John M. Blum, et al., eds., The National Experience: A History of the United States (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1963), 309-310.
The antagonists in Kansas acted. The roving Missourians who kept crossing the line carried weapons to back up their arguments. New England abolitionists shipped boxes of rifles, "Beecher's Bibles," to the antislavery settlers. (An eminent antislavery clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher, had incautiously remarked that a rifle might be a more powerful moral agent on the Kansas plains than a Bible.) Sporadic shootings and barn-burnings culminated, in May 1856, in a raid by Missouri "border ruffians" on the free-soil town of Lawrence. They sacked the place, destroyed the type and press of an antislavery newspaper and terrorized the inhabitants. A few days later john Brown, a grim abolitionist fanatic, retaliated. He and his ons and companions undertook a foray through the valley of Potawattomie Creek, where they stole horses, murdered five settlers, and mutilated their bodies. Brown claimed that he was an agent of the Lord, assigned to punish those who favored slavery. His inexcusable atrocities, lamentable by any reasonable standard, spurred a counterattack by proslavery men, who fell upon Brown's band, killed one of his sons, and burned the settlement at Osawatomie. Though federal troops prevented further private war, the slavery issue had brought blood and terror to Kansas.