John Brown, Harpers Ferry

Nov. 1, 1859

“What Capt. Brown expected to accomplish with only a score of abettors is to me, up to this hour, quite enigmatical.  Upon the face of it, his raid into Virginia looks utterly lacking in common sense  — a desperate self-sacrifice for the purpose of giving an earthquake shock to the slave system, and thus hastening the day for a universal catastrophe.  But, whatever may have been his errors of judgement or calculation, his bearing since his capture and during his trial has been truly sublime, and challenges for him all of human sympathy and respect.  O course, he will be hung, and quite as speedily as decency will allow.  In Boston  we have thought it would be a master-stroke of policy to urge  the day of his execution as the day for  a general public expression of sentiment with reference to the guilt and danger of slavery… ”  1

1 Letters of William Lloyd Garrison – Volumes I – VI