Gerrit Smith (Stauffer, 2002)

Scholarship
John Stauffer, The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 242-243.
When [Gerrit] Smith read the news of the raid and the actual results of his prophecy, he suffered a blow from which he never recovered. Seventeen men had been killed in battle, and [John] Brown and four surviving comrades had been captured and were almost certain to hang. And Smith’s own name was intimately linked to these deaths. He was far more sensitive and uncomfortable about the use (and sight) of bloodshed than were his co-conspirators, and more self-critical and introspective. To be sure, he had advocated violence in Kansas and had helped to fund it. But in that instance his violent means had yielded noble ends, for in his mind Kansas had been “saved” from slavery. Now violent action had brought failure, destruction, and death. And as he looked at what he had wrought, something snapped within him. The break affected him both outwardly and inwardly. The outward signs of the blow were noticeable immediately but subsided over time. The internal effects accrued slowly, almost without Gerrit’s knowing it; they did not show themselves for some time, but when they did, the change was profound.
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