Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?> The Raid>J.H. Kagi to John Brown, Jr.

J.H. Kagi to John Brown, Jr., October 10, 1859

Source: Oswald Garrison Villard, John Brown, 1800 1859: A Biography Fifty Years After (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, and Company, 1910), p. 422-423.

Your father was here yesterday but had not time to write be¬fore returning. I shall leave here this afternoon "for good." This is the last of our stay here, for we have not $5 left, and the men must be given work or they will find it themselves. We shall not be able to receive any thing from you after to day. It will not do for any one to try to find us now. You must by all means keep back the men you talked of sending and furnish them work to live upon until you receive further instructions. Any one arriving here after to day and trying to join us, would be trying a very hazardous and foolish experiment. They must keep off the border until we open the way clear up to the line (M. & DA) from the South. Until then, it will be just as dangerous here as on the other side, in fact more so: for, there there will be protection also, but not here. It will not do to write to Harper's Ferry. It will never get there would do no good if it did. You can communicate with us thus (This must be a profound secret) Be sure no one gets into trouble in trying to get to us. We will try to communicate with you as soon as pos¬sible after we strike, but it may not be possible for us to do so soon. If we succeed in getting news from outside our own district it will be quite satisfactory, but we have not the most distant hope that it will be possible for us to receive recruits for weeks, or quite likely months to come. We must first make a complete and undisputably open road to the free states. That will require both labor and time.

This is just the right time. The year's crops have been good, and they are now perfectly housed, and in the best condition for use. The moon is just right. Slaves are discontented at this season more than at any other, the reasons for which reflection will show you. We can't live longer without money, we couldn't get along much longer without being exposed. A great religious revival is going on, and has its advantages. Under its influence, people who are com¬monly barely unfavorable to Slavery under religious excitement in meetings speak boldly against it. In addition to this and as a stimu¬lant to the religious feeling, a fine slave man near our headquarters, hung himself a few days ago because his master sold his wife away from him. This also arouses the slaves. There are more reasons which I could give, but I have not time . . . .

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