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[473] former observed Brooks's approach, and the latter's attention was attracted by the first blow. Gorman went forward, but he was anticipated by Morgan and Murray, though coming from a further point.1 Toombs looked on, commending Brooks's act.2 The affair was so sudden and so quickly over that most of the persons in the Senate chamber—in all perhaps twenty—had no means of interfering,3 though the failure of Gorman and Leader (a young journalist) to reach the spot sooner than Murray and Morgan is not easily understood.4 Want of courage or of presence of mind with some, and a certain sympathy with the outrage on the part of others, retarded efforts to assist or interfere.

Keitt, who had remained in the Capitol in expectation of the assault,5 when it began was standing behind the Vice-President's chair, talking with some one.6 As soon as the blows began he rushed forward, flourishing an uplifted cane, with countenance and gestures showing a purpose to oppose violence to any one who should befriend Sumner; and encountering Crittenden, who was trying to get between the parties, was apparently about to assail him, when he was diverted by Toombs, who with prudent thought did not wish to have the violence extend to an aged Southern senator. He came close to the scene,—to Cass's seat (No. 30), within ten feet of it,—continuing his demonstrations, warning off with threats Holland the doorkeeper, as well

1 Gorman's testimony, Congressional Globe, p. 1354. Gorman testified that he was only twelve or thirteen feet off.

2 Remarks, May 27, Congressional Globe, p. 1355. Toombs had recently, as late as January 24, been in Boston, where he had been entertained by William Appleton, and had been respectfully listened to in his defence of slavery before an antislavery audience, appearing by invitation in an antislavery course. While in Boston he was courteous and quiet in manner.

3 Nicholson's testimony, Congressional Globe, pp. 1366, 1367. The failure of the assistant sergeant-at-arms to reach the spot in time was the subject of criticism. (W. S. Thayer in the ‘Evening Post,’ May 23.) Mr. Thayer stated in the same journal, May 28, that Bright, president of the Senate, condemned the assault.

4 William Y. Leader, of Philadelphia, since of Austin, Texas, who made the complaint against Brooks in the District Court, was by his own account nearer than an—one, and even heard the words which Brooks uttered,—heard by no one else except Sumner. he regarded the assault as ‘a cold-blooded, high-handed outrage’ (Sumner's Works, vol. IV. pp. 268;270); but he abstained from interference, kept back by dread of violence to himself. He was young, of inferior stature, and untrained in physical contests.

5 Edmundson's testimony, Congressional Globe, p. 1363. Keitt told Edmundson that he could not leave till Brooks did.

6 Gorman's testimony, Congressional Globe, p. 1354. Keitt, in his speech of July 16 (Globe App. p. 838), said that though he knew the punishment was to be inflicted, for Brooks had told him so, he did not know it was to come just then; and if he had he should have been still nearer the scene of action than he was.

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