Diary Entry by Edmund Ruffin, September 26, 1857

Source citation
Scarborough, William Kauffman, ed. The Diary of Edmund Ruffin. Vol. 1. Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1972, p. 109.
Author (from)
Edmund Ruffin
Type
Diary
Date Certainty
Exact
Transcriber
Patrick Sheahan
Transcription date
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Sept. 26. Resumed writing the annual report of the President & Executive [178] Committee to the Farmers’ Assembly. I have chosen not to follow the example of my predecessor in offering a separate report, or address, as president --&, by direction of the Committee, I shall prepare a joint report from both, submitting the concurrent view & harmonious action of both. . . . Heard by Charles that, notwithstanding my declining to be a candidate, & stating sufficient reasons why I should not serve, I have been re-elected a member of the Farmers’ Assembly, by the members of the Society in Hanover. This is as unexpected as it is uncommon. But as my county fellow members so honor me, & insist on my serving as their representative, notwithstanding my stated objections, I must act, to such extent as may not be rendered improper, or impossible, by my other duties & position as President of the Society. . . .

In conversation in reference to my improved health in latter years, & my habits, Gen. Hammond told me that he would ensure my life to 80 years of age, for a very small premium. I answered that if [179] his insurance could extend my life certainly to 80 years, I would not have it – preferring the uncertainty of my actual life, & its probable much earlier, though unknown time of termination. I do not pretend to be desirous, or resigned, to meet death knowingly – though I have earnestly wished & prayed for immediate & unexpected death --& probably may not be more ready to die at any future time. But, if at my choice to live to 80, far as it is beyond my expectation, I would hesitate to accept the boom, even with the chance of uncertain life still longer. And I would reject the offer to live to 80 or 100, if then certainly to die. Even if on the former terms, of living certainly to 80 years, how many things would probably occur before that time, that would be worse for me than my own death! Within a few months, lost three grown daughters by deaths anticipated or threatened but for very short times before. Within two years thereafter, another has been removed who was a daughter to me & a sister to my children, in love & by marriage, though not in kindred. . . .
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