Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History


From the Philadelphia Press.

Albany, New York, Evening Journal [Republican]

(30 November 1859)

We do not believe there is any purpose, such as the Enquirer intimates, to attempt the rescue of John Brown on the 2d of December. We do not believe that any body of men would make such an experiment, especially in view of the somewhat formidable preparations of the military of the gallant State. John Brown will meet his fate, whether as a bad man or as a madman, with comparative little sympathy. Our own belief is that he should not be executed; but if the seeds of future excitement are planted on his tomb, we do not doubt it will be found that they were placed there as well by his Southern enemies as by his Northern sympathisers.

Whatever of sympathy the fate of John Brown awakens, will be occasioned by his bearing through an ordeal so trying, rather than any complicity of feeling in his lawless enterprise. Upon the question whether he had any right to go there with such intentions, or whether, when taken, he ought to be punished, there is no general difference of opinion or sentiment. Though we "would that all men" were Free, we should as readily go to Virginia to run off their Horses and Cattle, as their Slaves. By the Constitution and Laws, Slavery is recognized and tolerated. It was a compact made by our Fathers, and one that binds their heirs. We will oppose both its extension and its encroachments. Thus far, and no farther, goes our sense of duty to Freedom.

John Brown seems to have counted the cost of his enterprise; and, like a brave man, is prepared to meet his fate. Since the day that Paul spoke to Agrippa, we have read nothing more truly sublime than John Brown's response to the Tribunal before which he stood to receive Sentence of Death.

The "pomp and circumstance of War" with which the execution of Brown is to be surrounded, was wholly unnecessary. The rescue rumors were entirely unfounded. All this display of Troops is for effect. Gov. Wise intends to make what capital can be made out of this Execution.

We agree with the "Press" in the opinion that in this case forbearance would be wisdom, though neither John Brown or his Family ask it. But Gov. Wise is entitled to and means to insist upon all that is "nominated in the bond." And John Brown, imbued with the conviction that "hanging is the best use" that can be made of him, calmly awaits his day and hour of doom.

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