"Mr. R sent Mr. W. a challenge, thro’ Mr. B. | Mr. W. wrote an answer, to this challenge, and was prepared to send it, thro. Genl Wool, of the Army. | This answer, is the one alluded to, or spoken of, in the newspaper publication, of which Genl. B. has a manuscript copy..."
John Randolph was infamous for his temper, which often flared, resulting in several challenges to duels. In fact, Randolph twice challenged Congressmen Daniel Webster. The first was in 1816, when Randolph felt scorned by Webster’s speech in a House debate over sugar duty. The second—to which this document relates—was in 1825, after Randolph had brooded for eight months over Webster denying William H. Crawford “the fullest opportunity to answer the charges against him” during the election of 1824. (Register of Debates, 18th Congress, 2nd Session, pp. 56-58). In the second challenge, Senator Thomas Hart Benton delivered Randolph’s dare to Webster while the House was in session. Mutual friends intervened, preventing both challenges, and attempted to resolve the matters as quietly as possible. It is believed that Benton played an important role in resolving the second conflict. Randolph withdrew both challenges. In 1826, after insulting Secretary of State Henry Clay on the Senate Floor, Randolph accepted his challenge, which subsequently took place but concluded with a handshake.
The date of the present manuscript is likely 1826 or later, as it refers to “then Senator Lloyd,” and doesn’t mention Lloyd’s death in 1831.
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