CHARACTER OF JOHN BROWN.
In an address to the people of Richmond, after his return from Harper’s Ferry, Gov. Wise gave the following account of Capt. Brown, the leader of the Conspiracy:-
“They are themselves mistaken who take Old Brown to be a madman. He is a bundle of the best nerves I ever saw, cut, and thrust, and bleeding, and in bonds. He is a man of clear head, of courage, fortitude and simple ingenuousness. He is cool, collected and indomitable; and it is but just to him to say that he was humane to the prisoners, as attested to me by Col. Washington and Mr. Mills, and he inspired me with great trust in his integrity as a man of truth. He is a fanatic, vain and garrulous, but firm, truthful and intelligent. His men, too, who survive, except the free negroes with him, are like him. He professes to be a Christian, in communion with the Congregationalist Church of the North, and openly preaches his purpose of universal emancipation, and the negroes themselves were to be the agents, by means of arms, led on my white commanders, When Col. Washington was taken, his watch, and plate, and jewels, and money were demanded, to create what they called a ‘safety fund,’ to compensate the liberators for the trouble and expense of taking away his slaves. This, by a law, was to be done with all slaveholders. Washington, of course, refused to deliver up any thing, and it is remarkable that the only thing of material value which they took, besides his slaves, was the sword of Fredrick the Great, which was sent to General Washington. And Col. Washington says that he (Brown) was the coolest and firmest man he ever saw, in defying danger and death. With one son dead by his side, and another shot through, he felt the pulse of his dying son with one hand, and held the rifle with the other, and commanded his men with the utmost composure, encouraging them to be firm, and to sell their lives as dear as they could.”