I also note the term "established institutions" used as an euphemism for slavery. Placing blame on abolitionists and Henry Seward's famed "irrepressible conflict" speech was not unusual either. The reference to a "bloody drama" was rather accurate, though just how bloody it would be was something nobody could know.
The Abolition Insurrection
The Abolition insurrection at Harper's Ferry is a startling event. We have had servile insurrections in the South. These, though serious, were neighborhood affairs, confined to blacks; entered upon without a digested plan of operation, utterly hopeless in their very nature and never repeated in the same locality. The insurrection at Haroer's Ferry was altogether different and much more formidable. A band of Abolitionists, after years of cautious planning, take up their abode in a slave State. They collect together arms and other warlike munitions sufficient to equipped fifteen hundred men. - they had the countenance of prominent and wealthy antislavery agitators, North and South, send the promise of aid from a host of desperate and revengeful fugitives. So complete were their arrangements that a plan for a provisional government had been agreed upon. The movement was doubtless precipitated by the impetuous leader. The aid promised was not at hand, and this, with the prompt action of the constituted authorities, brought the insurrection to a speedy termination.
Take the affair altogether, it is one of the most daring attempts to subvert established institutions of which we have any account. It is practical Abolitionism, the result of the teachings of such men as Giddings and Garrison - the first act in the bloody drama prefigured in Seward's "irrepressible conflict."
Will thus insurrectionary movement, so villainously fearful in its arrangement, so bloody in its termination, induce the masses of the North to turn a deaf ear to the incendiary teachings of heartless demagogues and canting fanatics, and impart to all a spirit of moderation and a determination to abide by the stable shed order of things? We may at least hope that such will be the result.
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