Decr. 21, 1859.
I have just read with profound interest and satisfaction the proceedings of the great meeting at Fanueil Hall to give expression to the opinions of the conservative people of Boston respecting the foray of old John Brown. The speeches on that occasion exhibit well the criminal folly of those, who, while professing loyalty to the constitution, find in that ominous tragedy only cause to praise Browns heroism and ridicule the people on whom the murderous assault was made.
In your speech as reported in the New York Observer of the 15th. inst, I find an erroneous statement to the effect that the migration of free negroes into the Territory of Kansas is prohibited by law. The fact is, there has never been
a legislative enactment here to that effect.
Of the three constitutions formed by the people of Kansas (I exclude the Lecompton) only the first contained such a provision – and that was an olive branch which the free state men thought it right and necessary to hold out to their adversaries. It was a provision intended, moreover, if it failed to conciliate, to show plainly that the contest involved the rights of white men only, and did not specially affect the tenure of slave property in Western Missouri.
You will pardon me, I am sure, any apparent forwardness or familiarity in addressing you this letter when I remind you that the statement above referred to will injure in the opinion of their brethren throughout the states the character of a people as loyal to the Union as are the thousands who applauded your noble and patriotic speech
in Fanueil Hall – who have suffered more for constitutional liberty than, perhaps, you have ever given them credit for – and who, after achieving their own liberties at the end of a protracted & impoverishing struggle, have not disgraced themselves by denying the freedom of the Territory to any human being.
I am, with great respect
Your obdt svt
Thomas Ewing Jr
Hon Edward Everett