suggest questions for witnesses, did not attend.
the committee took testimony on four successive days, taking Sumner
's at his lodgings on the first day; and on Friday they agreed upon a report, with a preamble and resolutions, by a vote of the three Republicans, the two Southern members dissenting.
The preamble adjudged Brooks
guilty of an assault with most aggravated circumstances of violence, which was a breach of the privileges of the Senate, of the senator assailed, and of the House
itself, in violation of the Constitution
, which declares that senators and representatives ‘for any speech or debate in either house shall not be questioned in any other place;’ and also guilty of an act of ‘disorderly behavior’ punishable under the Constitution
with expulsion by a two-thirds vote.
The resolutions declared the expulsion of Brooks
, and the censure of Keitt
for the countenance they had given to his purpose.
The minority insisted in their dissenting report that the act complained of, not being committed on a member of the house, or in the House
during a session, the House
had no jurisdiction; and they argued that the questioning for speeches and debates forbidden by the Constitution
only protected against legal liability and proceedings, and did not extend to assaults punishable in the courts, and at the most must be limited to the delivery of speeches without protecting the publication.
Further, they set up that Congress could not punish for a breach of privilege until it had defined the privilege in a law.1
Some weeks passed before the report was debated in the house.
The reserve which senators imposed on themselves on the day Wilson
called their attention to the assault was not to last.
On Tuesday, May 27, Slidell
, and Douglas
made explanations called out by Sumner
's testimony as to where he thought he saw them as he was recovering consciousness.
He was mistaken in his impression that he saw, while he was prostrate, Douglas
standing on either side of Brooks
, and their statements as to where they were and what they did were probably correct.
The three senators, however, took occasion to add some comments.
stated that being in the anteroom conversing with Douglas
, and J.