The Treason and the Traitors
Quincy Daily Whig and Republican, March 7, 1861
The inaugeration of Mr. Lincoln has revived the hopes of patriotism every where. Old Imbecility is out and talent, integrity and courage are installed in his place. The new regime will soon be established and will determine in a short time who are and who are not the friends of the country. And this will not be the least of the benefits produced by this crisis. It is well that the wolves be stripped of their wool. Let the line between traitors and patriots be destinctly drawn. But first let us take one more look at the grounds on which we decide, and see with whom we go.
The South are the accusers of the North. They charge us with violating their rights, and the laws. They do this in general terms and make out no case. Some of them are aware of this and of the groundlessness of the charge, and frankly indicate Northern sentiment and opinion as the sole offence. But they do not tell us by what article in the constitution "sentiment" is made criminal.
How is it with them?
Thus: They have been in open violation of the laws of our country, as well as the laws of nations, for years and make their boast of it in National Conventions and elsewhere. They have kidnapped the free citizens of other states, and reduced them to a state of slavery without pretending to justify their conduct by law. And when men go to test—in their courts, the lawfulness of their action, they are driven away by mobs. They have repeatedly violated the rights of Northern men in speech, person and property. They have insulted, maltreated, scourged, tarred and feathered, hung, shot and brutally butchered our fellow citizens without even the mockery of legal proceedings. They have headed them up in barrels with stones and rolled them into the Mississippi River, for the "crime" of differing in opinion, or even being suspected of it.
"But it is the mob that does this." Yes, it is the mob, and it is the mob that now controls the action of the South. It is the mob that precipitates treason, and secession; it is the mob that demands concessions of the North—that demands the surrender of principles; and it is to this very mob, insane with conceit, arrogance and fury that we are now expected to make the surrender demanded.
They have suppressed the business of the country, destroyed its credit, robbed its treasury, ruined thousands of business men, and thrown tens of thousands out of employment into want and distress; they have disrupted the Union, seized the federal property, fired into American ships, insulted the National Flag, plundered the National Mint, stolen Government vessels, interrupted commerce, threatened the country with bloodshed and civil war, and are now using the most infamous means to overthrow the Government itself. And as climax to these atrocities add the unspeakable hypocrasy of charging the responsibility upon the North!
There is not a man in the country but knows, or might know if he desired to, that this action of the South from begin[n]ing to end, from the expulsion of Hoar from Charleston to the fraud and treason of Floyd, and the seizure of the Mint in New Orleans, has been one unmitigated piece of scoundrelism—without any warrant from the laws of God or man or anything but the basest motives of depraved and barbarous selfishness. Yet it is with these worse than Arnolds that the Democratic leaders of the North are, by the chagrin of a political defeat, put in sympathy. It is to these pirates, ruffians, thieves, plunderers, cutthroats, traitors and political debauchees that we are required to make concessions, surrender principles, political rights, the Constitution of our Country, and with it the hopes of the oppressed in all the world. It is with such unscrupulous rebels and robbers that we are to parley about Compromises! And the corrupting tendency of the last thirty years of politics has demoralized us nearly to the point of doing it. But peradventure there be five upright men in this Sodom it shall be saved.
Let reckless and disappointed "Democrats" fly; let frightened Republicans yield, but let all true men who are not prepared to dishonor their names, their sires and their race, by pawning their souls to oppression, barbarism and slavery, stand by their principles and their rights, trusting in God for the blessings of that peace and prosperity which are the inheritances of the good and the just, and which tyrants and the abettors of tyrants can never know.