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

William Boyd Allison (late a senator from Iowa) Memorial addresses, Sixtieth Congress, Second session, Senate of the United States, February 6, 1909, House of representatives, February 21, 1909 online

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Online Library2d sess. U. S. 60th Cong.William Boyd Allison (late a senator from Iowa) Memorial addresses, Sixtieth Congress, Second session, Senate of the United States, February 6, 1909, House of representatives, February 21, 1909 → online text (page 1 of 13)
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Class ^66^

60th Congress)
2d Session I


I Document

I No. 766

William Boyd Allison

(Late a Senator from Iowa)


Sixtieth Congress
Second Session

February 6, 1909

February 21, 1909

Compiled under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing



D. Or D.

HH 261909



Proceedings in the Senate

Prayer by Rev. Edward K. Hale.
Memorial addresses by —
Mr Dolliver, of Iowa

Mr. Hale, of Maine

Mr. Teller, of Colorado
Mr Aldrich, of Rhode Island
Mr Bacon, of Georgia _
• Mr. Cullom, of Illinois .

Mr, Daniel, of Virginia

Mi. Gallinger, of New Hampshire.

Mr. Lodge, of Massachusetts

Mr. Tillman, of South Carolina. ... ,,

Mr. Perkins, of California ,, s

Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota

Mr. Kean, of New Jersey., g,

Mr Depew, of New York

Mr. Beveridge, of Indiana

Mr Burkett, of Nebraska

Mr. Smith, of Michigan

Mr. Borah, of Idaho

Mr Cummins, of Iowa
Proceedings in the House.

Prayer by Rev. Henry N. Couden, !> li
Memorial addresses by —

Mr. Cousins, of Iowa

Mr Hepburn, of Iowa

Mr Clark, of Missouri
Mr Cannon, of Illinois
Mr. Hull, of Iowa.
Mr Birdsall, of Iowa
Mr Haugen, of Iowa. .
Mr. Conner, of Iowa
Mr. Hubbard, of Iowa
Mr Dawson, of Iowa.
Mr. Hamilton, of 1. 1
Mr. Kennedy, of Iowa
Mr Smith, of Iowa








' 13






1 ;j
1 55

1 72


Death of Senator William B. Allison


Mi inday, 1>< cembi i 7, igo8.

Mr. Doi.livhk. Mr. President, it is a painful duty to an-
nounce to the Senate the death of Senator Allison. He died
at his home in Dubuque on the 4th day of August.

At a future time, at the convenience of the Senate, I will ask
that an hour be set aside for suitable tribute^ to his memory.
I offer the resolutions which I send to the desk, and ask for
their adoption.

The Vice-President. The Senator from Iowa submits reso-
lutions, which will be read by the Secretary.

The resolutions were read, considered by unanimous consent,
and unanimously agreed to, as follows :

Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow of the death
of the Hon. William Hoyi> Allison, for more than thirty-five years a
Senator from the State of Iowa.

Resolved, That the Secretary communicate a copy of these resolutions
to the House of Representatives.

Mr. DOLLIVER. Mr. President, as a further tribute of re-
spect to the memory of the late Senator Allison. I move that
the Senate do now adjourn.

The motion was unanimously agreed to, and (at 12 o'clock
and i.s minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned until to-morrow,
Tuesday, December S. 1908, at 12 o'clock meridian.


6 Proceedings in the Senate

Tuesday, December 8, 1908.
A message from the House of Representatives transmitted
resolutions of the House 011 the death of Hon. William Boyd
Allison, late a Senator from the State of Iowa.

Saturday, February 6, 1909.

The Chaplain, Rev. Edward E. Hale, offered the following

Let us praise famous men and our /others who begot u\. The
Lord hath wrought great glory by them through His great power
from the bee/inning. Leaders of the people by their counsel and
by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and
eloquent in their instructions. All these were honored in their
generations and were the glory of their times. There be of
them that have left a name behind them, that their praises
might be reported. And some thert will be who have no me-
morial, who are perished a* they had never been. But these
were merciful men, whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.
The people will tell of their wisdom and the congregation will
show forth their praise.

Let us pray.

Father, we praise Thee, we thank Thee, every day of our lives
we thank Thee, for the fathers who were before us, for the men
who made this country, for that country whose God is the Lord,
for the men who made this Senate and the House of Represent-
atives, who ordained this Government of the people, for the
people, by the people.

We thank the living God; and we ask Thee, Father, to be
with us, the children and the children's children of these men,
to lead us where we need leading, to teach us always, to en-
liven us with the Holy Spirit, with Thy divine light.

We remember before Thee those men who in this Senate have
led it forward in dignity and honor before this people. Bless

Proceedings in the Senate 7

them. Bless us. Be with this people, Father, as a father with
hi-, children. We ask it in Christ Jesus

( )ur Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. I hy
kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is done in
heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our
trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine
is the kingdom, and the power, and the glorv. forever. Amen,

The Vice-President being absent, the President pro tempore

took the chair.

Mr. Dollivek. Mr. President, I offer resolutions for present


The President pro tempore. The Senator from Iowa sub-
mits resolutions and asks for their present consideration The
resolutions will be read.

The Secretarv read the resolutions, as follows

Resolved, That it is with deep regret and profound sorrow that the
Senate has heard the announcement of the death of Hon. William B.
Allison, late a Senator from the State of Iowa.

Resolved, That as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased the
business of the Senate be now suspended to enable his associates to pay
fitting tribute to his high character and distinguished services.

Resolved, That the Secretary transmit to the family of the deceased a
copy of these resolutions, with the action of the Senate thereon.

R solved, That the Secretary communicate these resolutions to the
House of Representative-

The resolutions were considered by unanimous consent and
unanimously agreed to.

Memorial Addresses: William B. Allison


Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa

Mr. President: The death of Senator Allison' has removed
from American public life a statesman everywhere recognized
as among the greatest and most useful public servants of the
past fifty years. His career will always be famous, not only
because of the important questions with which he was asso-
ciated but also because his career in the Senate was longer
than that of any other Senator in the history of the Govern-
ment. If he had lived until the 4th of March he would have
completed thirtv-six years of uninterrupted service in this
Chamber. Prior to his election to the Senate he had served
eight years in the House of Representatives. With a break
of onlv two vears he served in Congress more than forty-three
years. This unprecedented term of office not only gave to his
later years an extraordinary influence in the leadership of
national affairs but made his old age venerable, surrounding
him with the reverence of his colleagues and of all who were
his coworkers in the administration of national government.
His character commanded the respect of all, and his personality
attracted to him the good will and affection of all.

William Boyd Allison was born at Perry, Ohio, March 2,
1829; so that at the time of his death, August 4, 1908, he was
approaching 80 years of age. After completing his studies at
the Western Reserve College, he began the practice of law at
Ashland, Ohio, taking an active interest in politics and obtain-
ing a fair measure of success in his profession. Before he had

Address of Mr. Dolliver, o) Iowa g

reached the age of 30 \ears, however, he made up his mind thai
a better chance for distinction and success could be found in
the West, and accordingly he joined the great procession which
was moving toward the new States beyond the Mississippi. He
resumed the practice of law at Dubuque, Iowa, in 1857, and
immediately came to the front as a leader in all the affairs of
that thriving little city. He was recognized by his neighbors
as a man of unusual gifts and attainments. The same qualities
that gave to his later years such grace and charm of manner
surrounded his early manhood with a widening circle of friends
and friendly influence. He was a delegate in the convention
which nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. When
the civil war came on, a friend and neighbor of his youth in
Ohio, Samuel J. Kirkwood, became governor of Iowa.

Mr. Allison was already engaged in organizing a regiment
when the old war governor sent for him and pressed upon him
his duty to aid the State in the military preparations, which
were everywhere in progress, by accepting a special assignment
on the executive's staff. Senator Allison was often heard
to express his regret that he did not have the opportunity to
take the field with the troops which he organized, but the
record of the adjutant-general's office at Des Moines shows that
he rendered the country an invaluable service in doing, with
painstaking care, the work which was given him to do. So
universal was the recognition of his public service that the old
Dubuque district chose him as its Representative in the Thirty-
eighth Congress. This election to Congress brought him to the
capital in the midst of the struggle for the national life. He
at once took up the hard problems with which the Government
had to deal in supporting its armies aad caring for the public
interests connected with its administration. He was, from his
entrance into the House of Representatives, a leader in that

io Memorial Addresses: William B. Allison

great popular assembly. He devoted himself with untiring
energy to the practical questions with which the legislation of
those days was concerned. His favorite studies related to the
collection and disbursement of the public revenues and to the
intricate problems of finance with which the Government was
face to face every daw

He was a quiet, patient worker and student, and those who
remember him at that period of his public life have borne testi
mony that his rise in influence in the House of Representatives
was steady and continuous from the beginning. It has been
truly said that the House of Representatives subjects its Mem
bers to an ordeal so severe that no man can join the company of
its leadership without the unquestioned possession of the talents
and habits of mind which such a position exacts. Yet, even in
the first term of his service, Mr. Allison commended himself to
his colleagues as a man fit for the highest responsibilities of
the House, and in his second term he was appointed a member
of the Ways and Means Committee, which at that time, even
more than it does now, dominated the proceedings of the
House. This position also gave him the opportunitv to lay the
foundation of that profound knowledge of the revenue system
of the United States which made him an authority on that and
kindred subjects in this body.

A single illustration will show the general character of the
work which engaged his attention. He was the author — in so
far as one man may be said to be the author of a great public
policy — of the reform in the internal-revenue laws of the United
vStates by which the tax on spirits was delivered from the
frauds which for many years had almost extinguished that
source of income, by making its collection both burdensome and
unmanageable. His scheme for the administration of the inter
rial-revenue system, while it has been frequently modified in

Address of Mr. Doliiver, oj Iowa n

minor particulars by subsequent legislation, remains until ibis
day substantially as he framed it.

The conspicuous influence of Mr ALLISON in the House of
Representatives gave him such universal popular favor in Iowa
that at the end of eight years he declined renomination in order
to become a candidate for Senator. He represented the ambi-
tions of the younger men of the State, and his entrance into the
field as a candidate was in the nature of a challenge to the
political management which had long controlled the politics
of the State. He was compelled to carry on his campaign under
many disadvantages, and while he did not succeed in his ambi-
tion, he established so wide an acquaintance and gained so firm
a hold on the public good will that his friends counted his de-
feat as only a temporary reverse, and did not hesitate to present
his name as a candidate two years later against James Harlan,
then the most famous and influential western man in public
life. This political battle has been ever since memorable in
Iowa politics, and when it ended in the election of Senator
Allison it marked the beginning of a political era with which
his name and fame will always be associated in the history of
the State.

I desire now to say a few words about the personal charac-
teristics which enabled this young man, without money or influ-
ential connections, to overthrow the formidable political influ-
ences which surrounded Senator Harlan, supported, as he was,
by the administration at Washington, of which he was in some
respects the most famous and honored champion in the Senate
of the United States. In the first place, it need hardly be said
that the people of Iowa recognized Senator Allison's fine
equipment and preparation for public affairs. In the next place,
he had the peculiar qualities of mind and heart which inspire
among the vouuger men of the State a personal allegiance

12 Manorial Addresses: William B. Allison

which followed him all the days of his life. His approach to
the people had in it a kindliness of manner and of speech which
gave him access to the hearts of men and made them feel that
he took an interest in their welfare and appreciated their sup-
port. In all this there was no affectation; it was the natural
expression of his character. The same qualities which the
young men of Iowa found in him at the beginning of his career
kept him near to the people throughout his political life. He
never failed in helpful counsel to those who were seeking a
foothold in public affairs. He encouraged the younger men to
press forward to the goal of their ambitions. With him it was
a privilege, as well as a duty, to help others.

In the long list of those who have represented the various
Iowa districts in the House of Representatives since he left it,
there has not been one who did not look up to Senator Allison
as a friend and helper in his work. During the long period in
which he presided over the Iowa delegation he invariably effaced
himself and his own plans in his desire to aid his colleagues and
to give them a share of the prestige and recognition belonging
to the public service. It is not a common thing to refer to such
a matter on an occasion like this, and yet there ought to be a
public record made of it, that in his Senatorial career he never
sought to control the appointment of any man to an office. He
regarded his colleagues in the House of Representatives as his
constituents as well as representatives of each community
within the State, and so when the appointment of an Iowa man
to any office within the gift of the President was sought, the re-
quest came not from him, but from the whole delegation. Ami
with such a nice sense of fairness and justice were the offices
divided among the congressional districts that every portion of
the vState found itself represented, and every Member of Con-
gress came to feel that Senator Allison had no interest at stake

Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 13

in the distribution of oilicial positions except the public welfare
and the peace and harmony of the political party of which he-
was the leader.

It is an interesting and unique circumstance that throughout
his period of service in the Senate he exercised in our local poli-
tics, in addition to his own vote in the conference of the delega
tion, only that influence which arose from the belief of his col-
leagues that his motives in the guidance of their affairs were
absolutelv free from selfish interest. It is certain that this
characteristic of his leadership gave to Senator Allison a place
in the general good will of our people which not even the
infirmities of age and the near approach of death were able to
disturb. It is certain, also, that the relation which he assumed
toward those with whom he was associated in public duties was
responsible for that freedom from personal contention which he
enjoyed throughout his public life, and which in a certain sense
released his energies from the petty disputes of politics and
enabled him to give to his public duties an unencumbered at-
tention. He was happily situated. His reelections to the Sen-
ate came to him as a matter of course, without dissent, and
without controversy. The State of Iowa was free from a great
variety of disputed questions about Indians, public lands, forest
reservations and similar matters, which take up so much of the
time of Congress.

And so it came about that the larger business of the Govern-
ment was never out of his mind, until at length he was looked
upon everywhere as the master of the practical details of legisla-
tion without a rival in this body. Other men were more eloquent
than he; others possibly were more deeply versed in the subtle-
ties of constitutional interpretation; but when it came to the
real conduct of the Government, the raising of its revenues, and
their expenditure, the Senate and the country turned instinc-

14 Monona! Addresses: William, B . Allison

tively to Senator Allison. We sometimes think that the pro-
ceedings of Congress are all set down in the daily Record. So
far as what is said is concerned, that is partly true of the House
and altogether true of the Senate, but behind these daily pro-
ceedings, when great issues are at stake, upon which the opinions
of men are divided, the real proceedings of Congress lie outside
of the Record, in those interchanges of opinion which gradually
mold into form the propositions which at length find their way
into the statute book.

The most obvious thing about Senator Allison's biography is
the fact that his most valuable service, the service which enabled
the party to which he belonged to go forward in the discharge
of its responsibility to the country with a certain measure of
unity, was not put down in any written record, but belongs to
those hours of fruitful consultation, where the wisdom of the old
leader was proved equal to every emergency. It was because it
bore this relation to our public affairs that in his public utter-
ances, in debate, and in speeches before the people he avoided
dogmatism even in its most attractive forms, and made room in
the expression of his opinions for those differences which he
knew would be encountered sooner or later, giving leeway for
composing those disagreements which he knew must be com-
posed before anything could be actually done. He was some-
times the object of satire in the press, and even on this floor — a
mild satire which he enjoyed as much as anybody else — because
he withheld the final statement of what he desired to have done
until he had completed the task of bringing the conflicting opin-
ions of the Senate to some proposition upon which a majority
could agree.

In that task, imposed upon him by common consent of his
colleagues, he would have been a failure if he had begun by
advertising what he intended to do and by disparaging the

Address of Mr. Dolliver, oj Iowa 15

views and suggestions of everybody else. And so it happened
that he lost the renown that belongs to a certain type of states-
manship in gaining the influence which enabled him to bring
order out of every chaos of legislation, and thus to carry forward
the work of Congress. Thus it happened that while everybody
has understood in a general way the value of Senator ALLIS< >n's
labors in the Senate, only those who have been familiar with the
mechanism of our Government and the difficulties that lie across
the path of every great proposal of legislation have given him
the full credit as a statesman to which he is entitled in the dis
tribution of honors in the arena of legislative activity. There
are upon the statute books a good many laws which bear, in
popular parlance, the name of some reputed author. Yet it
requires very little knowledge of the course of legislation to
see how insecure such a title to fame actually is, for there is no
statute of importance which does not bear upon it the marks
of the labors of many men, and when it is named for anyone it
is usuallv for mere convenience rather than for a more substantial
reason. Oftentimes the real authors of the measure, those who
have given the most effective attention to its framing and its
enactment, are overlooked altogether. It was a peculiar trait
of Senator Allison that while every important act of Congress
for a whole generation has had the benefit of his judgment and
bears the evidences of his legislative skill, yet he was never over-
anxious to put his own name on any of them, or even to divide
with others the passing celebrity of their authorship.

Earlv in his senatorial service it came within the line of his
duty to frame the present government of the District of Colum-
bia on principles that have not only worked well here, but have
become the basis of a reform in municipal government which
now promises to be general throughout the United States. Vet
few citizens of the District, even among those whose memories

16 Memorial Addresses: William B. Allison

go back to the time when the District government was operated
for the benefit of contractors and local politicians, ever think of
Senator Allison in connection with the reform which made the
modern city of Washington possible. Few men, even among
those who have written histories of the transaction, connect the
name of Senator Allison with the act of Congress for the
resumption of specie payments; yet, although he was among the
younger Members of the Senate, he was one of a subcommittee
which framed that act, and his knowledge of the subject was
so generally appreciated in the Senate that he was appointed a
member of the Finance Committee and given a potent voice in
its deliberations from that time on. There were few men in
either House of Congress who gave to the coinage question a
profounder study than he; but it is not generally known that
we owe to him more than to any other man the adoption of those
measures which saved the United States from the uncertainties
which would have followed the free coinage of silver, at a time
when the majority of both Houses of Congress were committed
to that experiment.

In more recent years, as a member of the Committee on
Finance, Senator Allison occupied a foremost place among the
leaders who have shaped the financial and industrial policy of
the Government. His labors in the Senate, while including
practically every subject with which Congress has had to deal,
were confined mainly to the Committee on Appropriations and
the Committee on Finance. He became a member of the former
when he entered the Senate, while his services on the Finance
Committee date from the Forty-fifth Congress. In 1881 he
became chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and in that
position his most significant public service was rendered. That
great committee, especially in these later years, has not only
had to do with the national budget, but the pressure upon the

Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 17

time of Congress has so increased that the appropriation bills
have often carried far-reaching acts of legislation affecting the
greatest possible variety of subjects. It was in the work of
that committee that Senator AlXlSON was most at home. The
late Senator Hoar says of him in his Autobiography of Seventy
Years :

He has controlled more than any other man, indeed, more than any
other ten men, the vast and constantly increasing public expenditures,
amounting to more than a thousand millions annually. It has been an
economical and wise expenditure. That is a knowledge in which nobody
else in the .Senate, except Senator Hale of Maine and Senator Cockrell
of Missouri, can compare with him.

But the business of the Appropriations Committee did not by
any means absorb all his energies. Senator Allison was a
student of our tariff problems throughout his public life, and
for accuracy of knowledge and painstaking research no states-

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Online Library2d sess. U. S. 60th Cong.William Boyd Allison (late a senator from Iowa) Memorial addresses, Sixtieth Congress, Second session, Senate of the United States, February 6, 1909, House of representatives, February 21, 1909 → online text (page 1 of 13)