The faintness of the chance that John Brown’s punishment will be commuted to anything less than death on the gallows, can be judged by the following editorial from the Savannah Republican, a paper of moderate tone in all ordinary cases. We cut it from the issue of Nov. 15th. It may be taken as a specimen brick of public opinion at the South:
From various quarters we hear the suggestion that it would be bad policy to take the lives of the Harper’s Ferry insurgents, and, somehow, the impression is gaining ground that they will yet escape so dreadful an expiation. One-half the Northern people, we believe, are of this opinion. Many of their most sensible and conservative journals have entered the field in favor of mercy, alike from considerations of humanity and true policy on the part of the South. The New York Journal of Commerce and Philadelphia Ledger are of opinion that it would be a wiser course to hold Old Brown in limbo for the remainder of his days, than, by ending them at once on the gallows, give the Abolitionists a chance to make a god of him and hold their satanic pow-wows to plot mischief against their Southern fellow-citizens and against the peace and harmony of the Union in his name! The execution of Brown, they think, would be “but bringing fresh grist to the Northern Abolition mill.”
We dissent from all this philosophy, and protest against its weighing a feather in determining the fate of the vile miscreants who are now in the hands of the law. We have been a compromise man all our lives, but in the present condition of affairs, this is a case which should admit of no compromise. These men, who have plotted against the lives and property of slaveholders, have not the slightest claim to clemency, and we only regret that the public characters at the North whose appeals have moved them to such madness, are not also in a condition to share their fate. It would be a just one, and we should be faithless to our families and our firesides did we fail to execute it upon them, when the legal right and the opportunity combine. This Abolition foray will never be stopped until we teach men to believe that they risk their necks by the villainy.
On the score of policy, we scorn all such appeals. Let the blood of Brown and his comrades be the seed of the Abolition Church – let their execution be “grist” taken by the South to the “Abolition mill,” and let the infernal machinery grind on – the South is able to protect herself, and, what is more, she intends to do so. We are under no obligations to reform the fanatics of the North. Let the North do her own work - we shall do our duty to ourselves. If we cannot conquer Abolition at the ballot-box, we are ready to meet it either in the courts or in the field.