“Now, boys, I tell you what it is. We’re Democrats. This is a fight between her and Lowrie, and we’re going to see fair play. If she licks him, let him take it. No woman is going to be mobbed in this city! So there!”
Gen. Lowrie hid an uncle who lived with him, a very eccentric, single-minded man, who was greatly distressed about the affair, and who became a messenger bent on making peace. He begged me to desist for Lowrie’s sake, that I might not drive him to cover himself with shame, and bring lasting regret. He insisted that I knew nothing of the dangers which environed me; I would be secretly murdered, with personal indignities; would be tied to a log and set afloat on the Mississippi. I had no wish to court danger—shrank from the thought of brute force; but if I let this man escape, his power, now tottering, would be re-established; slavery triumphant in the great Northwest; Minnesota confirmed a democratic strong-hold, sending delegates of dough-faces to Congress to aid in the great conspiracy against the nation’s life. So I told the messenger that I would continue to support Buchanan’s administration, that I would pile my support upon it until it broke down under the weight and sunk into everlasting infamy.
The night after I had sent this, as my final answer to the offer of leniency, the Visiter was visited by three men in the “wee sma’ hours, anent the twal,” the press broken, some of the type thrown into the river, some scattered on the road, and this note left on the table:
“If you ever again attempt to publish a paper in St. Cloud, you yourself will be as summarily dealt with as your office has been.——VIGILANCE.”
The morning brought intense excitement and the hush of a great fear. Men walked down to the bank of the great Mississippi, looked at the little wrecked office standing amid the old primeval forest, as if it were a great battle-ground, and the poor little type were the bodies of the valiant dead. They only spoke in whispers, and stood as if in expectation of some great event, until Judge Gregory arrived, and said, calmly:
“Gentlemen, this is an outrage which must be resented. The freedom of the press must be established if we do not want our city to become the center of a gang of rowdies who will drive all decent people away and cut off immigration. I move that we call a public meeting at the Stearns House this evening, to express the sentiments of the people at St. Cloud.”
This motion was carried unanimously, but very quietly, and I said:
“Gentlemen, I will attend that meeting and give a history of this affair.”
SPEAK IN PUBLIC.