Mayor and Broyles in War of Words

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

The Atlanta Georgian

Thursday, July 17, 1913


“Can’t Convince Ignorant Man He’s Mistaken,” Says Judge, Quoting Epictetus.


He’s ignorant.
He’s a menace to civilization.
He knows as much law as a boy does political economy.


He’s a petty czar.
My office is bigger than his.
If he wants to run my office, let him come up and give me orders.

“Do not argue with an ignorant man, for you can never convince him he is wrong.”

Recorder Nash R. Broyles, quoting Mr. Epictetus, the late well-known Greek philosopher, spoke thusly Thursday.

Following this declaration Mr. Broyles then declined to argue with Mayor James G. Woodward over the action in the case of Griff Freeman, an alleged notorious blind tiger operator, whom Broyles had sentenced to a $500 fine and a 29-day term in the stockade, when the Mayor declared he did not propose to see the city prison turned into a modern Siberia by a “too severe and czar-like Recorder.”

Impugns His Legal Lore.

“Mayor Woodward knows as much about law as a hog does about political economy,” was the Recorder’s avowal.

However, to “set himself right,” Judge Broyles issued the following statement.

“Yesterday a man named Freeman, the most notorious ‘blind tiger’ out of captivity, was convicted of selling whisky. The evidence was overwhelming. Five white men testified as to Freeman’s guilt and one said he had been buying whisky from Freeman for the last seven years.

Claims Breach of Promise.

“This is the same Freeman whom Mayor Woodward freed from the stockade and whose fine he reduced from $500 to $250. He did this, too, after asking me about the case over the telephone and assuring me that he would not interfere with my decision.

“In regard to the Court of Appeals reversing me in many cases, I have this to say: Since I have been Recorder the Court of Appeals has sustained me in ten cases where they have reversed me in one.

“The most ludicrous act of Mayor Woodward was in connection with the Dr. Roper case, in which I was sustained both by the Fulton County Superior Court and the Court of Appeals. But Mayor Woodward calmly announced, with a straight face, that he had decided the evidence was insufficient to convict.

“An Enemy to Society.”

“He therefore reversed the decision of the Recorder, the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals—and this by a man who knows about as much about law as a hog knows about political economy.

“I must say that a man who blocks the courts in an effort to stop law violations of this and other similar criminals is an enemy to civilization and to society.”

Mayor Woodward Thursday amplified his criticism of Recorder Broyles. He declared he was restraining his feelings in an effort to keep down a row, but there weer [sic] just a few things he had to say about the Recorder.

Scores Broyles’ Stand.

“Why doesn’t he attack the higher courts?” began the Mayor. “They have overridden him many more times this year than I have. I have interceded in only four cases during the seven months I have been in office.

“The trouble with Broyles is he wants to be supreme. He wants to be […]

Continued on Page 2, Column 3.


Resorts to Heathen Philosopher to Silence Opponent—”Mind Your Business,” Says Mayor.

Continued From Page 1.

[…] a czar, barricaded against criticism and interference.

“My office is a few years older than his. The Mayor once acted as Recorder. I did not come into my office through his sufferage just as he did not come into his through mine. But I have been given the right to interfere in certain cases by the Constitution of the State and the city charter.”

“Mind Your Own Business.”

“Let him attend to his duties and I’ll attend to mine. I have not interfered with him and it is none of his business what I do. We’ll both have the privilege of answering to the people for our acts.

“That policy of his giving 29-day stockade sentences so as to evade my pardoning power is little.

“I’ll tell him as I told Chief Beavers on one occasion, that if he wants to run my office I would be glad to have him call and I will discuss with him what I intend to do.

“That might satisfy him.”

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, July 17th 1913, “Mayor and Broyles in War of Words,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)