Chatham, Canada West, May 14, 1858.
My Dear Sir, — Your much-prized letter of the 10th inst. is received. I have only time to say at this moment that as it is an invariable rule with me to be governed by circumstances, or, in other words, not to do anything while I do not know what to do, none of our friends need have any fears in relation to hasty or rash steps being taken by us. As knowledge is said to be power, we propose to become possessed of more knowledge. We have many reasons for begging our Eastern friends to keep clear of F.1 personally, unless he throws himself upon them. We have those who are thoroughly posted up to put on his track, and we beg to be allowed to do so. We also beg our friends to supply us with three or four hundred dollars without delay, pledging ourselves not to act other than to secure perfect knowledge of facts in regard to what F. has really done, or will do, so that we may ourselves know how we ought to act. None of us here or with you should be hasty, or decide the course to be taken, while under excitement. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” A good cause is sure to be safe in the hands of an all-good, all-wise, and all-powerful Director and Father. Dear Sir, please send this to the friends at Boston and Worcester at once; and in the mean time send me on a plain copy of all that F. may hereafter write and say. The copy, together with fifteen dollars, is received. Direct all communications on outside envelope to James M. Bell, Chatham, Canada West; the inside, sealed, to Jason Brown.
P. S. You can say with perfect truth to F. that you do not know what has become of me; and you might ask him when he last heard from me, and where I was at the time.
1 Hugh Forbes.
SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 456-7