2d session United States. 61st Congress.

Francis Rives Lassiter (late a representative from Virginia) (Volume 2) online

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(Late a Representative from Virginia)




Proceedings in the House
May 8, 1910

Proceedings in the Senate
December 7, 1909







Proceedings in the House 5

Prayer by Rev. Henry N. Couden, D. D 7

Memorial addresses by

Mr. Turnbull, of Virginia 9

Mr. Hay, of Virginia 12

Mr. Saunders, of Virginia 14

Mr. Carlin, of Virginia 18

Mr. Slemp, of Virginia 22

Mr. Small, of North Carolina 26

Mr. Lamb, of Virginia 29

Mr. Gaines, of West Virginia 34

Mr. Maynard, of Virginia 3G

Mr. Moore, of Pennsylvania 39

Proceedings in the Senate 43



Proceedings in the House

Monday, December 6, 1909.

Mr. Jones. Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness and a keen
sense of loss that I announce the death of my late col-
league, Hon. Francis Rives Lassiter, who died suddenly
at his home in the city of Petersburg on Sunday after-
noon, October 31 last.

At some future time I shall ask the House to set apart
a day when Members may be afforded an opportunity
to pay suitable tribute to the life and character of the

I now send to the Clerk's desk to be read, and move the
immediate adoption of, the following resolutions.

The Speaker. The Clerk will report the resolutions.

The Clerk read as follows :

Resolved, That the House has heard with profound sorrow of
the death of Hon. Francis Rives Lassiter, late a Representative
from the State of Virginia.

Resolved, That the Clerk of the House be directed to transmit
a copy of these resolutions to the Senate.

The resolutions were agreed to.

The Speaker. The Clerk will report the additional


Memorial Addresses: Representative Lassiter

The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved, That as a further mark of respect to the memory of
the Hon. Francis Rives Lassiter and the Hon. David Albaugh De
Armond the House do now adjourn.

The resolution was agreed to.

Accordingly (at 12 o'clock and 40 minutes p. m.) the
House adjourned.

Tuesday, April 12, 1910.

Mr. Turnbull. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent
for the adoption of the order which I send to the Clerk's

The Clerk read as follows :

Ordered, That there be a session of the House on Sunday, the
8th day of May, at 12 o'clock, to be set apart for addresses on the
life, character, and public services of the Hon. Francis Rives
Lassiter, late a Representative from the State of Virginia.

The order was agreed to.

Sunday, May 8, 1910.
The House met at 12 o'clock noon and was called to
order by the Clerk, who read the following communi-

Speaker's Room,
House of Representatives,

Washington, D. C, May 8, 1910.
I hereby designate Hon. William A. Jones, of Virginia, as
Speaker pro tempore for this day,

J. G. Cannon, Speaker.


Proceedings in the Hotse

Mr. Jones took the chair as Speaker pro tempore.
The Chaplain, Rev. Henry N. Couden, D. D., offered the
following prayer:

Infinite and eternal spirit, Father of all souls, we are
assemhled here to-day in response to a natural impulse
of the human heart and in accordance with a long-estab-
lished custom. Death, though perfectly natural, seldom
comes without a shock, snapping the ties of love and
friendship; then it is the deeps of the soul are broken up,
the sympathies are loosed, and we need that comfort
which cometh from above to deepen our faith in Thee
and quicken our hope in the life everlasting.

We are here in memory of one gifted by nature with
large endowments, which, through the process of edu-
cation, were developed to a high degree of perfection;
possessed of a warm heart and a genial nature, he was
prepared for a life of usefulness, and on the floor of this
House served with fidelity his State and Nation. Com-
fort, we beseech Thee, his colleagues, friends, and those
to whom he was bound by the ties of kinship. Impress
us with the uncertainty of this life and help us to do our
work with patience, fidelity, and earnestness, so that when
the summons conies we shall be prepared to pass on to
whatever awaits us in the great beyond. For Thine is
the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The Journal of the proceedings of Saturday, May 7,
1910, was read and approved.

The Speaker pro tempore. The Clerk will report the
special order for to-day.

The Clerk read as follows:

On motion of Mr. Turnbull, by unanimous consent —
Ordered, That there be a session of the House on Sunday, the
8lh day of May, at 12 o'clock, to be set apart for addresses on the


Memorial Addresses : Representative Lassiter

life, character, and public services of the Hon. Francis Rives
Lassiter, late a Representative from the State of Virginia. (Order
agreed to in the House April 12, 1910.)

Mr. Turnbull. Mr. Speaker, I offer the following

The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved, That the business of the House be now suspended,
that opportunity may be given for tribute to the memory of the
Hon. Francis Rives Lassiter, late a Member of this House from
the State of Virginia.

Resolved, That as a particular mark of respect to the memory
of the deceased, and in recognition of his distinguished career,
the House, at the conclusion of these exercises, do stand ad-

Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the

Resolved, That the Clerk send a copy of these resolutions to
the family of the deceased.

The resolutions were unanimously agreed to.



Address of Mr. Turnbull, of Virginia

Mr. Speaker: The Hon. Francis Rives Lassiter, whose
memory we have met to-day to commemorate, was born
in the city of Petersburg, Va., on the 18th day of February,
1866. He was a son of Dr. D. W. Lassiter and Anna Rives
Heath, his wife. He was educated at McCabe's University
School, at Petersburg, until 1883, when he attended the
University of Virginia and took the academic courses
there, and in 1886 he graduated in law from the univer-
sity, having taken the degree of bachelor of laws.

Soon after he graduated at the University of Virginia
he moved to Roston, Mass., where he practiced his chosen
profession until the year 1888, when he returned to
Petersburg, his native city, and was appointed city attor-
ney for that city, which position he held until he was
appointed United States attorney for the eastern district
of Virginia by President Cleveland. He resigned his
position in 1896, and about this time he became a candi-
date for the office of attorney general of Virginia, and only
lacked a few votes of securing the nomination for that
position at the hands of the Democratic convention of
the State, and in 1899 he was appointed superintendent of
the Twelfth Census for the fourth congressional district.

In early life he was captain of one of the military com-
panies of his city and was afterwards elected major of
the regiment to which his company belonged.


Memorial Addresses: Representative Lassiter

Maj. Lassiter was first elected to Congress from the
fourth congressional district of Virginia in 1900, to fill
the vacancy caused by the death of the Hon. Sydney P.
Epes, and was reelected for the succeeding term. He was
again elected to Congress in 1906 and 1908. He was for
a number of years a member of the Democratic State cen-
tral committee and chairman of the committee of the
fourth district, and rendered active and valuable service
to the party in the State and district. He died suddenly
on the last day of October, 1909, having been cut down
in the prime of life.

It was not my privilege to know Maj. Lassiter very inti-
mately, but he was a man of scholarly attainments, of
pleasing address, of genial temperament, of kind heart,
had a host of friends throughout the State and district,
and had a strong hold upon the people of the district.
Maj. Lassiter was a widower, having married Miss McGill,
the daughter of John McGill, of the city of Petersburg,
and she died several years ago without children.

Our lives, Mr. Speaker, are but guideposts to others in
the journey along life's pathway, and Maj. Lassiter's
whole life shows what can be accomplished by persistent
effort and untiring industry.

Maj. Lassiter was reared in a home, an old Virginia
home, where he could imbibe nothing but what stood for
gentility, culture, and refinement. He was taught at his
mother's knee to obey the orders of those who had a right
to command his obedience, and to be gentle, courteous,
and polite to all, the high as well as the lowly; to love and
reverence his home and to stand up for the preservation
of its sanctity against all comers; to honor his father and
his mother; to love his native State and her traditions,
and to do all in his power to build up her waste places
and to cause her again to occupy the important position


Address of Mr. Turnbull, of Virginia

that she once held in the councils of the Nation, and to
love our common country and its Constitution in which
our forefathers took such an active part in shaping and
putting into effect, to stand up for its preservation in
time of peace, and to hattle for it in time of war. It is
such principles as these that we Virginians stand for


Address of Mr. Hay, of Virginia

Mr. Speaker : " The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous
palaces, the great earth itself, resolve into a vision and
leave not a rack behind," may truthfully be said of all
nature, save man. He alone lives in the hearts of those
who survive him, and he lives longest who has loved most,
who has been most loyal to friends. Such a one was
Frank Lassiter.

I wish to say one word of appreciation of Frank Las-
siter. I knew him well. For more than 20 years I was
associated with him in one way or another, and believe
that I have formed a just estimate of his character and

He was above all a gentleman, courteous, kind, gen-
erous to a fault, considerate of others, of most engaging
manners, and " manners are not idle, but the fruit of loyal
nature and of noble mind." He was a loyal friend. In
all the relations of life he never faltered in his allegiance
to the highest principles of truth and honor.

In defeat he was not bitter; in victory he was mag-

He had an intense love for his State and for his people,
and in their darkest hours he gave to them all the bril-
liancy of his intellect, all the energy of his being, all the
loyalty of his nature.

He was appreciated by his people. They had in him
a confidence begotten by a hundred proofs of his devotion
to them and to the principles in which they and he be-
lieved. He never hesitated to sacrifice his own interests,
if by so doing he could promote the cause of his country
and his party.


Address of Mr. Hay, of Virginia

He had but brief service in this House, but his broad
culture and knowledge of affairs made a deep impression
upon all with whom he came in contact.

He took great pride in his work here and devoted
himself to it with singleness of purpose and intelligent

He had a high sense of the responsibility of his place
in this great council. He felt that to be a Member of this
body was a great honor and that he owed to it the best
efforts of his mind.

Words are all too poor to express our grief at his
untimely taking off. He is " Where beyond these voices
there is peace." He will live in the hearts of those who
loved him, and his memory will be kept green by those
he loved.


Address of Mr. Saunders, of Virginia

Mr. Speaker: It is a melancholy task to lay the wreaths
of affection and the tributes of admiration on the grave
of a departed friend. But it is fitting that the men who
served with him and loved him should avail themselves
of the opportunity which this sad occasion affords to
commemorate the striking cpialities of that strong and
attractive personality which we knew in life as Frank

The subject of these memorial exercises was born in
Petersburg in February, 1866, at a time when that city
was prostrate from the dreadful experiences through
which it had passed in the closing years of the Civil War.
He lived to see it take its proper place in the fair sister-
hood of Virginia cities, in no small degree through the
energy and activities of that generation to which Mr.
Lassiter belonged and in which through his generous
endowments of heart and brain he played a large and
conspicuous part.

Mr. Lassiter was thoroughly educated in several of the
schools for which his State is famous, and in 1886 received
the coveted degree of bachelor of laws from the Univer-
sity of Virginia.

For a short time he practiced in Boston, but soon re-
turned to his native city where he continued to reside
until his untimely death. He was active in his profession,
and the rewards soon came that inevitably wait upon
capacity, energy, and integrity.

He was elected city attorney for Petersburg in 1888
and continued to hold that office until he was appointed


Address of Mr. Saunders, of Virginia

district attorney for the eastern district of Virginia in
1893. In 1899 he was appointed supervisor of the census
for his district. He was elected to the Fifty-sixth Congress
to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Sydney
Epes. He was elected to the Fifty-seventh Congress, the
Sixtieth Congress, and the Sixty-first Congress.

During all these years he grew in favor with his con-
stituents and associates. Mr. Lassiter from early man-
hood took an active part in politics and was always at
the service of a friend. He was true to his convictions,
inflexible in his integrity, and fearless in the maintenance
of his principles. He was a scholarly man of decided
literary attainments and large culture. As a public
speaker he was graceful, vigorous, and eloquent, drawing
at all times from the well-filled quiver of an extensive
vocabulary and the copious stores of a highly trained

He was frank, honest, sincere, loyal, and generous. He
had his faults, as all of us, but they merely illustrated
that inheritance of fallibility which is our common lot.
It has been well said of him that he was true to his friends
and that no man had truer friends. There is something
strong, true, sincere, and lovable about a man when his
friends are true to him. It is well to think of those quali-
ties in a man which make men love him — delicate honor,
inflexible integrity, unswerving loyalty, and chivalrous
purpose. These things survive the fitful fever of the indi-
vidual life, and in their contemplation men are lifted up
to higher things.

It is hard to see a friend pass away at a time when his
powers ought to be at their maturity and his capacity for
usefulness and services at their highest point of efficiency.
But how often is this true in the common ken of man-
kind. Maj. Lassiter was a little over 43 at the time of his
death. The time was far distant when in natural course

15180°— 11-


Memorial Addresses: Representative Lassiter

his physical vigor was to decline and his mental powers
abate. Apparently the rich promise of the years was his
when in a moment the summons came that awaits us all.

Death has been busy in the Virginia delegation in the
last decade or two. Gen. Lee, Mr. Rixey, Mr. Epes, Maj.
Lassiter, Maj. Otey, Dr. Wise, Senator Barbour, Col.
Slemp, all have died in harness. We are continually
reminded in the lives of our friends and associates of the
uncertainty of life, of the impartiality with which Death
leaves his fatal summons in the lowly hovel and the
sumptuous palace. Mortal life is a vapor, an exhalation,
a fleeting cloud, a snowflake that whitens the bosom of
the waters for a moment and then is gone forever.
To-day in full luxuriance, to-morrow it is cut down and

We grope here for a little while between two grim and
forbidding eternities if we view them in the light of the
feeble taper of man's intellect. The Christian alone sees
a star of hope in the vault of immensity. It is well for us
to be reminded of our own littleness and fleeting tenure
on mortal life. It may serve to turn our thoughts, our
vision, our aspirations to the larger life beyond. In that
contemplation we will lay hold of the steadfast and com-
forting assurance, that " death did not come to our col-
league bearing in his hand the sickle of destruction, but
the scepter of immortality."

Truly it has been said that " the multitudinous voices
of earth and air are prophecies of a world to be." The
flowers of the field rising from countless graves; the un-
folding leaves of the forest, heralding the approach of
summer; the orchards and meadows bursting into bloom;
myriads of winged minstrels filling the world with mel-
ody; are the evangels of the Lord, demonstrating before
our eyes the universal victory of life over death. They


Address of Mr. Saunders, of Virginia

are God's answers to the question, If a man die, shall he
live again? They teach us the welcome lesson of immor-
tality, and that —

Beyond the waking, and the sleeping,
Beyond the smiling and the weeping,
We shall meet again.

Yes, we shall meet again; blessed, sacred, comforting


Address of Mr. Carlin, of Virginia

Mr. Speaker : Francis Rives Lassiter was our colleague.
When we last saw him — it was but a few days before
death claimed him — he was apparently in good health.
No one suspected that a kind and merciful Providence
would so soon call him to a better and a higher life.

It was my pleasure to have been with him for several
hours just a few days before and to have observed him
in the full bloom of his manhood and to have engaged
with him in cheerful conversation, and when, on the 31st
of October of last year, the news was flashed over the
wires that he had died suddenly in his home city of Peters-
burg, Va., I was slow to believe the truth. The verifica-
tion of this sad intelligence soon followed, and again we
were forced to realize the uncertainty of human life.

We spend our lives in the busy turmoil of human
affairs with but the slightest thought of the sad fact that
we are doomed to certain death, and live as though this
were an eternal existence, and were it not for the fact
that we are constantly awakened by the death of some
dear relative or friend and thus admonished that we are
surely to follow, we would perhaps lose the opportunity
for reflection. Providence has perhaps designed sudden
death for some wise and good purpose. It may be to
summon the living millions to careful, sober thought of
the existence of a Supreme Being and a life beyond this
world of care and strife.

We can not look back and review the past of our la-
mented friend and observe his splendid career or forecast
his bright future without being forced, strong men though


Address of Mr. Carlin, of Virginia

we are, busy with this world's affairs, to a realization of
the fact that, after all, even the great and powerful play
but a small part in the affairs of men and are but atoms
in the great sea of life, and that life itself would hardly
be worth the living were it not for the hope of everlasting
reward in the great eternity.

The death change comes.
Death is another life. We bow our heads
At going out, we think, and enter straight
Another golden chamber of the King's,
Larger than this we leave, and lovelier.
And then in shadowy glimpses, disconnect,
The story, flower-like, closes thus its leaves.
The will of God is all in all. He makes,
Destroys, remakes, for His own pleasure, all.

Our lamented friend was a brave, intellectual, cultured
man. These were the qualities with which God endowed
him. He was human, and no doubt had his faults, but
that he made good use of his talents is abundantly proven
by the fairness of his dealing with his fellow-men and the
usefulness of his career. The State in which he was born
was selected by him as the stage upon which to play his
part. It was there he was educated and received the
degree of LL. B. from the University of Virginia in 1886,
and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1888. He was
an honored member of the legal profession until the day
of his death. He was corporation attorney for the city
of Petersburg from 1888 until 1892; United States attorney
for the eastern district of Virginia from 1893 until 1896.
In the practice of his profession he won the confidence
and respect of bench and bar, and those who had occasion
to observe him in the practice of his profession knew
that he was destined to be called for more important
service, and it was no surprise to them that when a va-
cancy was occasioned by death from his district in the


Memorial Addresses : Representative Lassiter

Fifty-sixth Congress, he was called by an almost unani-
mous vote of the people to fill it. He served in the Fifty-
seventh Congress, the Sixtieth Congress, and was serving
in this, the Sixty-first Congress, when his sudden death

It was our pleasure to know him in his home life, where
he was loved with an affection that will endure as long
as the last remaining member of his family may live. We
knew him in his daily walks of life and had the oppor-
tunity to observe his accomplishments. You knew him
as a member of this body, and can bear testimony, not
only to his splendid character, his culture, and his affec-
tionate disposition, but to his usefulness to his district,
his State, and to his country. He loved the party which
had honored him and believed in its principles and pre-
cepts, and had won the honors which had been bestowed
upon him by his valiant service in battling for its cause.
He was peculiarly adapted to a political career and pos-
sessed every qualification of a successful leader, and had
given evidence of his devotion to his party in numerous
contests. He was a fluent speaker, a safe counselor, and
a splendid organizer. He had untiring energy and pos-
sessed a knowledge of men and affairs which was often
helpful to both him and his party.

The public men of Virginia knew him and loved him;
and we shall miss him. Members of this and other Con-
gresses who enjoyed his acquaintance entertained for him
a high regard, and his intimates a deep affection. His loss
we all shall feel, and to-day, as we pay our sad tribute
of respect, we can earnestly express the hope " that he is
better now " and that he may have an eternal abode in
that land of endless peace and joy beyond the skies where
saints immortal dwell. This is our last good-by. We have
felt the warmth of his presence, the joy of his association.


Address of Mr. Carlin, of Virginia

He has returned to his State full value for the honors it
bestowed upon him. He has made his imprint upon the
pages of his country's history and has gone to rest.

He gave his honors to the world again,
His blessed heart to heaven.
And sleeps in peace.

Our sympathies for his loved ones; our prayers for
everlasting peace to him.

There is no death! What seems so is transition;

This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,

Whose portal we call Death.


Address of Mr. Slemp, of Virginia

Mr. Speaker: Notwithstanding the fact that death is
ever present with us and around us, yet when it comes to
one particularly near us, either in our own household or
one of our associates upon this floor, it invariably comes
as a surprise. Were it not for the manifold evidences of
life that greet us upon every side, especially at this vernal
season in the natural kingdom, our minds would become
fixed solely upon the decay and disintegration of all
forms of life, but these evidences of life in the natural
world inspire hope and confidence in us, notwithstanding
that what we look upon as being dead has in it the germ
of unending life. St. Paul in one of his epistles said, " If
in this life only we have hope we are of all men most
miserable." The doctrine of the resurrection was be-
lieved by the chosen people of God before its complete
demonstration in the Christian era, until it has, with few
exceptions, become almost a verity among men of various
creeds. Whether or not an individual holds to this belief
as a religious tenet, there is in each one of us, however
scholarly or unscholarly he may be, the hope of a future

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Online Library2d session United States. 61st CongressFrancis Rives Lassiter (late a representative from Virginia) (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 3)