Chatham Convention (Larson, 2004)

Kate Clifford Larson, Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero (New York: Ballantine, 2004), 161.
On May 8 Brown convened his Chatham Convention, without Tubman or Fredrick Douglass, or any member of his Secret Six supporters. He explained his vision for a slave insurrection and invasion at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and laid out his plan to wage war against southern slaveholders. He believed that once the attack began, blacks throughout the North, Canada, and the South (both slave and free) would come rallying to the cause. He presented his newly printed Provisional Constitution for the new free state, and the convention delegates voted unanimously to approve the constitution. None of Tubman’s friends were among the constitution signers. Perhaps the constant shortage of money prevented them from attending the meeting. The Rev. Jermain Loguen had already expressed concern to Brown that some of the mend lacked funds to travel to Chatham.

Ultimately, [Thomas] Elliot, [Denard] Hughes, the Bailey brothers, [Peter] Pennington, [Charles] Hall, and [John] Thompson decided not to join Brown. They had already come to Canada at great sacrifice and risk; perhaps they felt they had battled slavery enough. Their new lives in freedom were precious now and outweighed any visionary dream of Brown’s. They may have also sensed the folly in Brown’s plan. But Tubman continued to support Brown by recruiting more fugitives for his cause, maintaining interest among her friends, and directly assisting in the military planning for the assault. Indeed, she remained a fixture in his plans until nearly the end.
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