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[491] cane instead of a whip that he was in less danger of losing his grip on the former, he signified his purpose to have killed the senator on the spot if the latter had succeeded in wresting it from him;1 but what weapon he had in reserve, whether a pistol or a dagger, he did not say. In all this he appeared no better than a vulgar assassin, who was careful not to meet his antagonist on an equal footing. Every few moments he passed from bravado to ribaldry. He spoke of Pennington as ‘the prosecuting member, the thumb-paper member, the Falstaffian member, who, like his prototype, was born about four o'clock in the morning; and if he has not the bald head, is graced with the corporeal rotundity of his predecessor upon his advent into the sublunary world.’ He referred to Morgan, ‘the feminine gentleman’ who had been reported as calling him ‘a villain;’ saying, ‘He need not be much alarmed; and if he will hold still when I get hold of him, I'll not hurt him much.’ He spoke of Comins, who had armed himself, as ‘a poltroon and puppy,’ as ‘a cock that crows and won't fight, despised by the hens and even by the pullets.’ Massachusetts had, in his view, in her resolutions condemning the assault, ‘given additional proof that she neither comprehends the theory of our government nor is loyal to its authority.’ Thanking ‘Northern Democrats and J. Scott Harrison2 for their support, he paid his respects to the members who had ‘written him down upon the history of the country as worthy of expulsion,’—a point on which he evidently felt sore,—telling them that ‘for all future time his self-respect required that he should pass them as strangers.’ He ended his mock-heroic performance by announcing his resignation; and walking out of the House, he was met at the door by Southern women, who embraced and kissed him.3

The next day the house rejected the resolution concerning Edmundson by a vote of sixty to one hundred and thirty-six, chiefly on the ground that he was not present at the moment

1 ‘Knowing that the senator was my superior in strength, it occurred to me that he might wrest it [the cane] from my hand; and then—for I never attempt anything I do not perform—I might have been compelled to do that which I would have regretted the balance of my natural life.’ At this passage a member said aloud: ‘He would have killed him.’

2 It was feared that this pointed commendation might injure those members, and the expression was changed in the speech as printed to ‘members from the non-slave-owning States.’ New York Evening Post, July 16; New York Tribune, July 15; New York Independent, July 24. Harrison wrote a speech in apology for Brooks, which he was allowed to print. Congressional Globe. App. p. 940.

3 New York Tribune, July 15. Butler and Mason sat near him while he was speaking.

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