Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?> Planning the Raid>F.B. Sanborn to Thomas Higginson

F.B. Sanborn to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, May 11, 1858

Source: Higginson Papers, Boston Public Library.


I enclose a letter from Gerrit Smith, whose view of the mat¬ter agrees with that of our Boston friends. There is much force in your arguments but I cannot quite yield to them, though I wish I could. F. has it in his power to remove the terror of the thing by a complete exposure of the small resources of the group and thus it would lose its main strength Whether he is base enough to do this I still doubt but the risk is too great to run A year hence we may get him over the water where he will know less of move¬ments here and have less means to undermine confidence while he may be induced to believe that all has been thrown up, and so put off the batch of disclosures -

But his preaching now would spoil the scheme forever since very similar movement would be suspected and watched closely.
I am glad you stand so strongly for the other side for the mat¬ter will thus be fairly argued but I think when H(owe). comes to see F.'s letters and knows how minute his information is, he will attach more importance to his opposition than he did on the 5th of May when he wrote me saying he would go on if supplies did not fail him. But the opinion of P[arker]., H(owel., and S[mith]. and of G[eorge]. S[tearns]. who are such large stock¬holders will prevent their raising money now and the rest of us can do little in that way

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