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Full text of "Memorial addresses on the life and character of Wm. A. Buckingham, (a Senator of Connecticut), delivered in the Senate and House of Representatives, Forty-third Congress, second session, February 27 and March 1, 1875, with other tributes of respect"

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Friday, February 5, 1875. 

Rev. BYRON SUNDERLAND, D. D., Chaplain of the Senate, offered 
the following prayer : 

Almighty God, we come before Thee admonished by the tidings 
of the morning that in the midst of life we are in death ; that another 
member of this body has been called from the scene of his earthly 
labors. Bless and uphold, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, our 
Father in heaven, the members of his family and surviving friends in 
the midst of this great affliction ; and may they, with us, not be left 
to sorrow as those that are without hope, because we are assured that 
though the workmen cease, yet the work of God shall never fail. . O, 
do Thou help us, and all men, to bear with fortitude and fidelity the 
struggles and the pains of this earthly state, and finally to attain to 
the rewards of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ. Amen. 

The Journal of yesterday's proceedings was read and approved. 
Mr. FERRY, of Connecticut. I rise, Mr. President, in the perform 
ance of what is to me the saddest duty of my public life. I announce 


to the Senate the death of my late colleague on this floor. This 
morning, at his home in Norwich, Conn., at twenty minutes past 
twelve o'clock, just as night was turning into morning, Governor 
BUCKINGHAM died. I hope on another occasion to be able to say 
something befitting his memory. At present I offer this resolution : 

Resolved, That a committee consisting of five Senators be appointed 
by the Chair to attend the funeral obsequies of Hon. WILLIAM A. 
BUCKINGHAM, at Norwich, Conn. 

Mr. ANTHONY. Mr. President, I second the resolution. 

The resolution was unanimously agreed to. 

The VICE-PRESIDENT appointed as the committee Messrs. FERRY 

Mr. FERRY, of Connecticut. The Senate is aware that in my own 
infirm condition of health it is hardly possible for me to proceed to 
the home of my late colleague and return immediately without 
serious risk. Were there no other considerations than those personal 
to myself, I should certainly incur any risk to be present on the 
occasion to which I allude; but there are others interested in my 
health, and I must ask to be excused from serving upon the committee. 

The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Senator from Connecticut asks to be 
excused from service on the committee. 

The question was determined in the affirmative. 

The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Chair will appoint in place of the 
Senator from Connecticut, the Senator from Maine, [Mr. HAMLIN.] 

Mr. FERRY, of Connecticut. I offer the following additional reso 

Resolved, That as a further mark of respect for the memory of the 
deceased the Senate do now adjourn. 

The resolution was agreed to, nem. con. ; and (at twelve o'clock 
and sixteen minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned. 






Tuesday, February 9, 1875. 

Mr. FERRY, of Connecticut. Mr. President, it is now the day and 
the hour appointed for the funeral of my late colleague in this Cham 
ber. As a token of respect for our deceased friend, I move that the 
Senate do now adjourn. 

The motion was agreed to unanimously ; and (at one o'clock and 
two minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned. 





Saturday, February 27, 1875. 


Mr. PRESIDENT : In accordance with precedent on similar occa 
sions I send to the Chair resolutions which I ask may be read. 
The Secretary read as follows : 

Resolved by the Senate, That, as an additional mark of respect to 
the memory of WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM, late a Senator from 
Connecticut, business be now suspended, that the friends and 
associates of the deceased may pay fitting tribute to his public and 
private virtues. 

Resolved, That the Secretary communicate this resolution to the 
House of Representatives. 

The resolutions were agreed to. 


Mr. PRESIDENT: The Senate again testifies its respect for one 
whose name has been stricken from its rolls by death. 

When the telegraph announced that Mr. BUCKINGHAM was no 
more, we paused in the work of legislation to do honor to his 
memory. When, a few days later, the hour arrived for the great 
assemblage which had gathered to his funeral at his distant 
home, to go forth bearing his body to its last resting-place, we 
stopped, as it were, for the long procession to pass by and do its 
solemn office and disperse ; and now we pause once more to utter 
in the hearing of the nation such words of commemoration as 
seem to us befitting the regard in which we held our associate 
and our. friend. "Eulogies," we are accustomed to call the brief 
addresses which are spoken on such occasions. I shrink from the 
application of that word to anything that I can say of him who 
has so lately gone out from among us forever. He thought so 
little of himself, he was so unobtrusive of his own personality, so 
truly simple and modest in everything relating to his fame among 
men, that it seems as if that kindly face were rising up before me 
to deprecate words of praise. But in narrating the story of his 
life the plainest truth is the highest eulogy, and the power of that 
truth is now one of the gracious influences which are the common 
property of his countrymen. 

WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM was of a Puritan family, the memo 
rials of whose members are still preserved in unbroken line from 
the first of the name who left England in 1637, and after a 
temporary abode, first in Boston and then in New Haven, settled 
in Milford, Conn. A volume of these memorials has been printed, 
and its pages furnish a noble illustration of the power of early 
influences in molding the character of successive generations. For 
nearly two centuries and a half, through which the record runs, 
the ancestors of Governor BUCKINGHAM have been men of fervent 
piety, of superior intellectual powers, of rare sagacity in affairs, 


and of prominence in the community of which they were members. 
His father and mother were both remarkable persons. Of the 
former it is said: 

He was an enterprising and thrifty farmer, who lived comfortably 
and made his house the home of hospitality. His most striking 
characteristic was his rare good judgment. He was a Christian 
gentleman. His habits of business were careful and exact. His 
reverence was great. He was tender-hearted and full of sympathy 
for the children of misfortune, as well as rigid in his ideas of 
personal duty. 

A former clergyman of the place where they dwelt, in speaking 
of the latter a few years ago, says: 

When I became pastor of the church, I was struck wherever I 
went with the love and gratitude which all poured out at the 
mention of one individual. That individual was the mother of 
our now good governor a noble son of a noble mother. Beneath 
every roof her name was most affectionately mentioned, as her 
memory is now sacredly cherished. I wondered how she had thus 
endeared herself to the hearts of that people. But when I saw 
her at the bedside of the sick and the dying ministering like an 
angel from above to their relief; when I saw her gifts scattered 
wherever they were needed; when I saw how little she spent upon 
herself, and how cheerfully she gave to others, I understood the 

Of such parentage, on the 28th of May, 1804, in the ancient town 
of Lebanon, Conn., WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM was born. Here, 
too, the first eighteen years of his life were passed. He was 
educated in the, public schools of his own and of a neighboring 
village. He learned to labor with his hands upon his father's farm. 
But there is an education which is neither of the head nor of the 
hands in the influences which fill the heart in the morning of life, 
and which most frequently form the basis of character in after years. 
What those influences were, under his parental roof, I have already 


told. But the external circumstances of his boyhood and youth 
were almost equally propitious. There is no spot in the world where 
the conditions which mold a human life are more auspicious than 
those which existed in his native town from fifty to seventy years 
ago. Its natural aspects were simple and peaceful. Its one long, 
spacious street, with wide grassy borders, between which lay the 
beaten road, here and there overshadowed by ancient trees; the 
slopes of arable and pasture and meadow land, broken by primitive 
woods at varying intervals; the scattered farm-houses, with their out 
buildings ; the rain-and-sun imbrowned meeting-house, school-house, 
and academy, are all familiar features of the New England village of 
that day, and in harmony with the life of the people who beheld 
them a plain, earnest, thoughtful people, who believed in God and 
duty; industrious, because they earned their bread by their daily 
toil; independent, because each man owned the acres which he 
tilled ; intelligent, because the school-house opened wide its doors 
to all; brave, because fearing God they feared nothing else; pure, 
because without a shadow on their belief in the Scripture revelation 
they lived habitually in as vivid a consciousness of the invisible as of 
the visible world around them. We can hardly realize the intensity 
of that faith in the present age. It had, perhaps, too much of a som 
ber tinge, but it pervaded life with the impregnable sense of duty, 
and robbed death of its terrors by the assurance of a nobler life 
beyond. The air of the place was moreover full of patriotic associa 
tions. It was the home of many prominent characters of the revolu 
tionary period. Chief among these was the family of the Trumbulls. 
The plain frame house in which they had lived during two genera 
tions of distinguished service, and the old "war-office," as it was 
called, where the elder Trumbull had transacted his public business 
during his long administration of State affairs, remained landmarks of 
the past till a period even now recent. School-boys entering the 
latter looked with awe upon the marks of spurs, still to be seen on 


the side of the counter where orderlies and express-riders had sat 
awaiting the governor's orders during the war of independence. In 
that house Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, La Fayette, Rochain- 
beau, and many other old-time worthies had been guests. French 
troops had gone into winter-quarters here, and five regiments had 
been reviewed by Washington himself on the spacious street. More 
than five hundred men from that little town had been in the revolu 
tionary armies at one time, and every house was full of their remi 

It was in the midst of such associations that the boy BUCKINGHAM 
grew up from infancy to early manhood. The impression which they 
made may, I think, be traced through all his subsequent life. 

At the age of eighteen he taught school for a single year, and then, 
having selected the calling of a merchant as best adapted to his 
tastes and circumstances, he began with the rudiments of that occupa 
tion by entering into the employment of a mercantile firm in Nor 
wich, in the capacity of a clerk. Trade now became his study, and 
after three years of application he felt himself qualified for business 
upon his own responsibility. At the age of twenty-three he opened 
a store in Norwich, and success seems to have attended him from 
the very first. Indeed, he was a model of the man of business. 
Upright, prompt, faithful to all engagements, attentive, careful, cour 
teous, and possessed of that rare sagacity which, as we have seen, 
was a family trait, he won the confidence of all with whom he had 
relations. At the age of twenty-six he made open profession of the 
faith which had already become the controlling influence in his life, 
by uniting in the membership of the church of his ancestors. 
Between that event and the present hour, forty-five years of a stain 
less life and of earnest, unceasing Christian endeavor attest the sin 
cerity of his profession. 

After a brief space of time he added manufacturing to his mercan 
tile pursuits, and in 1848 abandoned the latter altogether, to devote 


his entire means and energies to the former in new and more 
expanded methods. In the mean time he had married and built up 
a cultivated, refined, and Christian home, where unaffected piety 
and mutual love shed their benign influences upon all the household 
and upon the community in which he dwelt. Assiduity and sagacity 
in business, honorable dealing, unspotted integrity, and fidelity to 
all engagements, had produced their natural results, and prosperity 
abundantly awarded his labors. As the years passed on, the circle 
of his influence grew wider as the knowledge of his character and 
qualities was spread abroad. Prior to 1856 he had held no public 
station except that of mayor of Norwich, but his usefulness, even in 
a private capacity, could hardly be excelled by that which is ordinarily 
exerted by men in any position in life. No man ever lived who 
more truly, unaffectedly, and constantly regarded all his possessions, 
whether of time, talents, property, or influence, as a stewardship for 
God and humanity. 

I love to contemplate that portion of his life when, a simple private 
citizen, he was doing the work which he found to do, without thought 
of the greater future which awaited him. No opportunity to do 
good, great or small, escaped him. He taught little children in the 
Sunday-school. As deacon of the church, he was its almoner to the 
poor and the distributer of the sacred emblems to the membership 
of its communion and to the stranger within its gates. He helped 
to found acadamies, build up public libraries, provide for feeble 
churches, promote temperance reform, endow colleges, and to send 
the light of Christian civilization to the remotest corners of the globe. 
And all this so quietly, so naturally as it were, that, proceeding from 
him, it seemed nothing extraordinary. Moreover, there were ever 
flowing from him streams of hidden beneficence, gladdening many 
hearts and drying the tears in many eyes, whose story never will be 
told till the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed. 

A quarter of a century of such ceaseless activity in business and 


in doing good could not fail to bring even the private citizen to the 
public knowledge in his own and the neighboring communities; 
but the time arrived when he was to be called to more conspicuous 
labor and duties. Mr. BUCKINGHAM, while hitherto not specially 
prominent in political life, had nevertheless carried into the discharge 
of his duties as citizen the same conscientious convictions which 
pervaded his whole character. The great tide-wave of opposition 
to the further progress of slavery on the national domain swept over 
the land, disintegrating old parties and preparing the material for 
new. He had always been a whig, and with most whigs the Mis 
souri compromise was second in. sanctity and inviolability only to 
the Constitution itself. Its repeal and the purpose which that repeal 
disclosed shocked every feeling not only of his intellectual but of his 
moral nature. That he should be a Republican under such circum 
stances was a matter of course. And with him, on the questions 
that now agitated the public mind, political opinions became a part 
of his deepest and most solemn convictions. It was no longer the 
mere expediences of administration that men thought and talked 
and wrote about and voted upon, but great and sacred questions of 
right and wrong and duty, and on such questions there was but one 
course possible to Mr. BUCKINGHAM. Having settled in his own 
mind whither right and duty pointed, thither he must go, and with 
all his might. 

In the presidential election of 1856, the first in which the new 
party entered the field as a national organization, it was felt that his 
name would be a powerful auxiliary in the canvass, and it was 
placed on the Republican electoral ticket, and contributed greatly to 
its success. Brought thus prominently before the people of the 
whole State, his qualities of mind and character became more widely 
known than ever before, and in the spring of 1858 he was elected 
governor of Connecticut. For eight years, by successive annual 
re-elections, he remained in that office. The period comprises the 


most eventful portion of American history since the war of inde 

It is impossible on an occasion like this even to sketch the outline 
of Governor BUCKINGHAM'S long administration. In its third year 
the election of Mr. Lincoln became the signal forjthe bursting of the 
storm which had so long been gathering. From the foundation of 
the Government there had been two circumstances especially hostile 
to the peace of the Republic. The one a political doctrine, the 
other an economic system secession and slavery. Was the body- 
politic called the United States a nation or a confederacy ? From 
the beginning there had been opposing opinions, entertained with 
equal sincerity by the best minds of the Republic. Great lawyers, 
jurists, and statesmen were to be found on either side. It should 
have been a question for lawyers to argue and courts to decide. It 
might possibly have been so but for the contemporaneous existence 
of slavery. This system, so feeble at the adoption of the Constitu 
tion as to seem destined to perish in a single generation, had become 
in the course of events the most gigantic material interest and the 
most formidable political power in the nation. Repugnant cer 
tainly to the spirit of the Constitution, to the morality of the age, 
and to the convictions of a majority of the whole people, its security 
against assault depended upon the constitutional powers and func 
tions of the States, and an exaggerated assertion of those powers 
and functions on the part of its supporters was the natural result. 
So secession and slavery, occupying the same territorial area, had 
become allies, and for more than a generation a perpetual menace. 
The moral question, moreover, involved in the system of bondage, 
had been decided differently in the minds of the people of the two 
great territorial divisions distinguished by its presence or absence. 
Its rectitude was as clear to the one as its intrinsic turpitude was 
to the other. The election of Mr. Lincoln upon the avowed pur 
pose to put a final period to the further progress of slavery upon the 


national territory brought the opposing forces to an issue which 
could no longer be averted. For the preservation of slavery the 
experiment of secession was inevitable. 

To Governor BUCKINGHAM secession was rebellion, and an ordi 
nance of secession was a declaration of war. It did not require the 
echo of artillery from Fort Sumter to awaken him to the duties of 
the hour. In the winter of i86o-'6i he began with such means as 
the disjointed militia laws of Connecticut placed in his hands to pre 
pare for the conflict. Upon the first call of President Lincoln for 
troops at the fall of Sumter he devoted himself, mind and body and 
estate, to bring that conflict to a successful issue. Thenceforth till 
the final overthrow of the rebellion his history is a prominent part of 
the history of the nation. The legislature of the State was to assem 
ble in a few weeks, but it was impossible to await its meeting. The 
laws of the State were utterly inadequate to the emergency, and re 
sponsibility must be assumed. The treasury was empty and money 
could not be raised for months by the regular methods, but money 
must be raised. The governor anticipated the enactment of laws, 
assumed responsibility, and pledged his private credit in the pur 
chase of supplies and munitions of war for the troops which from all 
parts of the State were filling up the rolls of the volunteers. When 
the legislature assembled it passed acts of indemnity and literally 
placed the whole resources of the State at his disposal. And thus it 
continued substantially during the entire war. Never was a trust 
more faithfully executed. As call after call for troops proceeded 
from Washington, the governor was indefatigable in securing the 
promptest response. As regiment after regiment went forth to the 
front, he devoted his time, his energies, and often his personal re 
sources to the completeness of their equipment and the promotion of 
their comfort. His care of them was as tender as that of a father. 
The historian of the State during this period narrates that 

Governor BUCKINGHAM made it a matter of duty to visit every 


regiment and address to its officers words of counsel. " I remember 
their substance well," says an officer. "After telling us what a noble 
band of men we had the honor to command, he told us thai we 
could do much both to promote their usefulness and to relieve their 
privations. ' Remember,' said he, ' that the Government makes am 
ple provisions for its defenders. Whatever the Government pro 
vides, that your men are entitled to receive. See that they are thus 
provided. If, through the carelessness of officers on the higher 
staffs, such provision is not made, do not hesitate to make your com 
plaints until the grievance is remedied. If you cannot get redress 
otherwise, then write me the facts fully and I will apply to the high 
est power in the land for you.' Then, after an earnest appeal to us 
to seek divine guidance and protection, he bade us farewell." 

One or two incidents which I know to be authentic will further 
illustrate this tenderness of the governor for the troops. A citizen 
of Connecticut, whose duties kept him almost constantly at the 
front, happened to meet Governor BUCKINGHAM at Washington, and 
in the course of a conversation the latter said to him, " You will see 
a good many battles and much suffering ; don't let any Connecticut 
man suffer for want of anything that can be done for him ; if it costs 
money, draw on me for it." The same person, on the last day of 
the fight at Gettysburgh, when victory had declared on the Federal 
side, and while yet the fields were strewn with the dead and 
wounded, seized an opportunity to telegraph the Governor the great 
result, and quick as the wires could bear it came back the response, 
" Take good care of the Connecticut men." 

All through the long and varying conflict the courage of Governor 
BUCKINGHAM never faltered. With citizens in arms against the Gov 
ernment no compromise, no concession was possible ; the very word 
negotiation implied national death. In his message delivered in the 
darkest days of the war, just after the bloody repulse of Chancellors- 
ville, he said : 

The conflict inaugurated at Sumter must go on until the Govern 
ment shall conquer or be conquered. Let no one be deceived by 


the artful device of securing peace by a cessation of hostilities. * 

* * A peace thus attained would cost a nation's birthright. * * 

* Civil war is cruelty. Its fruits are desolation, sorrow, and death. 
Fear, hesitation, and a timid use of the forces of war will eventually 
increase these terrible sufferings. They will be diminished by cour 
age, vigor, and severity. * * * Whatever of trial, suffering, or 
privation may be in store for us, or however long may be the contro 
versy, firm in the faith that our nation will be preserved in its integ 
rity, let us in adversity as well as in prosperity, in darkness as well 
as in light, give the administration our counsel, our confidence, our 

Kindly and gentle as we have seen him here in these recent years, 
it is impossible not to feel that in the veins of him who penned such 
words flowed the blood of the grim Ironsides who fought at Naseby 
and at Marston Moor, and that in his breast dwelt the spirit which 
animated the Hebrew king who, contemplating the inextinguishable 
hostility of the enemies of his people and of the glorious hopes 
bound up in their national existence, exclaimed : "Blessed be the 
Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war and my fingers 
to fight." 

The exigencies of the war frequently brought Governor BUCKING 
HAM to Washington during its whole continuance. Here he speedily 
won the respect of all by his capacity, firmness, and devotion to the 
common cause. He was especially endeared to President Lincoln, 
who reposed in him the same confidence which Washington had 
bestowed upon his great predecessor, Jonathan Trumbull. As a 
gentleman, entering the executive office, introduced himself as from 
Connecticut, the President rose from his chair, and placing his hand 
impressively upon the visitor's shoulder, exclaimed : " From Connect 
icut? Do you know what a good governor you have got?" 

So long as the war lasted the people of his State would not permit 
Governor BUCKINGHAM to leave his post. For many years one or at 
most two re-elections of the same chief magistrate had been the cus- 

2 B 


torn of the little Commonwealth ; and the governor, weary with in 
cessant labor and apprehensive that the breach of the established 
precedent might create unpleasant feeling, more than once signified 
his wish to retire. But the people would not let him, and not until 
the victory was completely won and the authority of the Republic 
permanently re-established would they permit him to seek his much 
needed repose. And even then they were not content. There was 
one crown which they could yet fitly place upon his head, the 
highest gift which the people of Connecticut alone could confer 
upon him. In May, 1866, his last term of office as governor expired. 
In May, 1868, they elected him a Senator of the United States. 
And now for almost six years he has gone in and out among us 
here, regarded by every one of us with loving reverence and un 
alloyed respect, the humble Christian, the pure statesman, the sin 
cere patriot, the perfect gentleman, in all a model to us all. Ever 
assiduous in business, doing his work in committee and in the Senate 
with the laborious industry of his earlier prime and the matured 
wisdom of his ripening years, he was the faithful representative of 
his State and the constant guardian of his country's interests. Of 
him as a Senator, in this hour of the freshness of our recollections, I 
need say no more. 

When the present session began our friend was not among us. A 
sickness like a decay, first lingering, then hastening, had fallen upon 
him. The mind remained clear and unperturbed, while the bodily 
powers were failing, until near the close, when he sank into uncon- 
ciousness and fell asleep. He had lived his three-score and ten 
years, and his official life among us was just approaching its end. 
We had hoped for some more years of a serene and honored old age, 
but these could have added nothing to the beauty of that life or the 
value of that example. 

An incident which occurred on the day of his funeral may perhaps 
fitly close these reminiscences. All the morning, in the home where 


he had so long dwelt, his body lay in its still repose, while friends 
and acquaintances from his own and adjacent communities passed 
in long procession through the silent room, taking one last look at 
the face of the departed. It was an impressive scene; great dig 
nitaries were there, cabinet officers, Senators, Representatives, gov 
ernors, and judges of the land; young and old, rich and poor, men 
and women, the wise, the brilliant, and the beautiful. Among them 
all was observed a humble negro couple, advanced in years. With 
bowed faces they paused at the coffin, gazed upon the calm features 
with tears streaming down their dusky cheeks, and passed on burst 
ing into irrepressible sobs as they moved from the apartment. No 
one knew the story of those tears, but from what I know of the dead 
I am sure that there was a story in them, and I call to mind the 
words of Him who said, " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of 
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

The history of such a man is the best delineation of his character. 
Posterity will affirm of him that his own age was the better for his 
life, and his example the best legacy that he could leave to succeed 
ing generations. 


Mr. PRESIDENT : The warm friendship I have for years enter 
tained for Governor BUCKINGHAM and my high estimate of his char 
acter forbid that I suffer this occasion to pass away without, as 
briefly as I may, paying to his memory a parting tribute. 

In speaking of him we need not resort to any studied phraseology 
from the fear that a freedom of expression might unwittingly un 
cover characteristic faults ; and I offend no one who hears me by 
saying that if his excellence has not been readily recognized, it is 
because of a moral vision too defective to discern a portraiture of 
many virtues. 



In his death the nation and society have sustained a loss not 
readily repaired. That combination of integrity and efficiency, of 
prudence and courage, of kindness and firmness, of patriotism and 
Christian virtue which formed his character is not often found. As 
a man of extensive business connections, his opinions on affairs were 
sought after and respected; and his punctuality in the performance 
of every obligation was an example. As the war-governor of Con 
necticut he contributed much to the preservation of the nation, and 
has shed a luster on the history of his native State. As our com 
panion here, his wisdom and judgment commanded our respect, his 
virtues won our esteem, and his generous kindness secured our affec 
tion. As a member of the Committee on Commerce his extensive 
practical experience gave weight and authority to his opinions, and 
as chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs he was jealous of 
the rights of the red man, and seemed never to forget the mutations 
in the sad fortunes of that decaying people never to forget that we 
had "extinguished their council-fires and plowed up the bones of 
their fathers," and that we were the debtors to the little remnant of 
a once great race and that the debt would never be adjusted. 

Sir, the heroes of the Roman republic made their country their 
god, their idol. To it they so sacrificed the interests of every other 
nation and the welfare of mankind that their so-called patriotism be 
came a vice. Our lamented friend had higher inspirations. He had 
been taught by Him who prescribed a virtue to the heart out of which 
naturally grew not only a pure patriotism, but that philanthropy 
which takes within its kindly care an immortal race. Patriotism 
itself becomes subordinate to this more comprehensive beneficence. 
When the sad tidings of the death of our friend passed over the 
wires, thousands and thousands of the best people of the country 
were saddened. Those who while we are engaged in making laws 
to impose on society external restraints are noiselessly and unobtru 
sively at work in imposing and impressing on society the more potent 


and more salutary internal restraints of a pure religion, feel that in 
his death they have lost an efficient co-worker, a wise counselor, and 
a bright exemplar. His was a bright example ; and as he had no 
moral obliquities to hide, he had no temptation to resort to pretension 
or to become a prude in virtue. 

The faith he professed received from him no prejudice and no 
damage. His life was the expression of " an honest, earnest, loving 
heart, taking counsel of its God and of itself." 

His many excellencies, however, gave him no exemption from the 
solemn summons that must come to all ; but they did render that 
summons a message of peace. And we, while lamenting him, may 
experience a cheerful gratitude that he was permitted to accomplish 
so much good, and then to leave us the confident assurance that he 
has met the reward of the just. His object in life was not his own 
aggrandizement or the gratification of a mere personal ambition. 
With him the question was not, What shall I get ? Where shall I 
go ? but the question was, What shall I be ? So far as he lived for 
himself, it was (to borrow the figure of another) " to frame and 
construct an instrument called character," from which we, in our 
daily intercourse, were wont to hear notes of sweet harmony, but the 
full music of which has now just begun. 

As in the clammy cave the continual droppings day by day and 
year by year form the stalagmite grotesque or beautiful so are we 
all, by each act, each thought, each purpose, forming our characters. 

Our fortunes, our associations, our reputations, we leave behind 
us; but this character, thus continuously and imperceptibly being 
formed, we take with us, and keep with us throughout the endless 
cycles of eternity. 


Mr. PRESIDENT : The public career of our late friend and associate 
has been recited by the honorable Senator from Connecticut, who 


was his colleague, with an interesting completeness that renders 
unnecessary an additional word. Yet an expression of sorrow and 
sympathy from this side of the Senate cannot be unwelcome or 
inappropriate upon this occasion. I entered this body on the same 
day as our late friend and brother, having never previously had 
personal acquaintance with him ; and although the committees upon 
which we were allotted service by the Senate were different, yet rela 
tions of a kindly nature soon grew up between us, arising from the 
contact of general business in this Chamber. I was greatly won by 
the considerate courtesy which so eminently marked his bearing, and 
our acquaintance grew closely with the lapse of time, until a senti 
ment of what I am glad to believe was one of mutual regard 
established itself between us. Our affiliations in party politics were 
totally diverse, and upon such questions the sense of duty enter 
tained by each led our voices and our votes usually in opposite 

Our habits of life, the schools of thought and action in which we 
had been reared, had always been of a different character, leading 
us into the adoption of different theories of social and political 
government. But the calmness, the serenity, the cheerful, steady, 
and open advocacy of his conscientious views never suggested 
condemnation or disrespect of those who opposed him. I well 
remember on one occasion, when I had combated in debate some 
opinion he evidently cherished, that, fearing he might have considered 
himself included in my adverse criticisms, I said to him privately, 
" I trust you will let me agree with you and yet denounce your 
opinions." And with a smile of graciousness which every one who 
knew him must remember, he placed his arm around my shoulder 
and said : " My dear friend, we both mean what is right, and must 
not condemn each other because we differ in our ways of attaining 

In the winter of 181-2 Mr. BUCKINGHAM was the chairman of 


a committee of investigation of which I was a member, which sat in 
the city of New York for nearly two months. Its sessions were long 
and laborious, by night and by day, involving much that was calcu 
lated to arouse contest between the members. And I would here 
bear witness to the unfailing industry, the unflagging attention there 
bestowed upon this public duty by this then aged and venerable 
man, whose gentle courtesy and good temper never failed upon any 
occasion. The long life of our friend had been, as we have just 
been told, one of steady industry and solid, unvarying integrity ; and 
the reward of wealth and the higher reward of public and private 
regard and respect were his. The people of his native State have 
attested in many ways and repeatedly their high opinion of his intel 
ligence and worth, and placed him for many successive terms in the 
chair of their chief magistracy, and sent him into this council cham 
ber as one of their representatives. Full of years and honors, they 
now mourn for him. 

Let his virtues be written upon marble and remembered* and imi 
tated by those of us who survive him. Let such faults and imper 
fections as are ever attendant upon humanity pass from our minds 
and find that mercy and forgiveness for which he earnestly and hum 
bly sought and of which we all stand so much in need. Senators, 
our hearts meet now over this new grave of a departed brother. 
Shall not this communion of sorrow keep us less far apart in the 
performance of those daily duties upon which we are in a few hours 
again to embark ? 



The chamber where the good man meets his fate 

Is privileged beyond the common walk 

Of virtuous life ; quite in the verge of heaven. 

The resolution of the Senator from Connecticut bids us pause in 


the proceedings of the closing session, that we may render honor to 
a good man ; one who in a long life, crowded with active duties and 
largely occupied with the responsible control of important public 
affairs, did not fail in what he owed to himself and to his fellow-men, 
and who has left on his record nothing that those who love him best 
and who grieve for him most would wish to efface. 
There is nothing certain in life but death. 

Leaves have their time to fall, 

And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath, 
And stars io set ; but all 

Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death ! 

And when death comes early, when it crushes the budding love 
liness of childhood or treads upon the bloom of youth, or even when 
it tramples on the strength of manhood, the natural grief that we 
feel is aggravated, because the event is as untimely as it is severe ; 
and we murmur that it contradicts the order of nature. 

But when the pale messenger lays his hand upon an accomplished 
life, a life that has rounded out the years which experience and in 
spiration assign as the desirable limit of human duration; when 
these years have been occupied with usefulness, rewarded by success, 
and crowned with honor ; when a good man, having discharged the 
duties ' and fulfilled the trusts of life, lies down, calmly and peace 
fully, to his final repose, we may grieve, but we are not permitted to 
complain. The tears of affection may not indeed be kept back, but 
the voice of reason is silenced. To complain at the close of such a 
life is to complain that the ripened fruit drops from the overloaded 
bough, that the golden harvest bends to the sickle ; it is to complain 
of the law of our existence, and to accuse the Creator that He did 
not make man immortal on the earth. For such a life eloquence 
shall lift her voice and poetry shall string her lyre. For such a man, 
praise, honor, imitation ; but not tears ! Tears for him who has 
failed ; tears for him who fainted on the wayside ; not for him who 


finished the journey; tears for him who, through his fault or his mis 
fortune, omitted to employ the opportunities that were given to him 
for the work that was assigned to him, not for him who had died 
when he had accomplished that for which he lived. 

We will lament, therefore, in no complaining spirit, for the man 
whose memory we celebrate to-day. With our grief that he has 
died shall be mingled our thankfulness that he has lived. The State 
that he served so faithfully and so well, in the time of our greatest 
emergency, proudly lifts his name and inscribes it on the roll of her 
honored and remembered sons. And the history of that State can 
not be fairly written without honorable mention of his character 
and his services. The Senate which he informed with wise counsels, 
which he adorned with dignity of manner and with purity of life, 
bears equal testimony to his abilities and to his virtues, and equal 
honor to his memory. 


Mr. PRESIDENT : I rise to add a word to what has been so well 
and so eloquently said by the Senator from Connecticut and those 
who followed to the memory of his late colleague and our departed 

My acquaintance with Governor BUCKINGHAM commenced upon 
my entrance into the Senate in 1871. A joint service with him upon 
the Committee on Indian Affairs brought us closely together, and I 
soon learned to honor and respect him. I shall not speak of his 
public service in the Senate ; it was known to us all ; it was appre 
ciated by all. 

Governor BUCKINGHAM was a man of decided character. With 
out brilliancy, he possessed a strong, clear judgment, was a man of 
decided opinions and strong convictions, from which he never 

He was eminently industrious and attentive to his official duties, 


but always gentle and courteous in the discharge of them. But his 
example, Mr. President, to the Senate and to the world possessed 
a higher value. Earthly distinction is of "the earth, earthy;" it 
attracts and dazzles for a brief period and then passes away and 
perisheth; but a conscience void of offense before God and man is 
an inheritance for eternity. And such, I believe, was the possession 
of the late WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM. His religious convictions 
were of the highest and deepest type. No irreverence, no frivolity, no 
loud professions of his faith ever escaped his lips. He believed that 
pure religion and undented before God and the Father was to visit 
the fatherless and widows in their afflictions and to keep himself 
unspotted from the world. This he illustrated in his daily life; this 
he rejoiced in in his calm and quiet life. He lived in hope; he 
died in triumph. 

Mr. President, as I stood but a few days ago in the still, quiet 
cemetery of that beautiful city where he lived, and which holds now 
all that is mortal of the dead Senator, I beheld such a demonstration 
of all classes, such grief as filled me with a just appreciation of how 
INGHAM had died. His memory will be cherished so long as the 
recollection of his virtue, his faith, and his fidelity remains ; and 
these should never perish. Senators, we shall see him no more; 
but he has given to each and all of us that bright example to be 
always ready at the summons which we know awaits us all. 


Mr. PRESIDENT : Only heart-words, words of truth, are of value or 
to be weighed by speaker or hearer on such an occasion as that now 
before us. And to me not the least gratifying reflection is that the 
highest tribute which can be paid our late colleague is that the 
heart's richest and warmest promptings and utterances may be and 


are those of entire and simple truthfulness. Still it remains that in 
this presence, remembering as we do his manly and Christian 
bearing as a citizen and Senator, we feel how poor are mere words 
to do even partial justice to his great excellence and many virtues. 

I met Governor BUCKINGHAM for the first time when taking my 
seat in this Chamber nearly four years since. I was then, as always 
afterward, impressed, as I know all were, with his amiable disposi 
tion, sterling worth, his devotion to right and duty, his unobtrusive 
manner, his ever earnest advocacy of the cause of the weak and 
oppressed, his Christain faith, and, what was far more, his Chris 
tian life. 

I but repeat what has been said by others when I say that his 
work here was not so much in mere appearance or show as in its 
quiet and practical value to the Senate and the country. Partici 
pating in our debates but seldom, he nevertheless, in those matters 
requiring patient industry, tireless investigation, watchfulness, the 
care of the conscientious business man, yea, of pure purpose 
and clear brain and judgment, was ever at home, had but few 
equals, was the peer of any. And hence, as my acquaintance 
ripened into warm friendship, and I came to know more and more 
of his purity of purpose and the thoroughness of his investigations, 
if in doubt as to my course, I simply asked what has he said or 
advised, what was his vote, and followed his lead. I knew his path 
could not and would not probably lead me from the right, could not 
be other than that of safety. His was always a " straight road," and 
a traveler in this never gets lost. 

The public life of such a man always tells for the welfare of the 
Republic. The public measure of true greatness is not infrequently 
greatly at fault. For the nation's upbuilding, for the nation's quiet, 
for the nation's strength, for the nation's perpetuity, we need indus 
trious, faithful, practical, and not merely brilliant official life, high 
and practical moral worth and conduct, rather than mere cultivated 


brain or intellect, indifferent to or unmindful of the only safe or 
reliable element and basis of true greatness. Goodness is greatness. 
The good are great. Only the truly good can be truly great. 
High, true, moral worth and greatness in the individual and the 
nation are hence of greater value in securing obedience to law, the 
repression of any and all spirit of violence, guaranteeing justice to 
every citizen and all rights to all, than written constitutions, all 
statutes, the whole police power of the Government. To one thus 
imbued the nation should and always will look as a reliable legis 
lator, a leader to be safely followed, a citizen to be revered and 
respected; and his life-work is felt not alone while he, though ever 
so modestly, in person points the way, but in the nation's coming 
or after years as well. 

Such in a pre-eminent degree was the life of our friend. He was 
a conscientious and just man, just to his political opponents and to 
his friends. His moral character lifted him above the criminations 
of party strife, the breath of suspicion itself. There was with him 
always a wise and a considerate propriety of conduct, a love of 
truth, the deepest sense of moral and religious obligation, an 
unaffected modesty, the absence of all selfish feelings, a benevolent 
and kindly charity, which was both a principle and rule of his life 
and an innate sentiment of his very heart. " In him there was no 
glare, nothing to dazzle, but an abundance of that pure, mellow 
light of declining evening upon which we all love to look." When 
the sun went down upon such a life, the nation justly and truly 
mourned. His was a worthy and noble ambition. He filled well 
and honorably the highest and most sacred trusts. Respected and 
loved by his State, revered by all, elected to and taking high position 
in the highest deliberative body of the world, having attained what 
all men esteem, almost if not quite, the topmost round of fame's ever 
up-reaching ladder, he, in the language of another, " stepped thence 
to the skies." Who of us next shall join him ? 



Mr. PRESIDENT : I put on no sable, none of the trappings of woe, 
to stand by the bier of BUCKINGHAM. I recall no single trait in his 
character, njD incident in his career, to bow me with a sense of 
humiliation. On the contrary, the memory of all the years I knew 
him fills me with exultation. To be sure, as I look to the chair he 
occupied, I miss the breathing benediction which always seemed to 
emanate from it while he sat there. As I look into the saddened 
faces of the Senate, I see clearly "he is not here." But not one 
angel only, a multitude, rather, which no man hath numbered, all in 
shining garments, assure me "he is risen." 

And then, sir, I remember with grateful pride that he was an 
American Senator. 

I need not remind you how in these latter years calumny has 
emptied all its vials upon the heads of public men and upon the 
endeavors of public life. It has really seemed at times as if the 
fountains of falsehood's great deeps were broken up, and that 
society, which can no more be overwhelmed by floods, was to be 
drowned by detraction. A friend told me that when traveling 
along a railway in New England two years ago, she heard a fellow- 
traveler declare with emphasis his settled belief that there was not 
an honest man in either House of Congress. But BUCKINGHAM 
was then here. And who of all who knew him will doubt that when 
he left us, as white a soul as ever passed the pearly gates, went from 
the Senate to his waiting seat among the seraphim ? 

It is but a modest space which his utterances occupy in the 
records of our deliberations. But meager as it is, we could illy 
afford to spare them from that record. What he said, he considered 
well ; and he had that rare wisdom which is born of steady judg 
ment, ripe experience, unerring conscience, and patriotic purpose. 

Could he have taken a transcript of those utterances with him he 


would have needed no other evidence upon which to challenge that 
prize he most coveted the final reward of his Creator of "Well 
done, good and faithful." 

Nay, sir, could those readiest of all writers, who photograph the 
daily debates of the Senate, have accompanied him constantly and 
so have furnished a transcript of his daily conversation, he might, I 
fondly believe, have taken the whole with him as the picture of a 
life directed to the loftiest aims, guided by a gentle courtesy which 
lured a world to follow, and inspired by a generous toleration which 
wholly disarmed the envy, and half consoled the chagrin, of all who 
failed to keep pace with him. 

I do not mean to detain the Senate by the attempt to sketch his 
characteristics ; that would be needless if it were not vain. What 
rhetoric can do to embalm those characteristics has been fitly done. 
Posterity may drink new inspirations from the record of the testi 
mony which the Senate this day bears to the worth of a colleague. 
We are privileged to remember what posterity can only read. Ours 
is the higher privilege. Speech is not quite adequate to portray 
a character so simple and so grand as that we commemorate. He 
was his own best expositor. One who has stood before the broad, 
open, clear, pure, white corolla of the Victoria regia is not apt to be 
enthused by any description of it, however faithful. We have seen 
BUCKINGHAM, and lived and worked with him. 

One incident in his life I will venture to recall, which not inaptly 
illustrates his enduring excellence. By command of the Senate, I 
was with others assigned but three years ago to aid the deceased on 
the investigation of alleged abuses in the customs service in New 
York. It was an irksome task, yet we prosecuted it for weeks. 
Daily we were splashed with the foul humors engendered in the 
glandered politics of a great city. Malice unwound a hideous web 
before us, shot with a thread of fact to a shuttleful of falsehood. 

During the whole trial I did not once hear from him a censorious 


remark or even a petulant exclamation. It was evident he was 
human and that he felt. Occasionally, when the manifestations 
were especially spiteful, his countenance would wear that mingled 
expression of pain and resignation which art has so long and so vainly 
toiled to reproduce in some ecce homo that look, half willing and 
half shrinking, which one fancies the shuddering Saviour wore as 
there broke from his lips the supplication, " If it be possible, let this 
cup pass from me." "Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be 
done." But the poultice of a night relieved the suffering, and each 
succeeding day restored him to his work, showing no more trace of 
scars from the inflictions of the yesterdays than the sun bore which 
lighted him to his work. 

Mr. President, I have long felt to regret that I never heard Jenny 
Lind sing, that I never saw Rachel act. They must have been 
marvelous specimens of art. Governor BUCKINGHAM was a grand 
piece of nature. I shall always regret that I could not have known 
him in domestic life. I am persuaded that was his masterpiece. I 
never saw him in the presence of a child. But I partly know what 
he was as a father. Once he spoke to me of a daughter, and no 
June morning ever suffused the eastern sky with a more genial 
radiance than that which broke over the face of the father as he told 
me how good that daughter was. 

Sir, I should wrong the memory of Governor BUCKINGHAM and 
grieve his truthful spirit, only that his spirit is beyond the reach of 
grief, if I should neglect to bear testimony to one thing. There is 
in this unbelieving generation a loud, if not a large element, desper 
ate if not devilish, hoping nothing here and fearing nothing here 
after, which screams with derision of the Christian statesman! 
Standing by the grave of Governor BUCKINGHAM I must not forget 
to tell the world that he was what I have never dared pretend to be 
a Christian statesman. 

Mr. President, do not imagine because I am so filled with boast- 


ing of the illustrious dead that I for a moment forget he is dead. 
These fond memories, bright as they are, cannot delude me into for- 
getfulness that memories are all we have left of him. Sir, I am not 
at all insensible to the greatness of our loss. 

I have met with a personal loss. He made me feel he was my 
friend, and I believe still he was my friend. But there was no rea 
son why he should be, except in that broad and liberal sense in 
which he was the friend of everybody. Still, if I knew the idea of 
his personal regard was a delusion, it is so sweet a delusion I should 
cling to it and should still feel that I had lost the society of a cher 
ished friend. 

The Senate has lost an associate upon whose counsels it was apt 
to lean and in whose companionship it did always delight. 

The country has lost the services of a statesman upon whose wis 
dom, whose experience, whose unflinching courage, unfaltering 
integrity, and unswerving patriotism she had learned to rely. 

The State of Connecticut has lost a citizen whom she was 
delighted to honor. All these losses are very heavy. But have we 
a right to repine at such losses ? He was spared to us so long ; he 
had just filled up his three-score and ten years. Surely we ought to 
consent to a return of even the richest of God's loans at some time. 

And then he was so exactly ripe. The suns of seventy summers 
had set their seal upon him. All had mellowed, not one had 
parched him. He stood upon the summit of the long ascent, not 
travel-worn, not spent with toil, but new-breathed and fresh in spirit, 
with all the brightest hopes that blossomed on his youth not faded 
but fruited in that grand but simple faith which sustained and 
guided his maturer years. He seemed to us rather " as if an angel 
dropped down from the clouds " than a man climbed up from the 

Sir, our losses may be calculated, though not readily. Indeed 
they may be repaired, though not easily. 


There is, however, in that busy Connecticut a family circle 
broken up by a loss which cannot be calculated or repaired by mere 
human appliances. I could not forget on this occasion that there 
are such sufferers, yet I know it does not belong to such as I to 
speak to them. 

A friend told me but a few weeks since that it happened to him 
one day last summer to discover, while at dinner, that himself 
and his daughter were to start for a distant city over the same 
highway by different trains, leaving only an hour apart. The 
family smiled at the coincidence. 

We cannot now lift up those who bend over the grave of BUCK 
INGHAM ; but we can comfort ourselves with the assurance that the 
same great faith which always sustained him, will in time enable 
those who mourn him to lift the curtain which separates two 
worlds, and then they will see that the departed is but one with 
whom it is a dear delight to travel, who has taken an earlier train 
for a common destination. 


Mr. PRESIDENT: I can do no more than express my high appre 
ciation of the character of the deceased as it was manifested during 
the years he sat among us. My acquaintance with him began when 
he entered the Senate, and the friendly relations that soon followed 
were never marred by any difference of opinion, however great. I 
always found him polite, amiable, and ready to oblige a noble spe 
cimen of a true gentleman. I always found him an industrious and 
careful legislator, distinguished by an excellent judgment, and natu 
rally inclined, I believe, to moderation. Earnest in the discharge 
of his duties, he was never obtrusive, never presumptuous, and 

3 B 


never said a word calculated to inflict a wound. And hence, when 
he last walked from this Chamber he left no one within its walls 
who did not feel for him respect, kindness, and esteem. A Senator 
of whom after years of service this can truly be said needs little 
more of eulogy. There is so much to create passion, prejudice, or 
ill-will in the contests imposed upon us by a discharge of our duties, 
that he who finishes his senatorial career with the universal good 
will and respect of his brethren is most surely a character that merits 
commemoration and honor. 


Mr. PRESIDENT : Twice has death entered this Chamber during 
the Forty-third Congress and taken from our midst associates with 
whom we held daily counsel. Twice with unerring aim has he 
struck down those we honored for their wisdom, admired for their 
virtues, and who commanded our respect by the fidelity with which 
they performed their public duties here. 

When the first one fell it was as when a monarch tree falls, with 
out warning, in the silent forest. Far and wide the vibrations 
reach. In his case they crossed the ocean, and their echoes only 
ceased when the limit was reached where the language in which he 
clothed his thoughts is spoken. In him were centered genius, learn 
ing, culture, experience, profound conviction, and purity of soul. 
All the world reached by his fame said a great man had fallen. 

Scarcely had we accustomed ourselves to the absence from his 
well-known seat in this Chamber of Charles Sumner, when the insa 
tiate archer aimed his fatal shaft at another shining mark, and 
to-day we mourn the death of WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM. Putting 


aside our daily tasks, we have set apart this hour to pay such 
respect as feeble words will permit to the memory of this honored 
public servant and eminently good man whose face we shall see no 
more. We turn instinctively to that vacant chair he occupied ; we 
recall the white crown, emblem of purity, which he who filled it 
wore ; the benevolent face, the kind manner, the uniform courtesy 
which were always his. We cannot realize that this familiar pres 
ence is forever gone from our midst. With me it is a melancholy 
pleasure to have the opportunity to speak a few sad words of the 
deceased which shall testify of the respect in which I held him while 
living, and the honor in which I hold his memory. 

I wish it were in my power, sir, to paint in true colors his portrait 
and hold up to others who knew him less those rare traits of charac 
ter and courtesies of manner which made him at once an object of 
deepest respect and love. 

I met him first in this Chamber nearly six years ago, and while 
many of his associates may lay claim to a greater intimacy than I 
enjoyed, no one, I feel sure, more sincerely mourns his loss. With 
perfect truth I can say, that in all the acquaintances I have formed 
with public men since coming to this Capitol, no one has impressed 
me more strongly as being thoroughly conscientious and honest in 
his public and private life than Mr. BUCKINGHAM. 

He was a statesman in the best sense of that term. What makes 
a statesman ? Not knowledge alone, however wide, deep, varied, and 
all-comprehensive ; not mere quickness of apprehension to detect the 
latent fallacy in argument or proposition ; not large experience with 
men and subjects in the legislative forum, nor familiarity with parlia 
mentary rules; it does not consist alone in great powers of debate. 
All these may co-exist, and yet something be wanting to complete our 
beau idtol of the statesman. What is the lack ? What is still want 
ing? I reply, perfect integrity, broad philanthropy, and an ardent 
patriotism, which, discarding selfish aims and local benefits, seek to 


elevate the whole people, to make them wiser and better, and to pro 
mote their material welfare. 

Such statesmanship in our exterior relations avoids wars and re 
moves all causes of war. It cultivates friendly relations and seeks 
no unjust advantages; and in our domestic concerns frames equal 
and just laws, favoring no classes, but providing for the well-being 
and happiness of all. 

Statesmanship of this stamp ignores State lines in our national 
legislation, and regards the whole brotherhood of States with equal 
favor, and dispenses equal justice and benefits to all. 

I do not mean that it forgets or should forget the past so far as 
precaution is necessary to prevent the recurrence of disturbances 
affecting the well-being of the whole; nor that it should omit the 
most stringent remedies to curb the lawless and repress violence. 
But statesmanship harbors no malice nor resentments, but seeks to 
forget the animosities engendered by war and to build up the waste 

To this highest type of statesmanship he belonged whose memory 
we honor to-day. He was not a great orator, upon whose utterances 
men hung with bated breath ; he did not mingle frequently in debate; 
he did not aspire to the honor of leadership, nor was his education as 
comprehensive as that of many. He made no pretense to superior 
mental culture. But he possessed that practical knowledge of the 
affairs of the country; its varied industries and wants; its internal 
and foreign commerce ; its growing manufactures ; its vast agricul 
tural and mineral resources, and especially that knowledge of our 
relations with the various Indian tribes, to which subject he gave so 
much of his attention as the chairman of the Committee on Indian 
Affairs, as to eminently qualify him to be a judicious adviser in this 
body and to frame appropriate laws upon these subjects. 

Without making any pretense to the graces of oratory, he possessed 
the faculty of setting forth his views in a way all could understand. 



With this was coupled that sincerity of manner that made all men 
respect if they could not adopt his views. 

And while dwelling upon his course in this "Chamber let me allude 
to another matter. Debates sometimes engender heat and hasty 
speech. But who can forget his unvarying courtesy ? Who ever 
saw him forget for a single moment the propriety of debate? Who 
ever heard fall from his lips a word calculated to offend or wound ? 
Who ever saw his brow cloud with anger or his face flush with sud 
den passion ? Who ever suspected him of equivocation or double- 
dealing ? No, sir ; he was the soul of truth the embodiment of 
honor. In him centered the virtues which make up the Christian 

I do not undertake to enter upon the history of his life before he 
came here. That work has been done by his colleague. It is enough 
to know that he was a self-made man, springing from humble life, 
with imperfect early advantages. He was first a farmer, then a mer 
chant, then a manufacturer, before his fellow-citizens called him to 
a higher sphere of action. They wisely judged that he who with 
such intelligence and probity managed his private affairs might 
safely be trusted with the administration of the affairs of the Com 
monwealth. For eight years we know, by successive elections, he 
filled the office of chief magistrate of the State of Connecticut. 
This long term of service covered a period of great trial and respon 
sibility, when the civil war that was raging imposed upon the execu 
tives of the States duties of greatest magnitude. He belonged to 
that noble fraternity of war-governors upon whom Mr. Lincoln 
leaned for support in the darkest hours of the war. How Governor 
BUCKINGHAM performed these duties, how he pledged his own ample 
estate to put the military forces of Connecticut into the field, we all 

When the war was over and peace returned, the gratitude, the 
confidence, the love of his people sent him here to represent them in 


the highest legislative forum of the country. With what fidelity he 
performed this his last and highest trust, you, my fellow-Senators, 
are the witnesses. 

Advanced years invited him to repose. He possessed fortune and 
friends. He could well have claimed that he had done his full share 
of public duty and earned a good title to be retired, but the habits of 
a life of active usefulness would not allow him to do this. From the 
early morning of life, all through its meridian and afternoon, he had 
been a faithful worker ; and he could not lay aside the habits which 
had grown to be part of his nature, when the evening approached, 
and so, it may be said of him, he died in the harness. 

Contact with the world, its jostlings and collisions, had no effect 
to mar the simplicity of his character or cool the warmth of his heart. 
That retained a freshness almost boyish. Though he had climbed 
far up the Alpine heights, so that the glistening peak was near at 
hand, and winter snows all around him, he looked down upon the 
valleys below glowing with tropical gorgeousness, and sympathized 
with the joyousness of earth's youth, the laughter of children, the 
music of birds, the joy and hope and universal gladness, without 
envy or a sigh that he could not descend but must hold on his way 
until the bleak summit was reached. 

The cold winds which made havoc with his gray hairs and chilled 
the surface, could not reach the warm heart which beat beneath. 

Rare old and yet young man ! long shall we miss that face radiant 
with goodness; that courtesy which never varied, that manner void 
of all pretension, that wisdom and probity which promptly met and 
solved the problems, many and full of difficulty, which rose here. 
In his life he was a model to be studied by those who doubt the 
power of truth, of frankness, and straightforwardness to win the 
highest prizes which men seek. He has gone to his rest, full of hon 
ors and ripe in years, without an enemy and without a blot. From 
far and near the people of his native State gathered at his funeral 


to pay the last tribute of respect. Ere long there will rise in yonder 
Congressional Cemetery, so beautiful in its surroundings, a monu 
ment to commemorate that another member of Congress has passed 
away during his term of service. On it I would have inscribed, 
under the name of our departed friend, " He feared God, he loved 
his fellow-man, he tried to do his duty." 


Mr. PRESIDENT : To the student of our political system, the Amer 
ican Senate is one of the most interesting and significant institutions 
of our Government. Itsinembers change, vanish, and disappear, 
but like the king, it never dies. Amid the mutations and vicissitudes 
of our national affairs, so far as anything human can be immutable, 
it continues stable and permanent. It has no periods nor epochs. 
Administration follows administration, and Congress succeeds Con 
gress, like fast-ensuing waves, but the Senate flows onward in an 
unbroken current through our history like the Gulf Stream, that 
majestic ocean-river, amid the fluctuations of the sea. 

It is the same body to-day that assembled at the adoption of the 
Constitution. It has no interregnum nor end of days. Its functions 
never cease. Bora with the birth of the nation, it has gro.wn with 
its growth and will end only with its death. Administrations close, 
and their history can be written. Congresses adjourn, and the ver 
dict of their labors can be recorded and their influence upon the 
country measured and estimated, but the history of the Senate is the 
history of the Republic. 

When the " inevitable hour " arrives, which is common to nations 
as to individuals, and the destiny of America has been accomplished ; 
when the representatives of the people shall finally adjourn and 


depart from these Halls forever, and the great dome in whose 
shadow we assemble shall be surrendered to decay, those who for 
the last time depart from this Chamber will be the lineal successors 
of those who first took the oath as Senators of the United States. 

Removed by these conditions of its existence from the vehement 
agitation, flame, and passion of popular elections, though not suffi 
ciently remote to be insensible to public opinion, the Senate repre 
sents what is most stable and deliberate in the national judgment. 
Its orbit resists the perturbations and disturbances to which the 
other members of the system are subject, and marks the definite 
path of the progress of the nation. 

From the nature of its functions, the character of its deliberations 
is largely determined. The rancor of partisanship is dulled. The 
wildest excesses of the champions of popular rights are curbed. 
Courtesy and decorum are the rule of debate, and the purpose of 
the orator is less to rouse the passions than to convince the judg 

The dead Senator whose virtues we here recall possessed in an 
eminent degree the qualities that should pertain to that high office. 

As a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs, of which he 
was chairman, it was my good fortune to be brought for a brief 
space into friendly and intimate relations with Governor BUCKING 
HAM, and the memory of his virtues will always remain among the 
most valued reminiscences of my life. 

Entering the public service at a period past the maturity of his 
years, without special training or previous legislative experience, he 
did not aspire to eminence in debate, nor strive for the triumphs of 
oratory, but was distinguished for practical judgment in affairs of 
state, and for a purity of purpose that was never surpassed among 
the servants of the Republic. 

While the powers of his intellect were upon a high plane, yet were 
I called upon to define the impression that remains strongest with 


me, I should say it was that of incomparable rectitude and integrity. 
To do right seemed less a dictate of conscience than an inevitable 
law of his being. Without disparagement to others, and with no 
faith in the vulgar imputations upon the mortality of public men, 
there was a conspicuous luster in the soul of Governor BUCKINGHAM 
that impressed all who were brought within the scope of his influ 

Micat inter omnes 
Velut inter ignes Luna minores. 

The rewards of gratified ambition and the applause of mankind 
possess allurements that few who can obtain them are able to 
resist; but there is an hour which comes to all when they lose their 
power, and are as valueless as the vanished breath from which they 

At the dark portals of the grave, the vestibule of the world to 
come, it is better to have been good than to have been great. Mr. 
President, as we reflect upon the strange problem of human life, we 
are impressed with its incompleteness. Everything is fragmentary. 
Nothing is perfected. Man dies, leaving the labor of his life unfin 
ished, and his works do follow him. It is an admonition and a 
warning, but not without prophecy ; not without hope that some 
future career of renewed activity may perfect the destiny interrupted 
here. To this law of our existence the career of Governor BUCK 
INGHAM was an apparent exception. The orb of his life was nearly 
rounded ; he had reached the allotted period of existence without 
abatement of his powers ; fortune favored his labors, and the 
wealth which his industry had accumulated was distributed by 
benevolence ; and those to whom he was most endeared had pre 
ceded him to the land of shadows ; his State recognized his claim 
to the highest civic honors, and the nation, by the obsequies which 
we here solemnize, transmits his memory as a priceless heritage, a 
stimulus, and an example to the latest generation of American cit 



Mr. PRESIDENT : If I was called upon to state the distinguishing 
characteristics of Governor BUCKINGHAM, I should agree with the 
Senator from Kansas that they were his high conscientiousness at all 
times and under all circumstances, and his charity. It seemed to me 
that Governor BUCKINGHAM always tried to do right, and that that 
consideration was ever uppermost in his mind. He had charity for 
all; he attributed good motives to all, and to those who differed 
from him the most widely in politics he attributed patriotism and 
integrity. I never heard him say an evil word of any human being. 
He was a man of strong sense. He discussed questions on this floor 
not generally from a legal stand-point, for he was not a lawyer, but 
oftener from a moral point of view, from a common-sense and a busi 
ness point of view. He was industrious, and his purpose was always 
to do his duty in small things as well as in great. 

What more, Mr. President, can I say in addition to what has 
already been better said by others, unless it be one or two things 
somewhat of a personal character ? 

I first met Governor BUCKINGHAM when he took his seat in this 
body on the 4th of March, 1869. I felt from the first that we were 
friends, and we were. He always expressed a deep interest in my 
health ; his inquiries were always tender and almost from day to day. 
Though I had never met Governor BUCKINGHAM until that time, 
yet we had been in correspondence years before under circumstances 
of a most solemn character. It was, I think, in the summer of 1862, 
a few weeks, perhaps a month, before the issue of the proclama 
tion of emancipation by Mr. Lincoln, that I received a lengthy let 
ter from Governor BUCKINGHAM, in which he discussed the general 
situation of the country. It was at a gloomy period, when victory 
was not resting upon our arms. Toward the close of the letter he 


suggested the question whether the Government was doing its duty 
in regard to the institution of slavery, and whether we could hope 
for ultimate victory while that institution was protected and pre 
served ; but he expressed himself as uncertain as to whether the 
time had arrived when any step could be taken toward its destruction. 
He said that he had had an interview or a letter-*-! forget which 
but recently, from Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, which had 
led him to write me on the subject. In replying I agreed with him 
upon the main suggestion of his letter, expressing the same doubt, 
however, as to whether the time was ripe, whether public opinion 
was in that condition to authorize the President of the United States 
to take the decisive step which he afterward took. 

During my intercourse with Governor BUCKINGHAM as a member 
of this body he often talked to me about his experience as governor 
during the war. We often compared notes upon that subject. He 
evidently regarded his services as governor of Connecticut during 
the war as the great event of his life, and on several occasions 
expressed his doubts as to whether it was wise or expedient for him 
to accept a seat in this body, and whether he ought not to have retired 
from public life when the war was over. 

Just before the close of the last session, and before his departure, 
he came across to my seat where I am now sitting, and said, " Well, 
we are about to separate. I hope we will meet next winter in 
better health." He said, " I am an old man, and feel that my race 
is nearly run." He said, "There are only three of us left who 
served as governor of our respective States throughout the entire 
war," referring to himself, to Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, and 
to myself. He said that Yates and Andrew were gone, and that 
we, notwithstanding our utmost hopes, must soon follow ; and tak 
ing me by the hand expressed the hope that we should meet the 
coming winter in better health. We parted to meet no more. 



Mr. PRESIDENT : I rise not for the purpose of addressing the 
Senate, but for the purpose of offering an additional resolution. 
Connecticut, by the voice of my distinguished friend and associate, 
[Mr. FERRY,] has pronounced a fitting eulogium upon her honored 
dead. Many Senators have spoken here in fitting terms of his char 
acter and of his many virtues. But a word, sir, and I shall be 

Governor BUCKINGHAM came late into public life, and shortly 
after entering upon it there arose grave and great questions upon 
which men antagonized. Though many years younger than he, I 
had been somewhat in public life. My political convictions differed 
from the convictions of our deceased friend. I am glad to say here 
that however much they differed, though we were not intimate, yet 
our personal relations were always friendly. And, sir, I will say 
here, and I ask for no higher eulogium upon myself either from 
political foe or personal friend, that whatever WILLIAM A. BUCKING 
HAM did in the line of his duty, he did it in all honor and in all 
honesty. If there were differences of opinion between him and 
some of his fellow-citizens, those differences to-day are cast into the 
great lumber-room of the past and are forgotten. He was a gentle 
man a kindly gentleman. Blessed with large wealth, he showered 
it upon the needy. True to his friends, true to his convictions, true 
to those great principles which should govern us all, he went down 
to the grave an honest man. Noble heart, farewell ! Pure, gentle 
spirit, fare thee well! The earth which bears thee dead bears not 
alive a truer gentleman. 

Mr. President, I beg leave to offer this resolution : 

Resolved, That as a further mark of respect for the memory of the 
late Senator BUCKINGHAM the Senate do now adjourn. 

The resolution was unanimously agreed to ; and (at six o'clock 
and fifty minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned. 





I rise to call up the resolutions just received from the Senate in 
regard to the death of the late Senator BUCKINGHAM. 
The Clerk read as follows : 


febniary 27, 1875. 

Resolved by the Senate, That as an additional mark of respect to 
the memory of WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM, late a Senator from the 
State of Connecticut, business be now suspended, that the friends 
and associates of the deceased may pay fitting tribute to his public 
and private virtues. 

Resolved, That the Secretary communicate this resolution to the 
House of Representatives. 

Mr. SPEAKER : death calls us again to pause amid these busy 
scenes and pressing labors. How frequent the reminder! Half a 
score of those who were numbered with us at the commencement of 
the Forty-third Congress are to-day numbered with the dead. One 
by one loved and trusted associates have fallen among us, and we 
have borne them mournfully away to their resting-places. 


When, a few days since, the intelligence of the death of Senator 
BUCKINGHAM reached this Capitol, there was a deep sense of sad 
ness and bereavement. To us who knew him intimately, who had 
met him in the sunlight of his home, who had felt the glow of his 
pure and generous heart, and had seen its ready response to every 
call of distress; to us who had long known him as the best beloved 
of all the honored names of our Commonwealth, there is a sadness 

I am oppressed with a sense of my inability to sketch even the 
outline of a life so full of noble purposes and grand achievement. 

The community in which I live was bound to Senator BUCKING 
HAM by the most endearing ties. He was born within the limits of 
the district I represent. Here he grew to manhood, here he passed 
all the years of his active business life, here his home, and here among 
his old neighbors and friends, beside the wife of his early love, in 
affectionate remembrance, he finds his resting-place. Within the 
borders of the Commonwealth which he served and honored more 
fully than any public man of this generation he had won the affec 
tionate veneration of the people. 

WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM was born at Lebanon on the 28th of 
May, 1804, the son of an intelligent and thrifty farmer and influen 
tial citizen. He came from good stock. His ancestor, Thomas 
Buckingham, was one of the original settlers of New Haven, and 
the Rev. Thomas Buckingham, son of the latter, settled in Saybrook 
and was one of the founders of Yale College and of the synod that 
formed the Saybrook platform. Counting back seven generations 
from the farmer's son of Lebanon, the " noble war governor," we 
reach the founder of our university. 

He was born and reared amid patriotic associates, for, since the 
days of Jonathan Trumbull, and even in the colonial period, 
Lebanon was pre-eminent for its patriotism. But he did not rest his 
claim for success on illustrious ancestry or fortunate associations, but 


went forth to gain success by his own exertions. All his life has 
been filled with usefulness and crowned with honor. No better 
example can be afforded for our study and imitation. 

His public life consisted mainly of eight years' service as governor 
of Connecticut, commencing in 1858, and ending in 1866, and a 
service of nearly six years in the Senate. Prior to his election as 
governor in 1858, he had often been solicited to accept offices of 
honor and responsibility. These he had uniformly declined, with 
the exception of four years as mayor of Norwich. 

As governor" he showed marked executive ability. When the 
news came of the firing on Sumter, and President Lincoln made his 
first call for troops, he did not wait for an extra session of the legis 
lature to provide means. The public confidence in him was so 
complete that he secured at once ample means, and the troops were 
immediately sent forward for the defense of the nation fully armed 
and equipped for service. His labors were unceasing, and his 
patriotism inspired the people everywhere. During all the war, as 
the chief executive of the State, he devoted himself to the public 
service with a zeal and self-sacrifice that has rarely been equaled, 
and he earned well the title of " noble war governor." Year after 
year he was re-elected; and at the close of the war, when last 
chosen, his majority was unprecedented in our State. He looked 
well to the comfort of the soldiers, and thought little of his own. 
He gave his whole time to the work, and contributed largely of his 
private fortune. In this outline it is impossible to represent the 
measure of his service or his patriotism that won the affection of 
the people and made his name a household word in every home in 
the Commonwealth. 

He had most fully the confidence of President Lincoln, and was 
frequently called by him to advise as to most important matters con 
nected with his administration. 

He comprehended from the first more fully than most of our 


statesmen the nature of the rebellion and the strength and resources 
of the confederacy. In his letter to President Lincoln, dated June 
25, 1861, he said: 

In your message I trust you will ask for authority to organize a 
force of four or five hundred thousand men, for the purpose of quell 
ing the rebellion, and for an appropriation from the public Treasury 
sufficient for their support. Let legislation upon every other subject 
be regarded as out of time and place, and the one great object of 
suppressing the rebellion be pursued by the administration with 
vigor and firmness, without taking counsel of our fears, and without 
listening to any proposition or suggestion which may emanate from 
rebels or their representatives, until the authority of the Government 
shall be respected, its laws enforced, and its supremacy acknowledged 
in every section of the country. To secure such high public interests, 
the State of Connecticut will bind her destinies more closely in those 
of the General Government, and in adopting the measures suggested 
she will unreservedly pledge all her pecuniary and physical resources 
and all her moral power. 

In the most disastrous days, when many lost hope, his faith in the 
success of the Union cause knew no abatement. His zeal and patri 
otism inspired everywhere in our Commonwealth measureless activ 
ity. On every call for troops the State was ready to furnish more 
than its quota, and they went out thoroughly equipped and with the 
best arms. 

Of his service in the Senate there is no need that I should recall 
it here. Although he had received no previous legislative training, 
he entered at once with great aptitude and readiness on his duties. 
He made no claim to oratory, but he had what is better, a fund of 
useful information, a practical knowledge of business, and a ready 
ability to express clearly and forcibly his views. He was systematic, 
industrious, and faithful in a remarkable degree. 

As a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce he mastered 
most fully the important questions that were there presented for dis- 


cussion and action. As chairman of the Committee on Indian 
Affairs he stood resolutely for justice for this stricken race, who so 
sadly need friends. His voice and his vote were always given with 
the most conscientious regard for the public interest and the nation's 

In the Senate he won the respect of his associates, and, judged by 
the work accomplished, the results, the services of Senator BUCK 
INGHAM were eminently successful. 

In private life no language can present him in his true nobility of 
character. As a citizen, enterprising, public-spirited, he had a liberal 
hand for every good work. His benevolence knew no limit. He 
gave liberally to endow schools and colleges and to aid charitable 
institutions, but his contributions which flowed out in a thousand 
directions and which have found no record here will in the aggregate 
exceed those many fold. 

The cause of education found in him an earnest, intelligent advo 
cate. His consistent example for temperance, always inflexibly 
maintained, was more persuasive than the pulpit or the platform. 

His religious convictions were of the highest type, and the pre 
cepts of inspiration were with him the rule of action in his daily life. 
His faith in the Infinite, his love of truth, gave him a grand courage 
in the battle of life. His foundations were sure. He never hesi 
tated or faltered. He met all the great responsibilities and trials of 
life, and triumphed, being upheld 

Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves. 

And while to-day we are clothed in sadness, we acknowledge with 
gratitude the goodness and wisdom of our heavenly Father who has 
given such a life to the world, for his example is immortal. Not 
alone statesmen and those in high places in the council of the nation 
will profit by it, but all who shall come within its beneficent influ 
ence. He died at his home. Tender and sympathizing friends were 

4 B 


with him to minister consolation. He passed peacefully to his earthly 
repose and to the rewards of life immortal. 

There entertain him all the saints above, 

In solemn troop and sweet societies, 
That sing and in their glory move 

And wipe the tear forever from all eyes. 

Great and generous spirit, farewell! 


Mr. SPEAKER : Death, which comes but .once yet comes to all, 
has made fearful havoc in our ranks during the few short weeks of 
this session, and has taught us again and again, if we heed the lesson, 
what shadows we are and what shadows we pursue. Four of our 
own -number, since we came together, less than three months since, 
have been summoned from ^our side and have seen the last of earth. 
And three of the members-elect of the next Congress, having just 
passed through the struggle, the excitement, and the triumph of the 
contest for a place in this Hall, have fallen by the wayside, weary 
with the march of life. And should not this teach us, my brothers, 
how empty and fleeting are the honors and earthly prizes for which 
we strive, and how soon they must elude our grasp ? Should it not 
teach us also that the few years that are given us here should be 
devoted to the work -that shall lead us to a higher and a better life ; 
to works of love and charity and good-will for each other, and kindly 
aid and help to all who need and can receive it at our hands ? Life 
is too short, there is too little of it, to have its days or even its hours 
wasted and worse than wasted in cherishing enmities or wounding 
the heart or the reputation of another who must soon lie side by side 
with us in the grave, " that covers every defect, buries every error, 
and extinguishes every resentment." 


And now the blow has fallen upon a member of the other House, 
whom none could know well without cherishing for him an earnest 
love and admiration when living, and a keen regret and an abiding 
sorrow for his loss when dead. The State of Connecticut to-day 
mourns the departure of her faithful public servant, her honored war- 
governor, her Christian patriot and statesman. No name of all her 
sons in this generation has been more familiar, or spoken with higher 
reverence or warmer affection than his. No name in the long line 
of her honored chief magistrates has commanded a respect and admi 
ration and love beyond his. In the mansions of the rich and by the 
firesides of the lowly, in all her towns and villages, and among all 
her hills and hamlets for years past, the name of WILLIAM A. BUCK 
INGHAM has been a household word. 

There is a beautiful agricultural town in Eastern "Connecticut 
called Lebanon, named, as is said, by one of the early Puritan clergy 
men, in the scriptural fashion of that day, from a grove of goodly 
cedars found w^hin its borders. As Connecticut has sometimes 
been called the mother of States, so that town has well been called 
the mother of her governors. There the Trumbulls, father and son 
and another of the name, were born, all of them filling the executive 
chair of the State in their day and generation. Of the twenty-five 
governors of our State who held the office from 1769 to 1866, almost 
a century, three governors, natives of that little town, held the office 
thirty-three years. They were Jonathan Trumbull the elder and 
younger, and the late Governor BUCKINGHAM. No other man since 
the days of the Trumbulls has held the office so long at the hands of 
a grateful people as Governor BUCKINGHAM, with one exception, that 
of Oliver Wolcott. The elder Trumbull held the office for the long 
est period of all ; he who will always be known as the war-governor 
in our struggle for independence as a nation, the fast friend and the 
chosen confidant of Washington, whose affectionate and loving 
though homely title, by which he addressed him as Brother Jona- 


than, has symbolized this country for a century, and will last while 
the Republic shall endure. 

There WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM was born in 1804. In his early 
youth he was surrounded by a generation that had known well the 
war-governor of the Revolution ; and the stories told in childhood 
and the historical studies and all the high aspirations of his youth, 
together with that true New England pride in the name of an emi 
nent man of one's native town, all conspired to make young BUCK 
INGHAM revere and seek to emulate the character of the illustrious 
Trumbull. How well and how grandly and completely his life ful 
filled the aspirations of his youth this generation well knows. Like 
Trumbull, he became a merchant ; and they, like that honored asso 
ciate of ours from Massachusetts, Mr. Hooper, whose remains were 
borne from {his Hall a few days ago, were of that class whose mer 
chants are princes and whose traffickers are the honorable of the 
earth. Like Trumbull, he acquired wealth ; and like Trumbull also, 
in his later life he learned the hard lesson, harder and more difficult 
to bear as crowding years have gathered over one, that losses will 
come, and that riches often take to themselves wings and fly away. 
Like Trumbull, he lavished his wealth and gave freely with full 
hands for all objects that were good and noble for the culture, the 
education, and the moral and religious improvement of his fellow- 
men. And like Trumbull, though he might have died with more of 
this world's goods that he could not take away if he had been less 
liberal and charitable and benevolent, he has taken with him into 
the skies the abounding riches of a life of virtue, of charity, of love 
and good-will toward men ; and he has left behind a richer and 
more priceless legacy to his people than all the wealth of Ormus or 
all the shining piles of silver and gold that mortal man has ever 
accumulated an honorable and a stainless name. 

The flying hours of a closing session admonish me that I cannot 
linger as long as I would in this last tribute to our honored and 


beloved Senator. He will be best known in the history of his 
country as the war-governor of Connecticut in the late great con 
flict for a nation's unity and a nation's life ; and here I might pursue 
the parallel with Trumbull if time would allow me. He gave his 
whole time and strength to the work. In the darkest hour of his 
country's trial he was ever cheerful, confident, hopeful, energetic. 
With a courage that never faltered, and with a faith fast fixed on the 
future glories of a country saved, reunited, and redeemed from 
the national shame and sin that had caused the war, he went through 
with his exhausting work to the end. I might fill pages with inci 
dents of his devotion, his patriotism, and his untiring energy during 
those four sad, weary years, even of those that came under my 
own observation. And on the very day in April, 1865, that the 
cannon were booming and bells were ringing out the glad tidings 
that the power of the rebellion was broken and the city of its gov 
ernment had surrendered to the Union armies, he was re-elected gov 
ernor for the eighth and last time by the largest majority ever given 
to a candidate during my residence in said State, now more than 
thirty years. He refused to be again a candidate. Severe labors 
and gathering years demanded rest and quiet. But his people were 
unwilling to leave him there. He was elected to the Senate, and 
took his seat in the spring of 1869. Those of us who have been 
here during these last six years can bear witness how faithfully he has 
done his work here. In his place in the Senate he has honored his 
State more than his State could honor him. Nor has his work been 
confined to the Senate and the committee-room. Those hours that 
at his age should be given to rest he has devoted to the constant 
and numberless calls that one faithful to his constituents will here 
find daily on his hands. As Burke said to his constituents, his work 
was at the Departments also ; he went about constantly wherever 
the affairs or the interests of his people could call him. For the 
humblest as well as the highest of his people he was ever ready to 



give his own personal labor and effort. His fellow-Senators have 
spoken his praise in words of no unmeaning eulogy. Courteous, 
kindly, and a perfect gentleman in his intercourse with all, they 
learned to love him all ; no harsh expression or word of insult or 
unkindness to a brother member, in the heat of debate or otherwise, 
fell from his lips, and the Senate Chamber is fragrant with loving 
and tender memories of their departed associate. 

I met Senator BUCKINGHAM for the last time in August. We had 
been a day or two together, and he was then in ill-health and seek 
ing rest and recreation. I remember the saddened and worn expres 
sion upon his face, though lighted up as always with his beaming, 
kindly smile, as he took my hand at parting in our room at the sea 
side hotel, and said, " I shall be stronger when the warm weather is 
over, and we will meet again at Washington, ready for hard work in 
December." But he never came. His work was done. He had 
lived, with a life full of every good word and work, to the allotted 
years of three-score and ten ; and if the prayers and wishes of his 
people could have availed, as they cannot, his years should have 
been more than four-score, and none of his days should have been 
those of weakness or sorrow. He died before his term of office 
expired; and it is worthy of note that the last Senator from Connec 
ticut who had died before him, during his term of office, was a fel 
low-townsman of our deceased friend Mr. Jabez W. Huntington, 
who died at his residence in Norwich nearly thirty years ago. 

Patriotism, piety, benevolence, charity, and a strict integrity were 
the characteristics of the life of WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM. His 
patriotism was intense. Those of us who saw him often during the 
war can never forget it. If there was one thing that he could not 
forgive in the day and time of it, it was disloyalty to the country, 
though his heart was full of forgiveness after the war was over. His 
piety was unquestioned ; it was in his daily walk and daily life. He 
can well bear the name of a Christian statesman; for though in 


these days, when the clouds of calumny are thick about the heads of 
all men in public life, it is the fashion of some men to speak sneer- 
ingly of Christian statesmen, yet the bitterest scoffer and traducer 
can well mention the name of WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM as a Chris 
tian statesman without a sneer. His benevolence was large as his 
heart ; his bounty was ample as his means. Much he gave to pub 
lic, religous, educational, and charitable institutions; but there were 
silent streams of charity flowing into many an afflicted or impover 
ished household that the world knew not of. How much those peo 
ple mourn his loss none but God and they can know; but the 
prayers and the blessings of the poor he befriended in life are among 
the brightest jewels of his crown of rejoicing. His integrity no man 
could question. A bright example of the constant exercise of all the 
virtues of a well-spent life he has given for us in the few years that 
are left us, and a noble character for our sons to study and emulate 
as they grow up to manhood. In contemplating the close of such a 
life, the prayer must and will spring to our lips, " Let me die the 
death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." A life like 
his must surely lead, as God is just and good, to the thanatopsis so 
beautifully described in the familiar language of one of New Eng 
land's native poets: 

So live that when thy summons comes to join 
The innumerable caravan which moves 
To that mysterious realm where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death, 
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night 
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave 
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. 



The sad intelligence just brought to us invites me to look back a 
quarter of a century, when the life of WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM, then 
in its meridian as a business man, philanthropist, and Christian, was 
referred to with pride by his fellow-men and pre-eminently worthy 
the example of the school-boy. 

It is fitting and graceful that those who have enjoyed his acquaint 
ance without interruption, and represent the same State here that he 
did in the Senate, should tell us of his more striking characteristics 
and delineate the features of that well-rounded life of which all who 
knew him are so justly proud; what foot-prints he has left upon the 
sands of Connecticut, what impression upon her institutions. 

I want to say a word about him in the connection in which so 
many great and good men of New England might be spoken of as a 
friend and benefactor of something new, or young, or feeble in the 

The connection of some eastern men with the growth of the West 
has not been written, and, owing to the sacredness of its nature, 
much of it perhaps never will be. 

What the West owes to the East for her habits, her ideas of edu 
cation, her humane laws, and her religious example will come within 
the scope and province of future historians, who will note the acqui 
sitions to the prairies of ennobling characteristics, advanced ideas, 
and institutions of reform and charity. It will be easy to trace to 
their true source in the East the school-laws that tax all the property 
to educate all the children, the town library, the town meeting, laws 
abolishing imprisonment for debt, and exempting from execution. 
But the eastern men who followed with their sympathies the pioneers 
who first reclaimed from nature the fields that now teem with plenty, 
from the modesty that accompanies such goodness of heart are not 
likely to be recorded in history with due credit, and that, too, because 


the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing. This 
liberality was particularly extended toward the endowment of our 
struggling colleges and academies, and follows the pioneer to his 
new home in the West as regularly as the manners and habits of his 
eastern home. Just how much of the rapid growth of our advanced 
institutions of learning is due to such benefactions may never be 
known, but their influence in molding the character of western 
men and bringing into harmony with the spirit of enlightenment that 
is placing our country in the front of progressive nations will live 
and be potent for good long after the donors have gone to their 

WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM was of this race of nobility a typical 

A colony from Norwich, Connecticut, settled in Central Iowa over 
twenty years ago. It is common in the West in many localities to 
call divisions of land, rivers, creeks, villages, and towns, to perpetu 
ate what was familiar, famous, or excellent in the East after the apt 
aboriginal names had been exhausted. This colony named a con 
gressional township and village Buckingham. One of the first things 
done by such colonies is to build a school-house where the children 
may learn, where religious worship may be held on the Sabbath, 
where the temperance lectures may be delivered, where the lyceum 
may meet, where the agricultural society may discuss, where elec 
tions can be held, where the different elements that comprise a west 
ern community first learn to fraternize, where the women weave the 
fabrics of sympathy and friendship that clothe society with its come- 
liest garments, and acquaintance is first made by the young people 
that is to ripen into esteem, friendship, and affection. 

Governor BUCKINGHAM contributed liberally to the first school- 
house built in the new settlement. 

A mutual friend repeated to me his observation when speaking of 
the fact that his name was to be associated with a locality in Iowa. 


Said he, "I understand a beautiful town has been named for me in 
Iowa, and I have had the honor of aiding in building a school-house 
in it, and annas ready to aid in building a church for education, and 
Christianity will be the basis of prosperity in Iowa, as in New En 
gland." He built from basement to spire a church that is only rivaled 
in beauty of design by the landscape it graces. Just how much the 
generous spirit of this one man has done for the place and people 
I speak of cannot be estimated by any measure of value with 
which we are familiar. The few scattering cabins that first dotted 
the prairie about Buckingham have long since been replaced by 
white cottages with green window-blinds. The few pioneers that 
first worshiped in the old school-house built by Mr. BUCKINGHAM 
have swelled to a thickly-settled neighborhood with many school- 
houses. They tell as plainly of the rising of the people as the 
beacon-fires on the hill-tops told of the gathering of the highland 
clans, but the numerous churches indicate that the rising promises 
peace instead of war. 

So little is generally known of the extent of the benefactions to 
our young institutions of learning, that although my district has 
three colleges to whose endowment eastern men of wealth have con 
tributed liberally, and are still contributing, I only know the names 
of a few of them. I would be glad to incorporate in my remarks the 
names of each of the noble men whose generosity has gone over the 
Alleghanies to help build up our schools, churches, and colleges. 
The names of W. A. BUCKINGHAM, Oakes Ames, William E. Dodge, 
Samuel Wilston, and Ezra Cornell readily occur to me as prominent 

President Thacher, of our State University, told me an anecdote 
that illustrates Governor BUCKINGHAM'S whole life. A friend called 
upon him and found him in deep mental distress. Upon inquiring 
the cause, Mr. BUCKINGHAM replied that after a careful inquiry into 
his private business he discovered that he had made too much money. 


There is a Christian influence at work in America that is not con 
fined to States, and a bond of union that is stronger than the Con 
stitution. Its promoters are above partisan or sectional feeling, and 
its objects are grander than the development of our material re 
sources, which only indicates its advancing steps. It has a history, 
and a record is well preserved of all its advocates. 

This cause has lost one of its strong men, and that the breach 
may be healed we are impelled to say with the sweet singer of 

Israel : 

Help, Lord, because the godly man 

Doth daily fade away ; 
And from among the sons of men 
The faithful do decay. 


Mr. SPEAKER : One could hardly form the acquaintance of the 
late Senator BUCKINGHAM without respecting and liking him. To 
know him at all was to feel sure that he was an upright, just, and 
honorable man. There was a modest dignity in his demeanor, there 
was a gentleness and cordiality in his manner, which at once inspired 
confidence and commanded respect. I never met him in the way 
of public duty without being impressed by a sense of his sound judg 
ment and high principle. I never met him in private life without a 
deeper regard for his pure, gentle, and kindly nature. 

But with all his moderation and kindness no one could ever doubt 
that Senator BUCKINGHAM held to his opinions upon full conviction. 
He carried his notions of "loyalty," of "abolition," or of "absti 
nence," into his daily life, and insisted upon them modestly, but with 
a firmness and consistency such as is shown only by men who believe. 

There is a striking and a hopeful lesson, sir, in such a life as was 
that of the late Senator. Trained in those common schools of the 


country which are open to every child ; beginning business in a small 
way; gaining success by upright, faithful, and prompt attention to 
that business ; gradually acquiring influence and fortune, and with 
them acquiring sound and honorable reputation, he came in time 
though perhaps not a man of brilliant natural abilities to fill with 
complete success positions of the highest usefulness and dignity. 
Chosen governor of the Commonwealth before the late civil war, he 
continued to discharge the duties of that position during all that try 
ing time with an ability, patriotism, efficiency, and determination 
which induced his people to repeatedly re-elect him to that office 
against the usual custom of the State. Removed then to his position 
in the Senate, his service there was marked by such a careful, judi 
cious, and efficient discharge of his senatorial duties; by such a 
wise and conscientious regard for the best interest of the people ; by 
such personal gentleness, purity, and kindness, as commanded from 
all who served with him there, or knew him at all, their warmest 
praise, and call now for their deepest regret at his loss. 

My political views differed widely from those of Senator BUCKING 
HAM. But I knew that he held his opinions from conviction, and 
that according to his light he served the nation purely, honestly, and 
faithfully, with judgment, with efficiency, and with the greatest 
kindness toward all. Whoever, sir, does that, with whatever talents 
may be intrusted to him, has done his best, and when called away 
from his labors here has deserved of all men that high respect and 
warm regard which those who knew him felt for the late Senator from 

For myself, I share in the regret expressed in both Houses of Con 
gress at his loss, and am glad to be allowed to add these few words 
to the eulogiums that have just been so warmly and so fitly passed 
upon this worthy, kindly, and honorable Christian gentleman. 



MR. SPEAKER : The plain, old-fashioned town of Lebanon, Con 
necticut, will be found at this day very much 'as the French officers 
looked at it during one long, dreary winter of the Revolution. 
There stands the old war-office of " Brother Jonathan," as Governor 
Trumbull, the revolutionary war governor of Connecticut, was popu 
larly called. The comments of the Frenchmen upon country life 
in Connecticut are amusing even at this day. I hardly suppose 
they saw in it the beauty and excellence that we perceive. But 
among those old country roads and those quiet homesteads grew 
up a body of young men, not familiar with the language of chivalry, 
not receiving from their parents the charge of the Spartan mother 
to her sons, but men to whom the word " duty " was everything. 
The young Trumbull consecrated himself to the ministry, but the 
demands of his father's business called him into an active mercan 
tile life ; and by and by his fellow-citizens called him to a higher 
sphere of public exertion, and he was governor of the Colony and 
State for fifteen years, commencing with 1769. He was the only 
governor of a Colony that remained true to his people during the 
war of the Revolution. Every other colonial governor went with 
the king. Brother Jonathan stood by his people and they stood by 
him from the beginning to the end the square, straight, solid, 
brave, indomitable old man. His son followed him in the chief 
magistracy of the State in 1798, keeping the place for eleven years, 
and in 1858 our good Governor WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM, also a 
native of Lebanon, took the reins to hold them for eight stormy 

As my colleague has said, the excellence of his gracious mother 
was traditional in the town. Doubtless, as my colleague has said, he 
emulated the example of Brother Jonathan, to whom duty was all in 
all; and we all have loved to contrast them in their lives. Our two 


war governors, not dissimilar in many circumstances of their lives, 
but especially like in this, each with the hearty choice of his fellow- 
citizens remained at the head of the little Commonwealth during the 
long great wars of independence, for such I call both wars. 

His pastor said of him truly, he was the offspring of New Eng 
land's purest life ; she never gave birth to a nobler son. 

I do not know that men would call Governor BUCKINGHAM a 
great man, but he is like many others who are revered in history. 
Sometimes men sit down and dissect the character of George Wash 
ington and tell us he was not great, but the world persists in remem 
bering him, walking round about his character, pointing out all its 
virtues and admiring its symmetry and power. So of our lamented 
friend ; I do not know we can call him a great orator or a great 
writer or great in anything especially, but you can look at no 
element of his heart or head in which he does not appear excellent. 
As a son, as a husband, as a father, as a brother and friend, all who 
knew him speak of him in terms of the most devoted affection and 
respect. They say there was none like the old governor in all these 
things, and as he moved among his fellow-citizens his appearance 
commanded their respect. Strong in his affections, kindly and 
courteous in his manner, he attracted the love of all about him. 

He was an energetic and successful business man. He rose to 
eminence ; he accumulated property, but he used it as one who con 
sidered himself merely the steward, and as my friend from Iowa 
[Mr. WILSON] has said, he lamented at one time when he found 
himself growing so rich, and immediately began to discharge the 
duty of a Christian gentlemen in bestowing it wisely upon many 

As a public servant his fidelity, his energy, his patriotism, marked 
him among public men. He was public-spirited in the broadest 
sense of the word. We wonder, looking over his life, how he found 
time to do so much. He seemed always ready to take any new 


burden upon his shoulders. He never seemed to be discouraged. 
He never seemed to be overburdened. As the president of a tem 
perance society or at the head of a Bible society, or a tract society, 
or a missionary society, or attending great public meetings or politi 
cal conventions, he always came to the front; never failed always 
ready, always efficient. He was always among the men at the head 
of his own church. He was a deacon for thirty years ; a man who 
scarcely ever missed his seat never if his health permitted. He 
was leaned upon by the respective pastors. He was a friend of the 
public schools and of every charity a ready and cheerful giver ; he 
only wanted to know how much they thought should be his share. 
He paid cheerfully, not as a tax but as a duty and a privilege. He 
was the friend of all the young men who ever came near him seek 
ing education. He gave when he could ; encouraged them ; never 
turned them away without a kindly word. He was a patient and 
ready sympathizer and friend of the poor. He was a warm friend 
of the slave always; and when he came finally to the head of our 
affairs at the beginning of the rebellion we found our plain, straight 
forward, well-balanced country gentlemen made a great war gov 
ernor always cheerful, always brave, always ready, always ahead in 
business, so that the quota of Connecticut was always in advance of 
the demands of the Federal Government. 

Our troops always went out so well equipped that on reaching 
the field they were immediately stripped of some of their surplus. 
Interested in the widows and orphan children of the dead soldiers 
and urging upon the Legislature the care of them, sending his 
agents constantly to inspect the condition of our troops, and com 
municating with them constantly by messengers and by telegrams, 
from the beginning to the end, I do not know what more our Com 
monwealth could have asked of WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM. He 
never had a doubt of the willingness of the State to stand by him, 
and never had a doubt of the success of the contest. 


His children and his family will remember him. His business 
associates will remember him. All the late soldiers will remember 
him. The managers of all our benevolent associations will remem 
ber him. His humble neighbors, the poor, will remember his tender 
words and generous private charities. His church will remember 
him, and the State will forever cherish his name with those of the 
good old Governor Trumbull and its truest and strongest leaders. 
He manifested in his activities and usefulness a strong, clear, and 
symmetrical character. In studying him I perceive the value of 
that element which men call character. If men will not call him 
great in majesty of intellect, they must call him great in goodness, 
great in the harmony, in the truth, in the firmness, the fidelity of his 
character " rich in saving common sense." In speaking of him 
I think of what the English laureate said in talking of one of Eng 
land's good and great men : 

O good gray head which all men knew ; 
O steady nerve to all occasions true ; 

O fall'n at length that tower of strength 
Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew. 

The SPEAKER. By the order of the House, the House now 
takes a recess until half past seven o'clock. 

The House accordingly (at five o'clock and five minutes p. m.) 
took a recess.