Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, "The Plea Will Not Avail Them," November 17, 1859

    Source citation
    "The Plea Will Not Avail Them," Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, November 17, 1859, p. 2: 6.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Carlisle American Volunteer
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Plea Will Not Avail Them
    Newspaper: Page(s)
    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Matt Dudek
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    The Brown Republican and Know-Nothing papers, like guilty culprits when arraigned for trial, in answer to the bill of indictment pending against them, charging them with having been the cause of the late melancholy outbreak and insurrection Harper’s Ferry, plead “not guilty.” They also put in the same plea when accused of being responsible for the murders that were perpetrated in Baltimore on the day of the election – or rather, on the day the election should have been held. Let us arraign them before the jury of the people, and try them by impartial testimony – by facts, which cannot and dare not be denied – and then ask judgment and sentence upon them.

    We contend that the Republicans, as a party, are directly responsible for the attempted insurrection of BROWN and his deluded followers. It is a principle of law, we believe, that an adviser and abettor in crime, is considered a particepes criminis, and therefore held to be as guilty as he who holds the knife and directs the thrust. JOHN BROWN and his followers at Harper’s Ferry, directed the assault upon the citizens of that village, but will any sane man contend that they alone should be held responsible? They alone, it is true, are the only ones who will be required to pay the penalty of their crimes, but yet there are others, many of them men occupying high positions – Senators, members of Congress, Governors, editors, &c., who are equally guilty, in the eyes of the law, with BROWN and his confederates. They counselled the treason – BROWN put the plan into execution. They preached up sedition – BROWN hearkened to their preaching, was convinced, and acted upon his convictions. They purchased arms and ammunition – BROWN organized a force, and used these arms and ammunition, first, against the citizens (men women and children) of Kansas, and next, in his “more extended field of operations,” (to use his own language,) at Harper’s Ferry. For years past every Black Republican paper in the land, as well as every speaker of that faction, have labored unceasingly in their warfare upon the rights of their Southern brethren. The most diabolical falsehoods have been resorted to, in order to excite the North against the South. The blackest treason has been promulgated from the stump, the Senate chamber, the Hall of the House, and from the pulpit. Slavery, an institution recognized by the Constitution, and which we as Northern men, have no business to interfere with, has been denounced in unqualified and unmeasured terms, and slave-holders have been held up as the greatest monsters that ever disgraced humanity. Such has been the course, such the preaching of the leaders in the Republican ranks. Did these leaders suppose their inflammatory and unreasonable appeals would fall still-born to the ground, or did they expect they would convince those who heard or read them? Of course they at least hoped that they might convince. JOHN BROWN was convinced – those who joined him in his frightful attempt had been convinced. They (BROWN and his men) were ready to act – ready to carry out the programme marked out for them. – Who, then, is the most guilty, JOHN BROWN and his band, or those who preached sedition – who acted as trumpeters – but whose coward hearts did not permit them to join in the insurrection? A verdict from the people, we feel sure, will adjudge the advisers and abettors equally guilty with those who had the nerve and the heart to act.

    These same Republican Know-Nothing papers, too, would deceive the people in regard to the devilish doings of the bastard “Americans” of Baltimore. Some of these papers shed crocodile tears, and pretend to regret the occurrences that disgraced the city of Baltimore on the day of the election; but yet they are careful not to state the truth – careful not to inform their readers that the Know-Nothing “Blood-Tubs,” “Killers,” “Owls,” and “Tigers,” (the names of the rowdy clubs,) were the instigators in every instance, and that they took forcible possession of the polls and held them. Regret the occurrences, indeed! A Know-Nothing editor regret that murder and rapine should exist where Know-Nothingism flourishes! Why, the doctrines he has been advocating for years tended to this very state of affairs. He might as well apply a match to a magazine, and then regret the explosion that followed. He has appealed to the worst passions of men: he has embittered the native citizen, and caused him to hate with a deadly hate, the naturalized citizen; he has ridiculed the Catholic religion, and instructed his rabble followers to insult and malign Catholics on all occasions. The Know Nothing editors and orators, in fine, have instilled into their proselytes principles, which, in the nature of things, must lead to blood-shed, immorality and rowdyism. Like the advisers of JOHN BROWN they counselled the mischief, and prepared the ground for the dragon’s teeth, which sooner or later, must come up full armed men. They then, will be pronounced “guilty” by all impartial men, and should and will be held responsible for the bloody doings of their brethren, the “Owls,” “Tigers,” and “Blood Tubs” of Baltimore and other cities. The Republican-Know-Nothing editors and orators have at last had their treasonable appeals answered. Look at Harper’s Ferry – look at Baltimore! As they sowed so did they reap.

    How to Cite This Page: "Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, "The Plea Will Not Avail Them," November 17, 1859," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,