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JOHN BROWN TO L. MARIA CHILD.
of their friends, either father, mother, thorities, permission to visit him in brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I
his prison. Her letter to Brown was have in this interference, it would have answered as follows: been all right, and every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of re
“Mrs. L. Maria Child: ward rather than punishment.
“My dear Friend (such you prove to be, “This Court acknowledges, as I suppose,
though a stranger) :--Your most kind letter the validity of the Law of God. I see a
has reached me, with the kind offer to come book kissed here which I suppose to be the
here and take care of me. Allow me to exBible, or, at least, the New Testament.
press my gratitude for your great sympathy, That teaches me that all things whatsoever and at the same to propose to you a differI would that men should do unto me, I |
ent course, together with my reasons for should do even so to them. It teaches me,
wishing it. I should certainly be greatly further, to remember those that are in
pleased to become personally acquainted with bonds as bound with them,' I endeavored
one so gifted and so kind; but I cannot to act upon that instruction. I say, I am avoid seeing some objections to it, under yet too young to understand that God is
present circumstances. First, I am in any respecter of persons. I believe that to
charge of a most humane gentleman, who, have interfered as I have done, as I have
with his family, have rendered me every always freely admitted I have done, in
possible attention I have desired, or that behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong,
could be of the least advantage; and I am but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary
so far recovered from my wounds as no that I should forfeit my life for the further
longer to require nursing. Then, again, it ance of the ends of justice, and mingle my
would subject you to great personal inconblood further with the blood of my children,
venience and heavy expense, without doing and with the blood of millions in this slave
me any good. country whose rights are disregarded by
"Allow me to name to you another chanwicked, cruel, and unjust enactments-I
nel through which you may reach me with submit: so let it be done.
your sympathies much more effectually. I “Let me say one word further: .
have at home a wife and three young daugh“I feel entirely satisfied with the treat
ters--the youngest but little over five years ment I have received on my trial. Consid
old, the oldest nearly sixteen. I have also ering all the circumstances, it has been two daughters-in-law, whose husbands have more generous than I expected. But I feel
both fallen near me here. There is also no consciousness of guilt. I have stated
another widow, Mrs. Thompson, whose from the first what was my intention and
husband fell here. Whether she is a mother what was not. I never had any design
or not, I cannot say. All these, my wife inagainst the life of any person, nor any dis
cluded, live at North Elba, Essex County, position to commit treason, or excite slaves
New York. I have a middle-aged son, who to rebel, or make any general insurrection.
has been, in some degree, a cripple from I never encouraged any man to do so, but
his childhood, who would have as much as always discouraged any idea of that kind.
he could well do to earn a living. He was "Let me say, also, a word in regard to 1 a most dreadful sufferer in Kansas, and lost the statements made by some of those con
all he had laid up. He bas not enough to nected with me. I hear it has been stated | clothe himself for the winter comfortably. by some of them that I have induced them
I have no living son, or son-in-law, who did to join me. But the contrary is true. I do
not suffer terribly in Kansas. not say this to injure them, but as regretting
“Now, dear friend, would you not as their weakness. There is not one of them
soon contribute fifty cents now, and a like but joined me of his own accord, and the
sum yearly, for the relief of those very poor greater part at their own expense. A num and deeply afflicted persons, to enable them ber of them I never saw, and never had a to supply themselves and their children with word of conversation with, till the day they
bread and very plain clothing, and to enable came to me, and that was for the purpose I
the children to receive a common English have stated.
education? Will you also devote your ener“Now I have done."
gies to induce others to join in giving a like amount, or any other amount, to constitute
a little fund for the purpose named ? Among the many letters addressed
“I cannot see how your coming here to him while in prison was one from can do me the least good, and I am quite Lydia Maria Child, who sought, but
+ host certain you can do me immense good where
| you are. I am quite cheerful under all my did not obtain, from the Virginia au- 1 afflicting circumstances and prospects; hav
ing, as I humbly trust, the peace of God, children than there is about trying to relieve which passeth all understanding,' to rule in poor niggers.' Again, the little comfort it my heart. You may make such use of this | might afford us to meet again would be as you see fit. God Almighty bless and re- | dearly bought by the pains of a final separaward you a thousand fold!
tion. We must part;and, I feel assured, for “ Yours, in sincerity and truth,
us to meet under such dreadful circumstan“John Brown." ces would only add to our distress. If she His letter to his family, written a
| come on here, she must be only a gazing
stock throughout the whole journey, to be week after his sentence to death, is
remarked upon in every look, word, and as follows:
action, and by all sorts of creatures, and by “CHARLESTOWN, JEFFERSON Co., VA.,
all sorts of papers throughout the whole “8th Nov., 1859.
country. Again, it is my most decided “Dear Wife and Children-Every one:
judgment that in quietly and submissively I will begin by saying that I have in some
staying at home, vastly more of generous
sympathy will reach her, without such degree recovered from my wounds, but that
dreadful sacrifice of feeling as she must put lanı quite weak in my back, and sore about 1
up with if she comes on. The visits of one my left kidney. My appetite has been quite
or two female friends that have come on good for most of the time since I was hurt.
here have produced great excitement, which I am supplied with almost every thing I could desire to make me comfortable, and
is very annoying, and they cannot possibly the little I do lack (some articles of clothing,
do me any good. O Mary, do not come; which I lost), I may perhaps soon get again.
but patiently wait for the meeting (of those
who love God and their fellow-men) where I am, besides, quite cheerful, having (as I
no separation must follow. “They shall go trust) the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,' to 'rule in my heart,' and
no more out forever.' I greatly long to
hear from some one of you, and to learn any the testimony in some degree) of a good conscience that I have not lived altogether
thing that in any way affects your welfare. in vain. I can trust God with both the
I sent you ten dollars the other day. Did
you get it? I have also endeavored to stir time and the manner of my death, believing, as I now do, that for me at this time to seal
up Christian friends to visit and write to
you in your deep affliction. I have no doubt my testimony (for God and humanity) with iny blood, will do vastly more toward ad
that some of them, at least, will heed the
call. Write to me, care of Capt. John Avis, vancing the cause I have earnestly endeav
Charlestown, Jefferson County, Va. ored to promote, than all I have done in my life before. I beg of you all meekly and
“"Finally, iny beloved, be of good comquietly to submit to this; not feeling your
fort.' May all your names be written in selves in the least degraded on that account. 1
the Lamb's book of life'-may you all have Remember, dear wife and children all, that
the purifying and sustaining influence of Jesus of Nazareth suffered a most excruciat
the Christian religion-is the earnest prayer ing death on the cross as a felon, under the
of your affectionate husband and father,
"John Brown. most aggravating circumstances. Think,
“P. S. I cannot remember a night so also, of the prophets, and apostles, and Christians of former days, who went through
dark as to have hindered the coming day, greater tribulations than you or I; and (try
nor a storm so furious or dreadful as to preto) be reconciled. May God Almighty com
vent the return of warm sunshine and a fort all your hearts, and soon wipe away all
cloudless sky. But, beloved ones, do retears from your eyes. To Him be endless
member that this is not your rest, that in praise. Think, too, of the crushed millions
this world you have no abiding-place or who have no comforter.' I charge you all
continuing city. To God and His infinite never in your trials) to forget the griefs of
mercy I always commend you. J. B." •the poor that cry, and of those that have
“ Nov. 9.” none to help them. I wrote most earnestly During the forty-two days of his to my dear and afflicted wife not to come on, for the present at any rate.
confinement at Charlestown, Brown
I will now give her my reasons for doing so. First, it received several visits from sympawould use up all the scanty means she has, thizing Northern friends, many of or is at all likely to have, to make herself and children comfortable hereafter. For let
| whom had never before seen him. me tell you that the sympathy that is now His wife, overcoming many obstacles, aroused in your behalf may not always follow you. There is but little more of the ro- |
was finally permitted to spend a few mantic about helping poor widows and their hours in his cell, and to take supper JOHN BROWN'S LAST HOURS.
with him a short time before his has died in the same way was good or other
wise. Whether I have any reason to be of death. No Virginians, so far as is
good cheer' (or not) in view of my end, I can known, proffered him any words of assure you that I feel so; and that I am tokindness, unless it were the reverend
tally blinded if I do not really experience
that strengthening and consolation you so clergy of the neighborhood, who ten faithfully implore in my behalf. The God ered him the solace of religion after l of our Fathers reward your fidelity! I nei
ther feel mortified, degraded, nor in the least their fashion, which he civilly, but
ashamed of my imprisonment, my chain, or firmly, declined. He could not re my near prospect of death by hanging. I feel cognize any one who justified or pal
assured that not one hair shall fall from
my head without the will of my heavenly liated Slavery as a minister of the
Father. I also feel that I have long been God he worshiped, or the Saviour endeavoring to hold exactly such a fast as in whom he trusted. He held argu
God has chosen.' See the passage in Isaiah
which you have quoted. No part of my life ments on several occasions with pro has been more happily spent than that I have Slavery clergymen, but recognized
spent here, and I humbly trust that no part
has been spent to better purpose. I would them as men only, and not as invest
not say this boastingly; but thanks be unto ed with any peculiar sanctity. To God who giveth us the victory,' through in
:12 | finite grace. one of them, who sought to reconcile
“I should be 60 years old were I to live Slavery with Christianity, he said: till May 9, 1860. I have enjoyed much of 66 My dear Sir, you know nothing life as it is, and have been remarkably pros
perous, having early learned to regard the about Christianity; you will have to
welfare and prosperity of others as my own. learn the A B Cs in the lesson of I have never, since I can remember, required Christianity, as I find you entirely
a great amount of sleep, so that I conclude
that I have already enjoyed full an average ignorant of the meaning of the word.
number of waking hours with those who I, of course, respect you as a gentle reach their three-score years and ten. I
have not as yet been driven to the use of man; but it is as a heathen gentle
glasses, but can see to read and write quite man.” The argument here closed. comfortably. But, more than that, I have The following characteristic letter
generally enjoyed remarkably good health.
I might go on to recount unnumbered and was written by him, while under sentence of death, to a relative then re some very severe afflictions; and those the siding in Windham, Ohio:
most needed blessings of all. And now,
when I think how easily I might be left to “CHARLESTOWN, JEFFERSON Co., Va., į
spoil all I have done or suffered in the cause 19th Nov., 1859.
of Freedom, I hardly dare wish another voy“REV. LUTHER HUMPHREY-My Dear |
age, even if I had the opportunity. It is a
long time since we met; but we shall now Friend: Your kind letter of the 12th instant
soon come together in our Father's house,' is now before me. So far as my knowledge
I trust. Let us hold fast that we already goes as to our mutual kindred, I suppose I
have,' remembering we shall reap in due am the first since the landing of Peter Brown
time if we faint not.' "Thanks be ever unto from the Mayflower that has either been
God, who giveth us the victory through sentenced to imprisonment or to the gallows. |
Jesus Christ our Lord.' And now, my old But, my dear old friend, let not that fact
warm-hearted friend, Good-bye.' alone grieve you. You cannot have forgot
- Your affectionate cousin, ten how and where our grandfather (Cap
“ JOHN BROWN.” tain John Brown) fell in 1776, and that he, too, might have perished on the scaffold had The 2d of December was the day circumstances been but very little different.
appointed for his execution. Nearly The fact that a man dies under the hand of an executioner (or otherwise) has but little
three thousand militia were early on to do with his true character, as I suppose. the ground. Fears of a forcible rescue John Rogers perished at the stake, a great | and good man, as I suppose: but his doing
at or of a servile insurrection prevented so does not prove that any other man who | a large attendance of citizens. Can298
non wen to the jail, and to enst ined him very
non were so planted as to sweep every | Capt. Avis, who had been one of the approach to the jail, and to blow the bravest of his captors, who had treatprisoner into shreds upon the first in- ed him very kindly, and to whom he timation of tumult. Virginia held was profoundly grateful. The wagon her breath until she heard that the was instantly surrounded by six comold man was dead.
panies of militia. Being asked, on Brown rose at daybreak, and con- the way, if he felt any fear, he retinued writing with energy until half- plied: “It has been a characteristic past ten, when he was told to prepare of me from infancy not to suffer from to die. He shook hands with the physical fear. I have suffered a sheriff, visited the cell of Copeland thousand times more from Bashfuland Green, to whom he handed a ness than from fear.” The day was quarter of a dollar each, saying he clear and bright, and he remarked, as had no more use for money, and bade he rode, that the country seemed them adieu. He next visited Cook very beautiful. Arrived at the galand Coppoc, the former of whom had lows, he said: “I see no citizens made a confession, which he pro- here; where are they?” “None but nounted false; saying he had never the troops are allowed to be present," sent Cook to Harper's Ferry, as he was the reply. “That ought not to had stated. He handed a quarter to be,” said he; “citizens should be Coppoc also, shook hands with him, allowed to be present as well as othand parted. He then visited and ers.” He bade adieu to some acbade a kindly good-bye to his more quaintances at the foot of the galespecial comrade, Stevens, gave him lows, and was first to mount the scafa quarter, and charged him not to fold. His step was still firm, and betray his friends. A sixth, named his bearing calm, yet hopeful. The Hazlett, was confined in the same hour having come, he said to Capt. prison, but he did not visit him, de- Avis: “I have no words to thank nying all knowledge of him.
you for all your kindness, to me.” His He walked out of the jail at 11 elbows and ankles being pinioned, o'clock; an eye-witness said," with the white cap drawn over his eyes, a radiant ,countenance, and the step the hangman's rope adjusted around of a conqueror." His face was even his neck, he stood waiting for death. joyous, and it has been remarked “Capt. Brown," said the sheriff, that probably his was the lightest "you are not standing on the drop. heart in Charlestown that day. A Will you come forward ?” “I can't black woman, with a little child in see," was his firm answer; “ you her arms, stood by the door. He must lead me.” The sheriff led him stopped a moment, and, stooping, forward to the center of the drop. kissed the child affectionately. An- “Shall I give you a handkerchief, other black woman, with a child, as and let you drop it as a signal ?" he passed along, exclaimed: “God “No; I am ready at any time; but bless you, old man! I wish I could do not keep me needlessly waiting.” help you; but I can't.” He looked In defiance of this reasonable request, at her with a tear in his eye. He he was kept standing thus several mounted the wagon beside his jailor, | minutes, while a military parade and