An open letter to Lackland M. Stone of Jackson County

An open letter to Lackland M. Stone of Jackson County


To Lackland M. Stone [left column] As you have become a politician, and the Representative of one of the first counties in the Territory, we think it will not surprise you if one of your constituents should address you in the public prints. It is in this way that strictures upon your conduct will be made. The acts and the character of a public man are common property, and if yours should be too roughly handled in the following essay you must not attribute it to a spirit of personal pique, but to the too great partiality of your friends, in placing you in an office you want the ability and the honesty to fill. It is known to you that a division for several years past has existed among the citizens of Jackson County in regard to the location of a seat of justice: that it is at present, and during the time you were a candidate it was an absorbing question: one upon which the people felt most interested, and therefore most likely to demand from the Candidates, pledges, how they would act in the event of their election. As far as can be ascertained when interrogated on this point, the following was your answer "I voted for Webbville when the selection was left to the people. It ought to be the place. The people themselves have determined so, and I am satisfied- I conceive the Council have no right to interfere in the matter." Yet after this pledge not made once or twice, but an [sic] hundred times, in private houses, and at public gatherings; what has been your conduct? In direct opposition to the public will and disregarding your repeated pledges, in your first political act in the Council, you have removed the Seat of Justice from Webbville to Marianna. If the Council in your own opinion "have no right to interfere in the matter," what reason can you assign for imposing on a body of men, whom your language and your acts would induce us to believe are so ignorant, that they have no knowledge of their rights, -and so pliant to your wishes, that they can be "moulded like clay in a potters hands." - They could not all be governed by the same motives which influenced yourself-an as it was a matter of indifference to them in what place the county site was established, their vote was probably based upon the representations you made them, and that courtesy which is extended to the members of any particular county, asking the passage of a local bill. Here then is presented the anomaly of a Representative willfully misrepresenting the will of his constituents, and calling upon a Legislative body to do an act which he expressly declares they have no right to do. What Sir, is your apology for this? You cannot say that you obeyed the will, or that you consulted the interests of your constituents. The result of a prior election, and the signatures of above three hundred men attached to a Memorial now before the Council, would stamp infamy on the assertion. If the public good required the removal of the county seat to Marianna, why did you not come out boldly, and tell the people of the county your intentions before the election.--They are not blind to their interests, and convince them that Marianna, or Webbville, or any other spot that may be selected is the most appropriate,-- and they will submit without a murmur. But unless I am much mistaken in their character, they will not suffer their priviledges [sic] to be torn from them, by the lawless hand of power. They have the common feelings of men, and will show a spirit of resentment on occasions like this, when he should have stood up in their defence [sic], is the first to do them an injury. [right column] You can have Sir, no apology. The Representative who is influenced by other motives than those of public good: who does not hesitate to sacrifice the poorer part of the people, to secure the smiles and patronage of a few rich individuals, will always be found wanting in the ballot box. You may extend the Southern boundary of Jackson County and gather around you a few more partisans in furtherance of your design to build up and establish Marianna. His Excellency the Governor may recommend that the sixteenth sections be leased out, and to save yourself from the reproaches of your constituents and the infamy of defeat you may divide the county into Electoral Districts running the lines to suit your necessities. But it will not do-The people Sir, cannot be gulled by Executive recommendations! They have sense enough to perceive that it is but a supplement to your Marianna bill-that its only object is the prosperity of Marianna and the downfall of Webbville. His Excellency is certainly aware that in those States where the practice of leasing out School lands for a short term of years has prevailed, that experience has proven the system to be incorrect and inadequate to the end it was designed to effect. Had he recommended that proper steps be taken for a final disposition of those lands, and that a part of the sixteenth section in Jackson county (which is now the most valuable in the Territory,) be laid off into small lots, and disposed of for the benefit of the school,-- then might we have regarded him as the common father of us all, alike guarding the interests of the school and his children. This course might have been pursued by his Excellency without any regard to interference in the location of the county seat. But Sir, to return. In building your hopes of future success upon the running of a District line, you reckon without your host. The people included in the District intended for yourself will calculate that the man who would violate his pledges and betray a whole country, would not hesitate if an opportunity presented to betray a part of that county. They want a Representative who would "be palsied by the will of his constituents." In conclusion Sir, we would direct your attention to the memorial now before the Council: But we cannot ask you to meet the wishes of your constituents, by using every exertion to repeal the law of which they so loudly complain. No Sir, -We must look beyond you! We must call upon the Legislative Council if they have been misled by your representations, to retrace their steps and make the only atonement in their power to a people whom they have injured: They have no doubt acted honestly on the information given them. They have now a more correct knowledge of things as they are, from a legitimate source-and it remains for us to see if they will be as prompt and fearless in consulting the wishes of the people, and correcting an error, as their duty and the dignity of their station would lead us to expect. A Citizen of Jackson County. Again, Mr. Stone-on yesterday, when the Memorial from Jackson County was presented to the Council, you stated that it contained charges against yourself that was false, you then sir, uttered a base and malicious falsehood, knowing it to be so. Another Citizen of Jackson County, whose name is the 28th on the first column attached to the Memorial.


State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, BR0015


Anonymously published letter to Lackland M. Stone when he was Jackson County's representative in the Legislative Council. The writer was against moving the Seat of Justice from Webbville to Marianna claiming it would cause the downfall of Webbville and the prosperity of Marianna.