WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1829
We consider it a very tyrannical act indeed to force the white inhabitants of this nation from their families and possessions, merely for expressing their opinion on the question of emigration-the crime of Mr. Stidman is not other. If Col. Montgomery has received the order inserted below,does it follow that he is to proceed against these white men without even a shadow of investigation? Upon the present case he proceeds merely on information given by an emigrant. We had been taught to believe that it was not crime to express one's opinion in this land of liberty. Many of our white citizens, among whom is Mr. Stidman, are lawfully married-what then becomes of the divine injunction, 'what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.'
February 24th 1829
Sir: Having received information by Drury Jones and others of your opposition to the views of the Government in relation to the Emigrating of the Cherokees to the west; I have thought best to enclose you an extract from a late order which I have received from the War Department. Your attention to it may save the Government and yourself some future trouble
Respectfully your obedt. servant.
'Extract. If there are any white persons, Indian Countrymen, as they are called, in the Nation, who are known to you as opposing the Government policy, in any way, you will order them out of it.'
A SERIOUS ADDRESS to the friends of humanity and goodness, in this Nation on the impropriety of Using and Retailing Ardent Spirits.
He who opposes popular vices and declaims against long established habits, is very apt to incur the displeasure of the licentious, and be esteemed as an innovator on the rights of a free people. But he who, fearing the scoffs of the multitude, remains silent, when public welfare and private happiness are endangered, cannot be a true friend to his country, nor his God. Many have lost their lives to save their nation from the violence of invading enemies, and what true patriot will not risk his reputation, to rescue his country from the domineering influence of pernicious practices, which are more to be dreaded than a tyrant's frowns, or the destructive thunder bolts of embattled armies? Much has been done to check the inundating stream of intemperance, which bids fair to engulf mankind in the lake of perdition, but there is a loud call for more united and efficient exertions on this subject. the writer, feeling an ardent desire for the present and future will being of this Nation, would earnestly solicit the attention of the serious reader, while he remonstrates a little against a prevailing and fatal practice amongst us, that of using and retailing spirituous liquors.
To attempt a labored proof of the criminality of drunkenness would be like striving hard to prove that which no one denies. This is a crime which carries in its front the glaring evidences of its guilt; and which the most abandoned drunkard in his sober moments, will confess and deplore. Drunkenness is the debaser of the mind, the destroyer of health, the murderer of happiness, the waster of estates, the foe to virtue, and husband's disgrace, and wife's lamentation, and the children's wretchedness. The abominable train of evils that drunkards entail upon society and posterity surpass the power of description. The votaries of Bacchus have made the world to groan beneath their enormities, and filled many domestic circles, once the delightful abodes of peace and plenty, with desolation and irretrievable misery. But while distilled spirits make such a lucrative article of traffic and speculation; while they ate temperately used by any ' recommended as a good medicine by not a few, any attempts to prevent the brutalizing practice of drunkenness, will be as ineffectual as throwing chaff against a storm to stop its violence. Let us, then, begin this magnanimous reformation at the root of the matter.
2. It is now an established point by the concurring testimony of the major part of the most eminent physicians in the world, that distilled spirits contain medicinal virtue whatever, but are, on the contrary, very poisonous to the human constitution, and infallible cause of numberless diseases, and death in the end. Even a moderate use of ardent spirits, stimulates and raises the animal functions to such a height, that the springs of life move with too much rapidity, and meeting with a sudden check, when the exciting quality of the spirit is exhausted the whole stupendous machinery is retarded in its ordinary operation, by the precipitate transition from heat to cold from too great excitement, to too much vapidity. Physicians and quacks, whether from ignorance, or a love of their dram, have done unspeakable injury to mankind by prescribing bitters and other medicines to be taken in whiskey, brandy, or rum; for thereby they have made and confirmed thousands of drunkards, whose blood will be required at their hands! But, say many, a dram of bitters or otherwise before breakfast and dinner, gives me a good relish for my food.' If the stomach have lost its proper tone, and ordinary inclination for the reception of nutriment, take proper medicine to remove the disease; and do not increase it, by taking into the stomach an acknowledged poison, which has a direct tendency to destroy its real tone and power of digestion. A man may so injure his stomach by his habitual dram drinking, that he must have his daily poison to keep up the excitability; and thus, that which is taken as a remedy, is perpetuating the confirming that disease, which it, at first produced. 'But,' says another, 'I am often low spirited, and need a dram occasionally as a stimulus.' A very fatal remedy, which always leaves the spirits more dull and languid than they were before. But many, to avoid this, have kept up the wonderful preventative, by repeating it frequently; which course is very apt to terminate in obscene drunkenness. There are so many safer and better methods than dram drinking to remove gloominess of mind such as exercise, conversation, innocent amusements, and above all, the benign influence of devotion, that the man who chooses the former remedy, makes an injudicious and fatal choice. Upon the whole, I see no real benefit which can be derived from a temperate use of distilled spirits, and good would it be for mankind, if all intoxicating liquors were exterminated from the face of the earth. And even supposing there be a little good derived from spirits as a medicine, (which however, remains to be proved) the evil that it does, so far exceeds the good that it ever has done or can yet do, that if is of itself a sufficient reason, why the use of it in any quantity should be wholly and forever abandoned. I hope the wise will lay this consideration to heart.
3. I would now, in the voice of humanity, and in the name of reason, justice, and religion, call aloud to the citizens of this Nation, in particular, to entirely abstain from this deadly poison in future, and make it no longer an article of traffic. Think not this an unreasonable request, for it is founded in justice and propriety. If I, to aggrandize my own estate, rob other of their means of sustenance, or which is more criminal, give them that which cannot support life, but which acts as a desctuctive poison to both soul and body, in exchange for that which is durable and valuable to them, as being, perhaps, the only means of their support, am I not guilty of at least injustice? The law of nature condemns me, if I, entirely from personal views, diminish the quantum of human happiness, or avariciously deduct from the general stock of provision. And if a man does not fall under this censure, who retails ardent spirits to his neighbors, I must confess that, in this case at least, I have lost my judgment. For a moment look around you, and see what indescribable mischief has already been done, in this Nation, by the introduction of spirituous liquors. Shameful poverty, disgraceful theft, abominable debauchery, and despicable murder are some of the resulting consequences of dealing out the poisonous draughts of intoxicating liquor. The Counsellors of this Nation have seen the destructive evil, and, to their praise be it said, they have endeavored to suppress the pernicious practice of whiskey speculation. But while citizens of the Nation are so anxious to buy and retail their whiskey, the whites and they will very readily find out measures to evade the penalty of the law, and carry on their lucrative commerce, in a clandestine manner. Thus the rising of the prohibitory law, alluded to, is almost wholly perverted. But I apprehend it would be thought too despotic to extend the restriction of this law; I therefore entreat the lovers of their Nation, to do voluntarily, what they would not like to be compelled to do by any coercive measures. Plead no longer the example of the whites, as a pretext for dealing in ardent spirits; for a bad example should not be followed, although it be laid by a people professing civilization and religion. I hope the noble spirited patriots of this Nation, will,in this case, lay a benevolent example to their white neighbors, and thereby put their boasted superiority and civility to the blush. This would be a step that would form a strong rampart to the future permanency and glory of this rising Nation. You may say,'you do not force any person to buy, and much less, to get drunk on your whiskey; and therefore it cannot be a crime to you, but the guilt rests on those who are the free and voluntary recipients.' This argument is defective, for you lay the bait, set the trap, or hold out the allurement, by which your neighbors are entangled, infatuated, and ruined! And if you still plead exemption from guilt, you must, on the same ground, clear the old serpent of culpability in deceiving our mother Eve in the garden of Eden. He used no coercion; he only presented the temptation; the woman acted freely in partaking thereof; but the serpent is censured as the chief aggressor in this tragical affair. 'But,' says one, 'if I do not sell spirits, others will, and I might as well be getting part of the gain, as any other person.' A critical examination of this argument, would make you blush to own its correctness; for it will apply with equal propriety, to any species of crime. And the profit derived from poisoning our fellow creatures is, at best, but ill gotten treasure, and will, I fear, 'eat our flesh as it were fire!' Let a man, engaged in this unholy traffic, think of the bitter cries of innocent women and children, brought to abject misery by this bane of life, and resolve rather to live in honest poverty, than to acquire wealth at so dear a rate. I think a little serious reflection on this subject will induce many honest hearted people to be as much opposed to keeping intoxicating spirits about their houses, as they would a pestilential distemper; and administer them to their neighbors with as much caution, as they would arsenic. I submit my cause to the judicious reader, hoping he will give it an impartial investigation, before he passes sentence against it.
March 12th, 1829