Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History


The Abolition Insurrection at Harper's Ferry -- The Irrepressible Conflict begun.

Milledgeville, Georgia, Federal Union [Democratic]

(1 November 1859)

In our columns this week will be found further particulars concerning the insurrection at Harper's Ferry. There can no longer be any doubt but what this was a regularly concocted, and premeditated attempt of Abolition Fanatics to overthrow the Government, and emancipate the slaves. The form of a provisional government has been found among the papers of the prisoners, and the officers of the new Government are there named. Without such positive proof, it would be difficult to believe that such fools could be found running at large in the United States. To think that about twenty men should deliberately attempt to overthrow the Government, and commence their operations in a thickly settled portion of the country, surrounded by the chivalry of Virginia and Maryland, shows a degree of ignorance and infatuation among these fanatics never before dreamed of. If they have received direct encouragement, and have been promised assistance from any of the leaders of the Black Republican Party, it is to be hoped all these facts will come to the light. We know they have received indiret encouragement from William H. Seward, Joshua Giddings, Horace Greely, and other Republican leaders, who, by their speeches and writings, have encouraged fanatics to such deeds as this.

Perhaps the sudden and dreadful retribution that has overtaken their fanatical followers will cause these arch traitors to pause in their carreer. Upon their heads rests the direful responsibility of the blood that has been shed at Harper's Ferry. Will not honest and conscientious men at the north now see the necessity of putting down a party whose principles, if carried out, can lead only to civil war, murder, and rapine? The discovery and sudden overthrow of the conspiracy before it could produce much damage, shows that our country is still under the guardianship of Divine Providence. No weapon forged against our Government, whether by enemies without or traitors within has ever prospered, and we believe they never will prosper so long as the great mass of the people shall be worthy of liberty; or capable of self-government.

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