Brown is fifty-five years of age, rather small-sized, with keen and restless gray eyes, and a grizzly beard and hair. He is a wiry, active man, and should the slightest chance for an escape be afforded, there is no doubt that he will yet give his captors much trouble. His hair is matted and tangled, and his face, hands, and clothes are smutched and smeared with blood.
Colonel Lee stated that he would exclude all visitors from the room if the wounded men were annoyed or pained by them, but Brown said he was by no means annoyed; on the contrary, he was glad to be able to make himself and his motives clearly understood. He converses freely, fluently, and cheerfully, without the slightest manifestation of fear or uneasiness, evidently weighing well his words, and possessing a good command of language. His manner is courteous and affable, while he appears to be making a favorable impression upon his auditory, which, during most of the day yesterday averaged about ten or a dozen men.
When I arrived in the armory, shortly after two o'clock in the afternoon, Brown was answering questions put to him by Senator Mason, who had just arrived from his residence at Winchester, thirty miles distant. Colonel Faulkner, member of Congress who lives but a few miles off, Mr. Vallandigham, member of Congress of Ohio, and several other distinguished gentlemen. The following is a verbatim report of the conversation:
Mr. Mason: Can you tell us, at least, who furnished the money for your expedition?
Mr. Brown: I furnished most of it myself. I cannot implicate others. It is by my own folly that I have been taken. I could easily have saved myself from it had I exercised my own better judgment rather than yield to my feelings. I should have
gone away, but I had thirty-odd prisoners, whose wives and daughters were in tears for their safety, and I felt for them. Besides, I wanted to allay the fears of those who believed we came here to burn and kill. For this reason I allowed the train to cross the bridge and gave them full liberty to pass on. I did it only to spare the feelings of these passengers and their families and to allay the apprehensions that you had got here in your vicinity a band of men who had no regard for life and property, nor any feeling of humanity.
Mr. Mason: But you killed some people passing along the streets quietly.
Mr. Brown: Well, sir, if there was anything of that kind done, it was without my knowledge. Your own citizens, who were my prisoners, will tell you that every possible means were taken to prevent it. I did not allow my men to fire, nor even to return a fire, when there was danger of killing those we regarded as innocent persons, if I could help it. They will tell you that we allowed ourselves to be fired at repeatedly and did not return it.
A Bystander: That is not so. You killed an unarmed man at the comer of the house over there (at the water tank) and another besides.
Mr. Brown: See here, my friend, it is useless to dispute or contradict the report of your own neighbors who were my prisoners.
Mr. Mason: If you would tell us who sent you here - who provided the means - that would be information of some value.
Mr. Brown: I will answer freely and faithfully about what concerns myself - I will answer anything I can with honor,
but not about others.
Mr. Vallandigham (member of Congress from Ohio, who had just entered): Mr. Brown, who sent you here?
Mr. Brown: No man sent me here; it was my own prompting and that of my Maker, or that of the devil, whichever you
please to ascribe it to. I acknowledge no man (master) in human form.
Mr. Vallandigham: Did you get up the expedition yourself?
Mr. Brown: I did.
Mr. Mason: What was your object in coming?
Mr. Brown: We came to free the slaves, and only that.
A Young Man (in the uniform of a volunteer company): How many men in all had you?
Mr. Brown: I came to Virginia with eighteen men only, besides myself.
Volunteer: What in the world did you suppose you could do here in Virginia with that amount of men?
Mr. Brown: Young man, I don't wish to discuss that question here.
Volunteer: You could not do anything.
Mr. Brown: Well, perhaps your ideas and mine on military subjects would differ materially.
Mr. Mason: How do you justify your acts?
Mr. Brown: I think, my friend, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity. I say it without wishing to be offensive - and it would be perfectly right for anyone to interfere with you so far as to free those you willfully and wickedly hold in bondage. I do not say this insultingly. I think I did right and that others will do right who interfere with you at any time and all times. I hold that the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you," applies to all who would help others to gain their liberty.