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mind more conclusively the self-abnegating patriotism of Thomas Jefferson than his willingness, his continual willingness, whenever the exigencies of the occasion or his sense of duty demanded, to lay aside the so-called "high honors" that encircle the brow of a man who has been chosen by his constituency to represent them in this Chamber, and to return to what by many are considered the smaller duties and the modest emoluments of a member of the state legislature.
He did it because he believed it was best for his State; and it is a pity, Mr. Speaker, it is to be regretted that more men rich in experience, in honor, beyond even the suspicion of personal ambition, do not return to their state legislatures and give to those bodies the benefit of splendid talents and long experi
Were it done, this atrophying of the authority and the power of the States, this failure of the state governments to exercise all the power and the authority that was conferred upon them by the Constitution, to preserve intact and in full their autonomy and their equilibrium in this constellation of States called the “Federal Government,” would not be so manifest or so universally lamented.
In the state legislature, as in the Federal Congress, the modest work of LLEWELLYN POWERS was soon recognized. He was made speaker and, as I have said, governor.
There is another characteristic of this man which will be long remembered, and remembered most pleasantly, not by those who simply hear his name on the tongue of rumor from the trump of fame, but those who are near to him. His humanity is a precious heritage to friends and to kindred. He was a great combination of head and heart. Humanity marked every consideration. He was strong, but he was not stern or cruel. It was a strange mixture of strength and gentleness. He felt for the fallen.
He sought to lift the burden from the bowed back of toil, to alleviate pain, and even the criminal he spared, so far as hiss duty to the State and the safety of society would permit.
Mr. Powers abhorred capital punishment. He hesitated to take human life wherever it was found. He possessed that same humanity, that feeling for a brother's wrong as though that brother were his own, although they were only members of the same great family, and the brother was a stranger, bound to him by no bond of blood or creed or interest. At a time when this Nation was divided against itself, when “hate raged to flesh its fangs in hostile hearts,” he won the admiration of his foes.
He was not sectional. He was not narrow. To be sectional and to be narrow is, in a sense, Mr. Speaker, to be cruel. The secret of the liberality of his mind is to be found in the goodness and tenderness of his great heart.
This brave, truthful, serene, modest, heroic man faced the grim destroyer, faced the untold mysteries of the beyond, and embarked
upon that sea whose nether shores are eternity, with the same courage, with the same conscientiousness of his rectitude with which he met the duties of the day, and we have every reason to believe that he, upon his awakening, we know not where or how, shall still, void of fear and reproach, adorn a brighter and a higher and a happier sphere.
ADDRESS OF MR. FOWLER, OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. SPEAKER: I want to speak only of my personal relationship with Mr. POWERS and the development of his character as it revealed itself to me in my committee. He came onto the Committee on Banking and Currency immediately after his entrance into Congress. For about eight years we sat together. I well recall the impression that he first made upon me—that of a rather surly and stubborn man. As time went on I discovered that he was always present at meetings, and often when there were no committee meetings. This brought us into frequent companionship. We had many long conversations, and it developed into a sort of personal relationship. I was not, of course, long in finding out that he was a man of thorough education, indeed, of ripe learning; and that he was not merely a student and scholar, of which he often gave evidence by quotations from the classics, but a business man of wide experience and rare acumen. He told me at one time that he had continued to study the classics long after he had finished his college course, which was evidenced by these frequent recitals.
But LLEWELLYN POWERS was a far better thinker than he was a student. He was a man of logical mind, and a man of such comprehensive mental grasp that he could keep the whole array of facts before him and arrive at conclusions which he could stongly defend. He was a man of intellectual honesty. He never deceived himself by counting an immaterial fact of greater value or force than it ought to have.
He had a highly judicial mind and would have made a great judge. His mind was keen, discriminating, just. He was a man of perfect composure, of balance of mind, and in any discussion, however intense it became, he never seemed to lose the sense of fairness to his fellows; and whenever in the course of discussion he found that some one disclosed a larger view and more thorough study, he had that breadth of view and generosity of consideration to waive his own impressions in favor of what he believed was the more thorough understanding of his opponent.
I learned to think of him as a sweet character; not a single stinging word ever dropped from his tongue, and yet he was always strong, firm, steadfast, and persistent in the conclusions to which he had arrived after study and thoughtful deliberation.
I well remember one instance that was so peculiarly characteristic of his fair-mindedness. Although he had been for years of a certain opinion upon a given question-indeed, persistent in his defense of it, unvarying in the complexion of his view with regard to it, after a restatement of the case, even in the very last session of Congress and upon one of the very last days that he appeared in our committee, he referred to the restatement with a degree of interest that was marked in himfor he never showed that he was moved to any great degreethat he was deeply impressed, and virtually changed his attitude, saying:
I have believed this all my life, but I have come to the conclusion that I have been old-fogyish with regard to it.
And so it was with him always.
He was simple, he was true, he was intellectually honest, he was self-respecting, he was self-reliant. He was deeply and profoundly a patriotic man, as I understand it. As I came to know him thoroughly and comprehended him, I discovered he was as proud of our country as any man I ever knew. He was proud of Maine; he was proud of the many great men Maine had produced; he was proud of the fact that he was one of a family that had made its name respected; he was proud of the county in which he lived, and his little town. Often did he discourse upon the great county of Aroostook and of what it produced. He was not only proud of the family of which he was one of the sons, but he was proud of his own children.
The life of LLEWELLYN POWERS is typical of the best citizenship we have in this country. He was essentially self-made. Aiways devoted to every public duty, he was equally devoted to his private affairs. There was no detail so small or any consideration so slight in matters of legislation as ever to be brushed aside with indifference; and to him it came to be our invariable habit in our committee to look when discussing a close question and hunting for exact expressions for precise legislative language. This was because he had not only great ability and training, but because we could rely upon his intellectual integrity and discriminating judgment.
So that, as time went on, the man that I first looked upon as stubborn became simply a great, strong character, mingled, as has been happily said, with a peculiar simplicity and sweetness. I admired him; I liked him; and I confess to a feeling that I have for few men. came toward the last years of my association with LLEWELLYN Powers to hold him in affection. After all, when you say that a man is intellectually honest-and so define character—it is indeed, all there is of us. Character is a thing that is left in the world to impress the force of a human soul on those who come after us. It is only a possibility that as we pass away from the world it may have been improved, made a little better, a little more advanced, lifted a trifle above the plane it was when the soul entered.
But certain it is there was nothing in the career of LLEWELLYN Powers that his hand ever touched, that his mind ever recast, that was