This Republic has been deeply disgraced, and its Senate Chamber converted into a scene of atrocity. The annals of wrong, outrage and crime, have been swelled by an occurrence which is without parallel in the history of this government. -- Its Capitol is infested with lawless ruffians, who have inaugurated a reign of club law violence. -- What a picture to hold up to a civilized and christian world! What a commentary upon the character of our law makers when we are called to record such a demoniac outrage as that committed upon a Senator while in his seat, at the hands, too, of one of the people's Representatives in the other branch of the American Congress. -- The country is abased and humiliated by the opening of this new chapter of aggression and violence. The act to which we allude, is unparalleled in atrocity; unrelieved in its infamy. It is without provocation or mitigation, so far as we can judge of the case as briefly presented in our Telegraphic report of yesterday morning. It is cowardly and brutal to the last degree. The version of the affair, thus far, is, no doubt, as favorable as possible to the aggressor. It announces that immediately after the adjournment of Congress on Thursday last, Preston S. Brooks, Member of Congress from South Carolina, entered the Senate Chamber, and approaching the seat Mr. Sumner, struck him a powerful blow with a cane, at the same time accusing him of libelling South Carolina and his grey-headed relative, Senator Butler. Eye-witnesses -- and they must be the most craven poltroons known to humanity, to have permitted it -- state that Brooks struck as many as fifty blows on the head of Mr. Sumner. The attack was made while Mr. Sumner was sitting at his arm-chair, with little or no chance for resistance. The first blow, which was probably dealt from behind, after the most approved manner of the cowardly assassin, felled him to the floor, where the beating was continued, without interruption on the part of the spectators. And this outrage, which disgraces humanity, meets with applause at Washington.
We propose to treat this transaction with fairness, and if possible to ascertain the provocation for so gross an outrage. We have looked the report of Mr. Sumner's speech over carefully, and the offensive allusion which stirs up the South Carolinian to such active hostilities, appears to be as follows:
But before entering upon the argument, I
must say something of a general character,
particularly in response to what has fallen from
Senators who have raised themselves to eminence on
this floor in championship of human wrongs; I
mean the Senator from South Carolina, [Mr.
Butler,] and the Senator from Illinois [Mr. Douglas,]
who, though unlike as Don Quixote and Sancho
Panza, yet, like this couple, sally forth together
in the same cause. The Senator from South
Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and
believes himself a chivalrous knight with sentiments
of honor and outrage. Of course he has
chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows,
and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely
to him; though polluted in the sight of the world,
is chaste in his sight -- I mean the harlot, Slavery.
For her, his tongue is always profuse in words.
Let her be impeached in character, or any
proposition made to shut her out from the extension
of her wantonness, and no extravagance of manner
or hardihood of assertion is then too great for
this Senator. The frenzy of Don Quixote, in
behalf of his wench Dulcinea del Taboso, is all
surpassed. The asserted rights of slavery, which
shook equality of all kinds, are cloaked by a
fantastic claim of equality. If the slave States
cannot enjoy what, in mockery of the great fathers
of the Republic, he misnames equality under the
Constitution -- in other words, the full power in
the National Territories to compel fellow men to
toil, to separate husband and wife, and to sell
little children at the auction block -- then, sir, the
chivalric Senator will conduct the State of South
Carolina out of the Union! Heroic knight!
Exalted Senator! A Second Moses come for a
True, as a piece of oratorical sarcasm this is
bitter and cutting, because it is truthful, but it
affords no justification for such an exhibition of
ruffianism as Brooks has presented to the world.
The northern men of the House are called upon by every consideration of self-respect, as well as of duty to their constituents, and the country at large, to thrust this ruffian, Brooks, without the bar. They cannot sit with him in Council without disgrace -- they cannot recognize him as a peer without sharing his infamy -- they cannot permit him to retain his seat without an implied approval of his course. They have the power, the right, and the means of purging the House of such a man and they should do it at once and effectually.
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