By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: John Brown, Soldier of Fortune - A Critique
Author: Wilson, Hill Peebles
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "John Brown, Soldier of Fortune - A Critique" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(This file was produced from images generously made

John Brown

Soldier of Fortune

A Critique

[Illustration: John Brown]



_A Critique_




      _Mr. Vallandigham_: Mr. Brown, who sent you here?

      _John Brown_: No man sent me here; it was my own prompting
      and that of my Maker, or that of the Devil, whichever you
      please to ascribe it to. I acknowledge no master in human

                              _Post, 313_


Copyright, 1913


Copyright, 1918




The writer of this book is not an iconoclast, neither has he prejudged
John Brown. In 1859 the character was impressed upon his attention in a
personal way. An older brother, Joseph E. Wilson, was a member of the
company of marines that made the assault on the engine-house at Harper's
Ferry, on the morning of October 18th; and from him he heard the story
of the fight, and about Brown.

In 1889 the Topeka (Kansas) _Daily Capital_ took a poll of the members
of the Kansas Legislature on the question: "Who was the most
distinguished Kansan?" or something to that effect. At that time the
writer held the opinion that the public services rendered by John Brown
in Kansas Territory, were of paramount importance in the settlement of
the Free-State contention; and since the course which the nation was at
that time pursuing had been arrested by the result of that contention,
and diverted into the path which led to the marvelous achievements of
the succeeding years; he, therefore, over his signature cast his vote in
favor of John Brown; saying, among other things, in his little
panegyric, that Brown is the only Kansan whose fame was immortal.

In 1898 he reformed his opinions concerning Brown's character and
conduct, and the importance of his public services in Kansas. The change
came about through an effort on his part to write a sketch of his life
for a work entitled "Eminent Men of Kansas." In good faith, and with
much of the confidence and enthusiasm characteristic of Brown's
eulogists, he began an investigation of the available historical data
relating to the subject; when he found to his surprise, and disgust,
that the history of Brown's career contained nothing to justify the
public estimate of him.

Reporting to his associate that he would not write the sketch, he said
that he "could find but little in the record of his life which gave him
creditable distinction, and that he did not wish to write the
discreditable things about him which it contained."

Later he gathered up the threads of Brown's life and has woven them,
conscientiously, into the web of history. The story reveals little which
is creditable to Brown or worthy of emulation and much that is
abhorrent. But he indulges the hope that he has made it clear that his
conceptions of the character have not been inspired by "prejudice,"
"blind" or otherwise, for he has examined the records in the case; an
examination which has led him through all the existing testimony
concerning Brown; except, that he has not explored the writings which
have been put forth by those who have sought, viciously, to attack
Brown's character. The opinions therefore which he has set forth are
convictions resulting from serious investigation and thought.

In conclusion, the author takes great pleasure in acknowledging the deep
sense of his obligation to the late Mrs. Sara T. D. Robinson, wife of
Charles Robinson of Kansas, whose generosity, and deep interest in the
history of our country, made the publication of this book possible.

Also, he desires to express his gratitude to Dr. William Watson Davis,
of the University of Kansas, for the cordial encouragement which he
received from him while preparing the work, and for his kindly
assistance in molding the text into its present form. Also, to Dr.
William Savage Johnson, and to Professor William Asbury Whitaker, Jr.,
both of the University of Kansas, he wishes to return his thanks for
many valuable suggestions.

Lawrence, Kansas, April 15, 1913.


I THE SUBJECT MATTER                                 15

II THE MAN                                           26


IV HIS PUBLIC SERVICES                               72


VI BLACK JACK                                       135

VII OSAWATOMIE                                      154

VIII HYPOCRISY                                      181

IX A SOLDIER OF FORTUNE                             223

X THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT                        243



XIII THE FIASCO                                     296

XIV A PERVERSION OF HISTORY                         323

XV HIS GREAT ADVENTURE                              341

XVI A SOLDIER OF THE CROSS                          364

XVII "YET SHALL HE LIVE"                            395


WILDER CONCERNING JOHN BROWN                        411

WHO WITNESSED THE FIGHT                             414

OF THE UNITED STATES                                417

IV JOHN BROWN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY                       431


JOHN BROWN                                 Frontispiece

      Steel engraving made from a photograph compared with a
      photogravure. The photograph was taken about 1859. Original
      in the Kansas State Historical Society. The photogravure is
      from Mr. Oswald Garrison Villard's book: John Brown--A
      Biography Fifty Years After.

JOHN BROWN                                  facing page 98

      Steel engraving, made as above. The photograph was copied
      from a daguerreotype taken in 1856. Original in the Kansas
      State Historical Society.



_Truth, crushed to earth shall rise again;_


The object of the writer, in publishing this book, is to correct a
perversion of truth, whereby John Brown has acquired fame, as an
altruist and a martyr, which should not be attributed to him.

The book is a review of the historical data that have been collected and
published by his principal biographers: Mr. James Redpath, Mr. Frank B.
Sanborn and Mr. Oswald Garrison Villard. It is also a criticism of these
writers, who have sought to suppress, and have suppressed, important
truths relating to the subject of which they wrote, and who have
misinformed and misled the public concerning the true character of this
figure in our national history; and have established in its stead a
fictitious character, which is wholly illogical and inconsistent with
the facts and circumstances of Brown's life.

Mr. Redpath, his first and most lurid biographer, was a newspaper
correspondent of the type now generally called "yellow." He was a
"Disunionist," and seems to have been a malcontent, who went to Kansas
Territory to oppose the policy which the Free-State men had adopted for
a safe and sane solution of the Free-State problem; and who sought to
thwart their efforts to create a free state by peaceable means. He

      I believed that a civil war between the North and South
      would ultimate in insurrection and that the Kansas troubles
      would probably create a military conflict of the sections.
      Hence, I left the South, and went to Kansas; and endeavored
      personally, and by my pen, to precipitate a revolution.

After Brown's spectacular fiasco in Virginia, and tragical death, his
cultured partisans, in most conspicuous eloquence proclaimed him to have
been a philanthropist--an altruistic hero; and placed a martyr's crown
upon his brow. Mr. Redpath's purpose, in putting forth his work, was to
make Brown over to fit the part; to make his life appear to conform with
the extravagant attributes of his improvised estate. In pursuance
thereof he sought to conceal the facts concerning the actions and
purposes of his life, rather than to develop them; and to blind the
trails leading to the facts with masses of sentimental rubbish; and to
divert public attention away from them. Upon the publication of his
book, _The Public Life of Captain John Brown_, Mr. Charles Eliot Norton,
in a review of the work, expressed his disapproval of it in vigorous
language. He said:[2]

      It would be well had this book never been written. Mr.
      Redpath has understood neither the opportunities opened to
      him, nor the responsibilities laid upon him, in being
      permitted to write the "authorized" life of John Brown. His
      book, in whatever light it is viewed--whether as the
      biography of a remarkable man, as an historic narrative of
      a series of important events, or simply as a mere piece of
      literary job-work--is equally unsatisfactory....

      There never was more need for a good life of any man than
      there was for one of John Brown.... Those who thought best
      of him, and those who thought the worst, were alike
      desirous to know more of him than the newspapers had
      furnished, and to become acquainted with the course of his
      life, and the training which had prepared him for Kansas
      and brought him to Harper's Ferry. Whatever view be taken
      of his character, he was a man so remarkable as to be well
      worthy of study....

      In seasons of excitement, and amid the struggles of
      political contention, the men who use the most extravagant
      and the most violent words have, for a time, the advantage;
      but, in the long run, they damage whatever cause they may
      adopt; and the truth, which their declamations have
      obscured or their falsehoods have violated, finally asserts
      itself.... Extravagance in condemnation has been answered
      by extravagance in praise of his life and deeds.

Twenty-five years later, when Mr. Sanborn published his book, _Life and
Letters of John Brown, Liberator of Kansas, and Martyr of Virginia_, Mr.
John F. Morse, Jr., voiced the disappointment felt by discriminating
persons, in an article published in February, 1886.[3] He said:

      So grand a subject cannot fail to inspire a writer able to
      do justice to the theme; and when such an one draws Brown,
      he will produce one of the most attractive books in the
      language. But meantime the ill-starred "martyr" suffers a
      prolongation of martyrdom, standing like another St.
      Sebastian to be riddled with the odious arrows of fulsome
      panegyrists. With other unfortunate men of like stamp, he
      has attracted a horde of writers, who, with rills of
      versicles and oceans of prose, have overwhelmed his simple
      noble memory beneath torrents of wild extravagant
      admiration, foolish thoughts expressed in appropriately
      silly language, absurd adulation inducing only protest and
      a dangerous contradictory emotion. Amid this throng of ill
      advised worshippers, Mr. Sanborn, by virtue of his lately
      published biographical volume, has assumed the most
      prominent place.

Referring to the opinions expressed by these writers, Mr. Villard, in
the preface to his book, _John Brown, A Biography Fifty Years After_,
says: "Since 1886 there have appeared five other lives of Brown,[4] the
most important being that of Richard J. Hinton, who, in his preface
gloried in holding a brief for Brown and his men." Concerning his book
he says:

      The present volume is inspired by no such purpose, but is
      due to a belief that fifty years after the Harper's Ferry
      tragedy, the time is ripe for a study of John Brown, free
      from bias, from the errors of taste and fact of the mere
      panegyrist, and from the blind prejudice of those who can
      see in John Brown nothing but a criminal. The pages that
      follow were written to detract from or champion no man or
      set of men, but to put forth the essential truths of
      history as far as ascertainable, and to judge Brown, his
      followers and associates, in the light thereof. How
      successful this attempt has been is for the reader to
      judge. That this volume in no wise approaches the
      attractiveness which Mr. Morse looked for, the author fully
      understands. On the other hand no stone has been left
      unturned to make accurate the smallest detail; the original
      documents, contemporary letters and living witnesses, have
      been examined in every quarter of the United States.
      Materials never before utilized have been drawn upon, and
      others discovered whose existence has heretofore been

Under this broad pledge of personal fidelity to the subject, this
historian introduced his volume, and has asked the public to give him
its full confidence and to accept his work as a faithful and complete
record of the ascertainable truths of history relating to the subject.
For the ardor which he has exhibited, and for the great labor which he
has expended in his compilation, and for much material of minor
importance, which he has uncovered, the student of history will not fail
to acknowledge to Mr. Villard the sense of his obligation. In these
respects, and in the scholarly features characteristic of the writings,
it is an interesting and dramatic contribution to this literature. But,
he will not be stampeded by protestations of zeal, and by professions of
integrity, to accept it as a presentation of the ascertainable truth.
The work is more conspicuous for the absence from its pages of important
historical truths, and for the contradiction of others which have been
authenticated, than it is for the great volume of trivial facts which
it presents. A line of derelictions conspicuously prevailing throughout
the pages of the book, amply justify the charge that it was not written,
primarily, for an historical purpose--"to put forth the truths of
history as far as ascertainable, and to judge Brown and his followers in
the light thereof." The true purpose seems to be ulterior to that which
is effusively proclaimed in the prefatory declarations. He has written
into the history of our country a concept of the character of John Brown
which is incongruous with the actions and circumstances of Brown's
life. He has created a semi-supernatural person--"a complex
character"--embodying the virtues of the "Hebrew prophets" and
"Cromwellian Roundheads" with the depraved instincts and practices of
thieves and murderers. He presents a man who, for righteous purposes,
"violated the statute and moral laws"; whose conduct was vile, but whose
aims were pure; whose actions were brutal and criminal, but whose
motives were unselfish.

If this author had redeemed the pledge which he solemnly gave to the
public, to put forth the truths of history as far as ascertainable, and,
judging Brown and his followers in the light of them, had justified his
"terrible violation of the statute and moral laws," the nature of this
criticism would be different; it would be directed against his
discrimination or, perhaps, against his intelligence. But that is not
the case. The author referred to has sifted the truths of this history,
and from the fragments has framed an hypothetical case; and has judged
Brown and his followers in the light of that creation. "How may the
killings on the Pottawatomie, this terrible violation of the statute and
the moral law be justified? This is the question that has confronted
every student of John Brown's life since it was definitely established
that Brown was, if not actually a principal in the crime, an accessory
and an instigator,"[5] is not the language of an impartial historian;
but it is consistently the language of an advocate who writes for a
specious, for an ulterior purpose. Why should an historian seek to
justify a crime? Why should this author, if he intended to write
impartially, seek for evidence to justify this horror? It was the desire
to justify the crime that impelled the author to seek for pretexts for
justification of it among the surviving criminals, and to garble the
historical facts concerning it.

The crime was the theft of a large number of horses; to accomplish it,
and to safeguard the loot, it was necessary to kill the owners thereof.
It was a premeditation. The plans for it were laid several weeks before
it was executed, and during a time of profound peace. The principals
were John Brown; his unmarried sons; Henry Thompson, his son-in-law;
Theodore Weiner, and four confederates: Jacob Benjamin, B. L. Cochrane,
John E. Cook and Charles Lenhart, whose names are herein associated with
this crime for the first time in history. These confederates received
from Brown's party the horses which belonged to the men whom they
murdered, and ran them out of the country; leaving with Brown a number
of horses, "fast running horses," which they had stolen in the northern
part of the Territory. That is the crime which this author seeks to
justify; he has concealed these truths, and has suppressed the evidence
concerning them. Pretending to put forth the "exact facts as to the
happenings on the Pottawatomie," he has suppressed the evidence
concerning the most important of the happenings, and has added no
material fact concerning them which James Townsley had not, years
before, put forth in his confession.

The public should know that as early as April 16, 1856, John Brown and
his unmarried sons planned to abandon Kansas and the Free-State Cause
and had disbanded the Free-State company to which they belonged, the
"Liberty Guards," of which John Brown was captain; also, that the
"Pottawatomie Rifles" had been organized in its stead, with John Brown,
Jr., as captain; and that neither John Brown nor his unmarried sons
belonged to it. They were "a little company" by themselves.[6] The
public should also know that prior to that date, as early as April 7th,
Brown and the members of his little company had decided to abandon their
claims and leave the country; and further, that they desired a
recrudescence of pro-slavery atrocities. Concerning Brown's character
and his life in Kansas, as well as his relation to territorial affairs,
and a correct understanding of the Pottawatomie affair, no more
important letter was written by him than his letter of April 7th
disclosing these facts, a letter which Mr. Villard, in furtherance of
his purpose, has seen fit to sift from history and suppress. The public
has a right to know what Henry Thompson meant when he wrote in May that
"upon Brown's plans would depend his own 'until School is out.'" This
biographer, who said that he had left no stone unturned to make accurate
the smallest detail,[7] interviewed Henry Thompson, and could have
obtained from him a statement concerning the plans to which he intended
to subordinate his conduct, which involved matters of so much importance
as leaving the country. Salmon Brown and Henry Thompson could have told
this historian why the "Liberty Guards" were disbanded and the
"Pottawatomie Rifles" organized; and when, and for what purpose the
"little company of six," which intended to leave the neighborhood, was
formed; and he could have included the information in his statement of
the "exact facts." Mr. Villard says it was organized May 23d; but that
is not an "exact" statement; it is a contradiction of a statement which
John Brown made over his signature concerning it.[8] These men could
have told Mr. Villard specifically why they abandoned their claims,
whither they intended to go, and what they intended to do. And further,
they could have told him where they were, and what they were doing,
during the fifty days their "whereabouts" are by this biographer
reported as being "unknown," and their actions unaccounted for.[9]
These matters are not trifling details in this history. In view of the
author's fine panegyrics concerning Brown's devotion to the Free-State
cause, his intention to abandon it, and quit the Territory as early as
March, 1856, is of more striking consequence than his coming into it;
and the disbanding of the "Liberty Guards" in March, 1856, was an act of
greater significance than was the organization of the company in
December, 1855.

Mr. Villard's treatment of the Pottawatomie incident, "without a clear
appreciation of which a true understanding of Brown, the man, cannot be
reached,"[10] must stand as an indictment, either of his discrimination
or of the integrity of his purpose, concerning it. Not being a dull man,
he could not have been imposed upon by the participants in this riot of
robbery and blood whom he interviewed, and whose evasions he has
certified to the world as the exact facts. It was not the happenings on
the night of May 24, 1856, that determine "the degree of criminality, if
any," [mark the language, _if any_] "that should attach to Brown, for
his part in the proceedings,"[11] for they were but the execution of the
plans which had theretofore been laid for the adventure. Whatever the
circumstances of the author's dereliction may have been, the fact
remains, that the truths concerning this historical episode have been
sifted, and such documents and concurrent evidence as tend to establish
the fact that the motive for these murders was robbery, have been
consistently suppressed from his exposition of it.

Brown made no attempt to justify his conduct in the affair. He would
have acknowledged his responsibility and would have pleaded
justification for his acts, if there had been even a shadow of a pretext
for any justification; for he was shifty and crafty as well as vain; and
was sensitive concerning his reputation.[12] Not having the murdered
men's horses in his possession, he denied his complicity with the
murders, denied that he was concerned in the crime. If he had "killed
his men" (and stolen their horses) "in the conscientious belief that he
was a faithful servant of Kansas and of the Lord," as this author
asserts, he would not have denied his relationship with the Lord in the
matter, and offended Deity by persistently denying his participation in
it with Him; neither would he have abandoned Kansas and the Free-State
cause within the ensuing sixty days. Cowardly midnight robbery is
impossible of justification upon any ordinary circumstantial hypothesis;
and is preëminently so when the crime is aggravated by brutal
assassinations, such as were incidental to this wholesale theft of

The derelictions concerning the history of the Pottawatomie are
characteristic of Mr. Villard's treatment of the more vital episode of
Brown's career: his attempt to incite a revolution in the Southern
States and to establish over them the authority of a "provisional
government." This Brown planned to precipitate and accomplish by an
insurrection of the slaves, and a resulting indiscriminate assassination
of the slave-holding population: such as the people of that generation,
North and South, believed to be impending, if not imminent. This central
truth Mr. Villard denies, and seeks to substitute for Brown's
intentions, the invention that his movement was merely a transitory
raid, the forerunner of a series of similar raids to be undertaken by
"small bands hidden in the mountain fastnesses." This conception is
gratituitous and illogical; a contradiction of history and inconsistent
with the bold, intrepid, daring, courageous characteristics which he
has, except in this sole instance, consistently ascribed to Brown's

Brown's purposes, at Harper's Ferry, are logically foreshadowed by every
act of his life, beginning with March, 1857; and are written in letters
of living light in the "Constitution and Ordinances for the People of
the United States," and in "General Order, No. 1," dated:


                              "Harper's Ferry, October 10, 1859."

As in the Pottawatomie incident, and consistent with a purpose to
pervert this history, and fasten an imposition upon the public, these
two "public documents," uttered, _ex cathedra_, by John Brown, find no
place in Mr. Villard's book; they are not put forth as essential truths
of history. The general order providing for the formation of the
Provisional Army is not even remotely referred to; while the
Constitution and Ordinances are treated contemptuously, and passed over
slightingly with a few commonplace and irrelevant criticisms; and
dismissed from consideration with manifest impatience and irritation as
being so inconsistent--_not_ with Brown's purposes, but with the
author's theory of them--as to "forbid discussion."[13]

As a study of John Brown, Mr. Villard's book is misleading, and, in
places, worthless. It is a jargon of facts and fancies; a juggling with
the truths of history; a recital of the long list of Brown's minor
peculations, and the bloody deeds which accent his career, interlarded
with half-hearted denunciations of his moral obliquity and conspicuously
fulsome panegyrics upon his character, and extravagantly illogical
attributes concerning the nobility of his aims. The book seems to have
been put forth not with reference to the truth, but to ennoble an
ignoble character; to shroud the character in a mantle of mystery; to
create in the twentieth century, a "complex" character: a mystic with a
propensity to do wrong; wherein there is a compromise of virtue with
vice. To the accomplishment of this end, this author has not only bent
his energies in subordinating the truth, but, as a furtherance of his
purpose, he has deemed it necessary to pass beyond the boundaries of
historical research, and seek to strengthen his cause by inviting
discredit upon the opinions of any who may venture to dissent from his

It may not be held to be a suspicious circumstance, but it certainly is
not good form for an historian to presuppose that his statements of fact
will be disbelieved, and that the logic of his conclusions concerning
them will be challenged by any one. Nor should he seek to discredit
hypothetical opinions by the cheap, or vulgar, assertion that such
opinions have their origin in prejudice--"blind prejudice"; for jurors,
and even judges, sometimes disagree; and it is possible for persons, who
are conscientious, to receive divergent impressions in relation to the
same subject. He would have preserved a better decorum if he had relied
upon candor, and the supreme truthfulness of his narrative, and the
clearness of his reasoning, whereby to supplant disbelief with faith,
and to dispel prejudice by enlightening it.

The tree is better known by its fruits, than by any tag which the owner
may attach to the trunk. An historian who conscientiously writes the
truths of history, is not solicitous concerning the criticisms of any
who may read his lines.



_Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter
unto the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of
my Father which is in heaven._

                              --MATTHEW, 7:21

The picturesque figure which has been presented to the public as John
Brown is an historical myth--a fiction. The character, as it has been
exploited, is a contradiction of the laws that govern in human nature.
The material for it was furnished by partisans, who were unscrupulous
writers of the times of strenuous political excitement and national
unrest, in which Brown, by his deeds of violence, attracted public
attention. Following the practice of partisans, these writers wrote with
reckless disregard for the truth of their statements. Later, in the
ultimate crisis that occurred in his fortunes, he was eulogized in
surpassing eloquence by sincere people of high ideals, who were unaware
of the real character of the object of their adoration. They were not
informed concerning the criminal life which he had led, or of the
shockingly brutal crimes which he had committed; neither did they
understand that in his final undertaking he sought to involve a section
of our fair land in a carnival of rapine and bloodshed exceeding in
extent the horrors of San Domingo.[14] They were misled and were moved,
in their orations, solely by sentiment and misplaced sympathy. Instead
of a grim and unscrupulous soldier of fortune, leading a band of
desperate men in an effort to unloose in the Slave States the demon of
insurrection, they could see in him only a religious devotee, whom
their imaginations had created; whose life they believed had been a
devotion to deeds of charity and benevolence; who for years had been the
especial champion of the slave; and whose work in Kansas had been, as in
the existing crisis, an heroic and consistent consecration to duty. This
man now awaited execution for his immutability to a great cause. He
appeared to them to be a reincarnation of the virtuous primitive
Christian--an altruistic hero--who, willing to die for his convictions,
had "dared the unequal"; and, after battling heroically, though vainly,
for humanity, had offered himself a sacrifice, making "the gallows
glorious like the cross." These original laudations attracted, as Mr.
Morse has stated, a "horde of writers, who, with rills of versicles and
oceans of prose have overwhelmed his memory beneath torrents of wild
extravagant admiration."

Many persons therefore believe Brown to have been an exceptional person,
a man of deep religious fervor, of unimpeachable veracity and of the
strictest integrity. But a careful study of his life, as revealed by
himself, and as it has been written by his personal friends and his
friendly biographers, may well result in a different interpretation of
the man's character and actions.

John Brown was born at Torrington, Connecticut, May 9, 1800; but he was
not, as he claimed to be, "the sixth descendant of Peter Browne of the
Mayflower." The Peter Brown to whom John Brown's ancestry has been
traced, was born in Windsor, Connecticut, in 1632, as Mr. Villard shows
in very scholarly fashion.[15] The Peter Browne of the Mayflower left no
male issue; nor does John Brown's name appear upon the rolls of the
"Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants."[16] His grandfather
was a captain in the Eighteenth Connecticut Infantry, in the
Revolutionary Army. The father of John Brown--Owen Brown--was a
faithful, industrious citizen who for a livelihood followed the
occupation of shoemaker, tanner, and farmer. John learned the tannery
trade and began work when he was fifteen, and for the greater part of
the ensuing five years was employed as a foreman in his father's factory
at Hudson, Ohio.

On June 21, 1820, he was married to Miss Dianthe Lusk, the daughter of
his housekeeper. She became the mother of seven children; one of
whom--Frederick--was killed at Osawatomie. Her death occurred August 10,
1832; three days after the birth of a son; mother and son being buried
together. A second marriage was contracted on July 11, 1833, his bride
being Miss Mary Anne Day, daughter of Charles Day of Whitehall, New
York. Thirteen children were born of this union; seven of whom died in
early childhood; two--Watson and Oliver--were killed at Harper's Ferry.

As a tanner, at Hudson, Brown was successful, but he gave up his
business there and moved to Richmond, Pennsylvania, in May, 1825, where
he established a tannery. He was appointed postmaster at Richmond in
1828, and held the office until he moved to Franklin Mills, Ohio, in
1835. He left Richmond "because of financial distress."[17] At Franklin
Mills, he secured a contract for building the Ohio and Pennsylvania
Canal from there to Akron. The next year, he undertook some speculations
in real estate, and in company with a Mr. Thompson, borrowed $7,000 with
which to buy a tract of one hundred acres, for an "addition to
Franklin." During the same year, he, with others, organized the Franklin
Land Company, and purchased the water power, mills, lands, etc., in both
the "upper" and "lower" Franklin villages, combining the two water
powers at a central town-site, which he and his associates laid out.[18]
In these, and other schemes, Brown became so deeply involved that he
failed during the bad times of 1837; lost nearly all his property by
assignment to his creditors, and was then not able to pay all his debts,
some of which were never liquidated. His father also lost heavily
through him.[19]

His failure in business should not of itself count against him, but some
of the methods which he employed to extricate himself from his financial
embarrassment, were of a most fraudulent and criminal character. July
11, 1836, he applied to Heman Oviatt and others, to become security for
him on a note for $6,000 to the Western Reserve Bank. The note was not
paid, and the bank got judgment against the makers in May, 1837. August
2d, the judgment debtors gave a joint judgment bond for the amount of
the judgment against them, payable in sixty days. The bond not being
paid, the bank sued again, and Oviatt had to pay the bank in full. The
nature of the wrong done to Mr. Oviatt by Brown is described by Mr.
Villard on pages 37 and 38. He relates that at the time of this
transaction, Brown had a "penal bond of conveyance," but not the title,
for a piece of property known as "Westlands," which he assigned to
Oviatt, as collateral for Oviatt's having endorsed the judgment bond to
the bank. When the deed to the Westlands property was duly given to
Brown, he recorded it, without notifying Oviatt of this action. Later,
he mortgaged the property to two men, again without the knowledge of
Heman Oviatt. Meanwhile, Daniel G. Gaylord had recovered a judgment
against Brown in another transaction, and to satisfy it caused the sale
of Westlands by the sheriff. By collusion with Brown, the property was
bought in at the sale, by his friend, a former business associate, Amos
P. Chamberlain. Oviatt "brought suit to have the sale of Westlands to
Chamberlain set aside as fraudulent, but the Supreme Court of Ohio held
that Chamberlain had a rightful title, and dismissed the suit. John
Brown himself was not directly sued by Oviatt, being, to use a lawyer's
term, 'legally safe' throughout the entire transaction.... Even after
this lapse of years his action in secretly recording the transfer of the
land, and then mortgaging it, bears an unpleasant aspect."[20]
Meanwhile, the parties to the fraud upon Oviatt quarreled. Brown refused
to give up occupation of the land to Chamberlain; assuming that
Chamberlain had not treated him fairly in the matter; and held
possession of the property, in "a shanty on the place, by force of arms,
until compelled to desist by the sheriff...." Finally, the sheriff
arrested Brown and two sons, John and Owen, who were thereupon placed in
the Akron jail. Chamberlain, having destroyed the shanty which Brown had
occupied, and obtained possession of the land, allowed the case to drop,
and Brown and his sons were released.[21] Mr. Sanborn, on page 55,
disposes of the matter in this way:

      The affair is explained by his son John as follows: "The
      farm father lost by endorsing a note for a friend. It was
      attached and sold by the Sheriff at the County seat. The
      only bidder against my father was an old neighbor, hitherto
      regarded as a friend, who became the purchaser. Father's
      lawyer advised him to hold the fort for a time at least,
      and endeavor to secure terms from the purchaser. There was,
      as I remember, an old shot gun in the house, but it was not
      loaded nor pointed at any one. No Sheriff came on the
      premises; no officer or posse was resisted; no threat of
      violence offered."

Brown was not so staid and prosaic in his daily walk and conversation as
to be indifferent to the sports and amusements of life. He seems to have
been simply an active man of the world, getting as much worldly
enjoyment for himself out of his environment as possible. He was a
horseman with a fancy for horse racing; and while at Franklin, indulged
in the very interesting and sportsmanlike business, or diversion, of
breeding "fast running horses for racing purposes." He bred from a well
known horse of that time called "Count Piper"; and the name of another
favorite sire was "John McDonald." He is said to have dismissed
criticism of his conduct from a moral point of view, by the argument
that "if he did not breed them some one else would."[22]

From 1837 to 1841 Brown lived alternately at Franklin, and at Hudson,
Ohio. In 1838 he became a "drover," and drove cattle from Ohio to
Connecticut. In this business he had trouble with his associates,
Tertius Wadsworth and Joseph Wells, who furnished the capital; and was
sued by them for an accounting.[23] In December, 1838, "he negotiated
for the agency of a New York Steel Scythes house." And in January, 1839,
he made his first venture in sheep, at West Hartford, Connecticut. He
brought the sheep to Albany by boat, and drove them from there to Ohio.
In June of that year he made his final drive to the east with cattle,
and, while at New Hartford, committed a crime of unusual enormity. It
appears that he proposed to the New England Woolen Company, of
Rockville, Connecticut, to act as its agent in buying wool, and induced
it to intrust to him $2,800 with which to begin purchasing the wool. The
negotiations for this money were a deception throughout, in pursuance of
theft. Brown did not intend to buy any wool with the money which he
sought to have intrusted to his keeping for that purpose; but did intend
to convert it to his own use--to make "a much brighter day" in his
affairs. He also deceived his wife, whom he caused to believe that he
was trying to secure a loan. Nor did he hesitate to have the crime,
which he was committing, called to the attention of the God whom he
pretended to serve, but asked her to ask "God's blessing" upon him in
his pursuit of this purpose. Greater hypocrisy and depravity hath no man
than this. The letter which he wrote to his wife in relation to the
transaction is as follows:[24]

                              New Hartford, 12th June, 1839.


      I write to let you know that I am in comfortable health,
      and that I expect to be on my way home in the course of a
      week should nothing befall me. If I am longer detained I
      will write you again. The cattle business has succeeded
      about as I expected, but I am now somewhat in fear that I
      shall fail in getting the money I expected on the loan.
      Should that be the will of Providence I know of no other
      way but we must consider ourselves very poor for our debts
      must be paid, if paid at a sacrifice. Should that happen
      (though it may not) I hope God who is rich in mercy, will
      grant us all grace to conform to our circumstances with
      cheerfulness and resignation. I want to see each of my dear
      family very much but must wait God's time. Try all of you
      to do the best you can, and do not one of you be
      discouraged--tomorrow may be a much brighter day. Cease not
      to ask God's blessing on yourselves and me. Keep this
      letter wholly to yourselves, excepting that I expect to
      start home soon, and that I did not write confidently about
      my success should any one enquire. Edmond is well and Owen
      Mills. You may show this to father but to no one else.

      I am not without great hopes of getting relief, I would not
      have you understand, but things have looked more
      unfavorable for a few days. I think I shall write you again
      before I start.

      Earnestly commending every one of you to God, and to his
      mercy, which endureth forever, I remain your affectionate
      husband and father,
                              JOHN BROWN.

This beautiful letter, written to his wife in relation to the
prosecution of a criminal design, stands as a _study_ of John Brown
which the student may well contemplate with profit. It is written in
the attractive style, and in the spiritual language characteristic of
Brown's correspondence. It is strikingly similar to the letters that he
gave out from the Charlestown jail, which, in their apparently
devotional simplicity, and humble sincerity and trust in the mercy of
God, won for him there his "victory over death." This letter was a
dissimulation, the proof of which lies in the consummation of the
negotiations for the money; and in the appropriation of it to his own
use, at a time when he was hopelessly involved. It is a real key to the
history of his life; it discloses his true character, and shatters to
fragments every hypothesis that Brown was either sincere, devout, or

"Three days after the receipt of this letter," Mr. Villard relates,
"Brown received from the New England Woolen Company at Rockville, Conn.,
twenty-eight hundred dollars, through its agent George Kellogg, for the
purchase of wool, which money, regretfully enough, he pledged for his
own benefit and was then unable to redeem. Fortunately for him the
Company exercised leniency toward him."[25] Later it permitted him to go
through bankruptcy, upon the condition that he would endeavor to repay
the money. Brown's letter in acknowledgment of the "great kindness" to
him therein, is as follows:[26]

                              Richfield, Octo. 17, 1842.

      Whereas I, John Brown, on or about the 15th day of June
      1839, received from the New England Company (through their
      Agent George Kellogg, Esq.) the sum of twenty-eight hundred
      dollars for the purchase of wool for said Company, and
      imprudently pledged the same for my own benefit, and could
      not redeem it; and whereas I have been legally discharged
      from my obligations by the laws of the United States--I
      hereby agree in consideration of the great kindness and
      tenderness of said Company toward me in my calamity, and
      more particularly of the moral obligation I am under to
      render them their due, to pay the same and interest
      thereon, from time to time, as Divine Providence shall
      enable me to do. Witness my hand and seal.

                              JOHN BROWN.

To Mr. Kellogg, agent for the woolen company, he wrote:

                Richfield, Summit County, Ohio, Octo. 17, 1842.

      George Kellogg, Esq.

      Dear Sir--I have just received information of my final
      discharge as a bankrupt in the District Court, and I ought
      to be grateful that no one of my creditors has made any
      opposition to such discharge being given. I shall now if my
      life is continued, have an opportunity of proving the
      sincerity of my past professions, when legally free to act
      as I choose. I am sorry to say that in consequence of the
      unforeseen expense of getting the discharge, the loss of an
      ox, and the destitute condition in which a new surrender of
      my effects has placed me, with my numerous family, I fear
      this year must pass without my effecting in the way of
      payment what I have encouraged you to expect
      (notwithstanding I have been generally prosperous in my
      business for the season).

                              Respectfully your unworthy friend,

                              JOHN BROWN.

To Mr. Villard the public owes its obligation for the quite complete
history of this transaction. Mr. Sanborn, in his record of it, saw fit
to suppress the letter of June 12, 1839. He, evidently, garbled the
correspondence relating to this criminal incident in Brown's life, with
the intention of practicing a deception upon the public. Commenting upon
the two letters of October 17, 1842, he said:[27]

      These papers show the real integrity of Brown, in a
      transaction in which he might have escaped the obligation
      which he thus assumed.

That Brown promised restitution of the money herein, as a means to
forestall criminal proceedings against him; and gave the above
acknowledgment of the debt, and renewed promise to pay, as a condition
precedent to being permitted to go into the court of bankruptcy, is
evident from the two preceding letters. It is also apparent from his
letter to Mr. Kellogg, that he did not intend to fulfill the promises he
had made. At his death, "this debt, like many others, was still unpaid,"
notwithstanding the fact that two years after his proceedings in
bankruptcy he became prosperous, "with the most trying financial periods
of his life behind him."[28]

With money in his pocket wherewith to commence life anew, Brown
conceived the idea of leaving that part of the country and settling in
Virginia, upon land[29] belonging to Oberlin College. He probably
obtained information concerning the land from his father, who was a
trustee of the college. On April 1, 1840, he appeared before a committee
of the trustees, and opened negotiations with it for an agreement to
survey the Virginia land, and to purchase some of it. Two days later he
submitted a proposal "to visit, survey and make the necessary
investigation respecting the boundaries, etc. of these lands, for one
dollar per day, and a modest allowance for necessary expenses." He also
stated that this was to be a preliminary step towards locating thereon,
with his family, "should the opening prove a favorable one," and in the
event of his so locating, he was to receive one thousand acres of the
land. The trustees promptly accepted his offer, and the treasurer was
ordered to furnish him with "a Commission and Needful outfit,"[30] which
was done the same day. He immediately proceeded to Virginia and entered
upon his duties. April 27th he wrote to his wife from Ripley, Virginia:

      I have seen the spot where, if it be the will of Providence, I
      hope one day to live with my family.

July 14, 1840, he filed his report, and on August 11th he was notified
that the prudential committee of the trustees had been authorized by the
board to "perfect negotiations, and convey to Brother John Brown, of
Hudson, Ohio, one thousand acres of our Virginia land, on conditions
suggested in the correspondence between him and the committee." Replying
to the letter January 2, 1841, he wrote:

      ... I feel prepared to say definitely that I expect,
      Providence willing, to accept the proposal of your
      Board.... I shall expect to receive a thousand acres of
      land in a body, that will include a living spring of water
      discharging itself at a height sufficient to accommodate a
      tannery as I shall expect to pursue that business on a
      small scale if I go....

The trustees meanwhile, for reasons which have not been made public,
changed their minds on the subject, and Brown's letter to their Mr.
Burnell of February 5, 1841, reaffirming his intention to accept the
land, as proposed, was never answered.[31]

Failing in his effort to establish himself in Virginia, he engaged in
the sheep raising industry, in the spring of 1841, in company with
Captain Oviatt, at Richfield, Ohio. He was successful and "gradually
became known as a winner of prizes for sheep, and cattle at the annual
fairs, in Summit County." By 1844 he had gained the reputation of a
successful wool grower, and in that year formed "a partner-ship with
Simon Perkins, Jr. of Akron, Ohio, with a view to carry on the sheep
business extensively."[32] He moved to Akron April 10th of that year.
Concerning his home at Akron, Mr. Villard says:

      They occupied a cottage on what is still known as Perkins
      Hill, near Simon Perkins own home, with an extensive and
      charming view over hill and dale--an ideal sheep country,
      and a location which must have attracted any one save a
      predisposed wanderer.

Two years later it was decided to establish a headquarters at
Springfield, Massachusetts. There Brown went "to reside as one of the
firm of Perkins and Brown, agents of the sheep-farmers and wool
merchants in northern Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia, whose
interests then required an agency to stand between them and the wool
manufacturers of New England, to whom they sold their fleeces."[33]

Of this arrangement Mr. Villard says on page 35: "John Brown was within
bounds in thus exulting; even though the Perkins partner-ship resulted
eventually in severe losses and dissolution. At least it was a
connection with a high minded and prosperous man, and it lasted ten
years. When it was over, the partners were still friends, but Mr.
Perkins did not retain a high opinion of John Brown's ability or
sagacity as a business man." Mr. Sanborn states on page 57, that when
Mr. Perkins was questioned by him, in 1878, about Brown's wool growing
and wool dealing, he replied: "The less you can say about them the

As to the business, there seems to have been trouble from the
commencement of it. Mr. Villard says on page 60: "Moreover some
customers had just grievances, for the letter book contains far too many
apologies for failure to acknowledge letters and shipments, and to make
out accurate accounts, for so young a firm."

In August, 1849, Brown made his historic trip to London to superintend,
personally, the sale of wool, which he had shipped to that market,
because he could not obtain prices that were satisfactory to him from
the manufacturers of woolens in his home market. The amount of wool so
consigned was about two hundred thousand pounds. The Northampton Woolen
Mills Company of Northampton, Massachusetts, had bid sixty cents a pound
for this wool at Springfield. In London, September 17th, a lot of one
hundred and fifty bales of it was sold for twenty-six to twenty-nine
cents per pound. The buyer was the "Northampton Woolen Mills Co., of
Mass., U. S. A."[34] Brown returned home in October "bringing back with
him the portion of the wool which he had been unable to sell. The loss
on this venture was probably as high as $40,000."[35] The firm of
Perkins and Brown then began proceedings in liquidation, which had been
under consideration for some time before Brown made the trip to Europe.
The losses sustained by the company were upon a large scale. Suits
against them were brought for more than one hundred thousand

In 1850 Brown contemplated engaging in the manufacture of wine upon a
large scale; and on December 4th, wrote to his sons to send him some
samples of the wines they had made. He said: "I want Jason to obtain
from Mr. Perkins, or anywhere he can get them, two good Junk bottles,
have them thoroughly cleaned, and filled with cherry wine, being very
careful not to roil it up before filling the bottles,--providing good
corks, and filling them perfectly full. These I want him to pack safely
in a very small strong box, which he can make, direct them to Perkins &
Brown, Springfield, Mass., and send them by express. We can affect
something to purpose by producing unadulterated domestic wines. They
will command great prices."[37]

In 1846, Gerrit Smith, a wealthy philanthropist of Peterboro, New York,
set aside one hundred and twenty thousand acres of his large estate in
northern New York, to be divided up into farms, and given, without
charge, to worthy colored people who would settle upon them and improve
them for their permanent homes. Brown heard of this proposition in
course of time, and made a proposal to Mr. Smith to settle among the
negroes on these lands, and aid them by precept and example in their
efforts at home building. In consideration of this, it is probable that
Brown secured title to some land on equal terms with the negroes, and
possibly secured options on other tracts, at satisfactory prices and
terms of payment. His experience with the Oberlin College people in
relation to the Virginia lands, heretofore referred to, was probably of
service to him in this transaction with Smith. The tracts which he
selected were at Timbuctoo, or North Elba, and in the spring of 1849 he
located his family upon the land; but in March, 1851, moved back to
Akron. Brown himself did not go to North Elba to live. His time was
taken up in liquidating the tangled affairs of Perkins and Brown, and
with the extensive litigation involved in the settlement of them.

Litigation seems to have been a constant and conspicuous feature of
Brown's commercial life. Mr. Villard says[38] that "on the records of
the Portage County Court of Common Pleas are no less than twenty-one
lawsuits in which John Brown figured as defendant during the years 1820
to 1845. Of these, thirteen were actions brought to recover money loaned
on promissory notes either to Brown singly or in company with others.
The remaining suits were mostly claims for wages, or payments due, or
for nonfulfillment of contracts.... In ten other cases he was
successfully sued and judgments were obtained against him individually
or jointly with others. In three cases those who sued him were
non-suited as being without real cause for action, and two other cases
were settled out of court. Four cases Brown won, among them being a suit
for damages for false arrest and assault and battery, brought by an
alleged horse thief, because Brown, and other citizens, had aided a
constable in arresting him. A number of these suits grew out of Brown's
failure in his real estate speculations. A serious litigation was an
action brought by the Bank of Wooster to recover on a Bill of Exchange,
drawn by Brown and others, on the Leather Manufacturers Bank of New
York, and repudiated by that institution on the ground that Brown and
his associates had no money in the bank. During the suit the amount
claimed was rapidly reduced, and when the judgment was rendered against
him it was for $917.65.... In 1845 Daniel C. Gaylord, who several times
had sued Brown, succeeded in compelling him and his associates to convey
to him certain Franklin lands, which they had contracted to sell, but
the title for which they refused to convey. The court upheld Gaylord's
claim. The only case in which Brown figured as plaintiff was settled out
of court." This is consistently a bad record.

The year 1854 brought the settlement of Kansas to the front and the
wrecked and practically penniless Browns decided to emigrate to the new
Territory. Not with the "ax and gun" went they, as will be seen, but
with the ax, and with the hope of bettering their condition. The
necessity for the gun was developed later--in 1855--and by the
Free-State men who had preceded the Browns into the Territory.

It seems the family planned to establish a little colony or group of
farms--"Brownsville"--and that while the sons were to be engaged in
opening up the farms, the father would try to earn some money in
surveying, which would be a very grateful and necessary assistance to
them while struggling with the many discouraging incidents which usually
befell the impecunious preëmptor. That such were their conclusions
appears from a letter which Brown wrote February 13, 1855, to Mr. John
W. Cook, of Wolcottville, Connecticut. He said:[39] "Since I saw you I
have undertaken to direct the operations of a Surveying & exploring
party, to be employed in Kansas for a considerable time perhaps for some
Two or Three years; & I lack for time to make all my arrangements, and
get on the ground in season." In pursuance of his intention to move to
Kansas, he relocated with his family on the North Elba farm.

This review of Brown's career discloses a life spent, thus far, in a
series of strenuous struggles with various problems, covering a wide
range in the field of commercial activity. All his efforts had ended in
disappointment and failure. The removal to North Elba marks his
retirement, in defeat, from the world of trade, and finds him, as the
result of his failures, living with his dependent family upon a small
tract of mountain land, of little value, that had been given to him as a
condition of his settlement thereon. They had "moved into an unplastered
four-room house, the rudest kind of a pioneer home, built for him by his
son-in-law, Henry Thompson, who had married his daughter Ruth."[40]

What Brown's religious belief was is problematical. He was a student of
the Bible, and, as he said, "possessed a most unusual memory of its
entire contents." The Book, as a whole, was his creed, and upon its
teachings he placed his personal interpretations. He spoke and wrote,
when he so desired, in its phraseology; and by this distinction, in
contradiction of the character of his actions, he gained a reputation
for being a Christian. He may have been a Presbyterian, as has been
said; or he may have been a Methodist, as has also been stated; and
there is equal authority for the statement that he belonged to the
Congregational church; but, it would seem that if he had been a
consistent member of _any_ of these churches, his historic name would
have been proudly borne upon the rolls of membership, in the
congregations to which he belonged; and the fact of his membership
therein clearly established. It would further seem that he would have
stated the fact of such membership in connection with what he did say,
in 1857, in relation to his religious experience. It appears however,
that while assuming to believe firmly in the divine authenticity of the
Bible, he had become only to "some extent a convert to Christianity."
There is no evidence that he ever attended public worship in Kansas, or
at any place during the latter years of his life, or that he engaged in
prayer. Also, it would seem, that if he had been "a student at
Morris Academy" in either 1816 or 1819, as a preparation for
college--Amherst--with an ultimate purpose so creditable as "entering
the ministry," he would have referred to the fact, incidentally at
least, in his _Autobiography_, which treats specifically of his

The Rev. H. D. King of Kinsman, Ohio, met Brown frequently at Tabor,
Iowa, during August and September, 1857. He probably regarded him as an
infidel, but did not wish to say so. "He was rather skeptical, I think,"
he said; "not an infidel, but not bound by creeds. He was somewhat
cranky on the subject of the Bible as he was on that of killing
people."[42] In the last letter which Brown wrote to his family,
November 30, 1859, two days before his execution, he said:[43]

      I must yet insert the reason for my firm belief in the
      Bible, notwithstanding I am, perhaps, naturally
      skeptical--certainly not credulous.... It is the purity of
      heart, filling our minds as well as work and actions, which
      is everywhere insisted on, that distinguishes it from all
      other teachings, that commends it to my conscience....

The late Mr. George B. Gill of Kansas, who was a member of Brown's
cabinet--secretary of the treasury--said of him: "He was very human. The
angel wing's were so dim and shadowy as to be almost unseen."

Brown's younger sons were infidels. They had "discovered the Bible to be
all fiction."[44] To the Sabbath day and its sanctity, he was
indifferent. In violation of the stricter conventions, which prevailed
at that time, concerning the observance of it as "Holy unto the Lord,"
he committed the principal crimes incident to his career, wholly or in
part, on the Sabbath. A part of the murders and thefts on the
Pottawatomie were committed on Sunday morning, May 25, 1856. Returning
to Kansas from Nebraska City (August 9th and 10th) half the journey was
made on Sunday, August 10th. "On August 24," 1856 (Sunday), "the Brown
and Cline companies set out for the South, marching eight miles and
camping on Sugar Creek."[45] Sunday night, October 16, 1859, was the
time fixed for the insurrection of the slaves to occur, and on that
night, in pursuance of his plans, he occupied Harper's Ferry.

Brown was averse to military operations, and military affairs. He
refused to drill with the local militia, paying the fines instead, which
were imposed by law for such delinquencies. In political matters he
affiliated with the Abolitionists, or with those of the party who were

The statements which have been put forth in support of the assumption
that Brown's life was a devotion to the Anti-Slavery cause--a series of
abnormal activities in opposition to slavery--are not confirmed, nor can
they be justified by any contemporaneous evidence. For notwithstanding
the persistent, if not offensive, insistence of his biographers to the
contrary; and the pages without number which have been written in
support of such insistence, the record of his life is practically
barren in relation to the subject. There is not a scrap of concurrent
evidence which, even remotely, suggests that prior to 1855 he might have
taken more than a most ordinary interest in securing freedom for the
slaves. Even in his letter of that year to Mr. John W. Cook (_note_ 40),
informing him of his intention to go to Kansas, and of his motive for
going thereto, he made no reference to the subject whatever. A statement
of everything which Brown did, or that he attempted to do up to that
year, in opposition to slavery, may be republished in this book without
encumbering its pages. It will therefore be given.

In 1857, after Brown had ceased to be a non-resistant, and was in the
East professionally advocating war in Kansas; he wrote that during the
late war with England an incident "occurred that made him a most
determined Abolitionist: & led him to declare or _Swear_: _Eternal war_
with Slavery." But Mr. Villard, having the infant Pardigles prodigy in
mind, makes the point that "the oaths of a lad of such tender years do
not often become the guiding force of maturity." A Mr. Blakesley, with
whom Brown, before his marriage, kept bachelor's hall, relates that one
evening a runaway slave came to their door, and asked for food, which
was given him freely. John Brown, Jr., relates the same, or a similar,
incident as occurring eight years later. The dramatic settings in each
case are practically similar: Night! Sound of horses' feet approaching!
Flight of fugitive, or fugitives, into the adjacent timber! False alarm!
Subsequent search for, and locating of the fugitive "by the sound of the
beating of his heart!" Finale: "Brown swears eternal enmity to
slavery!"[47] Both of the tales are of the legendary type common to
Brown literature. Mr. Blakesley's story is probably in part true, but
whether either of them, or both of them, be true is without
significance. It would indeed have been difficult to find a person
living in the North at that time, who would have refused a poor
fugitive slave the measure of assistance asked for in this case.

On another occasion Brown is represented as taking the members of his
family into his confidence, and enlisting them for life in the "eternal
war" which he is said to have been personally waging; taking the
precaution to swear them to secrecy. Jason Brown states that they were
"merely sworn to do all in their power to abolish slavery," and does not
use the word "force."[48] But as related by John Brown, Jr., the
occasion was much more dramatic and far reaching. He says:[49]

      It is, of course, impossible for me to say when such idea
      and plan first entered his (John Brown's) mind and became a
      purpose; but I can say with certainty that he first
      informed his family that he entertained such purpose while
      we were yet living in Franklin, O. (now called Kent), and
      before he went to Virginia, in 1840, to survey the lands
      which had been donated by Arthur Tappan to Oberlin College;
      and this was certainly as early as 1839. The place and the
      circumstances where he first informed us of that purpose
      are as perfectly in my memory as any other event in my
      life. Father, mother, Jason, Owen and I were, late in the
      evening, seated around the fire in the open fire-place of
      the kitchen, in the old Haymaker house where we then lived;
      and there he first informed us of his determination to make
      war on slavery--not such war as Mr. Garrison informs us
      "was equally the purpose of the non-resistant
      abolitionists," but war by force and arms. He said that he
      had long entertained such a purpose--that he believed it
      his duty to devote his life, if need be, to this object,
      which he made us fully to understand. After spending
      considerable time in setting forth in most impressive
      language the hopeless condition of the slave, he asked who
      of us were willing to make common cause with him in doing
      all in our power to "break the jaws of the wicked and pluck
      the spoil out of his teeth," naming each of us in
      succession. Are you, Mary, John, Jason, and Owen?
      Receiving an affirmative answer from each, he kneeled in
      prayer, and all did the same. This posture in prayer
      impressed me greatly as it was the first time I had ever
      known him to assume it. After prayer he asked us to raise
      our right hands, and he then administered to us an oath,
      the exact terms of which I cannot recall, but in substance
      it bound us to secrecy and devotion to the purpose of
      fighting slavery by force and arms to the extent of our

Referring to this incident Mr. Villard says:[50] "It must be noted here
that in this letter John Brown, Jr., gives the date of the oath as 1839;
in his lengthy affidavit in the case of Gerrit Smith against the Chicago
_Tribune_, he gave the date as 1836, three years earlier, and in an
account given in Mr. Sanborn's book he placed it at 1837; three distinct
times for the same event. It can, therefore, best be stated as occurring
before 1840."

In the opinion of the writer, it could, perhaps, "best be stated" as not
having occurred at all. As has been heretofore stated, Brown was at that
time a non-resistant, and there is no concurrent evidence that he
treasured a thought of using force against slavery until after Robinson
suggested it by arming the Free-State men in Kansas in the spring of
1855. The incident may therefore be considered as apocryphal. It is a
part of the mass of legendary literature that has overwhelmed Brown's
"simple, noble memory."

The improvisation of these two incidents, shows the strait in which John
Brown, Jr., was placed, when called upon, by Mr. Sanborn, to narrate
some of the incidents occurring in the course of his father's
anti-slavery activities. There being none, nothing whatever to tell, he
filched the Blakesley incident and related it as one occurring under his
personal observation, and put it forth along with the fiction concerning
the dramatic function just related, to relieve himself from an
embarrassing situation.

In a letter written nearly twenty years after the Blakesley incident is
said to have occurred, Brown disclosed the character of the "eternal
war" which he really proposed to wage, if any, against slavery. It was
to "get at least one negro boy or youth and bring him up as we do our
own,--give him a good English education, learn him what we can about the
history of the world, about business, about general subjects, and, above
all, try to teach him the fear of God." In the same letter he seeks to
interest his brother--Frederick--in a school for blacks which he wanted
to open at Randolph. He thought "if the young blacks of our country
could once become enlightened, it would most assuredly operate on
slavery like firing powder confined in a rock." Incidentally, he
intended to own the school, and thought it would pay.[51]

While the suggestion to attack slavery in the manner outlined in this
letter is the first recorded movement, or act of aggression, in the much
talked of eternal war; and while it may be regarded as a sort of opening
gun; though not a loud one, the proposal contained therein may be
considered merely as being a commercial venture, for pecuniary profit,
that he desired to engage in, rather than as a scheme in negro
philanthropy. He thought the venture would be profitable, and offered to
divide the profits arising from it with his brother upon terms that
"shall be fair." Also it may be stated that at the time he made this
proposal he was in the toils of insolvency. Six months later he left
Randolph in straitened circumstances. It is therefore probable that he
was moved to suggest the opening of a school for blacks by personal
considerations, and that but for such reasons the letter containing the
proposal would not have been written.

In 1848, while a resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, Brown wrote
some articles reflecting upon the negro character; criticising negroes
because of their vanity and shiftlessness. They were written under the
caption: "Sambo's Mistakes," and were published in the _Ram's Horn_, a
newspaper conducted by negroes, in New York. They do not relate to

In 1850 he made the first, and, it may be said, the only noticeable
effort in behalf of the anti-slavery cause, that is recorded of him
prior to 1854. The Fugitive Slave Law, enacted by the Thirty-first
Congress, provided for the use of all the forces of the Department of
Justice, to effect the arrest of fugitives from slavery, and the
restoration of them to their masters. Brown conceived the idea of
uniting the free negroes and fugitive slaves in an organization to
resist the enforcement of the provisions of this law. The society was to
be called "The United States League of Gileadites." The plan failed; the
enrollment so far as known was confined to the Springfield,
Massachusetts, branch, which numbered fifty-three members.[53] But the
activities therein undertaken were strictly defensive in their
character; they were not directed against slavery, but for the personal
protection of fugitive slaves and free negroes living in the Northern
States. His letter of advice to the Gileadites is, in part, as


      "Union is Strength"

      Nothing so charms the American people as personal bravery.
      Witness the case of Cinques, of everlasting memory, on
      board the "Amistad." The trial for life of one bold and to
      some extent successful man, for defending his rights in
      good earnest, would arouse more sympathy throughout the
      nation than the accumulated wrongs and sufferings of more
      than three millions of our submissive colored population.
      We need not mention the Greeks struggling against the
      oppressive Turks, the Poles against Russia, nor the
      Hungarians against Austria and Russia combined, to prove
      this. _No jury can be found in the Northern States that
      would convict a man for defending his rights to the last
      extremity. This is well understood by Southern Congressmen,
      who insisted that the right of trial by jury should not be
      granted to the fugitive._ Colored people have ten times the
      number of fast friends among the whites than they suppose,
      and would have ten times the number they now have were they
      but half as much in earnest to secure their dearest rights
      as they are to ape the follies and extravagances of their
      luxury. Just think of the money expended by individuals in
      your behalf in the past twenty years! Think of the number
      who have been mobbed and imprisoned on your account! Have
      any of you seen the Branded Hand? Do you remember the names
      of Lovejoy and Torrey?

      Should one of your number be arrested, you must collect
      together as quickly as possible, so as to outnumber your
      adversaries who are taking an active part against you. Let
      no able-bodied man appear on the ground unequipped, or with
      his weapons exposed to view; let that be understood
      beforehand. Your plans must be known only to yourself, and
      with the understanding that all traitors must die, wherever
      caught and proven to be guilty. "Whosoever is fearful or
      afraid, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead"
      (Judges, vii. 3; Deut. xx. 8). Give all cowards an
      opportunity to show it on condition of holding their peace.
      _Do not delay one moment after you are ready; you will lose
      all your resolution if you do. Let the first blow be the
      signal for all to engage; and when engaged do not do your
      work by halves, but make clean work with your enemies, and
      be sure you meddle not with any others._ By going about
      your business quietly, you will get the job disposed of
      before the number that an uproar would bring together can
      collect; and you will have the advantage of those who come
      out against you, for they will be wholly unprepared with
      either equipments or matured plans; all with them will be
      confusion and terror. Your enemies will be slow to attack
      you after you have done up the work nicely; and if they
      should, they will have to encounter your white friends as
      well as you; for you may safely calculate on a division of
      the whites, and may by that means get to an honorable

      Be firm, determined, and cool; but let it be understood
      that you are not to be driven to desperation without making
      it an awful dear job to others as well as to you....

      A lasso might possibly be applied to a slave-catcher for
      once with good effect. Hold on to your weapons, and never
      be persuaded to leave them, part with them, or have them
      far away from you. _Stand by one another and by your
      friends, while a drop of blood remains; and be hanged, if
      you must, but tell no tales out of school. Make no

In a letter to his wife, January 17, 1851, relating to the same subject,
he said:[55]

      DEAR WIFE ... Since the sending off to slavery of Long from
      New York, I have improved my leisure hours quite busily
      with colored people here, in advising them how to act, and
      in giving them all the encouragement in my power. They very
      much need encouragement and advice; and some of them are so
      alarmed that they tell me they cannot sleep on account of
      either themselves or their wives and children. I can only
      say I think I have been enabled to do something to revive
      their broken spirits. I want all my family to imagine
      themselves in the same dreadful condition. My only spare
      time being taken up (often until late hours at night) in
      the way I speak of, have prevented me from the gloomy
      homesick feelings which had before so much oppressed me:
      not that I forget my family at all.

The assumption that Brown, "The peaceful tanner and shepherd," had at
this time been transformed "into a man burning to use arms upon an
institution which refused to yield to peaceful agitation,"[56] is not
justified by anything that he had theretofore said or done relating to
slavery; neither is it justified by what he wrote to the "Gileadites,"
nor by the letter which he wrote to his wife concerning the condition of
the free negroes. These papers contain no hint, to say nothing of
evidence, that the action taken therein by him was the result of any
preconceived intention to attack slavery; or that it was related to any
general plan or purpose to oppose slavery; or that it foreshadowed any
disposition on his part, burning or otherwise, to engage in the matter
any further than by counsel and advice. The letter to his wife reflects
the general sense of compassion that was felt for the negroes, by all
humane people throughout the North, because of the distressful condition
in which they were placed by the terms of the Fugitive Slave Law.

The foregoing is a recital of all that is contained in the record of
Brown's life concerning his anti-slavery activities up to the year 1852.
In the working of that great engine for emancipation, the Underground
Railway, he took no part. Of the more than seventy-five thousand slaves
who were carried from bondage to freedom by the self-sacrificing
agencies of the system, Brown, it is said, gave shelter and a meal to
but one of them. The late Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, militant
clergyman and abolitionist, in a eulogy upon Brown, said:[57]

      ... It had been my privilege to live in the best society
      all my life--namely that of abolitionists and fugitive
      slaves. I had seen the most eminent persons of the age:
      several on whose heads tens of thousands of dollars had
      been set; a black woman, who, after escaping from slavery
      herself, had gone back secretly eight times into the jaws
      of death to bring out persons whom she had never seen; and
      a white man, who after assisting away fugitives by the
      thousand, had twice been stripped of every dollar of his
      property in fines, and when taunted by the Court, had
      mildly said, "Friend if thee knows any poor fugitive in
      need of a breakfast, send him to Thomas Garrett's door." I
      had known these, and such as these; but I had not known the

This well informed man; this practical and intellectual leader of the
anti-slavery movement had been Brown's neighbor for years. Why was it
that he had never heard of him? There is but one answer: Brown had not
been a worker in Mr. Higginson's vineyard. He had not done anything to
attract the attention of any one seriously interested in the
anti-slavery cause. He was neither an ardent nor a conspicuous laborer
in behalf of the slave.

However, what has been stated herein is the credit side of Brown's
account with slavery; there is also a debit side in this history which
exhibits strong presumptive evidence that his "horror" of slavery was
neither so "passionate" nor so violent but that it could be controlled
and modified to accommodate itself to the advantages of the system. When
John Brown, the man of affairs, decided to become a resident of the
State of Virginia, and engage in business there upon a one thousand acre
estate, he knew that he would have to employ some slave labor. He knew
also that the "good will" and the patronage of the people living in the
section of the country in which he intended to locate, were necessary
for the success of his undertaking; these he knew he could not secure
unless he conformed to the commercial and social customs prevailing in
Virginia, and to the sentiment of Virginians in relation to slavery.
These conditions this aggressive speculator and sportsman, did consider
and did accept. The letter which he wrote to his wife from Ripley,
Virginia, suggests, as a matter of fact, that he had declared a truce in
his opposition to slavery, whatever the degree of such opposition may
have been; and that he had changed his attitude toward the system to
meet the requirements of his prospective environment. The letter,
abridged by Mr. Sanborn, is as follows:[58]

                              Ripley, Va., April 27, 1840.

      ... I like the country as well as I expected and its
      inhabitants rather better; and I have seen the spot where,
      if it be the will of Providence, I hope one day to live
      with my family.... Were the inhabitants as resolute and
      industrious as the Northern people, and did they understand
      how to manage as well, they would become rich; but they are
      not generally so. They seem to have no idea of improvement
      in their cattle, sheep, or hogs, nor to know the use of
      enclosed pasture-field for their stock, but spend a large
      portion of their time in hunting for their cattle, sheep,
      and horses; and the same habit continues from father to
      son.... By comparing them with people of other parts of the
      country, I can see new and abundant proof that knowledge is
      power. I think we may be very useful to them on many
      accounts, were we disposed. May God in mercy keep us all,
      and enable us to get wisdom; and with all our getting and
      losing, to get understanding.

It would be very much more satisfactory if Mr. Sanborn had published the
full text of that part of this letter which treats of the habits of the
people, and of the labor conditions existing there. The question of
labor was of paramount importance in Brown's Virginia venture. He was an
optimist, and in his optimistic forecast saw that the care and
cultivation of a thousand acres, and the operation and development of a
tanning business would, in time, require a large establishment,
necessitating, probably, the labor of a number of slaves. This question
then arises: Did John Brown intend or expect to own, ultimately, the
necessary slaves to operate this property, or did he intend to hire them
from others. His letters consistently abound in minute detail. It is
therefore improbable, in the opinion of the writer, that he discussed
the manners and customs of the white people of that section with his
wife, and wrote of minor conditions existing there, without making some
reference to the black people of the country; and to the more important
questions of slavery and labor--matters in which he would have a deep
personal and pecuniary interest. Mr. Villard did not fail to comment,
with surprise, upon the omission of the subject from Brown's letter. He

      But his letter to his family from Ripley, Virginia, April
      27, 1840, already cited, is peaceable enough and his hope
      of settling his family there is hardly consistent with his
      anti-slavery policy of later years. Indeed, while recording
      his pleasure that the residents of the vicinity were more
      attractive people than he thought, he had nothing to say
      about the institution of slavery which he then, for the
      first time, really beheld at close range.

No one inspired with an enthusiasm upon the subject of slavery, such as
has been attributed to Brown, could have failed, under these
circumstances, to dwell upon the theme. A dilemma is, therefore, herein
presented to his biographers and eulogists which they cannot disregard:
either he discussed the questions of labor, and what their relations to
slavery would be in their prospective estate, in this letter to his
wife; or else, he considered slavery of so little importance in the
premises, and was so indifferent at heart upon the subject, that his
first sight of real slaves, in actual slavery, failed to elicit from him
any expression whatever in regard to it. It is the opinion of the writer
that John Brown, the man of iron will, the reckless speculator, optimist
and sportsman, was well pleased with the prospect of owning a plantation
of a thousand broad acres in Virginia; and with having it well stocked
with fine horses, fine cattle, fine sheep, and _fine slaves_.

This opinion of the man is consistent with his reckless speculative
career, and with his indifference as to the means for the accomplishment
of his ends. And after all, it is by a man's actions, and not by any
explanation of his motives, furnished by himself or by others, that we
must, in the final analysis, estimate his character.



      _There are no greater heroes in the history of our country
      than Eli Thayer of Massachusetts, and Charles Robinson of
      Kansas._--WILLIAM H. TAFT

In its relation to Government, our country has completed two periods of
its existence. The Colonial period ended at Yorktown. The period of
State Sovereignty had its ending at Appomattox. Kansas was the herald of
Appomattox; the climax in the series of political incidents which led to
secession and the war between the States.

By the Ordinance of 1787, the last Continental Congress excluded slavery
from all that part of the public domain lying north of the Ohio River.
In 1803 our territorial limits were expanded by the purchase of
Louisiana, and a serious clash between the Free and the Slave sections
of the country came upon the division, in relation to slavery, of this
newly acquired domain. It was precipitated upon Congress by the
application of Missouri, in 1818, to be admitted into the Union. Its
constitution provided for slavery. The northern part of the new state
extended from the Mississippi to the Missouri; the north boundary being
40° 30' north latitude; and this line, taken in connection with the
Platte River from the Missouri to the Rocky Mountains, suggested what
the South intended should be the dividing line between the sections in
the new territory. After two years of acrimonious debate a compromise
measure was adopted admitting Missouri, as prayed for, but excluding
slavery forever from all the remaining territory, acquired from France,
lying north of 36° 30' north latitude.

The debate upon the measure developed the existence, in the North, of a
growing hostile sentiment toward slavery, which confirmed in the minds
of Southern statesmen the necessity of keeping the number of Slave
States equal, at least, with the number of Free States; for only by thus
maintaining a balance of power in the Senate, could legislation adverse
to slavery be prevented. Also, the limitations of the compromise
agreement emphasized a further necessity; the acquisition of additional
territory south of 36° 30' from which Slave States could be created in
the future, to balance the admission into the Union of prospective Free
States. This resulted in a propaganda for territorial expansion
southward. In pursuance of such policy, the revolt against Mexico, by
Texas, was probably encouraged.[60] In discussing the recognition of the
Republic of Texas, in January, 1836, Mr. Calhoun said, "It prepared the
way for the speedy admission of Texas into the Union, which would be a
necessity to the proper balance of power in the Union between the
slave-holding and non-slave-holding Commonwealths, upon which the
preservation of the Union and the perpetuation of its institutions

The State of Vermont "apprehended that the political strength which the
annexation of Texas would give to the slave-holding interests, would
soon lead to a dissolution of the Union, or to the political degradation
of the Free States"; and, in pursuance of that apprehension the
"Legislature of Vermont adopted a set of resolutions protesting against
the annexation of Texas or the admission of any Slave State into the
Union," which was presented in Congress.[62] Having respect for Northern
sentiment, Congress kept Florida waiting six years: until Iowa was ready
to come into the Union.[63] The South consented readily to the
settlement of the "Oregon Boundary Question" at 49° north latitude
instead of 54° 40'. In fact, at the time the Democratic National
Convention of 1844 declared our title to the whole of Oregon as far as
54° 40' to be "clear and unquestionable," Mr. Calhoun, secretary of
state, had proposed to Her Majesty's representative to settle the
controversy by adopting the 49th parallel as the boundary.[64] Texas was
admitted into the Union; the articles of annexation providing that it
might be subdivided into five states, at any time it chose to make such
division. Also, after a war of conquest with Mexico, Upper California
and New Mexico were added to the public domain.

The mutual congratulations indulged in by the Southern managers over the
accomplishment of the pro-slavery program for territorial expansion,
were interrupted by intelligence of the most startling character. Before
the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had been signed, gold was discovered in
the Sierras, and the occupation of California by emigrants, principally
from the Northern States, was an immediate result. Thus, the conquest of
Mexico--the prize trophy in the triumphal procession of pro-slavery
events--carried with it, by the irony of fate, the Nemesis of her
despoiled people. Within two years a Free State had been carved out of
the Territory which the South had won for slavery.

The contests which were had over the admission of Missouri into the
Union, and the annexation of Texas, were trivial in comparison with the
storm that burst upon the Thirty-first Congress over the admission of
California. The already strained relations between the North and the
South reached the limits of tension; and but for the tabling of the
"Wilmot Proviso," and the adoption of the "Compromise" measures, the
cords that bound the Union would have snapped then and there. "The first
weeks of the session were more than enough to show in its full breadth
and depth, even to the duller eyes, the abyss that yawned between the
North and the South."[65] "All the Union men, North and South, Whigs and
Democrats, for the period of six months were assembled in caucuses every
day, with Clay in the chair, Cass upon his right hand, Webster upon his
left hand, and the Whigs and Democrats on either side."[66] It was
during this debate that Mr. Seward announced the doctrine of the
"_higher law_":

      The Constitution regulates our stewardship; the
      Constitution devotes the domain (the territories not formed
      into states) to union, to justice, to defence, to welfare,
      and to liberty. But there is a _higher law than the
      Constitution_, which regulates our authority over the
      domain and devotes it to the same noble purposes.

Webster thus began his great speech:

      I wish to speak today, not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a
      Northern man, but as an American.... The imprisoned winds
      are let loose. The East, the North, and the stormy South
      combine to throw the whole sea into commotion, to toss its
      billows to the skies, and disclose its profoundest
      depths.... I speak today for the preservation of the Union.
      Hear me for my Cause.[67]

Said Toombs of Georgia:

      I do not then hesitate to avow before this House and the
      Country, and in the presence of the living God, that if by
      your legislation you seek to drive us from the territories
      of California and New Mexico, purchased by the common blood
      and treasure of the whole people, and to abolish slavery in
      this district, thereby attempting to fix a National
      degradation upon half of the states of this confederacy _I
      am for disunion_, and if my physical courage be equal to
      the maintenance of my convictions of duty, I will devote
      all I am, and all I have on earth to its consummation.[68]

This speech was repeatedly interrupted by storms of applause. And
Stephens, too, was greeted with loud acclamations when he announced his
concurrence in every word of his colleague, and declared the Union
dissolved from the moment an attack upon a section became an
accomplished fact.

Colcock of South Carolina then announced that he would bring in a formal
motion for the dissolution of the Union, as soon as the abolition of
slavery in the District of Columbia should have been resolved upon, or
the Wilmot Proviso passed.[69] The compromise agreement was effected by
the fine patriotism, the sagacity, and the personal sacrifice of two
great figures of that generation: Clay and Webster. In promoting this
measure, they exhausted their political resources, and forfeited their
political fortunes. Neither of them could have been reëlected to the

Nothing was settled by the compromise of 1850; both sides accepting it
in a tentative way. "The present Crisis may pass," wrote Mr. Stephens in
1850,[70] "the present adjustment may be made, but the great question of
permanence of slavery in the Southern states will be far from being
settled thereby. And, in my opinion, the crisis of that question is not
far ahead."

This review, altogether too brief, is made herein to show the extreme
tension of the sectional feeling which existed in the country on account
of the extension of slavery; and the national significance of the
struggle that was soon to develop over the question in Kansas. It also
foreshadows the action the Southern States would surely take, if the
Kansas decision declared against them.

By the admission of California into the Union as a Free State, the South
lost the "balance of power"; but the general situation at the time was
far from being hopeless. Further territorial expansion was
necessary--imperatively so--but the prospect was still full of promising
possibilities. There was Cuba, that Buchanan had offered a hundred
millions for in 1848; out of which two, or, if necessary, three States
could be made. And, looming up in the more remote horizon, were
Nicaragua and the remainder of Mexico. And, last but not least,
"Squatter Sovereignty," or, in more modern parlance: "Let the People

The "Pearl of the Antilles" was the prize trophy in the new crusade for
territorial acquisition, and "Free Cuba" the slogan. The efforts to get
control of the island, for purposes of annexation, were persistent, and
the history of them is intensely interesting. First came filibustering
operations. Three expeditions were sent out in 1849-1851. The command of
the last of these was offered--first to Jefferson Davis, and then to
Robert E. Lee.[71] It sailed August 3, 1851, under Lopez. In the first
scrimmage with the Spaniards, Colonel Crittenden (son of Senator
Crittenden of Kentucky) and fifty of his men were captured, taken to
Havana, and shot, August 24th. The remainder of the Army of Invasion was
defeated; Lopez was taken and garroted; and his followers who had been
taken prisoners, were sent to Spain.

General Quitman's expedition, organized in 1853-1854, would have been
more formidable than any theretofore undertaken. He had commanded a
brigade in General Scott's army, in Mexico, and had been Governor of
Mississippi. His demonstrations, however, may have been merely in
support of Mr. Marcy's efforts, at the time, to open negotiations with
Spain for purchasing the island. Meanwhile the Black Warrior incident
offered the most promising opportunity of all. The provocation in that
case could have been held to be sufficient to justify a declaration of
war; and that surely would have been the result, had it not been for
the tornado of anti-slavery sentiment which was let loose at the time by
the promulgation, in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, then pending in Congress,
of the new doctrine of "Squatter Sovereignty"; and by Mr. Dixon's
amendment thereto, expressly repealing the restriction of the time
honored Missouri Compromise. "It may be affirmed with confidence," says
Mr. Rhodes,[72] "that Northern public opinion, excited by the
Kansas-Nebraska act, alone prevented this unjust war." The New York
_Courier and Inquirer_ said June 1st:

      Does any sane man live who believes that if Cuba was
      tendered to us tomorrow, with the full sanction of England
      and France, that this people would consent to receive and
      annex her?... There was a time when the North would have
      consented to annex Cuba, but the Nebraska wrong has forever
      rendered annexation impossible.

A revolution in Spain gave an opportunity for negotiations to purchase
the island; but the suggestion that a few millions of money should be
placed at the disposal of the Executive, during the recess of Congress,
to be used in the Spanish-Cuban business, met no response;[73] while the
"Ostend Manifesto" received no consideration whatever. The trouble was
that the South had been moving with too much energy and too arrogantly.
Her statesmen had undertaken to do everything at once. Had they been
less aggressive, or more conciliatory and diplomatic, and concentrated
their efforts on the acquisition of Cuba, they surely could have
succeeded;[74] and would then have been in position to await the
psychological moment to move the Kansas question. The Missouri
Compromise was a "solemn covenant entered into by two opposing parties
for the preservation of amicable relations." It was not sustained by any
constitutional authority. Kansas Territory, therefore, might have been
peacefully occupied by emigrants from Missouri and the Southern States,
as Missouri had been, leaving, with confidence, the constitutionality of
the restrictions against slavery, for future settlement by the courts.

The creation of the State of Kansas was a political proposition pure and
simple. The amendment to the Nebraska bill creating Kansas Territory
provided for a "complete Territorial government; including a legislature
with two houses and thirty-nine members; although, at the time, there
was not one white man in the Territory, except those intermarried with
Indians and the few who were there under authority of Federal law....
The project fell upon Congress as suddenly and apparently as uncaused as
a meteor from the political sky."[75]

The settlement of the Territory was promoted by the leaders of the
pro-slavery and anti-slavery sections of the country. The South was
spurred to activity by the extremity of its political and commercial
necessities; while the North was impelled by a great moral sentiment,
that had developed with time and changes which had occurred in public
thought and in economic conditions. But the fact should not be lost
sight of, that the ethical emotions which nourished this sentiment had
their origin, or beginnings, in the unprofitable and unsatisfactory
character of slave labor in that section. The Southern statesmen staked
the entire stock of their political assets on the result in Kansas. The
North already had a majority of one State, with the Territories,
Minnesota and Oregon, waiting at the threshold of the Union for
admission into the family of States. If the South lost Kansas, its
political power and prestige would be destroyed; slavery would
thereafter be dependent, in the Union, upon the mercy or charity of the
aggressively hostile anti-slavery sentiment which it had too arrogantly

The plans of the Southerners for the creation of the new State, were
well matured, and seemed in every way feasible. The geographical
situation was ideal. The close proximity of the friendly State of
Missouri, with a large percentage of its population on its western
border, backed by the mutuality of every Southern State, seemed to be
sufficient guaranty that the necessary voting population could, and
would, be promptly furnished. They had good cause to believe that they
could get their people into the Territory in sufficient numbers to
control the necessary elections.

In the Senate Mr. Seward said, May 25, 1854:

      The sun has set for the last time upon the guaranteed and
      certain liberties of all the unsettled portions of the
      American continent that lie within the jurisdiction of the
      United States. Tomorrow's sun will rise in deep eclipse
      over these. How long that obscuration shall last, is known
      only to the power that directs all human events. For myself
      I know this: that no human power can prevent its coming on,
      and that its passage off will be hastened and secured by
      others than those now belonging to this generation.[76]

Authorities by the score might be cited to show the gloom and
despondency of the North at this time. The people had reason to believe
that Kansas and Nebraska would become Slave States, and that the
preponderance of Southern influence in governmental affairs would be
perpetuated indefinitely.

May 30, 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill was signed and the doctrine of
Squatter Sovereignty thereby crystallized into law. Immediately the
historic contest for the occupation and political control of Kansas
Territory was on: a contest that marks an epoch in the history of our
country. The great events of the succeeding decade: the acts of
secession, the war between the States, with its tragedies; and the
Emancipation Proclamation, were all involved in the result.

It cannot be said that the contest was of local concern, carried on
between factions in Kansas over the question whether the State should be
a Free State or a Slave State; for at that time there were no settlers
in the Territory to comprise such factions. The interest in the
impending struggle was nation wide. Congress had merely cleared the
ground for action; "pitched the ring," for what was to be the first
political battle in the "fight to a finish" between the slave-holding
and the non-slave-holding sections of our country: the beginning of the
final struggle between freedom and slavery.

The question of slavery in the Territory was to be decided by the votes
of the people who would emigrate to and occupy it. The South had chosen
to place its reliance upon votes in a contest where oratory, tact, and
statesmanship had theretofore failed. Its slogan was "Squatter
Sovereignty." The answer given back by the North was "Organized
Emigration:" "a power unknown before in the world's history."

The rapid settlement of California had shown that any country will draw
emigration thereto, if it offers an attractive lure. Mr. Eli Thayer, of
Massachusetts, had made a note of that fact and believed that what the
discovery of gold had done to promote emigration to that state, the
advantages of soil and climate for successful home building, would do
for Kansas, if properly advertised. The formation of the Massachusetts
Emigrant Aid Company, with an authorized capital of $5,000,000, was a
result of his conclusions upon the subject. It proved to be "a stronger
defiance to slavocracy than anything ever uttered in the hall of
Congress." This commercial novelty put its capital in the advance
instead of in the rear of the column of occupation. It assisted
emigrants to reach their destination, and helped them to develop their
farms. For this purpose it installed saw mills and flour mills, where
needed; furnished machinery and implements; built churches, school
houses, and hotels. Also, it proposed to earn dividends for its
stockholders by these and other investments. As Mr. Thayer expressed
it: "When a man can do a magnanimous act; when he can do a decidedly
good thing, and at the same time make money by it, all his faculties are
in harmony."

An incident of the period of the occupation of Kansas is thus related by
Mr. Thayer on page 187 of the _Crusade_: "One day, in 1855, Senator
Atchison, with some others, was at the wharf in Kansas City, when a
river boat approached with one of our engines on deck. Atchison turned
to those on the right and asked: 'What is that on the deck of the
steamboat?' His companion answered: 'Senator, that is a steam engine and
a steam boiler.' Turning to the others he repeated his question. They
repeated the answer before given. He replied: 'You are a pack of ----
fools. That is a Yankee city going to Kansas; and by ----! in six months
it will cast a hundred Abolition votes.'"

The affairs of the company in Kansas were placed under the direction of
Dr. Charles Robinson, also of Massachusetts. He came to the Territory
early in July, 1854; located the town of Lawrence, and established there
the headquarters of the bureau of northern immigration.

Naturally the first immigrants to arrive came from Missouri. In
sentiment they were quite unanimously pro-slavery; but that was not
discouraging, for the publicity bureau, organized by Mr. Thayer and ably
backed by Mr. Greeley through the columns of the New York _Tribune_, had
proclaimed the advantages and possibilities of the new Territory far and
wide; and the public interest thus awakened gave ample promise of
satisfactory results in the near future. July 31st, the first
consignment of emigrants from the North, twenty-nine in number, arrived
at Lawrence; and September 2d the second installment of one hundred and
fourteen arrived and joined the initial company. Within a few months
"Organized Emigration" was in successful operation; and by the close of
the year 1856, it had fulfilled the Kansas prophecy. As Mr. Thayer
states it:[77]

      We had triumphed in the great conflict. We had in Kansas
      four Free-State men to every one of our opponents; our
      numbers were rapidly increasing while theirs were
      diminishing. Buford had returned to Alabama. Atchinson and
      Stringfellow had given up the fight.

Concerning the Kansas conflict Dr. Burgess says:

      The record of this struggle is certainly one of the most
      remarkable chapters in the history of the United States.
      There is much to admire in it, much to be ashamed of, and
      much to be repudiated as foul and devilish. The prudence,
      moderation, tact, and bravery of Dr. Robinson and his
      friends have rarely been excelled by the statesmen and
      diplomatists of the New World or of the Old. They were
      placed in a most trying situation both by their foes and by
      those who, professing to be their friends, endangered the
      cause more by violent and brutal deeds than did their open
      enemies. Their triumph over all these difficulties is a
      marvel of shrewd, honest, and conservative management,
      which may well serve as one of the best object-lessons of
      our history for succeeding generations.[78]

It is not within the purview of this sketch to recite in detail the
various incidents, accidents, and extremities which befell the Northern
emigrants in working out the problems of state building. They began to
acquire experience promptly with the arrival of the first colony; and
the authorities all agree, that, during the ensuing three years an area
of low political barometer was general throughout the Territory, with a
continuous storm center, of great energy, at Lawrence. "By the sharp
logic of the revolver and bowie knife, the people of Missouri became the
people of Kansas." Residents of Missouri furnished liberal pro-slavery
majorities at the elections, and their personal services were available
at all times, for the preservation of peace and order in the Territory;
as well as to enforce, by force, a proper respect for the dignity of
the Territorial officers, and for the authority of the Legislature

A revolt against these superimposed attentions, organized and led by
Charles Robinson, became the thorn that rankled in the pro-slavery
flesh, and led to the discomfiture and defeat of the Slave-State
propaganda. Robinson had the temerity to challenge the subtile logic of
the revolver and bowie-knife in determining the qualifications of
Territorial electors. His dissent, at first, took the mild form of a
petition to Governor Reeder, after the election of November 29, 1854.
asking that "the entire vote of the districts receiving the votes of
citizens of Missouri, be set aside; or that the entire election be set
aside." After a brutal usurpation of the polls, at the election for
members of the Territorial Legislature, March 30, 1855, a Legislature
which, under the organic act could determine whether the State should be
Free or Slave, Robinson again protested and sought redress of the
spoilation of the squatters' rights: and, failing to obtain justice,
united the Free-State men in a revolt against the authority of the
Territorial Legislature, and in a determination to repudiate the laws it
intended lawlessly to enact. Also, what had still greater significance,
he organized his followers into military companies to resist, by force
of arms, any further infringement upon their rights. Answering his call
to duty, the Free-State men of Lawrence and vicinity led the nation in
this crisis in public affairs, making its history, and directing its
destiny. It was the hour of Destiny. Sending for a second consignment of
Sharp's rifles, Robinson wrote these impressive and heroic words:

      We are in the midst of a revolution, as you will see by the
      papers. How we shall come out of the furnace, God only
      knows. That we have got to enter it, some of us, there is
      no doubt; but we are ready to be offered.

      In haste very respectfully, Yours, for freedom for a world,

                              C. ROBINSON.

The organization of a military force by the Free-State men, gave to the
Free-State party a solidarity and prestige it had not theretofore
enjoyed. It at once became a popular party; and encouraged by daily
accessions to its ranks by immigration, combined with a prospective
certainty of becoming the majority party, it became bravely aggressive,
and boldly launched its campaign for Free-State supremacy. In
furtherance of their plan of campaign, the Free-State men adopted a
constitution for a Free State, and organized and put into effect a full
fledged State Government in opposition to the existing Territorial
Government; and under it, with Charles Robinson as Governor, sought
admission into the Union. Only a wise and courageous leadership combined
with a high order of executive ability, could successfully handle the
delicate problems involved in this complicated program. The leadership
required the necessary tact to unite and reconcile divergent convictions
and opinions, within the party, upon questions of principle as well as
of policy; it also required prudence to restrain the impetuous, and to
avoid complications which, at any time, might make shipwreck of the

The results accomplished by the Free-State settlers during the first two
years of their occupation of the Territory, amply justified the generous
congratulations in which they indulged. They had, wisely, withdrawn from
under the fire of an arrogant, domineering majority, and, in their
segregation, were surely creating a State to their own liking, in their
own way. They matched their wits against the management of their
political opponents, and were more than satisfied with the dilemma in
which the situation placed them. It became plainly evident that unless
the Free-State organizations, civil and military, were utterly destroyed
and further immigration from the North retarded, the Free-State cause
would certainly succeed. The situation, therefore, demanded the adoption
of more strenuous methods in dealing with it than could be approved by
the National Administration.

What they had failed to accomplish by "peaceful" methods, the
pro-slavery junta now sought to gain by the execution of more radical
measures. They accordingly organized an "Army of Invasion," and the
Wakarusa War of 1855 became an historical incident. They indicted the
Free-State Governor, Robinson, and the more prominent Free-State men,
for "constructive" treason; arrested them, and put them in prison. In
May, 1856, under cover of judicial authority, the town of Lawrence was
looted and burned. The Free-State Legislature that had been elected,
assembled at Topeka, only to be dispersed, July 4th, by the armed forces
of the United States. A blockade of the Missouri River was declared
against Free-State immigrants, and made effective. They also attempted,
without success, to cut off communications between Kansas and the
Northern States, which the Free-State men had opened up, via Iowa and
Nebraska. They murdered Dow, and Barber, and Brown, and Stewart, and
Jones, and Hoyt.

A third, and the final invasion, closed this chapter of heroic
undertakings and lamentable failures. September 14, 1856, their army,
2800 strong, occupied Franklin. During the night, Lieutenant Colonel
Joseph E. Johnston, U. S. Army, with a battalion of cavalry and a
section of artillery, arrived at Lawrence. Placing his battery in
position on Mount Oread, the muzzles of his guns pointing toward
Franklin, and deploying his cavalry in the valley in front of the town,
he awaited the crisis developing in the pro-slavery situation. On the
morning of the 15th, the newly appointed Territorial Governor, John W.
Geary, accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, U. S.
Army, arrived upon the scene from Lecompton. After a short conversation
with Governor Robinson, they rode out to interview the invaders. It was
the hour of fate. A brief conference with General Atchison was held in
front of Atchison's lines; and then, it was all over; the Federal
Government had intervened. The campaign of violence had failed, and with
it expired the last substantial hope of the pro-slavery managers that
the balance of power between the warring sections of the country could
be restored. Upon receiving Governor Geary's ultimatum: that he must
retire with his forces from the Territory, immediately, Atchison turned
the head of his column toward Missouri. Arriving at Westport, he
disbanded his army and gave up the struggle. Buford returned to Alabama
and Jackson to Georgia. That Kansas would be a _Free State_ was
practically assured from that hour.

Involved in the corollary of the Free-State victory were the startling
incidents in history that followed in quick succession, culminating in
the stupendous tragedies of war. Mr. F. B. Sanborn said:[79]

      Had Kansas in the death struggle of 1856 fallen a prey to
      the slave holders, slave-holding would today be the law of
      our imperial democracy. The sanctions of the Union and the
      Constitution would now be on the side of human slavery, as
      they were from 1840 to 1860.

      The question of slavery domination must and will be fought
      out on the plains of Kansas.[80]

      Kansas must be a Slave State or the Union will be
      dissolved.... If Kansas is not made a Slave State, it
      requires no sage to foretell that there will never be
      another Slave State.[81]

      Slavery in South Carolina is dependent upon its
      establishment in Kansas.[82]

      The Touch-stone of our political existence is Kansas.[83]

      Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama stand pledged to secede
      from the Union, should Kansas applying for admission as a
      slave state be refused admission.[84]

      The question is one of life or death to the South upon the
      simple alternative of the admission or rejection of Kansas
      with her slave constitution.[85]

      That American is little to be envied who can speak lightly
      of the decisive contest in Kansas between the two
      antagonistic civilizations of this continent. Either he
      does not love his country, or he is incapable of
      understanding her history.[86]



_Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind._


It was in the fall of 1855 that John Brown came to Kansas to try another
venture with fortune, in a new field of opportunity.

During the spring of 1854 his son John was seeking a new location, and
had written to his father in relation thereto; who replied to him in a
letter dated April 3, 1854, "I do not know of a good opening for you
this way."[87] But during the fall of that year five of Brown's
sons--John, Jason, Owen, Frederick, and Salmon--decided to settle in
Kansas. Having completed their arrangements they moved to the Territory
in the spring of 1855, arriving, about May 1st, in the vicinity of
Osawatomie. They were attracted to the Territory, as thousands of others
were, by the glowing accounts published by emigration societies north
and south. These prospectuses described the beauty of the prairies, the
fertility of the soil, the delightful and health-giving climate; and set
forth the prospective rewards in wealth, health, and happiness which
were awaiting all who took advantage of the great opportunities the
country offered. That they were not disappointed upon their arrival,
appears from their letters expressing eminent satisfaction with
everything pertaining to the settlement, and their desire to have their
father locate in Kansas with them.

May 24th John Brown, Jr., wrote to his father: "Salmon, Frederick, and
Owen say that they never was in a country that begun to please them as
well, and I will say that the present prospect for health, wealth, and
usefulness much exceeds even my most sanguine anticipations. I know of
no country where a poor man, endowed with a share of common sense and
with health, can get a start as easy. If we can succeed in making this a
free state, a great work will be accomplished for mankind."[88]

Long before the coming of the Browns, the Free State leaders in the
Territory had determined to repudiate the laws enacted by the
Territorial Legislature; also, to defend themselves by force of arms
against the aggressions of their over-zealous pro-slavery neighbors in
Missouri. They had during April, 1855, secured from Boston a hundred
Sharp's rifles to arm the companies organized at Lawrence, and were
negotiating for further consignments of arms. After their arrival in the
Territory, the Browns realized the importance of this movement, and
since they had not brought any serviceable arms with them--having come
with axes instead of rifles--they wrote to their father to try to get
some for them, and bring them with him when he came. The letter which
John Brown, Jr., wrote to his father on the subject is as follows:[89]

      And now I come to the matter, that more than all else I
      intended should be the principal subject of this letter. I
      tell you the truth when I say, that while the interests of
      despotism has secured to its cause hundreds and thousands
      of the meanest and most desperate of men, armed to the
      teeth with Revolvers, Bowie Knives, Rifles and
      Cannon--while they are not only thoroughly organized, but
      under pay from Slaveholders--the friends of freedom are NOT
      ONE FOURTH of them HALF ARMED, and as to MILITARY
      TERRITORY unless they have recently done something in
      Lawrence. The result of this is that the people here
      exhibit the most abject and cowardly spirit, whenever their
      dearest rights are invaded and trampled down by the lawless
      bands of Miscreants which Missouri has ready at a moment's
      call to pour in upon them. This is the GENERAL effect upon
      the people here so far as I have noticed, there are a few,
      and but a few exceptions. Of course these foreign
      Scoundrels know what kind of "ALLIES" they have to meet.
      They boast that they can obtain possession of the polls in
      any of our election precincts without having to fire a gun.
      I enclose a piece which I cut from a St. Louis paper named
      the St. Louis _Republican_; it shows the spirit which moves
      them. Now Missouri is not alone in the undertaking to make
      this a Slave State. Every Slaveholding State from Virginia
      to Texas is furnishing men and money to fasten Slavery upon
      this glorious land, by means no matter how foul.

      Now the remedy we propose is, that the Anti slavery portion
      of the inhabitants should IMMEDIATELY, THOROUGHLY ARM and
      effect this, some persons must begin and lead in the
      matter. Here are 5 men of us who are not only anxious to
      fully prepare, but are thoroughly determined to fight. We
      can see no other way to meet the case. As in the language
      of the memorial lately signed by the people here and sent
      to Congress petitioning help, "it is no longer a question
      of negro slavery, but it is the enslavement of ourselves."

      The General Government may be petitioned until the people
      here are grey, and no redress will be had so long as it
      makes slavery its paramount interest.... We have among us
      5, 1 Revolver, 1 Bowie Knife, 1 middling good Rifle, 1 poor
      Rifle, 1 small pocket pistol and 2 slung shot. What we need
      in order to be thoroughly armed for each man, is 1 Colts
      large sized Revolver, 1 ALLEN & THURBER' RIFLE--they are
      manufactured somewhere in Mass or Connecticut (Mr. Paine of
      Springfield would probably know) and 1 heavy Bowie Knife--I
      think the Minnie Rifles are made so that a sword bayonet
      may be attached. With this we could compete with men who
      even possessed Cannon. The real Minnie Rifle has a killing
      range almost equal to Cannon and of course is more easily
      handled, perhaps enough so to make up the difference. Now
      we want you to get for us these arms. We need them more
      than we do bread. Would not Gerrit Smith or someone,
      furnish the money and loan it to us for one, two or three
      years, for the purpose until we can raise enough to refund
      it from the Free soil of Kansas?...

In so far as the Brown family is concerned, this letter contains the
first recorded evidence of an intention, or of a desire of any of them
to actively oppose slavery in Kansas or elsewhere. It treats the subject
as an original proposition; as though it had never been theretofore so
much as mentioned in their family councils. The letter has historical
significance: it secured John Brown's introduction to the public. It
opened the way that enabled him to go to Kansas; where he began a career
which led, ultimately, to Harper's Ferry and to Charlestown.

Following the suggestion of his son he took up with Gerrit Smith the
matter of securing a loan wherewith to purchase the arms desired. The
latter, instead of making an arrangement with them for the necessary
amount, personally presented the case before a convention of
Abolitionists that was held at Syracuse, New York, June 28th, with the
result that a collection was taken up which yielded Brown sixty dollars
in cash, twenty dollars of which was given by Smith.

The success Brown met with in collecting funds "for the cause of Kansas"
at the Syracuse convention, opened before his commercial vision that
easy field for profitable enterprise, which he afterward occupied and
worked, in a professional manner, until the end of his career. After the
Syracuse meeting he began a system of personal solicitations for money,
arms, and clothing. At Akron, Ohio, he held open meetings in one of the
public halls of the village. Mr. Villard says of these meetings:[90]

      Because of their interest in the Kansas crisis, and in the
      Browns, their former neighbors, the people were quickly
      roused by Brown's graphic words, and liberally contributed
      arms of all sorts, ammunition and clothing. Committees of
      Aid were appointed and ex-Sheriff Lane was deputed to
      accompany Brown in a canvass of the village shops and
      offices for contributions.

At Cleveland, also, he solicited aid with very satisfactory results. He
obtained there guns, revolvers, swords, powder, caps, and money. He was
so successful "that he thought it best to detain a day or two longer on
that account." Mr. Villard says, "He had raised nearly two hundred
dollars in that way in the two previous days, principally in arms and

Brown, with his son Oliver and his son-in-law, Henry Thompson, left
Chicago August 23d, on their journey to Kansas. Brown states that before
leaving he purchased "a nice young horse for $120 but have so much load
that we shall have to walk, a good deal." The journey was accomplished
without either accident or incident worthy of the note, the party
arriving at Osawatomie, October 6, 1855.

      Brown himself, being very tired, did not cover the last
      mile or two until the next day. They arrived in all but
      destitute condition, with but sixty cents between them, to
      find the little family settlement in great distress, not
      only because of the sickness already noted, but because of
      the absence of any shelter save tents.[91]

At the time Brown arrived, the Free-State cause in the Territory was
well advanced and was progressing satisfactorily.

      Out of all the meetings and conventions of the nine months
      after the stolen March 30th election, there had come then,
      great gains to the Free State Movement. The liberty party
      had been organized, leaders had been developed, and a
      regular policy of resistance by legal and constitutional
      measures adopted. If counsels of compromise were still
      entirely too apparent, and too potent, the train of events
      which resulted in Kansas's admission as a free State was
      well under way.[92]

As a result of the measures that had been adopted, an election was
pending for the selection of a Free-State Territorial Delegate to
Congress; and delegates to a Free-State Constitutional Convention. This
election had been called by the Free-State men to be held October 9th.
The regular Territorial election had been held October 1st, the
Free-State men not taking any part therein. Brown and his sons attended
the second, or Free-State election, October 9th.

An election is a political incident. A reference to an election by any
one invites an expression of his opinions upon the questions involved in
the election, if he have any special interest therein. Since Brown's
presence at this election was his introduction into the political
affairs of the Territory, we may reasonably conclude that his comments
on it cover the range of his general interest in the election and in the
issues involved therein. His letters to his family in the East
announcing his arrival at his destination, and describing the condition
of affairs, domestic as well as political, are herewith republished.

                              Osawatomie, K. T. Oct. 13, 1855.
                              Saturday Eve.

      DEAR WIFE AND CHILDREN, EVERY ONE--We reached the place
      where the boys are located one week ago, late at night; at
      least Henry and Oliver did. I, being tired, stayed behind
      in our tent, a mile or two back. As the mail goes from here
      early Monday morning, we could get nothing here in time for
      that mail. We found all more or less sick or feeble but
      Wealthy and Johnny. All at Brownsville appear now to be
      mending, but all sick or feeble here at Mr. Adair's. Fever
      and ague and chill-fever seem to be very general. Oliver
      has had a turn of the ague since he got here, but has got
      it broken. Henry has had no return since first breaking it.
      We met with no difficulty in passing through Missouri, but
      from the sickness of our horse and our heavy load. The
      horse has entirely recovered. We had, between us all, sixty
      cents in cash when we arrived. We found our folks in a most
      uncomfortable situation, with no houses to shelter one of
      them, no hay or corn fodder of any account secured,
      shivering over their little fires, all exposed to the
      dreadful cutting winds, morning and evening and stormy
      days. We have been trying to help them all in our power,
      and hope to get them more comfortable soon. I think much of
      their ill health is owing to most unreasonable exposure.
      Mr. Adair's folks would be quite comfortable if they were
      well. One letter from wife and Anne to Salmon, of August
      10, and one from Ruth to John, of 19th September, is all I
      have seen from any of you since getting here. Henry found
      one from Ruth which he has not shown me. Need I write that
      I shall be glad to hear from you? I did not write while in
      Missouri, because I had no confidence in your getting my
      letters. We took up little Austin and brought him on here,
      which appears to be a great comfort to Jason and Ellen. We
      were all out a good part of the last night, helping to keep
      prairie fire from destroying everything; so that I am
      almost blind today, or I would write you more.

                              Sabbath Eve, October 14.

      I notice in your letter to Salmon your trouble about the
      means of having the house made more comfortable for winter,
      and I fondly hope you have been relieved on that score
      before now, by funds from Mr. Hurlbut, of Winchester,
      Conn., from the sale of the cattle there. Write me all
      about your situation; for, if disappointed from that
      source, I shall make every effort to relieve you in some
      other way. Last Tuesday was an election day with Free State
      men in Kansas, and hearing that there was a prospect of
      difficulty we all turned out most thoroughly armed (except
      Jason, who was too feeble); but no enemy appeared, nor have
      I heard of any disturbance in any part of the Territory.
      Indeed, I believe Missouri is fast becoming discouraged
      about making Kansas a slave State, and I think the prospect
      of its becoming free is brightening every day. Try to be
      cheerful, and always "hope in God," who will not leave nor
      forsake them that trust in him. Try to comfort and
      encourage each other all you can. You are all very dear to
      me, and I humbly trust we may be kept and spared to meet
      again on earth; but if not, let us all endeavor earnestly
      to secure admission to that eternal home, where will be no
      more bitter separations, "where the wicked shall cease from
      troubling and the weary be at rest." We shall probably
      spend a few days more in helping the boys to provide some
      kind of shelter for winter, and mean to write you often.
      May God in infinite mercy bless, comfort, and save you all,
      for Christ's sake!

                              Your Affectionate husband and father,
                              JOHN BROWN.

In simple language and at considerable length. Brown thus announced his
arrival at his destination, and described the conditions prevailing in
Kansas and in the Brown colony. A half dozen lines in this letter
sufficed to relate the incident of the important election of October
9th, and to give his opinions of the vital questions involved in the
political situation as it then appeared to him. These lines are void of
any hostile word or phrase; also they are void of any sentiment that can
be made to suggest that Brown was different from the ordinary immigrant
that came from the North to found a home and help to make a Free State.
No settler from the North ever wrote a letter less war-like or more
peaceful and domestic in its character than this letter written by John
Brown. The clause, "I think the prospect of its becoming free is
brightening every day," is a truer index to the state of Brown's mind,
and is better evidence of the peaceful character of his quest in Kansas,
than the combined reckless assertions of his biographers to the

In violence of contemporary evidence, all of his biographers and some
of the historians have sought to educate the public to believe that
Brown came to Kansas on a hostile mission. The public has been led to
accept the fictitious John Brown, the picturesque character of history,
instead of the real man under consideration. To this character
constructing propaganda Mr. Redpath was an ardent contributor. One of
his many effective flights has reference to the letter, heretofore
published, which his son John wrote May 24th. He said concerning it:

      He undoubtedly regarded it as a call from the Almighty to
      gird up his loins and go forth to do battle "as the warrior
      of the Lord" as "the warrior of the Lord against the
      Mighty" in behalf of His despised poor and His downtrodden
      people. The moment long waited for had at length arrived;
      the sign he had patiently expected had been given; and the
      brave old soldier of the God of Battles prepared at once,
      to obey the summons.... John Brown did _not_ go to Kansas
      to settle there. He did not dare to remain tending sheep at
      North Elba when the American Goliath and his hosts were in
      the field, defying the little armies of the living

While Mr. Redpath did very well, his panegyric is not comparable with
some of the latest and more scholarly studies of Brown. Here is one of
Mr. Villard's efforts:

      Thenceforth John Brown could give free rein to his
      _wanderlust_; the shackles of business life dropped from
      him. He was now bowed and rapidly turning gray; to
      everyone's lips the adjective "old" leaped as they saw him.
      But this was not the age of senility, nor of weariness with
      life; nor were the lines of care due solely to family and
      business anxieties or to the hard labor of the fields. They
      were rather the marks of the fires consuming within; of the
      indomitable purpose that was the main spring of every
      action; of a life devoted, a spirit inspired. Emancipation
      from the counter and the harrow came joyfully to him at the
      time of life when most men begin to long for rest and the
      repose of a quiet, well ordered home. Thenceforth he was
      free to move where he pleased, to devote every thought to
      his battle with the slave-power he staggered, which then,
      knew nothing of his existence.

      The metamorphosis was now complete. The staid, sombre
      merchant and patriarchal family-head was ready to become
      Captain John Brown of Osawatomie, at the mere mention of
      whose name Border Ruffians and swashbuckling adherents to
      the institution of slavery trembled and often fled. Kansas
      gave John Brown the opportunity to test himself as a
      guerrilla leader for which he had longed; for no other
      purpose did he proceed to the Territory; to become a
      settler there as he had hoped to in Virginia in 1840 was
      furthest from his thoughts.[94]

At the time the chrysalis of the Osawatomie guerilla is said to have
emancipated himself bodily from the harrow and was burning to take up
arms against the "swashbucklers," he wrote a letter to his son Salmon
concerning his intentions to join the colony and asked him some
questions relating to their condition, and to their requirements.
Strange as it may seem this letter contained nothing that called for a
war-like, or even a moderately ferocious reply from Salmon. His answer
to it is scarcely dramatic; in fact it seems to relate more to the
harrow, and to such disinteresting sublunary topics as the condition of
his simple but more or less dilapidated wardrobe, than it does to
"indomitable purposes" or to armies of a Lord who Mr. Redpath represents
as being still alive. He wrote, June 22d:[95]

      In answer to your questions about what you will need for
      your company, I would say that I have an acre of corn that
      looks very well, and some beans and squashes and turnips.
      You will want to get some pork and meal, and beans enough
      to last till the crop comes in, and then I think we will
      have enough grain to last through the winter. I will have a
      house up by the time you get here. My boots are very near
      worn out, and I shall need some summer pants and a hat. I
      bought an ax and that you will not have to get.

In a series of thirty-eight letters, published in Mr. Sanborn's _Life
and Letters of John Brown_, commencing with the date, January 18, 1841;
and ending with the letter herein, of October 14, 1855, there is not an
expression relating to slavery that has not been heretofore quoted or
referred to in this work. That Mr. Sanborn was a partisan writer, and
that he sifted Brown's correspondence in a search for letters which
could be quoted in support of the assumptions of these and other
panegyrists, concerning his alleged hostility to slavery, will not be
denied. Their assumptions are therefore, wholly fanciful; there is not a
sentence contained in any of these letters, that can be quoted in
justification of them. The attributes put forth in these eulogies are
not only gratuitous, but they are illogical and inconsistent with
Brown's circumstances, and incompatible with his environment. Mrs. Anne
Brown Adams in a few plain words told why John Brown went to Kansas. She

      Father said his object in going to Kansas was to see if
      something would not turn up to his advantage.[96]

The often repeated statement that Brown came to Kansas "to fight," and
not "to settle" after the manner of other immigrants, is further
discredited in this history.

Before the Mason Committee, in January, 1860, Mr. Wm. F. Arny, who knew
Brown to have been a non-resistant, testified that he had conversed with
him in Kansas, in 1858; and that he, on that occasion, asked him "how he
reconciled his opinions then, with the peace principles which he held
when he knew him in Virginia twenty years before. To this Brown replied,
that the 'aggressions of slavery, the murders and robbery perpetrated
upon himself and members of his family, the lawlessness by Atchison and
others in 1855 and from that time down to the Marais-des-Cygnes,
convinced him that peace was but an empty word.'"[97]

Before the same committee Mr. Augustus Wattles testified:[98]

      Captain Brown told me that he had no idea of fighting until
      he heard the Missourians, during the winter he was there,
      make arrangements to come over into the Territory to vote.
      He said to me that he had not come to Kansas to settle
      himself, having left his family at North Elba, but that he
      had come to assist his sons in their settlement and to
      defend them, if necessary, in a peaceable exercise of their
      political rights.

Writing to his wife February 1, 1856, Brown said:

      The idea of again visiting those of my dear family at North
      Elba is so calculated to unman me, that I seldom allow my
      thoughts to dwell upon it.

This language bears the interpretation that he had located with the
other members of his family in Kansas, and that a return to North Elba
would be in the nature of a visit.

Brown told Mr. Arney that it was his intention, originally, to settle in
Kansas. In his testimony before the Mason Committee, he said: "He
(Brown) then referred to the fact that he had sent his sons into the
Territory of Kansas in 1853 or 1854 with a lot of blooded cattle and
other stock with the intention of settling."[99] There is presumptive
evidence too, that he did "settle" in Kansas and that he did take a
claim; also that it was "jumped." In a letter to Brown dated June 24.
1857, the late Wm. A. Phillips wrote as follows:[100] "Your old claim I
believe, has been jumped. If you do not desire to contest it, let me
suggest that you make a new settlement at some good point of which you
will be the head. Lay off a town and take claims around it."

Among the real conditions of poverty described by Brown in his letters
of October 13th and 14th, and with but "sixty cents" in his pocket, it
is irrational to assume that he was free to move "where he pleased" or
that he was "free to devote every thought," or any of his thoughts, for
that matter, to this "battling" business. He was not "emancipated from
the counter and the harrow," and from his natural obligation to continue
to provide for the dependent wife and children, who were suffering the
acute privations of poverty in a miserable home. The letters quoted are
evidence of the domestic character of the thoughts which occupied his
mind, and of his deep solicitude for the wants of his family. They are
earnest letters, written about the pressing affairs of his domestic
life, by a man of more than ordinary experience. He dismisses any
reference to the subject of the "driving force of a mighty and unselfish
purpose," with the moderate and sensible opinion, that the "prospect of
Kansas becoming a Free state is brightening every day."

November 2, 1855, Brown wrote a long and interesting letter to his wife
about affairs in their Kansas home, concluding with this very
conservative and peaceful statement: "I feel more and more confident
that slavery will soon die out here,--and to God be the praise."[101]
The letter is as follows:

                              Brownsville, K. T., Nov. 2, 1855.


      I feel grateful to learn that you were all then well, and I
      think I fully sympathize with you in all the hardships and
      discouragements you have to meet; but you may be assured
      you are not alone in having trials. I believe I wrote you
      that we found everyone here more or less unwell but Wealthy
      and Johnny, without any sort of a place where a stout man
      even could protect himself from the cutting, cold winds and
      storms, which prevail here, much more than in any place
      where we have ever lived; and no crops of hay or anything
      raised had been taken care of; with corn wasting by cattle
      and horses, without fences; and, I may add without any
      meat; and Jason's folks without sugar, or any kind of bread
      stuffs but corn ground with great labor in a hand-mill
      about two miles off. Since I wrote you before, Wealthy,
      Johnny, Elen and myself have escaped being sick. Some have
      had the ague, but lightly; but Jason and Oliver have had a
      hard time of it and are yet feeble. Under existing
      circumstances, we have made but little progress; but we
      have made a little. We have got a shanty three logs high,
      chinked and mudded and roofed with our tent; and a chimney
      so far advanced that we can keep a fire in it for Jason.
      John has his shanty a little better fixed than it was, but
      miserable enough now; and we have got their little crop of
      beans secured, which, together with johnny cake, mush and
      milk, pumpkins and squashes, constitute our fare. Potatoes
      they have none of any account; milk, beans, pumpkins and
      squashes, a very moderate supply just for the present use.
      We have also got a few house logs cut for Jason. I do not
      send you this account to render you more unhappy but merely
      to let you know that those here are not altogether in
      paradise, while you have to stay in that miserable frosty
      region.... I feel more and more confident that slavery will
      soon die out here.--and to God be the praise!...

November 23d, he wrote:

      Since Watson wrote, I have felt a great deal troubled about
      your prospects for a cold house to winter in, and since I
      wrote last, I have thought of a cheap, ready way to help it
      much. Take any common straight-edged boards, and run them
      from the ground up to the eaves, barn fashion, not driving
      the nails in so far but that they may easily be drawn,
      covering all but doors and windows, as close as may be in
      that way, and breaking joints if need be. This can be done
      by any one and in any weather not very severe, and the
      boards may afterwards mostly be saved for other uses. I
      think much too, of your widowed state, and I sometimes
      allow myself to dream a little of again sometime enjoying
      the comforts of a home; but I do not dare to dream much....

There were no disturbances in the Territory until the latter part of
November, when the "Wakurusa War" became imminent. On the 27th the
following dispatch was sent from Westport:

      Hon. E. C. McLaren, Jefferson City--Governor Shannon has
      ordered out the militia against Lawrence. They are now in
      open rebellion against the laws. Jones is in danger.

December 6th, notice was sent out to all Free-State men to come to
Lawrence. John Brown, with others from the vicinity of Osawatomie,
answered the call, and upon their arrival at Lawrence he was appointed a
captain in the Fifth Regiment, Kansas Volunteers. The men from Brown's
neighborhood were assigned to his company which was named the "Liberty

There has been much controversy concerning Brown's actions during this
brief but very interesting campaign; due, in some instances, perhaps, to
political contention, but principally to the efforts of his biographers
and eulogists to make him appear as a conspicuous figure in the
proceedings, the hero of the occasion. However, Brown's plain sensible
letter, written to his wife at the time, giving her a full and
interesting account of what occurred, will be accepted by all sane
persons, as evidence of what did occur, as well as evidence of his
personal opinions of all matters pertaining thereto, so far as they came
under his observation. His letter is as follows:[102]

                              Osawatomie, K. T., Dec. 16, 1855.
                              Sabbath Evening.

      DEAR WIFE AND CHILDREN, EVERY ONE--I improve the first mail
      since my return from the camp of volunteers, who lately
      turned out for the defense of the town of Lawrence in this
      Territory, and notwithstanding, I suppose you have learned
      the result before this, (possibly), I will give a brief
      account of the invasion in my own way.

      About three or four weeks ago news came that a Free-State
      man by the name of Dow had been murdered by a pro-slavery
      man by the name of Coleman, who had gone and given himself
      up for trial to the pro-slavery Governor Shannon. This was
      soon followed by further news that a Free State man, who
      was the only reliable witness against the murderer had been
      seized by a Missourian (appointed sheriff by the bogus
      Legislature of Kansas) upon false pretexts, examined, and
      held to bail under such heavy bonds, to answer to those
      false charges, as he could not give; that while on his way
      to trial, in charge of the bogus sheriff, he was rescued by
      some men belonging to a company near Lawrence; and that in
      consequence of the rescue. Governor Shannon had ordered out
      all the pro-slavery force he could muster in the Territory,
      and called on Missouri for further help; that about two
      thousand had collected, demanding a surrender of the
      rescued witness and of the rescuers, the destruction of
      several buildings and printing-presses and a giving up of
      the Sharpe's rifles by the Free-State men,--threatening to
      destroy the town with cannon, with which they were
      provided, etc.; that about an equal number of Free-State
      men had turned out to resist them, and that a battle was
      hourly expected or supposed to have been already fought.

      These reports appeared to be well authenticated, but we
      could get no further account of matters; and I left this
      for the place where the boys are settled, at evening,
      intending to go to Lawrence to learn the facts the next
      day. John was, however, started on horseback, but before he
      had gone many rods, word came that our help was immediately
      wanted. On getting this last news, it was at once agreed to
      break up at John's camp, and take Wealthy and Johnny to
      Jason's camp (some two miles off), and that all the men but
      Henry, Jason, and Oliver should at once set off for
      Lawrence under arms; those three being wholly unfit for
      duty. We then set about providing a little corn-bread and
      meat, blankets, and cooking utensils, running bullets and
      loading all our guns, pistols, etc. The five set off in the
      afternoon and after a short rest in the night (which was
      quite dark), continued our march until after daylight next
      morning, when we got our breakfast, started again, and
      reached Lawrence in the forenoon, all of us more or less
      lamed by our tramp. On reaching the place, we found that
      negotiations had commenced between Governor Shannon (having
      a force of some fifteen or sixteen hundred men) and the
      principal leaders of the Free-State men, they having a
      force of some five hundred men at that time. These were
      busy, night and day, fortifying the town with embankments
      and circular earthworks, up to the time of the treaty with
      the Governor, as an attack was constantly looked for,
      notwithstanding the negotiations then pending. This state
      of things continued from Friday until Sunday evening. On
      the evening we left Osawatomie, a company of the invaders,
      of from fifteen to twenty-five attacked some three or four
      Free-State men, mostly unarmed, killing a Mr. Barber from
      Ohio, wholly unarmed. His body was afterward brought in and
      lay for some days in the room afterwards occupied by a part
      of the company to which we belong (it being organized after
      we reached Lawrence). The building was a large unfinished
      stone hotel, in which a great part of the volunteers were
      quartered, who witnessed the scene of bringing in the wife
      and other friends of the murdered man. I will only say of
      this scene that it was heart-rending, and calculated to
      exasperate the men exceedingly, and one of the sure results
      of civil war.

      After frequently calling on the leaders of the Free-State
      men to come and have an interview with him, by Governor
      Shannon, and after as often getting for an answer that if
      he had any business to transact with any one in Lawrence,
      to come and attend to it, he signified his wish to come
      into the town, and an escort was sent to the invaders' camp
      to conduct him in. When there, the leading Free-State men,
      finding out his weakness, frailty, and consciousness of the
      awkward circumstances into which he had really got himself,
      took advantage of his cowardice and folly and by means of
      that and the free use of whiskey and some trickery
      succeeded in getting a written arrangement with him much to
      their own liking. He stipulated with them to order the
      pro-slavery men of Kansas home, and to proclaim to the
      Missouri invaders that they must quit the Territory without
      delay, and also to give up General Pomeroy (a prisoner in
      their camp),--which was all done; he also recognizing the
      volunteers as the militia of Kansas, and empowering their
      officers to call them out whenever in their discretion the
      safety of Lawrence or other portions of the Territory might
      require it to be done. He (Governor Shannon) gave up all
      pretension of further attempt to enforce the enactment of
      the bogus Legislature, and retired, subject to the derision
      and scoffs of the Free-State men (into whose hands he had
      committed the welfare and protection of Kansas), and to the
      pity of some, and the curses of others of the invading

      So ended this last Kansas invasion--the Missourians
      returning with _flying colors_, after incurring heavy
      expenses, suffering great exposure, hardships, and
      privations, not having fought any battles, burned or
      destroyed any infant towns or Abolition presses; leaving
      the Free-State men organized and armed, and in full
      possession of the Territory; not having fulfilled any of
      all their dreadful threatenings, except to murder one
      _unarmed_ man, and to commit some robberies and waste of
      property upon defenseless families, unfortunately within
      their power. We learn by their papers that they boast of a
      great victory over the Abolitionists; and well they may.
      Free-State men have only hereafter to retain the footing
      they have gained, and _Kansas is free_. Yesterday the
      people passed upon the Free-State constitution. The result,
      though not yet known, no one doubts....

      We have received fifty dollars from father, and learned
      from him that he has sent you the same amount,--for which
      we ought to be grateful, as we are much relieved, both as
      respects ourselves and you....

This letter will always stand in its completeness as an official
expression by John Brown of his entire satisfaction with everything that
was done by the Free-State men on this occasion. The stipulations
contained in the peace treaty not only covered every point for which
the Free-State men were contending, but gave them official recognition,
in Territorial affairs, with authority therein far greater than they
could have hoped to obtain. Brown's entire approval of the agreement,
without any reservation whatever, is clearly and fully expressed in the

      Free-State men have only hereafter to retain the footing
      they have gained and _Kansas is free_.

No language could make his approval of what had been done more complete
or specific; and yet, notwithstanding this unequivocal record, by Brown
himself, of his approval of what had been done, his biographers insist
that he was not only dissatisfied with the proceedings that were had,
but that "the peace treaty itself produced in him only anger when he
first heard of it."

      John Brown, boiling over with anger, mounted the shaky
      platform and addressed the audience when Robinson had
      finished. He declared that Lawrence had been betrayed, and
      told his hearers that they should make a night attack upon
      the pro-slavery forces and drive them from the territory.
      "I am an Abolitionist," he said, "dyed in the wool," and
      then he offered to be one of ten men to make a night attack
      upon the Border Ruffian camp. Armed, and with lanterns, his
      plan was to string his men along the camp far apart. At a
      given signal in the early morning hours, they were to shout
      and fire on the slumbering enemy.[103]

That this speech will stand for all time, as a classic in the existing
melodramatic literature of John Brown, will be conceded. The novel plan
of a night attack by ten men, furnished with lanterns, as targets,
"strung far apart," against a force of fifteen hundred men, will, of
itself, commend it to such recognition.

A summary of the speeches, recently referred to as "harangues," made by
Governor Shannon, and by General Lane, and by Charles Robinson, on this
occasion, was duly reported at the time and published throughout the
country, for this was a notable incident in our national history. But
not a word was reported about Brown's speech. It ought to have been the
climax--the fire-works--of the whole performance for he was the only one
of the speakers who is said to have been "boiling over" with anything.
It may be assumed however that if John Brown had made a violent speech
_from this platform_ on this occasion, the fact would have been reported
by the reporter for the _Herald of Freedom_, who was present, and who
felt very kindly toward him. It may be true that Brown did some
grumbling in camp, or some loud talking somewhere, about the treaty
which he may not have understood at the time.

A very extended report of the incidents occurring in the "Wakurusa War"
is contained in the Lawrence _Herald of Freedom_ of December 15,
1855,[104] from which the following are extracts:

      Sunday the negotiations were resumed with Governor Shannon
      and finally completed, the substance of which was
      communicated to the people by the Governor. The settlement
      was received with satisfaction and yet the terms were not
      coincided in so fully as many supposed it would be. It was
      apparent that the Governor was in bad odor, as several
      attempts to get up cheers in his favor proved a failure,
      though no insult was shown him.

      Colonel Lane followed and was loudly cheered. He assured
      the public there had been no concession of honor and that
      the people of Lawrence and Kansas, would cheerfully
      acquiesce in the terms of the settlement as soon as they
      could learn the particulars....

      General Robinson was also loudly cheered and congratulated
      by the people on account of the settlement.... The day
      closed by Governor Shannon giving General Robinson and
      Colonel Lane each a commission, and clothing them with full
      power to preserve the peace in the vicinity and to use the
      volunteer force at their command for that purpose.

      Tuesday was full of animation. The soldiers were reviewed
      and finally formed in a square and addressed by the
      commanding officers. General Lane spoke as follows:...

      At the close of General Lane's speech, he was vociferously

      General Robinson, as Commander in Chief, delivered the
      following speech which was loudly applauded. He said:
      "...The moral strength of our position is such that even
      the 'gates of hell' could not prevail against us, much less
      a foreign mob and we gained a bloodless victory."... As
      General Robinson closed, six cheers were given to him.

Even a reporter and journalist so enterprising as James Redpath failed
to know of Brown's much advertised speech. He said:[105]

      I had no personal knowledge of his opposition to the Treaty
      of Peace.... The first time I heard of old Brown was in
      connection with a caucus at the town of Osawatomie.

It was not Redpath's fault that he did not then know John Brown or that
he had not even heard of him. It was simply because Brown was an
ordinary person, and had not done anything yet to attract public
attention to his personality. Opportunity did not happen to knock at his
door on that occasion; if it had, Brown, doubtless, would have acquitted
himself creditably, and Mr. Redpath would have heard of him. As soon as
Brown did even a little thing, Redpath heard of it promptly. April 16,
1856, a meeting or caucus was held at Osawatomie to consider the
question of paying the taxes that had been levied by authority of the
Territorial Legislature, and other public measures. To pay the taxes
would be a recognition of the "Bogus Legislature" that had enacted the
laws relating to taxation. Richard Mendenhall was chairman of the
meeting and Oscar V. Dayton was secretary. Brown, among others, spoke
in opposition to paying the taxes. There was nothing sensational in this
incident, but Redpath heard of the meeting and located Brown in his
mind, because of it. Referring to the incident Mr. Redpath made this
authoritative statement:[106] "This was John Brown's first and last
appearance in a public meeting in Kansas." Therefore, it appears that
Mr. Villard has been imposed upon.

Of Brown himself, the _Herald_ published the following sane and
_restful_ paragraph:

      About noon Mr. John Brown, an aged gentleman from Essex
      County, New York, who has been a resident of the Territory
      for several months, arrived with four of his sons,--leaving
      several others at home sick, bringing a quantity of arms
      with him which were placed in his hands by eastern friends
      for the defense of the cause of freedom. Having more than
      he could well use to advantage, a portion of them were
      placed in the hands of those who were more destitute. A
      company was organized and the command given to Mr. Brown
      for the zeal he had exhibited in the cause of freedom, both
      before and after his arrival in the Territory.[107]

Brown, with his sons, returned to their homes December 14th, and under
that date, in a letter to Orson Day, he expressed, further, his
satisfaction with what had been accomplished at Lawrence by the
Free-State managers. He said: "The Territory is now entirely in the
power of the Free-State men," and stated hopefully his opinion that "the
Missourians will give up all further hope of making Kansas a slave
state."[108] January 1, 1856, he wrote from West Point, Missouri: "In
this part of the state there seems to be but little feeling on the slave

January 5th, a Free-State county convention was held at Osawatomie to
nominate candidates for members of the Free-State Legislature. The
Browns took a prominent part in the proceedings. John Brown was chairman
of the meeting. Frederick Brown received the nomination for member of
the House of Representatives, but at the request of his father, he
declined the nomination, and it was given to John Brown, Jr.

With his participation in this convention, John Brown closed his public
services. Later--probably during March--he abandoned his honorable
commission as captain of the "Liberty Guards," disbanded the company,
and with his sons, Owen, Salmon, Frederick, Oliver, and his son-in-law,
Henry Thompson, planned and decided to abandon the Free-State cause,
enter upon a career of crime, and leave the neighborhood. The course was
agreed upon with John Brown, Jr., as accessory thereto; but not with the
knowledge of Jason Brown. These men comprised John Brown's "little
company of six" who, with others, committed the robbery on the
Pottawatomie on the night of May 24th--a robbery that included in the
plans for its execution, the murder of seven persons, five of whom fell
beneath the blows of the assassins.



      _A blush as of roses_
        _Where rose never grew!_
      _Great drops on the bunch-grass_
        _But not of the dew!_
      _A taint in the sweet air_
        _For wild bees to shun!_
      _A stain that will never_
        _Bleach out in the sun!_

      _Back, steed of the prairies!_
        _Sweet song bird, fly back!_
      _Wheel hither, bald vulture!_
        _Gray wolf, call thy pack!_
      _The foul human vultures_
        _Have feasted and fled;_
      _The wolves of the Border_
        _Have crept from the dead._


From a rude home in the bleak mountains of northern New York, John Brown
went to Kansas; not for the purpose of fighting, but inspired by the
hope of bettering his shattered fortunes; a hope that withered in the
budding, and gave place to feelings of deep disappointment and
discouragement. He wrote February 1st:

      It is now nearly six weeks that the snow has almost
      constantly been driven, like dry sand, by the fierce winds
      of Kansas. By means of the sale of our horse and wagon, our
      present wants are tolerably well met; so that, if health is
      continued to us, we shall not probably suffer much....
      Thermometer on Sunday and Monday at twenty-eight to
      twenty-nine below zero. Ice in the river, in the timber,
      and under the snow, eighteen inches thick this week....
      Jason down again with the ague, but he was some better
      yesterday. Oliver was also laid up by freezing his
      toes,--one great toe so badly frozen that the nail has come
      off. He will be crippled for some days yet. Owen has one
      foot frozen. We have middling tough times (as some would
      call them) but have enough to eat, and abundant reason for
      the most unfeigned gratitude....[110]

These were hard conditions. It would be difficult to imagine
circumstances of greater discomfort and hopelessness. But what about the
future--the future for himself and for the wife and the daughters
depending upon him for the necessaries of life, for whose benefit he had
come to Kansas? Did Brown think of them? Present inconvenience and
privation may be borne with fortitude if the future holds out a promise
of betterment. In his case we may reasonably assume that the problems of
the future, rather than the present conditions and discouragements,
engrossed his thoughts. It is altogether unreasonable to suppose that
this unscrupulous man of affairs--this restless, aggressive
speculator--sat listlessly, amid his environment of discomfort and
poverty, and permitted the dreary months to pass without thinking of his
precarious financial condition, and of the incessantly urgent family
responsibilities impending; and of the possibilities of bettering his
fortunes in the immediate future. His biographers have wisely avoided
discussion of the practical side of Brown's condition at this time,
preferring to wander in more intangible fields, and to speculate upon
the emotional and metaphysical phenomena they seek to involve in the
situation. The record of his life at this time, however, reveals the
fact that Brown did think of the future and of its responsibilities; and
that he did mature a plan to better his financial condition. Also, that
his plan was in harmony with his latest and best biographer's estimate
of his character: "It was not only that he was visionary as a business
man,"[111] says Mr. Villard, "but that he developed the fatal tendency
to speculate; doubtless the outgrowth of his restlessness, and the usual
desire of the bankrupt for a sudden coup to restore his fortune," To his
wife he wrote as follows:

                              Brown's Station, K. T., April 7, 1856.

      DEAR WIFE AND CHILDREN, EVERY ONE,--I wrote you last
      week,... We do not want you to borrow trouble about us, but
      trust us to the care of "Him who feeds the young ravens
      when they cry." I have, as usual, but little to write. We
      are doing off a house for Orson Day, which we hope to get
      through with soon; after which we shall probably soon leave
      this neighborhood, but will advise you further when we
      leave. It may be that Watson can manage to get a little
      money for shearing sheep if you do not get any from
      Connecticut. I still hope you will get help from that
      source. We have no wars as yet, but we still have abundance
      of "rumors." We still have frosty nights, but the grass
      starts a little. There are none of us complaining much just
      now, all being able to do something. John has just returned
      from Topeka, not having met with any difficulty; but we
      hear that preparations are making in the United States
      Court for numerous arrests of Free State men. For one, I
      have no desire (all things considered) to have the slave
      power cease from its acts of aggression. "Their foot shall
      slide in due time." May God bless and keep you all.

                              Your affectionate husband and father,
                              JOHN BROWN.

This letter foreshadows the turning point in John Brown's career. It
discloses the fact that he and his sons intended to engage in an
enterprise that was related to danger, against which he sought to quiet
his wife's apprehensions. The letter also foreshadows the fact that as a
result of what they intended to do, they would probably leave the
neighborhood; but as to either the nature of the undertaking which they
had in view, or the time at which the venture would be executed, she
would not be informed until they left the country. It discloses further
the significant fact, that his attitude toward the Free-State cause had
undergone a change. That instead of treasuring in his heart a patriotic
desire to win freedom for Kansas by peaceable means, he had assumed a
hostile attitude. He now desired, not peace, but war.

Three important facts appear at this point in Brown's history: That he
had decided to do something of a dangerous character and leave the
neighborhood; that he desired a revival of pro-slavery aggressions; and
that he had disbanded the "Liberty Guards."

On the 16th of April, 1856, John Brown, Jr., was in command of the
"Pottawatomie Rifles."[112] He said: "During the winter of 1856, I
raised a company of riflemen, from the Free-State settlers who had their
homes in the vicinity of Osawatomie and Pottawatomie Creek."[113] James
Townsley, in his "confession," made December 6, 1879, said: "I joined
the Pottawatomie Rifle Company at its reorganization in May, 1856, at
which time John Brown, Jr., was elected captain."

Why Brown should desire a revival of pro-slavery aggressions, if he
intended to leave the neighborhood; and what he intended to do, are
important questions in this analysis which his versatile biographers
have failed to attempt to explain. Brown could not have desired a
provocation from the pro-slavery people because he wanted an opportunity
to fight--to march against them at the head of the "Liberty Guards," and
"stagger the slave-power by the driving force of his iron will;"--for he
intended to leave the neighborhood; he intended to go away from the
scene of the prospective aggressions. He was no longer "Captain of the
Liberty Guards," but a private citizen; therefore, he must have desired
an outbreak of pro-slavery hostility for personal reasons; for reasons
relating to operations which he intended to engage in with Henry
Thompson as an associate; who wrote, equivocally, to his wife in May,
1856, that "Upon Brown's plans would depend his own, until School is

[Illustration: John Brown]

The operations that Brown and his four unmarried sons and Henry Thompson
engaged in immediately after the letter containing this extract was
written, show that the "plans" therein referred to related to the
capital tragedy in the history of Kansas Territory. These plans provided
for the theft of a large number of horses on Pottawatomie Creek. The
horses were duly stolen by Brown and his band. To make the theft
possible, and personally safe, they planned to quietly assassinate the
owners of the horses. To avoid identification, and to dispose of the
horses which they intended to steal, they planned to deliver them to
confederates, who would run them out of the neighborhood; and, at the
same time, they were to receive from such confederates horses of a more
desirable character--fast running horses--which were to be brought from
the northern part of the Territory to a designated rendezvous.

It was the original intention to steal four lots of horses and murder
seven men. The persons murdered in pursuance of their plans were John
Doyle and two of his sons, Hon. Allen Wilkinson, and William Sherman.
Those who escaped death were Henry Sherman, a brother of William, and
another person whose name has been withheld from publication.[114] The
_silent_ weapons used in these murders were some of the short swords,
ground to a keen edge, that Brown had brought with him when he came to
the Territory. The unfortunate victims, in holding up their arms in vain
attempts to shield their heads from impending blows, were struck upon
their forearms and hands; these in some instances were almost severed
from their bodies. The heads of the murdered men, except in the case of
Doyle, were split open and their bodies otherwise mutilated. In the
case of Doyle, he was shot in the head; and in addition thereto, a sword
was run through his breast. He was the first victim of the tragedies.
The shot which struck him was the only shot that was fired in these
murders, and the firing of it stands charged to John Brown himself. Of
this Mr. Villard says:[115] "Salmon Brown will not positively state that
his father fired it but admits that no one else pulled a trigger."

An account in detail of these murders is found in the testimony of the
widows of Doyle and Wilkinson, and of James Harris, and others, taken
before Hon. M. N. Oliver, of Missouri, minority member of a
congressional committee of which Hon. W. A. Howard was chairman. The
committee was appointed in 1855 to investigate and report to Congress
upon the troubles in Kansas. The character of the evidence brought out
in this investigation incriminated the Browns; but for more than twenty
years thereafter the surviving members of the family stoutly denied
having any participation in the crime. Even at Harper's Ferry, when
standing within the shadow of the gallows, John Brown denied having had
anything to do with it. To Judge Russell "the prisoner reiterated his
assertion often made in those prison days that he was not personally
concerned in the Pottawatomie murders."[116] But after the confession of
James Townsley, his biographers and friends were forced to acknowledge
Brown's directing hand in the crime. Since that time, they have
continuously sought, by various pretexts--defensive, patriotic and
altruistic--to justify him in the killing of these men; and to distract
attention away from the real motive that prompted it; with the result
that they have thus far succeeded in so agitating discussion upon the
merits of the _murders_, as to concentrate public attention upon that
feature of the crime--the murders--and to eliminate or silence any
allusion whatever to the fundamental feature of it--_robbery_. As a
consequence of their propaganda, writers of history have not made any
reference to the robberies to which the murders were subordinate and
incidental. After the manner of sheep, they have followed the lead of
Brown's eulogists into the interesting field of metaphysics; and have
there engaged in profitless speculation upon Brown's mental processes,
and the probable psychical impulses which may have controlled his

The confession of James Townsley is as follows:

      I joined the Potawatomie rifle company at its
      reorganization in May, 1856, at which time John Brown, Jr.,
      was elected captain. On the 21st of the same month
      information was received that the Georgians were marching
      on Lawrence, threatening its destruction. The company was
      immediately called together, and about four o'clock P. M.
      we started on a forced march to aid in its defense.

      About two miles south of Middle Creek, we were joined by
      the Osawatomie company under Captain Dayton, and proceeded
      to Mount Vernon, where we waited about two hours, until the
      moon rose. We then marched all night, camping the next
      morning, the 22nd, for breakfast, near Ottawa Jones's.
      Before we arrived at this point, news had been received
      that Lawrence had been destroyed, and a question was raised
      whether we should return or go on. During the forenoon,
      however, we proceeded up Ottawa Creek to within about five
      miles of Palmyra, and went into camp near the residence of
      Captain Shore. Here we remained, undecided, over night.
      About noon the next day, the 23rd, Old John Brown came to
      me and said he had just received information that trouble
      was expected on the Potawatomie, and wanted to know if I
      would take my team and take him and his boys back, so they
      could keep watch on what was going on. I told him I would
      do so. The party, consisting of Old John Brown, Watson
      Brown, Oliver Brown, Henry Thompson, (John Brown's
      son-in-law), and Mr. Winer, were soon ready for the trip
      and we started, as near as I can remember, about two
      o'clock P. M. All of the party except Winer, who rode a
      pony, rode with me in my wagon. When within two or three
      miles of Potawatomie Creek, we turned off the main road to
      the right, drove down to the edge of the timber between two
      deep ravines, and camped about one mile above Dutch Henry's
      crossing.... We remained in camp that night and all the
      next day. Some time after dark we were ordered to march.

      We started, the whole company, in a northerly direction,
      crossing Mosquito Creek, above the residence of the Doyles.
      Soon after crossing the creek, some one of the party
      knocked at the door of a cabin, but received no reply--I
      have forgotten whose cabin it was, if I knew at the time.

      The next place we came to was the residence of the Doyles.
      John Brown, three of his sons, and son-in-law, went to the
      door, leaving Frederick Brown, Winer, and myself, a short
      distance from the house. About this time a large dog
      attacked us. Frederick Brown struck the dog a blow with his
      short two edged sword, after which I dealt him a blow with
      my sabre, and heard no more of him. The old man Doyle and
      two sons were called out and marched some distance from the
      house toward Dutch Henry's, in the road, where a halt was
      made. Old John Brown drew a revolver and shot the old man
      Doyle in the forehead and Brown's two youngest sons
      immediately fell upon the younger Doyles with their short
      two-edged swords.

      One of the young Doyles was stricken down in an instant,
      but the other attempted to escape, and was pursued a short
      distance by his assailant and cut down. The company then
      proceeded down Mosquito Creek to the house of Allen
      Wilkinson. Here the old man Brown, three of his sons, and
      son-in-law as at the Doyle residence, went to the door and
      ordered Wilkinson to come out, leaving Frederick Brown,
      Winer, and myself standing in the road east of the house.
      Wilkinson was taken and marched some distance south of his
      house and slain in the road, with a short sword, by one of
      the younger Browns. After he was killed, his body was
      dragged out to one side and left.

      We then crossed the Potawatomie and came to the house of
      Henry Sherman, generally known as Dutch Henry. Here John
      Brown and the party, excepting Frederick Brown, Winer, and
      myself, who were left outside a short distance from the
      door, went into the house and brought out one or two
      persons, talked with them some, and then took them in
      again. They afterwards brought out William Sherman, Dutch
      Henry's brother, marched him down into the Potawatomie
      Creek, where he was slain with swords, by Brown's two
      youngest sons, and left lying in the creek....

                              JAMES TOWNSLEY.

      Lane, Kansas, December 6, 1879.

From this statement it appears that John Brown set the example for his
sons to follow by killing Doyle. "Old John Brown drew his revolver and
shot old man Doyle in the forehead, and Brown's two younger sons
immediately fell upon the younger Doyles with their short, two edged

Mrs. Doyle, in her testimony said:

      ... My son John was spared because I asked them in tears to
      spare him....

The son testified:

      I found my father and one brother, William, lying dead in
      the road about two hundred yards from the house. I saw my
      other brother lying dead on the ground about one hundred
      and fifty yards from the house, in the grass, near a
      ravine, his fingers were cut off, and his arms were cut
      off; his head was cut open; there was a hole in his breast.
      William's head was cut open, and a hole was in his jaw, as
      though it was made by a knife, and a hole was in his side.
      My father was shot in the forehead and stabbed in the

Allen Wilkinson was the postmaster for the community, and was a member
of the Territorial Legislature. Like Doyle, he was married, and had a
family of small children. Mrs. Wilkinson states that the persons who
murdered her husband, came to their home after midnight, and after
knocking at the door, inquired "the way to Dutch Henry's." Wilkinson
began to tell them, but they told him to "come out and show them." Her
testimony is in part as follows:

      ... One of them said, "You are our prisoner. Do you
      surrender?" He said, "Gentlemen, I do." They said, "Open
      the door." Mr. Wilkinson told them to wait till he made a
      light and they replied, "If you don't open it, we will open
      it for you." He opened the door against my wishes, and four
      men came in and my husband was told to put on his clothes,
      and they asked him if there were not more men about. They
      searched for arms, and took a gun and powder flask, all the
      weapon that was about the house.... They then took my
      husband away. One of them came back and took two saddles. I
      asked him what they were going to do with him and he said,
      "Take him a prisoner to the camp." ... After they were
      gone, I thought I heard my husband's voice, in complaint,
      but do not know; went to the door and all was still. Next
      morning Mr. Wilkinson was found about one hundred and fifty
      yards from the house dead, in some bushes. A lady who saw
      my husband's body said, that there was a gash in his head
      and in his side; others said he was cut in the throat

James Harris, at whose house William Sherman was staying on the night of
May 24th, states in his testimony, what came under his observation.
Harris was a day laborer. He testified in part as follows:

      On last Sunday morning about two o'clock (the 25th of last
      May) whilst my wife and child and myself were in bed in the
      house where we lived, we were aroused by a company of men
      who said they belonged to the Northern army, and who were
      each armed with a sabre and two revolvers, two of whom I
      recognized, namely, a Mr. Brown, whose name I do not
      remember, commonly known by the appellation of "old man
      Brown" and his son Owen Brown.... When they came up to the
      bed, some had drawn sabres in their hands, and some
      revolvers. They then took possession of two rifles and a
      Bowie knife which I had with me in the room--there was but
      one room in my house--and afterward ransacked the whole
      establishment after ammunition.... They asked me where
      Henry Sherman was. Henry Sherman was a brother to William
      Sherman. I told them that he was out on the plains in
      search of some cattle that he had lost. They asked me if
      there were any bridles or saddles about the premises. I
      told them there was one saddle which they took, and they
      also took possession of Henry Sherman's horse which I had
      at my place, and made me saddle him. They then said if I
      would answer no, to all questions which they asked me, they
      would let [me] loose. Old Mr. Brown and his son then went
      into the house with me.... Old man Brown asked Mr. Sherman
      to go out with him, and Mr. Sherman then went out with old
      man Brown, and another man came into the house in Brown's
      place. I heard nothing more for about fifteen minutes. Two
      of the northern army, as they styled themselves, stayed on
      with us until we heard a cap burst and then these two men
      left. That morning about ten o'clock I found William
      Sherman dead in the creek near my house. I was looking for
      Mr. Sherman; as he had not come back, I thought he had been
      murdered. I took Mr. William Sherman out of the creek and
      examined him. Mr. Whiteman was with me. Sherman's skull was
      split open in two places, and some of his brains was washed
      out by the water. A large hole was cut in his breast, and
      his left hand was cut off except a little piece of skin on
      one side. We buried him.[120]

It should be remembered that prior to the date of these murders and
robberies, the zone of conflict in the Territory had been confined
within the limits of Douglas, Leavenworth, and Atchison counties. Also,
that the settlers living south of Douglas county had, up to this time,
enjoyed the repose and benefits of a condition of profound peace; and
that during all of the time that Brown was formulating his plans to rob
and murder his unsuspecting neighbors, the "Shannon Treaty" was in full
force and effect, and a season of peace prevailing throughout the whole
Territory. Mr. Villard says of this period:[121]

      Not a single person had been killed in the region around
      Osawatomie either by the lawless characters, or by armed
      representatives of the pro-slavery cause. The instances of
      brutality or murder narrated in the preceding chapters, all
      took place miles to the north in the vicinity of Lawrence
      or Leavenworth.

And John Brown himself, in his speech before a committee of the
Massachusetts Legislature, February 18, 1857, said:[122]

      Things do not look one iota more encouraging now than they
      did last year at this time. You may remember that from the
      Shannon Treaty, (December 9th, 1855) which ended the
      Wakarusa war, till early in May, 1856, there was general
      quiet in Kansas. No violence was offered to our citizens
      when they went to Missouri. I frequently went there myself
      to buy corn and other supplies. I was known there, yet they
      treated me well.

Some of Buford's men had been in the neighborhood but they were not
brutal toward the Free-State settlers. There was a potent restraining
influence controlling their conduct. They were at the time on the pay
roll of the General Government as deputy United States marshals, and the
respectability and responsibility of their official positions demanded
reasonably proper behavior on their part.[123]

The most important evidence upon the important subject under
consideration, appears in Brown's letter to his wife, written after his
fight at Black Jack; and in a personal statement made by John Brown,
Jr., to F. B. Sanborn. The letter is, in part, as follows:[124]

                              Near Brown's Station, K. T., June, 1856.

      DEAR WIFE AND CHILDREN, EVERY ONE,--It is now about five
      weeks since I have seen a line from North Elba, or had any
      chance of writing you. During that period we have passed
      through an almost constant series of very trying events. We
      were called to go to the relief of Lawrence, May 22, and
      every man (eight in all), except Orson turned out; he
      staying with the women and children and to take care of the
      cattle. John was captain of a company to which Jason
      belonged; _the other six were a little company by
      ourselves_.[125] On our way to Lawrence we learned that it
      had been already destroyed, and we encamped with John's
      company over night. Next day our little company left and
      during the day we stopped and searched three men....

      On the second day and evening after we left John's men, we
      encountered quite a number of pro-slavery men and took
      quite a number of prisoners. Our prisoners we let go, but
      we kept some four or five horses. We were immediately after
      this, accused of murdering five men at Pottawatomie and
      great efforts have since been made by the Missourians and
      their ruffian allies to capture us. John's company soon
      afterward disbanded, and also the Osawatomie men.[126]

      Since then, we have, like David of old, had our dwelling
      with the serpents of the rocks and wild beasts of the
      wilderness; being obliged to hide away from our enemies. We
      are not disheartened, though nearly destitute of food,
      clothing and money. God, who has not given us over to the
      will of our enemies, but has moreover delivered them into
      our hand, will we humbly trust, still keep and deliver us.
      We feel assured that He who sees not as men see, does not
      lay the guilt of innocent blood to our charge.

      If, under God, this letter reaches you so that it can be
      read, I wish it at once carefully copied, and a copy of it
      sent to Gerrit Smith. I know of no other way to get these
      facts and our situation before the world, nor when I can
      write again....

The statement that John Brown, Jr., made to Mr. Sanborn is, in part, as

      We got back to Osawatomie from our five days' campaign,
      toward evening on the 26th of May.... I took my rifle and
      horse and went into the ravine on Mr. Adair's land,
      remaining there through that day (May 27) and the following
      night. About four o'clock P. M. I was joined by my brother
      Owen, who had been informed at Mr. Adair's of my
      whereabouts. He brought with him into the brush a valuable
      running horse, mate of the one I had with me. These horses
      had been taken by Free-State men near the Nebraska line and
      exchanged for horses obtained in the way of reprisals
      further south; and while on foot a few miles south of
      Ottawa Jones's place, May 26, I had been offered one of
      these to ride the remaining distance to Osawatomie. Owen's
      horse was wet with sweat; and he told me of the narrow
      escape he had just had from a number of armed pro-slavery
      men who had their headquarters at Tooley's,--a house at the
      foot of the hill, about a mile and a half west of Mr.
      Adair's. Their guards, seeing him in the road coming down
      the hill, gave a signal and at once the whole gang were in
      hot chase. The superior fleetness of the horse Owen rode
      alone saved him. He exchanged horses with me, and that
      night forded the Marais des Cygnes, and going by Stanton,
      (or Standiford as it was sometimes called), recrossed the
      river to father's camp about a mile north of the house of
      Mr. Day. Until Owen told me that night, I did not know
      where father could be found....

Referring to a horse whose mane and tail had been shaved--"Dutch Henry's
gray pony"--Mr. Sanborn states:[128] "This horse was soon taken to
northern Kansas by some Free State men who gave in exchange for that and
other horses captured on the Pottawatomie, some fast Kentucky horses, on
one of which Owen Brown afterward escaped from his pursuers."

But John Brown, Jr., received his fast running horse on the morning of
May 26th and "upon a mate to it" Owen Brown escaped from his pursuers on
the same day near Osawatomie. Therefore, the exchange of the horses
"taken as reprisals" on the Pottawatomie, for the fast running horses,
was not made in northern Kansas some time afterward, as Mr. Sanborn
states, but was made immediately after the robbery--May 25th or 26th--at
the appointed time and place; probably on Middle Creek.

These statements, made by John Brown, and by his son, complete the
recorded evidence of Brown's plan to retrieve his shattered fortunes by
a plunge in horse stealing. It shows that he was in partnership with
others in the transaction, and that his confederates brought the
northern horses, eight at least, to the appointed rendezvous and
delivered them to him. It shows also, that John Brown, Jr., was in his
father's confidence, and that he knew enough about his father's plans
and of what had been done on the night of the 24th, to enable him to
walk to a point "a few miles south of Ottawa Jones's place" where he was
"offered one of the northern horses," and accepted it as his own.

Who Brown's confederates were in this transaction, except as to Weiner,
is as yet unknown. Salmon Brown still guards the sacred secret. But it
is probable that the "mysterious courier," who came to the camp of the
Pottawatomie Rifles on the morning of the 23d, was one of them, and
that he delivered a message to John Brown. There has been much debate
concerning this messenger and his identity.[129] B. L. Cochrane may have
been the important person, or it may have been Jacob Benjamin that bore
the important message, or Charles Lenhart, or Mr. John E. Cook. None of
these men have heretofore been charged with having taken any part in the
Pottawatomie episode, but there are incidents in this history which
connect them with it as confederates. Weiner owned the store at "Dutch
Henry's Crossing," and Benjamin was in his employ. Weiner disposed of
his stock of merchandise and gave up the business to engage in this
speculation in horses. He was from Texas and to Texas he returned. It is
also probable that he was a pro-slavery man. Benjamin was subsequently
"imprisoned" for some act that he committed while in Brown's service; as
appears from a reference which the latter made, during July, concerning
him.[130] The name of Benjamin Cochrane also appears in the same
reference, as having been with Brown at the Pottawatomie and at the
Black Jack.

On page 101, Mr. Redpath states that Charles Lenhart and John E. Cook
left Lawrence on the 21st to "commence reprisals." There is also
evidence that they went southward. They were horse thieves, and at
Cleveland in May, 1858, Cook stated that he had killed five men in
Kansas.[131] It is therefore probable that these men were accomplices
with the Browns in this deal; and participated, directly or indirectly,
in the murders. Cook was a guest in their camp June 4th, two days after
the fight at Black Jack, when they had Pate's horses and mules in their
possession. Thereafter he continued to be Brown's faithful lieutenant,
and followed his fortunes to the gallows at Charlestown. Charles
Lenhart, too, appeared at Charlestown, engaged in an effort to effect
Cook's escape from the jail.

The terms of the agreement which the Browns made with these
confederates, and the details for the execution of the Pottawatomie
transaction, would make history of absorbing interest. How many horses
did Brown turn over to them? Did they trade one bunch of horses for the
other, and let it go at that? Or, did his confederates charge him with
the value of the horses which they turned over to him; and then, after
offsetting their services in selling Brown's horses, against his
services in stealing them, did they divide the net profits, or the
difference in value between the two lots of horses? Then as to the time
when Brown was to make his delivery; it would be interesting to know
about that. Were the parties to wait until the Border Ruffians started
something, and raised some friendly dust that would distract public
attention from their operations? Probably so, for Brown was prepared to
kill his neighbors and take their horses at any time. His letter of
April 7th shows that he intended to do this whether the slave-power
renewed its acts of aggression or not. He simply preferred to commit his
robbery under cover of some pro-slavery provocation. Otherwise, after
the grass had well started, he intended to execute it in cold blood and
leave the country. In that event, he probably intended to "go to
Louisiana," and "head an uprising of the slaves there."[132]

For reasons obvious, Mr. Villard could not obtain the exact facts as to
all these incriminating matters from his friends, Salmon Brown and Henry
Thompson; but the former is still living,[133] and can yet supply them
if he desires to do so. He can, if he be so disposed, give out the
"exact facts" as to _all_ the principal happenings on the Pottawatomie.
For instance: He can give the name of the man whose horses they intended
to steal, but failed to get, and the number of them. Townsley referred
to this incident, but Salmon Brown gave further details and spoke very
interestingly upon the subject. He said:[134]

      Soon after crossing the creek, some one of the party
      knocked at the door of a cabin. There was no reply, but
      from within came the sound of a gun rammed through the
      chinks of the cabin walls. It saved the owner's life, for
      at that we all scattered. We did not disturb that man. With
      some candle wicking soaked in coal oil to light and throw
      inside, so that we could see within while he could not see
      outside, we would have managed it, but we had none. It was
      a method much used later.

From the expression "it was a method much used later" we derive a
confession that the Browns continued in the horse stealing business.

Upon the number of horses that Brown expected to get as a result of the
murder of seven men, depends this interesting problem in his psychology:
his estimate of the value of a human life in terms of horses. In the
case of the Doyles, he took three lives and got, probably, eight or ten
horses; but the whole number of horses taken will never be known unless
Salmon Brown, or some one who has his confidence, should decide to
reveal it.

"The Shermans," Bondi says, "had amassed considerable property by
robbing cattle droves and emigrant trains."[135] They lived at a
"crossing" of the Pottawatomie, and were buyers and traders in horses,
oxen, and cattle passing over the trail. "Crossings" are usually camping
places for emigrants and drovers; and at such locations lame, footsore,
or otherwise unserviceable stock, can be, frequently, bought or traded
for at a very profitable margin in favor of the trader. Travelers must
either sell or abandon their lame stuff, and replace it with serviceable
animals, or lie over and wait until such animals get in condition to
travel. The trader not being compelled to trade, names the price he
will pay, or the terms upon which he will exchange good stuff for bad.
When the stock which he buys is recuperated, he sells it for a good
profit to other travelers, or to immigrants who locate in his
neighborhood. In this way the Shermans, William and Henry, had
accumulated wealth in horses and cattle; and since there was then much
travel on the trail, they may have had on hand at that time, from
twenty-five to forty or fifty horses.[136]

The importance of exchanging the Pottawatomie horses immediately, and
getting them out of the country was a high card in Brown's play. If he
and his gang had been caught with their murdered neighbors' horses in
their possession the next morning, there would not have been any
sophistical discussion fifty years after about how the "killings on the
Pottawatomie" could be "justified"; or about Brown's "sudden impulses";
or of his altruistic convictions that it was necessary to "_remove_"
anybody. The men of that outraged neighborhood, regardless of party
affiliation, would have promptly hanged the outlaws. But the robbers
were too deep for them. The neighbors lost the trail of the robbers and
murderers; also, they lost the trail of the Browns.

The horror of these murders, aggravated by the brutal mutilation of the
bodies of the victims, seems to have shocked that community into a
condition of semi-insensibility. In a lot of resolutions adopted at a
public meeting of citizens at Osawatomie, on the 27th, "denouncing the
murders"; the motive prompting the crime, _the theft of the horses owned
by the victims_, is not referred to. It is probable that the Osawatomie
people, who drew the resolutions, did not then know that any horses had
been stolen. At any rate, these resolutions came to be regarded as the
public or official announcement of what had occurred; and since they
contained no reference to any robbery, in connection with the murders,
the public was thus, unintentionally, led to believe that the
assassinations were acts of partisan warfare; a killing of obnoxious
pro-slavery men by unknown, but over zealous Free-State men. The
resolutions are as follows:[137]

      _Whereas_, an outrage of the darkest and foulest nature has
      been committed in our midst by some midnight assassins
      unknown, who have taken five of our citizens at the hour of
      midnight, from their homes and families, and murdered and
      mangled them in the most awful manner; to prevent a
      repetition of these deeds, we deem it necessary to adopt
      some measures for our mutual protection and to aid and
      assist in bringing these desperadoes to justice. Under
      these circumstances we propose to act up to the following

      _Resolved_, that we will repudiate and discountenance all
      organized bands of men who leave their homes for the avowed
      purpose of exciting others to acts of violence, believing
      it to be the duty of all good disposed citizens to stay at
      home during these exciting times and protect and if
      possible restore the peace and harmony of the neighborhood;
      furthermore we will discountenance all armed bodies of men
      who may come amongst us from any other part of the
      Territory or from the States unless said parties come under
      the authority of the United States.

      _Resolved_, That we pledge ourselves, individually and
      collectively, to prevent a recurrence of a similar tragedy
      and to ferret out and hand over to the criminal authorities
      the perpetrators for punishment.

          C. H. PRICE, President}
          R. GOLDING, Chairman  }
          R. GILPATRICK         }
          W. C. MCDOW           }        Committee
          S. V. VANDAMAN        }
          A. CASTELE            }
          JOHN BLUNT            }

      H. H. WILLIAMS, Secretary

The pillage and burning of Lawrence put the killings upon a war basis.
They were supposed to have been a war measure, instead of a case of
horse stealing; and, instead of the Browns _et al._ being hanged for
their crimes, as they would have been, by common consent, as undesirable
citizens, partisan spirit and sectional sentiment soon rallied in their
behalf and not only condoned their horrible crimes, but, in time,
approved of the murders, and recognized Brown as among the foremost
defenders of the Free-State cause. At a meeting of the Anti-Slavery
Society in Lawrence December 19, 1859, Governor Robinson said:

      It made no difference whether he (Brown) raised his hand or
      otherwise (at Pottawatomie); he was present aiding and
      advising to it and did not attempt to stop the bloodshed,
      and is, of course, responsible, though justifiable,
      according to his understanding of affairs.

Robinson also stated at this meeting that he himself thought the murders
justifiable at the time.

      The Anti-Slavery Society, after the discussion, voted that
      the murders were not unjustifiable, and that they were
      performed from the sad necessity ... to defend the lives
      and liberty of the settlers of that region.[138]

Governor Robinson further said on February 5, 1878:

      I never had much doubt that Captain Brown was the author of
      the blow at Pottawatomie, for the reason that he was the
      only man who comprehended the situation, and saw the
      absolute necessity of some such blow and had the nerve to
      strike it.

The character of Charles Robinson is evidence that if he had known, at
this time, that the murders on the Pottawatomie had been committed in
the promotion of robbery, instead of resulting from a supposed spasm of
patriotic resentment, provoked by the sack and burning of Lawrence, he
would not have declared them justifiable.

In the light of these occurrences, the student of history may readily
solve the enigmas involved in Brown's letter of April 7th and in Henry
Thompson's reference to his relation with Brown's plans: _until school
is out_. He finds in them a logical reason for the disbanding of the
"Liberty Guards"; for the organization of the Pottawatomie Rifles; and
for Brown's desire that the slave-power should not "cease from its acts
of aggression." These preliminary acts are in harmony with, and form a
part of his general plan for a "sudden coup" on the Pottawatomie.

The evidence is complete that the theft of the horses was the part to be
performed by Brown in this comprehensive scheme. His crime cannot be
excused or justified upon any pretext of supposed conditions or of
supposed circumstances. A condition of profound peace was prevailing
throughout the entire Territory when he laid his plans for this assault
upon his neighbors. The settlers in the region south of Douglas County
were living in a state of amity and neighborly interdependence; so much
so that Jason Brown and the members of the Pottawatomie Rifles, who
started to go to Lawrence, and who expected to be absent for an
indefinite period of time, deemed it safe to leave their families and
their property in the care of, or at the mercy of these same pro-slavery
neighbors. Neither can the crime be justified upon the ground that the
robbery and the attendant murders were acts of partisan or guerrilla
warfare. Such warfare is conducted in the open, with the knowledge and
approval of the side to which the guerrillas belong; there is no secrecy
concerning their operations. But Brown robbed and murdered in the night
for his personal gain; and sought by secretly exchanging the loot to
hide his identity therewith from the world, and denied his participation
in the crime to shield himself from the wrath of his outraged friends
and neighbors. Neither can Brown's crime be compared to the execution of
undesirable persons by vigilance committees, as some have attempted to
do. The swift vengeance of such committees falls upon criminals--persons
whose existence in a community is a menace to public order and safety;
it is exercised by reputable persons whose social and commercial
interests are involved; and in a public or semi-public manner, and after
notice has been served upon the offensive persons. It is simply
monstrous to conceive of a vigilance committee secretly murdering
well-to-do citizens--heads of families, engaged in legitimate
occupations; and then stealing their property and dividing it up among
themselves. Yet such is the logic of that comparison.

Also, it is gratuitous to assert that the persons who were killed were
disreputable. Wilkinson was the local postmaster, and was, when
assassinated, a member of the Territorial Legislature; the Sherman
brothers were successful horse dealers and stock men. Concerning the
Doyles, notwithstanding the efforts which have been made to defame them,
they seem to have been decent, respectable, well-to-do settlers. Of them
Mr. Eli Moore of Lawrence, Kansas, says:

      William Doyle and his sons were good and desirable
      citizens. In 1854-55 the elder Doyle and his oldest son
      were contractors for building the mission houses at Miami,
      Missouri. I never knew more quiet and industrious men. I
      was with them almost daily for a year and never heard
      either of them utter a word of politics.[139]

They were not "poor whites" as has been recently said.[140] If they had
been poor; if they had not owned a lot of good horses, they would not
have been murdered. The desperado always appeared upon the fringe of our
advancing settlements; but he was neither a settler nor a home builder.
The men who were murdered and robbed had taken claims, had built homes,
and were living peaceably and honorably in them. They did not in their
lives exhibit the characteristics of the desperado, but their assassins
measure up to the part. They had no homes; they were not cultivating
the fertile soil of eastern Kansas; they had abandoned their claims and
were living upon their wits; they were floaters who intended to leave
the neighborhood. These men wore the brands which distinguish the
desperado; they carried "slung-shots";[141] they were swearing,
swaggering bullies[142]--"rough-necks"--who infested that border and
preyed upon the home builders.

In the preface to his great book, Mr. Villard states that "to Salmon
Brown and Henry Thompson is due his ability to record for the first time
the exact facts as to the happenings on the Pottawatomie." It is evident
that he was imposed upon by these principals in the "happenings"; for it
is unfair to suppose that he would withhold the facts from his
publication if he had correct information in his possession concerning
them. He has written voluminously, and in a scholarly manner about this
episode, and has shown the inconsistency of a part of the brood of
fallacies which were conjured, and put forth as motives justifying
Brown's conduct therein; but he has not added any valuable fact to the
narrative that was given out by Mr. Townsley concerning it.

Mr. Townsley withheld the facts relating to the robbery and the
exchanging of the horses through confederates, for the personal reason
that he did not desire to incriminate himself as a horse thief. Salmon
Brown and Henry Thompson had greater reasons for withholding from Mr.
Villard, and from the public, the damning evidence of the brutal
selfishness of this crime. It was theirs rather to guard, _jealously
guard_ their father's fame and to defend his memory; and not to betray
it by giving up facts that would disclose the secret of his and of their
own dishonor. Statements made by criminals, concerning their
criminality, are not usually true. It is well enough to get such
statements, but it is the safer way not to attach much importance to
them. These men were not credible witnesses. John Brown, himself, was a
very unreliable witness upon any question wherein his personal interests
were involved; and was especially so in relation to this incident; and
these two men, as witnesses in their own behalf, continually denied
having any knowledge of the facts herein, until Townsley gave out the
secret of their complicity with the murders. Salmon Brown wrote December
27, 1859:[143]

      DEAR SIR: Your letter to my mother was received to-night.
      You wish me to give you the facts in regard to the
      Pottawatomie execution, or murder, and to know whether my
      father was a participant in the act. I was one of the
      company at the time of the homicide, and never away from
      him one hour at a time after we took up arms in Kansas;
      therefore, I say positively, that he was not a participator
      in the deed,--although I should think none the less of him
      if he had have been there; for it was the grandest thing
      that was ever done in Kansas. It was all that saved the
      Territory from being overrun with drunken land-pirates from
      the Southern States. That was the first act in the history
      of Kansas which proved to the demon of Slavery that there
      was as much room to give blows as to take them. It was done
      to save life and to strike terror through their wicked

                              Yours respectfully,
                              SALMON BROWN.

Criminals who are tried and judged upon testimony furnished by
themselves are usually acquitted. In this important case it is
unfortunate that the distinguished author accepted the statements which
these men made to him, as being the whole truth, and that he certified
them to the public and wrote them into history as the exact facts

Salmon Brown and Henry Thompson could not fructify the desert, but they
held the secrets of the Pottawatomie, and if they had revealed them to
Mr. Villard instead of practicing a deception upon him, he would have
written the history of the tragedy differently.

But Mr. Villard was zealous in a quest for evidence that would sustain
the conception of the character of John Brown which he desired to
establish for him in history: a "complex character," which only those
can understand who hold a chart upon the mysteries of the soul. He

      How may the killings on the Pottawatomie, this terrible
      violation of the statute and the moral laws, be justified?
      This is the question that has confronted every student of
      John Brown's life since it was definitely established that
      Brown was, if not actually a principal in the crime, an
      accessory and an instigator.

It thus appears that it was not historical facts that he sought, but
evidence that would counteract the force of the historical facts already
existing. It was a partisan zeal that led him to seek the testimony of

To obtain a true understanding of John Brown, the man, the student of
his life must take up the threads of history that lead to the character
making incident of May 24th. Mr. Villard concedes this[145] but he made
no effort to gather them up. In a chapter of more than thirty pages,
under the title, "The Captain of the Liberty Guards," he refers only to
the organization of the company, and to Brown's two days' service with
it at Lawrence--December 7th and 8th, 1855. The disorganization and
abandonment of this company by Brown in the spring of 1856, is of far
greater significance in this history than the organization of it. In
honor, as "Captain of the Liberty Guards in the Fifth Regiment Kansas
Volunteers," John Brown first received the historic title of "Captain,"
and _in dishonor he abandoned_ his commission three months later.

Back of every human action there is that which incites the action, that
which determines the choice or moves the will. There was that back of
the actions of John Brown, and of his sons and confederates, that moved
them to do what they did on the night of the 24th of May, 1856; this
inciting force was _motive_.

John Brown had a motive for disbanding the _Liberty Guards_. What was
it? He had a motive for quitting the Free-State army secretly. Why
secretly? He had "no desire all things considered, that the slave-power
should cease from its acts of aggression." Why should he not desire
peace? He had a purpose in view when he organized the Pottawatomie
Rifles under the command of his son, and a motive for organizing five of
his sons into a separate company: "a little company by ourselves." What
were the purposes? He wrote to his wife that he contemplated leaving the
neighborhood, but did not tell her when he would leave, or why he
expected to leave, or where he intended to go. What motive prompted him
to conceal from her the facts in relation to a subject in which she was
so intimately concerned? The matters referred to here are "stones" that
have lain in the path of this history for more than fifty years which
have not heretofore been turned over. Salmon Brown and Henry Thompson
could have answered all these questions correctly if they had been asked
so to do. Also, they could have cleared the atmosphere of the
Pottawatomie of the mockeries relating thereto, and of its glamour,
which have been foisted upon the public as history; and could have given
to Mr. Villard and to the public the exact facts concerning the
robberies, and brutal tragedies. It was the duty of Brown's historians
to take up these matters and to make clear interpretations of them. But,
because of his personal pledge of fidelity to the subject, it was
especially incumbent upon the author of _Fifty Years After_, to make
known the facts that these "stones" were in the record, and to turn them
over; and with an analysis characteristic of his distinguished ability,
make clear the essential truths which they covered; for without a clear
appreciation of them "a true understanding of Brown, the man, cannot be
reached." This he has not done; but has elected to conceal these motive
interpreting incidents from further historical research. He has excluded
from history the facts relating to this period of Brown's life. It may
be said of this biographer, that having determined to issue a
certificate of altruism for John Brown, he did not wish to take up these
threads of history and follow them to their logical sequence; because
they lead, unerringly, to the robberies and the murders which the Browns
intended to commit; and expose, in the character of his hero, the
extremity of selfishness.

None of Brown's biographers has found it convenient to explain or to
comment upon his letters of April 7th and June 16th, although the first
contains a personal statement that he intended to do something of a
dangerous nature, and the latter a similar statement concerning
dangerous things which he had done. In their treatment of the
Pottawatomie incident they have written without regard to the
restrictions and limitations contained in these authenticated papers
relating to the subject. Mr. Redpath chose to proceed along the lines of
the least resistance. He suppressed both of these letters; denied that
Brown had anything to do with the incident; and upon the "authority of
two witnesses" stated that "he was on Middle Creek twenty-five miles
distant, at the time."

Mr. Sanborn published both letters; made no comment upon the letter of
April 7th, and, concerning the letter of June 26th said:[146]

      This is all that Brown says in his letter about the events
      of that night in May when the Doyles were executed.
      Doubtless his text the next morning was from the Book of
      Judges: "Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did
      as the Lord had said unto him; and so it was that he did it
      by night. And when the men of the city arose early in the
      morning, behold the altar of Baal was cast down. And they
      said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when
      they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon, the son of
      Joash, hath done this thing."

By this expedient he placed the responsibility for the murders and the
robbery upon the broad shoulders of the Almighty, and presented the
incident to the public as an interesting exhibit in theological,
metaphysical, and psychological phenomena. He called the murders
executions and said that the victims "were first tried and found guilty;
given time to pray; and were then executed."

Following the example of James Redpath, Mr. Villard suppressed the
letter of April 7th; and in view of his disregard for the statements
which Brown made in the letter of June 26th, he might as well have
suppressed that letter also. In it Brown reveals the fact that the band
that executed the Pottawatomie horror was already organized when the
alarm bells rang out from Lawrence. He says that he and his sons "were a
little company by ourselves. On our way to Lawrence we learned that it
had been already destroyed, and we camped with John's company over
night. Next day our little company left and we stopped and searched
three men." This language certifies that Brown's party moved
independently of the Pottawatomie Rifles, and that the camping "over
night" with "John's company" was but an incident of their march; it
certifies also that they were highwaymen--robbers.

When men who have banded together during a time of peace, subsequently
commit acts of robbery, persons naturally suppose that they united for
the purpose of committing such acts, and that the motives prompting them
were selfish. So in this case. If Mr. Villard had admitted that Brown
organized his little company as early as April, 1856, persons would
think that the men composing the company united to do the things which
they afterward did do; and that the motives prompting Brown and his sons
to hold up and search men, on the 23d, and to steal these horses, were
selfish. Therefore, he decided to rewrite this bit of history, and
change the time of the organization of Brown's company, and make it
appear that it was formed on May 23d, under the popular excitement and
indignation existing on that day, that had been aroused by the Lawrence
outrage; and that the criminal acts included the murders only, and that
they were committed the next day, before the excitement had cooled; thus
making it possible for him to assume that the motives prompting these
murders were unselfish. Contradicting what Brown said in his letter of
June 26th, relating to the time when his band was organized, Mr. Villard
makes the following remarkable statement:[147]

      About noon, May 23, John Brown selected for his party Henry
      Thompson, Theodore Weiner, and four sons, Owen, Frederick,
      Salmon and Oliver.

The author herein could not otherwise than have known that this
statement was a contradiction of the truth, a falsification of the
record, and a perversion of history. It is a clear contradiction of a
vital point in the authenticated record concerning the history of the
organization of this historic company. It is a direct assault upon an
established historical fact.

Following this statement the author proceeds to repeat the fictions,
theretofore put forth, concerning the grinding of the sabres for the
party, and of the publicity given to the preparations for leaving the
camp, and of the departure of the expedition "with the shouts of their
comrades ringing in their ears." And, in support of this perversion of
history he publishes an illogical, and scurrilous statement prepared for
the purpose by Salmon Brown.[148]

Secrecy was characteristic of all Brown's planning. To the Gileadites he
had written: "Let no man appear upon the ground unequipped or with his
weapons exposed to view. Your plans must be known only to yourself."
Brown's expedition herein had for its object the accomplishment of an
atrocity, conspicuous for its cowardice and selfish brutality; a crime
that involved the honor, as well as the lives, of every person who was
connected with it. The grinding of sabres usually signifies an intention
to cut somebody to death. The men of this party intended to murder their
victims quietly with swords; and had planned, long before the date of
this supposed occasion, how to conceal their connection with the
cutting, and therefore did not thus advertise their undertaking. There
was no "enthusiasm" in the camp of the Pottawatomie Rifles two days
later, when a messenger "came tearing into it,--his horse panting and
lathered with foam,--and without dismounting yelled out: 'Five men have
been killed on Pottawatomie Creek, butchered and most brutally mangled,
and old John Brown has done it.'"[149] No "cheering," such as "you never
heard," greeted this announcement. There was excitement, but not the
"wild excitement" and enthusiasm of victory. There were no cheers for
John Brown and his "avengers." There was, however, the deeper excitement
of indignation and resentment against the tribe of Browns. Instead of
adopting resolutions and presenting them to Captain John Brown, Jr.,
congratulating him upon the prompt and splendid achievements of his
father's expedition, a drum-head court martial was convened in the camp
of the Pottawatomie Rifles, which stripped him of his command and
dismissed him in disgrace from the company; First Lieutenant H. H.
Williams being elected captain to succeed him. Jason Brown said:

      This information caused great excitement and fear among the
      men of our company and a feeling arose against John and
      myself that led the men all to desert us.[150]

If Jason Brown, "whose hatred of blood-letting had deprived him of his
fathers confidence," when violent deeds were under way,[151] "had
devoted" himself to sharpening the cutlasses in John's camp May 23d, as
stated by Mr. Villard,[152] he would have known that "blood-letting" was
to ensue; and the news that blood had been shed, would not have come to
him as a shock--"'the worst shock' that ever came to him in his
life."[153] Nor would he have "tremblingly" _demanded_ of his father on
the night of the 25th: "Did you have anything to do with the killing of
those men on the Pottawatomie?" For he would not only have known that
there were to be killings, and who were to be killed, but he would have
been a party to them, and to the robbery. He would have known all about
what was to happen. But to his eternal credit let it be said that his
father and brothers had not taken him into their confidence in this
matter. Townsley, in his confession, said nothing about the calling for
volunteers, and the grinding of sabres, although it is probable that his
connection with Brown's scheme began on May 23d, as he stated.

There were suspicious circumstances which tended to incriminate the
Brown party; but the facts that the horses which were stolen had been
run out of the country, while the Browns remained in the neighborhood,
and did not have the murdered men's horses in their possession, were
potent in allaying these suspicions, and gave them an opportunity to
deny their guilt. But if the sensational scenes of calling for
volunteers for a hostile purpose, and the sharpening of their sabres had
actually occurred, they would have had no possible defense. This
evidence would have connected them directly with the crime, and it would
have been published immediately upon the return of the resentful
Pottawatomie Rifles to their homes at Osawatomie and on the
Pottawatomie. Whereas the resolutions adopted at the mass-meeting of
citizens at Osawatomie May 27th, refer to "midnight assassins unknown;"
and on May 31st, Mr. James H. Carruth wrote to the Watertown (New York)

      ... It was murder nevertheless and the Free-State men here
      co-operate with the pro-slavery men in endeavoring to
      arrest the murderers.

In his statement of the facts as to the happenings on the Pottawatomie,
Mr. Villard makes one sole reference to the robberies that happened. It
is, that when Owen Brown had been denounced by his uncle, the Rev. Mr.
Adair of Osawatomie, on the 26th, as a "vile murderer," and was refused
admission to his home, that "he rode away on one of the murdered men's
horses." Except for this and another incidental reference to theft, the
reader of _Fifty Years After_ would not be informed that any robbery had
been committed; and even this statement is artfully written. It is
incorrect and misleading. It conceals a thread in this history which
would, if exposed, unmask the selfishness that prompted this crime: Owen
Brown rode away on one of the "fast Kentucky horses" which John Brown
received _in exchange_ for the "murdered men's horses."

Mr. Villard assumes that Brown's motives for committing the murders
herein, and stealing these horses, were unselfish; a grace that should
logically apply to the swaggering, swearing infidels whom he directed.
In a summary of his conclusions he says:[154]

      Fired with indignation at the wrongs he witnessed on every
      hand, impelled by the Covenanter's spirit that made him so
      strange a figure in the nineteenth century, and believing
      fully that there should be an eye for an eye and a tooth
      for a tooth, he killed his men in the conscientious belief
      that he was a faithful servant of Kansas and of the Lord.
      He killed not to kill, but to free; not to make wives
      widows and children fatherless, but to attack on its own
      ground the hideous institution of human slavery, against
      which his whole life was a protest. He pictured himself a
      modern crusader as much empowered to remove the unbeliever
      as any armoured searcher after the Grail. It was to his
      mind a righteous and necessary act; if he concealed his
      part in it and always took refuge in half-truth that his
      own hands were not stained, that was as near to a
      compromise for the sake of policy as this rigid,
      self-denying Roundhead ever came. Naturally a
      tender-hearted man, he directed a particularly shocking
      crime without remorse, because the men killed typified to
      him the slave-drivers who counted their victims by the
      hundreds. It was to him a necessary carrying into Africa of
      the war in which he firmly desired himself engaged. And
      always it must not be forgotten that his motives were
      wholly unselfish, and that his aims were none other than
      the freeing of a race. With his ardent, masterful
      temperament, he needed no counsel from a Lane or a Robinson
      to make him ready to strike a blow, or to tell him that the
      time for it had come. The smoke of burning Lawrence was
      more than sufficient.

      From the point of view of ethics, John Brown's crime on the
      Pottawatomie cannot be successfully palliated or excused.
      It must ever remain a complete indictment of his judgment
      and wisdom; a dark blot upon his memory; a proof that,
      however self-controlled, he had neither true respect for
      the laws nor for human life, nor a knowledge that two
      wrongs never make a right. Call him a Cromwellian trooper
      with the Old Testament view of the way of treating one's
      enemies, as did James Freeman Clarke, if you please; it is
      nevertheless true that Brown lived in the nineteenth
      century and was properly called upon to conform to its
      standard of morals and right living.

      For John Brown no pleas can be made that will enable him to
      escape coming before the bar of historical judgment. There
      his wealth of self-sacrifice, and the nobility of his aims,
      do not avail to prevent a complete condemnation of his
      bloody crime at Pottawatomie, or a just penalty for his
      taking human life without warrant or authority. If he
      deserves to live in history, it is not because of his
      cruel, gruesome, reprehensible acts on the Pottawatomie,
      but despite them.

Conceptions of the distinguishing traits in Brown's character are widely
divergent; a divergence not attributable to a "blind prejudice." Those
who knew him best did not have the exalted opinions of the nobility of
his aims, or of the sublimity of his humanity, that inspired his
eulogists and biographers. Prominent among the dissenters was John Brown
himself. As late as March 31, 1857, he did not personally understand
that what he had been doing in Kansas was either sentimental, patriotic,
or romantic. It had not occurred to him that he had been impelled by the
covenanters spirit, or that he was a crusader, either ancient or modern.
On that date, replying to a letter that he had received from his wife,
in which she informed him that "his sons were now inclined to give up
war and remain at North Elba," he said:[155]

      I have only to say as regards the resolution of the boys to
      "learn and practice war no more," that it was not at my
      solicitation that they engaged in it at first; and that
      while I may perhaps feel no more love of the business than
      they do, still I think there may be in their day what is
      more to be dreaded if such things do not now exist.

Judged in the light of what has been already shown concerning Brown's
activities, this letter is fatal to any theory that he was instigated by
other than sordid motives when he engaged in his course of crime. So
judged it is an acknowledgment by himself that what he and his sons had
been engaged in, in Kansas, was "_business_," simply business. Also,
that it was disreputable; and he sought to absolve himself from any
responsibility for their participation therein, by denying that it was
at his solicitation "that they engaged in it at first." By the
declaration that what he had been doing was repulsive to him, John Brown
discredits every altruistic theory which has been put forth in
extenuation of his crimes, or in justification of his actions. It is
evidence that it was his hands, and not his heart, that were enlisted in
his operations. A man inspired by the righteousness of a cause is not
moved to make apology for having invited others to engage in it with
him. If he had believed that in these murders and robberies he had been
acting as a faithful servant of Kansas, and of the Lord, he would have
proudly asserted his conviction, and would have defended his conduct
upon the high grounds of duty, loyalty, and humanity.

Mr. Geo. B. Gill was one who knew Brown better than any of his
panegyrists knew him--Mr. Sanborn not excepted. Upon him he practiced no
hypocritical pretensions. He was honored by Brown with a place in his
cabinet, as secretary of the treasury, under the "Provisional Government
of the United States," which he organized in Canada in 1858; and was one
of the generals, in embryo, who was to command the Army of the Invasion.
In a letter (not heretofore published)[156] written from Milan, Kansas,
July 7, 1893, to Colonel Robert J. Hinton, author of _John Brown and His
Men_, Mr. Gill expressed, confidentially, his opinion of Brown's
personality. He said:


      It seems that all great men have their foibles or what we
      in our differences from them call their weaknesses. "A man
      is never a hero to his valet" and I am about to give you an
      expression of truthfulness which I have never given to any
      one yet.... I admit that I am sadly deficient as a God or
      hero worshipper.... And the man who may do his fellows the
      most good may be far from the goody-goody, but may be
      personally absolutely offensive.

      My intimate acquaintance with Brown demonstrated to me that
      he was very human; the angel wings were so dim and shadowy
      as to be almost unseen. Very superstitious, very selfish
      and very intolerant, with great self esteem.... He could
      not brook a rival. At first he was very fond of
      Montgomery, but when he found that Montgomery had thoughts
      of his own, and could not be dictated to, why, he loved him
      no longer. Montgomery, Lane and all others went down before
      his imperial self. He was intolerant in little things and
      in little ways, for instance, his drink was tea, others
      wanted coffee. He would wrangle and compel them to drink
      tea or nothing, as he was cook and would not make coffee
      for them. I had it from Owen in a quiet way and from other
      sources in quite a loud way that in his family his methods
      were of the most arbitrary kind.... I have known Stevens to
      sometimes raise merry hell when the old man would get too
      dictatorial. He was iron and had neither sympathy or
      feeling for the timid or weak of will. Notwithstanding
      claims to the contrary, he was essentially vindictive in
      his nature. Just before we left Kansas, during a trip that
      Brown and myself were some days away from the rest, the
      boys arrested a man. (I think by the name of Jackson.)
      Montgomery gave him a trial and he was released by general
      consent as not meriting punishment. When we returned Brown
      was furious because the man had not been shot.... It seems
      hard and cruel in me to tell you of Brown's individuality
      as I have told you, yet it seemed to me that you, perhaps
      the last writer on the theme, should know all, whether it
      be any use to you or not....

                              Yours truly,
                              GEORGE B. GILL.

There is nothing in Mr. Gill's pen picture of John Brown that suggests
to the mind a "misplaced Crusader," or a "self-denying Roundhead," a
"Cromwellian trooper" or an "armored searcher for the Grail;" but there
is that in it which does suggest a man of low instincts, trifling and
contentious about little things; of a vindictive and quarrelsome
disposition; inordinately selfish, inhuman and intolerant. It is for the
reader to determine which of the two estimates of the man is entitled to

In view of the facts presented herein, this much debated event in
Brown's life cannot be considered, abstractedly, as a study in altruism;
but as a premeditation in robbery, to which the murders were incidental.

The movement to execute the Pottawatomie robbery began when Brown and
his sons left their homes on the evening of May 21st, ostensibly to
engage in the defense of Lawrence. They did not belong to the
Pottawatomie Rifles. That was, says John Brown, the company of which
"John was Captain" and to which Jason belonged. The six were "a little
company by themselves." This party did not intend to go to Lawrence.
They had matters of a personal nature to attend to. After camping "with
John's company over night" they left his camp and retracing their steps,
proceeded to a secluded spot, about a mile from the scene of their
prospective operations; where they remained thirty hours, awaiting,
doubtless, the arrival of their confederates with the northern horses.
The owners of the horses that were to be stolen stood in the pathway of
the thieves and they thrust them aside in death. If Brown and his band
"killed these men in the conscientious belief that they were faithful
servants of the Lord and of Kansas," then they stole these horses in the
same exalted inspiration. The theft of the horses cannot be put in
harmony with any theory of either patriotism or humanity. The _murders_
have been defended, quite successfully, from a spiritual point of view;
but there is nothing spiritual in horse-trading, nor is there anything
in horse-stealing which appeals to the tender susceptibilities of our
nature, or to the refinements of life. It is impossible, by any
contortions of the imagination, to conceive of anything æsthetic,
altruistic, or spiritual being connected with a horse trade wherein all
the horses involved in the trade have been stolen, and the trade is
being made between the thieves, even though some of the thieves be
murderers. The event herein was a plain case of murder and robbery,
deliberately planned and executed under most revolting circumstances.
"Murder is murder" and robbery is robbery, therefore this combining
incident cannot be accepted as an exhibit in metaphysics. The victims of
these men were not murdered and their horses taken in behalf of Kansas
and of the Lord, but for the exclusive benefit of the Browns and their
associates in the crime; they were not moved to "murder these men and
boys" by any "sudden overpowering impulse" excited by the spectacle of
burning Lawrence; but by a brutal desire to get possession of their
horses. Brown was impatient of the cruel fortune that kept him, as he
tersely stated it, "like a toad under a harrow," and he determined to
break asunder the chains that bound him within his environment of
poverty, and to seek relief from their fetters in a life of crime; a
decision due to "an outgrowth of his restlessness and the usual desire
of the bankrupt for a sudden coup to restore his fortune."

If the robbery on the Pottawatomie were undertaken and executed in
behalf of the Free-State cause, then all the horses which the Browns
stole during the time they remained in Kansas, were stolen from motives
of patriotism and humanity. The term "attacking slavery" was a joke in
the vocabulary of these bandits. The theft of a horse was spoken of,
wittily, as an "attack upon slavery" or as "fighting for freedom."

On page 122 Mr. Villard stoutly says: "Where John Brown was, he led."
Did he lead in these midnight murders? Were his methods and conduct
throughout this bloody affair those of a hero inspired by a devotion to
humanity and by the nobility of his aims; or were they characteristic of
the assassin and thief, who kills and robs under cover of the night and
hides his identity by flight? In view of his actions as set forth
herein, it is violently illogical to suppose that in planning to murder
these settlers and steal their horses, Brown's motives were unselfish;
and that he was moved by the higher impulses of altruism. Yet such are
the assumptions of his biographers.

A public sentiment in sympathy with "the men in bondage," and excited by
the fierce storm of sectional animosity prevailing during the later
fifties, created, of John Brown, an altruistic hero; and his biographers
have been diligent and successful in perpetuating the fiction. When
these murders were committed, had the public known that they were
executed in promoting the robbery of these settlers; and that Brown and
his sons were a band of thieves, working jointly with another party of
thieves; and that they intended to continue their thieving operations
while they remained in the Territory; the metamorphosis of John Brown,
the criminal into John Brown, the hero, would have been impossible.
History would have dealt differently with him.



_There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the
flood leads on to fortune._

                   --JULIUS CAESAR, ACT IV

The tide in Free-State sentiment was soon to flow strongly in Brown's
favor. He had wisely deferred the execution of his "sudden coup" on the
Pottawatomie, until a time when public attention would be distracted
from a close observance and inquiry into his actions. In the flames of
burning Lawrence he saw the fruition of his hopes. The storm of passion
awakened by the outrages there, swept by the malignant winds of revenge,
spread and lighted the fires of partisan spirit and partisan hate in the
hearts of the Free-State men, to the borders of the remotest prairie.
They were aroused and united in their common cause, as never before, and
were prepared not only to condone any outrages that might be committed
upon pro-slavery men, but to approve of them. In this spirit they
received the news of the "murder on the Pottawatomie" and congratulated
the murderers. But when Brown won his victory over Captain Pate at Black
Jack and humiliated that boasting aggravation of border ruffianism, they
went wild in their enthusiasm for him and his name was upon every
tongue. The criminal of the age became the hero of the hour. Had Brown
sought to serve the cause of Freedom, and to engage the forces of
slavery at "close quarters," he would have been carried to leadership
upon the crest of the wave of Free-State enthusiasm which then swept
over the Territory. But such was neither his intention nor his ambition.
It was sordid gain which he sought--that, and that only. Free booty,
and not Free Kansas, was the slogan in the Brown camp.

May 26th Brown received some reënforcements. August Bondi and A. O.
Carpenter joined the band. Bondi was a member of the Pottawatomie
Rifles; also, he was an associate with Benjamin. Carpenter, it is said,
knew of a safe hiding place. The retreat to which he invited the party
was in a secluded ravine, opening into Ottawa Creek bottom, in the
vicinity of Palmyra, some twenty miles northward. The flight of the
Browns, during the night of the 26th, from their concealment on Middle
Creek, to the more secure hiding place on Ottawa Creek, is thus
described by Mr. Bondi. He says:[157]

      There were ten of us--Captain Brown, Owen, Frederick,
      Salmon and Oliver Brown; Henry Thompson, Theodore Weiner,
      James Townsley, Carpenter and myself.... The three youngest
      men, Salman Brown, Oliver and I--rode without saddles. By
      order of Captain Brown, Fred Brown rode first, Owen and
      Carpenter next; ten paces behind them, Old Brown; and the
      rest of us behind him two and two....

It will be observed that the little company of six which was on foot on
the 24th, was now mounted; and the fact that Bondi rode without a
saddle, indicates that his mount was not his own property, but that it
had been furnished by the Browns. It thus appears that they had seven
horses in their possession, exclusive of the fast running horse in the
hands of John Brown, Jr.

Another incident therein related reflects some historical light upon the
state of Brown's mind at the time. Generally, the leader of such a party
rides at the head of it. On this occasion Brown assigned to himself a
position of safety in the line of march not consistent with the
reputation he earned later as a fighter; or with the biographical axiom:
"Where John Brown was, he led." Danger was imminent on the route of this
column. But Brown did not lead. His conduct can only be accounted for
upon the hypothesis that a man cannot be a thief and a hero at the same
time. The subject of personal safety, by _flight_, was uppermost in
Brown's mind. His study was how to escape from the country with his
booty. He was fleeing, under cover of the night, from the wrath of his
fellow citizens, and from the officers of the law whom he suspected
might be upon his trail. He was in the rôle of a thief, pure and simple,
and he acted the part. June 1st, under very much altered circumstances,
his conduct was different. Having been encouraged to fight, he had made
an honorable alliance with Captain Shore, and had started from his
hiding place to join him in a contemplated attack upon a party of
Missourians, then in the vicinity, to effect the arrest of the Browns.
This march is also described by Bondi:[158]

      Still in the best of spirits, and with our appetites still
      better, just whetted by a scant breakfast, we followed
      Captain Brown,--he alone remaining serious, and riding
      silent at our front.

Continuing his narrative of the all-night ride, Bondi says that about 4
o'clock on the morning of May 27th, they reached the secluded spot, on
Ottawa Creek, which Carpenter had indicated as a safe place for camping;
in the midst of a primeval wood, perhaps half a mile deep to the edge of
the creek.

Whether by premeditation or otherwise, the party lost no time from the
pursuit of the purposes of their organization. During the afternoon of
that day they went to the store of Mr. J. M. Bernard, at St. Bernard, or
Centropolis, and helped themselves to such goods as pleased their fancy;
principally blankets and clothing, and, returning next day they carried
away, practically, the remainder of the stock. The value of the goods
taken amounted to probably $3,000.[159]

June 19, 1856, Mr. John Miller testified concerning the robbery of Mr.
Bernard's store, as follows:

      I was at St. Bernard on Tuesday, May 27th, 1856. I was in
      the store (J. M. Bernard's) with Mr. Davis. Whilst there a
      party of 13 men came to the store on horseback, armed with
      Sharp's rifles, revolvers and bowie knives. They inquired
      for Mr. Bernard. I told them he had gone to Westport. One
      of them said to me, "You are telling a God damn lie," and
      drew up his gun at me. They called for such goods as they
      wanted and made Mr. Davis and me hand them out and said if
      we didn't hurry they would shoot us--they had their guns
      ready. After they had got the goods they
      wanted--principally, blankets and clothing--they packed
      them upon their horses and went away.... On the next
      evening, a party of 14 men came to the store on horseback.
      Thirteen of the party I recognized as the same that came to
      the store the day before and the other man I knew--William
      S. Ewitt is his name--and who I know is a Free-State man.
      They had a wagon along with them. They came into the store
      each having his gun ready. Some carried goods and some put
      the goods in the wagon.... They also took away with them
      Mr. Bernard's two large horses and three saddles and two
      bridles and nearly all the provisions that were
      there--bacon and flour and other provisions. They asked Mr.
      Davis for all the money he had in the store. There were but
      4 dollars in the drawer which he handed to them. When they
      first came they looked up at the sign and said they would
      like to shoot at the name.[160]

An incident of vast importance to John Brown occurred in his secure
retreat. What he then needed above all other earthly things, was a
friend who could and would create a diversion in his behalf and present
his case in a favorable light to the world. Here he met James Redpath, a
correspondent for the New York _Tribune_, and other newspapers. Redpath
had come to interview Brown, and to get a story for the press. Just how
Redpath happened to know that Brown was due to arrive at that time, at
that particular point on Ottawa Creek, is not publicly known; but he
knew of it, and was there awaiting his arrival.[161] The location of
Brown's hiding place was so well concealed that Captain Pate, in pursuit
of the Browns northward, passed by without discovering it; and Redpath,
notwithstanding he had explicit directions, lost his way and had
difficulty in finding the place. His description of the camp is as

      I shall not soon forget the scene that here opened to my
      view. Near the edge of the creek a dozen horses were tied,
      all ready saddled for a ride for life, or a hunt after
      southern invaders. A dozen rifles and sabres were stacked
      against the trees. In an open space, amid the shady and
      lofty woods, there was a great blazing fire with a pot on
      it; a woman, bareheaded, with an honest, sun-burnt face,
      was picking blackberries from the bushes; three or four
      armed men were lying on red and blue blankets on the grass;
      and two fine looking youths were standing, leaning on their
      arms, on guard near by. One of them was the youngest son of
      Old Brown, and the other was "Charley," the brave
      Hungarian, who was subsequently murdered at Osawatomie. Old
      Brown himself stood near the fire, with his shirt sleeves
      rolled up, and a large piece of pork in his hand. He was
      cooking a pig. He was poorly clad, and his toes protruded
      from his boots. The old man received me with great
      cordiality, and the little band gathered about me. But it
      was for a moment only, for the Captain ordered them to
      renew their work. He respectfully but firmly forbade
      conversation on the Pottawatomie affair, and said, that, if
      I desired any information from the company in relation to
      their conduct or intention, he, as their captain, would
      answer for them whatever it was proper to communicate.[162]

Redpath remained for an hour in Brown's camp, an hour of importance to
Brown, the most fortunate hour of his life. Redpath not only pledged to
him his professional support, but assured him that the Free-State men
would defend him, and promised to have the formidable "Stubbs" Rifle
Company, armed with Sharp's rifles, march immediately to his relief. At
the close of the interview he returned to Lawrence and began his vivid
exploitation of Brown in the Territorial and Northern press. He
succeeded in stemming the current of condemnation of the Pottawatomie
murders which came sweeping up from Osawatomie, and turned the tide of
Free-State opinion to Brown's advantage. He was thereafter Brown's
foremost representative, and became his first and most lurid biographer.

While the incidents herein related were occurring in Brown's camp, the
murderers of the pro-slavery men were being diligently sought for by
voluntary pro-slavery partisans, as well as by the Territorial
authorities. The flight of the Browns caused the finger of suspicion to
point to them as the guilty persons; and when Captain Pate at the head
of a party of Missourians came into the Osawatomie district, and found
out what had happened there, he proceeded to carry off or burn all the
available property of the Browns and their allies--Weiner and Bondi. He
then followed the trail of the Browns and arrived in the vicinity of
their camp on Ottawa Creek, May 31st. Brown, in the meantime, encouraged
by the arrangements he had made with Redpath, and the prospect of
substantial assistance, abandoned the idea of further flight and
determined to fight, and if possible, capture his pursuers. With Pate's
company of twenty-five men, there were as many horses, and probably a
dozen mules, besides arms, provisions, and other plunder; all of which
looked good to the plunder band.

The Free-State men in that neighborhood had organized a military
company, the "Prairie City Rifles." It was under the command of Captain
S. T. Shore, and numbered eighteen men. Shore agreed to "mobilize" his
company, and unite his force with Brown's party of ten, and to attack
Pate, by surprise, in his camp. An attack of this character upon
undisciplined men, was practically certain of success. The command was
given to Brown, and at daylight on the morning of June 2d, the combined
forces opened fire upon the front and right flank of the astonished
"invaders." The attack was creditable, especially to Brown, who planned
it, and who preserved his poise, and displayed all the skill and courage
necessary in such an engagement. He was fighting for his existence, and
for spoils, and won the battle without loss of life on either side.
After an hour or two of desultory firing, Pate surrendered
unconditionally. The total casualties were four men wounded, two in
Pate's command, and one each in Brown's and Shore's companies. Brown
took possession of all Pate's horses and other property, and held his
men as prisoners until June 5th, when Colonel E. V. Sumner, First United
States Cavalry, arrived upon the scene and separated the belligerents.
He restored to Pate his horses, and such other property belonging to him
as he could find, and ordered all of the "companies" to disband and
return to their homes.

In view of the losses sustained by the parties engaged in the battle, it
seems as though the fighting was conducted along conservative lines.
Brown's account of it to his wife reads as follows:

                              Near Brown's Station K. T. June 1856.


      ... The cowardly mean conduct of Osawatomie and vicinity
      did not save them; for the ruffians came on them, made
      numerous prisoners, fired their buildings, and robbed them.
      After this a picked party of the Bogus men went to Brown's
      Station, burned John's and Jason's houses, and their
      contents to ashes; in which burning we have all suffered
      more or less. Orson and boy have been prisoners, but were
      soon set at liberty. They are well, and have not been
      seriously injured. Owen and I have just come here for the
      first time, to look at the ruins. All looks desolate and
      forsaken--the grass and weeds fast covering up the signs
      that these places were lately the abodes of quiet families.
      After burning the houses, this selfsame party of picked
      men, some forty in number, set out as they supposed, and as
      was the fact, on the track of my little company, boasting,
      with awful profanity, that they would have our scalps. They
      however, passed the place where we were hid, and robbed a
      little town some four or five miles beyond our camp in the
      timber. I had omitted to say that some murders had been
      committed at the time Lawrence was sacked.

      On learning that this party was in pursuit of us, my little
      company, now increased to ten in all, started after them in
      company of a Captain Shore, with eighteen men, he included
      (June 1). We were all mounted as we traveled. We did not
      meet them on that day, but took five prisoners, four of
      whom were their scouts, and well armed. We were out all
      night, but could find nothing of them until about six
      o'clock next morning, when we prepared to attack them at
      once, on foot, leaving Frederick and one of Captain Shore's
      men to guard the horses. As I was much older than Captain
      Shore, the principal direction of the fight devolved on me.
      We got to within about a mile of their camp before being
      discovered by their scouts, and then moved at a brisk pace,
      Captain Shore and men forming our left, and my company the
      right. When within about sixty rods of the enemy, Captain
      Shore's men halted by mistake in a very exposed situation
      and continued to fire, both his men and the enemy being
      armed with Sharpe's rifles. My company had no long
      shooters. We (my company) did not fire a gun until we
      gained the rear of a bank about fifteen or twenty rods to
      the right of the enemy, where we commenced, and soon
      compelled them to hide in a ravine. Captain Shore after
      getting one man wounded and exhausted his ammunition, came
      with part of his men to the right of my position, much
      discouraged. The balance of his men, including the one
      wounded, had left the ground. Five of Captain Shore's men
      came boldly down and joined my company, and all but one
      man, wounded, helped to maintain the fight until it was
      over. I was obliged to give my consent that he should go
      after more help, when all his men left but eight, four of
      whom I persuaded to remain in a secure position, and there
      busied one of them in shooting the horses and mules of the
      enemy, which served for a show of fight. After the firing
      had continued for some two or three hours, Captain Pate
      with twenty-three men, two badly wounded, laid down their
      arms to nine men, myself included,--four to Captain Shore's
      men and four to my own. One of my men (Henry Thompson) was
      badly wounded, and after continuing his fire for an hour
      longer was obliged to quit the ground. Three others of my
      company (but not of my family) had gone off. Salmon was
      dreadfully wounded by accident, soon after the fight; but
      both he and Henry are fast recovering....[163]

      I ought to have said that Captain Shore and his men stood
      their ground nobly in their unfortunate but mistaken
      position during the early part of the fight. I ought to say
      further that a Captain Abbott, being some miles distant
      with a company, came onward promptly to sustain us, but
      could not reach us till the fight was over. After the fight
      numerous Free-State men who could not be got out before
      were on hand, and some of them I am ashamed to add, were
      very busy not only with the plunder of our enemies, but
      with our private effects, leaving us, while guarding our
      prisoners and providing in regard to them, much poorer than
      before the battle....

                              Your affectionate husband and father,
                              JOHN BROWN.

"Articles of Surrender" signed by Captains Brown, Shore, and Pate, and
his lieutenant, W. B. Brockett, provided for an exchange of prisoners,
stipulating that Brown's sons--John and Jason--then prisoners, were to
be exchanged for Pate and Brockett respectively. It also provided that
the side arms of each person exchanged were to be returned, also the
horses, "so far as practicable."

An important incident at Black Jack was the failure of the deputy United
States marshal, Wm. J. Preston, to arrest the Browns. He had warrants
for their arrest for the murders on the Pottawatomie, and came with
Sumner to accomplish it. The Colonel notified Brown that they would be
served in his presence, but when ordered by Sumner to proceed, the
marshal said: "I do not recognize any one for whom I have warrants," to
which the Colonel replied: "Then what are you here for?"[164] A man of
Brown's years and experience and courage is a dangerous animal when thus
situated. That a tragedy was impending is more than probable. At any
rate, Preston quailed under the hostile look which Brown fixed upon him.
What would have happened if the marshal had attempted to make the
arrests, none can say, but Preston decided not to mix up in a tragedy.

Another incident in the affair of historical importance was the presence
of John E. Cook, as a guest in Brown's camp. None of Brown's biographers
has referred to this incident, but the fact appears in Cook's confession
heretofore quoted from. It will be difficult for anyone to account for
Cook's presence there, at that psychological moment, upon any hypothesis
other than that he was there by virtue of an invitation from Brown, or
other notice or understanding with him. It follows, presumptively, that
this was not the first time they had met, and that they were mutually
interested in the problem which Brown had under consideration: how to
get away, safely, with the horses and mules which he had taken from
Pate. The final clause of the last sentence in the "Articles of
Surrender," foreshadows the possibility, or probability, that some of
the horses might be missing later on, and gives credit to the
suspicion, or assumption, that Cook had come to the camp to run the
stock off north and turn it into money, as had been done with the
Pottawatomie horses. That the horses and mules herein were not run off
immediately, and disposed of, was doubtless due to the negotiations that
were pending for the liberation of Brown's sons. He probably thought
that a theft of the horses would be construed as a violation of the
terms of the surrender, and might prevent the exchange of prisoners that
he hoped to effect. But whatever his hopes and his plans may have been,
they were all dissipated and broken up by a fly that unexpectedly
dropped into the ointment of his calculations: the arrival upon the
scene of Sumner, with his cavalry. He spoiled everything. First he made
Brown give back to Pate's men all the property he had taken from them,
or as much of it as was visible, and then peremptorily ordered all the
combatants to disband and return to their homes.

Sumner's orders bore lightly upon Captain Shore. It was a simple
proposition for his men to "disband and return to their regular
vocations." The presence of Pate and his band in the neighborhood was a
menace to their peace and security; they had left their work, in
response to a call from their captain, to unite in an effort to drive
out the intruders; also they had behaved creditably, and were ready to
return to their homes and to the congratulations which they were sure to
receive from their Free-State neighbors on account of their victory. But
with the Browns it was different. They were engaged in a different kind
of business: the horse and general robbery business. They too had won a
victory--a far greater victory than Shore's men. It was their personal
fight which they had won. With Shore's assistance they had beaten and
captured the posse that had come to arrest them for murder and robbery.
They had fought for their lives--also for Pate's horses and mules. But
they had no homes to which to go. They belonged to a different class of
citizens--the undesirable class. They were outlaws against whom their
neighbors and relatives had closed their doors. Mr. Villard states[165]
that on the evening of May 26th, John Brown, Jr., and Jason Brown were
refused admittance into the house of their uncle, the Rev. Mr. Adair,
near Osawatomie. He said to them, "Can't keep you here. Our lives are
threatened. Every moment we expect to have our house burned over our
heads." However, after assuring Mrs. Adair that they "did not have
anything to do with the murders on the Pottawatomie" they were permitted
to come in. But later that night, when Owen Brown sought admittance to
his uncle's home, Mr. Adair refused even to parley with him, saying:
"Get away, get away as quickly as you can! You endanger our lives. You
are a vile murderer, a marked man!"

Bondi states that within an hour after Sumner ordered the companies to
disband. Camp Brown had ceased to exist. The wounded Salmon (Thompson)
was taken to Carpenter's cabin, nearby, and nursed by Bondi; the others,
with Weiner, camped in a thicket about half a mile from the abandoned
camp.[166] June 10th settlement was made with Weiner, and he left the
country. It is probable that, at this date, the horses which were taken
on the Pottawatomie had been sold; and that final settlement was then
made between the Browns and Weiner, and their unknown confederates. Mr.
Villard states that "on Thursday June 10, at a council held that day, it
was agreed to separate. Weiner had business in Louisiana. Henry Thompson
[Salmon Brown] was also taken to Carpenter's cabin, and Bondi
accompanied Weiner as far as Leavenworth."

This was the end of the first John Brown organization. The period of its
active operations covered eighteen days, May 24th to June 10th. During
this time they murdered five men; stole a lot of horses; made a big
horse trade, exchanging the whole, or a part of the stolen horses;
robbed a store; made an alliance with Captain Shore, and captured
Pate's posse at Black Jack: a record of strenuous activity,
characteristic of the aggressive speculator who directed the movements.

The chapter of robbery and murder on the Pottawatomie, of which Brown's
success over Pate at Black Jack was an incident, closes with the
settlement herein stated and the dissolution of Brown's band June 10th.
It further appears that John Brown and his unmarried sons quit the
Territory late in July, en route to the east. Inquiry then, very
properly turns to what Brown did during the fifty days intervening
between these dates. In the case of an altruistic hero, a "leader of the
Free-State Cause," such as the heralds proclaim Brown to have been, the
public supposes, naturally, that he did something during these days of
opportunity that was worthy of the great distinction with which he is
credited. But to the question: WHAT _did he do_? history gives back no
answer. The historical record of John Brown, except as to three days,
July 2d to 4th, is a total blank. Even his "whereabouts" during these
fifty days is, to the public, unknown. The history of those days of
strenuous endeavor, shows clearly where Robinson was, and what he was
doing. He was the Free-State Governor of the "State of Kansas," and was
in jail, or in confinement, under indictment in the Territorial Court
for "Constructive Treason." History shows where Lane was, and where
Walker was, and where Sam, Woods, and Deitzler, and G. W. Brown and the
others were, but not where John Brown was. His latest biographer
dismisses the question as immaterial, with the following

"Not until the beginning of July," he says, "did John Brown terminate
this life in the bush and again become active. On July 2 he boldly
entered Lawrence, and called upon the _Tribune_ correspondent, William
A. Phillips." Brown's object, in calling upon Phillips, was not to make
a report of the public services which he had rendered during the thirty
days preceding; but for the purpose of having him publish a letter which
he had written in reply to Captain Pate's report of the Black Jack
affair--a personal matter between himself and Pate. It may be said that
if Brown had done anything creditable during "this life in the bush" he
would not have failed to report the fact to Phillips for publication,
for he was vain. He did, however, the next best thing; he told Phillips
what he _intended_ to do: "That he was on his way to Topeka with his
followers, to be on hand at whatever crisis might arise at the opening
of the legislature." Continuing his remarks Mr. Villard says:

      How long John Brown remained at the Willets farm, near
      Topeka, to which he now proceeded, and where he spent the
      next two or three weeks, is not known. He neither entered
      Topeka, on the fateful July 4th, nor immediately
      thereafter. It is probable that he returned promptly to the
      neighborhood of his sick sons, more than ever disgusted
      with the Free-State leaders and their inability to adopt
      his view that the way to fight was "to press to close

Since Brown is herein creditably reported to have "terminated this life
in the bush and again become active," it is fair to inquire into the
nature of the public service which he rendered during the period of
activity thus auspiciously announced. Mr. Phillips gave out what Brown
said he intended to do. But Mr. Villard states that he did not do that;
and that there is no record of what he did do, or of where he went. It
appears, then, that "the termination of the life in the bush" was not a
termination of it at all; and that the period of his public activities
"terminated" at the end of a night ride, on stolen horses, from Lawrence
to the vicinity of Topeka. It may be worthy of note, that the above
example of Brown's activity in public affairs is probably the shortest
period of public activity by a hero, that has ever been dignified by
historical record. Further: History does not sustain the statement that
Brown "recruited his band" after the disbanding of it, June 10th. There
is no reason apparent why he should have enlarged it. He and his sons
could operate more profitably than a larger party could, and with less
risk of detection.

Brown was not a loafer: and he was not in idleness during the fifty days
of his obscuration; neither was he fighting, "pressing to close
quarters," for no fighting was being done during this time.
Investigation, however, of the record and of the various admissions and
statements subsequently made by his sons, discloses the facts that the
activities in which they were engaged were merely akin, or similar to a
state of warfare; that there was continuous "fighting," of a certain
kind, where they were, and "trouble"; so much so that the sons, at
least, had a surfeit of it, and were "tired" of the "business," and were
anxious to quit it and leave the Territory.

Salmon Brown stated to Mr. Villard, that they left "because Lucius Mills
insisted on the invalids being moved, and because they were a drag on
the fighting men": and Henry Thompson affirmed that "he, Oliver, Owen
and Salmon had had enough of Kansas. They did not wish to fight any
more. They felt they had suffered enough; that the service which they
had been called upon to perform at Pottawatomie squared them with duty.
They were, they thought, entitled to leave further work to other hands.
They were sick of the fighting and trouble."[169]

These statements show that there were violent actions somewhere, about
something long after Black Jack; and that the invalids impeded the
movements of the "fighting" men. But where this fighting took place, or
what it was about, history is silent. Salmon Brown could tell all about
the occurrences of these fifty days if he were disposed to do so. There
is ample evidence, however, of the fact that the Browns led a stormy
life during the days they are reported "unaccounted for."[170] The
friendly mantle which the night spread over their actions, at the time,
has not been lifted, but the actors therein have told enough to show
that what they did do, was done at the peril of their lives; and was of
such a character that at least one of the party, Lucius Mills, refused
to take any part in it. For this, Mills lost caste with Brown "because
he had no desire to fight, but played nurse and doctor while the others
did the fighting."[171] But since there was no fighting anywhere in
Kansas, we must conclude that they used the term "fighting" as a
convenience, or as a witticism, and that it really means stealing
horses; and that the Browns, while in hiding from the world at large,
were still carrying on the business they commenced in the bloody tragedy
on the Pottawatomie. Further evidence that they were horse thieves,
appears in an incident which occurred when they were en route home, as
related by Salmon Brown. He says:[172]

      "We other four bought a double buggy and harness from the
      Oberlin people, on credit at Tabor, drove to Iowa City,
      sold the horses, sent back the money to pay for the wagon,
      and all four went home. The horses for the double buggy we
      came by thus: we heard on the way through Nebraska, that
      some pro-slavery men were after us. Oliver, who was always
      a dare-devil, and William Thompson ambushed these men,
      deliberately turning aside for that purpose. The men,
      ordered off their horses, took it for a regular hold-up in
      force, and surrendered their animals. Oliver and William
      immediately jumped on and lit out for Tabor. It was these
      horses that took us across Iowa." The need of converting
      pro-slavery animals into good anti-slavery stock, was thus
      urgent with the Brown sons in peaceful placid Nebraska as
      it had been in bleeding Kansas.

This incident bears all the characteristics of the daring professional
at work. It is not probable that two lone Kansas pro-slavery men
followed John Brown, who had become the Terror of the Territory, up into
Free-State Nebraska. It is much more probable that the Browns held up
two unsuspecting, unarmed, citizens of Nebraska, and took their horses.
And, having taken them in this manner, it follows, more than logically,
that they also stole the buggy and harness, to complete the outfit; for
it would be quite impossible that two irresponsible young strangers,
traveling through a country, could thus buy a "double buggy and harness
on credit."

The Browns profited by their operations in Kansas. They did not grow
rich during the short period of their outlawry, but they became
prosperous in comparison with what their circumstances were before they
became robbers. It will be remembered that Salmon Brown, when he was a
homebuilder, was very poor. Mr. Villard has been quoted as saying that
Brown and his sons "arrived in Kansas in all but destitute condition,
with but sixty cents between them, to find the settlement in great
distress." And Redpath said of Brown, when he met him in his camp May
30, 1856, "He was poorly clad, and his toes protruded from his boots."
In contrast with these commercial ratings we have a report on Brown, as
he appeared in Nebraska about August 1, 1856:[173]

      The Captain was riding a splendid horse and was in plain
      white summer clothing. He wore a large straw hat and was
      closely shaven. Everything about him was scrupulously
      clean. He made a great impression on several of the
      company, who, without knowing him, at once declared that he
      must be a distinguished man in disguise.

As a result of their "fighting," and of their "pressing to close
quarters," the Browns were quite independent when they left the
Territory. "_School was out._" Also, the "_toad_" had got out from under
the harrow. They could now go wherever they wished, and they concluded
to give up "their struggle to make Kansas a Free-State" and to return to
their home in New York. At Nebraska City, when Brown changed his mind
about going east and decided to return to Kansas, he bought horses for
himself and Frederick, who was to accompany him, and sent the remainder
of the party on their way to the States.[174] When he arrived at
Osawatomie, about August 20th, he had, as stated by Bondi, "a spick and
span four mule team, the wagon loaded with provisions; besides he was
well supplied with money."[175] In poverty and on foot, the Browns
entered the valley of the Pottawatomie May 23, 1856; seventy days
thereafter, they left the Territory, in independent circumstances.

During the latter part of July and the first days of August. 1856, some
incidents occurred in Kansas which are interrelated. The pro-slavery men
living in the vicinity of "New Georgia," near Osawatomie, built a
"block-house" for the protection of pro-slavery settlers from Free-State
aggressions. Following this, John Brown and his band of Free-State
aggressors suddenly left the Territory. August 5th, Captain Cracklin,
with the Stubbs Rifles, routed the Georgians at New Georgia and burned
their block-house; also, upon receipt of this intelligence, at Nebraska
City, Brown changed his mind about going east, and returned to Kansas to
raid the Osawatomie district. The first of these incidents, the building
of the block-house, was a pro-slavery demonstration in Brown's
territory. It was notice to him that further stealing from pro-slavery
settlers would be unsafe in that neighborhood; it was also a challenge
to John Brown to fight, if he chose to accept it as such. That the
leaving of the Browns was not a premeditation, but the result of a
"sudden impulse," appears from a statement made by Mr. Adair to Mr. T.
H. Hand in a letter dated July 17, 1856: "Bro. J. B. and unmarried sons
expect to leave the territory immediately."[176] Also, from the further
fact that at the time they left, William Thompson, brother of Henry
Thompson, was due to arrive in Kansas to join the Brown colony. They met
him near the Nebraska line and took him back east with them.[177]

The abrupt leaving of the Browns, under these circumstances, is
inconsistent with the theory that they were "fighting men;" or that they
were anxious to fight. If John Brown had actually desired to "engage the
slave-power at close quarters" as has been insisted upon, boastfully,
for more than fifty years, he would have joined his force with Captain
Shore, or others, and would have attacked the Georgians at New Georgia,
and driven them out, as Captain Cracklin did August 5th, while
they--Brown and his sons--were running away from the job.



_Do men gather grapes of thorn or figs of thistles?_

                             --MATTHEW 6:16

At Nebraska City Brown met some distinguished persons: General Lane,
Colonel Samuel Walker, and Aaron D. Stevens. These men were commanders
in the Free-State army; they received him into their confidence, and
related to him their plans concerning the pending military operations;
the object of which was to destroy the pro-slavery forces that had
occupied strategic positions near Lawrence and Osawatomie, or drive them
from the Territory. He knew that the execution of these undertakings
would result in important events and decided to return to Kansas. It was
evident there was to be real fighting; fighting at close quarters; in
fact the fighting had already begun. August 5th, Captain Cracklin had
opened the campaign, prosperously, by a successful attack upon the
pro-slavery post at New Georgia, as has been heretofore stated. Mr.
Sanborn[178] claims that Brown had some share in Cracklin's victory, but
of course, he could not be simultaneously at both of these places. News
of this victory was received at Nebraska City in a message that came to
Walker; whereupon the party, except Brown, "proceeded to Lawrence as
fast as humanly possible." They all left Nebraska City August 9th:
thirty hours later, Lane arrived at Lawrence, Walker arriving shortly
afterward. But Brown stopped at Topeka on the 10th, where no fighting
was in contemplation; and his "whereabouts," from that date until the
17th, is reported as being "unknown."[179]

August 12th, Captain Bickerton defeated Major Buford's company of
Georgians, at Franklin; stormed and burned the block-house; captured
some arms and provisions, and recaptured the six-pounder brass cannon,
that Buford had taken possession of at Lawrence, May 21st. Buford wrote:
"Our money, books, papers, clothing, surveying instruments, and many
precious memorials of kindness and friends far away, were all consumed
by the incendiary villains who hold sway.... We are now destitute of
everything except our muskets, and an unflinching determination to be
avenged..." Bickerton lost one man killed and six wounded. Buford's loss
was four men wounded--one mortally.[180] But Brown was not present when
Bickerton pressed to close quarters at Franklin; Lane was there, and
Sanborn says that Brown was there:[181] "Returning about the 10th of
August," he says, "with General Lane, he proceeded with him to Lawrence
and to Franklin where there was some skirmishing." "On the 15th the
Free-State men assailed Fort Saunders, a strong log house on Washington
Creek, about twelve miles southwest of Lawrence. After the customary
fusillade, the pro-slavery men retreated without blood shed on either
side."[182] Still, no Brown. The following appeal, by General Lane, was
sent to him, from Topeka, on August 12th:

      Mr. Brown:--General Joe Cook (Lane) wants you to come to
      Lawrence this night, for we expect to have a fight on
      Washington Creek. Come to Topeka as soon as possible and I
      will pilot you to the place.

                              Yours in haste,
                              H. STRATTON.[183]

It seems from this that Brown was somewhere near Topeka, on the 12th,
and not at Franklin.

On the 16th the attack was made on Fort Titus. Of this Mr. Villard says:

      There was real fighting at Fort Titus, which Captain Samuel
      Walker, Captain Joel Grover, and a Captain Samuel Shombre
      attacked, at sunrise August 16, with fifty determined men.
      Captain Shombre was killed, and nine out of ten men with
      him wounded, in a rush on the block-house. In a short time
      eighteen out of the forty remaining attackers were wounded,
      including Captain Walker. After several hours of fighting,
      Free-State reinforcements appeared, including Captain
      Bickerton, with the six pounder, and its slugs of molten
      type. It was run to within three hundred yards of the fort
      and fired nine or ten times.... As Titus still showed no
      white flag, a load of hay was again resorted to with the
      same success as at Franklin. As the wagon was backed up to
      the log fort, and before the match was applied, the party
      surrendered.... Walker captured thirteen horses, four
      hundred guns, a large number of knives and six pistols, a
      fair stock of provisions and thirty-four prisoners, six of
      whom were badly wounded. One dead man was found in the
      block-house before it was burned.

Again this question comes up: Where was Brown when this fighting was
taking place? Was he in this very creditable engagement? Continuing his
narrative, Mr. Villard says, on page 232:

      The testimony as to whether John Brown was at Saunders and
      Titus is conflicting. He himself left no statement bearing
      upon it, and Luke Parsons, James Blood, O. E. Learnard and
      others, are positive that he was not at either place. The
      weight of evidence would seem to be on that side.

But John Brown did leave a statement bearing directly upon the question
as to whether, or not, he was present at any of these engagements. In
the interview which he gave out after his capture at Harper's Ferry, in
answer to the question: "Did you know Sherrod in Kansas? I understand
you killed him?" Brown replied: "I killed no man except in fair fight. I
fought at Black Jack, and at Osawatomie, and if I killed anybody it was
at one of these places."[184] Brown, therefore, was not present at any
of these battles. He was at Lawrence, however, on August 17th, _after_
the fighting was over. Mr. Villard says on page 233: "That Brown was at
Lawrence, when Walker arrived with his prisoners, admits of no doubt.
Again his voice was raised for the extreme penalty; again he asked a
sacrifice of blood." It appears, therefore, that Brown "terminated" a
seven days "life in the bush" on the 17th, and became active in public
affairs, for twenty-four hours. Referring to a concurrent incident
Colonel Walker says:

      At a little way out of Lawrence I met a delegation, sent by
      the committee of safety, with an order for the immediate
      delivery of Titus into their hands. Knowing the character
      of the men, I refused to give him up. Our arrival at
      Lawrence created intense excitement. The citizens swarmed
      around us, clamoring for the blood of our prisoner. The
      committee of safety held a meeting and decided that Titus
      should be hanged, John Brown, and other distinguished men
      urging the measure strongly. At four o'clock in the evening
      I went before the committee, and said that Titus had
      surrendered to me; that I had promised him his life, and
      that I would defend it with my own. I then left the room.
      Babcock followed me out and asked me if I was fully
      determined. Being assured that I was, he went back, and the
      committee, by a new vote, decided to postpone the hanging
      indefinitely. I was sure of the support of some 300 good
      men, and among them Captain Tucker, Captain Harvey, and
      Captain Stulz. Getting this determined band into line, I
      approached the house where Titus was confined and entered.
      Just as I opened the door I heard pistol shots in Titus's
      room and rushed in and found a desperado named "Buckskin"
      firing over the guard's shoulders at the wounded man as he
      lay on his cot. It took but one blow from my heavy dragoon
      pistol to send the villain heels-over-head to the bottom of
      the stairs. Captain Brown and Doctor Avery were outside
      haranguing the mob to hang Titus despite my objections.
      They said I had resisted the committee of safety, and was
      myself, therefore, a public enemy. The crowd was terribly
      excited, but the sight of my 300 solid bayonets held them
      in check.

This is a part of the record of these heroic days--days of strenuous
effort and of heroic achievement. The Free-State men were engaged in a
supreme effort to drive from the Territory the armed pro-slavery bands
that had been organized in the South to intimidate and subdue them. They
had fought a splendidly aggressive campaign, dislodging their foes from
all their positions, burning their forts, and capturing their supplies.
There was, as has been said, real fighting, fighting at close quarters,
and plenty of it. And now, in view of it, what is to be said about
Brown, the hypothetical Kansas hero, the "Fighting Leader of the
Free-State Cause?" Lane was in evidence; and Colonel Walker, and
Bickerton, and Grover, and the gallant Shombre, were in the thick of it;
but what part did Brown perform in these undertakings? What contribution
did he make to the winning of these victories? Nothing! Absolutely
nothing. He came out of the "brush" after the fighting was over, and
endeavored to incite a mob to hang a prisoner who was severely wounded.

This disreputable action is evidence that Brown was not in harmony with
the best thought of the occasion; that he mingled with the lawless
element--with the "Buckskin" class, that "fired over the guard's
shoulders, at the wounded man, as he lay on his cot." Brown was not
interested in these important public matters; he was not coöperating
with the Free-State men; his motives for returning to the Territory did
not relate to Territorial affairs. His plans had to do with something
else. They were of a personal character; and his presence at Lawrence on
the 17th, was simply an incident of his trip from Nebraska City to
Osawatomie, where he arrived, according to Bondi, "about the 20th, well
supplied with money," and with a "spick and span four mule team, the
wagon loaded with provisions,"[185] to make a coup in horses and cattle.
Brown had outfitted this four mule team at or near Topeka, and the
presence of it at Osawatomie on the 20th, with its stock of provisions,
is the best evidence of what he had been thinking about, and of what he
was doing, while the Free-State men were fighting the battles around

Leaving Nebraska City on the 9th, Brown stopped at Topeka on the 10th.
Later developments show that he had planned a scheme of robbery upon a
larger scale than anything he had theretofore undertaken. As to the
Free-State campaign, the battles "at close quarters," the victories, the
rejoicings, the planning for future operations, he was indifferent,
except as they served his personal purposes.

Brown's arrival at Osawatomie was his first appearance there after the
Pottawatomie murders. By the 24th he had "enlisted" nine men: Wm.
Partridge, John Salathiel, S. B. Brown, John Godell, L. T. Parsons, N.
B. Phelps, Wm. B. Harris, Jason Brown, and J. Benjamin.[186] He had also
stolen enough horses to mount them. Of this Mr. Villard says:[187]

      Naturally, as a good general, John Brown's first concern
      was for the mounts of his men. Bondi avers that some of
      Brown's men received prompt orders to capture all of "Dutch
      Henry" Sherman's horses. He himself obtained, when these
      orders were executed, "a four year old fine bay horse for
      my mount" and "old John Brown rode a fine blooded bay."

The example set by the Browns, during May, June, and July, brought
forth many imitators. Robbery became an industry. A new Richmond was in
the Osawatomie field--a Captain Cline, with a company of mounted men,
every one of whose horses had been stolen. This seems to have been
sufficient recommendation, for Brown joined forces with Cline, and the
two commands set out, August 24th, for the south, marching eight miles,
and camping on Sugar Creek, Linn County.[188] On the 26th another merger
of the special interests was accomplished. Captain J. H. Holmes also had
a company which was consolidated with Brown's party. Captain Shore was
in the vicinity, with the Prairie City Rifles, but it seems that he was
not stealing anything. The Brown combination probably represented all
the plants, or commercial units, then doing "business" in that district.
In promptly effecting the merger of these interests, Brown showed his
capacity for affairs, and is entitled to receive for the second time the
"historic title of Captain,"--Captain of Industry. The men who belonged
to Holmes's Company were, Cyrus Tator, R. Reynolds, Noah Fraze (First
Lieutenant), William Miller, John P. Glenn, Wm. Quick, M. D. Lane, Amos
Alderman, August Bondi, Charles Kaiser, Freeman Austin, Samuel Hauser,
and John W. Fay,[189] and, probably, Frederick Brown. Thus organized and
equipped, the forces put into effect the purposes of their organization
without delay. Mr. Villard says:[190]

      John Brown then rode off to raid the pro-slavery
      settlements, on Sugar Creek.... They visited the home of
      Captain John E. Brown, taking, as his toll, fifty
      pro-slavery cattle and all the men's clothes the house
      contained.... Other houses were similarly searched, and
      their cattle taken, on the ground that they had originally
      been Free-State before being purloined by the pro-slavery

That they moved promptly, worked industriously, and obtained
satisfactory results without hindrance from any quarter, appears from
the further statement by Mr. Villard:[191]

      On Thursday evening, August 28th, Brown reached Osawatomie,
      traveling slowly because of the one hundred and fifty
      cattle he drove before him. Both his company and Cline's
      bivouacked in the town that night. The next morning,
      (August 29) early, they divided their plunder and cattle,
      and Brown moved his camp to the high ground north of
      Osawatomie, where now stands the State Insane Asylum. An
      ordinary commander would have allowed all his men to rest.
      But not John Brown. He was in the saddle all day, riding
      with James H. Holmes, and others of his men, along
      Pottawatomie Creek, whence he crossed to Sugar Creek,
      returning to Osawatomie with more captured cattle, by way
      of the Fort Scott trail.

This last lot of cattle was probably the drove that the Quaker, Richard
Mendenhall, referred to, as quoted by Sanborn on page 326:

      I next met John Brown again on the evening before the
      battle of Osawatomie. He with a number of others, was
      driving a herd of cattle, which they had taken from
      pro-slavery men.

It is not probable that it will ever be known what Brown intended to do
with these cattle. Those who know what his intentions were in the
premises, have not revealed them. He was going East, later on, to work
out a scheme which he then had in his mind, to raise money. He also had
a fancy for fine animals and for the stock business. It is therefore
probable that he intended to establish a stock ranch at some point in
Kansas, further west, and put his son Frederick in charge of it; and
that the cattle which he was then collecting, and the four mule team
that he had bought, and the load of provisions, were to be used in
starting the enterprise. Mr. Villard quotes Holmes's estimate of Brown
as follows:[192]

      To Holmes, John Brown appeared on that afternoon more than
      ever the natural leader. He rode a tall strong chestnut
      horse; his spare form was more impressive when he was
      mounted than when he was afoot. Alert and clear sighted, he
      closely watched the landscape for evidence of the enemy.
      The enemy were the settlers who were being robbed.

This short narrative of Brown's operations in stealing horses and
cattle, at Osawatomie, discloses the secret motive that prompted his
return to Kansas from Nebraska. It gives reasonable grounds for the
assumption, that when his "whereabouts were unknown," from August 10th
to the 16th, inclusive, he was working out the details of the new
venture; financing it; purchasing the necessary outfit; and making plans
for handling the loot after it would be rounded up. It furnishes a
reason why he refused to join General Lane and his associates, in the
attack on Fort Saunders, and on Fort Titus; he had business engagements
and appointments elsewhere, that required his personal attention. But
what is of more historical importance, perhaps, than anything else, is,
that it reveals the general channel in which his mind ran; the things
upon which his thoughts and energies were concentrated; the occupation
he was following. Also, the magnitude of the hazardous performance
undertaken in this instance, and successfully executed, shows clearly,
that Brown was not a novice in the business. Only a strong, bold man, of
large experience, could enter such a district, and within four days
collect, equip and mount, upon stolen horses, a company of ten men,
himself included. Then, within two days more effect a consolidation,
under his leadership, of two other similar companies; and within three
more days gather up by force, two hundred and fifty head of cattle,
besides horses and other plunder, and assemble the whole at the general
rendezvous in Osawatomie. Only an expert in horse stealing, and in the
general plunder business, could accomplish so much in so short a time.

To counteract the effect of the Free-State victories, heretofore
referred to, and to restore pro-slavery supremacy, a pro-slavery army
numbering more than a thousand men, led by Major General David R.
Atchison, invaded the Territory. This formidable force left Westport
August 23d, and on the 29th arrived at Bull Creek, thirty miles from
Lawrence. To oppose it, the Free-State army was being mobilized under
the command of General Lane; who sent an urgent message to Brown, and
others at Osawatomie, asking them to report to him at Lawrence at once,
and take part in the impending battle. The message was delivered to
Brown by Alexander G. Hawse, on the evening of August 29th, as he
approached Osawatomie, "in a cloud of dust and driving the motley herd"
of stolen cattle "before him." Captain Shore received a similar request,
and promptly responded to the urgent call. He started for Lawrence about
three o'clock in the afternoon. Brown did not go. He could not be
expected to abandon the horses, and the cattle, and the plunder which he
had on hand; and the robber combine of which he was the head, and which
was operating so successfully, and which had before it a future so
promising. He was too busy. Besides, the troubles about Lawrence would
be "water upon his wheel." He was doing business under cover of the
distracting conditions then existing. Mr. Villard says, "After
consultation, it was decided that the call should be heeded on the next

At the time Brown received this message, General Atchison had already
detached two hundred and fifty mounted men, with one field piece, to
march against Osawatomie and burn the place. The command of the
expedition was given to Brigadier General John W. Reid, who had served
in the war with Mexico. Reid made a night march from Bull Creek.
Arriving at Osawatomie, he immediately began his attack. His official
report of the fight is as follows:[193]

                              Camp Bull Creek, Aug. 31st

      GENTLEMEN:--I moved with 250 men on the Abolition fort and
      town of Osawatomie--the headquarters of Old Brown--on night
      before last; marched forty miles and attacked the town
      without dismounting the men, about sunrise on yesterday. We
      had a brisk fight for an hour or more and had five men
      wounded--none dangerously--Capt. Boice, William Gordon and
      three others. We killed about thirty of them, among the
      number, _certain_, a son of Old Brown and almost certain
      Brown himself; destroying all their ammunition and
      provisions, and the boys would burn the town to the ground.
      _I could not help it_....

                              Your friend, REID.

Hon. William Higgins of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, then fourteen years of
age, drove one of the three teams that comprised Reid's means of
transportation. Concerning Reid's losses in the battle, he says: "The
total was three men wounded. Two of these were conveyed back to Missouri
in one of the wagons, while the other wounded man was able to ride his
horse. No one was killed."[194]

On the Free-State side the battle seems to have been opened by Dr.
Updegraff, of Osawatomie, and Holmes. The latter was "saddling up,"
presumably to join Brown in another day's ride after cattle, when the
presence of the enemy was announced, and rode up toward the Adairs until
he sighted Reid's troopers, upon whom he fired three times from his
Sharp's rifle.[195]

From Lawrence, September 7th, Brown wrote to his wife as follows:[196]


      I have one moment to write to you, to say that I am yet
      alive, that Jason and family were well yesterday--John and
      Family, I hear, are well (he being yet a prisoner). On the
      morning of the 30th of August an attack was made by the
      Ruffians on Osawatomie, numbering some four hundred, by
      whose scouts our dear Frederick was shot dead, without
      warning--he supposed them to be Free-State men, as near as
      we can learn. One other man, a cousin of Mr. Adair was
      murdered by them about the same time that Frederick was
      killed, and one badly wounded at the same time. At this
      time I was about three miles off, where I had some fourteen
      or fifteen men over night that I had just enlisted to serve
      under me as regulars. These I collected as well as I could,
      with some twelve or fifteen more--and in about three
      quarters of an hour I attacked them from a wood with thick
      undergrowth. With this force we threw them into confusion
      for fifteen or twenty minutes, during which time we killed
      or wounded from seventy to eighty of the enemy--as they
      say--and then we escaped as well as we could, with one
      killed while escaping, two or three wounded and as many
      more were missing. Four or five Free-State men were
      butchered during the day in all. Jason fought bravely by my
      side during the fight, and escaped with me, he being
      unhurt. I was struck by a partly spent grape canister, or
      rifle shot, which bruised me some, but did not injure me
      seriously. "Hitherto the Lord has helped me,"
      notwithstanding my afflictions, etc., etc.

                              JOHN BROWN.

On the same day he gave out the following statement for

                  THE FIGHT OF OSAWATOMIE

      Early in the morning of the 30th of August the enemy's
      scouts approached to within one mile and a half of the
      western boundary of the town of Osawatomie. At this place
      my son Frederick (who was not attached to my force) had
      lodged with some four other young men from Lawrence, and a
      young man named Garrison, from Middle Creek. The scouts,
      led by a pro-slavery preacher named White, shot my son dead
      in the road while he--as I have since ascertained--supposed
      them to be friendly. At the same time they butchered Mr.
      Garrison, and badly mangled one of the young men from
      Lawrence, who came with my son, leaving him for dead. This
      was not far from sunrise. I had stopped during the night
      about two and one half miles from them, and nearly one mile
      from Osawatomie. I had no organized force, but only some
      twelve or fifteen new recruits, who were ordered to leave
      their preparations for breakfast and follow me into the
      town, as soon as this news was brought to me.

      As I had no means of learning correctly the force of the
      enemy, I placed twelve of the recruits in a log-house,
      hoping we might be able to defend the town. I then gathered
      some fifteen more men together, whom we armed with
      guns--and we started in the direction of the enemy. After
      going a few rods we could see them approaching the town in
      line of battle, about half a mile off, upon a hill west of
      the village. I then gave up all idea of doing more than to
      annoy, from the timber near the town, into which we were
      all retreated, and which was filled with a thick growth of
      underbrush--but I had no time to recall the twelve men in
      the log house, and so lost their assistance in the fight.
      At this point above named I met with Captain Cline, a very
      active young man, who had with him some twelve or fifteen
      mounted men, and persuaded him to go with us into the
      timber, on the southern shore of the Osage, or Marais des
      Cygnes, a little to the north west from the village. Here
      the men, numbered not more than thirty in all, were
      directed to scatter and secrete themselves as well as they
      could, and await the approach of the enemy. This was done
      in full view of them (who must have seen the whole
      movement), and had to be done in the utmost haste. I
      believe Captain Cline and some of his men were not even
      dismounted during the fight, but cannot assert positively.
      When the left wing of the enemy had approached to within
      common rifle shot, we commenced firing, and very soon threw
      the northern branch of the enemy's line into disorder. This
      continued for some fifteen or twenty minutes, which gave us
      an uncommon opportunity to annoy them. Captain Cline and
      his men soon got out of ammunition, and retired across the

      After the enemy rallied we kept up our fire, until, by the
      leaving of one and another, we had but six or seven left.
      We then retired across the river. We had one man killed--a
      Mr. Powers, from Captain Cline's company--in the fight. One
      of my men, a Mr. Partridge, was shot in crossing the river.
      Two or three of the party who took part in the fight are
      yet missing, and may be lost or taken prisoners. Two were
      wounded--namely. Dr. Updegraff and Mr. Collis. I cannot
      speak in too high terms of them, and of many others I have
      not now time to mention.

      One of my best men, together with myself, was struck by a
      partially spent ball from the enemy, in the commencement of
      the fight, but we were only bruised. The loss I refer to is
      one of my missing men. The loss of the enemy, as we learn
      by the different statements of our own as well as their
      people, was some thirty one or two killed, and from forty
      to fifty wounded. After burning the town to ashes and
      killing a Mr. Williams, they had taken, whom neither party
      claimed, they took a hasty leave, carrying their dead and
      wounded with them. They did not attempt to cross the river,
      nor to search for us, and have not since returned to look
      over their work.

      I give this in great haste, in the midst of constant
      interruption. My second son was with me in the fight, and
      escaped unharmed. This I mention for the benefit of his
      friends. Old Preacher White, I hear, boasts of having
      killed my son. Of course he is a lion.

                              JOHN BROWN.
                              Lawrence, Kansas, Sept. 7, 1856.

In a third statement[198] Brown says: "In the battle of Osawatomie,
Capt. (or Dr.) Updegraff--and two others whose names I have lost, were
severely (one of them shockingly) wounded before the fight began, August
30, 1856."

The arrival of Reid's forces at Osawatomie, was a complete surprise.
Brown knew nothing of their coming until after the battle was on. Mr.
Villard states[199] that John Brown and his party, with the exception of
Holmes, who spent the night in town, crossed the Marias des Cygnes to
their camp on the Crane claim (about two miles from the town), taking
their cattle with them. Captain Cline and about fifteen men remained in
the town. Two of Brown's men, Bondi and Benjamin, were on guard (over
the cattle) on the morning of the 30th, until the firing began. Brown
was preparing breakfast at the cattle camp, where a messenger is said to
have arrived with the news that Frederick Brown had been killed;
whereupon Brown is said to have "seized his arms" and "cried, 'Men come
on!' and with Luke F. Parsons hurried down the hill to the crossing
nearest the town." But the men, it seems, finished their breakfast
before responding to this request and still had time to overtake their
leader. Mr. Villard says that "After finishing their coffee, most of
them overtook their leader before he reached the town"; and that
Parsons, upon following Brown into the timber where the fighting was
going on, "met Captain Cline and his company of fifteen well-mounted men
retiring through the town, abandoning their cattle and their other
plunder. One of his (Cline's) men, Theodore Parker Powers, was killed in
the few minutes they were at the front."

From the data at hand it appears that the battle was opened by Holmes,
who fired upon Reid's advance immediately upon the latter's arrival;
that Dr. Updegraff, and other citizens of Osawatomie, turned out, and
with Captain Cline defended the town for "an hour or more" during which
time Powers, of Cline's company, was killed and Dr. Updegraff and two
others were severely wounded. These were all the casualties that befell
the Free-State men in the actual fighting; and Brown states that they
occurred "before the fight began": by which he meant, before he arrived
upon the scene, which was at the time Parsons met Cline retiring in
disorder from the field. None of Brown's men was hit while fighting. One
of them, Geo. W. Partridge, was killed in the retreat while crossing the
river. It seems therefore, that Brown arrived late in the engagement and
that he, very wisely, attempted nothing "more than to annoy, from the
timber near the town, into which we were all retreated."

Comment or criticism, favorable or unfavorable, as to what John Brown
did or did not do in this fight is equally unimportant. Brown's men were
not a military company organized for the defense of Osawatomie. They
were a gang of "rustlers," as cattle thieves are sometimes called. Such
organizations are not under obligations to fight anybody; and they do
not fight, except as their personal interests or advantage may seem to
require at the time. In this case the prospects for defeating Reid's
command of two hundred and fifty men, getting his horses, and saving
their own plunder, were so unfavorable, that Brown and his men were
justified in getting away from the trouble as best they could; and that
is what they did, leaving the town to be pillaged and burned by Reid's
army. That "they stood not upon the order of their going" is evident
from the fact that Brown lost his hat while making good his escape from
the trouble. Of this incident Sarah Brown says:

      On the day that my brother Frederick was killed near
      Osawatomie, my father lost his hat in fighting.[200]

General Reid's estimate of the battle as quoted by Mr. Villard,[201] is
perhaps more nearly the truth: "Merely the driving out of a flock of
quail." And it may be truthfully said that some of the birds flew as far
as Lawrence, before alighting; "indeed, Bondi, Benjamin and Hawes set
off at once for Lawrence and so by himself did Holmes."[202] As for
Brown, he went deep into the friendly brush and hid. To a legislative
committee, February 18, 1857, he read, from a prepared address, that
about the first of September he was "obliged to lie on the ground,
without shelter, for a considerable time; and at times almost in a state
of starvation, and dependent on the charity of a Christian Indian."

Brown's son Frederick was killed by the Rev. Martin White, who was with
the patrol that was scouting the head of Reid's column as it approached
Osawatomie. Frederick had come from Lawrence the day before with Hawes.
The two stopped over night at the Carr cabin, adjoining his uncle
Adair's place, where they had left their horses. Frederick arose early
to feed them, and noticing two or three mounted men approaching, walked
out to see who they were. The parson knew him, and recognized him as
being one of a party that had raided his home, and his stables, on the
night of August 13th, whereupon he shot him through the heart as he
stood in the road. Mr. Villard treats this incident facetiously. He

      Thus on August 13th, the home of the Rev. Martin White was
      raided by Free-State men, among them James H. Holmes, and
      ten pro-slavery horses were weaned from their allegiance to
      a wicked and failing cause. White, a prejudiced witness,
      asserted that the horses were laden with plunder, but upon
      this point the memories of Holmes and Bondi, both
      participants, failed them.

Continuing he says:[204]

      White pretended to recognize the boots on Brown as a pair
      stolen from his son in the raid upon White; but there is no
      evidence to show that Frederick Brown was at that time
      elsewhere than in Lawrence.

It may be said with equal irrelevancy, that there is no evidence to show
that Frederick was elsewhere than in the raid. The author knows, or
ought to know, the exact facts concerning that feature of this
deplorable incident. He could have obtained the information from Holmes,
one of the principals, or from others whom he met, who had knowledge of
the facts. However, it is probable that Frederick was a party to this
robbery. He returned to Kansas with his father from Nebraska City.
"Frederick felt," according to the testimony of Henry Thompson, "that
Pottawatomie bound him to Kansas. He did not wish to leave. He felt that
a great crime had been committed and that he should go back to Kansas
and live it out."[205] August 10th, father and son arrived at Topeka and
disappeared. But since Osawatomie was the field of their prospective
operations, and robbery the purpose for which they intended to enter it,
Frederick probably went direct from Topeka to Osawatomie, and
participated, with Holmes and Bondi, in an outrage for which he paid the
forfeit of his life. His presence in the robbery is not the only
probability in the case. The stolen stuff had to be sold somewhere, and,
because of his experience in the business, and his knowledge of how to
do such things, it is quite probable that after raiding the parson's and
other homes, he went north with the horses that had been stolen, and
disposed of them, and had just returned with the proceeds, August 29th,
for another consignment of horses; or, possibly, to drive the cattle,
which his father was to steal during his absence, to their destination.

The death of Frederick was the beginning of the utter collapse and
failure of Brown's "get-rich-quick" expedition. His camp was raided a
few hours later, and his property--the cattle and other loot of the
recent foray, and probably the four mule team and provisions--was all
taken by the enemy. "The horses and cattle, at hand, were gathered up
and carried off, including Cline's booty from South Middle Creek."[206]

The statement put forth, that after the battle Brown "encamped" several
days on the Houser farm, about two and one-half miles from Osawatomie,
and attempted to fortify it,[207] is merely trifling with history. Aside
from his personal statement that he was hiding, and starving, during
this time, it follows, logically, that if Brown were human, and could
have obtained facilities for so doing, he would not have refrained,
until September 7th, from writing to his wife at North Elba, the sad
news concerning the death of their son. And further, if John Brown had
believed that his relation to this battle was honorable, and that the
part which he had performed in it was in any sense heroic or creditable,
he would not have concealed himself and the facts concerning his heroism
from the public for eight days. It appears that Brown arrived bareheaded
at the Adair home on the evening of the 30th, saw the dead body of his
son, took his cap, and disappeared, leaving the burial of the body to be
attended to by others.[208] The truth seems to be that he was ashamed
because of his disgraceful conduct; and terror stricken because of the
calamities which he had brought upon the people of the ill-fated town:
and that he slunk out of sight and hid to avoid arrest, and the public
condemnation that was his due. But when at Lawrence, Bondi, Benjamin,
and Holmes gave out their exaggerations concerning the battle, but
nothing about the robberies; and told of their personal prowess in the
engagement, and of their leader's heroism (?) therein; and when Brown
discovered that his band of thieves had come to be recognized as a
military organization; and that he, the Loki of Osawatomie, had become
the "Hero of Osawatomie"; then, and not till then, came he out of
hiding, and affirmed what had been put forth by his men concerning him,
and accepted the honors which were accordingly thrust upon him.

With these September days came the climax of the aggressive Free-State
campaign. Also, came the collapse of the pro-slavery effort to fasten
slavery upon Kansas by force of arms. Lawrence was the headquarters for
the Free-State men, and their activities gave to the place an atmosphere
of war. Lane led an expedition against Atchison's army which he
encountered at Bull Creek. September 7th, the day Brown arrived from
Osawatomie, an expedition was launched against Leavenworth, under the
command of Colonel James A. Harvey, but it was ordered back to Lawrence,
by General Lane, before it arrived at its destination. On September 9th,
General John W. Geary arrived in the Territory. He had been appointed
Territorial Governor to succeed Governor Shannon.

"Almost simultaneously with Harvey's movements, Aaron D. Stevens, alias
Charles Whipple, raided Osawkie, a pro-slavery settlement, taking eighty
horses and nearly as many arms."[209] Falling back from the front of
Atchison's army at Bull Creek, Lane personally led an attack upon
Hickory Point, and finding the pro-slavery men too strong, sent to
Lawrence for assistance. "Whipple and fifty men responded; but on their
arrival Lane wanted Bickerton's cannon, and sent to Lawrence for it."
Colonel Harvey, who had just got back from the Leavenworth campaign,
also went to his assistance, arriving on the 14th. Lane in the meantime
had abandoned the siege, but Harvey attacked them at once, and after a
spirited fight captured the force. His loss was five men wounded. The
pro-slavery loss was one man killed and four wounded. There was no
robbery involved in this battle.[210] Later, Captain Wood, United
States Army, met and captured one hundred of Harvey's men including
their arms, and the cannon.

The withdrawal of Lane from Lawrence, with a large portion of the
organized Free-State forces, left the town quite unprepared to resist
the advance against it by General Atchison's army, which arrived at
Franklin on the 13th. This was the most formidable force that had ever
invaded the Territory. It comprised, at this time, twenty-seven hundred
men, including a battery of artillery. The principal subordinate
commanders were Generals John W. Reid, B. F. Stringfellow, W. A.
Haskell, and J. W. Whitfield. On the afternoon of the 14th, Atchison
made a reconnoissance, his advance guard drawing the fire of the
Free-State pickets in front of Lawrence. His attack upon the town on the
morning of the 15th, was prevented by the armed intervention of the
Federal Government. During the night of the 14th, detachments of United
States cavalry and artillery arrived at Lawrence, and took up positions
to defend the town. The Territorial Governor, Geary, appeared upon the
scene on the morning of the 15th, and, proceeding to Atchison's camp,
notified him that he could proceed no farther. This forceful
intervention was fatal to the pro-slavery propaganda. Upon receiving the
Governor's ultimatum, the pro-slavery leaders disbanded their army and
gave up the struggle. Geary's interference was not wholly unexpected.
The "hand writing" had heretofore been seen "upon the wall." Before
Atchison's advance upon Lawrence, a South Carolinian, connected with the
invading army, stated the situation in this way: "And why should we
remain? We cannot fight, and of course, cannot prevent our enemy from
voting. The object of our mission will then, of course, be defeated and
we had as well return."[211]

Brown was well received by the Free-State leaders, on his arrival at
Lawrence. He was fresh from the "bloody field of Osawatomie." He gave
his story to the press, and posed as the hero of a splendidly fought
battle against odds of nearly ten to one; and, although defeated, had
inflicted _heavy losses_ upon the enemy.

      After his arrival, the Sunday morning council reassembled,
      and decided on the movement against Leavenworth. Most of
      the men thereupon offered the command to John Brown, a
      responsibility he declined, out of deference to other
      leaders, and it was then entrusted to Colonel James A.

Referring to the defense of Lawrence, Mr. Villard says, with reference
to September 14th:

      But the day before Lieutenant Colonel Johnston's arrival,
      these amateur fortifications were filled with very earnest
      Free-Soil men, ready to defend Lawrence at any cost. In the
      absence of Lane, the command was as much in the hands of
      Major J. B. Abbott and Captain Joseph Cracklin of the
      "Stubbs" as of any one else. Some partisans of John Brown
      have attempted to prove that he was in command, but the
      evidence is conclusive that he declined Major Abbott's
      offer of the command of a company, and then, at his
      request, went from one of the "forts" to another,
      encouraging the men, urging them to fire low, and giving
      them such military information as was his, everywhere,
      according to Major Abbott, with excellent results.[213]

Of the invaders, Mr. Villard says:[214]

      They had with them no less than twenty-seven hundred men,
      some of them completely uniformed and well equipped.
      Besides infantry and cavalry, there was a six-pounder
      battery; in all a remarkably strong force. Its advance
      guard had come in sight of the men on guard at Lawrence on
      the afternoon of the 14th, and after an hour's shooting at
      long range, the Missourians had retired upon Franklin.
      Naturally the people of Lawrence were in great alarm; few
      were able to sleep that night, remembering as they did,
      Atchison's last visit to their town. There was, therefore,
      general rejoicing when, on the next morning, Lieut. Col.
      Johnston's troops were found to be encamped on Mount Oread,
      the hill overlooking Lawrence, where they had arrived
      during the night.

The people of Lawrence might well be in a state of alarm during the
night of the 14th, believing that with the dawn of the 15th, Atchison's
guns would open upon the town. But Brown was not there on the morning of
the 15th to help meet the shock of the impending battle. True to the
mercenary character of his conduct, he declined all offers of command on
the 14th, and left the town to its fate, going to the home, in the
country, of Augustus Wattles.[215]

Upon assuming control of affairs as Territorial Governor, General Geary
released the Free-State leaders who had been arrested and held as
prisoners at Lecompton during the later months of Governor Shannon's
administration, an act that caused great rejoicing at Lawrence.

On the 13th, Charles Robinson addressed the following letter to Brown:

                              Lawrence, September 13, 1856.


      Dear Sir: Governor Geary has been here and _talks very
      well_. He promises to protect us, etc. There will be no
      attempt to arrest anyone for a few days, and I think no
      attempt to arrest you is contemplated by him. He talks of
      letting the past be forgotten, so far as may be, and of
      commencing anew. If convenient, can you not come to town
      and see us? I will then tell you all that the Governor
      said, and talk of some other matters.

                              Very respectfully,
                              C. ROBINSON

In response to this letter. Brown called upon the Governor on the 14th;
told him the story of his "defense" of Osawatomie, and obtained from him
the following beautiful letter:[216]

                                    Lawrence, Sept. 14, 1856.


      My Dear Sir: I take this opportunity to express to you my
      sincere gratification that the late report, that you were
      killed, at the battle of Osawatomie, is incorrect. Your
      course, so far as I have been informed, has been such as to
      merit the highest praise from every patriot, and I
      cheerfully accord to you my heartfelt thanks for your
      prompt, efficient, and timely action against the invaders
      of our rights and the murderers of our citizens. History
      will give your name a proud place in her pages and
      posterity will pay homage to your heroism in the cause of
      God and humanity.

      Trusting that you will conclude to remain in Kansas, and
      serve during the war, the cause you have done so much to
      sustain, and with earnest prayers for your health, and
      protection from the shafts of death that so thickly beset
      your path. I subscribe myself,

                              Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                              C. ROBINSON.

But Brown was seeking neither honors nor honorable mention for honorable
purposes; he sought only for something of commercial value. He wanted
"assistance"; something upon which he could work the public for money.
Robinson, therefore, addressed to him a second letter, a letter of
credit, as follows:

_To the Settlers of Kansas_--

If possible please render Captain John Brown all the assistance he may
require in defending Kansas from invaders and outlaws, and you will
confer a favor upon your co-laborer and fellow citizen. C. ROBINSON.

Brown obtained these letters by dissimulation. He took advantage of the
Governor's confidence in his statements and deeply imposed upon him. He
concealed from him the plans which he had formed for working a colossal
graft upon the Free-State sentiment in the East; and the fact that he
intended to use these letters in pursuance of them. He was equivocal,
too, as to his plans for leaving the Territory. If he had given Charles
Robinson even a hint that he had been robbing the settlers in the
Osawatomie district of their horses, cattle, and clothing; and had thus
provoked Reid's descent upon the town, and the burning of it, as a
retaliatory measure, and that he intended to use the letters he asked
for in grafting operations, they would not have been written.

Brown's latest biographer regards the foregoing letters of special
interest, because of Governor Robinson's subsequent criticism of Brown's
actions--assuming that the spirit of these letters in inconsistent with
his later estimate of the rectitude of Brown's conduct.[217] The point
is not well taken. The Governor's endorsement is, plainly, dependent
upon the information which he had received relating to it. He said: Your
course, _so far as I have been informed_, has been such as to merit the
highest praise from every patriot, and he then proceeds to state what
the heartfelt thanks are for: "For your prompt, efficient, and timely
action against the _invaders_ of our right and the _murderers_ of our
citizens." This plain language cannot be distorted into an approval, by
the Governor, of Brown's crimes in murdering and plundering pro-slavery
settlers; who came into the Territory to build homes for their families,
as Brown and his sons originally came to do; and whose rights, as
settlers, were equal to those of their Free-State neighbors. Equality of
settlers' rights, was the basic principle of the Free-State contention.
Robinson wrote it into the platform of the party and unalterably
maintained it, to a victorious finish. The war that was being carried on
by the Free-State men, was directed against the invasion of the
Free-State settlers' rights by pro-slavery men who were non-residents of
the Territory.

John Brown remained at the Wattles farm until the 22d. Meanwhile plans
were matured for his sons, John and Jason, and their families, to quit
the Territory. During the first days of October they left Kansas for the
East. Brown's farewell is recorded by Mr. Villard, as follows:[218]

      On departing from the Territory, Brown left the remainder
      of his Osawatomie volunteer-regular company under the
      command of James H. Holmes, with instructions to "carry the
      war into Africa." This Holmes did by raiding into Missouri
      and appropriating some horses and arms and other property,
      for which he was promptly and properly indicted and long
      pursued by the Kansas and Missouri authorities.

The foregoing is the record, to date, of John Brown's "activities" in
Kansas. The peace and tranquility of the Osawatomie district to which he
came in October, 1855, had not theretofore been disturbed by any
distracting contentions. The settlers were pursuing the even tenor of
their way. They were comfortable, prosperous, and contented; living in
the security vouchsafed, by the usages of our civilization and the laws
of our country, to all of its citizens. They so continued to live,
during a period of eight months thereafter, wholly unsuspicious of the
designs their neighbor, Brown, was maturing against their peace, their
property, and their lives.

From 1854 to 1860, the great political contest in the country was over
the question of the extension of slavery into the public domain. It was
the paramount issue in National politics. New alignments were then
formed throughout the country in relation to it, as men were differently
moved by their sympathies or interests. In Kansas, the division in
public sentiment was more pronounced than elsewhere, for reasons that
have been stated. Naturally, the settlers in the Osawatomie neighborhood
were divided upon this political question; but certainly not with very
much greater intensity of feeling than this same neighborhood was
divided afterward, upon the great moral question of prohibition, or upon
the equally great economic question of free-coinage of silver. The
differences of opinion there did not promote or arouse personal
animosities, or bitterness of feeling, among the settlers. Ample
authority for this conclusion of fact is found in the letters written,
at the time, by John Brown and others of his family, and in the
statement which he voluntarily made in 1857, before a committee of the
Massachusetts legislature, heretofore quoted. A large majority of the
settlers in that district belonged to the Free-State party which made
the security and peace of the Free-State settlers complete, beyond
debate. These conditions of peace and tranquility continued undisturbed,
until the night of May 24, 1856, when John Brown opened his "school" of
plunder, and cast the baleful shadow of his presence upon the
settlement. The Pottawatomie horror inaugurated a season of
assassination and robbery unprecedented in Kansas history: a period of
public disorder and crime, that ended only when the Territory was
finally rid of John Brown and his marauders.



                                  _He was a man
      Who stole the livery of the court of Heaven
      To serve the Devil in._

               --POLLOCK, COURSE OF TIME

John Brown "struck the trail" of "easy money" June 28, 1855, when Gerrit
Smith presented his case to the Syracuse convention and collected sixty
dollars to assist him in migrating to Kansas. He had followed it up with
profit, while en route thereto, at Springfield, Hudson, Akron, and
Cleveland. Now he was returning to the East to work the field again. It
was the same graft which he had theretofore worked, but upon greatly
improved plans and along broader lines.

He had two schemes in view. Robinson's letter of September 14th
addressed "To the Settlers of Kansas," showed that Brown was their
accredited defender "from invaders and outlaws." Under the pretext of
enlisting, arming, equipping, and maintaining in Kansas, a company of
fifty mounted men to protect the settlers from "invaders and outlaws,"
he intended to try to secure $30,000, in cash, to finance the pretense.
The other scheme was to have the Legislatures of Massachusetts and New
York appropriate large sums of money--$100,000 each--to reimburse
persons who had emigrated to Kansas from these States, for losses which
they were supposed to have "suffered in advancing the Free-State cause."
Naturally, Brown and all the members of his family were "sufferers," and
would be eligible as beneficiaries of this legislation.

"The National Kansas Committee" was a company formed to promote
emigration to Kansas Territory. It was also a sort of clearing-house for
the various committees which had been organized in the Northern States
for a similar purpose. It had offices in New York, Chicago, and other
places. Mr. E. B. Whitman was the resident agent of the company in
Kansas, a fact which the Browns had not overlooked.

That Brown had this scheme for raising money in view as early as July,
1856, appears from the fact that before leaving Kansas with his sons, in
that month, he called upon Mr. Whitman, at Lawrence, and filed with him
a paper which was intended to serve as the foundation of a claim for
reimbursement for such losses. It reads as follows:[219]


      Names of sufferers and persons who have made sacrifices in
      endeavoring to maintain and advance the Free-State cause in
      Kansas, within my personal knowledge.

      1. Two German refugees (thoroughly Free-State), robbed at
      Pottawatomie, named Benjamin and Bondy (or Bundy). One has
      served under me as a volunteer; namely, Bondy. Benjamin was
      prisoner for some time; suffered by men under Coffee and

      2. Henry Thompson. Devoted several months to the Free-State
      cause, traveling nearly two thousand miles at his own
      expense for the purpose, leaving family and business for
      about one year. Served under me as a volunteer; was
      dangerously wounded at Palmyra, or Black Jack; had a bullet
      lodged beside his backbone; has had a severe turn of fever,
      and is still very feeble. Suffered a little in the burning
      of the houses of John Brown, Jr., and Jason Brown.

      3. John Jr. and Jason Brown. Both burned out; both
      prisoners for some time, one a prisoner still: both losing
      the use of valuable, partially improved claims. Both served
      repeatedly as volunteers for defense of Lawrence and other
      places, suffering great hardships and some cruelty.

      4. Owen and Frederick Brown. Both served at different
      periods as volunteers, under me. Were both in the battle of
      Palmyra; both suffered by the burning of their brothers'
      houses; both have had sickness (Owen a severe one), and are
      yet feeble. Both lost the use of partially improved claims
      and their spring and summer work.

      5. Salmon Brown (minor). Twice served under me as a
      volunteer; was dangerously wounded (if not permanently
      crippled) by accident near Palmyra; had a severe sickness
      and is still feeble.

      6. Oliver Brown (minor). Served under me as a volunteer for
      some months; was in the battle of Palmyra, and had some

      7. (B. L.) Cochrane (at Pottawatomie). Twice served under
      me as a volunteer; was in the battle of Palmyra.

      8. Dr. Lucius Mills devoted some months to the Free-State
      cause, collecting and giving information, prescribing for
      and nursing the sick and wounded at his own cost. Is a
      worthy Free-State man.

      9. John Brown has devoted the service of himself and two
      minor sons to the Free-State cause for more than a year;
      suffered by the fire before named and by robbery; has gone
      at his own cost for that period, except that he and his
      company together have received forty dollars in cash, two
      sacks of flour, thirty five pounds of bacon, thirty five
      do. of sugar, and twenty pounds of rice.

      I propose to serve hereafter in the Free-State cause
      (provided my needful expenses can be met) should they be
      desired; and to raise a small regular force to serve on the
      same condition. My own means are so far exhausted that I
      can no longer continue in the service at present without
      the means of defraying my expenses are furnished me.

      I can give the names of some five or six more volunteers of
      special merit I would be glad to have particularly noticed
      in some way. J. BROWN

When one considers the life Brown had been leading and the nature of the
atrocities which he had committed, this proposal to ask for
compensation therefor is a piece of effrontery: a good exhibit of
sublime gall. Also, his ultimatum therein is deserving of consideration.
In it he demands, as a condition precedent to the rendering of any
further service in the Free-State cause, that he have an assurance that
he and his sons would be paid for such services. This demand further
discloses the fact that the energies which Brown was putting forth were
not a devotion to the cause of the men in bondage, but that he sought to
work a personal and family graft upon Free-State sentiment of the

During February, 1857, Brown had a bill prepared and introduced in the
Massachusetts Legislature to appropriate $100,000, as a contingent fund,
to relieve the distress of settlers in Kansas. And on the 18th of that
month he and Mr. Whitman appeared before the committee, having charge of
the bill, to urge its passage.

Brown arrived at Tabor, Iowa, en route to the East, October 10th. On the
23d he was at Chicago, where he was well received by the National Kansas
Committee. At this time it was moving a lot of supplies--two hundred
Sharp's rifles, a brass cannon, ammunition, clothing, etc.--across Iowa
to Kansas, under the direction of Dr. J. P. Root. The committee asked
Brown to return and accompany the train to its destination. He, however,
advised the management to stop the train, and not attempt to enter
Kansas with it; saying that "The immediate introduction of the supplies
is not of much consequence compared to the danger of losing them." His
remark had reference to the efficient measures which Governor Geary had
adopted to put an end to the lawlessness which was prevailing in the
Territory at the time he assumed his official duties. Brown went with
Root as far as Tabor, Iowa, where the supplies were stored, to await
further developments.

Leaving Tabor, he passed through Chicago about the first of December. In
Ohio, upon presenting his letters from Governor Robinson to Governor
Chase, he received from him an additional letter of commendation, for
use in Ohio, and twenty-five dollars in cash. Thus encouraged, he pushed
on, stopping at various places on the way, soliciting money, and
arriving in Boston about January 1, 1857. There the congratulatory
letters which he had in his possession were of inestimable value to him.
It was through them that he succeeded in establishing relations with men
of ample means and of high character, who, by their generous
contributions of money, and by their moral support, enabled him to work
out his schemes to their logical conclusions.

In Boston, Brown met Mr. Frank B. Sanborn, a young man but a year and a
half out of Harvard, who was then secretary of the Massachusetts State
Kansas Committee. "He was on fire for the anti-slavery cause, and ready
to worship any of its militant leaders."[220] Brown, being a militant
leader, made a deep impression upon this susceptible young enthusiast,
who reported his find to Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "the fighting
young Unitarian Parson of Worcester," in a letter, as follows:[221]

      "Old Brown" of Kansas is now in Boston, with one of his
      sons, working for an object in which you will heartily
      sympathize--raising and arming a company of men for the
      future protection of Kansas. He wishes to raise $30,000 to
      arm a company, such as he thinks he can raise this present
      winter, but will, as I understand him, take what money he
      can raise and use it as far as it will go. Can you not come
      to Boston tomorrow or next day and see Capt. Brown? If not,
      please indicate when you will be in Worcester, so he can
      see you. I like the man from what I have seen--and his
      deeds ought to bear witness for him.

It will be observed that this was to be a cash transaction: he will
"take what money he can raise and use it as far as it will go." Most
persons will scan this proposal with grave suspicion, it bears so
prominently the brand of the faker; but it will create no surprise in
the minds of those who are familiar with Brown's criminal conduct while
in commercial life, and with his career of murder and robbery and
association with thieves in Kansas.

In his enthusiasm for his Kansas hero, Mr. Sanborn led Brown, as the
Psalmist had been led, "into green pastures and beside the still
waters." Through him he met Dr. Samuel G. Howe, Patrick Tracy Jackson,
George L. Stearns, Dr. Samuel Cabot, Judge Thomas Russell, Wendell
Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry D. Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson,
and other notable persons, all of whom were intensely interested in the
paramount political question of the day, and especially in the contest
going on in Kansas to make it a Free State. His Eastern campaign opened
auspiciously. As the popular leader of a popular cause, he struck the
popular fancy. He presented himself to the public, "modestly," as being
the leader of the "fighting" forces of the Territory; and as having come
from the "front" to organize a more effective force, in order that he
might render still more efficient services. January 7th, armed with his
congratulatory letter from Governor Robinson, he called upon Mr. Amos A.
Lawrence, who wrote of him, admiringly, as follows:

      Captain Brown, the old partisan hero of Kansas warfare,
      came to see me. I had a long talk with him. He is a calm,
      temperate, and pious man, but when roused he is a dreadful
      foe. He appears about sixty years old. His severe
      simplicity of habits, his determined energy, his heroic
      courage in time of trial, all based on a deep religious
      faith, make him a true representative of the Puritanic
      warrior. I knew him before he went to Kansas, and have
      known more of him since, and should esteem the loss of his
      service, from poverty, or any other cause, almost

Mr. Stearns, too, was deeply impressed with his "sagacity, courage, and
strong integrity," He had him dine with him at his home on Sunday,
January 11th. Brown sought, on this occasion, to advance his personal
fortunes by discrediting Charles Robinson and other Free-State leaders.
Measured by his standard they were a collection of incompetents. He
exalted Martin F. Conway as the best of them, but characterized him as
"lacking in force." Naturally, if the best of them lacked force, there
was an emergency to get Brown back to the Territory as speedily as
possible. It became clear to Mr. Stearns's mind that it was the general
incompetency and inefficiency of the men in control of affairs in
Kansas, their cowardice and consequent inability to "protect" the
settlers, that impelled Brown to come East and raise money to equip a
force to protect them. He therefore determined "to do everything in his
power to get him the arms and money he desired."

Mr. William Lloyd Garrison, also, was very much taken with him. "They
discussed peace and non-resistance together, Brown quoting the Old
Testament against Garrison's citations of the New, and Parker, from time
to time, injecting a bit of Lexington into the controversy, which
attracted a small group of interested listeners."[222]

The first result of his newly formed relations was a contribution to him
of two hundred Sharp's rifles, four thousand ball cartridges, and thirty
thousand percussion caps, made by the "Massachusetts State Kansas
Committee." These were the arms which Brown had stored at Tabor. The
committee also voted him a credit of $500 for expenses. The
Massachusetts Kansas Committee originally purchased the arms, and had
turned them over to the National Kansas Committee, under whose control
they then were.

Before the latter committee, at its offices in the Astor House, New
York, Brown appeared, January 24th, and presented his case. He asked for
the arms, and for the moderate sum of $5,000, cash. But this committee
had taken pains to inform itself, through its general agent, Mr. Arny,
with reference to conditions existing in Kansas. The directors,
therefore, were not nearly so susceptible as were the more impulsive
people of the Massachusetts Committee. They wanted to know something
about the nature of the project which they were being asked to finance,
and hoped that Brown would make a more specific and definite
declaration. They wanted to know what the cost of the equipment, for the
defenders he talked about, would amount to, and called for a list of the
articles which he needed, with an estimate of the cost of each; and
wanted to know what he intended to do with the company after it was
organized. And then they asked another very relevant question: what he
intended to do with the five thousand dollars he wanted them to give
him. Brown's scheme was a personal matter, and to have answered these
questions, and others that would have, logically, followed, would have
caused him some embarrassment. He therefore denied their right to
inquire into the privacy of his affairs. He wanted five thousand dollars
flat; with no questions asked; and rising to the height of the occasion,
put on a bold front, and refused to be interrogated. He said:[223]

      I am no adventurer. You all know me. You know what I have
      done in Kansas. I do not expose my plans. No one knows them
      but myself, except perhaps one. I will not be interrogated;
      if you wish to give me anything, I want you to give it
      freely. I have no other purpose but to serve the cause of

The debate being thus closed, the National Committee then settled the
question of the arms by transferring them back to the Massachusetts
Committee; and with admirable tact, voted the five thousand dollars
conditionally--for "necessary defensive purposes in aid of Captain John
Brown in any defensive measures that may become necessary." The irony of
the resolution was concealed by an order authorizing him to draw upon
the committee for five hundred dollars at any time. But he received no
part of it, until he showed, by his actions, that he intended to return
to Kansas.

The committee penetrated the veneer that disguised Brown's hypocrisy,
and refused to put any money whatever into his hands. After the
adjournment, he made up a list of the articles that he thought he would
need, which he handed to Mr. Horace White, assistant secretary. It reads
as follows:

      Memorandum of articles wanted as an Outfit for Fifty
      Volunteers to serve under my direction during the Kansas
      war: or for such specified time as they may each enlist
      for: together with estimated cost of same delivered in
      Lawrence or Topeka.[224]

2 substantial (but not heavy) baggage waggons
with good covers                                     $200.00

4 good serviceable waggon Horses                      400.00

2 sets strong plain Harness                            50.00

100 good heavy Blankets say at 2. or 2.50             200.00

8 Substantial large sized Tents                       100.00

8 Large Camp Kettles                                   12.00

50 Tin basins                                           5.00

4 Plain strong Saddles & Bridles                       80.00

4 picket ropes and pins                                 3.00

8 Wooden Pails                                          4.00

8 axes and Helves                                      12.00

8 Frying pans (large Size)                              8.00

8 Large sized Coffee Pots                              10.00

8   do    do  Spiders or Bake Ovens                    10.00

8   do    do  Tin Pans                                  6.00

12 Spades & Shovels                                    18.00

6 Mattocks                                              6.00

2 Weeks provisions for Men & Horses                   150.00

Fund for Horse hire & feed, loss & damage of
same                                                  500.00

There was a very handsome margin for profits between $30,000, his
original estimate of what he would require to "arm and equip a company
such as he thought he could raise this present winter" and his final
estimate--$1,774. But that is not material; Brown was simply working the
field for all the money he could get; as Mr. Sanborn truly said "he will
take all he can raise and use it as far as it will go."

The National Committee voted $1,774 to fill this requisition, but it
declined to give Brown the money wherewith to make the purchases. He had
a right to expect that the committee would give him this money, and
trust him to expend it honestly; but it ordered otherwise. February 18th
Mr. White wrote that the articles Brown had requisitioned would be
shipped the following week; and on March 21st he notified him that he
would "shortly go to Kansas and work there to fit him out with all the
supplies he was entitled to under the New York resolution."[225] Brown
was keenly disappointed and deeply humiliated by the actions of the
National Committee; and in a letter to Mr. William Barnes, of Albany,
April 3d, gave expression to his resentment. He said:

      I am prepared to expect nothing but bad faith from the
      Kansas National Committee at Chicago, as I will show you
      hereafter. This, for the present, is confidential.[226]

It was money and not supplies that Brown was eager for at this period in
his operations. His plans did not contemplate any defense of Kansas. The
"arming and equipping" of the fifty men was a deception. It was but his
stock in trade--a pretext upon which he solicited funds. He, and the
kind of men he would have enlisted, if he enlisted any, had all the arms
they would need, and stealing requires but little ammunition. In his
largest successful venture--the Pottawatomie--but one shot was fired,
and that one, as stated by Salmon Brown, was "wholly unnecessary."

February 18, 1857, was an important day in Brown's calendar. Mr.
Sanborn had prepared his bill to appropriate $100,000 to relieve the
distress of Kansas settlers. It had been introduced in the Massachusetts
Legislature, and referred to the Joint Committee on Federal Relations,
before which it was to be taken up, on that day, for consideration. Mr.
Sanborn stood sponsor for the measure; and Brown and Mr. Whitman
appeared before the committee, as advocates, in support of it.
Introducing these two distinguished persons Mr. Sanborn said in

      As one of the petitioners for State aid to the settlers of
      Kansas, I appear before you to state briefly the purpose of
      the petition. No labored argument seems necessary; for if
      the events of the last two years in Kansas, and the
      prospect there for the future, are not of themselves enough
      to excite Massachusetts to action, certainly no words could
      do so. We have not provided ourselves with advocates,
      therefore, but with witnesses; and we expect that the
      statements of Captain Brown and Mr. Whitman will show
      conclusively that the rights and interests of Massachusetts
      have suffered gross outrage in Kansas--an outrage which is
      likely to be repeated unless measures are taken by you to
      prevent so shameful an abuse. Your petitioners desire that
      a contingent appropriation be made by the legislature, to
      be placed in the hands of a commission of responsible and
      conservative men, and used only in case of necessity to
      relieve the distress of the settlers of Kansas--especially
      such as have gone from our own state.... We have invited
      Captain Brown and Mr. Whitman to appear in our behalf,
      because these gentlemen are eminently qualified either to
      represent Massachusetts in Kansas, or Kansas in
      Massachusetts. The best blood of the "Mayflower" runs in
      the veins of both, and each had an ancestor in the army of
      the Revolution. Mr. Whitman, seventh in descent from Miles
      Standish, laid the foundation of the first church and the
      first school-house in Kansas; John Brown, the sixth
      descendant of Peter Browne, of the "Mayflower," has been in
      Kansas what Standish was to the Plymouth Colony. These
      witnesses have seen the things of which they testify, and
      have felt the oppression we ask you to check. Ask this gray
      haired man, gentleman--if you have the heart to do
      it--where lies the body of his murdered son--where are the
      homes of his four other sons, who a year ago were quiet
      farmers in Kansas. I am ashamed, in presence of this modest
      veteran, to express the admiration which his heroism
      excites in me. Yet he, so venerable for his years, his
      integrity, and his courage--a man whom all Massachusetts
      rises up to honor--is today an outlaw in Kansas. To these
      witnesses, whose unsworn testimony deserves and will
      receive from you all, the authority which an oath confers,
      I will now yield place.

Mr. Redpath states that Brown then came forward and read his speech, "in
a clear ringing tone," as follows:[228]

      "I saw, while in Missouri, in the fall of 1855, large
      numbers of men going to Kansas to vote, and also returning
      after they had so done; as they said.

      "Later in the year, I, with four of my sons, was called out
      and traveled, mostly on foot and during the night, to help
      defend Lawrence, a distance of thirty-five miles; where we
      were detained, with some five hundred others, or
      thereabouts, from five to ten days--say an average of ten
      days--at a cost of not less than a dollar and a half per
      day, as wages, to say nothing of the actual loss and
      suffering occasioned to many of them, leaving their
      families sick, their crops not secured, their houses
      unprepared for winter, and many without houses at all. This
      was the case with myself and sons who could not get houses
      built after returning. Wages alone would amount to seven
      thousand five hundred dollars; loss and suffering cannot be

      "I saw, at that time, the body of the murdered Barber, and
      was present to witness his wife and other friends brought
      in to see him with his clothes on, just as he was when

      "I, with six sons and a son-in-law, was called out, and
      travelled, most of the way on foot, to try and save
      Lawrence, May 20 and 21, and much of the way in the night.
      From that date, neither I nor my sons, nor my son-in-law,
      could do any work about our homes, but lost our whole time
      until we left, in October; except one of my sons, who had a
      few weeks to devote to the care of his own and his
      brother's family, who were then without a home.

      "From about the 20th of May, hundreds of men, like
      ourselves, lost their whole time, and entirely failed of
      securing any kind of a crop whatever. I believe it safe to
      say, that five hundred free state men lost each one hundred
      and twenty days, which, at one dollar and a half per day,
      would be--to say nothing of attendant losses--ninety
      thousand dollars.

      "On or about the 30th of May, two of my sons, with several
      others, were imprisoned without other crime than opposition
      to bogus legislation, and most barbarously treated for a
      time, one being held about one month, and the other about
      four months. Both had their families on the ground. After
      this, both of them had their houses burned, and all their
      goods consumed by the Missourians. In this burning all the
      eight suffered. One had his oxen stolen, in addition."

      The Captain, laying aside his paper, here said that he had
      now at his hotel, and would exhibit to the Committee, if
      they so desired, the chains which one of his sons had worn,
      when he was driven beneath the burning sun, by federal
      troops, to a distant prison, on a charge of treason. The
      cruelties he there endured, added to the anxieties and
      sufferings incident to his position, had rendered him, the
      old man said, as his eye flashed and his voice grew
      sterner, "A maniac--yes, a MANIAC."

      He paused a few seconds, wiped a tear from his eye, and
      continued his narration....

      "I saw while it was standing, and afterwards saw the ruins,
      of a most valuable house, the property of a highly
      civilized, intelligent, and exemplary Christian Indian,
      which was burned to the ground by the ruffians, because its
      owner was suspected of favoring the free state men. He is
      known as Ottawa Jones, or John T. Jones.

      "In September last, I visited a beautiful little free state
      town called Staunton, on the north side of the Osage, (or
      Marais-des-Cygnes, as it is sometimes called,) from which
      every inhabitant had fled for fear of their lives, even
      after having built a strong log house, or wooden fort, at a
      heavy expense, for their protection. Many of them had left
      their effects liable to be destroyed or carried off, not
      being able to remove them. This was to me a most gloomy
      scene, and like a visit to a sepulchre.

      "About the first of September, I, and five sick and wounded
      sons, and a son-in-law, were obliged to lie on the ground,
      without shelter, for a considerable time, and at times
      almost in a state of starvation, and dependent on the
      charity of the Christian Indian I have named before, and
      his wife."

      He concluded his remarks by denouncing the traitors to
      freedom, who, when a question of this kind was raised,
      cried out, "Save the people's money--the dear people's
      Money." He had a detailed estimate of how much the National
      Government had expended in endeavoring to fasten slavery on
      Kansas; and asked why these politicians had never cried
      out, "Save the people's money!" when it was expended to
      trample under the foot of the "peculiar" crime of the
      south, the rights, lives, and property of the Northern
      squatters. They were silent then. (Applause.)

      The Chairman then asked who commanded the free-state men at
      Lawrence. His answer was characteristic of the man, whose
      courage was only equalled by his modesty and worth.

      He explained how bravely our boys acted--gave every one the
      credit but himself. When again asked who commanded them, he
      said,--no one; that he was asked to take the command, but
      refused, and only acted as their ADVISER!

      The Captain spoke in conclusion, about the emigrants needed
      for Kansas.

      "We want," he said, "good men, industrious men, men who
      respect themselves; who act only from the dictates of

      When asked by the Chairman:--"What is your opinion as to
      the probability of a renewal of hostilities in Kansas--of
      another invasion; and what do you think would be the
      effect, on the free state men, of an appropriation by
      Massachusetts?"--replied:--"Whenever we heard, out in
      Kansas that the North was doing any thing for us, we were
      encouraged and strengthened to struggle on. As to the
      probability of another invasion, I do not know. We ought to
      be prepared for the worst. Things do not look one iota more
      encouraging now, than they did last year at this time. You
      ought to remember that, from the date of the Shannon treaty
      till May last, there was perfect quiet in Kansas; no fear
      of a renewal of hostilities; no violence offered to our
      citizens in Missouri. I frequently went there myself; was
      known there; yet treated with the greatest kindness."

The Massachusetts Kansas Committee, of which Mr. Sanborn was secretary,
was composed of the kind of men described in the resolution,
"responsible and conservative men." It seems, therefore, that the scheme
was to have the State appropriate this money, and place it with the
Massachusetts Committee, for disbursement among Kansas settlers who had
suffered, as the Browns and "four or five others" had suffered.

Of his biographers James Redpath, alone, seems to have been favorably
impressed with the speech; and it is unfortunate for Brown's fame that
he gave it publicity; for, had the report of the speech been suppressed
and the manuscript destroyed, his biographers could have made much of
the occasion; much more than was made of his mythical effort at
Lawrence, December 8, 1855. The speech was, in truth, a maudlin plea for
compensation for the time which he and his sons had spent in secretly
murdering and plundering Kansas settlers. It also included a weak
attempt to criticise the Free-State leadership; a line of criticism then
becoming popular, and still existing within the zone infected by the
pernicious influence of the Disunionists of that period.

Brown did not dare to even hint at the truth concerning what he had
seen, and what he had personally done in Kansas. Yet he did not hesitate
to seek to impose this measure for compensation upon the Legislature,
and to misinform it in relation to his conduct, and to misdirect its
official actions. Imagine if possible the dismay, horror, and disgust
that would have taken possession of the members of this committee, if a
correct view of Brown's life, in Kansas, had been portrayed to them. The
arrangement of the function was audacious and clever; an illustration of
his daring hypocrisy, reckless insolence, and consistent variance with
right doing. The legislative committee penetrated Brown's armor, as the
Kansas National Committee had done, and refused to recommend that his
bill be passed.

Three months later, Mr. Stearns was led to make an effort to have the
New York Legislature take up a similar measure. Writing on May 18th, to
a New York committee, he made the following remarkable statements:[229]

      Since the close of the last year we have confined our
      operations to aiding those persons in Kansas who were, or
      intended to become, citizens of that Territory,--believing
      that sufficient inducements to immigrate existed in the
      prosperous state of affairs there; and we now believe that
      should quiet and prosperity continue there for another
      year, the large influx of Northern and Eastern men will
      secure the State for Freedom. To insure the present
      prosperity we propose--

      1. To have our legislature make a grant of one hundred
      thousand dollars, to be placed in the hands of discreet
      persons, who shall use it for relief of those in Kansas who
      are, or may become, destitute through Border-Ruffian
      outrage. We think it will be done.

      2. To organize a secret force, well armed, and under
      control of the famous John Brown, to repel Border-Ruffian
      outrage and defend the Free-State men from all alleged
      impositions. This organization is strictly to be a
      defensive one.

      3. To aid by timely donations of money those parties of
      settlers in the Territory who from misfortune are unable to
      provide for their present wants.

      I am personally acquainted with Captain Brown, and have
      great confidence in his courage, prudence, and good
      judgment. He has control of the whole affair, including
      contributions of arms, clothing, etc., to the amount of
      thirteen thousand dollars. His presence in the Territory
      will, we think, give the Free-State men confidence in their
      cause, and also check the disposition of the Border
      Ruffians to impose on them. This I believe to be the most
      important work to be done in Kansas at the present time.
      Many of the Free-State leaders being engaged in
      speculations are willing to accept peace on any terms.
      Brown and his friends hold to the original principle of
      making Kansas free, without regard to private interests. If
      you agree with me, I should like to have your money
      appropriated for the use of Captain John Brown. If not
      that, the other proposition, to aid parties of settlers now
      in the Territory will be the next best.

It appears from the closing sentences of this letter, that Brown had
succeeded in discrediting the men, who were steadfastly working out the
Free-State problem, in order to ingratiate himself with the people whom
he then sought to delude. His turpitude should not provoke surprise. The
crime of ingratitude cannot further degrade the character of this
mendacious mendicant. Having assassinated his unoffending neighbors in
the West, and robbed them, he now assassinated the fame of honorable
men, and robbed them of the measure of confidence and esteem to which
they were justly entitled because of their public services.

Disappointed in his scheme to have money legislated into his pocket,
and in his effort to raise the thirty thousand dollars in large sums, he
proceeded to canvass the East personally, for money, and to draw upon
every possible source of supply--sailing under false colors and doing
business under false pretenses. Referring to this, Mr. Villard

      It must not be forgotten in this connection that very
      little was known in Boston at this time, about the
      Pottawatomie murders, and still less about Brown's
      connection with them. Frank Preston Stearns, the biographer
      of his father, states that the latter never knew of John
      Brown's connection with the crime, and it may be well that
      Theodore Parker and others passed off the scene without a
      full realization of the connection between the Harper's
      Ferry leader and the tragedy of May 24, 1856.

Brown was proficient in the art of dissimulation. Mr. Thoreau was thus
impressed with what, to him, seemed to be the sanctity of a Christian
character. He said:[231]

      He was never able to find more than a score or so of
      recruits whom he would accept, and only about a dozen
      (among them his own sons) in whom he had perfect faith.
      When he was here, he showed me a little manuscript
      book,--his "orderly book" I think he called it,--containing
      the names of his company in Kansas, and the rules by which
      they bound themselves and he stated that several of them
      had already sealed the contract with their blood. When some
      one remarked that with the addition of a chaplain, it would
      have been a perfect Cromwellian troop, he observed that he
      would have been glad to add a chaplain to the list, if he
      could have found one man who could fill the place worthily.
      I believe he had prayers in his camp morning and evening,
      nevertheless. He is a man of Spartan habits, and at sixty
      was scrupulous about his diet at your table, excusing
      himself by saying that he must eat sparingly and fare hard,
      as became a soldier, or one who was fitting himself for
      difficult enterprises, a life of exposure. A man of rare
      common-sense and directness of speech as of action, a
      transcendentalist, above all a man of ideas and
      principles,--that is what distinguishes him. Not yielding
      to a whim or transient impulse, but carrying out the
      purpose of a life. I noticed that he did not overstate
      anything, but spoke within bounds. I remember particularly
      how, in his speech here, he referred to what his family had
      suffered in Kansas, without ever giving the least vent to
      his pent up fire. It was a volcano with an ordinary chimney
      flue. Also referring to the deeds of certain Border
      Ruffians, he said, rapidly paring away his speech, like an
      experienced soldier keeping a reserve of force and meaning:
      "They had a perfect right to be hung." He was not in the
      least a rhetorician, was not talking to buncombe or his
      constituents anywhere. He had no need to invent anything,
      but to tell the simple truth, and communicate his own
      resolution; therefore he appeared incomparably strong, and
      eloquence in Congress and elsewhere seemed to me at a
      discount. It was like the speeches of Cromwell compared
      with those of an ordinary king.

Mr. Emerson recorded his impressions in the following beautiful

      For himself, Brown is so transparent that all men see him
      through. He is a man to make friends wherever on earth
      courage and integrity are esteemed,--the rarest of heroes,
      a pure idealist with no by-ends of his own. Many of us have
      seen him, and everyone who has heard him speak has been
      impressed alike by his simple, artless goodness and sublime
      courage. He joins that perfect Puritan faith which brought
      his ancestors to Plymouth Rock, with his grandfather's
      ardor in the Revolution. He believes in two articles,--two
      instruments shall I say?--The Golden Rule and the
      Declaration of Independence; and he used this expression in
      a conversation here concerning them: "Better a whole
      generation of men, women and children should pass away by a
      violent death, than that one word of either should be
      violated in this country." There is a Unionist, there is a
      strict constructionist for you! He believes in the Union
      of the States, and he conceives that the only obstruction
      to the Union is slavery; and for that reason, as a patriot,
      he works for its abolition.[232]

These exalted characters, incapable of detecting the vile imposition
which he was practicing upon them, gave Brown the full measure of their
confidence; even accepting at its face value the assassin's statement
that he would have been glad to add a chaplain to his band, if he could
have found one who could fill that office worthily. Governor Robinson
had been more conservative in his recommendation. He based his approval
of Brown upon the information he had received. "Your career," he said,
"so far as I have been informed, has been such as to merit the highest

As may be supposed, Brown's most dependable contributor was the
Massachusetts Committee. January 7th it voted him $500 for expenses and
on April 11th it voted him $500 more for the same account. April 15th it
authorized him to "sell to Free-State settlers in Kansas, one hundred of
the rifles it had placed in his care, for not less than fifteen dollars
each, and to apply the proceeds to relieve the suffering inhabitants of
the Territory."[233] Meanwhile he pursued his personal campaign for
money without abatement of energy; visiting the principal towns and
cities in Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.[234]

On March 4th he published, in the New York _Tribune_, the following
general advertisement for remittances of money:[235]


      The undersigned, whose individual means were exceedingly
      limited when he first engaged in the struggle for liberty
      in Kansas, being now still more destitute, and no less
      anxious than in time past to continue his efforts to
      sustain that cause, is induced to make this earnest appeal
      to the friends of freedom throughout the United States, in
      the firm belief that his call will not go unheeded. I ask
      all honest lovers of liberty and human rights, both male
      and female, to hold up my hands by contributions of
      pecuniary aid, either as counties, cities, towns, villages,
      societies, churches, or individuals. I will endeavor to
      make a judicious and faithful application of all such means
      as I may be supplied with. Contributions may be sent in
      drafts to W. H. D. Callender, cashier State Bank, Hartford,
      Conn. It is my intention to visit as many places as I can
      during my stay in the states, provided I am first informed
      of the disposition of the inhabitants to aid me in my
      efforts as well as to receive my visit. Information may be
      communicated to me (care of the Massasoit House)
      Springfield, Mass. Will editors of newspapers friendly to
      the cause kindly second the measure, and also give this
      some half dozen insertions? Will either gentlemen or
      ladies, or both, who love the cause, volunteer to take up
      the business? It is with no little sacrifice of personal
      feeling that I appear in this manner before the public.

At Hartford and Canton, Connecticut, he used a similar appeal:

      I am trying to raise from twenty to twenty-five thousand
      dollars in the free States, to enable me to continue my
      efforts in the cause of freedom. Will the people of
      Connecticut, my native state, afford me some aid in this
      undertaking? Will the gentlemen and ladies of Hartford,
      where I make my first appeal in this State, set the example
      of an earnest effort? Will some gentleman or lady take hold
      and try what can be done by small contributions from
      counties, cities, towns, societies, or churches, or in some
      other way? I think the little beggar-children in the
      streets are sufficiently interested to warrant their
      contributing, if there was any need of it, to secure the

February 19th Mr. Lawrence sent Brown a check for seventy dollars which
had been contributed to the Massachusetts Company by John Conant, of New
Hampshire. About this time Mr. Lawrence published an offer to be "one of
ten, or a smaller number, to pay a thousand dollars per annum till the
admission of Kansas into the Union, for the purpose of supporting John
Brown's family and keeping the proposed company in the field." Since he
did not intend to have any company in Kansas, Brown took up this
proposal promptly and pressed tenaciously to commute it for a thousand
dollars, cash. On March 19th, he wrote Mr. Lawrence from New Haven, as

      The offer you so kindly made through the _Telegraph_ some
      time since, emboldens me to propose the following for your
      consideration: For One Thousand Dollars cash I am offered
      an improved piece of land which with a little improvement I
      now have, might enable my family, consisting of a Wife &
      Five minor children (the youngest not yet Three years old)
      to procure a Subsistence should I never return to them; my
      Wife being a good economist, & a real old fashioned
      business woman. She has gone through the Two past winters
      in our open cold house; unfinished outside; & not
      plastered. I have no other income or means for their
      support. I have never hinted to any one else that I had a
      thought of asking for any help to provide in any such way
      for my family; & SHOULD NOT TO YOU, but for your own
      suggestion. I fully believe I shall get the help I need to
      operate with West. Last Night a private meeting of some
      gentlemen here; voted to raise one Thousand Dollars in New
      Haven for that purpose. If you feel at all inclined to
      encourage me in the measure I have proposed, I shall be
      grateful to get a line from you; Care Massasoit House,
      Springfield, Mass; & will call when I come again to Boston.
      I do not feel disposed to weary you with my oft repeated
      visitations. I believe I am indebted to you as the UNKNOWN
      GIVER of One share of Emigrant aid stock; as I can think of
      no other so likely to have done it. IS MY APPEAL RIGHT?

Mr. Lawrence replied March 20th that he had just sent nearly fourteen
thousand dollars to Kansas to establish a school fund there, and was
short of money, but assured him that if his life were shortened while
engaged in the great cause, "the family of 'Captain John Brown of
Osawatomie' will not be turned out to starve in this country, until
Liberty herself is driven out." Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Stearns afterward
agreed to raise the thousand dollars, but as the payment lagged, Brown
"pressed to close quarters." May 13th he wrote quite peremptorily to Mr.

      I must ask to have the $1000 made up _at once_; & forwarded
      to Gerrit Smith. I did not start the measure of getting up
      any subscription for me; (although I was sufficiently needy
      as God knows); nor had I any thought of _further burdening_
      either of my dear friends _Stearns or Lawrence_....[238]

The amount was made up and paid late in August, Mr. Lawrence paying $310
of it and Mr. Stearns $260.

It will never be known how much money Brown secured during this raid
through the East. Mr. Villard estimates his cash collections at $4,000.
The money value of the clothing and war material given to him was about
$13,000. In addition to this Mr. Stearns gave him a cash credit of
$7,000 against which he could draw from time to time "as it might be
needed to subsist his company after they entered upon active service."
He also had to his credit with the National Kansas Committee the $5,500
it had voted him. His total collections and subscriptions amounted
therefore to about $30,000. A valuable asset in his collection of arms
was two hundred revolvers, which the Massachusetts Arms Company, at
Chicopee Falls, agreed, through Mr. Thayer, to sell to him for $1,300,
fifty per cent of the regular price. Brown notified Mr. Stearns of the
offer, who promptly placed the order, agreeing to pay for the arms by
his personal note, in four months from date of delivery. In his letter,
notifying Brown that he would purchase the revolvers for him, Mr.
Stearns remarked incidentally:

      I think you ought to go to Kansas as soon as possible, and
      give Robinson and the rest some back bone.

Also on May 11th he said:

      I am glad to know that you are on your way to Kansas: the
      free State leaders need somebody to talk to them. I hope
      you will see Conway very soon after your arrival. I did not
      expect you to return, or hold pledged to me, any arms you
      use in Kansas, but only such as were not used.

                              Yours truly,
                              GEORGE L. STEARNS.

Encouraged by the success of his deceptions--"the greedy swallowing
every where of what I have told,"--and flattered by the notoriety he had
gained. Brown began to take his personal criticisms of the Kansas
leaders seriously. During the latter part of March he became so
impressed by his dissatisfaction with their "incompetence," and, what
was worse, with their "unwillingness to fight," that he decided to take
things into his own hands and displace them altogether. He would put
abler men in charge of Territorial affairs. With this purpose in view,
he modestly requested young Mr. Sanborn, and Martin F. Conway, to meet
him in conference at the Metropolitan Hotel, in New York. From there the
trio went to Easton, Pennsylvania, where they formally offered the
leadership of the Free-State cause to ex-Governor Reeder, which the
latter declined, with appropriate thanks. However, the mission was not
wholly without results. Mr. Villard informs us that the ex-Governor was
"so heartily in sympathy with Brown's plan, that the latter wrote to him
for aid, on his return to Springfield, explaining that the only
difference between them was as to the number of men needed, and hoping
that Mr. Reeder would soon discover the necessity of going out to
Kansas this spring."[239]

The coming of spring was a serious matter in Brown's affairs. His
"sagacious" forecast called for a renewal of pro-slavery aggressions in
Kansas, and he was not there to resist them, if they arrived. His
admirers had responded to his appeals for arms and money; and in return,
they expected him to do something creditable; something worthy of his
pretensions. Naturally they wanted their hero to be at the front; they
wanted to see him at the post of honor, and, if need be, at the post of
danger. Spring came, but Brown was not ready to go--"not yet, but soon."
He had not got enough of the kind of money he wanted--"Money without
questions asked." Mr. Villard says: "April was for Brown another month
of active solicitation of funds." He realized that he had to go, and
began making the necessary preparations with reluctance, and in a state
of despondence wholly inconsistent with heroism; but true--strictly
true--of the shamming mendicant. April 16th he wrote to Mr. Eli Thayer:

      I am advised that one of "Uncle Sam's hounds is on my
      track;" and I have kept myself hid for a few days to let my
      track get cold. I have no idea of being taken, and intend
      (if God will) to go back with irons in, rather than upon my
      hands.... I got a fine list in Boston the other day, and
      hope Worcester will not be entirely behind. I do not mean
      you or Mr. Allen & Co.[240]

At this time Brown heard, or pretended that he had heard, a rumor that a
United States marshal had passed through Cleveland on his way East to
arrest him for "high treason." In consequence of this he sought and
obtained a hiding place in the home of Judge and Mrs. Russell, in
Boston, where he remained concealed several days. Here he indulged in
several spectacular effects, for the benefit of the Judge and his
wondering wife. Some of his performances were related by Judge Russell,
as follows:

      He used to take out his two revolvers, and repeater, every
      night before going to bed, to make sure of their loads,
      saying, "Here are eighteen lives." To Mrs. Russell he once
      said, "If you hear a noise at night, put the baby under the
      pillow. I should hate to spoil these carpets, too, but you
      know I cannot be taken alive." Giving an account one day of
      his son Frederick's death, who was shot by Martin White,
      Mrs. Russell broke out, "If I were you, Mr. Brown, I would
      fight those ruffians as long as I lived." "That," he
      replied, "is not a Christian spirit. If I thought I had one
      bit of the spirit of revenge I would never lift my hand; I
      do not make war on slave-holders, even when I fight them,
      but on slavery." He would hold up Mrs. Russell's little
      girl, less than two years old, and tell her, "When I am
      hung for treason, you can say that you used to stand on
      Captain Brown's hand."[241]

Brown had not been charged with treason in Kansas, nor was he even under
suspicion for "constructive" treason. But Kansas treason was then a
fashionable offense in the North, and Brown, of course, worked it with
fine effect upon his listeners. The Rev. Theodore Parker suggested to
Judge Russell a way of escape for Brown. He wrote:

      MY DEAR JUDGE--If John Brown falls into the hands of the
      marshal from Kansas, he is sure either of the gallows or of
      something yet worse. If I were in his position, I should
      shoot dead any man who attempted to arrest me for those
      alleged crimes; then I should be tried by a Massachusetts
      jury and be acquitted.[242]

Brown at one time expressed his contempt for the gullible people upon
whom he imposed. It was when he was in Kansas in 1858, and intended to
write a book. He thought the story of his life, as he would write it,
would be a good "seller." The title was to be "catchy," if there be such
a word. It read:

      A brief history of John Brown, otherwise (Old B.) and his
      family: _as connected with Kansas_; By one who knows.

It was to be "sold for the benefit of the whole of my family or to
promote the cause of Freedom as may hereafter appear." There was a
mutuality of interest or a unity of Brown and the cause of Freedom.
Whatever he did for the cause was done for the benefit of the family. In
writing to his son about this venture he said:

      I am _certain_, from the manner in which I have been
      pressed to narrate, and the greedy swallowing everywhere of
      what I have told, and complaints of the newspapers
      voluntarily made of my backwardness to gratify the public,
      that the book would find a ready sale.[243]

But his sons--John and Jason--disapproved of the venture: they were
reactionaries; they thought it best to leave well enough alone, and
shied at a proposal to skate upon ice so treacherous as they knew this
departure to be. John said:[244] "But many a man has committed his
greatest blunder when trying to write a book."

While at the Russell home Brown evolved a scheme, characteristic of his
craftiness, which he launched in a highly dramatic and effective manner.
The paper was named:


      _To the Plymouth Rocks, Bunker Hill Monuments, Charter
      Oaks, and, Uncle Tom's Cabbins._

Having prepared the paper for the specific purpose of imposing upon Mrs.
Steams, rather than upon Mr. Parker's congregation, he paid that lady
the flattering compliment of desiring to consult her about "a plan he
had," asking her to call on him at the Russell home. Her interesting
statement of what happened is as follows:

      ... As the address states, Brown was keeping very quiet at
      Judge Russell's house in Boston, partly on account of a
      warrant issued in Kansas for his arrest for high treason,
      and partly because he was ill with fever and ague, a
      chronic form which had been induced by his exposures in
      Kansas. It was in April, 1857, and a chilling easterly
      storm had prevailed for many days. Mr. Stearns went
      frequently to visit him, and on Saturday preceding the
      Sunday morning mentioned by Judge Russell, Captain Brown
      expressed a wish that I should go to see him, as he could
      not venture in such weather on a trip to
      Medford--emphasizing the request by saying that he wished
      to consult me about a plan he had, and that I might come
      soon. Mr. Stearns gave me his message at dinner, and I
      drove at once to Judge Russell's house. As soon as my name
      was announced Brown appeared, and thanking me for the
      promptness of my visit, proceeded to say that he had been
      "amusing himself" by preparing a little address for
      Theodore Parker to read to his congregation the next
      (Sunday) morning; and that he would feel obliged to me for
      expressing my honest opinion about the propriety of this.
      He then went upstairs, and returned with a paper, which
      proved, in reading, to be "Old Brown's Farewell." The
      emphasis of his tone and manner I shall never forget, and
      wish I could picture him as he sat and read, lifting his
      eyes to mine now and then to see how it impressed me. When
      he finished, he said: "Well, now, what do you think? Shall
      I send it to Mr. Parker?" "Certainly; by all means send it.
      He will appreciate every word you have written, for it
      rings the metal he likes. But I have my doubts about
      reading it to his congregation. A few of them would
      understand its significance, but the majority, I fear,
      would not. Send it to Mr. Parker, and he will do what is
      best about it." In reply he thanked me, and said I had
      confirmed his own judgment, had cleared his mind, and
      conferred the favor he desired. Then, I told him, he must
      give me a copy to preserve among my relics. He replied: "I
      would give you this, but it is not fit. I had such an ague
      while writing that I could not keep my pen steady; but you
      shall have a fair copy." In a few days he sent the copy I
      now have, by the hand of Mr. Stearns. It will be forwarded
      with other memorials to the Kansas Historical Society.

      This matter being settled, Brown began talking upon the
      subject always uppermost in his thought, and, I may add,
      action also. Those who remember the power of his moral
      magnetism will understand how surely and readily he lifted
      his listener to the level of his own devotion; so that it
      suddenly seemed mean and unworthy--not to say wicked--to be
      living in luxury while such a man was struggling for a few
      thousands to carry out his cherished plan. "Oh," said he,
      "if I could have the money that is _smoked away_ during a
      single day in Boston, I could strike a blow which would
      make slavery totter from its foundation." As he said these
      words, his look and manner left no doubt in my mind that he
      was quite capable of accomplishing his purpose. To-day all
      sane men everywhere acknowledge its truth. Well, I bade him
      adieu and drove home, thinking many thoughts--of the power
      of a mighty purpose lodged in a deeply religious soul; of
      only one man with God on his side. The splendor of spring
      sunshine filled the room when I awoke the next morning;
      numberless birds, rejoicing in the returning warmth filled
      all the air with melody; dandelions sparkled in the vivid
      grass; everything was so beautiful, that the wish rose warm
      in my heart to comfort and aid John Brown. It seemed not
      much to do to sell our estate and give the proceeds to him
      for his sublime purpose. What if another home were not as
      beautiful! When Mr. Stearns awoke, I told him my morning
      thoughts. Reflecting a while, he said: "Perhaps it would
      not be just right to the children to do what you suggest;
      but I will do all I can in justice to them and you." When
      breakfast was over, he drove to the residence of Judge
      Russell and handed Captain Brown his check for seven
      thousand dollars. But this fact was not known at that time
      and only made public after the death of Mr. Stearns.[245]

The historical _Farewell_, referred to, is herein reproduced:

      He has left for Kansas; has been trying since he came out
      of the Territory to secure an outfit, or, in other words,
      the means of arming and thoroughly equipping his regular
      minute-men, who are mixed up with the people of Kansas. And
      he leaves the States with a feeling of deepest sadness,
      that after having exhausted his own small means and with
      his family and his brave men suffered hunger, cold,
      nakedness, and some of them sickness, wounds, imprisonment
      in irons with extreme cruel treatment, and others, death;
      that after lying on the ground for months in the most
      sickly, unwholesome, and uncomfortable places, some of the
      time with sick and wounded, destitute of any shelter,
      hunted like wolves, and sustained in part, by Indians; that
      after all this, in order to sustain a cause which every
      citizen of this "glorious republic" is under equal moral
      obligation to do, and for the neglect of which he will be
      held accountable by God--a cause in which every man, woman,
      and child of the entire human family has a deep and awful
      interest--that when no wages are asked or expected, he
      cannot secure, amid all the wealth, luxury, and
      extravagance of this "heaven-exalted" people, even the
      necessary supplies of the common soldier. "How are the
      mighty fallen?"

      I am destitute of horses, baggage-wagons, tents, harness,
      saddles, bridles, holsters, spurs, and belts; camp
      equipage, such as cooking and eating utensils, blankets,
      knapsacks, intrenching-tools, axes, shovels, spades,
      mattocks, crowbars; have not a supply of ammunition; have
      not money sufficient to pay freight and travelling
      expenses; and left my family poorly supplied with common

In a letter to Brown of April 17th, Mr. Thayer proposed a name for
Brown's prospective company, as follows:

      ... Will you allow me to suggest a name for your company? I
      should call them, "The Neighbors," from Luke tenth chapter:
      "Which thinkest thou was neighbor to him who fell among

What Brown's thoughts were when he read this friendly suggestion can not
well be imagined. The association of the word "neighbors" with the
phrase "falling among thieves" may have caused him to suspect that
Thayer held the secret of his dishonor; and that his guilt, hypocrisy,
and mendacity might be on the verge of exposure. At any rate the effect
of the combination of these words must have sunk deep into his heart.
They could not but call up afresh, and vividly, a mental vision of the
scenes on the Pottawatomie, when he and his band of thieves fell among,
and upon, their neighbors, at midnight, and murdered and robbed them.

Brown's trouble now lay in the fact that he had to leave the East and
there was nothing which he could do in the West. The Free-State cause
under the direction of Robinson, and his co-laborers: Goodin, Roberts,
Holliday, Lane, Crawford, Brown, Deitzler, Parrott, Brooks, Dudley,
Emery, Woodward, Learnard, Phillips, Conway, Wood, and many others, was
progressing in an orderly and satisfactory manner toward a decisive
victory at the polls.

Acknowledging the receipt of Mr. Stearns's suggestions that he should go
to Kansas immediately, Brown wrote him on the 13th: "I leave for the
West to-day." It will be observed that he put off no fire-works, nor
indulged in any exhibition in heroics on the occasion of his going to
his, pretended, field of achievement. To William Barnes, of Albany, he
wrote April 3d:

      I expect soon to return West; & to go back without even
      securing an outfit. I go with a _sad heart_, having failed
      to secure even the means of equipping; to say nothing of
      feeding men. I had when I returned, no more than I could
      peril; and could make no further sacrifice, except to go
      about in the attitude of a beggar: & that I have done,
      humiliating as it is.

Proceeding slowly westward, almost aimlessly, with two wagons driven by
himself and his son Owen, he worked the country he passed through for
all the money and "supplies" he could secure. It was not until August
7th, that he arrived at Tabor, Iowa. "I was obliged," he said,[247] "to
stop at different points on the way, and to go to others off the route
to solicit help."

While thus engaged, he wrote the "Autobiography"; a paper held in
adoration by his biographers. It is in the form of a letter addressed to
Mr. Stearns's twelve year old son, who had obtained "permission from his
father to give all his pocket money to Captain Brown." It contains
nothing that was unusual or extraordinary in the lives of those who
wrestled with the problems and the privations which were incident to
border-life during the period of Brown's youth. The paper was written
for a special purpose and is valuable as an exhibit of his scheming to
finance the operations he then intended to undertake in Virginia.[248]

John Brown was not a weakling, nor was he wasting any of his time
trifling with sentiment when he wrote this letter. In his brain surged
the hopes for success, and the fears of a miscarriage, for lack of
funds, of a secret purpose of transcendant importance. The parents of
young Stearns were the most valuable of his fiscal and moral supporters.
Also he carried in his pocket the father's check for $7,000. Further, he
knew that Mr. Stearns was seeking to have the State of New York
appropriate $100,000 to put in his hands for use in his Kansas
operations. Though still masquerading under cover of the deception which
he practiced upon these people, he had definite plans in view, which
were not a pretense; they were secret; he could not unfold them; but
they were none the less real. He intended to ask Mr. Stearns, and
others, to finance his new project; and to do so without inquiring too
closely into the nature of the details that would be involved in the
execution of it. He wanted to retain the confidence which these friends
reposed in him, and under these circumstances wrote the letter or
autobiography, for the purpose of confirming their faith in his
sincerity; and to encourage a belief in their minds that he was well
equipped by heredity and training, to accomplish what he intended to
undertake, and that he would with certainty succeed.

The problem of accounting for the impending failure of his Kansas
pretentions was also a serious matter. Mr. Stearns confidently expected
that upon his arrival in Kansas, Brown would promptly take up the
subject of public affairs with Governor Robinson _et al._, and tell
them, sharply, what should be done. As he had derived it from Brown,
these leaders needed a leader: one with courage and energy; and without
a suspicion that he had been deceived in the premises, he thought Brown
was equipped for the job, and that he was eager to give the Free-State
leaders an effective stimulant for "backbone."

To keep up the pretense that his destination was Kansas, and that his
going there had some political significance, Brown sought to have some
responsible people meet him at Tabor for consultation about Kansas
matters. He accordingly wrote to Colonel Phillips, June 9th, asking him
to come, designating others whom he desired to meet. Also he wrote to
Mr. Wattles and to Holmes, and probably to Cook. Phillips answered his
letter June 24th, informing him that none of the men whom he hoped would
meet him in the "most quiet way," for a conference about "very important
matters," in relation to which there were to be "no words," was
sufficiently impressed with the importance of his coming to put in an
appearance. He also told him, what he already knew, that there was no
necessity for military operations.

Whether Brown entered Kansas at all, would depend solely upon whether or
not conditions there were favorable for another "sudden coup to restore
his fortunes." Upon this subject he was in correspondence with "Captain"
James H. Holmes of Osawatomie fame. It will be remembered that Holmes
had been "promptly and properly indicted and long pursued by the Kansas
and Missouri authorities for "carrying the war into Africa"--stealing
horses and other property." Holmes must have been a very daring and
efficient thief, for Brown greatly admired him and "used to call him 'my
little hornet.'"[249] One of the Little Hornet's men had been stung. To
this Holmes referred in a letter which he wrote to Brown April 30th. He

      You will hear of me either at Lawrence, through J. E. Cook,
      of the firm of Bacon, Cook, & Co., or I may be at Emporia,
      where I have taken a claim and make it my home. At any
      rate. Cook can tell you where I may be. A case has recently
      occurred of kidnapping a Free-State man, which is this:
      Archibald Kendall was some two weeks since, enticed out,
      under pretense of trading horses, by four men, and abducted
      into Missouri. Archy was in my company and is a good brave

In answer to a letter from Brown, Holmes replied August 16th:

      ... I do not know what you would have me infer by business;
      I presume though, by the word being emphasized, that you
      refer to the business for which I learn that you have a
      stock of material with you. If you mean this, I think quite
      strongly of a good opening for this business about the
      first Monday of Oct. next. If you wish other employments, I
      presume you will find just as profitable ones.[251]

The "Little Hornet" did not recommend, as profitable, the business that
might be had on election-day--October 5th; that opportunity foreshadowed
the possibility of real resistance against pro-slavery aggressions; but
other profitable employments could be had, by the act of undertaking
them, at any time. These thieves understood each other. The "profitable
employments" meant stealing horses.

With his arrival at Tabor, August 7th, Brown reached the limit of his
possibilities. The next day he thus reported his arrival to Mr.

      In consequence of ill-health and other hindrances too
      numerous and unpleasant to write about, the least of which
      has _not been_ the lack of sufficient means for freight
      bills and other expenses, I have never as yet returned to
      Kansas. This has been unavoidable, unless I returned
      without securing the principal object for which I came back
      from the Territory; and I am now waiting for teams and
      means to come from there to enable me to go on. I obtained
      two teams and wagons, as I talked of, at a cost of seven
      hundred and eighty-six dollars, but was obliged to hire a
      teamster,[253] and to drive one team myself. This
      unexpected increase of labor, together with being much of
      the time quite unwell and depressed with disappointments
      and delays, has prevented my writing sooner. Indeed, I had
      pretty much determined not to write till I should do it
      from Kansas. I will tell you some of my disappointments. I
      was flattered with the expectation of getting one thousand
      dollars from Hartford City and also one thousand dollars
      from New Haven. From Hartford I did get about two hundred
      and sixty dollars, and a little over in some repair of
      arms. From New Haven I got twenty-five dollars; at any
      rate, that is all I can get any advice of. Gerrit Smith
      supplied me with three hundred and fifty dollars, or I
      could not have reached this place. He also loaned me one
      hundred and ten dollars to pay to the Thompsons who were
      disappointed of getting their money for the farm I had
      agreed for and got possession of for use. I have been
      continually hearing from them that I _have not fulfilled_,
      and I told them I should not leave the country till the
      thing was completed. This has exceedingly mortified me. I
      could tell you much more had I room and time. _Have not
      given up._ Will write more when I get to Kansas.

                              Your friend,
                              JOHN BROWN.

He now had at Tabor and at Nebraska City, five wagon loads of stuff[254]
which was wholly useless for any purpose relating to Kansas. He had been
posing, for nearly a year, as a hero charged with the responsibility of
saving Kansas to freedom, and had finally come to the end of his rope.
To Mr. Sanborn he wrote, August 13th:[255]

      I am now, at last, within a kind of hailing distance of our
      Free-State friends in Kansas.... I am now waiting to know
      what is best to do next.

Four days later he wrote to his wife these significant words:

      Should no disturbance occur, we may possibly think best to
      work back eastward.[256]

To Mr. Adair he wrote:

      I have been trying all season to get to Kansas; but have
      failed as yet, through ill health, want of means to pay
      Freights, travelling expenses, etc. _How to act now_; I do
      not know.[257]

There was nothing more that Brown could do. The failure of his
pretensions was almost complete. Only his vocabulary had survived the
general wreck. It was still intact and in working order. Drawing upon
that inexhaustible resource of the charlatan, he wrote to Mr. Sanborn,
October 1st:

      I am now so far recovered from my hurt, as to be able to do
      a little; and foggy as it is, "we do not give up the ship."
      I will not say that Kansas, watered by the tears and blood
      of my children, shall yet be free or I fall.[258]

A comparison of Brown's correspondence at this time, with what his
eulogists have put forth concerning it, discloses a wide divergence
between the facts therein stated, and the biographical fiction relating
thereto. Referring to Brown's irrelevant reference to the tears and
blood of his children, Mr. Villard says:

      Brave as this sentiment is, it only increases the mystery
      of Brown's delaying at Tabor.... Obviously, Brown, grim,
      self-willed, resolute chieftain that he generally was,
      appeared baffled here and lacking wholly in a determination
      to reach the scene of action at any cost.... It will be
      seen that, when he finally reached Kansas, he stayed but a
      few days, was practically in hiding,...[259]

Only editorial fiction mystifies the cause of his delay at Tabor. The
"grim, self-willed, resolute chieftain" had a clear and unalterable
purpose in view, when he was delaying there. It was to attempt the
conquest of the Southern States. If he entered Kansas, it would be
merely an incident in the promotion of that scheme. His attitude was
pivotal but not enigmatic; if a "disturbance" occurred in Kansas, he
intended to proceed thither, and under cover of it, execute such
purposes as he had in view; otherwise, he would "work back eastward."

One, at least, of his Eastern admirers, Mr. Thomas Wentworth Higginson,
became impatient because of this delaying. After nursing his
disappointment a few months, he protested Brown's procrastination, which
evoked the following instructive reply from Mr. Sanborn:[260]

      ... You do not understand Brown's circumstances.... He is
      as ready for a revolution as any other man, and is now on
      the borders of Kansas, safe from arrest, but prepared for
      action, but he needs money for his present expenses and
      _active_ support. I believe he is the best Disunion
      champion you can find, and with his hundred men, when he is
      put where he can raise them, and drill them (for he has an
      expert drill officer with him) he will do more to split the
      Union than a list of 50,000 names, for your convention,
      good as that is.

      What I am trying to hint at is that the friends of Kansas
      are looking with strange apathy at a movement which has all
      the elements of fitness and success--a good plan, a tried
      leader, and a radical purpose. If you can do anything for
      it _now_, in God's name do it--and the ill result of the
      new policy in Kansas may be prevented.

On August 13th, the "Cromwellian Trooper" wrote Mr. Sanborn a long
letter,[261] which he intended "as a kind of report of my progress and
success, as much for your committee or my friend Stearns as yourself."
The letter has no public significance. It is a prolonged whine because
he had not received all the _money_ that had been promised him; also it
incidentally but artistically put Mr. Stearns and Mr. Lawrence in a
position that practically compelled them to make good the thousand
dollars which he had theretofore pressed Mr. Lawrence for.[262] He said:

      ... It was the poor condition of my noble-hearted wife and
      her young children that made me follow up that
      encouragement with a tenacity that disgusted him and
      completely exhausted his patience. But after such repeated
      assurances from friends I so much respected that I could
      not suspect they would trifle with my feelings, I made a
      positive bargain for the farm; and when I found nothing for
      me at Peterboro', I borrowed one hundred and ten dollars of
      Mr. Smith for the men who occupied the farm, telling him
      it would certainly be refunded, and the others that they
      would get all their money very soon, and even before I left
      the country. This has brought me only extreme mortification
      and depression of feeling; for all my letters from home, up
      to the last, say not a dime has been paid in to Mr. Smith.
      Friends who never knew the lack of a sumptuous dinner
      little comprehend the value of such trifling matters to
      persons circumstanced as I am. But, my noble-hearted
      friend, I am "though faint, yet pursuing."...

Brown's hope for a "disturbance" in Kansas was nourished by the reports
that he received from General Lane, which, doubtless, encouraged him to
prolong his stay at Tabor. Concerning this, Mr. Villard says:[263]

      Only the erratic Lane, who was then the sole person trying
      to stir up strife in Kansas, and is accused by respectable
      witnesses, of planning schemes of wholesale massacre of
      pro-slavery men through a secret order; was on fire for
      Brown's presence in the Territory, but it was the Tabor
      arms, rather than their owner, he really desired.

Lane wrote Brown, confidentially, September 7th, as follows:[264]



      We are earnestly engaged in perfecting an organization for
      the protection of the ballot-box at the October election
      (first Monday). Whitman and Abbott have been East after
      money & arms, for a month past, they write encouragingly, &
      will be back in a few days. We want you with _all_ the
      _materials_ you have. I see no objections to your coming
      into Kansas publicly. I can furnish you just such a force
      as you may deem necessary for your protection here & after
      you arrive. I went up to see you but failed.

      Now what is wanted is this--write me concisely what
      transportation you require, how much money & the number of
      men to escort you into the Territory safely & if you desire
      it, I will come up with them.

To this letter Brown replied September 16th:

      I suppose that three good teams with _well covered_ wagons,
      and ten _really ingenious_, industrious (not gassy) men,
      with about one hundred and fifty dollars in cash, could
      bring it about in the course of eight or ten days.

Lane, hoping to make his proposition more attractive, appointed Brown
Brigadier-General, Second Brigade, First Division. But not until the
29th, did he send his Quartermaster-General, Mr. Jamison, to Brown, for
the arms. In a letter addressed to "General John Brown" Lane said that
it was "_all important_ to Kansas, that your things should be in at the
earliest possible moment, and that you should be much nearer than you
are." He also enclosed fifty dollars, "all the money I have," but said
that Jamison "had some more." Naturally Lane's proposal failed to
interest Brown. He replied that he could not go to Lawrence on such
short notice and returned the fifty dollars.[265] The election, however,
passed off quietly and resulted in a complete victory for the Free-State
men. They elected their delegate to Congress, and thirty-three of the
fifty-two members of the Legislature.

Another of Lane's schemes served to keep Brown at Tabor a month longer:
a project for "the wholesale assassination of pro-slavery men through a
secret order" called Danites. This time Mr. Whitman ably seconded Lane's
efforts to interest Brown. He borrowed one hundred and fifty dollars
which he enclosed with a letter to him and sent it by Mr. Charles P.
Tidd, saying: "General Lane will send teams from Falls City so that you
may get your goods all in. Leave none behind. Come direct to this place,
and see me before you make any disposition of your plunder.... Make the
money I send answer to get here, and I hope by that time to have more
for you. Mr. Tidd will explain all."[266] That this messenger gave
Brown inside information concerning the prospective assassinations,
there can be little doubt.

October 25th, Mr. Whitman reported to Mr. Stearns[267] that Brown would
be at Lawrence November 3d, "at a very important council: Free-State
Central Com., Executive Com., Vigilance Committee of 52, Generals and
Capts. of the entire organization." Such a "disturbance" as this
promised to be, could not otherwise than interest Brown. Regarding the
money he received from Whitman as money due him from the National Kansas
Committee, he kept it; and disregarding the instructions concerning the
arms, he proceeded personally to Kansas, arriving at Mr. Whitman's home
about November 5th: too late, it will be observed, for him to
participate in the important council meeting of the 3d; but not too late
to take advantage of any public disturbance that might arise as a result
of the proceedings of the council. By messenger Tidd, Brown received one
hundred dollars from Mr. Adair, and upon his arrival at Lawrence, he
received from Mr. Whitman five hundred dollars for account of the
Massachusetts Kansas Committee.

All the prospects for "trouble" in Kansas having vanished, Brown
promptly decided to "move eastward." Mr. Villard states that he
"remained two days with Mr. Whitman, obtaining tents and bedding." From
Topeka, when _en route_ to the East, on the 16th, he wrote to Mr.
Stearns that he had "been in Kansas for more than a week;" that he had
"found matters quite unsettled;" but was "decidedly of the opinion that
there will be no use for arms or ammunition before another Spring;" that
he had them all safe and meant "_to keep them so_." Also that he meant
"to be busily; but very quietly engaged in perfecting his arrangements
during the Winter." He further said: "Before getting your letter saying
to me not to draw on you for the $7,000 (by Mr. Whitman) I had fully
determined not to do so unless driven to the last extremity." In a
postscript he said: "If I do not use the arms and ammunition in _actual
service_; I intend to restore them unharmed; but you must not flatter
yourself on that score _too soon_."

It will be observed that Brown did not call upon Governor Robinson, or
make any recommendations concerning Territorial affairs. To Mr. Adair he
wrote on the 17th: "I have been for some days in the territory but
keeping very quiet and looking about to see how the land lies ... I do
not wish to have any noise about me at present; as I do not mean to
'trouble Israel.' I may find it best to go back to Iowa."[268]

The "failure" of Brown's plans to "trouble Israel," or the failure of
his hope for another opportunity to plunder Kansas settlers on a large
scale, lay in the simple fact that at the time he arrived at Tabor,
August 7, 1857, the Free-State leaders had worked out the Free-State
problem, and were then in position to make official declaration of the
fact at the polls; and to take over, into their own hands, by right of
the law of Squatter Sovereignty, the control of the Territorial
government. They had almost accomplished their mighty undertaking. Also,
they had established conditions of order, and security from violence,
that afforded neither encouragement nor opportunity for organized bands
of thieves, of the Brown type, to prey upon the settlements. The
activities of the marauder and his "Little Hornet" were barred.



_He was the mildest manner'd man that ever scuttled ship
or cut a throat._

                          --DON JUAN

At Collinsville, Connecticut, about March 1, 1857, John Brown gave out
the first evidence that he contemplated inciting an insurrection in the
Southern States. He was there making his usual appeal for money. To a
group of citizens, among whom was a Mr. Charles Blair, he told the story
of Black Jack; and, as was his custom in such recitals, he drew from his
boot a trophy of the fight--a two-edged dirk-knife with a blade about
eight inches long--which he had taken from Captain Pate; and said, that
if he "had a lot of those things to attach to poles about six feet long,
they would be a capital weapon of defense for the settlers of Kansas to
keep in their log cabins to defend themselves against any sudden attack
that might be made upon them." And then turning to Blair, whom he knew
to be an edge-tool maker, asked him what it would "cost to make five
hundred or a thousand of those things" as he described them. To this
Blair replied that he would make "five hundred for a dollar and a
quarter apiece; or if he wanted a thousand, they might be made for a
dollar apiece." To this Brown replied that he would want them made.
March 30th, a contract for the thousand spears was signed. Brown
agreeing to pay five hundred dollars within ten days. At the time agreed
upon he paid three hundred dollars; but April 25th, he remitted two
hundred and fifty dollars more. This amount Blair expended in purchasing
material, and in making a part of the order; after which he suspended
work on it until such time as Brown would advance additional funds.
There was some correspondence between the parties in February and March,
1858, but nothing further was done in the matter until June 3, 1859,
when Brown again called upon Blair and made satisfactory arrangements
for payment of the remaining four hundred and fifty dollars; whereupon
Blair renewed work upon the order, and, on September 17th, delivered the
spears complete, at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.[269]

In New York City, Brown made the acquaintance of an Englishman who
entered into his life more largely, and gave greater direction to his
actions, than his biographers have acknowledged. This man was "Colonel"
Hugh Forbes. Brown called upon him, it is said, with a letter of
introduction from the Rev. Joshua Leavitt. The date of their meeting is
not given; but, since Brown is not reported as being in that city during
1857, after his visit there, January 23d-26th,[270] it may be assumed
that they met upon that occasion, and together planned to precipitate a
revolution in the South, through an insurrection of the slave
population. Forbes was a practical as well as a professional
revolutionist. He had served with Garibaldi. Mr. Villard refers to him
as "a suave adventurer of considerable ability." To Mr. Horace Greeley
he was "fanatical and mercenary and wholly wanting in common sense."
Gerrit Smith described him as a "handsome, soldierly-looking man,
skillful in the sword-exercise, and with some military experience picked
up under Garibaldi." Before entering the latter's service he had been a
"silk merchant at Sienna." In Mr. Sanborn's opinion he was a "brave,
vainglorious, undisciplined person, with little discretion, and quite
wanting in qualities that would fit him to be a leader of American
soldiers. Yet he was ambitious, eager to head a crusade against
slavery." In New York he taught fencing, and did some work on the
_Tribune_ as reporter and translator.

It was not unnatural that these two adventurers should meet and unite
their fortunes in a revolutionary venture. Also, there was some
similarity in their lives. Both were "typical of the human flotsam and
jetsam washed up by every revolutionary movement." Forbes had been
washed up by Garibaldi's "revolution" in Italy, and Brown had been
washed up by Robinson's revolution in Kansas. Forbes was looking for an
adventure, and Brown had a make-believe one on hand, which, if prudently
handled, might be made to serve the purposes of their mutual ambitions.
The suave adventurer was the stronger character. He impressed Brown with
his knowledge of military science, and with the value his services would
be in their undertaking, and so fascinated the "grim, self-willed,
resolute chieftain" that he engaged his services at one hundred dollars
per month, and paid him six months' salary in advance. Mr. Villard

      John Brown, the reticent and self-contained, unbosomed
      himself to this man as he had not to his Massachusetts
      friends who advanced the money upon which he lived and

In relation to this Mr. Sanborn says:[272]

      It was about this time that Brown made the unlucky
      acquaintance of Hugh Forbes, was pleased with him, and
      engaged him to drill his soldiers at a salary of one
      hundred dollars a month, even going so far as to pay him
      six hundred dollars in advance.

Both of these major transactions--the placing of the order for the
spears, and the employment of Forbes, as stated--are so discreditable to
ordinary intelligence, that they impeach Brown's sanity, except upon the
sole hypothesis, that these two men had, at that time, so matured their
plans for attempting a revolution, through an insurrection of the
slaves, that Brown felt justified in placing the order for the spears,
and in engaging the services of a man capable of directing large
military operations. It is impossible to believe that Brown contemplated
giving up a thousand dollars for a purpose so tame and absurd as the
distribution of a thousand spears among the Free-State settlers of
Kansas. They were already well armed with modern weapons--fire-arms--and
knew how to use them; while the proposal to employ a "drill-master" at
such a salary, in view of the state of his treasury, to drill such a lot
of nightriders as he could use in Kansas, is quite as preposterous. If
Brown needed the services of a drill-master, he knew where one could be
had for less money. There were plenty of men available who had served in
the volunteer army in Mexico, or had been discharged, or had deserted
from the regular army--men of the Aaron D. Stevens class--who were
competent to command as well as to drill. He also knew that many such
men were ready and anxious to engage in adventures in the Kansas field,
who would serve without compensation, other than a share of the
prospective plunder.

From the time of his alliance with Forbes, Brown pressed forward
steadily, with a single definite ultimate purpose. The conquest of the
Southern States was on; and the Osawatomie Guerrilla had become the
Soldier of Fortune.

Brown and Forbes moved upon the theory that the slaves were the rightful
owners of their masters' property. They believed that every slave
regarded his master as an enemy, who denied him a right to his family,
and appropriated to himself the fruits of his labor; that freedom was
the hope and the dream of every slave; that each lived in a state of
expectancy, awaiting the coming of a "Liberator" who would lead them in
a crusade for liberty. Also, they believed that every slave would fight
for his freedom. Self-constituting themselves "Liberators," they
regarded each slave as already enrolled in their service. The problems
before them were how to arouse these units of energy; how to incite the
slaves to simultaneous activity, and how to organize and direct them as
an operating force. The man who had killed his friendly neighbors with
nonchalance, and had taken their horses, could not understand why
another man, a slave, should hesitate to kill an enemy, such as has been
described, and take his horses and lands, and be further rewarded by the
benefaction of liberty.

As results of their plotting, and planning, and scheming, they seem to
have figured out to their entire satisfaction, how they could destroy
the slave-holding population of the Southern States and confiscate their
property; and then, with the aid of their negro allies, thus liberated
from slavery, and with the assistance of the non-slave-holding whites in
the South and the ambitious and daring in the North, who would be lured
to join them, they could create an army; invade the South; take
possession of the several State governments, and reorganize them under
the jurisdiction of a Provisional Government.

Brown was a disunionist,[273] and believed his revolution would result
in a dissolution of the Union. His friends--Redpath, Sanborn, Higginson,
Smith _et al._, were disunionists, and he lived in an atmosphere
saturated with the toxin of disunion sentiment. Also, he was an
optimist, and believed that while he ravaged the South with his bloody
scourge, the disunion propaganda in the North would assert itself to his
advantage, and create such a diversion in his favor, as would leave him
and Forbes free to deal with the South and its problems in their own
way. Only under such conditions could he hope to seize the property of
slave-holders, "personal and real, wherever and whenever it may be found
in either Free or Slave States." From their point of view, or as they
hoped to make it appear, their revolution was to be an affair between
the citizens of a block of sovereign States, in the result of which the
Federal Government would not be especially concerned. They would act
within the limits of the States involved for revolutionary purposes,
and not in unnecessarily aggressive hostility toward the United States.
At the same time, these adventurers well understood that no matter how
successful they might be in starting their revolution, there would
probably come a time when the Federal army would have to be reckoned
with; that the General Government would attempt to intervene in behalf
of local order, at least, and might seriously embarrass their operations
or wholly defeat them. This visible menace they not only planned to
overcome, or eliminate from the problem, but actually to turn it into a
valuable asset, by transposing it bodily to their side of the military
equation. They planned, in apparent sincerity of purpose, to accomplish
what appears to be the most colossal of all imaginable absurdities: to
have the men of the United States army abandon their colors and accept
service in their army; or, as Brown expressed it, to make an "actual
exchange of service from that of Satan to the service of God."

To poison the minds of the soldiery of the Union and to ripen them for
revolt against their colors, they planned to begin a campaign of
education; to publish and distribute in the army, a series of tracts,
for the instruction of the officers and enlisted men in public morals
and in patriotism. In the division of their labors, to Forbes was
assigned the Department of Literature. In pursuance of his duties, he
proceeded to prepare a "Manual of the Patriotic Volunteer," and a tract,
which was the first of what was to be a series of tracts, entitled "The
Duty of the Soldier."[274] The tract was headed in small type:
"Presented with respectful and kind feelings, to the Officers and
Soldiers of the United States Army in Kansas." Mr. Villard says[275] the
object of the tract was to win them from their allegiance to their
colors. That it does this indirectly by asking whether the "Soldiers of
the Republic" should be "vile living machines and thus sustain Wrong
against Right." That it contained "three printed pages of rambling and
discursive discussion of the soldiery of the ancient Republics and of
the princes of Antiquity, and a consideration of Authority, legitimate
and illegitimate--as ill-fitted as possible an appeal to the regular
soldier of 1857." Appended to the copy in his possession is a closing
remark in Brown's handwriting as follows:

      It is as much the duty of the common soldier of the U. S.
      Army according to his ability and opportunity, to be
      informed _upon all subjects_ in any way affecting the
      political or general welfare of his country; and to watch
      with jealous vigilance, the course and management of all
      public functionaries both civil and military: and to govern
      his actions as a citizen Soldier accordingly: as though he
      were President of the United States.

                              Respectfully yours,
                              A SOLDIER.

To one person at least, this literary performance was a serious matter.
In the promotion of it, John Brown was deeply, deadly in earnest. The
statement that "Forbes and not Brown, was the author of the tract"[276]
is not correct, and to characterize the paper as Forbes's attempt to
seduce the soldiery of the Union,[277] is equally misleading. The scheme
originated with Brown; he furnished the subject. To Forbes he assigned
the duty of preparing the text for publication. Writing to Rev. Theodore
Parker, from Boston, March 7, 1858, he said:

      ... I want you to undertake to provide a substitute for an
      address you saw last season, directed to the officers and
      soldiers of the United States Army. The ideas contained in
      that address I, of course, like for I furnished the
      skeleton. I never had the ability to clothe those ideas in
      language at all, to satisfy myself.... In the first place
      it must be short or it will not be generally read. It must
      be in the simplest or plainest language, without the least
      affectation of the scholar about it, and yet be worded
      with great clearness and power.... The address should be
      appropriate, and particularly adapted to the peculiar
      circumstances we anticipate, and should look to the actual
      change of service from that of Satan to the service of God.
      It should be in short, a most earnest and powerful appeal
      to men's sense of right and to their feelings of humanity.
      Soldiers are men, and no man can certainly calculate the
      value and importance of getting a single "nail into old
      Captain Kidd's chest." It should be provided beforehand,
      and be ready in advance to distribute by all persons, male
      and female, who may be disposed to favor the right.... Now,
      my dear sir, I have told you about as well as I know how,
      what I am anxious at once to secure. Will you write the
      tracts, or get them written, so that I may commence

There can be no doubt that Brown placed a high estimate upon the value
of this tract, but we know from the postscript thereto, that, although
the tract was dedicated to the "Officers and Soldiers" of the army, it
was the "common soldier" that he hoped to arouse and incite. His effort
to convert the army to his service, by means of a tract, may be called
madness, but it may also be said there was "method" in the madness. If
he had been criticised in relation to this matter, he would probably
have said in reply what he said to Mr. Sanborn, defending his action in
ordering the thousand spears: "Wise men may ridicule the idea; but I
take the whole responsibility of that job;" which was equivalent to
saying: "You do not comprehend the scope of my scheme, or the use which
I intend to make of these spears. When they have accomplished their
silent but deadly work, the wisdom of my conduct concerning them will
appear." The trouble in this case was how to obtain an opportunity to
inject the virus of revolt into the ranks of the army--how to start the
contagion--how to get his proposition before the troops, and to explain
what he intended to do; and what he would have at his disposal to offer
in the way of rewards for services in his army, without putting himself
and his plans in peril. How he intended to use the tract can only be
surmised. But the fact remains that he had to begin this all important
move somehow or somewhere, and the tract was, probably, evolved from his
inner consciousness to meet that necessity. It may therefore be assumed
that, under cover of discussing the generalities contained in the tract,
Brown hoped to make acquaintances among the enlisted men of the army in
whom he could confide, and who would serve his purpose by fomenting the

In projecting his campaign, Brown was a law unto himself, untrammelled
by the accepted usages of war. The excess of his ardor and enthusiasm
led him to believe that he could corrupt the rank and file of the army.
In his philosophy, the daring, dangerous, adventurous men who largely
composed the enlisted men of the army at that time, having no hope of
promotion in the service, would become eager listeners to his proposal.
Before them, he would throw open the storehouses of his prospective
empire, that they might behold the volume of his treasures, and select
that which they desired. His army was to be created; he had the men in
view--the slaves whom he would set free--but not the officers to command
them. If the enlisted men would desert from their service singly or _en
masse_, and thus temporarily paralyze the United States forces, and join
him, they could immediately become commissioned officers in his army and
share with him the honors, the booty, and the beauty of the rich country
he intended to ravage. By means of these "mighty and soul satisfying
rewards" he hoped to "seduce the soldiery of the Union." The campaign of
education was a stratagem.

It is not apparent that Forbes, at any time, showed a desire to quit
Brown's service, or any disinclination to follow him westward. It is
true that he was in arrears at one time with his literary work, but
that was due to an incidental diversion of his activities in other
directions--soliciting contributions and collecting money from various
benevolent persons, including Mr. Greeley and Mr. Gerrit Smith. Forbes
also had been making necessary arrangements for the comfort of his
family--a wife and a daughter. The former being in Paris, and the latter
in New York, he wisely decided, in view of the character of the pending
military operations, to have the latter return to the care of her
mother. Brown, who was paying the price, required results rather than
explanations. It appears that Forbes had not prepared the "Manual"
within the time in which he had led his impetuous chief to believe it
would be forthcoming; and this had aroused an unwarranted suspicion in
his mind that his subordinate was lagging. It is also true that Forbes
had been indiscreet from a "military" point of view. He had talked, as
one having authority, or knowingly, about the situation in Kansas, and
had committed the very serious mistake of expressing a doubt that their
services would be needed there before winter, which would have a
tendency to discourage contributions to the "cause of freedom." In
addition to all this, Brown became suspicious that the "Colonel" was
ambitious, and aspired to supersede him in command; or, it may be that
he became jealous because of his subordinate's brilliant
accomplishments--his "military bearing" and qualifications. Mr. Sanborn
confirmed Brown's distrust of him. He says that "Forbes was ambitious
and apparently desirous of taking Brown's place in command." It may,
however, be nearer the truth to assume that the depleted condition of
the exchequer had much to do with Brown's "dissatisfaction" with Forbes.

There is no apparent reason why Forbes should have preceded Brown into
Kansas, and the fact that he arrived at Tabor August 9th, two days after
the arrival of his chief, is proof of commendable alacrity on his part
to take up and continue his duties. Besides, Forbes brought with him
copies of the "Manual," and copies of Brown's specialty: "The Duty of
the Soldier." With these evidences of his ability, fidelity, and
loyalty, the shadows of distrust were all dispelled, and Forbes's
restoration to Brown's confidence and favor resulted immediately. The
next day Brown was in a hopeful mood, and wrote very encouragingly to
Mr. Stearns, sending him copies of the tracts and, incidentally,
impressing upon his attention the important fact that he was "in
immediate want of Five Hundred to One Thousand Dollars for secret
service and no questions asked."

There can be no doubt that in their poverty, but dreaming of the
splendors of war, of marching armies, and the possibilities of empire,
these two bankrupt but hopeful speculators in destiny gazed wistfully
upon the order for the seven thousand dollars that Stearns had given to
Brown after his "Farewell to the Plymouth Rocks" effort. The question
was, how to get some of it. Unfortunately for their purpose, Mars was
not doing a thing for them; they were unable to detect even so much as a
_trace_ of a war-cloud upon the Kansas sky; and the $7,000 could only be
used for the subsistence of the make-believe troopers when in "active
service." Under these circumstances they did the best they could; they
made as much as possible out of nothing. They wrote Mr. Stearns what he
already knew; that there was no fighting in Kansas "just then"; and,
that while "Rather interesting times were expected, no great excitement
is reported." But "Our next advices may entirely change the aspect of
things." From this, Mr. Stearns was to be led to infer that imminent
danger to the Free-State cause was lurking somewhere, and that the
sagacious leader was already upon the trail of it. Also, the hope that
Brown earnestly expressed that the "Friends of Freedom" would respond to
his call and "prove me now herewith," was intended to move Mr. Stearns
to authorize Brown to draw upon him for a part of the seven thousand
dollars for their immediate necessities. But, although the request was
wisely framed and neatly but urgently pressed, it failed to raise any
money. To Theodore Parker Brown wrote September 11th:[279]

      MY DEAR SIR: Please find on other side, first number of a
      series of tracts lately gotten up here. I need not say I
      did not prepare it; but I would be glad to know what you
      think of it, and much obliged for any suggestions you see
      proper to make. My particular object in writing is to say,
      that I am in immediate want of some five hundred or one
      thousand dollars for secret service, and no questions
      asked. I want the friends of freedom to "prove me now
      herewith."... Have no news to send by _letter_.

Stranded at Tabor, without means to go anywhere, or with which to do
anything, the two leaders of the revolution had abundant leisure to
compare their respective plans of operation, and their views upon
methods of procedure, as well as to formulate and agree upon final plans
for the invasion and conquest. Forbes, later, disclaimed any intention
to participate in "Brown's" purpose to overthrow the State Governments,
and establish a provisional government; but that disclaimer came as an
incident in his effort to supersede Brown, after his name had been
dropped from the muster and pay-roll. November 1st, the financial
embargo was raised by the receipt of two hundred and fifty dollars: one
hundred and fifty from Lane, and one hundred from Mr. Adair. It was not
a large sum of money, when compared with the expenses usually incurred
in "mobilizing" even a small army, or, as compared with the magnitude of
the operations they intended to inaugurate; but it was large enough to
enable the filibusters to start doing something.

In their dreams of the Provisional Government and in their planning for
the Provisional army, they decided to open a school for instruction in
the science of war and in the science of civil government, at some point
convenient to the scene of the prospective conflict; whereat the persons
whom Brown had in view for his subordinate commanders--general
officers, division and military district commanders--could be swiftly
educated and fitted for their respective duties and responsibilities.
Forbes, whose position was that of a chief of staff, was to have charge
of the school. November 2d, he took passage from Nebraska City for the
East to find a suitable location, in Ashtabula County, Ohio, for the War
College which was to be improvised; and Brown, as we have seen,
proceeded to Kansas to further finance their venture if local
conditions--"disturbances"--became favorable for fiscal operations; and
to matriculate the tyros.

He had been in correspondence with Holmes--the "Little Hornet"--and
other adventurers whom he thought would engage in his enterprises. Cook
agreed to join him and recommended others--Richard Realf, Luke F.
Parsons, and Richard J. Hinton.[280] On Sunday, November 8th, Brown met
Cook and Parsons, near Lawrence, and came to an understanding with them
for organizing a party to steal some horses; or, as Mr. Villard puts it:
"To organize a company for the purpose of putting a stop to the
aggressions of the pro-slavery forces." A few days later he notified the
members of the party to meet at the appointed rendezvous. Cook met him
on the 16th, at Mrs. Sheridan's, near Topeka. The next day Aaron D.
Stevens, Charles W. Moffet, and John H. Kagi joined them, and the party
set out on the contemplated expedition.

In their camp north of Topeka that evening. Brown took the men into his
confidence, and disclosed to them his intention to attempt the conquest
of the Southern States.[281] "Here," says Cook in his confession, "for
the first time I learned that we were to leave Kansas to attend a
military school during the winter." It is for the reader to decide for
himself whether or not the party stole any horses that night, or what
other steps they took, if any, to put "a stop to the aggressions of the
pro-slavery forces." Their destination was Tabor, Iowa; they were horse
thieves, and were in a secret camp, north of Topeka. Continuing his
narrative Cook says: "Next morning I was sent back to Lawrence to get a
draft of $80 cashed, and to get Parsons, Realf and Hinton, to go back
with me." He relates how he with Realf and Parsons, made the trip to
Tabor; but the route traveled by Brown, Stevens, Moffet, and Kagi, and
the incidents of their journey, if any, are not given.

December 2d, there were assembled at Tabor, John Brown, Owen Brown, A.
D. Stevens, Charles W. Moffett, C. P. Tidd, John H. Kagi, Richard Realf,
Luke F. Parsons, John E. Cook, and W. M. Leeman; also Richard
Richardson, a runaway slave whom Brown had picked up at Tabor. "Here,"
Cook says, "we found that Captain Brown's ultimate destination was the
State of Virginia"; and these were the men he had selected for his
commanders in the Army of the Invasion. They were not a coterie of
humanitarians or sentimentalists whom he had picked up, mooning about in
Kansas; but a lot of care-free, reckless, ambitious young men who had
parted their moorings to an orderly life. Of them Senator Doolittle,
speaking for the minority of the Mason Committee said: "It was from such
elements [lawless] that John Brown concocted his conspiracy consisting
of young men and boys over whom he had entire control, many of them
foreigners and none of substance or position in the country."[282] It is
not in the "dominating spirit of John Brown himself must be found the
true reason for their readiness to join in so desperate a venture as
Brown outlined to them or because of their readiness to go any lengths
to undermine slavery."[283] Cook knew Brown's career from the
Pottawatomie to Osawatomie, and approved of his system for undermining
things. Parsons was with him in the Osawatomie cattle raid. Stevens had
graduated from a volunteer in the Mexican War, to a private in the
First Dragoons, United States army. He was insubordinate, and had been
tried for mutiny and for assaulting an officer--Major George A. H.
Blake, First Dragoons--and sentenced to death. The sentence had been
commuted to confinement, for three years at hard labor, in the military
prison at Fort Leavenworth, from which he escaped and joined the
Free-State forces in Kansas. He became colonel of the Second Regiment in
the Free-State army under the name of Charles Whipple. It was not Brown
and his magnetism or any insipid nonsense about "philanthropy or love
for the slave" that appealed to these adventurers, but the scheme which
he unfolded before them. It was the charm of the glittering expanse of
opportunity which he pressed upon their mental conceptions, that won,
and enlisted them in the venture.

On December 4th, with their plunder, ordnance stores and camp and
garrison equipment, Brown and his staff set out from Tabor for
Ashtabula. There had been argument, disagreement, and some wrangling at
Tabor about the practicability of the undertaking; but yielding to the
force of Brown's exposition of it, opposition was silenced and
confidence of success supplanted doubt in the minds of all. Of the march
across Iowa to Iowa City and Springdale, Mr. Villard, quoting from
fragments of Owen Brown's diary, that survived the wreck at Harper's
Ferry, says: "Progress was slow, for all of the men walked and the
weather was bitter cold. On December 8, the entry reads: 'Cold, wet and
snowy; hot discussion about the Bible and war--warm argument about the
effects of the abolition of slavery upon the Southern States, Northern
States Commerce and manufactures, also upon the British provinces and
the civilized world; whence came our civilization and origin? Talk about
prejudices against color; question proposed for debate,--greatest
general, Washington or Napoleon.'" The party arrived at Springdale,
Iowa, on the 28th or 29th of December. Early in January, 1858, Brown
changed his plans about going to Ashtabula County, and for opening there
the School of Instruction. On January 11th, he located his men for the
winter at the home of Mr. William Maxson, the latter agreeing to take
the wagons and horses from Brown on account for boarding. The War
College was then opened at Springdale, instead of in Ashtabula County;
and with Stevens in charge instead of Forbes. Continuing his narrative
about the doings of the school, Mr. Villard says:[284] "On the 12th
(February) there was 'talk about our adventures and plans.' In the main,
discussion ranged from theology and spiritualism to caloric engines, and
covered every imaginable subject between them. Much talk of war and
fighting there was, and drilling with wooden swords. Stevens, by reason
of his service in the Mexican War, and subsequently in the United States
Dragoons, was drill-master in default of Forbes. Sometimes they went
into the woods to look for natural fortifications; again they discussed
dislodging the enemy from a hill-top by means of zig-zag trenches.
Forbes manual was diligently perused." Also they organized a "moot
legislature and beguiled the long winter evenings, drafting laws for an
ideal 'State of Topeka.' It followed the regulation procedure with its
bills and debates." The curriculum in this school is evidence of the
character of the duties the students therein were being fitted to
perform; they were being instructed in the higher strategy of war, in
the command of troops and in the science of government. Writing to Mr.
Sanborn from Brooklyn, February 26th, Brown said:[285]

      I want to put into the hands of my young men, copies of
      Plutarch's "Lives," Irving's "Life of Washington," the best
      written Life of Napoleon, and other similar books, together
      with maps and statistics of States ... I also want to get a
      quantity of best white cotton drilling--some hundred
      pieces, if I can get it. The use of this article I will
      explain hereafter.

About January 1st, the two Soldiers of Fortune--Brown and
Forbes--arrived at the parting of their ways. They seem to have been in
agreement and in full sympathy with each other when they separated
November 2d; for Brown at that time gave Forbes a letter to Mr.
Frederick Douglass, commending him to his confidence and asking Douglass
to assist him. The letter Forbes lost no time in presenting. He stopped
at Rochester, as he went east, and got what money he could. Mr. Douglass
says[286] that he was not favorably impressed with Forbes at first, but
took him to a hotel and paid his board while he remained, and gave him
some money for his family in Europe, then in destitute circumstances. He
introduced him to some of his German friends whom Forbes "soon wore out
with his endless begging."

Failing to collect money for the cause, as fast as he thought he was
entitled to, or as fast as he needed it, Forbes began to try to force
contributions from Brown's friends, claiming that he had been employed
by him, and that sums of money were due him on account of arrears of
salary. Later he threatened to expose Brown's plans of invasion,
believing, or assuming to believe, that such plans were a part of a
general conspiracy, among the northern Abolitionists, to overthrow
slavery. Information relating to his conduct was received by Brown at
Springdale, and caused him to halt there until he could ascertain the
extent of Forbes's defection. Upon confirmation of his advices, and
being unable to pay Forbes's salary, he dropped him; refused to answer
his letters, and changed his plans of procedure. Pressed by his
necessities, Forbes became aggressive, and, carrying his case to Mr.
Charles Sumner and to Mr. Henry Wilson, and to Mr. William H. Seward,
denounced Brown as "reckless, unreliable and vicious." He approached
Mr. Wilson in the Senate chamber at Washington and demanded that Brown
and his men be disarmed.

While Forbes caused Brown no end of trouble, the case was not nearly so
serious as it would have been, if his eastern patrons had known what
Forbes was talking about. Brown, whose "sincerity of purpose was above
suspicion," and who "was so transparent that all men can see him
through," had led them, throughout the whole extent of their
intercourse, to think and believe that his operations were to be
undertaken solely for the defense of the Free-State settlers in Kansas;
they knew nothing about his plans for operations in Virginia. In the
face of this condition of affairs, Forbes could make no progress, by
means of his threats to make exposures, and was immediately discredited;
for, as Mr. Douglass said, "Nobody believed him although the scoundrel
told the truth." He was discreet however, in his controversy with Brown
and in his denunciation of him, in this respect: he was careful not to
give his troubles publicity, or to do anything that would otherwise
imperil or wreck the general proposition.

Forbes did not, at first, comprehend Brown's autocracy in the
scheme--that he had no associates--and, that while he depended upon his
generous friends to finance the enterprise, he had not taken them into
his confidence, but was in reality practicing a deception upon them.
When the facts of the situation finally became apparent to his
understanding, he then sought to discredit Brown and his plans, and to
ingratiate himself with his clientage, so as to supersede him in
leadership, and in control of any general plan of action, in relation to
slavery, that might thereafter be agreed upon and undertaken. With this
purpose in view, Forbes addressed a letter to Dr. Samuel G. Howe, May
14, 1858, submitting to him a very weak statement of the violent and
dangerous things which Brown intended to do, for comparison with a
statement of the safe and sane things, that, in his judgment, could be
done: claiming that he had urged his plan upon Brown, and that he had,
at one time, succeeded in obtaining Brown's consent thereto: and that it
had been adopted by them under the name of "The Well-Matured Plan."
Extracts from this letter are published by Mr. Villard on pages 313-314.
Forbes, setting up a straw man for the purpose of knocking him down,
stated that Brown proposed, with from twenty-five to fifty colored and
white men, well armed and taking with them a quantity of spare arms, "to
beat up a slave quarter in Virginia." To this Forbes offered objections
as follows: "No preparatory notice having been given to the slaves [no
notice could go or with prudence be given to them] the invitation to
rise might, unless they were already in a state of agitation, meet with
no response or a feeble one." To this Brown had replied, that he "was
sure of a response." He calculated that he could get "on the first night
from 200 to 500. Half, or thereabouts, of this first lot, he proposed to
keep with him, amounting to a hundred or so of them, and make a dash at
the Harper's Ferry manufactory, destroying what he could not carry off.
The other men, not of this party, were to be subdivided into three,
four, or five distinct parties, each under two or three of the original
band, and would beat up other slave quarters whence more men would be
sent to join him." "He [Brown] argued that were he pressed by the U. S.
Troops, which, after a few weeks, might concentrate, he could easily
maintain himself in the Alleghenies and that his New England partisans
would in the meantime, call a Northern Convention, restore tranquility
and overthrow the pro-slavery administration." This, Forbes contended,
could at most be "a mere local explosion. A slave insurrection, being
from the very nature of things deficient in men of education and
experience, would under such a system as B. proposed, be either a flash
in the pan or would leap beyond his control, or any control, when it
would become a scene of anarchy and would assuredly be suppressed." On
the other hand Brown considered "foreign intervention as not
impossible." As to the dream of a Northern convention, Forbes
"considered it as a settled fallacy. Brown's New England friends would
not have courage to show themselves as long as the issue was doubtful,"
and added: "see my letter to J. B. dated 23rd February."

Since Forbes's letters to Brown deal directly, and without
dissimulation, with the matters under consideration, it is exceedingly
regrettable that they have been withheld from publication. They would
expose the flimsy fictions which have been put forth concerning the
fictitious company of "volunteer-regulars": and that Forbes had been
employed as a drill-master for it. Also, it is especially regrettable
that his letter of February 23d has been suppressed. For there can be no
doubt that it would disclose their plans for the invasion; the means
they relied upon for success, and the broad lines which they expected to
operate upon. It contained, in all probability, a discussion, from
Forbes's point of view, of the insurrection; of armies and conquest; of
government, and relations with foreign States; of northern conventions,
and of international complications. This correspondence was suppressed,
doubtless, because the publication of it would dissipate the theory that
it was an altruistic "Foray into Virginia" that Brown had in view, or an
illogical guerrilla "raid."

The passing of Forbes came with an "adroit and stinging" reply from Dr.
Howe to his letter of May 14th, who, among other things said: "I infer
from your language that you have obtained (in confidence) some
information concerning an expedition which you think to be commendable,
provided _you_ could manage it, but which you will _betray_ and
_denounce_ if he does not give it up! You are, sir, the guardian of your
own honor--but I trust that for your children's sake, at least, you will
never let your passion lead you to a course that might make them



_Fear made the Gods; audacity, has made kings._


Before leaving Springdale for the East, Brown forwarded the ordnance
stores to his son John, at Conneaut, Ohio, who carefully concealed them.
Proceeding to Rochester, New York, he stopped at the home of Mr.
Douglass, where he remained until February 15th. From there he commenced
his correspondence with the men whom he hoped he could induce to advance
the necessary money to float, or to initiate, the revolution; and it was
at the Douglass home that he wrote and revised the constitution for the
Provisional Government which he intended to attempt to set up in the
Southern States. Mr. Douglass stated to Mr. Sanborn[288] that he had a
copy of this Constitution in Brown's own hand writing, "prepared by
himself at my house."

February 2d, he wrote to the Rev. Theodore Parker that he had nearly
perfected arrangements for carrying out an important measure in which
the "world had a deep interest, as well as Kansas," and that he only
lacked from five hundred to eight hundred dollars to enable him "to do
it." Also that it was the "same object for which he had asked for secret
service money last fall"; that he had written to some of their mutual
friends concerning the matter but that none of them understood his
"views as well as you do"; and that he could not explain them without
their committing themselves further than he knew of their doing, closing
with the question, "Do you know some parties whom you could induce to
give their abolition theories a thoroughly practical shape?... Do you
think any of my Garrisonian friends at Boston, Worcester, or any other
place, can be induced to supply a little 'straw' if I will absolutely
make 'bricks'?"[289]

He wrote letters in a similar vein to Gerrit Smith, to Mr. Stearns, to
Mr. Sanborn, and to Mr. Higginson, and sought to have a meeting with
these gentlemen at Mr. Smith's home on February 23d, at which he
intended to submit to them as much of his plans as he thought it
advisable for them to know, for their consideration and approval. Mr.
Sanborn alone responded to his call; he arrived at Peterboro on Monday
evening, February 22d. Brown had arrived there on the preceding
Thursday, and had gone over the scheme with Mr. Smith. During the night
of the 22d, Mr. Sanborn says, the whole outline of the campaign in
Virginia was laid before the little council. "In astonishment and almost
in dismay," they listened to the reading of the constitution that he had
prepared for the government of the territory which he proposed to
conquer; and to a recital of the details of the hazardous adventure. In
the discussion, he explained his "plan of organization, of
fortification, of occupation, and of settlement in the South" and of his
"retreat through the North," if retreat became necessary. He had
foreseen every difficulty they could suggest, and had provided for it
"in some manner." And then he had "God on his side." "If God be for us
who can be against us." All he asked for, in addition to the equipment
which he then had, was "but eight hundred dollars, and would think
himself rich with a thousand." With that he would open his campaign in
the spring, and he had no doubt that the enterprise "would _pay_" as he

The next day Mr. Smith and Mr. Sanborn took up Brown's proposition for
final consideration and agreed to sustain him in it. They reasoned in
this way:

      To withhold aid would only delay, not prevent him; nothing
      short of betraying him to the enemy would do that. Mr.
      Smith restated in his eloquent way the daring propositions
      of Brown, the import of which he understood fully; and then
      said in substance: "You see how it is; our dear old friend
      has made up his mind to this course and cannot be turned
      from it. We cannot give him up to die alone; we must
      support him. I will raise so many hundred dollars for him;
      you must lay the case before your friends in Massachusetts,
      and perhaps they will do the same. I see no other
      way."[291] For myself I had reached the same conclusion,
      and engaged to bring the scheme at once to the attention of
      the three Massachusetts men to whom Brown had written, and
      also to Dr. S. G. Howe, who had sometimes favored action
      almost as extreme as this proposed by Brown.

As to Mr. Smith, he had approved of Colonel Forbes, to whom he gave one
hundred and fifty dollars, and thought that he would "make himself very
useful in our sacred Kansas work." He approved of Brown's "effort to
seduce the soldiers of the Union" and thought his tract, "The Duty of
the Soldier," very well written. After his declaration to Thaddeus
Hyatt:[292] "We must not shrink from fighting for Liberty--& if the
Federal troops fight against her we must fight against them," he had not
far to go to approve of the insurrection and invasion which Brown now

The outcome of the Peterboro conference was satisfactory. Brown
skillfully put his public affairs in the hands of a committee--a war
committee, composed of friends who, he had reason to believe, would
finance his adventure. He therefore directed his energies to the task of
strengthening his organization for the work before him. Among those whom
he sought to enlist under his banner was Mr. Sanborn. To him he wrote
from Peterboro February 24th:[293]

      MY DEAR FRIEND: Mr. Morton[294] has taken the liberty of
      saying to me that you felt half inclined to make a common
      cause with me. I greatly rejoiced for I believe when you
      come to look at the ample field I labor in, and the rich
      harvest which not only this entire country but the whole
      world during the present and future generations may reap
      from its successful cultivation, you will feel that you are
      out of your element until you find that you are in it, an
      entire unit. What an inconceivable amount of good you might
      so effect by your counsel, your example, your
      encouragement, your natural and acquired ability for active
      service! And then how very little we can possibly lose!
      Certainly the cause is enough to _live_ for, if not
      to--for. I have only had this one opportunity, in a life of
      nearly sixty years; and could I be continued ten times as
      long again, I might not have again an equal opportunity.
      God has honored but comparatively a very small part of
      mankind with any possible chance for such mighty and soul
      satisfying rewards. But my dear friend if you should make
      up your mind to do so, I trust it will be wholly from the
      prompting of your own spirit after you have thoroughly
      counted the cost. I would flatter no man into such a
      measure, if I could do so ever so easily.

      I expect nothing but to "endure hardness"; but I expect to
      effect a mighty conquest, even though it be like the last
      victory of Samson. I felt for a number of years in earlier
      life, a steady, strong desire to die; but since I saw any
      prospect of becoming a reaper in the great harvest, I have
      not only felt quite willing to live, but have enjoyed life
      much; and am now rather anxious to live for a few years

It is inconsistent with the tenor of this letter, to draw from it the
conclusion that the "mighty conquest" was a profitless "foray," or a
"raid," that Brown thus invited Mr. Sanborn to engage in; nor did the
latter so understand it. On the contrary he took the proposal seriously,
and was deeply impressed with the broad significance of the undertaking
herein dimly foreshadowed. Commenting thereon he, consistently, said:

      Till I follow my noble friend to the other world, on which
      his hopes were fixed, I can never read this letter without
      emotion. Yet it did not persuade me to comply with his
      wish. Long accustomed to guide my life by leadings and
      omens from that shrine whose oracles may destroy but can
      never deceive, I listened in vain, through months of doubt
      and anxiety, for a clear and certain call. But it was
      revealed to me that no confidence could be too great, no
      trust or affection too extreme toward this aged, poor man
      whom the Lord had chosen as his champion.

One might venture to suggest, in this connection, that Mr. Sanborn's
failure to catch any note of a "clear and certain call" during his
months of doubt and anxiety, might be due, possibly, to facts or
conditions existing in the Omnipotent economy. God, "whose mercy
endureth forever," may not have desired that a "generation should pass
off the face of the earth," at that time, "by a violent death." Also,
the absence of any evidence of the Divine approval of Brown's scheme,
raises a question of doubt, that the Lord had really appointed "this
aged poor man as his chosen champion." While, on the other hand, the
lamentable failure of the expedition undertaken in the accomplishment of
this enterprise; and the overwhelming wreck and ruin of those who
engaged in it, point to the theory that God, if he took any active
participation in the matter at all, was opposed to Brown--that he was on
the other side--on the side of the generation of men, women, and
children, who, trusting in His mercy, lived in innocent ignorance of
Brown's plot to destroy them.

Leaving Peterboro on the 24th, Brown began a tour among the colored
people to unite them in support of his campaign. February 26th, to March
3d, he was at Brooklyn at the home of Dr. and Mrs. J. N. Gloucester,
wealthy colored people, and sought their assistance. From Brooklyn he
went to Boston. From there, March 4th, he wrote to his son John:[295]
"As it may require some time to hunt out friends at Bedford,
Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Hagerstown, Md. _or even Harper's Ferry, Va._,
I would like to have you arrange your business so as to set out very
soon." March 6th, he was again at Boston, and on the 15th, at
Philadelphia again, where he met Rev. Stephen Smith, Frederick Douglass,
Rev. Henry H. Garnett, William Sill, and other colored men. His son John
met him there by appointment and thence they went to New York, New
Haven, and to North Elba, where they arrived March 23d. April 2d, they
were at Peterboro for consultation with Gerrit Smith, and from there
they went to Rochester, where they separated. From Rochester, Brown went
to St. Catherine, Canada, in company with a colored man--J. W.
Loguen--where they met, by appointment, Mrs. Harriet Tubman, colored,
known as the "Moses of her People." Brown was cordially received by the
Canadian negroes. They listened to his statement of the things that he
intended to do for their race, and gave him encouragement to believe
that many of them would enter his service.

Believing the money which had been pledged would be promptly furnished,
Brown launched his enterprise, and called a constitutional convention to
meet at Chatham, Canada, to formally adopt a "Provisional Constitution
and Ordinances, for the people of the United States." He then proceeded
to Springdale to report the situation to his captains.

The war party left Springdale April 27th, and arrived at Chatham on the
29th, Brown stopping at the home of James M. Bell, a colored man.
Notices calling the convention were immediately sent out; the form, as
drawn by Cook, was as follows:

                              Chatham, May -- 1859.

      Mr. ----.: Dear Sir:--We have issued a call for a very
      _quiet_ Convention at this place, to which we shall be
      very happy to see any true friends of freedom and to which
      you are most earnestly invited to give your attendance.

                              Yours respectfully,
                              JOHN BROWN.

The convention was represented, at Chatham, as being a meeting for the
purpose of organizing a Masonic (colored) lodge; it met May 8th, at 10
o'clock A. M. Only Brown's party and thirty-four colored men were
present. Richard Realf, in his testimony before the Mason Committee,
said that Brown opened the convention with an explanation of the
purposes for which it had been called. That he spoke of the manner in
which he had qualified himself for leadership--by a tour of the European
continent, inspecting all fortifications, especially all earthwork
forts, that he could find, intending to apply such knowledge, with
modifications and inventions of his own, to the warfare he now proposed
to undertake. "He spoke of his studies of Roman warfare, and of Schamyal
the Circassian chief, and of his knowledge of conditions in Hayti, and
of Toussaint L'Ouverture." He said that he expected all the free negroes
in the Northern States to flock to his standard, as well as the negroes
of the Southern States. Mr. Realf further stated that "no salaries were
to be paid to the officers" under this constitution. That it was "purely
out of that which we supposed to be philanthropy--love for the

After the address Brown produced a copy of the "Provisional
Constitution." The articles were read and adopted unanimously. Each
person present then signed the constitution, and swore allegiance to the
Provisional Government.[297] The nature and purposes of Brown's invasion
of Virginia, in October, 1859, are disclosed in the forty-eight articles
contained in this remarkable historical document.[298]

At a meeting held in the evening, John Brown was elected
commander-in-chief and John H. Kagi. secretary of war. The balloting
for offices was continued on Monday, May 10th, and Richard Realf was
elected secretary of state, George B. Gill, secretary of the treasury,
Owen Brown, treasurer, and Osborn P. Anderson and Alfred M. Ellsworth,
colored, were elected members of Congress.

Article I, of the constitution, provides for qualification of
membership, and includes "all persons of mature age whether proscribed,
oppressed, and enslaved citizens, or of proscribed and oppressed races
of the United States, who shall agree to sustain and enforce the
Provisional Constitution and ordinances of organization, together with
all minor children of such persons, shall be held to be fully entitled
to protection under the same." Articles II, III, IV, and V relate to the
branches of government: Legislative, executive and judicial. A number of
articles relate to the trial of officers, impeachment, or recall of
judges, army appointments, etc., etc. Article XXVIII treats of
"Property." It recites that "All captured or confiscated property, and
all property the product of the labor of those belonging to this
organization and of their families, shall be held as the property of the
whole, equally, without distinction and may be used for the common
benefit, or disposed of for the same object." Article XXXVI is
especially instructive. It reads as follows:

"The entire personal and real property of all persons known to be
acting, either directly or indirectly, with or for the enemy, or found
in arms with them, or found willfully holding slaves, shall be
confiscated and taken whenever and wherever it may be found, in either
Free or Slave States."

Mr. Sanborn says this constitution will be found "well suited to its
purpose--the government of a territory in revolt, of which the chief
occupants should be escaped slaves," an opinion which assumes that the
white population had, in some manner, been eliminated from the
"territory in revolt."

The plan of government was written by Brown, and was adopted in a
solemn manner by sane men, who signed it; and copies of this
Constitution and Ordinances, Brown took with him to Harper's Ferry; and
on the 18th of October, 1859, personally referred to it as an exhibit of
his purposes for being there; and stated that it had been his intention
to have a large number of copies of it printed, and distributed "at
large," so that all might know the character of his invasion. And yet,
after the lapse of fifty years, comes an oracular disquisitor, who, with
an assurance de luxe, asserts that Brown and his followers did not
intend to establish a Provisional Government in the South, or to do any
of the things provided for in this infallible utterance; that his
invasion of Virginia was not an invasion, but a "raid" to carry off some
slaves, which, if successful, would be followed by further guerrilla
warfare in the mountains of Virginia.

Referring, with undisguised impatience, to the irrelation of the
"Constitution and Ordinances" to his conception of what Brown's purposes
were, or to what he desires the historian to declare Brown's purposes to
have been, he says, that "it actually contemplates not merely the
government of forces in armed insurrection against sovereign States,"
but that it "actually goes so far as to establish courts, a regular
judiciary and a Congress." And, "as if that were not enough it provides
for" such heresies in guerrilla warfare as "schools for that same
training of the freed slaves in manual labor which is today so widely
hailed as the readiest solution of the negro problem. Churches too were
to be 'established as soon as may be'--as if anything could be more
inconsistent with his fundamental plan"; which Mr. Villard then
magisterially states was to "break his forces up into small bands hidden
in mountain fastnesses, subsisting as well as possible off the land, and
probably unable to communicate with each other. At this and at other
points," he says, "the whole scheme forbids discussion as a practical
plan of government for such an uprising as was to be carried out by a
handful of whites and droves of utterly illiterate and ignorant blacks,
and may stand as a chief indictment of Brown's saneness of judgment and
of his reasoning powers"; admitting however, that "as a chart for the
course of a State about to secede from the Union and to maintain itself
during a regular revolution, the document was also not without its
admirable features."

Commenting upon the condition of Brown's mind at the time he wrote this
paper, Mr. Villard says that it was "fanatical, concentrated on one idea
to the danger point, but still it remained a mind capable of expressing
itself with rare clearness and force, focussing itself with intense
vigor on the business in hand and going straight to the end in

The preceding clause is in itself a refutation of the author's
criticism. If it be true that when Brown drew up this paper "his mind
was capable of expressing itself with clearness, focussing itself with
vigor on the business in hand and of going straight to the end in view,"
then it must be admitted that the document which he penned was not
intended to serve a purpose so trifling as a _raid_, but that it was
what it purported to be--a form of government or charter for a state
during a period of revolution.

It will be observed that it is not the practicability of a revolution,
such as the provisions of this document would be consistent with, that
constitutes the indictment of Brown's saneness and reasoning powers; but
the fact that the provisions of the constitution are inconsistent with
this author's invention of what Brown's plans were: "A plan of
government for small forces of whites and runaway slaves acting
separately as guerilla bands in mountain fastnesses." It is strictly
true that the provisions of the constitution are so inconsistent with
this fiction as to forbid discussion; but that fact should not
constitute an indictment of _Brown's_ sanity. It merely emphasizes the
fact that there is disagreement between John Brown and his biographer
of fifty years after, concerning the purpose for which Brown wrote the
provisional constitution and ordinances, and suggests, as a bare
possibility of the case, that the assumptions of the biographer as to
what that purpose was may be inconsistent with the tenor of the
constitution. If this biographer had been less eager to confirm in
history the theory that it was a foray or a raid that Brown sought to
execute at Harper's Ferry, he would have discovered that Brown intended
to organize a thorough-going army there,[300] instead of sporadic
guerrilla bands; and that he intended to extend the jurisdiction of this
Provisional Government over the State of Virginia and the South.

It was Brown's intention to begin his campaign at once, May 15th being
the date named; and something, probably, would have happened if he had
received the one thousand dollars promptly, that had been pledged in his
support. Realf, on his arrival at Chatham, wrote that they would remain
there until they had perfected their plans, "which will be in about ten
days or two weeks," after which they would "start for China."[301] Cook
also had something to say. He wrote to some young ladies at Springdale:

      ... I long for the 10th of May to come. I am anxious to
      leave this place, to have my mind occupied with the great
      work of our mission.... Through the dark gloom of the
      future, I fancy I can almost see the dawning of light of
      Freedom.... That I can almost hear the swelling Anthem of
      Liberty rising from the millions who have but just cast
      aside the fetters and the shackles that bound them. But ere
      that day arrives, I fear that we shall hear the crash of
      the battle shock and see the red gleaming of the cannon's

The seance closed abruptly on the 10th, owing to a collapse of the
exchequer; whereupon the cabinet officials and officers of the general
staff were furloughed, without pay, until such time as they would be
called upon to report to the commander-in-chief for service. They went
to Cleveland, Ohio, and it is said that some of them chafed under the
hardships and inconveniences of earning a living; with the result that a
spasm of "philanthropy and love for the slave" became imminent among
them. So pronounced were the symptoms that the honorable secretary of
state, Mr. Realf, on May 23d, in an official note to the
commander-in-chief, declared that unless "relief" were provided
speedily, those affected might be so inspired by philanthropy and love
for the slave as to "go South and raid by themselves."[303]

The failure to finance the Provisional Government was a result of a
flurry on the bourse, that had its origin in the activities of Colonel
Forbes. He was threatening the rear of Brown's communications. About the
last of April, he wrote from Washington to Mr. Sanborn and to Dr. Howe,
declaring his intention to give publicity to Brown's scheme. A "hurry
call" was accordingly sent out for a meeting of the war committee. At a
conference, May 2d, Mr. Parker and Mr. Steams thought "the plan" should
be "deferred till another year." Dr. Howe thought differently, while Mr.
Sanborn, whose mind was not working forcefully, was in a state of doubt,
which he expressed, May 5th, in a letter to Mr. Higginson.[304] Gerrit
Smith voted with Stearns and Parker. He wrote May 7th: "It seems to me
that in these circumstances Brown must go no further; and I so write
him."[305] May 9th, Higginson voted with Howe. He wrote: "I regard any
postponement as simply abandoning the project." A letter of the 9th from
Hon. Henry Wilson to Dr. Howe, settled the question. He went into the
matter a little deeper, and suggested that their actions might involve
others. He pointed out that if the arms in Brown's possession were used
for any other purpose than to "arm some force in Kansas for defense, _it
might be of disadvantage to the men who were induced to contribute to
that very foolish movement_"; and advised them to "get the arms out of
Brown's control, and keep clear of him, at least for the present."[306]
To this letter Dr. Howe replied on the 12th:

      I understand perfectly your meaning. No countenance has
      been given Brown for any operations outside of Kansas _by
      the Kansas Committee_. I had occasion a few days ago to
      send him an earnest message from his friends here, urging
      him at once to go to Kansas and take part in the coming
      election, and throw the weight of his influence upon the
      side of right.... There is in Washington a disappointed and
      malicious man working with all the activity which hate and
      revenge can inspire to harm Brown, and to cast odium upon
      the friends of Kansas in Massachusetts. You probably know
      him. He has been to see Mr. Seward. Mr. Hale also can tell
      you something about him. God speed the right.[307]

May 15th, he wrote Mr. Wilson, relating to the arms, that "prompt
measures have been taken and will be resolutely followed up to prevent
any such monstrous perversion of a trust as would be the application of
means raised for the defense of Kansas, to a purpose which the
subscribers of the fund would disapprove and violently condemn."[308]

Because of these letters Dr. Howe has been severely criticised; and by
Rear Admiral Chadwick unjustly charged with "gross prevarication."[309]
But, in a time of war, would the distinguished admiral hesitate to
deceive the enemy in a similar manner? The things which the Doctor said
were, of course, untrue, but in saying them he did not intend to wrong
the Senator or to deceive him to his disadvantage. The correspondence
was not personal; Senator Wilson was an intermediary, or a medium of
communication between Colonel Forbes and Brown's war committee. Howe,
acting-for the committee, had the right to deceive the enemy--Forbes--in
this manner. The letters he wrote were a stratagem of the war it was
promoting. Brown would have disposed of Forbes in a more heroic manner.
He wrote from Chatham: "We have those who are thoroughly posted up"
(professional assassins) "to put upon his track and we beg to be allowed
to do so."[310]

On May 14th, Mr. Stearns wrote to Brown enclosing a copy of Senator
Wilson's letter, also notifying him officially, as chairman of the
Massachusetts State Kansas Committee, that the arms in his care
belonging to the committee must not be used for any other purpose than
for the defense of Kansas.[311] He then forestalled any possibility of
future complication relating to the arms by foreclosing a lien, which he
is said to have held, on all the property of the committee; and having
thus obtained the title to the arms, he placed them in Brown's
possession as his personal agent. By this arrangement, Mr. Sanborn says,

      The business of the Kansas Committee was put in such shape
      that its responsibility for the arms in Brown's possession
      should no longer fetter his friends in aiding his main

But as to the character of the transaction he was not quite assured. "It
is still a little difficult," he said, "to explain this transaction
without leaving a suspicion that there was somewhere a breach of trust."
It was also agreed between them that Brown should not further inform the
members of the war committee of his plans in detail, nor "burden
them with knowledge that would be to them both needless and
inconvenient."[312] May 15th, Mr. Stearns wrote to Brown asking him to
come to New York during the next week for consultation; but for reasons
that have not been stated the meeting did not take place; it was
probably called off because arrangements were made for a more
interesting function.

Then as now, there was a Peace Society in existence. Mr. Gerrit Smith
was coming to Boston to deliver an address at its anniversary; and it
was decided to take advantage of his presence in the city, to have a
full meeting of the secret war committee which, Mr. Sanborn says, had
been organized in March, and consisted of Gerrit Smith, Theodore Parker,
Doctor Howe, T. W. Higginson, George L. Stearns, and himself. Mr. Smith
arrived and took lodgings at the Revere House. The committee held its
meeting, at his rooms, on the 24th of May. At this council it was
finally decided to postpone the campaign until the winter or spring of
1859, when the committee would raise for Brown "two or three thousand

Mr. Smith, because of his great zeal in the promotion of peace, had the
honor of being chosen to deliver the address at the anniversary of the
Peace Society, and, because of a similar zeal in the promotion of war,
he had the honor of being chosen to preside, as chairman, over the
Revere House deliberations of the war committee. It may be assumed,
because of his versatility, that he acquitted himself creditably in both
of these positions.

The impossibility of harmonizing the public professions of these
apostles of peace, with their secret undertakings as ministers of war,
discourages analyzation of their philosophy; and for the same reason,
discussion of questions of moral obliquity, or of commercial
irregularity in their actions or in the actions of any of them, in
juggling with the liability for Brown's war equipment, and in financing
an assault upon a State of this Union, may be dismissed as being without

May 31st, Brown returned to Boston full of regret because of the
postponement of the invasion; but with the arms securely in his
possession and with the $500 in gold in his pockets, which his committee
gave him as a salve to soothe his wounded hope; and with the decision of
the Revere House council to raise "two or three thousand dollars" for
his campaign the next spring, his spirits rose, and he left Boston for
North Elba well satisfied with the outcome of the flurry.

June 20th, he went to Cleveland and disposed of the staff, dividing with
them the $500, and making such arrangements for them as circumstances
permitted. Cook was sent to Harper's Ferry, to reconnoiter the field,
and obtain statistics and other information. It is also probable that
Brown would have joined him and begun the work of agitating the slaves
for the coming revolt, if the news from Kansas had not offered an
opportunity for "other occupations." The "disturbances" there,
culminating in the tragedy on the Marias des Cygnes, May 19th, appealed
to him with irresistible force. They "were the immediate cause of his
return to Kansas."[314]



_The angel wings were so dim and shadowy as to be scarcely
visible._--GEORGE B. GILL

In company with Kagi and Tidd, Brown arrived at Lawrence on the night of
June 27th, and, under the name of "Shubel Morgan" left the next day for
the zone of opportunity. The political situation in Kansas, or the
progress which the Free-State cause was making at that time, was no part
of his concern; and to so much as mention his name in connection
therewith, is to trifle with history. Writing to Mr. Sanborn from
Lawrence on the 28th, announcing his arrival in the Territory, he sent a
quick delivery order for some whistles. He said:[315]

      ... Can you send me by Express; Care of E. B. Whitman,
      Esqr. half a Doz; or a full Doz whistles such as I
      described? at once?

The above is the sole reference to Territorial affairs contained in this
letter; it may therefore be regarded as an epitome of his interest
therein; it is also an index to the character of the operations he
intended to engage in.

On July 9th, he wrote to his son John that he was now in the log cabin
of the "notorious James Montgomery" whom he deemed a very "brave and
talented officer." Montgomery was the author of the recrudescence, in
Linn and Bourbon counties, of the lawlessness of 1856. Disapproving of
the election, January 4, 1858, under the Lecompton Constitution, he
destroyed the ballot boxes in his district. His political relations with
the pro-slavery settlers in Linn County becoming strained, he served
notice on them to leave the Territory, and compelled them to seek refuge
in Missouri. A troop of cavalry being sent to arrest him, he, with seven
others, opened fire upon it from the timber, killing one enlisted man
and wounding the captain--George T. Anderson, First United States
Cavalry--and two others.

While the Free-State men greatly admired Montgomery's prowess, they
balked at the retaliatory operations his actions provoked. The
deliberate killing of five Free-State men and the wounding of five more
on the Marias des Cygnes May 19th, by Charles A. Hamilton, caused them
to reflect, seriously, upon the situation. Even if Montgomery had
succeeded in burning Fort Scott, in retaliation for these murders, it
could not have brought the dead back to life. The settlers therefore,
regardless of political sentiment, united in an effort to tranquilize
matters. Governor Denver appeared upon the scene in company with Charles
Robinson and Judge J. W. Wright, in an earnest effort to secure a
general pacification. June 14th, at a mass-meeting held at Fort Scott, a
treaty of peace was negotiated. It was called the Denver Treaty. It
provided that "by-gones should be by-gones" as far as possible; that the
Federal troops at Fort Scott should be removed; that militia should be
stationed along the border, to prevent further invasions from Missouri;
and that all other armed companies should withdraw from the field. "This
compact was religiously adhered to during the summer and fall."[316]

Brown found upon his arrival in the recently distracted district that
the Free-State settlers desired peace, and had so publicly declared, and
that in response to their wishes Montgomery had disbanded his band of
raiders. But with the Free-State settlers' wishes, and with their
material and political welfare Brown had no concern. His interests were
distinct from theirs. He came not to serve them, nor to serve the
Free-State cause, but to use them and the Free-State sentiment, as a
shield to protect him from violence while in pursuit of the criminal
operations in which he intended to engage. It was a continuation of the
graft, upon the Free-State cause, which he was professionally working.
Stealthily and in disguise he came into this settlement, and by stealth
he proceeded to execute the purposes for which he came.

Disregarding the settlers' peace treaty and Montgomery's example, Brown
proceeded to organize a company, or pretended that he organized one, and
drew up a paper entitled "Articles of Agreement" for Shubel Morgan's
Company. However, in view of the character of some of the men whose
names appear upon the roll of its membership, and because of the nature
of the business which Brown actually engaged in thereafter, as well as
the personality of the men whom he really directed, it probably was
merely a paper organization gotten up for the delectation of his Eastern
friends, male and female. The articles are as follows:

      We, the undersigned members of Shubel Morgan's Company,
      hereby agree to be governed by the following Rules:

      1. A gentlemanly and respectful deportment shall at all
      times and places be maintained toward all persons; and all
      profane or indecent language shall be avoided in all cases.

      2. No intoxicating drinks shall be used as a beverage by
      any member or be suffered in camp for such purpose.

      3. No member shall leave camp without leave of the

      4. All property captured in any manner shall be subjected
      to equal distribution among the members.

      5. All acts of petty or other thefts shall be promptly and
      properly punished, and restitution made as far as possible.

      6. All members shall, so far as able, contribute equally to
      all necessary labor in or out of camp.

      7. All prisoners who shall properly demean themselves shall
      be treated with kindness and respect, and shall be
      punished for crime only after trial and conviction, being
      allowed a hearing in defense.

      8. Implicit obedience shall be yielded to all proper orders
      of the commander or other superior officer.

      9. All arms, ammunition, etc., not strictly private
      property shall ever be subject to, and delivered up, on the
      order of the commander.

                  Names                         Date 1858
                  Shubel Morgan                  July 12
                  C. P. Tidd                       "  12
                  J. H. Kagi                       "  12
                  A. Wattles                       "  12
                  Samuelson Stevenson              "  12
                  J. Montgomery                    "  12
                  T. Homyr                         "  12
                  Simon Snyder                     "  14
                  E. W. Snyder                     "  15
                  Elias Snyder                     "  15
                  John H. Snyder                   "  15
                  Adam Bishop                      "  15
                  William Hairgrove                "  15
                  John Mikel                       "  15
                  William Partridge                "  15

After his arrival, Brown spent some time upon the tract of land upon
which the Hamilton massacre had taken place. It belonged to Mr. Eli
Snyder, a blacksmith, and Brown entered into negotiations with him to
purchase his claim to it. Nothing came of the dealings, and it is not
probable that Brown was very much in earnest upon the subject. While he
remained with Snyder he made a reconnoissance into Missouri for the
purpose of obtaining information that would be of use to him in his
planning for future operations.[317]

In the meantime, Stevens and Gill reported for duty. The following named
persons then comprised his band: Kagi, Tidd, Owen Brown, Gill, and
Stevens; Albert Hazlett and Jeremiah G. Anderson joined later.

Just what Brown and his captains did during the first five months of
their sojourn in the Territory has not been made public. Many pages of
very irrelevant matter, containing very few facts, have been put forth
upon the subject; but from the scraps of evidence occurring in the
garbled accounts that have been published concerning their doings, they
seem to have been engaged in stealing horses; but no big robbery was
undertaken until in December.

On July 20th, Brown began a letter to Mr. Sanborn which he completed
August 6th, in which he said[318] that they would soon be in want of a
small amount of money "_to feed us_. We cannot," he said, "work _for
wages_; & provisions _are not_ easily obtained on the frontier." He also
gave out the information that a portion of his men were "in other
neighborhoods." In response to this request for money, Mr. Sanborn, on
August 25th, sent him Gerrit Smith's check for fifty dollars. This check
Brown enclosed to his wife, endorsed to Watson Brown, in a letter to her
September 17th.[319] Because Brown returned this money to the East, it
may be inferred that the urgency for money had been tided over; that the
crisis had passed by the time Mr. Sanborn's letter with the check
arrived; that money had been received from some other source, and that
he did not need it then, "_to feed us_." It is also noticeable that his
men, who were "in other neighborhoods," and could "not work for wages,"
managed to obtain a sufficient amount of money to supply their personal
needs in some other way. The exact character of these pursuits has not
been stated, but the conditions under which they acquired their living
have been made public, in an incidental way, and they were by no means
ideal. They seem to have worked the Territory in pairs. Mr. Gill,
speaking for himself and Mr. Kagi, said,[320] equivocally: "Sometimes
one had the ague, sometimes both. Sometimes we fished, sometimes we had
our supper and beds; at other times we went supperless and took the
prairie for our bed with the blue arch for our covering."

It would perhaps be called harshness to say, at this time, that John
Brown and his men were a band of horse thieves, although Mr. Villard
does say that one of them, "Pickles, was a well known horse thief;" and
it has been more than intimated, within the writer's hearing, that
Charles Jennison, who joined the band temporarily, while indulging a
_penchant_ for horses generally, was neither solicitous about his title
to them, nor about the manner of getting possession of them. As a story
tells it, one of the "psalms" sung by these humanitarians had special
reference to Jennison; it ran in this way:

      Am I soldier of the boss--
        A follower of Jim Lane?
      And shall I fear to steal a hoss
        Or blush to ride the same?

We are also told that Mr. Albert Hazlett "picked up a fine stallion down
in Missouri."[321] And Mr. Gill, in a letter to Colonel Hinton,[322]
speaks of a trip which he and Brown were on during several days, but
does not state the nature of their adventures. Brown was ill a part of
the summer; and for several weeks was seriously so, in the home of Mr.
Adair at Osawatomie, where he was cared for by the faithful Kagi. The
latter wrote to his sister that he was compelled to "lay off" at
Osawatomie, for a month, on account of this. He laid off from "fishing,"
and from sleeping on the prairie, with the "blue arch for a covering."
It seems, however, that before Brown was taken ill, he had been doing
some of this speculative or professional business himself; in fact he
attributed his illness to the exposure which he had been subjected to,
while engaged in it, whatever it may have been--"fishing" or other
employment. He related to Mr. Sanborn, in his letter of July 20th-August
6th: "Have been down with ague since last date, and had no safe way to
get off my letter. I had lain every night without shelter, suffering
from cold rains and heavy dews, together with the oppressive heat of the
day." It appears, from this statement, that Brown also had had
engagements in other neighborhoods, for, in his own neighborhood,
"deserted farms and dwellings lay in all directions for some
miles,"[323] and he could easily have taken shelter in some of them. It
is evident, too, that wherever he may have been, his circumstances were
such that he could not call upon the settlers, in such neighborhoods,
and ask for shelter and accept from them such hospitality and
entertainment as settlers are wont to give, or he would have done so.
His condition seems to have been similar to the condition which horse
thieves are in, when they have stolen horses in their possession: they
cannot safely ask for shelter and other entertainment and have to lie
out at night, and suffer from cold rains, if there happen to be any, and
from heavy dews. It is to be regretted that Brown's later biographer did
not secure from Salmon Brown a statement concerning the doings of Brown
and his captains, while they were operating in Kansas. It transpired,
however, that Brown encouraged horse stealing by his subordinates.
Reference has been made to the fine stallion which Hazlett had "picked
up" down in Missouri. Mr. Gill, in his narrative about this matter,
states that Brown bought this fine horse from Hazlett; giving him, in
exchange for it, a United States land warrant for forty acres of land,
that had been donated to Brown by Gerrit Smith; and that he afterward
sold the horse, by auction, at Cleveland.

After recovering from his illness, Brown made a number of trips to
Lawrence, where he had some controversy with the National Kansas
Committee, for which he assumed to act as agent; not only without
authority from it to do so, but in opposition to its expressed wishes.
The committee, through its agent, Mr. E. B. Whitman, at Lawrence, had
made advances, for necessary supplies, to many Kansas settlers, taking
their notes for account of the same. Some of these notes had been given
to Mr. Stearns, as security for money which he had advanced to the
committee, and Stearns had given them to Brown, or sent them to him, for
collection. It appears that the notes had not been endorsed and made
payable to Mr. Stearns, and that the ownership of them was still in the
committee. But Brown, when surrendering the notes to the makers, upon
payment to him, cured that defect and extinguished the committee's title
by acknowledging payment to him, as its agent. October 26th, Mr. H. B.
Hurd repudiated Brown's agency in a letter to Mr. Whitman. He said:
"Capt. John Brown has no authority to take, receive, collect or transfer
any notes or accounts belonging to the National Kansas Committee, nor
ever has had, nor will such dealings be recognized or sanctioned by our
committee."[324] Of course, Brown kept the money he thus collected. He
had an offset against the committee. He claimed that it owed him five
thousand dollars. Under its resolution of January 24, 1857, it had
"voted $5000 in aid of Capt. John Brown in any defensive measures that
become necessary" in Kansas. Brown was then engaged in "defensive"
measures or operations, as has been related, and from his point of view
he had earned the right to claim this money.

During the latter part of October, Montgomery again made things
interesting for his neighborhood. Alleging violation of the Denver Peace
Treaty, he entered the court-house at Fort Scott, while the grand jury
was in session, took possession of the papers it was considering,
destroyed them, and compelled it to adjourn. On the night of October
30th, a very weak attempt, or an alleged attempt, was made to
assassinate Montgomery; a party, supposed to be pro-slavery men firing a
volley into his cabin. Because of this it was decided to fortify it;
Gill, Tidd, and Stevens doing most of the work. Brown "indulging in his
favorite occupation of cooking."[325] The incident may have been a
_ruse-de-guerre_. Having heard that he had been indicted by a
pro-slavery jury, at Paris, for the ballot-box affair in January,
Montgomery, on November 13th, went there with a party and made an
unsuccessful search for the records. He invited Brown to join him. The
latter did so, but remained "on the outskirts of the town" while the
searching was being done. After this adventure, Acting Governor Walsh
wrote the department suggesting that a reward of $300 and $500 be
offered respectively, for the arrest of Montgomery and Brown; such a
reward, he thought, "would either effect their arrest or drive them from
the Territory."[326]

On December 6th, a joint meeting of Free-State and pro-slavery men was
held at Sugar Mound, in Linn County, to adopt a peace agreement to
replace the Denver Treaty, which the Free-State men claimed had been
violated by the court proceedings against Montgomery; the attack upon
his life on the night of October 30th, etc. The resolutions were drafted
by Brown, and Montgomery presented them to the meeting. They were
adopted, after some modification.[327] The preamble recites that "the
citizens of Linn County, assembled in mass meeting at Mound City, being
greatly desirous of securing a permanent peace to the people of the
Territory generally, and to those along the border of Missouri in
particular, have this day entered into the following agreement and
understanding, for our future guidance and actions." The articles
provide that all criminal processes, pending against Free-State men,
growing out of difficulties with pro-slavery parties, shall be forever
discontinued and quashed; that all Free-State men held in confinement,
on account of similar difficulties, shall be immediately released.
Article 4 covered a very wide range. It provided that "No troops,
marshal or other officers of the General Government, shall be either
sent or called in, to enforce or serve criminal processes against any
Free-State man or men on account of troubles heretofore existing for any
act prior to this date." A "recommendation" that was unanimously agreed
to was, "that we earnestly recommend that all those who have recently
taken money, or other property, from _peaceable_ citizens within this
county, immediately restore the same to their proper owners."

Brown was not sincere in his participation in this meeting as an
advocate for peace. His plans were already formed for a grand _coup_, to
raise money. He intended to do something spectacular--something that
would be worthy of his name and of his reputation. The homes that he
intended to plunder had been selected long before, and the premises in
each case thoroughly reconnoitered. All the essential details had been
provided for. He was simply waiting, at this time, in a state of
expectancy, for the psychological moment to arrive: then he intended to
strike. September 10th, he wrote to Mr. Sanborn:

      Before I was taken sick there was every prospect of some
      business very soon, and there is some now that requires
      doing. I have but fourteen regularly employed hands, the
      most of whom are now at common work, and some are sick. How
      we travel may not be best to write. I have met the
      notorious Montgomery and think very favorably of him.[328]

October 11th, he wrote to his wife from Osawatomie: "... I can now see
no good reason why I should not be located nearer home, as soon as I can
collect the means for defraying the expenses. I still intend sending you
some further help, as soon as I can. Will write you how to direct to me
hereafter."[329] November 1st, he wrote to her from Moneka: "I shall
write you where to direct when I know where to do so." From these
letters it appears that his plans were complete except as to the date
for the execution of them. December 2d, he wrote to his family as

      I have just this moment returned from the South where the
      prospect of quiet was probably never so poor. Other parts
      of the Territory are undisturbed and may very likely remain
      so; unless drawn into the quarrel of the border counties. I
      expect to go South again immediately.... When I wrote you
      last I thought the prospect was that I should soon shift my
      quarters somewhat. I still have the same prospect, but am
      wholly at a loss as to the exact time.

His opportunity came December 16th,[331] when Montgomery, with a force
of nearly one hundred men, marched upon Fort Scott, to effect the
release of Mr. Benjamin Rice, who had been arrested November 16th, in
violation of the by-gones-to-be-by-gones provision of the treaty of June
15th; and had not been released after the adoption of the Sugar Mound
Treaty of December 6th. In this exploit a merchant of Fort Scott, Mr. J.
H. Little, was killed, and his store robbed of goods amounting to about
seven thousand dollars. Montgomery organized his company for this raid
December 14th, and, upon invitation, Brown, Stevens, and Kagi joined in
the expedition. Stevens and Kagi took part in the affair; Stevens being
charged, by some writers, with having killed Little. But Brown, "with
his customary dislike to serve under another," or probably, because of
his higher responsibilities, took no part in the attack. He went "only
as far as the rendezvous" at the Wimsett farm, where he probably
received his share of the loot.

Returning on the 19th, he collected his men, and on the night of the
20th, executed his famous raid into Missouri. The party operated in two
divisions--one under Brown's direction and the other under Stevens's
orders. With Brown were Charles Jennison, Jeremiah Anderson, Geo. B.
Gill, Kagi, and three or four others. This party was to rob the
plantations of Mr. Harvey B. Hicklan and Mr. John Larue. The latter
lived about three-fourths of a mile from the Hicklan home. With the
Stevens party were Tidd, Hazlett, and five others. This band was to rob
the places of David Cruise and Hugh Martin. Cruise, in addition to his
other possessions, had a slave girl that Stevens wanted--and got--but
not until after he had killed Cruise. A statement by Stevens, made at
the Kennedy farm, in Maryland, furnishes all the information that exists
concerning the details of the murder. He is reported as saying[332] that
he went to the cabin and demanded the girl; that the old man asked him
to come inside, which he thoughtlessly did, and that then the old man
slipped behind him and "pulled a gun." That it then became a case of
"shoot first. You might call it a case of self defense, or you might say
that I had no business in there and that the old man was right."

Brown's party arrived at the Hicklan home at midnight, forced the door
open, and with pointed revolvers intimidated Hicklan, and proceeded to
plunder the establishment. Mr. Gill, who appears to have been in charge
of the ethics of the occasion, says, that in spite of his efforts to
restrain the men, they took practically everything that was in sight.
"Some of our men," he said, "proved to be mere adventurers, ready to
take from friend or foe as opportunity offered." This statement, by one
who knew whereof he spoke, is the clearest exposition of the character
of Brown's thefts that has been made. The robbery on the night of
December 20, 1858, was his final transaction of that character. All of
the property stolen by him during that night belonged to pro-slavery
men. Therefore, Mr. Gill's knowledge that "some of their number were
mere adventurers, ready to take from friend or foe as opportunity
offered" could not have been derived from their conduct on this
occasion. The statement is explicit evidence that Brown and his men were
not moved or controlled by any sentiment relating to slavery; or by any
political bias in their thefts, but that they were common thieves,
operating under the protection of Free-State sentiment while they robbed
and plundered Free-State men and pro-slavery men, without discrimination
as opportunity offered. It may be said, in general terms, that all
horses look alike to a horse thief. It is the horse, _per se_, that
appeals to the thief, rather than the political affiliations of the
owner. In the absence of competent testimony to the contrary, it would
be said, promptly, of Brown, that he was an exception to this rule, as
well as to all other rules, that control human actions; that he was
moved by loftier motives than those which control the actions of the
ordinary horse thief; that he confined his plundering to pro-slavery
men, and robbed them, only, as a private duty, by and with the consent
of the Almighty. But this direct evidence against him, and the men whom
he controlled, is competent and quite conclusive.

It has been said that Brown made restitution to Hicklan of some of his
property. But that statement belongs in the class of a long line of
personal statements, that have been put forward from time to time, in
palliation of the enormity of Brown's crimes, or in attempts to justify
them, or in efforts to make it appear that he was engaged in an
unselfish warfare against slavery. Mr. Villard swept away a lot of this
rubbish by the keen logic of his exposition concerning many of the
stories which were made current about the Pottawatomie matter. So this
statement, about returning to Hicklan some of his property, and Mr.
Gill's statement that the raid on the night of the 20th, was inspired by
the "Jim Daniels story," belong in the same general class of rubbish.
Mr. Hicklan stated, in 1888, that nothing that was taken was ever
recovered. He said:

      They did not give anything back. Brown said to me that we
      might get our property if we could; that he defied us and
      the whole United States to follow him. He and his men
      seemed anxious to take more from me than they did for they
      ransacked the house in search of money, and I suppose they
      would have taken it if they had found it.... What I have
      stated is the truth and I am willing to swear to it. I do
      not hold any particular malice or prejudice on account of
      these old transactions. Old things have passed away, but
      the truth can never pass away.[333]

Along with the plunder of the Hicklan home, five slaves were taken;
these are said to have belonged to the "Lawrence estate" then in
Hicklan's care, as administrator. Besides the negroes, he took from the
Lawrence estate two good horses, a yoke of oxen, a good wagon, harness,
saddles, a considerable quantity of provisions, bacon, flour, meal,
coffee, sugar, etc.; all of the bedding and clothing of the negroes,
Hicklan's shot-gun, overcoat, boots, and many other articles belonging
to the whites. From Larue were taken five negroes, six head of horses,
harness, a wagon, a lot of bedding and clothing, provisions, and, in
short, all the loot available and portable.[334] Besides killing Cruise
and looting the home, Stevens took, as claimed by the family, two yoke
of oxen, a wagon load of provisions, eleven mules, and two horses. A
mule was also taken from the Hugh Martin home.

After the robberies the two parties united at a point theretofore agreed
upon, and started on the return trip to Kansas. At daylight they
secreted themselves in a deep wooded ravine, where they remained until
after dark, when they continued their march, arriving at Mr. Wattles's
home, two miles north of Mound City, at midnight of Wednesday the 22d.
Here Brown stopped until morning, having with him the slaves, one wagon,
and two or three of his men; the others pushing on northward with the
swag, to get it beyond danger of recovery, and to divide it or sell it
for the benefit of all concerned.

The liberation of the slaves was a cumbersome and dangerous experiment,
but it was as necessary as it was dangerous. To have taken all this
plunder and carried it off without the diversion of taking the slaves
with him, would have been a case of such plain stealing, that Brown
would have been completely discredited therefor; even the "Secret War
Committee" might have joined in the general repudiation of him that
would have followed. But the carrying off of the slaves to freedom, in
this wholesale spectacular way, was great advertising; it distracted
attention from the basic motive of the raid, and secured creditable
notoriety for Brown in the North. It seems, however, that after arriving
at the Wattles home with the slaves, Brown practically, or personally at
least, abandoned them to their fate. The narrative states:[335]

      At dawn on Thursday, the caravan started again, and this
      time without Brown. Two of his men accompanied the one
      ox-team, which was sent forward, one going ahead to act as

This man, however, turned back, leaving the negroes to make their way to
Osawatomie alone. They arrived, without any mishap, at the home of Mr.
Adair, near Osawatomie, on Christmas Eve, where, it seems, no
arrangements had been made to receive them. On the arrival of the slaves
at his home, Mr. Adair says he referred the matter of sheltering them to
his wife, calling her attention to the responsibility it would involve.
"She considered the matter a few moments and then said: 'I cannot turn
them away.' They were taken around to the back yard, and the colored
people were brought into the back kitchen and kept there that
night."[336] Continuing the narrative Mr. Villard says that at two A. M.
of the morning after Christmas, the fugitives were finally placed in an
old abandoned preëmption cabin on the south fork of the Pottawatomie,
where kind neighbors brought them food and gave them encouragement.[337]
In this location they remained until they were taken north. It is
probable that Brown, in his selfishness, cared but little whether these
negroes were returned to slavery or not. He had done his stunt in
liberating them, and made no pretense of defending them or of caring for
them until in January, and took care not to be near the fugitives while
the pursuing bands were scouring the country in search of them.

Naturally no public accounting was ever made of the property taken by
the Shubel Morgan Plunder Company, nor has any statement ever been made
as to the division of the plunder, or of a division of the proceeds,
among the members of it. But it is known that it was the raid and the
robbery, that Brown had in view, whereby he expected to raise the money
to defray the expense of the return of the party to the East. January
11, 1859, he wrote to his family that he had been unable to finish up
his business as rapidly as he had hoped to when he wrote
previously--December 2d--and the delay of his departure from Kansas
until about January 20th, was probably due to the fact that it required
that length of time to close out the company property and make
distribution of the proceeds. Final settlement was probably made at or
near Lawrence. Mr. Villard says on page 380:

      Somehow or other Brown recruited his finances while near
      Lawrence, and his wagons, when he drove away, were creaking
      with the weight of provisions contributed by Major Abbott
      and Mr. Grover.

Pending the sale of the plunder and final settlement for it, Brown
remained an unwelcome prowler, in the neighborhood of Moneka, amid a
storm of indignation against him that was as general as it was severe.
Even his "staunch friend Wattles" severely censured him "for going into
Missouri, contrary to our agreement, and getting these slaves." On
January 2d, Brown wrote a formal letter to Montgomery "asking him to
hold himself in readiness to call out reënforcements at a moment's
notice, to prevent a possible invasion because of a raid into Missouri."
But Montgomery was not holding himself in readiness to defend Brown, or
to repel the retaliatory invasion he had invited; but "was eagerly at
work for peace;" seeking to prevent a retaliatory blow from falling
upon the Free-State settlement. What Montgomery wrote to Brown in reply
to this letter, if he answered it at all, has never been published. He
denied having any complicity with Brown, and joined in the general
denunciation of him, and in the condemnation of his action. It was this
denunciation of him by Montgomery and the Free-State men generally that
called forth Brown's personal defense of his conduct, in what he called
his "Parallels"; a paper conspicuous in Brown literature.

The Lawrence _Herald of Freedom_ on January 8, 1859, published a letter
from a clergyman at Moneka, from which the following paragraphs are

      I have watched the progress of these troubles here until I
      am sick-heart-sick with humanity. Here are men claiming to
      be Christians, and even ministers of the Gospel, who
      profess to be guided in their actions by the teachings of
      the Prince of Peace, who have organized a body of
      murderers, robbers, gamblers and horse-thieves, and
      subsisting by plunder. They are riding over the country and
      committing the basest of crimes. If this is Christianity
      anything would be preferable to it.

      The strangest of all is to see peace men, those in the
      States who were members of peace societies, and who were
      sending delegates to peace congresses, laboring to
      inaugurate civil war, with the expressed object of working
      a revolution throughout the nation, ultimating in a
      dissolution of the Union; and all to procure the
      emancipation of the slave. Simple men! They should learn
      that revolutions involving such grave consequences are not
      usually set on foot by murderers and thieves. Though Brutus
      triumphed over the dead corpse of Cæsar, yet it is not
      believed that in this age of enlightment a few ignoramuses
      and desperadoes of the character of those in this country
      can succeed in crushing out slavery and with it American

But Brown's band was the only band of thieves operating in that
neighborhood after July 15, 1858. The Shubel Morgan Company, then, was
the "organized body of murderers, robbers, gamblers and horse thieves"
described and complained of by the Moneka clergyman--"Men who prosecute
their nefarious business in the name of God and Humanity." The _Herald
of Freedom_ seems to have fallen under Brown's displeasure. He thought
"all honest, sensible Free-State men in Kansas consider George
Washington Brown's 'Herald of Freedom' one of the most traitorous
publications in the whole country."[339]

On January 11, 1859, Governor Medary asked the Territorial Legislature,
then in session, to appropriate $250 as a reward for the arrest of
Montgomery, and a similar amount for the arrest of Brown. In response to
this, Montgomery wrote a letter to the Lawrence _Republican_, saying,
among other things: "For Brown's doings in Missouri, I am not
responsible. I know nothing of either his plans or intentions. Brown
keeps his own counsels, and acts on his own responsibility. I hear much
said about Montgomery and his company. I have no company. We have had no
organization since the 5th day of July."[340] Continuing, Mr. Villard
says that Montgomery came to Lawrence on January 18th, and delivered
himself up to Judge Elmore, who placed him in the custody of the
sheriff. There being but one indictment against him, and that for
robbing a post-office, he was released on bail, in the sum of $4,000.
Three days later he returned home and continued his efforts in behalf of
peace. He came back to Lawrence on February 2d, with six of his men, who
also surrendered themselves to the Territorial officers.

About this time Brown received a visit from George A. Crawford, a
Free-State Democrat residing at Fort Scott, who said some things to
Brown at the request of Governor Medary. In a letter to Hon. Eli Thayer
of August 4, 1879, Crawford states the substance of this conversation.
Some extracts from the letter are as follows:[341]

      ... I protested to the Captain against this violence. We
      were settlers, he was not. He could strike a blow and
      leave. The retaliatory blow would fall on us. Being a
      Free-State man, I myself was held personally responsible by
      pro-slavery ruffians in Fort Scott for the acts of Captain
      Brown. One of these ruffians, Brockett, when they gave me
      notice to leave the town said, "When a snake bites me, I
      don't go hunting for that particular snake. I kill the
      first snake I come to."

      I called Captain Brown's attention to the facts that we
      were at peace with Missouri; that our Legislature was then
      in the hands of Free-State men to make the laws; that even
      in our disturbed counties of Bourbon and Linn we were in a
      majority and had elected the officers both to make and
      execute the laws; that without peace we could have no
      immigration; that no Southern immigration was coming; that
      agitation such as his was only keeping Northern friends
      away, etc. The old man replied that it was no pleasure to
      him, an old man, to be living in the saddle, away from home
      and family and exposing his life; and if the Free-State men
      of Kansas felt they no longer needed him, he would be glad
      to go....

On account of the unfriendly criticism of his conduct, Brown left the
neighborhood of Moneka January 11th and went to Osawatomie, and about
the 20th, in company with Gill and Kagi, convoying the slaves, set out
on the journey to the North. Stevens and Tidd were with the party at
Osawatomie, but they were detailed to steal "a span of horses" the day
the caravan moved, which made it necessary for them to scurry out of the
neighborhood as rapidly as the horses which they had stolen could

Concerning this transaction Mr. Gill says,[342] that a day or two
before starting he found out that a Missourian, with a span of horses,
was stopping _temporarily_ a few miles from Osawatomie; also that he had
a well grounded _suspicion_ that they had been stolen from Free-State
men. At Garnett, he says, he communicated his suspicion "to Stevens and
Tidd, who set out, the same evening that we did, to replevin these
horses. After doing so they proceeded to Topeka to await us; Kagi also,"
he says, "scouted ahead for some purpose, most probably to arrange
stopping-places for us, leaving Brown and myself alone with the colored

With the stealing of these horses "Brown's men wound up their business
in South Eastern Kansas." It was probably their last theft in the
Territory. What their first one was, and what their intermediate acts
were, can only be surmised. Summarizing his work in Kansas during 1858
Mr. Villard says:[343]

      As for John Brown, he was ready to leave the Territory for
      the last time. Of constructive work there was no more to
      his credit than when he left the Territory in 1856.... The
      sole act of any significance to be credited to him during
      these six months in Southern Kansas is the capture of the
      slaves.... Certain it is that the Missouri raid, in
      violation of his agreement, caused many peaceful Free-State
      settlers to flee their homes for fear of violence, and
      might have resulted seriously but for the efforts of
      certain Missourians to keep the peace....

Brown's successful trip across the country, from Kansas to Canada, in
the rigor of winter, with these colored fugitives, will always stand to
the credit of his courage, his sagacity, and his perseverance. The
initial drive from Osawatomie to Major Abbott's place near Lawrence,
where they arrived January 24th, had its discomforts. Mr. Villard,
quoting from Gill's narrative says: "Through mud, and then over frozen
ground, without a dollar in their pockets, their shoes all but falling
apart, Gill and Brown, resolutely drove the slow-going ox-team with its
load of women and children. Gill's feet were frozen, and the 'old man's
fingers, nose and ears frozen.'" From Abbott's hospitable home they sent
the ox-team to Lawrence to be sold, and in its place obtained horses and
wagons. On the 28th, the narrative states, they arrived at Holton "amid
all the discomforts of a driving prairie snow storm." But the storm
could not have been very severe, because upon their arrival next day at
Spring Creek, six miles distant, that stream "was too high to ford" and
they were compelled to remain there over Sunday. The storm therefore
must have been a rain storm rather than a prairie blizzard.

About this time Brown's movements were discovered and his location had
become known; also the Territorial authorities became active in an
effort to arrest him. On Saturday, as the story goes, a volunteer posse
from Atchison, under Mr. A. P. Wood, arrived upon the scene, and took up
a position on the north side of Spring Creek, barring Brown's further
progress northward. It looked as though the "chase was trapped"; and
Governor Medary with evident satisfaction announced the fact to
President Buchanan. The Governor also sent a special messenger--Deputy
Marshal Colby--to Colonel Sumner, commanding at Fort Leavenworth,
informing that officer as to the situation, and requesting that troops
be sent to capture him. But Brown, in anticipation of hostilities, had
sent to Topeka for assistance, and Colonel John Ritchie, with about
twenty men, responded to his call, arriving at his camp about noon on
Monday. Upon the arrival of these reënforcements, Brown promptly moved
toward the crossing of the creek, and quite as promptly the Atchison
party abandoned its position. The engagement that followed seems to have
been a contest for speed, and was appropriately named "The Battle of the
Spurs."[344] The Leavenworth _Times_ had this to say about the

      The chase was a merry one, and closed by Brown's taking off
      three of his pursuers as prisoners; with four horses,
      pistols, guns, etc., as legitimate plunder.

February 10th, Brown was at Tabor, Iowa. From there he wrote to his

      I am once more in Iowa, through the great mercy of God.
      Those with me and _other_ friends are well. I hope soon to
      be at a point where I can learn of _your welfare_ & perhaps
      send you something besides my good wishes. I suppose you
      get the common news. May the God of my _fathers_ be your

Brown's reception by the people of Tabor was a disappointment. He
arrived on Saturday and hoped to receive an ovation at the church next
day; and that a "collection" would be taken up for his benefit. To bring
this about he prepared the following notice, which he handed to the Rev.
John Todd, as the latter entered his church Sunday morning, which he
desired should be read to the congregation:[347]

      John Brown respectfully requests the church at Tabor to
      offer public thanksgiving to Almighty God in behalf of
      himself, & company: & _of their rescued captives in
      particular_ for his gracious preservation of their lives, &
      health; & his signal deliverance of all out of the hand of
      the wicked, hitherto. "Oh, give thanks unto the Lord; for
      he is good; for his mercy endureth forever."

But there was objection and the note was not read. The fame of Browns
actions, or the infamy of them, had preceded him at Tabor, which was
probably confirmed by the swaggering and boasting of his men. At any
rate, after conferring with Dr. H. D. King, who occupied the pulpit with
Mr. Todd, the latter declined to read the note, or to take up the
collection.[348] Dr. King is reported to have said:

      Brother Todd, this is your church, but if I were you I
      would not make a prayer for them. Inasmuch as it is said
      they have destroyed life, and stolen horses, I should want
      to take the charge under examination before I made a public

Brown was equally unfortunate at a public meeting which he called for
Monday. It resolved that "we have no Sympathy with those who go to Slave
States to entice away Slaves, & take property or life when necessary to
attain that end."[350]

At Grinnell Brown held two night meetings, with full houses, at which he
and Kagi spoke. Both were loudly cheered. The collections, too, were
satisfactory: "$26.50 and whole party and teams kept for Two days
without cost. Sundry articles of clothing given to captives. Bread,
Meat, Cakes, Pies, etc., prepared for our journey."[351]

In justification of his Missouri raid, Brown, in March, wrote to Mr.
John Teesdale of the Des Moines _Register_:[352]

      First, it has been my deliberate judgment, since 1855, that
      the most ready and effectual way to retrieve Kansas would
      be to meddle directly with the peculiar institution. Next,
      we had no means of moving the rescued captives without
      taking a portion of their lawfully acquired earnings, all
      we took has been held sacred to that object and will be.

The last clause of the latter statement would move Jennison's ghost to
smile if it were read to it.[353]

The caravan arrived at Springdale February 25th, and remained there
until March 10th, when the colored people and their traps were loaded
into a box car, at West Liberty, and taken by an express train to
Chicago. The use of a box car, and the transportation of the fugitives
to Chicago, was quietly arranged by Mr. Grinnell with Superintendent
Tracey, of the railroad. The latter refused to accept payment for the
service, saying: "We might be held for the value of every one of those

Arriving at Chicago, March 11th, at 4:40 A. M., Brown reported his case
to Allen Pinkerton, who took charge of the party. Pinkerton also raised
a fund of about six hundred dollars for Brown; and arranged with General
Superintendent Hammond, of the Michigan Central Railway, for a car and
transportation for the outfit to Detroit. Kagi had charge of the party
from Chicago to Detroit where they arrived March 12th, at 10 o'clock A.
M., Brown having preceded them on an earlier train to arrange for their
reception at Windsor, Canada. He met them on the ferry boat and escorted
them across the river to freedom.[354]

The liberation of these slaves in Missouri, and the safe delivery of
them in Canada was a capable performance. But it is not believable that
the department of justice at any time contemplated any interference with
Brown, or that it made any attempt to arrest him, or had any desire to
effect his arrest. That it had him under surveillance, and had reports
of his movements, from the time he arrived at Holton until he
disembarked the fugitives at Windsor, there can be no reasonable doubt;
and that it had the power to arrest him, if it desired to do so, will
not be denied. But the fugitive slave law, at this time, had become a
grievous thorn in the political flesh of the northern Democracy. The
Administration had troubles enough, already, in the distracted condition
of the country, without further antagonizing Northern public sentiment,
and turning loose upon itself the tempest of criticism and censure that
would surely follow if Brown were arrested, and a heartless judge should
remand back to slavery and punishment these timid, shrinking, friendless
women and children.



_Confusion on thy banners wait!
Though fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing_.--GRAY

Released from further responsibility for his fugitive wards, and wearing
the laurels of his recent adventures, Brown began the reorganization of
his forces for the final hazard. Arriving at Cleveland March 15th, he
proceeded to sell, publicly, what remained of his share of the
Kansas-Missouri plunder which had been forwarded to that point from
Springdale: two horses and a mule. Brown announced that, notwithstanding
the Missouri origin of the stock, they were now "Abolition" animals;
explaining his metaphor by the statement that he had "converted" them. A
pen picture of Brown by _Artemus Ward_, reads as follows:[355]

      He is a medium sized, compactly-built and wiry man, as
      quick as a cat in his movements. His hair is of a salt and
      pepper hue and as stiff as bristles; he has a long, waving,
      milk white goatee which gives him a somewhat patriarchal
      appearance. A man of pluck, is Brown. You may bet on that.
      He shows it in his walk, talk and actions. He must be
      rising sixty and yet we believe he could lick a yard full
      of wild cats before breakfast and without taking off his
      coat. Turn him into a ring with nine Border ruffians, four
      bears, six injuns and a brace of bull pups and we opine
      that "the eagles of victory would perch on his banner." We
      don't mean by this that he looks like a professional
      bruiser, who hits from the shoulder, but he looks like a
      man of iron and one that few men would like to "sail into."

Kagi appeared to him "like a melancholy brigand, some of whose
statements were no doubt false and some shamefully true." A summary of
the lecture Brown delivered at Cleveland reads as follows:[356]

      Brown's description of his trip to Westport and capture of
      eleven niggers was refreshingly cool, and it struck us,
      while he was giving it, that he would make his jolly
      fortune by letting himself out as an Ice Cream Freezer. He
      meant this invasion as a direct blow at slavery. He did not
      disguise it--he wanted the audience to distinctly
      understand it. With a few picked men, he visited Westport
      in the night and liberated eleven slaves. He also
      "liberated" a large number of horses, oxen, mules and
      furniture at the same time.

In this speech Brown made the only acknowledgment of record, of his
relation to the Pottawatomie assassinations. The _Leader_, which was
friendly to Brown, quoted him as saying,[357] that "he had never killed
anybody, although on some occasions he had _shown his young men with
him_, how some things might be done as well as others and they had done
the business." Brown also impressed Mr. Alcott, who said of him after
hearing his lecture at Concord, May 8th:[358]

      He tells his story with surprising simplicity and sense,
      impressing us all deeply with his courage and religious
      earnestness.... I had a few words with him after his
      speech, and find him superior to legal traditions and a
      disciple of the Right in ideality and the affairs of state.
      A young man named Anderson accompanies him. They go armed,
      I am told, and will defend themselves if necessary. He does
      not conceal his hatred of slavery, nor his readiness to
      strike a blow for freedom at the proper moment. He is of
      imposing appearance.... I think him about the manliest man
      I have ever seen.

The principal matter in hand now was to finance the initial movement of
the campaign. All the skies were clear. Time and the Kansas diversion
had discredited Forbes's truthful statements and eliminated him from the
problem. There was to be no further shifting of the scene, or hesitation
or faltering. The flood in his affairs was rising, carrying him on its
crest, to his fate. To the intelligent and insistent perseverence of Mr.
Sanborn belongs the credit, or the discredit, as the reader may elect,
for making Brown's operations possible. He stood, or became sponsor for
Brown's integrity of purpose in January, 1857, and financed his
subsequent career. May 30th, he wrote Colonel Higginson:

      Capt. B. has been here for three weeks, and is soon to
      leave--having got his $2000 secured. He is at the U. S.
      Hotel; and you ought to see him before he goes, for now he
      is to begin.[359]

Mr. Sanborn states[360] that in all, a little more than four thousand
dollars passed through the hands of the secret committee or was known to
it, as having been contributed in aid of the "Virginia enterprise:" and
that those who contributed thirty-eight hundred dollars of this sum, did
so "with a clear knowledge of the use to which it would be put."

At North Elba, about June 16th, Brown bid his family farewell and went
to West Andover where he made arrangements with his son John to take
upon himself the combined duties of quartermaster general, and
recruiting and mustering officer. From Ohio he went to Pennsylvania,
writing to Kagi, from Pittsburgh, under the name of S. Monroe. He was at
Bedford on June 26th, and at Chambersburg on the 28th. From Chamberburg,
on June 30th, in company with two of his sons, Owen and Oliver, and
Jeremiah G. Anderson. Brown left for the "front." On that day he wrote
Kagi under the name of "I Smith & Sons" saying that they were leaving
for Harper's Ferry and would be looking for "cheap lands near the
railroad in all probability." July 3d, they arrived at Sandy Hook,
Maryland, and spent the next day reconnoitering the country on the
Maryland side of the Potomac above Harper's Ferry.

To a Mr. Unseld, whom they met during the morning, Brown stated that
they were farmers from northern New York and because of late frosts and
other disadvantages, they had decided to seek a new location; that they
had a little money and intended to buy a farm, but would prefer to rent
a place until they became better acquainted with farm values in the
neighborhood. He also told him that his business would be buying fat
cattle for the New York market. Unseld suggested to them a farm
belonging to the heirs of a Dr. Kennedy, recently deceased, which was
then for sale. This farm was located about five miles from Harpers Ferry
on the Boonsboro road. It had probably been selected for headquarters
for the "Provisional Army" by Cook, who had been stationed at Harper's
Ferry for more than a year.

The Kennedy farm suited Brown "exactly." He went to Sharpsburg
immediately and leased two houses that were on the place, with firewood,
and pasture for a horse and a cow, until March 1, 1860; the total
consideration being thirty-five dollars. The main house stands about
three hundred yards from the road on the south side. "There was a
basement, kitchen and a storeroom, a living room and bed rooms on the
second story, and an attic." The "cabin" stood about the same distance
from the road on the north side of it. Notwithstanding the distance from
the road. Brown was constantly in danger of being brought under
suspicion by the friendly but inquisitive neighbors, who were constantly
dropping in to see the newcomers; but who were never invited to come
into the house. To further disarm suspicion Brown, on July 5th, sent for
his wife and daughter Anne, to report at headquarters. Mrs. "Smith,"
however, seemed to think she could not so readily abandon her home and
her young children. But Oliver Brown's young wife came instead: she and
"Annie" arrived about the middle of July. On the 10th of this month,
Brown wrote to Kagi, who was at Chambersburg, that it would be
"distressing _in many ways_, to have a lot of hands for many days, out
of employ. We must make up our lot of hands as nearly _at one & the
same_ time as possible."[361]

August 11th, there was a panic on the bourse of the Provisional
Government. Kagi reported the arrival of fifteen boxes of arms with
freight charges amounting to $85.00, which caused Brown to ask his son
John to solicit for him "a little more assistance, say two or three
hundred dollars." Continuing he said:

      It is terribly humiliating to me to begin soliciting of
      friends again; but as the harvest opens before me with
      increasing encouragements, I may not allow a feeling of
      delicacy to deter me from asking the little further I
      expect to need.[362]

In due time his requisition for funds was honored from the never-failing
purse of Gerrit Smith. Brown's means of transportation consisted of a
horse and a wagon, but a contract for moving the arms from Chambersburg
to the Kennedy farm was awarded to a "Pennsylvania Dutchman" who had a
large freight wagon.[363]

Meanwhile the movement progressed in a systematic and orderly manner.
There was grave danger, however, that the secret of the contemplated
insurrection would transpire through the loquacity of the many persons,
estimated by Mr. Villard at possibly, eighty, who had more or less
knowledge of the enterprise. Brown seems to have feared that Cook,
especially, might give up information that would work disaster. It was
not that he held his loyalty in doubt, but he had been reported to the
commander-in-chief on a previous occasion, by the honorable secretary of
state, Mr. Realf, for "cacoethes loquendi," and Brown feared a
recrudescence of the malady. In a letter to Kagi at Chambersburg,
August 11th, he severely reproved those who had made their business in
Maryland a subject for general correspondence. But his expressions of
displeasure, did not prevent Leeman from writing to his mother, a month
and a half later, as follows:[364]

      I am now in a Southern _Slave State_ and before I leave it
      it will be a free State, Mother.... Yes, mother I am waring
      with Slavery the greatest Curse that ever infested America;
      In Explanation of my Absence from you for so long a time I
      would tell you that for three years I have been Engaged in
      a Secret Association of as gallant fellows as ever puled a
      trigger with the sole purpose of the _Extermination of

A warning, which was received by the Honorable Secretary of War, August
25th, notifying the department that Brown was then promoting a general
insurrection among the slaves, probably had its origin in Cook's
indiscreet volubility. The letter, addressed to "J. B. Floyd, Sec'y of
War," "Private" is as follows:[365]

                              Cincinnati, August 20.

      SIR: I have lately received information of a movement of so
      great importance that I feel it my duty to impart it to you
      without delay.

      I have discovered the existence of a secret association,
      having for its object the liberation of the slaves at the
      South, by a general insurrection. The leader of the
      movement is _old John Brown_, late of Kansas. He has been
      in Canada during the winter, drilling the negroes there,
      and they are only waiting for his word to start for the
      South to assist the slaves. They have one of their leading
      men (a white man) in an armory in Maryland--where it is
      situated, I have not been able to learn. As soon as every
      thing is ready, those of their number who are in the
      Northern States and Canada are to come in small companies
      to their rendezvous, which is in the mountains in
      Virginia. They will pass down through Pennsylvania and
      Maryland and enter Virginia at Harper's Ferry. Brown left
      the North about three or four weeks ago, and will arm the
      negroes and strike a blow in a few weeks; so that whatever
      is done must be done at once. They have a large quantity of
      arms at their rendezvous and are probably distributing them
      already. As I am not fully in their confidence, this is all
      the information I can give you. I dare not sign my name to
      this, but trust that you will not disregard the warning on
      that account.

This letter, which should have led to the immediate overthrow and wreck
of the Provisional Government of the United States, had been enclosed in
an envelope addressed to the postmaster at Cincinnati, and mailed at Big
Rock, Iowa. At Cincinnati, August 23d, it was remailed to the Honorable
Secretary. Mr. Floyd received it at Red Sweet Springs, Virginia, August
25th, and while not attaching sufficient importance to the subject of
the communication to read it a second time, he preserved the letter,
and, after the denouement, published it. In explanation of his
indifference to the contents of this letter, he stated to the Mason
Committee, that the reference to the arsenal in Maryland misled him,
there being no armory in that state. He therefore, supposed the whole
thing was a hoax, and gave it no further attention. The history of the
letter was revealed in later years by its author, David J. Gue, of Scott
County, Iowa, who obtained his information from Mr. Moses Varney, of

As the days passed, the men, who were to form the nucleus of the army of
invasion, straggled into Harper's Ferry and reported at headquarters for
duty. August 6th, Watson Brown arrived, and with him came the Thompson
brothers, William and Dauphin. They were brothers to Henry Thompson, who
had been with Brown in Kansas in 1856. Then came Tidd and Stevens, _et
al._, and last of all, but one of the most welcome of all the recruits,
came Francis J. Merriam. He arrived at the Kenneday farm October 15th,
with six hundred dollars in gold in his pockets, which he covered into
the Provisional Treasury. The arrival of Merriam with his gold relieved
the strain upon Brown's exchequer. The commander-in-chief had been
compelled to negotiate a loan of forty dollars from Lieutenant Coppoc,
upon the credit of the Provisional Government, to meet the current
expenses of the expedition. That deficit was now made good, leaving a
handsome surplus on hand. When Brown was taken into custody three days
later, he had with him two hundred and fifty or sixty dollars in gold
and silver. Mrs. Anne Brown Adams said:[367] "The good Father in Heaven
who furnishes daily bread sent Francis J. Merriam down there with his
money to help them just at the moment it was needed." But it may also be
said that in the varying vicissitudes of Brown's fortunes, almost any
moment was just such a moment as this. "His money," Mr. Villard states,
was Merriam's "only contribution of value to the cause.... In addition
to his other physical frailties he had lost the sight of one of his
eyes." After looking him over, Stevens assigned him to duty as guard
over the arms which were to be left at the Kennedy farm.

On the 29th of September, the two young women left army headquarters to
return to their homes. They had rendered faithful and valuable services
during the months of their stay. If the Provisional Government had
succeeded, these two women would have taken rank with the
immortals--Betsy Ross and Mollie Stark. Mrs. Adams relates[368] that one
day, while "we were alone in the yard Owen remarked, as he looked up at
the house: 'If we succeed, some day there will be a United States flag
over this house. If we do not, it will be considered a den of land
pirates and thieves.'" In the division of their labors Anne, and not
"Martha," seems to have "chosen the better part"; the latter did the
cooking for the company, and was the general head of the department of
domestic economy; while Anne, from the watch towers of the rude farm
house, kept vigils over all the approaches thereto. She was the faithful
sentinel that sounded the alarm at every sign of danger--the vestal
virgin, keeping alive the sacred fires upon their altar of liberty. The
approach of any human being was cause for alarm, lest the presence of
the invading army might be discovered and divulged. An interesting
account of the daily life at headquarters, by Mrs. Anne Brown Adams is
published by Mr. Villard.[369] Of the personnel of the field and staff,
she says:

      It is claimed by many that they were a wild, ignorant,
      fanatical or adventurous lot of rough men. _This is not
      so_, they were sons from good families, well trained by
      orthodox religious parents, too young to have settled views
      on many subjects, impulsive, generous, too good themselves
      to believe that God could possibly be the harsh unforgiving
      being He was at that day usually represented to be. Judging
      them by the rules laid down by Christ, I think they were
      uncommonly good and sincere Christians, if the term
      Christian means follower of Christ's example, and too great
      lovers of freedom to endure to be trammeled by church or

No doubt the conduct of these free-booters, in the presence of the young
women, at the Kennedy farm, was circumspect and commendable, and
justified the estimate herein expressed of their exemplary characters,
and of the Christian lives that she supposed they had led, and were

Little indeed did this pure minded girl know of the reckless careers and
the lives of violence these adventurers represented, or of the motives
that prompted them to undertake their present enterprise. Measuring them
by the standards put forth by Christ, it will have to be admitted that
they were a collection of "mis-fit" Christians--as "mild mannered men as
ever scuttled ship or cut a throat." Leeman, for instance, may be taken
as an illustration of one of these ideal "followers of Christ's
example." "For three years," he had been secretly placing the example of
his exalted character before the world, warring with slavery, in an
association of as gallant fellows as ever "puled" a trigger. Who these
gallant trigger "puling" fellows were, and what they did to earn their
reputations as trigger "pulers," during these three years, is more or
less conjectural. Mrs. Adams turns the light upon Leeman's Christian
character a little further, by the statement, that "he smoked a good
deal and drank sometimes." Mr. Villard states that he went to Kansas in
1856 with the second Massachusetts colony of that year, and became a
member of John Brown's "Volunteer-Regulars," September 9, 1856. Also,
that he fought well at Osawatomie. But since he is reported as having
enlisted ten days after the battle of Osawatomie there may be some
mistake as to that. George B. Gill, who knew a good bit about him and
who may have been a trigger "puler" himself, says that he "had a good
intellect with great ingenuity." Anne heard Hazlett and Leeman, one day,
saying that "Barclay Coppoc and Dauphin Thompson were too nearly like
good girls to make soldiers: that they ought to have gone to Kansas and
roughed it awhile, to toughen them, before coming down there." Cook, it
may be said, was less Christ-like than Leeman. He was disposed to
"swagger," also he "was indiscreet" and "boastful." Once, when in a
boastful mood, at Cleveland, he boasted that he had "killed five men in
Kansas." Then too he "swaggered openly in his boarding house" which was
bad form, from a Christian point of view. Also it is said that he
"revealed too much to a woman acquaintance."[370] Then there was
Hazlett; but the record as to his actions is so meager that one cannot
estimate with any degree of accuracy how "Christ-like" he really was.
About all that is known of him is that he stole a horse--a very fine
stallion--from somebody in Missouri, which, as has been stated, he
traded to Brown for a forty-acre United States land warrant. Also, he
was with Stevens when the latter killed Cruise, to get possession of the
slave girl. As to Stevens, it cannot truthfully be said that he was a
follower of Christ's example, in the stricter interpretation of that
expression. One of Christ's disciples--Peter--it is said, followed the
Master "afar off." In that respect Stevens resembles the disciple rather
than the Master. As a matter of fact, if Stevens followed Christ's
example at all, it was at very long range. From what is known of the
lives of these men, it may be assumed also, that if Charles Jennison had
been under Anne's observation at the Kennedy farm, he too would have
secured absolution for his crimes and would have received at her hands a
certificate of Christianity.[371]

The details that Brown's biographers have published concerning the
concentration of the military stores at his headquarters; his
correspondence with his men; the assembling of them in Maryland; his
constantly recurring financial embarrassments, and the edited statements
concerning the daily life which he and his men led after their arrival
at the seat of war, are of little or no public interest or value. They
fail to touch upon the vital purpose that led Brown, in the disguise of
a farmer or cattle buyer, to take up his residence at the Kennedy farm
house. They fail to even hint at the broad purpose of his being there,
or of the commanding things which he strenuously sought to promote
during the months that he occupied the ground. They trifle with their
theme and with their characters. These men had not dedicated their lives
to martyrdom "that others might live." Their impromptu metamorphosis
from "soiled lives" to consecrated lives is gratuitous. They were
_capitalized_ upon "the monstrous wrong which they beheld," and
intended to turn it, through a wrong still more monstrous, to a
monstrous personal advantage. No maudlin sentiment inspired these men,
"with soiled lives behind them" to dare as few ever dared before. Their
"hearts throbbed" with a single mighty purpose--an ambition worthy of
the desperation of their adventure. Their goal was an empire and its
emoluments: their rewards the spoils of conquest of the most promising
field that marauders ever planned to plunder.

The time finally agreed upon and fixed for the great catastrophe was the
night of October 16th. The party consisted of the following persons:

                  WHITE:                    COLORED:
                  John Brown            J. A. Copeland, Jr.
                  J. H. Kagi            L. S. Leary
                  A. D. Stevens         O. P. Anderson
                  J. E. Cook            Dangerfield Newby
                  C. P. Tidd            Shields Green
                  Albert Hazlett
                  J. G. Anderson
                  William Thompson
                  D. O. Thompson
                  Edwin Coppoc
                  Barclay Coppoc
                  W. H. Leeman
                  Owen Brown
                  Oliver Brown
                  Watson Brown
                  F. J. Merriam
                  Stewart Taylor

The extent of the conspiracy among the slaves and the confidential
arrangements and agreements which Brown made and entered into with
them--his co-conspirators--during the months he spent in secret
negotiations with them; and the pledges and promises that had been
exchanged between them will, of course, never be known. But so far as
the plans agreed upon related to the initial movements, the general
outline of them was simple enough for the comprehension of every one,
the untutored slaves included. Brown and his men were to occupy Harper's
Ferry. They were to cut the telegraph wires and take possession of the
public buildings located there--the armory, the arsenal, and the rifle
works--and the military stores contained in them. The slaves, on their
part, were to revolt against their masters; murder them and their
families, and then report to Brown at Harper's Ferry, where they would
be organized into companies, regiments, and brigades, and be armed and
equipped from the stock of war material which he would have in his

The war department was doing some business. Stevens, Kagi, Cook, Owen
Brown, Oliver Brown, Watson Brown, Leeman, William Thompson, J. G.
Anderson, Tidd, and Hazlett had been appointed captains in the
provisional army, and Edwin Coppoc and Dauphin Thompson first
lieutenants. The privates were Taylor, Barclay Coppoc and Merriam,
_white_; and Green, Leary, Copeland, Osborn P. Anderson, and Newby,
_colored_. There is conflict of testimony as to whether Hazlett was a
captain or a lieutenant. Colonel Lee reported him and Leeman as
lieutenants. A captain's commission, however, was found on Leeman's
body. William Thompson and J. G. Anderson were probably captains.[372]
In his confession Cook says:

      There were six or seven in the party who did not know
      anything about our Constitution, and were also ignorant of
      the plan of operations until Saturday morning October 16th.
      Among this number were Edwin and Barclay Coppoc, Merriam,
      Shields Green, Copeland and Leary. The Constitution was
      then read to them by Stevens, and the oath, afterward,
      administered by Captain Brown.



_The best laid schemes o' mice and men
Gang aft a gley._


On Sunday morning, October 16th, 1859, Captain Owen Brown and Privates
Coppoc and Merriam were detailed for duty at the Kennedy farm; the
others were under marching orders during the day, awaiting the signal to
"fall in," and move to the scene of active operations. "The night was
dark, ending in rain." About eight o'clock Brown is reported to have
said: "Men, get your arms, we will proceed to the Ferry." The column was
soon in motion. It does not require a long time for eighteen men, who
are otherwise in readiness to move, to put on their accoutrements and
pick up their arms. In addition to a rifle, two revolvers, and forty
rounds of ball cartridges, each man carried, in lieu of an overcoat, a
long gray shawl, of the kind which was fashionable for men's wear at
that time. The headquarters train--a horse and wagon--was brought to the
door of the Kennedy farm house, and "some pikes, a crow-bar, and a
sledge-hammer, were quickly thrown into the wagon." A recent biographer
says, dramatically:

      In a moment more, the commander-in-chief donned his old
      battle-worn Kansas cap, mounted the wagon, and began the
      solemn march.

Knowledge of the condition, as to wear and tear, of the cap worn by the
commander-in-chief on this occasion, is not essential to a true
understanding of the purposes of the movement. But knowledge of the fact
that the historian drew upon his active and resourceful imagination,
when writing the history of these operations, and that it contributed,
immoderately, to the character of the writings which he put forth, is
essential to such understanding. It is therefore pointed out, that the
statement, while purporting to be one of fact, is altogether fanciful.
Also, that the biographer's treatment of this trifling incident is
characteristic of the coloring which embellishes his exposition of the
general subject. But to return to the cap. The Kansas origin of it will
not be denied; it may have been bought or stolen in the Territory; but
it was not "battle-worn." It will be remembered that Brown had but two
"battles" in Kansas, so far as the record shows, and that in the last
one--the Battle of Osawatomie, August 30, 1856--Brown "lost his hat" or
his cap or whatever his head gear may have been.[373]

A special order, "drawn up and carefully read to all" set forth the
details of the movement to be executed. In the line of march Captains
Cook and Tidd walked ahead of the wagon. The others, in files of two,
followed it. At 10:30, after a lonesome but uninterrupted march of more
than five miles, they arrived at the bridge which spanned the Potomac at
Harper's Ferry. It was used for both railroad and wagon road purposes.
Cook and Tidd, in the meantime, had detoured to cut the telegraph wires
leading into the town, and Kagi and Stevens had the head of the column.
While crossing the bridge, they took William Williams, the bridge
watchman, into custody as a prisoner. Then, after posting Captain Watson
Brown and Private Taylor at the bridge, the company proceeded to the
Harper's Ferry end of the Shenandoah bridge, a few yards distant, where
Captain Oliver Brown, Captain William Thompson, and Private Newby were
placed on duty. From there they went to the United States Armory,
located up the Potomac, about sixty yards from the ends of the two
bridges. At the armory gate the watchman on duty, Daniel Wheelan, was
taken into custody. Of this incident Wheelan said:[374]

      One fellow took me; they all gathered about me and looked
      in my face; I was nearly scared to death, so many guns
      about; I did not know the minute or the hour I should drop;
      they told me to be very quiet and still, and make no noise
      or else they would put me to eternity.

Addressing the two prisoners--Wheelan and Williams--Brown made the
following declaration of his intentions:[375]

      I came here from Kansas, and this is a slave State; I want
      to free all the negroes in this State; I have possession
      now of the United States armory, and if the citizens
      interfere with me, I must only burn the town and have

Brown then crossed the street to the arsenal building, where arms and
military equipment, valued at several millions of dollars, were stored,
and took possession of it, placing Captain Hazlett and Lieutenant Coppoc
in charge of the property. From there, with the remainder of the party,
he proceeded to the rifle works, located about a half mile up the
Shenandoah. Here the watchman was made a prisoner and Captain Kagi and
Private Copeland were placed on duty. Private Leary was also assigned to
duty at this post and later reported to Kagi.

These dispositions of his forces having been made, Brown's occupation of
Harper's Ferry was complete. All of the United States property--the
military stores accumulated at the arsenal; the armory and the rifle
works; and the principal highways entering the town, were in his
possession. The plans for the occupation of the place had been
accomplished without the firing of a shot. The initial movement of the
invasion had been successfully executed.

After the occupation. Brown sent a detail into the country to bring in
Colonel Lewis T. Washington and Mr. John H. Allstadt, whom he intended
to hold as hostages for the proper treatment of any of his men who might
happen to fall into the hands of the "enemy." The party was made up of
Captains Stevens, Cook, and Tidd, and Privates O. P. Anderson, Leary,
and Green. The Washington home was four or five miles from the town.
Colonel Washington was a great-grandnephew of George Washington. Of this
raid into the country, Mr. Villard says:[376]

      In Colonel Washington's possession was a pistol presented
      to General Washington by Lafayette, as well as a sword now
      in possession of the State of New York, which, according to
      an unverified legend, was the gift of Frederick the Great
      to George Washington. John E. Cook had seen these weapons
      in Colonel Washington's home, and John Brown, beginner of a
      new American revolution, wished to strike his first blow
      for the freedom of a race with them in his hands.

The closing sentence of this quotation is dramatic and rings true; but
it is inconsistent with the author's theory of the movement, which is,
that Brown intended to do trifling things instead of heroic things.

The raiders entered the house by breaking down the back door with a
fence rail; and Washington was awakened by hearing his "name called in
an undertone." He opened the bed-chamber door and was met by "four armed
men, one, with a revolver, carrying a burning flambeau, and the others
with their guns drawn upon him." Stevens was in command. Cook had
reconnoitered the Washington home a month or so before and had been
shown the historic weapons herein referred to. These Stevens now
demanded and received. He also demanded the Colonel's money and his
watch, but on the refusal of the latter to deliver them, the demand was
not pressed. When asked by Washington what the performance meant, they
said, "We have come here for the purpose of liberating all the slaves of
the South, and we are able (or propose to do it) or words to that
effect." While matters were progressing in-doors, Tidd had been busy
hitching up the Colonel's two-horse carriage and four-horse farm wagon.
After putting Colonel Washington into the carriage and loading the
slaves, four men, into the wagon, the caravan moved to the Allstadt
home, where the front door was broken down with a fence rail, as before,
and Allstadt and his son, together with his adult male slaves, were
taken into custody. Father and son were put into the seat of the wagon
with the negroes and all were driven to Harper's Ferry and delivered to
Brown at the armory. Brown told Colonel Washington that he had taken him
for the "moral effect it would give his cause to have one of the name a
prisoner." With the sword of Frederick the Great, and Washington, in his
hand, Brown now directed his desperate defense. Tuesday morning
Washington recovered the sword.[377]

In the meantime, at 12 o'clock, Patrick Higgins--also a
night-watchman--went to the Potomac bridge to relieve Night-Watchman
Williams who had been taken prisoner. As he approached he was "halted"
by Oliver Brown, at the Shenandoah bridge, and upon refusing to obey the
order, was fired upon, the bullet making a wound in his scalp.[378] Upon
the arrival at Harper's Ferry, of the east-bound Baltimore and Ohio
train, Higgins reported to the conductor--Phelps--what had happened to
him. The engineer of the train and the baggage-master, on going forward
toward the bridge to investigate, were also fired upon. At or about the
time this incident occurred, Shephard Hayward, the station
baggage-master, a free negro, went from the station toward the Potomac
bridge to look for Watchman Williams. Upon being ordered to halt, he
turned to retrace his steps to the station and was fired upon with fatal
effect, by Watson Brown's party, "A bullet passing through his body a
little below the heart," from the effect of which he died during the
afternoon, about 4 o'clock. The arrival of the train being reported to
Brown, he personally informed Conductor Phelps why it was being held,

      We have come to free the slaves and intend to do it at all

Later, at 3 A. M., Brown notified Phelps that he could now proceed with
his train and directed him to say to the management of the road: "This
is the last train that shall pass the bridge either East or West; if it
is attempted, it will be at the peril of the lives of those having them
in charge."[379] Phelps however, decided not to move until daylight.
From Monocacy, at 7:05 A. M., he wired the situation to Master of
Transportation Smith, at Baltimore; repeating what Brown had said to
him, and suggesting that he notify the Secretary of War at once;
concluding his dispatch with this statement: "The telegraph wires are
cut East and West of Harper's Ferry and this is the first station that I
could send a dispatch from."

The first alarm of what was occurring in the town was given out by a
resident physician, Dr. John D. Starry. But the note which he sounded
was not of the "Paul Revere" variety. The Doctor was aroused from his
slumbers by the firing of the shot that struck Hayward, and went to his
relief. The remainder of the night he spent in observing what was going
on but gave out no information concerning it. "At daylight," it is said,
"he could stand it no longer; he saddled his horse, rode to the
residence of Mr. A. M. Kitzmiller, who was in charge of the arsenal
during the absence of the superintendent, Mr. Barbour; acquainted him,
and a number of other officials and workmen with the story of the night.
He then put spurs to his horse, and ascended the hill to Bolivar
Heights, where he awoke some more sleepers."[380] After arousing the
town, the Doctor rode to Charlestown, eight miles distant, where the
alarm was given by ringing all the bells. The local military
company--the Jefferson Guards--fell in promptly; also a second company,
composed of men and boys, was organized on the spot, both companies
taking a train at 10 o'clock for the scene of the trouble.

By 10:30 President Garrett of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company,
had informed the President of the United States of the conditions
existing at Harper's Ferry. He also wired the information to Governor
Wise, of Virginia; and to Major General Stewart, commanding First
Division Maryland Volunteers, at Baltimore.[381] The news soon became
general. From Monocracy it was wired to Frederick, and by 10 A. M. the
Frederick companies were under arms and had marching orders. A
Martinsburg company, under Captain E. G. Alburtis, arrived at Harper's
Ferry during the afternoon, and shortly thereafter a company from
Winchester reported for duty. Earlier in the day two local companies
were "mustered into service;" one under command of Captain Botts and the
other under Captain John Avis. Two companies from Shepherdstown also
arrived--the "Hamtrack Guards" and the "Shepherdstown Troop." During the
evening three companies arrived from Frederick, and five companies from
Baltimore. In all sixteen companies of State Volunteers were assembled
at Harper's Ferry within twelve hours from the time the first alarm was
given out.

The second casualty of the day occurred about 7 o'clock A. M., when Mr.
Thomas Boerly, an Irishman and a resident of Harper's Ferry, was fatally
shot by one of Brown's men. From that time until after 10 o'clock
nothing of importance occurred in the town, except that Brown ordered
breakfast for his war party and his prisoners, forty-five in all. The
meals were prepared and served from a nearby hotel--the Wagner House.

In the early morning, after the prisoners--Colonel Washington and the
Allstadts--had been delivered to Brown at the armory gate, Cook and
Leeman proceeded to the Kennedy farm with the teams that they had taken
from Colonel Washington, and began moving the military equipment, which
had been left there, in care of Owen Brown, to a school-house, that was
located about a mile from the Ferry. Later, Brown dispatched William
Thompson to the school-house with a message to Owen, saying that "all
was going well." Between 9 and 10 o'clock Leeman and Thompson returned
to Harper's Ferry, bringing with them another prisoner, Mr. Terence
Brown, a Maryland farmer of the neighborhood. After 10 o'clock Brown's
position became critical. It was fast becoming evident that his plans
had miscarried; that the slaves had failed to strike for their freedom;
that the fundamental movement of the campaign--_the insurrection of the
slaves_--had not been executed. "THE BLOW" which he planned to strike
had not been delivered. The attempt to "assail the Slave Power with the
only weapons that it fears," had "flashed in the pan."

It was not important that the Potomac and the Shenandoah bridges were
still in his possession and that access to the Maryland mountains was
free; for Brown was not equipped for flight, and there are limitations
upon physical endurance. Besides, these Southern mountains were, to him,
inhospitable, and would furnish neither subsistence nor shelter. Also
the inhabitants of the vicinity were rising in arms against him, their
passions inflamed to a condition of frenzy because of the assault which
he had made upon their lives and property. He well knew the excited mob
would be upon his trail from the start; and that escape, except for a
possible straggler or two, was impossible. But there still existed the
possibility that the fifteen hundred self-emancipated slaves, whom he
hoped to have under arms by 12 o'clock,[382] would begin to arrive.

Details of the subsequent occurrences are given in a very interesting
manner by Mr. Villard, on pages 429 to 454. He relates that after 10
o'clock, the citizens of Harper's Ferry became aggressive, and opened a
scattering or desultory fire upon Brown's position at the armory
building. The "Jefferson Guards," upon their arrival at Bolivar Heights,
marched to a point about a mile above the town, where they crossed the
Potomac in boats, and came down the Maryland side of the river to the
Potomac bridge, driving Watson Brown and Taylor from their post. This
movement compelled William Thompson and Newby to abandon their station
at the Shenandoah bridge, and seek shelter in the armory. The Galt House
was then occupied by Captain Botts's company, while Captain Avis took a
position near the crest of Bolivar Heights, overlooking the town, from
where he opened fire upon the armory. Newby was killed by this fire
before he reached the armory enclosure. It is said that his body was
shockingly mutilated. About 1 o'clock Leeman sought to effect his
escape. He left the arsenal and attempted to cross the Potomac, a short
distance above the bridge, and succeeded in getting as far as a small
island in the river, where he was overtaken and killed by a Mr. A. G.
Schoppert. The body of the late captain, his commission in his pocket,
as it lay upon the rocks in the river, became an object for target
practice, by citizens, and by members of the volunteer military
companies then assembling.

During the afternoon Brown sought to have the firing cease by
negotiating with the citizens for a truce; and sent out a prisoner, Mr.
Cross, and William Thompson, to make the arrangement. Thompson was
immediately taken and held as a prisoner, for a time, at the Galt House.
Later he was led out upon the trestle leading to the Shenandoah bridge,
where he was shot by a mob under the leadership of George W. Chambers
and Harry Hunter; his body falling into the shallow water below, where
it became a general target for the mob, in mob fashion. Still later,
Brown sent Stevens and Watson Brown out, accompanied by Mr. Kitzmiller,
under a flag of truce. This flag was fired upon from the windows of the
Galt House with the result that both Stevens and Brown received severe
wounds. Brown succeeded in dragging himself back to the armory
engine-house, where he died thirty hours later. One of the prisoners, a
Mr. Brua, went out and had Stevens carried into the Wager House.

Between 2 and 3 o'clock a small party, under the command of a young man
by the name of Irwin, made an attack upon the rifle-works on the
Shenandoah, where Kagi and his men were stationed. The latter sought to
escape across the river, but were shot down before reaching the middle
of the stream. Kagi fell and died in the water. Leary was mortally
wounded, and died the following night. Copeland was taken prisoner by
Mr. James H. Holt, of Harper's Ferry, and by him delivered to the
Virginia authorities. In the confusion, the detail at the
arsenal--Hazlett and O. P. Anderson--managed to escape unnoticed. They
probably abandoned their post as soon as it became evident to them that
the insurrection feature of the venture had miscarried. It is said they
first went to the Kennedy farm, where they got supplies of provisions,
and from there they made their way into Pennsylvania. Five days later
Hazlett was captured at Carlisle, and taken back to Virginia under
extradition papers, issued by the Governor of the State. His trial was
had at Charlestown, and he was hanged there, with Stevens, March 16,
1860. Anderson fared better: he managed to reach Canada, and lived to
write a marvelous story of his adventures.

Cook's party, and the detail under Owen Brown, met with better success,
Cook alone being arrested. He was taken at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania,
October 25th, and returned to Charlestown, Virginia, where he was hanged
December 16th. E. Coppoc, Green, and Copeland were hanged at the same
time. The others: Tidd, Barclay Coppoc, Merriam and Owen Brown all
succeeded in making good their escape. The negroes who had been taken
returned to their masters.

About 2 o'clock, George W. Turner was killed. Turner was a prosperous
farmer of the vicinity. He had been graduated from West Point, and had
served creditably with the army, in Florida. Riding into town, with his
shot-gun on his shoulder, he became a target for one of Brown's rifles.
A shot struck him in the neck and killed him instantly. About 4 o'clock
Mr. Fontaine Beckham, the mayor of the town, was killed. Beckham was the
station agent for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. He stepped
out of the station-house to observe what was going on, when he was
fired upon by Edward Coppoc, from the engine-house, with fatal effect.
He also died instantly.

The beginning of the final collapse came about 4 o'clock, with the
arrival of the Martinsburg company. Alburtis attacked the armory
enclosure and drove Brown, with his most prominent prisoners--Colonel
Washington, the Allstadts, Brua, Byrne, Wells, the armorer, Ball,
master-machinist, and J. E. Daingerfield, pay-master's clerk--into the
engine-house. Of his attack Captain Alburtis said:[383]

      During the fight, we found, in the room adjoining the
      engine-house, some thirty or forty prisoners, who had been
      captured and confined by the outlaws. The windows were
      broken open by our party and these men escaped. The whole
      of the outlaws were now driven into the engine-house, and
      owing to the great number of wounded requiring our care,
      and not being supported by the other companies, as we
      expected, we were obliged to return.... Immediately after
      we drew off, there was a flag of truce sent out to propose
      terms, which were that they were to be permitted to retire
      with their arms, and, I think, proceed as far as some lock
      on the canal, there to release their prisoners. The terms
      were not acceded to.

There were troops enough on the ground at this time to have carried
Brown's position by assault; and it is probable that an attack upon the
armory would have been ordered, had such extreme measures been deemed
necessary, which was not the case. Besides, if an assault had been made
by these undisciplined men, it would have been attended with the loss of
many lives, which, under the circumstances, would have been without
justification. Brown and his party were in a position from which they
could not escape; neither could his surrender be long deferred. A
prevailing report, too, that a detachment of United States
troops--marines--would soon arrive, under the command of an experienced
officer of the regular army, may have had some influence in determining
what should be done. However, before nightfall, a Mr. Samuel Strider
delivered a summons to Brown, demanding his surrender, to which Brown
replied as follows:

      Capt. John Brown Answers:

      In consideration of all my men, whether living or dead, or
      wounded, being soon safely in and delivered up to me at
      this point with all their arms and ammunition, we will then
      take our prisoners and cross the Potomac bridge, a little
      beyond which we will set them at liberty; after which we
      can negotiate about the Government property as may be best.
      Also we require the delivery of our horse and harness at
      the hotel.[384]

The terms of the note were promptly declined by Colonel Robert W.
Baylor, of the Virginia Cavalry, who seems to have been the ranking
officer present. He said that "under no conditions would he consent to a
removal of the citizen prisoners across the river." Still later in the
evening the three companies, in uniform, arrived from Frederick,
Maryland. One of these was under the command of Captain Sinn. This
officer proceeded to the engine-house and entered into a lengthy
conversation with Brown. During this interview Brown renewed his
proposal to leave the place, and complained of the treatment his men,
bearing a flag of truce, had received; that they "had been shot down
like dogs." Being told that men in his position must expect such
treatment, Brown replied that before coming there "he had weighed the
responsibility and should not shrink from it." He thought, however, that
he was entitled to better treatment from the people because of what he
had _not_ done to them; that he "had had full possession of the town and
could have massacred all the inhabitants had he thought proper to do

During afternoon of the 17th, President Buchanan ordered three companies
of artillery, from Fortress Monroe, to the scene of the trouble; also
the detachment of marines, at the Washington Navy Yard. The latter were
under the command of Lieutenant Israel Green, U. S. M. C. He also
ordered Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee, Second United States Cavalry,
brevet colonel United States army, to proceed to Harper's Ferry and
assume command of all the United States troops concentrating there.
General J. E. B. Stuart, at that time a first lieutenant in the First
United States Cavalry accompanied Lee as a volunteer aide. The artillery
from Fortress Monroe was detained at Baltimore by order of Colonel Lee.
With two howitzers and ninety men Green left Washington for Harper's
Ferry, at 3:30 P. M. En route he received orders from Colonel Lee to
stop at Sandy Hook, a station within a mile, nearly, of his destination.
At 10 o'clock Lee arrived at Sandy Hook on a special train. The marines
were then formed, and marched to Harper's Ferry, leaving the howitzers
aboard the cars. Arriving at the town, after consultation with the
volunteer commanders present, Lee ordered the militia to vacate the
armory grounds, and put the control, or care of the situation, in the
hands of Lieutenant Green.

Before ordering the assault upon the engine-house, which, to save the
lives of Brown's prisoners, was to be executed with the bayonet, Lee
offered the honor of commanding the action to the regimental commanders
of the volunteers: Colonel Shriver of the Maryland troops and Colonel
Baylor of the Virginians; an offer which both of these officers, in
behalf of their men, had the moral courage to wisely and properly
decline. Colonel Shriver said, in effect, that they had come to help the
people of Harper's Ferry in an emergency: that the emergency, in view of
the United States troops present, was now passed; that his men had wives
and children at home, and since it was not necessary to expose them to
such risk as this attack involved, he would not voluntarily do so.
Colonel Baylor expressed similar views. But, later, there was trouble
over the matter. The pride of the Governor of Virginia, Henry E. Wise,
was hurt because the Virginia troops had not done on the 17th what Lee,
Stuart, Green, and the marines did so creditably on the morning of the
18th. As a result, charges of misconduct were preferred against Colonel
Baylor, by Mr. O. Jennings Wise, a son of the Governor; and a court of
inquiry was convened in June, 1860, to investigate the case. Mr. Villard
states that in a letter addressed to the court, by Mr. Wise, the latter
charged that Colonel Baylor had assumed command on the 17th, "contrary
to his grade and the nature of his commission." That he had acted
without orders; that he was guilty of cowardice in not storming the
engine-house, and of "unofficer-like conduct in assigning a false,
cowardly and insulting reason for not leading the attack on the
engine-house when the service was offered to him by Colonel Lee:
to-wit--that it was a duty which belonged to the _mercenaries_ of the
regular service--meaning the marines--who were paid for it"; and,
finally for using "violent and ungentlemanly language about his
Commander-in-Chief (Governor Wise)."

After the militia officers had declined the command of the storming
party, it was offered to Lieutenant Green, who, of course, accepted it,
and, taking off his cap, thanked his commander for the honor, with
soldierly courtesy.

Early on the morning of the 18th, Colonel Lee sent a demand upon Brown
to surrender, which was read to him at the door of the engine-house by
Lieutenant Stuart. The order read as follows:[385]

                              Headquarters Harper's Ferry,
                              October 18, 1859.

      Colonel Lee, United States Army, commanding the troops,
      sent by the United States to suppress the insurrection at
      this place, demands the surrender of the persons in the
      armory buildings.

      If they will peaceably surrender themselves and restore the
      pillaged property, they shall be kept in safety to await
      the orders of the President. Colonel Lee represents to
      them, in all frankness, that it is impossible for them to
      escape; that the armory is surrounded on all sides by
      troops; and that if he is compelled to take them by force,
      he cannot answer for their safety.

                              R. E. LEE,
                              Colonel Commanding United States Troops.

It had been agreed upon between Stuart and Green, that, after having
read the order to Brown, if he should refuse to surrender, as they
supposed he would, Stuart would then signal by a wave of his cap, at the
sight of which Green would order his company forward to the assault. His
plan of attack was to advance with twelve men, holding another twelve in
reserve to support them, if they should be disabled, and with a heavy
sledge-hammer break down the door of the engine-house, and if
successful, then, with the full command rush the insurgents with fixed
bayonets. Upon seeing the signal agreed upon, Green ordered the attack.
While being fired upon from within the engine-house, the marines, armed
with the sledge, attempted to beat down the doors, but without success;
then seeing a heavy ladder lying nearby, Green ordered some of the men
to take it up and use it against the doors as a battering-ram. This
expedient was successful. Two blows by the improvised engine of war
sufficed to break a ragged hole, low down, in the right-hand door.
Through the opening thus made, Green, and Major Russell, pay-master,
United States Marine Corps, sprang, followed by the enlisted men.[386]
Rising to his feet, Green ran back of the engine to the rear of the
room, where he saw Colonel Washington, who, pointing to Brown said,
"this is Osawatomie." Lieutenant Green states:

      When Colonel Washington said to me, "This is Osawatomie,"
      Brown turned his head to see who it was to whom Colonel
      Washington was speaking. Quicker than thought, I brought my
      sabre down with all my strength, upon his head. He was
      moving as the blow fell, and I suppose I did not strike him
      where I intended, for he received a deep sabre cut on the
      back of his neck. He fell senseless on his side, then
      rolled over on his back. He had in his hand a short Sharp's
      Cavalry carbine. I think he had just fired as I reached
      Colonel Washington, for the marine who followed me into the
      aperture made by the ladder, received a bullet in the
      abdomen from which he died in a few minutes. The shot might
      have been fired by some one else in the party, but I think
      it came from Brown. Instantly, as Brown fell, I gave him a
      sabre thrust in the left breast. The sword I carried was a
      light uniform weapon and either not having a point, or
      striking something hard in Brown's accouterments, did not
      penetrate. The blade bent double. By that time three or
      four of my men were inside. They came rushing in like
      tigers, as a storming assault is not a play-day sport. They
      bayoneted one man, skulking under the engine, and pinned
      another fellow up against the rear wall, both being killed
      instantly. I ordered the men to spill no more blood. The
      other insurgents were at once taken under arrest, and the
      contest ended. The whole fight had not lasted over three

Of Brown's eleven prisoners, whom he was holding as hostages, Lieutenant
Green says:

      They were the sorriest lot of people I ever saw. They had
      been without food for over sixty hours, in constant dread
      of being shot, and were huddled up in the corner where lay
      the body of Brown's son and one or two others of the
      insurgents who had been killed.

The scrimmage being over, Green and Coppoc were taken into custody, and
the dead and wounded were carried from the engine-house and laid upon
the armory lawn, where they were protected from violence by a guard
detailed from the company of marines. Later, Mr. Villard states, Brown
was carried to the office of the pay-master of the armory and there
given medical attention, when it was found that his wounds were far less
serious than they were at first supposed to be.

Of the twenty-two ambitious men who courageously undertook to organize
the "Provisional Army," ten had been killed: Kagi, Oliver Brown, Watson
Brown, William Thompson, Dauphin Thompson, Jeremiah G. Anderson, Leeman,
Newby, Leary, and Taylor. Five were prisoners: Brown, Stevens, E.
Coppoc, Green, and Copeland. Seven had got away: Cook, Hazlett, Tidd,
Owen Brown, Barclay Coppoc, Osborn P. Anderson, and Merriam.

Those killed and wounded by the insurgents were as follows: Killed: G.
W. Turner, Thomas Boerley, Fontane Beckham, Heywood Shepherd, and
Private Quinn. Wounded: Mr. Murphy, Mr. Young, Mr. Richardson, Mr.
Hammond, Mr. McCabe, Mr. Dorsey, Mr. Hooper, Mr. Woolet, and Private

About noon, on the 18th, some notable persons of that period arrived at
Harper's Ferry, anxious to know the facts relating to the alarming
events which had taken place. An interview with Brown was accordingly
arranged, which was held at the office of the armory pay-master. The
wounded Stevens had, in the meantime, been carried into the office and
laid upon a mattress on the floor beside Brown. Those present were
Governor Wise, of Virginia, Colonel Robert E. Lee, Lieutenant Stuart,
Senator Mason of Virginia, Congressmen Vallandigham of Ohio and Faulkner
of Virginia, Colonel Lewis Washington, Andrew Hunter, special counsel
for the State of Virginia, and a half dozen citizens of the town and
vicinity. Brown was able to answer freely, and seemed anxious for an
opportunity to present his version of the situation to the public. He
was "glad," he said, "to make himself and his motives clearly
understood." Extracts from this interview are as follows:[389]

      _Senator Mason._ Can you tell us who furnished money for
      your expedition?

      _John Brown._ I furnished most of it myself; I cannot
      implicate others. It is my own folly that I have been
      taken. I could easily have saved myself from it, had I
      exercised my own better judgment rather than yielded to my

      _Mason._ You mean if you had escaped immediately?

      _Brown._ No. I had the means to make myself secure without
      any escape; but I allowed myself to be surrounded by a
      force by being too tardy. I should have gone away; but I
      had thirty odd prisoners, whose wives and daughters were in
      tears for their safety, and I felt for them. Besides, I
      wanted to allay the fears of those who believed we came
      here to burn and kill. For this reason I allowed the train
      to cross the bridge, and gave them full liberty to pass on.
      I did it only to spare the feelings of those passengers and
      their families, and to allay the apprehensions that you had
      got here in your vicinity a band of men who had no regard
      for life and property, nor any feelings of humanity.

      _Mason._ But you killed some people passing along the
      streets quietly.

      _Brown._ Well, sir, if there was anything of that kind
      done, it was without my knowledge. Your own citizens who
      were my prisoners will tell you that every possible means
      was taken to prevent it. I did not allow my men to fire
      when there was danger of killing those we regarded as
      innocent persons, if I could help it. They will tell you
      that we allowed ourselves to be fired at repeatedly, and
      did not return it.

      _A Bystander._ That is not so. You killed an unarmed man at
      the corner of the house over there at the water-tank, and
      another besides.

      _Brown._ See here, my friend; it is useless to dispute or
      contradict the report of your own neighbors who were my

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Mr. Vallandigham (who had just entered.)_ Mr. Brown, who
      sent you here?

      _Brown._ No man sent me here; it was my own prompting and
      that of my Maker, or that of the Devil--whichever you
      please to ascribe it to. I acknowledge no master in human

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Vallandigham._ Did you get up this document that is called
      a Constitution?

      _Brown._ I did. They are a constitution and ordinance of my
      own striving and getting up.

      _Vallandigham._ How long have you been engaged in this

      _Brown._ From the breaking out of the difficulties in
      Kansas. Four of my sons had gone there to settle, and they
      induced me to go. I did not go there to settle, but because
      of the difficulties.

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Mason._ What was your object in coming?

      _Brown._ We came to free the slaves, and only that.

             *       *       *       *       *

      _A Volunteer._ What in the world did you suppose you could
      do here in Virginia with that amount of men?

      _Brown._ Young man, I do not wish to discuss that question

      _Volunteer._ You could not do anything.

      _Brown._ Well, perhaps your ideas and mine on military
      subjects would differ materially.

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Mason._ Did you consider this a military organization in
      this Constitution? I have not yet read it.

      _Brown._ I did in some sense. I wish you would give that
      paper close attention.

      _Mason._ You consider yourself the commander-in-chief of
      these "provisional" military forces?

      _Brown._ I was chosen, agreeably to the ordinance of a
      certain document, commander-in-chief of that force.

      _Mason._ What wages did you offer?

      _Brown._ None.

      _Stuart._ "The wages of sin is death."

      _Brown._ I would not have made such a remark to you if you
      had been a prisoner, and wounded, in my hands.

             *       *       *       *       *

      _A Bystander._ Do you consider this a religious movement?

      _Brown._ It is, in my opinion, the greatest service man can
      render to God.

      _Bystander._ Do you consider yourself an instrument in the
      hands of Providence?

      _Brown._ I do.

      _Bystander._ Upon what principle do you justify your acts?

      _Brown._ Upon the Golden Rule. I pity the poor in bondage
      that have none to help them: that is why I am here; not to
      gratify any personal animosity, revenge, or vindictive
      spirit. It is my sympathy with the oppressed and the
      wronged, that are as good as you and as precious in the
      sight of God.

      _Bystander._ Certainly. But why take the slaves against
      their will?

      _Brown._ I never did.

      _Bystander._ You did in one instance, at least.

      Stephens, the other wounded prisoner, here said, "You are
      right. In one case I know the negro wanted to go back."

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Vallandigham._ How far did you live from Jefferson?

      _Brown._ Be cautious, Stephens, about any answers that
      would commit any friend. I would not answer that.

      (Stephens turned partially over with a groan of pain, and
      was silent.)

      _Vallandigham._ Who are your advisers in this movement?

      _Brown._ I cannot answer that. I have numerous sympathizers
      throughout the entire North.

      _Vallandigham._ In northern Ohio?

      _Brown._ No more there than anywhere else; in all the free

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Bystander._ Why did you do it secretly?

      _Brown._ Because I thought that necessary to success; no
      other reason.

      _Bystander._ Have you read Gerrit Smith's last letter?

      _Brown._ What letter do you mean?

      _Bystander._ The "New York _Herald_" of yesterday, in
      speaking of this affair, mentions a letter in this way:

      "Apropos of this exciting news, we recollect a very
      significant passage in one of Gerrit Smith's letters,
      published a month or two ago, in which he speaks of the
      folly of attempting to strike the shackles off the slaves
      by the force of moral suasion or legal agitation, and
      predicts that the next movement made in the direction of
      negro emancipation would be an insurrection in the South."

      _Brown._ I have not seen the "New York _Herald_" for some
      days past; but I presume, from your remark about the gist
      of the letter, that I should concur with it. I agree with
      Mr. Smith that moral suasion is hopeless. I don't think the
      people of the slave States will ever consider the subject
      of slavery in its true light till some other argument is
      resorted to than moral suasion.

      _Vallandigham._ Did you expect a general rising of the
      slaves in case of your success?

      _Brown._ No, sir; nor did I wish it. I expected to gather
      them up from time to time, and set them free.

      _Vallandigham._ Did you expect to hold possession here till

      _Brown._ Well, probably I had quite a different idea. I do
      not know that I ought to reveal my plans. I am here a
      prisoner and wounded, because I foolishly allowed myself to
      be so. You overrate your strength in supposing I could have
      been taken if I had not allowed it. I was too tardy after
      commencing the open attack--in delaying my movements
      through Monday night, and up to the time I was attacked by
      the Government troops. It was all occasioned by my desire
      to spare the feelings of my prisoners and their families
      and the community at large. I had no knowledge of the
      shooting of the negro Heywood.

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Dr. Biggs._ Were you in the party at Dr. Kennedy's house?

      _Brown._ I was at the head of that party. I occupied the
      house to mature my plans. I have not been in Baltimore to
      purchase caps.

             *       *       *       *       *

      _Q._ Where did you get arms? _A._ I bought them.

      _Q._ In what State? _A._ That I will not state.

      _Q._ How many guns? _A._ Two hundred Sharpe's rifles and
      two hundred revolvers,--what is called the Massachusetts
      Arms Company's revolvers, a little under navy size.

      _Q._ Why did you not take that swivel you left in the
      house? _A._ I had no occasion for it. It was given to me a
      year or two ago.

      _Q._ In Kansas? _A._ No. I had nothing given to me in

      _Q._ By whom, and in what State? _A._ I decline to answer;
      it is not properly a swivel; it is a very large rifle with
      a pivot. The ball is larger than a musket ball; it is
      intended for a slug.

      _Reporter._ I do not wish to annoy you; but if you have
      anything further you would like to say, I will report it.

      _Brown._ I have nothing to say, only that I claim to be
      here in carrying out a measure I believe perfectly
      justifiable, and not to act the part of an incendiary or
      ruffian, but to aid those suffering great wrong. I wish to
      say, furthermore, that you had better--all you people at
      the South--prepare yourselves for a settlement of this
      question, that must come up for settlement sooner than you
      are prepared for it. The sooner you are prepared the
      better. You may dispose of me very easily,--I am nearly
      disposed of now; but this question is still to be
      settled,--this negro question I mean; the end of that is
      not yet. These wounds were inflicted upon me--both sabre
      cuts on my head and bayonet stabs in different parts of my
      body--some minutes after I had ceased fighting and had
      consented to surrender, for the benefit of others, not for
      my own. I believe the Major would not have been alive; I
      could have killed him just as easy as a mosquito when he
      came in to receive our surrender. There had been loud and
      long calls of "surrender" from us,--as loud as men could
      yell; but in the confusion and excitement I suppose we were
      not heard. I do not think the Major, or any one, meant to
      butcher us after we had surrendered.

      _An Officer._ Why did you not surrender before the attack?

      _Brown._ I did not think it was my duty or interest to do
      so. We assured the prisoners that we did not wish to harm
      them, and they should be set at liberty. I exercised my
      best judgment, not believing the people would wantonly
      sacrifice their own fellow-citizens, when we offered to let
      them go on condition of being allowed to change our
      position about a quarter of a mile. The prisoners agreed by
      a vote among themselves to pass across the bridge with us.
      We wanted them only as a sort of guarantee of our own
      safety,--that we should not be fired into. We took them, in
      the first place, as hostages and to keep them from doing
      any harm. We did kill some men in defending ourselves, but
      I saw no one fire except directly in self-defense. Our
      orders were strict not to harm any one not in arms against

      _Q._ Brown, suppose you had every nigger in the United
      States, what would you do with them? _A._ Set them free.

      _Q._ Your intention was to carry them off and free them?
      _A._ Not at all.

      _A Bystander._ To set them free would sacrifice the life of
      every man in this community.

      _Brown._ I do not think so.

      _Bystander._ I know it. I think you are fanatical.

      _Brown._ And I think you are fanatical. "Whom the gods
      would destroy they first made mad," and you are mad.

      _Q._ Was your only object to free the negroes? _A._
      Absolutely our only object.

      _Q._ But you demanded and took Colonel Washington's silver
      and watch? _A._ Yes; we intended freely to appropriate the
      property of slave-holders to carry out our object. It was
      for that, and only that, and with no design to enrich
      ourselves with any plunder whatever.

      _Bystander._ Did you know Sherrod in Kansas? I understand
      you killed him.

      _Brown._ I killed no man except in fair fight. I fought at
      Black Jack Point and at Osawatomie; and if I killed
      anybody, it was at one of these places.

Mr. Sanborn publishes a conversation that Brown had with his jailer
concerning his interview with Governor Wise.[390]

"'A Virginian,'" he says, "gives me this addition to Brown's
conversation with Wise":

      _Jailer._ I see in the papers that you told Governor Wise
      you had promises of aid from Virginia, Tennessee, and the
      Carolinas. Is that true, or did you make it up to "rile"
      the old Governor?

      _Brown._ No; I did not tell Wise that.

      _Jailer._ What did you tell him that could have made that
      impression on his mind?

      _Brown._ Wise said something about fanaticism, and
      intimated that no man in full possession of his senses
      could have expected to overcome a State with such a handful
      of men as I had, backed only by struggling negroes; and I
      replied that I had promises of ample assistance, and would
      have received it too if I could only have set the ball in
      motion. He then asked suddenly in a harsh voice, as you've
      seen lawyers snap up a witness: "Assistance! From what
      State, sir?" I was not thrown off my guard, and replied:
      "From more than you'd believe if I should name them all;
      but I _expected_ more from Virginia, Tennessee, and the
      Carolinas than from any others."

      _Jailer._ You "expected" it. You did not say it was
      promised from the States named?

      _Brown._ No; I knew, of course, that the negroes would
      rally to my standard. If I had only got the thing fairly
      started, you Virginians would have seen sights that would
      have opened your eyes; and I tell you if I was free this
      moment, and had five hundred negroes around me, I would
      put these irons on Wise himself before Saturday night.

      _Jailer_. Then it was true about aid being promised? What
      States promised it?

      _Brown (with a laugh)._ Well, you are about as smart a man
      as Wise, and I'll give you the same answer I gave him.

A reporter for the New York _Herald_ who was present said of Brown:[391]
"He converses freely, fluently and cheerfully, without the slightest
manifestation of fear or uneasiness, evidently weighing well his words,
and possessing a good command of language. His manner is courteous and
affable, while he appears to be making a favorable impression upon his

A reporter for the Baltimore _American_ who was present at the interview
said:[392] "No sign of weakness was exhibited by John Brown. In the
midst of his enemies, whose homes he had invaded; wounded and a
prisoner, surrounded by a small army of officials, and a more desperate
army of angry men; with the gallows staring him full in the face, he lay
on the floor, and, in reply to every question, gave answers that
betokened the spirit that animated him. The language of Gov. Wise well
expresses his boldness when he said, 'He is the gamest man I ever saw.'"

During the afternoon of the 18th, while the interview with Brown was in
progress, Mr. John C. Unseld accompanied Lieutenant Green, with a
detachment of marines, to Brown's recent headquarters at the Kennedy
farm, where a quantity of war material was found, including bed
clothing, canvas for tents, some axes, two cast-iron hominy mills, a
good deal of clothing boxed up--new clothing for men, and some boots.
Here also they found Brown's trunk containing his official papers and
correspondence; copies of the constitution for the Provisional
Government and other important documents; also maps of Kentucky,
Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida,
and Georgia. Each map had a slip pasted on the side, evidently cut from
the census report of 1850, showing the number and kind of inhabitants
(whether free or slave, white or black, male or female) in each county
of the State or States which it represented. On the maps of South
Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, there were various
ink-marks in the shape of crosses at different points.[393] With the
consent of Brown, John E. Cook had taken a similar census of the
inhabitants living in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry.[394]

On the morning of the 19th the military stores that had been transferred
to the school-house, on Monday, from the Kennedy farm, were taken
possession of by the "Baltimore Greys," a company belonging to the
Maryland regiment present, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel
Mills. Among them were the following articles:[395]

   102 Sharp's Rifles              3 Gross Steel Pens
    10 Kegs Gunpowder              5 Ink Stands
 23000 Percussion Rifle Caps      21 Lead Pencils
100000 Percussion Pistol Caps     34 Pen Holders
 13000 Sharp's Rifle Cartridges    2 Boxes Wafers
   483 Pikes                      47 Small Blank Books
    16 Picks
    40 Shovels (The railroad waybill called for several dozen, showing that
more were to come)

On Wednesday morning, October 19th, the prisoners were safely
transferred to Charlestown, under an escort of marines commanded by
Lieutenant Green. Upon their arrival there they were delivered into the
custody of the sheriff of Jefferson County and the United States marshal
for the Western District of Virginia, and by them placed in the county
jail. Brown and Stevens, being unable to walk, were transferred to and
from the train, in a wagon.

The comments of the press of the country, upon the occurrences herein,
however interesting they may be, are not especially valuable. The
writers of the time had but little correct information upon which to
base their opinion as to the scope of the undertaking. Even at the
present time, after the lapse of more than fifty years, opinion is
divided as to whether this incident in our history was just an
altruistic "_Foray into Virginia_"; or whether it was, practically, a
harmless and utterly senseless "_raid_," or whether it was an organized
reality--an invasion of the State of Virginia by Brown and his captains,
having for their object, the conquest of the Southern States.



_But many a man has committed his greatest blunder when
attempting to write a book._

                 --JOHN BROWN, JR.

Concerning the things which Brown intended to do, and the plans which he
made in pursuance thereof Mr. Redpath says:[396]

      It was the original intention of Captain Brown to seize the
      Arsenal at Harpers Ferry on the night of the 24th of
      October, and to take the arms there deposited to the
      neighboring mountains, with a number of the wealthier
      citizens of the vicinity, as hostages, until they should
      redeem themselves by liberating an equal number of their
      slaves. When at Baltimore, for satisfactory reasons, he
      determined to strike the blow that was to shake the Slave
      System to its foundations, on the night of the 17th.

      ... Harper's Ferry, by the admission of military men, was
      admirably chosen as the spot at which to begin a war of
      liberation. The neighboring mountains, with their
      inaccessible fastnesses, with every one of which, and every
      turning of their valleys, John Brown had been familiar for
      seventeen years, would afford to guerrilla forces a
      protection the most favorable, and a thousand opportunities
      for a desperate defense or rapid retreats before
      overwhelming numbers of an enemy.

This is the conception of the Harper's Ferry episode that Brown's
family, and his partisans, decided should be put forth concerning an
incident which was to have been written in streams of blood, such as
never flowed upon the continent. That anything so irrational should have
been published, or should have been seriously considered by any one, is
beyond the comprehension of thoughtful persons; and yet, the foolish
fictions therein suggested were accepted as the truth in the Northern
States, and, with some modifications of the more grotesque absurdities
therein contained, have been approved by subsequent writers and
biographers and have been incorporated with the history of our country.

Why Brown should have intended to abandon Harper's Ferry without a
struggle to retain it after having taken formal possession of the place
and of the war material stored there, if the position was admirably
chosen as the spot at which to begin a war of liberation; or how a
voluntary retreat into the mountains by a band of twenty-two men could
be regarded as a "blow" of any kind; or where the inaccessible fastness
which he intended to retreat to was located: or how he intended to
shelter and subsist his men and prisoners in an inaccessible fastness
that had not been supplied with subsistence stores or with camp and
garrison equipage of any description; or how he would be able to find
his way, if the night happened to be a dark night, up and through the
tangled obstructions upon which the fastness relied for its
inaccessibility; or how he intended to transport the military equipment
stored at Harper's Perry, to the fastness, without means of
transportation, or roads to travel on; or how he intended to prevent his
fastness from being surrounded and his communications with the world cut
off while the altruistic negotiations for the "exchange of the wealthier
citizen prisoners for an equal number of slaves," were progressing,
appear to have been matters of no concern to this biographer. It was
sufficient for his purpose to assume that these things, however
inconsistent they might be, were the things which Brown intended to do,
and that they constituted the blow which he had promised to strike. Mr.
Redpath, personally, knew what Brown intended to do. He knew that Brown,
pursuant to his pledges, planned to strike a blow that would shake the
center of the slave system; that he planned to precipitate a war of
surpassing atrocity; a war that was to begin with a carnival of
assassinations; that he intended "to assail slavery with the only weapon
that it fears":[397] a servile insurrection.

Mr. Sanborn had been a valuable instrument in Brown's hands for the
practice of his Eastern impositions. Taking his cue from Mr. Redpath,
after describing what occurred on the night of the 16th of October, he
rises to the full height of his conception of the occasion to inquire:

      Why then did Brown attack Harper's Ferry, or having
      captured it, why did he not leave it at once and push into
      the mountains of Virginia, according to his original

It was to this Mr. Sanborn, that Brown first suggested his scheme to
raise $30,000 cash, to arm and equip a company of "fifty
volunteer-regulars" for the defense of Kansas settlers. Mr. Sanborn was
impressed, deeply so, and undertook to promote the proposition. Also, he
undertook to promote Brown's scheme to have the Legislatures of
Massachusetts and New York appropriate $100,000 each, to reimburse the
Brown family for losses its members had sustained while "fighting" in
Kansas; and ever thereafter had been Brown's faithful and efficient
servant. He was a member of the "Secret War Committee" of six, and had
reason to think, and probably did think, that Brown had taken him into
his full confidence. He says:

      Although Brown communicated freely to the four persons just
      named,--Theodore Parker, Dr. Howe, Mr. Stearns and Col.
      Higginson,--his plans of attack and defense in Virginia, it
      is not known that he spoke to any but me of his purpose to
      surprise the Arsenal and town of Harper's Ferry.... It is
      probable that in 1858 Brown had not definitely resolved to
      seize Harper's Ferry; yet he spoke of it to me beside his
      coal fire in the American House, putting it as a question,
      rather, without expressing his own purpose. I questioned
      him a little about it; but it then passed from my mind,
      and I did not think of it again until the attack had been
      made a year and a half afterwards.[399]

Thus Mr. Sanborn acknowledges that Brown had not entrusted to him the
secret of his intentions, and thereby disqualifies himself as an
authority upon Brown's plans, or as having correct information
concerning what he intended to do in Virginia. It is more than probable
that upon the occasion to which Mr. Sanborn refers, Brown contemplated
confiding to him his plans for the conquest of the South by means of an
insurrection of the slaves and the massacre of the slave-holding
population, and intended to offer him a position upon his staff. Brown
and Forbes had laid plans for their campaign, with Harper's Ferry as the
base of operations, as early as January, 1857, and in pursuance thereof
had ordered the thousand spears with which to arm the blacks for the
opening horror.

Sitting beside his coal fire in the American House, his thoughts upon
his plans, and the hopes of his mighty conquest surging in his brain,
John Brown, the grim Soldier of Fortune, drew out his young companion by
indirection, and took the measure of his capacity for heroic
undertakings. Had the young man, at the close of that interview,
appealed for an omen "from that shrine whose oracles may destroy but can
never deceive," he might, in a spiritual vision, have seen upon the
invisible tablets, where Brown's mental records were kept, an
inscription, or word, similar to that which Belshazzar saw traced upon
the wall by the finger of an invisible hand. The man of "blood and iron"
had invited the interview in his letter to Mr. Sanborn of February
24th.[400] Brown's decision was adverse to Mr. Sanborn. The latter did
not suspect that he had passed through the fire of an examination, and
had been found deficient. The subject was never again taken up; the door
of opportunity closed against Mr. Sanborn.

Following the trail blazed by a discredited predecessor, the writer of
_Fifty Years After_ abandons the teachings which the record discloses
concerning this episode, and, concurring with Mr. Redpath, tries to
confirm in our history that author's perversion of the facts relating to
it. He assumes to believe, and seeks to teach the public to believe,
that Brown's plans were, comparatively, crude, and that his movement in
execution of them was of a harmless nature: that he merely intended to
attempt to carry on a guerrilla warfare from some point in the nearby
mountains, and that his entrance to Harper's Ferry was not an occupation
of the place but a "raid" upon it, undertaken for the purpose of
advertising, in a spectacular way, the guerrilla warfare which he
intended to engage in. He says:[401]

      As for their general, he not only was the sole member of
      the attacking force to believe in the assault on the
      property of the United States at Harper's Ferry, but he
      was, as they neared the all-unsuspecting town, without any
      clear and definite plan of campaign. The general order
      detailed the men who were to garrison various parts of the
      town and hold the bridges, but beyond that, little had been
      mapped out. It was all to depend upon the orders of the
      commander-in-chief, who seemed bent on violating every
      military principle. Thus, he had appointed no definite
      place for the men to retreat to, and fixed no hour for the
      withdrawal from the town. He, moreover, proceeded at once
      to defy the canons by placing a river between himself and
      his base of supplies,--the Kennedy Farm,--and then left no
      adequate force on the river-bank to insure his being able
      to fall back to that base. Hardly had he entered the town
      when, by dispersing his men here and there, he made his
      defeat as easy as possible. Moreover, he had in mind no
      well-defined purpose in attacking Harpers Ferry, save to
      begin his revolution in a spectacular way, capture a few
      slave-holders and release some slaves. So far as he had
      thought anything out, he expected to alarm the town and
      then, with the slaves that had rallied to him, to march
      back to the school-house near the Kennedy Farm, arm his
      recruits and take to the hills. Another general, with the
      same purpose in view would have established his mountain
      camp first, swooped down upon the town in order to spread
      terror throughout the State, and in an hour or two, at
      most, have started back to his hill-top fastness.... Hence,
      he confidently hoped to retire to the mountains before
      catching sight of a soldier of the regular army or of the
      militia,--by no means an unjustifiable expectation....

      The danger to any raiding force would come from losing
      possession of these bridges, in which case the sole means
      of escape would be by swimming the rivers or climbing up
      through the town toward Bolivar Heights, in the direction
      of Charlestown, eight miles away.

By the gratuitous and irrelevant assumptions herein, this biographer
discredits Brown's intelligence; and by unjust, unfair, and illogical
criticisms of his conduct, seeks to conceal and to emasculate his
intentions. Authenticated facts place limitations upon the presumptions
of historians, which challenge the consistency of reckless statements,
and the logic of their conclusions concerning them. There is not an
authenticated line in this history which justifies a belief that Brown
contemplated doing the things which this author assumes that he intended
to do. His theory that the occupation of Harper's Ferry was merely an
incident in a raid, the first one of a series of undertakings in
guerrilla warfare, which he represents Brown as intending to execute
from a location within walking distance of the town, is a reflection
upon the sanity of every person connected with the movement. It is an
assumption that Brown and his men believed that they could maintain a
headquarters for such warfare in the Maryland hills--at a "hill-top
fastness," if you please--and not be "run to earth at once," as the
author states Cook would have been, if he had attempted to hide in these
inhospitable hills.[402] It is also a general denial of the historical
truth that Brown intended to invade Virginia and the Southern States,
and to establish over them the jurisdiction of a provisional government.
Moreover, it is so divergent from the lessons taught by the vast
accumulation of authenticated facts which relate to the matter, that it
constitutes a contradiction of the facts, and raises a question as to
the integrity of the author's purpose in putting it forth.

There is no room in historical literature for the indulgence of poetic
license. If Brown was a man of "_blood_ and _iron_" and his men
"hard-headed Americans" one day, they must be regarded as being such the
next day, and every day. It may be said, upon the authority of this
author, that Brown and his men were not the stupids which they are, in
this instance, represented as being. "Captains John H. Kagi and A. D.
Stevens, bravest of the brave"[403] were not words idly spoken. "The
hard-headed able Americans like Stevens, Kagi, Cook, and Gill, who lived
with John Brown month in and month out worshipped no lunatic."[404]
Grafter! Hypocrite! _Fiend!_ MONSTER! Brown was, but never a trifler. If
he ever engaged in a trifling enterprise or attempted to do anything in
a trifling manner or upon a trifling scale, it has not been recorded.
First, last, and all the time he played the limit of his resources. And
in the execution of this venture--the climax of all his undertakings--he
was neither trifling nor juggling with its details, as his biographers
have persisted in doing with his motives, and with what his intentions
and his plans were, in these premises.

Brown was not advertising his revolution when he secretly entered
Harper's Ferry. These men were not baiting Death for spectacular effect.
They had a well defined purpose in view, but it was not to "capture a
few slave-holders and release _some_ slaves." To Daniel Wheelan, Brown
stated the purpose of his coming: "I want to free all the Negroes in
this State; I have possession now of the United States Armory, and if
the citizens interfere with me I must only burn the town and have
blood." Conductor Phelps said: "They say they have come to free the
slaves and intend to do it at all hazards." Mr. W. H. Seibert states
that Kagi told him personally, that their purpose was "not the
expatriation of one slave or a thousand slaves, but their liberation in
the states wherein they were born and were now held in bondage."[405]

To Governor Wise and others, on the afternoon of October 18th, Brown
stated that his purpose in being at Harper's Ferry Would be found in the
constitution for the Provisional Government. A copy of the document
being produced, he requested Governor Wise to read it, and said that
"within a fortnight he intended to have it published at large and
distributed": an act which he could not have intended to execute from a
location in any "hill-top fastness." In reply to questions, he stated
that he intended to put the Provisional Government into operation "here,
in Virginia, where I commenced operations": that he expected to have
"three or five thousand" men or as many as he wanted to assist him. He
stated "distinctly" that he did not intend to run off any slaves, but
that he "designed to put arms in their hands to defend themselves
against their masters, and to maintain their position in Virginia and in
the South." That in the first instance he expected they and non-slave
holding whites would flock to his standard as soon as he got a footing
there at Harper's Ferry: and, as his strength increased, he would
gradually enlarge the area under his control, "furnishing a refuge for
the slaves and a rendezvous for all whites who were disposed to aid him,
until eventually he over-ran the whole South."[406]

January 5, 1860, Mr. John C. Unseld, one of Brown's prisoners testified:

      I asked him why he made his attack on Virginia and at the
      place he did? His answer was: "I knew there were a great
      many guns there that would be of service to me, and, if I
      could conquer Virginia, the balance of the Southern States
      would nearly conquer themselves, there being such a large
      number of slaves in them."[407]

Brown abandoned the Kennedy farm on October 16th and gave orders to Cook
to remove the supplies to a school-house which was located within about
a mile of Harper's Ferry. On the morning of the 17th the latter
peremptorily dismissed the school and took possession of the building.
To the teacher, Mr. L. F. Currie, Cook explained what they were doing
and how they intended to do it. Mr. Currie, in his testimony before the
Mason Committee stated that Cook, Tidd, and Leeman, having a Mr. Byrne
in charge as a prisoner, came to the school-house about 10 o'clock and
demanded possession of it. They then with the aid of some negroes
unloaded several boxes and a large black trunk from a wagon and carried
them into the school-house. Continuing he said:

      Cook said their intention was to free the negroes; that
      they intended to adopt such measures as would effectually
      free them, though he said nothing about running them off,
      or anything of that kind. He said this too: That those
      slave-holders who would give up their slaves voluntarily,
      would meet with protection; but those who refused to give
      them up would be quartered upon and their property
      confiscated,--used in such a way as they might think
      proper,--at least they would receive no protection from
      their organization or party.

Currie remained at the school-house until evening. Between 2 and 3
o'clock the firing at Harper's Ferry became "very rapid and continuous,"
and Currie asked Cook what it meant; to which he replied: "Well it
simply means that those people down there are resisting our men, and we
are shooting them down." In answer to a question as to how many men were
engaged down there Cook replied: "I do not know how many men are there
now; there may be 5,000 or there may be 10,000 for aught I know."[408]

These exhibits are but a trifling fraction of the direct testimony
relating to the subject; yet Mr. Villard, in wanton disregard of such
testimony, and of the overwhelming preponderance of historical facts
which corroborate it, puts forth his violent assumptions as to the
truth; and asks the public to believe this great undertaking to have
been merely a poorly planned raid which another general with the same
purpose in view would have conducted differently: "established his
mountain camp first; swooped down upon the town in order to spread
terror throughout the state, and in an hour or two at most, have started
back to his hill-top fastness."

"First a soldier then a citizen was Brown's plan" for the uplift of the
"emancipated blacks." "There is no doubt," says this author,[409] "that
he still expected the negroes to rise and swell his force to
irresistible proportions." Numbers are not irresistible unless they be
armed and organized. Why should "the leader of a new revolution," with
the sword of Frederick the Great in his hand, plan "to take to the
hills" in a trifling retreat, and abandon the military stores at
Harper's Ferry--the stores that were necessary to equip the irresistible
numbers for irresistible operations? The assumption that he intended to
do so is not only illogical; it is absurd.

The declaration that Brown was the sole member of the "attacking" force
to believe in the assault upon the property of the United States at
Harper's Ferry is contradicted by competent testimony, and by the
significance of the general order that provided for the occupation of
the town, and that designated the officers and men who were to take
charge of this same property. As to the unanimity of sentiment that
prevailed in relation to the matter, Mr. Redpath says:[410] "On Saturday
a meeting of the Liberators was held and the plan of operations
discussed. On Sunday evening a council was again convened and the
programme of the Captain unanimously approved."

Other documents disclose the facts that the "Captain" and his men not
only intended to seize this United States property--the arms in the
arsenal and in the rifle works--but that they intended to keep them and
to use them. A general order issued from the headquarters of their war
department provided for the organization of an army.

Jeremiah G. Anderson was one of Brown's veterans, who, with full
confidence in the final success of their venture, approved of this
movement. Late in September, writing from "near Harper's Ferry" he

      Everything seems to work to our hand and victory will
      surely perch upon our banner.... This is not a large place
      but a very precious one to Uncle Sam, he has a great many
      tools here.

A victor is one who conquers--who defeats an enemy. In its relation to
war, victory means the defeat of the enemy in battle. Anderson had an
army in his mind, and battles and conquest, and the establishment of the
Provisional Government, when he referred to victory, and used the word
advisedly. A "raid" upon a place may be successfully executed but it
cannot be, properly, called a victory over anything. John E. Cook
believed the arms would be used and approved of the use of them. "But
ere that day arrives," he said, "I fear that we shall hear the crash of
the battle shock and see the red gleaming of the cannon's

Brown leased the Kennedy farm because the location was suitable for his
purposes in the furtherance of his plans. From there he conducted his
secret negotiations, with the slaves, for the insurrection, and
distributed the pikes, probably 500, which his co-conspirators were to
use in their secret assassinations; but when he launched the invasion,
and debouched his command, he abandoned it. Therefore, it was not
necessary for him to leave a force "adequate" or inadequate "on the
river bank to insure his being able to fall back to that base," or to
cover a retreat still more illogical: a retreat of his little band, with
a lot of slaves, and prisoners as hostages, "to the hills" where barren
rocks afforded no shelter and "where starvation would have met him at
the threshold of his eyrie."[413]

Aside from what the record contains relating to the subject, it is
illogical to assume that the veterans of Brown's band would imperil
their lives in a scheme so dangerous--a scheme involving death upon the
gallows for every one of them if they failed--unless they approved of it
with the fullest possible degree of confidence; only absolute confidence
in the feasibility of their plans, and the hope of reward without a
parallel, could have induced these men "with soiled lives behind
them."[414] to undertake this conquest. Their arrogance upon entering
the town is evidence of their enthusiasm, and confidence in the success
of what they were doing, and of their approval of it. Their conduct was
of the swaggering, domineering kind. It was of the: Halt! or I'll kill
you! kind; conduct bred by contamination in an environment supercharged
with the scheming for murderous deeds, reeking with the planning for
assassinations, and nourished by the belief that they were not
accountable to any power upon earth for their actions. Men do not shoot
down their fellows-men for trivial causes, unless they believe they are
in control of the situation, and are immune from punishment. These men
were expecting trouble. They had come to Harper's Ferry believing they
were about to write the bloodiest chapter in history; that the most
desperate struggle in all history was imminent, and they were impatient
to have it begin. They cut the telegraph wires; made prisoners of
whomever they met; stopped the railway train carrying passengers and
mails: shot at Watchman Higgins; shot and killed the baggage-porter,
Hayward, because he did not obey the command to halt; and killed Mr.
Boerly without any apparent provocation. Men who have no confidence in
their supremacy; who do not believe they will succeed in what they are
doing, but intend to run away, and laboriously "take to the hills" and
act upon the defensive without facilities for defense, do not thus
demean themselves. The logic of Mr. Villard's theory of Brown's plans
is: That this score of "hard-headed Americans" believed they could shoot
down and kill their fellow-citizens upon the streets of Harper's Ferry
with impunity; that they could rob the homes of that neighborhood and
not be held accountable therefor; that they could carry off property:
watches, money, horses, carriages, wagons, and slaves, into the hills
adjoining the town, and not be pursued by the local authorities; that
they could take citizens of the United States into custody as prisoners,
and carry them to a "hill-top fastness," and maintain themselves there
without supplies of either food, water, shelter, or munitions of war,
other than what they carried upon their persons.

They know little of Brown's plans and of his intentions, who criticize
his strategy, in occupying Harper's Ferry, and his tenacious defense of
the position. And they know nothing of the agreements at which he had
arrived, and the engagements which he had entered into with the slaves
of that section, whom he had taken into his confidence, during the
preceding three months, and who were to launch the insurrection he had
planned, and who were to constitute the rank and file of his army of
invasion. The author of _Fifty Years After_ seems to have no clearer
conception of the subject herein, than the author of fifty years before
assumed to have. Accepting, almost at par, Mr. Redpath's deceptive
vagaries, he formulates a plan of campaign to conform with the
conditions of his absurd conclusions; and then criticizes Brown because
he did not execute his conceptions. The plans for their operations,
whatever they may have been, were satisfactory to Brown and to the
veteran adventurers who followed his flag. "The man of blood and iron"
and the "hard-headed Americans" had the plans under consideration during
the two years preceding, and had placed the seal of their approval upon
them. If they were satisfactory to those who made them, and understood
them, and staked their lives upon the successful execution of them, they
should not be denounced too confidently, not to say flippantly, by those
who do not know, or who assume not to know, what the plans were.

The details which Brown made from his command were not to "garrison
various parts of the town" and "hold the bridges"; the assignments were
made in pursuance of his well defined plan to organize and equip there
the _army_ which was to garrison the town and which was thereafter to
_burn_ the bridges and hold the approaches to it; the army that was to
invade the Southern States; the army that was to "start from here"
(Harper's Ferry) "and go through the State of Virginia and on South,"
conquering and to conquer.

The dispositions that he made of his forces were in harmony with the
theory of the insurrection, which was the key-note of the invasion. The
slaves from the east side of the Potomac--the neighborhoods of
Sharpsburg, Boonsboro, and Hagerstown--after declaring their right to
freedom, by assassinating their owners, were to report to Owen Brown at
the "school-house," there to be organized into a battalion under his
command, and, be armed with the rifles and supplied with the ammunition
that were to be deposited there for that purpose. In the same way the
slaves who were to arrive from the Middletown Valley, and from the
Frederick country, through Pleasant Valley and Sandy Hook, were to
report to Watson Brown at the Potomac bridge and by him, or by Taylor
who was stationed there with him, taken to the arsenal, where Hazlett
was in charge as quartermaster and ordnance officer, and there be armed
and equipped from the "precious tools stored there," belonging to the
United States, which were to be seized for this purpose. In a similar
manner, the slaves from Loudoun Valley and the west side of the
Shenandoah were to report to Oliver Brown and William Thompson and Newby
at the Shenandoah bridge; while the slaves coming from the country lying
between the Shenandoah and the Potomac were to report to Kagi, at the
rifle-works, and by him and his assistants--Copeland and Leary--taken to
the arsenal for their equipment. Brown had said to his friend Douglass:
"When I strike the bees will swarm and I shall want you to help me hive
them." In this manner they were to be hived, _and furnished with

This being true, Brown defied no canons when he crossed the Potomac nor
did he thereby place a river between himself and his base of supplies.
He had, in general orders, designated Harper's Ferry as his
headquarters. _Harper's Ferry_, with its millions of dollars' worth of
military stores, was thenceforth to be his base of supplies, and the
State of Virginia and the South the field of his operations. Having
paralyzed the South with the insurrection, the Potomac was to be his
front, and behind its banks he intended to entrench his army. He
appointed no place for his men to _retreat_ to, nor made any provisions
for retreating, for the word had no place in his vocabulary. He fixed no
hour for his withdrawal from the town, because he did not intend to
withdraw from it. He was not executing a raid. Why should his captains
proudly march to Harper's Ferry; "their Sharp's rifles hung from their
shoulders, their commissions duly signed and officially sealed in their
pockets," if they were to trudge back again to the Kennedy farm in
demoralizing retreat, with no booty, and without having seen an enemy,
and before a hostile shot had been fired; and then "take to the hills,"
there to be hunted by dogs and men, as wild beasts are hunted, and be
shot down as wild beasts are shot, by slave-catchers, patrols, and
marshals. Their campaign was serious, heroic, and desperate beyond the
comprehension of Brown's biographers. Rarely in history have men
voluntarily stood to win or die as these men stood at Harper's Ferry.
There was no place on the earth where they could retreat to and live.
When Brown and his captains crossed the Potomac, the die was cast; the
_invasion_ was on. Thenceforth they might advance but not retreat; they
might fight but not run. If they came back, it would have to be "with
their shields or upon them."

There was no violation of military principles in Brown's occupation of
Harper's Ferry, or in the dispositions which he made of his men, nor in
his tenacious defense of his position. The military principles which he
violated are not referred to in the charges and specifications preferred
against him by this recent biographer. These violations were fatal to
his enterprise, but they all antedate the night of October 16, 1859. If
the hundreds of slaves whom Brown secretly armed with the Collinsville
spears, with which to assassinate their masters and their masters'
families, had done their bloody work as they had promised to do; then
the fifteen hundred men that Brown believed would report to him for duty
by 12 o'clock on the 17th,[415] and the 5,000 men whom Cook, at 4
o'clock, thought had already reported and were in action, would have
arrived, and the story of Harper's Ferry would have been different.
There would have been no violations of military principles then in
Brown's tactics and strategy, to criticise by any authority whatever.
"Another general, with the same purpose in view," and with the same
forces at his disposal, would not have improved very much upon Brown's

The hint at a hill-top fastness, where another general would have
established his camp before he "swooped" down upon the town, is a
modification of Mr. Redpath's invention of an "inaccessible fastness."
It is a delusion none the less, a delusion that was shot to pieces
within two years after Mr. Redpath framed it. Such a position has no
existence, except it be in authors' imaginations. There is not now, and
there never was a position upon either Maryland Heights or Loudoun
Heights that cannot be "stormed at with shot and shell."

During the war between the States, the Union generals fortified Mr.
Redpath's inaccessible fastness. Half way up the tangled steeps of
Maryland Heights, on a small bit of plateau--less than an acre--they
placed a battery of siege guns: two 9-inch Columbiads, a 50-pounder
Parrott, and two or three field pieces. Also, they reënforced the
natural defenses of the "hill-top fastness" by formidable breastworks,
built of rocks and trunks of trees, and protected them by abatis. On the
12th of September, 1862, the Confederate infantry swarmed all over these
inacessible fastnesses. During the 13th and 14th, the front of the
"hill-top fastness," on the summit of Maryland Heights, was a sheet of
flame and lead, enveloped in clouds of smoke. The rifle fire from the
opposing lines stripped the bark from the trunks of all the trees,
within a hundred and fifty yards of the front of these breastworks, as
clean as though they had been girdled with an ax. Not only did Jackson's
infantry penetrate these fastnesses, but during the morning of the 14th
they took two pieces of artillery to the top of these "inaccessible"
heights and "turned loose" with shot and shell upon the hill-top
fastness. During the night of the 14th, the Union commander abandoned
the inaccessible fastness, dismounted and spiked the guns on the
mountain side, and joined the forces at Harper's Ferry, on Bolivar

On the 20th, a detachment from what had been Mansfield's Corps, of
McClellan's Army--Crawford's Brigade[416]--then in command of Col.
Joseph F. Knipe of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, with a section of
artillery, also climbed these inaccessible heights to drive the
Confederates from the position.[417]

There are many persons living who remember having marched or "tramped"
or "climbed" or "trudged" or "stumbled" or "hoofed it" up and down and
over these mountains, on campaign and on picket duty, during the years
of the great war; but it is doubtful if any of them ever heard of a
detachment that executed such maneuvers by "swooping." The real movement
is different, especially so if it be executed at night.

In behalf of a patient public that has long been grievously imposed upon
by partisan biographers, the writer asks unanimous consent that
references to "fastnesses," with which Brown is said to have been
"familiar for seventeen years" be barred, henceforth, from the
literature of this subject; the inhibition to include all the patterns
of fastnesses which have been exploited; from the inaccessible kind of
1859 down through the intervening years, ending with the hill-top
variety of fifty years after.



      _All merit comes_
        _From daring the unequal,_
      _All glory comes from daring to begin._

                       --EUGENE WARE

Beginning with January, 1857, one thing is clearly disclosed and made
conclusive by the record of Brown's subsequent activities: that he
contemplated an armed invasion and conquest of the Southern States. His
correspondence, and the long line of historical incidents which touch
his life, during the time intervening between that date and the collapse
of his fortunes at Harper's Ferry, show that his mind was preoccupied
with plans for the accomplishment of that stupendous purpose. He
believed that the slaves could be induced to rise against their masters;
assassinate them and their families, and declare their freedom. From the
ranks of the freedmen, he planned to recruit an army for the occupation
of the territory affected by the insurrection, and for further invasion;
and to establish and maintain the authority of a provisional government.

His scheme for conquest was probably a result of his relations with Hugh
Forbes. Together the two adventurers planned the details for the
undertaking. It was in pursuance of their plans for this purpose that
Brown engaged Forbes's services, at a salary of a hundred dollars a
month; ordered the thousand spears; published the _Manual of the
Patriotic Volunteer_; planned to lure the soldiery of the Union from
their "service with Satan to the service of God"; planned to drive a
nail into Captain Kidd's treasure-chest--whatever that meant; planned
the War College, whereat the prospective generals for the prospective
army, and the prospective members for the prospective cabinet of the
prospective Provisional Government, were to be instructed, under the
direction of Forbes, in the science of war, and in the science of civil
government. It was for his civil and military leaders that he engaged
Stevens, Cook, Kagi, Tidd, Parsons, Realf, Gill, and others, and placed
them in the school of instruction.

To hedge against treason, he met with his embryonic generals and
secretaries at Chatham, Canada, and in convention assembled adopted a
"Constitution and Ordinances" for the Provisional Government, which,
among its provisions, declared the confiscation of the "entire personal
and real property of all persons known to be acting with or for the
enemy, or found wilfully holding slaves." This constitution had been
printed and copies of it were available at the Kennedy farm. Every man
who marched with Brown to Harper's Ferry had read it, or had heard it
read, and had sworn allegiance to the government it represented.

December 23, 1858, Merriam wrote to Brown: "I have heard vaguely of your
contemplated action and now Mr. Redpath and Mr. Hinton have told me your
contemplated action, in which I earnestly wish to join you in any
capacity you wish to place me as far as my small capacities go."[418] He
spent the winter in Hayti in company with Redpath, and knew how Brown
intended to "assail the Slave Power."[419]

The message that Brown requested Conductor Phelps to communicate to the
management of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, interdicting further
traffic over the road, was a declaration of war. It was the first and
only "Proclamation" issued by the commander-in-chief of the army of the
Provisional Government. At the time he gave out this declaration--1:25
A. M., October 17, 1859--he and his captains confidently believed their
insurrection to be in the full tide of successful initiation; that the
country in the vicinity was then in the throes of a slaughter that
spared neither sex nor age; that hordes of black fiends, like furies,
were surging over the land in a riot of unimaginable proportions. These
adventurers believed that their dreams of conquest were about to be
realized; and that the rioting thousands, excited into a frenzy by the
bloody deeds which had set them free, were already pressing in bands to
join them at the appointed rendezvous to fill the ranks of the "Army of
Liberation"; that it was solely a question of time--a few hours at
most--until these allies would be arriving, and they would have control
of an army sufficiently strong to establish and maintain their

That the slaves' sole way to freedom lay over the dead bodies of their
masters, was a self-evident proposition. The slaves knew by tradition
and by experience, and Brown and his captains knew, that if they--the
slaves--ran away from their masters to join his forces, the masters,
reënforced by the citizen soldiery, would pursue them immediately, and
recover them before they could organize for either defensive or
aggressive warfare. The problem of Harper's Ferry had been solved by the
philosophy of the Pottawatomie. The same questions were involved in each
venture: how to get the "goods" and keep them--how to get the slaves for
the Provisional Army and forestall pursuit. It was the Pottawatomie

Brown intended to create the "Provisional Army" in the enemy's country;
hence, it was essential for him to commence the undertaking by striking
the most crushing blow that it was possible for him to deliver. The
success of the movement depended upon his ability to strike a blow so
terrible that the survivors of the carnage, dazed and paralyzed by the
horrors of the existing conditions, would be incapable of organizing and
sending any opposing force to attack him. Therefore the
assassinations--the destruction of the persons who, otherwise, would
pursue. That was the central feature of the movement, the base of the
scheme, the blow which he intended to strike. It was the only blow which
he could strike; the only weapon that he could use of which any one
stood in awe. The blow which he would have to strike if he would win,
was the blow which he had told his Eastern friends he could strike: a
blow that would shake the slave system to its foundation--the blow which
he had promised Gerrit Smith he would strike, and doubtless, told him
how he intended to strike it.

To the men from the Pottawatomie, a massacre was simply a means to an
end. Brown and his sons harbored no feelings of animosity toward the
Doyles, the Shermans, and Wilkinson; but they knew that these men would
not give up to them, peaceably, the property which they coveted,
therefore they murdered them and took their horses. They knew that the
owners of slaves and lands in the Southern States would not, peaceably,
relinquish their ownership of this property; therefore they planned to
incite the slaves to kill their masters while they slept--and having
_thus emancipated_ the slaves, confiscate the estates of the
slave-holders, and put the assassins and themselves in possession of
them. This massacre, the most horrible that was ever seriously
contemplated in the brain of man, was to be executed under the pretense
that it was an humanitarian measure. In the name of humanity, they
proposed to undertake the midnight assassination of millions of men,
women, and children, and to contend for justification for their actions.
The word, with Brown, was a convenience, or an interchangeable term. A
definition of it, in the sense in which he used the word, is found in
his personal understanding, or interpretation rather, of its
co-relation, "The Golden Rule." He is quoted by Sanborn and others as
having stated "more than once": "I believe in the Golden Rule and the
Declaration of Independence. I think that both mean the same thing; and
it is better that a whole generation should pass off the face of the
earth--men, women and children--by a violent death than that one jot of
either should fail _in this country_. I mean exactly _so_, sir."[420]

The possibility that the blacks in the South might attempt to gain their
freedom by a general massacre of the whites, was a condition co-existent
with their enslavement. After 1831 that possibility became a fixed
impending probability; and the question of means to prevent the
inevitable cataclysm of blood, was a matter of constant concern in the
economy of the Southern States; with the result that various preventive
measures were adopted to discourage the possibility of attempts, by the
slaves, to organize for such undertakings, or to fit themselves, by
education or otherwise, to promote such organizations.

In the philosophy of John Brown, what Nat Turner had done in a section
of Southampton County, Virginia, could, if properly promoted, be done in
any other section or locality; and, if in any locality, then in every
locality, or throughout the whole South. Therefore, an insurrection by
the slaves, having for its object the overthrow of the existing State
governments of the South, was a venture, from his point of view, which
might be undertaken with reasonable prospects for success; the ultimate
result depending largely upon his ability to organize the slaves
effectively for revolt; to equip them for the initial uprising, and
thereafter to capably direct the movement.

No disaster that ever befell our country, war not excepted, was in any
respect comparable with the horrors which would be incidental to a slave
insurrection; yet our people lived during more than half a century in
the shadow of that menace. They lived in a state of continual
apprehension that it, the most stupendous of conceivable calamities,
might at any time overwhelm them.

      For years patrols had ridden the roads and men had watched
      of night lest the negroes turn upon their masters. It was,
      an ever present fear. That the Abolitionists wished the
      slaves to rise and kill their masters in their beds was a
      belief widely held in the South and often publicly
      expressed, and no happening that could be imagined
      contained a greater possibility of horror and

It has been said, and there is great force in the statement, that the
"Underground Railroad," instead of working hardship and great loss to
slave-holders, was, in reality "the safety-valve to the institution." It
was the sluice for the overflow of the dangerous class--the able and
discontented. The Underground was organized at the close of the
eighteenth century, and had on its rolls more than 30,000 "employees."
It carried away from the South, probably 75,000 slaves of the value of
more than $30,000,000. The slaves who thus sought and obtained their
liberty, taking the risk of arrest and punishment in their attempts to
gain it, were the ablest and the most influential among them. Had they
remained in slavery, these men would have further developed and become
leaders among the slaves, and would have organized them and led them
into insurrection. "Had they remained, the direful scenes of San Domingo
would have been enacted, and the hot, vengeful breath of massacre would
have swept the South as a tornado and blanched the cheek of the
civilized world."[422]

Brown knew about the hot vengeful breath which had swept the white
population from the fair face of San Domingo. And he was familiar with
the attempts which had been made to relight its fires in this country,
and to start the tornado of death. He was familiar with what his
predecessors in the insurrection business had done, and with what they
had tried to do. He knew, too, or thought he knew, why they had failed.
Naturally he sought to avoid the mistakes which they had committed, and
to safeguard his operations by improving upon their methods. The seizure
of Harper's Ferry was not a "Foray into Virginia," as Mr. Sanborn
chooses to call it: neither was it a "Raid" as Mr. Villard, with
conspicuous persistence, seeks to make it appear to have been; nor was
it either an "attack" upon the town or a "blow" or any other specious
form of movement. Brown selected the place and "occupied" it as the base
for his military operations, because he intended to use the generous
supplies of war material, which were then in store there, for the
equipment of the army that he planned to organize. The occupation was to
be permanent. It was a stratagem of his campaign, an incident in his
main design.

By the logic of the assassinations, Brown believed he would secure
immunity from an immediate, or counter assault. Instead of being
compelled to defend his position against attack by the militia, and by
companies of armed citizens, which might be improvised for the occasion,
he contemplated spending the first "few weeks" of the campaign in
comparative security; publishing, far and wide, the proclamation of the
Provisional Government, with its lure for adventurers in civil and
military life; debauching the citizenship of the country and the
soldiery of the Union. He also contemplated having leisure to attend
such diplomatic functions as might be incidental to the situation,
including negotiations with foreign nations, and the problems of
"Foreign intervention," Northern conventions, etc.[423]

Forbes's letter of May 14, 1858, heretofore quoted, discloses Brown's
theory of the invasion: it deals with the facts of Brown's secret
movement then pending in the untried future. These two men had agreed
upon an invasion of the South under cover of an "insurrection." The
opinion Forbes gave Dr. Howe therein is a dissenting one, for personal
reasons, from his agreement with Brown. In the revised opinion, Forbes
stated his belief that the insurrection would fail; that it would be
"either a flash in the pan, or it would leap beyond his control or any
control," and after having spent its force in a riot of blood would be
stamped out. Brown thought otherwise; he was "sure of a response," and
believed that he could safeguard against "a flash in the pan." With the
question of "losing control" of the insurrection he was not concerned;
that was a bridge which he would cross when he came to it. Under his
control, a whole generation was to pass off the face of the earth by a
violent death, and nothing much could occur in excess of that if the
insurrection did happen to get beyond it. The hurricane of horrors which
he proposed to unloose, could not sweep too far for his purposes; he
would have it spread to every Southern State, and in the language of
Jeremiah Goldsmith Anderson, "make this land of liberty and equality
shake to the center."[424]

That Brown expected to be strongly supported by a secret colored
military organization existing in the North, and "that had its
ramifications extended through most or nearly all of the Slave States,"
is more than probable. This organization was represented at the Chatham
convention by G. J. Reynolds, of Sandusky, Ohio, "a colored man (very
little colored, however)"; and after the convention adjourned, Geo. B.
Gill was sent to Oberlin, Berlin Heights, and Milan, Ohio, to verify the
statements which Reynolds had made concerning its forces. Gill met him
and "under the pledge of secrecy which we gave to each other at the
Chatham convention," he says. Reynolds took him to the room where they
held their meetings, and used as their arsenal, and showed him "a fine
collection of arms." "On my return to Cleveland," continues Gill, "he
passed me, through the organization, first to J. J. Pierce, colored, at
Milan, who paid my bill one night at the Eagle Hotel, and gave me some
money, and a note to E. Moore at Norwalk; who in turn paid my hotel
bill, and purchased a railroad ticket through to Cleveland for me."
Reynolds asserted that they were "only waiting for Brown or some one
else to make a successful initiative move, when their forces would be
put in motion."[425]

It must not be assumed, because Brown did not _publish_ a transcript of
his plans for the insurrection and invasion, that he was "without any
clear and definite plan of campaign," and that the consequences of his
plans had not been anticipated, and provided for in minutest detail, for
he was methodical. Also, secrecy was characteristic of his methods.
Salmon Brown said:[426] "Father had a peculiarity for insisting on
_order_.... He would insist on getting everything arranged just to suit
him before he would consent to make a move."

And to Kagi Brown wrote July 10th:[427] "_Do not_ use much paper to put
names of persons & plans upon."

The nature of Brown's plans, and of his intentions, and of his
engagements, must therefore be drawn from the documentary evidence
obtainable, and from such reasonable inferences as can be derived from
the actions of the invaders: from the things which they did while they
were free to do as they pleased; while they were yet unrestrained by the
forces which later overcame them; and from such contemporaneous
testimony, relating to the subject, as may be available. What they said
when in prison, and in view of the impending gallows, about what they
intended to do, is not the best evidence of what their intentions were.

On the 19th of August, Mr. Frederick Douglass met John Brown, by
appointment, at an old stone quarry in the vicinity of Chambersburg. At
that interview, Brown disclosed to Mr. Douglass his intention to seize
Harper's Ferry. Mr. Douglass said:[428]

      The taking of Harper's Ferry, of which Brown had merely
      hinted before, was now declared his settled purpose, and he
      wanted to know what I thought of it. I opposed it with all
      the arguments at my command.... He was not to be shaken but
      treated my views respectfully, replying that even if
      surrounded he would find means to cut his way out.... In
      parting, he put his arms around me in a manner more than
      friendly, and said, "Come with me, Douglas; I will defend
      you with my life. I want you for a special purpose. When I
      strike the bees will begin to swarm, and I shall want you
      to help hive them...."

The project that Brown had in view was clearly foreshadowed by Jeremiah
C. Anderson, in a letter which he wrote, late in September, to a brother
in Iowa. He said:[429]

      Our mining company will consist of between twenty-five and
      thirty men well equipped with tools. You can tell Uncle Dan
      it will be impossible for me to see him before next spring.
      If my life is spared I will be tired of work by that time,
      and I shall visit my relatives and friends in Iowa, if I
      can get leave of absence. At present I am bound by all that
      is honorable to continue in the course. We go in to win, at
      all hazards. So if you should hear of failure, it will be
      after a desperate struggle, and loss of capital on both
      sides. But this is the last of our thoughts. Everything
      seems to work to our hands, and victory will surely perch
      upon our banner. The old man has had this in view for
      twenty years, and last winter was just a hint and trial of
      what could be done. This is not a large place but a very
      precious one to Uncle Sam, as he had a great many tools
      here. I expect (when I start again travelling) to start at
      this place and go through the State of Virginia and on
      south, just as circumstances require; mining and
      prospecting, and carrying the ore with us. I suppose this
      is the last letter I shall write you before there is
      something in the wind. Whether I shall have an opportunity
      of sending letters then, I do not know, but when I have an
      opportunity I shall improve it. But if you don't get any
      from me, don't take it for granted that I am _gone up_ till
      you know it to be so. I consider my life about as safe in
      one place as another.

The following interesting and instructive document discloses the
formation of Andersen's mining company, and indicates the character of
the "mining" which the operators intended to engage in. It reads as


                              _Harper's Ferry, October 10, 1859._

      General Orders No. 1.


      The divisions of the provisional army and the coalition are
      hereby established as follows:


      A company will consist of fifty-six privates, twelve
      non-commissioned officers, (eight corporals, 4 sergeants)
      three commissioned officers, (two lieutenants, a captain,)
      and a surgeon.

      The privates shall be divided into bands or messes of seven
      each numbering from one to eight, with a corporal to each,
      numbered like his band.

      Two bands shall comprise a section. Sections shall be
      numbered from one to four. A sergeant shall be attached to
      each section and numbered like it.

      Two sections shall comprise a platoon. Platoons will be
      numbered one and two, and each commanded by a lieutenant
      designated by like number.


      The battalion will consist of four companies complete. The
      commissioned officers of the battalion will be a chief of
      battalion, and a first and second major, one of whom shall
      be attached to each wing.

      3--_The Regiment._

      The regiment will consist of four battalions complete. The
      commissioned officers of the regiment will be a colonel and
      two lieutenant colonels, attached to the wings.

      4--_The Brigade._

      The brigade will consist of four regiments complete. The
      commissioned officer of the brigade will be a general of

      5--_Each General Staff._

      Each of the above divisions will be entitled to a general
      staff, consisting of an adjutant, a commissary, a musician,
      and a surgeon.


      Non-commissioned officers will be chosen by those whom they
      are to command.

      Commissioned officers will be appointed and commissioned by
      this department.

      The staff officers of each division will be appointed by
      the respective commanders of the same.

(This document is in the handwriting of J. H. Kagi.)[430]

Oliver Brown and Jeremiah G. Anderson were captains in the provisional
army. A copy of Brown's commission is published herewith:


                              HEADQUARTERS WAR DEPARTMENT.
                              Near Harper's Ferry Maryland.

      Whereas _Oliver Brown_ has been nominated a _captain_ in
      the army established under the provisional constitution,

      Now, therefore, in pursuance of the authority vested in us
      by said constitution, we do hereby appoint and commission
      the said _Oliver Brown a captain_.

      Given at the office of the Secretary of War, this day,
      October 15, 1859.

                              JOHN BROWN,
                              _Commander in Chief_.

      J. H. KAGI. _Secretary of War_.

(This document is printed in the original, with the exception of the
words in italics and the figures, which are in the handwriting of Kagi,
with the exception of the signature of John Brown, which is in his own

Except as to Mr. Sanborn and Mr. Stearns, it is hard to believe that the
members of Brown's war committee were ignorant of his intention to
incite a slave insurrection, and invade the South. Rev. Theodore Parker

      I should like of all things to see an insurrection of the
      Slaves. It must be tried many times before it succeeds, as
      at last it must.[432]

Dr. Howe also knew of the impending insurrection. Mr. Sanborn says:[433]

      Dr. Howe, returning from Cuba, (whither he accompanied
      Theodore Parker in February 1859), journeyed through the
      Carolinas, and there accepted the hospitality of Wade
      Hampton, and other rich planters; and it shocked him to
      think that he might be instrumental in giving up to fire
      and pillage their noble mansions.

Thaddeus Hyatt, of New York, too, seems to have known what Brown
intended to do, and from whence he derived his inspirations. Also the
indiscriminate massacre of non-combatants, white women and children, by
the negroes of Hayti seems to have had his approbation. He presented to
the Black Republic a portrait[434] of the man, John Brown, who in 1859
sought to incite the negroes of the Southern States to do what the
negroes of San Domingo did, when "one August night, in the year 1791 the
whole plain of the north was swept with fire and drenched with blood.
Five hundred thousand negro slaves in the depths of barbarism revolted,
and the horrors of the massacre made Europe and America shudder."[435]

August 27, 1859, Gerrit Smith wrote the following letter to the "Jerry
Rescue Committee":[436]

      It is, perhaps, too late to bring slavery to an end by
      peaceable means,--too late to vote it down. For many years
      I have feared, and published my fears, that it would go out
      in blood. These fears have grown into a belief. So
      debauched are the white people by slavery that there is not
      virtue enough left in them to put it down.... The feeling
      among the blacks that they must deliver themselves gains
      strength with fearful rapidity. No wonder, then, is it that
      intelligent black men in the States _and in Canada_ should
      see no hope for their race in the practice and policy of
      white men.... Whoever he may be that foretells the horrible
      end of American slavery, is held at the North and the South
      to be a lying prophet,--another Cassandra. The South would
      not respect her own Jefferson's prediction of servile
      insurrection; how then can it be hoped that she will
      respect another's?... And is it entirely certain that these
      insurrections will be put down promptly, and before they
      can have spread far? Will telegraphs and railroads be too
      swift for the swiftest insurrections? Remember that
      telegraphs and railroads can be rendered useless in an
      hour. Remember too that many who would be glad to face the
      insurgents would be busy in transporting their wives and
      daughters to places where they would be safe from the worst
      fate that husbands and fathers can imagine for their wives
      and daughters. I admit that but for this embarrassment
      Southern men would laugh at the idea of an insurrection and
      would quickly dispose of one. But trembling as they would
      for beloved ones, I know of no part of the world, where, so
      much as in the South, men would be like, in a formidable
      insurrection, to lose the most important time, and be
      distracted and panic stricken.

Commenting upon this letter, Mr. Sanborn, after quoting from Mr. Smith's
biographer the expression "This Cassandra spoke from certainty," says
that he (Smith) "knew what Brown's purpose was; and his last
contribution to Brown's campaign was made about the time the Syracuse
letter was written." Referring to the same letter, his biographer,
Frothingham, says:

      It is hard to believe that the writer of these passages had
      not had John Brown's general plan in mind. There was no
      visible sign of peril. The blacks, North and South, were to
      all appearances quiet.... But for the whole-handed
      destruction of documents immediately on the failure of the
      project, Mr. Smith's participation in John Brown's general
      plans could be made to appear still closer.

As late as 1867, Mr. Smith disclaimed having any knowledge of Brown's
plans or of his intentions. He denied that he gave money with the
purpose of aiding the insurrection. Concerning this Mr. Frothingham

      Did Gerrit Smith really think that this was a complete and
      truthful statement of his relations with John Brown? A
      statement in which nothing true was suppressed, and nothing
      untrue suggested? A statement that would be satisfactory to
      Edward Morton, and F. B. Sanborn and Dr. Howe and other
      friends of the Martyr?... We must believe that his insanity
      obliterated a certain class of impressions, while another
      class of impressions on the same subject remained distinct.

The theory of Brown's operations being the conquest of the South through
an insurrection of the slaves, the collapse of the scheme was coincident
with the failure of the slaves to execute the part assigned to them in
the plan of the invasion. It is herein that Brown's leadership may be
criticised. The creation of the army depended upon the success of the
insurrection. The latter, therefore, should have been made safe--beyond
the possibility of failure--before he committed any subordinate
irremediable acts.

At Cleveland, Brown took credit for never having killed anybody, but
said, in a self conscious manner, referring to his Kansas successes,
that on "some occasions he had _shown his young men with him_ how some
things might be done as well as others and that they had done them."
Brown plainly attributed the failure of the insurrection, and his
consequent failure, to a cause which he could have controlled--to his
failure to do things which he could have done, and which he then
reproached himself for not having done.

"It is my own fault," he said, October 18th, "that I have been taken. I
could easily have saved myself from it, had I exercised my own better
judgment rather than yielded to my feelings."

"You mean if you had escaped immediately?" inquired Mr. Mason.

"No," he said, "I had the means to make myself secure without any
escape, but I allowed myself to be surrounded by a force by being too

Brown had planned how to prevent being surrounded, and continuing said:
"I do not know that I should reveal my plans. I am here a prisoner and
wounded because I foolishly allowed myself to be so. You overrate
yourself in supposing I could have been taken if I had not allowed it."

Nat Turner had shown his followers how to start an insurrection. He
personally spilled the first blood, the blood which turned loose the
furies in Southampton County, and Brown now saw, too late, that if he
and his captains had each led a party of negroes, as Turner had led; and
shown them how to kill, as Turner had shown his followers; they too
might have turned loose the furies of which Brown and Forbes dreamed,
and launched the hurricane of death. Then, with thousands of rioting
slaves, brandishing their bloody spears, the occupation of Harper's
Ferry would have been but an incident of minor importance in this

Forbes perceived the weak link in the chain of Brown's forecast, and
made the point, that unless the slaves were "already in a state of
agitation, there might be no response, or a feeble one." But Brown,
carried away by an enthusiasm inspired by a continuous contemplation of
the grandeur of his scheme, failed to give the warning the consideration
which its importance deserved. He dismissed Forbes's caution with the
confident assertion that he "_was sure of a response_" His
over-confidence led to his immediate undoing. Upon the rock that Forbes
had pointed out foundered the new-born ship of state. The great uprising
of the blacks upon which he relied, failed to materialize; the thousands
of reënforcements which he looked for, appeared not at all.[437] The
plans for the conquest of the Southern States, and for the establishment
of the Provisional Government miscarried.

Concerning Brown and his plans Mr. Vallandigham said:

      It is in vain to underestimate the man or the conspiracy.
      Captain John Brown is as brave and resolute a man as ever
      headed an insurrection, and, in a good cause, and with a
      sufficient force, would have been a consummate partisan
      commander. He has coolness, daring, persistency, the stoic
      faith and patience, and a firmness of will and purpose
      unconquerable. He is the farthest possible removed from the
      ordinary ruffian, fanatic or madman. Certainly it was the
      best planned and best executed conspiracy that ever

John Brown was not a pioneer in the slave insurrection business, nor
does his plan of procedure at Harper's Ferry suggest any novelties or
anything original in the way of such insurrections. He had before him a
long line of precedents and examples which he studied; and ideals,
written in blood, which he sought to emulate. His heroes were Toussaint
L'Ouverture and Nat Turner, their hands red with the blood of innocence.
Turner had killed between fifty and sixty white people, mostly women and
children, and Mr. Redpath tells us that Brown "admired this negro
patriot equally with George Washington." Turner was his most recent and
most direct example. It was from what Turner had done, that Brown and
Forbes formed their estimates of what they could do. From the example
furnished by this ideal patriot, they framed the Maryland-Virgina
equation. They reasoned in this way: If an ignorant slave, with a score
of poorly armed negro followers, who were also slaves, could kill sixty
white people in a day, how many white people could a thousand negroes,
who are well equipped for midnight slaughter, kill in a single night?
Their solution of that problem found expression in the order which they
placed, in March, 1857, with the Collinsville blacksmith. It was Brown's
answer to this question, expanded as Brown sought to expand it at
Harper's Ferry, that was to "make slavery totter from its foundations."

Upon several occasions--notably, once in South Carolina, and twice in
Virginia--the slaves of this country had engaged in conspiracies against
their masters. In each instance the men who promoted the revolt were
themselves slaves. In two instances the insurgents planned to seize the
arsenals, and public arms and ammunition, as Brown planned to do, and
did, at Harper's Ferry. In each instance the revolt was to be
accomplished by a general massacre of the white inhabitants. Brown and
Forbes, in 1857, studied the trails that had been blazed on these
occasions, and planned with reference to the experiences of the men who
had directed the efforts.

The first attempt at insurrection in this country was led by "General"
Gabriel in September, 1800. The date agreed upon was Saturday [Monday],
September 1st. The place of rendezvous was on a brook six miles from
Richmond, Virginia. The force was to comprise eleven hundred men,
divided into three divisions. The attack was to have been made upon
Richmond, then a town of eight thousand population, under cover of the

The plan for the occupation of Richmond was similar in some respects to
Brown's plans at Harper's Ferry. One of the divisions of the army was to
take the penitentiary, which had been improvised into an arsenal.
Another division was to seize the powder-house. A statement of the
trouble was published in the _United States Gazette_ of Philadelphia,
September 8, 1800:

      The penitentiary held several thousand stand of arms; the
      powder-house was well stocked; the capitol contained the
      State Treasury; the mills would give them bread; the
      control of the bridge across the James river would keep off
      enemies from beyond. Thus secured and provided, they
      planned to issue proclamations, summoning to their standard
      "their fellow negroes and the friends of humanity
      throughout the continent." In a week they estimated they
      would have 50,000 men on their side, when they would
      possess themselves of other towns.[440]

A formidable insurrection was attempted in 1822 by Denmark Vesey. The
slaves involved in this plot were distributed over a territory of
forty-five to fifty miles in extent around Charleston, South Carolina.
Vesey's plan of revolt contemplated the wholesale slaughter of the white
population and the occupation of the country by the blacks.

      "Every slave enlisted was sworn to secrecy. Household
      servants were rarely trusted. Talkative and intemperate
      persons were not enlisted. Women were excluded from
      participation in the affair that they might take care of
      the children. Peter Poyas, it is said, had enlisted six
      hundred without assistance.

      "During the excitement and the trial of the supposed
      conspirators, rumor proclaimed all, and doubtless more than
      all the horrors of the plot. The city was to be fired in
      every quarter. The arsenal, in the immediate vicinity, was
      to be broken open, and the arms distributed to the
      insurgents and an universal massacre of the white
      inhabitants was to take place. Nor did there seem to be any
      doubt in the minds of the people that such would actually
      have been the result, had not the plot, fortunately, been
      detected before the time appointed for the outbreak. It
      was believed, as a matter of course, that every black in
      the city would join in the insurrection, and that, if the
      original design had been attempted and the city taken by
      surprise, the negroes would have achieved an easy victory,
      nor does it seem at all impossible that such might have
      been, or yet may be the case, if any well arranged and
      resolute rising should take place." The plot failed because
      a negro, William Paul, "made enlistments without authority,
      and revealed the scheme to a house servant. The leaders of
      this attempt at insurrection died as bravely as they had
      lived; and it is one of the marvels of the remarkable
      affair, that none of this class divulged any of the secrets
      to the court. The men who did the talking were those who
      knew but little."[441]

Two promoters of slave insurrections were born during the year 1800:
John Brown and Nat Turner. The latter was born in Southampton County,
Virginia, October 2d. Turner became a preacher, and later, saw visions.
He saw visions of conflicts "between white spirits and black spirits
engaged in battle; and the sun was darkened, the thunder rolled in the
heavens, and blood flowed in the streams...." Afterward he had another
vision in which an angel told him that "the time is fast approaching
when the 'first shall be last and the last first'"; which he interpreted
as foreshadowing the promotion of the blacks to control in public
affairs, and the subordination of the whites. Encouraged by his
conclusion, he determined to attempt the promotion of the blacks by
eliminating the whites. In pursuance of this he planned a general
uprising of the slaves and massacre of their white masters. His blow was
struck on the night of August 21, 1831, near Jerusalem Court House,

Turner trusted his plans to four men: Sam Edwards, Hark Travis, Henry
Porter, and Nelson Williams. After the plans had been completed. Turner
made a speech appropriate to the occasion. He said: "Our race is to be
delivered from slavery, and God has appointed us as the men to do his
bidding; and let us be worthy of our calling. I am told to slay all the
whites we encounter without regard to age or sex. We have no arms or
ammunition but we will find these in the homes of our oppressors; and,
as we go on, others can join us. Remember we do not go for the sake of
blood and carnage, but it is necessary that in the commencement of this
revolution, all the whites we meet should die, until we have an army
strong enough to carry on the war on a Christian basis. Remember that
ours is not war for robbery nor to satisfy our passions; it is a
_struggle for freedom_. Ours must be deeds, not words. Then let us away
to the scene of action." In his confession after sentence of death had
been passed upon him, Turner described the scenes of the murders which
they committed. Of the attack upon the home of Joseph Travis, his
master, he said:[442]

      On returning to the house, Hark went to the door with an
      axe, for the purpose of breaking it open, as we knew we
      were strong enough to murder the family, should they be
      awakened by the noise; but, reflecting that it might create
      an alarm in the neighborhood, we determined to enter the
      house secretly, and murder them whilst sleeping. Hark got a
      ladder and set it against the chimney, on which I ascended,
      and, hoisting a window, entered and came down stairs,
      unbarred the doors, and removed the guns from their places.
      It was then observed that I must spill the first blood, on
      which, armed with a hatchet and accompanied by Will, I
      entered my master's chamber. It being dark, I could not
      give a death blow. The hatchet glanced from his head. He
      sprang from the bed and called his wife. It was his last
      word. Will laid him dead with a blow of his axe.

After they had taken the lives of the Travis family, "they went from
plantation to plantation, dealing death blows to every white man, woman
and child they found." A list of the "dead that have been buried" was
published August 24th: At Mrs. Whitehead's, 7; Mrs. Waller's, 13; Mr.
Williams's, 3; Mr. Barrow's, 2; Mr. Vaughn's, 5; Mrs. Turner's, 3; Mr.
Travis's, 5; Mr. J. Williams's, 5; Mr. Reece's, 4; names unknown, 10;
total, 57.

The news of the massacre spread rapidly, and the excited whites quickly
armed themselves to suppress the insurrection. As a result, "Arms and
ammunition were dispatched in wagons to the county of Southampton. The
four volunteer companies of Petersburg, the dragoons and Lafayette
Artillery Company of Richmond, one volunteer company from Norfolk and
one from Portsmouth, and the regiments of Southampton and Sussex, were
at once ordered out. The cavalry and infantry took up their line of
march on Tuesday evening, while the artillery embarked on the steamer
'Norfolk' and landed at Smithfield."[443]

A Mr. Gray, to whom Turner made his confession, said of him:

      ... I shall not attempt to describe the effects of his
      narrative, as told, and commented on by himself, in the
      condemned hole of the prison; the calm, deliberate
      composure with which he spoke of his late deeds and
      intentions; the expression of his fiend-like face, when
      excited by enthusiasm; still bearing the stains of the
      blood of helpless innocence about him, clothed with rags
      and covered with chains, yet daring to raise his manacled
      hands to Heaven with a spirit soaring above the attributes
      of man.

And yet, such were the phenomenal inconsistencies occurring in the
philosophy of persons who professed, and who, perhaps, believed
themselves to be humane, this negro's crime was exultingly approved of
by Brown's Eastern supporters. Mr. William Lloyd Garrison, at a meeting
called to witness "John Brown's resurrection" said in his speech:

      ... As a peace man--an "ultra" peace man--I am prepared to
      say: "Success to every slave insurrection at the South,
      and in every slave country." And I do not see how I
      compromise or stain my peace profession in making that



_No man can produce great things who is not thoroughly
sincere in dealing with himself._


The regular semi-annual term of the court of Jefferson County, Virginia,
began October 20th. Brown was taken into custody on Tuesday, October
18th, and on Tuesday morning, October 25th, he was put on trial for his
life. For this unseemly haste the Virginia authorities have been
censured. The spectacle of an old man, physically incapacitated, and
suffering because of recent wounds, being rushed to trial without
reasonable time and opportunity to even secure friendly counsel,
justified harsh criticism, and did not fail to win sympathy for Brown
from right thinking men in all sections of the country. Also, that wrong
had much to do with promoting his "martyrdom." It was, however, his
right to the courtesies of judicial procedure, in such cases, rather
than any of his legal rights, that was infringed. In his efforts to
explain his purpose for being at Harper's Ferry he had not only, in
effect, confessed his guilt of all the charges upon which he was being
held for trial, but had sought to justify his conduct in relation to
them. Mr. Greeley, in the _Tribune_ of October 25th, wrote:[445]

      As the Grand Jury of Jefferson County is already in
      session, the trial of Brown and his confederates may be
      expected to take place at once, unless delay should be
      granted to prepare for trial, or a change of venue to some
      less excited county should be asked for. Neither of these
      is probable. The prisoners in fact have no defense, and
      their case will be speedily disposed of.

The jurisdiction of the Federal courts in the premises, was not
seriously considered. The State had never ceded to the United States its
jurisdiction over the territory that Brown had taken possession of, in
behalf of the Provisional Government, and from which he had directed his
operations. The question was raised as an expedient, because the Federal
court afforded better facilities for incriminating Brown's northern
supporters, the men "higher up," than did the State courts. Later, it
was agreed upon that Stevens should be surrendered to the United States
for trial. Mr. Hunter, for the prosecution, announced the fact, in
court, November 7th, saying, that they were now after "higher and
wickeder game."[446] But when, on December 15th, the President inquired
by wire whether Stevens had been so surrendered, the prosecution
hesitated; Mr. Hunter replying:

      Stevens has not been delivered to the authorities of the
      United States. Undetermined as yet whether he will be tried

December 8th, Governor Wise wrote to Mr. Hunter:

      In reply to yours of the 15th, I say definitely that
      Stevens ought not to be handed over to the Federal
      authorities for trial.... I hope you informed the President
      of the status of his case before the court.[448]

The political necessity for trying Stevens in the Federal court, was
obviated by Congress. December 14th, a select committee of the Senate
was appointed to "inquire into the late invasion and seizure of public
property at Harper's Ferry." It was clothed with authority to
investigate the whole subject. The members were Mason, of Virginia,
chairman; Davis, of Mississippi; Fitch, of Indiana; Doolittle, of
Wisconsin; and Collamer, of Vermont; the majority being pro-slavery.
The findings of the committee constitute the _Mason Report_, referred to
in this book.

At the preliminary examination, the presiding justice of the peace, Mr.
Braxton Davenport, appointed as counsel for Brown Mr. Charles J.
Faulkner and Mr. Lawson Botts. Mr. Faulkner was present at Harper's
Ferry during the trouble, and thought it would be improper for him to
represent the prisoners as counsel. He was therefore excused, and Mr.
Thomas G. Green was appointed in his stead. Mr. Villard states that in
"Messrs. Green and Botts, John Brown had assigned to him far abler
counsel than would have been given to an ordinary malefactor." Brown's
reply to the Court when asked if he had counsel is deserving of a place
in this history. It was worthy of a leader of a lost cause. Though
feebly rising to his feet, he said with defiant spirit:[449]

      Virginians: I did not ask for any quarter at the time I was
      taken. I did not ask to have my life spared. The Governor
      of the State of Virginia tendered me his assurance that I
      should have a fair trial, but under no circumstances
      whatever, will I be able to attend to my trial. If you seek
      my blood you can have it at any moment without this mockery
      of a trial.

      I have had no counsel. I have not been able to advise with
      any one. I know nothing about the feelings of my
      fellow-prisoners, and am utterly unable to attend in any
      way to my own defense. My memory don't serve me, my health
      is insufficient; although improving.

      If a fair trial is to be allowed us, there are mitigating
      circumstances, that I would urge in our favor. But, if we
      are to be forced with a mere form,--a trial for
      execution,--you might spare yourselves that trouble. I am
      ready for my fate. I do not ask a trial, I beg for no
      mockery of a trial--no insult--Nothing but that which
      conscience gives, or cowardice drives you to practice.

      I ask again to be excused from a mockery of a trial. I do
      not know what the special design of this examination is. I
      do not know what the benefit of it is to this Commonwealth.
      I have now little further to ask, other than that I may be
      not foolishly insulted, only as cowardly barbarians insult
      those that fall into their power.

When the question relating to counsel was submitted to Stevens, he
promptly accepted the gentlemen named and the examination was proceeded

At 2 o'clock the preliminary court of examination reported its findings,
and the presiding judge, Hon. Richard Parker, of the circuit court, at
once submitted the case to the grand jury in an able and dispassionate
address. At noon the next day, the 26th, a true bill was returned
against each of the prisoners on the following counts: For "Treason to
the commonwealth"; for "conspiring with slaves to commit treason"; and
for "murder." After the noon hour the defendants were brought into court
to plead to the indictments. Brown, refusing to appear voluntarily, was
carried into the court room on a cot. He then made a plea for delay.

Mr. Hunter objected to consideration of Brown's plea until after the
arraignment had been made. The Court held that the indictment should
first be read, so that the prisoners could plead guilty or not guilty;
after that he would consider Brown's request. Each prisoner pleaded not
guilty and having demanded separate trials, the State chose to try Brown

The Court did not take the question of Brown's guilt or innocence
seriously. The trial was simply to be a dignified conformance with the
laws of the Commonwealth relating to the subject. Except as to respect
for this formality, it was not considered important whether Brown had
any counsel at all. On the 22d of October, Mr. Hunter, in a letter to
Governor Wise said:

      The Judge is for observing all the judicial decencies; so
      am I, but in double quick time.... Stephens will hardly be
      fit for trial. He will probably die of his wounds if we
      don't hang him promptly.[450]

Immediately upon the announcement by the Court that Brown should have a
fair trial, arrangements were made to provide friendly counsel for his
defense. First, Mr. J. W. Le Barnes, of Boston, at his personal expense,
employed Mr. George H. Hoyt, a young lawyer of Athol, Massachusetts, to
go to Charlestown and represent Brown in the dual capacity of counsel
and spy. His instructions were, "first, to watch and be able to report
proceedings, to see and talk with Brown, and be able to communicate with
his friends anything Brown might want to say; and second, to send me (Le
Barnes) an accurate and detailed account of the military situation at
Charlestown, the number and the distribution of the troops, the location
and defences of the jail; the opportunities for a sudden attack and the
means of retreat, with the location and situation of the room in which
Brown is confined," etc.[451]

Hoyt arrived at Charlestown on Thursday night, and on Friday morning,
October 28th, reported to the Court and asked to be made additional
counsel. His youth and his evident inefficiency, aroused a suspicion, on
the part of Mr. Hunter, that he came as a spy rather than as
counsel.[452] He accordingly asked that Hoyt be excluded from
participating in the trial. In this he was overruled. The same day he
reported to Governor Wise that a "beardless boy came in last night as
Brown's counsel." And that he thought "he is a spy."[453] October 21st,
Brown wrote letters, similar in character, to Judge Daniel Tilden, of
Cleveland, Ohio, and to Hon. Thomas Russell, of Boston, asking them to
appear for him as counsel, saying:

"I am here a prisoner, with several sabre-cuts on my head and bayonet
stabs in my body."[454] In response to his request, Judge Tilden
secured the services of Mr. Hiram Griswold, of Cleveland, to appear in
his stead. The latter arrived at Charlestown, Saturday morning, October
29th. At the same time Mr. Samuel Chilton, of Washington, D. C., also
arrived, and upon reporting to the Court, these two distinguished
lawyers were assigned as counsel to Brown's staff. Mr. Chilton came upon
the solicitation of Mr. John A. Andrew, of Boston.[455] Judge Russell
did not arrive until November 2d.

On Thursday morning, October 27th, the trial was begun with a surprise
for the prosecution--Mr. Botts reading a telegram, which stated that
insanity was hereditary in Brown's family; that his mother's sister had
died while insane, and that a daughter of that sister had been two years
in a lunatic asylum, and citing other instances of insanity in the

Mr. Botts then stated, "That upon receiving the above dispatch he went
to the jail, with his associate, Mr. Green, and read it to Brown, and
was desired by him to say that in his father's family there has never
been any insanity at all. On his mother's side there have been repeated
instances of it.... Brown also desires his counsel to say that he does
not put in a plea of insanity."[457]

His counsel again moved for a continuance, and, doubtless, pleaded the
insanity phase of the question in support of the motion. Upon the
conclusion of Mr. Botts's remarks, Brown raised up on his couch and

      I will add, if the court will allow me, that I look upon it
      as a miserable artifice and pretext of those who ought to
      take a different course in regard to me, if they took any
      at all, and I view it with contempt more than otherwise.
      Insane persons, so far as my experience goes, have but
      little ability to judge of their own sanity; and if I am
      insane, of course I should think I knew more than all the
      rest of the world. But I do not think so. I am perfectly
      unconscious of insanity, and I reject, so far as I am
      capable, any attempts to interfere in my behalf on that

Mr. Griswold, however, after coming into the case, revived the question
of Brown's sanity, and on November 7th, enclosed to the Governor a
petition and an affidavit affirming the claim that Brown was
insane.[459] Replying to this letter, Mr. Villard states that the
Governor replied that "a plea of insanity could be filed at any time
before conviction or sentence, and wrote an admirable letter to Dr.
Stribbling, superintendent of the lunatic asylum at Staunton, Virginia,
ordering him to proceed to Charlestown and examine the prisoner, saying:
'If the prisoner is insane he ought to be cured; and if not insane the
fact ought to be vouched for in the most reliable form, now that it is
questioned under oath and by counsel since conviction.' Unfortunately,
the impetuous Governor countermanded these instructions and the letter
was never sent."

Later, acting upon the advice of Mr. Montgomery Blair, the defence
secured nineteen affidavits made by friends living at Akron, Cleveland,
and Hudson, Ohio, in support of the plea. These affidavits were
delivered to Governor Wise by Mr. Hoyt, on the 23d day of November. Mr.
Villard states that "these people in their efforts to save Brown laid
bare some sad family secrets." However, upon this very important phase
of Brown's condition Governor Wise had an opinion of his own. To the
Virginia Legislature he said: "I know that he was sane, if quick and
clear perception, if assumed rational premises and consecutive reasoning
from them, if cautious tact in avoiding disclosures and in covering
conclusions and inferences, if memory and conception and practical
common sense, and if composure and self-possession are evidence of a
sound state of mind. He was more sane than his prompters and promoters,
and concealed well the secret which made him seem to do an act of mad
impulse, by leaving him, without his backers, at Harper's Ferry."[460]

Brown's line of defense is set forth in a memorandum of suggestions
which he personally prepared for the guidance of his counsel.[461] It
reads as follows:


      We gave to numerous prisoners perfect liberty. _Get all the

      We allowed numerous other prisoners to visit their
      families, to quiet their fears. _Get all their names._

      We allowed the conductor to pass his train over the bridge
      with all his passengers, I myself crossing the bridge with
      him, and assuring all the passengers of their perfect
      safety. _Get that conductor's name, and the names of the
      passengers, so far as may be._

      We treated all our prisoners with the utmost kindness and
      humanity. _Get all their names, so far as may be._

      Our orders from the first and throughout, were, that no
      unarmed person should be injured under any circumstances
      whatever. Prove that by ALL the prisoners.

      We committed no destruction or waste of property. _Prove

The defense began Friday afternoon. Mr. Villard states that Messrs.
Botts and Green, following John Brown's suggestion, "essayed to prove,
the kindness with which Brown treated his prisoners," which drew from
Mr. Hunter the "caustic and truthful comment that testimony as to
Brown's forbearance in not shooting other citizens had no more to do
with the case than had the dead languages."

Mr. Hunter's objections being overruled, a number of Brown's witnesses
were examined to show that he had not only not killed his prisoners and
everybody else who came within the range of his rifles, but that he had
treated all courteously, notwithstanding the fact that his enemies had
fired upon his flag of truce, and had killed one of his men, William
Thompson, while he was a prisoner in their hands.

A scene was precipitated at the trial when the names of some of his
witnesses were called and it was found that they were not present; Brown
thereupon arose and, denouncing his counsel, demanded that the
proceedings be deferred until the next morning. A _Herald_ correspondent

      When Brown rose and denounced his counsel, declaring that
      he had no confidence in them, the indignation of the
      citizens scarcely knew bounds. He was stigmatized as an
      ungrateful villain, and some declared he deserved hanging
      for that act alone. His counsel, Messrs. Botts and Green,
      had certainly performed the unpleasant task imposed upon
      them by the Court in an able, faithful and conscientious
      manner; and only the evening before Brown had told Mr.
      Botts that he was doing even more for him than he had

Mr. Hoyt, of Brown's counsel, added to the interest of the scene by
asking that the case be postponed. Anticipating that his colleagues
would withdraw from the case as a result of Brown's speech, he said that
he was utterly unable to go on with the case alone and that Judge
Tilden, of Ohio, was coming to assist the defense, and would arrive
during the night. Counsel Botts and Green, after asserting that they had
done everything possible for their client, announced, that since the
prisoner had no confidence in them they could no longer act in his
behalf. Judge Parker thereupon released them, as counsel, and adjourned
the trial until the next day at 10 o'clock.[463]

When court convened Saturday morning, Mr. Griswold and Mr. Chilton
appeared for Brown, and asked for delay--a few hours only--in which to
make some preparation for the defense, which was refused. "This term
will end very soon," the Judge said, "and it is my duty to endeavor to
get through with all the cases if possible, in justice to the prisoners
and to the State."

With the examination of a few additional witnesses, the testimony for
the defense closed and the battle of wits began with a motion by Mr.
Chilton, that the State be compelled to elect one count in the
indictment and abandon the others. That Brown was charged with treason,
and with conspiracy and advising with slaves and others to rebel, and
with murder in the first degree. He contended, and cited authorities to
sustain his contention, that in a case of treason, different
descriptions of treason could not be united in the same indictment; high
treason could not be associated with other treason. If an inferior grade
of the same character could not be included in separate counts, still
less could offense of higher grade, etc., etc., etc. Mr. Harding,
associate counsel for the prosecution, of course, could not see the
force of the objection made by the learned counsel on the other side.
The separate offenses charged were but different parts of the same
transactions. "Murder arose out of the treason as the natural result of
the bloody conspiracy." Mr. Hunter said the discretion of the Court on
one count in the indictment is only exercised where great embarrassment
would otherwise result to the prisoner. The Court held that the point
might be taken advantage of to move an arrest of judgment; but since the
jury had been charged, and had been sworn to try the prisoners on the
indictment as drawn, the trial must go on.... The very fact that the
defense can be charged in different counts, varying the language and
circumstances, is based upon the idea that distinct offenses may be
charged in the same indictment. The prisoners are to be tried on the
various counts as if they were various circumstances, etc. Mr. Chilton
then said he would reserve the motion as a basis for a motion in arrest
of judgment.[464]

Mr. Griswold then stated that the prisoner desired that the case be
argued, and that while he had not been present at the trial, counsel
could obtain sufficient knowledge of the evidence by reading the notes;
and since it was nearly dark, he supposed argument for the Commonwealth
would engage the attention of the Court until the usual hour of
adjournment; and asked that the Court adjourn after the opening argument
by the prosecution. Mr. Hunter opposed opening the argument "unless the
case was to be finished to-night," and protested against any further
delay. The Court ordered the trial to proceed, but at the close of Mr.
Hunter's speech, of forty minutes' duration, adjournment was had until
Monday. Brown sought by all the means in his power on Saturday, to delay
the trial, and when court convened after noon he sent word from the jail
that he was sick; whereupon the jail physician. Dr. Mason, was summoned
in the case. He reported that Brown was feigning illness. The Court then
directed that he be brought into court on a cot. Mr. Hunter states that
after the adjournment was procured, the "crafty old fiend was well
enough to walk."

On Monday, at 1:30 P. M., the argument was completed. Mr. Chilton asked
the Court to instruct the jury that if they believed the prisoner was
not a citizen of Virginia, but of another State, they could not convict
on a count of treason. The Court declined, saying the Constitution did
not give rights and immunities alone, but also imposed responsibilities.

At 2:15 the jury returned their verdict of guilty. It was received in
respectful silence; no demonstration of satisfaction or evidence of
elation greeted the announcement. Of its reception by the people in
waiting Mr. Villard says: "It is to the credit of the Charlestown crowd
and of Virginia that not a single sound of elation or triumph assailed
the dignity of the court, when the jury sealed Brown's doom. In solemn
silence the crowd heard Mr. Chilton make his formal motion for an arrest
of judgment, because of errors in the indictment and in the verdict, and
it filed out equally silent when Judge Parker ordered the motion to
stand over until the next day."

One person was dissatisfied with Brown's trial; not the prisoner--for he
acknowledged the deep sense of his obligation, to both Court and
counsel, for the treatment he had received--but Mr. James Redpath. He

      I do not intend to pollute my pages with any sketch of the
      lawyers' pleas. They were able, without doubt, and erudite,
      and ingenious; but they were founded, nevertheless, on an
      atrocious assumption. For they assumed that the statutes of
      the State were just; and, therefore if the prisoner should
      be proven guilty of offending against them, that it was
      right that he should suffer the penalty they inflict. This
      doctrine every Christian heart must scorn; John Brown, at
      least, despised it; and so also, to be faithful to his
      memory, and my own instincts, must I.[465]

On November 1st the Court heard Mr. Chilton's motion in arrest of
judgment; reserving its decision upon it until the next day. During the
afternoon of November 2d, Brown was brought into court for the final
scene of the trial. After Mr. Chilton's motion had been overruled. Brown
was ordered to rise, and when asked by the clerk if he had anything to
say why sentence should not be pronounced upon him, he delivered the
following address:[466]

      I have, may it please the Court, a few words to say. In the
      first place, I deny everything but what I have all along
      admitted,--the design on my part to free the slaves. I
      intended certainly to have made a clean thing of that
      matter, as I did last winter, when I went into Missouri and
      there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either
      side, moved them through the country, and finally left them
      in Canada. I designed to have done the same thing again, on
      a larger scale. That was all I intended. I never did intend
      murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to
      excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make

      I have another objection: and that is, it is unjust that I
      should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the
      manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly
      proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the
      greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this
      case),--had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the
      powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in
      behalf of any of their friends,--either father, mother,
      brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that
      class,--and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this
      interference, it would have been all right; and every man
      in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward
      rather than punishment.

      This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the
      law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be
      the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me
      that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to
      me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to
      "remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them." I
      endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say, I am yet
      too young to understand that God is any respecter of
      persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have
      done--as I have always freely admitted I have done--in
      behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now,
      if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for
      the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood
      further with the blood of my children and with the blood of
      millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded
      by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments,--I submit; so let
      it be done!

      Let me say one word further.

      I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have
      received on my trial. Considering all the circumstances, it
      has been more generous that I expected. But I feel no
      consciousness of guilt. I have stated from the first what
      was my intention, and what was not. I never had any design
      against the life of any person, nor any disposition to
      commit treason, or excite slaves to rebel, or make any
      general insurrection. I never encouraged any man to do so,
      but always discouraged any idea of that kind.

      Let me say, also, a word in regard to the statements made
      by some of those connected with me. I hear it has been
      stated by some of them that I have induced them to join me.
      But the contrary is true. I do not say this to injure them,
      but as regretting their weakness. There is not one of them
      but joined me of his own accord, and the greater part of
      them at their own expense. A number of them I never saw,
      and never had a word of conversation with, till the day
      they came to me; and that was for the purpose I have

      Now I have done.

Judge Parker then pronounced the sentence of death upon Brown, fixing
the 2d of December, 1859, as the date for the execution of it, and
directing that the execution should be public. He then ordered all
persons present to remain in their seats until the prisoner was removed.
"There was prompt obedience and John Brown reached his cell unharmed,
without even hearing a taunt."[467]

There is conflict between the "authorities" as to the manner in which
Brown delivered his speech to the Court. In describing the scene, Mr.
Villard gave rein to his bias in this choice flight:

      Drawing himself up to his full stature, with flashing eagle
      eyes and calm, clear and distinct tones, John Brown again
      addressed, not the men who surrounded him but the whole
      body of his countrymen, North, South, East and West.[468]

Mr. Redpath, who has not, in this history, overlooked any favorable
opportunity to indulge his _penchant_, is not a bit dramatic in his
statement of what occurred. He says that when the clerk directed Brown
to stand and say why sentence should not be passed upon him, that "he
rose and leaned slightly forward, his hands resting on the table. He
spoke timidly--hesitatingly, indeed--and in a voice singularly gentle
and mild. But his sentences came confused from his mouth, and he seemed
to be wholly unprepared to speak at this time. Types can give no
intimation of the soft and tender tones, yet calm and manly withal, that
filled the Court room, and, I think touched the hearts of many who had
come only to rejoice at the heaviest blow their victim was to

It appears then, that Mr. Villard has framed and given out an
exaggeration of the performance; but it is unfortunate that the
subject-matter of the speech, fails to measure up to the height of the
exalted standard which has been set for the occasion. When one to whom a
prodigal biographer has attributed a pair of flashing eagle eyes, drawls
himself up to his full stature, and addresses the whole body of his
countrymen, he ought to be truthful as well as dramatic. It is bad form
for an orator under such circumstances, to make statements which are not
true; it mars the dignity of his utterances, and dwarfs the stateliness
of his eloquence. Also, it is embarrassing for a hero to be compelled to
retract his more heroic periods, as in this case, after they have
"thrilled the world."

On the 18th of October, Brown, in answer to a question, had distinctly
stated to Governor Wise and others, that it was not his purpose to run
the slaves out of the country; but that he "designed to put arms in
their hands to defend themselves against their masters, and to maintain
their position in Virginia and in the South. That, in the first
instance, he expected they and the non-slave-holding whites would flock
to his standard as soon as he got a footing there, at Harper's Ferry;
and, as his strength increased, he would gradually enlarge the area
under his control, furnishing a refuge for the slaves, and a rendezvous
for all whites who were disposed to aid him, until eventually he overrun
the whole South...."[470]

Later, when Governor Wise called Brown's attention to the discrepancy
between these statements and the statement which he had made in the
opening paragraph of his speech to the Court on November 2d, he
retracted what he had said to the Court, and wrote the following
letter, to Mr. Hunter, explaining the dereliction:[471]

                              Charlestown, Jefferson County, Va.
                              November 22, 1859.

      DEAR SIR: I have just had my attention called to a seeming
      confliction between the statement I made to Governor Wise
      and that which I made at the time I received my sentence,
      regarding my intentions respecting the slaves we took
      _about the Ferry_. There need be no such confliction, and a
      few words of explanation will, I think, be quite
      sufficient. I had given Governor Wise a _full and
      particular_ account of that, and when called in court to
      say whether I had anything further to urge, I was taken
      wholly by surprise, as I did not expect my sentence before
      the others. In the hurry of the moment, I forgot much that
      I had before _intended to say_, and did _not_ consider the
      full bearing of what _I then said_. I intended to convey
      the idea, that it was my object to place the slaves in a
      condition to defend their liberties, if they would,
      _without any bloodshed, but not_ that I intended _to run
      them out of the slave States_. I was not _aware_ of any
      such apparent confliction until my attention _was called_
      to it, and I do not suppose that a man in _my then
      circumstances_ should be _superhuman_ in respect to the
      _exact purport_ of every word he might utter. What I said
      to Governor Wise was spoken with all the deliberation I was
      master of, _and was intended for the truth_; and what I
      said in court was _equally intended for truth_, but
      required a more full explanation _than I then gave_. Please
      make such use of this as you think calculated to correct
      any _wrong_ impressions I may have given.

                              Very respectfully yours,
                              JOHN BROWN.

      _Andrew Hunter, Esq., Present._

Mr. Emerson, in his oration at the funeral services of Abraham Lincoln,
held at Concord, April 19th, 1865, saw fit to compare Brown's
discredited speech with the greatest orations of time. He said:

      His speech at Gettysburg will not easily be surpassed by
      words on any recorded occasion. This and one other American
      speech, that of John Brown to the court that tried him, and
      a part of Kossuth's speech at Birmingham, can only be
      compared with each other, and with no fourth.[472]

But is this comparison really relevant? Will the historian accept Mr.
Emerson's comparison of this exhibit of Brown's prevarication, with the
immortal words of the immortal Lincoln? The speeches are characteristic
of the men who uttered them. Mr. Lincoln did not begin his sublime
oration with a falsehood. Brown made a speech October 25th, which was
truly an heroic utterance and deserving of a place in history.[473] His
words on that occasion, were hurled at his enemies, the "Virginians"
whom he addressed. That speech was as characteristic of his splendid
courage, as his speech of November 2d, was of his craftiness, for John
Brown was as brave as he was crafty.

In a letter to Governor Wise, Mr. Fernando Wood commended him for the
firmness and moderation which had characterized the Governor's course in
the emergency, and asked, if he dared to "do a bold thing and temper
justice with mercy? Have you nerve enough to send Brown to State's
Prison instead of hanging him?" He thought Brown should not be hung,
"though Seward should, and would be if he could catch him." The Governor
replied that he had nerve enough to send him to prison and would do so
if he didn't think he ought to be hung and that he would be inexcusable
for mitigating his punishment. "I could do it," he said, "without
flinching, without a quiver of a muscle against a universal clamor for
his life." Continuing he said: "He shall be executed as the law
sentences him, and his body shall be delivered over to surgeons, and
await the resurrection without a grave in our soil. I have shown him all
the mercy which humanity can claim."[474]

Immediately after Brown's incarceration, a movement was started by Mr.
Higginson to have Mrs. Brown go to Harper's Ferry to visit her husband.
But when the information reached Brown, he peremptorily forbade her
coming; wiring Mr. Higginson: "For God's sake don't let Mrs. Brown come.
Send her word by telegraph wherever she is."[475]

This arbitrary action should not excite surprise. There was no atonement
that Brown could make for the ruin which he had wrought: for the dead
who would never return. There were no words that he could say which
would carry consolation to this woman's stricken heart, nor was it
possible for him to make any rift in the clouds of her unutterable woe.
He shrank, instinctively, from a presence of the bleeding heart of the
woman whom he had wronged. November 9th, he wrote to Mr. Higginson:

      If my wife were to come here just now it would _only tend_
      to distract _her mind_ TEN FOLD; and would only add to my
      affliction; and _can not possibly_ do me _any good_. It
      will also use up the scanty means she has to supply Bread &
      cheap but comfortable clothing, fuel, &c. for herself &
      children through _the winter_. DO PERSUADE her to remain
      _at home_ for a time (at least) till she can learn further
      from me. She will receive a thousand times the consolation
      AT HOME that she can possibly find elsewhere. I have just
      _written_ her there & will write her CONSTANTLY. Her
      presence _here_ would deepen my affliction a thousand fold.
      I beg of her to be _calm_ and _submissive_; & not to go
      _wild_ on my account. I lack _for nothing_ & was feeling
      quite cheerful before I heard she talked of _coming on_--I
      ask her to _compose her mind_ & to remain _quiet_ till the
      last of _this month_; out of pity to me. I can certainly
      judge better in the matter than _any one_ ELSE. My warmest
      thanks to yourself and _all other_ kind friends.

      _God bless you all._ Please _send this line_ to _my
      afflicted wife_ by first possible conveyance.[476]

In a letter addressed to his wife and children, dated November 8th, he

      ... I wrote most earnestly to my dear and afflicted wife
      not to come on for the present, at any rate. I will now
      give her my reasons for doing so. First, it would use up
      all scanty means she has, or is at all likely to have, to
      make herself and children comfortable hereafter. For let me
      tell you that the sympathy that is now aroused in your
      behalf may not always follow you. There is but little more
      of the romantic about helping poor widows and their
      children than there is about trying to relieve poor
      "niggers." Again, the little comfort it might afford us to
      meet again would be dearly bought by the pains of a final
      separation. We must part; and I feel assured for us to meet
      under such dreadful circumstances would only add to our
      distress. If she comes on here, she must be only a
      gazing-stock throughout the whole journey, to be remarked
      upon in every look, word, and action, and by all sorts of
      creatures, and by all sorts of papers, throughout the whole
      country. Again, it is my most decided judgment that in
      quietly and submissively staying at home vastly more of
      generous sympathy will reach her, without such dreadful
      sacrifice of feeling as she must put up with if she comes
      on. The visits of one or two female friends that have come
      on here have produced great excitement, which is very
      annoying; and they cannot possibly do me any good. Oh,
      Mary! do not come, but patiently wait for the meeting of
      those who love God and their fellow-men, where no
      separation must follow. "They shall go no more out
      forever." I greatly long to hear from some one of you, and
      to learn anything that in any way affects your welfare. I
      sent you ten dollars the other day; did you get it? I have
      also endeavored to stir up Christian friends to visit and
      write to you in your deep affliction. I have no doubt that
      some of them, at least, will heed the call. Write to me,
      care of Captain John Avis, Charlestown, Jefferson County,

The thirty days ensuing November 2d, were days of great anxiety for the
Virginia authorities. It was natural that they should suspect that
schemes would be formed to rescue Brown from his impending fate. In this
they were not mistaken. In fact the planning to effect his rescue was
begun as soon as it became known that he was not seriously wounded; and
it is probable that something in this direction might have been
attempted, if the schemers had received any encouragement from the
prisoner. But to the man who had planned and dreamed of conquest, as
Brown had planned, and dreamed, their scheming was the merest of
trifling; they had no conception of daring and striving, as he had dared
and striven. As to heroics, he was blasé. In the collapse of his great
undertaking he had had a surfeit of tragedies and disappointments. The
heart of the man of iron was subdued. And there can be no doubt that, at
this supreme hour in his life, the world looked small to John Brown. He
had toyed with it as with a bauble, and was ready to throw it away.
Besides, he had too often measured situations, and calculated the
chances for success against formidable odds, to waste any time with
adventures such as, in his opinion, his rescuers were capable of
executing. Hence, when Mr. Hoyt informed Brown, October 28th, that a
plan was being formed to storm the jail and set the prisoners free, he
promptly refused to encourage the attempt. Conveying Brown's reply to
Mr. Le Barnes, October 30th, Mr. Hoyt wrote:

      _There is no chance of_ his (Brown's) ultimate escape:
      there is nothing but the most unmitigated failure, and the
      saddest consequences which it is possible to conjure, to
      ensue upon an attempt at _rescue_. The country all around
      is guarded by armed patrols and a large body of troops are
      constantly under arms. If you hear anything about such an
      attempt, for Heaven's sake do not _fail to restrain the

The planning for his rescue, however, did not cease because Brown
disapproved of any attempt being made to execute such plans. Mr.
Villard, on pages 511 to 528, gives a full and very interesting account
of various schemes that were proposed to accomplish something, by force,
in Brown's behalf; as well as of the precautionary measures that were
taken by the Virginians to prevent the possibility of a rescue.

Mr. Stearns, thinking that Charles Jennison was a co-philanthropist,
sought to enlist him and James Stewart in one of these schemes.
Naturally he received no reply. The plan for another Kansas rescue
measure was to be communicated to Brown by a young Kansas woman--Miss
Mary Partridge. She was to visit Brown in his cell at Charlestown;
embrace him affectionately and, incidentally, put a paper containing the
plan of the rescue into his mouth.[478]

Mr. Lysander Spooner, of Boston, proposed to kidnap Governor Wise, carry
him out to sea on a fast-going boat, and hold him as a hostage for
Brown. Mr. Le Barnes worked out the scheme. He found the man who would
undertake to execute the job; and a boat that would steam fifteen to
eighteen knots an hour could be had for $5,000 to $7,000. The expedition
would cost $10,000 to $15,000. But the necessary funds were not
forthcoming and the scheme failed. Another plan was for an open invasion
of Jefferson County, Virginia. The volunteer forces that were coming
from Kansas under Colonel Hinton, as reported by rumor, were to be
consolidated with smaller forces that were being organized in Ohio,
under John Brown, Jr., and to these were to be added the "volunteers
from New York City and Boston." They were all to unite near Charlestown;
"make a cross country rush on that town and, after freeing the
prisoners, they were to seize the horses of the cavalry companies and
escape." "Dr. Howe," it is said, "suggested that they be armed with
'Orisini' bombs and hand-grenades, in lieu of artillery." Money was
wanted for this campaign, "fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars by
Tuesday morning the 29th, and five hundred or a thousand dollars the day
after." Mr. Le Barnes, Mr. James Redpath, and Mr. Sanborn seem to have
been at the front, in the promotion of these visionary schemes. Mr.
Hoyt, in the meantime, returned from a fruitless mission to Ohio, to
raise funds, and reported that no money could be had in that quarter.
Upon receiving this report Mr. Sanborn "gave up the undertaking and
wired Le Barnes to return."

October 31st, Brown wrote the following letter to his family:[479]


      I suppose you have learned before this by the newspapers
      that Two weeks ago today we were fighting for our lives at
      Harpers ferry: that during the fight Watson was mortally
      wounded; Oliver killed, Wm. Thompson killed, & Dauphin
      slightly wounded. That on the following day I was taken
      prisoner immediately after which I received several
      Sabre-cuts in my head; & Bayonet stabs in my body. As
      nearly as I can learn Watson died of his wound on Wednesday
      the 2d or on Thursday the 3d day after I was taken.

      Dauphin was killed when I was taken; & Anderson I suppose
      also. I have since been tried, & found guilty of Treason,
      etc; and of murder in the first degree. I have not yet
      received my sentence. No others of the company with whom
      you were acquainted were, so far as _I can learn_, either
      killed or taken. Under all these terrible calamities; I
      feel quite cheerful in the assurance that God reigns; &
      will overrule all for his glory; & the best possible good.
      I feel _no_ consciousness of _guilt_ in the matter; nor
      even mortification on account of my imprisonment; & irons;
      & I feel perfectly sure that very soon no member of my
      family will feel any possible disposition to "blush on my
      account." Already dear friends at a distance with kindest
      sympathy are cheering me with the assurance that
      _posterity_ at least will do me justice. I shall commend
      you all together, with my beloved; but bereaved daughters
      in law, to their sympathies which I do not doubt will reach

      I also commend you all to Him "whose mercy endureth
      forever:" to the God of my _fathers_ "whose I am; & whom I
      serve." "He will never leave you nor forsake you," unless
      you forsake Him. Finally my dearly beloved be of good
      comfort. Be sure to remember & _to follow my advice_ & my
      example too: so far as it has been consistent with the holy
      religion of Jesus Christ in which I remain a most firm, &
      humble believer. Never forget the poor nor think anything
      you bestow on them to be lost, to you even though they may
      be as _black_ as Ebedmelch the Ethiopean eunuch who cared
      for Jeremiah in the pit of the dungeon; or as _black_ as
      the one to whom Phillip preached Christ. Be sure to
      entertain strangers, for thereby some have--"Remember them
      that are in bonds as bound with them." I am in charge of a
      jailor _like_ the one who took charge of "Paul & Silas"; &
      you may rest assured that both _kind hearts & kind faces_
      are more or less about me; whilst thousands are thirsting
      for my blood. "These _light_ afflictions which are but _for
      a moment_ shall work out for us a _far more exceeding &
      eternal weight_ of Glory." I hope to be able to write you
      again. My wounds are doing well. Copy this and send it to
      your sorrow stricken brothers, Ruth; to comfort them. Write
      me a few words in regard to the welfare of all. God
      Allmighty bless you all; & "make you joyful in the midst of
      all your tribulations." Write to John Brown Charlestown
      Jefferson Co. Va, care of Capt John Avis.

                              Your affectionate Husband and Father,
                              JOHN BROWN.

      P. S. Yesterday Nov 2d. I was sentenced to be hanged on
      Decem 2d next. Do not grieve on my account. I am still
      quite cheerful. God bless you all.

                              Yours ever J. BROWN.

This letter is written in the soft language and in the apparently
consecrated spirit that is characteristic of Brown's domestic and social
correspondence. But the beauty of his lines is marred, and the sincerity
of his purpose in putting them forth, as well as his claims to a
Christian character, are discredited by the falsehoods contained in the
opening paragraph. Brown was not seriously hurt at Harper's Ferry. He
received two wounds, a light dress-sword cut, on the neck and head, and
a sword thrust in the body[480] and these he received, not after he had
been taken prisoner, but while he was yet bravely fighting. Evidence of
what he was doing, when he was struck down, appears in a letter which he
wrote November 29th, to Mr. J. G. Anderson concerning one of his
captains. He said:[481]

      Jeremiah G. Anderson was fighting bravely by my side at
      Harper's Ferry up to the moment when I fell wounded, and I
      took no further notice of what passed for a little time....

Brown may have written "the truth concerning his own spirit and
composure, in this his first letter from the jail to his family,"[482]
but he did not write the truth concerning the character of his wounds,
and the conditions under which he received them.

With the freedom of correspondence that was granted to him came Brown's
great opportunity, and the masterful manner in which he quickly turned
it to his advantage is one of the marvels of this history. Equipped with
a vocabulary of devotional phrases and an ample magazine of biblical
quotations, this caged soldier of fortune, the would-be Catiline of his
generation, stormed the heights of public opinion; and disarming
righteousness of its opposition to wrong, won a moral victory as
marvelous as it was triumphant. These beautifully devotional letters,
that stand as monuments, certifying to an humble Christian character,
like flights in oratory, were written with regard for the effect which
he desired to accomplish, but without regard for the truth of what he

The opinion that the letters, which crowned Brown's character with a
dignity akin to sanctity, were artfully written, and were not
characteristic of him, is not based merely upon a vulgar suspicion. It
finds ample justification in the reckless disregard for the truth which
prevails throughout the entire series; and in direct evidence. The
invasion had failed. Wounded, and a prisoner in irons, with the gallows
for his portion, Brown had the opportunity which solitude affords, to
contemplate the terrible disaster which had befallen him: the wreck of
his hopes; the ruin of his family; their utter wretchedness, and the
shame and humiliation which they suffered because of him. In his
extremity, he planned how best to meet the problems of his environment;
and, substituting the mightier pen for the sword of the great Frederick,
which had been stricken from his hand, he began a systematic campaign
for a martyr's crown, and for pecuniary assistance for his family,
whenever a favorable opportunity presented itself.

November 10th, he disclosed to his wife the plan of this, his final
conception: "I have been whipped as the saying _is_," he said, "but I am
sure I can recover all the lost capital occasioned by the disaster; by
only hanging a few moments by the neck; & I feel determined to make the
utmost possible out of a defeat. I am dayly & hourly striving to gather
up what little I may from the wreck."[483]

In reply to a letter from a kinsman, the Rev. Dr. Humphrey of
Pottsfield, Massachusetts, he wrote November 25th:[484]

      I discover that you labor under a mistaken impression as to
      some important facts which my peculiar circumstances will
      in all probability prevent the possibility of my removing;
      and I do not propose to take up any argument to prove that
      any motion or act of my life is right. But I will here
      state that I know it to be wholly my own fault as a leader
      that caused our disaster....

      If you do not believe I had a murderous intention (while I
      _know_ I had not) why grieve so terribly on my account? The
      scaffold has but few terrors for me. God has often covered
      my head in the day of battle, and granted me many times
      deliverances that were almost so miraculous that I can
      scarce realize the truth; and now, when it seems quite
      certain that he intends to use me shall I not most
      cheerfully go? I may be deceived, but I humbly trust that
      he will not forsake me "till I have showed his favor to
      this generation and his strength to every one that is to

October 27th, a Quaker lady wrote to Brown from Newport, Rhode


      DEAR FRIEND:--Since thy arrest I have often thought of
      thee, and have wished that, like Elizabeth Fry toward her
      prison friends, so I might console thee in thy confinement.
      But that can never be; and so I can only write thee a few
      lines which, if they contain any comfort, may come to thee
      like some little ray of light....

      Oh, I wish I could plead for thee as some of the other sex
      can plead, how I would seek to defend thee! If I now had
      the eloquence of Portia, how I would turn the scale in thy
      favor! But I can only pray "God bless thee!" God pardon
      thee and through our Redeemer give thee safety and
      happiness now and always!

                              From thy friend, E. B.

Posing as if in the shadow of the sheltering wings of the Almighty,
answering this letter, Brown asserted that he had been the special
instrument on earth of a militant Christ, to execute the divine will in
Kansas; and incidentally solicited a contribution for his family. He

      ... You know that Christ once armed Peter. So also in my
      case I think he put a sword into my hand and there
      continued it so long as he saw best, and then kindly took
      it from me. I mean when I first went to Kansas. I wish you
      could know with what cheerfulness I am now wielding the
      "sword of the spirit" on the right hand and on the left. I
      bless God that it proves "mighty to the pulling down of
      strongholds." I always loved my Quaker friends and I
      commend to their regard my poor bereaved widowed wife and
      my daughters and daughters-in-law, whose husbands fell at
      my side. One is a mother and the other likely to become so
      soon. They, as well as my own sorrow stricken daughters,
      are left very poor, and have much greater need of sympathy
      than I, who through Infinite Grace, and the great kindness
      of strangers, am "joyful in all my tribulations."

      Dear Sister, write to them at North Elba, Essex County, N.
      Y., to comfort their sad hearts. Direct to Mary A. Brown,
      wife of John Brown....

It may be said of this unsophisticated woman, whose heart was touched by
a sympathy undeserved, that if she had known what took place at the
humble cabin of the Doyles on the night of May 24, 1856, when the
murderous sword, which Brown says Christ placed in his hands, was run
through Doyle's breast, (while others of the party secured the helpless
widow's and orphans' horses) she would not have made her contribution to
this history. Also, Brown's letter to this woman may be taken as an
exhibit or sample of the sacrilege and artful dissimulation that is
characteristic of his prison correspondence. And, since his claims to
sincerity of purpose, and a devotion to humanity depend largely upon
this correspondence, it discloses the fiction, wherewith his fame has
been promoted. November 29th he wrote to his friend, Mrs. George L.

      MY DEAR FRIEND,--No letter I have received since my
      imprisonment here, has given me more satisfaction, or
      comfort, than yours of the 8, instant. I am quite cheerful;
      & was never more happy. Have only time to write a word. May
      God forever reward you _& all yours_. _My love to All_ who
      love their neighbors. I have asked to be _spared_ from
      having any _mock; or hypocritical prayers made over me_,
      when I am publicly _murdered_: & that my _only religious
      attendants_ be poor _little, dirty, ragged, bareheaded &
      barefooted_ Slave Boys; & Girls led by some old
      _gray-headed_ Slave _Mother_. Farewell. Farewell.

The last paper written by John Brown was handed to one of his guards in
the jail on the morning of his execution. It read:[488]

      I John Brown, am now quite _certain_ that the crimes of
      this _guilty land_ will never be purged away but with
      _blood_. I had as I now think, vainly flattered myself that
      without very much bloodshed it might be done.

November 24th Governor Wise wrote to General Taliaferro, giving him
directions as follows:

      Keep full guard on the line of the frontier from
      Martinsburg to Harpers Ferry, on the day of 2d. Dec. Warn
      the inhabitants to arm and keep guard and patrol on that
      day and for days beforehand. These orders are necessary to
      prevent seizures of hostages. Warn the inhabitants to stay
      away and especially to keep the women and children at home.
      Prevent all strangers, and especially all parties of
      strangers, from proceeding to Charlestown on 2d of Dec. To
      this end station a guard at Harper's Ferry sufficient to
      control crowds on the cars from the East and West. Form two
      concentric squares around the gallows, and have a strong
      guard at the jail and for escort to execution. Let no crowd
      be near enough to the prisoner to hear any speech he may
      attempt. Allow no more visitors to be admitted to the

Appealing to the President for troops Governor Wise stated that he had
reason to believe that an attempt would "be made to rescue the
prisoners, and if that fails then to seize citizens of this State as
hostages and victims in case of execution."[490]

In addition to the Virginia militia assembled at Charlestown December
2d, were a detachment, 264 men, from the Artillery Corps, United States
army, and the corps of cadets from the Virginia Military Institute at
Lexington. These organizations were commanded, respectively, by two men
who were soon to win great renown; whose names were to become famous in
the world's history for deeds of military glory: Colonel Robert E. Lee
and Prof. Thomas J. Jackson.

From the home of Mr. J. M. McKim, in Philadelphia, November 21st, Mrs.
Brown addressed a letter to the Governor asking for the "mortal remains
of my husband and his sons" for burial, to which he replied as

      I am happy, Madam, that you seem to have the wisdom and
      virtue to appreciate my position of duty. Would to God that
      "public considerations could avert his doom," for The
      Omniscient knows that I take not the slightest pleasure in
      the execution of any whom the laws condemn. May He have
      mercy on the erring and the afflicted.

      Enclosed is an order to Major Genl. Wm. B. Taliaferro, in
      command at Charlestown, Va. to deliver to your order, the
      mortal remains of your husband "when all shall be over"; to
      be delivered to your agent at Harper's Ferry; and if you
      attend the reception in person, to guard you sacredly in
      your solemn mission.

                              With Tenderness and Truth, I am
                              Very respectfully, your humble servant,
                              HENRY A. WISE.

Under the authority of this letter, Mrs. Brown, in company with Mrs.
McKim and Mr. Hector Tyndale, arrived at Harper's Ferry, November 30th.
There she received a telegram from the Governor giving her permission to
visit her husband, alone, on the following day, stipulating that she
return to Harper's Ferry the same evening. She was, accordingly, driven
to Charlestown the next afternoon in care of an escort--a sergeant and
eight men--of the Fauquier Cavalry, a captain of infantry occupying a
seat beside her. When the time came for her to return. Brown begged
that her visit might be extended until morning, but, under his orders,
the general in command could not grant this request. The hour for the
final parting had come; the heart-broken woman, with her grief, returned
to Harper's Ferry to await the tragedy of the tomorrow.

December 2d, about an hour before his execution. Brown disposed of the
wreckage of his campaign supplies in a "will and codicil" which were
written for him by Mr. Hunter.[492] It provided that all his property,
being personal property, "which is scattered about in the States of
Virginia and Maryland," should be carefully gathered up by his executor
and "disposed of to the best advantage and the proceeds thereof paid
over to his beloved wife, Mary A. Brown." He trusted that his right to
such articles as were not of a "war-like character" and all other
property that he might be entitled to might be respected. He appointed
Sheriff James W. Campbell, "Executor of this my true last Will, hereby
revoking all others." The document was sealed, and witnessed by John
Avis, the jailer, and Andrew Hunter.

At 10:30 Brown was notified by the sheriff to prepare for the execution.
He then visited his late companions in arms. To all, except Hazlett and
Cook, he gave such adieux as he could, in view of the painful
circumstances into which he had led them. Hazlett he had refused to
recognize when he was first brought before him in the prison, and
continued to the end to deny that he had been a member of his band. As
to Cook, the relations between them were not cordial. He had stated in
his "confession" that Brown had sent him to Harper's Ferry in June,
1858. This Brown denied; and charged Cook with having made false
statements, saying, "you know I protested against your coming." To which
Cook replied: "Captain Brown, you and I remember differently." Cook may
have asked for the Harper's Ferry detail, but Brown must have consented
to the arrangement, for he furnished the money to defray the expenses
of his going thereto. Cook secured valuable information there, which he
reported to Brown, including, among other things, a census of the slave
population of that vicinity.[493]

The spectacle which met Brown's gaze as he stepped upon the porch from
the door of the jail on his way to the scaffold, could not otherwise
than recall to his mind the dreams of conquest and of military glory
which he had cherished. Three thousand men--infantry, cavalry, and
artillery--were under arms. In admiration of the display--for the
"street was full of marching men," he said: "I had no idea that Governor
Wise considered my execution so important,"[494] and for that reason,
Mr. Villard says, "no little slave-child was held up for the benison of
his lips, for none but soldiery was near."

The undertaker's wagon, a two seated vehicle, drawn by two white horses,
stood near, the driver and undertaker occupying the front seat. Brown
took his place in the second seat between the sheriff--Campbell--and his
jailer, Avis. The party then moved to the place of execution. The
escort, under the command of Colonel T. P. August, consisted of a
company of cavalry under Captain Scott, and a battalion of infantry
under Major Loring. On the way to the field, Brown spoke only of
unimportant things, the weather and the scenery. "This is a beautiful
country," he is reported to have said, "I never had the pleasure of
seeing it before." It was a solemn procession, and was void of any
effects in heroic phraseology.

The time was ripe for the final metamorphosis of John Brown. A blow of a
hatchet cut the cord that linked him to earthly things: The Soldier of
Fortune became the historical Soldier of the Cross.



_Much ado about nothing._


John Brown's fame is an unearned increment. It was secured by
misrepresentations put forth by himself and members of his family, and
by the Disunionists--"Union-splitters"--of his time, who inspired his
final actions. Through these agencies he acquired a creditable rating in
history; not because of the things which he did; nor because of the
things which he sought to do; but because of the things which were said
about him; and because of the things which were done to him. His fame is
the result of an exploitation, in eloquent phrases, of virtues,
purposes, and motives, which were attributed to him. It has thus been
overcapitalized. The stock was watered. In respect to the truth of
history, his fame is all "water." It was not based upon fact, but upon
fancy; upon untenable conclusions concerning his character, and wildly
extravagant and irrelevant assumptions concerning his emotions. These
are the sole assets to be found in the appraisement of his public

Of him Mr. Redpath said, _in part_:

      He was too large a man to stand on any platform. He planted
      his feet on the Rock of Ages--the Eternal truth--and was
      therefore never shaken in his policy or principles.

      He scouted the idea of rest while he held a commission
      direct from God Almighty to act against Slavery....

      Where the Republicans said, Halt! John Brown shouted,
      Forward! to the rescue! He was an abolitionist of the
      Bunker Hill school.

It did not concern Mr. Redpath that the "Bunker Hill" school of
abolitionists were themselves slave-holders.

Mr. Thoreau, who was also a Union-splitter, said:

      No man in America has ever stood up so persistently for the
      dignity of human nature, knowing himself for man and the
      equal of any and all governments. He could not have been
      tried by his peers, for his peers did not exist....

      He did not go to Harvard. He was not fed on the pap that is
      there furnished, but he went to the University of the West
      where he studied the science of Liberty, and having taken
      his degree, he finally commenced the practice of humanity
      in Kansas.

Of Thoreau, Mr. Alcott wrote in his diary, Saturday. November 5, 1859:

      ... Thoreau talks freely and enthusiastically about Brown,
      denouncing the Union, the President, the States, and
      Virginia particularly; wishes to publish his late speech,
      and has seen Boston publishers, but failed to find any to
      print it for him.[495]

Mr. Sanborn said:

      Such was the man--of the best New England blood, of the
      stock of the Plymouth Pilgrims, and bred up like them "in
      the nurture and admonition of the Lord"--who was selected
      by God, and knew himself to be so chosen, to overthrow the
      bulwark of oppression in America. He seems to have declared
      a definite plan of attacking slavery in one of its
      strongholds, by force, as early as 1839; and it was to
      obtain money for this enterprise that he engaged in
      land-speculations and wool-merchandise for the next ten or
      twelve years.... Other men might have been spared but Brown
      was indispensable.[496]

Said Wendell Phillips:

      God makes him the text, and all he asks of our
      comparatively cowardly lips is to preach the sermon, and
      say to the American people that, whether this old man
      succeeded in a worldly sense or not, he stood as a
      representative of law, of government, of right, of justice,
      of religion, and they were pirates that gathered about him,
      and sought to wreak vengeance by taking his life. The banks
      of the Potomac are doubly dear now to History and to Man!
      The dust of Washington rests there; and History will see
      forever on that river side the brave old man on his pallet,
      whose dust, when God calls him hence, the Father of his
      Country would be proud to make room for beside his own.

Mr. Higginson said:

      Such men as he needed are not to be _found_ ordinarily;
      they must be _reared_. John Brown did not merely look for
      men, therefore, he reared them in his sons.

John A. Andrew, who did not believe that Brown was present or in any way
connected with the robberies and murders on the Pottawatomie, said:

      Whatever may be thought of John Brown's acts, _John Brown
      himself was right_.

The Rev. Theodore Parker, who believed in slave insurrections and their
horrors, wrote:

      Let the American State hang his body and the American
      Church damn his soul. Still, the blessing of such as are
      ready to perish will fall on him, and the universal justice
      of the Infinitely Perfect God will make him welcome home.
      The road to heaven is as short from the gallows as from the

Mr. Emerson said:

      That new saint, than whom none purer or more brave was ever
      led by love of men into conflict and death--the new saint
      awaiting his martyrdom, and who, if he shall suffer, will
      make the gallows glorious like the cross.

Into a carnival of rhetoric so picturesque, Mr. John James Ingalls could
not fail to enter the lists and compete for the prize. Poising his
shining lance he delivered this thrust:

      But the three men of this era who will loom forever against
      the remotest horizon of time, as the pyramids above the
      voiceless desert, or the mountain peaks above the
      subordinate plains, are Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant
      and Old John Brown of Osawatomie.

Victor Hugo said:

      The punishment of John Brown may consolidate slavery in
      Virginia, but it will certainly shatter the American
      Democracy. You preserve your shame but you kill your glory.

Similar exhibits, in the hyperbolical optimism that constitutes this
promotion by wind, might be added hereto indefinitely; for the output of
such fantastical flights was limited only by the boundaries of taste and
imagination. Probably the best things have been said. But that does not
wholly discourage the later generations. Emulation in the phrase making
competition still places a premium upon inconsistency. Mr. Villard said
fifty years after:

      In Virginia, John Brown atoned for Pottawatomie by the
      nobility of his philosophy and his sublime devotion to
      principle, even on the gallows.

Perhaps nowhere else than in the peculiar philosophy of those who
attribute virtue to Brown as a motive for vice, may we find nobility in
dissimulation; atonement without reconciliation; and the sublimity of
devotion to principle in the denial of the truth. Awaiting death in the
Charlestown jail, Brown denied that he had been a party to the murders
and the robberies on the Pottawatomie; and went from the gallows into
the presence of the Almighty to answer for both his participation in
that horror and for his repeated denials of having been personally
concerned in it.[497]

December 10, 1911, Mr. Clyde McGee, of Chicago, said, among many other
worked-over things:

      It grew upon him as he prayed, for John Brown was a man
      who talked with God as confidently as a friend speaketh
      with friend.[498]

When Brown and his sons planned, during March and April and May, 1856,
to steal Doyle's, and Wilkinson's, and other settlers' horses and leave
the country; they planned, as a precautionary measure, to first make
widows and orphans of the wives and children of these men, and then to
steal the horses; not from the dead men, but from the weeping women and
helpless children. Who think you talked with Brown and his swaggering
sons as "friend speaketh with friend" during the time their plans were
being made for these assassinations and robberies, and while they
executed them: The Almighty, or the Devil? Brown was not sure who it was
that prompted him to incite the slaves to strike for their liberty, by
assassinating their masters. He answered Mr. Vallandigham at Harper's

      No man sent me here; it was my own prompting and that of my
      Maker, or that of the Devil; whichever you please to
      ascribe it to. I acknowledge no master in human form.[499]

Kansas has done much in honor of John Brown. An association, organized
for the purpose, erected a stately monument at Osawatomie, which was
dedicated to his memory August 30, 1877, by Kansas' most picturesque
orator and statesman, the late John James Ingalls. Later, the patriotic
women connected with the society of the Grand Army of the Republic, in
Kansas, purchased the site of the Battle of Osawatomie, for a "State
Park": which was dedicated, as such, by ex-President Theodore Roosevelt,
August 30, 1910. Also, the State Legislature of 1895, authorized a
society to place a statue of Brown in the national hall of fame,
Statuary Hall, in the rotunda of the national capitol; thus, to the
world, certifying his life and public services to have been the most
conspicuous and illustrious of all its citizens. The text of the
resolution concerning this statue is as follows:

      _Whereas_, The Lincoln Sailors' and Soldiers' National
      Monument Association now has in process of construction a
      statue or monument of John Brown; and

      _Whereas_, Said association has made application to the
      authorities at Washington to have such monument put in
      statuary hall in the capitol building, and has been advised
      by the general government that before this permission could
      be granted a request from the legislature of the State of
      Kansas would be necessary: therefore, be it

      _Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate
      Concurring therein_, That we hereby request the proper
      authorities in charge of the United States Statuary hall,
      at Washington, D. C., to permit such monument to be placed
      therein; be it further

      _Resolved_, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded
      to each of our senators and representatives in Washington,
      D. C.

For a reason unexplained by his later biographers, the authority to
confer this honor upon Brown--the highest honor within the power of the
State to bestow--was never exercised; a delinquency which excites a
suspicion that the resolution stated conditions, as existing, which did
not exist.

At the head of the schedule of assumptions concerning the innocence of
Brown's intentions, the purity of his motives, and the exaltation of his
devotion to humanity, is his "martyrdom." This item has been illuminated
with a halo of holiness. As "Christ died to make men holy," so Brown is
said to have died to "make men free." No one has claimed that Hugh
Forbes was an humanitarian, or other than an adventurer. Yet in relation
to Brown's insurrection, the minds of the two men--John Brown and Hugh
Forbes--met in full accord; there was agreement between them. Together
they planned the invasion of the South, for the promotion of their
personal fortunes. Their aims, their ambitions, and their hopes were
identical. If Brown's exchequer had been ample, Forbes too would have
appeared at Harper's Ferry and there would have been a pair of martyrs
there: "Two of a kind."

The logic of the fiction of his martyrdom is founded upon the assumption
that Brown held an option upon his life which he elected to forfeit; and
that he offered it as a sacrifice: that he chose to die, as the Redeemer
of Men died; and in thus dying made "the gallows glorious like the
cross." Brown did not contemplate dying at Harper's Ferry any more than
did Hugh Forbes, or Stevens, or Cook, or Kagi: and he would not have
died at Charlestown if he could have controlled the event. These men
knew that some of them would, probably, die, but each passed the subject
over lightly, believing that in some inscrutable way, if fatalities
occurred, it would be some of the others who would fall. Men of their
type "die but once." Brown accepted the chances of war as did his
followers, and as Forbes sought the opportunity of doing. Men who have
similarly risked their lives, times almost without number, are not
impressed by such martyrdoms. To his faithful Sanborn, Brown wrote: "I
am now rather anxious to live for a few years."[500] He desired to live
to organize, and to command the army of the Provisional Government: and
to be the head of a new nation: a new "United States." He hoped for
longevity, that he might wear the honors and enjoy the fame and the
emoluments of his prospective achievement.

The years of Brown's life were a constant, persistent, strenuous
struggle to get money. As to the means which should be employed in the
getting of it, he was indifferent. In his philosophy, results were
paramount; the means to the end were of no consequence. A stranger to
honor, he violated every confidence that should be held sacred among
men: and in his avarice trampled upon every law, moral and statute,
human and Divine. Consistent with the speculative instinct so
distinctly characteristic of his life, his greatest or principal object
was to get money, and to get it quickly.

Mr. Villard asserts that Brown's greatest or principal object was to
assault slavery, and so entitles an important chapter in the recent
biography. Assuming his premises to be correct, he commences the chapter
with this inquiry:

      When was it that John Brown, practical shepherd, tanner,
      farmer, surveyor, cattle expert, real-estate speculator and
      wool merchant, first conceived what he calls in his
      autobiography "his greatest or principal object" in
      life--the forcible overthrow of slavery in his native land?
      The question is not an idle one, etc.[501]

The question, nevertheless, is an idle one. During the interview which
Brown gave out at Harper's Ferry, October 18th, Mr. Vallandigham asked
him this pointed question: "How long have you been engaged in this
business?"[502] To which Brown replied:

      From the breaking out of the difficulties in Kansas. Four
      of my sons had gone there to settle and they wanted me to

Also, Brown stated over his signature, in March, 1859, that it was
"since 1855" that it had been his judgment that the way to successfully
oppose slavery "would be to meddle directly with the peculiar
institution."[504] That he had the subject under consideration prior to
1845 is expressly discredited by Brown, in his autobiography, in the
statement that he was "averse to military affairs"; that he refused to
"train _or drill_; but paid fines & got along like a Quaker until his
age finally cleared him of military duty."[505]

The record of Brown's life, prior to 1857, is barren of any
contemporaneous expression by him or by any member of his family which
even remotely suggests the possibility that he might have contemplated
attempting a forcible _assault_ against slavery. If his mind had been
preoccupied with a desire of such overshadowing importance the fact
would have shone in the letters which he wrote to his children January
23, and August 6, 1852, relating to the conduct of their lives.[506]
There is much, however, in this history which discredits the assumption
that he gave the subject any consideration whatever. A man whose life
was a "burning" devotion to an ambition so heroic as to become the
"David of the Goliath of Slavery,"[507] ought to have shown some
personal interest in the matter; he should not have left it wholly to
his panegyrists. It appears however that the peaceful "tanner and
shepherd" was so unconscious of having any object in life worth living
for that he "felt," during this time, "a strong and steady desire to
die";[508] a condition of mind wholly inconsistent with heroism or with
one "burning" to bear arms, or with a "man of war emerging from the
chrysalis of peace."[509] The assumptions upon which Mr. Villard relies
for the relevancy of his question are gratuitous. The chapter is a
scholarly example, put forth by a scholar, of the art of making "much
ado about nothing."

It would be proper to say that the conquest of the Southern States was
the greatest or principal undertaking in Brown's career, and that it was
in 1857 that he first planned to attempt it. His capture of Pate's
horses and mules at Black Jack in June; and the days which he spent in
stealing cattle, at and around Osawatomie, during the last days of
August, 1856; and his plundering in Missouri and Kansas in 1858, may be
called meddling with slavery; though grafting upon the anti-slavery
sentiment of the time, would more accurately describe the relation, if
any, of his operations to slavery.

There was this difference between Nat Turner and John Brown: the negro
was a religious fanatic; he was sincere and consistent. Falsehood,
deception, greed, selfishness, are not attributes of fanaticism, but
they are characteristic of Brown's life. The sincerity of his
"death-bed" professions of godliness, and of sympathy for the men in
bondage, is discredited by the actions of a lifetime as conspicuous for
its turpitude as it was barren of virtues. Neither charitable deed, nor
manifestation of a benevolent, or of a patriotic spirit, appears, even
incidentally, along the lines of his life, to break the monotone of
selfishness that distinguishes it. In public affairs he took no part
worthy of consideration.

Mr. Gill gave up a view of his natural or unassumed personality that is
consistently discreditable, and Brown's correspondence is a confirmation
of that estimate. It teaches the lesson that he administered his
deportment to suit the circumstances of the occasion existing at the
time; and that it covered the entire range of the various phases of
human intercourse; from that of a coarse, brutal vulgarity, to the
saintliness of his latest metamorphosis; from the use of language so
distinctly vulgar and obscene, as to be, in the opinion of the writer,
unprintable,[510] to the crafty assumptions of godliness contained in
his letter to the innocent Quakeress.[511]

Brown was crafty in the sublimest degree of the art. His craftiness was
a distinction. It will be difficult to find in our literature a more
interesting example of the refinements of the art than the piece which
he set for Mrs. Stearns: his "Old Brown's Farewell: to the Plymouth
Rocks; Bunker Hill Monuments; Charter Oaks; and Uncle Toms Cabbins." In
the setting, and in the dramatic execution of the play, he exhibited
the perfection of the actor. The paper was not drawn for Mr. Parker to
read to his congregation. Brown was not "casting his pearls before
swine." It was for Mrs. Stearns personally that the paper was written;
it was her heart that he intended to touch, and her generous emotions
that he intended to prey upon. How successfully he played the part she
has related.[512]

Of Brown, it may be truthfully said that within the limits of his
resources, he did nothing in a small way, nor did he move with a faint
heart. With him, there was neither halting nor trifling in action. He
was consistently an adventurer. His theology scorned all creeds. Without
capital he was a plunger among speculators. The deception which he
practiced upon the New England Woolen Company netted him a fortune
little below the average of that period. In the commission business he
was an acrobat, rather than a merchant: his operations were a series of
feats in commercial gymnastics. Chafing because of the restrictions of
an extreme poverty that kept him "like a toad under a harrow," he
determined to burst the bands of his environment, and there was a
massacre in the valley of the Pottawatomie out of which he rode with a
herd of horses. And he would have ridden away from Black Jack with
Pate's horses and mules, if Pate had not deceived him, and led him to
believe that he held his sons--John and Jason--prisoners, as hostages. A
guerrilla leader for six days, he drove two hundred and fifty head of
cattle into his camp at Osawatomie, and in 1858, as a Kansas raider, he
dwarfed the operations of James Montgomery. In the East, as a crafty
imposter and grafter, he secured $30,000 in cash and plunder, and
attempted a _coup_ upon the Legislatures of Massachusetts and New York
for $200,000 more. And then, within one year from the date of the
outburst of his determination to be freed from poverty, he indulged
hopes of a successful conquest: hopes of riches and of fame. An habitual
cruelty in his domestic life, which is more than hinted at by his
friend and confidant, George R. Gill, nerved his hand to execute the
ferocious butchery of his neighbors on the Pottawatomie, and steeled his
heart to incite the slaves at Harper's Ferry to emulate the example of
Southampton. His attempt at revolution was not the result of a previous
conviction and consecration to duty and to the cause of humanity, but of
a growth--the indulgence and development of an abnormal passion for
speculation: the culmination downward of his speculative and criminal
instincts. Closing a commercial sas indulging the reasonable hope that
in the new country he would find opportunity to improve his condition.
In the horses owned by the Shermans, and by other well-to-do neighbors,
he saw, and grasped, the opportunity--a desperate one--to make a "coup
to restore his fortunes." Out of that plunge in robbery and murder came
the leader of a gang of horse thieves--the chrysalis of the guerrilla
captain of Osawatomie.

Driven out of the Territory by the establishment of order, the crafty
marauder raided the East as the militant defender of Kansas. In the
practice of his impositions there, he met and established confidential
relations with men who plotted against the life of the nation; men who
planned how to provoke a revolution; how best to "split the Union";[513]
men who wished "success to every slave insurrection." From this
atmosphere, pregnant with the sentiment of disloyalty to the Union,
Brown derived the inspiration which encouraged him to plan to do what
his mentors had not the courage to undertake. Out of his negotiations
with them came money; munitions of war; Hugh Forbes, the revolutionist;
mutual planning for a revolution, and a dream of empire.

John Brown will live in history; but his name will not be found among
the names of those who have wrought for humanity and for righteousness;
or among the names of the martyrs and the saints who "washed their
robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

"YET SHALL HE LIVE": but it will be as a soldier of fortune, an
adventurer. He will take his place in history as such: and will rank
among adventurers as Napoleon ranks among marshals: as Captain Kidd
among pirates: and as Jonathan Wild among thieves.




                           Topeka, Kansas, Dec. 18th, 1902.

      General D. W. Wilder, Hiawatha, Kansas.


      I would like to have you kindly tell me something valuable
      about John Brown. I listened to your tribute to his memory,
      read before the Historical Society on the 2nd inst. It
      recalled the admiration which I entertained for the "Old
      Hero" throughout the many years of my life; from young
      manhood up to about four years ago; when I attempted to
      write a sketch of his life. It was in reading up to obtain
      data for this sketch that the idol, which my credulity, I
      suppose, or imagination had set up, went utterly to pieces
      in my hands. I read faithfully what his biographers,
      Sanborn, and Redpath, and the other fellows, have written
      about him, but none of them give up any valuable facts.
      They all seem to be long on eulogy. They do overtime on
      that. The whole performance is a continuous eulogium; but
      historical facts, upon which to predicate a story, or upon
      which his "immortal fame" is supposed to rest, are
      painfully lacking.... These are some of the things which I
      went up against when I tried in good faith to write about
      him, and they broke me all up, so I had to quit. John
      Brown, the "Hero" and "Martyr," is a creation--Charlestown
      furnished a simple text and the genius of his generation
      did the rest. The brilliant minds of this age have
      exploited him in literary effects, in prose, in poetry and
      oratory. They have placarded him "upon the walls of time";
      but I am compelled to believe that his fame thus acquired,
      will not survive. The "why" may "repel the philosophic
      searcher," but it cannot "defy" the historical searchers.
      History has no enigmas.

      I will be very glad indeed to have your opinions on this

                              Very truly yours,
                              HILL P. WILSON.

In this letter the writer asked Mr. Wilder for his opinion upon Brown's
motives in their relation to several incidents that occurred in his
life. His reply is as follows:[514]

                              Hiawatha, Kansas, Dec. 20, 1902.


      ... You have stood on various platforms and made many
      political speeches. Did any of them endorse the sentiments
      you now hold? The elder Booth, a man of genius, once
      staggered up to the footlights and said to the crowded
      house: "You are all drunk," and staggered off.

      You think the people of your county, your state, your
      country and of the civilized world, including its noblest
      spirits, do not know a hero, an emancipator--first of his
      state, then of his nation. Only one Kansan has made a
      speech that thrilled the world and is immortal. You never
      read it. Only one Kansan lives in poetry, in song, in human
      hearts, and is the constant theme of the historian, the
      dramatist, the man of letters. You think he was a fool. The
      whole world has pronounced its verdict on John Brown.

                              Yours truly,
                              D. W. WILDER.

To this letter the writer replied:

                              Topeka, Kans., January 3, 1903.


      Your letter of the 20th ult., is received. I told you that
      I had gone the limit of my vocabulary in expressing my
      admiration of John Brown. I read the "speech that thrilled
      the world." I have read the poetry and have sung the songs.
      I make the point that the speeches, the poetry, and the
      songs are all there is behind John Brown. When I asked you
      about some historical facts, you gave me more oratory. It
      seems to have become a habit. If you ever analyze this
      man's character, you will reverse your estimate of him.

      The world sees Brown fighting, heroically, in the
      engine-house at Harper's Ferry, but it does not inquire how
      he came to be there. It was his death, and not his life,
      that gave him renown. Usually it is a man's life--his
      actions, that determine his place among men. If it be true
      that one unimpeachable fact will set aside the most
      plausible opposing theory, then Brown's fame will not
      survive. The facts of his life impeach the popular verdict.

                              Very truly yours,
                              HILL P. WILSON.

      General D. W. Wilder, Hiawatha, Kansas.



_Taken from The Century_

On entering the room where John Brown was, I found him alone, lying on
the floor on his left side, and with his back turned toward me. The
right side of his face was smeared with blood from a sword cut on his
head, causing his grim and grizzled countenance to look like that of
some aboriginal savage with his war-paint on. Approaching him I began
the conversation with the inquiry:

"Captain Brown, are you hurt anywhere except on the head?"

"Yes, in my side, here," said he, indicating the place with his hand.

I then told him that a surgeon would be in presently to attend to his
wounds, and expressed the hope that they were not very serious.
Thereupon he asked me who I was, and on giving him my name he muttered
as if speaking to himself.

"Yes, yes--I know you now--member of congress--this district."

I then asked the question:

"Captain, what brought you here?"

"To free your slaves," was the reply.

"How did you expect to accomplish it with the small force you brought
with you?"

"I expected help."

"Where, whence, and from whom, Captain, did you expect it?"

"Here and from elsewhere," he answered.

"Did you expect to get assistance from whites here as well as from the
blacks?" was my next question.

"I did," he replied.

"Then," said I, "you have been disappointed in not getting it from

"Yes," he muttered, "I have--been--disappointed."

Then I asked him who planned his movement on Harper's Ferry, to which he
replied: "I planned it all myself," and upon my remarking that it was a
sad affair for him and the country, and that I trusted no one would
follow his example by undertaking a similar raid, he made no response. I
next inquired if he had any family besides the sons who accompanied him
on his incursion, to which he replied by telling me he had a wife and
children in the State of New York at North Elba, and on my then asking
if he would like to write to them and let them know how he was, he
quickly responded:

"Yes, I would like to send them a letter."

"Very well," I said, "you doubtless will be permitted to do so. But,
Captain," I added, "probably you understand that, being in the hands of
the civil authorities of the State, your letters will have to be seen by
them before they can be sent."

"Certainly," he said.

"Then, with that understanding," continued I. "There will, I am sure, be
no objection to your writing home; and although I have no authority in
the premises, I promise to do what I can to have your wishes in that
respect complied with."

"Thank you--thank you, sir," he said repeating his acknowledgment for
the proffered favor and, for the first time, turning his head toward me.

In my desire to hear him distinctly, I had placed myself by his side,
with one knee resting on the floor; so that, when he turned, it brought
his face quite close to mine, and I remember well the earnest gaze of
the gray eye that looked straight into mine. I then remarked:

"Captain, we, too, have wives and children. This attempt of yours to
interfere with our slaves has created great excitement and naturally
causes anxiety on account of our families. Now, let me ask you: Is this
failure of yours likely to be followed by similar attempts to create
disaffection among our servants and bring upon our homes the horrors of
a servile war?"

"Time will show," was his significant reply.

Just then a Catholic priest appeared at the door of the room. He had
been administering the last consolations of religion to Quinn, the
marine, who was dying in the adjoining office; and the moment Brown saw
him he became violently angry, and plainly showed, by the expression of
his countenance, how capable he was of feeling "hatred, malice, and all

"Go out of here--I don't want you about me--go out!" was the salutation
he gave the priest, who, bowing gravely, immediately retired. Whereupon
I arose from the floor, and bidding Brown good-morning, likewise left

In the entry leading to the room where Brown was, I met Major Russell,
of the marine corps, who was going to see him, and I detailed to him the
conversation I had just had. Meeting the major subsequently he told me
that when he entered the apartment Brown was standing up--with his
clothes unfastened--examining the wound in his side, and that, as soon
as he saw him, forthwith resumed his former position on the floor; which
incident tended to confirm the impression I had already formed, that
there was a good deal of vitality left in the old man, notwithstanding
his wounds--a fact more fully developed that evening after I had left
Harper's Ferry for home, when he had his spirited and historic talk with
Wise, Hunter and Vallandigham.



Copy of the Constitution, adopted at Chatham, Canada, May 8, 1858.
_Mason Report_, p. 48.



Whereas, slavery throughout its entire existence in the United States,
is none other than a most barbarous, unprovoked, and unjustifiable war
of one portion of its citizens upon another portion, the only conditions
of which are perpetual imprisonment and hopeless servitude or absolute
extermination; in utter disregard of those eternal and self-evident
truths set forth in our Declaration of Independence: Therefore,

We, citizens of the United States, and the Oppressed People, who, by a
decision of the Supreme Court are declared to have no rights which the
White Man is bound to respect; together with all other people degraded
by the laws thereof, Do, for the time being ordain and establish for
ourselves, the following PROVISIONAL CONSTITUTION and ORDINANCES, the
better to protect our Persons, Property, Lives and Liberties; and to
govern our actions:



All persons of mature age, whether Proscribed, oppressed, and enslaved
Citizens, or of the Proscribed or oppressed races of the United States,
who shall agree to sustain and enforce the Provisional Constitution and
Ordinance of this organization, together with all minor children of such
persons, shall be held to be fully entitled to protection under the



The provisional government of this organization shall consist of three
branches, viz.: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.



The legislative branch shall be a Congress or House of Representatives,
composed of not less than five, or more than ten members, who shall be
elected by all the citizens of mature age and of sound mind, connected
with this organization; and who shall remain in office for three years,
unless sooner removed for misconduct, inability, or death. A majority of
such members shall constitute a quorum.



The executive branch of this organization shall consist of a President
and Vice-President, who shall be chosen by the citizens or members of
this organization, and each of whom shall hold his office for three
years, unless sooner removed by death, or for inability or misconduct.



The judicial branch of this organization shall consist of one
Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court, and of four Associate Judges of said
Court; each constituting a Circuit Court. They shall each be chosen in
the same manner as the President, and shall continue in office until
their places have been filled in the same manner by election of the
citizens. Said court shall have jurisdiction in all civil or criminal
causes, arising under this constitution, except breaches of the Rules of



All enactments of the legislative branch shall, to become valid during
the first three years, have the approbation of the President and the
Commander-in-Chief of the Army.



A Commander-in-Chief of the army shall be chosen by the President,
Vice-President, a majority of the Provisional Congress, and of the
Supreme Court, and he shall receive his commission from the President,
signed by the Vice-President, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
and the Secretary of War: and he shall hold his office for three years,
unless removed by death, or on proof of incapacity of misbehavior. He
shall, unless under arrest (and till his place is actually filled as
provided by the constitution) direct all movements of the army, and
advise with any allies. He shall, however, be tried, removed, or
punished, on complaint by the President, by, at least, three general
officers, or a majority of the House of Representatives, or of the
Supreme Court; which House of Representatives (the President presiding);
the Vice President, and the members of the Supreme Court, shall
constitute a court-martial, for his trial; with power to remove or
punish, as the case may require; and to fill his place as above



A Treasurer, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and Secretary of the
Treasury, shall each be chosen for the first three years, in the same
way and manner as the Commander-in-Chief; subject to trial or removal on
complaint of the President, Vice-President, or Commander in Chief, to
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; or on complaint of the majority
of the members of said court, or the Provisional Congress. The Supreme
Court shall have power to try or punish either of those officers; and
their places shall be filled as before.



The Secretary of War shall be under the immediate directions of the
Commander in Chief; who may temporarily fill his place, in case of
arrest, or of any inability to serve.



The House of Representatives shall make ordinances for the appointment
(by the President or otherwise) of all civil officers except those
already named; and shall have power to make all laws and ordinances for
the general good, not inconsistent with this Constitution and these



The Provisional Congress shall have power to appropriate money or other
property actually in the hands of the Treasurer, to any object
calculated to promote the general good, so far as may be consistent with
the provisions of this Constitution; and may in certain cases,
appropriate, for a moderate compensation of agents, or persons not
members of this organization, for important service they are known to
have rendered.



It shall be the duty of Congress to provide for the instant removal of
any civil officer or policeman, who becomes habitually intoxicated, or
who is addicted to other immoral conduct, or to any neglect or
unfaithfulness in the discharge of his official duties. Congress shall
also be a standing committee of safety, for the purpose of obtaining
important information; and shall be in constant communication with the
Commander-in-Chief; the members of which shall each, as also the
President and Vice-President, members of the Supreme Court, and
Secretary of State, have full power to issue warrants returnable as
Congress shall ordain (naming Witnesses etc) upon their own information,
without the formality of a complaint. Complaint shall be made
immediately after arrest, and before trial; the party arrested to be
served with a copy at once.



The President and Vice President may either of them be tried, removed,
or punished, on complaint made by the Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court, by a majority of the House of Representatives, which House,
together with the Associate Judges of the Supreme Court, the whole to be
presided over by the Chief Justice in the cases of the trial of the Vice
President, shall have full power to try such officers, to remove, or
punish as the case may require, and to fill any vacancy so occurring,
the same as in the case of the Commander-in-Chief.



The members of the House of Representatives may, any and all of them, be
tried, and on conviction, removed or punished on complaint before the
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, made by any number of members of
said House, exceeding one third, which House, with the Vice President
and Associate Judges of the Supreme Court, shall constitute the proper
tribunal, with power to fill such vacancies.



Any member of the Supreme Court, tried, convicted, or punished by
removal or otherwise, on complaint to the President, who shall, in such
case, preside; the Vice-President, House of Representatives, and other
members of the Supreme Court, constituting the proper tribunal (with
power to fill vacancies); on complaint of a majority of said House of
Representatives, or of the Supreme Court; a majority of the whole having
power to decide.



The President, with the Secretary of State, shall immediately upon
entering on the duties of their office, give special attention to
secure, from amongst their own people, men of integrity, intelligence,
and good business habits and capacity; and above all, of first rate
moral and religious character and influence, to act as civil officers of
every description and grade, as well as teachers, chaplains, physicians,
surgeons, mechanics, agents of every description, clerks and messengers.
They shall make special effort to induce at the earliest possible
period, persons and families of that description, to locate themselves
within the limits secured by this organization; and shall, moreover,
from time to time, supply the names and residence of such persons to the
Congress, for their special notice and information, as among the most
important of their duties, and the President is hereby authorized and
empowered to afford special aid to such individuals, from such moderate
appropriations as the Congress shall be able and may deem it advisable
to make for that object.

The President and Secretary of State, and in case of disagreement, the
Vice-President shall appoint all civil officers, but shall not have
power to remove any officer. All removals shall be the result of a fair
trial, whether civil or military.



It shall be the duty of the President and Secretary of State, to find
out (as soon as possible) the real friends, as well as the enemies of
this organization in every part of the country; to secure among them,
innkeepers, private postmasters, private mail contractors, messengers
and agents: through whom may be obtained correct and regular
information, constantly; recruits for the service, places of deposit and
sale; together with needed supplies: and it shall be matter of special
regard to secure such facilities through the Northern States.



It shall be the duty of the President, as well as the House of
Representatives, at all times, to inform the Commander-in-Chief of any
matter that may require his attention, or that may affect the public



It shall be the duty of the President to see that the provisional
ordinances of this organization, and those made by Congress, are
properly and faithfully executed; and he may in cases of great urgency
call on the Commander-in-Chief of the army, or other officers for aid;
it being, however, intended that a sufficient civil police shall always
be in readiness to secure implicit obedience to law.



The Vice-President shall be the presiding officer of the Provisional
Congress and in case of tie shall give the casting vote.



In case of death, removal, or inability of the President, the
Vice-President, and next to him, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
shall be the President during the remainder of the term: and the place
of Chief-Justice thus made vacant shall be filled by Congress from some
of the members of said Court; and places of the Vice-President and
Associate Justice thus made vacant, filled by an election by the united
action of the Provisional Congress and members of the Supreme Court. All
other vacancies, not heretofore specially provided for, shall, during
the first three years, be filled by the united action of the President,
Vice-President, Supreme Court, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army.



The punishment of crimes not capital, except in the case of
insubordinate convicts or other prisoners, shall be (so far as may be)
by hard labor on the public works, roads, etc.



It shall be the duty of all commissioned officers of the army to name
candidates of merit for office or elevation to the Commander-in-Chief,
who, with the Secretary of War, and, in cases of disagreement, the
President, shall be the appointing power of the army: and all
commissions of military officers shall bear the signatures of the
Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of War. And it shall be the special
duty of the Secretary of War to keep for constant reference of the
Commander-in-Chief a full list of names of persons nominated for office,
or elevation, by officers of the army, with the name and rank of the
officer nominating, stating distinctly but briefly the grounds for such
notice or nomination. The Commander-in-Chief shall not have power to
remove or punish any officer or soldier; but he may order their arrest
and trial at any time, by court-martial.



Court martials for Companies, Regiments, Brigades, etc., shall be called
by the chief officer of each command, on complaint to him by any
officer, or any five privates, in such command, and shall consist of not
less than five nor more than nine officers, and privates, one-half of
whom shall not be lower in rank than the person on trial, to be chosen
by the three highest officers in the command, which officers shall not
be a part of such court. The chief officer of any command shall, of
course be tried by a court-martial of the command above his own. All
decisions affecting the lives of persons, or office of persons holding
commission, must, before taking full effect, have the signature of the
Commander-in-Chief, who may also, on the recommendation of, at least,
one-third of the members of the court martial finding any sentence,
grant a reprieve or commutation of the same.



No person connected with this organization shall be entitled to any
salary, pay, or emoluments, other than a competent support of himself
and family, unless it be from an equal dividend, made of public
property, on the establishment of peace, or of special provision by
treaty; which provision shall be made for all persons who may have been
in any active civil or military service at any time previous to any
hostile action for Liberty and Equality.



Before any treaty of peace shall take effect, it shall be signed by the
President and Vice-President, the Commander-in-Chief, a majority of the
House of Representatives, a majority of the Supreme Court, and a
majority of all general officers of the army.



It shall be the duty of the Commander-in-Chief, and all officers and
soldiers of the army, to afford special protection when needed, to
Congress, or any member thereof; to the President, Vice-President,
Treasurer, Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of
War; and to afford general protection to all civil officers, other
persons having right to the same.



All captured or confiscated property, and all property the product of
the labor of those belonging to this organization and their families,
shall be held as the property of the whole, equally, without
distinction; and may be used for the common benefit, or disposed of for
the same object; and any person, officer or otherwise, who shall
improperly retain, secrete, use, or needlessly destroy such property, or
property found, captured, or confiscated, belonging to the enemy, or
shall willfully neglect to render a full and fair statement of such
property by him so taken or held, shall be deemed guilty of a
misdemeanor and, on conviction, shall be punished accordingly.



All money, plate, watches or jewelry, captured by honorable warfare,
found, taken or confiscated, belonging to the enemy, shall be held
sacred, to constitute a liberal safety or intelligence fund; and any
person who shall improperly retain, dispose of, hide, use, or destroy
such money or other article above mentioned, contrary to the provisions
and spirit of this article, shall be deemed guilty of theft, and, on
conviction thereof, shall be punished accordingly. The Treasurer shall
furnish the Commander-in-Chief at all times with a full statement of the
condition of such fund and its nature.



The Commander-in-Chief shall have power to draw from the Treasury the
money and other property of the fund provided for it in ARTICLE
twenty-ninth, but his orders shall be signed also by the Secretary of
War, who shall keep strict account of the same; subject to examination
by any member of Congress, or general officer.



It shall be the duty of the Commander-in-Chief to advise the President
of any surplus of the Safety or Intelligence Fund; who shall have power
to draw such surplus (his order being also signed by the Secretary of
State) to enable him to carry out the provisions of Article Seventeenth.



No person, after having surrendered himself or herself a prisoner, and
who shall properly demean himself or herself as such, to any officer or
private connected with this organization, shall afterward be put to
death, or be subject to any corporal punishment, without first having
had the benefit of a fair and impartial trial: nor shall any prisoner be
treated with any kind of cruelty, disrespect, insult, or needless
severity: but it shall be the duty of all persons, male and female,
connected herewith, at all times and under all circumstances, to treat
all such prisoners with every degree of respect and kindness the nature
of the circumstances will admit of; and to insist on a like course of
conduct from all others, as in the fear of Almighty God, to whose care
and keeping we commit our cause.



All persons who may come forward and shall voluntarily deliver up their
slaves, and have their names registered on the Books of the
organization, shall, so long as they continue at peace, be entitled to
the fullest protection of person and property, though not connected with
this organization, and shall be treated as friends, and not merely as
persons neutral.



The persons and property of all non-slaveholders who shall remain
absolute neutral, shall be respected so far as the circumstances can
allow of it; but they shall not be entitled to any active protection.



The needless waste or destruction of any useful property or article, by
fire, throwing open of fences, fields, buildings, or needless killing of
animals, or injury of either, shall not be tolerated at any time or
place, but shall be promptly and properly punished.



The entire and real property of all persons known to be acting either
directly or indirectly with or for the enemy, or found in arms with
them, or found wilfully holding slaves, shall be confiscated and taken,
whenever and wherever it may be found, in either free or slave States.



Persons convicted, on impartial trial, of desertion to the enemy after
becoming members, acting as spies, or of treacherous surrender of
property, arms, ammunition, provisions, or supplies of any kind, roads,
bridges, persons or fortifications shall be put to death and their
entire property confiscated.



Persons proven to be guilty of taking up arms after having been set at
liberty on parole of honor, or, after the same, to have taken an active
part with or for the enemy, direct or indirect, shall be put to death
and their entire property confiscated.



All persons connected in any way with this organization, and who may be
entitled to full protection under it, shall be held as under obligation
to labor in some way for the general good, and any persons refusing, or
neglecting so to do, shall on conviction receive a suitable and
appropriate punishment.



Profane Swearing, filthy conversation, indecent behavior, or indecent
exposure of person, or intoxication, or quarreling, shall not be allowed
or tolerated, neither unlawful intercourse of the sexes.



Persons convicted of the forcible violation of any female prisoner shall
be put to death.



The marriage relation shall be at all times respected, and the families
kept together as far as possible, and broken families encouraged to
re-unite, and intelligence offices established for that purpose, schools
and churches established, as soon as may be, for the purpose of
religious and other instructions; and the first day of the week regarded
as a day of rest and appropriated to moral and religious instruction
and improvement; relief to the suffering, instruction of the young and
ignorant, and the encouragement of personal cleanliness; nor shall any
person be required on that day to perform ordinary manual labor, unless
in extremely urgent cases.



All persons known to be of good character, and of sound mind and
suitable age, who are connected with this organization, whether male or
female, shall be encouraged to carry arms openly.



No person within the limits of the conquered territory, except regularly
appointed policemen, express officers of the army, mail carriers, or
other fully accredited messengers of the Congress, President,
Vice-President, members of the Supreme Court, or commissioned officers
of the army--and those only under peculiar circumstances--shall be
allowed, at any time, to carry concealed weapons; and any person not
specially authorized so to do, who shall be found so doing, shall be
deemed a suspicious person, and may be at once arrested by any officer,
soldier, or citizen, without the formality of a complaint or warrant,
and may at once be subject to thorough search, and shall have his or her
case thoroughly investigated; and be dealt with as circumstances, or
proof, may require.



Persons within the limits of the territory holden by this organization,
not connected with this organization, having arms at all, concealed or
otherwise, shall be seized at once, or taken in charge of by some
vigilant officer; and their case thoroughly investigated: and it shall
be the duty of all citizens and soldiers, as well as officers, to arrest
such parties as are named in this and the preceding Section or Article,
without formality of complaint or warrant: and they shall be placed in
charge of proper officer for examination or for safe keeping.



The foregoing articles shall not be construed so as in any way to
encourage the overthrow of any State Government of the United States:
and look to no dissolution of the Union, but simply to Amendment and
Repeal. And our Flag shall be the same as our Fathers fought under in
the Revolution.



No two offices specially provided for, by this Instrument, shall be
filled by the same person at the same time.



Every Officer, civil or military, connected with this organization,
shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, make solemn oath
or affirmation, to abide by and support this Provisional Constitution
and these Ordinances. Also, every Citizen and Soldier, before being
fully recognized as such, shall do the same.



_Written to Henry L. Stearns, son of George L. Stearns, and bearing date
Red Rock, Iowa, July 7, 1857._[515]

John was born May 9th, 1800, at Torrington, Litchfield County,
Connecticut; of poor but respectable parents: a descendant on the side
of his father of one of the company of the _Mayflower_ who landed at
Plymouth 1620. His mother was descended from a man who came at an early
period to New England from Amsterdam, in Holland. Both his Father's &
Mother's Fathers served in the war of the revolution: His Father's
Father died in a barn at New York while in the service, in 1776.

I cannot tell you of anything in the first Four years of John's life
worth mentioning save that at that _early age_ he was tempted by Three
large Brass Pins belonging to a girl who lived in the family & _stole
them_. In this he was detected by his Mother; & after having a full day
to think of the wrong: received from her a thorough whipping. When he
was Five years old his Father moved to Ohio; then a wilderness filled
with wild beasts, & Indians. During the long journey which was performed
in part or mostly with an _ox team_; he was called on by turns to assist
a boy Five years older (who had been adopted by his Father & Mother) &
learned to think he could accomplish _smart things_ in driving the cows,
and riding the horses. Some times he met with Rattle Snakes which were
very large; & which some of the company generally managed to kill. After
getting to Ohio in 1805 he was for some time rather afraid of the
Indians, & of their Rifles; but this soon wore off; & he used to hang
about them quite as much as was consistent with good manners; & learned
a trifle of their talk. His Father learned to dress Deer Skins, & at 6
years old John was installed a young Buck Skin--He was perhaps rather
observing as he ever after remembered the entire process of Deer Skin
_dressing_; so that he could at any time dress his own leather such as
Squirl, Raccoon, Cat, Wolf, or Dog Skin; & also learned to make Whip
Lashes: which brought him some change at times; & was of considerable
service in many ways. At Six years old John began to be quite a rambler
in the wild new country finding birds & Squirels, and sometimes a wild
Turkey's nest. But about this period he was placed in the school of
_adversity_: which my young friend was a most necessary part of his
early training. You may _laugh_ when you come to read about it; but
these were _sore trials_ to John: whose earthly treasures were very _few
& small_. These were the beginnings of a severe but _much needed course_
of discipline which he afterwards was to pass through; & which it is to
be hoped has learned him before this time that the Heavenly Father sees
it best to take all the little things out of his hand which he has ever
placed in them. When John was in his Sixth year a poor _Indian boy_ gave
him a Yellow Marble the first he had ever seen. This he thought a great
deal of; & kept it a good while; but at last he lost it beyond recovery.
_It took years to heal the wound_; & I _think_ he cried at times about
it. About Five months after this he caught a young Squirrel tearing off
his tail in doing it; & getting severely bitten at the same time
himself. He however held _to the little bob tail_ Squirrel; & finally
got him perfectly tamed, so that he almost idolized his pet. _This too
he lost_; by wandering away; or by getting killed: & for a year or Two
John was _in mourning_; and looking at all the Squirrels he could see to
try and discover Bobtail if _possible_, I must not neglect to tell you
of a very _bad & foolish_ habbit to which John was somewhat addicted. I
mean _telling lies_: generally to screen himself from blame; or from
punishment. He could not well endure to be reproached; & I now think had
he been oftener encouraged to be entirely frank; _by making frankness a
kind of atonement_ for some of his faults; he would not have been so
often guilty of this fault; nor have been obliged to struggle _so long_
in after life with _so mean_ a habit.

John was _never quarrelsome_; but was _excessively_ fond of the _hardest
& roughest_ kind of plays; & could _never get enough_ [of] them. Indeed
when for a short time he was sometimes sent to School the opportunity it
afforded to wrestle & Snow ball & run & jump & knock off old seedy wool
hats; offered to him almost the only compensation for the confinement &
restraints of school. I need not tell you that with such a feeling & but
little chance of going to school _at all_: he did not become much of a
schollar. He would always choose to stay at home & work hard rather than
be sent to school; & during the warm season might generally be seen
_barefooted & bareheaded_: with Buck skin Breeches suspended often with
one leather strap over his shoulder but sometimes with Two. To be sent
off through the wilderness alone to very considerable distances was
particularly his delight; & in this he was often indulged so that by the
time he was Twelve years old he was sent off more than a Hundred Miles
with companies of cattle; & he would have thought his character much
injured had he been obliged to be helped in any such job. This was a
boyish kind of feeling but characteristic however.

At Eight years old John was left a Motherless boy which loss was
complete & permanent, for notwithstanding his Father again married to a
sensible, inteligent, & on many accounts a very estimable woman: _yet he
never adopted her in feeling_: but continued to pine after his own
Mother for years. This opperated very unfavorably uppon him: as he was
both naturally fond of females; & withall extremely diffident; &
deprived him of a suitable link between the different sexes; the want of
which might under some circumstances have proved his ruin.

When the war broke out _with England_, his Father soon commenced
furnishing the troops with beef cattle, the collecting & driving of
which _afforded_ him some opportunity for the chase (on foot) of wild
steers & other cattle through the woods. During this war he had some
chance to form his own boyish judgement of _men & measures_: & to become
somewhat familiarly acquainted with some who have figured before the
country since that time. The effect of what he saw during the war was to
so far disgust him with military affairs that he would neither train,
_or drill_: but paid fines; and got along like a Quaker untill his age
had finally cleared him of Military duty.

During the war with England a circumstance occurred that in the end made
him a most _determined Abolitionist_: & led him to declare, _or Swear_:
_Eternal war with Slavery_. He was staying for a short time with a very
gentlemanly landlord once a United States Marshal who held a slave boy
near his own age very active, intelligent and good feeling; & to whom
John was under considerable obligation for numerous little acts of
kindness. _The master_ made a great pet of John: brought him to table
with his first company; & friends; called their attention to every
little smart thing he _said or did_: & to the fact of his being more
than a hundred miles from home with a company of cattle alone; while the
_negro boy_ (who was fully if not more than his equal) was badly
clothed, poorly fed: & _lodged in cold weather_; & beaten before his
eyes with Iron Shovels or any other thing that came first to hand. This
brought John to reflect on the wretched; hopeless condition, of
_Fatherless & Motherless_ slave _children_: for such children have
neither Father nor Mothers to protect, & provide for them. He would
sometimes raise the question _is God their Father_?

At the age of Ten years an old friend induced him to read a little
history; & offered him the free use of a good library; by which he
acquired some taste for reading: which formed the principle part of his
early education: & diverted him in a great measure from bad company, &
conversation of old & inteligent persons. He never attempted to dance in
his life; nor did he ever learn to know _one_ of a pack of _cards_ from
_another_. He learned nothing of Grammar; nor did he get at school so
much knowledge of common Arithmetic as the Four ground rules. This will
give you some idea of the first Fifteen years of his life; during which
time he became very strong and large of his age and ambitious to perform
the full labour of a man; at almost any kind of hard work. By reading
the lives of great, wise & good men their sayings, and writings; he grew
to a dislike of vain & frivolous _conversation_ & _persons_; & was often
greatly obliged by the kind manner in which older & more intelligent
persons treated him at their houses: & in conversation; which was a
great relief on account of his extreme bashfulness.

He very early in life became ambitious to excell in doing anything he
undertook to perform. This kind of feeling I would recomend to all
persons both _male & female_: as it will certainly tend to secure
admission to the company of the more intelligent & better portion of
every community. By all means endeavor to excell in some laudable

I had like to forgotten to tell you of one of John's misfortunes which
set rather hard on him while a young boy. He had by some means _perhaps_
by gift of his father become the owner of a little Ewe Lamb which did
finely till it was about Two Thirds grown; and then sickened & died.
This brought another protracted _mourning season_: not that he felt the
pecuniary loss so much: for that was never his disposition: but so
strong and earnest were his attachments.

John had been taught from earliest childhood to fear God and keep his
commandments; & though quite skeptical he had always by turns felt much
serious doubt as to his future well being & about this time became to
some extent a convert to Christianity & ever after a firm believer in
the divine authenticity of the Bible. With this book he became very
familiar, & possessed a most unusual memory of its entire contents.

Now some of the things I have been _telling of_; were just such as I
would recomend to you: & I wd like to know that you had selected these
out; & adopted them as part of your own plan of life; & I wish you to
have _some definite plan_. Many seem to have none; & others never stick
to any that they do form. This was not the case with John. He followed
up with _tenacity_ whatever he set about so long as it answered his
general purpose: & hence he rarely failed in some good decree to effect
the things he undertook. This was so much the case that he _habitually
expected to succeed_ in his undertakings. With this feeling _should be
coupled_; the consciousness that our plans are right in themselves.

During the period I have named John had acquired a kind of ownership to
certain animals of some little value but as he had come to understand
that the _title of minor's_ might be a little imperfect: he had recource
to various means in order to secure a more _independent_; & perfect
right of property. One of those means was to exchange with his Father
for something of far less value. Another was trading with other persons
for something his Father had never owned. Older persons have some times
found difficulty with _titles_.

From fifteen to Twenty years old, he spent most of his time working at
the Tanner & Currier's trade keeping Bachelors hall; & he was acting as
Cook; & for most of the time as foreman of the establishment under his
father. During this period he found much trouble with some of the bad
habits I have mentioned & with some that I have not told you of: his
conscience urging him forward with great power in this matter: but his
close attention to _business_; & success in his management; together
with the way he got along with a company of men; & boys; made him quite
a favorite with the serious & more intelligent portion of older persons.
This was so much the case; & secured for him so many little notices from
those he esteemed; that his vanity was very much fed by it; & he came
forward to manhood quite full of self-conceit; & self-confidence;
notwithstanding his _extreme_ bashfulness. A younger brother used
sometimes to remind him of this: and to repeat to him _this expression_
which you may somewhere find, 'A King against whome there is no rising
up.' The habit so early formed of being obeyed rendered him in after
life too much disposed to speak in an imperious & dictating way. From
Fifteen years & upward he felt a good deal of anxiety to learn; but
could only read and study a little; both for want of time; & on account
of inflammation of the eyes. He however managed by the help of books to
make himself tolerably well acquainted with common arithmetic; &
Surveying; which he practiced more or less after he was Twenty years

At a little past Twenty years led by his own inclination & _prompted
also_ by his Father, he married a _remarkably plain_; but neat
industrious & economical girl; of excellent character; earnest piety; &
good practical common sense; about one year younger than himself. This
woman, by her mild, frank, & _more than all else_: by her very
consistent conduct; acquired & ever while she lived maintained a most
powerful; & good influence over him. Her plain but kind admonitions
generally had the right effect; without arousing his hauty obstinate
temper. John began early in life to discover a great liking to fine
Cattle, Horses, Sheep, & Swine; & as soon as circumstances would enable
him he began to be a practical _Shepherd_: _it being_ a calling for
which _in early_ life he had a kind of _enthusiastic longing_: with the
idea that as a business it bid fair to afford him the means of carrying
out his greatest or principle object. I have now given you a kind of
general idea of the early life of this boy; & if I believed it would be
worth the trouble; or afford much interest to any good feeling person: I
might be tempted to tell you something of his course in after life; or
manhood. I do not say that I _will do it_.

You will discover that in using up my _half sheets to save paper_; I
have written Two pages, so that one does not follow the other as it
should. I have no time to write it over; & but for unavoidable
hindrances in traveling I can hardly say when I should have written what
I have. With an honest desire for your best good, I subscribe myself,

                              Your Friend,
                              J. BROWN

P. S. I had like to have forgotten to acknowledge your contribution in
aid of the cause in which I serve. God Allmighty _bless you_; my son.

                              J. B.


Abbott, Maj. J. B., 143, 175, 219, 274, 279

Adair, Rev. S. L., 77, 108, 146, 152, 221, 234, 264, 273

Adams, Mrs. Anne Brown, quoted, 82, 290, 291, 292, 293

Adams, Henry, History of U. S., 353

Alcott, Amos B., 284, 396

Alburtis, Capt. E. G., 302, 306

Alderman, Amos, 160

Allstadt, John H., 298, 300

Anderson, Capt. Geo. T., U. S. Army, 260

Anderson, Jeremiah Goldsmith, Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at Harper's Ferry, 312;
  quoted, 333, 387; 262, 269, 284, 285, 348

Anderson, Osborne P., colored, M. C., 250;
  private Prov. Army, 295;
  escaped from H. F., 305; 298

Andrew, Hon. John A., of Boston, quoted, 397; 369

Army of Liberation, 343

Arny, Wm. F., quoted, 43, 82, 83, 188

Artillery Corps U. S. Army, 392

Astor House, N. Y., 187

Atchison, David R., U. S. Senator, Major General, 51, 52, 55, 65, 66, 69, 163,
174, 176

Atlantic Monthly, 16, 17, 359, 360

August, Col. T. P., commands B.'s escort, 394

Austin Freeman, 160

Avery, Dr., 158

Avis, Capt. John, B.'s jailor, 302, 304, 382, 394

"B. E.," Mrs., letter to B., 389; 404

Bacon, Cook & Co., 214

Baltimore American, quoted, 320

Baltimore Greys, 321

Ball, A. M., Master Machinist at H. F., prisoner, 306

Bank of Wooster, 39

Barber, Thomas W., murdered, 69, 88

Barbour, Alfred W., 301

Barnes, Wm., letters from B., 211, 190

Barrow, Mr., killed Turner's Massacre, 362

Baylor, Col. Robt. W., 307, 308, 309

Beckham, Fontaine, killed at H. F., 305; 312

Bell, James M., colored, 248

Belshazzar, 326

Benjamin, Jacob, at Pottawatomie, 110; 20, 135, 159, 170, 172, 182

Bernard, J. M., store robbed by B., 137

Bickerton, Capt. Thomas W., 155, 158, 173

Biggs, Dr., 317

Bishop, Adam, 262

Blair, Charles, makes 1,000 spears for B., 223, 224

Blair, Montgomery, 370

Blake, Maj. George A. H., U. S. Army. 237

Black Jack, battle of, 110, 135, 141, 144, 149, 157, 223, 403, 405

Black Warrior, 60

Blakesley, Levi, 44, 46

Blunt, John, 114

Blood, James, 156

Boerly, Thomas, killed at H. F., 302; 312

Bolivar Heights, 301, 303, 304, 328, 339

Bondi, August, with Brown in Kansas, 136, 159, 160, 168, 170, 171, 172, 182

Booth, Edwin, 412

Border Ruffians, 81, 197, 199

Boetler, Hon. Alexander R., B. not severely wounded at H. F., 414; 387

Botts, Capt., 302, 304

Botts, Lawson, 366, 369, 371, 372

Brockett, W. B., Lieut., 143, 277

Brooks, Paul R., 91, 211

Brown, Anne, daughter of B. (see Adams), 286

Brown, Dianthe (Lusk). B.'s first wife, 28

Brown, Frederick, son of B., killed at Osawatomie, 170; 72, 136, 161, 165,
169, 171, 182

Brown, Frederick. B.'s Bro., 47

Brown, G. W., editor, 147, 211, 276

Brown, Jason, son of B., 45, 72, 116, 125, 144, 146, 159, 179, 182, 207, 405

Brown, John (the name appears so frequently that a complete index would result
in an epitome of the book: therefore,
only pages containing the more important incidents are herein referred to),
  character not prejudged, 9;
  his principal biographers, 15;
  picturesque figure an historical myth, 26;
  birth, not a Mayflower descendant, 27;
  successful as a tanner, 28;
  contractor, speculates in town-sites and farm lands, failure, fraudulent
  practices, 29;
  in jail at Akron, O., 30;
  sportsman, breeds race horses, obtains money under false pretense, 31;
  letter concerning, 32;
  proceedings in bankruptcy, letters concerning, 33, 34;
  negotiates for 1,000 acres of land in Va., 35, 36;
  shepherd in O., 36;
  Perkins & Brown Wool Merchants, Springfield, Mass., business methods lax,
  complaints, 37;
  ships wool to London, Eng., heavy losses, in liquidation, sued for large
  sums, wine making for commercial purposes, 38;
  obtains land at North Elba, N. Y., extensive litigation, bad record, 39;
  penniless, thoughts of Kansas, 40;
  religious belief problematical, 41,
    skeptical? 42;
  indifferent concerning the Sabbath, a non-resistant, 43;
  summary of anti-slavery activities given, 44, 52;
  intended to become a southern planter, 52,
    letter concerning, did he intend to own slaves? 53;
  a dilemma for his biographers, 54;
  to Kansas, collects money at Syracuse, N. Y., Akron and Cleveland, O., 75,
  at Osawatomie, in distress, 76;
  at Free State election Oct. 9, 78;
  not bellicose, 79;
  as he impressed Mr. Redpath, 80;
  as he impressed Mr. Villard, 80, 81;
  as he impressed his son Salmon, 81;
  "his object in going to Kansas," 82;
  intended to settle, his claim "jumped," 83;
  Captain of the Liberty Guards, 86;
  Shannon Treaty satisfactory, 89;
  mythical speech, 90;
  not heard by Redpath, 92;
  first and last appearance at a public meeting, 93;
  chairman district convention, 94;
  disbands Liberty Guards and plans to leave neighborhood, extreme poverty,
  an ominous letter, desires recrudescence of pro-slavery aggressions, 97, 98;
  robbery and murder, 99, 114:
  exchanges stolen horses, 109;
  self, unmarried sons and Henry Thompson plan robbery and murder, 99;
  to go to Louisiana, 111;
  his motives, 121;
  secrecy a characteristic, 124;
  grinding of sabers a myth, 125;
  motives not altruistic, 129;
  personality, 130;
  not a "misplaced crusader," 131;
  motives selfish, 135;
  midnight flight, 136;
  robbery, 137;
  his secret camp, 139;
  encouraged by Redpath, sought for by Capt. Pate, joins forces with Capt.
  Shore, 140;
  captures Pate at Black Jack, bands dispersed by Col. Sumner, 141;
  John E. Cook a guest, 144;
  original company disbanded, 146;
  whereabouts unknown during fifty days, 147;
  stealing horses, 149, 150;
  profited by his operations, 151;
  forced to leave Kansas, 152, 153;
  returns from Nebraska, 154;
  not to fight, 155, 156;
  at Lawrence, 158;
  to engage in robbery on a large scale, 159;
  captain of industry, 160;
  Osawatomie a cattle raid, 161;
  refused to join Lane for the defense of Lawrence, 162;
  his "report" of Osawatomie, 165, 167, 168;
  band not a military company, 169;
  in hiding, 170;
  end of get-rich-quick adventure, 171;
  abandoned son's body, 172;
  the Loki of Osawatomie, 173;
  well received at Lawrence, 174;
  declined command of a company, 171;
  left Lawrence to its fate, 176;
  secures congratulatory letters from Gov. Robinson by dissimulation, 177,
  leaves Kansas to work the East for large sums of money, files claim for
  losses, 181, 184;
  stores arms at Tabor, 184;
  en route east collects money, 185;
  meets Mr. Sanborn and unfolds scheme to raise $30,000, cash, 185;
  in "green pastures," 186;
  discredits Free State leaders, 187;
  asks National Com. for $5,000 cash, speech, 188;
  disappointment, 190;
  asks Mass. Legislature for $100,000, speech, 191, 195;
  would have New York appropriate $100,000 for him, 196, 197;
  eulogized, 198, 199;
  advertises for contributions, 200, 201;
  contributions, value $30,000; works friends for $1,000, 202, 203;
  offers Kansas leadership to Gov. Reeder, 204;
  shamming, 205, 206;
  contempt for the gullible, 207;
  works Mrs. Stearns, 207, 210;
  suggestive name for his make-believe troopers, 211;
  autobiography written for a special purpose, 212;
  destination conditional, 214;
  report to Stearns, 215;
  failure of pretensions, 216;
  vocabulary intact, 217;
  hopes for "disturbance" nourished by Lane, 219;
  brigadier-general, 220;
  in Kansas but not to assist Lane, 221;
  draft for $7,000, cancelled, to return East, 222;
  orders 1,000 spears, 223;
  meets Hugh Forbes, 224;
  plans conquest of Southern States, 225, 226;
  a disunionist, 227;
  plans to seduce soldiery of Union, Duty of the Soldier, 228;
  important use for spears, 230;
  a law unto himself, 231;
  wants money with no questions asked, 233;
  stranded at Tabor, war college at Ashtabula, O., 234;
  matriculates tyros in Kansas, 236;
  opens war college at Springdale, Iowa, 238;
  drops Forbes from pay-roll, 239;
  war council at Gerrit Smith's home, 244;
  a war committee, 245;
  not the "Lord's champion," 247;
  constitutional convention, 248;
  adopts constitution for provisional government, commander-in-chief of
  Provisional Army, 249;
  collapse of exchequer, 253;
  menace to rear of communications, 254;
  gets control of ordinance stores, 255;
  campaign postponed, 258;
  in Kansas, alias Shubel Morgan, orders a "Doz. Whistles," 259;
  roll of make-believe company, his real men arrive, 262;
  worked Territory in pairs, 263;
  suffered from exposure, encouraged horse stealing, 265;
  drafted Sugar Mound Treaty, 267;
  plans complete for Missouri raid except as to date of execution, 268;
  the raid, 269, 272;
  sends slaves taken to Osawatomie, 273;
  no published accounting or distribution of stolen property, recruited
  finances near Lawrence, 274;
  conduct complained of by Moneka clergyman, 276;
  details Stevens and Tidd to "replevin" pair of horses, 278;
  successful trip with slaves from Kansas to Canada, 278, 282;
  "Battle of the Spurs," 279;
  arrest not desired by Dept. of Justice, 282;
  never killed anybody, 284;
  revolution financed, 285;
  Hd. Qrs. near Harper's Ferry, 286;
  panic on bourse, 287;
  army mobilized, 289;
  muster roll, 294;
  forward movement, 296;
  occupies H. F., 297;
  declaration of intentions, 298;
  armed with sword of Frederick and Washington, 299;
  stops train B. & O. Ry., 300;
  proclamation, this is the last train that shall pass, 301;
  the struggle, 302, 312;
  negroes fail to do their part, 303;
  refuses to surrender, 309;
  his position carried by assault, 310;
  wounded while bravely fighting, 311, 387;
  casualties, 312;
  interviews, 312, 320;
  military stores on hand, lodged in jail, 321;
  found Sanborn deficient, 326;
  his intelligence discredited by biographers, assumptions of not justified,
  not trifling nor baiting death for trifling purpose, 329;
  intended to arm slaves and defend position, 330;
  expected "negroes to rise and swell force to irresistible proportions," 332;
  plans approved unanimously, 333, 350;
  distributed 500 spears among negroes, 333,
  did not intend to retreat to fastness, believed he would write bloodiest
  chapter in history, 334;
  intended to equip an army at H. F. and invade South, disposition of his
  forces at H. F. consistent with theory of insurrection of slaves, 336;
  defied no canons, was not executing a raid, campaign serious, heroic and
  desperate, 337;
  dispositions at H. F. not violations of military principles, 338;
  to effect conquest of Southern States and establish provisional government,
  believed slaves would assassinate masters and families and declare freedom,
  hedged against treason, 342;
  believed insurrection in progress, blow to be most crushing he could
  deliver, 343;
  would shake slave system to foundation, assassination means to end, 344;
  would improve upon Turner's methods, 345;
  seizure of H. F., stratagem, 347;
  colored military organizations to support, 348;
  project foreshadowed by Anderson, 350;
  General Orders No. 1, 351;
  collapse of scheme coincident with failure of assassinations, 355;
  if he and captains had led as Turner led, weak link in chain of forecast,
  overconfident of success; ship of state wrecked upon charted rock, vain to
  underestimate man or conspiracy, not a pioneer in the insurrection business,
  placed upon trial, unseemly haste, 365;
  jurisdiction of Federal courts not seriously considered--after "higher and
  wickeder game," 365;
  defiant speech, 366;
  trial a formality, 367;
  rejects plea of insanity, 369;
  directions to counsel, 371;
  denounces his counsel, 372;
  verdict guilty--received in respectful silence, 374;
  speech to the Court--first paragraph discreditable, 375;
  sentence pronounced, 377;
  retracts statements made in speech to Court--letter to Andrew Hunter
  concerning, 379;
  speech of Oct. 25th characteristic of courage--that of Nov. 2nd, of
  craftiness, as brave as crafty, 380;
  discourages attempts at rescue--had had surfeit of tragedies, 383;
  prevarication and craftiness characteristic of prison correspondence, 387-390;
  statement, 391;
  military pageant--Soldier of the Cross, 394;
  fame due to things done to him, and to things said about him--examples, 395,
  honored by Kansas, 399, 400;
  martyrdom a fiction, 400, 401;
  assault upon slavery means to end, first contemplated in 1857, grafting upon
  anti-slavery sentiment, 1855, 1859, 402, 403;
  rapacity distinguishing characteristic--deportment, coarse, brutal, vulgar,
  or saintly as suited purposes, 404;
  deceived by Pate, 405;
  commercial and political plunger, 405, 406;
  will live in history as an adventurer, 407;
  ref. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24;
  letters to Mad. E. B., 389;
    Col. Higginson, 381;
    Dr. Humphrey, 388;
    Andrew Hunter, 379;
    Rev. Theo. Parker, 229; 234;
    Mr. Sanborn, 218, 238, 246, 268;
    Mr. Stearns, 215;
    Mrs. Stearns, 390;
    to wife et al, 77, 79, 84, 85, 86, 89, 95, 97, 107, 141, 165, 268, 269,
    382, 385, 388

Brown, John Jr., letters, 73;
  Capt. Pottawatomie Rifles, 98, 101;
  statement to Sanborn, 108;
  knew about B.'s plans, 109;
  dismissed from Pottawatomie Rifles, 125;
  quits Kansas, 179; 20, 30, 44, 45, 72, 94, 136, 144, 146, 182, 207, 243,
  248, 323, 384, 405

Brown, Mary Ann (Day), B.'s second wife, 28; 381, 390, 392, 393

Brown, Oliver, stole horses in Nebraska, 150;
  Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at H. F., 312;
  copy of his commission, 352; 76, 102, 136, 149, 183, 295, 337

Brown, Mrs. Oliver, 286

Brown, Owen, B.'s father, 28

Brown, Owen, escaped from Pottawatomie on "fast Kentucky horse," 109;
  a "vile murderer," 127;
  treasurer, Prov. Gov., 250; Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  escaped from H. F., 312; 30, 72, 136, 146, 149, 182, 237, 262, 296, 302,
  305, 336

Brown, Peter, Windsor, Conn., B.'s ancestor, 27

Brown, Reece, P., murdered, 69

Brown, Salmon, letter not war-like, 81;
  father intended to kill seven men, 111;
  letter, 119;
  wounded, 143; 21, 72, 102, 136, 149, 151, 182, 190, 265, 349

Brown, Sarah, daughter of B., quoted, 169

Brown, S. B., 159

Brown, Terrance, prisoner at H. F., 303

Brown, Watson, son of B.; Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at H. F., 312; 85, 263, 289, 296, 303, 304, 336

Browns, The, not fighting for freedom, 153

Browne, Peter, of the "Mayflower," not B.'s ancestor, 27; 192

Brua, Joseph A., prisoner at H. F., 304, 306

Buchanan, Hon. James, President, 60, 279, 307

"Buckskin," 158, 159

Buford, Maj. Jefferson, quoted, 155; 106

Burgess, John W., Middle Period, quoted, 66; 56

Byrne, Terence, 306, prisoner at H. F.

Cabot, Dr. Samuel, 186

Cadet Corps, Va. Mil. Institute, 392

Calhoun, Hon. John C., 43, 56, 57

Callender, W. H. D., Cashier, 201

Campbell, James W., Sheriff, 393, 394

Carpenter, A. O., at Black Jack, 136; 137, 146

Carruth, James H., quoted, 127

Cass, Hon. Lewis, 58

Castile, A., 114

Century Magazine, 312

Chambers, Geo. W., 304

Chadwick, Rear Admiral F. E., 255, 334

Chamberlain, Amos P., 29, 30

Charleston Mercury, 70

Chicago Tribune, 46

Chilton, Samuel, counsel for B., 369; 372, 373, 374, 375

Clark, James Freeman, 128

Clay, Henry, 59

Cline, "Capt," J. B., 160, 161, 166, 167, 168, 169

Cochrane, B. L., at Pottawatomie, 183; 20, 110

Colby, Deputy Marshal, 279

Colcock, Hon. Wm. F., 59

Coleman, Franklin, killed Dow, 87

Collamer, Hon. Jacob, Mason Com., 365

Collis, Mr., wounded at Osawatomie, 167

Committee, Mass. State Kans., 185, 187, 188, 195, 200, 203, 221, 256

Committee, National, Kans., 181, 184, 187, 188, 189, 190, 196, 203, 221, 265

Committee, Vigilance, 116, 221

Committee, B.'s War, 245, 252, 254, 256, 325

Conant, John, 202

Congressional Globe, 59

Convention at Chatham, Canada, Call, 248

Conway, Martin F., 187, 204, 211

Cook, John E., with B. at Pottawatomie, 20, 110;
  talked too much, 287;
  Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  hanged at Charlestown, 305; 139, 144, 214, 235, 236, 253, 258, 286, 288,
  292, 296, 298, 302, 321, 328, 331, 332, 333, 342, 393, 401

Cooke, John W., 40, 44

Cooke, Lieut. Col. Philip St. George. U. S. Army, 59

Copeland, J. A. Jr., colored; private Prov. Army, 295;
  hanged at Charlestown, 305; 298, 337

Coppoc, Barclay, private, Prov. Army, 295;
  escaped from H. F., 292; 295, 296

Coppoc, Edwin, first lieutenant, Prov. Army, 295;
  hanged at Charlestown, 305; 298, 306, 311

Corcoran, W. W., 58

Cracklin, Capt. Joseph, 152, 154, 175

Crawford, Geo. A., 276

Crawford, Brig. Genl. S. W., 339

Crittenden, Hon. John C., 60

Cruise, David, killed in Mo. raid, 270; 272

Cuba, Pearl of the Antilles, 60

Currie, L. F., quoted, 331

Dangerfield, J. E., at H. F., 306

Daniels, Jim, slave liberated by B. in Mo. raid, 271

Davis, Mr., 138

Davis, Hon. Jefferson, of Miss. Mason Com., 60, 365

Davis, William Watson. Ph.D., 10

Day, Charles, 28

Day, Mary Anne, B.'s second wife, 28

Day, Orson, 93, 97

Davenport, Braxton, 366

Dayton, Capt. Oscar V., 92, 101

De Bow's Review, 70

Deitzler, Geo. W., 147, 211

Denver, James Wilson, acting-governor of Kansas Ter., 260

Denver, Treaty, 260, 267

Des Moines Register, 281

Dixon, Hon. Archibald, of Kentucky, 61

Doolittle, Hon. James R., of Wis., Mason Com., 236, 365

Dorsey, Mr., wounded at H. F., 312

Douglas, Hon. Stephen A., 58

Douglas, Frederick, 239, 240, 243, 248, 336, 349

Dow, Charles, murdered, 87

Doyle, Drury, murdered by B., 103

Doyle, John, murdered by B., 99, 100, 102, 103

Doyle, Mrs. Mahala, statement, 103

Doyle, William, murdered by B., 103

Edwards, Sam, slave at Southampton, 360

Eighteenth Conn. Infty., 27

Ellsworth, Alfred M., colored. M. C., 250

Elmore, Rush, Judge, 276

Emancipation Proclamation, 63

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 186, 199, 379, 380, 397

Faquier Cavalry, 392

Fastness, "hill-top," myth, 328, 330, 332, 335, 338, 339, 340

Fastness, "inaccessible," myth, 323, 339, 340

Faulkner, Hon. Chas. J., 312, 366

Fay, John W., 160

Fitch. Hon. G. N. of Ind. Mason Com., 365

Floyd, Hon. John B., Secy. of War, 288, 289

Forbes, Col. Hugh, Soldier of Fortune, 224;
  not a drill master, 226;
  his letters to B. suppressed, 242; 225, 227, 228, 229, 231, 232, 234, 235,
  238, 239, 240, 241, 254, 256, 285, 341, 342, 347, 356, 358, 400, 401, 406

Frazee, Lieut. Noah, 160

Frederick The Great, 299, 300, 332, 388

Frothingham, Octavius B., quoted, 353, 355

Fugitive Slave Law, 48

Gabriel, "General," slave, insurrection of Sept., 1800, 358

Galt House, H. F., 304

Garibaldi, 224, 225

Garnett, Rev. Henry H., colored, 248

Garrett, John W., Prest. B. & O. R. Rd. Co. 301

Garrett, Thomas, Underground Railroad, 52

Garrison, William Lloyd, quoted, 362; 45, 186, 187

Garrison, David, killed at Osawatomie, 166

Gaudeloupe Hidalgo, Treaty of, 57

Gaylord, Daniel C., 29, 40

Geary, Genl. John W., Gov. K. T., 69, 70, 174, 176, 184

Gileadites, U. S. league of, 48, 50

Gill, Geo. B., Sec. Treas. Prov. Gov., 250;
  letter not heretofore published, 130; 259, 262-266 inc., 269, 270, 271, 278,
  292, 342, 348, 404, 406

Gilpatrick, R., 114

Glenn, John P., 160

Gloucester, Dr. J. N., colored, 247

Goliath-American, 80

Godel, John, 159

Golden Rule, 199, 344

Golding, R., chairman, 114

Grant, Ulysses S., 398

Gray, Mr., Turner's Confessor, 362

Greeley, Horace, 224, 232

Grinnell, Josiah B., 282

Green, Israel, Lieut. U. S. Marine Corps, 308, 309, 310, 320, 321

Green, Shields, colored, private Prov. Army, 295;
  hanged at Charlestown, 305, 311

Green, Thomas G., counsel for B., 366, 369, 371, 372

Griswold, Hiram, counsel for B., 369, 370, 372, 373

Grover, Capt. Joel, 156, 158

Grover, Mr., entertains B. near Lawrence, 274

Gue, David J., author of letter to Floyd, 289

"H" Co. 7th South Carolina, 340

Hairgrove, Wm., 262

Hale, Hon. John P., U. S. Senator, N. H., 255

Hamilton, Chas. A., massacre of Free State men, 260

Hamilton, Thomas S., testimony, 137

Hammond, C. G., Supt. Mich. Southern Ry., 282

Hammond, Mr., wounded at H. F., 312

Hamtrack Guards, 302

Hand, T. H., 152

Harding, Chas. B., counsel for prosecution of B., 373

Harris, James, testimony, 104

Harris, Wm. B., 159

Harvey, Maj. James A., 157, 173

Haskell, Genl. W. A., 174

Hauser, Samuel, 160

Hawse, Alexander G., 163, 170

Hazlett, Albert, Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  hanged at Charlestown, 305; 262, 264, 265, 270, 292, 298, 336, 393

Hayward, Shepherd, colored, killed at H. F., 300, 301, 335

Heywood (Hayward), 316

Herald of Freedom, 91, 93, 275

Hicklan, Harvey B., home plundered by B., 270;
  statement, 271, 272

Higgins, Patrick, 300, 335

Higgins, Hon. William, quoted, 164

Higginson, Col. Thomas Wentworth, member of B.'s War Com., 254; 51, 52, 185,
217, 244, 257, 325, 381, 397

Hinton, Richard J., author, 17, 26, 130, 228, 235, 264, 342, 384

Hinton Papers, 130, 348

History of Iowa, Gue, 289

Holliday, C. K., 211

Holmes, "Capt." J. H., 160, 161, 162, 170, 171, 172, 179, 213, 214, 235

Holt, James H., H. F., 305

Homyr, T., 262

Hooper, Mr., wounded at H. F., 312

Howard, Hon. W. A., chairman, 100;
  report quoted, 103, 104, 105, 137, 138

Howe, Dr. Saml. G., member of B.'s War Com., 254; 186, 240, 242, 245, 255,
257, 325, 347, 353, 355, 384

Hoyt, Major David S., murdered, 62

Hoyt, Geo. H., counsel for B., and spy, 368; 370, 372, 383, 385

Humphrey, Rev. Dr. Luther, 388

Hunter, Andrew, special counsel for Va., 312;
  quoted, 330, 367; 365, 368, 371, 373, 374, 375, 393, 416

Hunter, Harry, at H. F., 304

Hurd, H. B., Secy. Nat. Kan. Com., 188, 266

Hurlbut, Mr., 78

Hugo, Victor, quoted, 398

Hyatt, Thaddeus, 245, 353

Ingalls, Hon. John James, quoted, 397; 399

Irwin, Mr., 304

Jackson, Prof. Thomas J., 339, 392

Jackson, Col. Zadock, 70

Jackson, Patrick Tracy, 186

Jamison, Quartermaster Genl., 220

Jefferson Guards, 301, 303

Jennison, Col. Chas. H., 264, 269, 281, 293, 384

Johnson, William Savage, Ph.D., 10

Johnston, Col. Joseph E., 69, 175, 176

Jones, John T. (Ottawa), 101, 194

Kagi, John H., Secy. of War, 249, 352;
  Capt. Prov. Army, 295, 298;
  "bravest of the brave," 329;
  killed at H. F., 305; 235, 236, 259, 262, 263, 264, 269, 277, 278, 281, 284,
  285, 287, 288, 297, 337, 342, 349, 401

Kaiser, Charles, 139, 160

Kansas Conflict, quoted, 277

Kansas Crusade, quoted, 65, 71

Kansas Hist. Coll., 117

Kansas Hist Soc., 130, 189, 209

Kansas House of Representatives, resolution concerning statue of B., 400

Kellogg, George, Agt., 33, 35

Kendall, Archibald, 214

Kennedy, Dr. B., deceased, 286

Kennedy Farm, B.'s headquarters, 286;
  abandoned, 331; 290, 291, 296, 305, 321, 327

Kidd, Captain, his treasure chest, 341; 230, 407

King, Rev. H. D., 42, 280

Kitzmiller. A. M., at H. F., 301, 304

Knipe, Col. Joseph F., 46th Pa., 339

Lafayette Artillery, Richmond, Va., 362

Lane, Genl. James H., 90, 91, 92, 154, 155, 158, 162, 163, 173, 211, 219, 220,

Lane, M. D., 160

Larue, John, home plundered by B., 270, 272

Lawrence, Amos A., quoted, 186; 202, 218

Lawrence Republican, Kansas, 276

Learnard, Col. O. E., 156, 211

Leather and Manufacturers Bank of New York, 39

Leavenworth Times, 279

Leavitt, Rev. Joshua, 224

Leary, L. S., colored, private Prov. Army, 295;
  mortally wounded at H. F., 305; 298, 337

Le Barnes, J. W., activities in behalf of B., 368, 383, 385

Lee, Lieut. Col. Robert E., U. S. Army, famous in world's history, 392;
  declined command of Cuban expedition, 60;
  in command of U. S. troops at H. F., 308, 309, 312;
  at Charlestown, Va., 392

Leeman, William H., characteristic letter, 288;
  Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at H. F., 304; 236, 292, 293, 302, 303, 304, 305

Lenhart, Charles, 20, 110, 139

Liberty Guards, 20, 21, 98, 116, 120, 121

Lincoln, Hon. Abraham, 380, 398

Lincoln Sailors and Soldiers National Monument Association, statue of B., 400

Little, J. H., killed at Ft. Scott, 269

Little Hornet (Holmes), 214, 215, 222, 235

Longreen, J. W., colored, 248

Lopez, Narcisso, expedition against Cuba, garroted, 60

Loring, Major, command of infantry in B.'s escort, 394

Loudoun Valley, Va., 336

Loudoun Heights, not inaccessible, 339

Lusk, Miss Dianthe, B.'s first wife, 28

McCabe, Mr., wounded at H. F., 312

McDow, W. C., 114

McGee, Clyde, panegyric on B., 398;
  criticism, 399

McLaren, E. C., 86

McMaster, 56

McKim, Mrs., with Mrs. B. at H. F., 392

McKim, J. M., 392

Mansfield, Major General Joseph K., killed at Antietam, 339

Manual of the Patriotic Volunteer, stratagem, 341

Martin, Hugh, home plundered, 270

Marcy, Hon. Wm. L., Secy. of State, 60

Maryland Heights, Md., not inaccessible, 338, 339

Mason, Hon. J. M., U. S. Senator, Va., chairman, 312, 313, 314, 356, 365

Mason Report, 42, 82, 83, 188, 200, 224, 236, 242, 249, 255, 256, 288, 300,
309, 312, 321, 330, 331, 342, 352, 365, 369, 378, 394, 404, 417

Mason, Dr., 374

Massachusetts Arms Co., 203, 317

Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Co., 64, 203

Massasoit House, Springfield, Mass., 202

Massachusetts Legislature, Committee addressed by B., 192-195; 106, 181, 184,
191, 405

Maxon, Wm., lodges the tyros, 238
  Mass. Society of Mayflower Descendants, 27

Mayflower, the, 27, 191, 192, 431

Medary, Gov. Samuel, 276, 279

Mendenhall, Richard, quoted, 161; 92

Meriam, Francis J., private, Prov. Army, 295;
  gives B. $600, 290;
  escapes from H. F., 305; 296, 342

Mickel, John, 262

Mills, Dr. Lucius, B.'s nephew, 150, 182

Mills, Owen, 32

Mills, Lieut. Col. S. S., 321

Miller, John, testimony, 138

Miller, William, 160

Missouri Compromise, 55, 61

Moffet, Charles W., a tyro, 236; 235

Monroe, S., alias used by B., 285

Montgomery, James, 259, 260, 262, 266, 267, 269, 276, 405

Morgan, Shubel, alias used by B., 257, 261, 262, 276

Moore, E., 348

Moore, Eli, quoted, 117

Morris, Academy, 42

Morse, John F., Jr., quoted, 17; 18, 27

Morton, Edward, 246, 355

Murphy, Mr., wounded at H. F., 312

Napoleon, 237, 238, 407

Negro Race in America, Williams, 346, 358, 361

Neighbors, The. Thayer to B., 211

Newby, Dangerfield, colored, private, Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at H. F., 304; 337

New England Woolen Co., defrauded by B., 33; 31, 405

North American Review, 374

New York Courier and Inquirer, 61

New York Herald, 71, 316, 320

New York Legislature, 181, 196, 405

New York Tribune, 65, 70, 138, 147, 200, 224

Northampton Woolen Mills Co., 37, 38

Norton, Charles Eliot, quoted, 16

Oberlin College, 35, 39, 45

"Old Brown's Farewell," 404

Oliver. Hon. M. N., M. C. from Mo., 100

Onthank, Nathan B., 353

Oregon Boundary Question, 56

Organized Emigration, 64, 65

Osawatomie, Battle of, Reid's official report, 164,
  his estimate of, 169; 157, 165, 168

Osawatomie State Park, battle field, 399

Ostend Manifesto, 61

Oviatt, Heman, 30, 36

Parker, Judge Richard, presides at B.'s trial, 367, 372, 374, 377

Parker, Rev. Theodore, knew what B.'s purposes were at H. F., 353;
  quoted, 353;
  member of B.'s war committee, 257;
  encomium, 397; 187, 206, 207, 208, 229, 243, 325

Parsons, Luke F., in Osawatomie cattle raid, 159;
  tyro, 236; 156, 168, 169, 235, 342

Partridge, Miss Mary, 384

Partridge, William, in Osawatomie cattle raid, 159; 262

Partridge, George W., killed at Osawatomie, 167; 169

Pate, Capt. Henry Clay, pursues B., 140;
  surrenders to B. at Black Jack, 143;
  deceived B., 405; 135, 139, 141, 145, 223, 403

Peace Society, Boston, addressed by Gerrit Smith, 257; 275

Perkins, Simon, Jr., opinion of B., 37; 36

Perkins and Brown, irregular methods of, 37;
   losses, liquidation and litigation, 38, 39

Peter the Apostle, a militant, 389; 293

Petersburg Dragoons, 362

Phelps, N. B., in Osawatomie cattle raid, 159

Phelps, Conductor of B. & O. train, 300, 301, 330, 342

Phillips, Wendell, encomium, 396; 186

Phillips, William A., 83, 147, 211, 213

"Pickles" in B.'s Mo. raid, 264

Pierce, J. J., colored, 348

Pinkerton, Allen, 282

Pleasant Valley, Md., 336

Pomeroy, Hon. Samuel C., 89

Pottawatomie, The, 19, 20, 22, 23, 111, 113, 115, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121,
122, 125, 126, 129, 133, 135, 139, 140, 147, 152, 159, 171, 182, 183, 190,
198, 236, 271, 343, 344

Pottawatomie Rifles, organized to release B. from command of Liberty Guards,
  B. not member of, 132;
  John B., Jr., deposed from command, 125; 20, 21, 101, 107, 126

Porter, Henry, slave, Southampton, 360

Powers, Mr., killed at Osawatomie, 167

Poyes, Peter, slave, enlisted 600 slaves, 359

Prairie City Rifles, 140, 160

Preston, William J., Deputy U. S. Marshal, 144

Price, C. H., President of meeting at Osawatomie, 114

Provisional Army, Gen. Order No. 1, 351;
  casualties of at H. F., 312; 234, 286, 343, 352

Provisional Constitution and Ordinances, Appendix; written by B., 243;
  copies at H. F., 342; 248, 249, 250

Provisional Government, 254;
  jurisdiction of to be established over Southern States. 227, 329, 341; 130,
227, 234, 249, 251, 289, 290, 330, 347, 401

Quick, William, in Osawatomie cattle raid, 160

Quinn, Luke, U. S. Marine Corps, killed at H. F., 312; 416

Quitman, Gen. John A., expedition against Cuba, 60

Realf, Richard, Secy. of State, Prov. Govt., 250; 235, 236, 249, 254, 287, 342

Recollections of seventy years, Sanborn, 82, 396

Redpath, James, B.'s first biographer, 15;
  criticism by Charles Eliot Norton, 16;
  meets Brown, 138;
  B.'s intentions at H. F., 323;
  knew how B. intended to assail the slave power, 342;
  quoted, 92, 93, 110, 139, 192, 332, 357, 375, 395;
  criticism, 82, 122, 195, 335

Reece, Mr., killed, Southampton Massacre, 362

Reeder, Andrew H., territorial governor of Kansas, 67, 204

Reid, Genl. John W., report battle of Osawatomie, 164;
  "driving out a flock of quail," 170; 163, 168, 169, 174

Reynolds, R., in Osawatomie cattle raid, 160

Reynolds, G. J., colored, negro military organization, 348

Revere House, Boston, 257, 258

Rhodes, James Ford, 60, 61

Rice, Benjamin, 269

Richmond Enquirer, 362

Richardson, Mr., wounded at H. F., 312

Richardson, Richard, colored, 236

Ritchie, Col. John, at "Battle of the Spurs," 279

Robinson, Charles, "no greater hero," 55;
  challenged the logic of the revolver and bowie-knife, quoted, 67;
  Free State governor, 68;
  speech, Wakarusa war, 91;
  six cheers for, 92;
  justifies B., 115;
  invites him to call, 176;
  writes congratulations to B., also recommendation, 177;
  discredited in the East by B., 187;
  congratulations to B. guarded, 200;
  Revolution in Kansas, 225;
  Denver Treaty, 260; 10, 46, 63, 66, 69, 90, 204, 211, 213, 222

Robinson, Mrs. Sara T. D., memory of. 7;
  wife to Charles Robinson, 10

Roosevelt, Hon. Theodore, dedicates Osawatomie State Park, 399

Ross, "Betsy," 290

Root, Dr. J. P., 184

Roving Editor, 15

Rupert, private, marine, wounded at H. F., 312

Russell, Judge Thomas, 186, 205, 208, 368, 369

Russell, Major W. W., Paymaster Marine Corps, in the assault at H. F., 416

Salathiel, John, in Osawatomie cattle raid, 159

Sanborn, Franklin Benjamin, Author, Life and Letters of John Brown, 15;
  criticism by John F. Morse, Jr., 17;
  suppressed B.'s letter of June 12, 1839,
  concerning his intentions to defraud the New England Woolen Co., 34;
  abridgement of B.'s letter Apr. 27, 1840, from Ripley, Va. not satisfactory,
  assumptions concerning B.'s anti-slavery activities not justified by his
  published letters, 82;
  exposition of Pottawatomie incident disingenuous, 122;
  Secy. Mass. State Kan. Com., 185;
  promotes measure to secure appropriation of $100,000 for B., address before
  Com., 191;
  pilgrimage to Easton, Pa. with B., 204;
  a disunionist, letter to Higginson, 217, 218;
  member of B.'s War Committee, 245;
  sends B. $50.00, 263;
  active to effect B.'s escape from prison, 385;
  encomium, 396;
  quoted, 34, 37, 154, 155, 185, 224, 225, 247, 250, 254, 256, 257, 258,
  325-326. 346;
  criticism, 53, 109, 123, 154, 247, 325, 326;
  references of minor importance omitted

Saunders Fort, 155, 156

San Domingo, 26, 346, 353

Sandy Hook, Md., 286, 308, 336

Schouler, 61, 251

Scott, Capt., Va. cavalry, 394

Scott, General Winfield, U. S. Army, 60

Sebastian, St., 17

Siebert, W. H., quoted, 330

Seward, Hon. William H., U. S. Senator from N. Y., 54, 63, 239, 255

Shannon Treaty, 106

Shannon, Wilson, Ter. Gov. of Kan., 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 176

Sharpsburg, Md., 336

Shepherdstown Troop, 302

Sheridan, Mrs., 235

Sherman, Henry, Bro. of William, to have been murdered at Pottawatomie, 99,
102, 109, 159

Sherman, William, murdered by Brown, 99, 103

Shermans, Henry and William, 112

Sherrod, Mr., killed in Kansas, 157, 319

Shombre, Capt. Samuel, killed at Ft. Titus, 156; 158

Shoppert, A. G., killed Leeman, 304

Shore, Capt. S. T., joins B.'s party at Black Jack, 140; 101, 137, 142, 143,
145, 160, 163

Shriver, Col., at H. F., 308

Sill, William, colored, 248

Sinn, Captain, interviews B., 307

Smith, Gerrit, gives 120,000 acres of land to negroes, 38;
  conclave at his home, 244;
  would fight the U. S., 245;
  member of War Com., 254;
  orator for peace society of Boston, and presides as chairman of B.'s War
  Com., 257;
  knew what B.'s purposes at H. F. were, 354;
  quoted, 224, 245, 353;
  contributions, 75, 215, 218, 245, 263, 255, 287; 46, 75, 108, 181, 203, 218,
  232, 248, 287, 316, 344, 355

Smith, I. and Sons, alias of B., 285

Smith, Rev. Stephen, colored, 248

Smith, W. P., master of transportation B. & O. R. Rd., 301

Snyder, Elias, 262

Snyder, John H., 262

Snyder, Simon, 262

Soldier of the Cross, 393

Soldier of Fortune, 326

Southampton Massacre, 362

Southampton Regiment, 362

South Carolina, insurrection, 358

South Carolina Courier, 70

Spooner, Lysander, would kidnap Gov. Wise, 384

Spring, L. W., quoted, 101

Squatter Sovereignty, 49, 50, 61, 63, 64

Standish, Miles, 191, 192

Stark, "Mollie," 290

Starry, Dr. John D., 301

Statuary Hall, Washington, D. C., 399, 400

St. Bernard, village, 138

Stearns, George Luther, entertains B., 187;
  gives B. $7,000; seeks to have N. Y. Leg. appropriate $100,000 for B.;
  member of B.'s War Com., 254;
  recalls check for $7,000, 221;
  letters, 196, 204; 186, 203, 208, 209, 211, 212, 218, 233, 244, 257, 266,
  325, 352, 384, 431

Stearns, Mrs. George Luther, statement, 207, 390, 404, 405

Stearns, Henry L., 212, 431

Stephens, Hon. Alexander H., quoted, 59

Stevens, Aaron D., alias Charles Whipple, captures 80 horses, 173;
  private of Vols. in Mexico;
  private 1st Dragoons;
  assaults an officer;
  sentenced to death;
  sentence commuted;
  Col. 2nd Regt. Free-State Army, 236, 237;
  in charge of war college, 238;
  with B. in Kansas, 262;
  commands division in Mo. raid, 269;
  killed Cruise, quoted, 270;
  with Tidd steals span of horses, 278;
  not an ideal Christian character, 293;
  Capt. Prov. Army, 295, 298;
  "bravest of the brave," 329;
  wounded at H. F., 304;
  hanged at Charlestown, 305; "hard headed American," 329;
  military leader, 342; 226, 272, 289, 299, 312, 315, 365, 401

Stevenson, Samuel, 262

Stewart, Geo. H., Maj. Genl., 302

Stewart, James, 384

Stratton, H., 155

Strider, Samuel, summoned B. to surrender, 307

Stringfellow, Genl. B. F., 66, 174

Stribbling, Dr., 370

Stuart, Lieut. J. E. B., volunteer aid to Lee at H. F., 308; 309, 310, 312,

Stultz, Capt., 157

Sugar Mound Treaty, 267, 269

Sumner, Col. E. V., 141, 144, 145, 239, 279

Sussex Regiment, 362

Taft, Hon. William Howard, 55

Taliaferro, Maj. Genl. W. B., in command at Charlestown, Va., 391

Tappan, Arthur, donates land to Oberlin College, 45

Tator, Cyrus, in Osawatomie cattle raid, 160

Taylor, Stewart, private, Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at H. F., 312; 303, 336

Teesdale, John, editor, Des Moines Register, 281

Thayer, Eli, hero, 55;
  organized Mass. Emigrant Aid Company, 64;
  quoted, 66;
  purchases 200 revolvers for B., 204;
  letter to B., "The Neighbors," 210; 63, 65, 205, 276

Thompson, Dauphin, first lieutenant Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at H. F., 312; 289, 292

Thompson, Henry, B.'s son-in-law, 41;
  member of the "little company of six," 102, 107;
  plans dependent upon B.'s until "school is out," 99, 116;
  wounded at Black Jack, 143;
  stealing horses, 149;
  a Kansas sufferer, 182; 76, 78, 94, 111, 118, 119, 121, 124, 136, 146, 153,

Thompson, Ruth Brown, 41

Thompson, William, steals horses in Nebraska, 150;
  Capt. Prov. Army, 295;
  killed at H. F., 304; 153, 289, 294, 297, 302, 303, 337, 372

Thoreau, Henry D., quoted, 198, 396; 186

Tidd, Charles P., tyro, 236; in the Mo. raid, 270;
  steals span of horses, 278;
  captain Prov. Army, 295;
  escaped from H. F., 305; 220, 221, 259, 262, 266, 289, 297, 298

Tilden, Judge Daniel R., 368, 369, 372

Titus, Col. H. T., wounded at Ft. Titus, 158; 156, 157, 158

Titus, Fort, battle of, 156

Todd, Rev. John, refuses to pray for B., 280, 281

Toombs, Hon. Robert, U. S. Senator from Georgia, 58

Topeka Daily Capital, 9

Toussaint L'Ouverture, 249, 357

Townsley, James, confession concerning the Pottawatomie murders, 101, 103;
  at Black Jack, 136; 98, 99, 126

Tracy, John T., Ry. Supt., 282

Travis, Hark, slave, Turner's massacre, 360

Travis, Joseph, killed, Turner's massacre, 361, 362

Tucker, Captain, 157

Tubman, Mrs. Harriet, 248

Turner, Geo. W., killed at H. F., 305, 312

Turner, Mrs., killed, Turner's massacre, 362

Turner, Nat, slave, insurrection of 1831, 360-362; 356, 357, 358, 404

Tyndall, Hector, 392

Underground Railroad, safety-valve of slavery, 346; 51, 330

Updegraff, Dr. William W., wounded at Osawatomie, 164, 168, 169

United States Gazette, 359

Unseld, John C., testimony concerning B.'s intentions at H. F., 330; 386, 320

Vallandigham, Hon. Clement L., M. C. from Ohio, quoted, 357, 402; 312, 313,
314, 315, 316, 399, 416

Vandaman, S. V., 114

Varney, Moses, revealed B.'s plans, 289

Vaughn, Mr., killed, Turner's insurrection, 362

Vesey, Denmark, slave, insurrection in South Carolina, 359

Virginia, two slave insurrections, 358

Villard, Oswald Garrison (since references to Mr. Villard's book occur so
frequently only the more important of them have been indexed), B.'s latest
biographer, 15;
  pledges fidelity to his subject, 18;
  criticism concerning, 18-25 inc.;
  B. not Mayflower descendant, 27;
  eulogium concerning B. and his motive for going to Kansas, 80-81;
  criticism of, 81-85;
  imposed upon by Salmon B. and Henry Thompson, 118;
  seeks justification for B.'s crime at Pottawatomie, 120;
  suppressed B.'s letter of April 7, 1856, 123;
  criticism concerning, 123;
  contradicts authenticated history concerning an important fact, 124;
  criticism concerning, 124-125;
  assumes that B.'s motives for robbery and murder were unselfish, criticism,
  summary of conclusions concerning Pottawatomie, 127-129;
  criticism, 129-234;
  exposition of B.'s life "in the bush" disingenuous, 147-148;
  criticism, 148-150;
  testimony conflicting as to whether B. was in the fighting around Lawrence
  in Aug. 1856;
  criticism, 156-157;
  concerning B.'s Osawatomie cattle raid, 160-161;
  concerning the battle at Osawatomie, 164, 168;
  criticism, 169;
  disingenuous concerning death of Frederick B., 170-171;
  criticism, 171;
  disingenuous concerning B.'s actions after Osawatomie, criticism, 172;
  mystery of B.'s delay at Tabor, criticism, 217;
  concerning Hugh Forbes, 225;
  exposition of Constitution and Ordinances, theory of B.'s intentions
  concerning H. F., 251-252;
  criticism, 252-253;
  logic of exposition, 271;
  no constructive work to B.'s credit, 278;
  B.'s battle-worn Kansas cap, 296;
  criticism, 296-297;
  Harper's Ferry references, 299 to 309;
  B.'s wounds not serious, 311;
  personal conceptions of B.'s plans at H. F., and criticism of B. because he
  failed to execute them, 327-328;
  criticism, 327-340;
  concerning B.'s speech which "thrilled the world," 377;
  criticism, 278-380;
  when B. first conceived his greatest or principal object in life not an idle
  question, 402;
  criticism, 402-403;
  quoted, 33, 35, 36, 37, 46, 54, 76, 80, 90, 100, 106, 146, 149, 150, 152,
  159, 160, 162, 163, 175-176, 179, 185, 187, 198, 219, 224, 228, 235, 236,
  259, 260, 273, 278, 329, 332, 345, 365;
  criticism, 46, 47, 90-91, 118, 153, 178;
  references, 29, 30, 39, 44, 99, 200, 207, 218, 227, 263, 267, 270, 271, 281,
  283, 284, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 295, 301, 320, 346, 348, 349, 357,
  363, 364, 368, 370, 372, 381, 384, 387, 392, 393, 394, 398

Von Holst, 58, 59, 61, 62, 106, 301

Wadsworth, Tertius, 31

Wager House, H. F., 302

Walker, Col. Samuel, 154, 156, 157, 158

Waller, Mrs., killed, Turner's Massacre, 362

Walsh, Hon. Hugh S., acting-governor of Kansas Ter., 267

War College, 235, 342

"Ward, Artemus," quoted, 283

Ware, Eugene F., "Ironquill," 341

Washington, Col. Lewis T., 298, 299, 300, 302, 310, 312, 318

Washington, George, 237, 299

Watertown Reformer, N. Y., 127

Wattles, Augustus, 83, 176, 262, 272, 273, 274, 404

Webster, Hon. Daniel, 58, 59

Weiner, Theodore, 20, 102, 103, 109, 110, 124, 136, 146

Wells, Mrs., armorer at H. F., 306

Wells, Joseph, 31

Wheelan, Daniel, prisoner at H. F., 297, 298, 329

Whipple, Charles, alias of Stevens, 237

Whitaker, Prof. William Asbury, 10

Whitehead, Mrs., killed, Turner's insurrection, 362

White, Horace, Asst. Secy. Nat. Kan. Com., 189, 190

White, Rev. Martin, 167, 170, 171

Whitfield, Brig. Genl. J. W., 174

Whitman, E. B., 182, 184, 191, 219, 220, 221, 259, 265

Whittier, J. G., 95

Wild, Jonathan, 407

Wilder, D. W., correspondence with author, 411

Wilkinson, Hon. Allen, murdered by B., 99, 102

Wilkinson, Mrs. Allen, testimony, 104

Will, slave, Turner's insurrection, 361

Williams, Mr., killed, Turner's insurrection, 362

Williams, Captain H. H., Pottawatomie Rifles, 114, 125

Williams, J., killed, Turner's insurrection, 362

Williams, Nelson, slave, Turner's insurrection, 360

Williams, William, prisoner, H. F., 296, 298

Wilmot, Proviso, 57

Wilson, Hon. Henry, U. S. Senator from Mass., 239, 254, 255, 256

Wilson, Joseph E., in the assault on engine house at H. F., 9

Wimsett, Farm, 269

Wise, Hon. Henry A., Gov. of Va., 302, 308, 312, 319, 320, 330, 367, 370, 378,
380, 384, 391, 392, 416

Wise, O. Jennings, 309

Wood, A. P., 279

Wood, Captain Thomas J., U. S. Army, 173

Wood, Fernando of New York, 380

Wood, Samuel N., 147, 211

Woodward, B. W., 211

Woolet, Mr., wounded at H. F., 312

Wright, Judge J. W., 260

Young, Mr., wounded at H. F., 31


[1] Redpath, _Roving Editor_, 300.

[2] Atlantic Monthly. March, 1860.

[3] Atlantic Monthly.

[4] Panegyrics or eulogies on Brown would more accurately describe these

[5] Villard, 170.

[6] Sanborn, 236.

[7] Villard, vii.

[8] Sanborn, 230.

[9] Villard, 673.

[10] Villard, 148.

[11] _Ibid._

[12] Sanborn, 240.

[13] Villard, 335.

[14] Hinton, _John Brown and His Men_, 66.

[15] Villard, 10.

[16] Villard, 591, _note_ 6.

[17] Villard, 26.

[18] _Ibid_.

[19] Villard, 28.

[20] Villard, 38.

[21] For a full account of this, see Villard, 37-41.

[22] Sanborn, 69.

[23] Villard, 37.

[24] Villard, 30.

[25] Villard, 30.

[26] Sanborn, 55.

[27] Sanborn, 56.

[28] Villard, 31.

[29] Now in Doddridge and Tyler Counties, West Virginia.

[30] Villard, 31.

[31] Villard, 32-33.

[32] Villard, 34.

[33] Sanborn, 64.

[34] For an interesting account of this transaction, see Sanborn, 67-68.

[35] Villard, 63.

[36] Villard, 64-66.

[37] Sanborn, 78.

[38] Villard, 36-37.

[39] Villard, 84.

[40] Villard, 76.

[41] Brown relates: "From fifteen to twenty years old, he spent most of
his time at the Tanner & Currier's trade keeping Bachelor's hall; & he
officiating as Cook; & for most of the time as foreman of the
establishment under his Father. During this time he found much trouble
with some of the bad habits I have mentioned:... but his close attention
to _business_; & success in its management; together with the way he got
along with a company of men & boys made him quite a favorite;... From
Fifteen years and upward he felt a good deal of anxiety to learn; but
could only read & study a little; both for want of time; & on account of
inflamation of the eyes. He however managed by the help of books to make
himself tolerably well acquainted with common Arithmetic; & Surveying:
which he practiced more or less after he was Twenty years
old."--Appendix. IV.

[42] Villard, 299.

[43] Sanborn, 614.

[44] Sanborn, 46.

[45] Villard, 236.

[46] _Mason Report_, 72. Testimony of Wm. F. Arny.

[47] Villard, 18, and Sanborn, 35.

[48] Villard, 45.

[49] _Ibid._

[50] Villard, 45.

[51] Villard, 43-44.

[52] Villard, 659-661.

[53] Sanborn, 127.

[54] Sanborn, 124-125.

[55] Sanborn, 132.

[56] Villard, 48.

[57] Redpath, 64.

[58] Sanborn, 134.

[59] Villard, 48.

[60] Schouler, vol. iv, 251.

[61] Burgess, 302.

[62] McMaster, vol. vi, 481.

[63] Burgess, 290.

[64] _Twenty Years of Congress_, vol. ii, 50.

[65] Von Holst, vol. iii, 479.

[66] Douglas's Speech at Cincinnati, September 9, 1859.

[67] W. W. Corcoran sent Mr. Webster a check for $10,000 as an
expression of thanks and recognition for his speech on this
occasion.--Von Holst, vol. iii, 503.

[68] _Congressional Globe_. 31st Cong., 1 Sen., 28.

[69] Von Holst, vol. iii, 472.

[70] Von Holst, vol. iii, 482.

[71] Rhodes, vol. i, 217.

[72] Rhodes, vol. ii, 33.

[73] Rhodes, vol. ii, 37.

[74] Von Holst, vol. iv, 61.

[75] Von Holst, vol. iv, 322.

[76] The passing off of this obscuration was "hastened and secured" by
the initiative of Eli Thayer and Charles Robinson. Under the able
leadership of the latter, the political control of Kansas Territory
passed into the hands of the Free-State men at the elections in October,

[77] Thayer, _Kansas Crusade_, 232.

[78] Burgess, _Middle Period_, 471-472.

[79] Sanborn, 248.

[80] New York _Weekly Tribune_, February 22, 1856.

[81] De Bow's _Review_, August, 1856.

[82] South Carolina _Courier_, July 5, 1856.

[83] Charleston (S. C.) _Mercury_. August 5, 1856.

[84] _Ibid._, January, 1858.

[85] New York _Herald_, January, 1858.

[86] _Kansas Crusade_, 110.

[87] Sanborn, 157.

[88] Villard, 83.

[89] Villard, 83-84.

[90] Villard, 85.

[91] Villard, 88.

[92] Villard, 108.

[93] Redpath, 81-82.

[94] Villard, 77.

[95] Sanborn, 198.

[96] Sanborn's _Recollections of Seventy Years_, 152.

[97] _Mason Report_, 86. Testimony of Wm. F. Arny.

[98] _Mason Report_, 225. Testimony of Augustus Wattles.

[99] _Mason Report_, 75.

[100] Sanborn, 397.

[101] Sanborn, 203.

[102] Sanborn, 217.

[103] Villard, 123.

[104] Copy in possession of Mr. Paul Brooks, Lawrence, Kansas.

[105] Redpath, 103.

[106] Redpath, 104.

[107] _Herald of Freedom_, December 15, 1855.

[108] Villard, 127.

[109] _Ibid._

[110] Sanborn, 222.

[111] Villard, 31.

[112] Villard, 136.

[113] Sanborn, 237, _note_ 3.

[114] Villard, 158.

[115] Villard, 159.

[116] Villard, 545.

[117] L. W. Spring in his _History of Kansas_ says of him on page 138:
"Whatever else may be laid to his charge--whatever rashness, unwisdom,
equivocation, bloodiness--no faintest trace of self-seeking stains his
Kansas life."

[118] _Howard Report_, 1175.

[119] _Howard Report_, 1179.

[120] _Howard Report_, 1177.

[121] Villard, 171.

[122] Sanborn, 373, and Redpath, 184.

[123] Von Holst, 301.

[124] Sanborn, 236.

[125] Italicised by the author.

[126] "In the original something has been effaced and this note seems to
have been appended: 'There are but very few who wish the real facts
about these matters to go out.' Then is inserted the date 'June 26' as
below."--Sanborn, 237.

[127] Sanborn, 275.

[128] Sanborn, 271.

[129] Villard, 175.

[130] Sanborn, 241.

[131] Villard, 338.

[132] Sanborn, 296, _note_ 2.

[133] Salmon Brown died in California during the fall of 1912.

[134] Villard, 158.

[135] Sanborn, 272.

[136] Kansas farmers usually own from twelve to forty head of horse

[137] Villard, 168.

[138] Villard, 610, _note_, 54.

[139] _Kansas Historical Collections_, vol. xii, 345.

[140] Villard, 156.

[141] _Ante_, _note_ 90.

[142] _Post_, page 138.

[143] Sanborn, 261.

[144] Villard, 170.

[145] Villard, 176.

[146] Sanborn, 237.

[147] Villard, 153.

[148] Villard, 152.

[149] Villard, 151.

[150] _Ibid._

[151] It has heretofore been supposed that John Brown's career of
violence began with the tragedies on the Pottawatomie.

[152] Villard, 153.

[153] Villard, 165.

[154] Villard, 185-188.

[155] Sanborn, 388.

[156] Kansas Historical Society, _Hinton Papers_.

[157] Sanborn, 293.

[158] Sanborn, 298.

[159] _Howard Report_. Testimony of Thomas S. Hamilton.

[160] _Howard Report_, 1178.

[161] Redpath received the information, probably, from either John E.
Cook or Charles Lenhart.

[162] Redpath, 112.

[163] The character of Salmon's wound and the nature of the exploit on
which he was engaged when he received it, have not been made public.

[164] Villard, 210.

[165] Villard, 167.

[166] Villard, 210.

[167] Villard, 220.

[168] Villard, 222.

[169] Villard, 222.

[170] Villard, 673.

[171] Villard, 222.

[172] Villard, 616, _note_ 68.

[173] Sanborn, 336.

[174] Villard, 228.

[175] Villard, 235.

[176] Villard, 616, _note_ 64.

[177] Sanborn, 336.

[178] Sanborn, 314.

[179] Villard, 673.

[180] Villard, 231.

[181] Sanborn, 308.

[182] Villard, 231.

[183] Villard, 235.

[184] Redpath, 285, and Sanborn, 569, but omitted by Mr. Villard from
his narrative.

[185] Villard, 235.

[186] Villard, 622.

[187] Villard, 235.

[188] Villard, 235.

[189] Villard, 622.

[190] Villard, 238.

[191] Villard, 238.

[192] Villard, 239.

[193] Villard, 246.

[194] Letter to the author, date, June 29, 1912.

[195] Villard, 243.

[196] Sanborn, 317.

[197] Sanborn, 318.

[198] Sanborn, 291.

[199] Villard, 239.

[200] Sanborn, 322.

[201] Villard, 246.

[202] Villard, 247.

[203] Villard, 234.

[204] Villard, 242.

[205] Villard, 224.

[206] Villard, 246.

[207] Villard, 235.

[208] Hinton, _John Brown and His Men_, 696.

[209] Villard, 254.

[210] Villard, 756.

[211] Villard, 260.

[212] Villard, 254.

[213] Villard, 258.

[214] Villard, 257.

[215] Villard, 673.

[216] Sanborn, 330.

[217] Villard, 262.

[218] Villard, 261.

[219] Sanborn, 241.

[220] Villard, 271.

[221] _Ibid._

[222] Villard, 272.

[223] _Mason Report_, 245. Testimony of H. B. Hurd.

[224] Original in files of Kansas Historical Society.

[225] Villard, 276.

[226] _Ibid._

[227] Sanborn, 370.

[228] Redpath, 177-184.

[229] Sanborn, 386.

[230] Villard, 274.

[231] Sanborn, 503.

[232] Sanborn, 501.

[233] _Mason Report_, 229.

[234] Villard, 614.

[235] Sanborn, 379.

[236] Sanborn, 379.

[237] Villard, 279.

[238] Villard, 281.

[239] Villard, 282.

[240] Villard, 287.

[241] Sanborn, 512.

[242] _Ibid._

[243] Villard, 86.

[244] Villard, 630, _note_ 20.

[245] Sanborn, 509-510.

[246] Sanborn, 508.

[247] Sanborn, 418.

[248] See Appendix IV.

[249] Sanborn, 392.

[250] _Ibid._

[251] Sanborn, 396.

[252] Sanborn, 411.

[253] His son Owen was the teamster herein referred to.

[254] Sanborn, 411.

[255] Sanborn, 412.

[256] Sanborn, 414.

[257] Villard, 303.

[258] Sanborn, 400.

[259] Villard, 202.

[260] Villard, 303.

[261] Sanborn, 412-414.

[262] _Ante_, _note_ 226.

[263] Villard, 300.

[264] Sanborn, 401.

[265] Sanborn, 402.

[266] Sanborn, 404.

[267] Villard, 304.

[268] Villard, 306.

[269] _Mason Report_, 123-125. Testimony of Charles Blair.

[270] Villard, 674.

[271] Villard, 285.

[272] Sanborn, 398.

[273] Villard, 303.

[274] Hinton, _John Brown and His Men_, 615.

[275] Villard, 297.

[276] Villard, 297.

[277] Villard, 298.

[278] Sanborn, 448.

[279] Sanborn, 422.

[280] Villard, 308.

[281] _Ibid._

[282] _Mason Report_, 23.

[283] Villard, 310.

[284] Villard, 315.

[285] Sanborn, 443.

[286] Sanborn, 431.

[287] _Mason Report_, 176.

[288] Sanborn, 434.

[289] Sanborn, 434.

[290] Sanborn, 439.

[291] Sanborn, 439.

[292] Villard, 287.

[293] Sanborn, 444-445.

[294] Mr. Morton was Mr. Smith's secretary. He and Mr. Sanborn had been
classmates at Harvard.

[295] Sanborn, 451.

[296] _Mason Report_, 96.

[297] Redpath, 251.

[298] _Mason Report_, 48. See Appendix III.

[299] Villard, 335-336.

[300] _Mason Report_, 59-60.

[301] Villard, 330.

[302] _Ibid._

[303] Sanborn, 470; also Villard, 338.

[304] Sanborn, 458.

[305] _Ibid._

[306] _Mason Report_, 176.

[307] _Ibid._

[308] _Ibid._

[309] Rear Admiral Chadwick, _Causes of the Civil War_, 75-76.

[310] Sanborn, 456.

[311] _Mason Report_, 231.

[312] Sanborn, 465-466.

[313] Sanborn, 464.

[314] Redpath, 237.

[315] Villard, 353.

[316] Villard, 349.

[317] Villard, 357.

[318] Villard, 354.

[319] Sanborn, 478.

[320] Villard, 363.

[321] Villard, 634, _note_ 98.

[322] _Ante_, _note_ 156.

[323] Villard, 354.

[324] Villard, 360.

[325] Villard, 363.

[326] Villard, 364.

[327] Villard, 666.

[328] Sanborn, 477.

[329] Sanborn, 479.

[330] Villard, 365.

[331] Villard, 366.

[332] Villard, 369.

[333] Villard, 368.

[334] _Ibid._

[335] Villard, 372.

[336] _Ibid._

[337] _Ibid._

[338] _Kansas Conflict_, 408.

[339] Sanborn, 476.

[340] Villard, 377.

[341] _Kansas Conflict_, 405-407.

[342] Villard, 379.

[343] Villard, 378.

[344] Villard, 382.

[345] _Ibid._

[346] Villard, 383.

[347] Villard, 384.

[348] Villard, 385.

[349] Villard, 385.

[350] Ibid.

[351] Villard, 387.

[352] Villard, 386.

[353] It is the personal opinion of the writer that Jennison got the
"long end" of the loot taken in this raid; an opinion that will not be
challenged by anyone who knew him.

[354] Villard, 389-390.

[355] Villard, 391.

[356] Villard, 393.

[357] Ibid.

[358] Sanborn, 504.

[359] Villard, 396.

[360] Sanborn, 423.

[361] Villard, 406.

[362] Villard, 407.

[363] _Ibid._

[364] Villard, 408.

[365] _Mason Report_, 250. Testimony of Hon. John B. Floyd.

[366] Gue. _History of Iowa_, vol. ii., 26-30; Villard, 411.

[367] Villard, 421.

[368] Villard, 424.

[369] Villard, 416-420.

[370] Villard, 338.

[371] The writer knew Jennison personally, but the acquaintance with him
was made "after the War"; after the "Red Legs" had gone out of
commission. Jennison had reformed by that time and was running a
gambling house at Leavenworth, Kansas, in a very orderly manner.

[372] Villard, 678.

[373] _Ante_, _note_ 191.

[374] _Mason Report_, 22.

[375] _Mason Report_, 22.

[376] Villard, 431.

[377] _Mason Report_, 29-40. Testimony of Lewis T. Washington.

[378] Villard, 432.

[379] Villard, 434.

[380] Villard, 435.

[381] Villard, 435.

[382] Sanborn, 557.

[383] Villard, 443-444.

[384] Villard, 447.

[385] _Mason Report_, 43.

[386] Major Russell was in citizen's clothes and unarmed.

[387] _North American Review_, December, 1885.

[388] Report of Colonel Lee to Secretary of War, _Mason Report_, 40. An
excellent account of what occurred under Brown's immediate direction
during the 17th and 18th, was given out by Mr. J. E. P. Dangerfield and
published in the _Century Magazine_, June, 1885.

[389] Sanborn, 562-569.

[390] Sanborn, 571, _note_ 1.

[391] Villard, 456.

[392] _Ibid._

[393] _Mason Report_. Testimony of Andrew Hunter.

[394] _Mason Report_, 63-66.

[395] Redpath, 269.

[396] Redpath, 243-246.

[397] Redpath, 8.

[398] Sanborn, 556.

[399] Sanborn, 450.

[400] _Ante_, _note_ 281.

[401] Villard, 427, 430.

[402] Villard, 469.

[403] Villard, 427.

[404] Villard, 510.

[405] _The Underground Railroad_, 167.

[406] _Mason Report_, 63-66. Testimony of Andrew Hunter.

[407] _Mason Report_, 1-12.

[408] _Mason Report_, 56.

[409] Villard, 438.

[410] Redpath, 244.

[411] Sanborn, 545.

[412] _Ante_, _note_ 290.

[413] Chadwick, _Causes of the Civil War_, 87.

[414] Villard, 415.

[415] Sanborn, 557.

[416] Mansfield had been killed and Crawford wounded, on the 17th, at

[417] A recollection of the scene at the top of Maryland Heights by a
survivor of Knipe's column, is of a mound of stones raised over a
shallow grave. It was located near where the Confederate line of battle
had been formed. Upon a piece of cracker-box, that was held in place by
the stones marking the grave, a comrade's hand had cut in rude letters
this tribute to a gallant soul who had met a soldier's death upon these
rugged heights. It read:

      "SERGT.--[Name forgotten]
      CO. H. 7th. S. C.
      BUT ONCE."

[418] _Mason Report_, 66-67.

[419] Redpath, 8.

[420] Sanborn, 122.

[421] Villard, 436.

[422] Williams, _History of Negro Race in America_, 59.

[423] Villard, 314.

[424] Villard, 682.

[425] _Hinton Papers_, Kansas Historical Society.

[426] Villard, 424.

[427] Villard, 406.

[428] Sanborn, 539.

[429] Sanborn, 545.

[430] _Mason Report_, 59-60.

[431] _Mason Report_, 60.

[432] Frothingham, _Parker_, 475.

[433] Sanborn, 491, _note_ 2.

[434] Two paintings of Brown were made by Nathan B. Onthank; the other
one is in the Boston Athenaeum. Villard, xiii.

[435] Henry Adams, _History of the United States_, vol. i. 380.

[436] Frothingham, _Gerrit Smith_, 249.

[437] Villard, 468.

[438] Redpath, 285.

[439] Williams, _History of the Negro Race in America_, 84.

[440] _Atlantic Monthly_, vol. x. 339.

[441] _Atlantic Monthly_, vol. vii, 737.

[442] Williams, _History of the Negro Race in America_, vol. ii, 88.

[443] Richmond _Inquirer_, August 26, 1831.

[444] Villard, 560.

[445] Villard, 480.

[446] Villard, 478.

[447] _Ibid._

[448] _Ibid._

[449] Redpath, 292.

[450] Villard, 485.

[451] Villard, 484.

[452] _Ibid._

[453] Villard, 485.

[454] Sanborn, 588.

[455] _Mason Report_, 138.

[456] Villard, 506.

[457] Redpath, 509.

[458] Villard, 507.

[459] _Ibid._

[460] Villard, 509.

[461] Redpath, 325.

[462] Villard, 492.

[463] _Ibid._

[464] Redpath, 331-339.

[465] Redpath, 334.

[466] Redpath, 340-342.

[467] Villard, 500.

[468] Villard, 497.

[469] Redpath, 340.

[470] _Mason Report_. Testimony of Andrew Hunter.

[471] Sanborn, 584.

[472] Villard, 646, _note_ 81.

[473] _Ante_, _note_ 436.

[474] Villard, 502.

[475] Villard, 513.

[476] _Ibid._

[477] Sanborn, 586.

[478] Villard, 514.

[479] Villard, 537.

[480] See Appendix II. Recollection of Hon. Alexander R. Boteler of

[481] Sanborn, 611.

[482] Villard, 537.

[483] Villard, 540.

[484] Sanborn, 603.

[485] Sanborn, 581.

[486] Sanborn, 582.

[487] Sanborn, 610.

[488] Sanborn, 620.

[489] Villard, 523.

[490] Villard, 527.

[491] Villard, 549.

[492] Villard, 669.

[493] _Mason Report_, 47.

[494] Villard, 554.

[495] Sanborn, 506.

[496] Sanborn, _Recollections of Seventy Years_, 75.

[497] Villard, 545.

[498] The Chicago _Reminder_, vol. x, no. 5.

[499] Villard, 457.

[500] _Ante_, _note_ 281.

[501] Villard, 42.

[502] Sanborn, 562.

[503] Mr. Villard omits this question and answer from his account of the

[504] _Ante_, _note_ 340.

[505] Autobiography, 433.

[506] Villard, 69-70.

[507] Villard, 56.

[508] _Ante_, _note_ 281.

[509] Villard, 50.

[510] _Mason Report_, 220. Testimony of Augustus Wattles; letter of
April 8, 1857.

[511] Letter to Mrs. E. B., November 1st, _ante_, _note_ 473.

[512] _Ante_, _note_ 233.

[513] Sanborn to Higginson, _ante_, _note_ 248.

[514] Original in possession of the author.

[515] _Ante_ p. 165.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "John Brown, Soldier of Fortune - A Critique" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.