Secession Era Editorials Project


Yorkville, South Carolina, Enquirer [Democratic]

(29 May 1856)

In another column the reader will find an abstract of the remarkable debate in the Senate, last week, on the Kansas question; and in the letter of our correspondent, a full account of the severe castigation inflicted upon the notorious Massachusetts Senator, by our representative, Col. Preston Brooks.

Such events, entirely unprecedented in the annals of our legislation, furnish ample cause, not only for serious reflection, but, for the most profound regret. Surely, it is a sad thing for our country, when the Senate-hall, the citadel of all that is good and conservative in our councils, is made the theatre for the exhibition of the most loathsome and degraded traits of character, and for harrangues, fanatical, vulgar, insulting, and in very near keeping with the vilest ribaldry let loose from the crowded thoroughfares of Billingsgate. And it is even more to be regretted that it has become necessary for the defenders of the South to throw aside argument and sound reason, the weapons of honorable, high-minded combat, and to resort in their stead to the argument of the cow-hide, in avenging insult and protecting their own and the honor of those whom they represent. While we thus express a deep sense of mortification because of such an imperative necessity, we must not be understood to reflect unfavorably upon the course of our representative. If ever a high-minded man can be justified in promptly resenting insult and injury, surely Col. Brooks will receive from the people of his own State, at least, the mead of a most cordial approval. No better or more gallant man could have been selected to begin the argument; and because he has thus begun it so thoroughly, we give him an unstinted commendation. Well done!

It will be seen that large mass meetings have been held in Boston and other towns of Massachusetts, expressing a suitable degree of indignation at the cow-hiding of their Senator. On the other hand, we are gratified to learn that enthusiastic meetings have been held at Columbia, Charleston, and Newberry, and at other points, and resolutions adopted and transmitted to Col. Brooks, commending his course and assuring him of the approbation and confidence of his friends at home. This is right; and we earnestly trust that, along with others, a meeting will be called in Yorkville to give expression to like sentiments on the part of the people of our District. The battle waxes hot and strong, and if we expect our champions to wage it bravely and effectually, we must be prompt to lend them a hearty support.

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