Newspaper Title

Arkansas State Gazette and Democrat

Publication Date


Publication Place

Little Rock, Arkansas

Event Topic

John Brown

Political Party



slave state


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The great mass of the people, both in the North and the South, condemn Brown's treason, and rejoice to know that law and justice have been so promptly administered to him.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

Since the failure of the fanatic Brown to enlist a single slave with him in his crazy attempt to raise a servile insurrection in Virginia, almost the entire press of the country has been filled with speculations in regard to it, and the consequences to which it tends, as estimated from the different stand-points, and in the different lights in which it had been viewed. Though here and there a fanatic in the North has been found to sympathize with Brown, and endorse his course, it is a matter of gratification, and we chronicle the fact with pleasure, that the leading papers, and men, among the Black Republicans, are open, bold, and unmistakable, in their condemnation of the course of Brown, and respond heartily to the prompt and just administration of justice to him.

There are men, both at the North and the South -- principally fanatics and fools, under the control of designing demagogues -- who delight to live in the muddy waters of discord, whose chief occupation is strife and contention, and the main end of whose actions seems to be to array one section of the country against the other in hostile strife, rather than to bring them together on the common platform of the Constitution, to take friendly counsel together for the benefit of our common country. These men, in the North, seize upon Brown's crime as a text to preach war against the South; and, in the South, as a warrant for a dissolution of the Union, and a war upon the North. But the great mass of the people, both in the North and the South, condemn Brown's treason, and rejoice to know that law and justice have been so promptly administered to him. It is to be hoped that Brown's aiders and abettors may all be arrested and, dealt with as he has been.

Our own opinion is that too much importance has been attached to this matter. Brown was, we think, insane, and hanging will doubtless be the best remedy for all such cases of insanity. He will be hung, and his case thus properly disposed of; and it would be well to make a like disposition of all similar cases. But we do not think that the acts of this insane man, condemned as they are by the great mass of the Northern people, should be seized upon as a pretext, by Northern fanatics to war upon the South, nor by Southern ones to war upon the North and dissolve the Union.

The very fact that not a single slave joined, or attempted to join, Brown's mad expedition, is an evidence that they are satisfied with their condition, and should be a warning -- an awful warning -- to all white men contemplating such insane acts of hostility against Southern slaveholders.

We would urge upon the people the importance of vigilance to guard against the recurrence of similar out-breaks. In fact it would seem, from timely warnings received by the Secretary of War, that the insurrection at Harper's Ferry was occasioned by the neglect of that officer.

We would warn crazy fanatics that the slaves in the South are, as a general thing, in a better condition than the poor laborers of the North -- that they are happy and contented, and that no part of them are at all likely to participate, either in sentiment or action, with any attempt of madmen to change their present condition. We hope, however, with the manifest hopelessness and thanklessness of such undertakings, and the fate of Brown staring them in the face, that no fanatic will be mad enough to make a similar attempt in future.

Nor can we see the least reason, in what has transpired, to urge, sectional war between the North and the South, or a dissolution of the Union. It is not our purpose to speak of the subject in an abstract view; but we shall allude to it, as we hope it may be treated by the people, in its practical light. As to the abstract rights of the States we hold what we think to be Constitutional views, yet many men in the slave holding States are pleased to consider them as ultra Southern. But there is a difference in the holding of an abstract principle, and the policy of exercising it. We are not here to say that the South has not suffered wrongs and oppressions from the North; for she has been grievously wronged and oppressed, and by no party more than by the National Democracy. And while we have protested against those wrongs and outrages, and shall continue to do so, we do not think the Southern States could better their condition by a dissolution of the Union. Without making any appeal to that patriotic spirit which we hope binds all good citizens to the Union under our admirable Constitution, there is a practical light in

Besides, we hope, like other storms which have hitherto beset us, that the cloud of abolitionism which lowers upon the country, may be dispelled, and peace, and happiness, and love of country, reign again in the land. The people of the old world are coming to a correct view of the slavery question. There the storm commenced, and there the skies first commence to brighten. While we should always be prepared for the worst, let us always hope for the best. Let us hope that the good counsels to which our people have listened, in days gone by, when the country has been beset by dangers, may prevail; and that the sentiment of devotion to the country, which has been called from good men in all of its parts, by the late tragedy at Harper's Ferry, may find a hearty response in the heart of every patriot in the land.

The subjoined article, from the Charleston Mercury, is given as showing the feeling of the party represented by that paper. We hold the Mercury and many of those of its peculiar views in high estimation, but we think them rather intense:

The Insurrection. -- The insurrection at Harper's Ferry was simply no insurrection at all. Not a slave joined the reckless fanatics who sought to promote their nefarious policy of emancipation by blood and treason. It was a silly invasion of Virginia by some eighteen men. Four or five men were killed, and a few more will be hung, and there will be the end of the enterprise in its mere physical aspects. The presses of the North, looking no further than these results, are pretty harmonious in representing it as a very light and trifling affair; and the parade of Governors, and Senators, and of the military of States and of the General Government to suppress it, as very absurd and ridiculous.

Events are often important, not on account of their immediate magnitude, but on account of their significancy. A pimple on the cheek may be a very trifling disorder; but if it betokens erysipelas, it is the indication of disease which may be fatal. And so it is in the political world. The importance of any event, however insignificant in itself, must be measured by the principle it involves, or the policy it indicates. For twenty-five years the Northern people have been keeping up a continual agitation in the Union concerning the institution of slavery. They have broken up our churches; they have run off our slaves; they have excluded us from our territory on the ground that the institution of slavery is too iniquitous to expand; and they have now organized a vast controlling party in the Northern States, looking to the possession of the General Government, to further their purposes of emancipation. All along, however, we have heard put forth profuse professions that no interference with the institution of slavery in the Southern States was intended or contemplated -- although every principle they asserted led them just as much to overthrow slavery in the States as in the Territories. The constitutional and moral views which they bring forward to justify their policy, most logically and clearly, must make them emancipationists. Here, then, is the great importance of this abolition emeute in Virginia. It shows to the people of the South the destiny which awaits them in this Union, under the control of a sectional anti-slavery party in the free States. It is in fact, coming to the aid of logic. It is the legitimate fruit of the Union as it is. It is a significant sign of progress. Taken in connection with the past, it is a portentious omen of the future.

So far from creating any surprise, we do not suppose that there is a thoughtful man in the South who has not been anticipating, for years past, such events as those which lately transpired at Harper's Ferry. Our connection with the North, is a standing instigation of insurrection in the South. Instead of that "domestic tranquillity" which the constitution of the United States openly asserts that it was established to insure, Congress is a vast abolition conventicle, and the Union itself a powerful organisation by which domestic disquietude is created, and the mightiest dangers impend over the South. Instead of "tranquillity" and protection, hostility and insurrection are now its natural fruits. The Harper's Ferry invasion, therefore, if wisely considered, is of vast significancy, and should lead the people of the South to prepare for those future events, of which this is only the premonition.

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Entered by Lloyd Benson. Not Proofed




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Event Location


The Harper's Ferry Insurrection.--

The great mass of the people, both in the North and the South, condemn Brown's treason, and rejoice to know that law and justice have been so promptly administered to him.