From John Brown's speech, "Idea of Things in Kansas"
I propose in order to make this meeting as useful & interesting as I can …to try & give a correct idea of the condition of things in Kansas, as they were while I was there & as I suppose they still are, as far as the great question at issue is concerned….
I together with Four of my Sons were called out to help defend Lawrence [Kansas] in the Fall of 1855 & traveled most of the way on foot; & during a dark Night, a distance of 35 Miles: where we were detained with some 500 others or thereabouts from 5 to 15 days: say an average of 10 days at a cost to each pr day of $1.50 as wages to say nothing of the actual loss & suffering it occasioned. Many of them leaving their families at home sick, their crops not secured, their houses unprepared for Winter, & many of them without houses at all. This was the case with myself, & all my sons: who were unable to get any house built after our return…
… I saw the ruins of many Free State mens houses, at different places in the Territory; together with Stacks of grain wasted, & burning to the amount of say $50,000 Dollars. Making in lost time & destruction of property more than $150,000 Dollars.
… In Sept last I visited a beautiful little Free State Town called Stanton on the North side of the Osage or Meridezene [Marais des Cygnes] river as it is called: from which every inhabitant had fled (being in fear of their lives) after having built them at a heavy expense a strong Block House or wooden fort for their protection. Many of them had left their effects liable to be destroyed or carried off not being able to remove them.… During last Summer & Fall deserted Houses, & Cornfields were to be met with in almost every direction South of the Kansas river. I with Five sick and wounded sons, & Son-in-Law; were obliged for some time to lie on the ground without shelter, our Boots, & clothes worn out, destitute of money, & at times almost in a State of starvation…
…I am trying to raise from $20, to 25,000 Dollars in the Free States to enable me to continue my efforts in the cause of Freedom…. Will some Gentleman or lady take hold & try what can be done by small contributions from Counties Cities Towns, Societies or Churches? …. I was told that the Newspapers in a certain City were dressed in mourning on hearing that I was killed & scalped in Kansas; but I did not know of it until I reached the place. Much good it did me. In the same place I met a more cool reception than in any other place where I have stopped. If my friends will hold up my hands while I live: I will freely absolve them from any expence over me when I am dead. I do not ask for pay but shall be most grateful for all the assistance I can get.
Quoted in "Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains," Volume 27, Number 1-2, Spring-Summer 2004.