Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History


The Plan of Insurrection.

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. A carefully concocted plan is published in the New York Herald, republished in the Richmond Whig, and incorporated into the address of the Democratic Committee of the City of New York in an address to the people of New York, by which slavery was to be overthrown in the South with the aid of military force from the North. We forbear laying this scheme before our readers on account of its incendiary nature, but we advise our readers to get it and read it for themselves. It will give them a clearer insight into the true relations they occupy in the Union, and the "priceless value" of its continuance to them, than any other document which has yet seen the light. It is no answer to say that the diabolical incendiaries who can in cold blood get up such a scheme for our destruction, are comparatively few in numbers in the North. It is enough for us to know that, few or many, they have, by the Constitution of the United States, the right to come among us -- to live among us -- and in their good time carry out their purposes; and even if their purposes should fail again and again, and scaffold after scaffold shall drip with their gore, the elements of mischief and trouble may survive them, and give new impulse to future adventurers and fanatics. The great source of the evil is, that we are under one government with these people -- that by the constitution they deem themselves responsible for the institution of slavery, and, therefore, they seek to overthrow it. They do not plot insurrections for Cuba or Brazil. If we had a separate government of our own, the post office, all the avenues of intercourse, the police and military of the country, would be under our executive control. Abolitionism would die out at the North, or its adherents would have to operate in the South as foreign emissaries, in a country armed and prepared to exclude their intercourse or arrest their designs, and punish their intervention. As it is, the "irrepressible conflict" of SEWARD is destined to go on, although it may be checked and suppressed by repeated failures, until one of two thing shall take place -- the Union shall be dissolved, or slavery shall be abolished. The experience of the last twenty-five years, of ignominous toleration and concession by the South, with the lights of the present reflected on them, show to the most bigoted Unionist that there is no peace for the South in the Union, from the forbearance or respect of the North. The South must control her own destinies or perish.

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