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An Historic Congress

An Historic Congress image
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The recording angel over the hall doek of ttae old Imiisc i repreeentattveg never ntered on her chwty record ol congreaslonal events a more potable (ir Impreesiye acane Qua was ttnaewd there oa the uiffhi and mornlng of Ibe -ith of ktarch, lH.j."). The tliirty Iliinl eoiiiriess of the United States wasdniwiiif; rupiilly toa close Great cvt-iits ucir itariBi the ï'iaticni in the boe. The old iku n ín iialli. party, that so long wielded absolute sway over the destlnies dt tlic ïepublic, waeslUntly tneKlng away before the grand iiitluences of that mlghty wave of human fr- dom and nattonal Intellitrciiee. On tbal iiij'lit urciit deinniratic party held it final levóito the workl. On that niglit northandsonth shóokhandi and pjvrted never more to meet M friends. It Is )uf,( u (tuarterof a century siuce we stood in the ladies' gallery. lookfnj; down at the sea of heads that moved restlesslv toand fro orr the carpetad tloor, and lieard the echoinx voices of the speakers, as they pressed sm 1 1 s-ively each amendnient of the civil and diplomatic bill, ocoasionally paosing to enter intoa ramblinj; disenssion that was soon checked by the presiding offleer. Let us return to the old house and glance retrospectively as it appeared on that 4th of March, 18")5. The scène is an imposing one - the brilliantly lighted hall. the galleries on both sides crowded to suffocation by an immense army of f'emininities, and the noise and confusión on the floorofcongress reminds one of a party caucus rather llian a diguilied body of our nation's legislators. South Carolina, spurred and bonneted for secession, has her fit represen tati vea in Preston B. BfOOkl and I.awrence M. Keitt. They are conversing earnestly (ogether, wbife John C. Breckemidjre, negligently rt'cliniiii in bltcbair, is apathetically aharpening liis pocket penknife ou his boot-hecl. Wra II. Knglisli, with no ainbitious dreams of the vice-presidency, is writing a letter, apparenüv to his consütuents, while Tlios. A 1 Iwidri. k-;, nndiatorfcil by tli' ptamtom of a Tilden, N iing on the rene, tbe ]iture of dlgntfled serenity. Calvin M. In ffersoll is laiighing at the wit "f some brothcr uaembev, while extra l'illy Smith, isdozng (iuct)y in his ann-clmir. Toni Benton the venerable ex-senator i iii;ii;cd in au exciting colloquy witli an Ohlo rppreenl atlve aboiit [mor, slandered, defamed Freïaont, and Hou. Caleb Lyon, of Lyondale, the literary represéntaive of the house, is rhidlcatlnê tbe claim of Browa, the dragoi m:m of Turkey, to extra coniiicnsation. Here are coresof legislatore, who year atter year hare taken a seat, that are KaziiiK lor the last time on ¦ si -ion of the United States Congress; here are men go insignifloanl as scarcely to descrve a passinj: do tire, that, as years win-; tluir wny, will he the cynosure of admirinic eyes and tbc theme of newspaper praise and coinment. Standing uear a hoary KetnekUn, Lynna Boyd,, is a youiif; iiian. a few yi'.irs liaik ;i huiuble operator iu the milis of Waltbam, and now a representatlra trom liis district, whose name, ere long, will be reechoeU from mouth to inouth as the fust n-publican speaker, young NallianicI 1'. b - „ Th,. n-, too, isoid Joshoa Olddlnn, the Ion e tar 01 auuiiüv, „i.v .,u.i....ï form, and halr silvered witli the breath ol time, was alwuv Reen in the front of political hattle as tlie tried and faithful friend of constitutional liberty. Tlie able and accomplislied Richard Vates, afterward senator and governor of his mitiw State, and Francia B. Cutting, with bietall, ing figure and aristocratie addreas, :irc both men of note, though destined to pushed into political oblivioo by advuncing time. Tbere is the little eonjequenlial ('haili-s .1. Faulkner, of Virginia, wlth bis choleric son-in-law, Bocock, full of wiue and wit, and erratic Judge Caskie, of Richmond. tlie incarnalion of southrrn MMritJf and 1 1 1 ¦¦ i t Prominent arnon' representatives of the slavc power ij a pata, tbin, bovish-lookinjr man, on whose thougtatful, anxiousface is imprintedthe plain, legible history of the future. Alejcauderll Btepbenn,wtiotventytiye yeare atttr was to bu wlicelecl ino the li(iueof representativestheonly remaining survivor of the. moOttlons t a qoarter een turv's time. Cool and wary in council. ti':irir in debate, yrrnrttn in Korn und bitter in recriminution. do man in public or private lile ras to be mure execrated ar more beloved. ThoruasH. Benton, who hal been tliirty years in the United States tenate, and remorsoltissly deprivcd of a wat he bad so !¦¦ and ably tilleil bv a formidable faction ofouown party, hadsecurcd a vacant chair in house, and was witli the coming morrow to retire, the lust gliropM of the old ¦oenei ranlsblng from liis.-ight. Let us not forget in this brief record the brllliant, accomplislied, but unfortunalc Mikc IVatsh.who, likeothera, had faUed to Obtala a rcnominatioii, and tras dnftingout witli tlie reoediDC Ude, a few years tliereaftci to be found cold and lifefess, in au cililley in one of tlie loweM lectiooc in .Ncu Vuikcitv. Wcshall m-vcr forget the sallics of bis pungent liumor, liis ebeertul viiiiT, his eloqaence, and bis uit. Poor Mikc : His only fault ua the Mxial He WM I tOá icllow and deserved a bcltcr fati'. Hut among all the moving, restless forms of these 100 odd members tliere ii one whmn bv koow- a silent, grare, long nosed man, witli a cunning i piercing in brijjbtness, a personage hard'.y known beyond his own district in New York, but u lm was to play au Important role in the world's higtory, to be coarted and feariMl, wielding power absolute asa despot's Uld destine, 1 ere many ycars te close eves Ignomtnioiuly rUhin prisou all, "unwept, nnhonored and unsung." Few lio pause to converse or sluike hands careleasly as they pass up the aisle of the DOOM dreain what au unholy, ambitious he:.rl ii .¦!.... 1 in tlctt liinly tv ¦" ¦ ''¦ "¦¦- ture bos.s of New Volk, the pride of the democracr- Wm. M. Tweed. Kut the uproar of the house ïvcalls us back to the sceneon the historie uight. The ehil and diplomatic bill is up, and the anieiidineiits are under consider:itiini. Keitt, ol South Carolina, is in the chair. '1' li - II. Bayly, of Viriiiniii, luis retired from the noise and colli usion of the hall, disjí usted and sick. An amendment proviilinir lor the eontinuation of the work on tlie Waahlnffton aquaduct paaasdbv aclose vote - S(l to 74 - and the galleries eheer anti applaud vigorously. Keitt, who is u short, thlek-set man. with sinall feature.-, ItrokM his lony beard, glarea tavagvly at tli leries, anti, n his pompons way. annouures th:u " the chair must declara that tb is thinir is' disfrraceful." A inotion is made by a MBl lemán from Ohio to clear the galleries; Imt sensible Jones, of Tenneatea, overrules it on the ground that the frulleries are inore ordeny thau the kkOUM. Jones is quke eorreot The din and ooofuslon increases with the approach of midnight; u hundred menibers are on their feet slwutIng "Mr. Speaker" anti, ainid the clamor, C. Lyn, of Lvoudale, s si-eu brandishlnji high In the air a aeuate liill for the relief of a poor oltl woinan of revtiliitionarv anleei dents, and uuavailing attempts to oatch the speaker' eye The Lidies are t;ist disapadv;,ne;-';v;,' DíímR1!';.1'1;? ;iM. "" e_vnR nopoli.ed liy au DlWUtborlied crowtl ot sp( clators. ho CTOWd into the hall and iuto the saencl spaee of the Hoor. lais. ol Indiana calis the attention ol the house to the infiinjieiiient of its rules, anti, n i short time.old Qlowbrenner makeahit iiDlieariinee, miuI, s itli . i I i [ the door Keeper, elears the Hoor of the ubnoxioas intniders. They are iii,itly x.iithern men. from Qeorgk and Alaliaina, and resist and struggle uiKivailinfrly in the stront; graan ol tlie sergeant-at-arma. Some attempt to avail theinsolves of the iuyin&lntenM nf uvan iiiemscives ni me arquamtance 01 members; othen sneaJc iato sim;; quarten tiy the speaker's cbalr; bul one and all are hustled out, and the house beging to wear a calm alter the atoxm. l, wis I) Campbell teroaring Impotent]; "Mr. Speaker," In unisón with titty other loud and bolsterous roioes, while the clerk looka w:im mul cry tleepy Indeed. The ealleriet are thinnfne otl'. maoy mombers Imvi' siiiM-a mt, ud the fripi and thouti ..i "Mr. Speaker" are the onlj tooadi that ¦ ¦au be liciinl. Then there Isa long pauae. Th limisr ia w:iitinr for a quorum. The night hae passed, mornlng is stniggling in through the dome and from the windowa initinil the ipeaker'i chalr -the inorningof ith of Mairh. and uiili t theflnal (lec:iil- of hivi' power. On tliis licaulil'u] Sabbsth mom, the lovelieat'evér seea, the democracy "t tio i,..iii, u.,.i n,n vk;ti. liicmlly grip of hand and aflectiomte partliig worua, tepuuted for tlieir varioua limiiea, unconscious, as the tinjrersof the Teni-rable clock potnted to the hourof 12, that tlic scepter ol power tiuty liad so long wiriiicii i(, pass f'irever from theu f rasp, and thatwhen theynezt met they were to be coufrontcd by a new partythe oflspring ui libcity, the cliild ut" fVeedom - the grand republican party of Atnerloa.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News