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Nor did the interest cease with the tragedy itself and these immediate demonstrations of approval or disapproval. The sequel was more tragic, and, to the thoughtful, far more impressive and replete with its lessons of wisdom and warning. Of the three prominent actors, the most audacious, arrogant, insulting, and, for the time being, seemingly most potential, Brooks and Butler, were in their graves in less than a year; while Keitt died fighting in a war which destroyed the slave system and swept it from the land. Brooks died suddenly, but not until he had confessed to his friend, James L. Orr, that he was tired of the new role he had chosen, and heart-sick of being the recognized representative of bullies, the recipient of their ostentatious gifts and officious testimonials of admiration and regard.

Nor were all its lessons exhausted at the South. At the North the subsequent developments were equally significant and sad. For, notwithstanding the brutality of the outrage and its unequivocal indorsement by the South, a fact fully recognized and properly condemned by those public demonstrations at the North, yet, when the hour of trial came, as it did in the presidential election in the autumn, the very man [261] who had volunteered an apology for the assault was made President, and that largely by Northern votes. Party was thus shown to be stronger than principle, patriotism stronger than philanthropy, regard for the Union stronger than regard for human rights, the fear of man stronger than the fear of God.

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Preston S. Brooks (4)
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