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 5 of 6)
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the Committee on Naval Affairs. He had served for seventeen years, and
no man was more familiar with the great suljjects pertaining thereto than

The many and able reports on naval subjects which he has written will
stand as a monument to his faithfulness, ability, and industry. When he
became a member of the Naval Committee we had not a single battle ship
in commission and the tonnage of our new navy was less than 200,000,
whereas now, when the pending naval bill shall have become a law, the
tonnage of our navy will reach 850,000. General Mever can rightfully be
called one of the legislative builders of the new navy, because during tlie
seventeen years of his service upon the connniltee more than three-fourths
of the new American Navy has been built.

While his education was interrupted during his long ser\-ice
in the army, the training there was useful, as he had learned
discipline, self-control, and self-denial, and, in the i)ri\ations

62 Memorial Addresses: Adolpli Meyer

and dangers of army life, human nature in all its phases. For-
tunately his habits were studious and his tastes scholastic. He
had good judgment and unfailing tact. No circumstance, how-
ever embarrassing, disturbed the evenness of his temper, and
what he had to do was done at the right time and in the right
way, and his words were suitable on all occasions to the matter
under discussion. With his self-possession there was in his
manner modesty and dignity With his many attractions, it is
not to be wondered that he had ardent, admirers and devoted
adherents among all classes of people in. his" district.

When the Fifty-ninth Congress adjourned, which he had
attended. General Meyer was apparently in full health and
vigor. No Member of it had brighter hopes for the future and
none had a clearer conscience for "having done his duty well and
faithfully. It was expected that he would be returned here for.
many years to come, so well, so faithfully, and ably had he rep-
resented his district.

The day preceding his death he was hopeful of life, bright,
and cheerful, expecting to attend the opening of the Sixtieth
Congress. We have so often been called upon to pay tribute to
the memory of those who have left here in perfect health, but
who have been suddenly called, that we nuist be impressed with
the uncertainty of the hour of death.

Determined are the davs that fly

Successive o'er thy head;
The numliered hour is on the wing

That lays thee with the dead.

While the hour tnay have come at an unexpected time. Gen-
eral Meyer was not unprepared for the dreaded ordeal of pass-
ing into the unknown —

.■\cross that ebbing tide which has no flow.

His entire life had been a preparation for the conflict with
death. He was in no fear of its near approach. Why was

Address of Mr. McEnery, of Louisiana 63

there no cloud on the soul of one who had passed through life
pursuing professions and callings that carried with them strong

The unbroken testimony of all who knew him from early
manhood is that he had strong convictions of right; that he had
the highest order of moral and ])hysical courage; that he had
to the fullest measure generous sympathies and impulses, which
went out into active work among the poor and afflicted. Pos-
sessing such qualities, he filled every office to which he had been
called witii honor, ability, and fidelity. In war he was a val-
iant soldier; in peace, a good citizen, an able and conscientious
legislator. He loathed the gross sensualisms now so common
and deplored that excessive luxury which commercial pros-
perity has developed. Apart from the emphatic testimon\- of
his friends, the slightest acquaintance with him was enough to
show that his heart was right, full of love and sympathv, and
that he was in full fellowship with his Maker, and that he had a
clear vision and passionate hatred of all wrong. He never
stooped to flatter popular prejudice. He was independent in
his political actions, while he gave steady support, so far as they
harmonized with his convictions, to party policy and discipline.
Fortunately, his opinions and temper harmonized with the pro-
gressive spirit of his constituents. The commercial, industrial,
agricultural, and professional people rallied around him with
their energy and self-confidence, their pride and their patriot-
ism, to the support of a statesman whose aims were loftv and
unselfish, whose life was pure and full of kindly feeling for all
conditions of humanity and of tender and affectionate love for
wife and child. He loved his adopted State with enthusiastic
devotion. The splendor of her history, the vast extent of her
domain, the manifold resources of her wealth, the learning of
her jurists, the character of her people, unsurpassed for energy,
intelligence, and hospitality, her strength, and her power.

64 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

His glowing patriotism was tlie spell which bound his people
to him. His successful career is remarkable for the abnegation
of all selfishness, the sacrifice of personal consideration to a
sense of dutv so well performed in every station, that his
public virtue is to be more admired than any particular act
which he did or any particular faculty which he possessed.
The personal popularity of General Meyer was such as might
be expected from a man who was modest, candid, and affable
without any pretense to genius or great superiority over his
fellow-man. His generositv and charitv were boundless, lim-
ited only to his means of giving. He believed that he who with-
held his generosity until death gave nothing at all. A great
part of his income went for the relief of the poor and for the
support of his faith. In his religious and moral character there
is much to admire and imitate. He was a firm believer in his
faith, yet he was too firmly imbued with the spirit of the age
to judge harshly of those who differed with him. But all
forms of vice and all irreverence for religion and impuritv in
expression were steadih- condemned.

There was for his acceptance further preferment and higher
reward. The world held out to him promises for greater use-
fulness and great distinction. But how uncertain is the reali-
zation of the hopes and rewards of an earthly career. His
untimely death is a warning.

But he had hopes beyond earthly jiromise. His life was one

of continuous endeavor, and to him the promise of eternal life

and glory, a trust in God —

To whose eternal doom

Must Ijend the sceptered jjotentates of earth —

was of greater value than the flattering and ephemeral honors

of life. He had learned from his sublime faith —

'Tis to the vulgar death loo harsh appears.
The ill we feel is only in our fears;
To die is latiding on some silent shore
Whose billows never break nor tempest roar;
Ere well we (eel the Iriendlv stroke 'lis o'er.

Address of Mr. McEnciy, oj Louisiana 65

In this short sketch of General Mever I have not been bHndcd

bv the clouds which gather round the dead, but I have given an

impartial though an inadequate description of his character.

He had pleasing and elegant manners, was possessed of large

general information, and his society was much courted, and

those who enjoyed his esteem and confidence learned that each

dav found him prepared —

To hold his course unfaltering while the voice
Of truth and virtue up the steep ascent
Of nature calls him to his high reward —

for in his studied efforts to perfect himself he had —

Summed the actions of the day
Each night before he slept.
78130 — H. Doc. I. SI 7, 60-3 s

66 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

Address of Mr. Clapp, of Minnesota

Mr. President: As we advance into the years the shadows
gather about us. One by one those of our own generation pass
beyond. General ^Ieyer fell in the full prime of his strength
and his achievements. His long service, faithful and successful,
might well ha^ e been taken as a warrant of additional and still
more valuable service and of still greater honors had his life
been spared. There is an immutable law which decrees that
real honor is intertwined with true achievements. Obedient in
his very nature to that law, General Meyer combined with
valuable ser\-ice to his country the gathering of honors to

It has been suggested here this afternoon that these services
bear but little fruit unless we consider the lessons which they
teach. The chords which reach from the living to the dead,
while mystic, silent, and unseen, are vibrant with immortal
truths. Of the truths thus borne to us upon this occasion I
shall only dwell upon one, and that is the lesson of life, for
whatever there may be of immortality, whatever there may be
in that which lies beyond, this much is certain: This life is the
vestibule of the life to come.

A short time ago in this Chamber I listened to the prayer of

one of the great divines of his age, and 1 heard these words

fall from his lips:

We know, O Lord, lliat Thy omnipotence is our omnipotence if we but
Vie one with Thee.

1 believe, sir, that to-day that sentiment would awaken a

responsive echo in every pulpit in Christendom; and yet, simple

as it is, it reverses the thought and the experience of ages.

That simple statement sweeps awa\ the cobwebs of dogma and

Address of Mr. Clapp, oj Minnesota 67

creed that n.-ach back through the- (.-orridors of nineteen cen-
turies to the hour when the Master in turn shook the ritualism
of fourteen centuries with the simple statement, "The kingdom
of heaven is within you." This reversed all that had gone
before. This thought, sinking into human consciousness, sup-
plants the gospel of word with the gospel of action.

This thought takes from the old creed the constantly reiter-
ated prohibition "Thou shalt not" and in place inserts the
injunction "Thou shalt." It substitutes now for hereafter. In
this concept of the Infinite, human effort becomes a factor as
never before; while it lessens not our thought of immortality,
it deepens our appreciation of this life and its opportunities;
while it detracts nothing from our w'orship of the Infinite, it
quickens our appreciation of our own powers to reach toward
the Infinite.

This is the difference between creeds which, barren of fruit-
age, barren of blessings to humanity, have passed away, leaving
that old, but new, thought of to-day, rich in its blessings, chief
of which is the inspiration to human effort, a thought which
brings man to a truer and a closer relation with Deity; and
in that relationship must be found the truer relationship of
man to man — a broadened brotherhood of man. With that
truth sinking deeper into our consciousness, we will no longer
"remember the dead and forget the living," but while we will
still bring our tribute and strew flowers over the grave of the
dead, abating nothing of our tender memory of the departed, we
will appreciate our duty to those about us and thus reflect
,sunlight along and strew with flowers the pathway of the living.

68 Memorial Addresses: Adolpli Meyer

Address of Mr. Perkins, of California

Mr. President: The Congress of the United States lost a most
useful Member in the death of Representative Adolph Meyer,
and the State of Louisiana a most faithful servant. States
which send here men of the high character and great ability
that he possessed have reason to be proud, and Louisiana full\'
appreciated the worth of her distinguished son. In all posi-
tions which he occupied — in the army, in agricultural pursuits,
and in business enterprises — he exhibited those great qualities
of sincerity and unselfishness which endeared him to all who
knew him. These qualities quickly caused him to occupy a
prominent position when he was first elected one of the Repre-
sentatives of Louisiana in the Fifty-second Congress, and he
added materially to the strength of that State's delegation in
the House until his death.

For several years he was the ranking member of the Com-
mittee on Naval Affairs of the House, and as members of con-
ference committees on naval bills we became well acquainted,
and that intimate knowledge of him thus gained e.xcited in me
admiration for his ability and profound respect for his charac-
ter. He was always most courteous and conciliatory in the
consideration of the most vexed questions which arose in the
consideration of naval questions in conference connnittee, and
at all times showed himself to be most earnest and energetic in
the work of building up a great navy.

When he first took his seat in Congress we had launched only
one battle ship, the first Maitic, whose destruction in the harbor
of Habana was the immediate cause of the vSijanish-American
war. We had authorized construction amounting to only
$43,000,000, and the total cost of the entire naval establishment

Address of Mr. Perkins, oj California 69

for the year 1S91 was only $25,000,000. The enlisted force of
the navy at that time was only 8,250 men, whose pay amounted
to S7 300,000. Since that time our navy as it stands to-day,
the second in the world in point of fighting strength, has been
built up. What went before was simply the establishment of
the foundation.

Mr. Meyer voted for the authorization of practically all but
4 of our 31 battle ships, for all of our 12 armored cruisers, for
most of our large fleet of protected cruisers, gunboats, and so
forth, for all of which we have up to this time appropriated
$344,904,298, of which he voted for over $300,000,000. The
total vearlv cost of the entire naval establishment has grown
from $25,000,000 to $129,000,000 for the fiscal year of 1908.
The number of enlisted men has increased from 8,250 to 44,500
and their pav to $30,000,000. As we became Members of Con-
gress at about the same time. Representative Meyer and I have
voted in favor of the bills which have made our navy wliat it is
to-day. I found in him the same earnest endeavor to create
a strong naval force that I myself had, and which prevailed
among the Naval Committees of the two Houses.

At the time of the Spanish-American war no one was more
active and energetic in all that related to naval affairs than Rep-
resentative Mey'ER, and he was always ready to cooperate for
the best interests of the service and of the Nation. In one
of the debates on the naval bill in the House Representative
Meyer expressed his attitude toward this important arm of the
public serA'ice thus:

I do not think the navy a subject for partisan discussion. It is one to
lift a man above the rancor of a partisan. I should be very sorry to believe
that the American people are willing to have the subject of the navy con-
sidered in this way. In my ser\'ice on the Naval Committee I, together
with my Democratic colleagues, have ever held this object of preparing
the navy for national defense above party, and sought beyond party to
develop our strength to the highest degree commensurate with our great-
ness and safety. I believe that now is the time to build up our navy. I

70 Memorial Addresses: Adolpli Meyer

ask the House to give it careful, patriotic consideration, and, in the words
of Lawrence, who in Boston Harbor fought his glorious fight, as he fell,
maintaining the honor of his country, "Don't give up the ship!"

These are the sentiments of every loyal American, and have
inspired the efforts of all the members of the Xaval Committees
of both Houses in their work of upbuilding the navv. They are
the sentiments which animate both committees to-dav, and I
know that the words of the late honored Representative from
Louisiana will inspire all future committees in the great work
which they will have to do.

We have just seen return to the port from which it sailed over
a year ago the most powerful fleet of war vessels which has
ever made an extended voyage, and this one has carried the
American flag around the world on a course aggregating 42,000
miles. Not one of the 16 battle ships was in the ser\ice at the
outbreak of the Spanish-American war. In fact, onlv two had
then been launched, and that hardly a month before the out-
break of hostilities. This great modern fleet is nearly five times
greater in displacement than was our fighting force in Cuban
waters, while the offensive power — the weight of metal that can
be fired in a given time — has increased 2,000 per cent, and in
striking force the broadsides of the Atlantic Fleet are thirty
times that of the fleet which destroyed the vSpanish vessels.
Besides this, the marksmanship has increased from an average
of 5 per cent of hits at the battle of Santiago to about 70 per cent
as developed by the practice of the fleet which has just made
the circuit of the globe, and the tremendous power which resides
in our fleet of modern battle ships will be used, should there be
occasion, with the same resistless energy which has always
characterized our engagements on the sea, and in time of vic-
tory will be held in check in accordance with the humanitarian
spirit which actuates the bravest men whose calling is to fight
upon the ocean, and which called forth the command of Capt.
Jack Philip when Cer\-era's ships had been riddled and had

Address of My. Perkins, of California 71

been run ashore: ■Don't fire, boys. Don't you see the poor
fellows are drowning?"

The victory won, mercy took the place of battle furv, and the
spirit of peace went abroad beneath the clouds of smoke from
hostile guns. Such has always been the American Navv, and
such it will always be; and for such the man whom we honor
here to-day always exerted his strongest efforts. With such
men in the councils of the nation, and such men on the decks of
our battle ships, the Republic need have no apprehension as to
a foreign foe.

No one would have been more enthusiastic at the record made
by the Atlantic Fleet, which has just returned from its world-
encircling cruise, than Representative Meyer were he alive to-
day. No one would appreciate more than he the value of the
lessons learned, the experience gained, and the vast increase
given to the efficiency of our sea-fighting force through this year's
training that it has received. Officers and men are more fit for
any duty on the ocean, and problems that twehe months ago
would have sorely troubled them have now been solved. The
year's cruise has demonstrated that no navy in the world is the
superior of our own. It has shown that no better warships are
afloat than ours, which fact is due to the ability of our designers
and to the skill and faithful workmanship of our mechanics.
No machinery has ever better stood the test of use; no vessels
ever proved more seaworthy.

And, above all, the men of the fleet have, by their discipline
and manliness exhibited in the four quarters of the globe, won
the profound respect of all nations. They have exhibited the
characteristics which have made, and which will always make,
the men of the American Navy the best who ever trod the decks
of a man-of-war — self-confidence, self-respect, intense loyalty to
the flag, a spirit of self-sacrifice, and a bravery which knows no
fear. Officers and men of the Atlantic Fleet have, bv the exhi-

72 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

bition of these qualities, quadrupled the effectiveness of the
American Navy, for the world knows now and knows it thor-
oughly that the American flag floats above fighters whose ideal
is John Paul Jones and whose example thev will follow in time
of stress. The immortal words, " I have not begun to fight vet,"
will be their inspiration, and men so inspired can never be de-
feated. Such is the navy that Representative JMeyer assisted
in creating, and his work is the most important that Members
of this body can perform, for it creates the strongest assurances
of peace that the Nation can possess.

Address of My. Gallinger, of New Hampshire 73

Address of Mr. Galunger, of New HAMFsmRE

Mr. PresidknT: Others who knew him Ix-Uer than I, have
spoken and will speak of the public ser\'ices of the distinguished
man whose memory we all cherish. Mine will be but a few-
words of heartfelt appreciation.

Adolph Meyer entered the House of Representatives at the
same time that I became a ^Member of this body, and he was
honored with eight successive elections, representing the dis-
trict in which New Orleans, his home city, is a part. It was
my privilege to become acquainted with him shortly after he
entered Congress, and I soon learned to highly value his friend-
ship. He was a man of large business capacity, belonging to the
class of men who have built uj) the great industrial and com-
mercial interests of our country. He was a dilligent legislator,
among other things, taking a great interest and pride in matters
pertaining to the navy, serving with distinction on the Com-
mittee on Naval Affairs.

General Meyer was a courtly man — dignified and self-poised
under all circumstances. Neither the trappings and follies of
ostentatious display nor the common and vulgar things of life
appealed to him. He was a genuine knight, with lofty views
and pure ambitions, devoted to his friends, and true to the ideals
that distinguish the high-minded and honorable pubhc serv-ant.

He was a genial and lovable man, always acting the part of a
gentleman of the old school. Courteous, companionable, and
sincere, it was a pleasure and deUght to meet him, and the
memory of his gracious and gentle qualities will long remain with
those of us who were privileged to know him. His life was a
useful and valuable one, and in his death the State of Louisiana
and the Nation sustained a great loss.

74 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

Mr. President, it has been said that ' ' the tomb is but the gate-
way to an eternity of opportunity." If that be so, death is
robbed of its terrors, and the future Ufe is to be welcomed rather
than dreaded. If that be so, we can think of our departed
friend as having simply passed out of mortal sight to enter upon
a higher and happier life beyond. We miss his genial presence
here, but his memory will be a benediction and a blessing to the
community in which he lived and to the larger constituency
which, as a public man, he represented with rare fidelity and

Such men are needed in our national life, and their loss can
not be overestimated. But the inevitable fiat came to him, as
it will, sooner or later, come to all of us, and fortunate, indeed,
will it be if, when the summons comes, we are as well prepared
to meet the change as was he of whom we speak to-day.

Mr. President, if our faith in the future life is well founded,
how beautifully appropriate are the lines of Rudyard Kipling:

When earth's last picture is painted,

And the tubes are twisted and dried
When tlie oldest colors have faded,

And the youngest critic has died.
We shall rest — and, faith, we shall need it —

Lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of all good workmen

Shall set us to work anew!

And those that were good shall be happy,

They shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas

With brushes of comet.s' hair;
They shall find real saints to draw from —

Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting

And never get tired at all!
And only the Master shall praise us,

And only the Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money,

And no one shall work for fame;
But each for the joy of the working.

And each to his separate star.
Shall draw the thing as he sees it

For the God of things as they are.

Address of Mr. Gallinger, of New Hampshire 75

And so I will conteiU myself by placing this simple wreath of
affectionate remembrance on the grave of my departed friend,
whose memory wall be an inspiration to all who kiie-w him, and
whose life work points us to high ideals and noble purposes.
"May he rest in peace."

-6 Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

Address of Mr. Foster, of Louisiana

Mr. President: Twice within the year just ended death
has called from Congress a Representative from the State of

On each occasion it was the dean of the delegation to be sum-
moned, and while in an elective body which renews its member-
ship every two years rank does not always mean long tenure,
yet in these instances two Members of unusual length of service
went to their reward.

In the case of Gen. Adolph Meyer, of the First District, but
three of his party then in Congress could claim a longer period
of membership in the House.

General Meyer was born at Natchez, Miss., on the banks of
the Father of Waters, sixty-five years ago. It would seem that

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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 5 of 6)