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Civil War Trust

Testimony before the Senate Committee Investigating the Attack at Harpers Ferry

Note:  This document includes testimony from the following people:

 

Richard Realf (Officer with John Brown’s 
               “Provisional Government”),

Andrew Hunter (Prosecuting Attorney),

Samuel Chilton (Defense Attorney),

John Unseld (Visited John Brown in jail),

Daniel Whelan (watchman at the Federal Armory), 
and

John Starry (doctor at Harpers Ferry)

 

 

RICHARD REALF sworn and examined.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Will you state to the committee of what country you are a native, and what your age is?

 

Answer: I am a native of England. I was born in the year 1834. I shall therefore be twenty-six next June.

 

Question: When did you first come to this country?

 

Answer: In 1854.

 

Question: Are your parents living now in England?

 

Answer: They are.

 

Question: Will you state what was the occupation in life of your father?

 

Answer: At the time I left England my father was filling the position which he now fills, namely, an officer of the English rural police.

 

Question: To what occupation had he been bred?

 

Answer: My father was a blacksmith at one time. That trade he learned himself. He was a peasant, which means an agricultural laborer.

 

Question: Will you state what brought you to the United States in 1854?

 

Answer: I had been a protégé of Lady Noell Byron, widow of Lord Byron. I had disagreed with Lady Noell Byron, on account of some private matters, which it is not necessary to explain here, but which rendered me desirous of finding some other place in which to dwell. Moreover, my instincts were democratic and republican, or, at least, anti-monarchical. Therefore I came to America.

 

Question: Had you any acquaintance in this country when you came over?

 

Answer: No, sir; no personal acquaintance.

 

Question: Will you say whether you formed the acquaintance of John Brown, who was recently executed in Virginia for murder and treason?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; I did form his acquaintance.

 

Question: When?

 

Answer: In the year 1857. I cannot say whether it was the last day of November or the first of December, but within two or three days of that time.

 

Question: Will you state what brought you to his acquaintance, and where it was?

 

Answer: I was residing in the city of Lawrence, Kansas, as a correspondent of the Illinois State Gazette, edited by Messrs. Bailhace & Baker. I had been, and was, a radical abolitionist. In November, 1857', John Edwin Cook, also recently executed in Virginia, came to my boarding-house, in Lawrence, bringing me an invitation from John Brown to visit him at a place called Tabor, in Iowa. There I met John Brown.

 

Question: You went with Cook?

 

Answer: I went with John E. Cook.

 

Question: Did Brown then make known to you the object of the invitation to come and see him?

 

Answer: John Brown made known to a certain, but not to any definite and detailed degree, his intentions. He stated that he purposed to make an incursion into the Southern States, somewhere in the mountainous region of the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies.

 

Question: What was the plan and purpose of the incursion, or did he develop it?

 

Answer: At Tabor, in Iowa, no place was named.

 

Question: What were the character and object of the incursion? Did he tell that?

 

Answer: To liberate the slaves.

 

Question: Did he disclose how he proposed to effect it?

 

Answer: Not at that time.

 

Question: Did you enter into any arrangements or engagements with him in reference to it?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: State what they were.

 

Answer: I agreed to accompany him.

 

Question: Did you remain under his control or guidance? What subsequent disposition did you make of yourself, or did he make of you, after that interview at Tabor?

 

Answer: I will tell you. From Tabor, where I myself first met John Brown and the majority of the persons forming the white part of his company in Virginia, we passed across the State of Iowa, until we reached Cedar County, in that State. We started in December, 1857. It was about the end of December, 1857, or the beginning of January, 1858, when we reached Cedar County, the journey thus consuming about a month of time. We stopped at a village called Springdale, in that county, where, in a settlement principally composed of Quakers, we remained.

 

Question: Did John Brown accompany you there?

 

Answer: John Brown accompanied us thither, but, whilst we ourselves remained there, John Brown went on East.

 

Question: Now, will you state who composed the company that Brown had assembled there, distinguishing between the whites and blacks, if there were any blacks?

 

Answer: Myself, Mr. Kagi, Mr. Cook, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Tidd, Mr. Leeman, Mr. Moffet, and Mr. Parsons, all these being whites, and Mr. Richard Richardson, a colored man, whom I met with Brown, at Tabor. These composed our company.

 

Question: How long did you remain at Springdale?

 

Answer: From the month-whether it be, I cannot now remember, the latter part of December, 1857) or the beginning of January, 1858, but from that time up until about the last week in April) a period of nearly three months.

 

Question: What was your occupation while you were there?

 

Answer: We were being drilled a part of the time, and receiving military lessons under Mr. Stevens. A part of the time I was lecturing.

 

Question: Did Brown provide for the support of the company while you were there?

 

Answer: Brown provided for the support of the company whilst we were there in this way: upon reaching there he, finding himself unable to dispose of the mules and wagons with which he transported us across the State, and unable to get the price he desired for them, left us there to board, the property named to belong to the man who kept us, a price having been agreed upon between himself and Mr. Brown.

 

Question: Whom did you board with?

 

Answer: With a Mr. Maxom.

 

Question: Did he keep a tavern?

 

Answer: No, sir; a private farm-house.

 

Question: You remained there, you say, until the following April?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: Will you inform the committee whether, during your residence there or at any time subsequent to Brown's inviting you to join that party, you heard of a man or made the acquaintance of a man named Forbes?

 

Answer: I never made the acquaintance of Colonel Forbes. I have heard of such a man.

 

Question: Will you say whether it was expected that he should be your military instructor? I mean anything you learned from Brown on the subject.

 

Answer: Yes, sir. You did not ask me the Question, but I may as well state the fact that during our passage across Iowa, Brown's plan in regard to an incursion into Virginia gradually manifested itself. It was a matter of discussion between us as to the possibility of effecting a successful insurrection in the mountains, some arguing that it was, some that it was not; myself thinking, and still thinking, that a mountainous country is a very fine country for an insurrection, in which I am borne out by historic evidence which it is not necessary to state now.

 

Question: Brown's plans, then, were to make an incursion somewhere into the mountainous regions of Virginia?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: Did he say when he expected to effect it?

 

Answer: In that spring.

 

Question: Will you state whether the military training that he proposed for you and the company, had a reference to that incursion?

 

Answer: It was my belief that it had. 

 

Question: Did he give you, in the course of conversation; any outlines or plans as to how he proposed to effect it-the mode of doing it?

 

Answer: Not during our residence in Iowa.

 

Question: You say Brown left you there. When did he return?

 

Answer: Brown returned a day or two before the period at which we left, namely, the last week in April, 1858.

 

Question: Did he inform you or the company, in conversation, how he had been occupied during the period of his absence?

 

Answer: No, sir; and here I ought to say, which you have also omitted to ask in regard to Colonel Forbes, that whereas we expected Colonel Forbes to be our military instructor, yet, in consequence of a disagreement between himself and John Brown, the latter wrote us from the East that Forbes would not become our military instructor, and that we should not .expect him.

 

Question: Do you remember the point in the East he wrote from?

 

Answer: I do not. He used to write to his son Owen, one of the deceased persons, and in stating the number of persons comprising our company, I accidentally omitted his son. Owen was with us.

 

Question: Did Brown have much correspondence with his son while he was absent?

 

Answer: No, sir; the correspondence was very rare.

Mr. COLLAMER:

In stating what was said by Brown, I desire the witness, as much as possible, to give exactly what Brown himself said the words used.

The CHAIRMAN:

Exactly. It is desirable; of course, that you should give, if you can, the exact language; or if you cannot do that, give the substance of any communication from Brown.

The WITNESS:

I will endeavor to do so.

 

Question: What was the next movement made by the company and Brown after his return in April?

 

Answer: The next movement after his arrival was an immediate departure from Iowa into Canada, via Chicago and Detroit.

 

Question: You remained at Springdale; you say, January, February, and March, something more than three months?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: Were the objects of your assembling there made known to the people around, in any way?

 

Answer: Not by myself; I cannot tell whether by others.

 

Question: Could you not learn something of it from conversations?

 

Answer: I am inclined to think that the people knew nothing at all of our movements for the reason that by some we were suspected to be Mormon emissaries.

 

Question: Did you not divest yourselves of that suspicion.

 

Answer: No, sir.

 

Question: Can you inform the committee whether there was any person or persons in that neighborhood who did know of the object of your assembling and your future plans?

 

Answer: I do believe that John Brown had given a man named Townsend; I cannot remember his first name, a member of the Society of Friends, some indirect and indefinite hints of his plan. I do also think that from the nature of a conversation which a Mr. Varny, also residing in the immediate neighborhood, and being also a Quaker, held with myself, that some one must have given him some hints in regard to the same matter; but neither of those people were evidently, from the tone of their conversation, possessed of any definite information in regard to the matter.

 

Question: How were your military trainings conducted? Where were they conducted?

 

Answer: Principally in a field behind the house of Mr. Maxom; it being generally understood in the place where we were boarding, in the vicinity and round about, that we were thus studying military tactics and being thus drilled in order to return to Kansas and pro­secute our endeavors to make Kansas a free State.

 

Question: That was the first idea?

 

Answer: That was the general understanding.

 

Question: Had you arms?

 

Answer: Yes, sir. John E. Cook had his own private arms. We had our private arms. I had my pair of Colt's revolvers.

 

Question: Did Brown furnish you with any arms?

 

Answer: No, sir, not myself, ever.

 

Question: I mean any of his company?

 

Answer: Not to my knowledge, because I suppose you will remember that I met the people comprising this company gathered together at Tabor. All of these people had been engaged in Kansas warfare. Everybody at that period in Kansas went armed, and the inference is that they were well armed before they met John Brown. Indeed, I am certain of that matter, because, in a greater or less degree, all of them had been engaged in the Kansas troubles.

 

Question: I only wanted to know whether Brown had furnished you any arms for the purpose of training.

 

Answer: No, sir.

 

Question: What part of Canada did you stop at?

 

Answer: We stopped at a town called Chatham, in Canada West.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: What time did you get there?

 

Answer: It must have been about April 28 or 29, 1858, I think; or perhaps the 1st or 2d of May. I cannot remember within two or three days. I recollect it was at that time, because the convention, to which we shall come presently, was held on the 10th of May; and we were there a sufficient time to allow John Brown to write letters, about which I shall, doubtless, be asked.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Will you state who of the company that you had at Springdale, accompanied John Brown to Chatham?

 

Answer: All of the company whom I named as having gone to Springdale and two others: a young man named George B. Gill, who resided at Springdale, who had learned of our plans, from whom I do not know, but I suppose from John Brown, inasmuch as he never manifested any desire to accompany us anywhere until the return of John Brown; and another young man, named Stewart Taylor, the latter of whom was killed at Harper's Ferry, and the former of whom, so far as I have been able to learn, was not present at the incursion.

 

Question: Where did Stewart Taylor come from?

 

Answer: I do not know.

 

Question: Did this man Richardson, the Negro, go with you to Chatham?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: Was Brown's intercourse with the Negro of a character to show that he treated him as an equal and an associate?

 

Answer: It certainly was. To prove it, I will simply state that, having to wait twelve hours at Chicago, in order to make railroad con­nection from Chicago to Detroit, and to Canada, we necessarily had to breakfast and dine. We went into one of the hotels in order to break­fast. We took this colored man, Richardson, to table with us. The keeper of the hotel explained to us that it could not be allowed. We did not eat our breakfast. We went to another hotel, where we could take a colored man with us and sit down to breakfast.

 

Question: Where you could enjoy your rights, I suppose?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: Will you state in what way the expenses of your transportation were defrayed?

 

Answer: They were defrayed by John Brown.

 

Question: What was done on your arrival at Chatham?

 

Answer: Upon our arrival in Chatham, Canada West, we boarded at a hotel kept by a colored man, (I do not remember his name,) whence written (not printed) circulars were sent to certain persons east and west, for Chicago is west of Canada, inviting their attendance at a quiet convention of the friends of freedom, to be held on the day named, namely, May 10, 1858.

 

Question: Did you remain there during the intermediate time be­tween the last of April and the 10th of May; or was the convention held earlier?

 

Answer: There were two conventions. The constitutional conven­tion was held two days previous to the election of the officers. The constitution had been adopted, and then the election of the officers was held. I had forgotten that before. The constitutional convention was on the 8th of May, 1858.

 

 

The CHAIRMAN here submits to the witness the papers heretofore produced by Andrew Hunter, and purporting to be the minutes or "Journal of the Provisional Constitutional Convention," and of the convention to elect officers, signed respectively by "J. H. Kagi," as "secretary of the convention," and asks the following:

 

 

Question: Do you know the handwriting of these papers?

 

Answer: I do; it is the handwriting of John Henry Kagi.

 

 

[The papers are identified by the chairman placing his initials thereon.]

 

 

Question: It is stated in these minutes that "on motion of Mr. Delany, Mr. Brown then proceeded to state the object of the convention at length." Did you know this" Mr. Delany?"

 

Answer: Yes, sir; he was a colored doctor, residing in Chatham, Canada West.

 

Question: Do you mean a Negro when you say “colored?"

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: Who was the presiding officer of this convention?

 

Answer: A man named Munroe-a preacher.

 

Question: Where did he come from?

 

Answer: I believe the city of Detroit?

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: Was he a colored man?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; a mulatto.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Do you recollect Brown's speech, which, it is said in these minutes "developed the plan"?

 

Answer: I cannot remember his speech. I can remember certain salient points and leading ideas in his speech.

 

Question: He did make a speech?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: Of course you cannot remember the speech; but will you state as briefly but as exactly as you can, what he did state to be the object in view of this constitution and all that?

 

Answer: John Brown, on rising, stated that for twenty or thirty years the idea had possessed him like a passion of giving liberty to the slaves. He stated immediately thereafter, that he made a journey to England in 1851, in which year he took to the international exhi­bition at London, samples of wool from Ohio, during which period he made a tour upon the European continent, inspecting all fortifications, and especially all earth-work forts which he could find, with a view, as he stated, of applying the knowledge thus gained, with modifications and inventions of his own, to such a mountain warfare as he thereafter spoke upon in the United States. John Brown stated, moreover, that he had not been indebted to anybody for the sugges­tion of this plan; that it arose spontaneously in his own mind; that through a series of from twenty to thirty years it had gradually formed and developed itself into shape and plan. He stated that he had read all the books upon insurrectionary warfare which he could lay his hands upon-the Roman warfare; the successful opposition of the Spanish chieftains during the period when Spain was a Roman province; how with ten thousand men divided and subdivided into small companies, acting simultaneously, yet separately, they withstood the whole consolidated power of the Roman empire through a number of years. In addition to this, he said he had become very familiar with the successful warfare waged by Schamyl, the Circassian chief, against the Russians; he had posted himself in relation to the wars of Toussaint L'Overture; he had become thoroughly acquainted with the wars in Hayti and the islands round about; and from all these things he had drawn the conclusion, believing, as he stated there' he did believe, and as we all (if I may judge from myself) believed, that upon the first intimation of a plan formed for the liberation of the slaves, they would immediately rise all over the Southern States. He supposed that they would come into the mountains to join him, where he purposed to work, and that by flocking to his standard they would enable him (by making the line of mountains which cuts diagonally through Maryland and Virginia down through the Southern States into Tennessee and Alabama, the base of his operations) to act upon the plantations on the plains lying on each side of that range of mountains) and that we should be able to establish ,ourselves in the fastnesses, and if any hostile action (as would be) were taken against us, either by the militia of the separate States, or by the armies of the United States, we purposed to defeat first the militia, and next, if it were possible, the troops of the United States, and then organize the freed blacks under this provisional constitution, which would carve out for the locality of its jurisdiction all that mountainous region in which the blacks were to be established, and in which they were to be taught the useful and mechanical arts, and to be instructed in all the busi­ness of life. Schools were also to be established, and so on. That was it.

 

Question: Did he develop in that plan where he expected to get aid or assistance; who were to be his soldiers?

 

Answer: The Negroes were to constitute the soldiers. John Brown expected that all the free Negroes in the Northern States would imme­diately flock to his standard. He expected that all the slaves in the Southern States would do the same. He believed, too, that as many of the free Negroes in Canada as could accompany him, would do so.

 

Question: Was anything said in his developments of his expectations and resources after he got into the slave States of any division of sentiment between the slaveholders and non-slaveholders?

 

Answer: The slaveholders were to be taken as hostages) if they refused to let their slaves go. It is a mistake to suppose that they were to be killed; they were not to be. They were to be held as hostages for the safe treatment of any prisoners of John Brown's who might fall into the hands of hostile parties.

 

Question: As to the non-slaveholders; was there anything said about them?

 

Answer: All the non-slaveholders were to be protected. Those who would not join the organization of John Brown, but who would not oppose it, were to be protected; but those who did oppose it, were to be treated as the slaveholders themselves.

By Mr. DAVIS:

Question: Where did he expect in the first instance to get his resources of money and arms?

 

Answer: John Brown expected that­

Mr. COLLAMER:

Question:  Did he say that? We are talking now of what he said in his speech.

Mr. DAVIS:

What he stated.

 

Answer: John Brown did not make any explicit or definite state­ment in his speech at all as regarded where the money was to come from.

Mr. FITCH:

I do not understand that the witness is limited to that speech.

The CHAIRMAN:

No, sir.

Mr. FITCH:

The understanding was that he was to state to the committee any information derived from Brown himself at any time.

The CHAIRMAN:

It was to prevent confusion of what he did derive from Brown and from other sources, that I put the question as I did.

Mr. COLLAMER:

But I suppose what he is telling us now is what Brown stated in that speech on that occasion.

 

The WITNESS:

 

 I have been stating what Brown said in that speech, all this being a part thereof.

Mr. DAVIS:

So I understood, and that is the reason I asked the Question.

 

The WITNESS:

 

It is not yet quite all of that speech.

Mr. DAVIS:

I did not wish to break the chain.

The CHAIRMAN:

Go on and give us all you can recollect of Brown's exposition on that occasion.

 

Answer: Thus, John Brown said that he believed, a successful incursion could be made; that it could be successfully maintained; that the several slave States could be forced (from the position in which they found themselves) to recognize the freedom of those who had been slaves within the respective limits of those States; that immediately such recognitions were made, then the places of all the officers elected under this provisional constitution became vacant, and new elections were to be made. Moreover, no salaries were to be paid to the office­holders under this constitution. It was purely out of that which we supposed to be philanthropy-love for the slave. Moreover, it is a mistake to suppose, as Cook in his confession has stated-and I now get away from John Brown's speech-that at the period of that convention the people present took an oath to support that constitution. They did no such thing. This Dr. Delany of whom I have spoken, proposed, immediately the convention was organized, that an oath should be taken by all who were present, not to divulge any of the proceedings that might transpire; whereupon John Brown rose and stated his objections to such an oath. He had himself conscientious scruples against taking an oath, and all he requested was a promise that any person who should thereafter divulge any of the proceedings that might transpire, agreed to forfeit the protection which that organization could extend over him.

By Mr. DAVIS:

If the witness has concluded his recollection in relation to what Brown stated­…

 

The WITNESS: No, sir; I have not. John Brown stated in that convention, in the speech he made, that there were a great number of rich people all over the free States who, he doubted not, would assist 11im. He stated that he had some rich friends in the free States who had assisted him, and who had promised further to assist him, but John Brown did not disclose their names, being too profound and sagacious a man to do so.

 

Question: Did he say, do you recollect, that the friends to whom he referred had promised aid, or that he expected it only?

 

Answer: That they had assisted him in some degree; that they had promised to assist him further.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: Did he state that those people understood this -his plan?

 

Answer: No, sir; he did 110t state so explicitly, but that was the idea which he conveyed to us. In order to render that Answer intelligible, I should say that John Brown had, from the time he went to Kansas, devoted his whole being, mental, moral, and physical, all that he had and was, to the extinction of slavery. He stated that he only went to Kansas in order to gain a footing for the furtherance of this matter. He stated that explicitly and emphatically.

 

Question: That that was his private purpose?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; that that was his private purpose; and he stated that, having left his wife and children and home, these friends had assisted him to prosecute his designs against slavery in Kansas first, and next generally in his enterprises in the cause of freedom.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Have you gone through with your recollections of Brown's exposition to the convention?

 

Answer: I have, except that if any questions should be asked me in regard thereto, they might suggest certain things to me which I cannot now remember without those Questions. I have stated as much as I can, of my own recollection, remember.

 

Question: Will you tell us this: was there any person belonging to Canada in that convention who took any part in the discussion of John Brown's plan, after his exposition?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; Dr. Delany was one of the prominent disputants, or debaters. 

 

Question: Will you state, as far as you can recollect, anything that fell from Delany showing a coincidence of purpose with John Brown?

 

Answer: The whole tenor of Dr. Delany's speeches was to convey the idea to John Brown that he might rely upon all the colored people in Canada to assist him.

By Mr. DAVIS:

Question: Were there any Canadians other than Negroes?

 

Answer: No, sir; not one.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Have you any reason to know whether the purposes of the convention, or the purposes ultimately disclosed in the convention, were known to the white people around you there in Chatham?

 

Answer: I am confident that they were not.

 

Question: Was the convention held in the presence of an audience or in secret?

 

Answer: The convention was held with closed doors, all other persons present excepting Brown's original party being colored men.

 

Question: And Canadian Negroes?

 

Answer: Yes, sir, Canadian Negroes.

 

Question: Yon have stated that in traveling from Tabor across Iowa to Springdale, you were about a month engaged in it, and that John Brown conducted the expedition and defrayed the expenses, and that he left you then, and left his mules, &c., in pledge for the expenses of the party. Did he tell you or the company of the object of his going eastward?

 

Answer: Yes, sir. He had two purposes in going to the East; one to secure the services of Colonel Forbes, and bring him on, in order to instruct us. Another purpose was to secure funds.

 

Question: How do you mean "to secure funds?"

 

Answer: To secure funds to enable him to prosecute his business.

 

Question: How was he to get them?

 

Answer: I do not know; he did not state. It was to collect funds. Here I ought to state, inasmuch as it may be of use during this examination that John Brown was a man who would never state more than it was absolutely necessary for him to do. None of his most intimate associates, and I was one of the most intimate, was possessed of more than barely sufficient information to enable Brown to attach such com­panion to him; and none of us were cognizant of more than the general plan of his design until the time we reached Chatham, Canada West?

By Mr. DAVIS:

Question: Have you, from Brown or other sources, any means of informing us where the money and arms were expected to be obtained?

 

Answer: No, sir; I have not, except to say this-and I am glad that the Question is put--that a certain number of arms had been placed in the hands of John Brown by Dr. Howe, or which it was supposed had thus been placed, by Dr. Howe, of Boston. Dr. Howe was the Massachusetts representative of the national Kansas committee, a committee which received contributions and made collections to be applied to the assistance of the free State settlers in Kansas during the troubles in that Territory. Afterwards, on account of disagreement, the Massachusetts committee withdrew from the national committee, and had received back a certain quantity of arms which it, Massachusetts, had purchased and thrown into the general granary, so to speak.

Mr. COLLAMER:

Where were those arms, do you know?

 

The WITNESS:

 

They had been at Tabor, in Iowa.

Mr. DAVIS: (to the witness.)

You were going on to say something. What was it?

 

The WITNESS: Dr. Howe, as the representative of Massachusetts, immediately following the disagreement, withdrew the control of those arms from the national committee, and had therefore himself control over them.

The CHAIRMAN:

But the arms, I understand, still remained at Tabor.

 

The WITNESS:

 

I do not know whether they did or not. I cannot tell, inasmuch as when I reached Tabor John Brown had made all his arrangements for immediate passage across Iowa.

Mr. DAVIS:

The witness was interrupted in what he was going on to state. I desire him to continue it.

 

The WITNESS:

 

I do not know that Dr. Howe placed those arms in John Brown's possession, but I supposed so, for a reason which I will explain immediately. Within a day or two following the convention at Chatham, John Brown said to me that he had received a copy of a letter written by Senator Henry Wilson) of Massachusetts, from-Wash­ington city, to Dr. Howe, of Boston. Brown then stated to me that Colonel Forbes, maddened by the failure to receive money from .John Brown, as had been agreed on according to Forbes's statement, and exasperated by the dreadful condition in which his family were, or in which he claimed that they were, in Paris, had threatened to make disclosures of Brown's plan, unless Brown forwarded money to him. Forbes was cognizant of Brown's plan, for the reason that at one period he had agreed, as I learned, to head the expedition; but a rup­ture occurring between him and Brown, he, being possessed of Brown's plans, threatened to divulge them, and did divulge them, or so much of them as was necessary to put people on the alert. He divulged them, as I say, to Senator Wilson, in this city.

Mr. COLLAMER:

That is what Brown told you.

 

The WITNESS:

 

Yes, sir; that is what Brown told me. To explain it a little more, I should perhaps say that Brown had written to us whilst we were at Springdale, that Forbes and himself had disagreed. On the occasion of which I have just spoken, at Chatham, Brown said to me that Colonel Forbes, maddened by the non-receipt of moneys which he had expected to receive, had threatened to divulge Brown's plans, and had done so by coming to Washington, and stating to Senator Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, that Brown had a purpose in view of effecting an insurrection in the Southern States. Senator Wilson, im­mediately upon receipt of the news, said that he did not think any man, or any company of men, could be wild enough and mad enough to do such a thing; but knowing the character of John Brown, and supposing-

The CHAIRMAN:

Are you giving this as what Brown told you?

 

The WITNESS: I have given that which Brown said to me, and now I am making a statement in regard to what Henry, Wilson said.

Mr. COLLAMER:

What Brown told you Mr. Wilson said?

 

The WITNESS:

 

What Brown told me he said. Thus, then: Forbes has made this revelation to Wilson, whether definite and in detail I do not know, but he had made a revelation of that kind. Immediately upon receipt thereof, Senator Wilson sat down and wrote to Dr. Howe that, understanding or supposing that arms belonging to the Massa­chusetts committee, which Howe had withdrawn from the national committee, had been placed by his, Howe's, hands in care of John Brown, he, Wilson, requested him, Howe, to withdraw from John Brown's hands all command over those arms, lest in a moment of mad­ness, he might possibly put into operation such a scheme. This letter was written by Senator Wilson to Dr. Howe, of Massachusetts. All along, I say Dr. Howe, but I cannot swear that it was Dr. Howe; but if it was not he, it was Sanborn. Whilst I have one thought out of ten that it might be Sanborn, I have nine out of ten that it was Howe. It was one of those two men, and Howe I believe.

Mr. DOOLITTLE:

I think there was one sentence you did not finish when you were interrupted by another question. You began a sentence stating that Mr. Wilson said that he did not think any man or any company of men could be found to go into such a scheme. Please finish it.

 

The WITNESS:

 

But lest they should be mad enough to do it, he Wilson, requested him, Howe, to withdraw from Brown's hands those arms, so as to place it out of his power to do the thing. A copy of this letter, thus written by Wilson to Howe, was forwarded by Howe to Brown, at Chatham, and in compliance with the request made to Howe by Wilson, he did withdraw those arms from Brown; that is, he made a requisition on Brown to deliver them up, stating that he withdrew from him the carte blanche, or power of attorney, or whatever it was he had over them. Whether or not he afterwards rein­stated Brown in the possession of those arms, I cannot say. That is so much as relates to that matter.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: You have spoken of the contents of the copy of a letter from Wilson to Howe; will you state how you derived knowledge of those contents?

 

Answer: John Brown read those letters to me.

 

Question: Howe's letter to him, and Wilson's letter to Howe?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

Mr. DAVIS:

Did the letter of Senator Wilson disclose the fact that Forbes was enraged?

 

Answer: Only that Forbes had made such a statement to Wilson.

The CHAIRMAN:

You have stated to us, as I understand, that Brown read to you the copy of Wilson's letter to Howe, which he alleged Howe had sent to him. Now, will you give to the committee, as nearly as your memory will allow the contents of Wilson's letter to Howe?

 

The WITNESS:

 

I can but remember the things of which I have spoken in regard to it, the contents of his letter being that Forbes had made such a revelation to him, Wilson.

The CHAIRMAN:

What revelation?

 

The WITNESS: A revelation that John Brown proposed to commit an incursion on the Southern States. I stated before that I did not know whether Forbes gave any definite or detailed information in regard to the plan or not; because, if he did so, Wilson did not state it.

The CHAIRMAN:

We do not want your inferences, but we desire you to state, as nearly as you can, the contents of the letter from Wilson to Howe, and the request which you say was contained in it.

 

The WITNESS:

 

The request was based upon the statement made by Forbes to Wilson, and Wilson either knowing or supposing, I cannot tell which­.

The CHAIRMAN:

We do not want anything about that. Did the letter itself say what statement Forbes had made?

 

The WITNESS:

 

I cannot tell whether it ran in. so many words or not, but it said that John Brown had designs against the Southern States, calculated to effect a rupture between the free and the slave States, and in order to stop it he wrote.

By Mr. DAVIS:

Question: Did Brown's knowledge of Forbes's intention to divulge his secret come from the copy of the letter received by him from Dr. Howe, as having been sent to Dr. Howe by Senator Wilson, or did he know it anterior to that

 

Answer: He knew previously to that, that Forbes had threatened to do these things, in several letters.

 

Question: And now he was made aware that he had done it?

 

Answer: Yes, sir. Now, he was made aware that Forbes had done so.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Do you know whether Brown remained in possession of the arms spoken of by Senator Wilson and Dr. Howe, or whether he afterwards got them into his possession?

 

Answer: I do not know; for the reason that a very short time following the receipt of that letter by John Brown, I left the party, and have since had no connection with them.

Mr. COLLAMER:

What was the occasion of your leaving the party? For what ostensible purpose did you leave?

 

The WITNESS: I will tell you.

The CHAIRMAN:

Before that, I want to ask what became of the members of the convention when they adjourned. 

 

The WITNESS:

 

The answer to that will include the answer to the other question.

The CHAIRMAN:

After the convention adjourned, what became of those members of the convention that had been with you under military drill at Springdale, including yourself?

 

Answer: Immediately following the adjournment of the convention, a portion of the original company went from Chatham, in Canada, to Cleveland, in Ohio, in the United States.

 

Question: Who went there?

 

Answer: I cannot now remember all the party who went there; but I know that Cook was one who went; I know that Stevens was one who went; that Tidd was another; that G. B. Gill was another; that Stewart Taylor was another; that Owen Brown was another; and I think they were all.

 

Question: Were you with them?

 

Answer: No, sir; but very shortly afterwards, myself, the colored man Richard Richardson, and another colored man, whose name I cannot recollect, residing in Canada, and who had agreed to accompany us, went from Chatham to Cleveland. In addition to these persons, I now remember that Mr. Leeman, one of the persons killed at Harper's Ferry, went with me, too. Our departure, by which I mean the departure of those who were with me, as contradistinguished from those that went before, was about two weeks later than the departure of the first company.

 

Question: Then you remained at Chatham for two weeks after the adjournment?

 

Answer: About that time.

 

Question: Then you went to Cleveland?

 

Answer: We went to Cleveland. Now, I ought to say here that those persons comprising the first party who went from Chatham to Cleveland did not remain in the city. They went out into the surrounding country and procured work, John Brown's means being so limited that he could not pay their board. I have not stated what John Brown did yet. He went east, leaving me to go on to Cleveland, and there await the receipt of letters from him from the East, and his own return from that quarter. John Brown went east. He went to North Elba, where his family resided. He wrote to me from North Elba that he would shortly return. Afterwards he went to Boston. He again wrote me from Boston that he had been delayed, but would shortly return. None of John Brown's letters to me, of which I think I received during my stay in Cleveland three, contained over four lines; there from you may judge how much John Brown allowed his people to be cognizant of his plans.

 

Question: Have you preserved those letters?

 

Answer: No, sir; I destroyed them a long time ago. Well, John Brown returned to Cleveland from the East in the beginning of June, 1858, having, perhaps, been absent East a month from his departure from Chatham, Canada West. On his returning to Cleveland, those of our company who had been out in the country procuring work returned to Cleveland to the hotel where John Brown came, and where I was boarding. I ought, however, now that I remember it, to state that John H. Kagi did not go there to Cleveland with the first party or with myself; but he went to a town called Hamilton, in Canada West, and there, being (among his other accomplishments, for he was a very accomplished man) a practical printer, he privately superintended the printing of the constitution adopted at the convention. Kagi reached Cleveland a few days previous to the arrival of Brown from the East. We were all united there, consequently, once again. John Brown arrived from the East. John Brown had not procured money. He had probably about $300 altogether. He had not enough to pay the necessary expenses for the printing of the copies of the constitution-in Canada. He had barely enough to give those who accompanied him a sufficient amount of money to enable them to return back to their different places of abode. Mr. Kagi, John Brown, and Mr. Tidd went back to Kansas. John E. Cook received his quantum of the money. I do not know whither he went. Stewart Taylor received his, and went to Ann Arbor, Michigan. G. B. Gill and Mr. Stevens returned to Springdale, Iowa, the brother of Mr. Gill residing there, and Mr. Stevens having formed some connections which induced him to return. I was to go on to New York City.

 

Question: Did you go by direction of anybody?

 

Answer: I went­

 

Question: What sent you there, or who sent you there?

 

Answer: John Brown sent me to New York city for this purpose: Knowing that Forbes had made these revelations about which I have spoken, and knowing, too, that it incapacitated him for the time being from prosecuting this plan, he desired me to go on to New York, somehow or other procure an introduction to Forbes; and he being an Englishman and I being an Englishman, he thought we might presently establish mutual good relations; that by ingratiating myself into his esteem, I might ultimately be able to possess myself, acting for Brown, of that obnoxious correspondence held by Forbes, written by Brown to him, in which Brown had developed his plans. For that purpose, I went on to New York, and I ought, in justice to myself to say, that I went with the intention of securing that correspondence; for at that period, though I had not been at all satisfied with the con­dition of the negroes in Canada, I was still an abolitionist, and I went to New York city purposing to possess myself of this correspondence. I arrived in New York City­ -

The CHAIRMAN:

Stop a moment. What were you to go with the correspondence, if you got it?

 

Answer: Return it to .John Brown, so that when Forbes was called upon, (as Brown supposed would be the case,) to substantiate his statements, he should not have the means of doing so. I went to New York. In New York City, I met, for the first time, with a book called "Limitations of Human Responsibility," written by Dr. Wayland, a philosophic author. I had thought a great deal about human respon­sibility and my own responsibility, perhaps, indeed, a little too much; but I had never thought anything in regard to the limits of it, and that book taught me that there were certain things which I might thoroughly believe myself, but which I had no right to enforce nolens volens on my neighbor, and it set me pondering on a new train of ideas. I did not see Colonel Forbes in New York City. I cannot recollect whether I made any attempt to see him or not. What I know is that I did not see him. I met in New York City with Judge Arny, examined before your committee the other day, with Thaddeus Hyatt, a mutual friend of ours. To Judge Arny I made a statement of Brown's purpose; not, however, in detailed terms, but I said to him that Brown had in view a project of liberating the slaves in the South. I stated the same to Thaddeus Hyatt. Because the lapse of time is so great, and because I have had so many things passing through my brains since, I have forgotten whether I held any conversation with those men beyond making that simple revelation. I know that I went to Eng­land; I know that Judge Arny strongly advised me, instead of con­necting myself with any such wild movement, to get married, which he thought would most effectually quiet me. I went to England. Cook, in his confession, states that I went to England for the purpose of procuring assistance for John Brown. I did not. I went to England; I wanted to see my father and my mother. I was home-sick. I did very probably say, indeed I know I have often said to Cook, during my acquaintance with him, that England would be the proper place in which to raise money for abolition purposes. I do not know how Brown became cognizant of my departure for England, or Cook either, except in this wise: Arny, knowing I was going to England, I having consulted him in regard to it, and he having advised me, and assisted me to do so, I suppose that on his return to Kansas, he must have told Brown and Kagi, and the rest of them who were there. I saw a statement in a paper, I do not remember what paper, but sometime ago, I saw a statement that the internal evidence of the letters of Brown and his friends plainly revealed the fact that, though they could trace my departure for England, they could not learn any­thing of me or my movements since. That, therefore, is evidence that I was not collecting money for them in England, or that if I did, they did not get it; which, so far as implicating me is concerned, amounts to about the same thing. Well, I went to England­

Mr. COLLAMER:

Now, stop. There is no use of pursuing this any further, unless the witness had further connection with Brown. Had you any further connection with Brown?

 

Answer: No, sir; I knew nothing at all about him.

Mr. DAVIS:

Let the witness proceed, because it has been alleged that he went to England to lecture for the purpose of raising money. The best way in which he can satisfy not only the committee, but others, in relation to what he went there for, is to tell his story.

Mr. COLLAMER:

It has nothing to do with this inquiry before the committee, but I shall not interpose.

The CHAIRMAN:

Let us have the whole ground.

Mr. COLLAMER:

Very well, if you desire it.

 

The WITNESS: I went to England. I lectured in England. I lectured, among other things, on temperance-principally on that subject. Among other things, too, I lectured on the literature, liberty, &c., of the United States. I was an abolitionist at the time, too. I never, during the period of my sojourn in England, collected, or endeavored to collect, a single cent of money for any purpose whatever. I was paid for lecturing; and" the laborer is worthy of his hire," and I put that money in my pocket. Then I went to France. As I stated just now, I had witnessed a great discrepancy between the actual condition of the Negroes in Canada and the statements which I had read in regard to their condition in Canada­

Mr. DOOLITTLE:

One word in relation to that I have no objection to its going down as far as he wants to exculpate himself from any allegation that he has collected money and misapplied it. Any personal explanation I have no objection to; but then, to lumber up the record with giving his peculiar views about one thing or another which does appear on our investigation, seems to me to be improper.

 

The WITNESS: No, sir; but I will not be one minute longer, if you will permit me.

Mr. COLLAMER:

That might lead to considerable inquiry and perhaps cross-examination on that point, if you desire to go into it.

The CHAIRMAN:

I agree we have nothing to do with his mission to England.

Mr. COLLAMER:

Or his return to America, and going to New Orleans, and from thence to Texas, &c.

Mr. DAVIS.

I have no desire to go beyond the subject before us.

Mr. COLLAMER:

The subject is John Brown and his foray.

 

The WITNESS: I have finished in regard to my connection with John Brown. I never wrote him a single letter; never received a single letter from him; never had, directly or indirectly, any acquaintance or connection, in the most remote degree, with the party after my departure from Cleveland.

The CHAIRMAN:

You have said that in New York you revealed to Arny and to Thaddeus Hyatt what you learned from Brown were his plans as to incursions into the Southern States.

 

The WITNESS: Not as a detailed plan; but a broad statement, that he did purpose to put into operation a movement having for its object the liberation of the slaves.

 

Question: Did you tell, either to Arny or Hyatt, your mission to New York -what brought you there?

 

Answer: I cannot remember whether I did or not, it being such a period of time removed. I will not say I did not I will say it is possible, nay, probable, that I did tell them what my mission there was.

 

Question: But you never did see Colonel Forbes?

 

Answer: I never saw Colonel Forbes, to my knowledge, in my life.

 

Question: Or had any communication with him?

 

Answer: No, sir.

 

Question: Now, I will put this general question:  Did you go to England with any view to collect funds for the purpose of carrying on any abolition schemes in the United States?

 

Answer: No, sir.

 

Question: You did collect no funds for that purpose?

 

Answer: I collected none.

 

Question: Will you tell us when you returned to the United States?

 

Answer: I returned to the United States, leaving Havre on the 2d of March, 1859, and arriving in New Orleans the 17th of April, the same year.

 

Question: What brought you back to the United States?

 

Answer: My desire to return.

 

Question: And since your arrival, tell us where you have spent the intermediate time?

 

Answer: I spent part of my time in New Orleans. Now I ought to say, in justice to myself, that part of my mission in England was in order to procure the consent of my father and mother to join the Catholic Church. They would not give it to me. Coming back, I immediately joined the Catholic Church without their consent. I purposed to become a Jesuit priest­ -

The CHAIRMAN:

I do not want to know anything about that.

 

The WITNESS: But you asked me­

The CHAIRMAN:

I asked you for your reason for coming back to the United States.

 

The WITNESS: And where I had been, and what I had been doing since I came back.

The CHAIRMAN:

But it does not follow that you should tell us what your plans and pursuits in private life were. I only want to know what points you have been at in the United States since your return.

 

The WITNESS: Well, sir, New Orleans for one. In New Orleans it was proposed to establish anew Democratic paper, the "Delta" having, as they thought, written itself out. Mr. Semmes, now attorney general of the State, had spoken to some friends of mine -

The CHAIRMAN:

We do not want that. My question simply was, at what parts of the United States you had been since your return to this country.

 

Answer: New Orleans, Mobile, and Austin, in Texas.

 

Question: Had you any purposes in view, at either of those places, connected with your former views in reference to the abolition of slavery?

 

Answer: No, sir; but I had in view the purpose of investigating the condition of slavery for myself.

By Mr. DAVIS:

Question: Were you secretary of state of the proposed government to be established by John Brown?

 

Answer: I was.

 

Question: Did you receive and preserve, or was he the depositary of the correspondence which was held with the friends of such a movement on the part of John Brown?

 

Answer: I was not. John Brown was.

 

Question: Were you the organ of any correspondence as secretary of state?

 

Answer: No, sir.

 

Question: Were the letters written and the answers received in relation to funds, exhibited to you?

 

Answer: No, sir; for this reason: that but a period of a week or two elapsed between my nomination and election as secretary of state and the disbanding of the whole party, John Brown being in the mean while absent.

 

Question: Did you, from your relation to John Brown and to this organization, know the names of persons who were relied upon to furnish money, or who did furnish money?

 

Answer: Not any other names save those of Dr. Howe, whom Brown mentioned, F. B. Sanborn, whom Brown mentioned, and Gerritt Smith, whom Brown also named.

 

Question: How did he mention them? As having given or being expected to give money?

 

Answer: That Gerritt Smith had given Brown money; that he had assisted Brown from the time when he first went to Kansas, and had promised to assist him further in his enterprises against slavery; whether or not in this particular movement against the South I cannot say, but I suppose that was the understanding.

Mr. DOOLITTLE:

The supposition ought not to go down.

Mr. DAVIS:

I think the impression made upon his mind, considering the position he occupied, is legitimate. The answer was allowed to remain as given by the witness.

 

The WITNESS: Here I may as well state, once for all, that I do not believe John Brown would intrust to any man, no matter how intimate his friendship might be, more than barely sufficient of his schemes to secure his cooperation and support.

Mr. COLLAMER:

You spoke of Brown having received aid from wealthy people at the North. Did that relate to Kansas?

 

Answer: He said he had received aid from those wealthy people from the time he went to Kansas, and that they had promised to assist him in any enterprises which he might undertake against slavery and in behalf of freedom. That was it; a general promise of assistance-he having left his farm, wife, home, friends, everything.

Mr. COLLAMER:

I wish to know whether your position as secretary of state, as it is said, furnished you with any information on which you could found a supposition, more than you had when you were not secretary of state.

 

Answer: No, sir. I should like to say this: Gerritt Smith having been, as I learned from John Brown, one of the persons who had principally supplied him with means, and John Brown having stated that Gerritt Smith had promised to assist him in any enterprises he might undertake for the furtherance of freedom, that he would enable him to prosecute all such movements-on that statement of Brown I based my supposition.

Mr. COLLAMER:

And on that only?

 

Answer: On that only.

Mr. DAVIS:

The Question, however, was, whether your position enabled you to form a supposition?

 

Answer: My position did not; because, before I became secretary of state I possessed that information; and after I was secretary of state I possessed no more. That .information, therefore, was the cause of my supposition, which I not only had after I was secretary of state, but before it.

Mr. DAVIS:

I ask whether, as secretary of state, the witness was not put in more confidential relations with John Brown than he was before.

 

Answer: No, sir; for the simple reason that, before there was any opportunity of establishing any confidential relations, the whole affair was broken up.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: Did Brown at any time suggest to you that he had disclosed to Gerritt Smith the purpose which you know he entertained

 

Answer: Never, sir.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Did you learn from Brown, at any period of your intercourse with him, and up to the latest period, when he proposed to carry his plans into execution in the Southern States?

 

Answer: John Brown had purposed, immediately upon his return from the East, in June, 1858, to endeavor to put them into operation then. On account of the failure to receive money, as also on account of the revelations Forbes had made, the matter could not proceed. Nothing was to be done, or could be done, Brown said, until I had secured the correspondence to which I have alluded. I did not secure that correspondence, and therefore I supposed the matter could not go on.

 

 

The CHAIRMAN submitted to the witness a paper marked with the chairman's initials and indorsed" members of the convention)" (produced by Andrew Hunter,) asking the following:

 

 

Question: Will you be good enough to state what knowledge you have of this paper on which your name appears?

 

Answer: That is my name, in my own writing. This paper is the one appended to the constitution. All of the persons signing this paper agreed to accept the constitution, and to devote themselves to the furtherance of the purposes for which the constitution was established. The name occurring first is the name of the president of the convention, William Charles Munroe. He was a mulatto. The next is G. 1. Reynolds. I cannot remember him; he was not a white man, however. Then there is a name I cannot read; it looks like J. O. Grant; I do not remember him. There were a good many Negroes there; and in a convention of two days it would be difficult to remember all their names. The next is A. J. Smith; I remember him as a Canadian Negro. The next is James M. Jones; I do not know him; he was not a white man, however. Then comes the name of G. B. Gill, a white man, of whom I have already spoken. The next is M. F. Bailey, a Negro. W. Lambert was a Negro. S. Hinton was a Negro. O. W. M0ffett was one of our original party. J. J. Jackson I do not know; he must have been a Negro. Then comes -'-- Anderson, the Christian name I cannot make out; he was the colored man of whom I spoke as having come with us from Canada. The next name is Alfred Whipper; I do not remember him. James M. Bell was a mulatto residing in Chatham. William H. Leeman was one of our original party. Alfred M. Ellsworth was a colored man living in Windsor, a vil­lage in Canada, opposite Detroit. John E. Cook and Stewart Taylor I have already spoken of as belonging to our company. Charles W. Purnell must have been a colored man. Then comes George Akins, his x mark; Akins was a Negro. Robison Alexander was a Negro. Then comes my own name, Richard Realf. Thomas F. Cary was a Negro. Richard Richardson was the Negro who accompanied us Iowa Iowa. I taught him to write. L. F. Parsons was one of our company. Thomas M. Kinnard was a Negro. M. H. Delany was the colored doctor of whom I spoke. Robert Van Vraiken must have been a Negro. Thomas W. Stringer was a Negro. Charles P. Tidd was a white man, one of our original party. John A. Thomas was a Negro. C. Whipple is the next; that was the name by which Stevens was called. J. D. Shadd was editor of a paper in Canada-a mulatto. Robert Newman was a Negro. Owen Brown was the son of John Brown. Then comes old John Brown's signature. J. H. Harris was a colored man. Charles Smith was a colored man. Simon Fisher was a colored man. Stephen Dutton was a colored man. Isaac Holden was a colored man. Giles Chitman was a Negro. Thomas Hickerson was a colored man. John Launcel was a colored man, and so was James Smith. John H. Kagi, secretary of the convention, was one of the original party.

Mr. DAVIS:

Do you know whether these Negroes, or any part oft-hem, were runaway Negroes?

 

Answer: I have no knowledge as to that.

 

The CHAIRMAN exhibits to the witness a paper purporting to be a list  of those men who were with Brown at Harper's Ferry, and asks this:

 

Question: Can you state the age of John Brown at that time?

 

Answer: No, sir, except that I suppose him to have been almost 60 years of age.

 

Question: What was the age of Owen Brown, as nearly as you can tell?

 

Answer: Owen Brown was about 29 or 30.

 

Question: Of Watson Brown?

 

Answer: Watson Brown was not one of the original party, and I never knew him.

 

Question: Of Oliver Brown?

 

Answer: I never knew him.

 

Question: Of Aaron D. Stevens?

 

Answer: I did not know Stevens's Christian name. His age was 28. He was 27 at the time of the convention.

 

Question: Of Albert Hazlett?

 

Answer: I never knew him.

 

Question: Of John H. Kagi?

 

Answer: Twenty-three at the time of the convention.

 

Question: Of Edwin Coppic?

 

Answer: I think I met him once or twice in Iowa, but never had any speaking acquaintance with him. He must have been about 18.

 

Question: Of Barclay Coppic?

 

Answer: I do not know him. He must have been a brother of the other, I suppose.

 

Question: May you not have confounded the two Coppics?

 

Answer: I may have done so.

 

Question: What was the age of Charles P. Tidd?

 

Answer: About twenty-five or twenty-six near the age of Stevens.

 

Question: Are you speaking now of their ages at the time of the convention?

 

Answer: Yes, sir.

 

Question: What was the age of William H. Leeman?

 

Answer: Not more than eighteen at the time of the convention.

 

Question: Of Francis J. Meriam?

 

Answer: I never knew him.

 

Question: Of William Thompson?

 

Answer: I never knew him.

 

Question: Of Dolphin Thompson?

 

Answer: I never knew him.

 

Question: Of Jeremiah Anderson?

 

Answer: A stranger to me.

 

Question: Of Stewart Taylor?

 

Answer: About nineteen at the time of the convention.

 

Question: Of John E. Cook?

 

Answer: Probably between twenty-three and twenty-four at the time of the convention.

 

Question: Now, as to the Negroes with John Brown. What was the age of Shields Green?

 

Answer: I never knew him.

 

Question: John Copeland?

 

Answer: A stranger to me.

 

Question: Anderson?

 

Answer: That must have been the Negro who accompanied us down from Chatham to Cleveland. He was about 24 or 25 year's old.

 

Question: Newby?

 

Answer: I never knew him. Indeed, I knew no others, save those two Negroes, Anderson and Richardson, who afterwards returned from Cleveland to Canada.

 

Question: The remaining Negro with Brown was named Leary; did you know him?

 

Answer: I did not know him. I will give you my own age at that time. At the time of the convention I was not quite 24 years old.

 

Question: Can you state whether the signatures to the paper, which you say was appended to the constitution, are the original signatures of those who made them.

 

Answer: I saw the persons sign this document, and do testify thereto. In those cases where" his mark" follows the name, the mark was made by the person whose name appears, the writing having been done by Mr. Kagi.

 

Question: Were you present when the paper was signed?

 

Answer: I was.

 

Question: Was it signed before the convention dispersed?

 

Answer: Yes; before the convention dispersed, after the adoption of the constitution.

 

Question: You have spoken of three persons who you there learned from Brown had supplied him with money. Do you know of any other person’s with whom Brown was in communication upon the sub­ject of getting money?

 

Answer: I understood that a clergyman) whose name is Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who, I believe, resides at Worcester, Massa­chusetts, was an intimate friend of John Brown, and that he, as were these other men, was one of those who supplied him with funds to enable him to prosecute his movements in behalf of freedom in Kansas, and who had given him a general promise to assist him in whatever enterprises he might undertake.

 

Question: Can you recollect any others?

 

Answer: I cannot.

 

Question: Can you remember the names of any persons, in any of the States, with whom Brown, during your acquaintance with him, was in correspondence?

 

Answer: No, sir. I do not believe that Brown was in correspondence with more than half-a-dozen people during my connection with him; for you must remember, that during our passage across Iowa, occupying a month, in which we camped out every night and walked across the plains every day, he could have no correspondence then. Immediately after we reached Springdale, in Iowa, he went on East. I could not be cognizant of his correspondence then, he being absent. Immediately on his return to Springdale, we departed for Canada, and on our passage thither we could not do anything in the way of correspondence. Just after we arrived there, the convention was held, and there was no chance for correspondence at that time. After the con­vention was disbanded, I left for New York City.

Mr. COLLAMER:

But you had been to Cleveland.

 

The WITNESS: Yes; I went from Chatham to Cleveland and from Cleveland to New York.

Mr. DOOLITTLE:

I understood the witness to state that he, in general terms, communicated to Amy and to Hyatt, of New York, what he supposed was the general purpose of Brown-to produce an insurrection, or do something upon the South somewhere.

 

The WITNESS: Yes, sir.

Mr. DOOLITTLE:

Then I ask you this Question are those the only two persons to whom you ever communicated any such thing) aside" from those who went with you from Iowa to Canada, and those you met there?

 

Answer: No, sir; there is one other. His name is Charles Carroll Yeaton, a young gentleman, formerly a very intimate friend of mine, but not an abolitionist.

Mr. DOOLITTLE:

Where does he reside?

 

Answer: He resides now in New York. He was a junior partner in a banking and brokerage house in Wall Street.

Mr. DOOLITTLE:

Did you ever communicate to any other person, or have any conversation with any other person, in relation to this programme, except those three?

 

Answer: No, sir; except as follows: during the time when we were in Iowa, and when it was thoroughly expected that, immediately on leaving Canada, we should go down into the South, I wrote a letter on some private matters to a lady, hinting therein that very probably she would hear of us again, and, perhaps, in the Southern States; but I never told her anything in regard to the plan. Those three persons are the only ones to whom I ever communicated anything about it.

Mr. FITCH:

Did John Brown admit to you, or state to you, that Forbes was fully cognizant of his plans, as far as he had formed them?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; because Forbes at one period purposed to conduct the movement.

The CHAIRMAN:

As you understood from Brown?

 

The WITNESS: As I understood from Brown; and you will permit me to say, that in any Question: of veracity arising between Forbes and Brown, I should, without hesitation, decide for Brown.

 

RICHARD REALF

 

ANDREW HUNTER sworn and examined.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Will you please to state where you reside, and what your pursuit in life is?

 

Answer. I reside at Charlestown, Jefferson County, Virginia. I belong to the profession of the law.

 

Question: Will you state the distance of Charlestown from Harper's Ferry?

 

Answer. It is eight miles by the ordinary road, ten by the railroad.

 

Question: Will you state how soon after the attack made by Brown on Harper's Ferry you went to the Ferry?

 

Answer. The attack was made on Sunday evening, the 16th of October last, and continued Monday the 17th, and Brown was captured on Tuesday morning, the 18th, and I was at Harper's Ferry about three hours after his capture on Tuesday.

 

Question: Will you state whether you saw Brown at the Ferry; when you saw him; and under what circumstances you had an interview with him?

 

Answer. I saw him soon after I arrived there. He was lying wounded in one of the rooms of the superintendent's office, the prisoner Stevens alongside of him; and I went to visit him in company with Governor Wise, who had arrived there about the time I did, or a little after; and in the presence of a number of other gentlemen.

 

Question: "Who was Stevens?

 

Answer. He was one of Brown's party who had been captured on Monday, and was held as a prisoner from about, as I was informed, I do not know personally, the middle of the day on Monday.

 

Question: Was Stevens wounded?

 

Answer. He was wounded very severely; but after the capture of the whole party, and the storming of the engine-house, he was brought over and joined to the other prisoners in this room with Brown. The other prisoners were in a different place, in the watch-house connected with the engine-house. These two were lying there, both severely wounded. It was supposed Stevens would not live over the night, and Brown appeared to be very severely wounded, but his wounds did not prove to be so dangerous.

 

Question: Now state whether you either held or heard a conversation held with Brown on the subject of his attack; under what circumstances the conversation was held; and what it was?

 

Answer. We had a very long interview with him. It continued two or three hours. I went in first, being introduced by the sentinel; saw Brown then, but for a moment; did not speak to him, except to inquire of his wounds; then retired, and conducted Governor Wise in, and told Brown who he was, and they passed salutations. Brown was lying down, with his face on the pallet where he was lying, and immediately the governor commenced a conversation with him, and, although not at first, very soon after, he distinctly told Brown that he did not desire to hear anything from him that he did not willingly, and in view of all the circumstances that surrounded him, feel disposed to communicate; that his case would not in any degree, and could not, be affected by anything he told. Brown immediately replied that he knew that very well, that he had never begged quarter, and he would not do so; that he had nothing, so far as he himself was concerned, to withhold; and seemed even desirous of making known what his plans and intentions were. I can hardly describe his manner. It struck me at the time as very singular that he should so freely enter into his plans immediately. He seemed very fond of talking. Very soon some particular reference was made to the object for which he came, when he referred to a pamphlet that he desired to have sent for to his baggage or papers, wherever they were. I did not understand at that time where the papers were, but learned afterwards that they had been gathered up, and were somewhere about the building where he was confined. I am not quite sure whether Colonel Robert E. Lee of the army, or some other person present, attended to the matter of getting this pamphlet. When brought, it proved to be a copy of the constitution of the provisional government. It was the same afterwards used in court, identified and proved, and also admitted by Brown on his trial.

 

Question: Have you that paper?

 

Answer. Yes, sir. I have it here; indorsed" Referred to by Brown, A. H." [It is also identified by the initials of the Chairman, and placed among the records of the committee. ] That was the copy that was brought when sent for, as before stated, and he admitted it distinctly. The paper was shown to him, and he was inquired of as to the pencil marks on the back of it, "Owen Brown," and some other names, and he said it was a copy of his constitution for a provisional government, &c., under which he was acting. After being submitted to him, he requested Governor Wise to read it. He said he wanted the whole of it read, and remarked that he would find a large number of copies of it among his papers; that he had intended within the next fortnight to have published it at large and distributed those copies. We did find a number of them amongst his papers. The governor read two or three of the first and several of the latter articles.

 

Question: Did the governor read them aloud?

 

Answer. Yes; Brown called upon him to read them so that everybody could hear them. There were ten or a dozen in at the time. I remember that Co1. Lewis W. Washington was present at the time, and Co1. Robert E. Lee. Brown's attention was called to this forty eighth article: "Every officer, civil or military, connected with this organization, shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, make solemn oath or affirmation to abide by and support this provisional constitution and these ordinances. Also, every citizen and soldier, before being fully recognized as such, shall do the same." He inquired of Brown specially and directly if all his men, and those who were connected with him, had taken this oath. He replied promptly that they had all taken it. Brown's attention was drawn to divers other articles there, which were commented on after the Governor had finished reading what he did read. Brown was inquired of particularly where he intended to put his provisional government into operation. He rose partly up, and somewhat earnestly said, "Here, in Virginia, where I commenced operations." I think it was about that time the Governor desired me to make some memoranda of what was, said, which I did, very briefly, but quite enough to recall what took place. He was inquired of what support he expected to enable him to accomplish this, having so small a number of men, or what number he expected to aid him; when he quite as promptly, and clearly, and distinctly replied to it: three thousand or five thousand, if he wanted them. There was a pause made there. I was struck with the reply, and I thought it was about to lead to some very important developments. I made a memorandum of it. Stevens was lying alongside of him wounded, and, as we supposed, mortally, although apparently not suffering. He was calm, but had his hands folded on his breast, and some one remarked that was the attitude dying men usually assume; but he seemed exempt from any acute suffering. Brown was suffering and complaining every now and then. On' this reply being made by Brown, Stevens interposed and remarked he was not sure of any aid, but he only expected it; "you do not understand him." Brown immediately took it up, and said, “Yes, I merely expected it; I was not certain of any support." This modification of what he had said was evidently the result of the prompting of Stevens. The inquiry was pursued further, where he expected the support from, and he then replied that he expected the slaves and non-slaveholding whites to join him from. all quarters. He was then inquired of how many arms he had brought there. The inquiry was how he expected to arm them, or how many he was prepared to arm. He said he was prepared to arm about 1,500, but not perfectly. Further inquiry was made on this point-I some­times presenting the Questions, but chiefly the governor-and he then replied he had 200 Sharp's rifles and about 200 revolver pistols, and had expected 1,500 spears, but the contractor had failed, and he had received only about 950.

 

He was particularly inquired of-I do not remember by which of us-as to his intending to stampede slaves off, and he promptly and distinctly replied that that was not his purpose. He designed to put arms in their hands to defend themselves against their masters, and to maintain their position in Virginia and the South. That, in the first instance, he expected they and the non-slaveholding whites would flock to his standard as soon as he got a footing there, at Harper's Ferry; and as his strength increased, he would gradually enlarge the area under his control, furnishing a refuge for the slaves, and a ren­dezvous for all whites who were disposed to aid him, until eventually he overrun the whole South. That was his purpose, as distinctly stated on that occasion. If you desire it, I will now connect with it what took place afterwards in the jail bearing on that point.

The CHAIRMAN:

I think that would be the best mode of doing it. I think you had hest continue the narrative, so far as relates to Brown, touching this particular point.

 

WITNESS: When Brown was brought out to be sentenced, which, as well as I recollect, was about the 1st of November, in his speech in reply to the interrogatory whether he had anything to say why sen­tence should not he pronounced upon him, I was greatly surprised at his statement, so distinctly made, that his sole purpose in coming to Virginia was to run off slaves. Will you have a copy of that speech before you?

The CHAIRMAN:

We have it only orally. It has been printed, but taken by a stenographer, I suppose?

 

WITNESS: It was taken down very accurately by a stenographer.

The CHAIRMAN:

Give the substance of it as you recollect it.

 

Answer. He stated in substance, as I recollect, that his purpose in coming to Virginia was simply to stampede slaves, not to shed blood; that he had stampeded twelve slaves from Missouri without snapping a gun, and that he expected to do the same thing in Virginia, but only on a larger scale. I was immediately struck by the palpable inconsistency between that statement and what he had communicated to Governor Wise and myself at Harper's Ferry, just after his capture. I mentioned it probably to Governor Wise, who came up some time after on his second visit to Charlestown; and it appears, as I learned from Brown himself, and afterwards from the Governor, the Governor went to see him again, and they had a very kindly interview, for I was struck with the respect.

 

Question: Were you present?

 

Answer. No, sir; I was not present at that interview, but I learned of it from Brown himself. I was struck with the respect and courtesy they mutually had for each other. Brown was impressed with a high regard for Governor Wise, and the governor with an estimate of him, in which I at first participated. After this interview Brown wrote me a letter from the jail to my office.

 

Question: Have you got that letter with you?

 

Answer. No, sir; I can send you the manuscript. I regarded it as of very little importance, and handed it to one of our village papers to publish, for you will find from the letter Brown desired it to be published. I can state the contents.

The CHAIRMAN:

We ought to have the original.

 

Answer. It was published in the" Spirit of Jefferson." I will send it to the committee. In that letter he refers to this interview, and attempts to correct an apparent" confliction," as he calls it, between what he stated on the occasion of receiving his sentence and what he had stated to Governor Wise and myself at Harper's Ferry. He goes back and takes the ground he occupied originally, and excuses himself for making the statement he did in the court, on the ground that he did not at that time expect to receive his sentence, and that he was confused and not prepared, and was misunderstood or blundered in stating what he intended. He also sent the jailor or some one else requesting me to come and see him. When I went there I found it was for the purpose of still further explaining and attempting to reconcile the conflict between his two statements. He then assured me that his statement originally made at Harper's Ferry was the correct one; that was his purpose, and he desired me to vindicate his memory in that respect-to publish it or to make it known.

 

Question: Now, Mr. Hunter, go back to the scene at the Ferry.

 

Answer. One or two other provisions to be found in that constitution were read. The Governor read them, and asked him how he meant to carry them out. He stated that, in regard to all non-slave­holders, they were not to he interrupted, but to be protected, if they kept quiet; but that the property of all slaveholders was to be confis­cated, and the proceeds applied as an indemnity for the trouble and expense of freeing the slaves and of carrying on the expedition.

 

Question: Did he speak of his having been anywhere else in the Southern States, except at Harper's Ferry, at any time?

 

Answer. He stated that he had been as far south as to the southern line of Virginia. He also stated distinctly that he had sent Cook, one of his men, to get information in regard to the relative numbers of slaves, and general information that might be useful to him in his intended attack upon Virginia, but that, in reference to Harper's Ferry, he had reconnoitered it himself, in person; he had entrusted it to no one. I mentioned to him the ingenious device Cook adopted; that he had been to my house and obtained a census of my family, living near Charlestown, on the road between Harper's Ferry and Charlestown, under the pretense of having been employed to decide a bet as to the relative number between the whites and the slaves, and I asked Brown, familiarly, if that device was of his contriving. He replied, no ; that he had simply sent Cook for that purpose, and had left to his own discretion the mode of obtaining the information. I think this is all connected with this long conversation that occurs to me, of importance to your inquiry.

 

Question: Did he, at Harper's Ferry, speak of having emissaries in any of the Southern States?

 

Answer. I do not think he did, in that form. He spoke of having many friends in the slave States, and expecting large support from the slave States, but I do not think he ever referred to having any emissaries, except Cook.

 

Question: Will you state now, sir, whether you were employed by the State of Virginia to act as counsel to conduct the prosecution, in aid of the prosecuting attorney of the county?

 

Answer. I was employed by the Governor, while at Harper's Ferry, and, I believe, on the day after this interview, to conduct the prosecu­tions, and to attend to all matters connected with this affair in our community, generally, and also I was afterwards appointed by the judge to aid the regular prosecutor in prosecuting the prisoners.

 

Question: Did you discharge that office?

 

Answer. I did, sir.

 

Question: In the prosecution of Brown, and who else?

 

Answer. Cook, Coppic, Shields Green, and John Copeland, the two last being negroes. Copeland was captured on Monday, and brought up to jail. I saw him and had an interview with him that evening. He gave me a statement of the numbers, and it proved to be a very accurate statement. Copeland was a mulatto, a smart, intelligent fellow.

 

By Mr. DOOLITTLE:

 

Question: Did Brown state, in the course of the conversation which has been already referred to, where this provisional constitution was formed?

 

Answer. He said it was formed at a convention in Chatham, Canada; that he drew it himself, and that it was printed immediately after­wards, in the neighborhood; he thought at St. Catharine's.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Did you bring these papers and deliver them to me?

 

Answer. Yes, sir.

 

 

[Among the papers brought by the witness is a bundle indorsed: "Papers in evidence in Brown's case. I wish these kept together and separate. "

 

 

Question: Will you state in what way these and any other papers of Brown came into your possession, and at what time?

 

Answer. On the day after we had this long interview with Brown, at Harper's Ferry, Governor Wise, then at the Ferry, apprised me that he had given directions to some one, who had gathered up the papers, to convey them to me.

 

Question: Who was the person?

 

Answer. I think it was Colonel Baylor, the colonel who commanded part of the day on Monday, the 17th. He was a colonel of the mili­tia of Virginia. I had not seen the papers then. There was a large mass of them. The governor said he had directed them to be put into my keeping at once. I did not, however, receive the papers until the next day, Thursday, the 20th. The Chairman of this committee called on me at Charlestown, to learn if I had papers. I informed him what I have just now stated, that Governor Wise had directed them to be placed in my possession, but that they had not yet been received.

 

Question: State how they came, subsequently, into your possession.

 

Answer. They were subsequently placed in my possession, the bulk of them, by Colonel Mason, the Chairman of this committee.

 

Question: At what time?

 

Answer. I think on Thursday, the 20th.

 

Question: In what condition were they brought to you by me?

 

Answer. They were brought in a canvas sack. I do not remember whether they were sealed up or not. That was the bulk of the papers. Another portion of them were delivered to me by the Hon. Alexander R. Boteler, representative in Congress from that district; and still more of them, by direction of Governor Wise, had been procured from some military officers of the Baltimore troops, and, from some of the editors in Baltimore, were forwarded .to me by the master of trans­portation of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, Mr. Smith. There was a schedule made of those that came from Baltimore, and they were placed in my possession upon condition that I would take care of them and return them. There was one paper, a military commission, issued to one of the parties by Brown, furnished me by Henry Davenport, Esq., an officer in the Jefferson Guard, who was engaged in the conflict at Harper's Ferry.

 

Question: Do you know whose commission it was?

 

Answer. I think it was Coppic's, but am not sure.

 

Question: Do you know how Davenport got possession of it.

 

Answer. I do not. I do not think he ever told me. It was proved in court that it bore Brown's signature.

 

Question: Will you state whether the papers which you have pro­duced to the committee, and which are labeled as those that were given in evidence, were given in evidence, and how were they verified in court?


Answer
. The papers labeled as "papers given in evidence," were produced upon the trial of Brown; about one half of them, as well as I recollect, without being able to discriminate which of them, were admitted by Brown. They were presented to his counsel, handed back to Brown, he having voluntarily proposed (to save us trouble) to admit them, as soon as they were shown to him; and, until we probably got through half, that process was resorted to, and we were getting along rather expeditiously with it, until at last I presented him a paper-I do not know whether it is here-an autobiography of Brown, or some other paper) and a Question was made at once about its admissibility, and I then replied that we were prepared to prove them; and, as it was quite as summary a mode of reaching the end, I declined waiting for his information, and they were proved by the sheriff of the county, who had become familiar with his handwriting-all the rest contained in this bundle. Either the endorsements or the papers themselves were in his handwriting.

 

Question: What about the other papers, not indorsed as having been used on the trial?

 

Answer: [After examining the papers] The paper indorsed "journal of the provisional constitutional convention, held on Saturday, May 8, 1858" was found among the papers of Brown. I am very clear that Brown, on some occasion, recognized that paper as containing a true statement of the proceedings of the convention, but I do not recollect whether he did so at Harper's Ferry or subsequently. [The paper here referred to is identified by the initials of the Chairman being placed thereon.] Either Brown or Cook, I do not know which, informed me that the name of “Whipple," on the list of members of the convention, was an assumed name of Stevens.

 

Question: State the history of the eight letters which you produce, indorsed "Intercepted. A. H."

 

Answer. I will state, in explanation of the matter, that I am satis­fied between two hundred and two hundred and fifty letters arrived at the post office for Brown, some of them directed to Harper's Ferry and torwarded to Charlestown. Of the eight letters now produced, seven of them were addressed to Brown at Charlestown, and one addressed "Smith & Son, Harper's Ferry, Virginia," which was afterwards forwarded to Charlestown. Seventy or eighty of these letters were intercepted. The others are now before the joint committee of the legislature, in Richmond, carried there by directions of the governor. I retained and examined all the letters before they were delivered. The postmaster put Brown's letters into my box, and I received them, until the writers found they were intercepted, and then they began to address them to the jailor alone, but he handed them to me. These were amongst the letters thus intercepted. I believe the jailor handed them all to me, for he handed me two or three offering to bribe him to aid in a rescue. N a doubt, he was entirely faithful in delivering to me all that he received.

 

Question: Do you say the rest of the intercepted letters were sent to Richmond?

 

Answer. Yes, sir; and they are now in the hands of the committee of the legislature.

 

Question: There seems also to be a roll of maps, were these found among Brown's papers?

 

Answer. Yes, sir. I may state that Brown said he had been preparing for this, and for carrying out the purpose he attempted to accomplish on that occasion, ever since 1856.

 

Question: When did he state that; when he was at Harper's Ferry, or when he was in jail?

 

Answer. At Harper's Ferry.

 

Question: Can you state where these maps came from?

 

Answer. I do not know now from what source these maps came. I was engaged in the trials, and could not examine them for some time after, and am not able to tell certainly; but they were among the Brown papers, furnished to me in the manner before mentioned.

 

 

[The maps referred to are seven in number, and of the following States: Kentucky and Tennessee) Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia. Each map has pasted at its side a slip, evidently cut from the Census Report of 1850, showing the num­ber and kind of inhabitants (whether free or slave, white or black, male or female) in each county of the State or States which it repre­sents. On the maps of South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, there are also various ink marks, in the shape of crosses, at different points.]

 

The witness also identifies several bundles of papers, by writing on each package: "Found among the Brown papers. A. Hunter. January 13, 1860." The papers thus identified consist of ten separate bundles or packages, one memorandum book, and one roll of paper, on which i5 written what purports to be a declaration of liberty by the slaves.

 

The CHAIRMAN: [to the witness.]

I do not know that you have any further information that would be useful in the inquiries committed to this committee. If you think of anything more, you can state it. The subjects-matter of inquiry referred to the committee are the facts attending the invasion at Harper's Ferry, and to get at, if we can, any persons connected with it in any way who were not present at the time of the invasion. That is about the substance of the inquiry.

 

The WITNESS: I am not able at this moment to recall anything else that it occurs to me would be of value to you.

 

By Mr. DAVIS:

Question: Have you any information in relation to the views which were taken by Brown of the manner of his trial?

 

Answer. Brown repeatedly admitted to me that his trial was fair, much fairer than he expected; he sent for me to write his will.

 

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Did you write it?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; about an hour and a half before his execution; he took leave of me very kindly, indeed; he thanked me for my kindness and attention. I should also say that I explained to him the reason why his trial came on so promptly; he was captured on Tuesday, and the regular semi-annual term of the court commenced on the Thursday following, and we would have no other term until spring. His trial, I thought, when into it, ought not to have taken three hours, for he admitted everything distinctly, and said to Governor Wise and myself that he was ready for the consequences at any time. The Gov­ernor asked him if he did not want to make preparation for the other world, and he said he had done that many years ago; he had nothing of that sort now to do.

 

ANDREW HUNTER.

 

 

 

SAMUEL CHILTON sworn and examined:

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Will you please to state where you reside and what your occupation is?

 

Answer. I reside ill this city; I am a lawyer, professionally and practically.

 

Question: Will you state whether you were counsel for John Brown, who was recently executed in Virginia, under the laws of that State?

 

Question: Were you counsel on his trial on an indictment for treason and murder?

 

Answer. Yes, sir.

 

Question: Did you attend his trial?

 

Answer. I did.

 

Question: Will you state by whom you were employed as counsel, and the circumstances under which you were employed?

 

Answer. It was on Friday, after his trial had been commenced, as I was informed-I had been absent the week preceding, and got some indulgence at the hands of the circuit court here, which was then sitting, and I had just returned and was engaged in business there when Judge Montgomery Blair, of this city, came to the court-room and said he desired to see me, and I went out with him into one of the rooms; he told me that he had received a letter from a gentleman by the name of John A. Andrew, of Boston, whom he represented to be one of the leading lawyers of the Boston bar; in which letter he said that he desired Mr. Blair to go up to Charlestown and appear in Brown's case on behalf of his relatives and friends; that was the statement contained in the letter.

 

Question: Of whose relatives and friends?

 

Answer. Brown's; and the letter said if he could not go to employ suitable counsel at his discretion. He told me that he could not possibly go, and did not think he was the proper person to go and defend him, and asked if I would undertake his defense. I told him that I should have a little time to consider it; that I had just returned home, and I could not neglect business in the court here, but I would see the court and the lawyers on the opposite side, and, as they had always been very kind and indulgent to me, I had no doubt they would make an arrangement with me, as it was not likely I should be gone more than three days, and then, if a satisfactory fee was assured to me, I was willing to go and defend him. He said he thought I was the best person to go. So, after making this consultation with these gentlemen and the court, they agreed to indulge me, and I went up and announced to him that I was ready to go, provided the fee was satisfactory. Mr. Blair said he was not authorized-that is, he did not expect to bind himself for the fee in any way at all, but told me who this gentleman was; and I learned from others who had heard from him that he Answered to the character he gave as a gentleman high in his profession and high, socially, in the Boston community; and I asked him if he felt himself authorized to make an engagement on behalf of this gentleman. He said he did; and I told him that was perfectly satisfactory. We agreed on the fee. I went up and rendered what services I could. Through Mr. Andrew, I was paid the fee that was contracted to be paid me.

 

Question: Did Mr. Blair show you the letter from Mr. Andrew?

 

Answer. He read the letter to me; I am not sure that I saw it; I had one letter from Mr. Andrew afterwards, I think.

 

Question: Have you that letter with you?

 

Answer: No, sir; I do not think I could find it.

 

Question: Can you state the contents of the letter from Andrew to you?

 

Answer. Well it was something in relation to carrying up his case to the court of appeals of Virginia-a mere inquiry. It was not a matter of any sort of importance, and I did not either take care of the letter or charge my memory with it. Mr. Andrew and myself corresponded rather through Judge Blair. I think I received two letters through him-one was on some matter of inquiry about taking the case up', the costs, &c., for employing additional counsel in Richmond, and Mr. Green was employed; the other was in relation to my fee.

 

Question: You say the fee was paid to you by Mr. Andrew?

 

Answer. Through Mr. Andrew. It was paid by two or three different drafts, I think, drawn by Mr. Blair upon Mr. Andrew Mr. Blair showing me Mr. Andrew's letter authorizing him to draw from time to time.

 

Question: Have you any knowledge of whence the money was derived that made up that fee?

 

Answer. I have not. I understood through Mr. Blair, I think, and Mr. Andrew, that the money was raised by those whom he denominated the relatives and friends of Brown. He said there was a small number of them, and that he stood responsible for the fee that was contracted to be paid me and for the expenses of the suit.

 

Question: Did that engagement as counsel extend to any other person than Brown of those who were arrested there?

 

Answer. No, sir.

 

Question: The engagement was confined to appearing as counsel for Brown?

 

Answer. Entirely to Brown's case. I was written to while in Richmond attending to Brown's case by young Mr. Hoyt, and the records in two cases sent to me, with a request to Mr. Green and myself that if we were successful in getting a writ of error in Brown's case we would appear, saying that fees would be secured to us, but no definite amount was named, and there was nothing beyond that at all. As we failed in Brown's case, which we thought much stronger than the other cases; we made no application at all in the others. Judge Blair wrote to Mr. Andrew for me, and I recommended that assistant counsel ,in Richmond be employed, and recommended Mr. Raleigh T. Daniel. Then a telegraph came to know if Mr. Daniel would appear for a definite sum which was named, and I telegraphed to him and wrote also, and I got a letter from him stating that his grand jury court-he is the prosecuting attorney for the city of Richmond-was coming on about the time we made this application; he had a very large docket, and he did not think he could give his attention to it, but he recommended Mr. Green, whom he had consulted, and who said he would be content to take the fee offered and attend to the case. I went down and carried the record, and remained there about a week. We prepared the petition with a good deal of care, and the court considered it and overruled it. That was the end of it.

 

Question: In your intercourse with Brown during his trial, did he disclose to you, or state to you, the names of any persons out of the State of Virginia) or in it, who were connected with him in this assault upon Harper's Ferry, other than those who were present as his party at Harper's Ferry?

 

Answer. He did not. I did not ask him any Questions. I listened to whatever he chose to communicate. I had a very long conversation with him on Sunday. I got there Saturday morning.

Mr. COLLAMER:

I do not suppose we can develop anything material, especially after the Answer the witness has made; but really, ought we to ask counsel as to communications from his client?

The CHAIRMAN:

I do not think that Question will arise on the inter­rogatory I put to him. Whether we could ask him to communicate anything that his client told him in reference to the matter pending before the court in which he was counsel is one Question, but as to matters unconnected with his trial, is a different Question.

Mr. COLLAMER:

I do not wish to make a point of it; but what is communicated by the client-the client not knowing exactly what relates to his case and what does not-is always privileged.

 

The WITNESS: I was going to remark that I have a proper understand­ing of the relation; and if a Question were asked me, the Answer to which would disclose anything of that sort, I should very respectfully decline to Answer it; but there was nothing in the world. I think it is much shorter to say that he never did make a communication to me of anybody. I did not ask him any Questions about it. My Questions were confined entirely to his defense there in court, and whilst he gave me a long narrative of his life pretty much, in the general, an interesting one too, he did not mention the name of a single individual. In fact, he did not mention the names of those in jail with him. I did not see but one of them, a man who was in the room with him, Stevens.

 

SAMUEL CHILTON

 

JANUARY 5, 1860.

JOHN C. UNSELD sworn and examined.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Will you please to state your age, and where you reside?

Answer. I was fifty-four years old last fall. I reside about a mile from Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in Washington County, Maryland.

Question: Were you acquainted with the late John Brown, who was executed, by sentence of the law, in Jefferson County, Virginia, in December last?

Answer. I had been acquainted with 11im since the 4th day of July, on which day I became acquainted with him, but by the name of Smith. He informed me that his name was Smith.

Question: State the circumstances under which you made his acquaintance; and when, and where?

Answer. It was about two thirds of a mile from Harper's Ferry, Virginia, on the edge of the mountain, in Maryland, the 4th day of July last, between eight and nine o'clock. I was going to Harper's Ferry, and met him there and saluted him, saying, "Good morning, gentlemen; how do you do?" There were four of them together; his two sons, Watson and Oliver-he told me their names-and a Mr. Anderson.

Question: State whether he told you his name, and what name he gave?

Answer. I said, “Well, gentlemen," after saluting them in that form, "I suppose you are out hunting mineral, gold, and silver?" His Answer was, "No, we are not, we are out looking for land; we want to buy land; we have a little money, but we want to make it go as far as we can." He asked me the price of land. I told him that it ranged from fifteen dollars to thirty dollars in the neighborhood. He remarked, "That is high; I thought I could buy land here for about a dollar or two dollars per acre." I remarked to him, "No, sir; if you expect to get land for that price, you will have to go further west, to Kansas, or some of those Territories where there is government land"-" Congress land" perhaps I said.

Question: Did he state his business?

Answer. He did afterwards.

Question: Give the whole conversation.

Answer. I then asked him where they came from. His Answer was, "from the northern part of the State of New York." I asked him what he followed there. He said farming and the frost had been so heavy lately, that it cut off their crops there; that he could not make anything, and had sold out, and thought he would come further south and try it awhile. Then, I think, I left him.

Question Did he tell you what business he was engaged in?

Answer. He told me he was farming, and the frost had cut off his crops.

Question: But what business he was going to follow?

Answer. I then left and went to Harper's Ferry, and on my return afterwards I met the same party in the same vicinity. He then said to me, "I have been looking round your country up here, and it is a very fine country) a very pleasant place, a fine view; the land is much better than I expected to find it; your crops are pretty good." He was around where they were cutting grain. He then asked me, "Do you know of any farm that is in the neighborhood for sale?" I Answered him, "I did; that there was a farm about four miles from there, owned by the heirs of Dr. Kennedy that was for sale." He then remarked to his company and to me also, "I think we had bet­ter rent awhile until we get better acquainted, and they could not take the advantage of us by the purchase of land;" and said to me, did I know of any property to rent. I told him perhaps he might rent that; I did not know; but it was for sale I knew. He then asked me the direction to it. I told him the direction, and the distance.

Question: Did he inform you what occupation he expected to pursue after he bought or rented land in that neighborhood?

Answer. I will tell the story. He then remarked to Watson Brown and Anderson, "Boys, as you are not very well, you had better go back and tell the landlord at Sandy Hook that we should not be here to dinner; that we will go on up and look at the place; but you can do as you please." Finally Watson looked around at Anderson, and I did not hear him say anything; but then he turned round and Answered, "Well, we will go along." "Well," said I, "if you go on with me up to my house, I can then point you the road exactly." They went up, and I asked them to come in and take dinner. They thanked me, and would not, and did not drink. "Well" said I, "if you follow up this road along the foot of the mountain, it is shady and pleasant, and you will come out at a church up here about three miles, and then you can see the house by looking from that church right up the road that runs to Boonesborough, or you can go right across and get into the county road and follow that up." He sat and talked with me awhile, and I finally asked him what he expected to follow there. I perhaps remarked to him, he could not more than make a living on the farm. Well," said he, "my business has been buying up fat cattle, and driving them on to the State of New York, and selling them, and we expect to engage in that again."  They left me then, and went on. So in the course of about three days I think) I met him again on the road between my house and Harper's Ferry, and he said, "Well, I think that place will suit me; now just give me a description where I can find the widow and the administrator." I told him that the widow lived in Sharpsburgh, a small town about ten miles from there, and the administrator (Fiery) lived between five and six miles north of Sharpsburgh; and he told me he would go and see them. I met him again in a few days after that, and he told me he had rented the two houses on the Kennedy farm. He said, "I intend going up in a few days, or sending one of the boys up to pay the rent." The following week I met him again, and he had a receipt I presume it was. He had a paper, and said, "Well, we have got the houses, and paid the rent; we pay thirty-five dollars for the two houses, pasture for a cow and horse, and firewood, from now until the first day of March next, and here is the receipt." I remarked to him, "I do not want to see the receipt, it is nothing to me." That is about all I know of him about that time.

Question: Did he tell you then what his name was, and the name of his two sons?

Answer. He told me his name was Smith. He did not give me any given name of himself but "these are my two sons, Watson and Oliver."

Question: What were the ages of the two sons apparently?

Answer. I would judge that Oliver was about 30, and Watson perhaps 25 or 27.

Question: What was the age of Anderson?

Answer. I think he was rather younger, from his appearance; perhaps 22 or 23 years old.

Question: Did Smith, alias Brown, afterwards live at the houses that he had rented on the Kennedy farm?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question: Will you state whether you ever, and how often were you, at Brown's house while he lived there?

Answer. I cannot state how often, but I was frequently there. I was there nearly every week up to the first of October. I was there every ten days at least.

Question: What took you there?

Answer. I just went up to talk to the old man; but sometimes, at the request of others, on business, about selling him some horses or cows.

Question: Were you ever in the house?

Answer: No sir. He often invited me in. Indeed, nearly every time I went there he asked me to go in, and remarked to me frequently, “We have no chairs for you to sit on, but we have trunks and boxes." I declined going in, but sat there on my horse and chatted with him.

Question: Can you tell me whether he purchased any stock or farming implements of any kind?

Answer. He purchased one cow, one horse, a small wagon, and three hogs.

Question: Did he cultivate the land?

Answer. No, sir. He cut some hay there that he had permission to cut after he removed there.

Question: Can you state whether his family increased or diminished, as to the number of persons that were around him, during the time you knew him there?

Answer. Not to my own personal knowledge, with the exception of two females and another son. They came after he did.

Question: Did you know the name of that other son?

Answer. Watson told me his name was Owen.

Question: Who were the two females?

Answer. One was his daughter, and the other his daughter-in-law, the wife of Watson, as his son Watson told me. I never heard the name of Brown until after he was taken, and Dr. Murphy, the paymaster at the Ferry, told me that some United States officer had told him that he was old Osawattomie Brown, of Kansas.

Question: Was his daughter unmarried, as far as you heard?

Answer: Watson told me she was a single girl.

Question: How long did those women remain there?

Answer. I think they left, or I missed them, about the 1st of October. They came, I suppose, about the 15th or 20th of July.

Question: Did Brown mingle much in the neighborhood in society?

Answer. He did not. I do not know that he was ever in any person's house but one, and he was a man by the name of Nicholls. He boarded there a day or two, and those females boarded there from Saturday night until Tuesday morning, when they came on. He was in my yard frequently, perhaps four or five times. I would always ask him in, but he would never go in, and, of course, I would not go in his house.

Question: Was any thing said or done by this person, or any of his party, which led you to suppose what was his real object in coming to that part of the country?

Answer. Nothing, only what he told me, that he followed buying up fat cattle and driving them to New York and selling them. He told others in the neighborhood the same thing. There was nothing which induced me to suppose that his purpose was anything different from what he stated to me. I frequently missed him from there, and sometimes I would find him at home and the boys away. I would remark to him, "Where are the boys?" "Well," said he, "they are away somewhere." Twice I went there and found none of the men there, but the two ladies, and I sat there on my horse-there was a high porch on the house, and I could sit there and chat with them-and then I rode off and left them. They told me there were none of the men at home, but did not tell me where they were.

Question: How soon after you first saw him there, did he take possession of the house?

Answer. It was a very short time; it was the following week, at farthest. He told me that he was an old surveyor, in one instance' that he had surveyed land in Ohio, and New York, and Kansas Territory; that he followed that, and he said, "I have a little instrument that I carry in my hand, about the size of a small bucket, that has a magnet that will tell where there is any iron ore; sometimes I carry that; it has a needle to it; if the ore is in front of me the needle will point to it, and as I come there it will turn." 

Question: Had you any knowledge when he was joined by the men who were afterwards found with him at Harper's Ferry?

Answer. No, sir; I had not.

Question: What was the distance of your residence from where he lived?

Answer. About four miles.

Question: What was the distance from Smith's (alias Brown's) house to Harper's Ferry?

Answer. About five miles.

Question: Was his house on or near a public road?

Answer. It was within about 300 yards of the public road.

Question: In sight.

Answer. Very plain; it makes a very pretty show for a small house; I mean the house he resided in.

Question: You stated that he rented two houses; do you know to what purpose he put the one he did not live in, or did he live in both?

Answer. He told me, and I thought that he had rented it for his son to live in. One time I went there, after the females had come on, and inquired for them, and one of the females Answered me, "they are across there at the cabin, you had better ride over and see them." I replied it did not make any difference, and I would not bother them, and I rode back home.

Question: What were the distances of the two houses apart?

Answer. About 600 yards; one on one side of the road, and the other on the other; the house they called the cabin is hid by shrubbery in the summer season pretty much; it is a swampy piece of ground, and going from Harper's Ferry to Boonesborough you cannot see it until you get by; indeed, you could not see it from the other house when they went there.

Question: How large was that cabin-house, as you call it, how many rooms had it?

Answer. Only one room and a garret.

Question: When you first saw Smith or Brown did he tell you how long he had been there-when he came?

Answer. He told me that he had come in the cars to Harper's Ferry the evening before, which was the 3d of July; that when they got out of the cars he inquired-I do not know whether he said "he" or "we" -where they could get board the cheapest, and .were informed they could get it cheaper at Sandy Hook, about a mile below the Ferry, and they conse­quently went there and took board, and this morning were walking out to take a view of the country. Sandy Hook is a small village about a mile below Harper's Ferry, on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: Did you ever know from July until October about Brown's receiving any boxes or anything of that kind?

Answer. I heard of him receiving one load of boxes with very heavy things in them.

Question: But you did not see them yourself, or know anything about them?

Answer. No, sir.

Question: Did he tell you anything about them?

Answer. No, sir.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: When did you first hear of the invasion and seizure of the armory at Harper's Ferry by this man and his party?

Answer. On Monday, the 17th of October, about 9 o'clock in the morning.

Question: Did you go to the Ferry after you heard it?

Answer. I did not go the Ferry until Tuesday morning.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: Did Brown, in passing to and from the Ferry and his house, go by your house?

Answer. No, sir; if he had, I should have been one of the first ones taken. The neighbors wanted me to get on my horse and go away, but I would not. There was no slaveholder in the neighbor­hood but myself, except Byrne, whom they had.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Are you a slaveholder?

Answer: Yes, sir.

Question: What is your occupation in life?

Answer. I am living off what I have saved. I suppose you might consider me a mechanic, but I am not engaged in any business. I have made some money, and I am living off the interest of my money. I am living on a farm, but I am not farming it. I own the farm, and rent it out.

Question: When did you first learn, and how did you learn, that this man Smith was not really named Smith?

Answer: I have already stated that Dr. Murphy was the first one who informed me, on Tuesday about noon, that some United States officer-I do not remember his name-had said to him that that must be old Ossawattomie Brown, from Kansas. That was the first news I had of it. That was after the attack on Harper's Ferry.

Question: Did you see Brown after he was captured?

Answer: Yes, sir; I saw him the Monday before he was hung. 

Question: Was he the same man to whom you have referred as passing by the name of Smith? 

Answer: Yes, sir; he was.

Question: Did you have any conversation with him?

Answer: Yes, sir.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: This was a short time before his execution?

Answer: Yes, sir; the Monday before. He was executed on the 2nd of December, and it was on the 28th or 29th of November that I saw him in jail.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: In that conversation did he recognize you as his acquaintance in Maryland?

Answer: He did, and also a little son I had that was with me.

Question: Give the conversation.

Answer: I asked him why he made his attack on Virginia, and at the place he did, Harper's Ferry. His Answer was: "I knew there were a good many guns there that would be of service to me, and, if I could conquer Virginia, the balance of the Southern States would nearly conquer themselves, there being such a large number of slaves in them."

Question: Have you any further information that you consider important in the inquiry before the committee, as to Brown's object in going there, or what he did after he got there, as derived from Brown himself or any of his party?

Answer: Nothing that I know of, except as to the taking of those arms, Sharp's rifles and pistols.

Question: What do you know about that?

Answer: I was present when they were taken. You asked me, some time ago, when I went to the Ferry. I told you Tuesday morning. When I got there, I saw Captain Butler, of the Hamtramck Guards, a volunteer company, of Jefferson County, Virginia. I asked him to take his company over to the school-house, on the other side of the river; that the men were in the school-house. He remarked, "My Company is dismissed," and I left him, and passed on. I supposed Cook, Tidd, and the Negroes they had taken were in the school-house, and had arms with them, guns, pistols, &c. I heard so from others.

Question: State what you did as to sending any party or going with any party to the school-house?Answer. I had learned from others the day before that Cook and others were at the school-house where my child, a school-boy, attended. On Tuesday, after passing from Captain Butler, I came across Captain Rowan, another captain of a volunteer company of Jefferson County, and I said to him, "Mr. Rowan, take your company and go over to the school-house; they are over there; the danger is there." He remarked, "I will, if John will go," pointing to Mr. Avis, who stood about a rod from him. I asked him "What do you say, John?" "Well," said he, "I will see about it directly," and he walked across the street as though he were going to attend to some business. That did not suit me, and I went on around the hotel, and I came across Captain Rhinehart, who was captain of the cavalry of Jefferson County, and I asked him to take his company and go to the school-house and capture those that were there. He said, "My Company is dismissed." I turned around-I was back of the railroad now on the back porch at the tavern-coming back, I met Mr. Faulkner at the front door. I asked him if he knew Colonel Lee. He replied that he did. “Well," said I, "I wish you would get him to send a company to the school house; they are over there now; here is a man, Pitcher, who says he just came over, and they opened the door and pointed a gun at him." "VV ell," said he, "come along and I will get them." He was then in the superintendent's office, or under that roof in one of the offices. He went in and saw Colonel Lee. While he was in the house Colonel Baylor, of the Virginia militia, came to the door, and 1 said to him, "Colonel, send a company over to Maryland to the school-house." Said he, "1 have no right to send a company to Maryland." Said 1, " The devil you have not; 1 would send them anywhere at such a time as this." "1 will not do it," said he, and he turned away and left me. 1 was outside and he was inside. Mr. Faulkner came out and said, "Colonel Lee says they have gone an hour ago." 1 asked "What company has gone." "The Baltimore Greys," he replied. "Well now," said 1, "they have not gone at all, for 1 have just come over, and there was one man standing in the street who had a uniform on, and 1 hailed him and asked what company he belonged to, and he told me the Baltimore Greys. Where is your captain, I asked? He has gone up on Camp Hill to get his breakfast. Well, said 1, come with me and show him to me. We started up on foot and overtook him before he got to the top of the hill. 1 told him my business) and he said that after he got something to eat he would go with me. 1 went back to the ferry, and passing the armory gate 1 met Captain Simmes, of the company belonging to Frederick, Maryland, who was just going in the gate. 1 asked him "Are you captain of that company?" "Yes," said he. "Well," said 1, "come take them, and go to the school­house and capture those fellows." He said "1 cannot do it now." 1 then began to get a little out of humor. 1 passed on to the square and 1 met Mr. Boteler, member of the House of Representatives. I said to him, "Aleck, do you know Colonel Lee?" He said he did Now)" said 1, "1 wish you would go and see him and get him to send a company over to this school-house. Nobody will go there, and those fellows are over in the school-house." He went and saw him and came back and said, "Colonel Lee says they have been gone an hour and a half, or two hours ago." Said 1, "they have not gone at all; I know they have not; where is Colonel Lee?" He pointed him out to me, and 1 went up to him and saw him. He said to me, “My dear friend, they have been gone two hours ago." "No," said 1, "colonel, they have not gone; 1 have come from there." He asked me, "Are you certain of it, and will you pilot men there." Yes," said 1. "Then," said he, "came and 1 will get you a company." He came down towards the gate and met the lieutenant of this Baltimore Com­pany and asked him why did he not go to the school-house in Maryland as he had ordered him. "Why," said he, "they told me the order was countermanded." "While he was talking to him, the captain came up and the colonel said to him, "Why did you not go to the school-house when 1 ordered you?" “Why," said he, "my men were hungry, and 1 thought It short time would not make any difference, and we went on Camp Hill to get breakfast, and when we came back they told me the order was countermanded." The colonel said, "I did not countermand it, and nobody else had authority to do so. Now,'' said he, "1 want you to get your company and go with this man who says he will pilot you there." "We started and went across the river to the school-house, which is in Maryland, about a mile from Harper's Ferry. When we got there two of the men of the company and myself opened the front door, went in, and found a number of boxes there. The people had gone away; there was no person there. The door was fastened with a chain and the chain was run through a staple and a stick in it. That fastening was outside. We pushed it open. 1 think we pushed it four times before we got it open. We thought they were behind the door, and when we would give it a push it would fly shut; but after three or four pushes it stayed back, when we pushed the things behind it away a little.

Question: State now what you found in the school-house.

Answer: We found a number of boxes. 1 think there must have been about fifteen small boxes, about four feet long and a foot square. We opened about five of them, as well as 1 recollect. They contained Sharp's rifles, and then we opened a large box that contained a num­ber of pistols and some powder flasks.

By Mr. DOOLITTLE:

Question: Were these rifles and pistols new, fresh, as if they had never been used?

Answer: They were new, I think.

By Mr. COLLAMER

Question: Were they unsoiled?

Answer: They never had been used, judging from the appearance of them.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Did you count them to ascertain their number?

Answer: No, sir; we did not. We opened the boxes and distributed them to the Baltimore Company, and there were some young men who came there. Every man who was there got a gun and a good many a pistol. After that the captain said" Let us take these to the Ferry, and when we get there we will open the balance and distribute them." I made some remark to him and he came to the door and asked me if we could not get a wagon. There was a man there who lived close by, and I said to him, "Mr. Beck, hitch up your horse and bring these things to the Ferry." He started off, and after he started 1 looked down a ravine rather south from the school-house, and I saw a wagon down there among the bushes. I remarked to some one, "Down there is a wagon; now, come along with me and we will go down and see what is there.” We went down and found a very large wagon and three horses-one horses tied to the wagon and the other two loose. We caught them hooked two of them up to the wagon, drove it to the school-house, and put a large number of these things in that wagon, and some of the boxes in Mr. Beck's wagon. After we got them in, nobody appeared to be willing to drive the horses, and I said to some one, "Here, get on my horse, and I will drive them." One of the soldiers got on my horse and I got on the wagon and drove those horses down to the Ferry, with the guns in the wagon.

Question: Did you bring off all the guns that you found there?

Answer: All but what we distributed. We thought we had a right to them after going there,

Question: The people who were there helped themselves out of the boxes?

Answer: Everybody that was there, I believe, got a gun, and I have frequently remarked that anybody who says he was there and did not get a gun does not tell the truth, for I carried a number of them out of the house to give to some fellows myself.

Question: Can you form an idea how many guns and pistols were distributed?

Answer: I do not know accurately, but I think there were between forty and fifty persons, each of whom got a gun and most of them a pistol.

Question: Were there no other arms than rifles and pistols?

Answer: I saw nothing else there at all, except one sword.

Question: Were there no other arms of any other kind?

Answer: No, sir.

Question: Were there any pikes there?

Answer: No, sir.

Question: Were all the arms that were found at the school-house which were not taken by the people who were there, carried down to the Ferry?

Answer: Yes, sir.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: To whom were those arms delivered at the Ferry?

Answer: To Mr. Kitzmiller, who was then acting as superintendent of the armory. I think there were also at the school-house some few grubbing hoes and a few picks and shovels -not many.

Question: Were they new?

Answer: Yes, sir; they had never been used.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Were you present when the pikes were taken?

Answer: Yes, sir.

Question: State what knowledge you have of any pikes being found, and where they were found, and the circumstances attending it, without going into detail?

Answer: I raised a parcel of men at the Ferry to go with me. The superintendent said we should have guns. When we got the company formed, Dr. Murphy said we should not have any guns; they were in his charge, and he could not give any more out; he had given out a large number the day before. I then went to Colonel Lee again, and said I, "Colonel, the company that was with me at the school-house have left me, and I want another company to go to Brown's house.” Well," said he, "if you will pilot them there, I will give you another company." So he hunted up Lieutenant Green, of the marines, and told him to take these men with me up to Brown's residence. "How far is it?" he asked. Said I, "it is about five miles. " We started; I went up with him to the Kennedy farm. He took his company, I do not know how many; probably all they could spare there. We took along the wagon and horses we found at the school-house, which I learned was Lewis Washington's wagon. Mr. Washington told me so himself at the arsenal, and we took it by his permission to the Ken­nedy farm. When we got to the farm-house, we ascertained that there had been some citizens from the neighborhood of Sharpsburg at the house before we got there. We did not find anybody in the house; it was deserted. We found there a number of trunks, carpet-bags, and a large quantity of paper of different kinds-"Patriotic Volunteer," I believe it is termed on the outside. It is a drill-book for soldiers, gotten up by Forbes, I believe. There was a number of them in a large box, but no furniture there at all save one table and a cook stove. We found this pamphlet in a map of Kansas Territory. The map my little boy tore up. [The witness produced the printed paper, which is entitled" The Laws of Kansas; Speech of Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana, in the House of Representatives, June 21, 1856," which is left with the committee, and identified by the name of the chairman written on it.

Question: State whether you found any arms there, what they were, and what you did with them?

Answer: We found no arms at all at the house where he lived.

Question: Did you bring off the trunks, the papers, &c.?

Answer: We put the trunks and papers in the wagons. Some of them were destroyed and carried off by citizens around, but there were a good many taken to the Ferry-some trunks; I do not think any boxes were.

Question: State what you found at the cabin, if you went there?

Answer:  Lieutenant Green and myself went in the cabin. He placed one of the soldiers at the door. In the lower part of the house we found a quantity of bed-clothing, such as comforters and canvass for tents, and some axes. There were two cast-iron hominy mills, as I was informed they were, and a good deal of clothing boxed up-new clothing; but the boxes had been opened when we got there. This was clothing for men, and some boots.

Question: Can you give an idea of the amount of clothing-the quantity?

Answer: No, sir.

By Mr. COLLAMER:

Question: Can you give us the size of the boxes or the amount of them?

Answer: I cannot. The clothing was all given away up there and carried off by the citizens of the neighborhood. The boxes had been opened before we got there. There was a pile of counterpanes that looked to be new and very good, that was piled up, I suppose, between two and three feet high, doubled up and piled nicely, laid outside the boxes. There were some knives and forks and spoons, also new, which had never been used. I had a number of them in my hands. I picked them up and threw them down.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: What else?

Answer: In the upper part of the house, in the loft, we found, as I supposed, about a thousand pikes.

Question: What was done with all those things you found there? Answer. They were put in the wagon that we took up there. A number of the pikes were distributed there. Green gave the men a great many. He told me to break the window open and throw them out. I helped him to throw out a good many until I got tired, and I told him I would not throw any more out. He said" send up a coupl8 of soldiers and I will tell them to throw them out." He told the neighbors who were present that they could have as many as they wanted. He said to them, at first, "you can have five a piece" afterwards he told them ten a piece, and finally, he said, "you may have fifty a piece." They took as many as they wanted and the rest were put in the wagon.

Question: Who took them?

Answer: The citizens of the neighborhood.

By Mr. DOOLITTLE:

Question: Had those pikes handles?

Answer: They had handles on them. There were two straw ticks on the floor, and on turning them up I found two pikes under them, one under each, without handles.

Mr. DAVIS:

You spoke of picks being found in the school-house I you did not mean pikes?

Answer: No, sir; the picks were for grubbing. They were what we call grubbing hoes in our country. He had both.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Did you find any picks or shovels in the cabin?

Answer: There were a very few. Apparently they were taken there to be used. There were perhaps half a dozen shovels, short and long handles together, at his house, but they were carried off by the citizens?

Question: Were they all taken to the Ferry?

Answer: All that were not distributed, we carried to the Ferry.

By Mr. DOOLITTLE:

Question: Were these pikes in boxes, or loose?

Answer: They were lying loose, piled up in a corner, as though you would put something up here to hold them from rolling down. They were piled up in one corner right close to where the window had been, but it was nailed up. Handles had been put on the pikes by Brown's men, as I was told by Cook afterwards.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: To whom were they delivered at the Ferry?

Answer: To Mr. Kitzmiller, the acting superintendent. They were taken to the store-room in the armory just as the guns were.

Mr. DAVIS:

I should like to know from Mr. Unseld whether he heard of these people being in the school-house from his little boy, or whether some other person told him that his boy was in the school-house, and that these people were there.

Answer:  I heard it from the teacher.

JOHN C. UNSELD.

 

 

DANIEL WHELAN sworn and examined.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: State your age and where you live?

 

Answer: I live at Harper's Ferry; I am about thirty-nine years of age.

 

Question: What was your business at the Ferry at the time of the invasion by John Brown?

 

Answer: I was a watchman at the armory gate on Sunday night.

 

Question: In whose service were you?

 

Answer: In the United States service.

 

Question: State when you first saw or heard or knew anything of Brown's party; what occurred when they came there?

 

Answer: The first time I ever saw them I heard the noise of their wagon coming down the street from the depot, and then I advanced about three yards out from the watch-house door, and observed the wagon standing facing the armory gate.

 

Question: Was the gate locked?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; I went and I advanced a little closer; I thought it was Mr. Mason, the head watchman; there were two men at the padlock striving to open it; I told them to "hold on;" I went to the gate, and when! observed it was not Mr. Mason, I drew aside at the gate and looked until I observed them, and saw they were strangers; when they all came into the yard I think there was about twenty-five men; they asked me to open the gate; I told them I could not open the gate by any means; "Open the gate," said they; I said" I could not if I was stuck," and one of them jumped up on the pier of the gate over my head, and another fellow ran and put his hand on me and caught me by the coat and held me; I was inside and they were outside, and the fellow standing over my head upon the pier, and then when I would not open the gate for them, five or six ran in from the wagon, clapped their guns against my breast, and told me I should deliver up the key; I told them I could not; and another fellow made Answer and said they had not time now to be waiting for a key, but to go to the wagon and bring out the crowbar and large hammer, and they would soon get in; they went to the little wagon and brought a large crowbar out of it; there is a large chain around the two sides of the wagon-gate going in; they twisted the crowbar in the chain and they opened it, and in they ran and got in the wagon; one fellow took me; they all gathered about me and looked in my face; I was nearly scared to death with so many guns about me; I did not know the minute or the hour I should drop; they told me to be very quiet and still and make no noise or else they would put me to eternity; one of them ordered the wagon to be marched in, and all were in the wagon except four who had me; they took the wagon down the yard and passed the horses' heads to the gate where Colonel Barbour's office is; after that, the head man of them, Brown, ordered all the men to dis­patch out of the yard, but he left a man at each side of the big gate along with himself; he himself still had me and Bill Williams, the watchman whom he brought down off the Potomac bridge; those other two men were at the gate, and then he said" I came here from Kansas, and this is a slave State; I want to free all the negroes in this State; I have possession now of the United States armory, and if the citizens interfere with me, I must only burn the town and have blood."

 

Question: Were you the only watchman in the armory yard?

 

Answer: There was another above in the upper end, but they did not go near him until about 1 o'clock.

 

Question: How far was the upper end from the gate?

 

Answer: About 300 yards, I guess.

 

Question: You saw nothing of him until about 1 o'clock in the morning?

 

Answer: Not until the train came down, and he was coming down to see where I was, and Brown met him and marched him into the watch-house.

 

Question: What time in the night was it when Browns party appeared there at the gate?

 

Answer: To the best of my knowledge it was a quarter before eleven o'clock on Sunday night, the 16th of October.

 

Question: What did they do with you after they took you?

 

Answer: They kept me in the yard and began to Question me about all the officers. I told them as well as I could, and the leader said he would have all those gentlemen in the morning; and with that, before he took me into the watch-house, they had old Mr. Williams down from the rifle-works. He was the other watchman up at the rifle-works. They also brought in two or three young fellows off the street. The men scattered out of the armory yard and brought them in. I had a sword in my hand, and when they all came to view me Cook took that out of my hand. I knew Cook well. There were two old muskets in the watch-house, and they took them and put them into the wagon, and I could get no person to tell me anything about them since.

 

Question: There were no watchmen in the armory yard except you at the gate, and one man at the far end, about 300 yards off?

 

Answer: That was all.

 

Question: Was the gate kept locked always at night?

 

Answer: Always, I had the key on Monday when Mr. Daingerfield was marched out, and he asked who was the watchman last night, I said "I was the watchman." He said, "Why don't you open this gate?" "I could not open it," said 1. "Have you the key?" "Yes," said I, "I have the key." "Well," said Daingerfield, on Monday, about 8 or 9 o'clock, when he was taken prisoner, "you had better open the gate." I was going to open the little gate by the word of Mr. Daingerfield, and Mr. Brown struck up, took the two keys, and said he was the man who could open it, and kept the keys. They were picking them up, and brought in Mr. Allstadt and Mr. Washington there, and their Negroes, their wagons and horses.

 

Question: Did they keep you confined in the watch-house, or leave you go about the yard?

 

Answer: They kept me until I was taken out of it by the f9rce of Martinsburg or the Charlestown Company, I do not know which.

 

Question: What time of day was that?

 

Answer: About three o'clock on Monday

 

 

DANIEL X. WHELAN.

 

Attest:

     D. F. MURPHY.

 

 

 

JOHN D. STARRY, sworn and examined.

By the CHAIRMAN:

Question: Will you state what is your age, here you reside, and what your profession is?

 

Answer: I am thirty-five years of age. I reside at Harper's Ferry. I am a practicing physician.

 

Question: Will you state at what time you first heard of the presence of an armed party at Harper's Ferry; where you heard it; and what occurred when you first became aware of it?

 

Answer: On Sunday night, the 16th of October, about half past one o'clock, I heard a shot fired in the direction of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad bridge, the iron span of the bridge, and immediately afterwards a cry of distress, as if somebody had been hurt. At the same time I heard considerable confusion about the Baltimore and Ohio railroad train-the starting point just opposite the hotel. I jumped out of my bed. My room is nearly opposite the railroad bridge. I went to the window and saw two armed men passing from the bridge towards the armory gate. These men were low fellows. While I was standing there) a tall man came from the direction of the armory gate, and met them near the Winchester railroad. Some noise about the hotel attracted his attention, and he turned and went towards the armory gate again. About that time some of the passengers came out from between the hotel and the railroad station, and the tall man said to them, "The first man that fires at me I will shoot," or, "the first man who interrupts me," or some such expression as that. In a very short time I was in the street, and there was some firing going on between the railroad party or citizens and that man. I did not know who fired first. There were several shots passed between them. I was then going across the street towards the railroad office. When I got there I found the negro porter, Hayward, shot) the ball entering from behind, through the body, nearly on a line with the base of the heart, a little below it. He told me that he had been out on the rail­road bridge looking for a watchman who was missing, and he had been ordered to halt by some men who were there, and, instead of doing that, he turned to go back to the office I and as he turned they shot him in the back. I understood from him that he walked from there to the office, and when I found him he was lying on a plank upon two chairs in the office.

 

Question: Will you state in whose employment that Negro was?

 

Answer: He was in the employment of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, and it was his duty to be up whenever the train arrived to attend to baggage, and receive whatever baggage was put off for the station, and attend to everything about the office during the absence of Mr. Beckham, the agent. He was a free Negro, and had permission of the county court to remain in Jefferson County. I believe he did not belong to the county.

 

Question: Did you examine his wound?

 

Answer: Yes, sir. I found he was shot in the back, nearly on a line with the base of the heart, a little below it, and the ball came out in front?

 

Question: How long did he live?

 

Answer: I saw him about daylight; he was still living. I understood he died between twelve and one 0' clock on Monday, the next day. Soon after that, which was probably about two 0' clock in the morning, I stood at the corner of the railroad station and saw three men, who, I supposed, were the three I had first seen, coming from the armory gate, and I stood at the corner of the depot until they got within five or six feet of me. I then passed back the angle of the station until I got to the office-door and went in, and said to the passengers, and others who were there) "here go these three men now whom I saw go into the armory yard, and I will go down to the armory and see what is going on."

 

Question: Could you see whether those men were armed?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; I knew they were armed. I stood until they were very close to me. I went then to the armory gate, and before I got to the gate I called for the watchman. I was ordered to halt. I did so, and inquired of the men who halted me, what had become of the watchmen. I wanted to inquire why they allowed persons to go in and out of that gate, when they knew they were shooting down those whom they met in the street. I did not understand it, and I asked for Medler and ~1urphy, the watchmen. The fellow told me that there were no watchmen there; that he did not know Medler or Murphy, but, said he, "There are a few of us here." I did not say anything more to him, but turned and went up the street, and came off on the Winchester railroad, and down to the railroad office again. Soon after that, I was on the platform, and some of that party from the bridge hailed me to know if that train was coming over-the train which they had stopped. I told them I thought it was very doubtful; I did not think it would come over until after daylight; we did not understand their movements, and should like to know what they were doing. He said to me, "Never mind, you will find out in a day or two." I asked him if he expected to stay there a day or two. He made no reply to that. I passed on around the railroad office or post office, I do not remember which. That was about three 0' clock, I suppose. I watched them from that time until daylight, sometimes very close to them, and sometimes further off. About four o'clock I heard a wagon coming down the street. I did not know what that meant, and I watched them as closely as I could. About five minutes after five o'clock, I saw a four-horse team driving over the Baltimore and Ohio railroad bridge. I did not know whose it was. In that wagon there were three men standing up in the front part, with spears in their hands, white men, and two were walking alongside, armed with rifles. I did not see any Negroes. .1 saw but these men. I understood afterwards there were Negroes with them, but I did not see them. About daylight, as these strangers seemed to have possession of the public works there, I determined to get on my horse and go and notify Mr. Kitzmiller, acting superintendent of the armory, of the condition of things there, but before I did that I went to the island of Virginius, and roused up Mr. Welch and others there. I knew there were a good many men about the mill and cooper-shop there. I told them the condition of things as well as I could. I met no one on the way. I then got my horse and came out into Shenandoah street, and had to go perhaps fifty yards before I made the turn of the street leading to the hill. About the time I was making that turn, I saw three of these men coming across from the armory gate towards the arsenal. They had just made a few steps from the gate into the street. I did not know whether their intention was to stop me or not. They made a sort of half turn, and I was out of their sight in a moment. I went to Mr. Kitzmiller and informed him that the armory was in possession of an armed band. I then passed up to Bolivar, and roused up some of the people, and went from there to Hall's Works, and found three of these men there armed. I rode up to the fence, which was probably twenty-five or thirty steps from where they were. They stepped out in front of one of the buildings, and marched down inside of the fence fifty or sixty yards, and out into the public street, and down towards the armory. I went back to the hillside then, and tried to get the citizens together, to see what we could do to get rid of these fellows. They seemed to be very troublesome. When I got on the hill I learned that they had shot Boerley. That was probably about 7 o'clock. Boerley was an Irishman, living there, a citizen of the town. He died very soon afterwards.

 

Question: Tell us about that incident; did you see Boerley?

 

Answer: I did not see him.

 

Question: Did you see him after he was dead?

 

Answer: No, sir. Dr. Claggett, who is here, saw him after he was dead, and was with him when he died.

 

Question: Do you know anything of the killing of Mr. Turner?

 

Answer: No, sir; I will go on with what I was stating; I had ordered the Lutheran church bell to be rung to get the citizens together to see what sort of arms they had; I found one or two squirrel rifles and a few shot guns; I had sent a messenger to Charlestown in the meantime for Captain Rowan, commander of a volunteer company there: I also sent messengers to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to stop the trains coming east, and not let them approach the Ferry, and also a messenger to Shepherdstown. When I could find no guns fit for use, and learned from the operatives and foremen at the armory that all the guns that they knew of were in the arsenal and in possession of these men, I thought I had better go to Charlestown myself, perhaps; I did so, and hurried Captain Rowan off. When I returned to the Ferry, I found that the citizens had gotten some guns out of one of the workshops-guns which had been placed there to keep them out of the high water-and were pretty well armed. I assisted, from that time until some time in the night, in various ways, organizing the citizens and getting them to the best" place of attack, and sometimes acting professionally.

 

Question: State the position of the armory and armory yard in reference to the rivers?

 

Answer: It is just at the confluence of the two rivers. After passing across the bridge, these men had about 60 yards to go to get to the armory gate, down the street, in front of the hotel. They would go up the Potomac river. 'rhe arsenal is rather up the Shenandoah river from there. It is probably about 60 yards from the armory gate to the arsenal gate on the Shenandoah side.

 

Question: Where are Hall's rifle works?

 

Answer:  About half a mile up the Shenandoah River.

 

Question: These armed parties were in possession of those three points?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; and the Baltimore and Ohio railroad bridge also;

 

Question: Were you aware of the killing of any other person than this free Negro you have mentioned?

 

Answer: No, sir; I did not see the others; I saw Mr. Turner after he was dead, and also Mr. Beckham; I did not know that Mr. Turner was shot until after he was dead.

 

Question: Did you examine Turner to see how he was killed?

 

Answer: No; I did not make an examination; I saw him after he was dead.

 

Question: Did you examine Beckham to see in what way he was killed?

 

Answer:  Yes, sir; Mr. Beckham was killed by a rifle ball. He was shot in the right breast.

 

Question: Where was the body when you saw it?

 

Answer: In his room. He had been removed from the place where he was killed and carried to his sleeping room near his office.

 

Question: Did you see this man Brown during that night, so as to identify him that you know of?

 

Answer:  I do not think I did; I asked him afterwards if he was at the armory gate when I was there, but he said he was not, and did not know why I had not been taken prisoner.

 

Question: Had you any arms?

 

Answer:   None at all.

 

Question: Will you state where your chamber was, in what part of the town?

 

Answer: Nearly opposite the mouth of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad bridge, within 50 steps of the mouth of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Bridge, in a building across from the hotel; I was awake at the time the shot was fired and the cry of distress heard. My first idea was that some one had been shot at the train.

 

Question: When you first went out was the train there?

 

Answer: Yes, sir; it had attempted to cross the bridge before Hayward was shot, and was ordered back again by the conductor.

 

Question: Did you see any of Brown's party killed?

 

Answer. I saw a man shot in the Potomac River on Monday; I suppose about one 0' clock. He was shot from near the small bridge, at the upper end of the trussel work, or from the hill side. He was attempt­ing to cross the Potomac River from the Virginia to the Maryland side.

 

Question: Have you any means of knowing how many of them were killed except those in the engine-house?

 

Answer: I saw part of the fight at Hall's works; I went to put on some dry clothes on at half past three o'clock, and that fight was then over. A yellow fellow was brought down on the bank of the river and citizens were tying their handkerchiefs together to hang him; I put my horse between the armory wall and the fence and held him there until I allowed the officer to get off some 25 or 30 steps with the prisoner; I said to them that two or three of Brown; s men were in Han's works, and if they wanted to show their bravery they could go there. They did so. They were the citizens and neighbors of the Ferry. I organized a party about half past two or three o'clock, and sent them over there, with directions to commence the fight as soon as they got near enough; that party was under the command of a young man named Irwin. He went over, and at the first fire Kagi, and the others who were with him in Hall's works, went out the back way towards the Winchester railroad, climbed out on the railroad and into the Shenandoah River. They were met on the opposite side by a party who were there and driven back again, and two of them were shot; Kagi was killed, and a yellow fellow, Leary, was wounded and died that night; and the yellow fellow Copeland was taken unhurt.

 

Question: How many of the Brown party did you see dead, including those who were in the engine-house?

 

Answer: Four dead and Stevens wounded, and the yellow fellow Leary wounded. I saw ten of Brown's party dead altogether, including those in the engine-house.

 

Question: How many of those ten were Negroes?

 

Answer: I only give you the names of the negroes as given to me by Stevens-Leary and Anderson and Daingerfield Newby were the Negroes killed. Anderson was of very light color, but was given to me by Stevens, one of the party, as a colored man.

 

Question: Do you, know the number of citizens who were killed?

 

Answer:   Four; three white men and the Negro Hayward. Hayward first, Boerley, Mr. Turner, and Mr. Beckham. Beckham was the last shot, about four o'clock in the evening.

 

Question: Were there any of the citizens wounded?

 

Answer:  Edward McCabe was wounded. There were some of the Berkeley men wounded, who were acting as military. I do not know any other citizen of Harper's Ferry who was wounded but McCabe.

 

JOHN D. STARRY.

 

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