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[282] though not luxurious nor inviting, their families retain. In 1851, the father returned with his family to Akron, Ohio, where he once more carried on the wool business and managed the farm of a friend; but, in 1855, on starting for Kansas, he moved his family back to their own home at North Elba, where they remain, with his grave in the midst of them.

In 1854, his four elder sons — all by his first wife, and all living in Ohio — determined to migrate to Kansas. They went thither, primarily, to make that a Free State; secondly, to make homes for themselves and their families. They went unarmed, having a very inadequate idea of the nature and spirit of the fiend they were defying. They settled in Lykins County, southern Kansas, about eight miles distant from the present village of Osawatomie, and not far from the Missouri border. Here they were soon so harassed, threatened, insulted, and plundered, by gangs of marauding ruffians from Missouri, that they found it impossible to remain without arms, and they wrote to their father to procure such as they needed. He obtained them; and, to make sure work of it, went with them. Nearly all others went to Kansas in the hope of thereby improving their worldly condition, or, at least, of making homes there. John Brown went there for the sole purpose of fighting, if need were, for Liberty. He left his family behind him, for he had no intention of making Kansas his home. He was no politician, in the current acceptation of the term, having taken little or no interest in party contests for many years. His intimate follower and admiring biographer, Redpath, says of him:

It has been asserted that he was a member of the Republican party. It is false. He despised the Republican party. It is true that, like every Abolitionist, he was opposed to the extension of Slavery: and, like the majority of anti-Slavery men, in favor, also, of organized political action against it. But he was too earnest a man, and too devout a Christian, to rest satisfied with the only action against Slavery consistent with one's duty as a citizen, according to the usual Republican interpretation of the Federal Constitution. It teaches that we must content ourselves with resisting the extension of Slavery. Where the Republicans said, “ Halt!” John Brown shouted, “Forward! To the rescue!” He was an Abolitionist of the Bunker Hill school. He followed neither Garrison nor Seward, Gerrit Smith nor Wendell Phillips; but the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence, in the spirit of the Hebrew warriors, and in the God-applauded mode that they adopted, “ The Bible story of Gideon,” records a man who betrayed him, “ had manifestly a great influence on his actions.” He believed in human brotherhood and in the God of Battles; he admired Nat Turner, the negro patriot, equally with George Washington, the white American deliverer. He could not see that it was heroic to fight against a petty tax on tea, and war seven long years for a political principle, yet wrong to restore, by force of arms, to an outraged race, the rights with which their Maker had endowed them, but of which the South, for two centuries, had robbed them. The old man distrusted the Republican leaders. He thought that their success in 1860 would be a serious check to the cause he loved.1 His reason was that the people had confidence in these leaders, and would believe that, by their action in Congress, they would peacefully and speedily abolish Slavery. That the people would be deceived — that the Republicans would become as conservative of Slavery as the Democrats themselves — he sincerely and prophetically believed. Apathy to the welfare of the slave would follow; and hence, to avert this moral and national calamity, he hurried on to Harper's Ferry.

He was no politician. He despised that class with all the energy of his earnest and determined nature. lie was too large a man to stand on any party platform. He planted his feet on the Rock of Ages — the Eternal Truth — and was therefore never shaken in his policy or principles.

1 ““The Republicans of 1858 will be the Democrats of 1860”--a pithy prophecy, found among the manuscripts at Harper's Ferry — is a brief and clear statement of John Brown's ideas.”

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