An old man, kind at heart, industrious, peaceful, went forth,
with a large family of children, to seek a new home in Kansas.
That infant colony held thousands of souls as noble as liberty
ever inspired or religion enriched. A great scowling Slave State,
its nearest neighbor, sought to tread down this liberty loving
colony, and to dragoon slavery into it by force of arms. The
armed citizens of a hostile State crossed the State lines, destroyed
the freedom of the ballot box, prevented a fair expression of
public sentiment, corruptly usurped law making power, and ordained
by fraud laws as infamous as the sun ever saw; assaulted its
infant settlements with armed hordes, ravaged the fields, destroyed
harvests and herds, and carried death to a multitude of cabins.
The United States government had no marines for this occasion!
No Federal troops posted in the cars by night and day for the
poor, the weak, the grossly wronged men of Kansas. There was
an army there that unfurled the banner of the Union, but it
was on the side of the wrong doers, not on the side of the injured.
was in this field that Brown received his impulse. A tender
father, whose life was in his son's life, he saw his first born
seized like a felon, chained, driven across the country, crazed
by suffering and heat, beaten like a dog by the officer in charge,
and long lying at death's doorl Another noble boy, without warning,
without offense, unarmed, in open day, in the midst of the city,
was shot deadl No justice sought out the murderers; no United
States attorney was dispatched in hot haste; no marines or soldiers
aided the wronged and weak!
shot that struck the child's heart crazed the father's brain.
Revolving his wrongs, and nursing his hatred of that deadly
system that breeds such contempt of justice and humanity, at
length his phantoms assume a slender reality, and organize such
an enterprise as one might expect from a man whom grief had
bereft of good judgment. He goes to the heart of a Slave State.
One man; and with sixteen followers! he seizes two thousand
brave Virginians, and holds them in duress!
a great State attacked a handful of weak colonists the government
and nation were torpid, but when seventeen men attacked a sovereign
State, then Maryland arms, and Virginia arms, and the United
States government arms, and they three rush against seventeen
tell us that the Geysers of Iceland those singular boiling springs
of the North may be transported with fury by plucking up a handful
of grass or turf and throwing it into the springs. The hot springs
of Virginia are of the same kind! A handful of men was
thrown into them, and what a boiling there has been!
meanwhile, no one can fail . to see that this poor, childbereft
old man is the manliest of them all. Bold, unflinching, honest,
without deceit or evasion, refusing to take technical advantages
of any sort, but openly avowing his principles and motives,
glorying in them in danger and death, as much as when in security,
that wounded old father is the most remarkable figure in this
whole drama. The Governor, the officers of the State, and all
the attorneys are pygmies compared with him.
deplore his misfortunes. I sympathize with his sorrows. I mourn
the hiding or obscuration of his reason. I disapprove of his
mad and feeble schemes. I_shrink from the folly of the bloody
foray, and I shrink likewise from_all the anticipations of that
judicial bloodshed, which doubtless ere long will follow,- for
when was cowardice ever magnanimous? If they kill the man, it
will not be so much for treason as for the disclosure of their
no man pray that Brown be spared. Let Virginia make him a martyr.
Now, he has only blundered. His soul was noble; his work miserable.
But a cord and a gibbet would redeem all that, and round up
Brown's failure with a heroic success.