The age of chivalry has gone;


 “The age of chivalry has gone; the age of humanity has come.” Charles Sumner

“The true grandeur of humanity is in moral elevation, sustained, enlightened and decorated by the intellect of man.” Charles Sumner

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Charles Sumner was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts (1851-74) and was prominent during the Civil War era. He was born in January of 1811 in Boston. He attended the Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard in 1839 and Harvard Law in 1834.  He was a protégé of Joseph Story (who served on the US Supreme Court). He was also a member of the Porcellian Club (An interesting organization, by the way). An avid abolitionist, he refused compromise on the issue of equal rights for blacks. In 1855, Sumner read an intemperate speech, "The Crime Against Kansas” in which he condemned his opponents, including South Carolina's Senator Andrew P. Butler. Two days later, on May 22, Preston Brooks, Butler's nephew, and a congressman from South Carolina, entered the senate chamber. With him were two goons, Laurence M. Keitt and Henry Edmundson. Brooks said, "Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine." As Sumner, who was six feet and four inches tall, began to stand up, Brooks began beating Sumner severely on the head with a thick cane with a gold head. Sumner was trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to bash Sumner until he ripped the desk from the floor. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat Sumner until he broke his cane, and then quietly left the chamber. Several other senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Keitt who was holding a pistol and shouting, "Let them be!" Brooks was a hero to his constituency and was re-elected. Sumner took three years to recover from the beating. He suffered from serious head trauma, severe headaches and stress.

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