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[488] in Washington at that day.1 Sumner did not attend the trial, and disclaimed all interest in the proceeding's.2

The debate in the House on the report of the committee began July 9,3 and continued four days, lasting on Saturday till nine in the evening. The opponents of the resolutions contested them with elaborate arguments, on the ground of want of power in the House; and their plea to the jurisdiction, strenuously urged against admitted precedents, revealed their dread of a formal record against them.4 The slaveholding party for the first time found itself outnumbered, and with a changed tone pleaded that consideration should be given to the excesses of a ‘chivalrous’ spirit. Their moderation was in part due to the necessities of the political situation, as a Presidential election with a doubtful result was pending.5 They undertook to treat Sumner's offence as consisting in the publication rather than in the delivery of his speech, a point which Brooks did not make at the time; and he had besides communicated his purpose to Edmundson before the speech appeared in print.6 The distinction was without substance, as whatever was spoken in Congress was inevitably published in the Congressional Globe by command of the body itself. While the more respectable opponents7 of the resolutions sheltered themselves under a technical defence, the bolder spirits went further, and, unrestrained by prudence, represented Southern opinion by fully adopting Brooks's act. Clingman took the lead in defending ‘the liberty of the cudgel,’ ostentatiously advertised himself as a duellist, ready for an encounter, and justified the assault in all respects.8

1 The ‘National Intelligencer,’ July 9. condemned the sentence as inadequate. Two clergymen of the city, Dr. Pine and Dr. Sunderland, condemned the assault. Aiken, a colleague of Brooks, was one of Dr. Pine's hearers.

2 Works, vol. IV p. 268. Sumner, in answer to a summons, testified before the grand jury. but had left for Philadelphia before the trial.

3 The absence of members at the national conventions had delayed the consideration of the report.

4 Giddings in his speech disposed effectually of the point that there was no law or rule as a basis of the proposed action, by citing the former proceedings against John Quincy Adams and himself by a slaveholding majority, without pretence of support in any law or rule.

5 New York Evening Post. July 12.

6 Pennington's speech, July 10; Congressional Globe. App. p. 891.

7 Orr. Cobb, and Boyce. Congressional Globe. App. pp. 805, 809, 812.

8 Congressional Globe, App. p. 734. Clingman declared that what Sumner said two years before of the Southern people ‘merited chastisement,’ showing that his criticisms of Butler were not regarded as the important matter Savage altogether ignored what Sumner had said of Butler, treating his charges against the Southern people as the real offence.

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