Article Title

A Misnomer.


Newspaper Title

Daily Herald

Publication Date


Publication Place

Wilmington, North Carolina

Event Topic

John Brown

Political Party



slave state


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'Twasno insurrection, and it is a libel upon the slave indesignating it as such.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

Why will Editors persist in calling the late affairat Harper's Ferry an "Insurrection?" We haveseveral papers before us -- published in the State andout of it -- and they nearly all of them allude to itas being an insurrection among the negroes. 'Twasno insurrection, and it is a libel upon the slave indesignating it as such. They had nothing whateverto do with it. There was not a single slave engagedbut what was drawn in by compulsion. The originalinsurgents consisted of some fifteen or sixteen whitemen and a half dozen free negroes from the North --brought there by old Brown. What few slavesengaged in the affair were forced into taking up armsafter the original outbreak, through fear of whiteabolitionists, and not from love of them, or hatredtowards their masters. They did not want to jointhe insurgents. They hesitated, preferring slaveryin the South to freedom -- or such freedom as theyknew they would get at the hands of old Brown andhis devilish crew at the North. We really thinkthe slaves about Harper's Ferry deserve credit forthe manner in which they behaved in this treasonableaffair. What was easier than for them to seizearms -- for there were any quantity of them on hand-- rush upon their masters in the dead of night, andslay whole families before a step could be taken toprevent the dreadful work. When the deed wasdone, what easier than to quickly tramp over intoPennsylvania, only a few miles distant, and burythemselves among the abolitionists, where it wouldbe next to impossibility to discover them. Thesethings could have been done easily, but witness hownobly the "poor old slaves," -- as they are called bytheir would-be friends, but in reality their worstenemies, -- did. They refused to take up arms againsttheir masters -- the only friends they knew -- and notuntil forced into by threats of death, was it done,and then only a few, comparatively speaking, joinedthe blood-thirsty, demented fanatics of the Northin their treasonable work. Of course, as long as wedown South continue to call the late affair an Insurrection,just so long will we be playing into thehands of Northern fanatics. They want it put inthat light. It strengthens their doctrine, of course. If they can make it appear that the slaves aredissatisfied with their mode of life, and are desirous ofchanging it, even at the expense of blood, a greatpoint with them is gained. They then have --according to their incendiary belief -- an excuse forinvading Southern territory. They say the slavesare desirous -- aye, even anxious, to throw off theyoke of servitude; and shall we stand idly by andnot help our fellow creatures in their hour of need?Thus they reason, and as long as we continue toinsist upon calling a fool-hardy invasion of whitemen and free negroes an insurrection, just solong will we continue to strengthen the causeof our enemies. Divest the thing of the insurrectionaryaspect, and what do we behold? Thefoundation of their whole doctrine overthrown. -- The negroes do not desire freedom. They had anopportunity -- a good one. Months were wasted inconsummating the arrangements and yet when the blowwas to be struck and freedom granted, -- the great boonwhich those wild, deluded fanatics of the North andNorth-West prate so much about -- where do we findthe poor slave? Why quietly sitting at home by hismaster's fire side, or doing his master's bidding,while a dozen or more crazy fools are battling forhis rights which he will not accept.

We are surprised that Southern papers should callthis invasion of a few treasonable men upon the Southan insurrection, when not the first feature of itassumes that aspect. We say desist from it. It isexactly what the abolitionists want. We could notplease them better. And besides it is robbing theslave of his just dues. He is deserving of praisesay we, and we almost feel rejoiced that this thinghas happened, for it has taught us two things, firstthat we can put confidence in the fidelity of the blacksas a mass (though of course there must necessarilybe some bad ones among so large a number) andsecondly it has taught northern fanatics that in futureif they desire to liberate the slaves from bondagethey must resort to other means, for this thing hastaught them that expecting aid and comfort from theslaves themselves is putting faith in a broken reed.

Slaves love, honor and obey their masters, and itwould be well for the "Liberators" before makingsuch another foolish attempt as that of Harper'sFerry to bear this in mind. We don't know of anylittle event connected with this affair which has pleasedus more than this reluctance of the slaves toengage in the dirty work. Not even the capture of oldBrown himself can equal the pleasure we experiencewhen thinking about it. To old Brown it must be theunkindest cut of all, if we except the last cut he willexperience when the Sheriff cuts the rope whichis to rob him of his worthless life.

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by Lloyd Benson.




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Event Location


A Misnomer.

'Twasno insurrection, and it is a libel upon the slave indesignating it as such.