Sunday, July 30, 2017

Diary of Ralph Waldo Emerson, March 1857

Captain John Brown gave a good account of himself in the Town Hall last night to a meeting of citizens. One of his good points was the folly of the peace party in Kansas, who believed that their strength lay in the greatness of their wrongs, and so discountenanced resistance. He wished to know if their wrong was greater than the negro's, and what kind of strength that gave to the negro? He believes, on his own experience, that one good, believing, strong-minded man is worth a hundred — nay, twenty thousand — men without character, for a settler in a new country, and that the right men will give a permanent direction to the fortunes of a State. For one of these bullying, drinking rowdies, he seemed to think cholera, smallpox, and consumption were as valuable recruits. The first man who went into Kansas from Missouri to interfere in the elections, he thought, “had a perfect right to be shot.” He gave a circumstantial account of the battle of Black Jack, where twenty-three Missourians surrendered to nine Abolitionists. Ho had three thousand sheep in Ohio, and would instantly detect a strange sheep in his flock. A cowcan tell its calf by secret siguals, he thinks, by the eye, to run away, to lie down, and hide itself. He always makes friends with his horse or mule (or with the deer that visit his Ohio farm); and when he sleeps on his horse, as he does as readily as on his bed, his horse does not start or endanger him. Brown described the expensiveness of war in a country where everything that is to be eaten or worn by man or beast must be dragged a long distance on wheels. “God protects us in winter,' he said; 'no Missourian can be seen in the country until the grass comes up again.”

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 501

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