2d session United States. 61st Congress.

Anselm J. McLaurin (late a senator from Mississippi) online

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army and sen.'ed until the close of the war without a stain
upon his soldierly character. After his return home, through
hard struggles, self-denial, and unquenchable ambition, he was
admitted to the bar as a lawyer. He served as district
attorney, representative in the legislature, delegate to the con-
vention which adopted the present constitution of Mississippi,
governor of the State, and one year in the United States Senate
to succeed Senator Walthall, when he retired temporarily on
account of bad health. On March 4, 1901, by election of the
state legislature, he commenced another period of ser\'ice in
the United States Senate, which continued unbroken until the
sununons came, December 22, 1909, "Come up higher."

Senator McLaurin was a man of simple life and lived close
to the heart of the great masses of the people from whose
ranks he sprang. While he was dignified in his bearing, he
was easily approached by the humblest citizen. He was big-
hearted, genial, and generous, and it is not strange that people
loved him. He was forgiving toward his enemies and loyal
to his friends. He loved his native State with a devotion that
was almost idolatrous and was ever readv to defend her from


Address of Mr. Spight of Mississippi 51

misconception and calumny. He was proud of her history on
the field and in the forum, in peace or in war.

In this connection I trust I may be indulged while I state an
unprecedented historical fact of which Senator McLaurin and
all Mississippians were and are justly proud. During the latter
part of his service in the United vStates Senate there were seven
native sons of Mississippi in that august body. From the State
were himself and Senator ^loney; from the Lone Star State
was the brilliant Bailey; from Arkansas was Clarke; from
Nevada, the home of the "Silver King," was Newlands; from
the "Golden West" was Chamberlain, of Oregon; and from
the infant vState of Oklahoma was the "Blind Orator," Gore.
This is a record which was never equaled by any State in the
Union. In addition to this, there was also the then and present
Secretary of War, Hon. J. M. Dickinson, who is a native of
Mississippi. In the midst of all these giant intellects McLaurin
shone resplendent.

He was a great lawyer, a true patriot, an able statesman,
and, greater than all, an humble follower of the "Lowly Naza-

He will be missed in the counsels of his State and of the
Nation, but more than all by the "loved ones at home," whom
he so fondly and tenderly cared for, and whose hearts are
bleeding because the "welcome step" is heard no more. To my
mind the truest test of a man's character is not so much what
the world says about him, but the degree of love he inspires in
his own household. Home was McLaurin's kingdom, and there
he will ever be enshrined.

While we, his friends and coworkers in the National Legisla-
ture, pause on this sacred day to drop a tear upon his grave,
we say to the stricken widow, children, and grandchildren that
he has left you the priceless heritage of a good name:

"He has fought a good fight; he has kept the faith; he has finished his

52 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

Address of Mr. Gardner of MicfflGAN

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing so democratic as the manner of
man's birth and death. In the advent to and departure from
this world there is no respect of persons. Anxiety and pain
precede the one, and pain and anxiety attend the other. The
assumption of copartnership between the material and imma-
terial which we call life and the dissolution of that copartner-
ship which, for lack of a better term, we call death is one of the
insolvable mysteries.

In the chemistry of every human being there is combined in
the infant in indefinable proportions the properties of a long
ancestral line. In the embryo there are the possibilities of anew
and distinct entity or individuality differing from any that has
preceded or that may follow. That entity or individuality we
call the man. As such he is not only held accountable for what
he does, but credited or discredited for what he is or may become.
Hence it is that men are judged by the deeds they do, by the
personality they manifest, and by the character they develop.
Nor are these standardsof judgment necessarily partial or unjust.
After having eliminated all of what may be termed the accidents
of life it still remains that the elements we hold in common are
so mixed in us that we involuntarily yield recognition to the
qualities, whatever his calling, that give one precedence over his
fellows. It follows, therefore, that a service of this character is,
or may be, much more than a tribute, however worthy or
deserving the object upon which it is bestowed, to a departed
colaborer, for it should emphasize those qualities and services
that make for good in all men; such ser\aces and qualities vary-
ing not so much in character as in degree.

Address of Mr. Gardner of Michigan 53

During the forty-five years from the time the late Senator
McLaurix entered the confederate army as a lad of 16 to his
recent departure from this life he had been successively a
soldier, a student of letters and of law, a district attorney, a
member of the legislature, a presidential elector, a member of
the constitutional convention, four years governor of his native
State, and three times sent to the Senate of the United States,
dying while an incumbent of that high office. How brief the
epitome of a career so exceptional! How suggestive of fidelity
and devotion to duty wherev-er that duty might call!

His service as a soldier was inconspicuous, as would naturally
be expected from one of his immature years. But he did what
he could for a cause, to the promotion of which he tendered the
peril of his life. There is no stain on his soldier record.

From the day he finished his preparatory studies and was
admitted to the bar as a practicing attorney he evidently gained
and held the confidence and esteem of those who knew him best,
and each step forward was a step upward. He so lived and
discharged the duties of each and every position he was called
to fill that promotion followed naturally on sen.dce. In this
respect his is an example to be emulated by all men, whether
in public or private life. Through the warp and woof of his hfe
fabric, woven in the loom of every-day experiences, from the
bridal altar to the deathbed, there run the golden threads of
marital fidelity and devotion. At 61 he was the lover of the
wife of his choice and the mother of his children as he was at 22.
This phase of his life and character I witnessed for many months
with ever-increasing admiration^so manly and yet so gentle
and tender was he toward her who bore him sons and daughters
who became manly and womanly characters in a home of
happiness and content, disproving at every point the matri-
monial heresy all too common and illustrating by a concrete
example that marriage is not a failure.

54 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

There was nothing of the snob in him. Holding the creden-
tials of a sovereign State to membership in what has recently
been termed by an American of international reputation the
greatest legislative body in the world, and not unappreciative
of the dignity of his high office, he was as considerate of the
rights and feelings of his servants as of his peers. Without
ostentation and without self-advertising he sought to the best
of his ability to serve failthfully the humblest as well as the
most conspicuous of his constituents. His high ideals of life, his
gentlemanly ways and nobility of character, endeared him to all
who enjoyed his acquaintance. Neither sectionalism nor par-
tisanship barred the door of his heart nor prescribed the area
from which he drew his friends in life nor the habitations of
those who mourned his death. In his life were exemplified a
faithful husband, a devoted father, an industrious citizen, and
an honest public official. May his memory long survive to
bless those who come after him !

Address of Mr. Candler of Mississippi 55

Address of Mr. Candler of Mississiffi

Mr. Speaker, this is to me a very sad occasion. Death is
always sad and brings sorrow to the heart; but especially
is that true when death takes from us a relative or friend.
Senator McLaurin was my friend, and as such I loved him_
and he loved me. 1 have had many heart to heart talks
with him and each one drew me nearer and closer to him,
because, with his honesty of purpose and genuine frankness,
he impressed you with his sincerity. One of his most beautiful
characteristics was his loyalty and devotion to his family and
friends. It was a common saying of him that he never
deserted a friend, and they therefore implicitly trusted him,
and he trusted them. His was, indeed, an illustrious career.
He was reared on a farm in Smith County, Miss., many
miles from a railroad, and by energy, determination, and the
proper and right use of his abiUty gradually rose from the
humble walks of life to a seat in the United States Senate. He
accomplished this because he was always faithful to every
trust confided to him. As a private citizen, he measured up
to the loftiest standard; as a public official, he met the highest
ideals; as a Christian gentleman, his life was an example for
others. I knew him intimately, and, with all the honors he
enjoyed, and with his many business, professional, and official
cares, he never forgot nor neglected for a moment his home and
loved ones. There never was a more tender or devoted hus-
band, a more loving or indulgent father. His home life was
beautiful, and it was fitting when the final summons came
that he was called from the midst of his devoted family in the
home on earth to the presence of the loved ones gone before,
to the home above. There is consolation and comfort to us all

56 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

in the fact that as a citizen, official, and Christian gentleman
he was faithful. I could not say more.

If when I am called hence that one word "faithful" can be
truthfully put as an epitaph on a simple marble shaft erected
to my memory, I shall be content and happy indeed. Doctor
Bolding, an eminent ]iIethodist divine, thus wrote of him soon
after his death, in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, published
at Memphis, Tenn. :

In the midst of the preparation for the merrj- Christmas Mississippi
was plunged into gloom at the death of Senator McLaurin. "Anse"
McLaurin was possibly not the ver\' great man that Lamar or George
was, but he was a manly, geniaL generous man, of considerably more
than ordinary capacity and, while not brilliant, was a steady light unto
his people. I knew him verj- well, and knew him as an astute politician
without low tricks, the genial gentleman who was as polite to the homy-
handed sons of toil as to the wealthy and influential. I saw him once
leave a group of cultivated gentlemen to go out into the street to greet an
old farmer who was coming into town with his truck, drawn in a rickety
old wagon by oxen, and it made a picture I shall never forget and an
impression which abides with me till this day. It may have been policy,
but it was so naturally and genially done that it was a kindly policy of a
kindly hearted man, too open to signify anything of the covered way or
deceptive intent. Mississippi has a right to be proud of her great men of
the past, men like Prentiss, Davis, Lamar, and George, in secular public
life, and the peerless Galloway, perhaps her most gifted son, in the puljut;
but she will boast of no more genial gentleman and loving son than Anse
McLaurin, whose dust will enrich her histoPi' as the dust of tlie true and
loyal ever does.

Peace to the ashes of this faithful public servant and genial gentleman,
and comfort unto the sorrowing ones in the Brandon home. Christmas
comes and goes, and so do we, to be followed by the bright-eyed and happy-
hearted children of each succeeding generation, dreaming beautiful dreams
and filling their world with mirthful laughter while the great world outside,
with its bitter experiences,- moves on, burdened and groaning under its
load. It is all well enough, for it is but a step from youth to age, from
smiles to tears, and from joy to sorrow, until they secure the mingled
threads of one common pattern from the loom of life.

Address of Mr. Candler of Mississippi 57

Why the Father above called the Senator to his final home
in the zenith of his influence for good and with the assurance
of many years of great usefulness we do not know. We can
not understand such dispensations of Ilis providence. We shall
not know here, but we may know hereafter. We can console
ourselves with the truth that —

All things work together ior good to them that love God, to them who
are the called, according to His purpose.

The vSenator loved the Lord and trusted implicitly the Lord
Jesus. And of him, therefore, it can be said:

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Vea,
saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do
follow them.

He rests from his labors well, etficiently, and faithfully per-
formed for good, and the benedictions of his works still remain
and follow hitn.

Of him it can truly further be said:

His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that Nature might
stand up and say to all the world, "This was a man."

Love and svmpathy we give to his devoted wife and affec-
tionate children, and with peace to his ashes and rest to his
soul we say farewell, but not forever, for his life was rich in
deeds of good, his faith in a crucified and risen Lord unwaver-
ing, and he did not live in vain, but waits for us on yonder
shore. He is not dead, for among those who love and trust
the risen Saviour —

There are no dead; we fall asleep
To waken where they never weep;
We close our eyes on pain and sin,
Our breath ebbs out, but life flows in.

58 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

Address of Mr. Bowers of Mississippi

Mr. Speaker, during the late Christmas holidays the Con-
gress, the State of Mississippi, and the entire Nation were
shocked to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Hon.
AnsELM Joseph McLaurin, a Senator from the State of Mis-
sissippi. While he had been ill for some time, it was supposed
that he had recovered, and his death was entirely sudden and
unlocked for.

When and in whatever guise it comes, death is gloomy and
terrible, but when it comes to one in the prime of his life and
the fullness of his usefulness it is inexpressibly sad, indeed.

Senator McLaurin had filled a large part in the history of
Mississippi. He was born in Rankin County, in that State, on
the 26th day of March, 1848. He was reared on a farm, and
imbibed the broadness, freedom, and breadth that comes from
such environments. At the age of 16 he entered the confederate
army and served until the close of that conflict.

After the war was over he attended Somerville Institute,
studied law at home at night, and was licensed to practice in
1868. In 1871 he was elected district attorney of his district,
and ser\'ed until about 1879, when he was elected from Rankin
County to the House of Representatives. In 1888 he was an
elector at large bn the Democratic ticket, and in 1890 he was
elected a member of the constitutional convention of Missis-
sippi, that memorable body that first blazed the way and
showed the plan bv which the ignorant and vicious negro could
be legally, and in accordance with the amendments to the Fed-
eral Constitution, deprived of the ballot — a plan which, with
few exceptions, has been followed by nearly ever\- Southern
State, and which has brought not only political i)Ut industrial

Address of Mr. Bowers of Mississippi 59

peace to every State that has adopted it, and that more than
any other one thing has contributed to the great reputation of
the late lamented Senator James Z. George, its author and chief

In 1S94 the late Senator Walthall, on account of ill health,
resigned his then term in the Senate and Senator McLaurin
was chosen to fill the vacancy. While the time was short and
the opportunities few Senator McLaurin at once took excellent
rank in that great body.

He left the Senate to assume the governor's chair in 1896,
where he served a full term of four years. During this time he
added to the laurels he had already gained, and built up a popu-
larity the equal of which has seldom, if ever, been seen in Mis-
sissippi. He was essentially a man of the people. He loved
them and they loved him, and few, if any, men in that State
have ever had the same hold on popular affection that he did.
He had that rare tact that made friends and held them, and to
sav that he was universally beloved, is to state it mildly.' Nor
was the affection in which he was held confined entirely to his
own State. It so happened that I was the only Representative
from Mississippi present at the national capital at the time of
his death, and it fell upon me to ascertain whether his family
desired a congressional funeral, and if so, to arrange for it. I
shall never forget my passage through the Capitol building the
morning after his untimely end. Not an employee, not one
present in the Capitol at that time, but stopped me to indulge
in some expression of sorrow at vSenator McLaurin's death.
My journey through the building was beset on every hand by
sincere and honest expressions of sorrow and tributes of regard ;
but I am ahead of my story of his life and services.

In 1900, at the expiration of his term of governor, he was
elected to a full term in the United vStates Senate, and was re-
elected in 1906 for a second full term of six years, beginning

6o Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurm

March 4, 1907. He served on a number of important commit-
tees, among them Public Lands, Commerce, Interstate Com-
merce, Claims, and others, and was of immense ser\4ce to his
State. One of his chief services was to secure for it large bodies
of school or university lands, to which it was entitled, but which
had not before been patented. He believed in and loved his
State, and served it as best he knew. He loved his friends.
Nothing was too good for them, and he demanded for them
without stint or hesitation what he believed was their due.
Few men, if any, that I ever knew had the same capacity to
make friends and hold them. As a legislator he was careful,
prudent, and patriotic. As a speaker he was full of informa-
tion, well rounded, and replete with anecdote and illustration.
On the hustings he had few equals; in the political forum he
was forceful and persuasive; at the bar he was eloquent, tact-
ful, and effective. As a lawyer he was specially successful and
effective. I can almost see him now with all of his splendid
powers bent to their uttermost in the legitimate defense of his

I have been with him and against him in litigation, and can
bear testimony that as an adversary he was formidable, and
as an ally he was a force and support almost beyond computa-
tion. Not a moment but that he was at work; not a moment
but that some energy, some thought, was being bent and exer-
cised in favor of his client. He was truthful, honorable, and
brave. He feared nothing and faced every wind that blew.
As a husband, father, and neighbor, he was beyond reproach,
and the concourse of the people that gathered in the little town
of Brandon on the occasion of his simple and unostentatious
funeral testify the esteem and love in which his friends and
neighbors held him, while those who came from afar showed
how they who lived in other parts of the State thought of him.

Address of Mr. Bowers of Mississippi 6i

He is gone — he sleeps in the silent churchyard of the little
town he loved so well — the peaceful sleep that knows no waking
till the resurrection morn. Peace to his ashes. His friends
have lost a faithful friend; his family a loving husband and
father; his State a devoted son; and the Senate an active, able,
and faithful Member.

62 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

Address of Mr. Burnett of Alabama

Mr. Speaker, when God called Senator A. J. McLaurin to
Him, earth was poorer and heaven was richer by his death.
I knew him well, and always felt honored by the fact that I
could call him my friend. I met him soon after he came to
the Senate, lived at the same hotels with him in Washington,
served on the Immigration Commission with him, and as the
years came and went our friendship grew stronger.

Within his breast beat a heart as true as heaven, as gentle as
a woman's, yet as brave as a lion's.

He was born in 1S48, and was a boy when the first gun was
fired at Sumter, but before the flag was furled at Appomattox
he became one of the tattered privates who followed the stars
and bars until the "storm-cradled nation" went down in
defeat, but not in dishonor. I, myself, was a southern boy in
those dark days. Only six years the junior of Senator
McLaurin, I well remember the awful scenes through which we
passed. He and I saw many brave sons of the South go forth
in the spring of 1861 happy, buoyant, hopeful, eager for battle.
They were proudly clad in the gray uniform of homemade
jeans, woven by the deft fingers of southern mothers and wives
and sweethearts.

He in Mississippi, I in Alabama, listened day by day to the
whir of the old spinning wheel as the thread was drawn out by
southern maidens. He and I listened day by day to the thump,
thump of the old wooden loom by which our mothers converted
that thread into the gray uniform of the southern soldier boy.
He in Mississippi, I in Alabama, often peeled the black walnut
and the red oak barb from the trees with which to dve the

Address of Mr. Burnett of Alabama 63

thread from which were made those uniforms of the brave,
young southerners.

We both heard the piper boy and the drummer boy at the
head of the cohimns, leading men to battle, and our young
hearts throbbed with patriotic desire to follow the boys in gray.
I was too young and could not keep step to strains of Dixie, but
young McLaurin left the plow at 16 to follow a cause that he
believed to be just and a flag that he believed to be true.

When the sword of Lee was sheathed forever, and our "peo-
ple's hopes were dead," young McLaurin, with thousands of
other southerners, young and old, returned to desolated homes
and weeping mothers — "Rachel weeping for her children, and
would not be comforted because they were not." If the south-
ern soldier was as brave as Achilles in time of war, he was
strong as Hercules in time of peace. Upon every side he looked
upon scenes of suffering, poverty, and sorrow, nothing left but
an invincible heart and an unflagging trust in the eternal God.

The carpetbagger and the former slave sat in the seats of
power and in the halls of our legislature. The war from 1861
to 1865 was fierce and terrible, but fiercer still was the battle
with greed and ignorance and crime from 1865 to 1874. 1" the
midst of these days young jMcLaurin developed the character
and characteristics which made him a leader of men. I have
talked with him often about these horrible days — days that will
ever mark a dark spot in the history of our RepubHc; days
when the satrap tried to crush the proud spirit of brave men to
make them bow beneath the conqueror's yoke; days when
skulkers and camp followers became rulers over those who were
bleeding and prostrate at their feet. It was in times like these
that, young McLaurin converted the sword into the plowshare
and took up the- fight against the "wolf at the door."

These were times that grew strong men. The country school
in the South in those days was the three months' term between

64 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

"laying by" and "fodder pulling," and yet amid such environ-
ments this young Mississippian acquired a rudimentary educa-
tion and laid the foundation for a great governor and a splendid

In his home life vSenator McLaurin was happy, tender, and
devoted. True as steel to principle, he was always ready to
lift his hand for the oppressed and to strike down the oppressor.
From a State that produced Davis and Lamar and George, he
was, in many respects, the peer of either of them. No poor
client ever felt that he did not get the best that was in Senator
McLaurin, regardless of the fee. No poor constituent ever had
occasion to think that the noble Senator would forget the
humble or the weak.

In the forum it is said that he was well-nigh invincible. On
the hustings he swept those who heard him with the force of

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Online Library2d session United States. 61st CongressAnselm J. McLaurin (late a senator from Mississippi) → online text (page 4 of 7)