Johnny Cash as John Brown
|Cash as Brown, "North and South" (1985)|
"Were I asked to say, in the fewest and plainest words, what Brown was, my answer would be that he was a religious man. He had ever a deep sense of the claims of God and man upon him, and his whole life was a prompt, practical recognition of them."Gerrit Smith, "John Brown" [a broadleaf], Peterboro, N.Y., 15 August 1867
War again threatens Kansas and we expect every day to bee [sic] warned out to meet its call. All we have say is god Speed the day. there is now about 30 or 40 thousand inhabitants in kansas of probably 2000 would turn out to fight, the rest would be peace men, money lovers, fence riders proslavery men.2The young man's analysis of Kansas affairs was precise. Not only was the proslavery faction determined to force slavery upon the majority of "free state" settlers, but the majority of "free state" people were largely passive, fearful, or unwilling to take a strong stand against slavery. It is historically false to assume that "free state" people were the equivalent of abolitionists, and later it was clear that many "free state" people wanted Kansas to enter the union as a "free state" without slaveholders or black people! Young Brown was optimistic about fighting the proslavery forces, but knew that the majority of "free state" people could not be counted on, something that his father clearly observed with frustration.
|Artist Jacob Lawrence recalled Brown's 1859 |
Missouri rescue in his series, The Legend of John Brown
|Mary A. Brown|
|Aaron Dwight Stevens|
|D.C. District Attorney, Robert Ould (left, closest to soldier)|
stands with Governor Wise during the initial interrogation
of Brown and Stevens at Harper's Ferry on Oct. 18, 1859
(Frank Leslie's Illustrated News, 29 Oct. 1859)
|Governor Henry A. Wise|
(Harper's Weekly, 20 Aug. 1859)
Charlestown Jail, Va., Jan. 5/60
My dear Sister Annie
Your kind letter came to hand today and I will try and write you a few lines in return. I am glad to see that you are so cheerful. It is always best not to give up to sorrow and sadness. I am quite cheerful and happy, never felt better in my life. It made me feel rather sad to part with my companions, but I think they are in a better land and that is a great comfort to me.
I was in the same room with your father. He was very cheerful all the way through and appeared as happy on the morning of his execution as I ever saw him. Watson was shot a half minute before me, this was Monday about eleven o'clock and he lived until Wednesday morning. I had a very hard time of it for about four or five weeks, but I am as well as ever except my face is paralyzed [sic] on one side which prevents me from laughing on that Side and my jaw bone was thrown out of place and my teeth do not meet as they did before, which prevents me from chewing anything fine.
The boys met their fate very cheerful. I cannot tell when I shall be tried, but I think in two or three weeks. I am very contented having plenty of reading matter through the kindness of Mrs. Spring and others. Mr. Harrison is in the same room with me. We may never meet again here, but we will meet in the spirit land. Give my love to Martha and all the friends.
Goodbye, yours for the good of all.
A. D. Stevens8As this letter shows, during Stevens' extended time in Charlestown jail, he had healed remarkably well from the five gunshot wounds he had sustained the previous October. Writing in response to Anne's letter, Stevens notes that he had had "a very hard time of it" for several weeks following the defeat at Harper's Ferry. Although he was much better, the wounds he sustained had left his face partially paralyzed and his jaw disjointed.
We are going Home and soon shall be,
Where the Sky is clear and all are free
Where the long dark night of time is past
And the Morn of Eternity dawns at last
Where the weary Saint no more shall roam
But dwell in a happy peaceful home
Where the brow with sparkling gems is crowned
And the waves of bliss are flowing around
Oh! That Beautiful World
Oh! That Beautiful World 9-LD