previous next
[462] his house, but Sumner excused himself, saying he must first attend to his proofs.1 He then walked alone to the printing-office, and thence to Seward's. As nothing occurred that day, the apprehensions of his friends were allayed.

Preston S. Brooks was then a member of the House from South Carolina, born at Edgefield Court House, living in ‘Ninety-six,’ a township of some interest in Revolutionary history, and representing a cotton-planting district in the northwestern part of the State. He first came to Congress late in the session of 1852-1853. He made a speech (March 15, 1854) in favor of the Nebraska bill, and during the same session advocated at length (June 14) a southern route for the Pacific Railroad. These speeches show him to have been a person of only respectable ability, and his friends hardly claimed more for him. During his service hitherto, hardly three years in length, he had been a modest and orderly member, indulging in no acrimonious speech and keeping aloof from scenes of disorder; and his pacific manner and temperament had been observed. Once he intervened to arrest a personal difficulty between members, and offered a resolution (June 21 and 22, 1854) against the bringing of concealed weapons into the House. In his speech on the Nebraska bill he disclaimed any reflection on those who rejected the duel as a mode of settling personal questions. On one or two occasions he appeared more tolerant and less exclusively sectional than some of his nullifying colleagues.2 He had a grain of levity in his nature, which appeared in a resolution offered by him in jest, and in his vote for Mr. Giddings as chaplain. All agree that he was amiable and friendly in relations with members;3 and he even cultivated association with some Republican members, among them Comins of Massachusetts.4 The deed which was to make him famous, or rather infamous, seemed to befit his colleague Keitt better than himself.5 With all this, he had the same intemperate zeal for slavery which distinguished his State; and he had recently been active

1 Sumner's testimony. Congressional Globe, p. 1353.

2 Dec. 25, 1855. Ibid., p. 77.

3 His father, Whitfield Brooks, appears to have been impulsive and rash. O'Neall's ‘Bench and Bar of South Carolina,’ vol. II. p. 474.

4 Once he paired with Murray of New York.

5 W. S. Thayer in the New York Evening Post, May 23 and June 2. The plotters of the assault have been reticent as to its origin; they revealed as little as possible in their reluctant testimony. The way in which the world received their deed did not make them communicative.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Charles Sumner (2)
William S. Thayer (1)
William H. Seward (1)
O'Neall (1)
Ambrose S. Murray (1)
Keitt (1)
Joshua R. Giddings (1)
Comins (1)
Whitfield Brooks (1)
Preston S. Brooks (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 25th, 1855 AD (1)
June 21st, 1854 AD (1)
March 22nd, 1854 AD (1)
March 15th, 1854 AD (1)
1854 AD (1)
1853 AD (1)
1852 AD (1)
June 14th (1)
June 2nd (1)
May 23rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: