To the Voters of the 8th Congressional District. [opening lines of 1855 Harpers Ferry, then-Virginia Know Nothing broadside]
To the Voters of the 8th Congressional District. [opening lines of 1855 Harpers Ferry, then-Virginia Know Nothing broadside]

To the Voters of the 8th Congressional District. [opening lines of 1855 Harpers Ferry, then-Virginia Know Nothing broadside]


Over four years before John Brown’s “raid” on the Harpers Ferry armory, the town is already a fault line.

Unrecorded “Know Nothing” or American Party political broadside protesting a Cincinnati abolitionist Know Nothing newspaper, The Times, for spreading a “palpable falsehood” libeling party members employed at the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

The broadside’s 47 subscribers, all men who worked at the Armory, claim the Ohio newspaper was seeking “to influence voters in the coming election to sustain the Know-Nothing ticket.” The reference to the Cincinnati Times as an “abolition” newspaper points to a growing division among Know Nothing party members on the issue of slavery, some in favor and others opposed, specifically, as seen here, Know Nothings in the South (Virginia) separating from those in the North (Ohio).

The broadside reprints a newspaper article which reported that “[a] Lodge of Know-Nothings was instituted at Harper’s-Ferry…” and that after officials at the armory became aware of it, “…every man was told he must either leave the Armory, or leave the American Party! …[and] that these men…were compelled against their wishes…to withdraw from the organization and make a public avowal of it.”

The subscribers, the men alluded to in the article, found the allegations intolerable and insulting to them “as independent citizens of Virginia.” They here combine to address the electorate directly.

Rare. No copies in OCLC.


Description: To the Voters of the 8th Congressional District. [opening lines of 1855 Harpers Ferry, then-Virginia Know Nothing broadside]

Harpers-Ferry [then-Virginia]: np, May 21, 1855. Broadside. Approx. 9½ x 9½ inches. Wove paper; text with signatures printed in three columns. Folds and creases; some soling and foxing; small expert tissue mend at fold; very good.

[3729149]

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