THE monstrous injustice and impropriety of holding the whole North guilty of John Brown’s crimes, until the North shall expressly disclaim all responsibility, every candid man will see. Senator Hunter of Virginia had the impudence to say in his place in the Senate: “If it is not true that sympathy is generally felt for Brown, let the Republicans call general meetings and disavow it!” As if the Republicans were likely to obey the crack of this plantation whip! Surely, men who respect themselves, and are worthy peers of any slaveholder in the land, are not to make haste to plead not guilty, before any indictment has been found, by any body authorized to pass upon the propriety or impropriety of presenting such indictment. The words of the Providence Journal
on this subject, seem appropriate:
A Northern man made an unlawful attempt against the peace of Virginia. In the whole North he had found only twenty men to help him. So far as has appeared, not fifty men knew of his designs. Not a man in a hundred thousand in the North was ever heard to counsel such a deed. And yet the very first words that these Southerners utter, are words of accusation against the whole North. Not only without a scintilla of evidence, but in direct opposition to the whole past history of the North, they hasten to charge us all with participation in Brown’s acts. They say that the great mass of us are in spirit as guilty and as hostile to the peace of the South as he was. They declare that they mean to assert and to believe this, and to act upon that belief, unless we everywhere hold formal meetings and proclaim our innocence. We must assure them explicitly and repeatedly, and in precise and satisfactory language, that we have no intention of forming armies to march through their plantations and liberate their slaves.
Now, we ask them sincerely and kindly, not in the spirit of indignation which such groundless and insulting charges and demands almost irresistibly awaken, whether they are quite reasonable, consistent and courteous? Have they ever done what they insist that we must do? Is it quite civil to accuse us of deeds which we have always condemned? Is it exactly courteous to approach a law-abiding citizen, whose life has been blameless, and tell him that a murder has been committed, and that unless he publically and solemnly declares that he had nothing to do with crime you shall regard him as accessory to it, and shall treat him accordingly, though you have no evidence that he is more guilty than you are yourself? Is this the way to cultivate a fraternal feeling? It does not strike us that it is. We beg them to look at the subject calmly, to see what has been their own method of proceeding, and to judge whether the perils of disunion, if there be any such, come chiefly from the North or from the South.