Secession Era Editorials Project

Quid Pro Quo.

Cincinnati, Ohio, Daily Enquirer [Democratic]

(23 May 1856)

Superficial and malevolent writers are attempting to magnify Sumner into a martyr for freedom and a victim of slavery. But the American people are too observant, too just and too chivalrous (if we may employ that much abused term,) for such a transparent game to be played successfully. Whatever reprobation may be visited on Mr. Brooks, and whatever opinions may be entertained in regard to the subject of debate, gentlemen everywhere will admit that Sumner's general tone was neither parliamentary nor gentlemanly; neither were his particular applications.

Read the deliberately prepared attack on Mr. Butler, of South Carolina -- a man venerable in years, amiable in temper, and possessed of every personal claim to respect. Was that the tone of a gentleman? Especially was it the tone which any man of strong and athletic frame, such as Sumner, ought to have employed without holding himself accountable to the younger members of Mr. Butler's family for the imtemperate abuse of their aged relative? Read, also, his tirade against the State of South Carolina -- his indictment of her character for honor and patriotism -- his misrepresentations of her history and conduct.

It is said, however, that Mr. Sumner intended to play a new part -- that he was to appear as the KNIGHT of Abolitionism -- and that the hottest of "Southern Hotspurs" should find henceforth a fit match in the person of this doughty cavalier. It had been previously rumored that he was to carry the war into the "enemy's country." During the delivery of his grossest personalities, and afterward, there were plenty of his factious brethren to hound him on with most fulsome applause on every rancorous outburst. When he was most insulting and defiant, he was encouraged and bepraised most, and was flattered into the notion that he was destined to "put down" the South, and especially to prostrate Carolina -- her Senators and Representatives. Well, stung by his unmeasured insolence and personal prevocations, an impetuous relative of the aged and insulted Senator answers the foul-mouth with the strong hand, trampling, it is true, upon the forms of parliamentary privilege with which the boasting cavalier had intrenched himself, and which, unquestionably, ought to have restrained him from offering the insult to an old man that was thus summarily avenged.

We are not to be put in a false position in regard to this matter. Regretting and condemning, as much as any one, the mode and measure of redress that was adopted, we yet, with great submission, would suggest that those who provoke attacks of this violent description are not without great blame, and that those who provoke attacks of this violent description are not without great blame, and that those who raise the cry of the wordy onset and applaud the exulting assailant of age and station are not without their responsibility for the outrages that may follow. In short, those who play at bowls must expect rubbers!

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