Secession Era Editorials Project
THE HARPER'S FERRY RIOTS.
Tennessee, Republican Banner and Nashville Whig [Opposition]
Our telegraphic reports for the last two or three days have contained little
else than accounts of the riots at Harper's Ferry.
The Washington and Baltimore papers are also full of the same subject, but as
their accounts are vague, contradictory and unsatisfactory, we are unable to
give our readers any information in addition to what our dispatches have already
The public mind is too intensely excited now to ascertain the true state of
We can only say that a fearful riot has occurred, blood has been shed,
lives have been lost, and property destroyed.
The causes of the riot, it is impossible now to determine.
By some it is attributed to an insane and fanatical attempt upon the part
of the abolitionists to incite an insurrection among the slaves of Maryland and Virginia.
Others say it originated in the discontent of the employees of the
government engaged in constructing the dam at Harper's
Ferry, who have lost their wages by the absconding of the contractor, and
the riot is regarded as an effort to pay themselves out of the government
treasure deposited in the United States Armory.
Others again account for the affair upon the supposition that a large
number of slaves were attempting to escape, being assisted by a band of
abolitionists under the notorious Ossawatomie Brown,
and the conflict arose from an attempt to capture the fugitives.
We shall have to wait for the excitement to subside before we can get at
the truth of the matter.
We will offer no comments nor attempt any explanation until we obtain
something more reliable and consistent than any account of the affair we have
This document was produced as part of a document analysis project
by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University.
(Proofing info: 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