Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, “The Harper’s Ferry Inquisition,” February 15, 1860

    Source citation
    “The Harper’s Ferry Inquisition,” Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, February 15, 1860, p. 2: 1.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Chicago Press and Tribune
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Harper’s Ferry Inquisition
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    Senator Mason’s Harper’s Ferry Committee is dragging its slow length along with no certain results, as far as the public can ascertain, except the costs. Our readers will remember that we long ago predicted the utter failure [illegible] the inquisition. The progress of the investigation has fully confirmed our opinion. Scores of men have been summoned from all parts of the country, whose uniform testimony has been that the knowledge of Brown’s plot against Virginia was confined to the handful of men who there precipitated themselves upon destruction. All attempts to connect the Republican party, or its prominent members with Brown’s crazy raid, have been futile. The utmost efforts of the investigators have failed to establish a consecutive history of Brown from the battle of Osawatomie to the fight in the engine house of the Virginia Arsenal. Every thing tends to the conviction that Brown kept his own counsel, made no confidents except among his immediate followers, covered his tracks carefully as he went along, traveled under all the names in the directory, did enough business with fictitious signatures to be entitled to fifty indictments for forgery, and kept himself instinctively free form connection with the Republican party. The upshot of Senator Mason’s movement will prove that while Brown was engaged in fighting the Border Ruffians out of Kansas, he had frequent interviews of them perhaps received material aid; but that when he determined to invade Virginia, he cut off the whole list of his Kansas acquaintances, and went forward absolutely on his own responsibility. The investigation will be a failure in so far as the investigators hoped to damage their political opponents. That chicken will not fight!

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