Thursday, May 11, 2017

John Brown to Theodore Parker, February 2, 1858

Rochester, N. Y., Feb. 2, 1858.

My Dear Sir, — I am again out of Kansas, and am at this time concealing my whereabouts; but for very different reasons, however, from those I had for doing so at Boston last spring. I have nearly perfected arrangements for carrying out an important measure in which the world has a deep interest, as well as Kansas; and only lack from five to eight hundred dollars to enable me to do so, — the same object for which I asked for secret-service money last fall. It is my only errand here; and I have written to some of our mutual friends in regard to it, but they none of them understand my views so well as you do, and 1 cannot explain without their first committing themselves more than I know of their doing. I have heard that Parker Pillsbury and some others in your quarter hold out ideas similar to those on which I act; but I have no personal acquaintance with them, and know nothing of their influence or means. Cannot you either by direct or indirect action do something to further me? Do you not know of some parties whom you could induce to give their abolition theories a thoroughly practical shape? I hope this will prove to be the last time I shall be driven to harass a friend in such a way. Do you think any of my Garrisonian friends, either at Boston, Worcester, or any other place, can be induced to supply a little “straw,” if I will absolutely make “bricks”! 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, and must beg you to consider this communication strictly confidential, — unless you know of parties who will feel and act, and hold their peace. I want to bring the thing about during the next sixty days. Please write N. Hawkins, care William J. Watkins, Esq., Rochester, N. Y.

Very respectfully your friend,
John Brown.1
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1 Weiss's Life of Theodore Parker, vol. ii. pp. 163, 164.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 434-5

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