Cumming, a longtime faculty member at Davidson College, was an authority on the early mapping of the southeastern United States. His book, The Southeast in Early Maps (UNC Press, 1958, revised 1998), is the standard work on the subject, containing a thorough bibliography of early maps of North Carolina and the southeast. Cumming’s research was supplemented by an impressive private collection, which is now maintained in the Davidson College Library.
“The uppermost topic in the papers, North and South, is the recent chastisement of Senator [Charles Sumner of Massachusetts] by Mr. [Preston] Brooks of South Carolina. The affair has been a perfect Godsend to the Abolitionists… Sumner will be glorified into the dignity of a persecuted patriot.
“Sumner deserved what he got, but Brooks caned him in the Senate chamber, and took him, moreover, at an advantage — while sitting in his chair.
“Mr. Brooks should have sought a different time and place for his meeting with Sumner.… He has given a good handle for the Northern people to seize, in denunciation of his course, and deprived the South of the opportunity of justification.”
— From the Wilmington Daily Herald, May 26, 1856
“The Senate chamber is, certainly, no place for brawls and fights… But the Senate chamber, also, is no place for foul language, abuse, taunts, and opprobrious epithets. One evil leads necessarily to another. The Senate must preserve its own dignity, in order to command the respect of the public.”
— From the Raleigh Register, June 6, 1856