Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "How a Brave Man Dies," December 6, 1859

    Source citation
    “How a Brave Man Dies,” Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, December 6, 1859, p. 1: 1.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Chicago Press and Tribune
    Newspaper: Headline
    How a Brave Man Dies
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    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    We can add nothing to the fervor of admiration which will be yielded to the bearing of old John Brown in prison and on the scaffold[.] Only one class of men in the United States will fail to see in his sublime faith, his unbalanced cheek, and his unquailing [unfailing] eye, the very acme of human courage – we refer, of course, to the Northern doughfaces. The masses, South and North, will accord to the spectacle, witnessed at Charlestown, Virginia, on Friday last the tribute of respect which courage and cowardice alike pay to a fearless soul. Only the half-men – the claqueurs of Douglas and the office holders of Buchanan – will fail to recognize the last expression of bravery in John Brown’s life and death. They cannot recognize that which they have never felt, and as for the meed [need] which little souls involuntarily pay to great ones, they have so long accustomed themselves to believe that man was born to be mean, that even this evidence of appreciation will be wanting among them. Nevertheless, history will record that no man over yielded up his life for an idea with more manly bearing, with less seeming consciousness of approaching dissolution, than Brown of Osawatomie. It will record that from the gladiatorial shows of Rome, down to the red pages of the Inquisition, to this day, it does not tell of another who has given himself to the cause which he deemed right, more freely and frankly.

    Those who have read this paper need not to be informed that we have no sympathy with the objects which called Brown to Virginia. He went to his work with the knowledge that in all probability bloodshed lay in his path and he went prepared to shed blood. He fell into the grasp of the laws of Virginia, and his life paid the penalty. He has gone to his account, and all that is left of him is the corpse of an old man with gray hair. But such facts cannot detract from evidence presented on the Charlestown scaffold, that one of the bravest men in the world then and there had his courage put to the test. When Brown was captured at Harper’s Ferry, Gov. Wise spoke in such unqualified adulation of his daring and coolness that many people wondered whether brave men were really so scare in the Old Dominion. What shall we hear from the Governor of Virginia since he has witnessed the execution?

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