NEW ECHOTA SEPT. 17, 1831
I, most readily, publish the communication of Col. Nelson because, first, I consider the course he has now taken to the most correct and honorable way to obtain satisfaction for an alleged wrong committed in a newspaper; and, second, because that communication substantially confirms my statements relating to our interview. It will be recollected that I did not profess to relate everything that was said by Col. Nelson-my object was to give the substance, that is, to inform my readers that I was threatened with personal violence, ' to state, what I understood to be the reason assigned. It did not enter into my mind that it was necessary, in order to do Col. Nelson or myself justice, to particularize every item of his conversation. A great deal of it I thought was not to the purpose, and still more I considered too foolish to demand any attention. The public, however, can now judge, having Nelson's own narrative and my statements to compare, whether I could possibly have had any motive to publish 'mutilated accounts.'
I cannot say that Col. Nelson has given a correct account of his conversation, that account being, or professing to be, a particular one. I do not now recollect to have heard many of his expressions he has introduced into his communication, and I think of others which he has forgotten to relate; but that is to very little purpose, as his conversation throughout was nearly of the same tenor, and as my want of recollection may be attributed to my mental indolence in attending to his lecture, or to my ignorance- His expressions may have escaped me, or I may have misunderstood them.
On the letter of Col. Nelson, considering it as a communication, a few remarks may be necessary.
1. Whoever has been the 'real editor' of the Cherokee Phoenix, he does unnecessary injustice to him when he says, that he had 'never failed to attribute their [Georgia Guard] acts to the worst passions of the human heart' On this score I might very safely appeal to the reader, who must be supposed to recollect what has been said in this print in regard to the Guard. Sure I am if any such liberty has been taken with their acts and motives, by the editor, in any editorial article, I am ignorant of it.
2. He says they were 'well informed' that Worcester was the real editor, and yet after Mr. Worcester has thought proper to publish a disclaimer, not a particle of evidence has been adduced to prove that he has been indeed the editor. Such a course is ungenerous, for if indeed they are 'well informed' of that alleged fact, the public would be glad to be put in possession of the proofs. In this enlightened age and country a man is not, as we have been taught to believe, to be proclaimed guilty without some testimony.
3. By what kind of improved logic do they come to the conclusion that I am responsible for articles I never wrote, as they say, and yet complain bitterly of certain communications to which are appended the names of persons who did not write them on the very ground, it would seem, that those who penned them are to be considered responsible? If Mr. Worcester has written the editorial articles, of which, they say, they are 'well informed', how is my name, standing at the top of the paper, to shield him? If they can prove that he is the 'real editor,' why cannot the law reach him, and why should I be punished for the acts of another person? But if my name has really 'shielded' my persecuted friend 'from that punishment which his crimes have so justly merited,' what shields his own name? He has 'appended' his name to certain statements- if those statements are not true, how is it that the law cannot reach him there, unshielded as he is by my name? My indolence and ignorance prevent me from understanding these matters.
4. There is one way in which Col. Nelson can obtain a complete and speedy satisfaction for all the injuries done to him in the Cherokee Phoenix. He says he informed me that 'their [Missionaries] character for falsehoods was so well established, and their motive so well understood, that censure from them was praise to the Guard.' Now it seems to me that if he can make it appear to the satisfaction of the public that these missionaries have conducted this paper, that one of them is the 'real editor,' he will at once gain his object, for whatever is said in the Phoenix will be but praise to the Guard. This would settle the question at once, and instead of denouncing the paper, they would have occasion to rejoice in its existence, if, under any circumstance, charity may be said to rejoice in iniquity.
5. Col. Nelson says he told me that there were not five lines of truth in the editorial articles relating to the Guard. Speaking of the same in my statement, I said, Col. Nelson, 'did not specify, but spoke of the Phoenix in its general course ' character.' Certainly I did not exaggerate here. To say that there have not been five lines of truth is saying too much. It is said that when a man attempts to prove too much he invalidates his testimony. Another expression is as equally unfortunate. 'Impositions attempted to be passed upon the public, by inserting the most slanderous communications with individuals' names appended to them, who do not know the first letter of the alphabet' 'c. It will be seen he is not speaking here of those 'more ignorant' men who presided as officers at certain meetings, where 'indecorous preambles!! ' inflammatory resolutions'!! were passed, but those we presume, who published accounts of their arrests by the Guard. He alludes to one in particular, ' the only one who may be said to be too ignorant to write, but he does know the first letter of the alphabet. I am told by those who know him best that he can read. And how did he abuse the Guard? The following sentence is copied from his communication: 'In justice to the officers, and privates generally, I am bound to say that I was friendly and politely treated by all except the above named Mr. Pope.' As to the alleged imposition there was none. The readers of the Cherokee Phoenix were not informed that Benjamin Murray penned his communication himself. I did not inquire whether he wrote it.-It was sufficient that he brought it to the office with his name 'appended' to it. As I told Col. Nelson, in our first conversation, Murray had a right to procure another person to write for him. Even General Jackson had 'appended' his name to pieces he never wrote.
6. Something was really said of 'real wrongs' done to the Cherokees by the missionaries in appropriating to themselves charities yearly sent into the nation for the poor Indians--Col. Nelson thought if I was a patriot I ought to expose the evil. I can only say I have no right to speak of things which have no existence. Col. Nelson, I presume, was misinformed as to the object of the charities sent into the nation,--but he was credibly informed by those who told him that they have never been distributed among the 'poor and more indigent Cherokees.'
7. What were the counsels which the Missionaries gave, and which, 'if followed, would have been treason to the state and destruction to the Cherokees?' It is to be regretted that in all such grave charges so little attention should be paid to the proofs necessary to substantiate them. The testimony of respectable Cherokees will be credited, if not by Georgia Courts, certainly by the public, and Col. N. will do immense good by revealing it. Georgia would soon get rid of the Missionaries without sending them to the Penitentiary.
8. Col. Nelson says I did not correctly state his hasty words closing our second interview. I am pretty confident I stated them substantially as I heard them.- There were persons present who heard them. I am willing an appeal should be made to them.
ED. of the Cher. Phoe.
If Mr. Hardwick thinks we have mistreated him in this paper, and if he wishes for redress, he ought to direct his communication to us and we will attend to him. But he ought not to employ the weapons of a bully. We have nothing to do with corporal size and physical strength. If he prides himself in them, we have no objection, but we can assure him that amongst honorable men, abusive language does not constitute a great man.
The following are extracts of a letter from Col. Sanford to Governor Gilmer.- That some of the presiding officers of the meetings,of which he is speaking, retreated at the approach of Col. Nelson is news in this part of the world. They were probably absent when Col. Nelson went to their houses. One would suppose from the report of Sanford that several were arrested for presiding at meetings as presidents, whereas only two were arrested, Thomas Woodard and Alexander McCoy. We think of no other that was taken that had anything to do with the meetings of which he is speaking.
We are sorry Col. Sanford does not hold our print in a little better estimation than he seems to do. If the Cherokee Phoenix is, in his view, of all others the most polluted, we are happy to know that a great majority of its readers think differently. They believe truths have been published in it, which a mere flat denial cannot invalidate. Who does he mean by the canting ' hypocritical fanatic? Col. Nelson's narrative must enlighten us on this point. He means then the Rev. S. A. Worcester, the 'real editor' who instigates all things done in the nation, for the purpose of furthering his 'base' views and who is now in Georgia to receive that 'punishment' 'his crimes' have so richly 'merited.'
Believing that the subject adverted to in your letter of the 31st worthy of still further investigation, Col. Nelson had been dispatched upon the route mentioned in mine of the 28th, for the purpose of ascertaining more particularly the character and nature of those meetings. His report furnishes no evidence that they have been held for any other object than that ascribed to them in my last communication to your Excellency. If therefore a different opinion exist abroad, it has been probably formed by too hastily attributing to those assemblies now, what formerly might have been their object. If indeed different from what they claim to be, they possess the advantage of circumstances that have as yet baffled all inquiry into their true character. If(sic) councils, the most untiring research has not been successful in discovering them such as are interdicted by our laws. The retreat and concealment of some of their presiding officers upon the approach of Col. Nelson created at first an impression of their guilt, and induced him to arrest such as were still within his reach, and to detain them until satisfied of their innocence. They appear to be ignorant and unsuspecting dupes of others-probably of Ross, Ridge, and Co. who no doubt are very willing to divert by any expedient the national mind from the contemplation of a situation resulting from their own short sighted and misguided policy. While in custody they were treated with every possible kindness and lenity.
I beg permission to assure your Excellency, that in the few instances requiring the interference of the guard for the enforcement of our laws, no act of useless or wanton violence has been permitted. Nothing could be more abhorrent to my own feelings-nothing more flagrantly unjust to the command, in general, than the imputation of such a charge. At all times has a careful regard been inculcated for their persons, their property, and for those privileges not inhibited them by our laws-not a solitary instance can be adduced of their violation without a previous liability, or upon presumption so strong as scarcely to admit a doubt of it. It is with feelings of indignation therefore that I have viewed the foul aspersions cast upon the guard and upon those conducting its operations emanating as they do from that most polluted of all receptacles, the Cherokee Phoenix- they would have passed me as does the idle wind, but for their introduction into other columns and their dissemination abroad.- They are as false sir, as the canting and hypocritical fanatic who indites them.