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John Randolph The Tory Papers

Identifier: 01/Mss. Acc. 2008.172

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Scope and Contents

Coat of Arms bookplate of John Randolph of Middle Temple London.

Letter of John Randolph the Tory, from London, addressed to his Excellency Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia, dated Oct 25,1779.  Friendship and difference of opinion, war news in Great Britain, danger of America using Spanish and French help in war, English Government, newspaper and libel and need to rethink war and all will be forgiven by Great Britain.  (Note:  letter probably never sent).

Printed in the Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

A note by J.W. Keppel April 28,1840 in regard to finding this letter.

Booklet, "Letter from the  Virginia Loyalist from John Randolph to Thomas Jefferson written in London in 1779," by Leonard L. Mackall, 1921 reprint and signed by Mackall in 1936.


  • Creation: 1779-1840
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1779, 1840


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

John Randolph was born in 1727 or 1728, probably at what is now called the Peyton Randolph House on Market Square, and his heritage was thoroughly Virginian. Educated at the College of William & Mary, he traveled to London in 1745 to study law at the Middle Temple at the Inns of Court in London, and returned to Williamsburg to practice in 1749.

The third child of Sir John and Lady Susannah Randolph, John was convinced British-Americans owed more loyalty to the Crown than to the Massachusetts hotheads or to firebrands like his friend Patrick Henry. Historians have tagged him with the nickname John "The Tory."

John Randolph died at Brampton, England, in 1784. In death, as he could not in conscience do in life, Randolph returned to Williamsburg. He is interred beside his father and brother in the family vault in the chapel at the College of William and Mary.

Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: Randolph (ca. 1727 - 1784).


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Acquisition Information:


Guide to the John Randolph The Tory Papers
Finding Aid Authors: Anne Johnson.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository