Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?> The Raid>John Cook's Confession

John Cook’s Confession, November, 1859

Source: Richard J. Hinton, John Brown and His Men (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1894), p. 708.


There were some six or seven in our party who did not know anything of our constitution, and, as I have since understood, were also ignorant of the plan of operations, until the Sunday morning previous to the attack. Among this number were Edwin Coppoc, Barclay Coppoc, Francis J. Merriam, Shields Green, John Copeland, and Leary.

The constitution was read to them by A. D. Stevens, and the oath afterwards administered by Captain Brown. Sunday evening, previous to our departure, Captain Brown made his final arrangements for the capture of Harper's Ferry, and gave to his men their orders. In closing, he said: -

"And now, gentlemen, let me press this one thing on your minds. You all know how dear life is to you, and how dear your lives are to your friends; and, in remembering that, consider that the lives of others are as dear to them as yours are to you; do not, therefore, take the life of any one if you can possibly avoid it, but if it is necessary to take life in order to save your own, then make sure work of it."

 

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