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  M & S Library Number: 25402

    (BROWN, JOHN). RUSSELL, THOMAS. Quotation from John Brown. March 1, 1882. Signed Thomas Russell. Half sheet, 6.25 x 7.75 inches. Slight bleed through. $350.00


        Thomas Russell (1825-1887), was a Boston judge, abolitionist and friend of John Brown. Russell hid Brown in his house¬?when Brown was on the run in 1857.

         On March 1, 1882, Russell wrote: "A word from John Brown./ 'It would be better that a generation should perish from the Earth than that a word from the Sermon on the Mount or the Declaration of Independence should be forgotten among men'. /March 1,1882. Thomas Russell".

          It is unclear what precipitated the writing of this quote on this date, but Frederick Douglass had just published his Autobiography, which included passages on Thomas Russell and John Brown, so perhaps this was causative.

         "In 1857, when Brown was traveling in New England to raise funds for his war on slavery, he hid himself from U.S. marshals in the home of Judge Thomas Russell of Boston. Holed up, Brown nevertheless enjoyed the wide-eyed attention of Russell's twenty-three year old wife, Nellie, who was impressed by his stories, weapons, and prairie machismo." [John Brown: The Cost of Freedom by Louis A. DeCaro, 2007].

         Hon. Thomas Russell, was the son of Thomas and Mary Ann (Goodwin) Russell, of Plymouth, Massachusetts. He entered Harvard College and graduated in 1845 with high honors. He studied law at Harvard Law School, and in the office of Hon. Jacob H. Loud at Plymouth, till 1847. In 1866 he resigned his position on the bench to become collector of the port of Boston, which position he held until 1874, when he was appointed by President Grant Minister Resident at Caracas,Venezuela, where he remained till March, 1878. In 1879 he represented Boston in the state Legislature. He was associated with Garrison, Phillips, Andrews, and others in the Anti-Slavery cause, and a leader in the free Soilers' ranks. [Epitaphs from Burial Hill By Bradford Kingman, 1892].


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