Osawatomie, K. T., Oct. 2, 1857.
Mr. J. B.
Dear Friend, — Yours of September 5 was received yesterday, having been mailed at Lawrence the day before. Your whereabouts had for some time been to us unknown. The letter you sent to “Mr. Addis” was forwarded to me in the latter part of June.1 I secured the sum of money requested, but the men failed to go. I was in Lawrence about a month since; Mr. Whitman was East. “Mr. Addis” said that the last he had heard of you, you had gone to Chicago, but expected you would return to Tabor again before long; thought some persons would go and meet you, — talked some of going himself. You desire much a personal interview with me, and also definite information about matters as they “really are” now in the Territory. As to a personal interview, I should be happy to have one; but the state of my own health and of my family forbids my going to Tabor at present. For nearly five weeks past I have spent most of my time in taking care of the sick, when able to do anything. I had a man hired to work for me, who about the 1st of September was taken very sick (fever and internal inflammation); has been better, and again worse, and is still dangerous. I was absent nearly one week at Lecompton, as a witness in the case of the Osawatomie town site; some outsiders having tried to preempt a part of it. Had to hire a man during my absence, to take care of the sick man. Since my return I have been much troubled with illness, sometimes severe when I exercise much. Florella and the babe have very sore throats; the babe is teething, has chills sometimes, and requires much care. Charles and Emma are well at present. Mrs. Garrison2 and babe have been with us since the first of June until last week. She came back, went to Lecompton to preempt her claim in June, just before the land-office closed; but did not succeed, because I could not swear that she had as a widow built, or caused to be built, a house on the claim. The house her husband built they would not recognize as being built by her “as a widow.” She had to return and have another built, which has been done. She went last week and preempted, and has returned to Ohio. For a number of weeks before she left she and her babe had both been sick. Though we have not had much sickness among the members of our own family proper, yet we are in a measure worn out taking care of the sick. We greatly feel the need of rest and quiet. There is a good deal of sickness around, — chiefly among the more recent emigrants. It has been drier here this year than last. My corn and potatoes are almost an entire failure. Mine were planted early; later crops have done better.
As to political matters, I have my own views of things. Walker has disgraced himself, — has not fulfilled a pledge made in his Topeka speech; indeed, I never had confidence to believe be would. But the Free-State men have determined to go into the October election, and many are sanguine that they will carry it. I may be disappointed, but cannot see things in so favorable a light as they do. An invasion such as we had in '54 and '55 I do not expect; but doubtless many voters from slave States will be smuggled in, and fraudulent returns will be made; nor do I suppose it will be possible for the Free-State men to show up the frauds so as to gain their ends. The showing up of frauds does not amount to much where those who are to decide upon the frauds are abettors or perpetrators of them, and the highest rewards are given from headquarters for the most bold and outrageous perpetrators. Hence I rather expect that the proslavery men will carry the day October 5. If disappointed, I shall rejoice. What course things will take if the Free-State men fail, I do not know. Some prophesy trouble right along. This would not surprise me were it to occur. But I would deplore a renewal of war. If it is to be commenced again, the boil had better be probed in the centre, at Washington, where the corruption is the worst. The proslavery men in the Territory are but petty tools.
No recent word from Hudson, Akron, or Grafton. We have now a tri-weekly mail to Westport, and also to Lawrence; mails generally regular. I know of no means of sending you by private conveyance. Send by mail, addressing on the envelope as you requested.
S. L. Adair.
P. S. A letter from you to me by mail would probably reach me without much risk.
1 I suppose “Mr. Addis” was W. A. Phillips.
2 Widow of a neighbor killed August 80, 1856.
SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 415-7