- "He (Henry W. Beecher) believed that the Sharps Rifle was a truly moral agency, and that there was more moral power in one of those instruments, so far as the slaveholders of Kansas were concerned, than in a hundred Bibles. You might just as well. . . read the Bible to Buffaloes as to those fellows who follow Atchison and Stringfellow; but they have a supreme respect for the logic that is embodied in Sharp's rifle."
Additionally, the arms were often shipped in wooden crates marked "Bibles" or "books." They were intended for the conflicts fought over slavery in the Kansas Territory leading up to its induction into statehood. As decreed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the issue of slavery in the new state was to be determined by popular sovereignty, thus unleashing a wave of bloody violence between pro- and anti-slavery forces throughout Kansas. The Beecher family were some of the foremost abolitionists in the country; Henry Ward's sister Harriet Beecher Stowe, had in 1852 written the abolitionist classic Uncle Tom's Cabin.