"Posterity will owe everlasting thanks to John Brown for lifting up once more to the gaze of a nation grown fat and flabby on the garbage of lust and oppression, a true standard of heroic philanthropy, and each coming generation will pay its installment of the debt. . . . John Brown saw slavery through no mist or cloud, but in a light of infinite brightness, which left no one of its ten thousand horrors concealed." Frederick Douglass

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Miscellany: About Brown

The author had recently been in the Harpers Ferry area while John Brown was awaiting trial. Writing on the day the trial began, he offered an unsympathetic account: "They deserve death--nothing but death here & hereafter. . . . I have seen one of the spears taken from old Brown and it is a most ferocious looking weapon. It is on a long hickory staff, is fully nine inches in length, has a double edge very sharp and a sharp point. A man would easily be killed by one blow. I have also seen a likeness of old Brown and his face is a caricature of humanity. How in the world he could inspire confidence is a mystery as he carries the notice 'beware' in his countenance to all mankind."

From letter of a proslavery man, George Morton, Culpeper Court House, Va., to unknown recipient, 25 Oct. 1859.  Sale 2391, Lot 318, Swann Auction Galleries online.  Sold in 2015.

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Rev. George B. Cheever, lectured in the Hall of the House of Representatives, last evening--"Emancipation"--was not very generally liked.  He thought John Brown a better Commander than McClellan.  Such speeches may do in times of peace, but when the drift of an argument tends to impair public confidence in the Government, a man had far better keep his silence.

Frank, "From Harrisburg: Correspondence of the Agitator (Feb. 6, 1862), Agitator [Wellsboro, Pa.], Feb. 12, 1862, p. 2
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“We sat up till midnight, and awoke the echoes of that quarter of Richmond with the most vociferous singing of National airs, not forgetting ‘John Brown’s body,’ which was especially obnoxious to the Rebels, and therefore particularly agreeable to us.”

Junius Henri Browne, Four Years in Secessia (Hartford: O.D. Case and Company, 1865), 265.
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A good critic has said "Throughout the whole life of John Brown, there is not so much of invective and bitterness as is found in a single page of Mr. Garrison.  The habitual mildness of John Brown's language, even under very strong provocation, was as wonderful as was the might of his acts."

National Baptist, February 18, 1886.  Brief notes under "John Brown Letter Extracts, Notes," Boyd B. Stutler Papers #RP06-0080 A-E
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