Osawatomie, Kansas, Sept. 10, 1858.
Dear Friend, And Other Friends, — Your kind and very welcome letter of the 11th July was received a long time since, but I was sick at the time, and have been ever since until now; so that I did not even answer the letters of my own family, or any one else, before yesterday, when I began to try. I am very weak yet, but gaining well. All seems quiet now. I have been down about six weeks. As things now look I would say that if you had not already sent forward those little articles,1 do not do it. Before I was taken sick there seemed to be every prospect of some business very soon; and there is some now that requires doing; but, under all the circumstances, I think not best to send them.
I have heard nothing direct from Forbes for months, but expect to when I get to Lawrence. I have but fourteen regularly employed hands, the most of whom are now at common work, and some are sick. Much sickness prevails. How we travel may not be best to write. I have often met the “notorious” Montgomery, and think very favorably of him.
It now looks as though but little business can be accomplished until we get our mill into operation. I am most anxious about that, and want you to name the earliest date possible, as near as you can learn, when you can have your matters gathered up. Do let me hear from you on this point (as soon as consistent), so that I may have some idea how to arrange my business. Dear friends, do be in earnest; the harvest we shall reap, if we are only up and doing.
1 The whistles, etc., mentioned in this note, sent to me from Brooklyn in March, 1858. “Please get for me (if you can) a quantity of whistles such as are used by the boatswain on ships of war. They will be of great service. Every ten men ought to have one at least. Also some little articles as marks of distinction, which I mentioned to you.”
SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 477