Secession Era Editorials Project
LIBERTY OF SPEECH, OF THE PRESS, AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION.
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
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
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
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
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.
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)
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