"A Treasonable Organization in Hancock County."
In the Weekly Illinois State Journal, of the 7th inst., there is a most singular, infamous editorial under the above caption. The article says:
"We have reliable intelligence that there is an organized band of traitors in Hancock county, in this state, whose object it is to aid rebellion in every way in their power. The citizens of Plymouth, and other towns in that county, have organized home guards to protect themselves against the deprecations of this lawless band. The traitorous organization is said to be chiefly under the control of a pettifogging lawyer in Augusta, a cousin of the notorious Jim Green, of Missouri. The names of the leaders of this rebel crew are in the possession of our state authorities, and measures will be at once taken to bring the offenders to justice.
The leaders and members of that organization will soon find Hancock county too hot to hold them.
There is a law to reach them, and in addition to the law there is an aroused spirit of loyalty in Illinois that will not break the presence of traitors in the state, &c."
Who is the reliable informant? Pray tell us, Mr. Journal. Out with his name, that the good people of Hancock county may know who it is that thus villifies and slanders them. His informant is most likely some old, disappointed, corrupt office-seeker, who, failing to get his hand in the public treasury, is now trying his hand at misleading the public mind in regard to affairs in Hancock county. Under an ordinary state of affairs no one would care much about such a report; but at times like the present, when the whole nation is convulsed from one end to the other — at a time like the present, when every effort is being made to sustain the government under which we live — when every effort is being made to cultivate the most friendly feelings between individuals and neighborhoods and towns, and cities, and avoid, as far as far possible, all irritating discussions — when all these things are being done here in Hancock county, it is provoking to have an editor perpetrate such a foul calumny, based upon the information of some cowardly scoundrel, to gratify his personal hatred to men on political account. The information is maliciously false in every particular, and emanated from a wicked and corrupt heart, and deserves the execration of all law-abiding citizens everywhere.
"An organized band of traitors." Indeed! who are they? Name one. Are all persons dubbed traitors who do not throw up their hats and hurrah for Lincoln? If a man happens to say that Mr. Lincoln should be sustained in all his constitutional acts, and no other, that's enough. He is a traitor in some people's estimation, and his property should be confiscated at once.
Now, I not only say all this, but go farther, and say, that all good citizens of the state should obey all the laws of congress, and of the state of Illinois, as far as in their power lies, including the fugitive slave law, until they are repealed. Even that sentiment constitutes "a traitor" in the eyes of some fanatics, especially if it comes from a democrat.
"The names of this rebel crew are in the possession of the state authorities, and measures will be taken to bring the offenders to justice." I call upon the state authorities to make the names public, and by whom furnished. The miserable miscreant who would stir up strife where all is quiet should be known. "Bring the offenders to justice." What offence has been committed? by whom? to whom? when and where? Give us all, Mr. Journal, or make an honorable retraction of such foul accusations.
Now, Mr. Journal in conclusion, you say there is a law to reach them. That proposition in the abstract is right. Whenever a man violates a law give him the law in return; but you go farther, and recommend mob law. Do you, as the editors of a leading republican journal of the state, (in these "no party times,") when the whole power of the government is brought to bear against a mob, whose object is the subversion of all law and the government itself, advise a resort to mob law? If so, are you endorsed by your party, and the "state authorities," and do you call a resort to mob law a "loyal spirit"