Article Title

The U. S. Senate.

Authors

Newspaper Title

Ohio State Journal

Publication Date

6-6-1856

Publication Place

Columbus,Ohio

Event Topic

Sumner Caning

Political Party

Republican

Region

free state

Quote

Our leading papers, and letter-writers from Washington, are expressing great surprise and indignation at the action of the Senate on the breach of privilege committed on that body by the ruffianly assault on Sumner.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

Our leading papers, and letter-writers from Washington, are expressing great surprise and indignation at the action of the Senate on the breach of privilege committed on that body by the ruffianly assault on Sumner. The indignation is well enough, but the surprise surprises us. Since Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Mangum, Benton and such like spirits have vacated their seats in that body, what has it become? A place for free debate and high-souled sentiment? Not a bit of it. It has degenerated into an arena for the display of low demagoguery and political legerdemain; it has sunk its character for statesmanship; under the lead of a partisan majority below the common respect of the country.

Why then the manifest surprise at this last step of degradation? Having lost the respect of the country, why should it make a show of maintaining its own self-respect?

The freedom of discussion has been discountenanced in the Senate ever since 1852. Since that period, backed by such willing tools as Toucey of Connecticut, Douglas of Illinois, and Pettit of Indiana, the Slave Oligarchy have ruled that body with a rod of iron. Discourtesy and insult have, over and over again, been heaped on Senators from the Free States in debate, with a view of suppressing free speech. When now it is found that this will not do, what more natural than that violence should be substituted and justified, even within the sacred precincts of their Hall? The men who have done this thing, had shown themselves willing to sink the character of gentlemen when acting in their legislative and representative capacity. As American Senators, looking to the changes which are constantly going on in political ascendancy, they should have cherished the privileges guaranteed by the Constitution of freedom in debate, as the most sacred right committed to their charge. On it depends the rights of the minority -- on these again hang the Liberties of the People. When freedom in debate is struck down, there remains but one step more to be taken, and that step is one of form, not of substance -- Despotism is inaugurated, and Tyrant Power sits enthroned in the place of Popular Liberty!

Why then express surprise at the open manifestation of a principle already recognized by the majority? If the Senate choose to inaugurate club-law in the place of the peaceable guarantees of the Constitution -- if it chooses to protect in the person of a stranger to their body the violator of privileges which they themselves have set at naught, who shall question the act? The Parliamentary law is stricken down -- its shield is withdrawn, and what remains? Brute force opposed to brute force! And if one of the majority is felled upon the floor of the Senate for unpalatable speech by the hand of one of the outraged People -- one of the real Sovereigns of the land, who shall complain? Not the majority certainly. They have invited the remedy.Let them look to the consequences.

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by Lloyd Benson. Proofed by Katie DeLong

Identifier

ohsjsu560606a

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The U. S. Senate.

Our leading papers, and letter-writers from Washington, are expressing great surprise and indignation at the action of the Senate on the breach of privilege committed on that body by the ruffianly assault on Sumner.