The Man Who Owned the Rifles

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Here we arrive at George Luther Stearns, another of John Brown’s Secret Six supporters. Mr. Stearns was an industrialist and a merchant. As such, he was pretty well fixed financially. However, it had not always been so. Stearns’ early life had not been easy and he had been in a position where he had to work to support his family, starting at age 15.

Stearns was involved very early on with the Emigrant Aid Society, helping to get anti-slavery settlers into Kansas. Wikipedia noted that “Stearns was one of the Secret Six who aided Brown in Kansas, and financially supported him until Brown’s execution after the ill-fated raid on Harpers Ferry. Stearns physically owned the pikes and 200 Sharps rifles brought to Harpers Ferry by Brown and his followers. Following Brown’s arrest, Stearns briefly fled to Canada but returned to Medford (Mass.) after Brown’s death…”

According to J. C. Furnas in The Road to Harpers Ferry, Stearns’ first wife passed away and he married a second time to “a well-connected niece of Lydia Maria Child, the lady Abolitionist, who disliked her aunt personally but shared her ideas.” His new wife was not always happy with Mr. Stearns. She wished that he would dress more expensively and do more entertaining. She felt that his station in life called for him to present a more elite appearance than he usually did. One thing you have to say for Stearns is that he was not overly enamored of the pomp and vanity of Massachusetts society. He was kind of like the old cattleman in Texas who dressed in faded jeans and run-down cowboy boots and who looked just like some of the rag-tag cowboys in his area. They couldn’t afford to dress up, while he didn’t have to. He knew what he had and wasn’t trying to impress anybody. In his own way Stearns seems to have been like that old cattleman.

One of his best friends was Charles Sumner, “the pontifical slavery hater” as he was described by Furnas. Otto Scott, in The Secret Six: the Fool as Martyr has observed, of Senator Sumner, that he “…had a wide acquaintance among European revolutionaries.” You have to be led to the conclusion that it is more than just coincidence that these abolitionists knew so many people in the Leftist, radical crowd from Europe. So we can probably assume that Senator Sumner was more than familiar with some of the socialist luminaries Donnie Kennedy and I wrote about in Lincoln’s Marxists. 

One of Stearns’ sons wrote a biography of his father in which he said that his father and John Brown met “like iron and magnet.” If such was truly the case, then Brown was the magnet, for he attracted more metal from Stearns, in the form of firearms, than from just about anyone else. Furnas noted that Stearns “…paid out of his own pocket for the $1300 of revolvers for Kansas that eventually found their way to Maryland with Old Brown…” In those days, revolvers sold for around $12-15 apiece, so $1300 would have bought quite a slew of them. Stearns said, at one point, “I consider it the proudest day of my life  that I gave good old John Brown every pike and rifle he carried to Harpers Ferry.” And that’s not including the revolvers!

Stearns may well not have been the elitist snob that other members of the Secret Six were, but he surely had his priorities skewed when he ended up supporting John Brown and his terrorist actions.

Furnas summed up George Luther Stearns this way: “Actually, the man hardly belongs among the Six. He did not have enough ego for their overweening society. He probably knew less of Old Brown’s exact plans than Smith, Sanborn  or Higginson.”

Stearns may well not have known as many of the exact details as did some of the others. However, he knew enough to be willing to pay for the rifles John Brown needed to carry out his terrorist agenda. And when the plan turned sour and Brown blew it, he knew enough to run to Canada, so he was hardly a complete innocent.

In looking at the Secret Six as a whole, you are forced to note a group of men with both social position and resources, who somehow, thought that their position and resources gave them the right to dictate how other people should live their lives. It is no different in our day. We are beset, fore and aft with Marxist “educators” and politicians and their friends in government, big business, and the media who feel they, somehow, have the right and authority to tell the rest of us how we should live and what we should think. And if others are not especially willing to live by their standards, well, there are always a few “John Brown” types lurking about, waiting to be used to “persuade” them–if the price is right! I’m sure, in our day, that, should you put your minds to it, the names of some of these “persuasive” groups would come to mind.

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The College Grad And The Terrorist

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Franklin Benjamin Sanborn  was probably the youngest member of the infamous Secret Six that supported and/or financed abolitionist/terrorist John Brown. Born in 1831, he entered Harvard College in 1852, graduating in 1855, a mere four years before the debacle at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

He graduated seventh in his class, so he was no academic slouch and obviously did not spend his college time partying. While in college he became friendly with Ralph Waldo Emerson of Transcendentalist fame.  As a result of that friendship, Emerson “engaged” Sanborn to start a small private school in Concord, Massachusetts, which Emerson’s children attended. According to http://mail.colonial.net others who had their children in Sanborn’s private school were Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Horace Mann, and John Brown. An interesting mix! If you are like me you might be led to wonder why Horace Mann, the Unitarian promoter of public education, had his children in a private school at that point in time when he was so strongly tryin for force public education on everyone else via compulsory attendance. You might be led, had you a suspicious mind, why that compulsion for public education didn’t apply to his own kids. But I digress.

Franklin Sanborn was an author, journalist, “reformer” and a social scientist–one of that breed that has done such yeoman duty in the public schools–at the price of your kids’ historical knowledge.

He memorialized the Transcendentalist Movement, writing biographies of many of its leading lights.  Not everyone was completely happy with his efforts, though they did applaud his agenda. The website http://www.alcott.net said of his work that: “Sanborn’s editions and histories, despite being marred by editorial inaccuracies and shabby scholarship, served well to keep Transcendentalist ideas alive and to translate the movement’s idealism into meaningful social action.” “Social action”–now there’s a loaded term, even today. Not totally a glowing recommendation!

Sanborn founded the American Social Science Association in 1865, as it was said, “to treat wisely the great social problems of the day.” Seems to me that social scientists are still doing the same thing today–and we are still beset with many of the same social problems, which they apparently haven’t solved. That being the case you have to question just how “effective” they have really been.

In 1856 Sanborn became the secretary of the Massachusetts Kansas Commission, also known as the Massachusetts Kansas Aid Committee and it’s believed that this is where he came into close contact with John Brown. At that point, he had been out of college for around a year and was seemingly quite awed with Brown. College students, even in our day, are often overawed by various revolutionary types who are introduced onto college campuses via more-than-willing college administrators and leftist professors.

At any rate, this committee Sanborn was the secretary of had been formed to get provisions, clothing, and arms to settlers in Kansas so they could supposedly “defend” themselves against incursions from pro-slavery people.

Samuel Gridley Howe testified before senate committee which investigated the Harpers Ferry raid that he “believed” that 200 Sharps rifles were committed to John Brown’s tender care, and probably some revolvers as well, all to be used in Kansas, and these had been the property of the committee. “Provisions” and clothing for the anti-slavery folks in Kansas–yeah, right! Of course it might depend on how you define “provisions.” What it amounted to was that these people in Massachusetts were sending assault weapons into Kansas to aid the likes of John Brown who were, supposedly “defending” the rights of free soil Kansans. Brown and his “army” “defended” those rights really effectively the night they hacked five pro-slavery people to death in front of their families. I wonder if there were any swords among the “provisions” this committee entrusted to Brown and his “army.”

J. C. Furnas in The Road to Harpers Ferry took note of Sanborn’s youth. Having checked out some of Sanborn’s biographical material, he noted that: “His biography of Dr. Howe is a solicitous panegyric sticky with the writer’s delight in having known such a man well. In later life he widely exploited having been neighbor and disciple of Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott in Concord, where he set up a co-educational private school…to teach the children of ‘the more aristocratic portion of the community’.” Ahh, now we know why Horace Mann’s children went to Sanborn’s school–they were part of the “aristocratic portion” of the community–no public school drivel for them! That was (and is) for the common herd.

Although Sanborn is said not to have approved of the Harpers Ferry raid, he spent much paper and ink later on defending John Brown. According to http://www.wvculture.org  “In the years after John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, Sanborn was one of Brown’s most dedicated defenders, and he wrote many articles on John Brown as well as the biography The Life and Letters of John Brown, Liberator of Kansas and Martyr of Virginia. The biography was first published in 1885.  Furnas said of Sanborn’s work “And his successive  writings about Old Brown are like what a devoted younger brother might have written about St. Paul or Judas Maccabeus.”

As stated earlier, Sanborn was no dumb bunny when it came to academics. By the time he was eight years old he had read the whole Bible and declared himself a Universalist. It would seem that apostasy came early for Sanborn. Furnas noted that “After maturing he shifted to the eccentric Unitarianism of Parker, Higginson, and James Freeman Clark–hot Abolitionists all.” Sounds like Sanborn slid from the frying pan into the fire!

He always looked to believe the best about John Brown and he held onto his loyalty to the old terrorist. And Furnas informed us that “His loyalty survived even the discovery forced on him by eventual new evidence, that Old Brown and some of his sons had lied in their teeth about their responsibility for the Pottawatomie Massacre.” So the wild delusions of the Leftists, then and now, blind them to the truth, and the only “truth” they can ever see is “their truth.”

Furnas said of him: “Sanborn was not the most trenchant of the Six…His record does not go beyond facile acceptance of the half-baked highmindedness of the time.” Furnas referred to him as a “well-intentioned Yankee.”

Unfortunately, he was the type of well-intentioned Yankee that, in the end, seemed to have no problem with the Marxist concept that the ends justifies the means. But that’s where most of these men were really at–they were an early type of Yankee Marxists. 

One Of Our Well-Known American Heretics

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Apostasy was most definitely on the up-swing in the middle of 19th century America. Most people don’t want to deal with the thought that it started that early. It makes them uncomfortable to think the apostates and heretics were here and quite active before they were even born. However, if we don’t learn to deal with the truth about the past we will never be able to deal with it in the future and we will just end up burying our heads in the sand (again) and pretending it’s not there.

That’s why it is so important for us to come to grips with it, and the apostates that supported terrorist John Brown are as good a place as any to start. They represent a cross section of the apostasy that rampaged across our history in the 1800s–the apostasy our “history” books gloss over by not calling it what it really was.

All of terrorist/abolitionist John Brown’s Secret Six  supporters were controversial individuals. Most all have been theologically radical as well as politically radical–people that, today, should be considered way over on the Leftist fringe of society. Although with today’s fluctuating morays they might be considered mainstream. In a normal society you would have to classify these people as far Leftists, but then today’s cultural Marxist society is far from normal. Look at what the electorate did in 2008 and again in 2012. The heretic this article is about, Theodore Parker, would today probably be considered as middle of the road.

Parker was a Unitarian, but then, many John Brown supporters leaned in that direction. Of those that supported John Brown’s terrorism in the name of freeing the slaves, of those that upheld and financed his terrorism, few would be classified as orthodox Christians.

Interestingly enough, Theodore Parker started out orthodox. He was undoubtedly a highly intelligent man, speaking four languages besides English, one of them being Latin. Wikipedia noted that “His belief in God’s mercy made his reject Calvinist theology as cruel and unreasonable.” At this point, Parker and I would part company. Either Parker didn’t understand real Calvinism or he didn’t want to. Parker didn’t like “religious dogmatism.” Another example of Parker’s apostate mindset was Horace Mann, the “father of the common schools” (public schools). Mann, like Parker, rejected the Calvinism of his day in favor of his own personal creed and view of God.

That Parker’s “god” was not the God of Holy Scripture was evident, given his Unitarian rejection of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Observable is the fact that most participants in the Abolitionist Movement, the Feminist Movement, and other 19th century movements had rejected Jesus’ divinity and the truths of Scripture.

Author Dean Grodzins has written a book about Theodore Parker called American Heretic.  Having not read Mr. Grodzin’s book I can’t authoritatively comment on his take on Theodore Parker, but, seeing his book won a “2003 Choice Outstanding Academic Title” I will hazard a guess and say that Grodzins may well be in favor of Parker’s apostasy, or at least not overly opposed to it.

Parker seems to have been introduced to the Unitarian faith by one Convers Francis, a Unitarian minister, biographer, and historian. Francis studied at Harvard Divinity School and was ordained in 1819. Shows you how far down the road Harvard had slithered by the early 1800s.

Parker, it seems, went through a gradual descent into apostasy. I’ve been told by pastors that this is how apostasy works usually. It doesn’t just happen all at once. You don’t just wake up one fine morning and decide you don’t believe any of the theology you believed when you went to bed. In Parker’s case, he was exposed to some of the “higher criticism” of the Scriptures then growing in Germany, which led him to question. Lots of questionable ideas, and questionable people, came out of Germany in the 1840s. Parker gradually came to where he denied his orthodox views. His denial of the Biblical miracles and the authority of the Scriptures brought him some criticism, even in Massachusetts, and some pulpits, even in the Boston area, were closed to him.

By 1842 Parker had openly broken with the orthodox Christian faith and found, in his own estimation, that the Scriptures were chock-full of errors and contradictions. He now felt that people should concentrate their religious faith on “individual experience.” Again, does that sound familiar? There is lots of that mindset around even today and it leads  to all manner of “interesting” and bizarre deviations.

By 1846 Parker had finally found a congregation of like-minded souls to preach to. Among those in his congregation were William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist (and internationalist); Julia Ward Howe, author(ess) of the well-known Unitarian hymn The Battle Hymn of the Republic; Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women; and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founders of the Women’s Movement in 1848. The Women’s Movement also had Spiritualist connections. What an august little group!

Some estimates have put Parker’s congregation at as many as 7,000 people. Apostasy was gaining traction in Boston.

While Parker was not a Spiritualist, he was nonetheless popular with them and he gave credence to their views. At one point he said: “I have not had time in the midst of my busy life, while solving the problems of human freedom, to investigate the phenomena of Spiritualism, nevertheless, I believe that its philosophy and phenomena are true, and that Spiritualism will be the religion of the future.” Interesting statement. It almost makes it sound like Rev. Parker is all alone out there “solving the problems of human freedom” while no one else bothers to do anything. It’s interesting that few of our “history” books reveal the fact that there were also many abolitionists in the South trying to deal with the problem of human freedom too. But, then, they were not the radical, Leftist type of abolitionist–and hence not worthy of mention.

Of slave insurrections Parker said: “I should like, of all things, to see an insurrection of the slaves…It would do good even if it failed.” Maybe he should have read about Nat Turner’s slave revolt in Virginia in 1831. It was a bloody excess and it failed. I wonder how much good it did. On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t bloody enough for Parker!

J. C. Furness, author of The Road to Harper’s Ferry said of Parker’s statement “Such grim willingness to tempt young Abolitionists and thousands of Negro slaves to go and get massacred in a softening-up operation sounds more like the general staff of a Communist committee than like a professed disciple of a God of Love.” And this was the man who departed from the Calvinist faith because it wasn’t “loving” enough!

Parker was yet another of those self-appointed “experts” on slavery who had seldom, if ever, been south of Washington. The perfect person to become a member of the Secret Six and to support John Brown. Parker was really a man who knew almost nothing about his subject, but was content because he thought he did.

Parker had tuberculosis and went to Italy  to try to ward it off. He was over there when John Brown committed his last terrorist act at Harpers Ferry. Though physically on his last legs, Parker had a parting word of Unitarian love for the South. He stated: “The South must reap as she sows…a pretty crop…The Fire of Vengeance may be waked up even in an African’s heart, especially when it is fanned by the wickedness of a white man; then it runs from man to man, town to town. What shall put it out? The white man’s blood.”

All I can say is that it’s a good thing Theodore Parker was such a nice, caring, compassionate and loving Unitarian. Otherwise he might have told us how he really felt. Parker never, to my knowledge, addressed the fact of blacks who owned slaves in the South. Maybe that was the white man’s fault, too.

Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of our former Marxist-in-Chief in the White House would really have loved Theodore Parker!

Was Julia’s Husband a Male Chauvinist Pig?

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Julia Ward Howe, the woman who wrote that infamous Unitarian dirge, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, was born in New York City. In 1843 she married the prominent physician Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. They had six (some sources mention five) children , which they raised in the Unitarian Mecca of the northeast, Boston, Massachusetts.

Not only was Ms. Howe an author, but she was also part of the most radical wing of the Abolitionist Movement, along with her husband. Writer Michael Dan Jones wrote of Ms. Howe that: “Mrs. Howe and her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, were supporters of the most radical and violent wing of the anti-slavery movement. These ‘disunion’ abolitionists wanted to tear apart the American republic of sovereign, independent states,  and reconstruct it along their own radical, political, cultural and religious ideals. History records only too well how they succeeded with their treason.” A few years back, Mr. Jones’ article appeared on http://www.confederateamericanpride.com If it is still there it is definitely worth reading.

Regarding Ms. Howe’s literary career Jones noted: “But her literary works had dark themes, such as murder, suicide and betrayal, perhaps reflecting her own unhappy marriage with her domineering and unfaithful husband. Her church, the Unitarian Church, although it claimed to be Christian, denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity.” So her husband was “domineering and unfaithful?” It’s funny that the “history” books have forgotten to mention all that. The “history” books have told us that the abolitionist crowd were folk who were deeply concerned with the betterment of humanity, fine,  upstanding, full of moral integrity and such. Now we begin to find that some among them were sinners, just like the rest of humanity, except that if they were Unitarian in their belief system they didn’t accept Jesus Christ as God’s Son. Therefore, they could not go to Him and ask forgiveness because they believed He was just another ordinary man, and, hence unable to forgive sin. Thus their sin remained.

Ms. Howe’s husband, and their Unitarian pastor, Rev. Theodor Parker (more about him later on) were both part of the Secret Six group that supported John Brown’s fanatical terrorism, particularly at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

Contrary to much of the abolitionist pabulum we have been spoon-fed over the years, the marriage of the Howe’s was, as  you can now well imagine, slightly less than idyllic . It has been noted that, at one point, Samuel had requested a legal separation, which Julia had refused. Many of their disagreements arose over Julia’s wanting to have a career separate from motherhood. While Dr. Howe has been touted as being “progressive” for his day and time, this was on really “progressive” area he had a problem with–maybe because it affected his own household rather than someone else’s. Quite often liberal elitists are that way. They have one standard for themselves and quite another for the rest of the common herd.

Dr. Howe was not overly enthused about women having any other occupation than that of wife, mother, and homemaker. No doubt the fanatical women’s libbers of the 20th century would have roundly criticized him as a male chauvinist pig!

According to http://www.uuworld.org we have been told that: “…Howe could be insensitive and argumentative and that his marriage was discordant are both well documented. As ambitious as he was for himself, he was determined that his smart and talented wife should be kept at home with their six children. Julia outlived him by thirty-four years and became a prominent suffragist and peace activist.” The ultra-liberal mentality is not to be denied!

Dr. Howe also agreed with Karl Marx on the scheme of progressive taxation. In 1865 he was in favor of and advocated a progressive tax system. He noted that, while the wealthy would resist this (really?)  he felt that America could not really become a just and caring society while the gap between rich and poor was so wide. Does this sound like anything you have heard from the current crop of Marxists in Washington in the past few years? You don’t get it from Trump but you sure did from his Marxist predecessor. The Marxists claim they want to “soak the rich” so they can help the rest of us. To put it bluntly, that’s a croc! It’s nothing more than a massive redistribution of the wealth scheme that removes everyone’s wealth and “redistributes” it to the federal government. The really rich that control the political shills in Washington don’t pay any taxes anyway. They can siphon off their huge incomes in “tax-free foundations” which they then use to make war on the middle class, under the guise of uplifting society.

And http://www.uuworld.org also informed us of how far-left Unitarianism had influenced Boston. It said that “In Howe’s day, Boston was the heartbeat of a spiritual and intellectual awakening called the New England  Renaissance. Unitarians who effectively controlled the State House, Harvard, and the city’s wealth, also led the great reform causes of the day…Theodor Parker for the abolition of slavery, Horace Mann for universal free education, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody for early childhood education.” So the Unitarians pretty much had Massachusetts in the palm of their collectivist hand–socially, theologically, and educationally. If you wonder what’s wrong with New England today,  a look back at the mid-1800s will tell you–apostasy–galloping apostasy, masquerading as “enlightenment.” Having grown up there, I know a little bit about it.

It was out of this theological and educational morass that Howe and most of the other Secret Six members emerged.

Otto Scott, in his informative book The Secret Six: The Fool as Martyr has observed of terrorist John Brown that he seemed to fit right in with this group, despite the differences in their backgrounds. Both they and Brown were revolutionaries. Brown was the sort of revolutionary that got his hands dirty–and bloody–and they were the kind that supported his activity–and kept theirs clean.

Of these radical abolitionists Scott observed: “The radical faction saw matters in a different light. It had no single leader in the Massachusetts branch of the aid committee: it was a coterie including Higginson, Parker, Howe and Stearns.  All were either famous or wealthy men who shared a common despair of the wisdom of their countrymen; each seemed to believe that slavery could only be ended by revolution.  Joh Brown appeared among these men with a reputation created by James Redpath of the N Y Tribune, attested by Richard Hinton of the Boston Traveler and the Chicago Tribune, enameled by Phillips of the New York Times in his recent book on Kansas…” So, thanks to gratuitous media coverage, Brown was duly inserted into this group of New England Unitarian revolutionaries. Do you still think the “news” media is objective in what they present? Were they back then???

Even in an undertaking such as financial support for Brown’s terrorist acts, these men were not totally honest with one another. Otto Scott observed that: “Therefore, the Boston committee of six–Howe, Higginson, Parker, Smith, Sanborn, and Stearns–started out keeping secrets from one another,  and were never to be wholly honest with the world.” John Brown assured these gullible folks that the people from Missouri were planning a big offensive in Kansas that spring, and because of their innate proclivity toward revolution, they chose to believe his fables.

Theodore Parker threw open his home and, according to Scott, “Captain Brown was lionized in a manner later made familiar to many momentarily famous revolutionists when received by wealthy radicals.” It was a case of each scratching the other’s back. In regard to Brown’s plans, Parker noted, according to Scott, that “I doubt whether things of this kind will succeed. But we shall have a great many failures before we discover the right way of getting at it. This may well be one of them.” These men viewed Brown’s revolutionary terrorism as a possible means to their ends, but if it didn’t work out, then he was just one more experiment they would have tried on their road to revolution.

And their revolutionary road would lead, as it ultimately did, to a complete overturning of the society and culture of not only the South, but eventually of the entire country. Today we live with many of the results of their revolution. How have those worked out for you all?

These men, Samuel Gridley Howe among them, wanted for the rest of the country exactly what their rampant apostasy had created in New England. Their spiritual descendants are still working on that revolution today. Let’s hope the Christian Church and the rest of the country wakes up and smells the coffee before everything becomes thoroughly Unitarianized.

Gerrit Smith, the “insane” philanthropist

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Gerrit Smith was an interesting character, in some ways different than the other members of the Secret Six that financed and supported abolitionist/terrorist John Brown. Smith was an ardent abolitionist and “social reformer” like the rest, but he had also been involved in politics, running for president a couple times. He also ran for the governorship of the state of New York on an anti-slavery platform.

Mr. Smith had some “interesting” relatives, too, one of which was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the main movers and shakers of the women’s suffrage movement that manifested itself at a convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 and was heavily influenced by Spiritualism, according to the book Radical Spirits that I have previously mentioned. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was Gerrit Smith’s first cousin, and, in fact, she met her future husband, Henry Stanton, also an active abolitionist, at the home of the Smith family in Peterboro, New York. The town had been named for Gerrit Smith’s father. And, in 1840, the candidate for president for the Liberty Party, James G. Birney, married Elizabeth Potts Fitzhugh, who was Smith’s sister-in-law. So as you can see, Smith was connected via family to some of the big wheels of his day.

In June of 1848 Smith was nominated as the Liberty Party’s presidential candidate. Needless to say, he didn’t make the cut, but he did manage to get elected in 1852 to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Free Soiler. He had some rather interesting political views.

According to Wikipedia.org Smith felt that: “…The Federal government and the states should prohibit the liquor traffic within their specific jurisdictions; and that government officers, so far as practicable, should be elected by a direct vote of the people.” So, not only was he an advocate of prohibition ahead of his time, but he was also an advocate of almost pure democracy. The radicals today that want to do away with the Electoral College have nothing on Gerrit Smith. He was there ahead of them.

Smith seems to have had a genuine concern for poor and black people, to the extent that he gave numerous farms of 50 acres each to indigent families. Wikipedia noted: “In 1846, hoping to help black families become self-sufficient and to provide them with property ownership needed to vote in New York, Smith attempted to colonize approximately 120,000 acres of land in North Elba, New York, near Lake Placid in Essex County with free blacks.” Although this was a commendable personal effort on his part, the plan fell through for several reasons. Among them was the difficulty of farming in the Adirondack region, the lack of experience in house building, and the bigotry of their white neighbors.

Whatever your agenda might be, you can’t reasonably blame the bigotry of whites in Northern New York State on the folks down in Dixie. Some ultra-liberals will no doubt try, but such a leap of imagination is comparable to today’s liberals believing that trucks and trucks of Democratic ballots were actually missing in the recent mid-term elections–just enough to give the Democrats a victory if such foolishness is to be believed! And it shouldn’t!

Part of the North Elba plan was to provide terrorist John Brown and his family a home up there. I doubt it would have worked. Brown seems to  have had a difficulty making a go of much of anything except terrorism–his one shining accomplishment.

The website http://www.nyhistory.com charitably observed of John Brown that: “On October 16th 1859, John Brown led a small group of his soldiers in a raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia…” This was an overtly friendly description of Brown’s group. Sorry folks, they were not “soldiers”  they were terrorists, plain and simple, and to label them as “soldiers” does a grave disservice to those searching for accurate history.

The same website also notes that Gerrit Smith knew Brown a decade before the Harper’s Ferry fiasco and notes that: “When John Brown went to Kansas to fight against slavery interests, Smith raised money to support his military operations…When Brown raided the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, he had a check for $100 in his pocket sent to him by Gerrit Smith.” This website toned down Brown’s terrorist activities and made him sound like a legitimate military commander instead of the terrorist he really was. People who don’t know the full story about Brown may be taken in by such efforts. Did these people sanitize Brown on purpose? If so, they wouldn’t be the first.

J. C. Furnas, in his excellent book The Road to Harper’s Ferry has commented about Gerrit Smith. Furnas noted on page 354 that: “Smith may be the easiest of the Six to account for. I cannot fully explain how men of such bottom and intelligence as Howe’s, Parkers, and Higginson’s could enroll under a banner so Bedlamite as Old Brown’s…” But of Gerrit Smith he said: “The figure he cut is still most familiar:  the self-dramatizing millionaire addicted to causes, perhaps neo-Fascist, perhaps in guilt-assuaging subsidy of movements Reddish-to-Red; only in Smith’s time the ‘down with us’ impulse took other forms.”

And Furnas noted that “Word of Harper’s Ferry sent him into an emotional panic necessitating three months in an insane asylum.” Apparently he was confined in the state asylum in Utica.

There seems to be some difference of opinion as to whether Smith was fully aware of all that Brown planned on doing at Harper’s Ferry.

At one point the Chicago Tribune claimed that Smith had full knowledge of what Brown’s plans were. Smith responded to that accusation by suing the paper for libel, while claiming that he had no such knowledge.  He claimed he only thought John Brown wanted guns so the slaves that ran away to join up with him would be able to defend themselves against any who might attack them. According to Wikipedia (which surprised me) “Smith’s claim was countered by the Tribune, which produced an affidavit , signed by Brown’s son, swearing that Smith had full knowledge of all the particulars of the plan, including the plan to instigate a slave uprising. In writing later of these events, Smith said, “That affair excited and shocked me, and a few weeks after I was taken to a lunatic asylum. From that day to this I have had but a hazy view of dear John Brown’s great work.”

Smith was more than willing to finance Brown’s terrorism, but when asked about it, he suddenly had “but a hazy view of John Brown’s great work.” They tell me pigs fly, too, but I don’t believe that anymore than I believe Gerrit Smith!

Furnas also informed us that Smith’s second wife “…joined in his espousal of the Millerite end-of-the-world craze in the mid-1840s…As  his library showed he was almost professionally religious, preaching lay sermons in local pulpits lacking ordained ministers and founding at Peterboro a free-wheeling non-denominational congregation the unspoken credo of which was that Gerrit Smith was right on any topic that interested him.”

Otto Scott, in his book The Secret Six: The Fool as Martyr has noted Gerrit Smith’s view of Christianity in this country when he counseled twenty or thirty black families that had settled on his land. According to Scott, Smith sent them all letters: “…telling them to ‘turn your backs upon American Christianity and American politics as upon the Devil himself, for he is their author.’ He was bitter against the churches for  differing  with him on various theological points and on a political issue.”

So this was where Gerrit Smith was at–dare to disagree with him and he pronounced you the devil’s spawn. A typical Yankee/Marxist attitude! Yet this attitude made him a perfect follower and financial supporter of a terrorist like Brown. Why work slowly to remove what you perceive as evils when you can finance terrorists to do it for you so much more quickly?

How much different was Gerrit Smith than some of our advocates today of the modern “peace movement” whose only solution to the world’s problems seems to be some form of redistribution of the wealth (our wealth redistributed to them and their Marxist friends).

These are the people who, for decades now, have promoted the use of the so-called “peace symbol.” After the end of the Viet Nam War this symbol kind of went out of style for awhile, but I’ve noticed of late that it seems to be making a rather startling comeback, especially on clothing for young people.

Have you ever wondered what the “peace symbol” really was? Take a good look at it. It is nothing more than a Christian cross, turned upside down with the arms on it broken–denying the power of Jesus Christ! When you get right down to it, denying the power of Jesus Christ is really what it was all about for many in Gerrit Smith’s day as well as for now. Gerrit Smith would have loved the “peace symbol.”

 

Investing Money in Treason–Part Two

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

Rev. Higginson had credentials as both a radical abolitionist and a revolutionary (and in many instances there was little difference).

Historian Otto Scott, in his book The Secret Six–the fool as martyr  revealed about Higginson that “He wanted to be seen as a man of action: not as a clergyman. In May 1857, speaking to the American Anti-Slavery Convention in New York, he made his hopes clear. ‘The question of slavery is a stern and practical one. Give us the power and we can make a new Constitution…how is that power to be obtained? By politics? Never. By revolution, and that alone’.” That statement, plus his known association with Kansas looters and socialist Forty-Eighters  has to give you some faint glimmering as to what Rev. Higginson was really all about. As a Unitarian, he was already a potential revolutionary and apostate, no matter how “civil-sounding” the media descriptions of him are. But don’t go away, folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Ann Braude, author of Radical Spirits has also  identified Higginson as one, who, with many other abolitionists, was involved in Spiritualism. On page 73 of her book she has noted  that: “Spiritualism preoccupied Garrisonians during the 1850s but elicited a wide range of responses. Many reformers believed in Spiritualism but rarely identified themselves with the movement, focusing their public activities first on abolition and second on women’s rights. This group included Garrison, Lucy Coleman, Elizabeth Buffam Chase, Betsy Mix Cowles, Thomas Wentworth Higginson…” Higginson said: “Undoubtedly the facts of Spiritualism are the most important yet launched upon the history of humanity,…But the philosophy of Spiritualism is yet to be born…” Braude informed her readers that, for all this, “Higginson found time to deliver and publish two addresses endorsing Spiritualism.” Higginson must have felt it was pretty important if he took time and trouble to publish these.

As you research this history and begin to connect the dots, you find disturbing trends that show the connections between abolitionists, socialists, Unitarians, Spiritualists, and many in the Women’s Rights movement. Not good! Yet how many of our “history” books dealing with this period bother to alert their readers to any of these connections. Don’t all trip over each other holding up your various editions!

One thing you have to say for Higginson is that he was consistent in his beliefs–in gross error, but consistent. Or you could say he was “seldom right, but never in doubt.” He was a life-long leftist radical (yes, they did exist way back then). He lived from 1823 until 1911–lots of time to do lots of damage (and he surely did). Even in his old age he continued this trend. Guess he was, at that point, too old to do anything else.

In 1906 he joined with other leftist radicals Jack London and Upton Sinclair to found the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. This socialist organization for college students eventually evolved into the Student League for Industrial Democracy–which eventually morphed into the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Anyone remember this happy little group of bomb-throwers that was so very active in the (communist) “peace movement” of the 1960s? Some of them turned into those bomb-throwers with the Molotov cocktails, the ones that were so very willing to kill for peace.

One of the better known among this “peace-loving” assembly was one William Ayres. He was a leader of the SDS in 1968-69.  He belonged to a faction of the SDS called “The Weathermen.”  According to Wikipedia, “Ayers had previously been a roommate of Terry Robbins, a fellow militant who was killed in 1970 along with Ayers’ girlfriend, Oughton and one other member in the Greenwich Village townhouse  explosion, while constructing anti-personnel bombs intended for a non-commissioned officer dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey…Later in 1969, Ayers participated in planting a bomb at a statue dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket affair…The blast broke almost 100 windows and blew pieces of the statue onto the nearby Kennedy Expressway.”

This same William Ayers, just coincidentally, happened to be a close friend of the former occupant of the White House, Comrade Barack Obama.

If anyone ever tells you that past history has no bearing on what goes on today he is either naïve, dumb, or he sincerely hopes you are.

You can trace the radicalism of Ayers and his SDS bomb-throwing buddies all the way back through the predecessors  of the SDS, right to the organization that Thomas Wentworth Higginson helped to found back in 1906. Here was a man, born in 1823, whose radicalism can be traced down through his spiritual grandchildren to our own day. Folks, please wake up and start to connect the dots!!!

Learn to ignore those who inform you that the past has no bearing on either the present or the future. As the man says “He who controls the past also controls the future.”

The Biblical admonition “study to show thyself approved…” is a true admonition. It applied to God’s Word, the Holy Bible, but it also applies to history and we have to become more aware of that, much more aware, than we presently are, especially if we are Christians.

“…Always Ready to Invest Money in Treason…”

by al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

In 1858 abolitionist/terrorist John Brown was appealing for funds for his terrorist activities. Even terrorists have to pay for the chaos they create. The subject of this article, Rev. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, noted, upon receiving Brown’s plea for funds that “I am always ready to invest money in treason, but at present have none to invest.” So, for Higginson, the treasonous intent was clearly there, even if they money to support it wasn’t.

Most who have studied our history seriously already know that, in his terrorist assault on the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia,  John Brown had the support, both moral and financial, of a group called The Secret Six. These men were very well-known and well connected Northeasterners (New England and New York) who were radical abolitionists (as opposed to common-sense abolitionists). They wanted the institution of slavery gone immediately, if not sooner, no matter what the consequences of such a rash act were, and they were willing todo, or to delegate someone else to do, whatever that took, no matter how bloody that work might become or how many might be hurt. Their “noble” ends justified their means in their own eyes. They were very typical Yankee/Marxists whether they realized that or not.

One of the most bold among them in his insistence that “It’s my way or the highway”  was our subject, Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Wikipedia has described him as “…an American Unitarian minister, author, abolitionist, and soldier. He was active in the American abolitionist movement during the 1840s and 1850s, identifying himself with disunion and militant abolitionism.” Disunion? Heavens! When the South sought disunion via legitimate secession that was supposed to be treasonous, or to be rebellion (it wasn’t). It seems, though, that Higginson’s form of disunion must have been okay because he was never castigated for it like the South was. Perhaps he was approaching it from the proper theological (Unitarian) perspective. To paraphrase–one man’s disunion may be another man’s dictatorship.

After the War of Northern Aggression was over Higginson devoted much of the remainder of his life to striving for the “rights” of slaves, women, and other “disenfranchised” groups.  In other words, he hewed to the socialist line and agenda, as his later life will reveal. When he became the pastor of the Free Church in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1852 he supported abolition, labor rights, women’s rights, along with temperance.

The group The Secret Six, of which Higginson was one, helped John Brown to raise both supplies and financial help for an intended slave revolt, to take place at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Frankly, it was a terrible place to foment a slave revolt. It was in the hill country of western Virginia and there were just not all that many slaves in that region. Brown and whoever helped him couldn’t have picked a worse place, but then, who knows if such a poor choice was coincidence or something more?

When Brown’s poorly orchestrated attempt failed and he was captured, Higginson even made plans to help him escape from custody, although the plans never panned out.

J. C. Furnas, in The Road to Harpers Ferry noted, on page 336 that “Higginson’s memoirs admitted that his boldness in rescuing slaves and backing Old Brown did not come wholly from moral conviction but from …intrinsic love of adventure…boyish desire for a stirring experience…”

After John Brown’s death, Higginson also planned to rescue those among Brown’s raiders who were still awaiting trial. He even went so far as to bring Jayhawker terrorist James Montgomery east from Kansas “to see what he could do as leader of a group of liberty-minded German exiles from the revolutions of 1848 whom Higginson had recruited.” So Higginson had recruited a batch of socialist Forty-Eighters, under Montgomery’s command, to try to break the remaining raiders out of jail. This shows that Rev. Higginson must have had contact with the socialists and Marxists that came to this country after their socialist revolts flopped in Europe. And his “recruiting” of James Montgomery is also enlightening.  Montgomery was among the most unsavory of the Kansas Jayhawkers–an outright pillager and plunderer.  Interesting that a Unitarian clergyman should be so well-acquainted with looters, thieves and socialists. Birds of a feather perhaps?

To be continued.