Secession Era Editorials Project

Writhing of the Serpent.

Springfield, Illinois, Illinois State Register [Democratic]

(27 October 1859)

The Illinois Journal labors heavily to relieve its party of the responsibility of the acts of the marauder Brown, at Harper's Ferry. The New York Times is quoted to sustain the effort, and is falsely asserted to be in the interest of Mr. Douglas. All this twaddle is the veriest nonsense. The excuses of the black republican press are as various and conflicting as they are shallow. As Wentworth says, they are only given to prevent "hurt to the party." What the democratic press assert is, that the doctrines taught by Seward and Lincoln, and echoed by Palmer and the lesser lights, tend to produce precisely what Brown attempted. We have shown the admissions of republican journals to this effect. Such admissions are worth a host of puerile white-washing essays of the organs who flee from the destructive effects of the treasonable missiles they are daily throwing. Hear Wentworth again, in an article denunciatory of the shrinking platitudes of his associates, who, he asserts, only put in the plea they do that they may not have "the party" crippled and their "hopes for office" marred:

"This cry of hurting the party used to alarm us. We used to see its ghost nights, but now we care only for principles; and we are going wherever those principles lead us; and there is nothing that Old Ossawatomie Brown can do that will throw the least spot or blemish upon those principles.

"Old Ossawatomie stands out like Kosciusko, Emmet, Kossuth, Garabaldi and other leaders of unsuccessful revolutions. Old Brown did not intend to enslave anybody. His object was freedom; freedom to every person that was accountable to Almighty God for his actions.

"What is the republican party for? For freedom! What is all that Underground Railroad for? For freedom! Now everyone that gives a dollar for the democratic party in Kansas, for the Underground Railroad, for Cuban or South American fillibusters, or for importing slaves into this country from the coast of Africa, is just as guilty as Old Brown."

There it is in plain English. Brown's acts are but the corollary of black republican "shrieks for freedom!" He is placed upon the same footing with the patriots Kosciusko, Emmet, Kossuth, Garabaldi, and others, and it is intimated that to God Almighty only is he responsible, not to the constitution and laws of the country. This is the outspoken higher law creed. Wentworth's poor excuse that it is no worse than slave importations and filibuster expeditions, shows that even he seeks some apology for the bloody results of black republican doctrines, but it only amounts to this, that Brown's crime-- his labors for "freedom," in the manner chosen, are no worse than acts held to be criminal by all.

"What is the republican party for," he asks, if it is not to free the slaves of the south, and what was Brown's object but to do that very thing: and in acting as he did he "stands out," this black republican organ tells us, like the patriots of Poland, Ireland, Hungary, and Italy!

Can an intelligent people misunderstand the plain language we have quoted from one of the high priests of Illinois black republicanism? The Journal tells us that democrats are claiming that the Virginia insurrection will make them votes. Suppose they do so claim. Ought it not to do so? Ought not intelligent and patriotic voters, who have been misled, by the sophistries of leaders, to abandon old party associations and take position with black republicanism, to flee from that pestiferous organization, the tenets of which, practically enforced, lead to disunion, bloodshed and anarchy?

That such is the result -- that patriotic men who have been misled hitherto, are opening their eyes to this fact, is what gives the Journal and its fellows discomfort. They teach an "irrepressible conflict" between the people of the states. They tell us that the Union cannot be maintained "part slave and part free," yet, when their minions practically act upon their teaching, they throw up their eyes, in pious horror, not so much at the act, but that they should be held responsible for it!

It behooves a patriotic people to crush out a party who inculcate doctrines that can lead to no other practical results than those which a portion of its organs now charily affect to condemn. They will do it. The people of the 6th congressional district will do their part towards it on the 8th November by overwhelming John M. Palmer and his congressional pretensions.

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