Secession Era Editorials Project

The Penalty of Treason.

Natchez, Mississippi, Courier [Opposition]

(28 October 1859)

We give no small portion of our columns to-day, to fuller particulars of the Harper's Ferry Insurrection, and to some extracts from Northern papers, showing the view there takes of it.

Under all the circumstances we regret that Brown and his captured followers are to be proceeded against by the State of Virginia for murder. It would have been better that they should have been tried by the United States tribunals for high treason. It is about time to establish the point whether the Government cannot put down insurrectionary movements, and punish traitors. While the murders they have committed destroys all compassion for them as men, the treason they have armed themselves for, should debar all sympathy, for treason is murder against the nation.

We want to see it proven that there is power enough in the Government, integrity enough in Executive officers, sternness enough in Judges, and virtue enough in Juries to try, convict and sentence to the scaffold those who are guilty of high treason. No more favorable opportunity could have been presented, and we regret therefore, for the sake of the example, that Mr. Ossawotomie Brown, and his followers will not suffer by the hands of the U. S. Marshal the penalty, which as felons most assuredly awaits them at the hands of the Virginia Sheriff.

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