During all these movements no sound was heard but the quick stern words of military command, & when these ceased a dead silence reigned. Colonel Smith said to the Sheriff in a low voice—“we are ready”. The civil officers descended from the scaffold. One who stood near me whispered earnestly—“He trembles, his knees are shaking”. “You are mistaken,” I replied, “It is the scaffold that shakes under the footsteps of the officers.” The Sheriff struck the rope a sharp blow with a hatchet, the platform fell with a crash—a few convulsive struggles & and a human soul had gone to judgement.
- Strother , David Hunter, "John Brown's Death and Last Words"