Violence Doing its Work

November 5, 1866


In a scathing article that refers to the war as a war of Northern aggression come about by the North's refusal to accept the Constitution, the Dispatch says the present violence seen across the country, namely in Baltimore, is only the beginning of the violence that will break out if the North does not reverse its current course.


Violence Doing its Work.--This is the day of violence and outrage. The spirit of violence is everywhere and in everything at the North. Maryland is the frontier, and while we write may be rapidly becoming the scene of the first collision growing out of lawlessness and outrage now, as it was the scene of the first shedding of blood in the war which was a consequence of northern encroachment upon the Constitution and laws and northern outrages upon the political and private rights of the southern people. It is impossible that the bitterness and rancor which prevail at the North between political parties--it is impossible that the deliberate disregard of the laws of the land and gross outrages upon personal liberty there perpetrated, can long be continued without revolution. The Radical party of Maryland, pursuing the policy of that reckless, greedy, brutalized party everywhere, have deliberately disfranchised more than half of the lawful voters of the State, and in the city of Baltimore they coolly excluded men from the right to vote simply because they proposed to vote in a manner not approved by themselves. This being clearly established by the testimony of credible witnesses, the Governor removes the commissioners under whose decision this wrong was done, and appoints others in their places. The reader is fully Informed of this whole subject, and how the Radical commissioners, who have been removed by the Governor in the exercise of his lawful authority, propose to dispute the possession of the offices with those appointed to succeed them, and now in this manner, at the time we write, a serious collision of force is anticipated. The Radical leaders, whose vicious propensities have never been surpassed by those of any party that ever existed, appear to have generally advised this course, and in doing so but display their ordinary contempt for law and usage, and that determination, which is reflected in all their acts, to set up their own opinions and judgments in lieu of the laws of the country, utterly regardless of the consequences. In looking at the present condition of the country, the violent exhibitions of party rage, and the tyranny of the dominant party at the North, the reflecting mind must become impressed with a sense of the instability of the public institutions and the muttering storm of coming revolutions. It is impossible that stability can exist where there is no peace, and where passion and violence prevail. Whatever be the forms of the new events and new organizations which may flow from this condition, it requires not the gift of prophecy to foretell that the present institutions cannot survive the raging storm that everywhere threatens them. The South essayed in vain to hold the Government to its simplicity and purity according to the designs of its framers. Failing in that, they endeavored to separate from those whose persistent effort was to pervert it altogether and to build up in its place a splendid fabric of consolidated power, absorbing all the power of the States and controlling the liberties of the citizen. The South knew that with that consolidation the confederation passed away, and the Empire, which she feared, succeeded. In her attempt to avoid this she also failed, and failing submitted in a manner honorable to herself, and acknowledged allegiance to the Federal Government. It was a submission to force; but a submission in good faith. Then was it in the power of the North to have established immediate peace by the entire restoration of the union. Their refusal to do this was the beginning of the war which now agitates the North, and produces there a commotion so deep and strong that our condition, compared with it, is one of peace. The North, having thus committed a great crime against the whole nation, is forced to back up its outrage by further outrages. Passion, that indispensable agent in sustaining the perpetrators of crime in their atrocities, comes to their aid and since the close of the war in the bloody field the national councils have been the scenes of strife and bitter animosities disgraceful to humanity. The venom and madness of the struggle increase and grow as it continues and triumphs to that party whose measures are filling the land with trouble and paralyzing the prosperity of the nation, accelerates the spread of violence and outrage. The affair in Baltimore is only a feeble rush-light kindlod by the brand of anarchy and misrule compared to the mid-day sun of that conflagration which must reduce to ruin our present institutions unless, we may say, by some providential interposition, the downward course of the nation is checked, and wisdom aud humanity take the place of ignorance, fanaticism, and brutality. It is for every man to say how much hope he has; but none can deny that there is before the nation a dark wall beyond which no eye but the All-seeing can penetrate, and which may well fill the minds of all with fearful forebodings.
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Nat Berry




“Violence Doing its Work,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023,