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Senate Select Committee Report on the Harper’s Ferry Invasion
Testimony of Richard Realf

Pp. 90-113


January 21, 1860.

Richard Realf sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:

Question. Will you state to the committee of what country you are a native, and what your age is?
Answer. I am a native of England. I was born in the year 1834. I shall therefore be twenty-six next June.

Question. When did you first come to this country?
Answer. In 1854.

Question. Are your parents living now in England?
Answer. They are.

Question. Will you state what was the occupation in life of your father?
Answer. At the time I left England my father was filling the position which he now fills, namely, and officer of the English rural police.

Question. To what occupation had he been bred?
Answer. My father was a blacksmith at one time. That trade he learned himself. He was a peasant, which means an agricultural laborer.

Question. Will you state what brought you to the United States in 1854?
Answer. I had been a protege of Lady Noell Byron, widow of Lord Byron. I had disagreed with Lady Noell Byron, on account of some private matters, which it is not necessary to explain here, but which rendered me desirous of finding some other place in which to dwell. Moreover, my instincts were democratic and republican, or, at least, anti-monarchical. Therefore I came to America.

Question. Had you any acquaintance in this county when you came over?
Answer. No, sir; no personal acquaintance.

Question. Will you say whether you formed the acquaintance of John Brown, who was recently executed in Virginia for murder and treason?
Answer. Yes, sir; I did form his acquaintance.

Question. When?
Answer. In the year 1857. I cannot say whether it was the last day of November or the first of December, but within two or three days of that time.

Question. Will you state what brought you to his acquaintance, and where it was?
Answer. I was residing in the city of Lawrence, Kansas, as a correspondent of the Illinois State Gazette, edited by Messrs. Bailhace & Baker. I had been, and was, a radical abolitionist. In November, 1857, John Edwin Cook, also recently executed in Virginia, came to my boarding-house, in Lawrence, bringing me an invitation from John Brown to visit him at a place called Tabor, in Iowa. There I met John Brown.

Question. You went with Cook?
Answer. I went with John E. Cook.

Question. Did Brown then make known to you the object of the invitation to come and see him?
Answer. John Brown made known to a certain, but not to any definite and detailed degree, his intentions. He stated that he purposed to make an incursion into the Southern States, somewhere in the mountainous region of the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies.

Question. What was the plan and purpose of the incursion, or did he develop it?
Answer. At Tabor, in Iowa, no place was named.

Question. What were the character and object of the incursion? Did he tell that?
Answer. To liberate the slaves.

Question. Did he disclose how he proposed to effect it?
Answer. Not at that time.

Question. Did you enter into any arrangements or engagements with him in reference to it?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. State what they were.
Answer. I agreed to accompany him.

Question. Did you remain under his control or guidance? What subsequent disposition did you make of yourself, or did he make of you, after that interview at Tabor?
Answer. I will tell you. From Tabor, where I myself first met John Brown and the majority of the persons forming the white part of his company in Virginia, we passed across the State of Iowa, until we reached Cedar county, in that State. We started in December, 1857. It was about the end of December, 1857, or the beginning of January, 1858, when we reached Cedar county, the journey thus consuming about a month of time. We stopped at a village called Springdale, in that county, where in a settlement principally composed of Quakers, we remained.

Question. Did John Brown accompany you there?
Answer. John Brown accompanied us thither, but, whilst we ourselves remained there, John Brown went on East.

Question. Now, will you state who composed the company that Brown had assembled there, distinguishing between the whites and blacks, if there were any blacks?
Answer. Myself, Mr. Kagi, Mr. Cook, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Tidd, Mr. Leeman, Mr. Moffet, and Mr. Parsons, all these being whites, and Mr. Richard Richardson, a colored man, whom I met with Brown, at Tabor. These composed our company.

Question. How long did you remain at Springdale?
Answer. From the month -- whether it be, I cannot now remember, the latter part of December, 1857, or the beginning of January, 1858, but from that time up until about the last week in April, a period of nearly three months.

Question. What was your occupation while you were there?
Answer. We were being drilled a part of the time, and receiving military lessons under Mr. Stevens. A part of the time I was lecturing.

Question. Did Brown provide for the support of the company while you were there?
Answer. Brown provided for the support of the company whilst we were there in this way: upon reaching there he, finding himself unable to dispose of the mules and wagons with which he transported us across the State, and unable to get the price he desired for them, left us there to board, the property named to belong to the man who kept us, a price having been agreed upon between himself and Mr. Brown.

Question. Whom did you board with?
Answer. With a Mr. Maxom.

Question. Did he keep a tavern?
Answer. No, sir; a private farm-house.

Question. You remained there, you say, until the following April?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Will you inform the committee whether, during your residence there or at any time subsequent to Brown's inviting you to join that party, you heard of a man or made the acquaintance of a man named Forbes?
Answer. I never made the acquaintance of Colonel Forbes. I have heard of such a man.

Question. Will you say whether it was expected that he should be your military instructor? I mean anything you learned from Brown on the subject.
Answer. Yes, sir. You did not ask me the question, but I may as well state the fact that during our passage across Iowa, Brown's plan in regard to an incursion into Virginia gradually manifested itself. It was a matter of discussion between us as to the possibility of effecting a successful insurrection in the mountains, some arguing that it was, some that it was not; myself thinking, and still thinking, that a mountainous country is a very fine country for an insurrection, in which I am borne out by historic evidence which it is not necessary to state now.

Question. Brown's plans, then, were to make an incursion somewhere into the mountainous regions of Virginia?
Answer. Yes sir.

Question. Did he say when he expected to effect it?
Answer. In that spring.

Question. Will you state whether the military training that he proposed for you and the company, had a reference to that incursion?
Answer. It was my belief that it had.

Question. Did he give you, in the course of conversation, any outlines or plans as to how he proposed to effect it -- the mode of doing it?
Answer. Not during our residence in Iowa.

Question. You say Brown left you there. When did he return?
Answer. Brown returned a day or two before the period at which we left, namely, the last week in April, 1858.

Question. Did he inform you or the company, in conversation, how he had been occupied during the period of his absence?
Answer. No, sir; and here I ought to say, which you have also omitted to ask in regard to Colonel Forbes, that whereas we expected Colonel Forbes to be our military instructor, yet, in consequence of a disagreement between himself and John Brown, the latter wrote us from the East that Forbes would not become our military instructor and that we should not expect him.

Question. Do you remember the point in the East he wrote from?
Answer. I do not. He used to write to his son Owen, one of the deceased persons, and in stating the number of persons comprising our company, I accidentally omitted his son. Owen was with us.

Question. Did Brown have much correspondence with his son while he was absent.
Answer. No, sir; the correspondence was very rare.

Mr. Collamer. In stating what was said by Brown, I desire the witness, as much as possible to give exactly what Brown himself said -- the words used.
The Chairman. Exactly. It is desirable, of course, that you should give, if you can, the exact language; or if you cannot do that, give the substance of any communication from Brown.
The Witness. I will endeavor to do so.

Question. What was the next movement made by the company and Brown after his return in April?
Answer. The next movement after his arrival was an immediate departure from Iowa into Canada, via Chicago and Detroit.

Question. You remained at Springdale, you say, January, February, and March, something more than three months?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Were the objects of your assembling there made known to the people around, in any way?
Answer. Not by myself; I cannot tell whether by others.

Question. Could you not learn something of it from conversations?
Answer. I am inclined to think that the people knew nothing at all of our movements for the reason that by some we were suspected to be Mormon emissaries.

Question. Did you not divest yourselves of that suspicion.
Answer. No, sir.

Question. Can you inform the committee whether there was any person or persons in that neighborhood who did know of the object of your assembling and your future plans?
Answer. I do believe that John Brown had given a man named Townsend, I cannot remember his first name, a member of the Society of Friends, some indirect and indefinite hints of his plan. I do also think that from the nature of a conversation which a Mr. Varny, also residing in the immediate neighborhood, and being a Quaker, held with myself, that some one must have given him some hints in [page 94] regard to the same matter; but neither of those people were evidently, from the tone of their conversation, possessed of any definite information in regard to the matter.

Question. How were your military trainings conducted? Where were they conducted?
Answer. Principally in a field behind the house of Mr. Maxom; it being generally understood in the place where we were boarding, in the vicinity and round about, that we were thus studying military tactics and being drilled in order to return to Kansas and prosecute our endeavors to make Kansas a free State.

Question. That was the first idea?
Answer. That was the general understanding.

Question. Had you arms?
Answer. Yes, sir. John E. Cook had his own private arms. We had our private arms. I had my pair of Colt's revolvers.

Question. Did Brown furnish you with any arms?
Answer. No, sir, not myself, ever.

Question. I mean any of his company?
Answer. Not to my knowledge, because I suppose you will remember that I met the people comprising this company gathered together at Tabor. All of these people had been engaged in Kansas warfare. Everybody at that period in Kansas went armed, and the inference is that they were well armed before they met John Brown. Indeed, I am certain of that matter, because, in a greater or less degree, all of them had been engaged in the Kansas troubles.

Question. I only wanted to know whether Brown had furnished you any arms for the purpose of training.
Answer. No, sir.

Question. What part of Canada did you stop at?
Answer. We stopped at a town called Chatham, in Canada West.

By Mr. Collamer:

Question. What time did you get there?
Answer. It must have been about April 28 or 29, 1858, I think; or perhaps the 1st or 2d of May. I cannot remember within two or three days. I recollect it was at that time, because the convention, to which we shall come presently, was held on the 10th of May; and we were there a sufficient time to allow John Brown to write letters, about which I shall, doubtless, be asked.

By the Chairman:

Question. Will you state who of the company that you had at Springdale, accompanied John Brown to Chatham?
Answer. All of the company whom I named as having gone to Springdale and two others: a young man named George B. Gill, who resided at Springdale, who had learned of our plans, from whom I do not know, but I suppose from John Brown, inasmuch as he never manifested any desire to accompany us anywhere until the return of John Brown; and another young man, named Stewart Taylor, the latter of whom was killed at Harper's Ferry, and the former of whom, so far as I have been able to learn, was not present at the incursion.

Question. Where did Stewart Taylor come from?
Answer. I do not know.

Question. Did this man Richardson, the negro, go with you to Chatham?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Was Brown's intercourse with the negro of a character to show that he treated him as an equal and an associate?
Answer. It certainly was. To prove it, I will simply state that, having to wait twelve hours at Chicago, in order to make railroad connection from Chicago to Detroit, and to Canada, we necessarily had to breakfast and dine. We went into one of the hotels in order to breakfast. We took this colored man, Richardson, to table with us. The keeper of the hotel explained to us that it could not be allowed. We did not eat our breakfast. We went to another hotel, where we could take a colored man with us and sit down to breakfast.

Question. Where you could enjoy your rights, I suppose?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Will you state in what way the expenses of your transportation were defrayed?
Answer. They were defrayed by John Brown.

Question. What was done on your arrival at Chatham?
Answer. Upon our arrival in Chatham, Canada West, we boarded at a hotel kept by a colored man, (I do not remember his name,) whence written (not printed) circulars were sent to certain persons east and west for Chicago is west of Canada, inviting their attendance at a quiet convention of the friends of freedom, to be held on the day named, namely, May 10, 1858.

Question. Did you remain there during the intermediate time between the last of April and the 10th of May; or was the convention held earlier?
Answer. There were two conventions. The constitutional convention was held two days previous to the election of officers. The constitution had been adopted, and then the election of the officers was held. I had forgotten that before. The constitutional convention was on the 8th of May, 1858. The Chairman here submits to the witness the papers heretofore produced by Andrew Hunter, and purporting to be the minutes or "Journal of the Provisional Constitutional Convention," and of the convention to elect officers, signed respectively by "J.H. Kagi," as "secretary of the convention," and asks the following

Question. Do you know the handwriting of these papers?
Answer. I do; it is the handwriting of John Henry Kagi.
[The papers are identified by the chairman placing his initials thereon.]

Question. It is stated in these minutes that "on motion of Mr. Delany, Mr. Brown then proceeded to state the object of the convention at length." Did you know this "Mr. Delany?"
Answer. Yes, sir; he was a colored doctor, residing in Chatham, Canada West.

Question. Do you mean a negro when you say "colored?"
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Who was the presiding officer of this convention?
Answer. A man named Munroe -- a preacher.

Question. Where did he come from?
Answer. I believe the city of Detroit.

By Mr. Collamer:

Question. Was he a colored man?
Answer. Yes, sir; a mulatto.

By the Chairman:

Question. Do you recollect Brown's speech, which, it is said in these minutes "developed the plan?"
Answer. I cannot remember his speech. I can remember certain salient points and leading ideas in his speech.

Question. He did make a speech?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Of course you cannot remember the speech; but will you state as briefly but as exactly as you can, what he did state to be the object in view of this constitution and all that?
Answer. John Brown, on rising, stated that for twenty or thirty years the idea had possessed him like a passion of giving liberty to the slaves. He stated immediately thereafter, that he made a journey to England in 1851, in which year he took to the international exhibition at London, samples of wool from Ohio, during which period he made a tour upon the European continent, inspecting all fortifications, and especially all earth-work forts which he could find, with a view, as he stated, of applying the knowledge thus gained, with modifications and inventions of his own, to such a mountain warfare as he thereafter spoke upon in the United States. John Brown stated, moreover, that he had not been indebted to anyone for the suggestion of this plan; that it arose spontaneously in his own mind; that through a series of from twenty to thirty years it had gradually formed and developed itself into shape and plan. He stated that he had read all the books upon insurrectionary warfare which he could lay his hands upon -- the Roman warfare; the successful opposition of the Spanish chieftains during the period when Spain was a Roman province; how with ten thousand men divided and subdivided into small companies, acting simultaneously, yet separately, they withstood the whole consolidated power of the Roman empire through a number of years. In addition to this, he said he had become very familiar with the successful warfare waged by Schamyl, the Circassian chief, against the Russians; he had posted himself in relation to the wars of Toussaint L'Overture [sic] ; he had become thoroughly acquainted with the wars in Hayti and the islands round about; and from all these things he had drawn the conclusion, believing, as he stated there he did believe, and as we all (if I may judge from myself) believed, that upon the first intimation of a plan formed for the liberation of the slaves, they would immediately rise all over the Southern States. He supposed that they would come into the mountains to join him, where he purposed to work, and that by flocking to his standard they would enable him (by making the line of mountains which cuts diagonally through Maryland and Virginia down through the Southern States into Tennessee and Alabama, the base of his operations) to act upon the plantations on the plains lying on each side of that range of mountains, and that we should be able to establish ourselves in the fastnesses, and if any hostile action (as would be) were taken against us, either by the militia of the separate States, or by the armies of the United States, we purposed to defeat first the militia, and next, if it were possible, the troops of the United States, and then organize the freed blacks under this provisional constitution, which would carve out for the locality of its jurisdiction all that mountainous region in which the blacks were to be established, and in which they were to be taught the useful and mechanical arts, and to be instructed in all the business of life. Schools were also to be established, and so on. That was it.

Question. Did he develop in that plan where he expected to get aid or assistance; who were to be his soldiers?
Answer. The negroes were to constitute the soldiers. John Brown expected that all the free negroes in the Northern States would immediately flock to his standard. He expected that all the slaves in the Southern States would do the same. He believed, too, that as many of the free negroes in Canada as could accompany him, would do so.

Question. Was anything said in his developments of his expectations and resources after he got into the slave States, of any division of sentiment between the slaveholders and non-slaveholders?
Answer. The slaveholders were to be taken as hostages, if they refused to let their slaves go. It is a mistake to suppose that they were to be killed; they were not to be. They were to be held as hostages for the safe treatment of any prisoners of John Brown's who might fall into the hands of hostile parties.

Question. As to the non-slaveholders; was there anything said about them?
Answer. All the non-slaveholders were to be protected. Those who would not join the organization of John Brown, but who would not oppose it, were to be protected; but those who did oppose it, were to be treated as the slaveholders themselves.

By Mr. Davis:

Question. Where did he expect in the first instance to get his resources of money and arms?
Answer. John Brown expected that --

Mr. Collamer: Did he say that? We are talking now of what he said in his speech. Mr. Davis. What he stated.
Answer. John Brown did not make any explicit or definite statement in his speech at all as regarded where the money was to come from.

Mr. Fitch. I do not understand that the witness is limited to that speech.
The Chairman. No, sir.
Mr. Fitch. The understanding was that he was to state to the committee any information derived from Brown himself at any time.
The Chairman. It was to prevent confusion of what he did derive from Brown and from other sources, that I put the questions as I did.
Mr. Collamer. But I suppose what he is telling us now is what Brown stated in that speech on that occasion.
The Witness. I have been stating what Brown said in that speech, all this being a part thereof. Mr. Davis. So I understood, and that is the reason I asked the question I did.
The Witness. It is not yet quite all of that speech.
Mr. Davis. I did not wish to break the chain.

The Chairman. Go on and give us all you can recollect of Brown's exposition on that occasion.
Answer. Thus, John Brown said that he believed, a successful incursion could be made; that it could be successfully maintained; that the several slave States could be forced (from the position in which they found themselves) to recognize the freedom of those who had been slaves within the respective limits of those States; that immediately such recognitions were made, then the places of all the officers elected under this provisional constitution became vacant, and new elections were to be made. Moreover, no salaries were to be paid to the officeholders under this constitution. It was purely out of that which we supposed to be philanthropy -- love for the slave. Moreover, it is a mistake to suppose, as Cook in his confession has stated -- and I now get away from John Brown's speech -- that at the period of that convention the people present took an oath to support that constitution. They did no such thing. This Dr. Delany of whom I have spoken, proposed, immediately the convention was organized, that an oath should be taken by all who were present, not to divulge any of the proceedings that might transpire; whereupon John Brown rose and stated his objections to such an oath. He had himself conscientious scruples against taking an oath, and all he requested was a promise that any person who should thereafter divulge any of the proceedings that might transpire, agreed to forfeit the protection which that organization could extend over him.

Mr. Davis. If the witness has concluded his recollection in relation to what Brown stated --
The Witness. No, sir; I have not. John Brown stated in that convention, in the speech he made, that there were a great number of rich people all over the free States who, he doubted not, would assist him. He stated that he had some rich friends in the free States who had assisted him, and who had promised further to assist him, but John Brown did not disclose their names, being too profound and sagacious a man to do so.

Question. Did he say, do you recollect, that the friends to whom he referred had promised aid, or that he expected it only?
Answer. That they had assisted him in some degree; that they had promised to assist him further.

By Mr. Collamer:

Question. Did he state that those people understood this -- his plan?
Answer. No, sir; he did not state so explicitly, but that was the idea which he conveyed to us. In order to render that answer intelligible, I should say that John Brown had, from the time he went to Kansas, devoted his whole being, mental, moral, and physical, all that he had and was, to the extinction of slavery. He stated that he only went to Kansas in order to gain a footing for the furtherance of this matter. He stated that explicitly and emphatically.

Question. That this was his private purpose?
Answer. Yes, sir; that that was his private purpose; and he stated that, having left his wife and children and home, these friends had assisted him to prosecute his designs against slavery in Kansas first, and next generally in his enterprises in the cause of freedom.

By the Chairman:

Question. Have you gone through with your recollections of Brown's exposition to the convention?
Answer. I have, except that if any questions should be asked me in regard thereto, they might suggest certain things to me which I cannot now remember without those questions. I have stated as much as I can, of my own recollection, remember.

Question. Will you tell us this: was there any person belonging to Canada in that convention who took any part in the discussion of John Brown's plan, after his exposition?
Answer. Yes, sir; Dr. Delany was one of the prominent disputants, or debaters.

Question. Will you state, as far as you can recollect, anything that fell from Delany showing a coincidence of purpose with John Brown?
Answer. The whole tenor of Dr. Delany's speeches was to convey the idea to John Brown that he might rely upon all the colored people in Canada to assist him.

By Mr. Davis:

Question. Were there any Canadians other than negroes?
Answer. No, sir; not one.

By the Chairman:

Question. Have you any reason to know whether the purposes of the convention, or the purposes ultimately disclosed in the convention, were known to the white people around you there in Chatham?
Answer. I am confident that they were not.

Question. Was the convention held in the presence of an audience or in secret?
Answer. The convention was held with closed doors, all other persons present excepting Brown's original party being colored men.

Question. And Canadian negroes?
Answer. Yes, sir, Canadian negroes.

Question. You have stated that in traveling from Tabor across Iowa to Springdale, you were about a month engaged in it, and that John Brown conducted the expedition and defrayed the expenses, and that he left you then, and left his mules, &c., in pledge for the expenses of the party. Did he tell you or the company of the object of his going eastward?
Answer. Yes, sir. He had two purposes in going to the East; one to secure the services of Colonel Forbes, and bring him on, in order to instruct us. Another purpose was to secure funds.

Question. How do you mean "to secure funds?"
Answer. To secure funds to enable him to prosecute his business.

Question. How was he to get them?
Answer. I do not know; he did not state. It was to collect funds. Here I ought to state, inasmuch as it may be of use during this examination, that John Brown was a man who would never state more than it was absolutely necessary for him to do. No one of his most intimate associates, and I was one of the most intimate, was possessed of more than barely sufficient information to enable Brown to attach such companion to him; and none of us were cognizant of more than the general plan of his design until the time we reached Chatham, Canada West.

By Mr. Davis:

Question. Have you, from Brown or other sources, any means of informing us where the money and arms were expected to be obtained?
Answer. No, sir; I have not, except to say this -- and I am glad that the question is put -- that a certain number of arms had been placed in the hands of John Brown by Dr. Howe, or which it was supposed had thus been placed, by Dr. Howe, of Boston. Dr. Howe was the Massachusetts representative of the national Kansas committee, a committee which received contributions and made collections to be applied to the assistance of the free State settlers in Kansas during the troubles in that Territory. Afterwards, on account of disagreement, the Massachusetts committee withdrew from the national committee, and had received back a certain quantity of arms which it, Massachusetts, had purchased and thrown into the general granary, so to speak.

Mr. Collamer. Where were those arms, do you know?
The Witness. They had been at Tabor, in Iowa.

Mr. Davis, (to the witness.) You were going on to say something. What was it?
The Witness. Dr. Howe, as the representative of Massachusetts, immediately following the disagreement, withdrew the control of those arms from the national committee, and had therefore himself control over them.

The Chairman. But the arms, I understand, still remained at Tabor.
The Witness. I do not know whether they did or not. I cannot tell, inasmuch as when I reached Tabor John Brown had made all his arrangements for immediate passage across Iowa.

Mr. Davis. The witness was interrupted in what he was going on to state. I desire him to continue it.
The Witness. I do not know that Dr. Howe placed those arms in John Brown's possession, but I supposed so, for a reason which I will explain immediately. Within a day or two following the convention at Chatham, John Brown said to me that he had received a copy of a letter written by Senator Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, from Washington city, to Dr. Howe, of Boston. Brown then stated to me that Colonel Forbes, maddened by the failure to receive money from John Brown, as had been agreed on according to Forbes's statement, and exasperated by the dreadful condition in which his family were, or in which he claimed that they were, in Paris, had threatened to make disclosures of Brown's plan, unless Brown forwarded money to him. Forbes was cognizant of Brown's plan, for the reason that at one period he had agreed, as I learned, to head the expedition; but a rupture occurring between him and Brown, he, being possessed of Brown's plans, threatened to divulge them, and did divulge them, or so much of them as was necessary to put people on the alert. He divulged them, as I say, to Senator Wilson, in this city.

Mr. Collamer. That is what Brown told you.
The Witness. Yes, sir; that is what Brown told me. To explain it a little more, I should perhaps say that Brown had written to us whilst we were at Springdale, that Forbes and himself had disagreed. On the occasion of which I have just spoken, at Chatham, Brown said to me that Colonel Forbes, maddened by the non-receipt of moneys which he had expected to receive, had threatened to divulge Brown's plans, and had done so by coming to Washington, and stating to Senator Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, that Brown had a purpose in view of effecting an insurrection in the Southern States. Senator Wilson, immediately upon receipt of the news, said that he did not think any man, or any company of men, could be wild enough and mad enough to do such a thing; but knowing the character of John Brown, and supposing --

The Chairman. Are you giving this as what Brown told you?
The Witness. I have given that which Brown said to me, and now I am making a statement in regard to what Henry Wilson said.

Mr. Collamer. What Brown told you Mr. Wilson said?
The Witness. What Brown told me he said. Thus, then: Forbes has made this revelation to Wilson, whether definite and in detail I do not know, but he had made a revelation of that kind. Immediately upon receipt thereof, Senator Wilson sat down and wrote to Dr. Howe that, understanding or supposing that arms belonging to the Massachusetts committee, which Howe had withdrawn from the national committee, had been placed by his, Howe's, hands in care of John Brown, he, Wilson, requested him, Howe, to withdraw from John Brown's hands all command over those arms, lest in a moment of madness, he might possibly put into operation such a scheme. This letter was written by Senator Wilson to Dr. Howe, of Massachusetts. All along, I say Dr. Howe, but I cannot swear that it was Dr. Howe; but if it was not he, it was Sanborn, I have nine out of ten that it was Howe. It was one of those two men, and Howe I believe.

Mr. Doolittle. I think here was one sentence you did not finish when you were interrupted by another question. You began a sentence, stating that Mr. Wilson said that he did not think any man or any company of men could be found to go into such a scheme. Please finish it.
The Witness. But lest they should be mad enough to do it, he Wilson, requested him, Howe, to withdraw from Brown's hands those arms, so as to place it out of his power to do the thing. A copy of this letter, thus written by Wilson to Howe, was forwarded by Howe to Brown, at Chatham, and in compliance with the request made to Howe by Wilson, he did withdraw those arms from Brown; that is, he made a requisition on Brown to deliver them up, stating that he withdrew from him the carte blanche, or power or attorney, or whatever it was he had over them. Whether or not he afterwards reinstated Brown in the possession of those arms, I cannot say. That is so much as related to that matter.

By the Chairman:

Question. You have spoken of the contents of the copy of a letter from Wilson to Howe; will you state how you derived a knowledge of those contents?
Answer. John Brown read those letters to me.

Question. Howe's letter to him, and Wilson's letter to Howe?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Mr. Davis. Did the letter of Senator Wilson disclose the fact that Forbes was enraged?
Answer. Only that Forbes had made such a statement to Wilson.

The Chairman. You have stated to us, as I understand, that Brown read to you the copy of Wilson's letter to Howe, which he alleged Howe had sent to him. Now, will you give to the committee, as nearly as your memory will allow, the contents of Wilson's letter to Howe.
The Witness. I can but remember the things of which I have spoken in regard to it, the contents of his letter being that Forbes had made such a revelation to him, Wilson.

The Chairman. What revelation?
The Witness. A revelation that John Brown proposed to commit an incursion on the Southern States. I stated before that I did not know whether Forbes gave any definite or detailed information in regard to the plan or not; because, if he did so, Wilson did not state it.

The Chairman. We do not want your inferences, but we desire you to state, as nearly as you can, the contents of the letter from Wilson to Howe, and the request which you say was contained in it.
The Witness. The request was based upon the statement made by Forbes to Wilson, and Wilson either knowing or supposing, I cannot tell which --

The Chairman. We do not want anything about that. Did the letter itself say what statement Forbes had made?
The Witness. I cannot tell whether it ran in so many words or not, but it said that John Brown had designs against the Southern States, calculated to effect a rupture between the free and the slave States, and in order to stop it he wrote.

By Mr. Davis:

Question. Did Brown's knowledge of Forbes's intention to divulge his secret come from the copy of the letter received by him from Dr. Howe, as having been sent to Dr. Howe by Senator Wilson, or did he know it anterior to that?
Answer. He knew previously to that, that Forbes had threatened to do these things, in several letters.

Question. And now he was made aware that he had done it?
Answer. Yes, sir. Now, he was made aware that Forbes had done so.

By the Chairman:

Question. Do you know whether Brown remained in possession of the arms spoken of by Senator Wilson and Dr. Howe, or whether he afterwards got them into his possession?
Answer. I do not know; for the reason that a very short time following the receipt of that letter by John Brown, I left the party, and have since had no connection with them.

Mr. Collamer. What was the occasion of your leaving the party? For what ostensible purpose did you leave?
The Witness. I will tell you.

The Chairman. Before that, I want to ask what became of the members of the convention when they adjourned.
The Witness. The answer to that will include the answer to the other question.

The Chairman. After the convention adjourned, what became of those members of the convention that had been with you under military drill at Springdale, including yourself?
Answer. Immediately following the adjournment of the convention, a portion of the original company went from Chatham, in Canada, to Cleveland, in Ohio, in the United States.

Question. Who went there?
Answer. I cannot not remember all the party who went there; but I know that Cook was one who went; I know that Stevens was one who went; that Tidd was another; that G.B. Gill was another; that Stewart Taylor was another; that Owen Brown was another; and I think they were all.

Question. Were you with them?
Answer. No, sir; but very shortly afterwards, myself, the colored man Richard Richardson, and another colored man, whose name I cannot recollect, residing in Canada, and who had agreed to accompany us, went from Chatham to Cleveland. In addition to these persons, I now remember that Mr. Leeman, one of the persons killed at Harper's Ferry, went with me, too. Our departure, by which I mean the departure of those who were with me, as contradistinguished from those that went before, was about two weeks later than the departure of the first company.

Question. Then you remained at Chatham for two weeks after the adjournment?
Answer. About that time.

Question. Then you went to Cleveland.
Answer. We went to Cleveland. Now, I ought to say here that those persons comprising the first party who went from Chatham to Cleveland did not remain in the city. They went out into the surrounding country and procured work, John Brown's means being so limited that he could not pay their board. I have not stated what John Brown did yet. He went East, leaving me to go on to Cleveland, and there await the receipt of letters from him from the East, and his own return from that quarter. John Brown went East. He went to North Elba, where his family resided. He wrote to me from North Elba that he would shortly return. Afterwards he went to Boston. He again wrote me from Boston that he had been delayed, but would shortly return. None of John Brown's letters to me, of which I think I received during my stay in Cleveland three, contained over four lines; therefrom you may judge how much John Brown allowed his people to be cognizant of his plans.

Question. Have you preserved those letters?
Answer. No, sir; I destroyed them a long time ago. Well, John Brown returned to Cleveland from the East in the beginning of June, 1858, having, perhaps, been absent East a month from his departure from Chatham, Canada West. On his returning to Cleveland, those of our company who had been out in the country procuring work returned to Cleveland to the hotel where John Brown came, and where I was boarding. I ought, however, now that I remember it, to state that John H. Kagi did not go there to Cleveland with the first party or with myself; but he went to a town called Hamilton, in Canada West, and there, being (among his other accomplishments, for he was a very accomplished man) a practical printer, he privately superintended the printing of the constitution adopted at the convention. Kagi reached Cleveland a few days previous to the arrival of Brown from the East. We were all united there, consequently, once again. John Brown arrived from the East. John Brown had not procured money. He had probably about $300 altogether. He had not enough to pay the necessary expenses for the printing of the copies of the constitution in Canada. He had barely enough to give those who accompanied him a sufficient amount of money to enable them to return back to their different places of abode. Mr. Kagi, John Brown, and Mr. Tidd went back to Kansas. John E. Cook received his quantum of the money. I do not know whither he went. Stewart Taylor received his, and went to Ann Arbor, Michigan. G.B. Gill and Mr. Stevens returned to Springdale, Iowa, the brother of Mr. Gill residing there, and Mr. Stevens having formed some connections which induced him to return. I was to go on to New York city.

Question. Did you go by direction of anybody?
Answer. I went --

Question. What sent you there, or who sent you there?
Answer. John Brown sent me to New York city for this purpose: Knowing that Forbes had made these revelations about which I have spoken, and knowing, too, that it incapacitated him for the time being from prosecuting this plan, he desired me to go on to New York, somehow or other procure an introduction to Forbes; and he being an Englishman and I being an Englishman, he thought we might presently establish mutual good relations; that by ingratiating myself into his esteem, I might ultimately be able to possess myself, acting for Brown, of that obnoxious correspondence held by Forbes, written by Brown to him, in which Brown had developed his plans. For that purpose, I went on to New York, and I ought, in justice to myself to say, that I went with the intention of securing that correspondence; for at that period, though I had not been at all satisfied with the condition of the negroes in Canada, I was still an abolitionist, and I went to New York city purposing to possess myself of this correspondence. I arrived in New York city --

The Chairman. Stop a moment. What were you to do with the correspondence, if you got it?
Answer. Return it to John Brown, so that when Forbes was called upon, (as Brown supposed would be the case,) to substantiate his statements, he should not have the means of doing so. I went to New York. In New York city, I met, for the first time, with a book called "Limitations of Human Responsibility," written by Dr. Wayland, a philosophic author. I had thought a great deal about human responsibility and my own responsibility, perhaps, indeed, a little too much; but I had never thought anything in regard to the limits of it, and that book taught me that there were certain things which I might thoroughly believe myself, but which I had no right to enforce nolens volens on my neighbor, and it set me pondering on a new train of ideas. I did not see Colonel Forbes in New York city. I cannot recollect whether I made any attempt to see him or not. What I know is, that I did not see him. I met in New York city with Judge Arny, examined before your committee the other day, with Thaddeus Hyatt, a mutual friend of ours. To Judge Arny I made a statement of Brown's purpose; not, however, in detailed terms, but I said to him that Brown had in view a project of liberating the slaves in the South. I stated the same to Thaddeus Hyatt. Because the lapse of time is so great, and because I have had so many things passing through my brains since, I have forgotten whether I held any conversation with those men beyond making that simple revelation. I know that I went to England; I know that Judge Arny strongly advised me, instead of connecting myself with any such wild movement, to get married, which he thought would most effectually quiet me. I went to England. Cook, in his confession, states that I went to England for the purpose of procuring assistance for John Brown. I did not. I went to England; I wanted to see my father and my mother. I was home-sick. I did very probably say, indeed I know I have often said to Cook, during my acquaintance with him, that England would be the proper place in which to raise money for abolition purposes. I do not know how Brown became cognizant of my departure for England, or Cook either, except in this wise: Arny, knowing I was going to England, I having consulted him in regard to it, and he having advised me, and assisted me to do so, I suppose that on his return to Kansas, he must have told Brown and Kagi, and the rest of them who were there. I saw a statement in a paper, I do not remember what paper, but sometime ago, I saw a statement that the internal evidence of the letters of Brown and his friends plainly revealed the fact that, though they could trace my departure for England, they could not learn anything of me or my movements since. That, therefore, is evidence that I was not collecting money for them in England, or that if I did, they did not get it; which, so far as implicating me is concerned, amounts to about the same thing. Well, I went to England --

Mr. Collamer. Now, stop. There is no use of pursuing this any further, unless the witness had further connection with Brown. Had you any further connection with Brown?
Answer. No, sir; I knew nothing at all about him.

Mr. Davis. Let the witness proceed, because it has been alleged that he went to England to lecture for the purpose of raising money. The best way in which he can satisfy not only the committee, but others, in relation to what he went there for, is to tell his story.
Mr. Collamer. It has nothing to do with this inquiry before the committee, but I shall not interpose.

The Chairman. Let us have the whole ground.
Mr. Collamer. Very well, if you desire it.

The Witness. I went to England. I lectured in England. I lectured, among other things, on temperance -- principally on that subject. Among other things, too, I lectured on the literature, liberty, &c., of the United States. I was an abolitionist at the time, too. I never, during the period of my sojourn in England, collected, or endeavored to collect, a single cent of money for any purpose whatever. I was paid for lecturing; and "the laborer is worthy of his hire," and I put that money in my pocket. Then I went to France. As I stated just now, I had witnessed a great discrepancy between the actual condition of the negroes in Canada and the statements which I had read in regard to their condition in Canada --

Mr. Doolittle. One word in relation to that. I have no objection to its going down as far as he wants to exculpate himself from any allegation that he has collected money and misapplied it. Any personal explanation I have no objection to; but then, to lumber up the record, with giving his peculiar views about one thing or another which does appear on our investigation, seems to me to be improper.
The Witness. No, sir; but I will not be one minute longer, if you will permit me.

Mr. Collamer. That might lead to considerable inquiry, and perhaps cross-examination on that point, if you desire to go into it.
The Chairman. I agree we have nothing to do with his mission to England.
Mr. Collamer. Or his return to America, and going to New Orleans, and from thence to Texas, &c.
Mr. Davis. I have no desire to go beyond the subject before us.

Mr. Collamer. The subject is John Brown and his foray.
The Witness. I have finished in regard to my connection with John Brown. I never wrote him a single letter; never received a single letter from him; never had, directly or indirectly, any acquaintance or connection, in the most remote degree, with the party after my departure from Cleveland.

The Chairman. You have said that in New York you revealed to Arny and to Thaddeus Hyatt what you learned from Brown were his plans as to incursions into the Southern States.
The Witness. Not as a detailed plan; but a broad statement, that he did purpose to put into operation a movement having for its object the liberation of the slaves.

Question. Did you tell, either to Arny or Hyatt, your mission to New York -- what brought you there?
Answer. I cannot remember whether I did or not, it being such a period of time removed. I will not say I did not. I will say it is possible, nay, probably, that I did tell them what my mission there was.

Question. But you never did see Colonel Forbes?
Answer. I never saw Colonel Forbes, to my knowledge, in my life.

Question. Or had any communication with him?
Answer. No, sir.

Question. Now, I will put this general question: Did you go to [page 107] England with any view to collect funds for the purpose of carrying on any abolition schemes in the United States?
Answer. No, sir.

Question. You did collect no funds for that purpose?
Answer. I collected none.

Question. Will you tell us when you returned to the United States?
Answer. I returned to the United States, leaving Havre on the 2d of March, 1859, and arriving in New Orleans the 17th of April, the same year.

Question. What brought you back to the United States?
Answer. My desire to return.

Question. And since your arrival, tell us where you have spent the intermediate time?
Answer. I spent part of my time in New Orleans. Now I ought to say, in justice to myself, that part of my mission in England was in order to procure the consent of my father and mother to join the Catholic Church. They would not give it to me. Coming back, I immediately joined the Catholic Church without their consent. I purposed to become a Jesuit priest --

The Chairman. I do not want to know anything about that.
The Witness. But you asked me --

The Chairman. I asked you for your reason for coming back to the United States.
The Witness. And where I had been, and what I had been doing since I came back.

The Chairman. But it does not follow that you should tell us what your plans and pursuits in private life were. I only want to know what points you have been at in the United States since your return?
The Witness. Well, sir, New Orleans for one. In New Orleans it was proposed to establish a new Democratic paper, the "Delta" having, as they thought, written itself out. Mr. Semmes, now attorney general of the State, had spoken to some friends of mine --

The Chairman. We do not want that. My question simply was, at what parts of the United States you had been since your return to this country?
Answer. New Orleans, Mobile, and Austin, in Texas.

Question. Had you any purposes in view, at either of those places, connected with your former views in reference to the abolition of slavery?
Answer. No, sir; but I had in view the purpose of investigating the condition of slavery for myself.

By Mr. Davis:

Question. Were you secretary of state of the proposed government to be established by John Brown?
Answer. I was.

Question. Did you receive and preserve, or was he the depositary of the correspondence which was held with the friends of such a movement on the part of John Brown?
Answer. I was not. John Brown was.

Question. Were you the organ of any correspondence as secretary of state?
Answer. No, sir.

Question. Were the letters written and the answers received in relation to funds, exhibited to you?
Answer. No, sir; for this reason: that but a period of a week or two elapsed between my nomination and election as secretary of state and the disbanding of the whole party, John Brown being in the mean while absent.

Question. Did you, from your relation to John Brown and to this organization, know the names of persons who were relied upon to furnish money, or who did furnish money?
Answer. Not any other names save those of Dr. Howe, whom Brown mentioned, F.B. Sanborn, whom Brown mentioned, and Gerritt Smith, whom Brown also names.

Question. How did he mention them? as having given or being expected to give money?
Answer. That Gerritt Smith had given Brown money; that he had assisted Brown from the time when he first went to Kansas, and had promised to assist him further in his enterprises against slavery; whether or not in this particular movement against the South I cannot say, but I suppose that was the understanding.

Mr. Doolittle. The supposition ought not to go down.
Mr. Davis. I think the impression made upon his mind, considering the position he occupied, is legitimate.
The answer was allowed to remain as given by the witness.

The Witness. Here I may as well state, once for all, that I do not believe John Brown would intrust to any man, no matter how intimate his friendship might be, more than barely sufficient of his schemes to secure his cooperation and support.

Mr. Collamer. you spoke of Brown having received aid from wealthy people at the North. Did that relate to Kansas?
Answer. He said he had received aid from those wealthy people from the time he went to Kansas, and that they had promised to assist him in any enterprises which he might undertake against slavery and in behalf of freedom. That was it; a general promise of assistance -- he having left his farm, wife, home, friends, everything.

Mr. Collamer. I wish to know whether your position as secretary of state, as it is said, furnished you with any information on which you could found a supposition, more than you had when you were not secretary of state?
Answer. No, sir. I should like to say this: Gerritt Smith having been, as I learned from John Brown, one of the persons who had principally supplied him with means, and John Brown having stated that Gerritt Smith had promised to assist him in any enterprises he might undertake for the furtherance of freedom, that he would enable him to prosecute all such movements -- on that statement of Brown I based my supposition.

Mr. Collamer. And on that only?
Answer. On that only.

Mr. Davis. The question, however, was, whether your position enabled you to form a supposition?
Answer. My position did not; because, before I became secretary of state I possessed that information; and after I was secretary of state [page 109] I possessed no more. That information, therefore, was the cause of my supposition, which I not only had after I was secretary of state, but before it.

Mr. Davis. I ask whether, as secretary of state, the witness was not put in more confidential relations with John Brown than he was before?
Answer. No sir; for the simple reason that, before there was any opportunity of establishing any confidential relations, the whole affair was broken up.

By Mr. Collamer:

Question. Did Brown at any time suggest to you that he had disclosed to Gerritt Smith the purpose which you know he entertained?
Answer. Never, sir.

By the Chairman:

Question. Did you learn from Brown, at any period of your intercourse with him, and up to the latest period, when he proposed to carry his plans into execution in the Southern States?
Answer. John Brown had purposed, immediately upon his return from the East, in June, 1858, to endeavor to put them into operation then. On account of the failure to receive money, as also on account of the revelations Forbes had made, the matter could not proceed. Nothing was to be done, or could be done, Brown said, until I had secured the correspondence to which I have alluded. I did not secure that correspondence, and therefore I supposed the matter could not go on.

The Chairman submitted to the witness a paper marked with the chairman's initials and indorsed "members of the convention," (produced by Andrew Hunter,) asking the following: Question. Will you be good enough to state what knowledge you have of this paper on which your name appears?
Answer. That is my name, in my own writing. This paper is the one appended to the constitution. All of the persons signing this paper agreed to accept the constitution, and to devote themselves to the furtherance of the purposes for which the constitution was established. The name occurring first is the name of the president of the convention, William Charles Munroe. He was a mulatto. The next is G.I. Reynolds. I cannot remember him; he was not a white man, however. Then there is a name I cannot read; it looks like J.C. Grant: I do not remember him. There were a good many negroes there; and in a convention of two days it would be difficult to remember all their names. The next is A.J. Smith; I remember him as a Canadian negro. The next is James M. Jones; I do not know him; he was not a white man, however. Then comes the name of G.B. Gill, a white man, of whom I have already spoken. The next is M.F. Bailey, a negro. W. Lambert was a negro. S. Hinton was a negro. C.W. Moffett was one of our original party. J.J. Jackson I do not know; he must have been a negro. Then comes _____ Anderson, the christian name I cannot make out; he was the colored man of whom I spoke as having come with us from Canada. The next name is Alfred Whipper; I do not remember him. James M. Bell was a mulatto residing in Chatham. William H. Leeman was one of our original party. Alfred M. Ellsworth was a colored man living in Windsor, a village in Canada, opposite Detroit. John E. Cook and Stewart Taylor I have already spoken of as belonging to our company. Charles W. Purnell must have been a colored man. Then comes George Akins, his x mark; Akins was a negro. Robison Alexander was a negro. Then comes my own name, Richard Realf. Thomas F. Cary was a negro. Richard Richardson was the negro who accompanied us from Iowa. I taught him to write. L.F. Parsons was one of our company. Thomas M. Kinnard was a negro. M.H. Delany was the colored doctor of whom I spoke. Robert Van Vraiken must have been a negro. Thomas W. Stringer was a negro. Charles P. Tidd was a white man, one of our original party. John A. Thomas was a negro. C. Whipple is the next; that was the name by which Stevens was called. J.D. Shadd was editor of a paper in Canada -- a mulatto. Robert Newman was a negro. Owen Brown was the son of John Brown. Then comes old John Brown's signature. J.H. Harris was a colored man. Charles Smith was a colored man. Simon Fisher was a colored man. Stephen Dutton was a colored man. Isaac Holden was a colored man. Giles Chitman was a negro. Thomas Hickerson was a colored man. John Launcel was a colored man, and so was James Smith. John H. Kagi, secretary of the convention, was one of the original party.

Mr. Davis. Do you know whether these negroes, or any part of them, were runaway negroes?
Answer. I have no knowledge as to that.

The Chairman exhibits to the witness a paper purporting to be a list of those men who were with Brown at Harper's Ferry, and asks this:
Question. Can you state the age of John Brown at that time?
Answer. No, sir, except that I suppose him to have been almost 60 years of age.

Question. What was the age of Owen Brown, as nearly as you can tell?
Answer. Owen Brown was about 29 or 30.

Question. Of Watson Brown?
Answer. Watson Brown was not one of the original party, and I never knew him.

Question. Of Oliver Brown?
Answer. I never knew him.

Question. Of Aaron D. Stevens?
Answer. I did not know Stevens's Christian name. His age was 28. He was 27 at the time of the convention.

Question. Of Albert Hazlett?
Answer. I never knew him.

Question. Of John H. Kagi?
Answer. Twenty-three at the time of the convention.

Question. Of Edwin Coppic?
Answer. I think I met him once or twice in Iowa, but never had any speaking acquaintance with him. He must have been about 18.

Question. Of Barclay Coppic?
Answer. I do not know him. He must have been a brother of the other, I suppose.

Question. May you not have confounded the two Coppics?
Answer. I may have done so.

Question. What was the age of Charles P. Tidd?
Answer. About twenty-five or twenty-six -- near the age of Stevens.

Question. Are you speaking now of their ages at the time of the convention?
Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What was the age of William H. Leeman?
Answer. Not more than eighteen at the time of the convention.

Question. Of Francis J. Meriam?
Answer. I never knew him.

Question. Of William Thompson?
Answer. I never knew him.

Question. Of Dolphin Thompson?
Answer. I never knew him.

Question. Of Jeremiah Anderson?
Answer. A stranger to me.

Question. Of Stewart Taylor?
Answer. About nineteen at the time of the convention.

Question. Of John E. Cook?
Answer. Probably between twenty-three and twenty-four at the time of the convention.

Question. Now, as to the negroes with John Brown. What was the age of Shields Green?
Answer. I never knew him.

Question. John Copeland?
Answer. A stranger to me.

Question. _____ Anderson?
Answer. That must have been the negro who accompanied us down from Chatham to Cleveland. He was about 24 or 25 years old.

Question. Newby?
Answer. I never knew him. Indeed, I knew no others, save those two negroes, Anderson and Richardson, who afterwards returned from Cleveland to Canada.

Question. The remaining negro with Brown was named Leary; did you know him?
Answer. I did not know him. I will give you my own age at that time. At the time of the convention, I was not quite 24 years old.

Question. Can you state whether the signatures to the paper, which you say was appended to the constitution, are the original signatures of those who made them.
Answer. I saw the persons sign this document, and do testify thereto. In those cases where "his mark" follows the name, the mark was made by the person whose name appears, the writing having been done by Mr. Kagi.

Question. Were you present when the paper was signed?
Answer. I was.

Question. Was it signed before the convention dispersed?
Answer. Yes; before the convention dispersed, after the adoption of the constitution.

Question. You have spoken of three persons who you there learned from Brown had supplied him with money. Do you know of any other persons with whom Brown was in communication upon the subject of getting money?
Answer. I understood that a clergyman, whose name is Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who, I believe, resides at Worcester, Massachusetts, was an intimate friend of John Brown, and that he, as were these other men, was one of those who supplied him with funds to enable him to prosecute his movements in behalf of freedom in Kansas, and who had given him a general promise to assist him in whatever enterprises he might undertake.

Question. Can you recollect any others?
Answer. I cannot.

Question. Can you remember the names of any persons, in any of the States, with whom Brown, during your acquaintance with him, was in correspondence?
Answer. No, sir. I do not believe that Brown was in correspondence with more than half-a-dozen people during my connection with him; for you must remember, that during our passage across Iowa, occupying a month, in which we camped out every night and walked across the plains every day, he could have no correspondence then. Immediately after we reached Springdale, in Iowa, he went on East. I could not be cognizant of his correspondence then, he being absent. Immediately on his return to Springdale, we departed for Canada, and on our passage thither we could not do anything in the way of correspondence. just after we arrived there, the convention was held, and there was no chance for correspondence at that time. After the convention was disbanded, I left for New York city.

Mr. Collamer. But you had been to Cleveland.
The Witness. Yes; I went from Chatham to Cleveland, and from Cleveland to New York.

Mr. Doolittle. I understood the witness to state that he, in general terms, communicated to Arny and to Hyatt, of New York, what he supposed was the general purpose of Brown -- to produce an insurrection, or do something upon the South somewhere.
The Witness. Yes, sir.

Mr. Doolittle. Then I ask you this question, are those the only two persons to whom you ever communicated any such thing, aside from those who went with you from Iowa to Canada, and those you met there?
Answer. No, sir; there is one other. His name is Charles Carroll Yeaton, a young gentleman, formerly a very intimate friend of mine, but not an abolitionist.

Mr. Doolittle. Where does he reside?
Answer. He resides now in New York. He was a junior partner in a banking and brokerage house in Wall street.

Mr. Doolittle. Did you ever communicate to any other person, or have any conversation with any other person, in relation to this programme, except those three?
Answer. No, sir; except as follows: during the time when we were in Iowa, and when it was thoroughly expected that, immediately on leaving Canada, we should go down into the South, I wrote a letter on some private matters to a lady, hinting therein that very probably she would hear of us again, and, perhaps, in the Southern States; but I never told her anything in regard to the plan. Those three persons are the only ones to whom I ever communicated anything about it.

Mr. Fitch. Did John Brown admit to you, or state to you, that Forbes was fully cognizant of his plans, as far as he had formed them?
Answer. Yes, sir; because Forbes at one period purposed to conduct the movement.

The Chairman. As you understood from Brown?
The Witness. As I understood from Brown; and you will permit me to say, that in any question of veracity arising between Forbes and Brown, I should, without hesitation, decide for Brown.

Richard Realf.

Source: Report of the Select Committee of the Senate Appointed to Inquire into the Late Invasion and Seizure of the Public Property at Harper’s Ferry , Report No. 278, Senate, 36th Cong., 1st Sess., 1860 (commonly known as the Mason Report).


Chapter Seven: Preparing to “take the war into Africa”

His Soul Goes Marching On

West Virginia Archives and History