2d sess. U. S. 56th Cong..

... Memorial addresses on the life and character of Alfred C. Harmer (late a representative from Pennsylvania), delivered in the House of representatives and Senate, Fifty-sixth Congress, second session online

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Online Library2d sess. U. S. 56th Cong.... Memorial addresses on the life and character of Alfred C. Harmer (late a representative from Pennsylvania), delivered in the House of representatives and Senate, Fifty-sixth Congress, second session → online text (page 1 of 6)
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MSemon. / I No. 525.







Second Sk.ss?on.


G Cl V E K N M E .\ 1 I' K 1 N P I N I , ( P !• ]■ 1 1 ' E .
1 90 1.

r] nin.^L.r-iS'^ S)



Proceedings in the House of Representatives 5

Address of Mr. Bingham, of Pennsylvania 10

Address of Wr. Cummings, of New York 14

Address of Mr Grosvenor, of Ohio 17

Address of Mr. Adams, of Pennsylvania 21

Address of Mr. McCleary of Minnesota 23

Address of Mr. White, of North Carolina 25

Address of Mr. McAleer, of Penn.sylvania 2S

Address of Mr. De Armond, of Missouri 30

.Address of Mr. Otey, of \'irginia 34

.\ddress of Mr. Meyer, of Louisiana 37

Address of Mr. aiorrell. of Pennsylvania 41

Address of Mr. Sibley, of Pennsylvania 46

Proceedings in the Senate 49

Address of Mr. Penrose, of Pennsylvania. 55

Address of Mr. Rawlins, of Utah 61

Address of Mr. Hansbrough, of North Dakota 63

.Address of Mr. Chandler, of New Hampshire 66

Address of Mr. Money, of Mississippi 72

Address of Mr. Hawley, of Connecticut 84

Address of Mr. Carter, of Montana 86


Death of Hon, Alfred C. Harmer.

Proceedings in the House.

March 7, 1900.

Mr. Bingham. Mr. vSpt-aker, it i.s more than a sad duty, and
certainly most painful to me, personally, to announce to the
House the decease of my esteemed and loved colleague, the
Hon. Alfred C. H.\rmer. late a member of Congress from
the State of Pennsylvania.

He was recognized, as of right, "the Father of the House."
by reason of long-continued sei^"ice, and not only that, but
was esteemed the father of the House, because of the affection
and high regard that the members of this liody held for him.

It is not my purpo.se at this time to make any extended
remarks, but I wotild feel that I was doing far less than mj'
affection calls for if I did not say a few words in tribute to the

Alfred C, Harmer was born in 1.S25 in Germantown, now
a part of the city of Philadelphia. From his twenty-first year
he commenced his public service as a representative of his
people, and until the day of his death, with but few years of
intermission, he continued their representative, either in the
councils of the city, in offices of trust, or as a member of this


6 Procft-diitgs in the Honsf.

He ilicil in ilie same coinimiiiily in whicli he was Iwni and
anions the jHrople who, for more than half a century, loved and
honored him ])trsonally and held him in such high esteem and
confidence that only death could sever their close relations.

He was one of a marked Kr^i'P of four men whom the city of
I'liiladeljihia sent to the American Congress, men most excep-
tional in their usefulness and years of ser\-ice t'> the i>eople of
their own home constituencies, as well as to tlieir State and the

I de.sire, l)efore offering the resolutions which I shall .send to
the Clerk's desk, to group together the names of those four
members who.se record to-day l>elongs to the whole coiuitry
and for whose memory the people of Philadelphia have e.special
affection: Judge W. D. Kelley, who was elected to fifteen Con-
gres.ses and who .served twenty-nine years: Mr. Charles O'Neill,
who also was elected to fifteen Congresses and .served twenty-
uine years; Mr. Sanuiel J. Randall, who was elected to fourteen
Congre.s.ses and served twenty-.scven years; and our colleague
just decea.sed, Mr. A. C. H.vkmkk, who likewise was elected
to fourteen Congresses and .served twenty-seveu years; in all,
one hundred and twelve years of ser\'ice given by those four
distinguished dead — a record unparalleled in the histor>- of the

At a later date I .shall ask the House to as.sign a day for
memorial services in honor of our dead colleague. I otTiT ihe
resolutions which I now send to the Clerk's de.sk.

The re.solutions were read, as follows:

ficsoli'id. Thai the- House lia.s huard with ikcp rt-grct ami profound
sorrow of thu ik-ath of the Hon. .\lfkeu C. H.\rmkr, for iwerily-seveii
years a Repieseiitative from the State of Penn.sylvaiiia, and the senior
member of this House in time of continuous service.

Ktiolved . That a committee of fifteen memlKTs of tlie House, with
such members of the Senate as may be joiiu-.l I"- iiiiioiiiti-ii i.) .itiiiul the

Proceedings in the House. j

funeral al Philadelpliia, and that the necessary expenses attending the
execution of this order be paid out of the contingent fund of the House.

Resolved, That the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House be authorized and
directed to take such steps as may be necessary for properh- carrying out
the provisions of these resolutions.

Resolzvd, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate
and transmit a copy thereof to the fainily of the deceased.

The resolutions were uiiaiiinioiasly agreed to.

The Spe.-vker announced the appointment of the following
committee in pursuance of the resolutions just adopted:

Mr. Hiiighani, Mr. Adams, Mr. Young of Pennsylvania, Mr.
McAleer, Mr. Dalzell, Mr. Brosius, Mr. Wanger, Mr. Butler,
Mr. Ketcham, Mr. McCleary, Mr. Babcock, Mr. Richard.son,
Mr. Catchiugs, Mr. Terry, and Mr. Fitzgerald of Ma.ssachusetts.

Mr. BiXGH.\Ji. Mr. vSpeaker, as a further mark of respect to
our decea.sed colleague. I move that the House do now adjourn.

The motion was agreed to; and accordingly (at 12 o'clock
and 28 minutes p. m. ), the House adjourned.

June 4, 1900.
The Spe.\ker. The Clerk will read the reque.st of the gen-
tleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Bingham] .
The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved, That Saturday, at i p. m., the Sth day of December, 1900,
be set apart for the purpose of paying tribute to the memory of Hon.
Alfred C. H.\rmer, late a member of the House of Representatives from
the State of Pennsylvania.

The Speaker. Is there objection to the re([tiest of the gen-
tleman from Pennsylvania?

Mr. Fitzgerald of Mas,sacluisetts. I object ttntil the que.s-
tiou of the right of the gentleman from New York

The Speaker. That question was ruled upon twice. The
motion to adjourn took precedence of the motion of the gentle-
man from New York. Is there objection to the reque.st of the
gentleman from Pennsylvania? The Chair hears none.


December s, 1900.
After the recess.

The Speaker. The Clerk will report to the House the
special order for this hour.
The Clerk read as follows:

On inoliou of Mr. Bingham, Ijy unaniniou.s consent, it wa.s ordered that
Saturday, at i p. m., the Sth day of December, be set apart for the purjjose
of paying tribute to the memory of Hon. Alfred C. H.^riikk, late a
member of the House of Representatives from the State of Pennsvlvania.

Mr. Bl.NCHAM. Mr. Speaker, I have sent to the Clerk's desk
the resolutions which I desire to submit to the Hou.se.
The Speaker. The Clerk will reiiort the resolutions.
The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved. That the business of the Htnise be now su.spended that
opportunity may be given for tributes to tlie niemorv of Hon. Ai.frku C.
HarmER, late a member of the House of Representatives from the State
of Pennsylvania.

Resolved, That as a particular mark of re.spect to the meniorv of the
deceased, and in recognition of his eminent abilities as a distinguished
public servant, the House, at the conclusion of these memorial proceed-
ings, shall stand adjourned.

Resolved, That the Clerk conuuunicate the.se resolutions to the Senate.

Resolved, That the Clerk be instructed to send a copv of the.se resolu-
tions to the family of the deceased.

The re.sohitions were unaniniouslv aa;reed to.

I.ijt and Cliiiradir oj Allied (. . Haniur.


Mr. Sl-i:.\Ki:k: In tliis ;;ri-;U Hall, where our late colleague
and associate, Alkkkd C. Harmkk, with rare fidelity to his
public tru.'^ts, did gooti work, wc have a.sseiiibled to-day to
express a loving and affectionate farewell and to pay tribute
to a distinguished citizen of Peinisylvania, late a meniljer of
this body, who for years — more than a cjuarter of a century —
held the confidence of his inunediate constituency, the high
esteem of associate Kepre.sentatives in fourteen Congresses,
and who, on the 6th day of March, I goo, after a long and
painful illne.ss, passed away to join the unretuming caravan
"to where," beyond these voices, "there is rest."

He was born August S, 1825, in Gerniantown, Pa., ,1 toun-
sliip in the county of Philadelphia which in later years l)ecame
a part of the city of Philadelphia. At an exceptionally early
age — before he was 20 — he began his active busine.ss career in
independent enterprise, which develojied in a short time into
a large wholesale establi.shment.

In his young years — in fact, we all know, e\en to the days
nearing his final departure^he was marked by handsome face,
conunanding form, and genial comradeship, always conspicuous
in the gatherings of his friends and public assemblages.

At the age ol 21 he was elected a director of the public
schools of Gerniantown, and a few years later a member of
the city councils of Philadelphia — most distingui.shed honors
for a \ery young man. Although of the yoinigesl, if not the
youngest, of that body, by his watchful care over the interests
of his people, by his .sound judgment, and by his patient energy
he soon a.ssociated himself with and l>ecame one of the leaders
and strong men of the tit\- leL'isIainre.

Address of .^fr. Diiig/iain, of Pcnitsylvaiiia. ii

About that time Philadelpliia held stock in the North Penn-
sylvania Railroad to the amount of 51.400,000. So great was
the confidence in his integrity that he was elected three times
by the councils of the city as a director to protect and watch
over the iiUerests of the cit>- in the great corporation.

In 1S60, as a candidate of the People's Party, succe.ssor to
the old Whig part\', he was elected recorder of deeds for the
city of Philadelphia. He filled this important trust with his
usual fidelity and untiring industry, while during all the years
of the civil war he devoted mtich of his time and active energy
to the cause of the Union, raising funds and equipping large
numbers of soldiers in the field.

In the summer of 1S70 he received the nomination of the
Republican party for Congress for the Fifth Pennsylvania
di.strict, and was elected a member of the Forty-third Congress.
This was the beginning of his long and u.seful Congressional
career, exceeded in the history of this body by but few men,
and identified with legislation as important as any quarter of
a century's work in the history of the nation.

From 1871 until the date of his death, twenty-.seven years
of service, there was Itut one Congress for which he met
defeat, and that occurred by rea.son of two Republicans
antagonizing each other in the district. The Democratic
candidate polled a larger vote than either in a district whose
normal Republican majoritx' was 7,000.

While Mr. H.\kmkr was recognized as a Repre.sentative of
positive force and accepted ability in the House, he rarely
entered upon general debate or word contests upon the floor.
He was one— and there are many of like character in every
Congress — whose work and results aimed for were reached in
the committee room, a contribution as valuable to good leg-
islation as oratory or prepared argument. His connnittee

12 I. ijc and Character of Alfred C. J farmer.

asscxriatcs regarded him as a colleaKVic always punctual, full
of iiulustrx', watchful of the interests of his great State aud
industrial city, sound in judRnient, clear in the expression
of his convictions, fearless and aggressive, though most
patient, and distinguished tor his integrity, gCKwl j)ur|)oses,
zeal, and fitlelity.

The records of the many Congresses in which he served as
a Representative will show by his votes that at all limes he
exhibited gfKxl judgment, that he was true to his party con-
victions, and that he was always a patriot. To no division
or part of his constituency did lie show more faithful .solici-
tude and devote more jx;r.sonal laljor than to the soldiers
and widows of our wars since 1861. He made their claims
and privileges innnediate and sjiccial. In every case he
wrote an autograiih letter to the claimant, with words of
interest, sympathy, and hojie. He jire.ssed tho.se ca.ses jjer.sou-
ally and never rested until a fair and just judgment was
rendered. Ivvery soldier ami soldier's widow among his
jK-ople mourned for him when he died. The>' felt that they
had lost their lx;.st friend. I trust his honorable successor
will feel that in the obligations that will pre.ss upon him his
richest legacy will be to take up and continue Ali-kko C.
H.vrmkk's work for the old soldiers, their widows and orphans.

He was one of a group of four men in the House, all Ixim in
the city of Philadelphia, whose combined .service reached the
aggregate of one hundred and twelve years, connuencing in
1861 and ending in 1900, two of whom .served twenty-nine
years, and two of whom served twenty-seven years, with but
one Congre.ss wherein there was defeat : William D. Kelley.
who .served twenty-nine years continuously: vSanuiel J. Randall,
who .served twent\-seven years continuoush : Charles O'Neill,
who served lwenl\ nine \ears, and nur lanienteil colleague of

Address of Mr. Bingham, of Poinsyivaiua. i j;

this Con.ijress, Mr. Hakmer, who served twenty-seven j-ears,
each of the two latter witli one Cong^ress of defeat. All were
exceptionally strong men, influential in the Hou.se, and pos-
sessing the confidence, approval, and affection of their constitu-
ents. Let their names go into the history of this House as
exceptional in work well done, as well as exceptional in the
great confidence of their respecti\H.- constituencies.

When, with trembling hand and \-i)ice filled with serious sad-
ness and emotion, Mr. H.VKjikk had administered the oath of
office to the Speaker of this House, on returning to his seat
near the rostrum, with tears in his eyss and in faltering tones
he said to me, "This closes my public life — so near the end of
my life physical. My work is done, and the curtain falls."

We send greetings to-day, dear colleague and friend. The
work you did for so many years was work well done. Your
peojile loved you, and they remember you with affectionate
devotion. The record of your active, earnest life will ever
remain a part of your country's history.

In words eloquent and impressi\-e the pastor of his church,
concluding the funeral services at the home of our colleague, in
the hearing of thousands of his friends, thus spoke :

Lastly, I would .speak of him as a believer. In youth he owned his
faith in Christ, and in old age he shrank not when he came to the valley
of death's shade: and after all, as he believed, death is but a shadow. He
ado])ted Whittier's words —

"On easy terms with law and fate.

For what mu.st be I calmly wait.

And trust the path I can not see —

That God is good sufficeth me."

And so he passed away as one long absent from his home who hears

his father's summons in a foreign land and gladly hastens to obey, in

sorrow only for the friends he leaves behind. We dry our tears and give

him joy. With honor's chaplet long upon his brow, he went away to

change it for a crown of immortality.

The curtain falls. Farewell!

14 Life and Clunad, > of . iijint ' . Ihuiiier.


Mr. Spe.vkkk: Far more tlian endeariiijj was our departed
friend to iiis a.ssociates. He had all the lovable qualities .so
characteristic of his Quaker ancestry. Indeed, the spirit of
William Penn was the light of his existence. It .seemed to jier-
niente him, Iwdy and soul. His teni])erament was as even a.s
the tem]>erature of tropical .seas and his dis])Osition as ;,jenial
as the breezes of summer. He jjleaned his friendships silently
and unconsciously. They were a part of his l)eing, and as last-
ing as his soul itself. His sympathies were easily awakened
and his generosity almost proverbial. With him life was a
quiet stream, winding its way Ixrtween the hills of adversity,
rippling through the meadows of jieaceful industry and strict
integrity, until it reached the lx)undle.ss ocean of eternity. It
had no rapids, no cataracts, no great fre.shets. Its banks were
fringed with flowers, and .shaded with elms and maples. He
had the spirit of a philanthropist and the .serenity of a philo.so-
jiht-r. FortN-foiir \ears luul he trodden the highways of public
life in the sunlight of jjopular favor without encountering storms
and cyclones. Showers there were, but only enough to produce
flowers and add zest to life. Twenty-seven of these forty-four
years were spent in this House. The service was arduous and
faithful, but silently and con.scientiou.sly jK-rformed.

Mr. H.VRJIKK was par excellence the silent man of Ihc House.
He never ventured into the paths of oratory, but paid the strict-
est attention to the wants of his constituents. His life work
was [jerformed in the privacy of the committee room rather
than on the floor of the House He was a true repre.sentative
of the City of Brotherly Love. He witnessed many an exciting

Address of .Ur. Cuitiniiiigs, of A^eu^ Yoi-k. 15

scene in our legislative annals, and remained a quiet spectator,
guided by common sense and unruffled with anger. In his
Congres.sional career he sat under the rulings of nine Speakers
and saw eight Presidents inaugurated. It was probably the
proudest moment of his life when, as Father of the House, he
administered the oath to the present occupant of the chair. It
was his last public duty, perforriied while standing on the l.irink
of the grave. It was a striking exhibition of Philadelphia's
appreciation of the .services of her Congressional dele,gation.
Three times in succe.s.sion had she supplied Congress with a
Father of the Hou.se. Talented William D. Kelley had been
succeeded by cheery and lovable Charles O'Neill, who in his
turn had given place to his estimable colleague, Alfred C.
H.\KMKK, and now H.\rmkr in his turn has departed, leaving
the mantle with another colleague, who has served twentv-two
years without a break.

But, Mr. Speaker, there was one trait alwut our friend, now
in the unknown world, that peculiarh- endeared him to every
American heart. It was his unswerving devotion to his coun-
try. Placid and undi.sturbed he heard the fierce discussions
attending the consideration of the ' ' force bills ' ' under the rul-
ings of tho.se great Speakers from Maine, Thomas B. Reed and
James G. Blaine. He listened to many almost interminable
tarifl debates without showing the least imixitience. When the
very foundations of the Republic were shaken b\- the uproar
attending the .seating of Rutherford B. Hayes he remained as
tranquil as an Indian summer. But his emotions were .stirred
to their inmost depths when war with Spain was declared and
Libert\- rescued Cuba from the talons of Despotism. It was
a war for humanity. He recognized the spirit of the age.
By vote and action he supported the war, straining every
nerve toward a .succes.sful result. There was no allov in his

/.//'(■ and Character of Alfred C. Manner.

ipilniilisiii. Ltnx- of amiilry fillctl his heart more o<)ini)lctcly
than any other emotion.

In one resjx-ct our dear friend was unique. I'nlike the rest
of us, he never made a sjK^ech. and. unHke many of us, he
impres.sed himself ujxju the lejjishition of the country. His
services were varied and wide in scope. Twelve years was he
a member of the Committee on Naval Affairs; twelve years was
he a valued worker in the Connnittee t)n the District of Colum-
bia; four years did he .serve on the Conunittee on P'oreign
.-\(Tairs; two >ears f)n Coinage, Weijjhts, and Measures; four
years on Pacific Railroads; two years on Indian Affairs, ami
six years was chairman of the Committee on the Library.
.\side from these, he served for a .secure of years on numerous
select and minor connnittees vitally affecting the interests <if
the country. It was while I was a.s.sociated with him in the
Conunittee on the Library that I first appreciated the extent
and variety of his .services to the nation. Few men have had
more ex])erience in Conjjressional life. It was a pleasure to sit
with him in comniittee. The s])irit of l)rotherly kindness was
always present, and the burden of work was ever alleviated by
the sunshine of his presence.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. H.vrmkr's love of his country was only
equaled by his love for his family. A more devoted husband
and a more kind and induljjent father never blessed the earth.
To them his loss is irreparable. But death has di.scharged him
from all earthly duties, and nauxbt ;eniains but his memory.
We shall miss him; his constituents will miss him; the country
will miss him. .May we all meet him in the blest hereafter
with a consciousness of duty as faithfnll\ performed.

Address of Mr. Grosvenor, of Ohio.

ADDRESS OF Mr. Grosvenor, of Ohio.

Mr. Speaker: When it was suggested to me that upon this
occasion I should address a few words of eulogy to the House
upon the memory of our departed colleague, I could not refu.se
to comply, and yet I come with no prepared words, Init only to
contribute a few sentences to this occasion.

When I came to the House of Repre.sentatives, in the Forty-
ninth Congress, I found General H.^rmer an old, experienced
member, and I became acquainted with him through availing
myself of his kindness, his generosity, and his great knowledge
of the details of the business and ailairs of Congre.ss. I knew
him intimately imtil the time of his death. One of the plea.s-
antest memories of my career here will be that I had in some
degree at least his confidence and enjoyed in some degree his

He had become noted for his silence before I came to Con-
gress. If he ever made a speech in this House, he made it
before I came. But he was recognized at all times as a man of
thorough ability in the matter of mastering the details of legis-
lation. At least that was true of him until the very close of
his career.

In this connection I wish to deflect a moment from discu.ssing
the character of the decea.sed to speak of the wonderful effect
that the polic}' of the people of Philadelphia has had upon their
own interests and upon the interests of the country. The
policy of seudiug men to Congress for long successive terms of
service has been adhered to with greater tenacity in the city
and county of Philadelphia than in any other locality in the
United States.

H. Doc. 525 2

iS Lift: and Character of Alfred C. Harvter.

I flo imt sup]x)>c that it will l)e claimed that all of the men
\vh(i have represented Philadeljihia here during the i>erio<l
covering; the service of many of us were originally men of the
greatest ability, although some of them were men of distin-
guished character when they came here, and all of them have
lxs:ome men of distinguished ability and character while here,
so that it has come to lie a fact that there is no city in the
United States that has impressed its own views and interests
one-half so much upon the legislation iA Congress as has the
city of Philadelphia. I do not know what is the (xcult method
Ijy which the jKrople there ascertain in the first place the pos.si-
ble capacity of the men they select. Hut within my knowledge
none of those men have failed, and it is a remarkable history,
given by the gentleman from New York, that in these succes-
si\'e Representatives Philadelphia has had the honor to have
upon the floor of this House that personage distjiiguished by
the friendly but important and conspicuous name of " Father -
of the House."

At the time I came here Judge Kelley was ainemtierof the
House, rapidly going into a physical decline. He la.sted, I
believe, for but two CongTe.s.ses after I came. Judge Kelley
was a man of remarkable character and ability. I did not
know him Ijefore I came to Congress, but I have doubted
whether it was ab.solutely inferable from his characteristics
that he would become the great leader of a great idea here;
but he did.

And while "Charlie O'Neill." as we so fondly called him
(for everybody loved him), was not a man of strikingly bril-
liant attainments, yet he became a man of wonderful influence
here, and no man was more influential in matters pertaining
to the interests of Philadelphia and of his own Stale than

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Online Library2d sess. U. S. 56th Cong.... Memorial addresses on the life and character of Alfred C. Harmer (late a representative from Pennsylvania), delivered in the House of representatives and Senate, Fifty-sixth Congress, second session → online text (page 1 of 6)