frankly and fully.
On his return to Ohio
, he said:
It is in vain to underrate either the man or the conspiracy.
Capt. John Brown is as brave and resolute a man as ever headed an insurrection; and, in a good cause, and with a sufficient force, would have been a consummate partisan commander.
He has coolness, daring, persistency, the stoic faith and patience, and a firmness of will and purpose unconquerable.
He is the farthest possible remove from the ordinary ruffian, fanatic, or madman.
Certainly, it was one of the best planned and best executed conspiracies that ever failed.
On Wednesday evening, October 19th, after thirty hours of this discipline, the four surviving prisoners were conveyed to the jail at Charlestown
under an escort of marines.
, badly wounded, were taken in a wagon; Green
and Coppoc, unhurt, walked between files of soldiers, followed by hundreds, who at first cried, “Lynch
but were very properly shamed into silence by Gov. Wise
It is not necessary to linger here over the legal proceedings in this case; nor do the complaints, so freely made at the time, of indecent haste and unfair dealing, on the part of the Virginia
authorities, seem fully justified.
That the conviction and death of Brown
and his associates were predetermined, is quite probable; but the facts and the nature of the case were notorious, beyond dispute; and Virginia
had but this alternative — to hang John Brown
, or to abolish Slavery.
She did not choose to abolish Slavery; and she had no remaining choice but to hang John Brown
And as to trying him and Stevens
while still weak and suffering severely from their wounds — neither able at times to stand up — it must be considered that the whole State had been terror-stricken by the first news of their attempt, and that fears of insurrection and of an armed rescue were still widely prevalent.
That the lawyers of the vicinage who were assigned to the defense of the prisoners did their duty timidly and feebly, is certain; but they shared, of course, not only the prejudices but the terrors of their neighbors, and knew that the case, at any rate, was hopeless.
's conduct throughout commanded the admiration of his bitterest enemies.
When his papers were brought into court to be identified, he said: “I will identify any of my handwriting, and save all trouble.
I am ready to face the music.”
When a defense of insanity was suggested rather than interposed, he repelled it with indignation.
When, after his conviction, he was suddenly brought into court, on the 1st of November, to listen to the judgment, and directed to stand up, and say why sentence should not be passed upon him, though taken by surprise and somewhat confused, he spoke gently and tenderly as follows:
In the first place, I deny every thing but what I have all along admitted — the design on my part to free the slaves.
I intended certainly to have made a clear thing of that matter, as I did last winter, when I went into Missouri, and there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either side, moved them through the country, and finally left them in Canada.
I designed to have done the same thing again, on a larger scale.
That was all I intended.
I never did intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection.
I have another objection: and that is, it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty.
Had I interfered in the manner which I admit has been fairly proved--(for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case)--had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any