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American outlaw Frank James writes to Major John Edwards, editor of the Kansas City Times, about evading authorities

American outlaw Frank James writes to Major John Edwards, editor of the Kansas City Times, about evading authorities

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Expresses concern that Edwards has not written to him. Worries about his reputation while evading authorities, stating: " ... it is harder still to rest content beneath the harrowing reflection that ones character, his mind, his heart, his entire nature is misunderstood- misconstrued ... " Refuses to accept Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden's offer of turning "State's Evidence" against comrades. Feels that stooping "so low as to place a comrades life....in jeopardy" was "beneath the dignity of a man or the principles of a Christian." Postscript mentions concern for the welfare of his wife and child.
Expresses concern that Edwards has not written to him. Worries about his reputation while evading authorities, stating: " ... it is harder still to rest content beneath the harrowing reflection that ones character, his mind, his heart, his entire nature is misunderstood- misconstrued ... " Refuses to accept Missouri Governor Thomas Crittenden's offer of turning "State's Evidence" against comrades. Feels that stooping "so low as to place a comrades life....in jeopardy" was "beneath the dignity of a man or the principles of a Christian." Postscript mentions concern for the welfare of his wife and child.

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09/16/2010

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Frank James to John N. Edwards
s.l., 7 August 1882.Autograph letter signed, 2 pages.My Dear Maj. – I can but Express my profand regret at the result of this long & tiresome delayDo you Know it has been five long weeks since you wrote me? I can but entertain the belief thatsomething is wrong somewhere, it is hard for one to press the viper to his breast when its poisoned fangs are burried in his flesh and its slimy coils are around him, but I tell you it isharder still to rest content beneath the harrowing reflection that ones character, his mind, hisheart, his entire nature is misunderstood – misconstrued, – that the very virtue which is the prideof his existence is made to appear as a vicious deformity. I supposed His Excel. looks upon meas being a man of weak & vicious mind, in fact he think me one of Gods most divorcedcreatures. Now I tell you solemnly and in earnest if this is his impression it is erroneous is unjust – I thank Heaven for the Pride for the independence that is in me. His Excellency may think byholding off we will in the end agree to the first proposition. That is to turn State’s Evidence, Ideclare to you most positively that I cannot will not stoop so low as to place a Comrads life or liberty in jepordy. I would not do it for the diadim of a Jubiter [
 sic
] or trident of a Neptune. No,ratther than do such a thing I would throw the hand that touches me into a fire as hot as thatwhich consumed the right arm of Romes [Scoundral] of Old, However I will do just what I toldyou, I would. Whatever the Gov can or will do for us you may rest assured that he shall never have [
2
] cause to regret it on my part in the future if there be a future. Whatever I say in earnest by thought word or deed, His Exel may implicitly confide in as being true in letter & in spirit for truth is a jewel far brighter in my humble estimation than all the gems that ever glitered beneaththe golden waves of Pactotus, I know not that in lifes troubled & uncertain walks we shall ever meet again though I trust we may. Yet I want you to know that where honor is at stake betweenman & man that I [com] [
 sic
] to stoop beneath the dignity of a man or the principle of aChristian, I desire you to know this partly for my own vindication, but Chiefly for the sake of mywife [
text lost 
] forgive divine Having marked faith in the truth of this old maxim, and believingHis Excellency to be a merciful man, I rest with the pleasing hope that all is not lost. I must also
The Gilder Lehrman Collection
GLC01649

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