May it please the Court, — I discover that, notwithstanding all the assertions I have received of a fair trial, nothing like a fair trial is to be given me, as it would seem. I gave the names, as soon as I could get at them, of the persons I wished to have called as witnesses, and was assured that they would be subpoenaed. I wrote down a memorandum to that effect, saying where those parties were, but it appears that they have not been subpoenaed, so far as I can learn. And now I ask if I am to have anything at all deserving the name and shadow of a fair trial, that this proceeding be deferred until to-morrow morning; for I have no counsel, as I have before stated, in whom I feel that I can rely, but I am in hopes counsel may arrive who will see that I get the witnesses necessary for my defence. I am myself unable to attend to it. I have given all the attention I possibly could to it, but am unable to see or know about them, and can't even find out their names; and I have nobody to do any errand, for my money was all taken from me when I was hacked and stabbed, and I have not a dime. I had two hundred and fifty or sixty dollars in gold and silver taken from my pocket, and now I have no possible means of getting anybody to go any errands for me, and I have not had all the witnesses subpoenaed. They are not within reach, and are not here. I ask at least until to-morrow morning to have something done, if anything is designed. If not, I am ready for anything that may come up.
SOURCES: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 574; “The Virginia Rebellion. Trial of John Brown,” The New York Times, New York, New York, Saturday, October 29, 1859, p. 12 for the date.