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

. (page 6 of 6)
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 6 of 6)
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fate decreed all the activities of his life, private and public, should
center about the mighty river which cleaves this continent as it
flows, unceasing, to the sea.

Whether as a boy upon its banks; as a planter behind the
barriers built to keep out the annual flood that sweeps down
like the torrent of the Nile; whether as a factor in New Orleans
and the consignee of argosies freighted with the staples that line
its shores, his name and labors are inseparably connected with
the great stream; and his crowning public service in Congress
was his effort to create a naval station and a haven at its mouth,
where not only vessels of war, but those of peace, from the seven
seas might come and make repair.

He received a careful early training, and being of a refined,
studious nature, with the means to indulge any bent, it seems



Address of Mr. Foster, of Louisiana 77

but natural that in the selection of a life work his preference
should have been the law. The bar of Natchez in that day was
famous. Sergeant S. Prentiss was his fellow- townsman, and
the meteoric career of that great man could not fail to impress
and fire to emulation an ambitious youth.

With the purpose of perfecting hinisell fur a career at the bar
young Meyer matriculated at the University of Virginia at the
age of 18. He was an apt student, and, with the earnestness
and thoroughness that remained his most noble attributes until
the end, was preparing at the institution founded by the immortal
Jefferson for the battle of life when the tocsin of war in reality
sounded.

Exchanging the classic shades of the academy for the camp,
he displayed soldierly qualities of a high order. He was early
promoted to the rank of captain, and given an important staff
assignment; and at the close of the war held the post of
assistant adjutant-general under Gen. John S. Williams, of Ken-
tucky. The mettle he displayed as a soldier was illustrated years
afterwards, when war was declared between this country and
Spain. His old commander, in indorsing him for one of the
commands of the volunteer forces, wrote to President McKinley
as follows :

He was preeminent fur soldierly qualities, the loftiest courage, fidelity,
and endurance. In fact, he seemed a natural-born soldier, and C(mimanded
the confidence and admiration of the entire command.

The Senate is familiar with the fate of the confederate soldier,
when, bowing to the arbitrament of war. he returned home.
Manv of that gallant host were subsequently sent to Congress
by a grateful people, and on occasions like this their valor,
fortitude, and privations have been so often and eloquently told
that they need be but referred to now.

When the young captain returned to Natchez after the unetpial
struggle, it was to ]iut behind him all dreams of preferment at



78. Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

the bar, to cross over the great river into Concordia Parish, La.,
and begin life anew as a cotton planter.

While thus engaged he acquired much practical knowledge
of the levee system and other needs of the alluvial countrv
that was subsequently used here to the advantage of his State.
He was by temperament, however, adapted to and longed for
an urban rather than a country life, and after a few vears of
planting moved to New Orleans and engaged in the cotton
factorage and commission business.

Those were stirring times in Louisiana. It was the period of
reconstruction, and a condition frequently existed amounting to
civil war. It was a time of peril, especially to the white people
living in the outlying districts, and their chief reliance lav in their
militia.

While this condition prevailed, General Meyer was called
upon, by reason of his experience in the confederate army, to
reorganize the state troops, and under his command the Louisi-
ana Militia became efficient to a high degree.

In 1890 he was elected a Representative to Congress, and at
once demonstrated a peculiar fitness for the place. He was
ever watchful of the interests of his State, painstaking and
energetic in his efforts to serve his people, and broad and liberal
in his treatment of all public questions. He was at all times
affable and easy of approach and ever ready to listen to the
appeal of the humblest as well as the highest who might seek
his aid or counsel.

These qualities in time became proverbial, not onlv in his own
district, but throughout the State. He thus established a place
for himself in the confidence and esteem of the people, and was
renominated and reelected practically without opposition during
his long service in the other branch of Congress.

His career in that body as one of the hardest workers and
leaders of his party is familiar to most Senators. While making



Address of Mr. Foster, of Louisiana 79

no pretense at rhetorical effect, he gave to every subject dis-
cussed the thorough consideration of the student, and when he
addressed the House his speeches were noted for their thought
and Hterary excellence.

His best work, however, was done in council — in committee —
where his prudence, fairness, conser\'atism, and wisdom were
earlv recognized and highly valued to the end.

On entering upon his duties in the House he was assigned to
the Committee on Naval Affairs, and he was the oldest-ranking
member at the time of death. When he became a Member there
was not a battle ship on the naval list, and our tonnage was less
than one-quarter of what it is to-day. Xo one labored more in-
dustriously to have our sea force_^row and wax strong, and in
the language of the chairman of the House committee:

General Meyer can rightfully be called one 'of the legislative builders
of the new navy, because during the seventeen years of his service upon
the committee more than three-fourths of the new American navy has
been built

But it is with the naval station at Algiers that his name will
be most enduringly connected. His efforts in the House in con-
junction with the labors of the senior Senator from our State in
this Chamber resulted in the establishment of a floating dock
where the largest ships may be repaired. More than a million
six hundred thousand dollars have already been expended on this
great work, and while not vet completed, it stands a monument
to his foresight, persistency, and untiring zeal.

So likewise must his name be connected with much other
notable legislation affecting his district and State. He labored
for years to secure the completion of the shaft which marks the
field of Chalmette, just below New Orleans, where General Jack-
son won his immortal victory over the British legions fresh from
their laurels at Waterloo.

He was ever active in securing the needed appropriations for
his State. With his colleagues he worked assiduouslv and



8o Memorial Addresses: Adolph Meyer

successfully to obtain the necessary funds for the building and
maintenance of our levees; for deepening and widening the
mouth of the Mississippi River; for the retention in active oper-
ation of the United States mint; for the construction of the
post-office building in his city; and for the river improvements
in front of New Orleans — all works of vast importance to the
general public.

His efforts, however, were by no means confined to Louisiana.
He was connected with the Committee on District Affairs almost
as long as he serv^ed on the Naval Committee, and labored as
zealously to make this the most beautiful capital in the world
as he did to restore the American flag to its proud position on
the sea.

Personally, General Meyer had many charms and attractions.
He was always kind, gentle, and considerate in his dailv asso-
ciations, a loyal and stalwart friend, and never forgot a kind-
ness. He was a devoted husband, a kind parent, and affection-
ate brother; ever bright, cheerful, and thoughtful of the happi-
ness of each and every one in the familv circle, and never per-
mitted the duties of his public life to mar or distract the har-
mony and happiness of his home.

Few men have sacrificed at the altar of public service more
liberally than he. To give the best that was in him to the
State, with an unstinted hand, and keep no reckoning; to labor
in the public vineyard from the early morn of life until an end
that came just as twilight greeted the evening star; to ser\e in
camp or council as chance and duty might decree, and then to
lie down to rest with the consciousness of work well and faith-
fully performed is a record of which Louisiana is justly proud-



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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 6 of 6)