Poor John Brown to be Executed

His Goals were Noble but his Methods Unacceptable
Friday, December 2nd, 1859

A Martyr Goes to his Death

The Greatest Enemy of Slavery

The Fatal Friday.

Chicago, Illinois, Press and Tribune [Republican]

John Brown dies to-day! As Republicans, maintaining as we do, that neither individuals nor parties in the North have a right to interfere with slavery where it exists under the sanction of positive law in the States, we cannot say that he suffers unlawfully. The man's heroism which is as sublime as that of a martyr, his constancy to his convictions, his suffering, the disgraceful incidents of his trial, the poltroonery of those who will lead him forth to death, have excited throughout all the North strong feeling of sympathy in his behalf, but no where, within our knowledge, is the opinion entertained that he should not be held answerable, for the legal consequence of his act. As long as we are a part of the Union, consenting to the bond by which the States are bound together, supporting the constitution and the laws, and using the language and entertaining the sentiments of loyalty, we cannot join in criticizing the extreme penalty which the unfortunate old man will suffer. We may question the wisdom of the method by which he is punished -- may believe that Virginia would have added to her honor and confounded her enemies, by an act of pardoning him and his associates -- may condemn in unmeasured terms the cowardice and blood-thirstiness which her people have displayed -- but when we question the right of a Sovereign State to inflict a penalty for so glaring and fatal a violation of her laws, we are advocating disunion in its most objectionable form. We would not use violence to save him, yet we will praise the inherent though mistaken nobleness of the man, of pitying the fanaticism which led him into his present situation, of regretting that a character which might have been so important in the history of his country, must be loaded with the consequences of his errors. To our more radical readers these views will be unacceptable; but we cannot fight to end slavery unless the south leaves the union and war begins.

We have firm belief that this execution of Brown will hurry the downfall of that accursed system of slavery against which he waged war. Throughout all this land, men will not fail to see that there is a conflict between the principles of humanity that are in every human heart, and obedience to laws which all have tacitly agreed to support. In all parts of the Union men will ask themselves how long we will have to accept slavery in our nation. The question will reach hearts that have been hard heretofore; and soon it will bring -- enlightenment and barbarism -- Christianity and Atheism -- Freedom and Slavery -- face to face for a final conflict. We have no fear of the result, whenever it comes. The events of to-day, bring it nearer than it has ever been before since the struggle began at Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1775. It is ours, as it should have been Brown's to labor and wait!



John Brown

To the Editor:
In a recent issue of the Liberator you published an article entitled, "Poor John Brown" in which the writer argues that John Brown shouldn't have died. I think they did the right thing to kill him, because we have the right to have slaves and we have the right to do what ever we feel like. i believe in states rights that the national government cant tell us what to do ! Also I think John Brown is doing the bad thing because he know he is going to die because slavery should stay for ever.

Thank you for considering my views.

Yours truly,
Jefferson Davis

Poor John Brown to be Executed

In a recent issue of The Liberator you publishes an article entitled "Poor John Brown to be Executed" in which the writer argues that the execution of John Brown and how it is horrible that this is happening. I disagree with this because he committed a serious crime.

As South Carolina Senator I disagree with this article because he should be treated like any other murderer and traitor and hanged. I must take this position for several reasons. First, you do not tell the true facts of what happened that day at Harpers ferry. Second, in my opinion, your argument is immoral because John Brown rose up not against slavery but the government and he is a dangerous threat to all of us. Think about the damage he could do. Finally, and most importantly, if we followed your advice and didn't hang him we may face other uprises from people like John Brown or him himself.

Instead, i hope readers will support and undersand his hanging and support it.

I appreciate the conssideration of my views.


John C. Calhoun

Jhon Brown

I am responding to the letter of John C. Calhoun who argues that Jhon Brown was a bad man. I disagree with this for several reasons. One thing was that he was good man that was just trying to help the poor slaves. Another thing was that he beliefs that the slaves are not well treated and he also beliefs that they are not happy in the south with their owners how they are hitting them and hurting them and their family, if they even have a family anymore because they dont know where their rest of the family are if they're alive or not. He was just trying to help at least some slaves because he wouldnt be able to help all of the slaves even though that was his wish.

Thanks for your consideration
Frances Kemble

I strongly disagree with

I strongly disagree with Mr.Calhoun for the reason bieng that I dont beleave that Mr Brown should not have been hung for any reason

Mary Todd Linclon

John Brown

To The Editor:

I am responding to the comment of John C. Calhoun. I disagree with his statement because even though John Brown did ONE criminal act slave owners have been doing far worse things for a lot longer. They have been torturing slaves by whipping them over and over again for hundreds of year. Even though i don't believe that violence is the key in stopping slavery i do believe he had a right to do this. If he has to be executed, I think all slave owners should be at least jailed.

Lydia Maria Child