Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Preston Brooks Falls To Corona Virus

It's a little late notice but Southern hero Preston Smith Brooks has fallen to what seems to be the effects of Corona virus or something very similar. His death occurred on January 27, 1857 in Washington, D.C. and he was buried in his home of Edgefield, South Carolina.

Brooks was most famous for defending the honor of his cousin, South Carolina senator Andrew Butler, after Butler was libeled on the Senate floor by Massachusetts neo-Puritan senator Charles Sumner. Brooks administered a beating to Sumner with a cane that resulted in Sumner suffering perhaps the first recorded American case of PTSD. Evidently it required him to spend the next three years touring Europe to get his faculties back in order.

The notoriety occasioned by the affair caused Brooks to resign his office but in a special election he was re-elected and died before the following congressional term could begin. He was said to have died as the result of the croup, which has all the identifying characteristics of what we now call Covid-19 virus. Perhaps he neglected to wear his mask.

No one can know, even now, if Brooks mauling of Sumner was a significant factor in bringing about the War Between the States. It's quite certain, however, that the fulminations of Sumner were the proximate cause of the Senate confrontation and were indeed one more step in that direction.

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