Saturday, July 15, 2017

John Brown's Parallels, January 1859

Trading Post, Kansas, January, 1859.

Gentlemen, — You will greatly oblige a humble friend by allowing the use of your columns while I briefly state two parallels, in my poor way.

Not one year ago eleven quiet citizens of this neighborhood, — William Robertson, William Colpetzer, Amos Hall, Austin Hall, John Campbell, Asa Snyder, Thomas Stilwell, William Hairgrove, Asa Hairgrove, Patrick Ross, and B. L. Reed, — were gathered up from their work and their homes by an armed force under one Hamilton, and without trial or opportunity to speak in their own defence were formed into line, and all but one shot, — five killed and five wounded. One fell unharmed, pretending to be dead. All were left for dead. The only crime charged against them was that of being Free-State men. Now, I inquire what action has ever, since the occurrence in May last, been taken by either the President of the United States, the Governor of Missouri, the Governor of Kansas, or any of their tools, or by any proslavery or Administration man, to ferret out and punish the perpetrators of this crime?

Now for the other parallel.1 On Sunday, December 19, a negro man called Jim came over to the Osage settlement, from Missouri, and stated that he, together with his wife, two children, and another negro man, was to be sold within a day or two, and begged for help to get away. On Monday (the following) night, two small companies were made up to go to Missouri and forcibly liberate the live slaves, together with other slaves. One of these companies I assumed to direct. We proceeded to the place, surrounded the buildings, liberated the slaves, and also took certain property supposed to belong to the estate. We however learned before leaving that a portion of the articles we had taken belonged to a man living on the plantation as a tenant, and who was supposed to have no interest in the estate. We promptly returned to him all we had taken. We then went to another plantation, where we found five more slaves, took some property and two white men. We moved all slowly away into the Territory for some distance, and then sent the white men back, telling them to follow us as soon as they chose to do so. The other company freed one female slave, took some property, and, as I am informed, killed one white man (the master), who fought against the liberation.

Now for a comparison. Eleven persons are forcibly restored to their natural and inalienable rights, with but one man killed, and all “hell is stirred from beneath.” It is currently reported that the Governor of Missouri has made a requisition upon the Governor of Kansas for the delivery of all such as were concerned in the last named “dreadful outrage.” The Marshal of Kansas is said to be collecting a posse of Missouri (not Kansas) men at West Point, in Missouri, a little town about ten miles distant, to “enforce the laws.” All proslavery, conservative, Free-State, and dough-face men and Administration tools are filled with holy horror.

Consider the two cases, and the action of the Administration party.

Respectfully yours,
John Brown.

1 On the back of the original draft of “Old Brown’s Parallels,” in Brown’s handwriting, is the following indorsement by him in pencil of stations on the “Underground Railroad” through Kansas:—

Raynard, Holton, Nemaha City.
Dr. Fuller, six miles. On River Road,
Martin Stowell, Mount Vernon
Smith, Walnut Creek, fifteen.
Mills and Graham (attorneys), Albany, twenty-five.
Dr. Whitenger and Sibley, Nebraska City.
Mr. Vincent, Ira Reed, Mr. Gardner.

Besides these entries appear the following: —

Teamsters, Dr. To cash each, $1.00
Linsley, Dr. at Smith's

On the other end of the same page, —

Cash received by J. Brown on his private account, of J. H. Painter on note
Cash received by J. Brown on his private account, of J H. Painter for saddle
Cash received by J. Brown on his private account, of J. H. Painter for wagon

“J. Brown paid for company: For G. Gill, $5.70; to Penree, $39.00; to Painter, $8.00; to Townsend for shoes, $1.65; to Pearce, $3.00; to Carpenter, $10.00; to Kagi, $8.00; to Carpenter for making shirts, $2.00.”

These are part of the cost of the journey, no doubt.

SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 481-3

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