adapted to wool-growing, etc. After looking about Harper's Ferry
for several days, they found, five or six miles from that village, a large farm, with three unoccupied houses, the owner, Dr. Booth Kennedy
, having died the last Spring.
These houses they rented for a trifle until the next March, paying the rent in advance, purchasing for cash a lot of hogs from the family, and agreeing to take care of the stock on the farm until it could be sold, which they faithfully did. After they had lived there a few weeks, attracting no observation, others joined them from time to time, including two of Brown
's young daughters; and one would go and another come, without exciting any particular remark.
They paid cash for everything, were sociable and friendly with their neighbors, and seemed to pass their time mainly hunting in the mountains; though it was afterward remembered that they never brought home any game.
On one occasion, a neighbor remarked to the elder Mr. Smith
(as old Brown
was called), that he had observed twigs and branches bent down in a peculiar manner; which Smith
explained by stating that it was the habit of Indians
, in traveling through a strange country, to mark their path thus, so as to be able to find their way back.
He had no doubt, he said, that Indians passed over these mountains, unknown to the inhabitants.
Meantime, the greater number of the men kept out of sight during the day, so as not to attract attention, while their arms, munitions, etc., were being gradually brought from Chambersburg
, in well-secured boxes.
No meal was eaten on the farm, while old Brown
was there, until a blessing had been asked upon it; and his Bible was in daily requisition.
The night of the 24th of October was originally fixed upon by Brown
for the first blow against Slavery in Virginia
, by the capture of the Federal Arsenal
at Harper's Ferry
; and his biographer, Redpath
, alleges that many were on their way to be with him on that occasion, when they were paralyzed by the intelligence that the blow had already been struck, and had failed.
The reason given for this, by one1
who was in his confidence, is, that Brown
, who had been absent on a secret journey to the North
, suspected that one of his party was a traitor, and that he must strike prematurely, or not at all. But the women who had been with them at the Kennedy farm
— the wives or daughters of one or another of the party — had already been quietly sent away; and the singular complexion of their household had undoubtedly begun to excite curiosity, if not alarm, among their neighbors.
On Saturday, the 15th, a council was held, and a plan of operations discussed.
On Sunday evening, another council was held, and the programme of the chief unanimously approved.
Hie closed it with these words:
And now, gentlemen, let me press this one thing on your minds.
You all know how dear life is to you, and how dear your lives are to your friends; and, in remembering that, consider that the lives of others are as dear to them as yours are to you. Do not, therefore, take the life of any one if you can possibly avoid it; but, if it is necessary