Brown: Hero or Terrorist?> John
Brown and the Secret Six>John Brown to F.B. Sanborn
Brown to F.B. Sanborn, February 24, 1858
Source: Sanford, John Brown, 442-443
Mr. Morton has taken the liberty of saying to me that you felt
half inclined to make a common cause with me. I greatly rejoice
at this; 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 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 ac¬quired 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 again have another 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 promptings of your own spirit,
after having thoroughly counted the cost. I would flatter no man
into such a measure, if I could do it ever so easily.
expect nothing but to "endure hardness"; but I expect
to effect a mighty conquest, even though it be like the last victory
of Sam¬son. 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 more.