2d sess. United States. 55th Cong..

Memorial addresses on the life and character of Isham G. Harris (late a senator from Tennessee) online

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,•) . J a ri -A s:4 3 . JO J\ n -i J a .





(Late a Senator from Tennessee).



Second Session.







Proceedings in the Senate 5

Memorial address by —

Mr. Bate 14

Mr. Morrill 29

Mr. Morgan 33

Mr. Hoar 36

Mr. Wai.thali, 39

Mr. Hawlev 43


Mr. Stewart 49

Mr. Chilton 51

Mr. TuRLEY 56

Speech of Hon. David Turpie, at Memphis, Tenn 61

Proceedings in the House 71

Memorial address by —

Mr. McMiLLiN 73

Mr. Bland 81

Mr. Richardson 84

Mr. Meyer 89

Mr. McRae 94

Mr. Benton 96

Mr. Rhea 103

Mr. Brownlow 105

Mr. Clarke 116

Mr. Sims 118

Mr. De Armond 1 24

Mr. Gaines 130

Mr. Carmack 132

Mr. Hartman 140

Mr. SuLZER 142

Mr. Cox 170

Mr. King 1 73

Appendix —

Memorial ceremonies 148


Death of Isham G. Harris.

Proceedings in the Senate.

July 9, 1897.

Mr. Bate. Mr. President, it becomes my painful duty this
morning to announce to the Senate the death of my colleague,
and as a mark of respect I shall at the proper time make a
motion for an adjournment, and will at some future time ask
that a day be set apart specially for tributes to be delivered b>-
Senators on his life and character.

A conspicuous figure, Mr. President, and a famihar one,
identified as an active and influential factor in the history of
this Chamber and of the country, is no longer one of us. Isham
Green Harris for more than twenty years sat in this Chamber
as a Senator from Tennessee, and for the last ten j-ears it has
been my honor and pleasure to be associated with him as his
colleague. He died last eveuing at his residence in sight of
this Capitol at an advanced age; an age, however, which he ever
kept green and bright and buoyant until prostrated by his
recent illness. Tennessee and the entire country mourn his

The individual man and his personal characteristics are abun-
dantly known to Senators who surround me, as they are to
Tennesseeans and to the general constituency. He closed last
evening a long career of usefulness to the country, especially to

6 Life mid Character of Is/iain G. Harris.

his native State of Tennessee, which honored liini with her
highest official gifts and in tuni has lx;en honored by him.

He was a man of ideas, with high qualities of leadership and
statesmanship, with courage to assert and ability to maintain
them. His devotion to duty, as he conceived it, and its faith-
ful and fearless discharge inspired confidence and friendship,
while it often di.sarmed opposition. The Ijenefit of his rijie
e.xpericnce and extended information as to the affairs of gov-
ennnent is lost to us. His familiarity with parliamentary usage
and his preeminence as a presiding officer make his loss the
more keenly felt by the Senate. His honest, earnest, and inci-
sive mode of debate and his ready, emphatic, and accurate
manner of deciding questions, as presiding officer, will not pass
away, but will live in the memory of Senators and in the his-
tory of the countrj'.

Mr. President, Senator H.vrris belonged to that class of his-
toric characters in this country known as ' ' war governors. ' '
He is the last but one of that class upon either side. North or
South, who took an active participation and presided over a
sovereign State during that interstate struggle.

He was not, becau.se he was governor, an active Cotifederate
soldier in its stricte.st sense; but all his nature and all his sym-
pathies were enlisted upon the Confederate side.

He was the governor of a strong and mighty State which fur-
nished numbers of troops for the Confederate cause. They
were organized under his administration. He could not, being
governor of the State, enter the ranks or be swoni into the
service by enlistment. He could not take that course, but
nevertheless he was a live, active, influential factor in all that
concerned the movement of Tennessee and of the Confederacy
in that great war. He was present and as voluntary aid took
part in all our great battles.

Proceedings in the Senate. 7

His life has been an eventful one, his history a noted one,
and it will live after him. I need not speak of him here in this
Chamber. Those who surround me knew him and understood
his peculiarities, his personalities. He had them, and he had
them in a generous way, and he always exercised them with a
proper feeling and in a generous manner.

We may forget many things that transpired here, and some
characters who have gone the way that he has gone; but, Mr.
President, Senators will not forget the peculiar manner of ex-
pression that belonged to him, with his clear, straightforward,
direct, and incisive speech on all occasions, without de\-iation.
No man ever misunderstood what he meant, and no one will
forget that peculiar emphasis which was his. Neither will any
one in this Senate forget that promptness and readiness with
which he always decided questions when he was in the chair.
Such was his history here, and it will not only live in our
memories, but it will belong to the political historj- of this

But he is gone. He is no longer one of us. On yesterday
evening the summons came. The clouds seemed to surround
him. All his nature, as it were, his past hfe, came before me
when I understood that he was dying. I remembered him in
my young manhood when he was first governor of Tennessee.
I remembered him later on as the Confederate war governor of
my State, when he heard the first reveille and the last tattoo in
Confederate camps. I remembered him through the good and
evil fortune of our Southland, ever \-igilant and ready to further
the cause he had espoused— and that his cause was my cause—
and in his dying hour my pulse beat a warm sympathy and my
heart went out in reverence for the grand old veteran.

But he is gone. Yesterday evening, a few minutes before 6
o'clock, the summons came. The shadows of death spread over

8 Life and Character of Isham G. Harris.

him as a dark cloiul; the curfew tolled the knell of his departing
day; the soothing sound of "taps" iu\-ited sleep to the woni
and wearj' veteran ; he entered his silent tent; he sleeps there
now on Fame's eternal camping ground.

Mr. President, I .shall move to adjourn at the proper time,
but meanwhile I will ask for the consideration of the resolutions
which I send to the desk to be read.

The Vice-President. The resolutions submitted by the
Senator from Tennessee will be read.

The resolutions were read, as follows:

Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound .sorrow of
the death of the Hon. Isham G. Harris, late a Senator from
the State of Tennessee.

Resolved, That a committee of nine Senators lae appwinted by
the Vice-President to take order for superintending the funeral
of Mr. H.\RRis, which shall take place in the Senate Chamber
at 12 o'clock m. to-morrow, and that the Senate will attend the

Resolved, That, as a further remark of resjx;ct entertained by
the Senate for his memory, his remains Ije removed from Wash-
ington to Tenne.s.see in charge of the Sergeant-at-Arms, and
attended by the committee, who shall have full power to carrj-
this resolution into effect.

Resolved, That the Secretary communicate these proceed-
ings to the House of Representatives and in\nte the House of
Representatives to attend the funeral in the Senate Chamber,
and to appoint a committee to act with the committee of the

The re.solutions were considered by unanimous consent, and
agreed to.

The \'ice-President appointed as the committee under the
second resolution, Mr. Bate, Mr. Waltliall, Mr. Berrj-, Mr.
Turpie. Mr. Allen, Mr. Deboe, Mr. Pettus, Mr. Chilton, and
Mr. Wetmore.

Proceedings in the Senate. 9

Mr. Cockrell submitted the following resolution; which was
considered hs unanimous consent, and agreed to:

Resolved, That invitations be extended to the President of the
United States and the members of his Cabinet, the Chief Justice
and associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States,
the diplomatic corps (through the Secretary' of State), the
Major-General commanding the Arm)', and the senior Admiral
of the Navy to attend the funeral of the Hon. Isham G. Har-
ris, late a Senator from the State of Tennessee, in the Senate
Chamber at 12 o'clock meridian to-morrow.

Mr. Cockrell submitted the following resolution; which was
considered by unanimous consent, and agreed to:

Resolved, That the expenses incurred by the select committee
appointed to take order for the funeral of the late Senator Isham
G. Harris be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate,
upon vouchers to be approved by the chairman of said com-

Mr. Bate. Mr. President, I move, as a further mark of
respect to the memory of my deceased colleague, that the Sen-
ate do now adjourn.

The motion was unanimously agreed to; and (at 12 o'clock
and 15 minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned until to-morrow,
Saturday, July 10, 1897, at 12 o'clock meridian.

Life and Character of Ishain G. Harris.


Jl-XE lO, 1897.

Rev. Hugh Johnston, D. D., Acting Chaplain of the Senate,
offered the following prayer:

Let us pray. Almighty God, Thou rulest the armies of
heaven and among the children of men, according to Thy good
plea.sure, and none can stay Thine hand or say to Thee, What
doest Thou? But though infinitely great. Thou art unspeak-
ably good. Thou carest for us. We can not weep the tear
Thou dost not see, or feel the pain Thou dost not know, or
breathe the prayer Thou dost not hear, for Thy tender mercies
are over all Thy works.

We thank Thee for life with all its ble.ssings; for all the gen-
erations of men who have come and gone, and have sown and
reaped and made for us such har\-ests of comfort and culture.
We bless Thee that Thou do.st not confine us to this present
existence, but that after the training and discipline of life
Thou dost open to us the gates of a .second life, even the life
that is immortal.

We give Thee thanks for the long and valual)le ser\-ice which
the great statesman who.se name has so suddenly become a mem-
ory was enabled to render to his country and to his State, for
his rare qualities of leadership in the councils of the nation, for
his sturdiness of purpose, and for tho.se tender personal charac-
teristics which so endeared him to his kindred and friends. We
beseech Thee to comfort all who mourn. We entreat Thee give
to his sons a firm trust in Thee and a tranquil submission to Thy

And here in this ChamlK-r, where he was so conspicuous a
personality, the scene of .so many achievements and successes in
public life, give Thy ser\'ants before Thee to see, give us all to
see, how Thou dost level to the dust all distinctions of rank and
station and honor, and that nothing endures but the fine gold of
true character.

Proceediugs in the Senate. ii

Help us, we beseech Thee, to build up manhood iu Christ
Jesus, to put our trust more firmly in that blessed and only
Saviour who has died for our sins, who has conquered death,
who has achieved a victory over the grave, and who opens the
kingdom of heaven to all believers. To whom, with Thee and
the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end.

The Vice-President. Seuators, by order of the Senate the
usual business will be suspended this day to enable the Senate
to participate in the funeral ceremonies deemed appropriate
upon the death of Isham G. Harris, late an honored member
of this bod}- from the State of Tennessee. The reading of the
Journal will be dispensed with.

At five minutes past 12 o'clock the members of the House of
Representatives entered the Senate Chamber. The Chaplain
of the House was escorted to a seat at the Secretary's desk,
and the members of the House were shown to the seats on the
floor provided for them. They were soon followed by members
of the diplomatic corps, the President and his Cabinet min-
isters, the committee of arrangements of the two Houses,
and members of the family of the deceased Senator, who
were respectively escorted to the seats assigned them on the

The burial ser\-ice of the Methodist Episcopal Church was
read by Rev. Hugh Johnston, D. D., assisted bj- Rev. J. W.
Duffey, D. D., of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

The benediction was pronounced b}- Rev. H. N. Coudeu,
Chaplain of the House of Representatives.

The Vice-President. The funeral ceremonies are now ter-
minated. The bod}- of our late brother will now be committed
to the charge of the ofiicers of the Senate and to the committee
representing the two Houses, to be conveyed to his late home
in Tennessee, there to be buried among his family and friends.

12 Life and Character of I sham (i. Harris.

Mr. Batk. Mr. President, I move that the Senate do now

The motion was agreed to; and fat 12 o'clock and 30 minutes
p. m.) the Senate adjourned until Monday, July 12, 1897, at 12
o'clock meridian.


March 24, 1898.

Mr. Bate. Mr. President, the hour set apart for the Senatorial
ceremonies in memory of my late colleague, Senator Harris,
has arrived, and I offer the resolutions which I send to the desk.

The Presiding Officer (Mr. Pasco). The resolutions sub-
mitted by the Senator from Tennessee will be read.

The Secretary read the resolutions, as follows:

Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow
of the death of Hon. Isham G. Harris, late a Senator from
the State of Tennessee.

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 proper tribute of regard to his high char-
acter and distinguished public services.

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

Resolved, That as an additional mark of respect, the Senate,
at the conclusion of the.se ceremonies, do adjourn.

The Presiding Officer. The question is on agreeing to
the resolutions.

The resolutions were unanimously agreed to.


14 I -iff and Character of I sham (J. Harris.


Mr. B.\TE. Mr. President, to mv late distinguished coUeaRue
on this floor all the honors due to the most illustrious citizen
have been paid by the officials of Tennessee and by the sjxjn-
taneous affection of the citizens of the State. His body, by
general and public request, lay in state in the capitol of Ten-
nessee, escorted and guarded by old ex-Confederate soldiers,
who stood sentinel around his bier under the two flags — Con-
federate and Federal.

The memorial services on a later day at Memphis, the home
of the late Senator H.\rris, were of that character which attest
the love and esteem in which he was held by the people of Ten-
nessee. On that occasion the drapery of woe gave place to the
beauty of flowers, and the vast auditorium bloomed and blos-
somed with the festoons of smilax and chrysanthemums, while
palms of ancient and sacred memory vied with roses in gi\'ing
grace and beauty to a scene which tore evidence of a purpose
on the part of the whole comnumity to unite in a grand testi-
monial to the honored dead.

Representative men, the rich and the poor, were there, and
every creed in religion as well as everj- di\-ision in politics
united in one testimonial to the memor>- of the citizen, the
"war governor," and statesman who had passed away. Noth-
ing which affection could suggest or pride projXJse was omitted
by that community which he had ser\"ed and in which he had
so long resided.

The glinnner of the old gray uniform on the Confederate
veterans on this memorial occasion recalled the glory of the past
without in the least derogating from the duties of the present.
He had worn tlial iinif<inu with iKinor in the camp, on ilie

Address of Mr. Bate of Tennessee. 15

march, on the battlefield, and it was appropriate that a con-
spicuous place should be filled by it in the memorial service of
his past life. The proud emblems of the Federal Union were
not absent, but floated gracefully along with the modest little
ensign that bore the cross of St. Andrew, with its stars and bars.

It was a fit occasion for intertwining the two flags, and it was
tastefully and gracefully done. Notwithstanding these honors
so profusely paid by the authorities of Tennessee and of the city
of Memphis and of all classes of the people, an honored custom
of this Senate iuvites further posthumous ceremonies within its
historic walls which have so often reverberated his voice. This
Chamber for more than twenty years was the theater of his use-
fulness, the same in which he played that conspicuous part in
the public history which will be forever associated with his
memory. It is appropriate that here, then, in this Chamber
ofiicial recognition of his prominent services to the Union and to
the State should have voice and recognition.

I ask the attention of Senators while I briefly relate the story
of a man — their fellow — who is gone.

Mr. President, Isham Green Harris was born in Franklin
County, Tenn., on the loth of February, 1818, and died in this
city on the 8th of July, 1897, having attained the ripe age of 80
years, fulfilling the words of the psalmist that ' ' the days of our
years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength
they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow;
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

Little did the neighbors and friends of the Harris family, who
lived in an unostentatious but independent way among the plain
and patriotic people of Franklin County, Tenn., dream that on
the loth of February, 18 18, there was bom in their midst a
child who was destined to be a leading factor in stirring events
that were to come to our country's history — one who was to

i6 Life and Character of Isham C. Harris.

organize troops to fight great battles — was three times to occupy
the executive chair of our great State and sit twenty years in
the chief council chamber of our great country as one of its
advisers and leaders. There was no special announcement of
his birth by the parents or any sjjecial recognition of it gi%'en by
the neighbors or the church. It nevertheless was one that hxs
gone into hi.story and will live beyond the present generation
into the far future.

Isham and Lucy Harris, the father and mother of this the
youngest of nine children, were North Carolinians and of Revo-
lutionary stock. Isham's grandfather was an officer in the
Revolutionary war. The father and mother, leaving the Old
North State, seeking fresher fields in which to better their for-
tunes, journeyed westward over the mountains and settled where
the waters of Elk River flow through a beautiful valley over-
looked by the western range of the Cumberland Mountains.
It was here, on a farm in Franklin County, Tenn., that tliese
pioneer parents in a plain and frugal way reared and educated
their children.

The log-house home and country schoolhouse were familiar
features in that day, and to-day Tennessee jwints to them,
through the brightest pages of her history, with greater pride
than can any king point to his palace or any scholar to his uni-
versity alma mater, for these unpretending homes and schools
were the sources of that great intellectual, moral, and political
strength that made heroes and statesmen of her sons and gave
an unsurpassed charm to her womatihood.

But this monotonous and narrow sphere of social and busi-
ness life, though with many attractions, was too circumscrilied
for young ambition to vault itself, and the subject of this trib-
ute, at the early age of 14, with only a country-.school education,
full of manhood and .self-relianct, with a heart throbbing with

Address of Mr. Bale of Tennessee. 17

courageous impulses and a brain restless and full of resources —
this boy-man, Isham Green Harris, with the consent and
blessing of his father, for whom he was named, launched his
little lifeboat, freighted with his hopes and fortune, on the
uncertain sea of the future.

Leaving home at this unripe age, he went west to Paris,
Henry County, Tenn. , which became his future home. By way of
being independent of the assistance of friends, he hired himself
as a merchant's clerk , beginning at the bottom with a small salary.
By strict attention to business, performing every duty with alac-
rity and guided by that conspicuous executive abilitj' that char-
acterized all his life, he soon found himself at the head of an
establishment of his own and conducted it with eminent success.

After having undergone varied fortune in the commercial line,
meantime having matured into manhood, he entered upon the
profession of the law, and soon showed his aptness in and his
adaptability to his profession. But while he was successful in
securing a clientage and was strict in attention to the business
intrusted to him, he was dreaming of the future, and saw, as in
an apocalj'ptic vi.sion, another field of ser\nce in which distinction
united with destiny.

His taste and capacity fitted him preeminently for this new
field, and his natural political sagacity and patriotic fervor beck-
oned him on. The gate opened its portals, and ambition, as a
seductive siren, drew him in her charmed circle of delirium as
naturally as iron filings are drawn to loadstone. Henceforth
the political field was to him most congenial, and it became the
arena in which was performed the life drama of Isham Green
Harris. Six years of successful practice of law brought unto
him not onh- a handsome income but established for him a
reputation as a lawj^er, and more especially as an advocate.
This threw him actively into the political world, and in 1847
S. Doc. 343 2

l8 Life and L'liaractcr o/ hitaiii G. Harris.

he was honored with a seat in the senatorial brancli of the
Tennessee legislature.

There his aptitude for successful management in political
matters entitled him to leadership, which brought him so con-
spicuously l)efore the public as a Democrat that in 1848 he was
selected as the Democratic elector for the Ninth Congressional
district, to be followed in 1849 by his election from that district
to the United States House of Representatives. After serving
that district through two successive Congresses, and being re-
nominated the third time, he declined to accept the nomination
and moved to Memphis, where he was recognized as a lawyer
and advocate of ability, and as such took high rank at that bar,
then, as now, di.stinguished for the ability of its memlxrrs.

But jxjlitical preferment and leadership being his ruling pas-
sion, and politics lx;ing the natural field for the exerci.se of his
fine powers, he again, in 1856, came to the front as elector at
large for the Democratic party. Those who recall that exciting
political campaign and the issues involved, and remember that
his immediate opponent was the able and distinguished Go\ -
emor Neil S. Brown, a foeman worthy of any man's steel, will
recognize it as a gladiatorial contest between evenly matched
knights, and which attracted the attention of the whole State.

His speeches on the hustings were plain, clear, and cogent,
severely without ornament, and no strain at eloquence or dis-
play, but always sensible, strong, attractive, and .sometimes
dramatic. In deliverj- he was earnest and forcible, and alike
emphatic in expression and gesture. Indeed, this grew ujKin
him with age until the emphatic seemed the dogmatic. In
speaking he always had a definite point to drive to, and he let
you know what it was, and generally got there in good time
and in good order.

With the triiunpli of his party in that campaign, Teinies-see

Address of Mr. Bate of Tennessee. 19

took rank among Democratic States, and his rich reward was a
nomination and election, in 1857, 'is governor of the State. In
this, his first canvass for governor, he had for his opponent
Hon. Robert Hatton, the nominee of the opposing party, who
was young, active, and talented, and it being the custom of
Tennessee to have joint discussions between opposing party
candidates, they canvassed the State together. Harris was
elected. He was renominated in 1859, with John Netherland,
a bright, talented man and famous stump orator, as his opponent.
Harris was again elected.

His third election as governor was in August, 1861, after the

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Online Library2d sess. United States. 55th Cong.Memorial addresses on the life and character of Isham G. Harris (late a senator from Tennessee) → online text (page 1 of 13)