Secession Era Editorials Project

No Title

Albany, New York, Evening Journal [Republican]

(2 December 1859)

The Journal, in spite of its prudent disclaimers before the election, really justifies Brown's attempt at servile insurrection and civil war, and devotes solid columns of its last evening's issue to his defence. -- [Argus.]

The Argus knows very well that the Journal "really" does nothing of the kind. We have, from first to last, condemned the raid at Harper's Ferry, as inexcusably foolish and criminal. In charging to the contrary, the Argus not only does a very silly but a very malicious thing. It "bears false witness," with its eyes open, and thus does what Gov. Wise admits John Brown, with all his faults, would be ashamed to do.

Not only does the Journal not "justify Brown's attempt at servile insurrection," but it is a significant fact that, of the hundreds of speeches from the platform and of sermons from the pulpit, which have grown out of this raid, not more than two of them even attempt any such "justification." They may speak well of the man, and eulogize his courage and truthfulness. But so does Gov. Wise. They may ridicule the "panic" which the criminal invasion caused. So does the Argus. They may ridicule the "parade and fuss" which Gov. Wise is making at Charlestown. So does the Argus. Indeed, on this point its language is even more scathing than any thing uttered by either Cheever, Beecher, or Phillips. They may have spoken of Brown as a "hero." So has the Argus, charging upon Gov. Wise (and not upon the Journal) the responsibility of having "made the prisoners HEROES, for the purpose of sharing in the clap-trap." They may have depreciated the execution of these "heroes;" but so has the Argus -- denouncing the Courier and Enquirer and Richmond Whig for clamoring for their death, because "any mode of summary execution would suit the necessities of those journals better than delay and cool investigation." They and we may have predicted that the execution of John Brown would intensify the existing excitement; and so has the Argus, which says: "We are not certain but the Journal is right. We fear this is but the 'beginning of the end.'"

But while the Argus has been thus chiming in with the humors of Beecher, Cheever and Phillips, because it could thereby gratify the malice which it cherishes toward Gov. Wise on account of the castigation which it received from him in the "Donnelly Letter" controversy, it is silent on the subject of Secretary Floyd's criminal complicity with the Harper's Ferry insurrection. Nor has it a word of rebuke for the forcible expulsion of school-masters, pedlars and music teachers from Virginia, on suspicion of abolition sympathies; for the imprisonment of peaceable men, journeying through Charlestown on the cars, for having, in Ohio, uttered words which Virginia spies deemed incendiary; or for the arrest of a quiet Quaker in the city of Washington for exercising the inalienable right of Free Speech. It can utter falsehoods about its neighbors, but it dare not tell the truth about the mad men of the South who, to bolster up Slavery, are ready to abrogate the most sacred rights guaranteed to a free people. While it thus stands trembling and muzzled before its Southern masters, it is welcome to whatever of capital it can make out of its falsification of the position of the Journal.

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