Walter Hill Crockett.

Vermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) online

. (page 21 of 43)
Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) → online text (page 21 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of boats which plied between Odgensburg and Chicago,
and became its president. He also organized the
Ogdensburg Terminal Company. He was elected presi-
dent of the Welden National Bank and of the People's
Trust Company of St. Albans, and is an officer in many
other corporations.

In 1890 he represented St. Albans in the Legislature,
receiving 903 out of 905 votes cast, and served as chair-
man of the Ways and Means Committee. He was
appointed a Colonel on Governor Pingree's stafif in

1892. He was elected a delegate-at-large to the Repub-
lican National Convention in 1896.

Kittredge Haskins, Speaker of the special session in
1898, was reelected when the regular session opened in


In his retiring message Governor Grout rehearsed
the events connected with Vermont's part in the Spanish-
American War. The expense of preparing the regiment
for service was about twenty thousand dollars, exclusive
of the State pay voted to the soldiers. During his ad-
ministration Prof. George H. Perkins of Burlington
was appointed State Geologist. In his inaugural ad-
dress Governor Smith suggested an increase of the
revenue of the State by means of a system of taxation
on personal property which would induce persons of
wealth to locate in Vermont. He would give to non-
residents the privilege of contracting with Vermont for
a fixed term of years, to pay taxes on a specified sum
annually, this privilege being limited to those willing to
pay not less than five hundred dollars each year. He
referred to the subject of good roads, asserting that the
money distributed by the State was not going into per-
manent work. He proposed the appointment of a State
Road Commissioner. ''Civilization and good roads go
hand in hand," said the Governor. The address closed
with an eloquent commendation of the work done by the
First Vermont Volunteers in the War with Spain.

The Legislature of 1898 created the office of State
Highway Commissioner, giving him power, through
town commissioners, to exercise supervision over all
money appropriated by the State for permanent highway
improvement. A Board of Prison Commissioners was
established, consisting of the Chief Judge of the Supreme
Court, the Lieutenant Governor and the directors of the
State Prison and House of Correction. The salary of
the Governor was fixed at one thousand, five hundred


dollars. One of the acts passed at this session declared
that the State Seal should be the Great Seal of the State,
and should include the coat of arms, excluding the
crest, scroll and badge, and including the motto in a cir-
cular border. This seal should be kept by the Governor.
A joint resolution provided that the colors of the First
Vermont Volunteers in the War with Spain should be
preserved in the same manner as the Civil War flags.

Admiral Charles E. Clark

Chapter XXXVII

Two events occurred during 1898 which mark that
year as a transition period. One was the fight-
ing and winning of the Spanish- American War,
and the other was the death of Senator Justin S. Mor-
rill of Vermont. The war brought in its train an en-
tirely new set of problems in American statesmanship.
A policy of expansion was adopted with the treaty of
peace, involving colonial administration and foreign rela-
tions of a character new to this Nation. The death of
Senator Morrill marked the passing of the old order in
Congress and the ushering in of the new. He was
opposed to the policy of expansion, and for weeks there
was grave doubt concerning the ratification of the Treaty
of Paris by the American Senate. It was expected that
Senator Morrill would vote against the ratification of
the treaty. His death, occurring shortly before the vote
was taken, resulted in the appointment of a Senator
who spoke for and voted for ratification. Thus the
passing of Senator Morrill and the closing of the period
of American isolation in foreign afifairs, were almost
identical in point of time. While these events did not
coincide exactly with the end of the Nineteenth, and the
beginning of the Twentieth Century, they mark an epoch
in United States history more significant than the close
of the year 1900.

Senator Morrill had carried on the duties of his office
as chairman of the Finance Committee, notwithstanding
his great age. Mrs. Morrill died on May 13, 1898, and
her death was a great blow^ to the Senator. About
December 20 he suffered an attack of grip, pneumonia
developed and he died on December 28, aged eighty-eight


years, eight months and fourteen days. He had served
continuously in the House and Senate, forty-three years,
nine months and twenty-four days, the longest period of
unbroken Congressional service on record. Other
men — a very few — have served a little longer than Mr.
Morrill, but their terms have been broken by temporary
retirement for brief periods.

On the last day of the eventful year 1898, official
Washington assembled to pay its last tribute to the most
venerable, one of the most famous, and, perhaps, the
best beloved man in public life.

The funeral arrangements were in charge of the
officers of the Senate and the committee on the part of
the two Houses, consisting of Senators Proctor, Hoar,
Cullom, Wolcott, Jones of Arkansas, Chandler, Gorman,
Tillman, Jones of Nevada, Morgan, Fairbanks, Faulk-
ner, Mitchell and Nelson and Representatives Dingley,
Grout, Powers, Hitt, Foss, McCall, Bankhead, Lewis,
Wheeler and Catchings. The funeral services were
held in the Senate chamber, seats being provided for the
House of Representatives, President McKinley and his
Cabinet, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court, and the members of the diplomatic corps.
The members of the family and the friends of the de-
ceased Senator were in attendance. Bradford Leavitt,
pastor of All Souls' Unitarian Church at Washington,
officiated. A poem written by F. L. Hosmer and recited
at Mrs. Morrill's funeral was read and prayer was
offered by the Rev. Dr. W. H. Milburn, the Senate
Chaplain. The body was brought to Montpelier and


funeral services were held at the State Capitol on Jan-
uary 2, 1899.

Complete arrangements had been made by the city of
Montpelier through Mayor John H. Senter, the City
Council and the Board of Trade and various committees
made up of prominent citizens.

Many business buildings and private residences dis-
played emblems of mourning and the Federal buildings
were draped with long black streamers. Over the
entrance to the State House grounds was a heavy ever-
green arch surmounted by the State coat of arms draped
with crepe. The State House flag was at half mast
and over the main doorway were festooned the State and
national flags caught by bands of black. From 9:30
until 12:30 o'clock, the body of Senator Morrill lay in
state in the upper lobby of the Capitol.

The funeral exercises were held in Representatives'
Hall, which was decorated with festoons of black caught
up on the front of the balcony and over the windows by
rosettes of white. In the center of the hall, in front of
the Speaker's desk were grouped a large number of floral
emblems, including a wreath of orchids, roses, lilies, ivy
and palms from President and Mrs. McKinley, and a
large wreath of American Beauty and Golden Gate roses
and galax leaves from the United States Senate. Gov.
E. C. Smith and the State officials were in attendance,
also several ex-Governors and a large number of the
prominent people of the State. President Matthew H.
Buckham, of the University of Vermont, read appro-
priate Scripture selections, offered prayer and delivered
an able and eloquent funeral oration, saying in part:


"It is well that in all our broad land, in Oklahoma and
New Mexico, as well as in New York and Ohio, every
young man who aspires to that higher knowledge where-
by his calling is made more fruitful and his life enriched,
should see the kindly hand of his Nation's Government
stretched out to aid him, because a Vermonter, remem-
bering how hard it was to struggle alone in the quest
of knowledge, had pleaded with that Government to
make this quest easier for every young man who should
come after him. Mr. Morrill rendered many services
to his country for which his name will long be held in
remembrance, but his most lasting fame and the most
endearing remembrance of him will connect themselves
with those most significant and weighty words in which
the Act of 1862 makes provision for the 'liberal and
practical education of the industrial classes in the
various pursuits and professions in life'." The body
was then taken to the receiving vault in Green Mount
Cemetery and later was removed to the Senator's home
in Strafiford for interment in a beautiful mausoleum
beside the body of his wife.

On January 4, 1899, when the Senate and House re-
assembled after a recess taken for the Christmas holi-
days, formal notice of the death of Senator Morrill was
given in the Senate by Senator Allison of Iowa, and in
the House by Mr. Payne of New York, and, as a mark
of respect, both Houses adjourned. On February 22,
memorial exercises were held by the Senate and House,
addresses being delivered in the Senate by Senators Ross
of Vermont, Vest of Missouri, Allison of Iowa, Hoar of
Massachusetts, Morgan of Alabama, Cullom of Illinois,


Gorman of Maryland, Thurston of Nebraska and Proc-
tor of Vermont. In the House, addresses were delivered
by Mr. Grout and Mr. Powers of Vermont, Mr. Walker
of Massachusetts, Mr. Payne of New York and Mr.
Grow- of Pennsylvania. These tributes were more than
the perfunctory funeral orations often delivered on such
occasions. They were genuine appreciations of a
notable career.

Referring to Senator Morrill's conspicuous part in
beautifying the Nation's capital. Senator Vest of Mis-
souri said: ''His great desire was to see Washington
city the most beautiful capital in the world, and this
Capitol building in which we are assembled worthy of
the greatest republic upon the earth. I remember very
well his anxiety and solicitude about the disproportion
architecturally of this building by reason of its width
being too great for its height, and he consulted for years
with the most eminent architects as to the feasibility of
elevating the central dome so as to reftiove this defect.
Finding this impracticable, he at last adopted the idea of
a partial remedy in the construction of the terraces upon
the w^estern exposure, in which I was his faithful lieu-
tenant, taking charge of the measure when he was con-
fined to his house by long and serious illness. Mr. Mor-
rill w-as largely instrumental in the erection of the beau-
tiful structure now occupied by the State, War and
Navy Departments ; and in the erection of the Washing-
ton Monument, the location and structure of w^hich
he w^as always ready to defend. But it was upon the
Congressional Library that he poured his earnest and
affectionate service, and he lived to see that structure a


dream of architectural beauty, the wonder and admira-
tion of all the world.

"If all those to whom he did acts of kindness could
whisper across his grave, it would make an anthem
sweeter and more sonorous than any that ever pealed
through cathedral aisle. Sir, he sleeps well in the
granite mountains of his native State, and until those
mountains are melted by fervid heat his memory will be
loved and cherished, not only by the people who loved
and trusted him, but by those of the entire Union."

Referring on a later occasion to his work in beautify-
ing Washington, Senator William P. Dillingham said of
his predecessor: "His attention was first directed to
the enlargement and perfection of the grounds about the
Capitol building. * ^- * jj^ 1870 he secured an
appropriation for this work and in 1872 still another
for the same purpose. In 1874 he brought to his assist-
ance the great landscape gardener, Frederick Law
Olmstead, whose reports resulted in another appropria-
tion for the improvement of the grounds, and in 1877 an
appropriation to extend their limits. In 1878, a suf-
ficient area having been secured, the work of making
them beautiful was carried steadily forward. The
magnificent terraces which surround three sides of the
building are a monument to his taste and his efforts.
Dissatisfied with the proportions of the Capitol building,
he conceived the idea of constructing upon its north,
west and south sides, marble terraces of proportions so
grand as to give architectural strength and elegance to
the building. In the accomplishment of this purpose
nearly eight hundred thousand dollars were expended.


and, as a result, the west front of the Capitol, viewed
from any standpoint, is, with its grand approaches, an
ever continuing tribute to the cultivated taste and per-
sistent efforts of Senator Morrill.

"But in the midst of this work, and \vhile Senator
Alorrill was dreaming of improvements to the natural
park lying between the Capitol building and the Wash-
ington Monument, a mile away to the west, a bill was
introduced in the Senate permitting the Pennsylvania
Railroad to enter and pass through it to a station on
Pennsylvania Avenue. As chairman of the Committee
on Public Buildings and Grounds he indignantly opposed
the measure in the committee, but met with defeat — the
only defeat, it is said, he ever suffered during his long
years of service in that position. In the Senate he also
gave all his energ}^ to the defeat of this measure. The
Record shows that during a long day session he sought
by every means in his power to defeat the invasion of
these grounds for such a purpose, but failed. When
in the end the measure was adopted it furnished, it is
said, the only occasion in his entire public career when
Senator Morrill's wrath brought with it a loss of self
control. Then it was that he suggested that the repre-
sentatives of the Pennsylvania Railroad be given the
privilege of the floor of the Senate and be authorized
to dictate the policy of Congressional legislation affect-
ing the interests of that corporation. It is an interest-
ing fact that thirty-five years later it cost the Govern-
ment of the United States one million, five hundred thou-
sand dollars to secure from the same company a relin-
quishment of its rights of way through this park and an


agreement to enter the city from the north, and that I,
as one of Senator Morrill's successors, and acting as a
member of the committee of conference on the disagree-
ing vote of the two Houses, consented to the payment
of that vast sum."

After referring to the Library of Congress as "a
monument to Senator Morrill's educated taste and his
desire to make Capitol Square one of the most noted pub-
lic squares in the world," Senator Dillingham said : "In
his mind's eye he saw another building of like massive
and beautiful proportions, designed for the use of the
Department of Justice and the Supreme Court, stand-
ing to the north of and upon a line with the Library
building, the two, with their beautiful grounds, constitut-
ing the east side of this great square. To secure this
his last words in the Senate were spoken, and though
the project now sleeps, it is not dead ; in due time it will
be revived and we shall see in graven stone that which
he saw only in imagination."

Senator Allison of Iowa said : "During all the period
of my acquaintance with him I have never known an
unkind suggestion to be made by him to his associates
or of them. * * * He made a lasting impress
upon the country and upon his countrymen and a study
of his life will be useful to every youth in the country
as the generations come and go."

Senator John T. Morgan of Alabama paid this tribute
to Senator Morrill: "He stood here in conspicuous
vigor of intellectual force, without apparent decay, until
he had almost spanned the Nineteenth Century, and, at
its close, with all its marvelous rapidity of advance be-


yond its predecessors, he was in the front rank of active
men, keeping pace with every event, discovery, revelation
and grand movement in every great advance, as he had
done when the century was young. His untiring work
for the people, through the long period of his public
service, upon which no shadow of discredit ever fell, has
earned their reverence and gratitude. * * * j j^ \^^^
bequeathed to his country the priceless fruits of his life
work, the outgrowth of duty, labor and honor. \Ve have
not known a man in the Senate, nor do we believe that
any man ever held a seat in this body, who was more
sincerely conscientious in every utterance and in every
vote that he gave on any measure." Senator Morgan
also related the fact that on the last day that Senator
Morrill appeared in the Senate, he inquired of the
Alabama Senator regarding the time of the vote on the
Nicaragua Canal bill. He said he was somewhat weary
and desired to go home, but remarked: "I wish to give
my vote to that measure as one that I approve above all
others pending in the Senate. It is a work of world-
wide importance and honorable to this generation. I
very much desire to record my vote for this bill."
Being assured that a vote could not be reached that night
he left the Senate chamber, never to return.

Senator Cullom of Illinois said: "The history of the
proceedings of the Senate of the United States for a
generation bears on every page the honored name of
Justin S. Morrill. No business of importance affecting
national legislation or the interest of the country w^hich
appears upon our statute books for more than forty
years past has failed to receive the careful scrutiny of


Senator Morrill. He could say of the work of the
American Congress for nearly half a century — 'All of
which I saw, and most of which I was'."

Senator Gorman of Maryland said: "Of dignified
presence, with a manner of infinite courtesy that faith-
fully prefigured the generous and gentle soul within, a
stalwart partisan, but always a gentleman, kind, consid-
erate, helpful and unselfish, Justin S. Morrill consti-
tuted the most attractive personality, the most gracious
and refining influence in this chamber. * * * His
death leaves a more painful and perceptible void than I
can well or adequately picture. He had sat here for
more than thirty years, always an image of dignity and
grace, always an influence for kindliness and nobility."

Senator Thurston of Nebraska said: "I know of no
grander spectacle in the legislative history of the world
than that presented by our colleague in his eighty-ninth
year, rising in his place in the Senate with a voice that
failed him not, and with the vigor of a masterful intel-
lect unimpaired, addressing his countrymen upon the
momentous issues which have absorbed our attention
during the last eventful year. Even those of us who
did not agree with him fully as to the Nation's policy
and the Republic's destiny listened in breathless reverence
and awe, for he spoke with the authority of one who
ranked us all in legislative experience, wh(^ towered
above us all in accomplished statesmanshi]). * '*' *
No other man in all the history of our country has so
indelibly associated his name with so much of its wisest
and best legislation. He was the guiding spirit which
shaped the tariff legislation of the United States for


an entire generation. "" * '•' His refined experience
and wise, C(3nservative counsel, mure ilian that of any
other man, direcled tlie financial policy of our country
which has kept us on the unshaken foundation of
national honesty and honor.

"He was the friend and counsellor of Lincoln; the
associate and peer of all the godlike men who stood with
Lincoln in the dark hours of the Nation's peril. His
heroism in time of public danger was as great as that
of those who led the armies of the Republic; his services
as valuable as those who v/on its battles; his work as
powerful for his country's weal as that of any whose
name is written on the scroll of American fame."

Senator Proctor, his colleague, in his tribute to Sena-
tor Morrill, said in part: "The people of Vermont
never considered his retirement. If his noble life had
been spared to the end of his term, and he himself had
not forbade it he would have been elected to his seventh
term just as heartily. Long ago, by tacit consent, the
people of my State resolved to make him a life Senator,
and they never wavered in that purpose. * * *
Though he grew mightily in wisdom, and his wonderful
talents and traits of character were greatly refined by
many years of public service, Vermonters love to think
that, however great may have been the measure of his
character, in kind at least, even unto the end he was a
typical Vermonter. * * *

"For the maintenance of a sound monetary system he
was a tireless champion. For his eminent services in
connection with the resumption of specie payment the
countrv owes him a laro-e debt of o-ratitude, Mr. Knox,


then Comptroller of the Currency, once remarked that
without his powerful cooperation it could hardly have
been accompanied at that time. Any one of the
numerous measures originated and successfully advo-
cated by him would be a sufficient basis for enduring
fame. His name is permanently connected with the
tariff act of 1860, which has been the model for all sub-
sequent tariff legislation except the Wilson bill of 1894.
* * *

"Although he was a constructive legislator, I am not
sure but that his greatest public service was the quiet
influence which he exerted for good upon all legislation
during his long Congressional career. Without him
how much the whole course of our legislation during all
these years would have lost no man can estimate. The
impress of his character has touched it at every point.
His was a life not only successful and beneficent in the
largest sense, but it was also beautifully complete in its
symmetry. Great as he was intellectually, he was
morally greater. He devoted himself to the pursuit of
that which is good and pure, and from the good and
pure, as God gave him to see them, no man could divert
him. * * * His face, which was so beautifully
expressive of his inner soul, was a perpetual lienediction
to all. * * *

"Vermont has lost her greatest citizen and most
honored servant, and all her people a personal friend.
There is sorrow at every hearthstone in the State he
loved so well."

Among the many tributes to the memory of Senator
Morrill perhaps none is more eloquent or beautiful than


Born In Browninpton, Vt , March i, 1843. He enlisted
in the United States Army in 1863, serving as a Lieutenant
of volunteers throughout the Civil War, and entered the
Regular Army in 1866 as a Lieutenant. He served on the
Texas border and in numerous Indian expeditions, being
given the brevet rank of Major for conspicuous gallantry in
Nc7. Perce campaign. He participated in the Spanish-
American War, and saw much tervice in the Philippines,
commanding in the Island of Samar in 1903. He served on
the General Staff, was chief of staff of the Pacific Division,
rendering important service during the San Francisco earth-
quake and later was made Brigadier General in command
of the Department of Columbia. He retired from active
service in 1904 and resided in Burlington, Vermont, until
his death, March 8, 1920.




the following from his long time friend and colleague,
Senator George F. Moar of Massachiisells, representing
the noblest type of American Senator and the spokes-
man of a noble State. Pie said in part :

"When Justin Morrill died, not only a great figure
left the Senate Chamber — the image of the ancient virtue
of New England — but an era in our national history
came to an end. He knew in his youth the veterans of
the Revolution and the generation who declared inde-
pendence and framed the Constitution, as the young
men who are coming to manhood today know the
veterans who won our victories, and the statesmen who
conducted our policy in the Civil War. He knew the
whole history of his country from the time of her inde-
pendence, partly from the lips of those who had shaped
it, partly because of the large share he had in it him-

Online LibraryWalter Hill CrockettVermont, the Green mountain state (Volume 4) → online text (page 21 of 43)