John Brown answers the slaveholding Senator Mason of Virginia in Charleston Prison, October 18, 1859

Mr. MASON What was your object in coming?

Mr. BROWN We came to free the slaves, and only that.

A YOUNG MAN (in the uniform of a volunteer company) How many men in all had you?

Mr. BROWN I came to Virginia with eighteen men only, besides myself.

VOLUNTEER What in the world did you suppose you could do here in Virginia with that amount of men?

Mr. BROWN Young man, I don't wish to discuss that question here.

VOLUNTEER You could not do anything.

Mr. BROWN Well, perhaps your ideas and mine on military subjects would differ materially.

Mr. MASON How do you justify your acts?

Mr. BROWN I think, my friend, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity—I say it without wishing to be offensive—and it would be perfectly right for anyone to interfere with you so far as to free those you wilfully and wickedly hold in bondage. I do not say this insultingly.

Mr. MASON I understand that.

Mr. BROWN I think I did right, and that others will do right who interfere with you at any time and all times. I hold that the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you," applies to all who would help others to gain their liberty.

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  1. wonderful alan, this and the last posts on john brown. thanks for letting me know about him.

    (i just noticed your "as seen on dc's" sidebar... are you the subterranen kid? i won't say anything of course)