The enterprise proved a success beyond the most sanguine expectations. A Columbus firm undertook the publication, itself assuming all pecuniary risk. Three large editions were sold directly to the public, without any aid from or any purchase by the committee—the third edition containing the announcement that up to that date, June 16, 1860, thirty thousand copies had already been circulated.
----------  Partly printed in Hollister, “Life of Colfax,” p. 146. We are indebted to Mrs. Colfax for the full manuscript text of this and other valuable letters which we have used.
 The preface to this third edition contains a letter from Douglas, alleging that injustice had been done him because, “the original reports as published in the ‘Chicago Times,’ although intended to be fair and just, were necessarily imperfect, and in some respects erroneous”; charging at the same time that Lincoln’s speeches had been revised, corrected, and improved.[A] To this the publishers replied: “The speeches of Mr. Lincoln were never ’revised, corrected, or improved’ in the sense you use those words. Remarks by the crowd which were not responded to, and the reporters’ insertions of ‘cheers,’ ‘great applause,’ and so forth, which received no answer or comment from the speaker, were by our direction omitted, as well from Mr. Lincoln’s speeches as yours, as we thought their perpetuation in book form would be in bad taste, and were in no manner pertinent to, or a part of, the speech."[B] And the publishers add a list of their corrections.
[A] Douglas to Follet, Foster
& Co., June 9, 1860. Debates, third
[B] Follet, Foster & Co. to Douglas, June 16, 1860. Ibid.
There now occurred another strange event which, if it had been specially designed as a climax for the series of great political sensations since 1852, could scarcely have been more dramatic. This was John Brown’s invasion of Harper’s Ferry in order to create a slave insurrection. We can only understand the transaction as far as we can understand the man, and both remain somewhat enigmatical.
Of Puritan descent, John Brown was born in Connecticut in the year 1800. When he was five years old, the family moved to Ohio, at that time a comparative wilderness. Here he grew up a strong, vigorous boy of the woods. His father taught him the tanner’s trade; but a restless disposition drove him to frequent changes of scene and effort when he grew to manhood. He attempted surveying. He became a divinity student. He tried farming and tanning in Pennsylvania, and tanning and speculating in real estate in Ohio. Cattle-dealing was his next venture; from this to sheep-raising; and by a natural transition to the business of a wool-factor in Massachusetts. This not succeeding, he made a trip to Europe. Returning, he accepted from Gerrit Smith a tract of mountain land in the Adirondacks, where he proposed to found and foster colonies of free negroes. This undertaking proved abortive, like all his others, and he once more went back to the wool business in Ohio.