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and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.
Notes on Wirginia,
RELATIVE TO THE MURDER OF LOGAN'S FAMILY.
A LETTER TO GOVERNOR HENRY, OF MARYLAND,
Philadelphia, December 31st, 1797. DEAR SIR,
MR. TAZEWELL has communicated to me the enquiries you have been so kind as to make, relative to a passage in the Notes on Virginia, which has lately excited some newspaper publications. I feel, with great sensibility, the interest you take in this business, and with pleasure go into explanations with one whose objects I know to be truth and justice alone. Had Mr. Martin thought proper to suggest to me, that doubts might be entertained of the transaction respecting Logan, as stated in the Notes on Virginia, and to enquire on what grounds the statement was founded, I should have felt myself obliged by the enquiry, have informed him candidly of the grounds, and cordially have co-operated in every means of invesigating
the fact, and correcting whatsoever in it should be found to have been erroneous. But he chose to step at once into the newspapers, and in his publications there and the letters he wrote to me, adopted a style which forbade the respect of an ansiver. Sensible, however, that no act of his could absolve me from the justice due to others, as soon as I found that the story of Logan could be doubted, I determined to enquiro into it as accurately as the testimony remaining, after a lapse of twenty odd years, would permit: and that the result should be made known, either in the first new edition which should be printed of the Notes on Virginia, or by pub. lishing an Appendix. I thought that so far as that work had contributed to impeach the me. mory of Cresap, by handing on an erroneous charge, it was proper it should be made the vehicle of retribution. Not that I was at all the author of the injury. I had only concurred, with thousands and thousands of others, in be. lieving a transaction on authority which merited respect. For the story of Logan is only repeated in the Notes on Virginia, precisely as it had been current for more than a dozen years before they were published. When Lord Dunmore returned from the expedition against the Indians, in 1774, he and his officers brought the speech of Logan, and related the circumstances connected with it. These were so af. fecting, and the speech itself so fine a morsel of eloquence, that it became the theme of every conversation, in Williamsburg particularly, and generally, indeed, wheresoever any of the officers resided or resortedl. I learned it in Wil.
liamsburgh : I believe at Lord Dunmore's; and I find in my pocket-book of that year (1774) an entry of the narrative, as taken from the mouth of some person, whose name, however, is not noted, nor recollected, precisely in the words stated in the Notes on Virginia. The speech was published in the Virginia Gazette of that time (I have it myself in the volume of gazettes of that year) and though in a style by no means elegant, yet it was so admired, that it flew through all the public papers of the coutinent, and through the magazines and other periodical publications of Great-Britain ; and those who were boys at that day will now attest, that the speech of Logan used to be given them as a school exercise for repetition. It was not till about thirteen or fourteen years after the newspaper publications, that the Notes on Virginia were published in America. Combating, in these, the contumelious theory of certain European writers, whose celebrity gave currency and weight to their opinions, that our country, from the combined effects of soil and climate, degenerated animal nature, in the general, and particularly the moral faculties of man, I considered the speech of Logan as an apt proof of the contrary, and used it as such ; and I copied, verbatim, the narrative I had taken down in 1774, and the speech as it had been given us in a better translation by Lord Dunmore. I knew nothing of the Cresaps, and could not possibly have a motive to do them an injury with design. I repeated what thousands had done before, on as good authority as we have for most of the facts we learn through life, and such as, to this
moment, I have seen no reason to doubt. That any body questioned it, was never suspected by me, till I saw the letter of Mr. Martin in the Bal. more paper. I endeavoured then to recolleet who among my cotemporaries, of the same cir. cle of society, and consequently of the same re. collections, might still be alive. Three and twenty years of death and dispersion had left
I remembered, however, that Gen. Gibson was still living, and knew that he had been the translator of the speech. I wrote to him immediately. Hie, in answer, declares to me, that he was the very person sent by Lord Dunmore to the Indian town; that, after he had delivered his message there, Logan took him out to a neighboring wood; sat down with him, and rehearsing, with tears the catastroplie of his family, gave him that speech for Lord Dunmore; that he carried it to Lord Dunmore; translated it for him; has turned to it in the Encyclopedia, as taken from the Notes on Vir. ginia, and finds that it was his translation I had used, with only two or three verbal variations of no importance. These, I suppose, had ari. sen in the course of successive copies. I cite Gen. Gibson's letter by memory, not having it with me; but I am sure I cite it substantially right. li establishes unquestionably, that the speech of Logan is genuine; and that being established, it is Logan himself who is the author of all the important falls. “ Col. Cresap," says lie, “in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runis not a drop of my blood im the veins of any living