Title: Letter: Perhaps Revolution Is The Solution
Start date: 1859-12-17
End date: 1859-12-17
Content: The Natick Observer
December 17, 1859
To Rev. N. D. George
In my last letter, I took the position that John Brown was right and Gov. Wise was wrong, but want of space compelled me to forego explanations of my exact meaning. Now, I did not mean that Brown was right in the means employed or the time chosen for his operations. Of that, I have not the means of judging at the present, and none of us have. I meant that John Brown was right in principle; and if he was in possession of such information that led him to suppose his efforts could be made successful, it was his duty to proceed. This is the justification of all revolutions. All revolutionists must be sure that they are right, and must see a reasonable prospect of success in order to stand justified before the world; though I am not sure but what they would be justified before God in striking a blow at any time.
Rev. Mr. Tyler in his speech enquired “at what time revolutions become legitimate?” Now I suppose that revolutions become legitimate always whenever wrong is inflicted and all other conceivable means have failed to obtain redress or relief. This was the ground assumed by the patriots of 76 and it cannot be maintained than that Washington, Warren, Adams and Jefferson were scoundrels, traitors and murderers. This I suppose will be granted. If one case is stronger than the other and in respects clearer, the advantage is on the side of Brown; because the wrong inflicted upon the negroes is almost infinitely greater, the cry for relief has gone up much longer and the prospect for deliverance by ordinary means is far less probable. After thirty years of anti-slavery effort the number of slaves is larger than at any former time; the value of capital invested is very much greater; the assurance and audacity of the slave holders is much in excess of any former time; the moral, ecclesiastical and legal supports of the system are more powerful than ever before; the firmness, resolution and confidence of the opponents of the system have been lessening for some years.
Well, if the question is too large for us now, how will it be when the Slave population is doubled, as it will be in twenty years? Then it will be surrounded with double difficulties---it will have all of its ramifications and complications twice as perplexing as now, and it will require a double sacrifice to get rid of it. There is a natural law of increase of the Slave population which cannot be arrested and a natural law of increase of moral contamination which goes with it, that renders this result certain. John Brown is the only man who has met the question or dared to meet it full in the face. To meet it now by revolution, will save one half the blood, one half the misery, one half the lives that will be required twenty-five years hence; and that it must be met finally in that way is rendered certain from the fact that it cannot be met in any other way now.
Notable people involved: John B. Mann Natick Selectman
Citations: The Natick Observer December 17, 1859 Page 2