John Minor Botts
1841 Lithograph by Charles Fenderich
(Library of Congress)
Botts was a former U.S. congressman from Virginia who attempted to calm the tensions. He wrote:
[Brown and his men] deserved the punishment they have met with . . . but that any respectable portion of my
fellow-countrymen had any knowledge of, or had participated, directly or indirectly, in this hell-born scheme of violence,
I have not, I cannot, and I will not believe . . . And yet the effort has been made, and my blood runs cold, and I shudder
when I say, successfully made, to a great extent, to create the belief that a great and powerful party [the Republicans] . . .
knew and approved of, and participated indirectly in the crimes and outrages perpetrated, and that they sympathized with
the convicted felons . . . Great God! What an idea to take possession of the minds of men . . .
Does anyone fear that a second invasion "on a larger scale" might follow such a "miserable failure," Botts asked, with
no need to answer his own question.