John Brown from the Docket
I have, may it please the Court, a few words to say.
In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted,- the design on my part to free the slaves. I intended certainly to have made a clean thing of that matter, as I did last winter, when I went to Missouri and there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either side, moved them through the country, and finally left them in Canada. I designed to have done the same thing again, on a larger scale. That was all I intended. I never did intend murder, treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection.
I have another objection; and that is, it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved (for I admire the truthfulness and candour 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, or any of that class,- and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right; and every man in this court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.
This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That 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 bonds, as bound with them”. 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- as I have always freely admitted 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 his slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments,- I submit; so let it be done!