Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Old John Brown, the man whose soul is marching on   By: (1809?-)

Book cover

First Page:

OLD JOHN BROWN

THE MAN WHOSE SOUL IS MARCHING ON

by

WALTER HAWKINS

PREFACE

This book is for busy people who have not the time to read at large upon the subject. Those who would adequately master all the bearings of the story here briefly told must read American history, for which facilities are rapidly increasing. As to John Brown himself, his friend F. B. Sanborn's LIFE AND LETTERS is a mine of wealth. To its pages the present writer is greatly indebted, and he commends them to others.

W. H.

Kilburn, May 1913.

CONTENTS

I. WHY WE WRITE OUR STORY II. CHILDWOOD AND THE VOW III. THE LONG WAITING TIME IV. HOW THE CALL CAME V. BIBLE AND SWORD VI. THE UNDERGROUND RAILWAY VII. HARPER'S FERRY VIII. THE HALT OF THE BODY AND THE MARCH OF THE SOUL

CHAPTER I

WHY WE WRITE OUR STORY

There are few who have not a dim notion of John Brown as a name bound up with the stirring events of the United States in the period which preceded the Civil War and the emancipation of the slave. Many English readers, however, do not get beyond the limits of the famous couplet,

John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave, But his soul is marching on.

That statement is authentic in both its clauses, but it is interesting to learn what he did with the body before it commenced a dissolution which seems to have been regarded as worth recording. Carlyle says in his grimly humorous way of the gruesome elevation of the head of one of his patriotic heroes on Temple Bar, 'It didn't matter: he had quite done with it.' And we might say the same of the body which was hanged at Charlestown in 1859. In his devoutly fatalistic way John Brown had presented his body a living sacrifice to the cause of human freedom, and had at last slowly reached the settled opinion that it was worth more to the cause dead than alive. Such a soul, so masterful in its treatment of the body, was likely to march on without it. And it did in the years that followed, This Abolitionist raider, with a rashness often sublime in its devotion, precipitated the national crisis which issued in the Civil War and Emancipation.

There are lives of brave men which set us thinking for the most part of human power and skill: we watch bold initiators of some wise policy carrying their enterprise through with indomitable courage and in exhaustible patience, and we are lost in admiration of the hero. But there are other brave lives which leave us thinking more of unseen forces which impelled them than of their own splendid qualities. They never seem masters of destiny, but its intrepid servants. They shape events while they hardly know how or why; they seem to be rather driven by fate than to be seeking fame or power. They go out like Abraham, 'not knowing whither they go,' only that, like him, they have heard a call. Sometimes they sorely tax the loyalty of their admirers with their eccentricities and their defiance of the conventions of their age. Wisdom is only justified of these, her strange children, in the next generation. Prominent among such lives is that of John Brown. The conscience of the Northern States on the question of slavery needed but some strong irritant to arouse it to vigorous action, and, the hanging of John Brown sufficed.

The institution of slavery became both ridiculous and hateful to multitudes because so good a man must be done to death to preserve it. The verdict of Victor Hugo, 'What the South slew last December was not John Brown, but slavery,' found an echo in many minds. And when the long, fierce conflict, through which Emancipation came, was begun, the quaint lines,

John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave, But his soul is marching on,

became one of the mightiest of the battle songs which urged the Federal hosts to victory. His name kindled the flame of that passion for freedom which made the cause of the North triumphant, and there was awe mingled with the love they bore his memory. Perhaps no man had been oftener called with plausible reason a fool; but those who knew the single hearted devotion to a great cause of this ready victim of the gallows came reverently to think of him as 'God's fool... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books