Secession Era Editorials Project
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John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry (Oct.-Dec. 1859)

Albany, New York Evening Journal [Republican], (18 October 1859)
The telegraph during the past twenty-four hours has brought startling accounts of an "insurrection" at Harper's Ferry.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (18 October 1859)
Our despatches this morning give us some particulars of a serious outbreak among the employees on the government works at Harper's Ferry, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia Whig [Opposition], (18 October 1859)
There is at least no cause for uneasiness elsewhere in the State, notwithstanding the reports concerning the complicity of the negroes in the business.
Albany, New York Evening Journal [Republican], (19 October 1859)
The leader of the conspiracy is stated to be Captain BROWN, of Kansas notoriety. This fact affords an explanation of some points in it otherwise inexplicable.
Cincinnati, Ohio Enquirer [Democratic], (19 October 59)
It was an Abolition plot to free the negroes of Maryland and Virginia at the point of the bayonet.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (19 October 1859)
a concerted movement of abolitionists and their black victims in southern States
Chicago, Illinois Press and Tribune [Republican], (20 October 1859)
The Democratic party, however proposes to increase the chances for insurrection, bloodshed and all the horrors of servile war, by extending the area of slavery indefinitely and by re-opening the African slave trade.
Springfield, Illinois State Register [Democratic], (20 October 1859)
Such is the ripening of the black republican harvest.
Albany, New York Evening Journal [Republican], (20 October 1859)
Who taught that crazy crew to band together with arms in their hands, as the most effective way to accomplish political purposes? The Border Ruffians of Kansas and the Democratic Administration at Washington!
Cincinnati, Ohio Enquirer [Democratic], (20 October 59)
the Northern Abolitionists are implicated and are at the bottom of the Harper's Ferry conspiracy.
Yorkville, South Carolina Enquirer [Democratic], (20 October 1859)
The insurgents are said to number 600 to 800, under the leadership of a man named Anderson, recently arrived at the Ferry.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (21 October 59)
It is a warning profoundly symptomatic of the future of the Union with our sectional enemies.
Nashville, Tennessee Union and American [Democratic], (21 October 1859)
the fanatics engaged there would never have dared the attempt at insurrection but for the inflammatory speeches and writings of Seward, Greeley, and the other Republican leaders.
Chicago, Illinois Press and Tribune [Republican], (22 October 1859)
In all this they are assisted by the bogus Democratic party.
Indianapolis, Indiana Locomotive [Democratic], (22 October 1859)
we have no doubt was intended to be carried throughout the entire Southern States -- having for its object plunder, violations of female chastity, and an indiscriminate slaughter of all who should oppose its fearful march.
Nashville, Tennessee Republican Banner and Nashville Whig [Opposition], (22 October 1859)
The causes of the riot, it is impossible now to determine.
Boston, Massachusetts Daily Evening Transcript [Republican], (24 October 1859)
the panic Mr. Brown with his handful of deluded followers created in Maryland and Virginia was not at all creditable to the people or authorities of the vicinity.
Nashville, Tennessee Republican Banner and Nashville Whig [Opposition], (24 October 1859)
This attempt to excite an insurrection among the slaves is one of the natural results of the agitation of the slavery question
Nashville, Tennessee Republican Banner and Nashville Whig [Opposition], (25 October 1859)
while we unhesitatingly condemn the Republican party for the part they have performed in this alarming tragedy, we should be untrue to ourselves and unfaithful to the public, were we to pass over in silence the conduct of a party nearer home.
Richmond, Virginia Enquirer [Democratic], (25 October 1859)
If the success of a party is of more importance than the restoration of good feeling and attachment to the Union, let that fact go forth from the polls of New York at her approaching election.
Wilmington, North Carolina Daily Herald [Opposition], (26 October 1859)
'Twas no insurrection, and it is a libel upon the slave in designating it as such.
Concord, New Hamphire New Hampshire Patriot [Democratic], (26 October 1859)
the dangerous tendencies of the pernicious doctrines which, during a few years past, have been so zealously taught and advocated by political leaders and partisan preachers here at the North.
Chicago, Illinois Press and Tribune [Republican], (26 October 1859)
The Slaveholders have even less confidence in the "patriarchal tenure" than the "Abolitionists."
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (27 October 1859)
The excuses of the black republican press are as various and conflicting as they are shallow.
Albany, New York Evening Journal [Republican], (27 October 1859)
But how is it about the Democrats who knew of Brown's Plot two months before it ripened? How about the Secretary of War and the Administration, whose duty it was to protect the Government Armory at Harper's Ferry, and yet who gave no warning of the coming outbreak, although they had been fully informed of it by Letter?
Yorkville, South Carolina Enquirer [Democratic], (27 October 1859)
Ultimately, we have reason to anticipate, from this outbreak, a harvest of valuable results to the South.
Natchez, Mississippi Courier [Opposition], (28 October 1859)
It is about time to establish the point whether the Government cannot put down insurrectionary movements, and punish traitors.
Cincinnati, Ohio Enquirer [Democratic], (28 October 59)
the leading Abolition Republicans of the free states were privy to it
Indianapolis, Indiana Locomotive [Democratic], (29 October 1859)
Letters have been found, implicating leading Abolitionists in different parts of the North
Cincinnati, Ohio Enquirer [Democratic], (29 October 59)
he was backed up and sustained by money and arms obtained from Abolitionists and Republicans of the North
Milledgeville, Georgia Federal Union [Democratic], (1 November 1859)
this was a regularly concocted, and premeditated attempt of Abolition Fanatics to overthrow the Government, and emancipate the slaves.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (1 November 59)
Although BROWN'S effort at an insurrection has been silly and abortive, the developments are rapidly showing that a wide-spread scheme was maturing at the North for insurrections throughout the South.
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Opposition], (2 November 1859)
These disclosures are "startling" indeed, and show a settled determination on the part of the abolitionists to leave no means untried to deprive the South of its slave property
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (4 November 59)
the Tribune considers the act of Brown as the act of a patriot
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Opposition], (5 November 1859)
Is not the New York Times ashamed of itself?
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (5 November 59)
Avarice alone keeps them in association with us -- avarice gratified at our submission to their policy of plunder and [sic] aggrandisement.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (8 November 59)
To weaken, subject and use the South, but not to lose her, is their policy.
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (9 November 1859)
If abolitionism and republicanism are identical in New York, they are equally in so Illinois.
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Opposition], (9 November 1859)
The conduct of these Northern people presents a most extraordinary compound of villainy and impudence.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (14 November 59)
A question of policy to avoid giving occasion for their wailings and denunciations for the doom of their unfortunate confreres, pioneering the way to universal emancipation at the South!
Natchez, Mississippi Courier [Opposition], (18 November 1859)
Perhaps there never was a wilder or more foolish enterprise -- leaving entirely out of view the atrocity of the thing -- than that undertaken by Brown and his confederates at Harper's Ferry.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (24 November 1859)
there are men whose minds are so blindly and determinedly fixed on preserving the Union, at all events, that nothing, short of the very fires of insurrection at their own homes, and the abduction of their property when Black Republican policy shall come to its consummation in the last grand catastrophe, can wean from vain hopes of northern magnanimity, or wake from the delusive dreams of future peace.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (28 November 59)
No one in the South could have watched the course of the Virginia statesmen and public presses since her sad fall in 1852, without marking her steady drifting to an anti-Southern nationalism.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (28 November 59)
We are satisfied that every intelligent man in the South has been completely disgusted at the broad and pathetic farce that has been played off before the public about the hanging of that hoary villain, "OLD BROWN."
Albany, New York Evening Journal [Republican], (30 November 1859)
Our own belief is that he should not be executed
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Gazette [Republican], (30 November 1859)
Free speech is now denied at the South.
Albany, New York Evening Journal [Republican], (1 December 1859)
Instead of being remembered as imprisoned criminals, they will be shrined as martyrs; and their acts, instead of being characterized as insurrectionary and murderous, will be tortured into deeds of chivalric heroism.
Chicago, Illinois Press and Tribune [Republican], (2 December 1859)
The man's heroism which is as sublime as that of a martyr
Albany, New York Evening Journal [Republican], (2 December 1859)
the mad men of the South who, to bolster up Slavery, are ready to abrogate the most sacred rights guaranteed to a free people.
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Opposition], (3 December 1859)
In all the Noo England towns and villages, we may expect to hear that mock funerals have been celebrated, and all kinds of nonsensically lugubrious displays made.
Cincinnati, Ohio Enquirer [Democratic], (3 December 59)
We rejoice that old BROWN has been hung.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Gazette [Republican], (3 December 1859)
millions of curses were uttered against the hellish system which so mercilessly and ferociously cried out for his blood.
Cincinnati, Ohio Enquirer [Democratic], (4 December 59)
the negroes of Virginia are not insurrectionally inclined.
Wilmington, North Carolina Daily Herald [Opposition], (5 December 1859)
It is useless to disguise the fact, that the entire North and Northwest are hopelessly abolitionized.
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (6 December 1859)
a scoundrel and traitor has paid the just penalty of the laws.
Concord, New Hamphire New Hampshire Patriot [Democratic], (7 December 1859)
several lives, of unoffending victims, are without the least provocation and most wantonly taken away by lawless violence, yet not a word of reproof is heard from our pulpits.
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Opposition], (9 December 1859)
Much very silly ridicule has been aimed at Gov. Wise
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Opposition], (21 November 1859)
It will bring to an immediate solution the question as to whether the Union can be preserved, and the right of the South to hold property in slaves be maintained.