Occasionally, newspapers give us a rare glimpse into our ancestor's activities, political leanings, friends and associates. The following article printed in the Daily Illinois State Journal, regarding Stephen A. Douglas' statements about Henry Clay, suggests that Isaac S. Brown was not a Douglas supporter, that he took umbrage over the remarks Douglas made about Clay, that he may even have been a Lincoln supporter, that Isaac S. Brown was well-respected in both Greene and Pike Counties, and that his associates included other well-respected men: David Pierson, Isaac Landis, William Winn, James F. Pinkerton, and Adam Lee.
Douglas’ Abuse of Clay—Testimony of Ear Witnesses
The letter of Judge Woodson to the St. Louis Republican was a complete vindication of the truth of the charge made by the Press against Stephen A. Douglas, that in 1844 he denounced Henry Clay in the most coarse and bitter terms. But as Judge Woodson did not hear Douglas at Carrollton, where the most offensive language was used, and as the followers of Douglas, in their desperation, are attempting to torture Judge W’s testimony so as to break its force, the Carrollton Press publishes the following certificate.
Carrollton, Ill., Sept. 20, 1860
The undersigned hereby certify that we were present at a joint discussion between Stephen A. Douglas and D. M. Woodson opposing candidates for Congress at Carrollton, in 1844, and that Mr. Douglas, referring to Henry Clay’s action and position upon the Oregon Boundary question, was unsparing in his abuse and denunciation of Clay, using substantially the following language: “I denounced him in the Congress of the United States as a Traitor, and I now denounce him as an old BLACK-HEATED TRAITOR.” He also assailed him as being corrupt enough to be bribed with British Gold.
Although the above statements have been the subject of frequent conversation among the old citizens of Carrollton, we have heretofore refrained from coming before the public, (though frequently solicited,) and do so now because the truth seems to demand it, as the statement has been branded as a falsehood by some of the public prints.
James F. Pinkerton,
Isaac S. Brown,
The Press adds; “These witnesses who have thus come upon the stand will be recognized as among our most respectable and reliable citizens, (Mr. Brown being at this time a resident of Pike county, but well known here.) The name of David Pierson is as “familiar as a household word” all through this portion of Illinois, and is a synonym for integrity and scrupulous regard for the truth. Isaac Landis is a venerable minister of the Gospel, and a statement from his lips or pen will not for a moment be questioned by those who know him. Messrs. Winn, Lee and Pinkerton stand deservedly high in the community as upright citizens whose words need no indorsement. The testimony of any one of these men would be sufficient to convict Stephen A. Douglas before a jury, of his most gross assault upon the lamented Sage of Ashland, but when in doubt there is such an array of proof, who can doubt.”
[Source: Daily Illinois State Journal; Springfield, IL; Tues. 25 Sept 1860]