and declared every word of it true, just, and expressive of the feelings of nine-tenths of the people of the North
voted, July 14,—one hundred and twenty-one for Brooks
's expulsion to ninety-five against it. All but one of the majority were from the free States.
The nays from the free States (thirteen in all) were Democrats,2
except John Scott Harrison
, elected as an ‘American.’
Three or four Fillmore
men (conservative Whigs) and two Northern Democrats voted for the expulsion, and also eight members—who voted against admitting Kansas
under the Topeka Constitution
There were few absentees, and the anti-Nebraska
members kept together better than in any vote during the session.
Those naturally infirm of purpose were carried along by the popular current.3
The vote to expel did not, however, reach the two-thirds required by the Constitution
, who had been silent during the debate, sought the floor after the vote on his expulsion, and was allowed, although the previous question had been ordered, to proceed by unanimous consent,—Giddings withdrawing his objection by the urgent request of friends, though against his own judgment.
's speech was a medley of insolence, ribaldry, and mock courage.
He failed in dignity and decency, and his harangue was merely a coarse defiance.
He felt the burden of his position,—that of one who had done a brutal act in a way that discredited his courage.
He carried the style of a braggart to a comic point when he said that it was in his power to ‘commence a line of conduct which would result in subverting the foundations of the government, and in drenching this hall in blood,’ and to strike a blow which would be followed by revolution; but he was prudently silent as to what this extraordinary act of his would be. He treated the assault as a purely personal affair,—the vindication of his State and of his blood,— a matter which was no concern of Congress.
Admitting full deliberation in his act, and giving as his reason for choosing a