WINCHESTER, [VA.], March 18th, 1860.
DEAR HUNTER: I was so broken down by the long session of the Convention on Friday (not reaching home until Two o’clock in the morning) that I could not write by yesterday’s mail. I presume however, you rec[eive]d my despatches [dispatches] on Friday or Sat[urda]y and Sherrard promised me to write to Col. Mason, to let you know how we were progressing. We succeeded better than I expected. The friends of Gov. Wise, made a desperate fight with what seemed to be a thorough organization, but it soon became apparent, that your strength was decidedly in the majority, about 4000 of 6500 votes, not two thirds, but showing “the same to be in our hands” if we could command patience enough to worry out the determined resistance of the opposition. Hoge was elected with many doubts by our friends, and only upon my assurance that you, and Mr. Mason had written to recommend it. I could give no personal pledge of his reliability, because I could get none from him, and did not want to go beyond the assurances rec[eive]d from you and Mr. Mason in answer to the many questions about his position, otherwise he would have been placed in a most awkward position towards the Wise men, who voted for him under the most positive assurances (from his friends) that he would certainly support Wise in the Cha[rle]ston Convention. As it is: he has been elected by the votes of both parties, each satisfied with their assurances. (Our friends voting almost under protest). I don’t like such proceeding and would doubt the fealty of any man who under the circumstances would receive his election from the hands of those whom he must have determined beforehand to disappoint. I trust to your assurances, and with many doubts upon my own mind, because his sponsor. Many of your friends have decided and positive objections to him, but were true enough to you, to waive them and do whatever you thought best. You and Mr. Mason are responsible for his loyalty. I only represented you. Ran. [Randolph Tucker?] could have been elected I think beyond doubt, but Alf [Alfred Powell] withdrew his name so absolutely, “by authority,” that I could not venture to interfere. In Funsten, Parsons, and Duckwall, I have every possible assurance, that you may rely to the last extremity. They are for you, not to furnish any other candidate for nomination, but “first, and last, and for all time” for you. And ready to work hard and constantly for your nomination. This I get from Funsten’s and Parson’s friends and from Duckwall personally, and think it may be relied on.
I have no doubt, that Hoge will redeem his obligation (whatever it may be) and will support you, at first. The only question to my mind, is whether he will remain constant, if your chances at Charleston seem at any time to waver, and whether he may not leave you then, for a more promising candidate, as Meade did at Cincinnati. One account says that Funsten will be at home next week, another, that he will take Charleston in his way, and not return until the 1st of May. If he comes sooner, I will try to see him immediately upon his arrival and urge upon him the importance of his presence at Cha[rle]ston, and I think Mr. Mason and Ran’ had better write to him at once (at home) to insist upon it. I understand Parsons will go, and I think he will recognize no alternative to your nomination. Duckwall is very poor but seems so much in earnest that I suppose he will certainly go too. With all three at Charleston, all four – must continue faithful through every trial.
I found myself placed in a much more conspicuous position than I had desired, or supposed necessary. But our friends met, without a shadow of organization, and with nobody to act as referee for you. With a general knowledge of my connection with you, naturally I was obliged to assume the position, and everything that was done, was done at my suggestions and concurred in, as being acceptable to you (except Ran’s withdrawal). I hoped we might have carried out the letter of your recommendation, and have no doubt we could have done it, but for the interference on an almost ridiculous timidity. I don’t think we have made a mistake, and trust the result may be satisfactory to you.
Write to Hoge. He will be flattered by any indication of [his] personal importance! And to me, if you have time.
[P.S.] In the Convention, you were stronger than the Delegates. The Wise men begged hard for “even an alternate” which I did not feel at liberty to concede. They are disappointed and mad at me. They managed adroitly and obliged many of us, to ignore the claims of personal friendship, in our votes for Delegates or Alternates. If I can, I will be in Washington the last of this week. I am pretty well again. Be particular in long civility to Jos H. Sherrard. He deserves it. I mean, send him Doc’ &c &c.
I was surprised, when early in the day, Palmer of the “Winchester Virginian” and Beale of the “Spirit of Jefferson” came to me (at different times) saying, “Mr. Dandridge whichever way you vote, (knowing your relation to Hunter) I will vote too.” As they did, dont [don’t] neglect them in your distribution of Documents &c.