The Squibob Papers
by John Phœnix
XVII. JOHN RANDOLPH OF ROANOKE.
In an account of the death of John Randolph of Roanoke, which went the rounds of the press a year or two since, it was stated that Mr. Randolph, during his last moments, wrote the word “Remorse” on one of his visiting-cards, and continued to gaze upon it with a melancholy expression until his eyes were closed in death. This statement was dwelt upon with much unction, particularly by the religious papers; the evident effect produced by it being the idea that this great man was troubled in mind, at this solemn period, by the memory of some unrepented and unatoned-for crime. The following passage from “Chittenden's Western Virginia” may serve to throw some light on the subject:
“The day after the funeral, a stranger, dressed in deep black, called at the mansion and inquired for Mr. Randolph. He was ignorant of the melancholy event that had occurred, and was profoundly shocked when told of Mr. Randolph's death. He inquired particularly if Mr. Randolph had not asked for him, stated that his business with him had been urgent, and that he had been especially directed to call upon the day on which he arrived, and expressed the deepest regret that he had come too late. On going away, the stranger left his card, on which was engraved, ‘R. E. Morse, Culpepper County, Va.’ This man was never seen again, and, though frequent inquiries were subsequently made for him, they proved unsuccessful. It was supposed by Burwell that this must have been the agent alluded to by Mr. Randolph in his account of the Cuban affair.”