Article Title

Justifying Club Law


Newspaper Title

Daily Pittsburgh Gazette

Publication Date


Publication Place

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Event Topic

Sumner Caning

Political Party



free state


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the club is to be the substitute for debate

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

They Know Not What They Do

Our sense of mortification at the outrageperpetrated on Mr. Sumner is intensified, and ourindignation converted into the strongest disgust,by the remarks of the several Southern papers,that justify the cowardly assault, and glory intheir country's shame. To these Southern speakersand editors who defend such depraved anddastardly conduct as that of Brooks, we wish tosay emphatically and decidedly that they knownot what they do.

It is our deliberate opinion that this outrageupon the dignity of the American Senate, thisruthless attack by an armed ruffian on a sittingand unprotected Senator, this invasion of theSenate Chamber by a bully who lacked even thecourage of the duellist, and displayed the meannessas well as the malice of the assassin, thisone outrage upon the people in the person of aSenator for words spoken in debate, has donemore to alienate the hearts of the North fromthe South than any other one event that hashappened since the republic was founded.

But such a result would not have followed, ifthe person who committed the infamous assaulthad been denounced by the chivalry of the Southas he deserves to denounced. Then we wouldhave attributed the attack to the excitement ofstrong drink, and we would have expected tohear that even the assailant in calmer momentswould see the folly of his crime, and confuse itwith shame. We can look for no such resultnow. His friends, and the Southern press, witha few honorable exceptions, have sustained hisbloody hands, applauded his dead as that of ahero, and we have seen it stated that honorabletestimonials have been sent to him in acknowledgmentof his championship of the South.

Such facts fill us with deep apprehension. They serve to show that the public mind is in astate of inflammation that forbids the fair effectof argument; and the club is to be the substitutefor debate; and that law is to be disregardedin the very seat and source of its power.

The conservative press at the North has struggledagainst the waves of radicalism and fanaticismthat for a few years past have been rollingover the land. The "rights of the South" are asdear to American patriots as the "rights of theNorth." But it is impossible for the friends oflaw and order to uphold the perpetrators or thedefenders or the apologists of such violence asthis. And the South will best promote thatharmony of feeling between the distant parts of theconfederacy, so essential to the perpetuity ofthe Union, by creating a public sentiment thatwill render such outrages as this of Brooks uponSumner, as infamous at the South as at theNorth.

If consequences are worthy of being reckoned inthis connection, we assure the men who upholdthe brutal conduct of Brooks, that his conductand their defence have produced an impressionon the public mind of this country that will tellpowerfully in the future. A few more such scenes, and there will be but one party at the North.

There is hope for the cause of Freedom, when such papers as the New York Observer can be aroused to the point of manly utterance against the outrages of the slave oligarchy. We do not see why there is any need for more such scenes to unite the people of the North, when the votes, in Congress, and the whole spirit of the Democratic press, and the total silence of Democratic speakers, endorse the murderer Herbert, and the cowardly ruffian, Brooks. The Buchanan party are responsible for these acts. They have refused to investigate the case of the murder of an Irish waiter by Herbert, and have admitted him to a seat in the Cincinnati Convention. They voted against the investigation of the conduct of the ruffian Brooks, and have apologised or defended his conduct. There is, then, the highest reason that the people of the Free States should unite to put down a party which sympathisees with, and justifies and protects, slaveholding murderers and ruffians.

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by Nicole Pascoe. Not Proofed




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Justifying Club Law

the club is to be the substitute for debate