Beecher on Practicability.
The Independent, in some comments on John Brown's movements at Harper's Ferry, observes:
"If we carefully analyze the action in the light of the hero's character and motive, we shall find that the criminal loses itself, in the erratic; that the sheer impracticability of the scheme is the real ground for its condemnation."
Such is Rev. Beecher's opinion of his "hero's character and motive"––a very natural one for the man who originally supplied old Brown with Sharp's rifles––who, in his own church, in January, 1855, started a subscription for these rifles, and said there "was a truly moral agency in them," and who, on another occasion, at New Haven, Ct., when Mary Dutton subscribed for one, Prof. Silliman another, Beecher himself becoming responsible for twenty five, and a man named Killam bidding for another, said––"Killam!"––the name is significant––who will subscribe for another?" This man, Beecher, now believes that "the sheer impracticability of Brown's scheme is the real ground for its condemnation." Had the slaves in Virginia consented to have taken and used Beecher's rifles and Brown's spears, and made a stampede through the upper and Western counties, murdering hundreds and perhaps thousands of defenceless white women and children with them, as our Northern abolitionists have always contended they would do if armed, then, in Mr. Beecher's opinion, the scheme would have been practicable, and there would have remained no "real ground for its condemnation"! Such is Beecher's morality––Sharpe's rifles, spears and bowie knives in the hands of the slaves to murder the white population of the South with, provided it is practicable to use them successfully.
"Beecher on Practicality," Grand Haven (MI) News, December 7, 1859, p. 2