The Last Radical Deviltry

December 1, 1869



The Republican press of the North teams with the sharpest censures of the doings of the ultra Radicals last week in this city. "General cussedness" never had a more scathing rebuke than it receives in this instance from those to whom it looked for countenance and support. The New York Times is now perhaps unsurpassed for its tenacious adherence to modern Republicanism, yet it cannot refrain from expressing its abhorrence of the deviltry of the ultras under the lead of Porter. It declares that "a more impracticable and pre"posterous set of ideas cannot well be con"ceived than those which the Convention "(of extremists in this city) has put forth." The Times proceeds to say : "The whole theory of the Convention is based on the assumption that the late election was "a Confederate triumph," achieved by "intimidation and fraud." The seceding Convention declared that the declarations of the address to Congress on the danger to Republicans in the State were untrue; and the speakers all suggested that the real trouble was a desire to go beyond bounds in proscription and denunciation. Can it be for a moment supposed that, with such testimony, Congress will listen to the absurd proposals of those who would undo what has been so happily done? "The address declares the present Legislature to be "disloyal and illegal," which is a mere reckless reflection on Congress, the President, the military authorities, and the Legislature and people of Virginia. It asks a new election, winch is ridiculous; and it demands "a militaiy force sufficient to protect Republicans in their rights," which is more preposterous yet. This body seems, as we said yesterday, to regard Congress as a kind of panacea or nostrum, to be used for all political ills and failures, and to be had at need by all would-be office-holders." The Times concludes its comments upon these extremists and their declarations with the following pregnant paragraph : "As to Congress, we hope, it will promptly declare "a plague o' both your houses"; that it will pay no attention whatever to either address; or if it does pay attention, that it will do so solely for the purpose of rebuking such applications, and thereby warning the applicants that Congress is not the place for settling local disputes between partisans in States which have Governments of their own. The men who now invoke congressional interference in behalf of intolerance and disorganization are, for the most part, more demagogues, who care more for their own sinister objects than for the pacification of the State or the welfare of the country." It is really gratifying to see a leading Republican paper uttering such doctrines as these. The practice of Congress for four years past has justified the demand of the extremists for protection from that body. It is time that this practice were repudiated, Congress, indeed, is "not the place for settling local disputes between partisans in States which have local governments." The acknowledgment of this fact will place us one remove further from war, and that much nearer peace. The Times deserves credit for the frank and forcible manner in which it has presented it.
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Jermaine Reynolds




“The Last Radical Deviltry,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 2, 2022,