Secession Era Editorials Project

THE FRACAS IN THE SENATE.

Spartanburg, South Carolina, Spartan [Democratic]

(5 June 1856)

The Brooks question absorbs all others just now in the public mind and papers. To satisfy the interest thus awakened, however ephemeral the excitement, we give in another place the debate in the Senate growing out of it.

The Washington correspondent of the Charleston News, on the 28th, has the following paragraph:

"Mr. Wilson's friends look upon Judge Butler's expression of regret in the open Senate at the use of the term "liar," which had slipt from him, as a concession to Mr. Wilson, and say that any how Henry of Massachusetts would not be justified in fighting an old man like him."

"Mr. Toombs, rumor says, has challenged Mr. Wade for his remarks relative to his (Mr. Toombs) expression of belief that Sumner had got what he deserved. But there is no prospect of a fight there."

On the 29th, Brooks challenged the redoubtable Senator Wilson, for designating the attack on Sumner "Brutal, cowardly, and murderous." He declined the summons, because violative of law and inclination, but held himself ready to repel personal attack. Watson Webb, who has sneaked out of responsibility on his own account, pushes Wilson forward, and endorses him as a "fighting man!"

Although Sumner is represented in the North as in a critical condition, Washington letter writers affirm it is utterly untrue. A gentleman who saw him on the 30th says he appeared entirely easy, though still suffering with soreness about the head. A later report states that erysipelas had attacked Sumner, which is probably independent of the caning.

Special committees had been appointed in the Senate and House to investigate the question of privilege. The Senate Committee reported on the 28th ult. that they had no jurisdiction beyond complaint to the House, and their report was adopted and transmitted. The House Committee reported on the 30th, recommending the expulsion of Mr. Brooks, and also censure Messrs. Edmondson, of Virginia, and Mr. Keitt, of our State.

Intense excitement continues at the North, and the negro worshippers are forging capital from the original occurrence. Meetings are being held wherever sympathizers exist, adopting resolutions denunciatory of Brooks and the South. As an offset, the people of our own State, while not in all instances approving the assault of Col. Brooks, yet think that Sumner deserved all he got and acquit B. of blame, and testify their unshaken regard by resolutions, and testimonials more substantial. Indeed, though not after the former similitude, Col. B. is likely to be a better caned man than his victim, and to be provided with an efficient weapon for each separate abolitionist now holding a seat in Congress.

For ourselves, as a matter of taste, we dissent to the propriety of these presentations, while we would cordially sustain Mr. Brooks in the trying circumstances of his position. Should the House, through its free soil majority, enforce the extreme penalty recommended, his district must endorse him back with the ballot approval of every voter within its limits.


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