JOHN BROWN AND THE RAID ON HARPERS
FERRY - 1859
John Brown's Final Speech
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John Brown's Final Speech.
It follows the full text transcript of
John Brown's Final Speech, delivered at
Charlestown, Virginia (today's West Virginia) - November 2,
I have, may it
please the Court, a few words to say.
In the first
place, I deny every thing but what I have
already admitted, of a design on my part to free
I intended, certainly, to have made a
clean thing of that matter, as I did last
winter, when I went into Missouri, and there
took Slaves, without the snapping of a gun on
either side, moving them through the country,
and finally leaving them in Canada.
I desired to
have done the same thing again, on a much larger
scale. That was all I intended. I never did
intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of
property, or to excite or incite Slaves to
rebellion, or to make insurrection.
another objection, and that is, that it is
unjust that I should suffer such a penalty.
I interfered in the manner, and which I admit
has been fairly proved, for I admire the
truthfulness and candor of the greater portion
of the witnesses who have testified in this
case, had I so interfered in behalf of the
Rich, the Powerful, the Intelligent, the
so-called Great, or in behalf of any of their
friends, either father, mother, brother, sister,
wife, or children, or any of that class, and
suffered and sacrificed what I have in this
interference, it would have been all right.
Every man in this Court would have deemed it an
act worthy a reward, rather than a punishment.
This Court acknowledges too, as I suppose, the
validity of the LAW OF GOD. I saw a book kissed
which I suppose to be the BIBLE, or at least,
the NEW TESTAMENT, which teaches me that, "All
things whatsoever I would that men should do to
me, I should do even so to them."
It teaches me
further, to "Remember them that are in bounds,
as bound with them." I endeavored to act up to
I say I am yet too young to
understand that God is any respecter of persons.
I believe that to have interfered as I have
done, in behalf of His despised poor, was not
wrong but RIGHT.
Now if it is deemed necessary
that I should forfeit my life for the
furtherance of the ends of justice and MINGLE MY
BLOOD FURTHER WITH THE BLOOD OF MY CHILDREN, and
with the blood of millions in this slave country
whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel,
and unjust enactments--I submit; so LET IT BE
Let me say one word further: I feel
entirely satisfied with the treatment I have
received on my trial. Considering all the
circumstances, it has been more generous than I
expected; but I feel no consciousness of guilt.
I have stated from the first what was my
intention, and what was not. I never had any
design against the liberty of any person, nor
any disposition to commit treason, or excite
Slaves to rebel, or make any general
insurrection. I never encouraged any man to do
so, but always discouraged any idea of that
Let me say something, also, in regard to
the statements made by some of those who were
connected with me. I hear that it has been
stated by some of them, that I have induced them
to join me; but the contrary is true.
I do not
say this to injure them, but as regarding their
weakness. Not one but joined me of his own
accord, and the greater part at their own
expense. A number of them I never saw and never
had a word of conversation with, till the day
they came to me, and that was for the purpose I
Now I have done.