, a messenger rushed in and said that some one was beating Mr. Sumner
We heard the remark without any particular emotion; for my own part I confess I felt none.
I am not accustomed to participate in broils of any kind.
I remained very quietly in my seat; the other gentlemen did the same; we did not move. . . . I am not particularly fond of scenes of any sort.
I have no associations or relations of any kind with Mr. Sumner; I have not spoken to him for two years. I did not think it necessary to express my sympathy or make any advances towards him.
It will be remembered that, twelve years before, Sumner
had defended Slidell
's brother for his conduct in ‘The Mutiny of the “Somers
,” ’ and that afterwards Slidell
himself had gratefully recognized his ‘chivalrous and zealous advocacy.’1
They had had no personal controversy in the Senate, and the non-intercourse grew solely out of Sumner
's antislavery position.
My first impression was to come into the Senate chamber and help to put an end to the affray if I could; but it occurred to my mind in an instant that my relations to Mr. Sumner were such that if I came into the hall my motives would be misconstrued, perhaps, and I sat down again. . . . I never heard that any mortal man thought of attacking Mr. Sumner then or at any other time, here or at any other place.
I had not the slightest suspicion that anything was to happen.
But he did not explain or refer to his language on the second day of Sumner
's speech, which showed a disposition to excite violence, and was so interpreted by persons who heard him. Toombs
said: ‘As for rendering Mr. Sumner
any assistance, I did not do it. As to what was said, some gentleman present condemned it in Mr. Brooks
; I stated to him, or to some of my own friends, probably, that I approved it. That is my opinion.’
, who had arrived from South Carolina
that morning, having started from home when he heard of the assault, made a brief explanation, chiefly to the effect that he had not for a long time recognized Sumner
in debate, but, restrained by friends, reserved himself for a later day. With Toombs
's approval of the assault in open Senate, Northern senators could not longer remain silent.
, following Butler