wishes for her health. I am Dr. Sir with the greatest affection & respect Yours sincerely

John: W. Eppes

N.B. I fear you will suppose from this letter I have forgot your injunctions gard to my hand writing, but the badness of the hand will be excused when I inform you I had no knife that could make a pen.

I hope Petit is well, for I shall ever remember him esteem.3

RC (ViU: Edgehill-Randolph Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 14 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

Eppes’s assertion that John Marshall was present at the trial on 29 Apr. 1793 at which a Cumberland County call court determined that evidence was lacking to charge Richard Randolph with infanticide corroborates circumstantial evidence offered by the most detailed study of this controversial case. For a discussion of Marshall’s attendance as it concerns his revealing note of the evidence given at the hearing, see Marshall, Papers description begins Herbert A. Johnson, Charles T. Cullen, Charles F. Hobson, and others, eds., The Papers of John Marshall, Chapel Hill, 1974–2006, 12 vols. description ends , ii, 161–8. my cousin: TJ’s daughter Mary.

1Preceding two words interlined.

2Eppes here canceled “preserved.”

3Sentence thus in manuscript.

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