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Documents relative to the Harpers Ferry Invasion
appended to Governor Wise's Message

Doc. No. I. Governor's Message and Reports of the Public Officers of the State, of the Boards of Directors, and of the Visitors, Superintendents, and other Agents of Public Institutions or Interests of Virginia. Richmond: William F. Ritchie, 1859. Pp. 3-24, 49-155.


To the Senate and House of Delegates of the
General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia:


Up to a late period I had fondly hoped to close my official term and part from my executive labors with naught but cause of congratulation on the condition of the commonwealth. But, the uppermost theme in this my last regular message must be, that our peace has been disturbed; our citizens have been imprisoned, robbed and murdered; the sanctity of their dwellings has been violated; their persons have been outraged; their property has been seized by force of arms; a strong hold in their midst, with its arms and munitions of war has been captured, and the inhabitants cut off from the means of defence; a national highway through our limits, and its locomotive trains and telegraphic wires have been stopped; the state and national sovereignties have been insulted and assailed; and state and federal troops have been called out and been compelled to fight, at the loss of several killed and wounded, to subdue rebellion and treason, at Harpers Ferry in the county of Jefferson, within our jurisdiction.

This was no result of ordinary crimes, however highhanded and felonious. It was no conspiracy of bandits against society in general, with the motives which usually actuate criminals, confined to the individual perpetrators, and to be crushed by their arrest and punishment. But it was an extraordinary and actual invasion, by a sectional organization, specially upon slaveholders and upon their property in negro slaves. The home to be invaded was the home of domestic slavery; the persons to be seized were the persons of slaveholders; the property to be confiscated was the property in slaves and the other property of slaveholders alone, such as money, plate, jewels and other of like kind, which was to be taken to compensate the robbers for the trouble and risk of robbing the masters of their slaves; the slaves were not to be taken to be carried away, but they were to be made to stand by the side of the robbers, and to be forced to fight to liberate themselves by massacreing their masters; the arsenal was taken to supply arms to servile insurgents; and a provisional government was attempted, in a British province, by OUR own countrymen, united to us in the faith of confederacy, combining with Canadians, to invade the slaveholding states of the United States; and thus the night of the 16th of October last was surprised and the day of the 17th of October last was startled by the signal guns of rapine, murder, robbery and treason, begun at Harpers Ferry for the purpose of stirring up universal insurrection of slaves throughout the whole south.

Sudden, surprising, shocking as this invasion has been, it is not more so than the rapidity and rancor of the causes which have prompted and put it in motion. It is not confined to the parties who were the present participators in its outrages. Causes and influences lie behind it more potent far than the little band of desperadoes who were sent ahead to kindle the sparks of a general conflagration; and the event, sad as it is, would deserve but little comment, if the condign punishment of the immediate perpetrators of the felonies committed would for the future secure the peace which has been disturbed, and guarantee the safety which is threatened, Indeed, if the miserable convicts were the only conspirators against our peace and safety, we might have forgiven their offences and constrained them only by the grace of pardon. But an entire social and sectional sympathy has incited their crimes, and now rises in rebellion and insurrection to the height of sustaining and justifying their enormity.

It would be pusillanimous to shut our eyes and to affect not to see certain facts of fearful import which stare us in the face, and of which I must speak plainly to you, with the firm and manly purpose of meeting danger and with no weak and wicked design of exciting agitation. That danger exists, of serious magnitude, there can be no doubt in the minds of the most calm and reflecting, and the way to avert it in all cases is to march up to it and meet it front to front. If it has not grown too great already, it will retire from collision; and if it has grown strong enough already for the encounter, it had better be met at once for it will not diminish by delay. I believe in truth, that the very policy of the prime promoters of this apparently mad movement is purely tentative: to try whether we will face the danger which is now sealed in blood. If we "take the dare," the aggression will become more and more insolent; and, if we do not, that it will either truckle or meet us in open conflict to be subdued; and, in either event, our safety and the national peace will be best secured by a direct settlement at once:the sooner the better.

For a series of years social and sectional differences have been growing up, unhappily, between the states of our Union and their people. An evil spirit of fanaticism has seized upon negro slavery as the one subject of social reform, and the one idea of its abolition has seemed to madden whole masses of one entire section of the country. It enters into their religion, into their education, into their politics and prayers, into their courts of justice, into their business, into their legislatures, into all classes of their people, the most respectable and most lawless, into their pulpits and into their presses and school-houses, into their men, women and children of all ages, every where. It has trained three generations, from childhood up, in moral and social habits of hatred to masters of African slaves in the United States. It turns not upon slavery elsewhere, or against slaveholders in any other country, but is especially malignant and vindictive towards its own countrymen, for the very reason that it is bound to them by the faith and sanction of a confederate law. To set up that law to it is to enrage it by the sight of the law, because it is bound by it. It has been taught by the Atheism of a "higher law" than that of a regular government bound by constitutions and statutes. It has been made to believe in the doctrine of absolute individual rights, independent of all relations of man to man in a conventional and social form; and that each man for himself has the prerogative to set up his conscience, his will and his judgment over and above all legal enactments and social institutions. It has been inflamed by prostituted teachers and preachers and presses to do and dare any crime and its consequences which may set up its individual supremacy over law and order. It has been taught from the senate chamber to trust in the fatality of an "irrepressible conflict, " into which it is bound to plunge. Its anti-Christ pulpit has breathed naught but insurrectionary wrath into servants against their masters, and has denounced our national union as a covenant with death for recognizing property in slaves and guaranteeing to it the protection of law. It has raised contributions in churches to furnish arms and money to such criminals as these to make a war for empire of settlement in our new territories. It has trained them on the frontier and there taught them the skill of the Indian in savage warfare, and then turned them back upon the oldest and largest slaveholding state to surprise one of its strongest holds. It has organized in Canada and traversed and corresponded thence to New Orleans and from Boston to Iowa. It has established spies every where, and has secret agents in the heart of every slave state, and has secret associations and "underground rail roads" in every free state. It enlists influence and money at home and abroad. It has sent comforters and counsellors and sympathy, and would have sent rescue to these assassins, robbers, murderers and traitors, whom it sent to felons' graves. It has openly and secretly threatened vengeance on the execution of our laws. And since their violation it has defiantly proclaimed aloud that "insurrection is the lesson of the hour":not of slaves only, but all are to be free to rise up against fixed government, and no government is to be allowed except "the average common sense of the masses, " and no protection is to be permitted against that power.

This is but an epitome, plain and unvarnished, without exaggeration. What is this but anarchy? What does it mean but "confusion worse confounded," and the overthrow of all rights, of all property, of all government, of all religion, of all rule among men? Nothing but mad riot can rule and misrule with such sentiments as these. There can be no compromise with them, no toleration of them in safety or with self-respect. They must be met and crushed, or they will crush us, or our union with non-slaveholding states cannot continue.

The strongest argument against this unnatural war upon negro slavery in one section by another of the same common country, is that it inevitably drives to disunion of the states, embittered with all the vengeful hate of civil war. As that union is among the most precious of our blessings, so the argument ought to weigh which weighs its value. But this consideration is despised by fanaticism. It contemns the Union, and now contemns us for clinging to it as we do. It scoffs the warning that the Union is endangered. The Union itself is denounced as a covenant with sin, and we are scorned as too timid to make the warning of danger to it worthy to be heeded. It arrogantly assumes to break all the bonds of faith within it, and defies the attempt to escape oppression without it. This rudely assails our honor as well as our interest, and demands of us what we will do. We have but one thing to do, unless the numerical majority will cease to violate confederate faith, on a question of such vital importance to us, and will cease, immediately and absolutely cease to disturb our peace, to destroy our lives and property, and to deprive us of all protection and redress under the perverted forms and distorted workings of the Union, we must take up arms. The issue is too essential to be compromised any more. We cannot stand such insults and outrages as those of Harpers Ferry without suffering worse than the death of citizens::without suffering dishonor, the death of a state.

For a quarter of a century we have been persuaded to forbear, and patiently to wait for the waking and working of the conservative elements in our sister states. We have borne and forborne, and waited in vain. We know that we have many sound and sincere friends in the non-slaveholding states. It may be that they are most numerous far who abhor and detest such wrongs as these; but it is not to be disguised that the conservative elements are passive, whilst the fanatical are active, and the former are fast diminishing, whilst the latter are increasing in numbers and in force. But where is the evidence that the conservative elements are most powerful? Do we look to the schools and colleges? to the pulpits and clergy, and churches and congregations? to the press? to the journals? to the books? to the professions? the artisans? to associations, which are marked characteristics of the age? to politics? to public assemblies and speakers? to legislatures? to congress? to laws, either state or federal? to elections? to the administration of laws? to judicial decisions? Alas! turn where we will and to what we will, we find that the judgments of the courts only are with us, but they have lost all reverence and respect, and we are left without protection, and the supreme court of the United States is itself assailed for not assailing our constitutional defences. And these last are assailed in denying the rights of protection itself. A new sovereignty and a new law is set up over the old, and we are denied protection under both. Where the federal government has no power to oppress, it is assumed; and where it has the power and it is its duty to protect, it is not allowed to intervene. And the non-slaveholding states are in nearly solid array opposed to us. We, united, may contend for a while by the aid of pluralities, but for a short time only, and uncertainly at any time, and at best have no majorities on which we can rely in at least sixteen states, having the power of the Union. The active has overcome the passive elements; fanaticism has subdued conservatism in all these states, and these can now, in our present condition, practically wield our destinies for weal or woe. Will they come back to the constitution and abide its covenants or not? What those covenants are I have fully discussed in a reply to the resolutions of Vermont, which are herewith submitted, with my response appended, as a part of this message. I put it upon the archives of state as the most elaborate study of the subject of which I am capable.

But no words can elaborate the issues to which we are now practically brought by the events at Harpers Ferry.

It is vain to point to the paucity of the numbers of the marauders. The daring of their attempt would prove not more their foolhardiness than their full assurance that they were to be joined by a force sufficient to be formidable. If they had not mistaken the number and disposition of the slaves, who they expected to seize the spears, which they brought to capture an arsenal of arms, it is not known, and will never be known, how many other white fanatics would have swelled their numbers, nor how much blood and treasure it would have cost to quell their rebellion. Few they were, but they were fatal to the lives of several of our most worthy citizens; and insultingly dared the chances of doing immeasurable mischief to our entire northern border.

And it is mockery to call them monomaniacs. Maniacs they were, only as all great criminals are; and monomaniacs they were, only as the subject of slavery makes men more insensate than any other one subject can. If these men were monomaniacs, then are a large portion of the people of many of the states monomaniacs.

Before these crimes, they were deemed sane soldiers in a notable crusade against slavery and slaveholders. Many of those who now plead their insanity for them, put Sharpe's rifles in their hands and enlisted and trained and trusted their wits for war in Kansas. Contributions were raised for them in churches. They had been puffed with the praise of the professedly pious for being the very men of destiny for the mission against slave settlements. They had been furnished with money to make sharp spears of butchery for the throats and breasts of masters, and to supply munitions and stores of regular campaigns. They assembled together from parts as far between as they themselves were few. They were provided, supplied and furnished with much beyond their own wants or means. And it is passing strange that they, madmen, should, few as they were, have been so many madmen, meeting from so far apart, so well supplied by others than themselves, at a point so well selected, and that they should have conspired with so much method as to be so successful, against such apparent odds. Were these parties, known and unknown, so situated, all mad? It is enough to say that the leader himself spurned the falsehood, hypocrisy and cowardice of this mawkish plea of monomania, and neither he, nor one of his men, nor their counsel, put it in upon their trials. He expected from his prompters and backers and sympathizers better pretence and more potent defence than that. Before his failure and defeat in what, in their correspondence with him, they called a "glorious cause," their sympathy was all with his desperate daring and success; and now it is with his insanity for a plea against the legal penalties of his crimes, which had their origin in this very sympathy. A sympathy which saw his insanity too late to snatch from his hands the weapons it had placed there; too late to save the lives taken by its own incitement; and too late to save him from a felon's fate.

By our laws, the plea of insanity could avail at any time, in any stage of trial, and after conviction, before sentence of the court; and after the judicial tribunals were done with the prisoners and they were turned over to the executioner, the executive authority could forefend the law's sentence upon the insane. If either could show or prove insanity, either now, or on trial, he could not be executed as long as I am the governor of the commonwealth, until cured in an asylum; and, if insane at the time of committing the offence, he could not be executed, cured or not cured, at all. But these men needed no mental cure; theirs was a moral malady of devils, which no power but divine could cast out. They were deliberate, cunning, malignant malefactors, desperately bent on mischief, with malice aforethought, gangrened by sectional and social habitual hatred to us and ours. Their vengeance was whetted by previous collisions hundreds of miles from us, and it whetted jagged edge spears which it brought the hundreds of miles for our destruction. They came a few, like thieves in the night, did their deeds of death and were easily crushed; but they were prompted by an evil spirit of incendiarism which demoralizes a numerous host of enemies behind them, who now blatantly sympathize with their deeds in open day before the world. These hired them to be assassins, robbers, murderers and traitors, without themselves incurring the risk of their crimes; and it is no wonder that they now sympathize with them even to madness, and that John Brown despised the hypocritical cant of their pretence that he was insane.

The details of this conspiracy and of its denouement at Harpers Ferry are given in the various accompanying reports. Much of the correspondence and many of the papers of the culprits were found. I have had them collected and copied by competent amanuenses, and they are hereto appended. Suffice it to say, in reference to my own official action, that the first intelligence of the outbreak reached me in the morning of the 17th October, and was very vague. Orders were dispatched immediately to Col. Gibson of Jefferson, to call out the necessary force of his own and adjacent regiments. But late in the evening of the same day, about 7 o'clock, the telegraph announced more serious and precise cause of danger. The news was that 750 marauders had seized the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, with all its arms and munitions, and were arming the slaves, and that actual murder was done, and several citizens were killed and wounded. I immediately called out the 1st regiment of volunteers and as many men of the 179th regiment of militia as could get ready to move by the first train the following morning. And in one hour, at 8 P. M. on the 17th, I departed in person, with company F, Capt. Cary, for the scene. At Washington I was joined by Capt. Marye of the Alexandria rifles, and proceeded with 91 men and officers. At the Relay house in Maryland I received intelligence on the 18th that no more force was necessary, and I ordered back the force under Col. August. And from that place I telegraphed Col. Lee to make no terms with the insurgents. By 1 o'clock on the 18th I arrived with the force under my command. Col. Lee made no terms, and had subdued the insurgents before my arrival. I immediately examined the leader, Brown, his lieutenant, Stevens, a white man named Coppoc, and a negro from Canada. They made full confessions. Brown repelled the idea that his design was to run negro slaves off from their masters. He defiantly avowed that his purpose was to arm them and make them fight by his side in defence of their freedom, if assailed by their owners or any one else; and he said his purpose especially was to war upon the slaveholders, and to levy upon their other property to pay the expense of emancipating their slaves. He avowed that he expected to be joined by the slaves and by numerous white persons from many of the slave as well as free states. There was nothing for me to do, but to arrest those who had escaped, to search for their hidden arms and plunder, to try to recapture the slaves they had taken, to get all their papers which could be found, and to have them proceeded against according to law. Had I reached the place before they surrendered, I would have proclaimed martial law, have stormed them in the quickest time possible, shown them no quarter, have tried the survivors, if any, by court martial, and have shot the condemned on the spot. But owing to the delay of the cars at Washington and the Relay house and to the slow travel from the latter place to the ferry, I was too late. When I arrived they were subdued; they were prisoners and some of them wounded, and I was bound to protect them. I took them under the jurisdiction of Virginia; they were guarded from all violence, food and refreshment and surgical aid and every comfort at my command were given them; they were proceeded against regularly by the civil authority, under civil process from both state and federal governments, and I went in person with them, under a military guard to Charlestown, and saw them safely lodged in jail, in custody of the sheriff, under civil and military guard. I remained a night to see that no violence was attempted from any quarter, and the next morning, after giving necessary orders to Col. Gibson and furnishing him with arms, returned to Harpers Ferry. The services of counsel to assist the commonwealth's attorney were engaged by me for the state. Seeing, on the morning of the 18th that the United States marines were ordered away from Harpers Ferry, I ordered a police military guard for the confines around the arsenal. I did not remove the prisoners further into the interior, because I was determined to show no apprehension of a rescuer and if the jail of Jefferson had been on the line of the state, they should have been kept there, to show that they could be kept anywhere chosen in our limits. Soon after I returned to Richmond, I notified the president of the United States that the reason so few men had captured the arsenal of the United States was that there was no military guard there, and that I had organized a guard to protect our frontier and, incidentally, to protect the property of the United States. A neglected arsenal had been made a positive danger to us; we had been invaded by lawless bands from other states, against which the United States were bound to defend us; we had been obliged to call out troops to defend the federal property, and at last had to guard it.

Thus the affair passed for the time being from the military to the civil authority. And here I cannot express too strongly what is due to the militia for the promptitude with which they volunteered for duty and obeyed my orders. The Jefferson, Berkeley and Shepherdstown militia were first at the scene, and manifested good courage and did some service; but they were restrained by a natural tenderness for their neighbors and friends who were held prisoners and hostages, and supposed to be in imminent danger from any attempt to storm their captors. The first regiment of volunteers [sic], and company F especially of that regiment, which was ready in an hour from the call, and a part of the 179th, and the Alexandria rifles, and the companies of Fredericksburg and of Orange and Albemarle, all gallantly took arms and moved promptly. More than I called came, and were ready and anxious to do duty and to be first to encounter danger. A finer spirit and better temper of soldiers could not have been displayed.

The state judiciary took the culprits in charge. Legal warrants were issued and served upon them; a court of examination was regularly held over those who did not waive it; and they were formally indicted in a court of competent jurisdiction. They had the full benefit of compulsory process for witnesses in their defence; had counsel assigned them and counsel of their own selection; were confronted by witnesses and accusers; and were given, according to our bill of rights, as in all other cases, a speedy and fair trial by an impartial jury of the vicinage; upon their own confession and upon other evidence, leaving no doubt of guilt, were legally convicted of several capital offences; were heard in person and by counsel, why sentence should not be pronounced upon them; were given every opportunity of applying for writs of supersedeas; did apply; and the court of highest resort, the court of appeals, sustained the judgment and sentence of the court which tried them. Never were prisoners treated with more lenity of trial. And never in any case, in the history of trials, was justice administered with more forbearance, more calmness, more dignity and more majesty of law:never were such prisoners treated with as much benignant kindness as they have been by the people whom they outraged sufficiently to have incited summary punishment.

To prevent any such punishment on the one hand, and a rescue on the other; to guard justice, in a word, I called into service military guards, to aid the civil authority and keep the peace. Receiving information that organization of guards was necessary, I sent an aid to the scene, there to see what was wanting, to assist the adjutant general, and to pass my orders. Col. J. Lucius Davis, a competent soldier, volunteered his services, and I accepted them, to organize the corps, to distribute arms, to post guards and to provide subsistence and quarters, and to call for whatever was wanting. These services he continued most faithfully and efficiently to perform, with my full approbation, until very recent events made it necessary to call for more troops; and Major General Wm. B. Taliaferro, of the fourth division, repaired to the place, and volunteered in person to take command. Many of the troops were from his division, and I could not decline the tender of his services. During the trial of the prisoners and since, appeals and threats of every sort, the most extraordinary, from every quarter, have been made to the executive. I lay before you the mass of these, it being impossible to enter into their details. Though the laws do not permit me to pardon in cases of treason, yet pardons and reprieves have been demanded on the grounds of, 1st, insanity; 2d, magnanimity; 3d, the policy of not making martyrs.

As to the first, the parties by themselves or counsel put in no plea of insanity. No insanity was feigned even; the prisoner Brown spurned it. Since his sentence, and since the decision on the appeal, one of his counsel, Samuel Chilton, Esq., has filed with me a number of affidavits professing to show grounds for delaying execution, in order to give time to make an issue of fact, as to the sanity of the prisoner. How such an issue can now, after sentence, confirmed by the court of appeals, be made, I am ignorant; but it is sufficient to say that I had repeatedly seen and conversed with the prisoner, and had just returned from a visit to him, when this appeal to me was put into my hands. As well as I can know the state of mind of any one, I know that he was sane, and remarkably sane, if quick and clear perception; if assumed rational premises, and consecutive reasoning from them; if cautious tact in avoiding disclosures, and in covering conclusions and inferences; if memory and conception and practical common sense, and if composure and self possession are evidences of a sound state of mind. He was more sane than his prompters and promoters, and concealed well the secret which made him seem to do an act of mad impulse, by leaving him without his backers at Harpers Ferry; but he did not conceal his contempt for the cowardice which did not back him better than with a plea of insanity, which he spurned to put in on his trial at Charlestown.

As to the second ground of appeal: I know of no magnanimity which is inhumane, and no inhumanity could well exceed that to our society, our slaves as well as their masters, which would turn felons like these, proud and defiant in their guilt, loose again on a border already torn by a fanatical and sectional strife which threatens the liberties of the white even more than it does the bondage of the black race.

As to the third ground: Is it true that the due execution of our laws, fairly and justly administered upon these confessed robbers, murderers and traitors, will make them martyrs in the public sentiment of other states? If so, then it is time indeed that execution shall be done upon them, and that we should prepare in earnest for the "irrepressible conflict," with that sympathy which, in demanding for these criminals pardons and reprieves, and in wreaking vengeance for their refusal, would make criminals of us. Indeed, a blasphemous moral treason, an expressed fellow-feeling with felons, a professed conservatism of crime, a defiant and boastful guilty demoniac spirit combined, arraign us, the outraged community, as the wrong-doers who must do penance and prevent our penalty by pardon and reprieve of these martyrs. This sympathy sent these men, its mere tools, to do the deeds which sentenced them. It may have sent them to be martyrs for mischief's sake; but the execution of our laws is necessary to warn future victims not again to be its tools. To heed this outside clamor at all, was to grant at once unconditional grace. To hang would be no more martyrdom than to incarcerate the fanatic. The sympathy would have asked on and on for liberation, and to nurse and soothe him, whilst life lasted, in prison. His state of health would have been heralded weekly as from a palace; visitors would have come affectedly reverent, to see the shorn felon at his "hard labor;" the work of his hands would have been sought as holy relics; and his party-colored dress would have become, perhaps, a uniform for the next band of impious marauders. There was no middle ground of mitigation. To pardon or reprieve at all, was to proclaim a licensed impunity to the thousand fanatics who are mad only in the guilt and folly of setting up their individual supremacy over law, life, property, and civil liberty itself. This sympathy with the leader was worse than the invasion itself. The appeal was: it is policy to make no martyrs, but disarm murderers, traitors, robbers, insurrectionists, by free pardon for wanton, malicious, unprovoked felons! I could but ask, will execution of the legal sentence of a humane law make martyrs of such criminals? Do sectional and social masses hallow these crimes? Do whole communities sympathize with the outlaws, instead of sympathizing with the outraged society of a sister sovereignty? If so, then the sympathy is as felonious as the criminals, and is far more dangerous than was the invasion. The threat of martyrdom is a threat against our peace, and demands execution to defy such sympathy and such saints of martyrdom. The issue was forced upon us: Shall John Brown be pardoned, lest he might be canonized by execution of felony for confessed murder, robbery and treason in inciting servile insurrection in Virginia? Why a martyr? Because thousands applaud his acts and opinions, and glorify his crimes? Was I to hesitate after this? Sympathy was in insurrection, and had to be subdued more sternly than was John Brown. John Brown had surely to die according to law, and Virginia has to meet the issue. It is made. We have friends or we have not in the states whence these invaders come. They must now be not only conservative but active to prevent invaders coming. We are in arms.

Information from all quarters, with responsible names, and anonymous, dated the same time, from places far distant from each other, came, of organized conspiracies and combinations to obstruct our laws, to rescue and seize hostages, to commit rapine and burning along our borders on Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, proceeding from these states and from New York, Massachusetts and other states and Canada. These multiplied in every form for weeks; and at last, on the 19th of November, a call was very properly and timely made by Col. Davis for an additional force of 500 men.

These reports and rumors, from so many sources, of every character and form, so simultaneous, from places so far apart, at the same time, from persons so unlike in evidences of education, could be from no conspiracy to hoax; but I relied not so much upon them, as upon the earnest continued general appeal of sympathizers with the crimes. It was impossible for so much of such sympathy to exist without exciting bad men to action of rescue or revenge. On this I acted.

I immediately put in motion the troops of Richmond, Alexandria, Petersburg and Fauquier, who obeyed promptly:and in the time from 11 o'clock Saturday night to Tuesday morning, 563 men were added to the guards at Charlestown. I again went in person with the troops; assembled the commanding officers, organized the command, issued general orders, and returned to Harpers Ferry, where I met Gen. Taliaferro, and accepted his services. Since then I have ordered an additional force of 560 men from Norfolk and Portsmouth and Petersburg and Orange and Albemarle and Augusta, and Rockingham and Wheeling, and have called out a corps of howitzers under Col. Smith, of Virginia Military Institute. And I have ordered Generals Rogers and Hunton to do whatever is necessary to guard the borders from the Point of Rocks to Alexandria; and the whole border is guarded west to Piedmont. I have exhausted this and the next year's quotas in issuing efficient arms, and have purchased arms of the best improved models, and issued them and coats and blankets to the troops. In a word, I have been compelled by apprehension of the most unparalleled border war, to place the state in as full a panoply of military defence as if a foreign enemy had invaded us. Indeed, one of the most irritating features of this predatory war, is that it has its seat in British provinces, which furnish asylums for our fugitives from justice and from labor, and sends them and their hired outlaws back upon us from depots and rendezvous in bordering states. There is no danger from our slaves or colored people. The slaves taken refused to take arms, and the first man killed was a respectable free negro who was trusted with the baggage of the rail road, and who faithful to his duty was shot running from the philanthropists who came to liberate the black race!

But why do our slaves on the border not take up arms against their masters? We must look firmly at this fact before we take it as a solace. In the answer to that question lies the root of our danger. Masters in the border counties now hold their slaves by sufferance. The slave could fly to John Brown much easier than he could come and take him. The slaves at will can liberate themselves by running away. The underground rail road is at their very doors, and they may take passage when they please. They prefer to remain. John Brown's invasion startled us; but we have been tamely submitting to a greater danger, without confessing it. The plan which silently corrupts and steals our slaves, which sends secret emissaries among us to "stampede" our slaves, which refuses to execute fugitive slave laws, which forms secret societies for mischief, with the motto, "alarm to their sleep, fire to their dwellings, and poison to their food and water," and which establishes underground rail roads, and depots and rendezvous for invasion, is more dangerous than the invasion by John Brown. Yet the latter excites us, and in the former we have been sleepily acquiescing. It is no solace to me, then, that our border slaves are so liberated already by this exterior asylum, and by this still, silent, stealing system, that they have no need to take up arms for their own liberation. Confederate states as well as individuals have denounced our laws and set them at defiance; they have by their laws encouraged and facilitated the escape of our slaves, and have made abolition a cancer eating into our very vitals.

We must, then, acknowledge and act on the fact that present relations between the states cannot be permitted longer to exist without abolishing slavery throughout the United States, or compelling us to defend it by force of arms.

On the 25th ultimo I addressed letters to the governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio, of which the accompanying are copies. From the governor of Maryland I have received a very satisfactory reply, herewith submitted. I have received a reply, by telegraph, from the governor of Pennsylvania also, who, I am proud to say, has promptly performed his duty in delivering up the fugitives from justice, and who protests that his state will do her confederate duty in all respects. He intimates that Virginia ought not to anticipate that Pennsylvania will neglect to prevent obstructions to or violations of the laws in her limits; but a watchful guardianship of Virginia's safety could not neglect to apprise Pennsylvania's authorities of crimes meditated against either state (of which I was informed, and they were, probably, not informed), by way of intelligence and warning. John Brown, with his associates, arms and stores, had just before already passed through Pennsylvania, and had remained at places in her limits, and he had enlisted one man, at least, a negro, in one of her towns. I had not, therefore, anticipated the facts, but appealed to them for steps of prevention and precaution, after what had already occurred. And the governor of Pennsylvania, I presume, speaks more in the spirit of a just state pride than from such evidences of danger and cause of apprehension as the executive here is in possession of, respecting combinations, depots and rendezvous in adjoining states for invading the borders of Virginia. From the governor of Ohio I have as yet received no answer.

On the same day, the 25th ultimo, I addressed a letter to the president of the United States, of which the enclosed is a copy. On the 29th I received from him the accompanying answer, to which I have not replied, but upon which I must here comment.

He seems to think that the constitution and laws of the United States do not provide authority for the president to interpose to "repel invasion," or keep the peace between the states, in cases where the citizens of one state invade another state, unless the executive or legislature of the state invaded applies for protection. I differ from this opinion. Neither the framers of the constitution nor the congress of 1795 were guilty of so gross an omission in their provisions for the national safety.

By clause 3d of section 9th of article 1st of the constitution, the states are deprived of the power, "without the consent of congress, to keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, or to engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay."

To compensate them for this privation of the power of preparation for defence, it is provided in section 4th of article 4th, that "the United States shall guarantee to every state in the Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence."

Now, it is readily conceded, "United States" here is to be taken as synonimous [sic] with the words "the congress." The clause is in juxtaposition with clauses defining the powers of "the congress." And if they were not, by the 18th clause of section 8th of article 1st, to "the congress" is given the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution" its own powers, "and all other powers vested in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

This duty and power then of guaranteeing protection to every state against invasion, belongs unquestionably to congress. Has it exercised the power? It has. Thus:

To the congress also is given the power "to raise and support armies," and "to provide and maintain a navy," and these are called, specially, "the land and naval forces" of the United States.

I presume that no one will gainsay the proposition that the chief object of these land and naval forces is "to suppress insurrections and to repel invasions."

But in addition to these powers, another is specially added: "To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." And I presume that no one will insist that the regular army and navy of the United States may not be ordered to execute the laws of the Union, and to suppress insurrections and repel invasions, without calling forth the militia, or though the militia may be called forth, to execute the same purposes.

This granted, the congress did pass the laws: 1st, to raise armies, and to provide and maintain a navy, as well as laws for calling forth the militia.

And then, by article 2nd, the president is vested with the executive power. He is sworn faithfully to execute the office of president, and to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States;" and he is made commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; and he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Now, to revert to the 4th section of the 4th article:

In this section, there are two things against which the United States guarantees protection to every state:

1st, against "invasion." Not one kind of invasion or another, but simply "invasion" of all kinds from every quarter; and no application for protection is required against "invasion." Whenever it comes, however it comes, it is to be protected against. The word itself imports force from without:any force from without the state invaded, whether from foreign country, or alien enemies or Indian tribes; it is confined to no particular invasion. And against this the president has the means, provided by congress in the laws raising and providing a standing army and navy:the land and naval forces of the United States, which need not be "called forth," but are armies already raised and standing, and a navy already "provided and maintained." The president is commander in chief of these, and may order them to repel actual invasion, as they are already in actual service without being "called forth." And he is surely as much bound to execute the constitution as the statutes of congress. "The laws," to be executed, embrace both, and he has the means to execute both provided in the statutes for raising armies and providing a navy, as well as in the laws calling forth the militia.

But to proceed:

2nd. The second thing that every state is to be protected against is, "domestic violence." These words import force from within:a domestic force, acting in rebellion or insurrection or obstruction of the laws, against the state. To interpose against this, there must be an application of the legislature, or of the executive of the state when the legislature cannot be convened.

And under this clause, of this section, special acts of February 28th, 1795, and of March 3rd, 1807, have been passed. They are wholly distinct from the laws of congress raising armies and providing a navy. The first clause of the 1st section of the act of 1795 relates to invasions of the United States "from any foreign nation or Indian tribe." The 2nd clause of that section relates to "insurrection, in any state against the government thereof," &c., to "domestic violence," in other words, and not expressly or impliedly to "invasion of any state." And the 2nd section of the act relates to obstructions of the laws of the United States, and not of any state. And the whole act, so far as it relates to the states, is an act to provide for "calling forth the militia" to suppress domestic violence, and not for commanding the land and naval forces already in actual service against "invasion." Invasion of any state is in fact invasion of the United States. And the act of 1807 applies expressly to cases only of "insurrection or obstruction to the laws either of the United States, or of any individual state or territory. And if the president's construction of his power be correct, this act, which was intended undoubtedly to extend the act of 1795, and enlarge its provisions, would operate to restrict and contract its provisions. He could not use such part of the land and naval force of the United States as shall be judged necessary by him, without having first observed all the prerequisites of the law for calling forth the militia. These acts, in a word, do not in word or meaning apply to cases of "invasion of a state," but so far as a state is concerned, to cases only of domestic violence; and where the militia are called forth on application of the legislature or of the executive of the state rebelled against.

Here there was no "insurrection;" no case of force from within. Invasion was threatened from without, by citizens of one state against another state. It is monstrous to say that there is nothing in the constitution or laws guaranteeing protection to a state in such cases. The constitution is express. It needs in fact the laws only which have been passed:the laws of the army and navy of the United States, and the laws for calling forth the militia, to execute both of the clauses of protection guaranteed by the constitution to "every state in this Union." The men of 1795 made no such gross omission. They understood their work too well for that. And what a spectacle the United States would have presented, if on the second an army of fanatics had invaded Virginia to rescue felons legally convicted, and a bloody battle had been joined, and the United States land forces at Harpers Ferry had stood neutral spectators, guarding only the United States arsenal, and playing posse comitatus to a United States marshal, but not allowed to aid the execution of the laws of a state or to repel invasion, because the United States were not invaded "from a foreign country, or by Indian tribes." The bare statement is revolting to the 4th section of the fourth article of the constitution guaranteeing protection to every state against invasion; to every statute of congress raising land and naval forces of the United States; to all the ends and purposes of those laws and to peace; to the oath and executive office of the president of the United States to preserve, protect and defend the constitution, and to see the laws faithfully executed.

Such are my views of the constitution and laws. The views of the president, it seems, are different. I notified him of a just apprehension that this state was threatened with "invasion" by a predatory border war, to rescue prisoners convicted of high crimes and felonies, and to seize our citizens as hostages and victims in case of execution of the criminals, proceeding from several surrounding states.

He answers, that "it would seem almost incredible that any portion of the people of the states mentioned, should be guilty of the atrocious wickedness as well as folly of attempting to rescue convicted traitors and murderers from the penalty due to their crimes under the outraged laws of Virginia."

I reply to him, through you, gentlemen, that it is strange this should seem so incredible, when the very "convicted traitors and murderers" were portions of the people of the states mentioned, who had just been convicted of invading our border, and seizing a United States arsenal, and of perpetrating treason and murder against both the state and the United States authority. And I surely may be allowed latitude for acting on the mass of information I have received, of renewed invasion, when, perhaps, pardonable inattention at Washington to warning of the murder and treason at Harpers Ferry, left an arsenal and a people defenceless against that invasion!

I did not call on the president to protect Virginia, and would not do so. I apprised him of apprehensions "in order that he might take steps to preserve peace between the states." I had called out our own militia, and they are a thousand fold ample to defend their state. They have had not only to guard their own border but to guard in part the arsenal of the United States. The president has however manifested a "cheerful and cordial" disposition to defend the place ceded to the United States at Harpers Ferry; he sent a small guard, as soon as informed it was unguarded, and has reinforced that guard, "not only to protect the public property clearly within federal jurisdiction, but to prevent the insurgents from seizing the arms in the arsenal at that place, and using them against the troops of Virginia." "Besides," he says, "it is possible the additional troops may be required to act as a posse comitatus on the requisition of the marshal of the United States for the western district of Virginia; to prevent the rescue of Stevens, now in his custody, charged with the crime of high treason."

Then for these objects:1st. to keep arms of the United States out of the hands of the invaders of Virginia: and 2d. To act as "posse comitatus" to a United States marshal, the land forces of the United States may be used; but 3d. Not to prevent "invasion" of one state by the people of another state. And he says he can discover nothing in any provision in the constitution or laws of the United States which would authorize him to "take steps" for the purpose of preserving peace between the states, "by guarding places in surrounding states which may be occupied as depots and rendezvous by desperadoes to invade Virginia." As I understand his interpretation of the constitution and laws, he cannot call forth the militia nor employ the land and naval forces of the United States, "for this purpose." He says it is the duty of the respective state governments to break up such depots, and to prevent their citizens from making incursions, &c.; but that if the federal executive were to enter these states and perform this duty for them, it would be a manifest usurpation of their rights. Were he thus to act it would be a palpable invasion of state sovereignty, and as a precedent might prove highly dangerous." Now, this is new doctrine, and teaches even Virginia a lesson of state rights which destroys her constitutional guarantee of protection by the United States against "invasion" by abolition fanatics from other states. They are not from any foreign country, nor are they Indian tribes. The fanatics from free states, such as John Brown and Stevens, he says, in effect, are not invading the United States when invading Virginia; they are not "from any foreign nation or Indian tribe," rendering it lawful for the president to employ the federal forces to repel such invasion."

These are alarming doctrines to the invaded states. And however the argument or the error may be between the president and your executive, this at least is clear, that if I am right in my views of our guarantee of protection in the case before us, imminent as it is, he, the executive of the United States, does not concur with me, and will not enforce the protection we need; and on the other hand if he is right, and we cannot legally claim that the United Slates shall keep the peace between states and guarantee one state against invasion from another, the federal executive cannot interpose to repel or prevent the invasion. In either case, we are clearly thrown on our self dependence. We must rely on ourselves, and fight for peace! I say then:To your tents! Organize and arm!

The constitutional guarantee of protection is withheld, whilst we are invaded from all around, and this withholding will inspirit the sympathizers in felony against our property and lives. To defend ourselves, and to suppress sympathy in insurrection, which must multiply felons against our peace and safety; and if they did not intend invasion before, will make them enact it now; under this construction of state rights to disturb and state rights to defend the public peace, we will need all our forces for the conflict. I therefore recommend to you more energetic measures than the president compliments me for adopting on the side of peace against invasion.

I repeat:

1st. Organize and arm.

2d. Demand of each state in the Union what position she means to maintain for the future in respect to slavery and the provisions of the constitution and laws of the United States, and the provisions of state laws for its protection in our federal relations; and be governed according to the manner in which the demand shall be answered. Let us defend our own position, or yield it at once. Let us have action and not resolves:definitive settlement, and no more temporizing the constitution, and no more compromise.

John Brown, the leader of the invasion of Harpers Ferry, was executed, according to the sentence of the court, on the 2d instant. His body was delivered, by my request to the sheriff of Jefferson county, to the orders of Major General Taliaferro, to be guarded safely to Harpers Ferry, and there delivered to his widow, Mary Brown. The laws of the commonwealth have reigned in his arrest, trial and execution; and when dead, under the sentence, they released his remains to his relatives, to whom they have, with dignity and decency, been handed over.

The other convicts await execution, and will be executed on the 16th, unless the general assembly orders otherwise. I shall be guided in my course in respect to the reprieve, pardon or commutation of punishment of these, or in respect to their execution, by your resolves. This will meet the open invasion, but it acts only on the individual convicts, and it don't settle the question of our peace and protection against future aggression. To do that, we must cease to resolve, and take decided action. What action, is for you to decide. I have done my part, according to the best of my ability:and it remains only for me to offer myself, all that I am and all that I have, to the commonwealth, wherever she may order me or mine, in any service, when the term of my present office closes.

I submit detailed recommendations in another message. I am, most

respectfully and devotedly,

Your obedient servant,


Appendix to Message I. Documents relative to the Harpers Ferry Invasion.

Governor Wise's Letter to President Buchanan.

RICHMOND, VA., Nov. 25, 1859.


I have information from various quarters, upon which I rely, that a conspiracy, of formidable extent in means and numbers, is formed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and other states, to rescue John Brown and his associates, prisoners at Charlestown, Virginia. The information is specific enough to be reliable. It convinces me that an attempt will be made to rescue the prisoners, and if that fails, then to seize citizens of this state as hostages and victims, in case of execution. The execution will take place next Friday as certainly as that Virginia can and will enforce her laws. I have been obliged to call out one thousand men, who are now under arms, and, if necessary, shall call out the whole available force of the state to carry into effect the sentence of our laws on the 2nd and 16th proximo. Places in Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania have been occupied as depots and rendezvous by these desperadoes, unobstructed by guards or otherwise, to invade this state, and we are kept in continual apprehension of outrages from fire and rapine on our borders.

I apprise you of these facts, in order that you may take steps to preserve peace between the states.

I protest that my purpose is peaceful, and that I disclaim all threats when I say, with all the might of meaning, that if another invasion assails this state of its citizens from any quarter, I will pursue the invaders wherever they may go, into any territory, and punish them wherever arms can reach them.

I shall send a copy of this to the governors of Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania. With due respect and consideration,

Yours truly,

His Excellency JAMES BUCHANAN,
President of the United States.

Answer of President Buchanan.

WASHINGTON CITY, Nov. 28, 1859.


I received, on yesterday, your favor of the 25th instant, stating that you have information, from various quarters, on which you rely, "that a conspiracy of formidable extent in means and numbers, is formed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and other states, to rescue John Brown and his associates, prisoners at Charlestown, Virginia." The information you believe "is specific enough to be reliable," and you are convinced "that an attempt will be made to rescue the prisoners, and if that fails, then to seize citizens of this state (Virginia) as hostages and victims, in case of execution."

You do not communicate the facts on which your convictions are founded; in the absence of which, it would seem almost incredible that any portion of the people of the states mentioned should be guilty of the atrocious wickedness, as well as folly of attempting to rescue convicted traitors and murderers from the penalty due to their crimes under the outraged laws of Virginia. You express entire confidence, in which I heartily participate, that the noble old commonwealth is abundantly able and willing to carry her own laws into execution. Had this been otherwise, and had you, as the governor of Virginia (the legislature not now being in session), made application to me for the aid which the constitution and laws of the United States would enable me to afford, this should have been cheerfully and cordially granted. Still, there is one measure which, on the presumption that your information is well founded, it is both my right and my duty to adopt: that is, to reinforce the guard already stationed at Harpers Ferry. This may become necessary not only to protect the public property clearly within federal jurisdiction, but to prevent the insurgents from seizing the arms in the arsenal at that place, and using them against the troops of Virginia. Besides, it is possible the additional troops may be required to act as a posse comitatus on the requisition of the marshal of the United States for the western district of Virginia, to prevent the rescue of Stevens, now in his custody, charged with the crime of high treason. I have, therefore, as a precautionary measure, directed the secretary of war to order two companies of artillery to proceed immediately from fortress Monroe to Harpers Ferry.

You also inform me, that "places in Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania have been occupied as depots and rendezvous by these desperadoes, unobstructed by guards or otherwise, to invade" Virginia; and you apprise me of these facts, in order that I "may take steps to preserve peace between the states."

I am at a loss to discover any provision in the constitution or laws of the United States, which would authorize me to "take steps" for this purpose. It is, doubtless, the imperative duty of the respective state governments to break up such depots, and to prevent their citizens from making incursions into Virginia, to disturb its peace or prevent the execution of its laws. If the federal executive, however, were to enter those states and perform this duty for them, it would be a manifest usurpation of their rights. Were I thus to act, it would be a palpable invasion of state sovereignty, and, as a precedent, might prove highly dangerous.

My authority for calling out the militia, or employing the army and navy, is derived exclusively from the acts of congress of the 28th February 1795 and the 3d March 1807, which clearly do not embrace such a case as is now presented. It will not be pretended that such incursions from one state into another would be an invasion of the United States "from any foreign nation or Indian tribe," under the act of February 1795, rendering it lawful for the president to employ the federal forces "to repel such invasion."

In conclusion, I beg to express the hope that, whether the information you have received be founded in truth or not, the energetic measures already adopted under your direction, will prove sufficient for any emergency that may occur.

Yours, very respectfully,

His Excellency HENRY A. WISE,
Governor of Virginia - Richmond, Va.

Letter of Governor Wise to the Governor of Maryland.

RICHMOND, VA., Nov. 25, 1859.


I respectfully send to you the information contained in a letter to the president of the United States, of which the enclosed is a copy. I submit it to you, in the confidence that you will faithfully co-operate with the authorities of this state in preserving the peace of our coterminous borders. Necessity may compel us to pursue invaders of our jurisdiction into yours; if so, you may be assured that it will be done with no disrespect to the sovereignty of your state. But this state expects the confederate duty to be observed, of guarding your territory from becoming dangerous to our peace and safety, by affording places of depot and rendezvous to lawless desperadoes who may seek to war upon our people.

We are grateful to the troops of Maryland for the volunteer services they rendered to this state at Harpers Ferry; and we are well assured that if ordered or allowed to do so, they will prevent the borders of Maryland from being made the points whence to assail brethren who would gladly rush to their defence against any enemy.

With the highest respect,

I am, sir, yours truly,

His Excellency the Governor of Maryland.

Answer of the Governor of Maryland.

Annapolis, November 29th, 1859.


I have received the communication which you were good enough to send me, under date of the 25th instant, enclosing a copy of the letter addressed by you, on the same day, to the president of the United States, in relation to information which has reached you of the designs and threats of invading Virginia, and of rescuing Brown and his confederates from the custody of the law.

The confidence you have expressed, that I will faithfully co-operate with the authorities of Virginia in preserving the peace of our coterminous borders, is justified by the measures I have already adopted, and by the means I will use to that end, as well as by the plain interests and well known dispositions of the people of this state.

While I regard the threats which have been reported, as the exaggerated or idle boastings of fanatics, whose courage is only sufficient to urge others to desperate and treasonable enterprises, I have deemed it prudent to make such provisions, by my orders to the civil and military authorities of this state, and especially to those in the counties adjoining the scene of the late outrage, as will prevent the occupation of any place, within this state, for a depot or rendezvous for lawless desperadoes, who may seek to make war upon the people of Virginia.

In these, as well as in the character and disposition of the citizens of this state, I have complete confidence; and to these I will add, at once, such further measures as will remove, I trust, even the fear that the borders of this state may be made the points whence to assail the rights or the property of our brethren.

With the highest respect,

I am, sir, yours truly,

His Excellency the Governor of Virginia.

Letter of Governor Wise to the Governor of Pennsylvania.

RICHMOND. VA., Nov. 25, 1859.


I respectfully send to you the information contained in a letter to the president of the United States, of which the enclosed is a copy. I submit it to you, in the confidence that you will faithfully co-operate with the authorities of this state in preserving the peace of our coterminous borders. Necessity may compel us to pursue invaders of our jurisdiction into yours: if so, you may be assured that it will be done with no disrespect to the sovereignty of your state. But this state expects the confederate duty to be observed, of guarding your territory from becoming dangerous to our peace and safety, by affording places of depot and rendezvous to lawless desperadoes who may seek to war upon our people.

With the highest respect,

His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania.

Answer (by Telegraph) of the Governor of Pennsylvania.

December 1st.

Your letter of the twenty-fifth (25th) having been missent to Harrisonburg, Virginia, was not received until this morning.

Of all the desperadoes to whom you refer, not a man, so far as I can learn, was a citizen of Pennsylvania, nor was their rendezvous, which you say was unobstructed by guards or otherwise, in this state, but in Maryland or Virginia.

In relation to them, Pennsylvania has done her duty. Virginia has no right to anticipate that she will not do so in the future.

The information you have received in regard to a conspiracy to rescue John Brown, will undoubtedly be found, in the sequel, utterly and entirely without foundation, so far as Pennsylvania is concerned; nor will we permit any portion of our territory along our borders or elsewhere to be made a depot, a rendezvous, or a refuge for lawless desperadoes from other states, who may seek to make war upon our southern neighbors.

When that contingency shall happen, the constitutional and confederate duty of Pennsylvania shall be performed; and under all circumstances, she will take care to see that her honor is fully vindicated.


His Excellency the Governor of Virginia.

Letter of Governor Wise to the Governor of Ohio.

RICHMOND, VA., Nov. 25, 1859,


I respectfully send to you the information contained in a letter to the president of the United States, of which the enclosed is a copy. I submit it to you, in the confidence that you will faithfully co-operate with the authorities of this state in preserving the peace of our coterminous borders. Necessity may compel us to pursue invaders of our jurisdiction into yours; if so, you may be assured that it will be done with no disrespect to the sovereignty of your state. But this state expects the confederate duty to be observed, of guarding your territory from becoming dangerous to our peace and safety, by affording places of depot and rendezvous to lawless desperadoes who may seek to war upon our people.

With the highest respect,

I am, sir, yours truly,

His Excellency the Governor of Ohio.


The enclosed communication from the governor of Ohio, in answer to my letter addressed to him, and attached to my message of yesterday, has been since received. I respectfully ask that it may be considered in connection with that message.

Very respectfully, &c.

To the Senate and House of Delegates of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Answer of the Governor of Ohio.

Columbus, December 1st, 1859.


Your letter of the 25th ult., postmarked 26th, together with a copy of one of the same date, addressed by you to the president, were received yesterday. No intelligence other than that contained in these letters has reached me of any such preparations as are described in them, and the letters themselves convey no such information in respect to place or persons as is necessary to enable the authorities of the state, in the absence of other intelligence, to interpose with any certainty of effect. Whenever it shall be made to appear, either by evidence transmitted by you or otherwise, that unlawful combinations are being formed by any persons or at any place in Ohio, for the invasion of Virginia or for the commission of crimes against her people, it will undoubtedly become the duty of the executive to use whatever power he may possess to break up such combinations and defeat their unlawful purposes, and that duty it need not be doubted will be promptly performed.

I observe with regret an intimation in your letter that necessity may compel the authorities of Virginia to pursue invaders of her jurisdiction into the territories of adjoining states. It is to be hoped that no circumstances will arise creating, in their opinion, such necessity. Laws of the United States as well as the laws of Ohio indicate the mode in which persons charged with crime in another state and escaping into this, may be demanded and must be surrendered: and the people of this state will require from her authorities the punctual fulfilment of every obligation to the other members of the Union. They cannot consent, however, to the invasion of her territory by armed bodies from other states, even for the purpose of pursuing and arresting fugitives from justice.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully yours,

His Excellency HENRY A. WISE,
Governor of Virginia.

Letter of Col. Gibson to Governor Wise.

HARPERS FERRY, October 18, 1859.


Your order, per telegraph, dated Richmond, Va., the 17th instant, calling my "attention to section 1st, chapter 29, of the Code, and to the fact that the arsenal and government property at Harpers Ferry were in possession of a band of rioters," was not received till about 11 o'clock A. M. to-day, in consequence of the telegraphic posts round about here having been cut down by an audacious band of insurgents and robbers.

On the morning of the 17th instant I received information at Charlestown, that a band of abolitionists from the north had taken possession of the arsenal and workshops of the government located here; that they had killed several of our citizens, taken others, and held them as prisoners; and that they had in possession a large number of slaves, who on the night of the 16th instant were forcibly taken from their masters.

I immediately ordered out the Jefferson Guards and the citizens of Charlestown; which order was quickly responded to, and by 10 o'clock A. M. were armed and en route for this place.

We left Charlestown with about one hundred men; and on reaching Halltown (midway between Charlestown and Harpers Ferry) we learned that the insurgents were in large numbers; and we at once dispatched orders Col L. T. Moore of Frederick county, and to the Hamtramck Guards and Shepherdstown Troop, to reinforce us immediately. We reached Harpers Ferry about half past 11 o'clock A. M. and took our position on Camp hill. We immediately dispatched the Jefferson Guards, commanded by Capt. J. W. Rowan and Lieutenants H. B. Davenport, E. H. Campbell and W. W. B. Gallaher, to cross the Potomac river about one mile west of the ferry, and march down on the Maryland side, and take possession of the Potomac bridge, and a company of the citizens of Charlestown and vicinity, commanded by Capt. L. Botts and Lieut. F. Lackland, to cross the Winchester and Potomac rail road, by way of Jefferson rock, and take possession of the Galt house in rear of the arsenal, and commanding the entrance to the armory yard. Capt. John Avis and R. B. Washington, Esq., with a handful of men, were ordered to take possession of the houses commanding the yard of the arsenal. All these orders were promptly and successfully executed. The bridge across the Shenandoah river and that of the Baltimore and Ohio rail road at the west end of the trestle work, and the street leading from the rifle factory, were guarded by small detachments of men.

Between three and four o'clock P. M. the Hamtramck Guards, Shepherdstown Troop, and a company from Martinsburg, commanded by Capt. G. Alburtis, arrived on the ground. The company from Winchester, commanded by Capt. B. B. Washington, did not arrive till late in the evening.

All the insurgents, save those who were killed and wounded through the day, entered with their prisoners into the guard-house and engine-room just inside of the gate of the armory yard, which was firmly locked. About three o'clock P. M. the enemy, with the most prominent of their prisoners, concentrated in the engine room, leaving a large number of their prisoners fastened up in the guard-house. At this point, and after the arrival of the reinforcements from Shepherdstown and Martinsburg, Col. R. W. Baylor assumed the command, and will furnish you with the details of what followed.

The avowed and confessed object of the insurgents was to free the slaves of the south. They had at their head quarters near Harpers Ferry, 200 Sharpe's rifles, 200 revolvers, 1,000 pikes, a large number of picks and shovels, and a great quantity of ammunition and other things used in war. All these were taken, and are in possession of the federal government.

Very respectfully,

Your ob't serv't,
Comdt. 55th Regiment.

His Excellency HENRY A. WISE,
Governor of Virginia.

Letter of Col. Baylor to Gov. Wise.

CHARLESTOWN, Oct. 22, 1859.


Having received intelligence from Harpers Ferry, on the morning of the 17th instant, that the abolitionists had invaded our state, taken possession of the town, government property and arms, I immediately proceeded to the scene of action.

In passing through Charlestown, I met Col. Gibson, with the Jefferson Guards, under arms. We proceeded to Halltown in the cars, where the citizens of that place informed me I could proceed no further with the train, as not only the Winchester, but also the Baltimore and Ohio rail road track had been taken up. At this place I learned they had taken 75 or 100 of our citizens prisoners, and had carried off many of our slaves. Thereupon I issued the following order to Col. L. T. Moore of the 31st regiment of Virginia militia:

"OCT. 17, 1859.

Col. L. T. Moore:


You are ordered to muster all the volunteer forces under your command, fully armed and equipped, and report to me forthwith at Harpers Ferry.

Col. 3d Reg't Cavalry."

I placed the above order in charge of Capt. Bailey, the conductor on the Winchester road, and directed him to return with his train to Winchester and deliver the order to Col. Moore. I proceeded on with the few troops we had under arms, on foot, to Harpers Ferry, where we arrived about 12 o'clock. I found the citizens in very great excitement. By this time the insurgents occupied all the lower part of the town, had their sentinels posted on all the different streets, and had shot one of our citizens, and a negro man, who had charge of the depot on the Baltimore and Ohio rail road. I here formed two companies of the citizens, and placed them under the command of Capt. Lawson Botts and Capt. John Avis. Their forces were variously estimated at from 300 to 500 strong, armed with Sharpe's rifles and revolvers.

I detached the Jefferson Guards, under the command of Capt. Rowan, and ordered them to cross the Potomac river, in boats, about two miles above Harpers Ferry, and march down on the Maryland side, and take possessor of the bridge, and permit no one to pass. This order was strictly executed. The command under Capt. Botts was ordered to pass down the bill below Jefferson's rock, and take possession of the Shenandoah bridge; to leave a strong guard at that point, and to march down to the Galt house, in rear of the arsenal building, in which we supposed their men were lodged. Capt. Avis' command was ordered to take possession of the houses directly in front of the arsenal. Both of the above commands were promptly executed. By this movement we prevented any escape. Shortly after this, a report reached me that Geo. W. Turner and Fontaine Beckham, two of our most esteemed citizens, had been shot. About 4 o'clock we were reinforced by the arrival of the Hamtramck Guards, under the command of Captain Butler, the Shepherdstown Troop, under the command of Capt. Reinhart, and some thirty citizens of Martinsburg, under the command.of Capt. Alburtis. I ordered Capt. Alburtis to march down Potomac street, through the armory yard, to the arsenal. The Hamtramck Guards and the Shepherdstown Troop (dismounted and armed with muskets), under my command, proceeded down High street to the centre of the town, in front of the arsenal. During this march the insurgents having secreted themselves in the engine-house in the armory yard, opened a brisk fire on Capt. Alburtis' company. The fire was quickly returned by Capt. Alburtis' company, who behaved very bravely. The different companies near at hand rallied to Capt. Alburtis' rescue. The firing at this time was heavy, and the insurgents could not have retained their position many minutes, when they presented at the door a white flag. The firing thereupon ceased; and I ordered the troops to draw up in line in front of the arsenal. During this engagement and the previous skirmishes, we had ten men wounded - two I fear mortally. The insurgents had eleven killed, one mortally wounded, and two taken prisoners - leaving only five in the engine-house, and one of those seriously wounded.

In this engagement we rescued about thirty of our citizens whom they held as prisoners in the guard-house. They still held in the engine-house ten citizens and five slaves.

Immediately after the troops were withdrawn, Capt. Brown sent to me, through Isaac Russell, one of their prisoners, a verbal communication, stating, if I would permit him to cross the bridge with his prisoners, to some point beyond, he would set them at liberty. I sent him the following reply in writing:


Capt. John Brown:


Upon consultation with Mr. Isaac Russell, one of your prisoners, who has come to me on terms of capitulation, I say to you, if you will set at liberty our citizens, we will leave the government to deal with you concerning their property, as it may think most advisable.

Col. Commandant."

In reply, I received the following answer in writing:

"Capt. John Brown answers:

In consideration of all my men, whether living or dead, or wounded, being soon safely in and delivered up to me at this point, with all their arms and amunition, we will then take our prisoners and cross the Potomac bridge, a little beyond which we will set them at liberty; after which we can negotiate about the government property as may be best. Also we require the delivery of our horse and harness at the hotel.


To the above I returned the following answer:


Capt. John Brown:


The terms you propose I cannot accept. Under no consideration will I consent to a removal of our citizens across the river. The only negotiations upon which I will consent to treat, are those which have been previously proposed to you.

Col. Commandant."

These terms he declined. Night by this time had set in, and the weather being very inclement, I thought it best, for the safety of our citizens, whom they held as prisoners, to cease operations for the night. Should I have ordered an attack at that hour, and in total darkness, our troops would have been as likely to have murdered our own citizens as the insurgents, all being in the same apartment. Having concluded to postpone another attack until morning, guards were posted around the armory, and every precaution taken to prevent escape. Our troops by this time required some refreshment, having been on active duty, and exposed to a heavy fall of rain all day. A little after night we were reinforced by Col. L.T. Moore of 31st regiment, having under his command the Continental Guards, commanded by Capt. Washington, and the Rifles, commanded by Capt. Clarke - also three companies from Frederick, Maryland, under the command of Col. Shriver. About 12 o'clock Col. Lee arrived, having under his command eighty-five marines from Washington. The government troops took possession of the government property, and formed inside of the armory yard, in close proximity to the engine-house. In this position Col. Lee thought it best to remain until morning. The night passed without serious alarm, but not without intense excitement. It was agreed between Col. Lee and myself, that the volunteer forces should form around on the outside of the government property, and clear the streets of all citizens and spectators, to prevent their firing random shots, to the great danger of our soldiers, and to remain in that position whilst he would attack the engine-house with his marines. As soon as day dawned, the troops were drawn up in accordance with the above arrangement. After which, Col. Lee demanded of the insurgents a surrender, upon the terms I had before proposed to them, which they still declined. The marines were then ordered to force the doors. The attempt was made with heavy sledges, but proved ineffectual. They were then ordered to attack the doors with a heavy ladder, which was lying a short distance off. After two powerful efforts, the door was shattered sufficiently to obtain an entrance. Immediately a heavy volley was fired in by the marines, and an entrance effected, which soon terminated the conflict. In this engagement the marines had one killed and one slightly wounded. The insurgents had two killed and three taken prisoners. After the firing ceased, the imprisoned citizens walked out unhurt.

Ascertaining that the whole party within the town were either killed or taken prisoners, I disbanded all the troops, with the exception of the Jefferson Guards, whom I retained on duty to prevent any further disturbances, should they arise.

About 12 o'clock on Tuesday, information having been received that a large number of arms were secreted in a house in the mountain, the Independent Grays of Baltimore were dispatched to search for them. They returned about 6 o'clock, having found 200 Sharpe's rifles, 200 revolvers, 23,000 percussion caps, 100,000 percussion pistol caps, 10 kegs of gunpowder, 1,300 ball cartridges for Sharpe's rifles, 1 major general's sword, 1,500 pikes, and a large assortment of blankets and clothing of every description. On Wednesday the prisoners were placed in the custody of the sheriff of our county, and safely lodged in jail. Disturbances still occurring on the Maryland side of the river, I marched the Jefferson Guards over and made a thorough examination of their rendezvous - found it deserted, and every thing quiet. We returned about 6 o'clock to the ferry. Shortly after, there was another general alarm, which caused great excitement. The alarm was occasioned by a gentleman, residing in Pleasant valley, riding into town in great haste, and stating that he saw firing and heard the screams of the people, and that a large number of insurgents had collected, and were murdering all before them. Forthwith, Col. Lee, with thirty marines, proceeded to the spot, and the Jefferson Guards took possession of the bridge. In about three hours Col. Lee returned, the alarm having proved to have been false. Nothing further having occurred during the night to disturb the quiet of the town, on the following morning I disbanded the company, and returned home.

I feel it my duty, before closing this report, to state that the arms in the possession of the volunteer companies in this section of the state are almost worthless. I do not think we have 100 muskets in the county of Jefferson - a border county, and one the most exposed of all others. With such arms as we have, it is butchery to require our troops to face an enemy much better equipped. Col. Moore of the 31st regiment informs me, in his report, that out of one hundred and thirty-five men on duty, he had not thirty pieces that would fire with any effect.

If the state expects her volunteers to protect her, she must arm them better. Knowing the great interest that will be felt throughout the state, and to vindicate the honor and valor of the troops under my command, I have been more than necessarily minute in this report.

I am pleased to inform you that they obeyed every order with alacrity, and with a full determination to do their duty.

The prisoners were doing well, and I do not fear any attempt will be made to rescue them, or that any further disturbances will occur.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully,
Col. commanding the Va., Troops at Harpers Ferry.

Letter of Henry Hudnall, Esq. to Governor Wise.

RICHMOND, November 17th, 1859.


Herewith I have the honor to submit to your excellency the fruits of the mission on which you were pleased to send me to Charlestown, where the trial of the insurgents in the recent Harpers Ferry affair, was then going on. On arriving at Charlestown, I at once made known my business to the Hon. Andrew Hunter, who, with that urbane kindness so characteristic of the man, made every arrangement for the quiet and immediate prosecution of my work.

I found a large quantity of matter, consisting of letters, journals, memorandum books; printed matter, such as the "Provisional Constitution" and the "Duty of the Soldier," of which there were many copies, blank forms of commissions, both civil and military, a rail road map of the United States and Canada, a map of the seat of war in Northern Italy, and extracts cut from newspapers, chiefly the New York Tribune; together with cards and circulars of manufacturers and agents for the sale of seven shooters and Sharpe's rifles. There were, also, printed certificates of "honorable" service in the Kansas wars, signed by Gen. Jim Lane. Besides these were numerous scraps of paper - sibylline leaves - which were the receptacles of stray thoughts, mostly in the handwriting of Kagi and John Brown, and a diary in photographic abbreviations, which, from the character of the writing, I should judge, was kept by Owen Brown. Its contents are chiefly remarks on the weather, references to controversies on abstract subjects between Tidd and Whipple (as Stephens called himself) of evenings; of hauling with teams, of drilling so many hours, of studying tactics, of writing letters, and of meeting with acquaintances. In some places he alludes to his sins, in mock contrition asks, in the most beseeching manner, for the prayers of his brothers and sisters in his behalf, and adds that the tears of repentance are rolling down his cheeks "as big as goose eggs." There are no dates nor places of any consequence mentioned, nor any allusion to his father's scheme, unless "drilling" and "tactics" may be so construed. There is a loose piece of paper found with this diary, which seems to be a continuation of it, in the same style and handwriting. Among the last entries on this piece of paper, are the following expressions: "Dfens. Trn. Stats evdens. Moffat as guilty as I."

There is, among Brown's Kansas papers, his commission as captain in Lane's army of deliverance. Also the muster roll of Brown's company in Kansas. But it does not appear that any of those men were with him in his foray on Harpers Ferry, except his son Oliver. There is, also, a long, well written and interesting letter from John Brown, jr. to his father, describing, with much minuteness, his routes, encampments, and other incidents connected with his earlier Kansas life. This son appears to be the most intelligent and the best educated of all Brown's children, whose correspondence I have seen. While he seems to possess all of his father's acuteness, he certainly excels him in accuracy of expression. His handwriting is bold and admirable.

Kagi, secretary of war in Brown's late provisional army, figures but slightly among the Kansas papers. There are several letters in phonetic cipher, dated in 1856, addressed to him at Topeka. There is evidence that, about this time, he was an occasional correspondent of the New York Tribune; but it was not till after the organization of the provisional government at Chatham in May 1858, that the late secretary of war ("J. Henrie," as he signed himself) became a great letter writer.

But of all the party, Charles P. Tidd appears to have had the most extensive correspondence. There is nearly a half bushel of letters, from various parts of New England and from the Northwest, addressed to him at Springdale and Tabor, Iowa, and at Chatham, Canada West. The dates range from 1856 to September 1859. Many of these letters are from Quaker ladies, if I may judge from the free use of "thees" and "thous" in them. Old Mother Varney, one of these ladies of the Quaker persuasion, seems to have taken a deep interest in Tidd's welfare, and to have scattered letters upon him like leaves in Vallombrosa. She writes about every thing and every body, and is decidedly the Dame Quickly of the party. A joint letter of hers and of her son Moses, to Tidd and Whipple (Stephens), is given in the copied correspondence. In the latter part of Mrs. Varney's portion, those who are curious about such things, will find a piece of rhyming prose, such as was very much admired some years ago in one of Dickens' Christmas Stories. The letter, however, is chiefly valuable as showing the moral character of the couple to whom it was addressed.

Tidd was originally from Maine, and like many an errant New England boy, seems to have had a Christian mother and a gentle sweet sister, who

"On his wandering way,
Daily and nightly, poured a mourner's prayers."

There are many letters from them to him, especially from his sister Elizabeth, filled with the tenderest and most christian-like sentiments. In wading through masses of papers filled with the thoughts and schemes of these bloody men and their backers, it was a relief to come to such expressions as these from a loving, hoping, trusting sister to a brother whom she appears not to have seen for years: "Does spring come there as early as here in New England? Do the birds sing as sweetly and the brooks dance as merrily there? Do you not miss the hills of old Maine?"

Again, after drawing home pictures, and telling him about her teaching school at Prentiss, and asking him when he will come back, she closes her letter as follows: "I must close, dear brother, the shadows of night are lengthening, the deep blue of old Katahdin is growing slowly deeper and darker, and the twilight is coming down upon the woods and waters of New England. Good night, dear bub, good night!"

But his good angel does not appear to have been always whispering in his ear; for at the close of a letter about family matters, dated March l2th, 1858, is this addition from one who signs herself "Mary:" "Dear brother, you see the space allotted to me, so I must be very comprehensive. I expect you are only waiting for that constitution to pass the house and you are ready to take up armes against the slave power. Be it so. And the God of Gideon be with you, is the prayer of her who never expects to see you again, but hopes to meet you in that world where kindred spirits meet to part no more."

Leeman's sister also wrote him beautiful letters in the most delicate of hands. She gave him much good advice, and asked when she should see him again. Whether he took her advice, or whether she will ever see him again, can best be answered by the waters of the Potomac, which murmur by the rock where he met his fate.

J. H. Kagi, too, seems not to have been always sending and receiving warlike missives; for there is a letter to him, telling him about "Jinnie's" having his "daguerreotype," and "Nett sends her love; says she would not mind to hear a word from you." But this was in the Kansas days.

After overhauling and thoroughly examining this miscellaneous mass, I proceed, according to your instructions, to arrange and transcribe only such papers as were either directly or collaterally connected with Brown's scheme for an armed invasion of the south, and more particularly with reference to his late attempt on Virginia soil. The correspondence of him and his men on this subject, the letters of their friends and co-operators at a distance, some sending money and others sending sympathy, and bidding them "God's speed" - plans, suggestions, hints, have all been carefully copied. Such letters or other documentary evidence, as tended to throw any light on the character of the men engaged in "prospecting" for "coal," have been introduced. A full account of the provisional convention at Chatham, in May 1858 (which appears to have been the first regular organization of Brown's plan, although the affair had been the subject of consultation as early, at least, as the beginning of that year, as appears from the correspondence of Tidd, which has been copied), is taken from the records of their secretary Kagi, who wrote a good hand, and appears to have had considerable capacity for business, both civil and military. Their Declaration of Independence bears strong internal proof of having been the work of Brown, parodied on the colonial declaration, with some very original variations and interpolations by Brown himself, the whole being copied by his son Owen, and fixed upon a roller, from which I unwound it to make the copy I have given. The constitution has been acknowledged by Brown to be his work. That and the forms of commissions for civil and military offices, are understood to have been printed at St. Catharine's, in Canada West.

Whatever paper has been copied, has been done precisely as it is in the original, with all the bad grammar, bad orthography, and recklessness in the use, or utter disregard of, punctuation marks and capitals.

I have endeavored to fulfill your wishes, by developing the plans and conspiracies which have but just threatened our border with all the horrors of a servile war, in the language of the conspirators themselves, and to make them show who were their "particular friends," aiders and abettors. In doing this, I rejected piles of letters which might prove interesting to the sentimentalist, or to the lover of scandal, but which were of no other use. The work might have been more systematically arranged, could I have had all the correspondence before me at the commencement. The most interesting and pointed part of the correspondence of John Brown, Kagi, John Brown, jr., and of their friends, could not be placed in my hands till after the trial of Cook, by which time most of the other documents had been examined and copied. They are all in, however, though in scattered order. Such as it is, the whole is respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to be,

Your excellency's humble servant,

His Excellency HENRY A. WISE.

[Copy of constitution referred to by Brown and other prisoners, and used as evidence in their trial. Adopted at Chatham, May 8th, 1858.]

Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for the People of the United States.


Whereas, Slavery, throughout its entire existence in the United States, is none other than a most barbarous, unprovoked, and unjustifiable War of one portion of its citizens upon another portion; the only conditions of which are perpetual imprisonment, and hopeless servitude or absolute extermination; in utter disregard and violation of those eternal and self-evident truths set forth in our Declaration of Independence: Therefore,



Qualifications for membership.

All persons of mature age, whether Proscribed, oppressed, and enslaved Citizens, or of the Proscribed and oppressed races of the United States, who shall agree to sustain and enforce the Provisional Constitution and Ordinances of this organization, together with all minor children of such persons, shall be held to be fully entitled to protection under the same.


Branches of government.

The provisional government of this organization shall consist of three branches, viz: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.



The legislative branch shall be a Congress or House of Representatives, composed of not less than five, nor more that ten members, who shall be elected by all citizens of mature age and of sound mind, connected with this organization; and who shall remain in office for three years, unless sooner removed for misconduct, inability, or by death. A majority of such members shall constitute a quorum.



The executive branch of this organization shall consist of a President and Vice President, who shall be chosen by the citizens or members of this organization, and each of whom shall hold his office for three years, unless sooner removed by death, or for inability or misconduct.



The judicial branch of this organization shall consist of one Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and of four Associate Judges of said court; each constituting a Circuit Court. They shall each be chosen in the same manner as the President, and shall continue in office until their places have been filled in the same manner by election of the citizens. Said court shall have jurisdiction in all civil or criminal causes, arising under this constitution, except breaches of the rules of war.


Validity of enactments.

All enactments of the legislative branch shall, to become valid, during the first three years, have the approbation of the President, and of the Commander-in-chief of the Army.



A Commander-in-Chief of the army shall be chosen by the President, Vice-President, a majority of the provisional congress, and of the supreme court, and he shall receive his commission from the President, signed by the Vice-President, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Secretary of War: and he shall hold his office for three years, unless removed by death, or on proof of incapacity or misbehavior. He shall, unless under arrest, (and until his place is actually filled as provided for by this constitution) direct all movements of the army, and advise with any allies. He shall however be tried, removed or punished, on complaint of the President, by, at least, three general officers, or a majority of the House of Representatives, or of the supreme court; which House of Representatives, (the President presiding,) the Vice-President, and the members of the supreme court, shall constitute a court-martial, for his trial; with power to remove or punish, as the case may require; and to fill his place as above provided.



A Treasurer, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and Secretary of the Treasury, shall each be chosen for the first three years, in the same way and manner as the Commander-in-chief; subject to trial or removal on complaint of the President, Vice President, or Commander-in-chief, to the Chief Justice of the supreme court; or on complaint of the majority of the members of said court, or the provisional congress. The supreme court shall have power to try or punish either of those officers; and their places shall be filled as before.


Secretary of War.

The Secretary of War shall be under the immediate direction of the Commander-in-chief; who may temporarily fill his place, in case of arrest, or of any inability to serve.


Congress or House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives shall make ordinance providing for the appointment (by the President or otherwise) of all civil officers, excepting those already named; and shall have power to make all laws and ordinances for the general good, not inconsistent with this Constitution and these ordinances.


Appropriation of money, &c.

The provisional congress shall have power to appropriate money or other property actually in the hands of the Treasurer, to any object calculated to promote the general good, so far as may be consistent with the provisions of this constitution; and may in certain cases, appropriate for a moderate compensation of agents, or persons not members of this organization, for any important service they are known to have rendered.


Special duties.

It shall be the duty of Congress to provide for the instant removal of any civil officer or policeman, who becomes habitually intoxicated, or who is addicted to other immoral conduct, or to any neglect or unfaithfulness in the discharge of his official duties. Congress shall also be a standing committee of Safety, for the purpose of obtaining important information; and shall be in constant communication with the Commander-in-chief; the members of which shall each, as also the President, Vice President, members of the supreme court, and Secretary of State, have full power to issue warrants returnable as Congress shall ordain (naming witnesses, &c.,) upon their own information, without the formality of a complaint. Complaint shall be immediately made after arrest, and before trial; the party arrested to be served with a copy at once.


Trial of President and other officers.

The President and Vice President may either of them be tried, removed, or punished, on complaint made to the Chief Justice of the supreme court, by a majority of the House of Representatives; which house, together with the Associate Judges of the Supreme Court, the whole to be presided over by the Chief Justice in cases of the trial of the Vice President, shall have full power to try such officers, to remove, or punish as the case may require: and to fill any vacancy so occurring, the same as in the case of the Commander-in-chief.


Trial of members of Congress.

The members of the House of Representatives may any and all of them be tried, and on conviction, removed or punished on complaint before the Chief Justice of the supreme court, made by any number of the members of said house, exceeding one-third; which house, with the Vice President and Associate Judges of the supreme court, shall constitute the proper tribunal, with power to fill such vacancies.


Impeachment of Judges.

Any member of the supreme court may also be impeached, tried, convicted or punished by removal or otherwise, on complaint to the President, who shall in such case, preside; the Vice President, House of Representatives, and other members of the supreme court, constituting the proper tribunal: (with power to fill vacancies;) on complaint of a majority of said house of representatives, or of the supreme court; a majority of the whole having power to decide.


Duties of President and Secretary of State.

The President, with the Secretary of State, shall immediately upon entering on the duties of their office, give special attention to secure, from amongst their own people, men of integrity, intelligence and good business habits, and capacity; and above all, of firstrate moral and religious character and influence, to act as civil officers of every description and grade, as well as teachers, chaplains, physicians, surgeons, mechanics, agents of every description, clerks and messengers. They shall make special efforts to induce, at the earliest possible period, persons and families of that description, to locate themselves within the limits secured by this organization; and shall, moreover, from time to time, supply the names and residence of such persons to the congress, for their special notice and information, as among the most important of their duties, and the President is hereby authorized and empowered to afford special aid to such individuals, from such moderate appropriations as the Congress shall be able and may deem advisable to make for that object. The President and Secretary of State, and in all cases of disagreement, the Vice President, shall appoint all civil officers, but shall not have power to remove any officer. All removals shall be the result of a fair trial, whether civil or military.


Further duties.

It shall be the duty of the President and Secretary of State, to find out (as soon as possible) the real friends, as well as enemies of this organization in every part of the country; to secure among them, innkeepers, private postmasters, private mail-contractors, messengers and agents: through whom may be obtained correct and regular information, constantly; recruits for the service, places of deposit and sale; together with all needed supplies: and it shall be matter of special regard to secure such facilities through the Northern States.


Duty of the President.

It shall be the duty of the President, as well as the House of Representatives, at all times to inform the Commander-in-chief of any matter that may require his attention, or that may affect the public safety.


Duty of President--continued.

It shall be the duty of the President to see that the provisional ordinances of this organization, and those made by the Congress, are promptly and faithfully executed; and he may in cases of great urgency call on the Commander-in-chief of the army, or other officers for aid; it being however intended that a sufficient civil police shall always be in readiness to secure implicit obedience to law.


The Vice President.

The Vice President shall be the presiding officer of the provisional congress; and in cases of tie shall give the casting vote.



In case of the death, removal, or inability of the President, the Vice President, and, next to him, the Chief Justice of the supreme court shall be the President during the remainder of the term: and the place of the Chief Justice thus made vacant shall be filled by Congress from some of the members of said court; and the places of the Vice President and Associate Justice thus made vacant, filled by an election by the united action of the Provisional Congress and members of the supreme court. All other vacancies, not heretofore specially provided for, shall during the first three years, be filled by the united action of the President, Vice President, Supreme Court and Commander-in-chief of the Army.


Punishment of crimes.

The punishment of crimes not capital, except in case of insubordinate convicts or other prisoners, shall be, (so far as may be,) by hard labor on the public works, roads, &c.


Army appointments.

It shall be the duty of all commissioned officers of the army, to name candidates of merit for office or elevation to the Commander-in-chief, who, with the Secretary of War, and, in cases of disagreement, the President shall be the appointing power of the army: and all commissions of military officers shall bear the signatures of the Commander-in-chief and the Secretary of War. And it shall be the special duty of the Secretary of War to keep for constant reference of the Commander-in-chief a full list of names of persons nominated for office or elevation by the officers of the army, with the name and rank of the officer nominating, stating distinctly but briefly the grounds for such notice or nomination. The Commander-in-chief shall not have power to remove or punish any officer or soldier; but he may order their arrest and trial at any time, by court-martial.


Courts martial.

Courts-martial for Companies, Regiments, Brigades, &c., shall be called by the chief officer of each command, on complaint, to him by any officer, or any five privates, in such command, and shall consist of not less than five nor more than nine officers, non-commissioned officers and privates, one-half of whom shall not be lower in rank than the person on trial, to be chosen by the three highest officers in the command, which officers shall not be a part of such court. The chief officer of any command shall of course be tried by a court martial of the command above his own. All decisions affecting the lives of persons, or office of persons holding commission must, before taking full effect have the signature of the Commander-in-chief, who may also, on the recommendation of at least one-third of the members of the court martial finding any sentence, grant a reprieve or commutation of the same.



No person connected with this organization shall be entitled to any salary, pay or emolument, other than a competent support of himself and family, unless it be from an equal dividend, made of public property, on the establishment of peace, or of special provision by treaty; which provision shall be made for all persons who may have been in any active civil or military service at any time previous to any hostile action for Liberty and Equality.


Treaties of peace.

Before any treaty of peace shall take full effect, it shall be signed by the President and Vice President, the Commander-in-chief, a majority of the House of Representatives, a majority of the supreme court, and a majority of all the general officers of the army.


Duty of the military.

It shall be the duty of the Commander-in-chief, and all officers and soldiers of the army, to afford special protection when needed, to Congress, or any member thereof; to the supreme court, or any member thereof; to the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of War; and to afford general protection to all civil officers, or other persons having right to the same.



All captured or confiscated property, and all property the product of the labor of those belonging to this organization and of their families, shall be held as the property of the whole, equally, without distinction; and may be used for the common benefit, or disposed of for the same object; and any person, officer or otherwise, who shall improperly retain, secrete, use, or needlessly destroy such property, or property found, captured or confiscated, belonging to the enemy, or shall willfully neglect to render a full and fair statement of such property by him so taken or held, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction, shall be punished accordingly.


Safety or intelligence fund.

All money, plate, watches or jewelry, captured by honorable warfare, found, taken, or confiscated, belonging to the enemy, shall be held sacred, to constitute a liberal safety or intelligence fund; and any person who shall improperly retain, dispose of, hide, use, or destroy such money or other article above named, contrary to the provisions and spirit of this article, shall be deemed guilty of theft; and on conviction thereof, shall be punished accordingly. The Treasurer shall furnish the Commander-in-chief at all times with a full statement of the condition of such fund, and its nature.


The Commander-in-chief and the treasury.

The Commander-in-chief shall have power to draw from the treasury, the money and other property of the fund provided for in Article twenty-ninth, but his orders shall be signed also by the Secretary of War, who shall keep strict account of the same; subject to examination by any member of Congress or general officer.


Surplus of the safety or intelligence fund.

It shall be the duty of the Commander-in-chief to advise the President of any Surplus of the Safety and Intelligence Fund; who shall have power to draw such Surplus (his order being also signed by the Secretary of State,) to enable him to carry out the provisions of Article Seventeenth.



No person, after having surrendered himself or herself a prisoner, and who shall properly demean himself or herself as such, to any officer or private connected with this organization, shall afterward be put to death, or be subjected to any corporeal punishment, without first having had the benefit of a fair and impartial trial: nor shall any prisoner be treated with any kind of cruelty, disrespect, insult, or needless severity: but it shall be the duty of all persons, male and female, connected herewith, at all times and under all circumstances, to treat all such prisoners with every degree of respect and kindness the nature of the circumstances will admit of; and to insist on a like course of conduct from all others, as in the fear of Almighty God, to whose care and keeping we commit our cause.



All persons who may come forward and shall voluntarily deliver up their slaves, and have their names registered on the Books of the organization, shall, so long as they continue at peace, be entitled to the fullest protection of person and property, though not connected with this organization, and shall be treated as friends, and not merely as persons neutral.



The persons and property of all non-slaveholders who shall remain absolutely neutral, shall be respected so far as the circumstances can allow of it; but they shall not be entitled to any active protection.


No needless waste.

The needless waste or destruction of any useful property or article, by fire, throwing open of fences, fields, buildings, or needless killing of animals, or injury of either, shall not be tolerated at any time or place, but shall be promptly and properly punished.


Property confiscated.

The entire personal and real property of all persons known to be acting either directly or indirectly with or for the enemy, or found in arms with them, or found wilfully holding slaves, shall be confiscated and taken, whenever and wherever it may be found, in either Free or Slave States.



Persons convicted, on impartial trial, of desertion to the enemy after becoming members, acting as spies, or of treacherous surrender of property, arms, ammunition, provisions, or supplies of any kind, roads, bridges, persons, or fortifications, shall be put to death and their entire property confiscated.


Violation of parole of honor.

Persons proven to be guilty of taking up arms after having been set at liberty on parole of honor, or after the same, to have taken any active part with or for the enemy, direct or indirect, shall be put to death and their entire property confiscated.


All must labor.

All persons connected in any way with this organization, and who may be entitled to full protection under it: shall be held as under obligation to labor in some way for the general good; and persons refusing, or neglecting so to do, shall on conviction receive a suitable and appropriate punishment.



Profane swearing, filthy conversation, indecent behavior, or indecent exposure of the person, or intoxication, or quarreling, shall not be allowed, or tolerated; neither unlawful intercourse of the sexes.



Persons convicted of the forcible violation of any female prisoner, shall be put to death.


The marriage relation--schools--the Sabbath.

The marriage relation shall be at all times respected; and families kept together as far as possible; and broken families encouraged to re-unite, and intelligence offices established for that purpose, schools and churches established as soon as may be; for the purpose of religious and other instructions; and the first day of the week regarded as a day of rest and appropriated to moral and religious instruction and improvement; relief of the suffering, instruction of the young and ignorant, and the encouragement of personal cleanliness; nor shall any persons be required on that day to perform ordinary manual labor, unless in extremely urgent cases.


Carry arms openly.

All persons known to be of good character, and of sound mind and suitable age, who are connected with this organization, whether male or female, shall be encouraged to carry arms openly.


No person to carry concealed weapons.

No person within the limits of the conquered territory, except regularly appointed policemen, express officers of the army, mail carriers, or other fully accredited messengers of the Congress, President, Vice President, members of the supreme court, or commissioned officer of the army--and those only under peculiar circumstances--shall be allowed, at any time to carry concealed weapons; and any person not specially authorized so to do, who shall be found so doing, shall be deemed a suspicious person, and may at once be arrested by any officer, soldier, or citizen, without the formality of a Complaint or Warrant, and may, at once be subjected to thorough search, and shall have his or her case thoroughly investigated; and be dealt with as circumstances, on proof, shall require.


Persons to be seized.

Persons within the limits of the territory holden by this organization, not connected with this organization, having arms at all, concealed or otherwise, shall be seized at once; or be taken in charge of some vigilant officer; and their case thoroughly investigated: and it shall be the duty of all citizens and soldiers, as well as officers, to arrest such parties as are named in this and the preceding Section or Article, without the formality of Complaint or Warrant; and they shall be placed in charge of some proper officer for examination, or for safekeeping.


These articles not for the overthrow of government.

The foregoing Articles shall not be construed so as in any way to encourage the overthrow of any State Government, or of the General Government of the United States: and look to no dissolution of the Union, but simply to Amendment and Repeal. And our Flag shall be the same that our Fathers fought under in the Revolution.


No plurality of offices.

No two of the offices specially provided for, by this Instrument, shall be filled by the same person, at the same time.



Every officer, civil or military, connected with this organization, shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, make solemn oath or affirmation, to abide by and support this Provisional Constitution and these Ordinances. Also, every Citizen and Soldier, before being fully recognized as such, shall do the same.


The President of this Convention shall convene, immediately, on the adoption of this instrument, a convention of all such persons as shall have given their adherence, by signature, to the constitution; who shall proceed to fill by election all offices specially named in said constitution, the President of this convention presiding, and issuing commissions to such officers elect: all such officers being thereafter elected in the manner provided in the body of this instrument.

[Presented with respectful and kind feelings to the officers and soldiers of the United States Army in Kansas.]

No. 1.


In the ancient republics every man capable of bearing arms was, up to a certain period of his life, bound in duty to the public to fill his place in the ranks of the soldiery to secure his country from invasion or insult. The mode of warfare in remote times differed considerably from that adopted in the present day--man fought chiefly with those weapons which brought him into hand to hand collision with his enemy, hence his military instruction was rather in the management of arms than the application of tactics, and the chiefs studied stratagems rather than strategy. When the war or expedition upon which he had been engaged was terminated, he returned to his civic occupations and his home, till some new exigency called him again into military service. The word soldier in ancient republics was synonymous with Freeman--for in assuming his armor the man did not engage to confine his mind in a straight-jacket. Indeed there are instances in ancient history in which the soldiery in camp was consulted on public affairs, and gave its vote on the great question of Right against Wrong--and in some cases the soldiers was the first part of a nation to proclaim the supremacy of Right. Nevertheless in all military duties, those same intelligent soldiers desirous of conquering the foreign enemy shewed, when in his presence, implicit obedience to their military chiefs.

The soldiery of the Princes of antiquity was very different from the republican warriors. The tyrants were necessitated to keep an armed force in constant readiness to uphold their authority at home as well as abroad, and they did exact that the myrmidons in their pay should unhesitatingly execute all the commands of their ministers with the same implicit obedience with which the republican soldiery attended to those orders only which were purely military. As the area of despotism extended and the limits of Liberty became proportionately circumscribed, the habit of obeying all commands, civil and military, became more usual among the soldiery.

Time rolled on till despotism aided by priestcraft, corruption and party rapacity supplanted the republics. The invention of gunpowder, though it overthrew the feudal system of the Barons, operated on the other hand against the People, for the increased precision and promptitude required in modern military manoeuvers, necessitated a lengthened training for the soldiery, which served as a pretence for wicked rulers to inculcate in the minds of the soldiers the idea that they were living machines. Moreover the cunning artifice of indirect taxation and of national loans enabled the despotic governments to maintain large permanent armies of those living machines to stifle Right & to perpetuate Wrong--for such the soldiers have proved themselves to be under despotism, and as such they are regarded by the oppressed populations: but should the soldiery of a republic be vile living machines?

Two main points we have to analyse in this investigation--the first is Right, and the next is Authority.

Right is that which is good, true, just, honorable, humane, self-sacrificing--it is the precise opposite to Wrong. Right is immutable: as it was, so it is, and so it always must be. Circumstances cannot change it. It never was right to lie, cheat, oppress, rob, murder--it never can be right to do so--no legal subterfuge, no oratory, no public or private engagements, no theological interpretations, no arbitrary laws, no governmental orders, no military commands can transform Wrong into Right. Oppression may trample under foot the devotees of Right--may calumniate, pillage, imprison and even butcher them--yet that will not alter Right, though Wrong may be made more hideous. The weaker disciples of Right may quail and hesitate before dangers, privations and sufferings--some indeed may abandon Right--yet Right itself cannot alter, though it may shine more beautiful under persecution. Between Right and Wrong there can be no compromise.

Authority is of two sorts: Legitimate and Illegitimate.

Legitimate Authority is based on Reason and Equity; it must spring from and always be controled by the People; its object is the benefit of the People by the maintenance of justice, the diffusion of education and knowledge, the advancement of civilization, the repression of violence, the reclamation of vice and the development of Humanity. Though Authority might be filched through a Party phrensied by some delusion, even that power would not be legitimate, for no portion of any nation can annul the Rights of man--no majority can rightfully sacrifice the freedom and well-being of any one fellow man or of posterity. Man cannot take or give that which is not his. The test therefore of Legitimate Authority is Right, and to maintain that authority soldiers are not required to be mere living machines.

Illegitimate Authority is founded on fraud and violence: it is created by a despot an oligarchy, or the leaders of a party, and is used for the benefit of the same usurpation. Under the plausible pretext of acting for the public good, of repelling some enemy, of checking party rancor, of maintaining law and order purposely disturbed; illegitimate authority has frequently been established in formerly happy communities, and the usurpation having seized the reins of government hopes to perpetuate its domination by the distribution of lucrative offices and by the hiring of living machines. The dominant party may boast, rejoice, and fatten, while mercenary scribes and orators flatter: but under such misrule the nation degenerates, violence becomes habitual, ignorance prevails, want nurtures crime, the tribunals become corrupt, vice revels and virtue is persecuted, the people awakening under the smart of despotism, soon realize the difficulty of self-emancipation while ground down by the living machines set in motion by illegitimate authority. Will the soldiery of a republic consent to become living machines, and thus sustain Wrong against Right?

It is self-evident that "There can exist no moral obligation to do that which is immoral--no virtuous obligation to do that which is vicious--no religious obligation to do that which is irreligious." It is also self-evident that every citizen is in duty bound to sustain Right even though he thereby neglect temporarily some of his private business: he who regards his personal interests as of more importance to him than to exercise a watchfulness at all times for the public good and for the security of Right against Wrong, fails in a essential duty towards the commonwealth. The Greeks decreed that all guilty of such neglect of duty were infamous: they were deprived of that citizenship which they had shown themselves unworthy to enjoy, their private property which they had preferred to the public welfare was confiscated, and they were reduced to the lowest state of degradation.

Blank Form of Commission under the Provisional Government.


Whereas: [blank] has been duly chosen [blank] in accordance with the provisions of the schedule of the provisional constitution:

Therefore: by the authority vested in me be said instrument, I ehreby commission the said [blank] under this constitution.

Witness my hand and the seal of the convention, at [blank] this [blank] day of [blank] in the year eighteen hundred and fifty eight.

Pres. of the Convention.

Smith & Wesson's Seven Shooter.

J. W. Stoors, agent, 121 Chambers st., N. Y. This pistol is the lightest one in the world that has force. Weight only ten ounces. Is loaded quicker than other pistols are capped. Is sure fire under all circumstances. No injury is caused to the arm or amunition, by allowing it to remain loaded any length of time. Is so simple in its construction that it is not liable to get out of order. Is perfectly safe to carry. The cylinder holds seven shots, two more than other small pistols.


Consisting of the Journal of the Constitutional Convention at Chatham, Canada W.; Brown's Declaration of Independence; Kagi's Draft for a Provisional Army; Correspondence and Plans of Brown's Men; Letters from their friends, and from persons furnishing means; Memoranda, Hints and Suggestions; Extracts from Letters, Diaries and Journals; Commissions issued under the Provisional Army Regulations; Lists of Members of the Provisional Convention, and Government, &c. &c.--Copied from the Originals at Charlestown, by order of the Executive Department of the State of Virginia.--Nov. 16th, 1859.



Journal of the Provisional Constitutional Convention held on Saturday, May 8, 1858.

Chatham, Canada West,
Saturday, May 8, 1858.

10 A.M.--Convention met in pursuance to call of John Brown and others, and was called to order by Mr. Jackson, on whose motion Mr. Wm. C. Monroe was chosen President:

When, on motion of Mr. Brown, Mr. J.H. Kagi was elected Secretary.

On motion of Mr. Delany, Mr. Brown then proceeded to state the object of the convention, at length, and then to explain the general features of the plan of action in the execution of the project in view by the convention. Mr. Delany and others spoke in favor of the project and the plan, and both were agreed to by general consent.

Mr. Brown then presented a plan of organization, entitled "Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for the People of the United States," and moved the reading of the same.

Mr. Kinnard objected to the reading until an oath of secrecy be taken by each member of the Convention. Whereupon,

Mr. Delany moved that the following parole of honor be taken by all members of the Convention: "I solemnly affirm that I will not in any way divulge any of the secrets of this convention, except to persons entitled to know the same, on the pain of forfeiting the respect and protection of this Organization;" which motion was carried.

The president then proceeded to administer the obligation. After which

The question was taken on the reading of the plan proposed by Mr. Brown, and the same carried.

The plan was then read by the secretary. After which

On motion of Mr. Whipple, it was ordered that it be now read by articles, for consideration.

The articles from one to forty-five inclusive, were then read and adopted. On the reading of the forty-sixth, Mr. Reynolds moved to strike out the same. Reynolds spoke in favor, and Brown, Monroe, Owen Brown, Delany, Realf, Kinnard and Kagi, against. The question was then taken and lost, there being but one vote in the affirmative.

The article was then adopted. The forty-seventh and forty-eighth Articles, with the Schedule, were then adopted in the same manner.

It was then moved by Mr. Delany that the Title and Preamble stand as read. Carried.

On motion of Mr. Kagi the constitution as a whole was then unanimously adopted.

The convention then, at 1 1/2, p.m., adjourned, on motion of Mr. Jackson, till 3 o'clock.

3 P.M.--Journal read and approved.

On motion of Mr. Delany it was then ordered that those approving of the Constitution, as adopted, sign the same. Whereupon the names of all the members were appended. [See No. [91].]

After congratulatory remarks by Messrs. Kinnard and Delany, the convention, on motion of Mr. Whipple, adjourned, at a quarter to 4.

Sec. of the Convention.

Chatham, Canada West,
Saturday, May 8, 1858.

6 P.M.--In accordance with and obedience to the provisions of the Schedule to the Constitution for the "proscribed and oppressed people" of the United States of America to day adopted at this place, a Convention was called by the President of the Convention framing that instrument, and met at the above named hour, for the purpose of electing officers to fill the offices specially established and named by said Constitution.

The Convention was called to order by Mr. M.R. Delany, upon whose nomination Mr. Wm. C. Munroe was chosen President, and Mr. J.H. Kagi, secretary.

A committee consisting of Messrs. Whipple, Kagi, Bell, Cook and Munroe, was then chosen, to select candidates for the various offices to be filled, for the consideration of the Convention.

On reporting progress and asking leave to set again, the request was refused, and the Committee discharged.

On motion of Mr. Bell the Convention then went into the election of officers, in the following manner and order.

Mr. Whipple nominated John Brown for Commander in Chief, who was, on the seconding of Mr. Delany, elected by acclamation.

Mr. Realf nominated J.H. Kagi for Secretary of War, who was elected in the same manner.

On motion of Mr. Brown the Convention then adjourned to 9 A.M. on Monday, the 10th.

Monday, May 10, 1858.

9 A.M.--The proceedings of Convention on Saturday were read and approved.

The President announced that the business before the Convention was the further election of officers.

Mr. Whipple nominated Thomas M. Kinnard for President. In a speech of some length Mr. Kinnard declined.

Mr. Anderson nominated J.W. Loguen for the same office. The nomination was afterwards withdrawn, Mr. Loguen not being present, and it being announced that he would not serve if elected.

Mr. Brown then moved to postpone the election of President for the present. Carried.

The Convention then went into the election of Members of Congress. Messrs. Alfred M. Ellsworth and Osborn Anderson were elected.

After which the Convention went into the election of Secretary of State, to which office Richard Realf was chosen.

Whereupon the Convention adjourned to 2 1/2 P.M.

2 1/2 P.M.--Convention again assembled, and went into a balloting for the election of Treasurer and Secretary of the Treasury. Owen Brown was elected as the former, and George B. Gill as the latter.

The following resolution was then introduced by Mr. Brown, and unanimously passed:

Resolved, That John Brown, J.H. Kagi, Richard Realf, L.F. Parsons, C.P. Tidd, E. Whipple, C.W. Moffett, John E. Cook, Owen Brown, Steward Taylor, Osborn Anderson, A.M. Ellsworth, Richard Richardson, W.H. Leeman, and John Lawrence, be, and are hereby appointed a Committee to whom is delegated the power of the Convention to fill by election all the offices specially named in the Provisional Constitution which may be vacant after the adjournment of this Convention. The Convention then adjourned sine die.

Sec. of the Convention.

[See No. [78]].



Head Quarters, War Department Provisional Army,
Harpers Ferry
, Oct. 10, 1859.

General Orders.

No. 1.


The Divisions of the Prov. Army and the coalition are hereby established as follows.


A company will consist of 56 privates, 12 non. com. off's. (8 corporals, 4 sergeants,) 3 com. off. (2 Lieutenants, a Captain) and a Surgeon.

The privates shall be divided into Bands or messes of 7 each, numbering from 1 to 8, with a corporal to each, numbered like his band.

Two Bands will comprise a Section. Sections will be numbered from 1 to 4. A Sergeant will be attached to each section, and numbered like it.

Two Sections will comprise a Platoon. Platoons will be numbered 1 and two, and each commanded by a lieutenant designated by like number.


The Battalion will consist of 4 companies complete.

The commissioned officers of the Battalion will be a Chief of Battalion, and a 1st & 2nd major, one of whom shall be attached to each wing.

3.--The Regiment.

The Regiment will consist of 4 Battalions complete.

The commissioned officers of the Regiment will be a Colonel and 2 Lieutenant Colonels, attached to the wings.

4.--The Brigade.

The Brigade will consist of 4 Regiments complete.

The Commissioned officers of the Brigade will be a General of Brigade.

5.--Each Gen. Staff.

Each of the above Divisions will be entitled to a General Staff consisting of an adjutant, a commissary, a musician and a surgeon.


Non commissioned officers will be chosen by those whom they are to command.

Commissioned officers will be appointed and commissioned by this Department.

The staff officers of each Division will be appointed by the respective commanders of the same.

[See No. [  ].--Transcriber.]

[The above document numbered "2," is in the handwriting of J. H. Kagi. The erasures and cross-marks are copied from the original.--Note by transcriber.]



_____ 4th, 1859.

A Declaration of Liberty By the Representatives of the Slave Population of the United States of America.

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary" for an oppressed People to Rise, and assert their Natural Rights, as Human Beings, as Native and Mutual Citizens of a free Republic, and break that odious Yoke of oppression, which is so unjustly laid upon them by their fellow countrymen, "and to assume among the powers of Earth the same equal privileges to which the Laws of Nature, & natures God entitle, them; A moderate respect for the opinions of Man kind, requires that they should declare the causes which incite them to this Just & worthy action.

"We hold these truths to be Self Evident; That all Men are created Equal; That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are Life, Liberty; & the pursuit of happiness, That Nature hath freely given to all Men, a full supply of Air, Water, and Land; for their sustinance, & mutual happiness. That No Man has any right to deprive his fellow Man, of these Inherent rights, except in punishment of crime. "That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their Just powers from the consent of the governed, That when any form of government, becomes destructive to these ends, It is the right of the People, to alter, Amend, or Remoddel it, Laying its foundation on such Principles, & organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect the safety, & happiness" of the Human Race, To secure equal rights, privileges, & Justice to all; Irrespective of Sex; or Nation; To secure Fraternal kindness to all Friends of Equal Moral privileges, to all who honestly abandon their Despotic oppressive rule. We hold this truth to be self evident; That it is the highest Privilege, & Plain duty of Man; to strive in every reasonable way, to promote the Happiness, Mental, Moral, & Physical elevation of his fellow Man. And that People, or Clanish Oppressors; who wickedly violate this sacred principle; oppressing their fellow Men, will bring upon themselves that certain and fearful retribution, which is the Natural, & Necessary penalty of evil Doing. "Prudence, indeed will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light & transient causes; But when a long train of abuses, & usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object; evinces a design to perpetuate an absolute Despotism; and most cruel bondage; It is their Right, it is their Duty, to resist & change such Government, & provide safeguards for their future Liberty." "Such has been the patient sufferance of the slaves of the United States, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to Crush this foul system of oppression.

The history of Slavery in the United States, is a history of injustice and cruelties inflicted upon the Slave in every conceivable way, and in barbarity not surpassed by the most savage Tribes. It is the embodiment of all that is Evil, and ruinous to a Nation; and subvercive of all Good. "In proof of which; facts innumerable have been submitted to the People, and have rec'd the verdict and condemnation of a candid and Impartial World." Our Servants; Members of Congress; and other Servants of the People, who receive exorbitant wages from the People; in return for ther [sic] unjust Rule, "have refused to pass laws for the accommodation of large districts of People, unless that People, would relinquish the right of representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only. Our President and other Leeches have called together legislative, or treasonable Bodies, at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of our public records; for the sole purpose of fatigueing us into compliance with their measures. They have desolved Representative houses, for opposing with manly firmness, their invasions of the rights of the people.

They have refused to grant Petitions presented by numerous and respectable Citizens, asking redress of grivauces [sic] imposed upon us, demanding our Liberty and natural rights. With contempt they spurn our humble petitions; and have failed to pass laws for our relief. "They have prevented in all possible ways, the administration of Justice to the Slave. They have made Judges Taney dependent on their will alone, for the tenure, of their office, and the amount and payment of their salaries. They have erected a Multitude of new offices, and Sent on Swarms of Blood Suckers, and Moths, to harass the People, and eat out their Substance. They have effected to render the Military, independent of, and superior to the power and wishes of the People, (the Civil power.) Claiming that knowledge is power, they have, (for their own safety,) kept us in total darkness, and Ignorance, inflicting base cruelties, for any attempt on our part to obtain knowledge. They have protected base Men, Pirates (engaged in a most Inhuman traffic; The Foreign; and Domestic, Slave Trade.) "by mock trials, from punishment, for unprovoked murders which they have committed upon us, and free Citizens of the States. They have prevented by law, our having any Traffick or deal with our fellow Men; Regardless of our wishes, they declare themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. They have abdicated government among us, by declaring us out of their protection, and waging a worse than cruel war upon us continually.

The facts and a full description of the enormous sin of Slavery, may be found in the General History of American Slavery, which is a history of repeated injuries, of base hypocracy; A cursed treasonable, usurpation; The most abominable provoking atrocities; Which are but a mockery of all that is Just, or worthy of any people. "Such cruelty, tyrany, and perfidy, has hardly a parallel, in the history of the most barbarous ages.

Our Servants, or Law makers; are totally unworthy the name of Half Civilized Men. All their National acts, (which apply to Slavery,) are false, to the words Spirit, and intention, of the Constitution of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence.

They say by word & Act, That their own Children, or any faithful Citizen, may be legally robed [sic] of every Natural and Sacred Right, and that we had no rights whatever. They are a Blot upon the character, the honor, of any Nation, which claims to have the least shadow or spark of Civilization above the lowest, most inferior Canibal Races. This is a slight thoug[h] brief recital, of some of the enormous atrocities, of these Idle, haughty, tyranical, Arrogant Land Monopolists; slave holders our lords and masters. From which, Good Lord Deliver us. These are some of the facts, which we now, (after the lapse of 83 years, since the writing and signing of that Sacred Instrument, Honored and Adored by our Fathers, which declares that it is Self Evident that all Men are created Equal, Endowed by their Creator with certain inherent rights &c.") submit to the Decision of all Candid; true Republican, Friends of Universal Freedom, and Natural Equality of Rights. All We Demand; is our Liberty, and the Natural rights and immunities of faithful Citizens of the United States. We will Obtain these rights or Die in the Struggle to obtain them. We make war upon oppression, we have no controversy with any Religious Sect, our intention is not to molest any Good Man, whatever may be his religious belief. "The welfare of the People; Is the first Great Law." We hold these to be self evident truths, That any Tribe, Rulers, or People, who Rob and cruelly oppress their faithful Laboring Citizens, have within themselves the Germ, of their own certain and fearful overthrow; It is one of Nature's Immutable Laws ; that "According to the measure that ye mete; so shall it be Measured to you again." Herein is the secret of Security & true happiness, for Individuals, And the only firm Basis, upon which Governments, may be permanently Established; where the Citizens, are Devoted to the greatest good of their fellow Men, The more humble, benighted & oppressed they are. So much more sympathy, & earnest effort for their relief, is demanded, striving earnestly to promote the Safety and prosperity of their Nation; & the Human Race.

It is a fixed Law of Nature, That any People, or Nation, whose steady purpose, & Constant Practice, is in accordance with these principles; Must go forward Progressing; So long as Man continues to Exist. For in Nature the Principle of Reciprocity is Great.

"The Legitimate object of all Punishment, is to prevent Crime." When any Punishment is inflicted more than is necessary to prevent Crime, it then ceases to be a Punishment, It has then become a Barbarous Crime. A Sore Evil. "The Natural Object of all Government is to Protect the right. Defend the Inocent. When any set of Usurpers, Tribe, or community, fail to protect the right, but furnish protection & encouragement to the Villain, by bestowing a Bounty, or Premium, upon the vile Thief, Rober [sic], Libertine, Pirate; & Woman killing Slave Holder; as a reward for their deeds of rascality and Barbarism; And inflict grievous cruelties upon the inocent [sic], Shooting and Butchering those most faithful, Citizens, who have striven Manfully, for the relief of the down troden & oppressed of their country, Who fought bravely in support of the Great Principles set forth in Our Declaration of Independence, from the oppressive Rule of England. Encouraging in various ways, by bribery and fraud, the most Fiendish acts of Barbarism, (like those Perpetrated within the limits of the United States, at Blounts Fort; in Florida and in other Teritories. [sic]) under the Jurisdiction and guidance of Slave holding Authority, & in strict accordance with Slave holding Rules.) They have transcended their own limits, They have fairly outwitted themselves; Their Slave Code is a Shame to any Nation, Their Laws, are no Laws, they themselves are no more than a Band of Base Piraticle Rulers. They are a curse to themselves, a most lamentable Blot upon Society.

"In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terras, Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury A Class of oppressors, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyranical Despotism, is unfit to rule any People. Nor have we been wanting in attention, to our Oppressors; We have warned them from time to time, of attempts (made by their headlong Blindnes,) to perpetuate, extend, strengthen, and revive the dieing eliments [sic] of this cursed Institution. We have reminded them of our unhappy condition, and of their Crueties [sic], We have appealed to their native Justice and magnanimity, we have conjured them, by the ties of our common nature, our Brotherhood, & common Parentage, to disavow these usurpations, which have destroyed our Kindred friendship, and endangered their safety. "They have been Deaf to the voice of Justice & Consanguinity. We must therefore acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces their tyrany & unjust rule over us. Declaring that we will serve them no longer as slaves, knowing that the "Laborer is worthy of his hire." We therefore, the Representatives of the circumscribed citizens of the United States of America in General Congress assembled, appealing to the supreem [sic] Judge of the World, for the rectitude of our intentions, Do in the name, & by the authority of the Oppressed Citizens of the Slave States, Solemnly publish and Declare; that the Slaves are, & of right ought, to be as free & independent as the unchangable Law of God, requires that All Men Shall be. That they are absolved from all allegiance to those Tyrants, who still persist in forcibly subjecting them to perpetual "Bondage, and that all friendly connection between them & such Tyrants, is, & ought to be totally desolved, And that as free, & independent citizens of these states, they have a perfect right, a sufficient & just cause, to defend themselves against the tyrany of their oppressors. To solicit aid from & ask the protection of all true friends of humanity & reform, of whatever nation, & wherever found; A right to contract Alliances, & to do all other acts & things which free independent Citizens may of right do. And for the support of Declaration; with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence; We mutually Pledge to each other, Our Lives, and Our Sacred honor. Indeed; I tremble for my Country, when I reflect; that God is Just; And that his Justice; will not sleep forever" &c. &c. Nature is mourning for its murdered, and Afflicted Children. Hung be the Heavins in Scarlet.

[The above copy has the spelling, punctuation, and use of capitals, just as they are found in the original. The word "Taney," over a caret, is transcribed as in the original. This document bears no signature, unless the cipher on the line next to the last be so intended. Handwriting large, probably done by Owen Brown, sometimes copyist for his father. The paper (foolscap) upon which it is written, is pasted, sheet under sheet, on white cloth attached to, and rolled up on a round stick, and tied with a string attached to one end.-Trans.]



SPRINGDALE 5th m 10th 1858.

My dear friends Whipple & Tidd

We received your letters of the 3d inst. (Dated at Chatham) this morning and they have caused me much pain on your behalf, for I cannot consent to believe that there should be so much treachery and hypocracy harbored in two such noble hearts as yours as to premeditate any evil action towards those who you new were your true friends. I have addressed you both in one letter for you are both interested and I have not time to write two letters now I shall probably speak very plain to you but I do not do it with any feelings of revenge or hatred but in that love which I feel for the welfare of my fellow beings that I may convince you of your error and convict your hearts of sin and cause them to be melted in the furnace of regeneration and love to God which produces good will in our hearts to all the world. It is exceedingly to be regretted that anything should have hapened just on the eve of your departure that should cause such an excitement and unless more satisfactoryly explained must produce a separation of that true friendship which has ever existed between us, and which I would wish to continue through life. You very well know that when you first came here the subject of morality among the young folks was frequently discussed in the family and by your advocating certain rules by which young people should be governed and seeing nothing in your conduct to make us think you were not sincere we placed full confidence in you that you would be willing to walk by the same rule you marked out for others In the first place I wish to say to Tidd if he has in his young days led a profligate life and wishes to reform as he says he does and I have no reason to doubt his intentions that he must never place himself in a situation to tempt others and then he will not tempt himself if we are satisfied that we have any weakness it is our duty to strengthen them by firmness and perseverence in well doing I would say to Whipple that if he knew Tidd's character before and held him as an associate I must consider him equally responsible, for your intimacy led us to believe you were firm friends and we placed that confidence in you that we did not believe either of you would be guilty knowingly of doing a mean act I cannot understand how such fervent love as you have professed here can be pure and yet feel such distrust and jealousy as thou hast manifested by thy writing and also by the conversation you had here the morning thee left here the last time true love casteth out all fear and is aplicable in that case as well as the love of God surely there can be no true love where there is distrust and jealousy and certainly I can never consent for my daughter to marry a man who does not believe she is virtuous She asserts her innocence before the God that created her and I have got to have more evidence than I have seen yet to dispute her word, I can forgive you all the past and pray for you in future but you must allow me to look upon you with distrust until I can see by your perseverence in well doing that you are really sincere, we are all falible beings and liable to get out of the way any minute we leave the watch tower therefore the necesity for the injunction watch and pray continually lest ye eater into temptation, it is also necessary for us to have charity one for another for we know not how soon we may be overtaken in a fault ourselves. If you were to come back to morrow we should greet you with friendship and do by you just as we have done but we should have to get acquainted with you again in order to restore that confidence we once placed in you I have not much more to write myself I will close and write some for mother.

from your well wishing friend

You may be assured that we shall not say anything outside the family that will injure your character here so that you need not fear to come back if you are spared with life and health to do so.

Mother says to Tidd she can forgive him all if he can say in truth that Elisbeth is none the worse for their intimacy she says she feared there was something wrong by his actions before he left but could not believe that he would ever make such an attempt we may make all the resolves that can pass through our heads to try to reform but unless we give our whole hearts to God and rely upon his mercy and grace we are not safe, O Tidd if thee could only know my feeling and the bitter tears I have shed since thee would never suffer the temptation to have a place in thy heart but none but a mother can ever realize such feelings.

Many days and hours have passed since we met together last yet our lives do still remain here on earth.

Children tell me how you do does your love continue true, if you want to hear from me how I am or what I be here. I am behold who will sure I am a sinner still worse and worse myself I see yet the Lord remembers me tis religion that can give sweetest pleasures while we live tis religion mist supply solid comfort when we die after death its joys will be lasting as eternity by the living God my friend then thy bliss shall never end the Spirit calls O Tidd, yield to his power O grieve him not away seek him every hour let not a moment pass without a fervent prayer that God would keep the from every foul snare, remember Tidd remember my prayers shall ever be up to the God of heaven for thy prosperity.

We wrote two letters and put them in one wrapper and mailed them to Chatham Canada West they were mailed the fifth directed to Charles Plummer.

Tidd when thee gets this write and tell me the truth and the whole truth and keep nothing back I feel that that would relieve me. We do not wish to create any hard feelings between you but we must tell the truth if it does hurt you, now Tidd thee claims there was no premeditated action, did thee not tell Whipple thee knew thee could do it and meant to before thee left now Whipple says thee told him so; if that be the case thee must be trying to deceive us, and if it is not the case, Whipple has been to blame in telling it but our impressions are you are both to blame we want you to think seriously what you have done and plead with your God for his forgiveness. We can and will forgive if you will so live as to be reconciled to God we blame Whipple for not telling what he knew while you were both here and then we could have talked face to face, now with our sincere desires for you and prayers for your everlasting hapiness I remain your friend so farewell.


We want you both to write as soon as you get this

Remember us to Realf, Cook, Owen, Steward and the old Captain in particular.

[In this, as in all the letters and other documents copied, the spelling and punctuation of the originals have been carefully followed.-Trans.]



CHATHAM, Aug. 16th (Sabbath) 1858.

J. H. Kagi, Esqr.:

Dear Sir:

I this moment received your kind favor, and am pleased to hear from you, "Uncle," and Mr. Tidd. Hope ere this reaches you, that "Uncle" will have recovered from his febrile attack. Say to Mr. Tidd, that I have sent the letter on to Mr. Realf, New York City, which he sent in my care for him. I also enclose one that I have for some time had from Mr. Moffit for you, but did not know where to send it till now.

Richardson and Thomas are still here, both of them quite industrious and doing well. I have not seen Richardson since I received your letter to-day, but have seen Bell, Shadd, Jackson, and Thomas. W. H. Day is now here, and will be for some days. Tell uncle, I received his letter dated at Syracuse, N. Y., and Postmarked "Rochester," where I suppose it was dropped in the office.

I am not at present advised as to where Col. C. Lehman, Smith and the rest of them are, but think they are in the "Reserve" District, Ohio.

There is nothing new here nor worthy of note. I have been anxiously looking and expecting to see something of uncle's movements in the papers, but as yet have seen nothing, the letter from you being the intimation of his whereabouts since he wrote me.

Please send me any paper which may mention your doings. All are in good spirits here, hoping and waiting the "Good Time Coming."

With the kindest remembrance,

I am, dear sir, sincerely your Friend,

J. H. Kagi, Esq. Lawrence, K. T. U. S.

Friend Kagi seeing a letter for you from Canada and knowing that a letter from there would relate to bisiness I took the liberty to peruse it I know you will not think hard




KINSMAN, 11th mo 14th 58.

Dear Wm.

You Cuss! I went to Richmond to see you & those pictures was disappointed in not seeing them. I was very much pleased when you gave me permission to get them. After reading Matties letter I was sure that there was a letter at E. A. Fowks for me from Lizzie. So I got a hoarse & rode up there in the mud & rain. I went to the office first, there was nothing for you or me. Then I went up to the Olde Mill & asked the women if I could go to your trunk, they gave me permission. When I found the trunk the damed kee would not fit. You had better think I was mad enough to smash the dam'd trunk. Then I went down to Elex, it was after dark & no one at home. I built a fire and looked all over the house for letters but found none. Then I ate almost a whole apple pie & started for home a going by C. Moffatt works to see if he had hearde from any of the boys. I stoped out in the road in front of the house and hollered he came out and tolde me to go in I would not but he took holde of my hoarse & led him in the barn. So I went in & found E. A. Foabs & wife Martha & Louisa there a eating Roasted Turkey. I went back to E. A. & staid all night sat up untill after 3 o'clock & then went to bed & came home the next morning. Now I want you to send me the right kee in a letter the next mail. Chas has not hearde from any of the Boys or Old Man

Yours Truly

[This letter is without envelope or direction, but is supposed to have been addressed to Wm. Leeman. The Richmond mentioned, is probably Richmond, Astabula, O-Trans.]



LAKELAND, M'ch 28th, '58.

Dear Brother Charles,

Yours of 11th inst. come to hand safe it has filled my heart with sorrow I cannot tell you all I think on the subject in this letter for I have prayed over and thought and dreamed and even wept over the course you are pursueing O my brother do think of your course of how wrong you are like old Job I will fill my mouth with arguments and call loud on thee my brother. You surely do not go against state rights and admitting this then the slave states have the same right to hold slaves constitutionally that the north have to prohibit it Where does slavery commence not when man subjects his fellow to bondage o no indeed this is not the worst form of slavery the evil comenced when one man by employing a number of his fellows and he himself lived on the profits of their labor. Thus toiling year after year the laborer becomes more ignorant and poor the employer more wise and wealthy and bye and bye the poor man becomes an easy victim to the cupidity of aristocrat. What he first received pay for he at last is oblidged to do for nothing. Now let me lay down a rule that shall do away with slavery Let each and every man produce with manuel labor what he consumes Beyound and far above all this is the divine law Thou shall not kill there is no position in which a man can be placed that will warrant the use of force I know the natural man rises up and will suppose extreme cases we have no right to do this but trust in the lord and when the hour of trial comes he will sustain you Seek to know your duty and he that rules us all will make the way plain but rest assured thy duty is not on the field of blood. I have been sick about a fortnight I a plenty to do at $2 50 per day. I did not mean to infer that we have sufferd but only a little pinched it is over now we have a cow and provision for the summer were it not for our parents I should not think of calling on you but my heart yearns for my poor old mother. If you think it best for me to have the money I shall devote it to the good of the old folkes about E. W. Clark I do feel for them do not distress yourself but send of the money you call mine the lord will help me as he has done Bless his great and holy name O my brother I see in future a man with treason stamped on his brow he ascends the scaffold my soul recoils I can write no more do not my Brother Bring sorrow to dwell in our midst.

thy loving Brother
A. L. T.

Dear Brother

I do not feel atall in the mood for addressing you to night, but as A L is writing to you. and as you remembered me so kindly in your letter I felt it my duty as a sister and one that is deeply interested for you to say a few words. Your letter kind and loving though it was has gven us much pain and soorow of heart. Charley knowing so little as I do of the work yon are engaged in. I cannot use any kind of Argument or lay down any rule for you as A has tried to do. but as I very much fear you are not in the right. I appeal to your Affection to the love you have for your near and dear friends your Poor Mother for instance You say you dearly love your friends. Now is it your duty to sacrifice that life so foolishly as it seems to me, that might be of so much benefit, and certainly would be so much comfort to your dear old Mother who loves her youngest son as she does her life. and would glory in seeing him engaged in a good cause but to hear of his being hanged for treason would bring down her grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. O Charley do think of how much more good you may do the human family to live an honest upright Christian life before the world striving by your example to lead your fellow men in that straight and narrow way that our Saviour speaks of and which there is no difficulty in finding if we but seek aright. I know you will think me simple and I am willing to be called so if I am only sure I am the follower of Christ. Charley do you believe in a God if you do sincerely, go to him ask him for guidence and direction in this great and momentious affair and if you seek that God aright desiring to know your duty as there is a Ruler of the Universe He will guide you aright, forgive me if I have offended you by simple advice but do consider well the consequences of so rash a step. Write again soon for we shall feel anxious to hear from you. And remember me as your Affectionate Sister


[The above two letters are in one envelope directed to "Mr. Charles P. Tidd, Springdale, Cedar Co. Iowa," and postmarked "Hudson Apr 2 Wis." It was probably written in 1858.-Trans.]



KINSMON, Jan. 16 - 1859.

Dear Friend Wm.

I expected a letter from you last week and did not get one. I am afraid that you are sick. I have just written a letter to Lizzie. I mean that I tried to write to her, but it was the poorest letter that I ever wrote in my life. I have not hearde from home for some time, have you? I am a getting as uneasy as Hell to leave this wooden country. I have not hearde a worde from any of the boys in Kansas, only what I see in Papers, and I presume that you see the Tribune as well as me. Uncle John is a playing particular Hell again. Kagi was wounded in ft. Scott while liberating Rice. Brown has been in Missouri and took 12 or 15 slaves and horses, mules and oxen, and killed one man. The government has offered a reward of $500 for Brown & Montgomery. "Let the wolf howl." I expect to hear from there soon, and something to, in regard to moving our goods (at Kings) towards Kansas. God spead the time. What say you my boy? I am sorry that Kagi is wounded, but the paper says not seriously. They took everything that there was in one store in Ft. Scott. I worked Christmas and new years, but I went to one dance between on Thursday night. This is damed disagreeable weather for winter I think. Are you still a firing in the mill? Do you intend to go home? & when? I think that you ought to go soon if you can, & if you intend to go to Kansas if uncle John wants you to. you may send me those pictures if you please, for I should like to look at them occasionally. That is a damed shame that yours were broken. Don't you think that it was done on purpose? I should hardly think that it could be an axident. I dont think of anything more to write of importance. Write soon

Yours Respect

[Without direction, but supposed to have been written to William Leeman.-Trans.]



WEDNESDAY Morning, Sept. 14th

My Dear Husband.

I wrote to you two weeks ago but I suppose you had not got it when you wrote as you did not say anything about it. O, Watson, I was so glad to hear from you it made me almost homesick I do want to see you so very much and I would like to have you see the little fellow he has grown very fast, when I want to work I set him up in the rocking chair and talk to him and he will laugh and act quite knowing he will jump like anything as the Peacocks say It is very cold weather here, the wind blows & it has been raining & snowing and the mountains are white with snow now I am sitting as near the stove as I can without burning my clothes and there is a very good fire too, there it is snowing now quite fast. I suppose it is warm and pleasant where you are, O! that I could be with you," but I will try to be contented as I am and where my home is, the friends are all very kind to me and take care of Freddy a great deal. Ellen sits there by the rocking chair rocking him now I have not been able to get a cradle yet I have not been anywhere yet only up to Fathers I went up there when the baby was three weeks old and staid two weeks tell Dauphin it was very lonesome there without him Our corn did not grow to be anything at all we had some boiled twice, and it was altogether to green, the potatoes are very good they crack open and are very dry and mealy, the cucumber vines were all killed before they were large enough to bear. This place is to frosty to live in

"Much love to all."

We got a letter from Mr. Hodgkins it came directed to you, he had sold the wool for forty cents 40,, which he endorsed on that note, I paid Henry 20 dollars out of the money I got for the steers And I am a going to pay for the sheep as soon as the money is paid on that Draft. I am a going to send it out next week Rodolphus took the pig for three dollars which paid that debt. I paid Weeks one dollar and 85 cents yours and Olivers acct. with him.

Now Watson keep up good courage and not worry about me and come back as soon as possible, I think of you all night in my dreams. This is all at present. From your Affct. Wife.


You will write just as often as you can wont you now, I forgot to say the baby has had the chicken pox but was not sick much.

[The above letter is endorsed "Watson Brown," in the same handwriting with the body of the letter.-Trans.]



HALLOWELL, April 28, 1858.

My Dear Brother,

I received your letter and was most happy to hear from you, also to know that you was well, that is A great blessing, to enjoy good health, we are all well as usual, but our Mother, she is much better now than when I wrote last, although she is not able to leave her room, her mind is much more settled, she begins to move her fingers A very little. The doctor says she will get better when the warm weather comes, she worries herself A great deal about you, and I dont know, My Dear Brother, how you expect a Mother and Sister to do otherwise, when we think where you are so far from your home, so long since we have seen you, and so long before we shall see you, (by your writing) but I hope it may not be but A short time before you will think it best to come to the loved ones at home.

I do not like to write so very discouraging to you brother when you are trying your best to encourage your folks, but if you knew how much we want you to come home, you would not blame us for writing such letters.

Would you come home if you had the money to come with, tell me what it would cost. O I would be unspeakably happy, if it were in my power to send you money, but we have been very poor this winter. I have not earned A half dollar this winter. Mattie has had a very good place, where she has had 75 cts A week, she has not spent any of it in the family only A very little for Mother. Farther has had very small pay, but I think he has more now, he is watchman on the Eastern Queen, that runs from here to boston. I should worked in the straw Factory at Natick, this Winter had Mother been well, Mattie has left her place, and talks of working in this Mill, but she will not if she can possibly do anything else.

Hallowell is as still as ever there is no kind of business going on at all, most all those think anything of themselves have left.

I do not think you would know Mother, for she is very poor, she does not look like our Mother, we try to make her as comfortable as we can, she has every thing that she wants, the folks in this place have been so very kind to us, our neighbors too it seems as though they could not do to much Farther says he wants you to come home, if you have to go back again. Ah my Dear brother, you can never know how much your folks want you to come home.

My Dear brother I want you to be shure and write often, and as soon as you receive this, for we are so very anxious, when you dont write, tell me who you are Agoing to fight, if you are going to interfere with the mormans. I rather thought so, for I know times are peaceable in Kansas.

What may be thy lot on Earth, thy mission here below
Though fame may wreath her laurels fair, around thy youthful brow,
Though you would rise from Earthly things, and win a deathless name,
Let all your ways be just and right - Let virtue be your aim-
Though you may yet be scorned by men, or those who bear the name
Let all your ways be just and right - Let virtue be your aim.

Oh my dear brother, I hope you are as good, as you were when you went from your home, and I know you are, for you would not do any thing wrong.

George Mitchel is dead one month ago. Dr. Allen is dead, Mr. Bart Nason fell dead in the meeting house, David Wallach CMariah butters husband was drowded in California, a short time ago, it has been very sickly here this spring, We are having a very great revival.

Mattie and I have concluded to get our minatures taken together for you, we will send them soon, we all send much love to you brother, and son, accept this from your ever affectionate sister Lizzie.

Hallowell, Maine.

[The above letter written in delicate and beautiful chirography is without envelope, or address, but is supposed to have been written to Wm. Leeman.]



Akron May 2nd 1859.

Dear Father,

Your letter dated April 5th was res'd several weeks since, also your letter of the 16th April dated at Westport. We have not seen ur writing case, which you say was lost either at Chicago, or this side. I believe & hope that you life & health may be spared for several years, I cannot think that you have finished your work yet. You had misstaken Jasons ideas of "moving" entirely, he is heartily engaged in the measure & as he says "at this late hour wishes to be considered one of us" I will only acknowled the sin of not answering letters in better season than I do, still I cannot wish to be considered worse than I am in that matter. While you was in Kansas last season, I wrote you once, some time in August, Directing to Mr. Adair. It appears that you did not receive it. We have not heard from John for several months, If it was myself, it would be no wonder, as it is him, I am begining to think strange of it. Have received a letter from Ruth, of the 19th April, I have commenced, in answer to all the letters from Mother, Henry, Ruth, Salmon, Anna, Watson, Oliver, & all the rest, whether they ever receive it or not, will depend wholy upon the length of their life. Shall remember you all.

Your affectionate son

[The above bears this endorsement, "The following letter we found among the private papers of Capt. Brown at his house which we entered on Tuesday evening with the Marines. It is from one of his sons (the sole remaining one out of six) who is now wandering through the west, but his whereabouts is unknown to his father, as he himself assured us. The signature has been carefully cut from the page."]




Dear Brother, Sister & C     s,

All is well with us. At present our prospecting appears to be favorable, & some of us will find employment in a few days, (I did not see the Letter you wrote us, but heard of it.) Tidd is here, God speed you.

Your Brother,
O. S.

[The     indicates where a piece has been torn out of the original.]



CHERRYWOOD, June 8 '59.

Friend John

I got a leter from your sister Mary yesterday she wishes me to write to you as soon as I get heers aud say to you that it is unsafe for you to come home or at least to Nebraska City She ses that a tread of ours told your Pa in town she beleved it was Mr. Rufis Moore. See wants you to be on your gard for them

I dont now as you want your leters sent to Cleveland in your name or not so I will send this to sister and request heer to send it to you I team from E. A. Fobes that you was at Cleveland also from sister I want you to rite to me and let me now the particler of afares I hav not hurd eny thing only what was riten from the City Hotel at your arival thare, tell me whare the rest are and whare Whiples adress is tell them I wod like to hear from them I am a farming this sumer I was sick a month but am at work agane p!eas rite to me and lets be sociable agane direct to De Wit Clinton Co Iowa if I had not got such a head ache I wod rite more, yours truly




SPRINGDALE August 6th 1859

friend Ed.

I reseived a very welcom leter from you yesterday, and was glad to hear that yo ar still alive and well well Ed I havee not time to rite mutch for it is rather a blure monday and you no how I feel Ed I have rented that mashene to Jim but at no prise I will do the best I can with it Jim lost the ox case and it cost him 26 doolars rather a bad Job for Jim as for the talk in about your leaving Ed they all no where you was a going som of them glory in your spunk an others think you ar a gon boy and have made you mad your last trip to Springdale Ed I want you to doge like the d-----l and show them you can com without a hold in your hide.

Well as for mary and lu they ar well and old lion is able to fart yet at least he plade a good hand the other night they had fed him on beans he was d - -m full of wind wee had black beryies yesterday and Lu and I had a try last night. Dick is going back to Kansas in 3 or 4 weeks Ed I must stop my scribling for it is time to go to Diner rite soon if you can and I will do beter next time so I will stop I am

Dick come to mee Just now and said he wanted to rite to you on bisness so I gave your post ofise adess

[The above bears no direction or subscription, but the hand and spelling are those of Moffet, and the letter was probably to Edward Coppee.-Trans.]



OMAHA NEBRASKA T. May 16th, 1859.

Dear Kaig

Your letter bearing date Apr. 22 is received. Was forwarded from Byron to this place. I have been here about a wating for our 5th man to come arround via of St. Louis with our provisions for a 6 months tour in the mountains in search of Gold. I received a letter from you on Saturday before I started on Monday. This was the first word I had hearde of any of you for many months. You said that you should not be in Cleveland only 3 days so I wrote to J. B. Jr. to tell you some things. You now write me to not enter in to any other arrangement preventing me from other buisnees. When you do this I think that you donte consider my situation, the obligations I am under to my creditors, and what I have already sacrifised in that same bankrupt buisness. I staid all last summer and winter and worked hard for little or nothing (just enough to get home) with the vane expectation of bearing something definate in regard to buisness. but I hearde nothing. When I came home my folks accused me of fooling away my time, claim, money, &c. &c. when I owed debts that I ought to pay. I felt as if I must do something to shut up their mouths & then I could, & would tell them to kiss my foot. I owe about $230. If I could pay them in a minute, as I feel now I should be ready to go immediately. I had no tools, could not work at my trade, & new no better thing to do or place to hit upon than to go to Pikes Peak. I am so far on my way & even now we get more discouraging noos than good. Eversomany are a going back selling teams at a loss & taking the quickest way home. Were I to see Uncle John now & he to ask me to go, I should tell him that I owed $230, & must pay that first, if he would pay it then I should go immediately, if not then I should try to earn it. I am certainly this is so. I have been willing debt, or no debt, but then I expected to have joined in the dance long before this. You may be assured that my best wishes will attend you. I am sorry to learn that others are not with you that you had expected. But I also learn that you have some new ones which I hope will more than supply the deficiency. I do not know where to have you direct your letters if you should see fit to write. There are a great many a coming back from Ft Carney discouraged on account of the discouraging news from the Peak. Tis said to be a humbug. We intend to go and see for our selves. With. many good wishes

I remain yours truly

[The envelope to this letter, as well as to many others, has been either wholly lost or mislaid.-Trans.]



ILLINOIS July 3d '59

Dear Friend

the pleasure that it affords me in receiving you token is unbounded. it has removed the cloak of suspense and doubt, with bright hopes of Cherishing my young and seemingly long desires, that the object is within my reach. It is my chief desire to add fuel to fire. The amount may be small, "but every little helps." My ardent passion for the gold field is my thoughts by day and my dreams by night. I often think that I am with you. Bringing it forth in masses that surprises the world, and moving with all its sweetness and holesomeness adds still another determination. I would rejoice still more if you felt as well as I do. My health could not be better I am sorry to hear of your being so unfortunate but my sincerest hopes is with you.

Please let me know as soon as possible For if it was very sudden I might be some troubled to get my money as it is very scarce stuff here the man that I am working with is good as soon as his wheat is sold it is middling good here this season much better than expected a month ago They are cutting it here now some commenced theirs last day of June. If it should happen that you would come by this way I will give you directions. Start out on the Bloomington and Peora road, From Bloomington and go half mile and take the white oak grove road about 4 1/2 miles north inquire for Squire Brown's farm and you will have no trouble to find it. Those Glorious fellows, I would like to know where they are. Black or white. And where Dick & Realf are as you did not mention them.

I must go to town this afternoon, quite a walk 5 miles, but if it is as long going to you, as that was coming to me, I must not delay a minute.

Yours For Ever

In truth

Bloomington, Ill,

Give my love to those friends of trust



NEW YORK, Sep. 6 '59.

J. Henrie, Esq. Chambersburg, Pa.

Dear Sir,

Your communication of the 3d inst., came to hand yesterday. In reply, am sorry to state, I can give you no information whatever regarding the whereabouts of Richard Realf. I only know he left his home, the latter part of February, for America; since which time I have failed to gather any intelligence relating to his movements. He considers me his most intimate friend, and, yet, I know not that he even exists at this time.

Please inform me the motive which prompts you in your enquiry. Have you known Mr. Realf for any lengthened period? Where did you last see him! And how and when. did you hear him speak of me?

If I hear of or from him at any time, I will transmit you the news, and trust you will reciprocate.

Respectfully Yours,

Care of Horace H. Day, Esq. - 23 Cortlandt Street.

["J. Henrie" was the assumed name of Kagi. - Tr.]


23, CORTLANDT St. N. Y. Sept. 22, 59.

My Dear Sir,

You will, I trust, excuse my seeming negligence in the occurrence of my not having replied to your two last communications, bearing dates respectively, of the 7th and 14th inst.; the latter of which contained an enclosure of two others for Mr. Realf. My time has been so closely monopolized by business, that I have been compelled to disappoint every one of my correspondents for nearly three weeks past.

The hand writing of the letters address to fridnd Realf I hardly recognized. They contained nothing of importance; therefore I will retain them until he may make his appearance here. The parties by whom they were written have seen Realf since their date. I hold a deep interest in the welfare of Richard, and trust the time is not far distant when I may be the recipient of some glad tidings of or from him.

With kind regards, believe me to remain,

Yrs. Resp'y,

J. Henrie, Esq'r.



CLEVELAND, Sept. 30th '59.

My dear friend,

I have been waiting ever since the receipt of your letter for Mr. L_____ to return before I answered thinking that we might manage some way to help you to that money. He came last night and I gave him your letter. Harris is gone to Canada. I saw your uucle Samuel; laid the matter before him; he expressed a very favorable opinion of your business, thought you would eventually succeed in making a fortune. I told him your strait for this little amount of money just now but I could not get him to do anything towards helping you to it. I am going to try still further and see if I can procure something for you before J. B. Jr. comes I expect him next week. But I will tell you how I am situated My husband feels afraid you will have have trouble with that contract and eventually fail in your business and he is afraid of making any more that would bring him into trouble in case you should fail, which of course could do you no good. He is situated just where if he should be taken away from his buisness for two months he would be ruined as to property, there could be no help for it. If he was differently situated he would send you the money himself without any hesitation. But money is so hard to be got thet it requires the best turn of evry dollar to keep him up. I will endeavor to do the best I can for you but I am afraid I shant succeed in getting much. It seems to me that in your present emergency as difficult as it is for you to get workmen, that you had better send to your friend out west; I mean the one who dreamed one night of a crop of black and white beans; and have him send you on some of his workmen, for the present. Your difficulty I discover is want of workmen rather than money, if they could only be found who would go I would take two thirds of the garments off from myself and give them to help them off. Any thing that you think I could possibly do for you let me know, and I am at your service with a will. But be sure you say nothing in your letters which if read could look as though my husband was involved with you; For if you should fail it would do no good for any body else to break with you, And by keeping up we might help you up again. When you write be cautious how you word it. I dont believe Mr. L. will go. He like others when he comes to it would rather get employ nearer home than go away off there and dig and work among the coal dust. I hope you will secure your land any way whether you find the wealth in it you anticipate or not, Carley is in Oberlin at school Adelia goes to the high school.

From your friend.

[Without direction or signature. - Trans.]



CHAMBERSBURG, Sept. 27, 1859.

Mr. James Lesley Esq.

This will be handed to you by a Gentleman calling himself Smith - who represents himself to me as the Brown of Kansas memory. He with two young men have been in and about town for two or three mouths professedly, and I believe truly, engaged in the good cause. So far as my acquaintance with them extends I believe them to be good men and true.

The[y] go to Phila to-morrow, and desire to see you, and request me to introduce them by letter - which I do so far as they are known to me.

Respectfully yours,

[On a blank page of the original note is the following in pencil: "Dear Jimmy, I am acquainted with the writer of this & know him to be one of the worthiest citizens of Chambersburg. J. Lesley. 611 Market Street."]



WEST ANDOVER, Mar. 30, 1859.

I saw a few days since a letter which Owen had received from you. I have to say that there seems to be no present prospect of disposing of the property you mentioned. The old gentleman however encloses $10 00 which he hopes may be of some relief - the best he can do at present.

Respectfully your friend,
J. H. K.

John E. Cook - Harpers Ferry.



CHERRYWOOD June 26th, '59.

Dear Sir,

I got a leter last nite from J. R. stating that I must be redy if I went in to or three weaks or to sa whether I wod go or not in short words I dont see as I can at present tho I feel as deap an interest for the caus as ever and hope yet to do more for it than I hav.

I now is the best time and Perhaps the most needed but thare is difficulties in the way that cant be removed as I se.

I shall try to do all that I can to ade the thing along shod like to be kept Posted on mater as well as convieniaut You may think that I am a back out but I dont under circumstances Nothing wod suit me beter I remaine your humbull sirveut and well wisher Please rite me as often as convenient.


[Direction unknown.-Trans.]



OBERLIN, Ohio, Sept. 8th '59.

To J Henrie

Respected Sir,

I received yours pr C. H. L. and have delayed answering it directly until the present. I have not seen J. D. H. since I received it But have heard from him. Nothing Delays me more than want of means. I have been unhealthy for some time but have grown quite well I saw J. B. Jr a week ago, and recd a letter from him yesterday His statements to me were satisfactory I have a hardy man who is willing and every way competent to dig coal but like myself has no tools if the company employs him they will have to furnish him tools His address is John Copeland Jr. Oberlin, Ohio he is an honest man and will do as much labor as the common run of men. I saw Mr. P. I think that we can get an outfit from parties interested in our welfare in this place if so I shall Be on as soon as I can.

Yours sincerely,

[The "J. Henrie" to whom this letter is addressed, was an assumed name of J. H. Kagi, who was killed at Harpers Ferry. The "Mr. P." alluded to near the close of the letter, is probably R. Plomb, of Oberlin.-Trans.]



Col. H. Forbes, New York City:


If you have drawn on W. H. D. Calender Esq., Cashier, State Bank, at Hartford, Connecticut: for Six Hundred Dollars; or any part of that amount; and are not prepared to come on and join me at once: you will please pay over at once to Joseph Bryant Esqr., who is my Agent, Six Hundred Dollars or whatever amount you have so drawn; as I furnished that money in the full expectation of having your personal assistance this present time. I cannot wait untill Fall; and I greatly need all the means I have.

Very Respectfully Your Friend

Cleveland, Ohio, 22d, June, 1857.

[This order is endorsed in one corner, thus: "My Order on Col. Forbes returned," and in another place, thus: "I did not present this to the Col. as I presumed it would be of no use - and then he is I am perswaded acting in good faith, Jos. Bryant."]



TROY June 7th 1859

John Brown - To W. & L. E. Gurley. Dr.
To one Vernier Compass 35 00
" set steel marking Pins 1 00
$36 00

Recet Payment,

W. & L. E. GURLEY.

[Endorsed in Brown's handwriting, "W. & L. E. Gurley's Bill & Receipt.]



NEWARK Sept 6. '59

Friend Henrie

I received your note of inquiry this morning. I am sorry I know so little of what you ask. My last letter was written Sept. 6th Sister did not speak of C. at all. In other letters she has often spoken of seeing him, but of course she knows nothing of his plans.

My father is slowly recovering from a long severe illness. Many of our neighbors have been sick this season, perhaps C. has been. I hope he will join you soon.

S. G. W.

[This note to "Henrie," alias Kagi, is in a female hand.]



PITTSBURGH, Pa., 23d June, 1859.

John Henrie Esq

Dear Sir

Please enquire for a letter at Bedford, Pa. If you do not find one there; you may understand that you have got ahead of us; & will wait a little. If you have any company along it may be just as well not to appear as fellow travelers. We may commence prospecting before we get to Bedford.

Yours in truth



CHAMBERSBURG, Pa., Aug. 2 '59.

Dear Whip:

Tidd, Steward Taylor, and 2 Coppacs have been about. You will be able to see them in two weeks, or three at farthest. I heard from Al. Hazlet to-day.

Say to J. Jr., if he has not left home, that I have received all his letters and of King & Bros. up to those of July 27.

Cashings not yet arrived - but expect them in a day or two. All is well. Keep cool. Preserve the elevation of your liquors, (or, in other words, keep up your spirits.)

Hen. C. Carpenter has gone to Wattles. I have written him. Have also written to Elza Maxson to come here and I would give him a birth - to come, even if he had to sell your mare for passage money. Can you raise a swear on it?


[At the bottom of this note, written in pencil, is the name of "Horace Lindley, West Andover." The envelope is directed "Old Whipple, Anywhere." Whipple was the assumed name of Stevens.]



DETROIT, March 13, 1859.

Dear Tidd:

I & B arrived yesterday morning with our consort, which I immediately passed over to Windsor. The old man & Whip had to come on in advance in order to see Fred. Douglass who was expected to leave here yesterday morning. I left Hen. at Chicago with direction to start for Cleveland with the other freight, yesterday morning.

We shall leave here to-morrow. Fred. D. spoke last night - will speak again this afternoon.

Truly, as ever, yours

P. S. - Enquire at P. O. for me often, and send letters to West Andover, Ashtabula Co., Ohio.



July 14th 1859 INDIANNA Pa

Dear Sir,

i Recieved your letter a few minuets ago and Was glad to hear from you

i Will Bee Ready When you Want mee if nothing Happens mee

yours truly
A. H.

[This brief note bears the initials of Albert Hazlet, but has no direction upon it.-Trans.]



CHAMBERSBURG, Sat., Sept. 3, 1859.

Dear Sir,

I have just received the enclosed letter, together with the draft for $50 - mentioned therein, and have acknowledged the receipt of the same. I have also received a letter from John Smith, under date of Sandusky, Aug. 27th. He would stop at P. & Cleveland. Anderson at C___m would leave immediately; one at H___n as soon as he could raise the money; the Coppersmith in a few weeks. The latter had been waiting for some time, but at last made an engagement which he could not break for a few weeks. Others have to make certain provisions. Mr. Smith intends to try to raise funds for this object. He says he is ready for any other business you may give him employment in. His money is exhausted. Is sorry (confidentially) that he went in company with Mr. S_____ he is too fat, and takes hardly strong interest enough. I have written him.


[No direction.]



NORTH ELBA, June 29th.

Dear Husband,

We received your welcome letter of the 23d last night, with five dollars in it. We are all well here. Since you left here we have had abundance of rain so that things look quite promising now. We have not had any frost since you left. Watson says he promised to write but wants, I should say that he cut his foot & was laid up about a week & is in a great hurry. I read a letter from John telling what the frost had done in Ohio. I think we have great reason to be thankfull here. I do hope that you will be blessed with health & success in the good and great cause your are engaged in.

From your affectionate wife,

[This letter is without envelope, but is endorsed "Isaac Smith, Esq. care of John Henrie, Chambersburg, Pa." It is from old Brown's wife.]



CHERRY VALLEY O Friday Apl 22nd 1859.

Friend Kagi,

Yours of 12th inst was duly rec'd, but no letters for you had come to the West Andover P. O. Yesterday I called at the office in Andover Centre and there found two for you, which had evidently been there some time. I shall for'd them to-day.

Nothing new here. Have not heard from Father since he left, except incidentally through the papers that he spoke at Rochester N. Y. He remained with me nearly two weeks, suffering much not only from the ear-ache but from ague. Had 3 shakes before he left, and was much enfebled by it.

Parsons wrote a few days since that he should "start to morrow for Pike's Peak." Had a yoke or two of oxen and a yoke of cows for teams. Whipple is still at work for Mr. Lindsley where he gives entire satisfaction. Nothing from the others. I shall write as often as I have letters to send you, or anything new to communicate. Address me as before to West Andover, O, Shall be glad to hear from you often.

(In haste)

Truly yours,



BRENTVILLE April 11 1859

Dear Husband

I mus now write you apology for not writing you before this but I know you will excuse me when tell you Mrs. gennings has been very sick she has a baby a little girl ben a grate sufferer her breast raised and she has had it lanced and I have had to stay with her day and night so you know I had no time to write but she is now better and one of her own servent is now sick I am well that is of the grates importance to you I have no newes to write you only the chrildren are all well I want to see you very much but are looking fordard to the promest time of your coming oh Dear Dangerfield com this fall with out fail monny or no monney I want to see you so much that is one bright hope I have before me nothing more at present but remain

your affectionate wife

P S write soon if you please

BRENTVILLE April 23 1859

Dear Husband

I received your letter to day and it give much pleasure to here from you but was sorry to of your sickeness hope you may be well when you receive this I wrote to you several weeks a go and directed my letter to Bridge Port but I fear you did not receive it as you said nothing about it in yours you must give my love to Brother Gabial and tell him I would like to see him very much I wrote in my last letter that Miss Virginia had a baby a little girl I had to nerse her day and night Dear Dangerfield you Can not amagine how much I want to see you Com as soon as you can for nothing would give more pleasure than to see you it is the grates Comfort I have is thinking of the promist time when you will be here oh that bless hour when I shall see you once more my baby commenced to Crall to day it is very dellicate nothing more at present but remain your affectionate wife.


P s write soon

BRENTVILLE, August 16, 1859.

Dear Husband.

your kind letter came duly to hand and it gave me much pleasure to here from you and especely to hear you are better of your rhumatism and hope when I here from you again you may be entirely well. I want you to buy me as soon as possable for if you do not get me somebody else will the servents are very disagreeable thay do all thay can to set my mistress againt me Dear Husband you not the trouble I see the last two years has ben like a trouble dream to me it is said Master is in want of monney if so I know not what time he may sell me an then all my bright hops of the futer are blasted for there has ben one bright hope to cheer me in all my troubles that is to be with you for if I thought I shoul never see you this earth would have no charms for me do all you Can for me witch I have no doubt you will I want to see you so much the Chrildren are all well the baby cannot walk yet all it can step around enny thing by holding on it is very much like Agnes I mus bring my letter to Close as I have no newes to write you mus write soon and say when you think you Can Come.

Your affectionate Wife

[The last three letters are without envelope, but were evidently written to Dangerfield Newby, one of the Harpers Ferry insurgents. The place from which they were written is probably Brentville in Prince William, Va. The last letter bears this endorsement, in a scrawling hand:

"Aug. 27.-Friend Whipple - Martha sent me this letter to-day. I sent it by the first mail. God spead the right.


P. S. - This letter is for Mr. G. Newby he left our houes this morning. E. A. J. L."]



MAY the 1859, 21 Indiana, Pa.

Dear Kagi

i Recieved your letter and Was glad to here from you i Was almost out of patience wating i thought you had forgotten mee you wrote something about the afairs in Ohio i Wish it Would Come of soon for i am getting tireed a Doing nothing i Would like to know when the old man Will be Back and when you Want mee the sooner the better it Will suit mee i Would like to see you all again let mee know whats going on When you rite to me give mee a plain hand i Can read it better Direct as Be fore rite as soon as you get this no More but remaines your Friend


J. H. Kagi.



(Copy.) SPRINGFIELD, Aug. 27, 1859.

Dear Friend.

Yours of the 18th has been received and communicated. S. G. H. has sent you $50 in a draft on N. Y. & I am expecting to get more from other sources - perhaps some here, and wi!l make up to you the $300 if I can, as soon as I can. But I can give nothing myself, just now, being already in debt. I hear with great pleasure what you say about the success of the business, and hope nothing will occur to thwart it.

Your son John was in Boston a week or two since, and I went to find him, but did not; and being away from Concord he did not come to see me. He saw S. G. H.___G. S. S.___W. P.___F. J., & C., and every body liked him. I am very sorry I did not see him. All your Boston friends are well. Theo. Parker is Switzerland, much better than when he left home. Henry Storrs of this place is dead, July 28th. I reached here yesterday and have seen few people as yet. Here I expect letters from those to whom I have written.

I conclude that your operations will not be delayed if the money reaches you in course of the next fortnight, if you are sure of having it then, I cannot certainly promise that you will, but I think so.

Harriet Tubman is probably in New Bedford, sick, She has staid here in N. E. a long time, and been a kind of missionary.

Your friends in C. are all well. I go back there in a week.

God prosper you in your work. I shall write again soon.

Yours Ever.

[The above letter, written to John Brown evidently, appears to have been copied in the handwriting of Kagi from the original, which was probably lost or destroyed. The original has since been discovered, and is endorsed by Brown, "F. B. Sanborns letter."]



30 April 59

Mr. J. H. Kagi,


Yours is received and we enclose our check for forty-one dollars for Seven letters from Kansas and two from Ohio.




Cleveland, Ohio, June 21 1859.

G. L. Heaton

Dr Sir,

Mr. Cowles requested me to recommend to your attention, the bearer of this J. H. Kagy, Esq. who is connected with the N. Y. Tribune, and now from Kansas. He designs to go to Buffalo by Lake on one of the fine steamers you represent.

Yours Truly



NEW YORK May 24th 1859

Mr. J. H. Kagi,

Dear Sir

The price of the S & W S S is $15,00 cartridges $1.00 per hundred in quantities of 6 or more packets at a time a discount of 20 per cent. terms cash.

Yours Respy.

[The abbreviations "S & W S S'' mean Smith & Wesson's Seven Shooter.]



PETERBORO June 2 '59

Capt John Brown

My dear friend

I wrote you a week ago directing my letter to care of Mr. Kearney. He replied, informing me that he had forwarded the letter to N. York. But as Mr. Morton received last evening a letter from Mr. Sanborn saying your address would be your son's home - viz. West Andover, I therefore write you without delay and direct my letter to your son.

I have done what I could thus far for Kansas - what I could to keep you at your Kansas work. Losses by indorsment & otherwise - have brought me under heavy embarrassments the last 2 years. But I must nevertheless continue to do in order to keep you at your Kansas work. I send you herewith my dft for $200. Let me hear from you on the receipt of this letter.

You live in our hearts - Our prayer to God is that you may have strength to continue in your Kansas work. My wife joins me in affectionate regard to your son John whom we both hold in very high esteem. I suppose you put the Whitman note into Mr. Kearney's hands. It will be a great shame if Whitman does not pay it. What a noble man is Mr. Kearney! How liberally he has contributed to keep you in your Kansas work!

Your friend

[Endorsed in Brown's hand, "Gerrit Smith answered June 17th, and enclosed E. B. Whitman's note and H. Tubman's receipt."]



Albany 29th Aug. 1859.

Messrs. J. Smith & Sons,


I have received with enclosure as stated, your favor of

I hand you herewith my dft on Merchants B'k N. Y. $100 - in accordance with instructions from Honl. Gerrit Smith, Peterboro, N. Y.

Respy Yours,

["New York State Bank," "Albany," "1859," "Sir," and "I have received with enclosure as stated, your favor of" are printed in the original.]



OBERLIN, Aug 23 1859

J Henrie Esq.

Dear Sir,

Yours of Augt 9, came to hand this morning, and I hasten to reply, and should have replied to your first letter before, but it was so long reaching me that I was afraid you would have left Chambersburg. My pecuniary condition is such, (having made loss in consequence of being in Jail of about $1200, on property shipped west) that I regret to say I cannot advance the money to save your father's lands. It would give me great pleasure to do this, and I am sorry I cannot.

Next with regard to the last proprosition. Our people have been drained of the last copper to pay expenses for the Oberlin Trials, and are now sued by Lowe for $20,000, damages for false imprisonment. We have in all probability got to have another clinch with the scoundrels, and money, money, money, will be needed at every step. If I could possibly do so I would send you the needful amount, but in my opinion it will not be possible to raise it. By visiting other places and interesting other parties it might be done, but not here. I have to go to Missouri in a few days to look after my business there which has been left in a disastrous condition by imprisonment.

Yours truly



SANDUSKY, Ohio, Saturday eve.
August 27 '59.

Friend Henrie:

I have not written since I left Syracuse, for the reason that I had nothing definite to write until within two or three days and then was too much occupied to write.

At St. C____ I found none, and went on to Hamilton where I met with several capital fellows. The coppersmith on the G. W. R. R'd will go, but has an engagement on a steam engine which will hold him several weeks. I think him one of those men who must be obtained if possible. For several months he was entirely out of business, waiting, but hearing nothing, took a job, which he cannot now leave till finished. There is at Hamilton two other men every way fitted by nature for such a place, one at least of whom will start as soon as traveling expenses can be raised. At Dr. W's house we formed an association, the officers consisting of Chairman, Treasurer, and Corresponding Sec'y, the business of which is, to hunt up good workmen, and raise the means among themselves to send them forward. I am in communication with this association, and can reach them all at once through their corresponding sec'y. So that whatever you wish to communicate, can be done through me by letter without delay. No minutes of the organization, nor of any of its proceedings are or will be preserved in writing. I formed similar associations in Chat___, and also at B__x__t__n. At the first place (H.) they will take hold at once and do something. At Chatham I met a hearty response. The delay since they last saw you has caused them however to scatter, and involve themselves in business arrangements. The Capt. of the Fire Co. and one other of the best has gone to Frazer River. Dick was away harvesting a number of miles from there, but from what they say, is on hand. Alex__ had disposed of his affairs a good while since, and until within a few weeks had been waiting: but has lately resumed. Thinks he can now close out by 1st Nov. and in the mean time to prove his devotion will furnish means to help on two or three himself. He can be fully relied on. Anderson at Chat. will come on immediately. At ("B__n") I found the man - the leading spirit in that "affair" which you, Henrie, referred to. On Thursday night last I went with him on foot 12 miles, much of the way through mere paths, and sought out in "the bush," some of the choicest. Had a meeting after 1 o'clock at night at his house. He has a wife and 5 children all small, and they are living very poorly indeed "roughing it in the bush,'' but his wife is a heroine & he will be on hand as soon as his family can be provided for. He owes about $30 - says that a hundred additional, would enable him to leave them comfortable for a good while.

After viewing him in all points which I am capable of, I have to say that I think him worth in our market as much as 2 or three hundred average men, and even at this rate I should rate him too low. For physical capacity, for practical judgment, for courage, & moral tone, for energy & force, & will, - for an experience that would not only enable him to meet difficulty, but give confidence to overcome it, I should have to go a long way to find his equal, & in my judgment would be a cheap acquisition at almost any price. I shall individually make a strenuous effort to raise the means to send him on. Mr. A__n at Detroit is all alive - also De B. However Mr. A's wife is very sick, he will get down there as soon as possible. Is to let me know right away by letter what he can do, & when. De B is the working man there, & a host in himself. Thompson, is on hand as soon as he can shape his affairs so that his family a wife, & one child (6 mos. old) can be provided for. I saw friend Isaac's letter to De B. and took a copy to send on to the other associations. When at "W__r" I saw our friends from Mo. They are all doing well - are working hard. Have raised a great deal of stuff to live on. (J__m) & his family are out on a farm about 11 miles, did not see him. They all say he is doing better probably than any of those at "W__r" They seemed anxious to do some washing or something for me for nothing. They said "tell your - and thems with him that we all owes um a great deal more, than we can ever pay in dis world." By the way, it is now well ascertained that the fire was caused by an incendiary or incendiaries in the interest of the tyrants, who could devise no other plan.

I go on to night from here so as to meet the morning train for Oberlin. Shall write you very soon again. I left Mr. _____ our Syracuse friend, at Detroit, whence he will return home, stopping at Ingersol & London. Perhaps on the whole it was best, I had him accompany me on this trip, yet my first ideas of him I find are correct. "He is too fat," nor is this all, his heart is only PASSIVELY in our cause. Wherever I have been, they tell me, I had no need of a voucher, as my resemblance to "Isaac" would have been all sufficient. As it is I very much regret that I spent so much money in transporting so much inert adipose matter. Now dont imagine anything occurred to mar friendly feelings, there did not, & what I have said I wish regarded as confidential. When I get home, if there is nothing which you have laid out for me to do, I shall as soon as I get to it, set about raising some funds for the cause. From this on, I mean to devote my whole time if I can in the work. Dont fail to attach my name to that Document, or those documents - You know.

If friend "Isaac" wishes me to go any where else, I shall need more means, as I have only enough to get back with.

In haste, Yours,

Give my warmest regards to all the fraternity.

[This "John Smith" is John Brown, Jr. His style is much more accurate and finished than that of any of the rest of "the fraternity," and his handwriting is beautiful. On the back of this letter, in the handwriting of old Brown, is "J S Jr answered." "Isaac" is old Brown. There is also the following, in the handwriting of Kagi:

"P. of) Chicopee Bank (Mass.
$50 No. 8953
Springfield Aug. 30, 1859.

Pay to order of H. Fuller, jr. fifty dollars.

T. WARNER, JR. Cashier.

To the Continental Bank, New York.

Pay to the order of J. Smith & Sons.


Sent above by mail this day, addressed, J. Smith & Sons, Harpers Ferry, Va."]

Chambersburg, Sept. 8, 1859.



Thursday Aug 11th 1859.

Friend J. Henrie:

Day before yesterday, I reached Rochester. Found our "Rochester friend" absent at Niagara Falls. Yesterday he returned and I spent remainder of day and evening with him and Mr. E. Morton with whom friend Isaac is acquainted.

The friend at Rochester will set out to make you a visit in a few days. He will be accompanied by that "other young man," and if it can be brought around, also by the woman that the Syracuse friend could tell me of. The son will probably remain back for a while. I gave Fred'k $22 to defray expenses. If alive and well, you will see him ere long. I found him in rather low spirits - left him in high. Accidentally met at R___. Mr. E. Morton. He was much pleased to hear from you; was anxious for a copy of that letter of instructions, to show our friend at "P__r" who, Mr. M. says, has his whole soul absorbed in this matter. I have just made him a copy and mailed him at R. where he expects to be for two or three weeks. He wishes me to say to you that he had reliable information that a certain noted Col. whose name you are all acquainted with, is now in Italy. By the way, the impression prevails generally that a certain acquaintance of ours, headed the party that vistited St. J. in Mo. lately. Of course I don't try to deny that which bears such ear marks.

Came on here this morning. Found L. gone to Boston, Mass., and also said woman. As T. does not know personally those persons in C. to whom it is necessary to have letters of introduction, and he thinks I had better get him to go with me there, I have made up my mind notwithstanding the extra expense to go on to Boston. L. is expecting to visit C. soon any way, and his wife thinks would contrive to go immediately. I think for other reasons also, I had better go on to Boston. Morton says, our particular friend Mr. S___n, in that city is especially anxious to hear from you - has his heart and hand both engaged in the cause; shall try and find him. Our Rochester friend thinks the woman whom I shall see in Boston "whose services might prove invaluable," had better be helped on.

I leave this eve in the 11.35 train from here, shall return as soon as possible to make my visit at C. Will write you often. So far all is well. Keep me advised as far as consistent.

Fraternally yours,

[Endorsed in the handwriting of old Brown, "John Smiths Letter to J. Henrie."]



CHAMBERSBURG, Aug. 3, 1859.

Tidd & Steward Taylor have arrived since the Coppacs. They say that Elza Maxson wished to get employment and I have written him to come on. The probability is that he will come, yet it is not certain. Carpenter has gone back to K. I have written to A. Wattles, urging him to have his start immediately. Owen will show you the letters from John Smith agt. of King & Bros. The cashings ought to be here (the first 10 boxes) in a very few days. I have twice heard from Hazlett. He is ready. Have heard nothing from my friends, from Cleveland, but think I certainly shall receive a letter concerning them soon.


[Endorsed "Isaac Smith Esq." in Kagi's writing; also "J Henries Letter," in the writing of old Brown. The word "cashings," which is plainly thus written in two of Kagi's letters, must have been intended for "castings," which is the term Kagi employs to designate certain boxes of arms sent to Kansas by the N. E. Emigrant Aid Soc., and reshipped by Brown's party, through King & Bros. of Ashtabula, to Chambersburg.]



JEFFERSON Ohio May 26. 1859

My Dear Sir

I shall be absent during next week. and hope to be at home during the summer. Shall be happy to see you at my house.

Very truly

John Brown Esq.

[Endorsed in Brown's hand, "J. R. Giddings Requires no reply."]



WASHINGTON Co., Md. 23d, July. 1859.

John Henrie Esqr.

Dear Sir

Please mail enclosed at once

[The above is in the handwriting of old Brown. Below the last line in the original, is the following memorandum, in pencil, in the hand of Kagi: "(Letter to) George De Baptist Detroit Mich. (Did so same day.)"]



WASHINGTON Co., Md. July, 27th. 1859.

J. Henrie Esqr.

All well. Yours of the 22d with enclosures is received. Please mail letter at once




NORTH ELBA, N. Y. 25th, April, 1859.

John Henrie Esqr.

Dear Sir

I write to say that I have again been entirely prostrated with the difficulty in my head & with ague: so that I have not yet been able to attend to any business. I am now some better; but do not think I shall be able to do much, under a week or more. Please let our friends all round know (so far as you can) the cause of my not writing them: or of my delay: as I am not able to write much now. I will write John, & Owen. Carpenter is at Medina, Medina Co. Ohio; Hazlett is at Indianna, Post Office, Indianna Co. Pa. I believe you have the address of all the others. All others well. Your Friend in truth. P. S. Write me under cover to Henry Thompson, North Elba, Essex Co. N. Y., if you learn any thing of interest.



MONEKA, K. T. March 29, '59

Dear Friend.

Your favor of the 10th inst. was received last evening. We were gratified to hear from you and of your success. We had followed you with anxious hearts, from point to point on your perilous journey. Be pleased to let us hear from you from time to time, as you have opportunity. We are all well, and have been neither frightened nor hurt, though in constant peril of assassination or arrest. The pro slavery party has defeated itself more by their own stupidity than by our smartness. We vote on the County seat in June. Send all the abolitionists here you can.

Please continue that writing which you began at my house. I am a member of the Historical Society of Kansas, & am appointed on the department of biography. Piease make a note of this, and act accordingly.

Yours truly.

Dr. Weaver killed himself I presume you have heard, while bringing in guns from Mo. to murder his neighbors with. It was a Providential interference for our protection I have no doubt.

[Endorsed in old Brown's hand "A Wattles Letter. Answered May 18th."]



Look for letters directed to John Henrie; at Chambersburg. Enquire for letters at Chambersburg directed J Smith & Sons; for Isaac Smith) Enquire for freight at the depot at Chambersburg for J. Smith & Sons; & write them at Harpers ferry as soon as any does come. See Mr. Henry Watson at Chambersburg: and find out if the Tribune comes on. Have Mr. Watson and his reliable friends get ready to receive company. Get Mr. Watson to make you acquainted with his reliable friends but do not appear to be any wise thick with them: & do not often be seen with any such man. Get Mr. Watson to find out if he can a trusty man or men to stop with at Hagerstown: (if any such there be) as Mr. Thomas Henrie has gone there. Write Tidd to come to Chambersburg by Pittsburgh; & Harrisburg, at once. He can stop off the Pittsburg Road at Hudson & go to Jasons for his trunk. Write Carpenter, & Hazlitt, that we are all right and ready; as soon as we can get our boarding house fixed: when we will write them to come OB; and by what route. I will pay Hazlett the money he advanced to Anderson for expenses traveling. Find yourself a comfortable cheap boarding house at once. Write J Smith, & Sons; at Harpers Ferry. Enquire after your four Cleveland friends, & have them come on to Chambersburg if they are on the way: if not on the road have them wait till we get a little better prepared. Be careful what you write to all persons. Do not send or bring any more persons here until we advise you of our readiness to board them.

[The above is in the hand of old Brown, and was probably intended for Kagi, alias "J. Henrie Esqr." On the back of the original, in pencil, is a rough topographical drawing of the country from Chambersburg towards Harper's Ferry. This was probably done by Kagi, as the names of the towns and other places along the route, are in his hand.]



Near Harpers Ferry Md.

Whereas Oliver Brown has been nominated a Captain in the Army established under the Provisional Constitution,

Now, Therefore, In pursuance of the authority vested in Us by said Constitution, We do hereby Appoint and Commission the said Oliver Brown a Captain.

Given at the Office of the Secretary of War, this day, Oct. 15, 1859.

John Brown, Commander in Chief.
H. Kagi, Secretary of War.

[The above document is printed in the original, with the exception of the words and figures which I have underscored, which are in the writing of Kagi, with the exception of the signature of John Brown, which is in his own hand.]



HARPER'S FERRY, Aug. 18th, '59.

Dear Sir,

We have all agreed to sustain your decisions, untill you have proved incompetent, & many of us will adhere to your decisions as long as you will.

Your Friend,

[Endorsed in old Brown's writing, "Owen Smiths Letter."]



NORTH ELBA, Aug. 17th 1859.

Dear Brother John,

We received your letter of the 7th August, last night. Were very glad to hear that you were all well, and that you were laboring in that glorious cause. May the Lord abundantly bless all the laborers. It is a long time since I have written to you. I have thought for several weeks past that I would certainly write this week but something has ever prevented me. I have a great deal to do this summer. All are well. I suppose you have heard that Bell has a little boy. He is a fine little fellow and one of the best natured children I ever saw Watson named him Frederick before he went away, we all feel pleased that he gave him that name. You have no doubt heard that Watson Oliver Martha & Anna have gone to PA. We have very dry weather but crops look very promising. Henry returned last night from Mt. Marcy where he has been as guid for some gentry. I have many things to write about but I have not time. I could not wait any longer. Will write again soon. You may send this to Father if you please. Let us hear from you again. In haste.

Your affectionate

[Endorsed "Ruth Thompsons Letter to John Smith" in old Brown's hand.]



A. M., Thursday, Aug. 11, 1859.

Messrs. J Smith & Sons:

Oaks & Caufman have notified me that they have received 15 Boxes of freight marked to your address, with about $85 (eighty-five Dollars) charges all told.

I await your directions in the matter.


[Endorsed "J. Henries Letter," by Brown.]



Received Collinsville June 4th 1859 of John Brown on contract of 1857 - one hundred & fifty dollars


[Endorsed by Brown "Charles Blairs Rece'pt."]



COLLINSVILLE CT June 10th 1859

Friend Brown

Your favor of the 7th was duly recd. - with the draft on N. York for $300 - I have made arrangements to have the goods finished up as soon as possible. The only man I could think of in this vicinity who is in situation to do it I have agreed with. But he would not agree to get them all out in less than eight weeks. Perhaps he can finish up one half the number soon if you desire it. But he has positively agreed to have them all out in eight weeks. I find that some of the handles have come up missing, and I shall not be able to make out more than about 950. Considering the delay and the extra trouble I am to be at, I think you will be satisfied with that number I could, have finished them when I had them under way for much less than I can now.

Wishing you peace and prosperity,

I remain yours truly

[Endorsed "Charles Blairs Receipt for $300" by Brown, and directed in Blair's handwriting, "Old John Brown." There is no envelope.]



Near Harpers Ferry, Md.

Whereas, Watson Brown has been nominated a Captain in the Army established under the Provisional Constitution,

Now, Therefore, In pursuance of the authority vested in Us by said Constitution, We do hereby Appoint and Commission the said Watson Brown a Captain.

Given at the Office of the Secretary of War, this day, Oct. 15, 1859

John Brown, Commander in Chief.
H. Kagi, Secretary of War.



CHAMBERSBURG, PA, 30th June, 1859.

John Henrie Esqr.

Dear Sir

We leave here to day for Harpers Ferry; (via) Hagerstown. When you get there you had best look on the Hotel register for J. Smith & Sons without making much enquiry. We shall be looking for cheap lands near the Rail Road in all probability. You can write J Smith & Sons at Harpers Ferry should you need to do so.

Yours in truth



Thursday, Aug. 17th, 1859.

Friend Henrie:

I am here to day so far on my way back from Boston, whither I went on Friday last. Found our Syracuse friend there, but his engagements were such that he could not possibly leave until yesterday morning. We reached here about 12 o'clock last night. While in Boston, I improved the time in making the acquaintance of those staunch friends of our friend Isaac. First called on Dr. H____. who, though I had no letter of introduction received me most cordially. He gave me a letter to the friend who does business in Milk Street. Went with him to his home in Medford and took dinner. The last word he said to me was "tell friend" (Isaac) "that we have the fullest confidence in his endeavor, whatever may be the result." I have met with no man on whom I think more implicit reliance may be placed. He views matters from the stand points of reason and principle, and I think his firmness is unshakable.

The friend at Concord I did not see, he was absent from home. The others here will, however, communicate with him. They were all in short, very much gratified, and have had their Faith & Hopes much strengthened. Found a number of earnest, and warm friends, whose sympathies and theories do not exactly harmonise, but in spite of themselves, their hearts will lead their heads. Our Boston friends thought it better that our old friend from Syracuse should accompany me in my journey northward. I shall leave in an hour or two for Rochester, where I will finish this letter.

I am very glad I went to Boston, as all the friends were of the opinion that our friend "I___" was in another part of the world, if not in another sphere. Our cause is their cause, in the fullest sense of the word.

ROCHESTER, Thursday eve, Aug. 17th, 1859.

On my way up to our friends house, I met his son Lewis who informs me that his father left here on Tuesday via N. York and Philad'a to make you a visit. Mr. L. will come on to night in the 1.30 train, when we shall go right on north. That other young friend went on from here, to visit you yesterday. He will take a more direct route. Do not know as I have any thing farther to say now. My warmest regards to all our friends.

Faithfully Yours,

[Endorsed by Brown - ''John Smith's letter to J. Henrie."]



Saturday, Aug. 27 - 1859.

Isaac Smith:

I to-day day received the enclosed letter and check ($50). One box of freight from Akron has arrived. Weight about 275 lbs. Charges $3 50.

The Goods remaining at O. & K's & those at E. & Co's have been started - were taken from here yesterday morning. They should have arrived at your place last night.

The box, I neglected to say, is at O. & K's.

I also send letter from John Smith.


[Endorsed by old Brown - "J. Henrie's Letter."



Friday Sept. 2nd 1859.

Friend Henrie:

I reached home day before yesterday and have since been busy writing to "our folks" both in C. and nearer home. Have sent off letters to De B. at D. to C___m, & to Buxton - & to Hamilton to P___r in N. Y. & and this morning to F. B. S. at Concord Mass. In all of these letters I have forward the lastest word from your region.

Friend L___y at Ob____ will be on hand soon - Mr. C. H, L___n will do all he can here, but his health is bad. "J. D. H." I did not see, but L___n thought would be right on. Mrs. Sturtevant is a working woman, any thing she can do she will take hold of in earnest. Write her if you get time. Jas. Smith is marrying a wife "& therefore cannot come." John L___n at Oh., brother of C. H. L. sympathises strongly & will work hard - Ralph, also, I think. I shall start out soon to try to get some means in the way Father suggested when here to help on the cause, in the mean time, I wish he would remit me some more means say $25 or $30 - as I had only enough left to get back with, & I have to purchase the material to winter my little stock on since I was absent & OK this business during the haying season.

Am greatly rejoiced that the 15 Boxes freight are all through safe, as that was the most important part. Surely, as father says, "a good Providence seems to lead us." How was our "R___v" friend Pleased, you say he returned, I wish to know in what "frame of mind."

Enclosed is a letter to W___e which came under cover to me. Dont fail to keep me fully advised, as through me you can reach the faithful wherever I have been. I will write very often. The last letter I sent you from Sandusky O.

My warmest regards to each and all.


[Endorsed by old Brown "J S Jr answered."]



Monday, July 18,1859.

Dear Sirs:

I have just received the following:

"COLLINSVILLE, July 12, 1859.

Messrs. J. Smith & Sons:

We are in receipt of a letter from _____ in which he wishes the price list of Collins Co's tools forwarded to you. I have made inquiry of their agent concerning the matter. He says that their business is all done through their commission house in New York, and to them he wished me to refer you. Their address is Collins & Co., 212 Water st. New York

Yours respectfully,

I wrote to Tidd one week ago to-day - several days before receiving your letter directing me to do so, and enclosing letter to H. Lindsley, which I forwarded by first mail.

None of your things have yet arrived. The R. R. from Harrisburg here does no freight business itself. That all being done by a number of Forwarding Houses which run private freight cars. I have requested each of these (there are six or eight of them) to give me notice of the arrival of any thing for you.

I am Your obt. sevt.

J. Smith & Sons, Harpers Ferry, Va.

[Endorsed by old Brown, "J. Henries letter." The original of the letter copied in the body of the above, is among the papers found at Brown's house, and from it I am enabled to supply the blank which Kagi designedly left in the second line. It is "John Brown Esq."]



COLLINSVIILE CT. August 27, 1859.

Messrs. J. Smith & Sons

Your favor of the 24th inst. is at hand. In reply I would say that I have not yet forwarded any part of the freight spoken of But shall forward the whole the last of next week. It was all to have been ready the 10th of August. But in consequence of some delay in obtaining some maleable castings, the work has been delayed. And I thought it best to send the whole at once, as it would cause me some trouble to make more than one shipment, as the work is being done several miles from this place. The man who is finishing up the work assures me that it will all be ready the last of next week. I will advise the day that I send it forward.

Respectfully Yours

[Endorsed by Brown "Charles Blairs Letter."]



John Henrie Esqr.

Dear Sir

I wish you to give such explanations to our friends, as to our situation here; as after advising with Owen you will be enabled to do. We can of course do nothing to purpose till our freight is mostly received. You know also that it takes a great deal longer to start some folks than it does others. It will be distressing in many ways to have a lot of hands for many days out of employ. We must have time to get on our freight; and also to get on some who are at a distance; before calling on those who are ready, & waiting. We must make up our lot of hands as nearly at one and the same time; as possible. Do not use much paper to put names of persons & places uppon. Send back word about the price of board with you.

Respectfully Yours,

[This letter was written by old Brown. There is no envelope to it by which the date can be ascertained; although it was probably written in September, 1859. On the back is the following address: "John Henrie Esqr. Chambersburg Pa."]



HARPERS FERRY VA 10th Sept. 59

J Henrie Esq

Please forward enclosed at once & write us on first arrival of freight or of hands to work on the job.

Yours &c



BOSTON, MASS, May 16th, 1859.

J H Kagi Esqr

Dear Sir

I should have acknowledged the receipt of yours of April 21st to Henry Thompson; together with writing case & papers (all safe so far as I now see) & also yours of 27th April to me: but for being badly down with the ague: so much so as to disqualify me for every thing nearly. I have been here going on Two weeks; & am getting better for two days past but am very weak. I wish you to say to our folks all as soon as may be; that these is scarce a doubt but that all will set right in a few days more, so that I can be on my way back. They must none of them think I have been slack to try; & urge forward a delicate, & very difficult matter. I cannot now write you a long letter: being obliged to neglect replying to others; & also to put off some very immportant correspondence. My reception has been every where most cordial; & cheering,

Your Friend in truth



WESTPORT, N. Y. 16th April 1859.

J. H. Kagi Esqr.

Dear Sir

I am here waiting a conveyance to take me home. Have been quite prostrated almost the whole time since you left me at Johns; with the difficulty in my head & ear: & with the ague, in consequence Am now some better. Had a good visit at Rochester, but did not effect much much. Had a first rate time at Peterboro. Got of Mr. S. & others $160, nearly, & a note (which I think a good one) for $285. Mr. S. wrote Eastern friends to make up at least $2000, saying he was in for one-fifth the amount. I feel encouraged to believe it will soon be done; & wish you to let our folks all round understand how the prospects are. Still it will be some days (& and it may be weeks) before I can get ready to return. I shall not be idle. If you have found my writing case, & papers; please forward them without delay by Express to Henry Thompson, North Elba, Essex Co. N. Y, care of Jas. A Allen Westport New York.

Your Friend in truth

[Endorsed in Kagi's hand, "Ans'd To Henry Thompson;" also in one corner, in pencil, by the same hand, the following: "The Roving Editor or Talks with Slaves in the Southern States By James Redpath A. D. Burdick New York 12 mo pp 349 $1 00" besides a quantity of writing in Stenographic cipher.]



Co. MD. 2d Aug. 1859.

Dear Sir

(No time has yet been lost.) If our friends can find some kind of employment about or near you; so as to pay for their board, & washing untill the freight gets on: it will save a good deal of expense & some exposure: We can take care of them here: but they will be compelled to be perfectly idle; & must not be seen about us. Everything is exactly right: if we can only avoid suspicion: but we shall be obliged conceal any increace of numbers: as we cannot find a good excuse for having a larger company, People are very curious about our business. We must not fail of the purchase now.

[On the back of the original slip of paper, in the middle, is the following addition: "Please notify all to move: if they are impatient but to wait a few days more if not extremely so." The left hand corner of the paper containing the name of the county, is torn off.]



WASHINGTON Co. MD. 6th Aug. 1859.

Dear friends all

I wrote to have the freight sent: on the 5th of July; and am disappointed in not having it started till so late a date. My intention was to try, & get hands collected; & freight on: as near together as possible: and I hope that may yet be brought about in some good measure. I want all to exercise patince. Nothing of any account can be effected without it: and I can assure you all: that I have had my own patience tried a number of times. I hope George G will so far redeem himself as to try: & do his duty after all. I shall rejoice over "one that repenteth." There should come a box of Bedding &c. from Jason; I want to know at once as soon as Johns first shipment arives: as about that time we shall need to collect hands here. I was sorry about the mistake by which Mr. C. was parted from O. on the way back. He has not come on; & we suppose he found his way to you again. Every thing seems exactly right; & will be so, I have no doubt; if our own imprudence, and folly do not secure a failure. As to what I have written about George I do not mean to be severe; I think the best way for every man is promptly to straighten up whenever he sees his wrong.

Yours in truth

[The above is in the handwriting of old Brown. The "George G" referred to is George B. Gill, one of the provisional government party at Chatham, and at one time secretary of the treasury. Among the effects of the insurgents found at Brown's house, near Harpers Ferry, is a small morocco bound pocket journal with the name of George B. Gill in it, and various entries in the form of a diary, from which it appears that this person went from Philadelphia August 26th, 1851, and shipped from New York soon after on a whaling voyage. He appears, at times, to have indulged in poetry. Tidd speaks of him in his diary, as Dr. Gill.]



(Wednesday) July 37th 1859

Friend Henrie

I yesterday went to Hartstown with the balance of the Hardware & castings. They consist all told, of 15 Boxes numbered 1 to 15 thus 1. 2 &c and marked J. Smith & Sons Chambersburg Pa By R. Rd. via Pittsburg & Harrisburg. The household stuff will soon follow. These latter boxes will be numbered (A) (B) &c.

It is almost impossible to get teams to do hauling, for owing to the drouth, grass is drying up and every horse and man is busy. You may be assured it has cost no small amount of labor both of head and hands to get this lot of freight so far on its way "all right." I enclose to you some cards of King & Brothers yon may find them of some use to you. If they succeed in disposing of that Territory, you will of course need all the Cast Iron patterns for their Post that I have sent you.

Let me know of the same arrival of this freight.

All well - (In haste)

Your friend

[The above letter to Kagi is by John Brown, jr., and is endorsed by his father "John Smith's Letter." The "King & Bros." are manufacturers of "Iron Fence Posts," at West Andover, Astabula co., O.]



WEST ANDOVER, Ashtabula county, Ohio,
Thursday morning, Sept. 8th, 1859.

Friend Henrie:

I yesterday eve. rec'ed yours of "Friday Sept. 2nd," and I not only hasten to reply, but hasten to lay its contents before those who are interested. Through those associations which I formed in C___ I am, through the corresponding sec'ys of each, able to reach each individual member, at the shortest notice by letter.

I am devoting my whole time to our company business. Shall immediately go out organizing and raising funds. From what I even. had understood, I had supposed you would not think it best to commence opening the coal banks before spring, unless circumstances should make it important. However, I suppose the reasons are satisfactory to you, and if so, those who own similar shares, ought not to object. I hope we shall be able to get on in season some of those old miners, of whom I wrote you. Shall strain every nerve to accomplish this. You may be assured that what you say to me, will reach those who may be benefitted thereby, and those who would take stock - in the shortest possible time; so, don't fail to keep me posted - my initials simply, under cover to Horace will answer just as well, and perhaps better. Please remember this. Did the last shipment of 6 Boxes and 1 chest of household goods safely arrive? How did the mining prospect seem to strike our R___r friend, in short, was his faith increased in the practicality and profit of the work & how much stock did he take? I some think of exhibiting a specimen of the Fence at Cleveland Fair in October, about the first of the month I believe, and I may direct you to write me there in case of the friends with whom you used to board. When in Cleveland, I made their acquaintance am pleased with them. Mrs. S. thought she could do something even though her husband was too much absorbed in other business. She might I think invest profitably, and would be a good stock-holder. You might drop her a line, through me, if you think better than to her direct. I feel that it is all important that you should have that wire from the East, and hope you will not have to make any fence without it. The specimens put up here are beautiful. Our castings cost us here not less than 3c per lb. if our plan succeeds I think the cost might be materially lessened.

Last night we had a smart frost. Cannot say how much the corn is injured--no piece that I have seen is out of the way of the frost yet.

There is a general dearth of news in this region. By the way I notice through the "Cleveland Leader," that "Old Brown" is again figuring in Kansas. Well, every dog must have his day, and he will no doubt find the end of his tether. Did you ever know of such a high-banded piece of business. However, its just like him. The Black Republicans some of them may wink at such things, but I tell you, friend Henrie, he's too salt a dose for many of them to swallow, and I can already see symptoms of division in their ranks. We are bound to roll up a good stiff majority for our side this Fall. I will send you herewith the item referred to, which I clipt from the "Leader." Give best regards to all, and believe

Faithfully Yours

[The extract pasted to the bottom of the letter, is as follows:

"Old Brown" - Release of Dr. Doy.

It is intimated that Dr. Doy owes his release from prison at St. Joseph, to the presence of the brave Ossawatomie Brown in Kansas. The marked coolness, firmness, sagacity, and success of the deed, bespeak "Old Brown's" work. It was planned and executed by a leader of daring character, and whose audacity in bearding the slave holders in their den had been rendered matchless by experience. The reward of $3,000 offered some months ago by the Governor of Missouri for the capture of Captain Brown is a tempting one, but the Missourians do not appear to be very anxious to make the special acquaintance of the hero of Black Jack, Ossawatomie and Fort Scott."

The "Mrs. S." referred to in the above letter, is probably Mrs. Sturtevant, of Cleveland. This letter is endorsed in old Brown's hand "J S Jr answered."]



Dear Friend,

Our friend from Concord called with your note. I begin the investment with fifty dollars enclosed and will try to do more through friends


[Endorsed by old Brown "Dr S G H letter," supposed to be Dr. S. G. Howe, of Boston. The top of the original torn off.]



Saturday July 23d 1859.

J Henrie Esqr. Chambersburg Pa

Dear Sir

Your favor of July 16 enclosing a brief note from J. Smith & Co. is reced. Will preserve the list, but as yet, I have reced no letter with instructions, or as to when, how, &c.

Please say to Esqr Smith that I yesterday forwarded to Canal at Hartstown Pa 11 Boxes "Hardware & Castings" from King & Bros. They are numbered and marked thus *1 to 11 - "By R Rd. Via Pittsburg & Harrisburg J Smith & Sons Chambersburg Pa" Shall send balance Hardware &c. on Monday next - *8 and *9 are those which were on store with E. A. F. at Lindenville. Mr. Smith will remember. His Household goods I shall send along as fast as possible. The letter asking me to retain the Drafts, came too late, I had got them cashed.

Write often, directing to John Smith, under cover to Horace Lindsley as before. Let me know if those goods come through safely.

Please say to Mr. S___ I am still ready to serve.

Very Respectfully &c.

[Endorsed by old Brown "John Smiths Letter to J. Henrie"]



BOSTON, December 23d, 1858.

Dear Sir,

I have heard vaguely of your general purpose and have been seeking definite information for some time past and now Mr. Redpath and Mr. Hinton have told me of your contemplated action, in which I earnestly wish to join you to act in any capacity you wish to place me as far as my small capacities go.

I am now about starting for Hayti with Mr. Redpath to pass the winter there and I shall return in time for all movements. In case you should accept my services, I would return at any time you might wish me to and in the Spring at any rate.

Is there anything it would be well for me to study meanwhile? Of course I shall pay all my expenses and shall acquire the use of the proper tools for the work which I have bought.

Any letters addressed to the care of my Grandfather, Francis Jackson 31 Hollis St. Boston.

I already consider this the whole present business of my life I am entirely free from any family ties which would impede my action. I was much disappointed in not meeting you in Kansas last winter with a letter of recommendation from Wendell Phillips.

Immediately upon my return in the Spring I should wish to be employed in any manner to be of service to you and if convenient to go through your system of training which I propose studying.


[The above has no direction that I can discover. The name "S. Morgan" is written on the back, but in a different hand from Miriam's.]



CLEVELAND August 22 '59

My Dear J. Henrie

I wrote you immediately on receipt of your last letter then went up to Oberlin to see Leary. I saw Smith, Davis and Mitchell they all promised and that's all. Leary wants to provide for his family. Mitchell to lay his crop by and all make such excuses until I am disgusted with myself and the whole negro set, GOD-DAM EM !

If you was here your influence would do something but the moment you are gone all my speaking dont amount to anything.

I will speak to Smith to-day. I know that Mitchell hasn't got the money and I have tried to sell my farm and everything else to raise money but have yet raised a cent. Charlie Langdon says "it is too bad," but what he will do if anything I dont know. I wish you would write to him for I believe he can do more good than I. Please write to him immediately and I will give up the thing to him.

I think however nothing will inspire them with sufficient confidence unless you come. I will however do all I can.

Truly etc.
J. H. H.

Charlie goes to see Leary to-day.

[The "J. H. H." is supposed to be J. H. Harris.]



It must be abolished by War. Peaceful abolition would result in a war of races. Slaves will grow in war and fit themselves for equality. A republic cannot abolish it. Slavery & its increase a bribe.

[The above, in the handwriting of Kagi, is found on a small slip of paper.]



Offices filled.

Com. in chief, John Brown.
Sec. of War J. H. Kagi.
Members of Cong.        Alfred M. Ellsworth.
Osborn Anderson.
Treasurer, Owen Brown.
Sec. of Treas George B. Gill (vacant.)
Sec. of State Richard Realf (vacant.)

Committee appointed by the Convention with power to elect the other officers.

John Brown. C. W. Moffet.
J. H. Kagi. John E. Cook.
C. P. Tidd. Steward Taylor.
C. Wipple. Osborn Anderson.
Owen Brown. A. M. Ellsworth.
W. H. Leeman.             Richard Richardson.
Richard Realf. John Lawrence.
L. F. Parsons.

Offices to fill.

President 1
Sec. of state 1
Sec. of Treas
Judges of S. Court             3           2
Members of Cong. 10 5

[The foregoing is in the handwriting of Kagi, and was probably done at Chatham, in 1858. [See No. [ 1]. ]



BEDFORD, PA. June 27th, 1859.

John Henrie Esq.

Dear Sir

We go from this place to Chambersburg where you will find Anderson & Three Smiths; or a line directed to yourself at the Post Offie. We are making some good arrangements.

Yours in truth

[Written by old Brown.]



HARPERS FERRY, VA. 12th July, 1859.

John. Henrie Esqr

Dear Sir

Please mail enclosed letter at Chambersburg; by first of opportunity. Also please write Charles Moffett as well as Tidd; to come on to Chambersburg: as I think we shall be ready for them; as soon as they get on. All well say nothing of my whereabouts; at present.

Yours in haste,

[Endorsed by Brown "John Henrie Esqr Chambersburg Pa".]



ASTABULA, Ashtabula Co. Ohio,
Monday July 18th, 1859.

Dear Father:

Yours dated at Chambersburg Pa July 5th and mailed at Troy N. Y. July 7th, and also yours of the 8th with enclosed Drafts for $100, I rec'd in due season - Am here to day to get Drafts cashed - Have now got all my business so arranged that I can devote my time for the present entirely to any business you may see fit to entrust me. Shall immediately ship your freight as you directed. Most probably, by canal from Hartstown (formerly Hart's Cross Roads Crawford Co.) to the River, at Rochester Pa (formerly Beaver) thence by R Rd. via Pittsburg &c as you directed.

Shall hold myself in readiness to go North on any business you choose to direct, or confide in my hands. All well - Have two or three letters from N. E. which I will forward to "J. H."

In haste

Your affectionate son

["John Smith Letters" endorsed by old Brown. Also the following in the handwriting of Kagi: "C[h]ambersburg, July 22 - Friday - Dear Sir, I received the within and another for Oliver to-day. I thought best not to send the other. It is from his wife. There are other reasons which I need not name now. Have had no other letter from any one.



WASHINGTON Co. MD. 11th Aug. 1859.

J. Henrie Esqr

Dear Sir

I got along Tuesday evening all right; with letters &c. I do hope all corresponding except on business of the Co: will be droped for the present. If every one must write some girl; or some other extra friend telling, or shoing our location; & telling (as some have done) all about our matters; we might as well get the whole published at once, in the New York Herald. Any person is a stupid fool who expects his friends to keep for him; that which he cannot keep himself. All our friends have each got their special friends; and they again have theirs; and it would not. be right to lay the burden of keeping a secret on any on[e]; at the end of a long string. I coul tell you of some reasons I have for feeling rather keenly on this point. I do not say this on account of any tale bearing that I accuse any - you of. Three more hands came on from North E. on Saturday last. Be sure to let me know of any thing of interest.

Yours in truth

Please forward enclosed at once.

[The above is in the handwriting of old Brown.]



AKRON O. Aug 12th '59.

J Smith & Sons


I gent the box of clothing yesterday as directed. By mistake at the P. O. your letter was not put into our box and I did not get it tell it was advertised, this is the reason why the box was not sent sooner. Our box at the P O is No 412.

Yours respectfully,

["Jason Smiths Letter" - old Brown's endorsement.]



My Dear Capt. Brown.

I am very busy at home Will you Please, come up with my son Fred and take a mouthful with me?

In haste Yours truly,

Dec. 27



AKRON O Aug 25th 1859

J. Smith & Sons

Your letter of the 17th I got yesterday. I had sent the box some time ago, and wrote you at the time directing the box as you told me, and the line as above. Your first letter I did not get till it was advertised, by mistake at the office it was not put into our box (No 412) We are glad to hear that you are well, and your prospects so good. Ellen is sick. She was confined about 2 weeks ago, over a month before the time, the child was born dead. Ellen is quite weak and feeble yet, but I think she will get about before long.

Your Friend

[Directed "J Smith & Sons,'' and endorsed in old Brown's hand, "Jason Smith's Letter."]



KEENE, N. Y., 9th June, 1859.

J. Henrie, Esq.

Dear Sir

After being delayed with sickness, & other hindrances; I am so far on my way back; & hope to be in Ohio within the coming week. Will you please advise the friends all of the fact; and say to them that as soon as I do reach; I will let them know where I will be found. I have been midling successful; in my business.

Yours in Truth



WEST ANDOVER, Astabula Co. Ohio.
Sunday eve Aug 7th, 1859.

Friend J. H.

I leave to-morrow (Monday) for my Northern tour. Have succeeded admirably in getting the freight started in good shape, in short - "all right." Saw Mr. W. yesterday Wm. H. L. was here a day or two since. They will start in a couple of weeks unless they hear from you in the mean time to the contrary. Have written you three letters before this. Have rece'd the Drafts for two Hundred. The last shall probably get cashed in Rochester - perhaps at Ashtabula. If you wish to communicate with me before I return, write to my wife under cover to Mr. L. as heretofore, and she will forward to me at Chatham

I yesterday gave W. $6.00 which in addition to the $20, which our friend S gave him will enable the three to meet their traveling expenses. Shall write you quite often while away.

The first lot of freight of 15 boxes I presume has reached you ere this. The last (6 Boxes & 1 chest) will not be many days behind them

All well--

Very truly &c.

[Endorsed by old Brown "John Smiths Letter to J Henrie."]




BROOKLYN August 18 '59

Esteemed Friend

I gladly avail myself of the opportunity offered by our friend Mr. F. Douglass, who has just called upon us previous to his visit to you, to enclose to you for the good cause in which you are such a zealous laborer. A small amount which please accept with my most ardent wishes for its, and your, benefit. The visit of our mutual Friend Douglass has somewhat revived my rather drooping spirits in the cause, but seeing such ambition & enterprise in him I am again encouraged with best wishes for your welfare and prosperity & the good of your Cause I subscribe myself Your sincere friend


Please write to me with best respects to your son.

[Endorsed by old Brown "E. A. Gloucesters Letter."]



Horse Cars leave Tremont House every half hour = get out at Jamaica Plains; & enquire for house of George R. Russel The steam Cars leave Providence Depot get out at the Jamaica Plain Station.

[The above is found on a half sheet of note paper among Brown's documents.]



CHAMBERSBUBG, Aug. 30 - 1859

Isaac Smith:

Dear Sir

I received the enclosed by this afternoon's mail. Sent the letter & draft from H. to you on Saturday. From what I wrote then I expect to see Owen to-morrow. If I had a little money for expenses I think I could do some good out of town for two or three days, but it will be too late to get any from you. Your tools were all finished and sent to O. & K's Ware House to-day.

I shall look for a letter from Collinsville by day after to-morrow at farthest.


["Isaac Smith" means old Brown. The letter is endorsed by him "J. Henries Letter," in his usual way.]



William Charles Munroe         President of the Convention.
G. J. ReynoldsRobison Alexander
J. C. GrantRichard Realf
A J SmithThos. F. Cary
James M. JonesRichard Richardson
George B. GillL. F. Parsons
M. F. BaileyThomas M. Kinnard
W. LambertM. R. Delaney
S. HuntonRobert Van Vruken
C. W. MoffetThos. W. Stringer
Job J JacksonCharles P. Tidd
Osborn AndersonJohn A Thomas
Alfred WhipperC. Whipple
Jas. M. BellJ. D. Shadd
W. H. LeemanRobert Newman
Alfred M. EllsworthOwen Brown
John E. CookJohn Brown
Steward TaylorJ. H. Harris
Jas. W. Purnell      his
Chas. X Smith.
George X Akin
Stephen Ditten
lias Chtman
Simon X Fisher
James X Smith
Isaac HobbarJohn Connel
Thos. Hickerson
J. H. Kagi Secretary of the Convention.

[The above is a copy from a half sheet of white letter paper supposed to have been part of the Provisional Constitution adopted at Chatham, in 1858. The signatures are, or appear to be, in the handwriting of the different persons whose names are appended. The words "President of the Convention" after Munroe's name, are in the handwriting of Kagi.]



7. ___

The General Staff of the Com. in Chief will be complete by establishing, in addition to the Constitutional provisions, the Office of Commissary Gen.

[The above copied from a scrap of paper not found by the Transcriber till the last, is in the handwriting of Kagi in the original, and evidently belongs to the document numbered "2".]



Oct 21st 1859


I received yours of the 18th inst to-day. John Brown came with his family to reside in this Co from Massachusetts in 1849 or '50. He had sometime before that resided in Ohio, where he now has a son living I believe. Gerrit Smith about the time he came here to live, gave away a large tract of Wild land of little value to a large number of colored persons & it was supposed Brown came here to aid them in settling. He lived on a farm in their vicinity & his family now reside there & have done so since they first came to the county. Most of the colored persons left in a short time. Brown was away a good share of the time until 1855, when he went to Kansas & did not come back until 1857. He left some time during that year & was only here once, until May last when he came back in co. with one Anderson said to be from Iowa. They staid here about three weeks both went away together, & were gone some time, both came back & staid a few days & then left together & have not been back since either of them. Before B. came here to live he was engaged in the wool trade in Co. with another man & it is said they failed He went to Europe for a wool dealer in Massachusetts, some 7 or 8 years ago. Brown & his family sustained the character of good citizens while they were or have been in the Co. with the exception of his Kansas operations & his political views in regard to them he was considered deranged. I have known Brown ever since he first came to the County and have seen him frequently since then whenever he has been at home. He always had money sometimes inconsiderable amounts although his farm was not considered a very valuable one. His wife is living with two children. He has a daughter married to one Thompson brother (it is supposed) to the one killed at Harpers Ferry the 17th inst. Brown had no confidents here outside of his family or their connexions. I have written thus hastily so that it would go by the next mail. Any further information I would be pleased to furnish that you may wish, that is known in this region, in regard to him.

Yours Respectfully

Hon. A. R. Boteler, Sheperdstown, Va.

P. S. - It is reported that his family have been looking for some news in regard to Brown in the papers.



[Among the papers are several letters from Cincinnati, O., in stenographic cipher, apparently from the house of Longley & Brothers, phonetic printers. They are dated, however, in 1856. The envelope to one of them has been preserved, bearing the Cincinnati postmark with "Dec. 6" for date within the postmark. Its direction is "J. H. Kagi, care 'Tribune' Topeka, Kansas."]



[There is on the back of King & Bro's card, referred to in the correspondence copied, the following, in pencil, in Kagi's hand: "You had best write to your shippers at Collinsville to ship (in care of) C. W. Eyster & Co., Chambersburg, Pa. I can then find it when it arrives much more conveniently. Besides it will come with more certainty and quickness. J. Henrie."]



[E. W. Clark of Springfield, Me., writing to Tidd, at Tabor, Iowa, on the 16th Oct. 1856, uses this language in speaking of the condition of things in Kansas: "I could wish if it were right that I had high heaven's power. I would marshall a force that before which Pierce, Douglass, and all of his border ruffian force would look small, and I reckon they would not figure so conspicuous a part as they do."

The same person, from the same place, writing to Tidd (still in Iowa), under date of Dec. 25th, 1856, says: "I hope from present appearances that Kansas will yet be free. From our late accounts, the southern emigrants are leaving by hundreds. I think from the moving of the waters that the south will abandon that land to the north, and strike for something south to enlarge their favored institution. I think they will soon find that they have all that they can attend to at home. The slaves are in a state of insurrection all over the country. Every paper brings us accounts of their plots for a general uprising. They cannot accomplish that object at present. The ball is moving, and they have heard the sound, and they are ready to keep it a moving, as their rising discontent seems to indicate they will surely accomplish their object before long.''

This Clark appears to have married a sister of Tidd, named Susan. They afterwards, in 1857, moved to Iowa.

Mrs Clark, writing to Tidd from her new home in Iowa, Feb. 14, 1858, says, "We received your letter from Springdale last night, and was very much dissatisfied with it. We want to know what you are doing, and it seems that you do not want us to know. Try and explain yourself a little better if posable. It looks as though you was preparing to shoot. Do tell us who is the victim." Then follows an account of family and local matters.

Again, March 9th, 1858, she writes to Tidd, "We received yours by the last mail ........ We feel many misgivings about your situation. It appears to me that it must be dangerous, although there may be wise heads at work. I wish that I could - whether your operation is perilous to yourselves, provided that you get defeated. Your kindness to us has made you very dear to us, and the Idea of your being in danger makes us unhappy. Oh that you were here nicely settled on a farm, how relieved I should be! I do not advise any one to abstain from duty - but I do not want Inocent blood shed for the removal of the great monster slavery. Do not fear that we will betray you in anything that you say to us, even Ernest does not know what you have written. We do not want you to feel uneasy about us. We shall get along some way." She then speaks of her husband's splitting rails for "one dollar the hundred," and wishes that Tidd might lend them "ten or fifteen dollars the first of June," if it will not discommode him. In the same letter, her husband, E. W. Clark, writes, "Not knowing the nature of your undertaking I do not know whether it - to be dangerous or not but knowing the giant with which you have to contend I fear that it will result in no good to you."]



CLEVELAND, Ohio, April 22, 1859.

Dear Tidd:

I wish you to keep disengaged, still, as I hope soon to have employment for you again. My partner was at Westport, New York, a few miles from North Elba, on the 16th inst. He has collected $160 of Mr. S. with note for nearly $300, more who had notified his partners in Boston that they must calculate upon paying $2,000 immediately, and that he was prepared, to advance if necessary, $400 of that amount out of his own private funds. So we think there is no danger of our failing to raise the necessary capital, in a few days, or at least, weeks.

Write Charlie. I know why he thinks of stopping, and shall be able to remove his objections. I shall write to Luke to-day.

I have been sick for several weeks with severe cold and ague. Am getting well now.

Have you seen any letters for me - did you forward me any? Write me at once, care of Isaac Sturtevant, Box 1750, Cleveland.


[The envelope to this letter is directed "C. P. Tidd, Springdale, Cedar Co., Iowa." The postmark is "Cleveland O. Apr. 23,1859."]



CLEVELAND, OHIO, Sunday, May 8, 1859.

Dear Tidd:

It was true that you wrote me at Andover, and that was the cause of my not receiving your letter until quite lately. It should have been West Andover.

I wrote you a few days since respecting the last news from N. Elba. John B. has been sick, but expects to get on to Boston this week. Was unable to write to all when he wrote to me, and wished me to write to the rest. I think there is no doubt that we shall have a crop this year, though it will be rather late.

I have had a letter from Thadeus Hyatt, ex Pres of the Kan. Not. Com. in which he says that he not seen R. R. since he went to England. He has not received any letters from him as I understood Hinton to write me from Boston before I left you. Hyatt understands things. He understood these men, and was therefore surprised at R's going to Europe as he did. Mr. H. is now further investigating his action, as well as that of another, and will report to me. There is something mysterious in your sudden anxiety to hear from Realf. Why is it?

I do not remember whether I wrote you about Hazlet & Jerry. They both came on as I told you they would. Al. is Indiana, Indiana co., Peun., at his old home.

Carpenter is at his home in Medina, Medina county, Ohio, about 3 miles from Cleveland.

The Oberlin Rescue case is still in court here. The second prisoner a good 1/4 Indian, 1/4 African, and 1/2 White, a sharp fellow, and the leader of the rescue in fact is now being tried. The trial will close in a day or two. It will take about a year to try all the others. It costs about $1000 dollars to the Government, each day. Langston has been on trial about 15 days. The other cases will be put off for a while. I shall stay here till the matter is settled, for there may be something to do. Another effort will be made to get the State Courts to interfere. The U. S. threaten war if they do, and that suits me.

I am now writing for the Cleveland Leader, and N. Y. Tribune.




TOLEDO, March 13, 1859.

Friend Tidd and your friends.

I thought that I would write a few lines to you to let you know that we got into Chicago all wright. Friday morning the old man and Wipple went to Detroit, and Friday night Kagi and Back and the rest of our folks started for Detroit to and I staid until Saturday morning and then started for Cleveland with the horses and have got as far as Toledo where I do hav to stop untill Monday morning and then go on to Cleveland and ther I think I will find the boys with in a day or to. This is all that I have got to write at present. I send my lov to you and all the rest of the of the young folks

Yours truly

Please direct your letter at Madina, Madina Co. Ohio.

[Directed to Charles P. Tidd, Springdail, Seder Co. Iowa.]



GRINNELL, March 8th, 1858.

Mr. Tidd,

I received your letter a few days since and was glad to hear of your safe arival at Spring Dale.

There have been many inquiries made since you left this place, concerning you and your company to know if we had heard from you. all seemed to be very anxious that you should land the Negroes safely in the land of health (as Mr. Grinnell says).

One of the Girls at School wrote a Composition on Mr. Brown's taking the Negroes from Mo. I read in the paper this morning that Mr. Brown and his company carried eighty negroes through Grinnell

The Grinnell School exhibition is coming off Tuesday Evening the 18th of this month, and of course we should all be very glad to see you here.


Yours Respectively,

[Directed to "Mr. Chas. J. Tidd, Springdale, Cedar Co. Iowa," and postmarked "Grinnell Iowa Mar. 8."]



[Miss Elizabeth E. Tidd, writing from Clinton, Ms., Feb. 17th, 1858, to her brother Charles P. Tidd, says, "You may believe that I was very glad indeed to receive your letter dated Jan. 21st, I have written to you twice since you have written, and I felt afraid that you had ether forgotten me or had found something to be displeased about. But I suppose your travelling about has prevented the receipt of my last one at least. I hope this one will reach you. I was surprised, very much surprised, at your determination. I hope you have considered the consequences as seriously as they deserve. You give your time, your strength and the best years of your manhood in endeavoring to accomplish what I fear you will find in the end can never be accomplished by brute force."

In another letter, from the same place, dated May 11th, 1858, she says to Tidd, "I have just received your letter dated Chatham, C. W., I had mailed a letter to you directed to Springdale a moment before, but I recalled it and I now enclose this to Lindenville. I feel very much interested to know of your whereabouts and of your welfare, and I heartily bid you God speed in anything and every thing that is right and true. Oh my dear brother, I want to see you so much. I'm sick to-day, and am feeling very desolate indeed, and your words ''I cannot see you for a year perhaps never," make the tears come. Of course I should like to know the details of your plans; I feel curious to become acquainted with the method by which the institution of slavery is to be aprooted in a few months. The monster has grown slowly, but surely, and it is entwined in the hearts of the southern people, and its overthrow must be, I think, a work of time. But perhaps you allude to slavery in Kansas. I trust it will be free yet, and I shall be very proud if I can say that my brother has helped to do it."



HARPERS FERRY, Oct. 15th, 1859.

Lewis Hayden

Secretary of State's Office, State House, Boston:

Orders disobeyed. Conditions broken. Pay S. immediately balance of my money. Allow no further expenses. Recall money advanced, if not sent.


[The above is a copy of a telegraphic dispatch sent by Merriam from Harpers Ferry on the day before the outbreak there commenced.]



[Tidd's correspondence appears to have been more extensive than that of any of the rest of Brown's confederates. Among his letters are several from a Quaker family of the name of Varney, who lived either in or near Springdale, Iowa. Moses Varney, on the 9th of July 1859, writing to Tidd, says, in connection with remarks about some enterprise which Tidd was understood by him (Varney) and his family, to have embarked in for the cause of "bondsmen," - "We received a letter from Tabor - all right - signed by G. B. Gaston, Edwin Hill, Charles Miniswager, Robert H. Hurlbut, Marcus C. Pearse, Darius P. Matthews, Jesse West, C. A. Webster, James Jones, S. H. Adams, A. C. Gaston, A. M. Gaston." In the same connection, he speaks of them as "our particular friends here," which seems to have been a favorite mode of alluding to those who were either actually engaged in or had cognizance of Brown's contemplated plans.

There is another letter to Tidd, from West Branch (Iowa), on the "8th mo., 11th, 1859," [the Quaker mode of computing time], signed by "Emlen," who is believed, from the handwriting and from other circumstances developed in the letters of old "Mother Varney," which were pretty freely showered upon Tidd, to be a young lady of the Varney family. She says, "I hear of an insurrection of the colored people some where. If it is near you, you will be likely to know something of the excitement as you are so near the line. If a person keeps out of all "scrapes," he will not be likely to get into difficulty. Well, I suppose John E. is married. Give him my regards." She also sends her love to "the old man," to Kagi, Whipple [Stephens], and to several others of Brown's band. The "John E." is evidently John E. Cook, who was married at Harpers Ferry.

Another of the Varneys, who signs her letter "Anna," says, "Excuse me, my dear friend, for saying so much, for I feel that under thy present engagements, thou hast great need to feel prepared to meet thy final Judge, not knowing how suddenly thou may be cut down, and all thy efforts for the relief of the bondsman be at an end." The date of her letter is "7th mo. 22d, '59."]



The following list of insurgents at Harpers Ferry, was taken down from the statement of Stephens, in jail, together with the place from which each of them originally came:

White Men.

John Brown,              From New York.
Aaron C. Stephens (sometimes called Whipple),             Conn.
Edwin Coppac, Iowa.
Oliver Brown, N. Y.
Watson Brown, N. Y.
Albert Hazlett, Pa.
Wm. H. Leeman, Maine.
John E. Cook, Conn.
Steward Taylor, Canada.
Charles P. Tidd, Maine.
Wm. Thompson, N. Y.
Dolph Thompson, N. Y.
John H. Kagi (sometimes " J. Henrie"), Ohio, but had lived in Va.
Jeremiah Anderson, Indiana.


Dangerfield Newby, Ohio, formerly from Va.
O. P. Anderson, Pa.
Shields Green (Emperor),                                     N. Y., formerly from S. C.
Leary, Oberlin, O., formerly from Va.
John Copeland; Same.

Chapter Raid: Final Preparations

His Soul Goes Marching On

West Virginia Archives and History