Page:Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography (1900, volume 5).djvu/205

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

to defend the resolutions, he encountered Patrick Henry. There is little doubt that the powerful speech ascribed to Randolph in Hugh Garland's " Life " was based on reports from hearers, and the language is characteristic. Randolph was now elected to congress. His first speech in that body (10 Jan., 1800) had ominous results. Advocating a resolution to diminish the army, he used the phrase " standing or mercenary armies," contend- ing that all who made war a profession or trade were literally " mercenary." The etymology was insufficient for certain officers, who took occasion to insult him in the theatre. Randolph wrote to President Adams, improving the occasion to let him and the Federalist party know his opinion of the executive office. He addressed Mr. Adams with no other title than " President of the United States," and signed himself, "With Respect, Your Fellow-citizen, John Randolph." Mr. Adams sent the complaint to the house, where the question of dealing with the affair as a breach of representa- tive " privilege " ended in a deadlock. Quickly be- coming Republican leader of the house, chairman of the ways and means committee, Randolph be- came the pride of Virginia. He commanded the heart of the nation by his poetic eloquence, his ab- solute honesty, and the scathing wit with which he exposed every corrupt scheme. In his slight boy- ish form was sheathed a courage that often fought single-handed, and generally won a moral if not a technical victory, as in the great Yazoo fraud which, after repeated defeats, could only be passed in his absence ; also in the impeachment of Judge Chase, who was saved only because the constitu- tional apparatus was inadequate to carry out the verdict of a large majority. President Jefferson admired his young relative, and gained much by his support ; but it speedily became evident that their connection was unreal. Jefferson idealized Napoleon, Randolph abhorred him. John had learned from Edmund Randolph a knowledge of the English constitution rare at that time, and some of the most impressive passages of his speeches were those in which he pointed out the reactionary character of certain events and tenden- cies of the time. The appearance of a postmaster- general as agent of two land companies to urge the Yazoo claims on congress in 1805 pointed one of Randolph's finest speeches. At this time he was so national in his political ideas that in defending the purchase of Louisiana he maintained the con- stitutionality of the transaction. It was of im- portance to the president that his act should be regarded as extra-constitutional. Owing to Ran- dolph's course, the constitutional amendment that the president asked was never gained, and any further development of executive authority con- tinued extra-constitutional. It was inevitable that there should be a steady alienation between the administration and Randolph. In the heat of a moment, as when the outrage on the ship " Chesa- peake " occurred, the revolutionary element in him might appear ; in the case alluded' to he advocated an embargo; but when the embargo came from the senate, and he saw his momentary wrath sys- tematized into a permanent war-measure, under which England and New England would suffer to the advantage of " that coward Napoleon " (his favorite phrase), he voted against it. It seems im- possible to ascribe this apparent inconsistency to anything except Randolph's moral courage. This is not the only instance in which he confronted the taunt of admitting himself to have been in the wrong. He never desired office ; his ambition was to be a representative of Virginia and to fight down every public wrong. This involved quar- rels, alienations, and a gradual lapse into a pessi- mist ic state of mind, fostered, unfortunately, by do- mestic distresses and physical ailments. After his great struggle to prevent the war of 1812. and his conflict with Madison, he was left out of congress for two years, and during that time lived at Ro- anoke. When he returned to congress in 1815 the aspect of affairs filled him with horror, and he devoted himself to the formation of a " State- Itights " party, lie vaguely dreamed of the resto- ration of the "Old Dominion." His ideal country was now England. Although in his state-rights agitation he appealed to the fears of southerners for their property, that reactionary attitude passed away. Hatred of slavery was part both of his Vir- ginian and his English inheritance; only the legal restrictions on emancipation, and the injustice to his creditors that would be involved, prevented manumission of his slaves before his death. At the same time he voted against the Missouri com- promise, and originated the term "dough-faces" which he applied to its northern supporters, lie had no dream of a southern confederacy ; none would have more abhorred a nationality based on slavery. He had no respect for Calhoun, or for Clay, who challenged Randolph for using insulting language in a speech, and shot at him, but was spared "by the Virginian. He had been elected to the U. S. senate in December, 1824, to fill a vacancy, and served in 1825-'7, being defeated at the next election. Though he accepted the Russian mission in 1830 from Jackson, whom he had supported in 1828, he soon returned and joined issue with the president on the nullification question. In 1829 he was a member of the Constitutional conven- tion of Virginia, and. though he was very infirm, his eloquence enchained the assembly. He died of consumption in a hotel in Philadelphia as he was preparing for another trip abroad. His last will was set aside on the ground that it was written with unsound mind. By the earlier will, which was sustained, his numerous slaves were liberated and they were colonized by Judge William Leigh in the west. Although eccentric and sometimes morose, Randolph was warm-hearted. He was fond of children. " His fondness for young people," says the Bryan MS., " was particularly shown in a correspondence with his niece, during which he wrote her more than 200 letters." Randolph's per- sonal appearance was striking. He was six feet in height and very slender, with long, skinny fingers, which he pointed and shook at those against whom he spoke. His " Letters to a Young Relative " ap- peared in 1834. See " Life of John Randolph." Ijy Hugh A. Garland (2 vols., New York, 1850); also " John Randolph," by Henry Adams (Boston, 1882).

RANGEL, Ignacio (ran-gel), Spanish missionary, b. late in the 15th century ; d. at sea in 1549. He belonged to the order of St. Francis and came to Mexico in 152G, where he learned the Aztec and Otomi languages, and, being transferred to the province of St. Evangile, was the first to preach to the Otomi Indians of Tula and Jilotepec in their own dialect. He converted them, notwithstanding that the heathen priests tried to sacrifice him in Tepetitlan, and he founded many missions in their midst, so that he gained the name of the Otomi apostle. He built the beautiful church of Tula, was elected provincial in 1546. and in 1549 sent to the general chapter of the order in Rome, but died on the voyage. He wrote "Arte de la lengua Mexicana" and "Arte y catecismo de la lengua Otomi," which are in manuscript in the archiepiscopal library of Mexico.