Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?> The Raid>Statement Made by John Brown During and Immediately After the Raid

Statements Made by John Brown During and Immediately After the Raid

Source: Sanborn, John Brown, 560-561

To the Master of the Armory, Whom He Held Captive

We are Abolitionists from the North, come to take and release your slaves; our organization is large, and must succeed. I suffered much in Kansas, and expect to suffer here, in the cause of human freedom. Slaveholders I regard as robbers and murderers; and I have sworn to abolish slavery and liberate my fellow men.

To Major Russell, First Virginia Soldier to Enter the Engine House

My name is John Brown; I have been well known as Old Brown of Kansas. Two of my sons were killed here to day, and I'm dying too. I came here to liberate slaves, and was to receive no reward. I have acted from a sense of duty, and am content to await my fate; but I think the crowd have treated me badly. I am an old man. Yesterday I could have killed whom I chose; but I had no desire to kill any person, and would not have killed a man had they not tried to kill me and my men. I could have sacked and burned the town, but did not; I have treated the persons whom I took as hos¬tages kindly, and I appeal to them for the truth of what I say. If I had succeeded in running off slaves this time, I could have raised twenty times as many men as I have now, for a similar expedition. But I have failed.

To a Newspaper Reporter

A lenient feeling towards the citizens led me into a parley with them as to compromise; and by prevarication on their part I was delayed until attacked, and then in self defence



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