Saturday, October 29, 2016

George L. Stearns to the National Kansas Committee in New York City, May 10, 1857

Since the close of the last year we have confined our operations to aiding those persons in Kansas who were, or intended to become citizens of the territory, — believing that sufficient inducements to immigrate existed in the prosperous state of affairs there; and we now believe that should quiet and prosperity continue there for another year, the large influx of Northern and Eastern men will secure the state for freedom. To insure the present prosperity we propose:—

I. To have our legislature make a grant of one hundred thousand dollars, to be placed in the hands of discreet persons, who shall use it for the relief of those in Kansas who are, or may become, destitute through Border-ruffian outrage. We think it will be done.

II. To organize a secret force, well armed, and under control of the famous John Brown, to repel Border-ruffian outrage and defend the Free-state men from all alleged impositions. This organization is strictly to be a defensive one.

III. To aid by timely donations of money those parties of settlers in the territory who from misfortune are unable to provide for their present wants.

I am personally acquainted with Captain Brown, and have great confidence in his courage, prudence, and good judgment. He has control of the whole affair, including contributions of arms, clothing, etc. His presence in the territory will, we think, give the Free-state men confidence in their cause, and also check the disposition of the Border-ruffians to impose on them. This I believe to be the most important work to be done in Kansas at the present time. Many of the Free-state leaders, being engaged in speculations, are willing to accept peace on any terms. Brown and his friends will hold to the original principle of making Kansas free, without regard to private interests. If you agree with me, I should like to have your money appropriated for the use of Captain John Brown. If not that, the other proposition, to aid parties of settlers now in the territory, will be the next best.

George L. Stearns.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 386-7 which states the date of this letter as May 18, 1857; Frank Preston Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns, p. 139-40 which dates the letter as May 10, 1857 for which I give more weight being written by son of the letter’s author.

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