We think that the violent assault made by Mr. Brooks, member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina, upon Senator Sumner is much to be regretted. It does not appear from the telegraphic account of it to have been at all chivalrous, and we fear that it will do injury at the North by still further inflaming the already inflamed public sentiment in that section. Indeed it will inevitably produce that effect to a very extraordinary extent. Mr. Sumner, for his incendiary harangues, may really deserve a greater punishment than he has received or is likely to receive in this world, but we think that the House of Representatives, for the sake of its own dignity and the honor and harmony of the Republic, should expel Mr. Brooks for using a bludgeon upon a Senator for words spoken in debate. If such is to be the character of the collisions in the Halls of Congress, the people of the North and the people of the South will soon learn to conform their actions to the condition of things. They will send to the Senate and House of Representatives men capable of breaking skulls and noses rather than men of intellectual distinction. We presume that Massachusetts might find many a bully within her borders who could make as short work with Mr. Brooks as he made with Mr. Sumner -- and that too without taking him at a similar disadvantage. From the fact that Mr. Brooks felled Sumner while the latter was in an armchair, and that Sumner called out for help as long as he could articulate, we rather think that both of them, the fire-eater and the abolitionist, are deficient in the right sort of spirit.
It seems that Brooks attacked Sumner
because the latter had in debate abused South
Carolina and Mr. Brooks's rather aged relative,
Senator Butler. The idea of using a bludgeon
upon a Senator for making a speech against a
State is monstrous. A score of South Carolina
members of Congress within the last few years
have used their whole power of abuse and
vituperation against Massachusetts, and as many
Massachusetts members have exercised themselves
upon South Carolina.
We repeat the expression of the hope, that, however obnoxious Sumner may justly be to the patriotic portion of the people of the United States, the House of Representatives will promptly expel Brooks if the account of his assault upon the Massachusetts Senator shall prove correct. Indeed the House of Representatives, it seems to me, would be guilty of the grossest and most shameful dereliction of duty to the Senate if it were to refuse to punish one of its own members for knocking down a Senator upon the floor of the Senate for words said in Senatorial debate.
Since the preceding was set in type, we learn by later dispatches, that Mr. Sumner did not call for help, being knocked senseless by the first blow. So much the better for Mr. Sumner.
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