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[287] suddenly presenting his pistol. There was no alternative but a deadly one, and they all knelt. “Now, pray!” It was probably their first attempt in that line for many years, and their success could hardly have been brilliant; but he kept them at it until they had at least manifested an obedient and docile spirit. They never swore again in his presence, though he held them prisoners for five days, compelling them, each and all, to pray night and morning. These four were from Atchison; and, being finally liberated, returned to that still pro-Slavery city, where one of them was green enough to tell the story of their capture, and their discipline under old John Brown. The laugh was so general and so hearty that they soon left, never to return.

Brown was joined, soon after this “Battle of the spurs,” by Kagi, with forty mounted men from Topeka, of whom seventeen escorted him safely to Nebraska City. He there crossed the Mississippi into Iowa, and traveled slowly through that State, Illinois, and Michigan, to Detroit, where he arrived on the 12th of March, crossing immediately into Canada, where his twelve blacks--one of them born since he left Missouri--were legally, as well as practically, free. All of them were industrious, prosperous, and happy, when last heard from, many months thereafter.

A secret convention, called by Brown, and attended only by such whites and blacks as he believed in thorough sympathy with his views, had assembled in a negro church at Chatham, Canada West, May 8, 1858; at which Convention a “Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for the People of the United States” had been adopted. It was, of course, drafted by Brown, and was essentially an embodiment of his political views. The nature of this Constitution is sufficiently exhibited in the following extracts:

preamble.--Whereas, Slavery, throughout its entire existence in the United States, is none other than the most barbarous, unprovoked, and unjustifiable war of one portion of its citizens against 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, We, the citizens of the United States, and the oppressed people, who, by a recent decision of the Supreme Court, are declared to have no rights which the white man is bound to respect, together with all the other people degraded by the laws thereof, do, for the time being, ordain and establish for ourselves the following Provisional Constitution and ordinances, the better to protect our people, property, lives, and liberties, and to govern our actions.

article I. Qualifications of Membership.--All persons of mature age, whether proscribed, oppressed, and enslaved citizens, or of proscribed and oppressed races of the United States, who shall agree to sustain and enforce the Provisional Constitution and ordinances of organization, together with all minor children of such persons, shall be held to be fully entitled to protection under the same.

Art. XXVIII. Property.--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 any 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 guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be punished accordingly.

Art. XXIX. 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

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