Secession Era Editorials Project


Richmond, Virginia, Enquirer [Democratic]

(3 June 1856)

Liberty is only desirable so long as it is enjoyed without abuse. It is the highest evidence of the morality, piety, intelligence and general well-being of peoples and of individuals, that they require but little legal restraint. The continual enjoyment of national and individual liberty is the noblest of distinctions and greatest of blessings, because such continued enjoyment can only proceed from the habitual exercise of every virtue. But, whilst to such peoples and individuals, liberty is a good, it is an unmitigated evil to the vicious, who use their privileges to injure themselves, and to annoy and disturb society. Despotism of some sort is just as necessary for this latter class as for madmen, thieves and murderers.-- The Northern Abolitionists do not let a day pass without showing to the world that they are as little fitted to be trusted with liberty as thieves with keys or children with firearms. Their daily abuse of liberty of speech and of the press, and of freedom of religion, are but the means which they habitually employ for greater mischief and crime. The disgusting proceedings of their men, women and negroes, in their infidel, agrarian and licentious conventions, the and destructive doctrines emanating from their press, and their lecture rooms, and the unfeminine bearing of their women, would justify and require an immediate and despotic censorship, if it were possible to take away their liberties without invading those of other people. A community of Abolitionists could only be governed by a penitentiary system. They are as unfit for liberty as maniacs, criminals, or wild beasts. The worst aspect of their case, is, that they are endangering the liberties of the people. Just such conduct as theirs induced the despotism of Cromwell and the two Bonapartes, and of all other usurpers who have destroyed their country's liberty. All men prefer despotism to anarchy, the rule of a single man to the mad riot and misrule of infidels, criminals and agrarians. -- These men complain that liberty of speech has been violated in the person of Mr. Sumner. This is but the beginning of the end. They will soon destroy all liberty of speech, if they employ it only to teach heresy, infidelity, licentiousness, and to stir up to deeds of violence. Better, far better, that man were without the gift of speech, than to use it as they do. Better that he could neither read or write, than have his head and heart perverted, by the foul and filthy stuff that oozes from the abolition press. Better, that his religion were prescribed by a priest and enforced by an inquisition, than that he should become an habitue of Greeley's philansteries, of Andrew's gorgeous saloons of Free Love, of Mormon dwellings, or of Oneida dens. Better that the cut of his coat and the number of his buttons were fixed by statute and enforced by penalties, than that women should defy public opinion and parade the streets in unfeminine apparel. The liberties of America are safe so long as they are not abused. They are not worth preserving when abuse becomes general. If the noxious heresy of abolition and its kindred isms are not arrested; if a salutary reaction does not take place, ere long, even good men, religious men and patriots, would prefer the quiet of despotism, to the discord, licentiousness, the anarchy and the crime, which those men practice and invoke. Yet, we neither fear nor tremble for the future. These wretches are more noisy than numerous. The edifice of American liberty, the most glorious structure of freedom the world has ever seen, is not destined to be sapped and undermined by pismires, nor carried by the assaults of crazy lilliputians. These creatures will be soon driven from their places, and lashed into obscurity by an indignant people, whose confidence they have betrayed and abused.- All the elections at the North for the last twelve months, show that the storm is gathering that is to sweep these noxious insects from the hearts of men and the face of day.

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