Зображення сторінки

• What had happened in the interval between 1845, up to which time militant Jobn Brown is undiscoverable, and 1849 ? His removal to Springfield, Mass., in 1846; the transportation of his family thence to North Elba in 1848–49. According to Sanborn, “soon after Brown's arrival in Springfield, he had begun to communicate his purpose of attacking slavery by force to the colored men whom he found to be worthy of trust;” and Thomas Thomas, a fugitive from Maryland, is named as one such. Thomas was engaged by Brown as a porter, and, as a preliminary to his entrance upon his duties, received from his employer “the outlines of his plan to liberate the slaves, and was invited to join in the enterprise, which he agreed to do.” The incident is an odd one, and the testimony is neither first-hand nor specific; nor is it much helped by another alleged circumstance, that “ Thomas was afterwards sent by Brown to look up Madison Washington, the leader of the courageous slaves of the vessel Creole, who was wanted as a leader among the colored recruits that were to join the band of liberators.” But did Washington or any of his black Virginians ever venture back to their native land, which sought in vain their extradition from England, with a view to making an example of them as fugitives and “ mutineers ” ?

Some time in 1848–49 Brown contributed to the “Ram's Horn," a journal published in New York by colored men, the article “ Sambo's Mistakes," already referred to. In this, Sambo is reproached with currying favor with the whites “by tamely submitting to every species of indignity, contempt, and wrong, instead of nobly resisting their brutal aggressions from principle.”

The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, and the consequent revolt of the Northern conscience, filled Brown with hope of a rapid multiplication of abolitionists. On November 28 he wrote to his wife from Springfield : “I of course keep encouraging my colored friends to trust in God, and keep their powder dry.' 1 did so to-day, at Thanksgiving meeting, publicly.” Soon after this he formed these friends into a “Branch of the United States League of Gileadites," and drew up for them “ Words of Advice," how to act concertedly against kidnappers. This document opens with the declaration : “ Nothing so charms the American people as personal bravery. Witness the case of Cinques, of everlasting memory, on board the Amistad.Of Madison Washington and the Creole, not a word. The scope of the organization was furely defensive, and John Brown's part in it he looked upon as an attempt to “revive their broken spirits.”

publicly in powderraging

In August, 1854, he wrote to his namesake : “ If you or any of my family are disposed to go to Kansas or Nebraska, with a view to help defeat Satan and his legions in that direction, I have not a word to say; but I feel committed to operate in another part of the field. If I were not so committed, I would be on my way this fall.” It is not clear what he meant by the sentence in italics. His five sons emigrated to the new Territory in the autumn, and a letter of John Brown, Jr., dated June 22, 1855, shows the father to have made inquiries respecting the cost of living there, and the chances of his being able to resume his business as a surveyor. On June 27, at Syracuse, N. Y., Brown publicly solicited arms for his sons and their Free State neighbors. By October he had joined them and was fully committed to the common armed resistance to Border Ruffianism, and within twelve months became a full-fledged guerrilla chieftain, “ John Brown of Osawatomie.” In September, 1856, he was a fugitive, and began his extraordinary career of disguises and plottings that ended at Charlestown, Va.

His journey northward is marked in the memorandum-book before us by the list (on page (97) begun on December 22, 1856, of persons with whom he “Left Subscription paper," and the several places in Ohio, Central New York (“ with F Douglas & Daniel Anthony Esqs”), and Springfield, Mass. “I am trying,” he said openly, “ to raise from twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars in the free States to enable me to continue my efforts in the cause of freedom.” In the first week of January, 1857, Brown had reached Boston, and made himself known to the Kansas State Committee, of which George L. Stearns was chairman. At Brown's request, Mr. Stearns wrote his name and official title on page [6] of the memorandum-book. On the next leaf occurs this contemporaneous entry: “ Remington & Sons Ilion stop at Herkimer (can make spears).” These were the pikes, meant for arming his slave recruits, contracted for with Charles Blair of Collinsville, Conn., on March 30, 1857; and here at last we feel that we really behold the dawn of Harper's Ferry.

With January 12, 1857, on which day Brown wrote to Augustus Wattles in Kansas, the book becomes a more or less regular diary, and is especially valuable for its minutes of correspondence, incomplete as they are, as well as for traces of his restless wanderings. On page [15], among several New York city addresses, we find : “Col H Forbes No 41 East 15th 3 Doors East of Union Square,” or, by subsequent correction, “ No 212 Broadway N Y.” This British adventurer, who had served under Garibaldi, captivated Brown at first sight, and readily assumed the post of drill-master under the Yankee Mina. The date of their first meeting is perhaps recorded in this entry on page [16] : “Must see Col Forbes by April 17th [1857].” Forbes began at once to draw on the proceeds of Brown's “subscription papers ” — $400 on April 27, $200 on April 29, the full limit. Brown, meanwhile, had passed westward on his way to Tabor and Springdale, Iowa, at which latter place his secret-service company was forming ready to Forbes's hand. But Forbes preferred the flesh-pots of New York, went on printing his guerrilla · Manual,” and only reached Tabor in August.

On page [16] Brown notes : “ Enquire of Jonas Jones Esqr Tabor Freemont Co. Iowa : for letters for Nelson Hawkins” – that is, Brown himself. On June 3, 1857, at Hudson, O.: “ Wrote A Wattles, & Win Phillips both to write Jas Smith at Tabor Iowa.” Sanborn prints this letter to Wattles signed with the new alias, “ James Smith," on page 393 of his Biography, and the reply on page 394. On June 9 Brown made a fresh effort to draw his drill-master after him, witness this entry on page [21]: “ Wrote Col Forbes to meet me at Bennet House Cleveland on the 17th June without fail.” “ June 11th Wrote Joseph Bryant to give assistance to Forbes if satisfyed he was ready to join me not otherwise.” Bryant was a New York friend who kept watch on Forbes, and Sanborn prints (pp. 389, 390) his reports, in which he evidently wavered between his perception that Forbes was a “ dead beat," and his faith in him as an honest man. Brown addressed him once more on this subject as follows, page [23]: “ Wrote order to Joseph Bryant Esqr East 41st Street New York (Union Drove Yard) to collect $600, of Col Forbes if he had drawn it; & is not coming on at once; or to send my letter to Callender, & also to write Nelson Hawkins at Iowa City Iowa : Care Dr J Bowen June 2d 1857.” On the same day, page [24] : “ Wrote W HD Callender State Bank Hartford not to pay over to Forbes till further advised also to write me Care of Dr Jesse Bowen Iowa City, Iowa June 22d at Cleveland.” “June 29th Wrote Joseph Bryant Col Forbes, & D Lee Child; all that I leave here Cleveland this day for Tabor, Iowa ; & advise Forbes, & Child, to call on Jonas Jones."

By July 6 Brown was in Iowa City, by August 8 in Tabor. This last was a heavy day for correspondence: letters to Wattles, Realf, William Phillips, his old lieutenant James H. Holmes, apparently as to the advisability of his being on hand at the fall election in Kansas; to wife and children ; to Edwin Morton, of Gerrit Smith's family. On August 12, still at Tabor, he wrote to his New Haven friends, “ Prof Twining & Dr Bacon.” “ Aug 13th Wrote F B Sanborn & Mass State Kansas Committee same time.” This is the first mention of his future biographer.“ Aug 14th Wrote Charles Blair of Collinsville Conn ahout contract {for pikes & to write me through Jonas Jones.” Blair's reply is given by Sanborn on page 378. Forbes, meanwhile, had arrived at his post. We read on page [26] :

“ Jonas Jones Cr

By 6 baskets Corn Six
By board of Self & Owen from 7th Aug at Noon

By board of Forbes from Sunday 9th at Noon.” “ Sept 10th Wrote Gerrit Smith, S P Chase, J B Jr, & George L Stearns.” - Sept 11th Wrote Theodore Parker. Also : Charles Blair. F B Sanborn." The letter to Parker acknowledged an “ immediate want of some five hundred or one thousand dollars for secret service, and no questions asked.” Between entries of September 16 and 21 occurs this list :


Jas Red path
MF Conway
Wm Phillips

Daniel Foster.” “ Oct 2d Wrote F B Sanborn, & others through him ; at Boston: in way of report.” This letter is printed by Sanborn on page 398, but is there dated October 1, at Tabor. It tells of Brown's drilling with his son under Forbes. “Oct 5th Wrote E B Whitman, John T Jones, & S L Adair by Tidd for money.” This is the first mention of another of the Harper's Ferry band, Charles P. Tidd. “Oct 12 Wrote John & Jason not to reply: till I should write them again.” He was about to revisit Kansas. “ Oct 31st Wrote John by Forbes, & by Mail also gave Forbes $35, for expences.” “Oct 31st Let Forbes have Two blankets.” “Nov 18th Gave J E Cook $82.68 Gave Do 2.00” — still another of the Harper's Ferry company. “ Dec 29th Realf began to board at Noon with Townsend.”

The year 1858 opened with Brown sufficiently in debt to William Maxson of Springdale, Iowa, for board of his embryo guerrillas, and on January 15 he started East to replenish his funds and to Ferry

hasten the crisis. The day before, he “ Left with men at Springdale 8 Copies Forbes Extracts 2 Copies Forbes Manual 1 Copy Army of the United States.” Forbes had already departed, and was soon to menace the enterprise with exposure. “ Jany 21st Wrote Forbes through John.” By the 28th Brown was with Frederick Douglass in Rochester, N. Y. From this place," Jany 30th Wrote Wife & Children; & Ruth in particular about Henry going to School &c” – that most pathetic letter printed by Sanborn on page 440, Henry being Ruth's husband, and the “school”. being Brown's rash and perilous adventure; the letter, too, in which Brown first and most distinctly expressed a realizing sense of his being an instrument of the Almighty.

On February 1, 1858, he “ Wrote G L S[tearns] saying I would give him notice before using Check or Draft & return his Letter of credit on receipt of it, & to write N Hawkins Care of Wm J Watkins Rochester N Y at once.” On the same date, " Wrote F B Sanborn in regard to many things,” and the next day “Theodore Parker & Mr Higginson.” Of all, as we know, he begged aid in raising “five hundred to eight hundred dollars within the next sixty days," " for carrying out an important measure in which the world has a deep interest, as well as Kansas” – as he wrote to Parker; “ for the perfecting of by far the most important undertaking of my whole life” – as he wrote to Higginson. Noticeable in this correspondence is Brown's distrust of the two men with whom he had had the closest personal intercourse, Stearns and Sanborn. He had either been franker with Parker, or had felt that this clergyman's intuitions were keener. In the letter of February 2 to him Brown says: “I have written to some of our mutual friends in regard to it (the raising of the new secret-service money], but they none of them understand my views as well as you do, and I cannot explain without their first committing then selves more than I know of their doing.” And again, more explicitly : “ I have written George L. Stearns, Esq., of Medford, and Mr. F. B. Sanborn, of Concord ; but I am not informed as to how deeply-dyed Abolitionists those friends are." To the Rev. T. W. Higginson he appears to be making his first communication, yet he says: “I have been told that you are both a true man and a true Abolitionist, and I partly believe the whole story ... I have written Rev. Theodore Parker, George L. Stearns, and F. B. Sanborn, Esqs., on the subject, but I do not know as either Mr. Stearns or Mr. Sanborn are Abolitionists. I suppose they are.” In fact, neither of these gentlemen had been

« НазадПродовжити »