Secession Era Editorials Project

Congressman Brooks' Assault on Senator Sumner.

Montpelier, Vermont, Patriot and State Gazette [Democratic]

(30 May 1856)

The following is the statement of Mr. Sumner, under oath, in regard to the assault upon him by Mr. Brooks:

[statement omitted by transcriber]

Mr. Sumner's own account makes the outrage lighter than did the first dispatches. Mr. Brooks was the only one who knew of the attack beforehand, -- contrary to first reports, which represented that this mode of punishment was agreed on by southerners in caucus, -- and he was promptly arrested by the by-standers, Mr. Toombs, of Georgia, grasping Brooks round his waist; and the instrument used on Mr. Sumner was a limber and hollow gutta percha walking stick.

The remarks made by Mr. Sumner, which provoked this assault, were malignant and insulting beyond anything ever uttered in coolness upon the floor of the Senate. Yet, had they been ten times more so, they could have afforded no excuse for this brutal and dastardly attack. The House owes it to its own character to expel this cowardly wretch at once.

We observe the Abolition papers are disposed to use this incident to promote their peculiar views. They speak of it as "another outrage" of slavery against freedom; whereas it is a personal affair entirely, for which Mr. Brooks is alone responsible. It is an incident, we agree, which has resulted from the angry passions this slavery controversy has infused throughout the whole Union; and the lesson it teaches with most clearness, is the folly and madness of any word or act which many stimulate this excitement to a higher degree of frenzy.

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