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Charleston, South Carolina, Mercury [Democratic]
(28 May 1856)
WASHINGTON, May 24, 1856.
MESSRS. EDITORS: There is high excitement in Washington. You will have heard, through telegraphic reports, that Col. BROOKS, of your State, punished Mr.
SUMNER, on Monday and Tuesday, delivered a coarse and malignant Abolition speech, in which he assailed South Carolina and Judge BUTLER with great bitterness. The speech was so coarse and insulting, that even his own faction condemned it, and the Southern men freely said he should be chastised. His peculiar friends tauntingly declared that he was armed during its delivery, and that he was prepared for all responsibility. Col. BROOKS, who is a relative of Judge BUTLER, and from his immediate district, deemed it his duty to chastise Mr.
After the adjournment, a number of ladies came into the Senate Hall, and loitered there for some time. Col. BROOKS waited about an hour after the adjournment, until all the ladies had left, Mr.
The Black Republicans have shingled the occurrence all over with falsehood. They charge Mr. EDMUNDSON, of Virginia, and Mr. KEITT, of South Carolina, with sharing in the attack. It is false. Mr. EDMUNDSON was not in the Senate Chamber when the caning took place, and Mr. KEITT was at the remotest corner of the room, with the President's desk intervening; so he did not even see the beginning of the attack. Hearing the blows of the cane and the cries of SUMNER, he hurried to the spot, and found Senator FOSTER, of Connecticut, and an officer of the Senate, attempting to grasp BROOKS, when he threw himself between them, and ordered them back at their personal risk. They immediately desisted, and BROOKS flogged SUMNER without any interference.
Sumner is much the largest and most athletic man, and, had he resisted, might have defended himself; at least that is my opinion. BROOKS was immediately afterwards arrested. The magistrate could not fix the amount of bail, as he did not know the extent of SUMNER'S injuries, so he has fixed four o'clock this evening for taking the bond.
The whole South sustains BROOKS, and a large part of the North also. All feel that it is time for freedom of speech and freedom of the cudgel to go together.
The Senate have appointed a Committee of Investigation. The House, in its super-serviceable Black Republican zeal, has done the same thing. Its action has been imbecile and contemptible. A Speaker elected by a sectional vote -- a resolution against HERBERT supported by a sectional vote -- a resolution against HERBERT supported by a sectional vote--and now one against BROOKS by a sectional vote.
Events are hurrying on. A despatch has just been received that Lawrence has been demolished, and lives lost. Next it will be a line of battle for two thousand miles!