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[286] under which the region gradually settled into comparative peace.

But, while the ferment was at its hight, and forces were gathering on both sides for the conflict, a slave named Jim came secretly across the border to Capt. Brown's cabin, and told him that himself and his family had been sold, and were to be sent off to Texas next day. Brown, with twenty men, divided into two parties, crossed the border in the night, liberated Jim and his family, and, proceeding to the house of another slaveholder, gave deliverance to five more slaves. The other party, under Kagi, called at several houses in search of slaves, but found none until they reached the residence of David Cruse, who, learning their object, seized his rifle and raised it to fire, but was instantly shot dead. He had but one slave, who accompanied his liberators on their retreat. One of the captured slaveholders was carried several miles into the Territory to prevent his raising a hue-and-cry for rescue.

A furious excitement throughout Western Missouri inevitably followed. The Governor offered a reward of three thousand dollars for the arrest of Brown, on his part; to which President Buchanan added two hundred and fifty dollars. It was reported that the slave population of the two adjacent Missouri counties was diminished from five hundred to fifty within a few weeks, mainly by removal for sale. The more moderate Free-State men earnestly disavowed all sympathy with Brown's doings over the border, or any acts of violence by Free-State men on their adversaries, not committed in necessary self-defense. Brown soon learned that he must leave Kansas, or remain there denounced and condemned by those who had hitherto been his friends. He resolved to leave, and started early in January, 1859, passing through Lawrence on his northward route. He had four white companions, three of whom afterward fought under him at Harper's Ferry, and three negroes, beside women and children. He was pursued by thirty pro-Slavery men from Lecompton so sharply that he was compelled to halt and prepare for a defense. He took possession of two deserted log-cabins in the wilderness, which his pursuers surrounded, at a respectful distance, and sent to Atchison and Lecompton for reenforcements. From Atchison, twelve men arrived, making their force forty-two to his eight. As they were preparing to attack, Brown and his seven companions suddenly issued from the wood, in order of battle, when the valorous posse turned and fled.1 Not a shot was fired, as they, putting spurs to their horses, galloped headlong across the prairie, and were soon lost to the view. Only four men stood their ground, and these were made prisoners forthwith. Brown ordered them to dismount, and give their horses to his negroes. This command occasioned — not to say provoked — profane language on their part; whereupon he commanded silence, saying he would permit no blasphemy in his presence. At this, they only swore the louder and the harder. “Kneel!” exclaimed the stern Puritan,

1 They probably were already aware, though Brown was not, that a party of mounted men from Topeka were hastening to his rescue, and were then within a short distance

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Frederick Brown (8)
David R. Atchison (2)
J. H. Kagi (1)
David Cruse (1)
James Buchanan (1)
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January, 1859 AD (1)
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