Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/281

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Unveiling of the Howitzer Monument.


But even when such security was provided by the slave-holder himself the way was far from smooth. One instance occurs to me with which was associated a revered relative of my own John Ran- dolph; and I can never mention the name of this transcendent flame of genius without recalling the incalculable debt which Virginia owes to his singleness of heart and purity of service. John Randolph, by a will executed in the presence of Mark Alexander and Nathaniel Macon, had made Judge William Leigh, the residuary devisee and legatee of his valuable estate, subject to certain specific legacies and provisions. The most important of these provisions was that of the means to enable the executor of the will to transport the slaves of the estate (set free by a previous clause) and settle them in some other State or territory. He appointed Judge Leigh his executor. The will was contested on the ground of the mental unsoundness of the testator. Judge Leigh, well aware that the emancipation of these slaves had been the undeviating purpose of Randolph's life, relin- guished his absorbing interest under the will that he might become a witness in support of it and so at least accomplish the particular intent to which I have referred. To this extent the will was, in effect, sustained, and Judge Leigh was appointed commissioner to transport and settle the negroes as provided therein. The State selected for the settlement was Ohio ; but when the commissioner landed, his first interview was with a mob formed to resist and repel the negro settlement. The clearest glimpse of the State of feeling is derived from the newspapers of the time.


[From the National Intelligencer, July 15, 1846.]

" The Cincinnati (Ohio) Chronicle of the Qth instant says that the emancipated slaves of John Randolph, who recently passed up the Miami Canal to their settlement in Mercer county, Ohio, met with a warm reception at Bremen. The citizens of Mercer county turned out en masse and called a meeting, or rather formed themselves into one immediately, and passed resolutions to the effect that said slaves should leave in twenty-four hours, which they did, in other boats than the ones which conveyed them there. They came back some twenty three miles, at which place they encamped, not knowing what to do."