To Captain John Brown, Senior, of Kansas:
To you, Old Hero, I dedicate this record of my Talks with the Slaves in the Southern States.
To you is due our homage for first showing how, and how alone, the gigantic crime of our age and nation can be effectually blotted out from our soil forever. You have proven that the slaver has a soul as cowardly as his own "domestic institution ;" you have shown how contemptible he is as a foe before the rifle of the earnest freeman. With your sword of the Lord and of Gideon you met him face to face; with a few ill-clad and ill-armed footmen, you routed his well-mounted and well-armed hosts.
I admire you for your dauntless bravery on the field; but more for your religious integrity of character and resolute energy of anti-slavery zeal. Rifle in hand, you put the brave young men of Kansas to shame; truth in heart, you rendered insignificant the puerile programmes of anti-slavery politicians.
You have no confidence in any man, plan or party that ignores moral principle as the soul of its action. You well know that an Organized Iniquity can never be destroyed by any programme of action which overlooks the fact that it is a crime, and is therefore to be eradicated without compromise, commiseration or delay. This, also, is my belief. Hence do I doubt the ultimate efficacy of any political anti-slavery action which is founded on Expediency— the morals of the counting-room—and hence, also, I do not hesitate to urge the friends of the slave to incite insurrections, and encourage, in the North, a spirit which shall ultimate in civil and servile wars. I think it unfair that the American bondman should have no generous Lafayette. What France was to us in our hour of trial, let the North be to the slave to-day. The oppressions of which the men of '76 complained through the muzzles of their guns and with the points of their bayonets, were trifling—unworthy of a moment's discussion—as compared with the cruel and innumerable wrongs which the negroes of the South now endure. If the fathers were justified in their rebellion, how much more will the slaves be justifiable in their insurrection? You, Old Hero! believe that the slave should be aided and urged to insurrection, and hence do I lay this tribute at your feet.
You are unwilling to ignore the rights of the slave for any reason—any "constitutional guarantees "—any plea of vested rights—any argument of inferiority of race—any sophistry of Providential overrulings, or pitiable appeals for party success. You are willing to recognize the negro as a brother, however inferior in intellectual endowments; as having rights, which, to take away, or withhold, is a crime that should be punished without mercy—surely—promptly —by law, if we can do it; over it, if more speedily by such action; peacefully if we can, but forcibly and by bloodshed if we must! So am I.
You went to Kansas, when the troubles broke out there —not to "settle" or "speculate"—or from idle curiosity: but for one stern, solitary purpose—to have a shot at the South. So did I.
To you, therefore, my senior in years as in services to the slave, I dedicate this work.