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ADDRESS OF MR. MCCOMAS, OF MARYLAND. Mr. PRESIDENT: The Lancaster district of Pennsylvania has been aptly characterized by the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Penrose] who has just taken his seat as a country of marvelous richness, inhabited by a sturdy people—the ScotchIrish and the German elements. And down that broad valley-through the Cumberland Valley—to the western end of my own State flowed this immigration of Germans and ScotchIrish, reaching the gates of the mountains on their way toward the winning of the West."
This Lancaster population is very like my own county, and with this came certain intercommunication which in a measure obliterated State lines and made general intelligence and knowledge of the men in one section well known in the other. Thus during my lifetime I have seen somewhat and heard much of that sturdy people who made up the typical district which was represented so long, so ably, and so conscientiously by my personal friend MARRIOTT BROSIUS.
It has been a fortunate district, the Senator has just said. I first remember its Representative when in my youth I saw carried into this Chamber in a great chair that leader of leaders, Thaddeus Stevens, when, though broken in health, with unbroken will, as one of the managers of the House of Representatives, he appeared here in the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.
In those his declining days, with grim humor he would ask the stalwart young men who were carrying him upstairs: “I wonder, boys, who will carry me when you are dead and
He lived and died with unabated powers of leadership, and the people of Lancaster until his death followed his fame, were proud of his career, and never faltered in the support and confidence they extended to their great Representative..
He was followed by a man of quite a different type, but of splendid characteristics, the Hon. A. Herr Smith, who served for ten years in the House of Representatives, with ability, zeal, and confidence, the same sturdy and sterling people in the beautiful land of splendid farms, cozy villages, and great towns of Lancaster County. It was a compact, unique district, characterized as regards the people to a degree equaled by few Congressional districts in the country by fidelity to the Representative of their choice. I served for years with Mr. Smith, who was years ago gathered to his fathers.
There came after him in the Fifty-first Congress, one of the most exciting and tempestuous in our recent history, an interesting character. I remember when he came. His name attracted my attention. Only a year or two before I had heard some of those present at the Antietam Cemetery, when Mr. BROSIUS delivered the oration of which the Senator from Pennsylvania has just made mention, speak with marked praise and strong commendation of his eloquent and pleasing address.
From that unconscious telegraphy between that section of Pennsylvania and the western end of my own State I had known his name quite long, and this incident was fresh in my memory; and when this tall, vigorous, lithe, sinewy, and graceful person appeared on the floor of the House of Representatives he easily drew my attention. In the chance of location we sat near by each other, and one of those intimacies which are formed under this roof and under that roof yonder from propinquity in the Chamber or on committee arose, and MARRIOTT BROsius and I were good friends from that time forth.
I knew him well. I sought his society. I saw very much of him after I left the House, in which he remained so long in such useful service, and he always grew in my regard, while on my part there was increasing admiration for his conscientious devotion to public duty and his clean, manly personality. He was modest, studious, a man who toiled terribly. He was a rhetorician, but quite logical and clear. He was an orator by nature. He was a lawyer of large acquirements. He had learned to “scorn delights and live laborious days.” Much of the frivolity of life was far removed from him by reason of early poverty, by his temperament, and a devotion to his family throughout his busy life.
We were such good friends that I, who then represented one of the very close districts in the House of Representatives, could freely call upon my friend MARRIOTT BROsius to help me in my contests, which were earnest. He was everywhere, by reason of his reputation throughout the country as an orator, sure to gather a crowded hall, large audiences, to charm them by his manliness, his sincerity, his noble gift of speech, and to sway them by his oratory. Though in great demand everywhere throughout the country, my old friend always remembered to give me such help, ready, loyal, cordial, and willing, as I asked, and to help me with his influence on the hustings.
Not only did he serve the principles he advocated in his own and neighboring States, but far and wide throughout the country, in many campaigns, MARRIOTT BROSIUS was an orator sought after, listened to, and urged again to come. He advocated principles which he conscientiously believed. Thus, from long service of years in the House, he had come to realize ever more clearly and to see ever more widely the impress which his intellect and his character made upon the House and thereafter upon the country.
For such a man to die at 58 years of age was a loss, almost a calamity, to his district and a great loss to his country-after he had won his place in the front rank among his peers, after he had so recently, as chairman of Banking and Currency, linked his name in our history with a great struggle for a sound currency and had so honorably and manfully fought for the triumph of a standard of value in which he honestly believed the prosperity of his country was greatly concerneda standard which the world now widely accepts. It was indeed a great misfortune to lose such a man in the very prime of his powers and his public usefulness.
The Quaker lad at the country store; the soldier boy in the fresh, new uniform, smiling, and yet almost tearful, adventurous, looking back, and yet eager to march to the front; turning from home, from father, from mother, brothers and sisters, to follow the flag he had been taught to love, putting aside the pacific teachings of the Quaker sect; going at the call of Lincoln early in 1861; the wounds suffered amid the terrible carnage of a bloody charge; a brave young soldier falling when the flag of his country had just been planted on the field of victory; the camp hospital, the fevers, the constant and yet the heroic suffering; the march home again, stricken and wounded, when war was over; the years of care and selfnursing; the memory and the pain of those wounds in battle; the busy years of a lawyer's life; caring for a young family; the life of love at home—and oh, how he delighted to think of it and to talk of it; the triumphs of the orator; the campaigns; the national struggles over great issues; the crowded halls, the long journeys, the victory, then the great Hall of Representatives; the ceaseless cares and labors of the Congressman and the heavy responsibilities undermined the strong constitution broken down by those wounds and lessened his vitality as his fame grew wider and wider. Then the collapse, the mourning at home and throughout the country for MARRIOTT BROSIUS, and those deeper and never-ending griefs of his dearest ones for which there is no solace.
This was a typical American leader and statesman, and suggests a faint outline of a noble life. Happy the country which can produce many such men! Happy the country that, preeminent among many such men, it enjoyed the lifetime services, as a youth in war, in manhood in civil life, of such an American statesman as MARRIOTT BROSIUS!
But for myself I mourn more for the man, brave and modest, magnetic, always of even temper, with great personal charm, a man of a logical and strong wind, and yet full of imagination and poesy, a political leader who was still more a scholar and thinker.
I recall with mournful satisfaction the good friend, the strong lawyer, the lover of learning, and, even better, one who, loving learning, still better loved his country, his home, and his family, and I sincerely mourn the departure of such a man from his place in the House of Representatives.
MARRIOTT BROSIUS was as pure as he was brave and manly. There was no malice in him. He was strong in conviction, firm in purpose, placid, yet ever pertinacious. He was not guileful. There was, as I have said, a personal charm that won confidence and friendship.
Within twenty years I have seen both ends of the Capitol, this Senate and that House yonder, reconstructed. Many hundreds whose words and deeds held the public attention, and deserved to hold it, have gone the way of death. Others succeeded; others will still follow them. The world belongs to those who come last. Few will live longer in the affectionate remembrance of their fellows than will MARRIOTT BROSIUS in the memory or his friends. This strong and good man, this true American and public servant, without stain, a hero, a patriot, has passed to his reward.