Old John Brown - The Man Whose Soul Is Marching On by Walter Hawkins - He was hanged in 1859 - There are few who have not a dim notion of John Brown as a name bound up with the stirring events of the United States in the period which preceded the Civil War and the emancipation of the slave. Many English readers, however, do not get beyond the limits of the famous couplet,
John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave,
But his soul is marching on.
That statement is authentic in both its clauses, but it is interesting to learn what he did with the body before it commenced a dissolution which seems to have been regarded as worth recording. Carlyle says in his grimly humorous way of the gruesome elevation of the head of one of his patriotic heroes on Temple Bar, 'It didn't matter: he had quite done with it.' And we might say the same of the body which was hanged at Charlestown in 1859. In his devoutly fatalistic way John Brown had presented his body a living sacrifice to the cause of human freedom, and had at last slowly reached the settled opinion that it was worth more to the cause dead than alive. Such a soul, so masterful in its treatment of the body, was likely to march on without it. And it did in the years that followed, This Abolitionist raider, with a rashness often sublime in its devotion, precipitated the national crisis which issued in the Civil War and Emancipation.
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