Brown Republican Sympathizers.
Springfield, Illinois, Illinois State Register [Democratic]
(9 November 1859)
On Monday night, 1st inst., Wendell Phillips of Boston, the noted
abolitionist, delivered a "stump speech" in Henry Ward Beecher's church in
Several thousand anxious republicans constituted the audience, and
according to the published report of the speech as it appears in the New York
Times, of the 2nd, they must have been excessively pleased with the sentiments
of the speaker.
They laughed at the termination of almost every sentence.
They laughed when the speaker said that "every Irishman thinks that he was
born sixty days too late." -- When he said, "I think you can make a better use
of iron than forging it into chains-- if you must have the metal put it into
Sharp's rifles," there were loud and renewed cheers.
When he uttered that remarkably original sentiment, "resistance to tyrants
is obedience to God," great demonstrations of approbation followed.
When he told the story of the two horses stolen by John Brown and sold by
him in Cleveland, "notifying all bidders of the defect in the title," there was
much laughter, but when the speaker remarked that Brown added with nonchalance
when he told the story, "but they brought a very excellent price," the risibles
of the audience were still more excited.
When the speaker alluded to the failure of Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry,
and remarked, "why, this is a decent country to live in now," there were
laughter and cheers, and so on at the close of every sentence or two throughout
the whole of his speech, occupying nearly four columns of closely printed
matter in the New York Times.
The cachinatory organs of the congregation were intensely excited at the
irresistible comicalities of Wendell Phillips; and his republican hearers were
undoubtedly sensibly relieved for a time, of the melancholy reflections
consequent upon Brown's failure at Harper's Ferry.
There was nothing more in the speech than was expected by those who
assembled to listen to it.
They knew that Wendell would commend the treason and murder, and eulogize
the traitors and murderers.
Approving the treason of Brown and his associates, they wanted to hear an
intellectual, rhetorical, ironical, and comical delineation of the incidents and
actors of that melancholy affair, and they were gratified -- nay,
They expected a treasonable harangue from a speaker, and they were not
He catered to their morbid appetite for a justification of the treason, and
the hungry stomachs of the multitude were filled, and they laughed at every
That this speech of Wendell Phillips is a reflex of republican sentiment, in
New York, at least-- and it is about the same everywhere, -- is too painfully
perceptible to be disregarded.
That sentiment is revolutionary in the extreme.
It ridicules the majesty of law, denies the legitimacy of government, and
invokes a resort to the "higher law," as the arbiter of personal and social
conflicts, as every man may be pleased to interpret it.
Men are not apt to give demonstrations of hearty
approval to opinions in antagonism to their own.
Especially are they not moved in that direction by arguments interspersed
profusely with sarcasms and invectives.
The risibilities of the audience might have been excited by the
tittilating character of the remarks, an effect either of their wit or the
quaintness of their expression, or both, but the manifestations of applause by
cheering and otherwise, were responses of the heart and head to the sentiments
of the discourse.
As, then, the meeting was composed chiefly of republicans, we infer that it
was strongly impregnated with the abolition sentiment; for the speech of
Wendell Phillips on the same occasion above referred to, was only a tissue of
inflammatory appeals to the antislavery passions of his hearers,-- expressed in
elegant diction it is true, but none the less exceptionable or dangerous on that
If abolitionism and republicanism are identical in New York, they are
equally in so Illinois.
The only difference is in their relative intensity, the exciting and
suppressing causes varying in different localities.
Two or three extracts from the speech of Phillips may be seen in another
column of to-day's Register, by which our readers will be enabled to judge of
the language and tone of the whole.
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