The immolation of John Brown was, in short, in accordance with the philosophy of slavery -- a necessity. He had dared to act on the conviction of his life, and these settled principles of his were the only ones which such a man could entertain. He was too brave to have thought differently from what he did, and the same noble impulses which inculcated a love of Freedom and Right, impelled him constantly and irresistibly to the practical development of his theory. He has failed, according to the popular mode of calculating failure and success; but that his life and tragic death must of necessity constitute a failure, is a point too broad and high to be disposed of in this summary manner. We cannot but disapprove his mad and folly-striken act, but the unselfishness of the deed; his moderation, when victorious, over the town which he captured; his spartan courage in defending himself and his fellows, and his sublime contempt of death while overborne and made the manacled tenant of a prison; his stern integrity in scorning the technicalities of the law, and his manliness in all things, will not be quickly forgotten; but rather a contemplation of this heroic old man's character will irresistibly compel thinking men to ask themselves whether it is John Brown, of Ossawatomie, or the system of slavery which has failed in this conflict.
The execution of the old man at Charlestown
yesterday, was a plain admission on the part of
Slavery that they dare not spare a brave man's
life, and that magnanimity is impossible to a
system based on wrong and upheld by violence.
History will do justice to the institution of
Slavery and its uncompromising foe alike, when
both are gone; and, in the meantime, the comparison
which this affair provokes between the
two, which none can clearly foresee, but enough
of which is now plainly visible to change the
popular judgment. Slavery in all the plenitude
of its triumph and power is a failure; and old
John Brown of Ossawatomie has succeeded --
Sampson-like -- in dragging down the pillars of
Slavery in his fall, and his victory is complete!
While millions of prayers went up for the old
martyr yesterday, so
This document was produced as part of a document analysis project by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University. (Proofing info: Entered by Lloyd Benson. .) This electronic version may not be copied, or linked to, or otherwise used for commercial purposes, (including textbook or publication-related websites) without prior written permission. The views expressed in this document are for educational, historical, and scholarly use only, and are not intended to represent the views of the project contributors or Furman University.