When John Brown was captured at Harper’s Ferry, Brown’s carpetbag was captured along with him, and in it were letters from Gerit Smith (One of the Secret Six) and Fredrick Douglas implicating them in a conspiracy (everyone knows conspiracies don’t exist) behind the attack on Harper’s Ferry. Virginia’s Governor, Henry Wise, requested President Buchanan’s assistance in arresting the conspirators, and he left no doubt that the one he wanted above all was “Frederick Douglass, a Negro Man… charged with … inciting servile insurrection.”
E. Michael Jones
The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit — pg. 633
In the aftermath of the Harper’s Ferry uprising, John E. Cook, Brown’s advance man for the raid, ratted out Douglass, reportedly telling authorities that Douglass did not carry out his end of the mission. According to the Richmond Daily Dispatch, Cook informed his captors that Douglass was supposed to arrive with a “large band” of fellow raiders at a schoolhouse near Harper’s Ferry, which Cook had seized on the Monday morning after the Sunday night assault. “I conveyed the arms there for him and waited until nearly night, but the coward did not come,” Cook was quoted as saying.
“Such then was my connection with John Brown, and it may be asked, if this is all, why I should have objected to being sent to Virginia to be tried for the offense charged. The explanation is not difficult. I knew that if my enemies could not prove me guilty of the offense of being with John Brown, they could prove that I was Frederick Douglass; they could prove that I was in correspondence and conspiracy with Brown against slavery; they could prove that I brought Shields Green, one of the bravest of his soldiers, all the way from Rochester to him at Chambersburg; they could prove that I brought money to aid him, and in what was then the state of the public mind I could not hope to make a jury of Virginia believe I did not go the whole length he went, or that I was not one of his supporters; and I knew that all Virginia, were I once in her clutches, would say “Let him be hanged.”
Clearly, Douglas along with the Secret Six should’ve been hung alongside John Brown.
Interesting tidbit … once John Brown was arrested @ Harper’s Ferry, 3 of the secret six fled to Canada immediately (Stearns, Howe, and Sanborn) while a fourth, Theodore Parker, lay dying in Italy. A fifth, Gerrit Smith had himself institutionalized in an insane asylum to avoid being implicated. Only the Unitarian minister, Theodore Parker, didn’t flee or crack.