Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?>The Public Response>Southern Watchman

The Harper's Ferry Insurrection

Southern Watchman (Athens, Georgia), November 3, 1859

This subject still engrosses much of the public attention. It has been condemned, so far as we have observed, by the Black Republican newspapers. They ought, however, to possess sufficient penetration to perceive that however far they might themselves be from engaging directly in the treasonable plots of Ossawatamie Brown, the general tone of their papers, like the sentiments of Seward's speech, has a tendency to incite other fanatics, less prudent, to the commission of acts of treason and bloodshed.

Some of the Northern papers are reading to the South lectures on the subject of the outbreak, and remind our people that they are quietly reposing on the crust of a volcano, ready at any moment to burst forth and destroy them. This, they say, is the lesson the late outbreak teaches. No fool hardy enthusiasts ever missed the mark further. It teaches a lesson to the fanatics of the North. It shows them that the slaves their misdirected philanthropy would relieve are so well satisfied with their condition that they will not join them in their rebellion. And by the time the outraged sovereignty of Virginia has been satisfied, they will learn one other great lesson, viz: that the South can produce hemp enough to hang all the traitors the great "Northern hive" can send among her people to stir up sedition and insurrection!

It teaches the whole country -all sections of it -a great lesson, which we hope all will profit by- that is, that the everlasting agitation of the slavery question will inevitably lead to civil war and bloodshed! Let the people, then, of all parties all those who would preserve the Union as our fathers made it- indignantly rebuke the agitators and drive them back to their kennels. The present is a propitious time to begin such a work. Let the people but will it, and agitation must cease. Let it go on, and the sun of liberty will set in blood!

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