bench near the walk leading from Pennsylvania Avenue to the steps.
then said that ‘Sumner
had been very insulting to his State, and that he had determined to punish him unless he made an ample apology.’
He further said that ‘it was time for Southern men to stop this coarse abuse used by the Abolitionists against the Southern
people and States, and that he should not feel that he was representing his State properly if he permitted such things to be said; that he learned that Mr. Sumner
intended to do this thing days before he made his speech; that he did it deliberately, and he thought he ought to be punished for it.’
said further that in this first conversation Brooks
repeated what Sumner
had said about South Carolina
,—‘Disgracefully impotent during the Revolution, and still more so on account of slavery.’1
But this is not likely, as this was said on the second day of the speech (Tuesday), when Brooks
was not present, and the Congressional Globe
containing the passage had not yet been issued.
at no time claimed that he had read it in the Globe
It will thus be observed that, as appears by Edmundson
's testimony, from which alone Brooks
's state of mind on both days is ascertained, his grievance was not, as afterwards emphasized, any slander on Butler
, who was not even mentioned in the interviews; and although, according to Edmundson
, he did refer on Wednesday to an insult to his State, he had not heard, and could not at the time have read, the passage of Sumner
's speech concerning South Carolina
's real grievance, as he stated it, was Sumner
's assault on slavery itself, or, as he put it, on ‘the Southern
people and States.’
He had constituted himself the avenger of his section and class with the purpose of silencing members of Congress who dealt plainly and strongly with the slavery question.
This was the view taken by Butler
himself, who in his speech, June 24, claimed that Brooks
acted from higher motives than taking redress for an insult offered to his kinsman.2
, as Edmundson
testified, wished the latter to be present merely as a friend to do him justice, as Sumner
might have friends with him, but not to take part in the difficulty.
Spite of the disclaimer of desiring physical help, it is clear that he desired his friend's presence as something more than a witness,