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UNITED STATES CONGRESS,
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF ITS MEMBERS
THE FOUNDATION OF THE GOVERNMENT;
COMPILED AS A MANUAL OF REFERENCE
LEGISLATOR AND STATESMAN.
BY CHARLES LANMAN.
PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR,
BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
233. e. 74.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District
POLITICAL laws, wisely framed, have made the United States powerful and wealthy to a degree unexampled in modern times; and I have thought that a book of facts, recording the public services of our National law-makers, would be a deserved tribute to them, and, at the same time, be generally useful. The record has been made in each case as correct and concise as possible. Of many men more might have been written, but that was not deemed expedient in a work of this kind; and where not enough has been said, the fault must be attributed to the indifference of the persons mostly interested, or to the neglect of their friends. Not being a politician, it has given me but little trouble to be impartial. My leading object has been to prepare a kind of labor-saving machine for the benefit of all those who feel an interest in the political history and future prosperity of the Republic; and in the Appendix I have endeavored to bring together from the Government Archives a mass of legislative and executive information calculated to be of service to members of Congress while engaged in their public duties.
Thus far had I progressed with this Introduction; and while hesitating as to its continuation, it was my good fortune to be present in the United States Senate, when that body formally changed its place of meeting. All the proceedings on this occasion were highly interesting, and a few remarks offered by the Hon. John J. Crittenden-the oldest member of the Senate-were truly affecting. After he had resumed his seat, an address was delivered by the Vice-President of the United States, at the previous request of the
Senate. The propriety of sketching, as he did, a history of the meeting-places of the Federal Congress, struck me with great force. I saw, moreover, that just such an account as he had given to the Senate, would enhance the value of my work, as one of reference, and my next thought was to request the use of it in this place. My appeal and its results were as follows::
GEORGETOWN, D. C., January 4, 1859.
HON. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, VICE-PRESIDENT, &c.
DEAR SIR :-It was my privilege to hear your address to the Senate, commemorating the departure of that body from its old chamber to the new wing of the Capitol. It contained many particulars of great interest both to the statesmen of the country and the public at large. The pathos and lofty tone of your words were in keeping with the impressive character of your facts, and I cannot but believe that, from this day forward, the honor and importance of being a Senator or Representative in the American Congress, will be more fully appreciated than ever before. I was especially impressed by your address, as connected with that extensive brotherhood of men, whose public services I have endeavored to chronicle in my Dictionary of Congress, now going through the press. I have ventured, therefore, to request it as a personal favor, that you will permit me to print your eloquent and patriotic remarks in the Introduction to my new publication.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
WASHINGTON CITY, January 5, 1859.
DEAR SIR:-In answer to your letter of yesterday's date, asking my consent to the publication, in the Introduction to your Dictionary of Congress, of my remarks on the occasion of the Senate's removal from the old chamber, I have to thank you for the terms in which you have been pleased to speak of them, and to say that I have no objection to your appropriating the whole or any part.
And I am,
CHARLES LANMAN, Esq.,
Georgetown, D. C.
JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE.
SENATORS: I have been charged by the committee to whom you confided the arrangements of this day with the duty of expressing some of the reflections that naturally occur in taking final leave of a chamber which has so long been occupied by the Senate. In the progress of our country and the growth of the representation, this room has become too contracted for the representatives of the States now existing and soon to exist; and accordingly you are about to exchange it for a hall affording accommodations adequate to the present and the future. The occasion suggests many interesting reminiscences; and it may be agreeable, in the first place, to occupy a few minutes with a short account of the various places at which Congress has assembled, of the struggles which preceded the permanent location of the seat of government, and of the circumstances under which it was finally established on the banks of the Potomac.
The Congress of the Revolution was sometimes a fugitive, holding its sessions, as the chances of war required, at Philadelphia, Baltimore, Lancaster, Annapolis, and York-town. During the period between the conclusion of peace and the commencement of the present Government, it met at Princeton, Annapolis, Trenton, and New York.
After the idea of a permanent Union had been executed in part by the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, the question presented itself of fixing a seat of government, and this immediately called forth intense interest and rivalry.
That the place should be central, having regard to the population and territory of the Confederacy, was the only point common to the contending parties. Propositions of all kinds were offered, debated and rejected, sometimes with intemperate warmth. At length, on the 7th of October, 1783, the Congress being at Princeton, whither they had been driven from Philadelphia by the insults of a body of armed men, it was resolved that a building for the use of Congress be erected near the falls of the Delaware. This was soon after modified by requiring suitable buildings to be also erected near the falls of the Potomac, that the residence of Congress might alternate between those places. But the question was not allowed to rest, and at length, after frequent and warm debates, it was resolved that the residence of Congress should continue at one place; and commissioners were appointed with full power to lay out a district for a Federal