The effort of Democratic journals to make capital out of the affair at Harper’s Ferry will ultimately recoil upon that party. No Republican will be driven by it from either his principles or his political associations; while not a few honest Democrats, disgusted by the falsehood and deceit of their party organs, by their recklessness of results in striving to create false impressions upon the slaves of the South and by their unpatriotic endeavors to minister to sectional animosity, will sever their connection with the party whose policy first inaugurated violence and which is responsible not only for all the blood shed in Kansas, but for that spilled at Harper’s Ferry also. The principles of Republicanism have been constantly before the people of this government from the days of the Revolution, and, until the breaking up of the old political organizations in 1854 and the formation of new, were universally accepted both at the North and at the South by men of all parties. There is nothing in those principles to incite to rebellion or insurrection – nothing looking toward any other than peaceable solution of the slavery question through constitutional and legal measures – nothing that either invites or sanctions the slightest interference by the people of the free States with the institution where it exists by virtue of State law – and the daily reiteration that the converse is true is not only an insult to the intelligence of those to whom it is addressed, but it will not fail to return to plague its inventors.
While it is undoubtedly true that all Republicans would rejoice to see slavery placed where the public mind would rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, still that is a matter which they concede is wholly within the province of the slave-holding States, and they have invariably disclaimed both the right and the intention to interfere with it. The Republican party was not organized for the extirpation of slavery. It was called into existence by the aggressive action of the Slave Power, though the Democratic party, which, not satisfied with its present relative political status, sought to strengthen itself by carrying the institution into all our territories, by giving a new interpretation to our federal constitution whereby slavery would be nationalized and freedom made sectional and exceptional, by setting on foot filibustering forays against neighboring powers for the purpose of increasing its area and in endeavoring to throw open the African Slave Trade to furnish the raw materials necessary to carry out the general design. To meet and successfully resist these various measures – to hold our Territories scared to freedom and free labor – to furnish free and inalienable homesteads to the enterprising men who may enlist in the grand work of carrying civilization across the continent – these, and these alone were the objects which called the Republican party into existence, and to the carrying out of these objects alone have all its efforts been directed. These purposes, and the means relied upon for their enforcement, are not only strictly within the limits of constitutional right, but they commend themselves to the loftiest patriotism and the truest humanity, besides having the sanction of the fathers of the Republic and the most illustrious statesmen of the past and present generations. Appealing thus to whatever is noble in man, and enforced by examples so pure and lofty – how futile must be this shameless endeavor of lying journals and corrupt demagogues to crush out those principles, and to weaken the organization, based upon them by driving from its communion intelligent and patriotic men! Whenever they can establish, as some of them already tried to do, that Washington was no patriot, that Jefferson and Madison and Patrick Henry were in favor of servile insurrections, that the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the federal Constitution were in favor of the extirpation of slavery by violence and the shedding of blood –then, and not until then, need they hope to make the Republican party responsible for the Harper’s Ferry tragedy, and drive honest men from it.