Friday, December 19, 2008

"The young man is no bug eater"

John Randolph of Roanoke -- he of Blifil and Black George fame -- is one of the most colorful political figures of the early part of the Nineteenth Century.

Kenneth S. Greenberg relates a wonderful little story that reflects the oratorical abilities of the young Randolph. Randolph was born in 1773 and was first elected to Congress in 1798, so the event probably occured in the mid '90s:
The young John Randolph . . . began his career in Virginia politics [with a grand discourse]. In an election-day gathering he spoke just after the aged and venerable Patrick Henry, orator of an earlier era. One listener reacted to Randolph's words in a way that would have warmed the heart of any statesman. Comparing him to Patrick Henry, the man exclaimed: "I tell you what, the young man is no bug eater neither."

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