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Traitorous Scoundrels, with White Faces

Many Americans, including those in the North, were not opposed to slavery and saw no reason for the federal government to interfere with the expansion of slavery into western territories. After John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry, people expressed a broad range of views on the raid. Southerners universally pilloried Brown. Northerners were split, though. Some admired his courage, even if they disagreed with his bloody tactics. Others lionized his act of martyrdom in service to the abolitionist cause. Still others, as this Illinois editorial demonstrates, were horrified by the raid itself and the prospect of full equality for blacks that Brown's actions might lead to.

The telegraphic dispatches yesterday morning startled the public with an account of one of the most monstrous villainies ever attempted in this country. It was no less than an effort on the part of a party of abolitionists and negroes to take possession of one of the national arsenals, at Harper's Ferry, with the military stores and the public money there deposited. Under the lead of the most infamous of the Kansas crew of black republican marauders, Ossawatomie Brown, the insurgents, to the number of five or six hundred, attacked and took possession of the whole town of Harper's Ferry, including the government buildings and stores, stopped the mails, imprisoned peaceable citizens, and, before they were dislodged, numbers were killed and wounded on both sides.

It was scarcely credible, when the first dispatch was received yesterday, that the object of the ruffians could be other than plunder, but late dispatches, including those we publish this morning, show, conclusively, that the movement was a most extensive one, having for its object the uprising of the negroes throughout the south, a servile war, and its consequences - murder, rapine and robbery.

The leader chosen was just the man to initiate the work. Bankrupt in fortune and character, an outlaw and an outcast, he was just the man to commence the work which ultra Abolitionism, through its diligent Parkers and Garrisons, hope to reach the millenium of their traitorous designs. Their open-mouthed treason, which culminates in precisely such outrages as that at Harper's Ferry, is but the logical sequence of the teachings of Wm. H. Seward and Abraham Lincoln -- the one boldly proclaiming an "irrepressible conflict" between certain states of the Union, and the other declaring, that the Union cannot continue as the fathers made it - part slave and part free states. When such men, by specious demagogism, in the name of freedom and liberty, daily labor to weaken the bonds of our glorious governmental fabric, the work of sages and patriots, themselves the holders of black men as slaves, is it to be wondered at that ignorant, unprincipled and reckless camp followers of the party for which these leaders speak, attempt, practically, to illustrate the doctrines which they preach, and in advocacy of which they seek to obtain control of the national government.

Brown, though a blood-stained ruffian, is a bold man. As a black republican he practices what his leaders preach. He believes in blows, not words, and the Harper's Ferry villainy is the first in his line of performance.

Who is so blind as not to see the inevitable tendency of black republican teaching? Now we have a bloody, glaring, ghastly fact before us. The "conflict" by blows has commenced. The proofs of an extensive organization is disclosed, the object of which is to stir the southern slaves to bathe their hands in the blood of the whites of the south. Traitorous scoundrels, with white faces, but black hearts, lead them, and the country is stunned with their deeds of infamy, treason and blood.

Such is the ripening of the black republican harvest. "By their fruits shall ye know them. " Disunion and bloody anarchy."

Source | "The 'Irrepressible Conflict' Fruits of the Lincoln-Seward Doctrine," Springfield (Illinois) State Register, 20 October 1859. Available at Furman University, Secession Era Editorials Project,
Creator | Springfield (Illinois) State Register
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | Springfield (Illinois) State Register, “Traitorous Scoundrels, with White Faces,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed July 3, 2022,

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