The Radicals Their Purposes Results of their Success
September 8, 1866
Citing the increase distrust and malice towards the former rebels and southerners felt in Philadelphia after the Radical Convention, there is a strong plea to ensure southern Conservatives vote. Suggesting Republican control of government would serve as a death blow to the ideals of the founding father.
The Radicals-Their Purposes-Results of their Success. In urging upon the southern people the duty of sending delegates to the Philadelphia Conservative Convention, we laid great stress upon the prediction that if the South exhibited a churlish spirit the Radicals would thereby receive an accession of strength in the North, and, if successful in electing the next President and another Radical Congress, would pay no respect to the pardons granted by Mr. Johnson, but would proceed to confiscate the estates of all who they are please to term "leading rebels," and punish by imprisonment or capitally a large number of the best men in this section. This program is still evidently the favorite one with the mass of the Radical party. The deportment of the southern delegates in the August Convention, the national spirit manifested by all the members, and the fraternal feeling which pervaded the deliberations of that body, were felt by the Radicals to be a strong blow aimed at their ascendancy in the northern States. In order to break the force of this blow, they called a convention of southern loyalists, as they are termed, to meet in the same city, and counteract, by fair means or foul, the effects of the Conservative Convention. This latter Convention has been a decided success. We grieve to know that such is the fact; but there is no doubt of it. The demonstrations in Philadelphia prove that the people of that city have been roused to a pitch of fiery enthusiasm by the lying orators sent thither from the South and the North. They cry for southern blood. They threaten us with extermination. They sing in full chorus, "Rally round the flag, boys," and are persuaded by Botts and Butler that no one is true to the flag who is not a Radical. If this feeling should extend its influence throughout the northern States, the fall elections will result disastrously to the President's policy, and show no better fruits than those just held in Vermont. It is well to look trouble full in the face. And to let our readers know the purposes of the Radicals, as well as the diabolical spirit which animates them, we give below some extracts from Forney's Philadelphia Press written while his blood was still warm with the enthusiasm kindled by the speeches of Butler, Botts, Harlan, and others. The Press Says: The Press Last Night--There is something terrible in the indignation of a great people. And nowhere on earth is the sight so sublime as in the United States, where intelligence is becoming the companion, if not the condition, of political franchises. The in measter uprising last evening was the proof that they intend a thorough finishing of that work. It was unquestionably the mightiest popular demonstration ever witnessed in this country. The secret is easily found, Andrew Johnson's appeal to the American people was not taken a moment too soon. They had become ripe for a stern response to his ineffable treachery. The wisest have apprehended that he not only menaces, but means, civil war We know that he has repeatedly declared that he would arrest Congress if impeachment were threatened. Even as we write, his rebel employers have called a meeting to organize a new State government in Tennessee! Will he please to try on any one of these new fashions? We think he would find either a tighter fit than the celebrated shirt of Nessus. And whatever he intends, a coup d'etat or a coup grace, he will be accommodated to a fair trial, alike of his experiment and himself. The American people were never in so rare a humor to doubt with a new rebel or a new civil war. Nothing that Andrew Johnson and his agents may attempt can now prevail against the American people. They are ready for him. It is very evident that Forney would like to see the northern people again arrayed against the southern on the battle field, He writes as if he were a fiend who delighted in carnage and human gore. But he makes the mistake of supposing that the Radicals can induce our people again to take up arms. They have none to take up; and no idea of resorting to force again. If the President cannot protect them, they, all impoverished and un protected as they are, will no doubt have to submit to such laws as the Radicals shall make for their government or leave the country. But the North cannot escape these troubles a second time. There are friends of free government there who will surely not allow the great fabric of liberty erected by the revolutionary fathers to be replaced by a despotism without making some effort to save it. The New York Herald speaks for these men in the following paragraph in reference to the Radicals: "Woe be to the South and the whole country if these men are permitted to rule. We should have a reign of terror, civil war, and universal ruin. The only hope we have Is that the people of the North, and particularly of the great central States, will have common sense and patriotism enough to pre vent such a catastrophe by electing to Congress a different class of men at the coming elections." That, we firmly believe, is the last hope of the people. The success of the Radicals hereafter would he the death-blow to the Union as it was established by our fathers. They would doubtless impeach the President as the quickest mode of putting him out of the way. The Herald says: "We may take it as a settled purpose of the Radicals, in the event of their success in these fall elections, to impeach President Johnson, first electing some such reliable fanatic as Sumner or Wade President of the Senate, to become President for the time being with the removal of Johnson. What then? Then we may look out for such a reign of madness, fanaticism, terror, and confusion as will hurry us headlong to the gulf of bankruptcy and ruin, financial and political, Union and States, North and South. This is the danger which now threatens us." If, however, even the State of New York shall rally to the support of the President, and elect conservative State officers and representatives in Congress, the danger will be over. Even the foolhardy Radicals would not attempt to perpetuate their power in an unlawful manner with the preponderating strength of the Empire State against them. Let us wait in hope.
About this article
“The Radicals Their Purposes Results of their Success,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 17, 2018, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/310.