Article Title

Inciting To Insurrection.


Newspaper Title

New-York Daily Tribune

Publication Date


Publication Place

New York, New York

Event Topic

John Brown

Political Party



free state


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The Virginian Chivalry seem to be bent on proving that their Ancient Dominion was, and is, in danger of being taken away from them by foreign invasion and domestic insurrection.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

The Virginian Chivalry seem to be bent on proving that their Ancient Dominion was, and is, in danger of being taken away from them by foreign invasion and domestic insurrection. We do not share in their apprehensions, though we see very clearly the necessity of their making out a case of imminent danger in order to save their own credit. For all that appears of the capacity of Virginia to defend herself from the invasion of John Brown and his score of men, he might have been in possession of the country to this day, had it not been for the dozen or two of marines who came to the rescue of the Mother of Presidents in her extremity. Gov. Wise expressed to the peaceable inhabitants of Harper's Ferry, in what may be called trenchant terms, his sense of their shortcomings, when he said that he had rather his arms were cut off at the shoulders and his legs at the hips than that such a disgrace should have befallen his Commonwealth. We should think that if his Excellency could save the credit of his militiamen by thus reducing himself to a torso, he had better submit himself to the knife of the amputater at once, as they seem to have done more discredit to the State in whose service they were enrolled, than the simple burglers of Harper's Ferry in refusing to risk their lives to rescue the property of the General Government from a danger against which it was eminently its duty to guard.

all the fighting that was had at Harper's Ferry against the insurgents was done by the men in the services of the Railway Company and by the handful of marines in the service of the nation. The citizen soldiery of the Old Dominion limited their strategy to the shooting of a man bearing a flag of truce, of another and the only one that asked for quarter, and of three or four struggling for life in the river. They did show a degree of energy in attempting to lynch the prisoners after they were disarmed, and probably would have done so, had not Major Russell, who seems to have acted throughout with distinguished coolness, bravery, and humanity, prevented them with his handful of marines. They were permitted, however, to expend a portion of their ebullient zeal in mutilating and insulting the dead bodies of their enemies -- of which, to do them justice, they do not seem to have been afraid. And a company of fifty men did perform a piece of actual service after the marines had stormed the engine house and made prisoners of its garrison. They were detailed in pursuit of Cook and his two companions, and did actually reach the house Capt. Brown had hired, where there was no particular reason for expecting to find them at that time. They came pretty near it, however, for the fire was still burning in the stove and the water in the kettle yet hot. The enemy could not be more than a mile off. But no pursuit was attempted. They were permitted to "show "themselves what they were and steal themselves "away," according to Capt. Dogberry's directions in such case. But the expedition was not fruitless. Our prudent heroes found a quantity of new and valuable rifles and pistols, of which they possessed themselves as by right of conquest, and so ended, what one of the Virginia papers called "this clever exploit."

we believe it is this same gallant band of Charlestownians which is now intrusted with the duty of saving the State harmless from the violence of Messrs., Brown, and Stephens, of whom she seems to be in mortal fear, notwithstanding their semi-animate condition from their wounds. Eighty men keep watch and ward, by day and night, and escort the prisoners between the prison and the Court-House. And thus far, they have saved the State from being a second time conquered and occupied. And doubtless, when the prisoners have been pushed through the forms of trial with the indecent haste springing from undefined apprehensions, the Charlestown citizen-soldiers will be found fully equal to keeping guard at the gallows to which they will be hurried with the least possible delay. John Brown and his party have evidently enlarged the ideas of the slaveholders in Virginia and elsewhere. They had never conceived of a fanaticism which should lead men into such a desperate and fatal enterprise, on a mere abstract principle -- for the benefit of a displaced race, who had nothing to give them for their services. Whenever their own Pro-Slavery zeal led them to such a foray into Kansas, they never undertook it unless they had reason to think they were ten to one against their enemies, and with the knowledge that they had the whole forces of the General Government at their back. Having been ignominiously defeated and driven out of Kansas, in spite of these odds, they are by no means certain that the terrible Brown may not yet be able to drive them out of Virginia also, though half dead and in chains.

We know very well that it is hard arguing with men in a panic -- in a confessed fright lest there may be a repetition of the attack. But one would think that a little worldly wisdom and discretion might show them that the course they are pursuing is precisely the one to invite further invasion, and to stimulate a spirit of insurrection among their slaves. The Lynch law, under the forms of common law, by which men unfit to be out of their beds are hurried to a mock trial, is of itself a confession of weakness, only encouraging to desperate men of the quality of Brown and his companions -- if and such survive, and have a mind to pursue his work or to revenge his death. The announcement that there is an extensive conspiracy at the North to free slaves, of which this daring attempt was the first demonstration, would not seem to be the most effectual way to keep the minds of the slave population calm and quiet in the enjoyment of the blessings of their lot. This summary disposition of Capt. Brown, should it be carried through, would have the effect Voltaire said the execution of Admiral Byog was designed to have -- "pour encourager les autres" -- to encourage others to go and do likewise. Besides the actual terrors of the vicinage, the desire of turning the affair into good, available political capital, has, unquestionably, led to the proceedings now going on. It is not likely that the zeal of the Democracy can be fanned to a more fervent heat than what it now glows withal, by any such agitation. But it is hoped, by exaggerating the dangers of this attack, to frighten some of the more timid Republicans into supporting the National faction, which had not the prudence to foresee and prevent it, even when told beforehand of it. But we think we may assure Gov. Wise and Senator Mason that the Republicans are not such fools as they take them for. While disapproving of the invasion of Virginia by Brown, on principle, as much as they did that of Kansas by Titus, and Pate, and Buford, they cannot think the peace of the country likely to be maintained by keeping the men in power who had the villainy to promote the one while they had not the energy to hinder the other. It is not their notion that housebreaking is to be cured by retaining notorious burglars on the police. We are of the opinion that more rather than less persons will be led to the conclusion, by the affair at Harper's Ferry and its consequences, that the first thing to be done is to strip off the livery from our present disgraceful servants at Washington, and see whether a new set will not do the work better. Certainly, they cannot do it worse.

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by James Cash. Proofed by Beatrice Burton




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Event Location


Inciting To Insurrection.

The Virginian Chivalry seem to be bent on proving that their Ancient Dominion was, and is, in danger of being taken away from them by foreign invasion and domestic insurrection.