N.C. congressmen kept sergeant at arms busy

“[In 1840], as now, violence was a common feature of American life. There were even fistfights in Congress: North Carolina Congressman Jesse Bynum crossed the chamber to ‘grossly insult’ Louisiana Representative Rice Garland,  who punched Bynum, igniting a ‘fisticuff bout’ until they were separated. …. Ten days later North Carolina Congressmen Kenneth Rayner and William Montgomery broke canes over one another’s heads.”

— From “Mr. Adams’s Last Crusade: John Quincy Adams’s Extraordinary Post-Presidential Life in Congress” by Joseph Wheelan (2008)

The two quoted phrases are drawn from the copious journals of Adams, who after his single term as president represented Massachusetts for 17 years in Congress.

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