2d sess. U. S. 60th Cong..

... Adolph Meyer (late a representative from Louisiana) Memorial addresses, Sixtieth Congress, First and Second sessions. House of representatives, May 10, 1908, Senate of the United States, February 27, 1909 (Volume 1) online

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Online Library2d sess. U. S. 60th Cong.... Adolph Meyer (late a representative from Louisiana) Memorial addresses, Sixtieth Congress, First and Second sessions. House of representatives, May 10, 1908, Senate of the United States, February 27, 1909 (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 6)
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vainglorious or intolerant with success.

As an instructive lesson to those who may chance to read
these words, I have collated and condensed into a few lines,
which I now insert, the epitome of his legislative labors, which
will endure long after temporary monuments will have crumbled
to their original substance:

March 3, 1893, Fifty-second Congress, second session, for

dry docks $25, 000. 00

July 26, 1894, Fifty-third Congress, second session, for drv

docks 23,02s. 03

May 4, 1898, Fifty-fifth Congress, second session, for dry

docks _ 830.000.00

June 7, 1900, Fifty-sixth Congress, first session, for drv

docks 650, 000. 00

Total I, 548, 025. 03

P'or naval station 145,000.00

March 3, igoi, Fifty-sixth Congress, second session, for naval

station 330, 000. 00

July I, 1902, Fifty-seventh Congress, first session, for naval

station 339,000. 00

March 3, 1903, Fifty-seventh Congress, second session, for

naval station in, 800. 00

.^pril 27, 1904, Fifty-eighth Congress, second session, for

naval station 271, 500. 00

March 3, 1905, Fifty-eighth Congress, third session, for naval

station 95, 000 . 00

June 29, 1906, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session, for naval

station 215, 500.00

March 2, 1907, Fifty-ninth Congress, second session, for

naval station 156, 300. 00

Total 1,664, 100.00

The construction of a dry dock and the establishment of a
naval station at New Orleans were projects dear to the heart
of General MEYER, and the results of his efforts write the story
of a life well spent and devoted to the interests of those to whom
he was so faithful.

Address oj Mr. Piijo, of Louisiana ;^^

It will be noted that the first aijpropriatiou made by the
National Goxemment for a dr\- dock was on March t,, 1893,
and that the amount was very small, $25,000. Hut total ap-
propriations through the efforts and ability of the late First
District Congressman for the dry dock only aggregate at th's
time $1,548,025.03.

Well knowing and realizing the necessity for a naval station
on the Mississippi River at New Orleans and the advantages to
accrue to the public service from its construction, his energies
were ne.xt directed to the establishment of such a station, and
we find the result of his work in the na\al appropriation bill
adopted June 7, 1900, Fifty-sixth Congress, f.rst session, carry-
ing an appropriation of Si45,ooo for that purpose, followed by
an appropriation on ^larch 3, 1901, second session, with an
appropriation of $330,000; and the work was begun. And
annuallv thereafter the naval bill carried appropriations for
the naval station with unfailing regularity until March 2,
1907, aggregating $1,664,100.

The great ships of our navy and vessels of foreign countries
have been and can be at any time repaired with facility and
restored to commission. Many thousands of dollars are dis-
tributed among the officers and employees stationed there. The
construction of the dock and the establishment of the naval
station have resulted in material benefit to \ew Orleans and has
enhanced her importance as a great port and strategic base.

I recall when I first came to Congress that I was slightly dis-
appointed with the unfavorable action of a committee on a
measure in which my constituents were interested, and so
expressed mvself to my colleague. General MevER He stated
to me that he considered he had accomplished a few things for
the people of his district since his election to Congress, but the
result had been attained by repeated efforts, although at first
78130 — H. Doc. 1517, 60-2 3

34 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

not entirely successful or satisfactory. He said he well remem-
bered in his campaign for Congress in 1891 that his advocacy
of a dry dock and naval station at New Orleans was almost
treated with derision and that he was charged by his opponents
as advocating a measure which he well knew would never be
enacted into law. Yet, he remarked:

] have lived to see both of these projects — charged as being merely
eleclioneering schemes — approved by the Congress of my country and
mv people.

Were the people of his district to estimate his services merely
from a financial point of view, his account would show a large
balance to his credit; theirs a large debit in his favor.

His achievements in the great field of human endeavor

entitle him to the commendation accorded by the greatest of

cvnics to those who accomplished something, that —

V\'hoe\er could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow
upon a spot of ground where only one grew before would deserve better of
mankind and do more essential ser\'ice to his country than the whole race
of politicians put together.

Yet, Mr. Speaker, "a man's life * * * is neither here

nor there in the destiny of a nation. " General Mever fulfilled

his mission; he performed his duty; he accomplished his task;

and, in the last analysis, we exclaim with the Latin poet,

"Finis coronat opus!"

Address of Mr. Padgett, of Tennessee 35

Address of Mr. Padgett, of Tennessee

Mr. Speaker: We are here to-day to endeavor to pay a
tribute of respect and of love to the memory of our late col-
league and friend, Gen. Ad(1Lph MevER, of Louisiana; not
in the extravagance of language or in fulsomeness of praise,
but in sincerity and truth to speak those things which our
love would prompt and to testify to those virtues which we
know. I wish sincerely, Mr. Speaker, that I possessed that
richness of language which would enable me adequately to
pav a just tribute which his merits and life would warrant,
but I find comfort in the thought that those who have pre-
ceded me have paid a tribute more deser\'ing and more com-
mensurate than I can hope to do. I first met General MevER
when I became a Member of the Fifty-seventh Congress. I
was not then associated with him other than as a Member of
the House, meeting and being associated with him, but dur-
ing the Fifty-ninth and Sixtieth Congresses we were together
in our work -upon the Committee on Naval Affairs, and there
I learned to know him well and to love him more.

Mr. Speaker, I speak truly when 1 say the Committee on
Naval Affairs and the Congress in his death suffered a loss.
The Congress, as a representative of the whole country, his
State, and the Union had in General Meyer a faithful, efficient,
and competent public servant. Great crises, it is said, pro-
duce great men, or it is sometimes debated that great men
produce great crises. Perhaps we are not able to give a cat-
egorical answer to that question or a dogmatic solution to the
inquiry, but the young manhood of General Meyer came into
activity in a great crisis, during the civil war from 1 861 to i 865.

36 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

In the vcar 1S62, wlit-n in the University of \'irginia as a
sttuknt, he felt the call of duty which his country made upon
him and he responded to that call. He allied himself to the
cause of the Confederacy, and while it is not my purpose to
attempt to repeat what has already been told of his services
and his distinguished career, his fidelity in that service was
such that when the war was over it could be and it has been
said of him he was faithful to every trust and faithful to every

No more could be said of any man. Faithful in the environ-
ments in which we find ourselves, faithful in the duties which
present themselves to us in our station and our surroundings,
whether large or little, whether great or small, ever to be
faithful and efficient in the discharge of the dvrty that is
before us is the highest, the noblest, and the best tribute that
can be paid to mortal man. Mr. Speaker, it is not my purpose
to recall the incidents of that crisis. The soldiers of the
North and the soldiers of the South, the soldiers who wore
the blue and the soldiers who wore the gray, who met upon
the field of battle and of blood, of destruction and death,
were men in the highest, noblest sense when they faithfully
discharged their duty. Those were times that tried men's
souls, and a man who was faithful as he saw his fellows die,
who was l)ra\e in blood and carnage and death, deserves the
tribute of commendation and merits the esteem and the love
of his countrymen.

Mr. Speaker, whenever I stand at the grave of a man who
wore the blue or of a man who wore the gray, there comes to
me the memory of the words that were spoken to the prophet
of old as he stood in the presence of that burning bush, "Take
thy shoes from off thy feet, for the ground whereon thou stand-
est is holy ground." Sir, as I stand at the grave of a federal
or a confederate soldier, I take mv hat from mv head and bare

Address of Mr. Padgett, oj Tennessee 37

it to the blue of heaven and my soul testifies that these are our
country's heroes; and from my heart ascends the prayer that
our children and our children's children may ever be as noble
and as brave as were these men who wore the blue and the gray
in the discharge of their duty to the call of their country. Mr.
Speaker, the courage and bravery and heroism of the soldiers
of the North and of the South in that great struggle is the
grandest, the noblest, the best exhibition of courage and patri-
otism ever displayed on the field of battle and challenges the
admiration of the world.

But, sir, it was after the close of that war, when the Southern
soldier returned to his home in desolation and ruin, where fire
and sword had made desolate the land, and faced the problems
of rebuilding his country, rehabilitating its industries, reinstat-
ing its institutions, and to meet and to solve aright the many
problems that presented themselves to him, that the manhood
of the South exhibited its highest inspiration and its noblest
aspiration and achievement and reached the high-water mark
of patriotic accom]5lishment.

It was in this work that General Mever entered heartily,
patriotically, and successfully as a citizen of his State and of
the Nation. For laying hold of the new problems which pre-
sented themselves to him, for his wise and judicious considera-
tion of them, and for their rightful solution he received the
approbation of his people, and they gave to him a commission
for vears and years as a Member of Congress. Others have
spoken more eloquently than I could hope to do of the faithful-
ness and the efficiency of his labor and his achievement here.
I need not sav more than to say that here, as elsewhere, he was
faithful and efficient.

Mr. Speaker, when we come to consider General Meyer per-
sonally our admiration may prompt us, unless we be careful,
to extravagant expression. He w'as a noble man. He was a

38 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

gentle man. There was one attribute of liis character that was
prominent and commended itself to all — his modesty. I wish to
emphasize that modesty is not and should not be a virtue lim-
ited and confined to the female sex. There is a modesty which
commends itself to men and which challenges the admiration of
noble men ; and General MEYER possessed in a high degree that
modesty. General Meyer was personall}' honest; no man ever
questioned his personal honesty or his personal honor. But,
more than that, Mr. Speaker, he was politically honest. By
that 1 mean that in his convictions of political duty he was
sincere and earnest. He had convictions; he was not afraid
to state them. Those convictions were politically honest with
him, and he had the courage to maintain them. He was
honest in his purpose.

No man ever questioned the honesty of the purpose of General
Meyer in any effort he undertook; and it was the conviction and
the sincerity and the honesty of his purpose that commended
itself to his associates here and gave him power in this body.
He was not only honest in his purpose, but he was honest in his
action; for his conduct was such that no man ever stopped or
thought to question or to examine into the integrity of his pur-
pose or the honesty of his action, because it was apparent in his
life and his conduct. But one may be honest and still not rise
to the highest level of manhood. We can pay our debts, we may
discharge the duties that commonly and ordinarily address
themselves to us, and still there is a higher plane of manhood
than that. General Meyer was a man of integrity. He was
pure in his thought. I ask you to let your minds run over the
history of this body, and can you find where anyone has ever
been purer in his thought or cleaner in his life than General
Meyer? The purity of his thought and the cleanness of his
life marked him as a noble man, and won for him the respect
of his colleagues.

Address of Mr. Padgett, of Tennessee 39

He was faithful in service. Others fiave amplified that fact,
and I shall not detain you for it. The faithfulness of his
service was marked in this House and among his people.

It is said that there are larger and smaller cycles that mark
the movements of the heavenly bodies. The sun has its orbital
cycle and the stars have theirs. vSome are small, some are
larger, and some larger still. Some of the bodies move them-
selves within our visions for only a little while as they pass by,
and we see them but little. It seems to me that this life is
such. In the great cycle of eternity, as we conceive it, what
a small cycle of life there is to us here. The life and light of
the cycle of his life here has passed away from us, only to move
in that larger cycle which we call eternity. We hope, we
expect, yes the intuitions of our souls tell us, and we know,
that in that hereafter the friendships begotten here shall ripen
into the full fruition of love over there; and it is a comfort
and consolation to know that in the richness, the fullness, and
the completeness of that life we shall be satisfied.

40 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

Address of Mk. Olcott, of New York

Mr. Speaker: It is probably unnecessary for ine to add
anything to what has been so well said of the life and services
of Adolph ^Ieyer, but it seems to me fitting, and it certainly
is an honor, to join with you who knew him so well in a few
words of my appreciation of his services in the District of
Columbia Committee, where I met him in the first session of
the Fifty-ninth Congress. That committee is probably in-
fluenced less by ]jolitical opinions than any other. The acer-
bities of partisan activities hardly enter into its deliberations.
The question as to who is a Republican and who is a Democrat
need hardly be considered. All who do their work there are
actuated by the simple desire to do what is best for the city
of Washington. General Meyer brought to the work rich
e.xperience and good judgment. He was tenacious in his views
on any civic subject, but equally tolerant of divergent views
of others. His work was always valuable, and his expressed
opinions always told and did much to enable the committee to
act wisely. There was no matter so trivial or detail so small
that was not worthy of and did not receive his strict attention
and his honest judgment. Much of what is good in the .bills
reported from that committee originated with him or received
his cordial support. And of his personal relations with the
members of the committee nothing can be said but good. My
acquaintance with him soon, I am honored to say, became a
friendship, and the friendship quickly ripened into genuine
affection; and so when the sad news came on March 8 that he
had passed away, it was the loss to me of a real friend. I had
looked forward to seeing him again, not only in the old com-

Address of Mr. Olcoti, of New York 41

mittee but in tlu- C()niinitt(.i- <iii Xa\al Affairs, but, alas, it was
not to be. General MiiVER had many friends, and closer ac-
quaintance invariably increased the friendship. In the remarks
which he made at the memorial ser\4ces of Amos Cummings
General jMeyer closed in the following language:

1 (111 not su|)puse that he left un this floor a personal enemy behind
him; certainly there is not one of us who in this hour does not mourn
his untimely end.

Surely nothing truer could be said of this brave soldier,
faithfitl public ser\-ant, warm friend, and courteous, modest,
and gentle man.

42 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

Address of Mr. Lamb, of Virginu

Mr. Speaker: The frequent eulogies in this House Sunday
after Sunday, remind us of the solemn and serious fact that in
the midst of life we are in death. A visitation of this grim
monster has prevented my making as full and complete a eulogy
on our departed friend and comrade as I had hoped to make,
for no longer ago than yesterday I was called to witness the
funeral of a splendid \'irginia woman who met a sudden and
tragic death by a nmaway accident. I only left the city of
Richmond this morning after a very early breakfast, in order
that I might reach this House in time to comply with the request
of my colleagues from the State of Louisiana to unite in this
tribute to the life and character of our deceased friend.

1 have, perhaps, seen more of death in war than any other
man in this presence, and as much in peace. Only this morning
I came through the historic city of Fredericksburg, where in
December, 1863, I counted on a surface no larger than this
room the bodies of 285 of the dead men of Mears's brigade, in
that conflict of which I was an eyewitness. All I have here to
say has been written on the train between Fredericksburg and
this citv. As my mind ran over the battlefield of old \'irginia
I thought of the apostrophe to death I have heard so often
quoted on this floor:

Come to the bridal chamber, Death.

Come to the mother's, when she feels
For the first time her first-bom's breath!

Come when the blessed seals
That close the pestilence are broke,
And crowded cities wail its stroke!
Come in consumption's ghastly form,

Address of Mr. Lamb, of Virginia 43

The earthquake shock, the ocean storm;
Come when the heart beats high and warm
With banquet song, and dance and wine'
And thou art terrible! — the tear,
The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier.
And all we know, or dream, or fear
• Of agony, are thine.

We look upon death as the greatest of mysteries; but to my
mind, accustomed as I have been in war and peace to this dread
monster, I regard what we call life as even more mysterious
than death itself.

Mr. Chairman, the life of Adolph MeyER was eventful and
distinguished. Louisiana may well mourn and this House well
honor this soldier, patriot, business man, and statesman.

In him was combined those qualities of sterling character,
rare fidelitv, courage, and faithfulness in the discharge of every
duty which justly entitles him to live in the hearts and memo-
ries of his countrymen.

Modest, unassuming, and genial, liberally educated, of broad
business experience, he gave to his public duties that sound judg-
ment and untiring effort which won for him the affection, re-
spect, and confidence of his colleagues.

Adolph Meyer was a native of Natchez, Miss., born in Octo-
ber, 1842. Educated at the University of Virginia, he left that
institution while a student to enlist in the confederate anny,
serving with distinction under Brig. Gen. John S. Williams, first
as captain, then by promotions until at the close of the war he
held the position of adjutant-general.

After the close of the war he returned to Louisiana, became
the head of a firm largely interested in the production of cotton
and sugar; later he became a cotton factor in New Orleans, and
was prominent and successful in commercial and financial

He was elected and served as colonel of the First Regiment
Louisiana National Guard, and was appointed in 188 1 brigadier-

44 Memorial Addresses:, Adolpb Meyer

general to command all of the uniformed corps of the State of

At the outbreak of the war with Spain, Gen. John ,S. Williams,
his old commander, wrote the President as follows:

Jo the President:

I beg leave to recommend to your favorable consideration Mr. Adolph
Meyer, of Louisiana, for position of division or brigade commander of
Southern volunteers.

Mr. Meyer served on my staff during almost the entire civil war. He
was preeminent for soldierly qualities, the loftiest courage, fidelity, and
endurance. In fact he seemed a natural-born soldier, and commanded the
confidence and admiration of the entire command.

I know of no young officer who manifests more military aptitude. His
resourcefulness in emergencies and quickness to avail himself of every
possible advantage and devotion to duty were unsurpassed.

Mr. Meyer's experience in actual war has been supplemented liy com-
mand in the Louisiana Militia and National Guard.

1 know the appointment would be a good one and highly acceptable to
the Soiuhern people.

With sentiments of the liighest regard,
I am, most respectfully, yours,

John S. Williams,
Prigadicr-General, Kentucky Dirision.

This letter makes comment on (leneral Meyer's record in the
war between the vStates unnecessary. The highest praise by his
superior officer, under whom he constantly served during almost
the entire war, is glory enough for one ex-Confederate.

Adolth Meyer was first elected to the Ffty-second Congress
from the First Congressional District of Louisiana in 1890, and
was successively reelected until the .Sixtieth Congress in Novem-
ber, 1906, at which election he received 9,158 votes to his Repub-
lican opponent's 791.

Ex-Speaker Crisp assigned General Meyer to the Committee
on Naval Affairs, where he held an important place, serving
under two distinguished Democratic chairmen — Hon. Hilary A.
Herbert, of Alabama, and Hon. Amos Cummings, of New York.

It was on this committee that his greatest ser\'ices were ren-
dered his State and his beloved Southland.

Address of Mr. Lamb, of Virginia 45

It was chiefly to his active, untiring, anil intelligent work that
the largest naval station and dry dock in the South was estab-
lished in the port of New^ Orleans, large enough for the heaviest
battle ships and comparing favorably with any other station in
this country.

Largelv to him is due the construction of the jetties at vSouth-
west Pass, placing New Orleans on a footing with the best and
greatest ports on this continent. It was largely to his strong
and earnest plea on the floor of the House in the Ffty-fifth
Congress that the retention of the mint at New Orleans was
secured after it had been stricken out by the Appropriations

For this service, as well as many others of like character. Gen-
eral Meyer endeared himself to a loyal constituency, who re-
turned him to Congress for nine consecutive terms.

The letter of General Williams that I have quoted is a just
tribute to General jMeyER. If our deceased comrade watches
these exercises to-day from the spirit land, as he may do for all
we know, he takes the most interest in the references here made
to his Confederate record. Everything touching the history of
the heroic struggle his people made for constitutional liberty
was of deep interest to him. I shall never forget the simple
and unvarnished story he told of the part he bore in that con-
flict at a meeting of the ex-Confederates of the House and
Senate during a banquet held at the Metropolitan Hotel in this
city several years ago.

At that time we numbered fifty in both Houses. We are now
reduced to eighteen. Soon the last of these heroes will have
passed from the scenes of earth. While their names, for the
most part, will perish and their memories fade away, their deeds
of valor and chivalry will stir the hearts of future generations
while the stars shine and the tides ebb and flow.

46 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

Their self-sacrifice and devotion to duty will feed the patriot-
ism and fire the souls of men as long as valor has a votary or
virtue a shrine.

Not since Cromwell established the English Commonwealth
has there been on earth an army more devoted to principle nor
freer of vices. To their everlasting honor stands the fact that
in their march through the enemy's country they left behind
them no ruined homes, no private houses burned, no families
cruelly robbed.

They were, with one solitary exception, and that perhaps a
righteous reprisal, careful with fire, and they were never known
to borrow jewels of gold and silver with no thought of returning
the same. They would divide the last morsel of food and the
last drop of water with the hungry and thirsty prisoners that
they captured by the thousands.

With the rarest exceptions they never cherished bitterness
and ill feeling for the rank and file of the men they met in

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Online Library2d sess. U. S. 60th Cong.... Adolph Meyer (late a representative from Louisiana) Memorial addresses, Sixtieth Congress, First and Second sessions. House of representatives, May 10, 1908, Senate of the United States, February 27, 1909 (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 6)