Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
|CHAPTER X. -- CANADA CONVENTION.--HARPER'S FERRY.|
IT seems remarkable that the man whom Providence had chosen to warn a guilty nation of its danger, and throughout whom the African in America received the boon of freedom, which is but a prelude to the entire abolition of slavery on the western continent, should be sent first to Major Delany in Canada, through whom alone he considered himself able to perfect the plans necessary to begin the great work! Certainly the ways of Providence are beyond mortal comprehension. The extraordinary kindness of the jailer to the old hero prophet in the midst of hostile men in Virginia elected surprise in the North, and was the subject of remark by many. To a playfellow of Martin Delany in childhood it was no matter of wonderment that he should sympathize with his helpless, way-worn prisoner, if the heart of the man were at all akin to the heart of the child. The open admiration demonstrated by the Virginia jailer for the Character of his captive was a picture striking and pleasing in the midst of all the dark surroundings of that time. The man who, in the midst of hostile faces lowering with hate and fear towards him who sat beside him on his way to death, could say, "Captain Brown, you are a
In regard to the relation sustained by the brave Avis to Major Delany in childhood, it may be of interest to know that the acquaintance was renewed in after years, during the Mexican war, by the major's frequently sending him copies of the paper of which he was then editor in Pittsburgh. These were duly acknowledged by Captain Avis, who recognized his name, and adverted to some of the scenes of their childhood, but cautioned him against sending them regularly, lest it should attract attention at the post-office, the paper being thoroughly anti-slavery, and taking grounds against the war, as being waged for the propagation of slavery. Hence anti-slavery sentiments were not unfamiliar to Avis. And we know not but that at some time, in that lonely prison cell, the name of Martin Delany, whom the testimony of Mr. Richard behalf before the Senate committee had made to play such a conspicuous part in the singularly significant councils at Chatham, was mentioned; and who can say it may not have been a link that had first knit the captor to the captive?
The testimony of Mr. Realf before the Senate Committee appointed to investigate the Harper's Ferry affair resulted in placing Major Delany in a most cowardly light. The charges were to the effect that he, "Dr. Delany, had repeatedly urged the black men in the convention, and that all his acts and advices tended to encourage them to go with Captain Brown, to aid in an overthrow of the government, as a measure that would succeed." This is without foundation. Major Delany is remembered, by those who attended the
Dr. Delany replied immediately to this, courteously, yet decidedly. Said he, "Captain Brown does not know the man of whom he speaks: There exists no one in whose veins the blood of Cowardice courses less of freely; and it must not be said, even by John Brown, of Ossawatomie". As he concluded, the old man bowed approvingly to him, then arose, and made explanations.
He accounted for Mr. Realf's discrepancies from the fact that the young man was a stranger to the country, and understood but little of its policy, and his former position in life never brought him in contact with men of such character as Mason, of Trent notoriety, and the rest of the pro-slavery committee, upon whose torturing rack he was stretched, upon the charge of attempting to overthrow the government !
But a few years after beheld the chairman of that committee a fugitive, a prisoner, and an exile, and Virginia the battle ground of contending armies, one inspired by an anthem commemorating the name of him whom Virginia in her madness sacrificed to her destruction, the other endeavoring to destroy the Union in accordance with the teachings of the judges of Captain Brown and his followers.
While this stern judge of the Senate Chamber was hiding his blighted name in exile, the name of Richard Realf shone among the brightest at Lookout Mountain, as he rushed forward, amid a shower of bullets, to replace the national standard after its bearer had fallen.
These misrepresentations of Major Delany's connection with the Harper's Ferry insurrection embarrassed him greatly, at one time, while abroad, which we give, and will also show the importance attached to the Harper's Ferry invasion abroad.
While reporting on his explorations during his visit to Scotland, a letter (anonymous) was sent to Sir Culling Eardley, implicating the Major (Dr. Delany) with the "insurgents under John Brown".
Such was the effects of this insidious missive, that a whole day (Sabbath) was spent by gentlemen of the highest social and public position in discussing the matter, and considering the propriety of dropping and denouncing him.
But wisdom prevailed, and they determined to disregard the anonymous informant's advice. With this a learned ex-official of her majesty's government called upon him at his residence in Glasgow, and reported the proceedings to him. He was met with an argument from Major Delany, to which he assented, and replied that it was the same in substance as used by himself and the great-hearted Sir Culling Eardley Eardley. After passing through the scrutiny of these British statesmen, he received no further annoyance concerning this while in Europe.
Of the movement at Harper's Ferry, followed by the almost immediate execution of Captain Brown and
It was after the Canada Convention, in accordance with designs as before stated, he embarked for Africa, accompanied by Robert Douglass, Esq., of Philadelphia, the genius whom prejudice denied the right to study peacefully his glorious art in the academy of his native city, but whom the Royal Academy of England received within its portals, and Professor Robert Campbell, of the Philadelphia Institute for colored youth.