Articles related to Dr. James Thomas Ellis

March 1869

The Spalding County GAGenWeb Project

Dr. James Thomas Ellis was a Georgia State Representative (1868-1870).

GRIFFIN SEMI WEEKLY STAR

Tuesday, March 23, 1869

LETTER FROM DR. ELLIS

To the Citizens of Spalding County:

Having returned last night from Atlanta, where I have been sojourning for the last two months, representing as I supposed the interests of my county; and finding there was a diversity of opinion in reference to the course I pursued.  I deemed it but just that I should give the motives that prompted me to pursue the course I did on this occasion.

It is remembered, I presume, by all who were at the courthouse the day I was nominated, that I accepted the nomination, not for office (especially.) but to beat in Spalding the Radical constitution, framed by the Radical convention in Atlanta.  This I honestly and earnestly strove to do - this I know, all who witnessed the election will testify to.  The constitution, however was carried in the state, and I was required before taking a seat in the Legislature to swear to support that Constituition and the Constitution of the United States.  Now it is clear and apparent to all honest, fair minded men that I could not run the same schedule, after having taken an oath to support said consitution; and then I had to carry principles and doctrines I had sought to defeat.  This, I thought all knew and fully appreciated; but, it would seem some are disposed to find fault.  I have many faults I would like to be free from, but in the condition of our country, I look on the 15th amendment as being decidedly more in favor of the South than the North; because the 14h amendment has fastened in my judgment, Negro suffrage as firmly on us as the 15th amendment will fasten it on the North.  Indeed, there is nothing in the 15th that will alter in the slightest status on the suffrage question in Georgia.  Again, I believed it right to support the 15th amendment, because Gov. Bullock and his friends were opposed to it thinking if it was rejected they could have entire control of the affairs of the state and replace the Negroes in the Legislature - this, I trust will not come yet.  I have strong reasons to fear it will.

Our senators and representatives urged the adoption of the 15th amendment as our last chance to sustain the government of Georgia, and many of our wisest and best men at home said adopt it by all means,  and nearly all the Democrats that voted against it wanted it adopted.  I did come to Griffin twice and spoke of it; I found but few who seemed opposed to it.  Editors and newpapers have been almost silent on the impropriety of its adoption, and I had to be governed by the facts as I saw them from my standpoint, which are these:

1st.  Negro suffrage was already fastened by the 14th amendment, and the State constitution, on us; therefore, we had nothing to loose by the adoption of the amendment, and fastening it on the other States who had fastened on us with the 14th amendment.

2nd.  If we had have adopted it, we should doubtless have succeeded in maintaining our State government, and kept Bullock and his friends in their place.

3d.  If we had everything to win and nothing to lose the game was a good one, and I fear the Rads will make us rue the day it was rejected.

4th.  I supported it, because ultra Radicals sought to destroy it.

Now fellow citizens these are my reasons for supporting that which is not in accord with our former politics.  These things I accept as necessary evils, growing out of the fact of the surrender of General Lee at Appomatox.  As your representative, I have done the best I could for you and my county.  I take the advice of friends, but will not give my conscience to the keeping of any man, or set of men.  I have attained in all things that have come before me in Legislative matters in a way that I thought the greatest amount of good would occur to the greatest number of people.  If these reasons and policies suit you, all is well, if not, your remedy is in your own hands.  I am ready any day, and at all times to lay at your feet the trust, for it is not an office you confided in me, and if I cannot serve you untrammelled, I will not serve you at all.  The facts are before you, you do as you see fit, and be assured of one fact, I will never seek to dictate to any man I give my suffrage to, nor will I wear dog-block on my conscience when there is a chance to shed it.

                                                                                                James T. Ellis

Transcribed by Linda Ellis

2/12/1996

GA Archives

Griffin Newspapers (Griffin Semi-Weekly Star)

Dr. 193, Box 64

(submitted by Linda Ellis, October 4, 2005)


GRIFFIN SEMI WEEKLY STAR

April 6, 1869

COMMUNICATED

     EDITORS STAR - "Syphax," wanting, or, rather needing ideas and arguments, make makes a fling at Dr. Ellis' late communication in regard to "its exquisite grammar, and mudiness of ideas."   Of course, S means to set himself up as a standard of grammatical correctness and clearness of ideas, but how does he stand in orthography?  By m-u-d-i-n-e-s-s, he means muddiness - two d's instead of one.  By eminate, he meant emanate - an a instead of an i.  Speaking of the article in the Star, he uses these expressions:  "When compared with the editor's own article" and, "The Dr., however, has adopted it as his own."  In the former phrase, the word "own" is tautological, and worse than useless; and in the latter phrase, better taste would have been shown had "Syphax" left out the three words, "as his own."  It was enough to have written, "The Dr., however, has adopted it;" then the sentence and the sense would have been complete.  If the Dr. did adopt it, he did not adopt it for any one but himself, and this critical Syphax does the Dr. injustice by intimating (as he does by the expression, "as his own") that the Dr. might have been induced to adopt it for some one else.

     Syphax is equally unhappy in his classical quotations.  There is no such Latin phrase as "fidus achatese."  "Fidus Achates" is the expression that Syphax should have written.  Achates, being a proper name, should have commenced with a capital A, and the e at the end of the word, in the article of Syphax, is an error.  Where, Syphax, in any language do find the word "disputandem?"  Let me correct you again:  "De gustibus, disputandum" is the "classical phrase," after which you were reaching, and if you had inserted a u in the place of that e, you would have been "all right," as the Dr. has  it.  In the effort to make an exhibition of your familiarity with the classics, you have fallen a little short, and have only made an exhibition of your ignorance of them.   But this is a small matter, as nine-tenths of those who have read, or may ever read your communication, will not be aware of these errors, unless they are pointed out.  These may seem trifles to you, and I should not have noticed them, had you not selected our Representative as a proper subject for criticism, to enable you to display your superior learning and more finished education.  There are graver errors in your reasoning than in your orthography, or classical quotations, which errors I propose to point out to you in the Star of next Friday.  There are many other erros in your article, some in orthography, and some in punctuation, that causes a "mudiness" of ideas; but the foregoing are enough, to be noticed now; and this is done, in order that I may suggest to you that it might seem a trifle less fastidious and hypercritical, if you would look at the matter and not the manner of articles published in a village newpaper.  In the elegant words of Dooner - "So along" until Friday.

                                                                                    Very Respectfully,

                                                                                                            RUF.

Transcribed by Linda Ellis, 2/6/1996

GA Archives

Griffin, GA, Newspapers (Griffin SemiWeekly Star)

Dr. 193, Box 64

(submitted by Linda Ellis, October 4, 2005)


GRIFFIN SEMI WEEKLY STAR

April 6, 1869

SYPHAX AND THE MIDDLE GEORGIAN

     We have no time nor inclination to notice long winded anonymous scribblings, of the character above alluded to; and have already paid more attention to this ambuscade than its weak logic and contemptible personalities deserve.  But for two reasons we should have mad no response whatever to "Syphax."  Dr. Ellis, we think unwisedly, has seen proper to publish a card in vindication of his course - which card was drawn out in part by Syphax, thus giving a degree of importance to the communication which it would not have had.  In the second "labor" of Syphax - which was evidently a painful one - the writer seems to take great pleasure in biting at the Editor of the Star over Dr. Ellis' shoulders.  We can assure him he is "gnawing" at the hardest kind of a "file," when he throws up "Yankee" to us.  We know his "sort."  The climax, and in fact, the warp and filling of such insect's argument with men of northern birth is, "you're a 'Yankee;' " "nothing good can come of a 'Yankee;' "  ergo, "nothing good can come from you."  We have no ammunition to waste on such hard-headed idiots as this. 

     But our main reason for noticing Syphax at all is, the medium through which his article obtains publicity, and the animus manifested by our contemporary.

     We regret extremely that the proprietor of the Middle Georgian takes the same narrow views of business as some of his predecessors have, to wit: to build up his paper by trying to pull down the "Star."  We are aware that the old type in his office has been for years dripping with the gall of hate toward the Star; simply because our paper was a success, and the other a failure.  The late of the Herald should be a warning to the Georgian.  He can never build himself up by endeavoring to pull us down, nor by lending a helping hand to those would abuse us, or excite low and groveling prejudices against us.  The way to make the Georgian a success, is to make it a good paper.  Until he does that, the Star will continue to be, as heretofore, the only paper in Griffin. We have treated the Georgian with the utmost courtesy and kindness, and intended to continue to do so.  We want it to keep running, for if it breaks down, some paper will come here that might run us a close rivalry; from the Georgian we have nought to fear. Our decided preference is for "peace,"  but if this paper desires war, it can have it.  We only ask of it a fair open fight, and not a sneaking ambuscade behind a nom de plume.  Let him pick up the cudgel as soon as he pleases, we are ready.  The foolish charge that we have exercised undue influence over Dr. Ellis, is unworthy of notice; nobody believes it.  As to assisting him in defending himself from such rude and unmanly attacks as those of Syphax, he needs no aid of ours, but is amply able to cope with such antagonists single handed. The lack of elegant "grammar," over which Syphax grows so witty, will be more than counter-balanced by the amount of good sense in what he does, says and writes.  He may not be heavy on thread-bare Latin phrases, but he always succeeds in making himself understood in his honest mother tongue.

Transcribed by Linda Ellis                     GA Archives            Dr. 193, Box 64

2/12/1996                                            Griffin Newspapers (Griffin Semi-Weekly Star)

(submitted by Linda Ellis, October 4, 2005)


GRIFFIN  SEMI-WEEKLY STAR

Tuesday, March 23, 1869

DR. ELLIS AND THE 15TH AMENDMENT

     The Middle Georgian of the 19th instant contains an anonymous letter addressed to our present Representative and intended to be a somewhat sever criticism upon Dr. Ellis' course in voting for the 15th Amendment.

     We have known Dr. Ellis a number of years, and have closely watched his course in the Legislature.  We know his position in the country and also know how he came to be in the Legislature.  .  . He never sought the office.  He is no politician nor office seeker.  He is one of our largest, most intelligent, and most successful farmers.  His character for integrity is above suspicion, and he went to the Legislature at a great personal sacrifice, and at the earnest solicitation of many of the best citizens of the county.  He is not dependent upon the votes of the people for anything, and in our opinion, he would not hold his present position one hour longer., if he believed the people of the county did not endorse his course.  We do not know the author of the article in the Georgian, as he prudently disguises his real name under an assumed one; but we take him to be of that class of hard headed, small politicians, who never learn any new thing in politics, but stick to the old exploded dogmas of the past with a tenacity that death alone can soften.  These people don't know that there has been any war.  They don't know that slavery is abolished,.  They don't know, nor in their honest Rip Van Wrinkle dreams do they imagine that this nation has entirely changed its principles of government, and has the power to enforce the new theory.

     They talk of State Rights, as if there was such a thing left us; and speak of State sovereignty as of a living practical principle.  They can be taught no new political tactics, and it is not with such an idea that we write this article; our object being only to do an act of justice toward our representative, and at the same time, present some views for the contemplation of candid and liberal minded men.

     Among the Democrats of this Legislature, a large number believed it best for the interests of the State to adopt the Amendment at once.  Not because it was right in itself; but, because the conquering and ruling power of the nation demanded it; and they believed that its adoption would alone cut the reconstruction business in Georgia, and leave the people at rest, and at liberty to pursue their customary avocations without further molestation -- leaving our State government in the hands mostly of its real friends.  Among the Democrats who thus believed, were the wisest, coolest, most sagacious members of the General Assembly; men of high character at home, who enjoyed the confidence of the people--such men in the House, as Shumate, Haper of terrell, Hudson, Price, Anderson, Dr. Ellis and others.  And  in the Senate, such as Welburn and Nisbit. -- These men argued that Georgia already had the same thing in her constitution which the 15th Amendment required, to wit, negro suffrage; and the Omnibus bill restoring Georgia to position in the Union, expressly declared that she should never take negro suffrage out of her constitution. -- The adoption of the 15th Amendment would not change our status one particle on the suffrage question, but would extend negro suffrage all over the North.  It was know that Grant desired it, and our Democratic members in Congress advised it. -- It was hoped, and confidently believed, that the adoption would terminate the reconstruction business in Georgia, and give us quietude.  Under these views, these Democrats, determined to vote for the Amendment.  We believe they did so with the purest of motives, and we are not now prepared to condemn their actions.  On the other side, strange bed-fellows were made on this occasion.  The most hot headed Democrats joined hands, with the ultra Radicals; Burns united with old Higbee, and Hinton joined fortunes with that old miscegenator, Adkins, and Ben Conley,  Bullock's right bower, gave the casting vote which defeated the Amendment.

      The very men who call most lustily for more reconstruction of our people voted against the Amendment.  And why?  Obviously for the purpose of upsetting our present State government, and re inaugurating the carnival of provisional government and carpet bag rule.  We hope for the best, but we are strongly of the opinion that in less than thirty days Congress will pass a law authorizing Gov. Bullock to reassemble the Legislature, put back the negroes and apply the 14th Amendment oath.  This will place the State entirely under radical rule.  And the Democrats that are in the Legislature then, might as well resign, for any good they can do.  I f the Amendment had passed, the same results might have occurred in the long run, but it still left us room for hope.  After all, we do not consider it a matter of such vital importance, which way the cat jumped on this occasion.  The 15th Amendment will be eventually adopted.  It is part and parcel of the original scheme to complete our subjugation, and the conqueror will enforce the edict.  It may be the last link in the chain of oppression, and it may not.  We first abolished slavery in obedience to orders from Washington.  Some men fought it, but fought in vain.  We next adopted the 14th Amendment under the same pressure, and measure infinitely more degrading than the 15th is.  The same bower forced us to the adoption of our present State constitution, negro suffrage, and all; and the same irresistible power will force upon us the 15th Amendment.  We therefore, cannot condemn the Democrats who preferred accepting it under Democratic auspices, rather than give the Georgia Radical party another chance to get control of the State, on the strength of this Amendment.

     We have surrendered to Grant on the battlefield and at the ballot box, because compelled to do it.  We see no good likely to accrue by a powerless opposition to his policy.  Whenever the time arrives that his party splits up, we shall be ready to help the side that promises the South the most advantages.  Till then, our voice is for quiet acquiescence in the inevitable. -- Above all, let all true friends of the South bind themselves together with hooks of steel, and if they differ in opinion about matters of policy, discuss those differences in a spirit of friendship, and not, by appeals to passion and prejudice, stir up strife and contention among ourselves.

Transcribed by Linda Ellis

2/12/1996

GA Archives, M/F Dr. 193, Box 64

Griffin, GA Newspapers (Griffin Semi-Weekly Star)

(submitted by Linda Ellis, October 4, 2005)

 

Brief Bio and Photo of Dr. James T. Ellis

See other Spalding County Ellis Family Pages

 

 

 

The information contained on this website is submitted by volunteers and is not intended for commercial use. Information remains the property of the submitter. Unauthorized use of content in this website is strictly prohibited.

Compilation Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 [Beth Shaw ]. All rights reserved.