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What, then, is it that elicits all this sympathy for him? It is not for John Brown, heroic as you have said he was, but it is for the cause in which he was engaged. He came to levy war upon a slave State, to murder slaveholders, because they were slaveholders. It is for that, and that alone, that sympathy has been elicited.

A meeting was held at Natick, at which the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Wilson] was present. He has disclaimed all sympathy with it. I am willing to believe that he feels no sympathy with it; and yet he failed to rebuke it. Suppose I had attended a public meeting where resolutions were passed hostile to your interests, advising forays across your borders, making war upon your people, would it be satisfactory for me to come a month afterward and say that I was there, but did not approve of the resolutions? So far it would be well; but would you not think it was my duty at the time to have said as much, to have warned my neighbors and friends, to have used the potential voice of an American Senator to rebuke such madness at the right time and in the right place?

If, then, we have been led into error, as I trust we have been, there is yet time enough to put it right. Let the future prove not only that you are sincere in your own declarations, as I do not question that you are, but that you are not mistaken in the sentiment of your own people. Let this open and undisguised sympathy with a murderer, with a traitor, cease and cease at once. Tell your editors, tell your Horace Greeleys and your Thurlow Weeds that the course in which they are proceeding is treasonable treasonable to the country, treasonable to you; that from your high places here in this great national council-house you will denounce them unless they cease their persistence in such folly. Let us have that. Let your people assemble in meetings and repudiate the reproach which even you yourselves must admit has been cast upon them. Let that be done. Let the Republicans of Boston, of New York, of Philadelphia, and everywhere where these meetings have been held and the firing of cannon has been heard, assemble in mass meetings as Republicans and rebuke the whole thing. They will not do it. Gentlemen may protest and continue to protest, but the "irrepressible conflict" will go on. Whenever the Northern people shall, in public meetings or in public elections or in any other manner which an intelligent man can accept, rebuke this thing, I shall be as ready to do them justice as those who represent them immediately on this floor; but their silence, their silence under extraordinary circumstances, under a most extraordinary state of facts, does

excite my suspicion, that after all they do sympathize with forays into the slave States for the purpose of overthrowing their institutions.

This much I will say, in reference to the wretched old man who died on the gallows at Charlestown: he was less guilty than the great men who prompted him to his misconduct. The "irrepressible conflict" could end nowhere else. You encouraged him on to madness, and by your counsels and your conduct to deeds of desperation, and then you disavow the deeds. Let the whole conduct change; let the "irrepressible conflict" cease by your own acts; come to learn that Virginia has all the rights in the Confederacy that belong to Massachusetts; that she has as much right to have slaves as Massachusetts has not to have them; that they are equals, and exact equals in all regards; learn that principle, cherish it, and practice upon it, and you will have no occasion to sympathize with John Brown for outrages such as that which we all protest against and deplore.

SENATOR CHANDLER.-The Senator from Mississippi [Mr. Brown] asks what would you say if Virginia and Carolina were to attack the armory at Springfield. I do not know what is the population at Springfield, but I will guarantee that if seventeen or twenty-two of the generals, not captains (they say these men were to be captains) of the States of Virginia and North Carolina were to attack Springfield, if there was not a man within five thousand miles of there the women would bind them in thirty minutes, and would not ask sympathy, and the matter would not be deemed of sufficient importance to ask for a committee of investigation on the part of the corporation. Why, sir, Governor Wise compared the people of Harper's Ferry to sheep, as the public press states. It is a libel, it is not true, for I never saw a flock of fifty or a hundred sheep in my life that had not a belligerent ram among them. We do not understand this case, sir. We understand no such panic as this. If seventeen men were to attack the city of Detroit in any capacity, and the mayor should appoint as a guard more than seventeen constables to take care of them, the city auditor would decline to audit the account.

The facts in this case, as they appear to be, are these: The fugitive slaves at Chatham, in Canada, got together some time— I do not know when-and organized a provisional government for the United States. There are, I understand, about sixty thousand fugitive slaves in the Province of Canada. They got together in Chatham, in Canada, and there resolved to organize a provisional government for these United States. They did so;

and they sent as their agents-this I gather from newspaper accounts to put their government in motion, John Brown and sixteen other white men and five negroes, without any hopes of support from any source. Now, gentlemen ask, where did all these funds come from? All that was needed would amount to about probably twenty cents on each head of your own fugitive slaves in Canada; and yet the great Republican party of the North, representing one million three hundred thousand voters, is to be charged with complicity in this miserable fugitive slave government established at Chatham some time-God knows when, and I do not know nor care. Sir, it is too ridiculous. I cannot treat it with any sort of serious consideration.

The Senator from Georgia states that your Northern allies are in a hopeless minority. Well, sir, that is true. You have crowded them a little too far. You have left their bones bleaching all over the land. They are politically dead, hopelessly dead, beyond any resurrection. The trumpet of the archangel will never reach them politically. You have crowded them too far, sir. You have forced them to vote for your Lecompton constitution. You forced them to vote for the repeal of the time-honored Missouri compromise. You have kept the "nigger" eternally before them, and, whether he was acceptable or obnoxious to them, you made them swallow the "nigger" in large or small doses as you saw fit to present him, and it has been a fatal dose; you have given too much.

Sir, I hope this resolution will pass unanimously, and I hope the action of this committee will be effective. I hope it will be searching and thorough, and, my word for it, some other party than the Republican party will come up delinquent under its action.

On December 14 the resolution of Senator Mason and the amendment of Senator Trumbull came to a vote. The amendment was rejected by 22 yeas and 32 nays, and the resolution was unanimously adopted.

President Buchanan's annual message to Congress appeared on December 19, 1859. It opened with an attempt to allay the bitter hostility which had arisen over the John Brown affair between the two sections, and had been displayed before his troubled eyes in the Senate. The allusion in it to himself as "an old public functionary," whose heart felt for the whole country, was not taken kindly by the Republicans, who blamed the President for the part he had played throughout his

long public career in aiding the South against the North in the extension of slavery, and they seized the opportunity of nicknaming him "Old Pub. Func." in derision.

THE WARNING OF HARPER'S FERRY

PRESIDENT BUCHANAN

While it is the duty of the President "from time to time to give to Congress information of the state of the Union," I shall not refer in detail to the recent sad and bloody occurrences at Harper's Ferry. Still, it is proper to observe that these events, however bad and cruel in themselves, derive their chief importance from the apprehension that they are but symptoms of an incurable disease in the public mind, which may break out in still more dangerous outrages, and terminate at last in an open war by the North to abolish slavery in the South. While, for myself, I entertain no such apprehension, they ought to afford a solemn warning to us all to beware of the approach of danger. Our Union is a stake of such inestimable value as to demand our constant and watchful vigilance for its preservation. In this view let me implore my countrymen, North and South, to cultivate the ancient feelings of mutual forbearance and good-will toward each other, and strive to allay the demon spirit of sectional hatred and strife now alive in the land. This advice proceeds from the heart of an old public functionary, whose service commenced in the last generation, among the wise and conservative statesmen of that day, now nearly all passed away, and whose first and dearest earthly wish is to leave his country tranquil, prosperous, united, and powerful.

We ought to reflect that in this age, and especially in this country, there is an incessant flux and reflux of public opinion. Questions which in their day assumed a most threatening aspect have now nearly gone from the memory of men. They are "volcanoes burned out, and on the lava and ashes and squalid scoriæ of old eruptions grow the peaceful olive, the cheering vine, and the sustaining corn." Such, in my opinion, will prove to be the fate of the present sectional excitement should those who wisely seek to apply the remedy continue always to confine their efforts within the pale of the Constitution. If this course be pursued the existing agitation on the subject of domestic slavery, like everything human, will have its day and give place to other and less threatening controversies. Public opinion in this country

is all-powerful, and when it reaches a dangerous excess upon any question the good sense of the people will furnish the corrective and bring it back within safe limits. Still, to hasten this auspicious result at the present crisis, we ought to remember that every rational creature must be presumed to intend the natural consequences of his own teachings. Those who announce abstract doctrines subversive of the Constitution and the Union must not be surprised should their heated partisans advance one step further and attempt by violence to carry these doctrines into practical effect. In this view of the subject it ought never to be forgotten that, however great may have been the political advantages resulting from the Union to every portion of our common country, these would all prove to be as nothing should the time ever arrive when they cannot be enjoyed without serious danger to the personal safety of the people of fifteen members of the Confederacy. If the peace of the domestic fireside throughout these States should ever be invadedif the mothers of families within this extensive region should not be able to retire to rest at night without suffering dreadful apprehensions of what may be their own fate and that of their children before the morning-it would be vain to recount to such a people the political benefits which result to them from the Union. Self-preservation is the first instinct of nature; and therefore any state of society in which the sword is all the time suspended over the heads of the people must at last become intolerable. But I indulge in no such gloomy forebodings. On the contrary, I firmly believe that the events at Harper's Ferry, by causing the people to pause and reflect upon the possible peril to their cherished institutions, will be the means, under Providence, of allaying the existing excitement and preventing future outbreaks of a similar character. They will resolve that the Constitution and the Union shall not be endangered by rash counsels, knowing that, should "the silver cord be loosed or the golden bowl be broken" . . . "at the fountain,” human power could never reunite the scattered and hostile fragments.

The President followed this kindly advice by congratulations upon the Dred Scott decision as settling "principles of Constitutional law so manifestly just in themselves and so well calculated to promote peace and harmony among the States," and by the assurance that the cases of those engaged in the slave trade, especially the case of the Wanderer, were being "rigorously prosecuted."

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