[Response to a Western Spy Letter]

We are sorry to find that the few strictures we were constrained to make, week before last, on a publication in the Western Sky, respecting the earthquakes at this place, previous to the 25th ultimo, should have wounded the sensibility of the writer, who in the Spy of the 8th inst. signs himself “Vindex.”

We, however, see in his production no proofs whatever of his former assertions, nor have we been able to collect any facts which go to invalidate our won.The gentleman compares us to those physicians, who, when the yellow fever existed in Philadelphia and New York, denied it and thereby prevented the flight of the inhabitants into the country till it was too late, and hundreds were destroyed.  We do not pretend to know as much concerning the yellow fever, or even concerning anything else, as that gentleman; but we have always understood that the country was exempt from that mortal disease, and therefore, it furnished a proper asylum for the inhabitants of the cities.  But we know to a certainty that these earthquakes have affected the country as much as the town; and would the gentleman recommend a removal from the latter to the former, in such a case?  If he does not mean to recommend such a removal, his comparison between the physicians alluded to, and ourselves, is as absurd as that they could be made unpopular by the occurrence of the yellow fever in cities.

The gentleman has attached great consequence to what he says was an exaggeration by the person who furnished what was given as the substance of a letter from the Chickasaw Bluffs [now Memphis, Tenn.].  As the design was merely to give substance of that letter, the employment of the word thousands, millions or billions would be equally proper to express the impressions of the writer of that letter.

For the number of trees which he saw rise up from the bed of the river, was so great that he did not pretend to count them, but compares them to a Kentucky forest when two-thirds of the trees are cut down.  But one of the editors has since conversed with the gentleman to whom that letter was addressed, and was informed by him that the letter states that an “immense number” or  “innumerable” trees rose from the bottom of the river.  Now although the word “millions” was not used, the reader will judge whether the word millions was an exaggeration of the expression innumerable.” And from this mere quibble an idea may be formed of the miserable shifts to which that writer was driven for the foundation of criticism.

Made possible by the Rivers Institute and the
History Department of Hanover College.


How to cite this article:  Untitled [response to a Western Spy letter], Liberty Hall (Cincinnati, Ohio), 12 Feb. 1812, p. 3, available at http://history.hanover.edu/texts/1811.