Secession Era Editorials Project

Freedom in Debate.

Indianapolis, Indiana, Locomotive [Democratic]

(23 May 1856)

-- Mr. Sumner, Senator from Massachusetts, was attacked in the Senate Chamber by Mr. Brooks, Representative from South Carolina, and so beaten with a cane, that at last accounts he was in dangerous and critical condition. The assault was made while Mr. Sumner was sitting at his desk, writing, entirely unprepared, and is alleged, for an insult on the State, and on a relative, in the speech of Mr. Sumner. Committees were appointed in both houses to investigate the matter, and pass on the conduct of Brooks. Freedom of speech should be guarantied to all public men in debate on public questions, and the spirit of ruffianism exhibited by Brooks cannot be too highly censured. This is another result of the bitter personal partisan spirit, that characterizes the press and public speakers of the day, and while it continues, will excite men to acts of lawless outrages that they would not think of in calmer moments.

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