AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Wednesday April 22, 1829
Volume 2 No. 6
Page 2 Col. 1b-4a
For the Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate
MR. EDITOR.- Observing with much pleasure, that you devote a department of your paper to the noble cause of temperance, and being desirous to lend my feeble aid in the promotion of so good an object, I send you another piece in the form of a dialogue between two neighbours [sic] whom I style Take-care and No-harm; as being somewhat significant of the part that each one takes in this conversation. If you think the remarks worthy of publication, you will please give them an insertion in the Phoenix. Yours with much esteem.-PHILANTHROPIST.
Mr. No-Harm- Well neighbour [sic] Take-care, what think you of the critical situation of our Nation? For my part, I think it is almost a gone case with us; for it really seems the whites are resolved on having us over the Mississippi, regardless of consequences.
Mr. Take-care. Why, my friend, it is true our condition is somewhat precarious at present, for I believe many of our white neighbours [sic] would not much care what becomes of us, if they had our lands, But I think we have an enemy among us, that is likely to do us more injury, than all our surrounding foes put together.
Mr. N. Ah! who can that be, who dares to act so basey, and turn traitor against us? Sure I am that any man who would betray, and militate against the best interest of his nation, should have no privileges among us, and should be severely punished for his conduct. But pray who is it?
Mr. T. Why, sir, the enemy to which I allude is not of the human species, though it act under the control and by the authority of human agency; this foe to virtue, peace and happiness is known among us by the name of WHISKEY. This, sir, I am persuaded, is the worst enemy the Cherokees ever had, and the most to be dreaded at this critical juncture.
Mr. N. I confess, my neighbour[sic], that there is too much truth in what you say, and the fact must be deplored by all those who have seriously beheld its baneful effects upon our people. But what can be done in this matter? For my part, I would go almost any lengths to remedy this sore evil.
Mr. T. I am truly glad, my friend, that you manifest a willingness to assist in saving our country from the ravages of this arch-destroyer. Well, then, let us fortify ourselves against the invasions of this fell monster, by banishing it entirely from our houses, fields, and domestic circles; admitting it with as much pain and reluctance, as we would send for the Doctor to amputate a limb, or salivate the body to prevent dissolution.
Mr. N. I am aware, Mr. Take-care that example is more effectual than precept, and that some previous preparations are necessary in order to successfully accomplish any important undertaking; but it appears to me, that your proposal requires too great a sacrifice of, what I would call our innocent enjoyments of life. For I have been in the habit of believing, that there can be no harm in taking a dram occasionally, and in giving a little to one's friends, at particular times.
Mr. T. Here I am sorry to find, we very much disagree in our opinions. Now, I think, the only sure way to avoid being captured, by this slayer of mankind, is to keep it at the utmost distance, and not suffer it to take any advantage of us, either by intrigue or allurement. In this struggle between temperance and intemperance, the former can only gain the conquest by entire abstinence, and perpetual extermination. He who dallieth [sic] with this deceiver is undone. And I am very sure that that cannot be "innocent" which is productive of so many evils as is whiskey. The young serpent is seemingly "innocent" now, but continue fondling with it, and it will bite you by and by.
Mr. N. You seem to think that a man cannot indulge himself in taking a dram now and then, without becoming a drunkard in the end. Now I know several men, (and I am one of that class myself,) who have all their lives thus indulged their appetites, and are yet as sober men as any among us; yea, very good members of society.
Mr. T. I do not wish you to understand me to insinuate, that in a general rule there are no exceptions. I am happy to say, that in this rule there are many honorable exceptions. But of one thing I am very certain, that if there were no modest tasters of this deleterious stuff, the world would soon be rid of the beastly horde of drunkards that now infest our Nation, and bid fair to envelop us in wretchedness and ruin! Do not think hard of it, my friend, if I should speak somewhat roughly, for I cannot restrain my feelings when I see and think of the misery coming upon our highly favoured [sic] Nation by intoxicating liquor. This is one of the most specious and popular pretexts for our removal to the western wilds, where we would not be so accessible by those unfeeling white men, who appear desirous of drowning us, as it were, in floods of poisonous liquids. And has it come to this? shall it be said, to our reproach-abroad, at the moment when we are rising far above any of the other aboriginal tribes in America, in point of knowledge and civilization, that we must be driven to the wilderness, to keep our people from being destroyed by whiskey! I devoutly hope that the Chiefs and Counsellors, the judicial and executive officers of our Nation, and particularly the professors of religion among us, will unitedly strive, by precept and example to wipe away this reproach from us, and prevent us from becoming a Nation of sottish bacchanalians.
Mr. N. I do not see what can be done to remove this evil, for our citizens
are free men, and will exercise their freedom in using and selling ardent spirits,
all that you Philanthropist, our Editor, and as many more can say against it,
Mr. T. It would be very far from me, to try to infringe the natural or political rights of our people, had I the power so to do. But when the freedom of which you speak has nothing for its standard, but a fair opportunity, and a corrupt propenrity [sic], it runs into wild confusion; and is productive of unspeakable mischief, and every species of abomination. Under the colour [sic] of this rum-mad liberty, a man may pick you pocket, because he had a fair chance and a roguish inclination; another may kill and rob you on the highway, because he had power to do so, and a covetous and murderous heart to prompt him to the act. But is it despotic to restrain such liberties? If so, the laws of God and man directly invade the rights of mankind; for they forbid and punish for such enormities. You know scripture, reason, and common sense condemn, with one voice, an act of suicide; how much less innocent are they who are killing themselves gradually, with the poisonous essence of corn? And O! how is their crime aggravated, when they are habitually administering this fatal dose to others, for a pecuniary reward! Not being willing to ruin themselves alone, they are aiding to fill destruction's voracious jaws, with the unhappy victims of intemperance. Every good, and patriotic man should lift his warning voice against nefarious practices though he were sure of receiving nothing but slanderous reproaches as a remuneration for his labour [sic].
Mr. N. Some of your last remarks bear pretty heavily on several of your brother Christians, many of whom are in the habit of both drinking and selling whiskey to their neighbours [sic]. Now if this practice be so criminal, these good people should lay us sinners a better example.
Mr. T. In this, sir, I readily agree with you, and am only sorry that any professor of religion should pursue a course of conduct, so detrimental to his own present and future happiness, and so ruinous to the souls and bodies of his fellow creatures. I do sincerely hope that the religious part of our nation, at least, will abstain in future; from the horrid practice of dealing out misery and death to their neighbours [sic] for pay, and for treating them on particular occasions, with deadly poison, as an expression of their friendship!- These friendly good meaning people have aided in making many drunkards, and beggaring many families by having so much whiskey to drink at their log rollings, house raisings, &c. But Christians are not the only people in this nation that should lay good examples on this subject; there are many influential men among us, who doubtless see the injury of using and trading in whiskey, and they should also step forward to rescue their countrymen from this fatal snare.
Mr. N. I must acknowledge, dear sir, that you have almost converted me to your way of thinking on this subject; and I will now leave you to the quiet enjoyment of your own opinion, hoping that our little controversy to-day will not lessen that friendship, which has hither existed between us.
Mr. T. In this conversation I have spoken real sentiments of my mind, though in an abrupt manner; and I esteem you more than ever for candidly stating your objections, for thereby I have been led to think more deeply on this matter, which will be of service to me, and I trust it will be of no disadvantage to you. And now, sir, I will show you my opinion. I do most conscientiously believe that Temperance Society ought to be immediately formed in this Nation, in imitation of many such benevolent institutions in different parts of the United States. Let a meeting be called at some convenient place, let a constitution be drafted and adopted, let the Editor of the Phoenix, or some suitable person be appointed a Corresponding Secretary, let active agents with subscriptions be appointed in different parts of the Nation; and it will be seen that many will signalize themselves as the friends and supporters of temperance. Let the condition of membership be, to entirely abstain from the use of intoxicating liquor, unless prescribed by a temperate physician, when nothing else will do well, and not to give it any protection about our houses, so as to sell or give it away. A society of this kind should have no sectarian cast, but should equally patronize by all classes and denominations, who may be willing to volunteer in so good a cause. I will suggest a plan, and strive to bring a society of this kind into operation. I am anxious to know how many advocates it would find in this Nation; as surely no real friend to man would oppose an institution so benevolent and beneficial.