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Governor Wise on the Harper’s Ferry Insurrection
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22. – Gov. Wise, in his Richmond speech, says he has a bushel of Captain Brown’s correspondence, but not all of it. A carpet-bag full was taken to Baltimore, and improperly used. The letters in his possession proved that prominent men at the North were implicated in the affair. Whether our sister States in the North will allow such men to remain among them unchecked or unpunished, remains to be seen.
If any one should smuggle off Gerritt Smith some night, and bring him to me, I would read him a moral lecture, and then send him back home. He had remained at Harper’s Ferry to prevent the application of lynch law in Virginia. There was no question of jurisdiction to be settled, as he had made up his mind fully: determining that the prisoners be tried in Virginia, he would not have obeyed an order to the contrary from the President of the United States. [Laughter and applause.]
He was ready to weep when he heard that the outlaws comprised only twelve men, and that they had taken the town in ten minutes. There was no cowardice on the part of the people there because their unguarded citizens were prisoners: but he told them that they had made a mistake, and if General Washington had been made a prisoner, and his life imperiled by an attack, he would have risked his own and other lives as well, in making an attack without delay.
This Kansas border ruffian made a great mistake as to the disposition of the slaves to fly to his standard. The Abolitionists cannot comprehend that they are held among us by a patriarchal tenure. The Governor urged the importance of organizing a military force in the State, and exercising vigilance to guard against the disgrace of a similar surprise.