Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In Congress, December 2, 1799

Twenty-six-year-old John Randolph, representative from Virginia, first takes his seat in Congress at Philadelphia. William Plumer of New Hampshire described him in 1803:

Mr. Randolph goes to the House booted and spurred, with his whip in hand, in imitation, it is said, of members of the British Parliament. He is a very slight man but of the common stature. At a little distance, he does not appear older than you are; but, upon a nearer approach, you perceive his wrinkles and grey hairs. He is, I believe, about thirty. He is a descendant in the right line from the celebrated Indian Princess, Pochahontas. The Federalists ridicule and affect to despise him; but a despised foe often proves a dangerous enemy. His talents are certainly far above mediocrity. As a popular speaker, he is not inferior to any man in the House. I admire his ingenuity and address; but I dislike his politics.

William Henry Harrison, also 26, a new representative from the territory northwest of the Ohio River, arrived late that day and was sworn in after the other representatives.

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