Secession Era Editorials Project

The Democratic Party and Old Brown.

Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic]

(8 November 59)

The Democratic party in the North are striving (not without success, we suspect) to make the late emeute at Harper's Ferry a leading element in the elections about to take place in New York and New Jersey, against the black republicans. Undoubtedly there is great confusion in the black republican press as to this affair. Some approve of BROWN'S proceedings -some condemn them very decidedly -- whilst other presses approve of his principles but condemn his practice. But how was it when BROWN was carrying on his enterprises of murdering slaveholders and freeing slaves in Missouri and Kansas. Yet what democratic press at the North called for the punishment of murderers, slave and horse thieves in Kansas? If the laws had been enforced in Kansas for the protection of slaveholders and their ownership of slaves, BROWN would have been hung. He never would have lived triumphant in crime to plot its perpetration at Harper's Ferry. But with democratic office-holders, under democratic administrations, from the incipiency of the, force and fraud and bloody violence was allowed to be successful. Successful in Kansas, is it surprising that the emissaries of abolition should turn to the frontier States to carry out within their limits the policy of insurrection and freesoil domination? The one was the natural consequence of the other? The reason is obvious. In the case of Kansas, northern democrats and northern abolitionists were well agreed in any policy which would make Kansas a free State. Even now, two-thirds of the democratic party in the northern States are in favor of DOUGLAS' expedient of squatter sovereignty, to exclude or drive out slaveholders and slaves from all common territories. Such a policy involves violence and blood, just as much as the Harper's Ferry enterprise. But it seems impracticable in Virginia. This enterprise to run off or emancipate slaves in Virginia has failed. The elections in New York and New Jersey take place this day, and BROWN'S emeute is seized on to carry these elections against the black republicans. The patronage of the State Government in New York is far greater than the patronage of the General Government; and by these elections, the government of those States goes under the control of the democratic or the black republican parties. Let no one in the South suppose that the denunciations by the democratic party of the North, in its presses or its party meetings, of BROWN and his treason, springs from a love to the South, or a simple fidelity to the Constitution. The chief cause of their denunciations are -- 1. Party success. 2. A fear, not a love, of the South. No party of the North designs a dissolution of the Union. They all understand the importance of the South to their enrichment and aggrandizement. Even the abolitionists do not mean to drive the South beyond their intervention and control, by dissolving the Union. The success of their schemes is wrapped up in the Union; and they will equivocate and deny just as often as the occasions of their policy shall require territory . A skilful angler lets the fish run when strong and alarmed at the hook. The people of the North have a great deal yet to get out of us; and if the democratic party should defeat the black republican party at the approaching elections, it will only show that they are just as wise as they have ever been. To weaken, subject and use the South, but not to lose her, is their policy. When adapted to their rule, then the old expedients of plunder will be resorted to. In those very States of New York and New Jersey, at the last fall elections, the democratic party rivalled the black republican party in their zeal for protective tariffs.

This document was produced as part of a document analysis project by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University. (Proofing info: Entered by Ben Barnhill, Proofed by Ryan Burgess.) 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.