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Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History

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John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry

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New York, New York, Tribune [Republican], (18 October 1859)
A most extraordinary telegraphic bulletin startled the whole country yesterday -- one importing that an Insurrection had just broken out at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and that it was the work of negroes and Abolitionists!
New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican], (19 October 1859)
The Insurrection, so called, at Harper's Ferry, proves a verity.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer [Democratic], (19 October 1859)
It was an Abolition plot to free the negroes of Maryland and Virginia at the point of the bayonet.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (19 October 1859)
a concerted movement of abolitionists and their black victims in southern States
Chicago, Illinois, Press and Tribune [Republican], (20 October 1859)
The Democratic party, however proposes to increase the chances for insurrection, bloodshed and all the horrors of servile war, by extending the area of slavery indefinitely and by re-opening the African slave trade.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer [Democratic], (20 October 1859)
the Northern Abolitionists are implicated and are at the bottom of the Harper's Ferry conspiracy.
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (21 October 1859)
The details by Telegraph of the insurrection at Harper's Ferry take up so much space as to prevent their publication in our paper.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (21 October 1859)
It is a warning profoundly symptomatic of the future of the Union with our sectional enemies.
Chicago, Illinois, Press and Tribune [Republican], (22 October 1859)
In all this they are assisted by the bogus Democratic party.
Nashville, Tennessee, Republican Banner and Nashville Whig [Opposition], (22 October 1859)
The causes of the riot, it is impossible now to determine.
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (24 October 1859)
We are pleased to observe that the Northern press, without the distinction of party, express the most unqualified condemnation of the wicked and insane projects of Brown and his hairbrained associates.
Boston, Massachusetts, Daily Evening Transcript [Republican], (24 October 1859)
the panic Mr. Brown with his handful of deluded followers created in Maryland and Virginia was not at all creditable to the people or authorities of the vicinity.
Nashville, Tennessee, Republican Banner and Nashville Whig [Opposition], (24 October 1859)
This attempt to excite an insurrection among the slaves is one of the natural results of the agitation of the slavery question
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (25 October 1859)
Reports speak of discoveries of correspondence with noted abolitionists and proofs of concert with notorious men in the Northern and Western States.
New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican], (25 October 59)
we do not see how they could be demanded for trial in Virginia.
Nashville, Tennessee, Republican Banner and Nashville Whig [Opposition], (25 October 1859)
while we unhesitatingly condemn the Republican party for the part they have performed in this alarming tragedy, we should be untrue to ourselves and unfaithful to the public, were we to pass over in silence the conduct of a party nearer home.
Richmond, Virginia, Enquirer [Democratic], (25 October 1859)
The vile clamor of party, the struggle of Republicanism for power, has given an impetus to the abolition zeal of old Brown and his comrades
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (25 October 1859)
The whole affair dwindles into utter insignificance as the literal facts are brought out from the uncertainty peculiar to the first demonstration.
Wilmington, North Carolina, Daily Herald [Opposition], (26 October 1859)
'Twas no insurrection, and it is a libel upon the slave in designating it as such.
Concord, New Hamphire, New Hampshire Patriot [Democratic], (26 October 1859)
the dangerous tendencies of the pernicious doctrines which, during a few years past, have been so zealously taught and advocated by political leaders and partisan preachers here at the North.
New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican], (26 October 1859)
Rather than be complimented in this back-handed style, we imagine that the military would have preferred not to have been mentioned at all.
Chicago, Illinois, Press and Tribune [Republican], (26 October 1859)
The Slaveholders have even less confidence in the "patriarchal tenure" than the "Abolitionists."
Springfield, Illinois, Illinois State Register [Democratic], (27 October 1859)
The excuses of the black republican press are as various and conflicting as they are shallow.
New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican], (27 October 1859)
The slave-statutes of Virginia are but legislated, enacted, concrete fright.
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (28 October 1859)
[Pointing Finger] The Harper's Ferry affair continues to attract more attention than all other matters combined, and we therefore yield most of our space to the telegraphic reports of the examining trial of Brown an his confederates.
New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican], (28 October 1859)
Those who are now straining every nerve to make party capital out of Old Brown, are careful not to look back so far as to see how and why he became a monomaniac.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer [Democratic], (28 October 1859)
the leading Abolition Republicans of the free states were privy to it
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (28 October 1859)
[Pointing Finger] The Richmond Enquirer is fearfully distressed lest Kentucky may be made the victim of a "descent" of the class of Abolitionists of whom Brown is a type, and lest, being at a greater distance from the forces of the Federal Government, the attempt at exciting a general insurrection among the slaves of this State may be successful before the assistance of the Federal troops can be obtained.
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (29 October 1859)
viewed in its true light, how there can be any question that it forms a part, and an important part, of the criminal transaction
New York, New York, Tribune [Republican], (29 October 1859)
The Virginian Chivalry seem to be bent on proving that their Ancient Dominion was, and is, in danger of being taken away from them by foreign invasion and domestic insurrection.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer [Democratic], (29 October 1859)
he was backed up and sustained by money and arms obtained from Abolitionists and Republicans of the North
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (30 October 1859)
It is a very careless use of words to describe the Harper's Ferry outbreak as a "negro insurrection," or "slave insurrection," as is frequently done by presses
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (31 October 1859)
[Pointing Finger] The public are busy conjecturing whether or not Gov. Wise will demand from the Executives of Ohio and New York the bodies of Gerrit Smith, Giddings, and others, who may be implicated in the Harper's Ferry affair; and speculations are indulged as to what will be the course of those Governors, and as to the probable results of a refusal on their part to deliver up such citizens of their respective States as indictments may be found against by the Virginia authorities for aiding and abetting the recent act of invasion of that Commonwealth.
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (31 October 1859)
[Pointing Finger] We cannot but regard it as unfortunate that Judge Parker has seen proper to refuse the delay asked for by Brown, in order that he might procure his own counsel and not be compelled to rely upon the gentlemen furnished him by the Commonwealth.
Milledgeville, Georgia, Federal Union [Democratic], (1 November 1859)
this was a regularly concocted, and premeditated attempt of Abolition Fanatics to overthrow the Government, and emancipate the slaves.
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (1 November 1859)
if this man should be caught, and made to suffer the penalties of his crimes, we suppose he would be elevated to the rank of a "martyr" in the calendar of Abolitionism, where Marat, Couthon, and Robespierre ought to stand.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (1 November 1859)
Although BROWN'S effort at an insurrection has been silly and abortive, the developments are rapidly showing that a wide-spread scheme was maturing at the North for insurrections throughout the South.
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (03 November 1859)
Giddings and Smith would desire no better position -- for giving them a strength, beyond that which either can hope to possess as Abolitionists, within the free States -- than to be made the subject of a formal demand for transfer to Virginia
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (4 November 1859)
the Tribune considers the act of Brown as the act of a patriot
Raleigh, North Carolina, Register [Opposition], (5 November 1859)
Is not the New York Times ashamed of itself?
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (5 November 1859)
Avarice alone keeps them in association with us -- avarice gratified at our submission to their policy of plunder and [sic] aggrandisement.
Austin, Texas, Texas State Gazette [Democratic], (5 November 1859)
The bloody tragedy which we have endeavored to relate in our columns is at least some evidence of the influence of Black Republican agitation upon the masses of the Northern people.
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (8 November 1859)
Now that John Brown's foray upon Virginia is over and the surviving ringleaders are under doom for their crimes, the agitation which has greatly subsided at the South continues to grow and increase at the North.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (8 November 1859)
To weaken, subject and use the South, but not to lose her, is their policy.
Springfield, Illinois, Illinois State Register [Democratic], (9 November 1859)
If abolitionism and republicanism are identical in New York, they are equally in so Illinois.
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (9 October 1859)
These journals thus make themselves the agents, which abolitionism desires, for sending its tracts into the midst of the South, and, under professions of friendship, do the work of our deadliest foes.
Raleigh, North Carolina, Register [Opposition], (9 November 1859)
The conduct of these Northern people presents a most extraordinary compound of villainy and impudence.
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (11 November 1859)
[Pointing Finger] The following article from the Richmond Whig in the main expresses our own views so exactly that we adopt them.
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (11 November 1859)
None of these are improbable effects of the Harper's Ferry events on a man of Gerrit Smith's temperament, history frailties and fanaticisms
Little Rock, Arkansas, Gazette [Opposition], (12 November 1859)
the great mass of the people, both in the North and the South, condemn Brown's treason, and rejoice to know that law and justice have been so promptly administered to him.
New York, New York, Tribune [Republican], (12 November 1859)
the champion of the slaveholding class will put to death the champion of the slave.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (14 November 1859)
A question of policy to avoid giving occasion for their wailings and denunciations for the doom of their unfortunate confreres, pioneering the way to universal emancipation at the South!
New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune [Democratic], (16 November 1859)
Some such answer will Virginia give to the clamorous outcry that comes to her from the free States for mercy to John Brown.
Natchez, Mississippi, Courier [Opposition], (18 November 1859)
Perhaps there never was a wilder or more foolish enterprise -- leaving entirely out of view the atrocity of the thing -- than that undertaken by Brown and his confederates at Harper's Ferry.
New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican], (19 November 1859)
Brown, however, escapes being ridiculous by faith, fortitude, devotedness, and unshaken confidence in his cause and himself with which, wounded, a prisoner, his followers slain or captured, and himself condemned to death, he still adheres to his project as a feasible and rational no less than a philanthropic undertaking.
Frankfort, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (21 November 1859)
The greed of money-getting is not very particular in the way of accomplishing its purposes but the most singular instance we have lately heard of, is an effort to turn the execution of Ossawattomie Brown and his fellow conspirators to account, by getting up a monster excursion, from all parts of the country, of those who have a sufficiently morbid appetite for the horrible as to induce them to desire to be present.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (24 November 1859)
there are men whose minds are so blindly and determinedly fixed on preserving the Union, at all events, that nothing, short of the very fires of insurrection at their own homes, and the abduction of their property
New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican], (25 November 1859)
It is abundantly shown by these affidavits that on the mother's side Brown belonged to a family in which insanity was hereditary.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (28 November 1859)
No one in the South could have watched the course of the Virginia statesmen and public presses since her sad fall in 1852, without marking her steady drifting to an anti-Southern nationalism.
Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic], (28 November 1859)
We are satisfied that every intelligent man in the South has been completely disgusted at the broad and pathetic farce that has been played off before the public about the hanging of that hoary villain, "OLD BROWN."
Albany, New York, Evening Journal [Republican], (30 November 1859)
Our own belief is that he should not be executed
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gazette [Republican], (30 November 1859)
Free speech is now denied at the South.
Chicago, Illinois, Press and Tribune [Republican], (2 December 1859)
The man's heroism which is as sublime as that of a martyr
Albany, New York, Evening Journal [Republican], (2 December 1859)
the mad men of the South who, to bolster up Slavery, are ready to abrogate the most sacred rights guaranteed to a free people.
Raleigh, North Carolina, Register [Opposition], (3 December 1859)
In all the Noo England towns and villages, we may expect to hear that mock funerals have been celebrated, and all kinds of nonsensically lugubrious displays made.
Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer [Democratic], (3 December 1859)
We rejoice that old BROWN has been hung.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gazette [Republican], (3 December 1859)
millions of curses were uttered against the hellish system which so mercilessly and ferociously cried out for his blood.
Austin, Texas, Texas Daily Gazette [Democratic], (3 December 1859)
Cincinnati, Ohio, Enquirer [Democratic], (4 December 1859)
the negroes of Virginia are not insurrectionally inclined.
Wilmington, North Carolina, Daily Herald [Opposition], (5 December 1859)
It is useless to disguise the fact, that the entire North and Northwest are hopelessly abolitionized.
Springfield, Illinois, Illinois State Register [Democratic], (6 December 1859)
a scoundrel and traitor has paid the just penalty of the laws.
Concord, New Hamphire, New Hampshire Patriot [Democratic], (7 December 1859)
several lives, of unoffending victims, are without the least provocation and most wantonly taken away by lawless violence, yet not a word of reproof is heard from our pulpits.
Raleigh, North Carolina, Register [Opposition], (9 December 1859)
Much very silly ridicule has been aimed at Gov. Wise
New York, Tribune [Republican], (9 December 1859)
Frankfurt, Kentucky, Commonwealth [Opposition], (17 December 1859)
[Pointing Finger] It is pleasing to observe the reaction which is rapidly taking place in Northern sentiment.
Raleigh, North Carolina, Register [Opposition], (21 December 1859)
It will bring to an immediate solution the question as to whether the Union can be preserved, and the right of the South to hold property in slaves be maintained.