Newspaper Title


Publication Date


Publication Place

New Orleans, Louisiana

Event Topic

John Brown

Political Party



slave state


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Reports speak of discoveries of correspondence with noted abolitionists and proofs of concert with notorious men in the Northern and Western States.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

The mails are just beginning to bring usthe details as published in the Northernjournals, by the hourly despatches from the scene ofconflict of the outbreak at Harper's Ferry,the sudden rising and instant suppression of that incomprehensible revolt.

They are very copious, but they add littleto our knowledge of the extent of theconspiracy or the degree of support which it hadfrom other quarters. Much remainsunexplained and mysterious, especially thepossession of arms and ammunition, which, if theyare correctly described, must have cost largesums, and been transported from a considerabledistance. Reports speak of discoveries ofcorrespondence with noted abolitionists andproofs of concert with notorious men in theNorthern and Western States. This is, however,for the most part speculation, at least itis not yet confirmed by such evidence as issufficient to satisfy the mind, and in such gravematters we are not to rest anything involvingturpitude so monstrous upon suspicion orrumor. There is enough in the ascertainedfacts to make us cautious about recieving noneagainst individuals without full proof, and wedo not doubt that the investigation will be prosecuted with zeal, and a thorough determinationto find out the guilty and hold them upto the reprobation they merit, and all thepunishment with which an outraged country canreach them.

That there has been collusion with, or at least a guilty knowledge of the intendedinsurrection, among persons in various partsof the country, is apparent, but thenumber and station of the confederates, theirweight in society and their power over publicopinion, are difficult matters, in regard towhich the evidence is very slight, and wemust deal with presumptions and probabilities.

The attempt was so rash in all its aspects; the place was so ill adapted to success, wherean overwhelming force could be broughtagainst any possible number of insurgents inthe shortest possible time; the means providedwere so absurdly inadequate to any possibleresults, and the whole conduct was so imbecile,that it is difficult to believe the revolt tohave been part of a conspiracy, countenancedby rational men anywhere, or anything morethan the freak of hot-brained individuals ofdisordered minds, desperate fortunes andrevengeful passions. The anti-slavery partyof the North, while it breeds such men, andfurnishes the aliment which strengthens, andthe stimulants which excite them, it too wisein its generation to link itself with proceedingswhich are so foolish, so certain to fail,and so sure to rouse the conservative feelingof the country, North and South, against theexcesses to which fanaticism leads, andagainst the men and the theories, which, involantarilyor not, beget such pupils and suchreport that any considerable number of responsible,or influential persons in the NorthernStates, can be found to have been identified,as consenting or advising parties to thisinsurrectionary movement.

Enthusiasts and desperadoes may brave thepopular indignation by proclaiming their sympathywith the revolters and their purposes,but these will be few, and they will berepudiated by the honest sentiments of the massof all parties. Even the policy of theanti-slavery leaders will prompt them to repudiateas an inexcusable folly, what they will notjoin in denouncing as a crime against virtue,humanity and justice -- against society andgovernment. And in this point of view, inpresenting to the Northern eye a vivid pictureof the effects upon the ignorant, the deludedand the wicked, of the preachings andtheories, which, designed merely to catch apopular current, and thereby reach power andoffice, lead to sedition, social conflicts, hopelessinsurrection and bloody retribution -- it is tobe hoped that eventual good may come out of a great and frightful calamity.

The insurgents at Harper's Ferry may berepudiated as madmen or fools, but who madethem insane? What misled them if theywere misled? or inspired them with suchabsurd expectations and frantic hopes, if theyreally had thoughts of overthrowing theinstitutions of a great State by such feeble means,and with such wretched implements?

The insurgent leader -- Brown -- appears tohave been a desperado in Kansas; one whohad learned in the conflicts, stimulated byNorthern rapacity for power in that distractedTerritory, an intense hatred of Southern menand Southern institution, beyond what wasintended by his backers; and, filled withthese passions, to have bent his whole mindto the object of continuing, in every imaginableway, the war on the South, which wascommenced in Kansas. Some confederatesand sympathisers he doubtless found, for thefever of fanaticism is contagious; and to amind once set in the pursuit of an object, inwhich the passions were deeply interested,aliment for his hopes was easily found in thefrantic tone of the Northern anti-slaverypresses, and the proclamation by the leaders ofa great political party of "an irrepressibleconflict" between the North and the South,to which he felt himself called as a leader ofthe vanguard. Perhaps he believed himselfa chief, to whom the great miltitudes whocheer so tumultuously the political orators ofthe North, when they meet and proclaim insuch fervent tones the moral duty of incessantwarfare against the South, would rally and make him the Peter of a new crusade, morefortunate that his prototype. Whether inflamed to unreasoning madness or deluded byfalse hopes, who is responsible for the frenzyof such as he?

Now this is the very serious question,which the men of the North who are notincurably touched with the same madness --and these constitute, we believe, a largenumerical majority -- will be apt to put tothemselves and to each other, when theyread of such things as have transpired atHarper's Ferry. These wanton disturbancesof the peace of a great community, fearfullyaggravated by the uncertainties which thickenwith unimagined terrors, about a subject inwhich so many of tenderest interests oflife are concerned; these scenes of disordersuddenly provoked, and crushed out withsuch stern necessity of bloodshed; these cruelsedections of the victims of the false philanthropy into suffering and punishment for theguilty, and increased rigours for the wholerace; the incitement, the cause, and theconsequences, are but the legitimate growth ofthe ultraisms which have been permitted togain such an ascendancy over the minds ofthe Northern people, and have been mademore powerful and more dangerous by beingused as the means by which aspiringpoliticians and selfish demagogues seek to rideinto power and office. The fools that becamethe criminals and have perished in their folly,as all such will do when they fling themselvesagainst the ramparts with which theSouth can protect itself against thisincendiarism, are themselves victims of those falseteachers, who are themselves morally guiltyof the very offences they will repudiateentirely, and responsible for the consequencesthey may affect to deplore. They are guiltyof all the mischief done by the firebrands with which they have armed the heedlessand the wicked.

There is no apprehension in the SouthernStates that the designs of their enemies canbe accomplished by such means as those ofwhich the Harper's Ferry revolt is an example.Forewarned, they are capable of perfectself-protection against this species of assault.But they are unwilling to be put to theuniversal necessity of the rigorous measures ofprecaution which this state of things ifcontinued and extended, would require, and theyare anxious to live in peace with theirNorthern countrymen, instead of being entrenchedagainst them as natural enemies. If we areto live together in kindness, the temper andpractices which have incited the disordersmust be changed, and those who indulge inthem or countenance them, and to whose rashteachings the insane excesses are distinctlytraceable as their sources, must be rebuked bypublic opinion, in that way in which a rebukewill be most keenly felt, in the overthrow oftheir political fortunes, and their banishmentfrom station, as the exponents of Northernopinions.

If such a consummation is ever to beeffected, and we have our hopes that it is withinthe reach of a full, earnest and honest struggle,by the constitutional men of the Northacting together, it must be rapidly advancedby such developments as those in Virginia, ofthe tendencies of the doctrines which aretaught in the journals of the extreme partisanpress, and proclaimed by the anti-slaverypress; and thus out of the present evil maybe plucked the germ of a great good.

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by James Cash. Proofed by Lloyd Benson




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Reports speak of discoveries of correspondence with noted abolitionists and proofs of concert with notorious men in the Northern and Western States.