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SENATOR DOUGLAS. I will, and therefore shall not imitate you, sir.
SENATOR SUMNER. Again the Senator has switched his tongue, and again he fills the Senate with its offensive odor.
The Assault on Sumner. Two days after this, while Mr. Sumner was seated at his desk in the Senate Chamber engaged in writing, the Senate not being in session, Preston S. Brooks,' a Representative from South Carolina and a relative of Senator Butler, approached unobserved, and, abruptly addressing Sumner but without waiting for reply, struck him on the head with a stout cane.
When Sumner rose to protect himself, the desk was overturned, and Brooks beat the half-blinded Senator to the floor with repeated blows. The few occupants of the Chamber rushed to Sumner's aid, and carried him, unconscious and covered with blood, into the anteroom, where his wounds were dressed, and whence he was taken to his room in the city. The Senator never entirely recovered from the assault-indeed, it is claimed that it hastened his death. It was not until December, 1859, that he resumed his seat in the Senate; he took little part in the debates until the middle of the session, when he delivered a notable speech on the “Barbarism of Slavery" which aroused, if possible, even greater animosity against him on the part of the South than he had brought upon himself by his speech on “The Crime against Kansas.
The Senate appointed a committee to investigate the affair, which reported on May 28, 1856, advising that punishment of Brooks be left to the House in which he was a Representative. This was agreed to
• Brooks was a lawyer who had entered Congress in 1853.
with only one dissenting vote, that of Robert Toombs (Ga.). The House appointed a committee of three Northern and two Southern Representatives to investigate the assault. On June 2 the Northern Representatives presented a majority report recommending that Brooks be expelled from the House, and stating that two other Representatives, Henry A. Edmundston (Va.] and Lawrence M. Keitt (S. C.], who came upon the scene during the assault, had knowledge of Brooks's intention, yet had failed to warn the victim, and therefore should receive the disapprobation of the House. The Southerners on the committee made a minority report to the effect that there was no violation of any “written and recognized" privileges of the Senate, and therefore that the House of Representatives had no jurisdiction in the matter;and that there was no evidence that Edmundston and Keitt knew of the time and place at which the assault was to be made, and so should not be reprimanded.
Seeing the opposition that had developed in the House, the Southern Senators manifested a disposition to reconsider the action of the Senate taken on May 28. On June 12, Senator Butler claimed that Senator Sumner has provoked the assault by his aspersions on South Carolina, arousing Brooks, as a loyal son of that State, to the only effective expression of resentment
open to him.
What was my friend to do? Sue the libeler? Indict him? If that was the mode in which he intended to take redress he had better never go to South Carolina again. Was he to issue a challenge? There was not a possibility of its acceptance. He would have made himself contemptible, and perhaps might have been committed to the penitentiary.
On June 21 Anson Burlingame [Mass.]' made reply to defenses in the House similar to that presented by Senator Butler.
I denounce the act in the name of the Constitution which it violated. I denounce it in the name of the sovereignty of Massachusetts which was stricken down by the blow. I denounce it in the name of humanity. I denounce it in the name of civilization which it outraged. I denounce it in the name of that fair play which bullies and prize-fighters respect. What! strike a man when he cannot respond to the blow? Call you that chivalry?
That popular sympathy in the South was with Brooks was indicated by many presents of canes which he received from that region, accompanied by exultant commendations of his act. The Southern press was almost unanimous in its approval of the assault.
On July 14 the resolution to expel Mr. Brooks came to vote in the House. The yeas were 121 and the nays 95, and, since a two-thirds vote is required for expulsion, the resolution was lost. On the following day, by a vote of 106 to 96, the House declared its “disapprobation" of Mr. Keitt, but refused to disapprove of Mr. Edmundston by a vote of 60 yeas to 136 nays.
Mr. Brooks, because of the majority vote for his expulsion, resigned his seat in a speech breathing Catilinian defiance.
Shortly after his resignation Mr. Brooks selected from his detractors Mr. Burlingame, who had particu
: Burlingame was a lawyer who had been successively a Free-Soiler, a Know-Nothing, and a Republican. He was appointed minister to China (1861-67] where he negotiated the famous treaty which bears his name.
See Great Debates in American History, vol. iv., p. 362.
larly charged him with cowardice, and sent him a challenge to a duel, which he accepted. The place appointed was on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, since almost all of the States had passed laws against dueling. Brooks finally declined to fight at the place designated on the ground that he would have to pass through a State (New York) which was inimical to him. Brooks was "vindicated" by his constituents immediately reëlecting him to Congress. He died in the following year.
Presidential Campaign of 1856. In the Presidential campaign of 1856 the question of Popular Sovereignty in the Territories was the chief issue. The American [Know-Nothing] party declared for the principle, causing the secession of about fifty “anti-Nebraska delegates.
The Democratic convention met at Cincinnati, O., on June 2. It being admitted that President Pierce had failed to settle the great question of the day, the Kansas troubles, satisfactorily to the people, James Buchanan [Pa.] was nominated for President. John C. Breckinridge (Ky.), an ardent pro-slavery man, was nominated for Vice-President. The platform declared for Popular Sovereignty and against interference by Congress with slavery in the District of Columbia.
The Republican convention was held at Philadelphia on June 17. John C. Frémont (Cal.] was nominated for President, and William L. Dayton (N. J.) for VicePresident. Dayton received 259 votes, to 110 cast for Abraham Lincoln (whose reply to Douglas on the repeal of the Missouri Compromise had brought him into national notice), and 180 scattering votes. The platform declared for:
See Volume I., page 291.
The maintenance of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing slavery in any Territory by positive legislation.
2. The prohibition in the Territories by Congress, acting under its constitutional right, of "those twin relics of barbarism-polygamy and slavery."
Sketch of Frémont. John Charles Frémont was born in Savannah, Ga., in 1813. His father was a Frenchman, who supported his family by teaching his native language. His mother was a Virginian. On the death of Mr. Frémont in 1818, his widow removed to Charleston, S. C. John was expelled from Charleston College for his frequent absences, though he stood high in mathematics. However, after becoming a teacher of this subject in the navy, he returned and took his degree at the college.
He then became an engineer in the United States topographical corps. In 1841 he secretly married Jessie, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Senator Benton. He was employed by the Government in exploring passes in the Rocky Mountains. It was his report of Utah as a desirable region for settlement that attracted the Mormons to that region. Enduring great hardships he and his expedition pushed on to California in 1844. For his services General Scott brevetted him first lieutenant and captain. In 1845-46 Frémont came into armed conflict with the Mexican authorities in California, and, aided by the American settlers, freed northern California from Mexican rule, being rewarded by Scott with appointment as lieutenant-colonel, and by the settlers with election as Governor of California, war with Mexico having been declared by the United States. He led the land forces that, in conjunction with the naval, under Commodores John D. Sloat and