Article Title

No False Issue.


Newspaper Title


Publication Date


Publication Place

New Orleans, Louisiana

Event Topic

John Brown

Political Party



slave state


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Giddings and Smith would desire no better position -- for giving them a strength, beyond that which either can hope to possess as Abolitionists, within the free States -- than to be made the subject of a formal demand for transfer to Virginia

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

We have not had space to publish the massof papers found on John Brown after thesuppression of the Harper's Ferry riots, norany of the numerous documents, letters andcards which have appeared in the Northernjournals explanatory of the connection withit of persona supposed to be implicated. Thelast and most voluminous of these issues is a mass of documents furnished by one Col.Forbes to the New York Herald. Forbeswas an English adventurer, who became apaid agent for Abolitionism in this country.His special function appears to have been themanagement of the "underground railroad"department, the stealing and running off ofslaves; and he was by his own showing abusy operator in the work of bringing abouta concert among Abolitionists as to the mosteffectual way of attacking the existence of slavery in the States.

It seems that the business did not pay;at least that the Abolitionists did not pay, as they promised. They undertook, as Forbesstates, to support the family he left in Europe,while he was working for their views here.But they failed to pay, and he, in return,exposes and denounces them. We have readhis testimony, with the other papers. Asthey are in the nature of disclosures by aconfessed accomplice, under the impulse ofdisappointment and for revenge, they are tobe received with a good deal of caution, wherethey are no confirmed by other and independenttestimony.

The general impression of these publicationson our minds is, that the John Brownplot had not very extended ramifications inthe North, and was not specifically known toor approved by many persons of influence.But it is quite clear, that the idea on whichJohn Brown proceeded, that slavery is to beattacked in the Southern States from theNorth, has obtained a wide circulation, andhas commanded money, aid, and sympathy toa large degree among Northern people. It isvery evident that Brown's animosities wereshared by a good many people, who were notready to adopt the policy of manifesting themin the way and at the time which he selected;who thought, with more sagacity than he,that his attempt must fail, and the effect be tocreate obstacles to the future spread of thesedoctrines, in the indignation which it wouldcreate among the moral and conservativeportion of the North.

It was not likely that any considerablenumber of reflecting men, having an objectin view, and desiring to accomplish it -- desiring the overthrow of slavery, and lookingfor the means, or desiring the benefit of theanti-slavery excitement for their personalobjects -- would connect themselves with ascheme which was so utterly hopeless, andof which the reaction would be so swiftand overwhelming. Even the more decidedfanatics do not appear to have agreed amongthemselves. The desperadoes who flungaway their lives in the reckless attempt wereof the extreme section of the Abolition party,who go in advance of the main body, andwho made so rash and fruitless an applicationof the doctrines they had been so long hearingin high places, that they are surrenderedto public condemnation by those who areas guilty in intent, but more discreet inthe choice of means, and more patient inwaiting for the hour, the opportunity and thehelp.

There can be no question, we think, thatthe cause of the South, within the Union, hasreceived great moral strength by the explosionof this imbecile plot, and the developmentswhich have followed, in the proofs it hasfurnished of the loyalty of the black population,and the sentiment of indignation which it hascreated among the mass of thinking men atthe North, against the authors of thisconspiracy, against the abettors of conspiracy,and against the teachers of the inflammatorydoctrines of which these things are the naturalgrowth. In this strong position the Southcan afford to rest within her own defences,and has no need to change the issue by raisingquestions of doubtful right and constitutionalconstruction, to give factitous strength to thefactionists. Among those issues, which some of the excited journals of the South haveadvised, is that of demanding from the Governorsof other States the rendition of personswho are thought to be implicated as partiesto Brown's plot, that they may be tired inVirginia for riot, conspiracy and murder.Gerrit Smith, of New York, and Giddings, ofOhio, are specially named, as criminals whoought to be immediately demanded; and some of our Southern cotemporaries are for makingit a vital question, that these States shall bemade to give up these men at once.

Gov. Wise, of Virginia, who is not usuallybehind the foremost when zeal for the Southis to be manifested in speech or action, doesnot favor this notion. In a late speech atRichmond, he said: "If any one shouldsmuggle off Gerrit Smith some night and bringhim to me, I would read him moral lectureand send him home." Severe as thepunishment may be which Gerrit Smith and hisassociates deserve at the hands of an outragedcommunity, it does not become the South toassert any novel or doubtful doctrines to getpossession of his person, and it would be apiece of folly to make an attempt which wouldbe sure to fail, and which, if it should succeed,would embarrass us more than failure.

Giddings and Smith would desire no betterposition -- for giving them a strength, beyondthat which either can hope to possess asAbolitionists, within the free States -- than tobe made the subject of a formal demand fortransfer to Virginia, to be tried for anythingthey may have done within the jurisdictionof New York or Ohio. They know that theGovernor of neither of those States wouldadmit the right to demand, or the obligationto deliver, under such circumstances; andthat the "conspiracy," as alleged, would beconverted into a grave controversy betweentwo States, on the subject of their severalrights under the federal constitution, andtheir duties towards each other under thelaws and comity of States, not provided for inthe constitution; and that on these pointsthe division against the South would be verydifferent from what it would be on thequestion, as it now stands, of conspiracy, invasion,riot and bloodshed, for the purpose of overthrowing slavery within the States, and themoral power of a mighty public opinion,which is directing itself against the authorsand teachers of these incendiary practices.

Gov. Wise is, we hope, too discreet to makesuch a great mistake of policy, even if hecould persuade himself that he has the rightto make the demand which is asked for; andwe are inclined to think, if the case ispresented to him, requiring his examination anddecision, he will decide it to be a right tooquestionable, to say the least of it, to be asserted with the intent of making it an issuebetween States.

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by James Cash. Proofed by Lloyd Benson




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Event Location


No False Issue.

Giddings and Smith would desire no better position -- for giving them a strength, beyond that which either can hope to possess as Abolitionists, within the free States -- than to be made the subject of a formal demand for transfer to Virginia