Secession Era Editorials Project


Yorkville, South Carolina, Enquirer [Democratic]

(27 October 1859)

No event has occurred in the last quarter of a century more startling and suggestive of evil to the Southern people than the recent emeute at Harper's Ferry, and no intelligence from any point of the compass possesses for our readers a more absorbing interest than the details published in the last and present issue. Of course, no apology is needed on account of the large space given to this topic, although every other item of interest has been thereby excluded.

In its immediate results this affair is a ridiculous, miserable failure. It could be nothing else. That Brown with his handful of deluded followers expected to arouse a general servile insurrection, overthrow existing governments, emancipate the entire body of Southern slaves, and build up a government of his own, only exhibits the pitiable plight into which the mad fanaticism of Abolition hurls its votaries. The culprits will attain the martyrdom which they seem to covet, and thus will end this contemptible disgraceful farce.

Ultimately, we have reason to anticipate, from this outbreak, a harvest of valuable results to the South. If blood had not been shed, we could not for a moment have regretted the occurrence; and perhaps the good to be evolved from such an event might outweigh the value of a thousand lives. -- The tone and temper of the slave have been exhibited in a striking light -- assuring us of that faithfulness, that happy and contented disposition which the South has always claimed for him, and which this event will teach in such a manner as to dispel the illusion under which honest men at the North have labored in their crusade against us. Persuaded, thus, that the zeal which prompts them to imbrue their hands in fraternal blood for the sake of those who, content with their lot, refuse to strike in their own behalf, is mistaken and fanatical. Northern men who are honest and sincere must pause; and startled by the forebodings of a speedy wreck of the Union by which they live, they must see the necessity which impels them to take sides with the South and thus uphold the interests which are identical with their own prosperity, their safety, their very life.

Should these considerations fail, however, to affect the Northern masses, the Harper's Ferry treason cannot fail to startle the Southern States into a keen appreciation of the folly and madness of a continued wrangling amongst themselves. -- If Northern fanaticism shall rage without abatement, carrying fire and slaughter and domestic warfare and servile insurrection over our borders and into our homes, where can our safety be, except in a firmly knit union at home, and a war to the very knife against the aggressor? We will need no argument to prove the recreancy of our Northern brethren; to persuade us that our only hope is in ourselves; and, surely, the very instincts of our being will urge us to band together for a common defense.

We hope much from this affair, insignificant and ridiculous as it appears to be, and we would have our readers thoroughly informed of its details and of the lessons it inculcates. We shall, therefore, continue to publish in full the accounts from the scene of action as they reach us.

This document was produced as part of a document analysis project by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University. (Proofing info: Entered and proofed 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.