John Brown Insane?
defending him against the charges from the raid, his lawyer offered
the court a telegram giving reason to doubt Brown's sanity. The
telegram was sent by AH Lewis of Ohio and read:
Brown, leader of the insurrection at Harper's Ferry, and several
of his family, have resided in this country for many years.
Insanity is hereditary in that family. His mother's sister died
with it, and a daughter of that sister has been two years in
a lunatic asylum. A son and daughter of his mother's brother
have also been confined in the lunatic asylum, and another son
of that brother is now insane and under close restraint.
Brown was not consulted on bringing this telegram forth as evidence,
for when his lawyer used it to attempt to put in a plea of insanity
for him, Brown was offended and chose to address the court:
.....I look upon it as a miserable artifice and pretext
by those who ought to take a different course in regard to
me, if they toook any at all, and I view it with more contempt
otherwise. As I remarked to Mr. Green, insane persons, so far
as my experience goes, have but little ability to judge
own sanity, and, if I am insane, of course I should think I
know more then the rest of the world. But I do not think
I am perfectly unconscious of insanity, and I reject, so far
as I am capable, any attempt to interfere on my behalf
the following accounts: