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JAMES ADDAMS BEAVER,
Governor of the Commonwealth,
ONE OF THE MEN BROUGHT TO THE FRONT
by the trying times of the War of the Rebellion have been more deserving of their success than James A. Beaver. A descendant of an early Palatine settler, he was born in Millerstown in 1837. He received an excellent education, in the public schools and Pine Grove Academy, and was graduated at Jefferson College, Cannonsburg, l'a., in the class of 1856, when not yet nineteen years of age.
He at once took up his residence in Bellefonte and entered upon the study of law, being admitted to the bar of Centre county in 1859. He manifested much interest in military matters and served as Private (1858), Sergeant (1858), Second Lieutenant (1860), and First Lieutenant (1861), of the Bellefonte Fencibles, of which Andrew G. Curtin, afterwards also Governor of the State, was Captain. His military instincts soon found vent on a broader field, and in 1861, upon the outbreak of the Rebellion, he was commissioned First Lieutenant in the 2d Pennsylvania Volunteers. Three
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months later he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel of the 45th; two months still later he vacated this commission to enable bim to accept the Colonelcy of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was wounded severely at Chancellorsville, slightly at Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor, dangerously in the first assault on Petersburg, and lost his right leg at Ream's Station, Va., on the 25th of August, 1864. He was brevetted Brigadier General for distinguished gallantry, particularly while in command of a brigade at Cold Harbor and on the 22d of December, 1864, was mustered out of the service on account of disability due to wounds received in battle. His interest in military affairs continued, however, notwithstanding his great disability, and he continued to be active in the work of the National Guard, serving as Major General of the 5th Division from 1875 to 1878, and upon the reorganization, serving as Brigadier General of the 5th Brigade from 1878 to 1883.
In 1865 he was elected Chief Burgess of Bellefonte. From 1873 to 1881, he was a member of the Commission for the Construction of the State Hospital for the Insane at Warren, and in 1880 he was chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation at the Republican National Convention. In 1881, he received the Republican caucus nomination for United States Senator, but was unsuccessful. In 1882, he was the Republican nominee for Governor, but was defeated. The faith of the people in his strength was shown by his nomination for the Chief Magistracy again in 1886, at which time he justified their opinion by coming in with a large majority. His service as Governor was characterized by the same courage, zeal and ability which had led to his advancement through all the grades of military command to the highest, with the purest of motives and the strongest of convictions, there was never any doubt as to his position in any question of public pol icy. He was active in the national Republican campaign of 1888 and officiated as Chief Marshal at the inauguration of President Harrison in 1889.
He was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1895 to fill a vacancy and was in the following year elected to the same office for the full term of ten years. In 1898 he was appointed by the President a member of the Commission to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War with Spain, and contributed largely to the work of that body. His term as Governor extended from January 18, 1887, to January 20, 1891.
34–Vol. X-4th Ser.
Inaugural Address to the Assembly. Citizens of Pennsylvania :OUR SUFFRAGES HAVE CALLED ME TO
your service. The call is of right. The suffrage
is the ordinary method of expressing it. The service is your due. The solemn obligation which binds me to you, as the Executive of the Commonwealth, has been taken, and it now only remains, as the customary conclusion of this ceremony, to address you in a few words expressive of my appreciation of the confidence which you have so generously reposed in me, of my views in regard to the relation which has thus been constituted between us, and of my understanding of your wishes as to the manner in which the service, which results from it, is to be rendered. A word as to the service itself.
It is a service of obligation. In a government of the people, the convenience of one must necessarily yield to the call of the many. This principle is fundamental. It applies no less to the duties which the citizen owes his country in civil, than in military, service. The failure of many citizens to recognize its binding force, does not in any degree lessen the obligation, and it is safe to say that popular government can never reach its highest aim, and most perfect development, until all who share its advantages are ready to respond to the call for, and to render such service as may be fairly demanded of them.
It is a service of responsibility. The duty of the individual citizen is of itself sufficiently responsible; but when, in addition to this, any number of citizens join in delegating to one of their number additional duties, requiring more exacting service, the responsibility is of course greatly increased. This is true, whether the authority delegated, or the duty required, be by few or by many. But when five millions of