1823, November 1:

The most extensive, informative and valuable account of the Junto appeared in a series of letters published in November, I823, in the Washington Republican. This was the first publication either to list the names of the members of the Junto or discuss specific activities….

…According to “Native Virginian” [nom de plume of the author] the members of the Junto were all related to one another by either blood or marriage. In this category he listed Wilson Cary Nicholas and his brother Philip Norborne Nicholas, Johan and William Brockenbrough (brothers), Dr. William Foushee, Postmaster of Richmond, Peter V. Daniel, Spencer Roane, Andrew Stevenson, William Munford, Thomas Ritchie, William Selden, William Roane, Richard E. Parker, John Coalter, and William H. Cabell… Among the more important family relationships in addition to those indicated in the text wee the following: Thomas Ritchie was a son-in-law of Dr. Foushee, brother-in-law of Andrew Stevenso, and a cousin of Roane and the Brockenbroughs; the Nicholases were related to Peter V. Daniel because of intermarriage into the family of Edmund Randolph; William Selden was the son-in-law of Specner Roane; William Roane was the son of Spencer Roane and Richard E. Parker was a brother-in-law of Roane…

The author of the Letters singled out two members of the Junto as the most important individual leaders – Wilson Cary Nicholas and Judge Spencer Roane. His opinion of their paramount importance is fully confirmed by independent evidence. Nicholas, one of Jefferson’s most important lieutenants in the Republican movement before 1800, was most active in the Junto prior to 1816…. Roane, labelled the Atlas of the party, was described somewhat more pointedly than Nicholas as “distinguished for his intellectual vigor, profound legal knowledge, strong passions, and morose manners…and eminently qualified to become the founder of a new political sect. He was a master spirit, capable of combining and organizing, into a systematic corps, the scattered fragments of factions discomfited and overthrown…He was ambitious of distinction, impatient of equality, and could not endure a superior; in his acts a despot, but in profession a democratic republican.”

Roane’s position in the Junto was, as we shall see, especially important, for he was largely responsible for the reformulation of the state rights doctrine in 1819 and 1821.

From “The Richmond Junto, 1800-1824,” by Harry Ammon, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 61, No. 4 (October 1953). 

Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4245967