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Southern Newspapers Praise the Attack on Charles Sumner

On May 22, 1856 abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a fiery speech denouncing pro-slavery activists in the territory of Kansas and their supporters in the United States Congress. The next day, while Sumner sat defenseless at his senate desk, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat him unconscious with a cane. The southern press was almost unanimous in applauding Brooks' deed. Sumner suffered permanent damage while Brooks went unpunished.

From the Richmond (Virginia) Whig:

A glorious deed!  A most glorious deed!  Mr. Brooks, of South Carolina, administered to Senator Sumner, a notorious abolitionist from Massachusetts, an effectual and classic caning.  We are rejoiced.  The only regret we feel is that Mr. Brooks did not employ a slave whip instead of a stick.  We trust the ball may be kept in motion.  Seward [another abolitionist senator] should catch it next.  

From the Petersburg (Virginia) Intelligencer:

We entirely concur with the Richmond Whig, that if thrashing is the only remedy by which the abolitionists can be controlled, that it will be well to give Senator William H. Seward a double dose at least every day until it operates freely on his political bowels.  

From the Richmond (Virginia) Examiner:

Good!--good!--very good!  The abolitionists have been suffered to run too long without collars.  They must be lashed into submission.  Sumner, in particular, ought to have nine-and-thirty [lashes] every morning...  Senator Wilson...[is] also dying for a beating.  Will not somebody take him in hand?...  If need be, let us have a caning or cowhiding [whipping] every day.  

Source | Quoted in William Loren Katz, Eyewitness: The Negro in American History (New York: Pitman Learning, 1974).
Creator | Various
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | Various, “Southern Newspapers Praise the Attack on Charles Sumner,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed April 18, 2024,

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