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[524] the deed to the spirit of slavery, instead of laying the responsibility on individuals. Four years later, when he entered again into the debate between the contending principles, he said at the outset: ‘I have no personal griefs to utter; only a vulgar egotism could intrude such into this chamber. I have no personal wrongs to avenge only a brutish nature could attempt to wield that vengeance which belongs to the Lord. the years that have intervened and the tombs that have opened since I spoke have their voices too, which I cannot fail to hear.’1 He is not known to have recurred to the subject in private, except in two instances, when it was introduced by others under peculiar circumstances. In 1872, when supporting Greeley for President, and making his protest against any revival of sectional animosity, his attention being called to a caricature of himself drawn by Nast for Harper's Weekly, which represented him at the grave of Brooks reading the inscription on the stone, he said: ‘What have I to do with him? It was slavery, not he. that struck the blow.’ The same season he was walking in the Congressional cemetery, when George William Curtis, his companion, pointed out to him the cenotaph of Brooks, which he had not before observed.—He stood silent before it for a few moments, and then turning away, said, ‘Poor fellow, poor fellow!’ Curtis then asked him, ‘How did you feel about Brooks?’ His reply was, ‘Only as to a brick that should fall upon my head from a chimney. He was the unconscious agent of a malign power.’2

1 Speech, June 4, 1860, vol. v. p. 8. His only other public reference to Brooks is of a similar tone. Letter to Speaker Blaine, Aug. 5, 1872. Works, vol. XV. p. 197.

2 Mr. Curtis gave a part of the above in Harper's Monthly, June, 1874 ( “‘Editor's Easy Chair’” ), and the remainder in conversation with the writer. See also his sketch of Sumner in Appleton's ‘Cyclopaedia of American Biography.’ Longfellow, at whose house Sumner was the day after Brooks's death, wrote in his journal: ‘Sumner came out. His assailant Brooks has died suddenly at Washington. I do not think Sumner had any personal feeling against him. He looked upon him as a mere tool of the slaveholders, or, at all events, of the South Carolinians. It was their way of answering arguments.’

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