2d session United States. 61st Congress.

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

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his argument and with his mastery of logic.

In his death ^lississijlpi has lost a star of the first magnitude.
The warm southern sunshine and the gentle southern showers
cause the grass to grow above his ashes, yet his loved ones may
well look up from that little mound to the home of the God he
worshiped, where we know he rests.

A devout Christian, I have often met him on God's holy day
at the church in Washington which he loved, and I felt that
there was "an Israelite, indeed, in whom there is no guile."
In our thoughts and our hopes we may follow him, though he
be dead, and through faith's unflagging vision see that where-
ever God is, wherever heaven is, there our friend is, too.

Let us emulate his noble, Christian life, and pray that where
he is we at last may go.

Address of Mr. Calderhead of Kansas 65

Address of Mr. Calderhead of Kaksas

Mr. Speaker, the announcement of the death of vSenator
McLaurin came to me as with the shock of personal bereave-
ment. For the last three years we had had a home at the
same hotel, and I enjoyed daily intercourse with him. Yes-
terday we paid our tributes of aflfectionate memorials to
another member of that family hotel, Mr. De Armond, of
Missouri. Since the death of Senator McLaurin we have lost
another. Hon. James M. Griggs, from the State of Georgia,
was also a member of our little social company there. ;\Iy
colleague from Michigan [Mr. Gardner] has spoken tenderly
about it. During tiie time we have lived together a warm per-
sonal friendship grew up amongst us. I was particularly at-
tached to Senator McLaurin. I met his family when his chil-
dren were at the hotel, and I found they were the same kind of
children that mine were. When my daughters were visiting
me at the hotel for three or four months he treated them as if
they had been members of his own famil}-. I knew by the
manner in which his family and he met daily with us, that
they were an American family from an American home, with
the same habits of thought, the same practices of family life,
the same standards of living. And I knew by closer inter-
course with him that we had the same standards of faith. We
believed in a definite moral authority, and the divine cause of
all existing things.

We believe in the divine purpose of the life of man and of
nations. We looked into the open grave with the same hope
of the everlasting life beyond. There was a sincerity and a
simplicity of expression in Senator McLai'rin's conversation
about these things which carried with it the conviction that he
67675°— S. Doc. 577, 61-2 5

66 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

knew them, as we know them, by faith. All the arts and
sciences, all the knowledge of material things that we have, do
not carry to us the knowledge which the faith in the great
Creator and the great Savior carries.

I do not know how Cicero arrived at his belief in the first
great cause, and I am not sure that I can state it accurately,
as he stated it. I think he said that a principle is a first thing,
for if it be not a first thing, then it has been caused by some
other thing, and is a secondary thing. A principle, then, being
a first thing, and never having been caused by anything external
to it, must have existed always, and it must always continue to
exist, for if any other thing be able to put an end to it, then it
is not a principle but a secondary thing. Being then a principle,
without beginning and without end and indestructible, it must
of itself have other attributes, and first among the attributes
which we must conceive as belonging to it, must be justice and
power, and with these must go truth and wisdom and goodness.

How nearly he came to our Calvanistic answer to the question,
What is God? "The Deity, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable,
in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and
truth." This knowledge of this high Deity above us, this faith
in His everlasting truth, everlasting justice, goodness, and
mercy brings to the heart of every man who knows it the
conviction that there is a life beyond, glorious in its fulfillment,
and full of llu' rich endowuK-nt of hope for the life tliat we live
here. Something of the Scotch ancestry may have given him
this inheritance. Something of that must have given him the
impulse of life which made him a soldier at i6, and a lawver
admitted to the bar at 20; married at 22, and from that ste[) on,
every two or three years an ailvaneement in the affairs of his-
own State until he came to be her representative in the great
United States Senate, and from that place was chosen to be her
governor, and, after four years, again her Senator.

Address oj Mr. Caldcrhcad of Kansas 67

Some of us have spoken here to-day of the humble begin-
nings of his life as if he had toiled upward to this place of
power and fame with an ambition for honor, and yet we who
knew him know that he was never seeking honor; that from
that humble farm in Mississippi he had never intended to be
governor or Senator, but that he himself was seeking his daily
duty and doing it with energy and intelligence.

I like the words of Van Dyke, who said:

The blue flower of honor is so delicate that he who seeks it shall never
find it, and he who finds it needs no name.

He who seeks honor for himself shall never find it, and he
who finds it finds it in the highest endeavor of a noble man-
hood and a noble life.

It was in this way that honor must have come to Senator
McLaurix. His family, his wife, and the 10 children of that
family, 7 of whom are still living, I believe, bear witness to
a character of man that no words of ours may add to, and noth-
ing, indeed, that we say here can add to his honor. What we
say here may be some consolation to those who come after,
to those who have been bereaved by his death; what we say
here may be of some use to ourselves, for it recognizes our obli-
gation to keep up the same standard of honor that he kept.

It renews our obligation to set before the children who come
after us the example that he gave. It renews our faith in each
other. It renews that comradeship in the service of a great
country and a great people, which belongs to us and becomes a
part of us as we serve here.

When I began I intended to say a word or two about his
life as a soldier. The brief record in the Directory says that
he entered the army at 16. He was four years \'ounger than
myself, and I entered the army before I was 17.

The record says that he served as a private, and I ser\'ed
as a private. Now, at this distance of time I know that younger

68 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

men are unable to realize how two boys at that age, having the
same standards of life and the same ideals, should be risking
life upon opposite sides of a civil war. Yet I know by my inter-
course with him that his was not a thoughtless service. I know
that on my part I felt it my highest duty to preserve the in-
tegrity of the Union; not only the integrity of the Government
and of the laws, but the integrity of all our territory. To me
every revolutionary battlefield of the South was a part of my
inheritance. To me the great river that flowed through it was
a part of my inheritance. It was my birthright to be a citizen
of the United States in any State. The traditions of the whole
land and all its glorious history were a part of mine. The
Constitution, the laws, the institutions, the church, the school,
the hearthstone, and the table at which daily grace was said
before every meal were at stake. On the other hand, to him it
appeared that the same things were at stake; that somehow or
other we on our part were invading a territory that was ex-
clusively his; that we on our part were attempting the de-
struction of a right that was inherently his, and he went not
ignorantly to carry a musket, and I went not thoughtlessly to
carry a musket on our side.

The great arbitrament of the battlefield has settled the ques-
tion for him and for me and for mine forever. The victory
was with us, and as it was glorious, being not for conquest, but
for self-preservation, it was impossible for us to use it for re-
venge. Let it be remembered that no such feeling abides, or
ever has, in our hearts. While with us the spirit of liberty in
defense of the Union, the Constitution, and the laws, and all tlie
institutions that had grown up under them, was fierce, as a
mother is fierce in the defense of her children, when it was over
and the victory was won the spirit of libert\- in all our hearts
was as gentle as a mother with her most wayward son. And
from the hour of the gray dawn at Appomattox, w'hen your

Address of Mr. Calderhead of Kansas 69

arms and your flags were laid down, until this time, you can
not help remembering that, like the children of God's ancient
people, when the moment of a supreme test came to them, they
answered, "All we be brethren, the sons of one Father." So it
was to Senator McLaurin and to me and to all the people of
this great land: All we be brethren, the children of one great

70 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

Addmss of Mr. Clark of Missouri

Mr. Speaker, under an arrangement maintained in ante-
bellum days, and not necessary to explain in this happier era,
Mississippi and Illinois came into the Union as twins. Both of
those great Commonwealths have always taken a conspicuous
part in the affairs of the Republic, in the Congress, in the Cabi-
net, and upon the battlefield. From the i ilh day of December,
1817, when her first Senators, Walter Leake and Thomas H.
Williams, and her first Representative, George Poindexter, were
sworn in, the sons of Mississippi have shown a high average of
ability, courage, and character. It would be pleasant and in-
structive to trace briefly the history of Mississippi Senators, but
time will not suffice. There is one surprising thing about Mis-
sissippi Senators, and that is that so man\- of them have resigned.
This is true, particularly with reference to her earlier Senators,
though during the sixteen years that I have been here Senator
Walthal resigned, and Senator Money declined a reelection.
Walter Leake, one of her first two .Senators, ser\-ed from Decem-
ber, 1817 to 1820, when he resigned that he might be elected
governor. David Holmes succeeded Leake in 1820, and resigned
in 1825. Why he resigned I do not know. Powhattan Ellis
resigned the Senatorship in 1832 to become a federal judge.
Robert J. Walker resigned in 1845 to become .Secretary of the
Treasury, and won enduring fame by fathering the Walker tariff

Other Mississippi Senators have resigned, for one reason or
another. The strangest case in all our history of a senatorial
resignation, or, more properly speaking, senatorial resignations,
was when both the Mississippi Senators, Jefferson Davis and Henry
S. Foote, resigned to go home and run against each other for the

Address of Mr. Clark of Missouri 71

governorship. No doubt they resigned from a delicate sense of
honor, each beheving that it was indecorous to be a candidate
for governor while holding the office of Senator. In these later
days no United States Senator would think for one moment of
resigning that position to become governor, the reason for the
change of opinion on that subject being that in the lapse of years
the office of Senator has grown rapidly in importance when com-
pared with all other offices, and while in the elder day the govern-
orship was considered generally as the greater office, in these
later days the governorship is frequently used merely as a step-
ping-stone to the Senate.

At the present time seven natives of Mississippi sit in the
Senate out of a total of 92 Members — a remarkable showing
when population is considered.

Senator McLaurin was evidently a prime favorite in Missis-
sippi. He held many positions of honor and power. From
his admission to the bar in 1868, when only 20 years old, to the
day of his death, he was prominent in the affairs of Mississippi
and of the RepubUc. He was district attorney, representative
in the legislature, presidential elector at large, delegate to the
constitutional convention. United States Senator, governor, and
again United States Senator.

In all these positions he discharged his duties with ability,
courage, industry, and fidelity. He was as popular in Washing-
ton as in Mississippi, and all who knew him here trusted him as
implicitly as did his own constituents. He was a man of highest
character. A soldier of the confederacy in his boyhood, he was
absolutely free from rancor. Without being an orator, he was
a forceful speaker and influential in the Senate. Affable in
manner, pleasing as a conversationalist, true to his convictions,
reliable under all circumstances, wise in counsel, his death, just
after he had passed the psalmist's limit of three score years, was
a loss not only to his family and his State, but to the entire

72 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

country. The one adjective which above all others properly
describes him is "dependable," and after all is said and done
the dependable man is in the long run the most valuable man
in legislation, in politics, in business, and in every other relation
of life. Nobody ever had to go on an exploring expedition to
discover how Senator McLaurin would stand on any particular
question, because his principles were so firm, his habit of thought
so fixed, that, given circumstances surrounding a question, one
who knew the Senator could predict what his action would be.
This was the source of his popularity, his strength, and his

It is eminently proper that we honor such a man as this
typical American public ser\'ant, for, in honoring him, we honor
not only ourselves but that mighty Republic of which we are
all proud to be citizens.

Address of Mr. Byrd of Mississippi 73

Address of Mr. Byrd of Mississifpi

Mr. Speaker: The late Anselm Joseph McLaurin was of
Scottish descent. His ancestors came from the Clan Maclaurin,
a determined and unconquerable race, who wrote history amid
the mountains of Scotland four centuries ago. At that time
they were a belligerent people, resisting every encroachment
upon their rights with the sword, and when vanquished upon
the field they would scatter among their native hills and fight
to the death, with only the cave for a bivouac and the bowlder
for a fortress. While terrible in war, in peace they were gen-
tle, frugal, industrious, and craved a full share of the intel-
lectual light then rapidly dethroning the tyranny and supersti-
tion that shackled the world. So rapidly did they advance in
the science of civilization that in less than a century from the
time they roamed half naked and half wild about the shores of
Loch Lomond there were to be found among them great mathe-
maticians and philosophers, many of whom were the recipients
of royal favors, one John Maclaurin being elevated to the peer-
age as Lord Dreghorn.

The Scotchman has a right to be proud of his blood. It has
contributed much to our splendid civilization, it emblazons the
most interesting pages of history, and weaves the garlands of
romance and love into the brightest pag€S of fiction. The terror
of the Macgregors, the wild flute notes of Rob Roy, the heroism
of Bruce and Wallace, the tragic love of gentle Marion, the
surrender of Burns's poetic soul to Highland Mary, all "bring
recollections to view" of a romantic land and a people born to

The grandfather of our lamented friend, fighting with the
revolutionary patriots at Lexington, is the first knowledge we

74 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

have of the McLauriiis in America; but since that da\-, when the
corner stone of the Nation was laid in blood, they have fought
in every war involving our destiny, and I dare say that but few
American families have contributed more to the Upbuilding of
the church, state, and our splendid civilization.

In many respects. Senator McLaurin was to the manor born
a Scotchman, being as deeply and as unchangeably set in his
convictions of duty and right as was John Knox, but in no
degree did he possess the bigoted intolerance of the latter. He
delighted to recall the legends of song and story that immor-
talized his ancestors. Next to the beauties of the Holy Bible,
the quaint philosophy hidden in the sweet melodies of Burns
was the chief topic of his literary discussion. Doubtless the
poesy of this immortal bard, who played upon every cliord of
the human heart, contributed liberally to his loving generosity
and affection — the full-grown flowers of his manly heart.

Mr. Speaker, I hope I will be pardoned in saying that of all
the public men with whom I have been associated, Senator
McLaurin more than any other approximated my ideal of
superb manhood, when measured by all the standards of worth
and success. In some accomplishments he was far excelled by
others, but combining all of his blended virtues, he had few
equals and no superiors. He possessed an attractive per-
sonality — tall, graceful, handsome, and with a countenance
always radiant with intelligence and candor. With neatness
and becoming modesty he dressed, and moved among his fellows
with ease and dignity; nor did these graces of Apollo desert
him, even after his locks had been frosted by three score years.
While dignified and commanding, he was void of every sem-
blance of vanity or affectation. The most humble citizen could
engage his friendly attention as readily as could the greatest
Senator. In the sunshine of life he was as gentle as a flower,
but in tlie tempest as firm as a rock.

Address of Mr. Byrd of Mississippi 75

But it was at the bar that his intellectuality rose to its
zenith. He was a master in the profession, and, though often
confronted by the ablest lawyers, he was seldom vanquished in
a battle where victory could have been won by any knight of
Blackstone. Always familiar with the law and facts of his
case, and demeaning himself with dignity and courtesy to the
court, he was a most dangerous adversary. As an advocate, he
scarcelx' had an equal.

His oratory was sublime, indeed, being always couched in
pure, simple English, and flowed from his lips like sparkling
waters from the gushing fountain. It was the outpouring of a
soul on fire with earnestness, often rising to the sublimest
heights of forensic effort, and sometimes sweeping away the bet-
ter judgment of the court and jury. Upon the hustings his elo-
quence was irresistible. In defending his deeds as a public
servant he never failed to destroy his critics and to handle his
audience as easily as a shepherd does his flock. To permit him
to stand before the people meant the downfall of his political
adversary. With truth and justice for his subject, his language
seemed to come from his brain through his heart to his lips,
and never failed to touch every responsive chord in the hearts
and minds of his hearers.

Senator McLaurin was more of a patriot than a statesman,
believing in that school of political philosophy which teaches
that justice to the weak is strength to the Nation. He labored
as assiduously to lift the burdens from the poor as did Cobden
and Bright to give bread to the hungry of England. While
other Senators were exploiting their learning on constitutional
questions he was striving to withdraw the hands of the tariff
robber from the pockets of the honest plowman; to protect the
lives of the brave men who, night and day, at the risk of their
lives, direct the locomotive across snow-swept plains and
through mountain gorges; to give health and liberty to the child

76 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

imprisoned within the walls of the dingy factory; and to better
the condition of the unfortunate shop and office girl, struggling
for a living in the sin-cursed city. The ragged newsboy, fighting
the blizzard of early dawn for a penny, the faithful employee
of the Capitol, and even the dusky laborer cleaning the streets
were all the objects of his kindly consideration, and no meas-
ure ever came before the Senate involving their weal that he
did not champion.

Like Jefferson and Jackson, he believed in the individual
rights of the individual man, that the home is the unit of our
civilization, and that he who seeks to pauperize or destroy it
is an enemy both to God and to the Nation. He firmly believed
that if a fair share of the extravagant appropriations of Con-
gress were left in the pockets of the people or applied to the
sustenance and education of that vast herd of children who
are rapidly passing from poverty and ignorance to sin and
crime the Nation would be more bountifully blessed. In his
judgment the annual allowance of more than $200,000,000 to
support the Army and Navy at a time when the whole world
is resting in the arms of Christian peace, and, too, when so
many of our citizens are so hard pressed by poverty, is little
less than criminal extravagance. He detested a large standing
army, lest it might prove to be a menace to our peace, and he
abhorred the dress-parade soldier as one to whom the destiny
of the Nation could not be intrusted in an hour of danger, be-
lieving that the best protection of the Nation is the intelligent,
prosperous, and God-fearing citizen, that a home erected upon a
sunny hillside became a fortress where patriots and warriors
are reared.

Mr. Speaker, it was not the standing army, but the citizen
soldiery, that won our victories in the past. The plowmen of
the Revolution drove the British regulars into the sea from
Lexington to Yorktown, and the same class, marshaled under

Address of Mr. Byrd of Mississippi 77

the banners of Scott, Taylor, Houston, and Crockett, conquered
an empire, adding more wealth of domain to the Nation than
the legions of Caesar to the Roman Empire. That horrible con-
flict that rent the Nation asunder and which stands unparalleled
in history for the mastery of arms was largely fought by the
home builders of the land.

Senator McLaurin may have been classed as an aristocrat
of the common people. The stalwart yeoman, though rugged
and uncomely, but with a great and honest heart, was one of
his favorite companions. Integrity, honesty, worth, and honor
was the rule by which he measured his fellows. "A man's a
man for a' that" often hung upon his lips. Many acres of his
manly heart were dedicated to the stalwart country people of
Mississippi, with whom he lived, among whom he died, and
who had sustained and supported him in every crisis. Many of
them were his companions in boyhood — gamboled and frolicked
with him in the paradise of a country boy. Side by side they
had marched with him, while yet a boy, to the horrid front of
war, there, if need be, "to dare and die" to save the storm-
tossed confederacy. They never deserted him in any crisis.
It is well remembered that in the closing days of his adminis-
tration as governor of Mississippi, it looked as if his official
rectitude and all of his political aspirations \vould be swept
into obHvion by an avalanche of vituperation, heaped upon him
by the politicians and unrighteous press. His most loyal friends
were alarmed, but, conscious of the rectitude of his conduct, he
announced himself as a candidate for the United States Senate,
called upon his friends to rally to his support, and they came
by the thousands from the hills and the valleys of the State and
gave him victory in one of the most heated political campaigns
in the history of Mississippi. They knew him, they loved him,
and when he sounded the tocsin of battle, they rallied to his
standard. And as a manifestation of his gratitude for their

78 Memorial Addresses: Senator McLaurin

loyalty, he fought their battles until death, and then preferred
to be borne to his grave by their simple hands rather than by
the senatorial dignitaries of the Nation.

Mr. Speaker, we are all the creatures of environment, and
doubtless the early surroundings of Senator McLaurix had
much to do with shaping his magnificent character. His
father was a firm, resolute, and God-fearing man, who directed
his promising boy along the paths of honesty and righteous-
ness. Moreover, he was reared in the country, the home nature
intended for every boy. God made the landscape and all the
beauties thereof; man made the cities, with their dens and
slums. Every blade of grass, every flower, every bird that
sings, every brook that ripples, every cataract that roars, and
every storm that sweeps across the plain are sentinels pro-
claiming the loving gentleness and awful grandeur of Jehovah.

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Online Library2d session United States. 61st CongressAnselm J. McLaurin (late a senator from Mississippi) → online text (page 5 of 7)