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Proceedings of the Convention of the Equal Rights and Educational Association of Georgia : assembled at Macon, October 29th, 1866 : containing the annual address of the president, Captain J.E. Bryant

1866 Macon GA State Convention.16.pdf

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13

refused to do so, but be declared that he was opposed to the whole affair. I gave an account of the difficulty in the Loyal Georgian, and, for doing so, he commenced a system of persecution, unrelenting, unmerciful and unscrupulous. I was charged with robbing colored men of money which they contributed for the paper, and, in fact, with almost every crime known to men. I denied the charges, and requested that a committee might be appointed, before which I would appear and meet every charge that might be made. He refused to do this, but continued to repeat the charges. When the Council met in July last, I informed the members that charges had been made against me by General Tillson, and requested that they might be investigated by a committee. A committee was appointed, and, after two days careful investigation, they made a report fully exhonorating me; nevertheless, the General came before the Council, and in a most violent and ungentlemanly, I might almost say disgraceful and reck­less manner, repeated the charges which had been already proved to be false; calling me a lier, a scoundrel, a thief and a beggar. He also made a speech which contained much valuable information. A resolution was passed, thanking him for the speech. I am aware that it was the intention of the Council to thank him for the information which the speech contained, upon subjects that had no relation to myself, and that nearly every member of the Council disapproved of that part of the speech which related to myself, but a different impression has been made upon the public mind, to a certain extent. I therefore ask that, in justice to myself, the resolution of thanks be expunged from the records of the Council.

Many persons have thought that I have had a personal quarrel with Gen. Tillson, and that I have used the Loyal Georgian as a medium through which I could gratify feelings of hatred against that officer. Such persons entirely misunderstand the difficulty. My relations with the General were of a very friendly nature, previous to the attempt to do honor to the memory of the Union dead who lie buried in the cemetery at Augusta, and up to the very day, when an account of that affair appeared in the columns of the Loyal Georgian. I published that account, not because I had feelings of hatred to gratify, for I had no such feelings towards General Tillson; on the contrary, as I have said, my relations with that officer, and with his family, were of a very friendly nature; but I published the account, because I felt that the memory of the brave Union soldiers who had died in defence of their country had been insulted. I felt that a General of the United States Army had disgraced himself to please men who had fought to destroy the country, and had killed the very men whose graves we desired to decorate with flowers. And because I published this account, I have been assailed by rebels and dough-face officers who are a thousand times meaner and more contemptable than rebels, for many of the former are honest, while the latter are ready to crawl in the dirt to gain a little popularity.

The Augusta cemetery is under the control of the city

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