Butler, Fessenden, Sumner & Violence


The Caning of Charles Sumner
Library of Congress

The same Andrew Butler that almost attacked Fessenden during his first Senate speech was the topic of Senator Charles Sumner’s Crime Against Kansas speech 2 years later. Sumner insinuated that Butler had an affair with a slave – when Butler was not on the Senate floor to defend himself. Days later, Butler’s nephew, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks, marched onto the senate floor, trapped Sumner at his desk, and beat him within an inch of his life.