Almost Chosen People

In the winter of 1831-1832, John Randolph of Roanoke, a brilliant orator and statesman often suspected of being more than a little mad, wrote the following letter:

To the Honorable Waller Holladay, Esquire,
of the county of Spotsylvania,
of the State of Virginia,
of the United States of America,
of the Western Hemisphere,
of the Globe.

I am sure you will he surprised and pained to hear that I was honored last night by a visit from no less a personage than His Satanic Majesty. His Majesty assured me that my only hope of much longer continuance of my mortal existence depended upon my subsisting entirely upon the milk of your fine Medley mare, which would restore health to my worn out hody. Under these melancholy circumstances, I have no choice hut to throw myself upon your friendly mercies and I implore you to let me have the mare without…

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