Southern Intelligencer

From Southern Intelligencer April 20, 1859

Meeting at Gatesville, Coryell County.

While sincerely sympathizing with our fellow citizens of the frontier counties, who have been exposed to the merciless outrages of Indian Marauders, as an impartial public journalist we are compelled to withhold our assent from resolutions like the following, passed at the late Gatesville meeting:

"5th. That reprisal, in this case, would be just, and that any company would be justifiable in seizing and taking possession of any property they might find in possession of the Indians, and appropriating the same to the payment of the expense of the expedition.

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"7th. That whereas we receive no protection from the Federal or State Government, that the Assessor and Collector of the county be requested to resign his office, and that the tax of the county, both State and county, be applied to the defense of the frontier."

The tone and tenor of the entire set of resolutions passed by the meeting in Coryell county, show conclusively their reference to the Reserve Indians, and while not intending, by any means, to vindicate their cause, or to establish their innocency of the grave charges alleged against them by their white neighbors, we must be permitted to express our entire disapprobation of the two fore-going resolutions.  To "make reprisal, in this case," means not to take from them public stores by way of indemnification for past wrongs -- for of these they have none -- but it would be nothing more or less than to seize and convert to the use of the captors, their insignificant collections of private property.  This curse, we fear, would render our brethren of the frontier not only obnoxious to public censure, but would expose them elsewhere to the keen shafts of ridicule.  The bow that the Indian carries upon his back, and the few sacks of corn and piles of dried beef in their huts upon the Reserve, would afford a very poor and inadequate indemnity for the blood and treasure poured out in the frontier settlements.  Besides, the policy abstractly considered would be unwise, inhumane, and without precedent in the annuals of modern civilized warfare.  It would be to allow the untutored, cruel and relentless savage to establish a standard for the government of our brave troops, in their various encounters with the crafty foe.-- However unmindful the Indian may be of the more liberal usages of war, however sanguinary may be his vindictive nature, we are unwilling to receive his bloody lessons as guides to our enlightened countrymen in the code of hostilities. We desire to take neither his scalp, or to appropriate his scanty stores of jerked beef and venison, or pecan nuts, to our own use.  If it is necessary for our own safety to exterminate the hostile Indian tribes, and sweep them from the face of God's green earth, so be it.  But in the meantime let stern necessity justify the deed, and no wanton and unwarrantable retaliation stain it with the record of acts we could not defend on palliate.
The 7th resolution implies a sort of Coryell County Southern Confederacy, with the slight difference that it proposes entire freedom from any embarrassing restraints imposed either by the State or Federal Government.  Much, no doubt, might be urged in favor of this resolution, by those fire eating Democrats who will compose a part (a small one we hope) of the Houston Convention: but in this neck of the woods, as Cushing would say, the policy there in recommended grates rather harshly upon the American ear.  We have not a word of eulogy in its favor.


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