Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History


Military Aid to Virginia.

Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic]

(28 November 1859)

We are satisfied that every intelligent man in the South has been completely disgusted at the broad and pathetic farce that has been played off before the public about the hanging of that hoary villain, "OLD BROWN." From the 500 invaders in possession of Harper's Ferry and the 1000 negros carried off to the mountains of Pennsylvania -- from the further invasions and threats of invasion -- the arsons and fears of arson -- the marches and counter-marches of the ponies and cessations of ponies -- Governor Wise, the energetic, and his troops -- down to the final climax of military aid offered by Governor GIST of South Carolina to the Governor of Virginia, for the purpose of making certain the aforesaid hanging of OLD BROWN, & Co. -- it is a tissue of disgrace, exaggeration and invention sufficient to stir the gall of any Southerner, who has regard for the dignity and responsibility of the Southern people. To us it really looks as if those in possession of the telegraph were in league to ridicule the South and make us a laughing stock to ourselves and before the world. We sincerely trust that our Legislature, which meets today, will bear this in mind, and take no action whatever in regard to ourselves or our institution, that may even have the appearance of being prompted by the Virginia farce and its terrorism.

We have made these remarks as introductory to the following authoritative statement of the Columbia Guardian, concerning a telegraphic despatch which inadvertently, and contrary to our intention, appeared in our columns on Saturday:

GOVERNOR GIST'S TENDER OF AID TO VIRGINIA. We are authorized and have been requested to state that the telegraphic announcement, that Gov. Gist had tendered military aid to Gov. Wise, is incorrect. Gov. Gist has been restrained from doing so only by the conviction that Virginia is abundantly able to take care of herself. Should her exigency ever become such as to require aid from other States, we know no one who would more cordially extend it than the present Chief Magistrate of South Carolina. In such case, the promptings of a high spirit and of unimpeachable fidelity to the great cause of Southern Rights, would be warmly seconded by grateful recollection of the active sympathy of Virginia with South Carolina in her nullification contest, and of the noble declaration of her then Governor (Floyd), that a march into South Carolina, for the purpose of invading her soil, should not be permitted through Virginia, except over the dead bodies of her sons.

There is much in common between Virginia and South Carolina. Each has illustrated the most earnest devotion to principle, and even repudiated the pleas of mere bare expediency. It will be well for them, now as of yore, to strike hands in the maintenance of constitutional right, and of the just equality and sovereignty of States.

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