On the 22d day of May, when the Senate and the House had clothed themselves in mourning for a brother fallen in the battle of life in the distant State of Missouri, the senator from Massachusetts sat in the silence of the Senate chamber engaged in the employments appertaining to his office, when a member of the House, who had taken an oath to sustain the Constitution, stole into the Senate, that place which had hitherto been held sacred against violence, and smote him as Cain smote his brother.2
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1 Cullen made the point in Edmundson's defence that as Brooks had said to Edmundson he should make the assault if Sumner did not apologize, Edmundson had a right to assume that an apology would, on being asked for, be given. (Congressional Globe, App. p. 1054.) Edmundson's complicity with the assault is critically reviewed in the New York Tribune, June 6. He received on this occasion better treatment than he deserved. On January 18 he had in the House approached Giddings with threatening gestures and words. (Ante, p. 427 note.) Nearly four years afterwards (Feb. 10, 1860), in the Capitol grounds, near the spot where Brooks had conferred with him, he struck with a cane at the head of John Hickman, a member from Pennsylvania, because the latter in a speech in Washington (not in Congress) ‘had slandered his State.’ He was stopped in the assault by three Southern men,—Breckinridge (Vice-President), Keitt, the accomplice of Brooks, and Clingman, now a senator, who had defended Brooks.
2 The scene is described in the New York Independent, June 26.
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