1861: William Brown to Hon. John Carey

This letter was written by Judge William Brown (1797-1866), the son of Edward Brown (1758-1822) and Elizabeth Hitch (1762-1835) of Carey, Wayandot county, Ohio. William was married in 1822 to Eliza L. Cooken in Columbus, Ohio.

Brown wrote the letter to the Hon. John Carey (1792-1875), a U. S. Congressman from Ohio who was elected on the Republican ticket from Ohio’s 9th District to the Thirty-sixth Congress (March 4, 1859-March 3, 1861).


Near Carey [Wyandot county, Ohio]
10 January 1861

My Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 10th last month come duly to hand and I thank you for the attention given me.

I sat down with the intention of giving you my views of the present political aspects of the country, but the fact is, our difficulties have grown into such large and momentous proportions that I do not know where to begin. You know I am a disciple of Uncle Ben Wade. His late speech in Congress is a master production. It is honest, firm, and to the point. He intends acting in accordance with the Constitution and the Republican platform. He has no compromise to make, asks no favors, and intends granting none, to all of which I respond amen. Had this course been steadily carried out from the first sitting of Congress, matters now would probably have bourn a better aspect. Indeed, if the Republican Party intends carrying them out, why did they assist in forming those compromising committees which must end in disappointing the South.

When the people of Athens assembled to vote on the banishment of Aristides, a man in the crowd asked Aristides (not knowing him) to write him a ticket. How shall I write it, said A. For the banishment of Aristides, he replied. What objections have you to him, said A. Not any, he replied, except that I am tired of hearing him called the just—and thus it is with the people of the South. Since they are not permitted to rule and govern this glorious Union, they have become sick and tired of it and now recklessly endeavoring to destroy it, with the intention of trying a new experiment—an experiment that would no doubt lead to anarchy & confusion, and probably in the end to the utter annihilation of our republican government.

But why forebode evil consequences? But rather, let us gird on the armor and breastplate of liberty and union and meet the storm before it becomes too formidable.

“Old Buck—a pitiable old cuss”

But friend Carey, I have little hopes of anything valuable being done while Old Buck [Pres. James Buchanan] remains at the head of affairs. He is certainly a pitiable old cuss. Were it not for the high position he holds, he would be beneath contempt. But let us patiently await the fourth of March. Then, if the South will be good enough to let Mr. Lincoln occupy the White House, I think we shall have better times. But I will trouble you no further with my weak views. Indeed, it looks like presumption in me to venture as far as I have, when it is known you are daily associating with the best talent & wisdom of the whole country.

Your family & branches, I believe, are all well. Mr. [Edwin] Foreman’s store was closed last week by some New Yorkers. They have invoiced the goods. They will be offered at auction in a few days if not sold previously by wholesale. Sam Wenner has returned and it is said his wife will again live with him.

A letter from you at any and all times will be acceptable if you have leisure and inclination to write. Yours very truly, — Wm. Brown

To Hon. John Carey


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