|Sept. 1, 29, 1859; Horace E. Scudder, ed., The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ( Boston and New York, 1882), 20.|
Autograph letter. Boyd B. Stutler Collection, West Virginia State Archives, Division of Culture and History, Charleston, West Virginia (micro 13:0272).
Columbus, Oct. 29, 1859
My dear Sir,
Accept my warm thanks for yourself and coadjutors1 for your compliance with my request and for your more than compliance. As one good turn deserves another! may I take courage to ask you to copy the Article of the Columbus Gazette of this week in relation to the influence of independent journals & men on elections. It will aid me with conservative men.2
You have laid me under additional obligation by your prompt & efficient defence against the attempt of the unscrupulous to make me responsible for the Brown [illeg.].3 A mere preface to a letter!--not even that but a simple memorandum of intention to send a copy endorsed on it--evidence to prove that the letter was sent to me & the note "who found money" tortured into proof that money was furnished to Brown for his insane attempt!4 It is evidence not sufficient to warrant even a suspicion. How rascally to use it as they do.
The truth is that if the memorandum is genuine & expressed the intention of Forbes when it was written, that intention was never carried into act. No copy of the letter was ever sent me. Certainly none ever reached me. And as to money it was not much I am sorry to say that I ever "found" for the Kansas cause but all I did contribute was to aid in repelling proslavery invasion & I have contributed none directly or indirectly since 1856. To poor old Brown I never contributed any as far as I remember but I was the medium by which late in 1856 a small sum was given to him to aid in repelling the threatened invasion.5
Poor old man! How sadly misled by his own imaginations! How rash--how mad--how criminal thus to stir up insurrection which if successful would deluge the land with blood & make void the fairest hopes of mankind! And yet how hard to condemn him, when one remembers the [provocation]--the unselfish desire to set free the oppressed--the bravery--the humanity towards his prisoners which defeated his purposes--! It is a tragedy which will supply themes for novelists & poets for centuries--Men will condemn his act & pity his fate forever. But while pity & condemnation mingle for him how stern will be the reprobation which must fall on the great wrong of forcing slavery upon Kansas which began it all and upon slavery itself which underlies it all.
By the way I am strongly impressed with the opinion that the man whom Newhall--never call these commissioners, "Courts" I beg you-- sent into slavery so indecently the other day was a freeman.6 I am