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Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History

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No Title.

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. The time asked for was but brief, being only enough to enable counsel who had been written to reach Harper's Ferry; and the grounds upon which it was requested were surely sufficient to have justified the Judge in granting it.-- Brown and his confederates are entitled to no mercy from the Virginia authorities, nor will any right thinking man wish that he may escape the punishment which his heinous offense deserves. But then we would have him receive the benefit of a fair and impartial trial, in order that the whole world may be satisfied that his execution is but in accordance with the laws against which he has grievously offended. We would not have it said by Northern men that Virginia hurried the misguided wretch to his death, not even granting his request for a delay sufficient to enable his counsel to appear in his behalf.

Let him and all of them have the full of all that can be said, or that they would wish to be said, in mitigation of their crime. They are certain to be condemned; for not one of them denies the charges preferred against them. At first the Northern press with one accord admitted that Brown should suffer death as the just penalty of his fool hardy act, but we are mistaken if the conduct of Judge Parker does not excite a sympathy in his behalf. It is in order to deprive them of the slightest quibble that we would have had Brown's request granted. Ordinary prudence would dictate that his trial should be so conducted that the entire nation would be compelled to admit that it was impartial, and that the sentence was not pronounced without the criminal having an opportunity of defending himself.

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