We cannot, here, enter into the detail of the fight between parties. Each day it became more venomous. Rivalries, old jealousies, increased its complexity ; and on more than one point of the territory, blood had already been shed. In 1859, while he was staying in Arlington, Colonel Lee found himself mixed up with one of the episodes of that troublesome period.
A Kansas farmer -- an aged, hard-working, simple man -- had often taken part in the manifestations launched by the opposing parties. A convinced and passionate abolitionist, John Brown got so exalted in the fight that he came to believe he was to become the liberator of the Blacks. He forgot that all progress built on violence, obtained without regard to laws, is something else than a progress. He thought that a general rising of all the Blacks would hasten the times and would lead immediately to the objective that legal means would take so long to reach.
To begin with, he worked a secret agreement with some slaves who had taken refuge in Canada. Then he established contacts in the principle states. By October, 1859, he
believed he was strong enough to stir up the Black population
- You remember, perhaps, that a poster representing John Brown′s gallows, and signed by Victor Hugo, had been exposed in the streets of Paris for a long time.