John Brown 1859

Letter to Thomas Russell

Source: John Brown, The Making of a Revolutionary, edited by Louis Ruchames. New York, Grosset & Dunlap, 1969;
Copy Left: this work is free of copyright;
Transcribed: by Mitch Abidor.

Charlestown Jefferson County Va. Oct. 21, 1859

Dear Sir:

I am here a prisoner with several sabre cuts in my head, & bayonet cuts in my body. My object in writing to you is to obtain able, & faithful counsel for myself; & fellow prisoners five in all, as we have the faith of Virginia, pledged through her Governor and numerous other prominent citizens, to give us a fair trial. Without we can obtain such counsel from without the slave states: neither the facts in our case can come before the world: nor can we have the benefit of such facts (as might be considered mitigating in the view of others) upon our trial. I have money on hand here to the amount of $250 and personal property sufficient to pay a most liberal fee to yourself; or to any suitable man who will undertake our defence, if I can be allowed the benefit of said property. Can you or some other good man come in immediately for the sake of the young men prisoners at least? My wounds are doing well. Do not send an ultra Abolitionist.

Very respectfully yours,
John brown

The trial is set for Wednesday next the 25th inst.

J.W. Campbell
Sheriff Jeff. County