56th Congress, \
^'(l Si'Ksion. /
\ No. 236.
LIFE AND' CHARACTER
OHN HENRY GEAR
(Late a Senator from Iowa),
DELIVERED IN" THE
SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
GO\KKNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Proceedings in the Senate 5
Address of Mr. Allison, of Iowa 8
Address of Mr. Piatt, of Connecticut 20
Address of Mr. Cockrell, of Missouri 25
Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota 29
Address of Mr. Spooner, of \Vi,sconsin 37
Address of Mr. Morgan, of .'Alabama 42
Address of Mr. Burrows, of Michigan 49
Address of Mr. Mason, of Illinois 52
Address of Mr. Cla}', of Georgia 55
Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 60
Funeral oration of Hon. Thomas Hedge 69
Proceedings in the House of Representatives 73
Address of Mr. Hedge, of Iowa 76
Address of Mr. Lanham, of Texas Si
Address of Mr. Lacy, of Iowa 85
Address of Mr. Grosvenor, of Ohio go
Address of Mr. Dalzell, of Pennsylvania 93
Address of Mr. Richardson, of Tennessee 97
Address of Mr. Steele, of Indiana 100
Address of Mr. Hull, of Iowa 102
Death of Hon, John Henry Gear,
Proceedings in the Senate.
December 3, 1900.
Rev. W. H. Milburn, D. D., Chaplain to the Senate, offered
the following prayer:
O Eternal God, rejoicing with gratitude to Thee that so many
members of this body are in their places, strong in health and
resolve for the responsible and onerous duties of their places, yet
as the psalm of our thanksgiving rises, the heavy hand of sorrow
is laid upoti us as we remember the irreparable loss which this
body and the country at large has sustained in the departure from
earth of some of our notable members.
We recall the venerable figure of a late member of the Senate,
who, looking back upon nearly fifty years of public service, had
ingratiated himself into the regard, affection, and veneration of
his brethren and of a large portion of the people of the country.
We recall the form and presence of the junior Senator from
Iowa, taken from us and leaving a gap in his State, as well as in
this body. ,
And now we stand with unspeakable grief by the new-made
grave in the capital of Minnesota, which within the last two days
has received all that was mortal of the brilliant, attractive, and
serviceable senior Senator from that State. By his genius, his
Kbor his devotion to the interests not only of his own State but
of the whole country . and by his attractive and winsome qualities
he drew the love and fixed regard of his colleagues. O Lord,
the sense of our sorrow and loss is unspeakable.
6 Proceedings in the Senate.
Let Thy consolation come to the members of these families;
let it come to the venerable father and mother as well as the wife
of the Minnesota Senator.
Grant, O Lord, that the sense of our mortality may rest with
becoming gravity upon the hearts and consciences of all here,
and may we gird up our loins and walk reverently and humbly
before Thee. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Mr. Allison. Mr. President, it is with deep regret and pro-
found sorrow that I announce to the Senate the death of my late
colleague, Hon. John Henry Ge.a.r, which occurred in this city
on the 14th day of July last. At some future time, of which I
shall give due notice, I desire to afford the Senate an opportunity
of paying tribute to the memorA' of Senator Gear and his long
and distinguished services to his State and his country. At this
time I beg leave to offer the resolutions which I send to the
desk, and for which I ask immediate consideration.
The President pro tempore. The resolutions submitted by
the Senator from Iowa will be read.
The Secretarj- read the resolutions, as follows:
Resolirtt, That the Senate has heard with deep regret and profound
sorrow of the deatli of the Hon. John Henry Ge.\R, late a Senator from
the State of Iowa.
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate a copy of these resolutions
to the House of Representatives.
The resolutions were considered Ijy inianimous consent and
unanimou.sh' agreed to.
Mr. Allison. Mr. President, I offer an additional resolution,
which I ask to have read and considered at this time.
The President pro tempore. The resolution submitted by
the vSenator from Iowa will be read.
The Secretary read the resolution, as follows:
Resolved, That as a further mark of respect to the memory of the
<leceased, Hon. John Henry Ge.\r and Hon. Cushman Kellogg Davis,
the Senate do now adjourn.
Proceedings in the Senate. 7
The resolution was unanimously agreed to; and (at 3 o'clock
and 46 minutes p. m. ) the Senate adjourned until to-morrow,
Tuesday, December 4, 1900, at 12 o'clock meridian.
December 4, 1900.
A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. W. J.
Browning, its Chief Clerk, transmitted to the Senate resolutions
on the death of Hon. Cushman K. Davis, late a Senator from the
State of Minnesota; Hon. John H. Gear, late a Senator from
theStateof Iowa; Hon. John H. Hoffecker, late a Representative
from the State of Delaware, and Hon. William D. Daly, late a
Representative from the State of New Jersey.
Janu.\ry 10, igoi.
Mr. Allison. Mr. President, I desire to give notice that on
Saturday, the 19th of January, after the routine morning busi-
ness, I shall submit resolutions commemorative of the life and
services of the Hon. John Henry CxEAR, late a Senator from the
State of Iowa.
January 19, 1901.
Mr. Allison. Mr. President, I submit the resolutions which
I send to the desk, and ask that they may be read.
The President pro tempore. The resolutions will be read.
The Secretary read the re.solutions, as follows:
Resolved That it is with deep regret and profound sorrow that the Senate
hears the announcement of the death of Hon. John Henry Gear, late a
Senator from the State of Iowa. ., , ,, , „f tt,.
Resolved, That the Senate extends to his family and to the people of the
State of Iowa sincere condolence in their bereavement.
Resolved, That, as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, the
business of the Senate be now suspended to enable his associates to pay fit-
tin<r tribute to his high character and distinguished services.
liesolved That the Secretary transmit to the family of the deceased and
to the governor of the State of Iowa a copy of these resolutions, with the
action of the Senate thereon.
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate these resolutions to the House
of Representatives. , ■ c
Resolved, That, as an additional mark of respect, at the conclusion of
these e.-cercises the Senate do adjourn.
Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
ADDRESS OF MR, ALLISON, OF lOWA.
Mr. President: The late John Henry Gear, whose life
and services we now commemorate, was first elected to the
Senate by the general assembh- of Iowa on the 23d of January-,
1894, and took his seat March 4, 1S95. He died in this city
at 4 o'clock on the morning of July 14, 1900, in his seventy-
The ancestors of Senator Gear came from England to
Connecticut in 1647, and settled near what was afterwards
known as Middletown three years before that town was
founded and eleven years after the first settlement of that
colony from Massachusetts. They were of that class of sturdy,
God-fearing people who laid so well the foundations of this
Republic, and there on the banks of the Connecticut they
and their posteritj- resided, sharing in the privations, diffi-
culties, and dangers of that colony during the intervening
period, alternately building their log cabins, clearing their
fields, planting and harvesting their crops, and waging war-
fare with the native tribes until after the close of the war of
the Revolution, when Senator Gear's grandfather, Hezekiah
Gear, after his marriage with Sarah Gilbert, moved to the
neighborhood of Pittsfield, Mass. , where Ezekiel Gilbert Gear,
father of Senator Gear, was born in 1791. He was educated
for the ministry, and was ordained as a clergyman of the
Church of England by the Right Rev. Bishop Hobart, of
New York, in 18 15. A A-ear later he was sent as a mission-
ary to the Indian tribes in western New York, and there, on
April 7, 1825, his son, John Henry Gear, was born in what
is now Ithaca, amidst the rigorous conditions surrounding life
Address of Mr. Allison, of /ou>a. 9
in a frontier village, which at that time was nothing more
than an Indian trading post.
The boy was born in the wilderness, surrounded by prime-
val forests, where the Onondaga chief of the Five Nations
still dwelt — our enemies in the war of the Revolution, though
then at peace with us. The dwellings were log cabins, and
the mothers were in constant fear of wild animals, and wild
Indians as well. Having lost his mother, he was taken, at 2
years of age, to Pittsfield, Mass., where he was nurtured by
his grandmother until after his father's second marriage.
In 1831 he returned to his father, and removed with him
to the West five years later. The missionary and his little
family went to Galena, 111. I do not know how this journey
was made, but have no doubt thej- sailed down the Ohio to
its junction with the Mississippi, and then followed that
mighty river upward to Galena, then a mining town or vil-
lage with a small population. The Black Hawk war of 1832
had resulted, two years before, in the purchase by treaty of
all the lands on the east bank of the Mississippi, and there
was a belief that the country would attract to it emigrants
from the Ea.st. Chicago was then a struggling village with-
out even a charter for a municipal organization, and contained
less than 2,000 souls, and between it and Galena was a
wilderness of prairie.
Two years later the father was appointed a chaplain in the
United States Army and assigned to Fort Snelling, a frontier
military post in what is now the State of Minnesota, a few
miles below the Falls of St. Anthony, so named by La Salle,
but then not even a village. This whole region was then
a wilderness, inhabited only by wild tribes, and the solitude
of nature was disturbed (jnly h\ the great falls of the Missis-
sippi, known as St. Anthony, and the smaller one known as
lO Life and Cliaractcr of John Henry Gear.
Minnehaha. It was amid these scenes and surroundings that
the boy grew up, enduring the hardships and privations of the
frontier, and without means of education other than those pro-
vided by an educated and pious father, which I have no doubt
was of great vahie to him in after years. These surroundings
and this teaching doubtless instilled into his mind that sturdy
independence and push and integrity of dealing and character
which followed him through life. It was the heritage of a
poor man's son:
Stout muscles and a sinewy heart,
A hardy frame and a hardier spirit;
King of his two hands, he does his part
In every useful toil and art.
The father remained a chaplain at Fort Snelling until 1868,
esteemed and revered by the soldiers at the post and by all
with whom he came in contact. Retiring in that year, he
removed to Minneapolis, a flourishing city, as was also St.
Paul, a few miles below — both unknown when he entered
upon his missionary work in 1838. He died in 1873, at the
age of 82 3'ears, respected and honored by all who knew him.
In the fall of 1843 young Gear, at the age of 19, left his
father's family and made his way down the Mississippi, arriv-
ing on the 25th of September at Burlington, Iowa, where his
maternal aunt then resided, she being the wife of Hon. Charles
Mason, chief justice of the Territory of Iowa, a distinguished
lawyer and well known by the older lawyers of this city as
Commis.sioner of Patents for several years.
Here began the successful career afterwards achieved by him
as citizen and public servant. He promptly went to work o.n a
farm near the village, but soon after found employment in the
store of Bridgeman Brothers, in Burlington, at a compensation
of $50 per year and board. In those days the young man could
Address of Mr. Allison, of Iowa. ii
not hope for an immediate increase of salary. After working
with this firm for about a year he removed to Keosauqua — an
Iowa village 50 miles distant — with the younger Bridgeman,
who established a store there, and his wages were increased to
$100 per j-ear and board. In the spring of 1845 he returned to
Burlington and entered, in a subordinate capacity, the employ
of W. F. Coolbaugh, then a leading merchant of that town.
He worked so faithfully and intelligently that at the end of
five years he was taken into the business, and the firm was
changed to W. F. Coolbaugh & Co. At the end of another
five years he became .sole proprietor of the business, Mr. Cool-
baugh retiring to enter the banking business, in which he
achieved great success. The business was continued success-
fully b}' Mr. Gear, with various associates, until September,
1879, when he retired from active business as a merchant.
He was married in 1852 to Miss Harriet S. Foote, youngest
daughter of Ju.stus L. and Harriet Foote, of Middlebury, Vt.,
where Mrs. Gear was born. They had four children, of whom
two survive, namely, Margaret, wdfe of J. W. Blythe, a suc-
cessful attorney of Burlington, and Ruth, wife of Horace S.
Rand, a successful business man of Burlington. Mrs. Gear is
a woman of extraordinary qualities and ability, and still sur-
vives her husband. During the period of their married life
she was an untiring and able helpmate of her husband and
greatly aided him in all his work and ambitions, finding her
reward in the honors which from time to time came to him.
The domestic life of Senator and Mrs. Gear was ideal, and
their devotion to each other gave their home life a charm
which delighted their friends everywhere.
He always took an active interest in the political affairs of
the period, first as a Whig and afterwards as a Republican.
He held no office, except that of alderman from one of the
12 Life and Characky of John Henry Gear.
wards of the city, until 1863, when he was elected mayor of
Burlington, in which capacity he rendered great service to the
Union soldiers going to and coming from the front, Burling-
ton being a rendezvous. He was nominated by the Republi-
cans in 1868 for representative in the Iowa general assembly,
but declined the nomination; but in 1S71, being again nomi-
nated, he accepted and was elected a member of the Fourteenth
general assembly, although the covuity in which he lived was
Democratic. In 1873 he was renominated and elected to the
Fifteenth general assembly. When this legislature met he was
selected as the Republican candidate for speaker of the house
and was elected on the one hundred and fortj'-fourth ballot
after a deadlock of two weeks, a situation brought about hy
the fact that neither the Republican nor the Democratic party
had a majority of the members.
During this term as speaker he demonstrated his remarkable
tact and ability to satisfactorily control a difficult situation,
and the spirit of turbulence manifested at the opening of the
session gradualh- changed to one of general commendation
because of his fairness and impartiality in the administration
of the office. The qualities then displayed resulted in his
reelection as speaker in the succeeding general a.s.sembly, and
I believe he is the only man but one who has held this office
in Iowa twice in succession.
At the end of his four years as .speaker his integrity and
abilitN- were so fully recognized throughout the State that in
1877 he was nominated as the Republican candidate for gov-
ernor and was elected. He was renominated by acclamation
in 1879 and again elected. When he entered the office of
governor, the supervision of the various charitable and bene\-o-
lent institutions of the State was within the special care of
the governor, and during his service he gave personal and
Address of Mr. Allison, of Iowa. 13
constant attention to all the details of the ofBce, including
this supen'ision, and introduced many reforms in the admin-
istration of those institutions. This personal supervision led
him strongly to recommend in his messages the creation of a
permanent board of control, which should have special control
of all educational, charitable, and penal institutions of the State.
The importance of this was recognized, but not adopted until
a few years ago, since which time it has proved successful
not only in Iowa, but in other States.
Although Iowa has had the good fortune to have many men
of eminence as governors of the State, it will always be said
of Mr. Gear that he was one of the best. So strong was he
in the affections of the people of the State at that time that
many of his friends presented him for United States Senator
in 188 1, but withdrew his name, and the late Senator \\'il.son
was elected. Upon retiring from the office of governor in
January, 1882, he was occupied for the next four years with
his private affairs.
The Congressional district in which he resided was a closely
contested one between the two political parties, and it was
believed by the Republicans that Mr. Gear's nomination
would insure the success of the party in the district. There-
fore when the convention met in 1886 he was nominated by
acclamation and elected to the Fiftieth Congress. Two years
later he was renominated and again elected.
During his second term, as a member of the Committee on
Ways and Means, he took an active part in the preparation of
the McKinley tariff bill, being one of those especially assigned
by Chairman McKinley- to the preparation of that portion of
the bill which levied duties upon agricultural products. He
had given much attention to the subject of the production
of beet sugar, and believed it could be produced in our own
14 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
country as cheaply as elsewhere if the industry were fairly
started. As the best means of accomplishing this end he
favored, in lieu of an import duty, a domestic bounty on sugar
production, not only from sugar cane, but from beets as well,
and he was largelj' iustrumetUal in securing the bounty pro-
vision in the act of 1890.
In 1890 he was again nominated by acclamation, but was
defeated by a small majority, sharing the fate of many of his
Republican associates in the House who lived in closely con-
tested districts. He was again nominated in 1892 and was
elected. After his election, in November, he was appointed
by President Harrison Assi.stant Secretary of the Treasury, and
served in that capacity until the beginning of the Fifty-third
Congress, to which he had been elected a member.
He became an active candidate for the Senate in the sunmier
of 1893, preceding the election of the general assembl)' in the
fall of that year. Other prominent men in Iowa were also
candidates, but when the legislature met he was selected as
the caucus candidate of the Republican part}- and elected for
the six-year term beginning March 4, 1895, serving in the
House until the commencement of his term in the Senate. He
was reelected to the Senate in January, 1900, for the six-year
term beginning March 4 next.
His service in the Senate was relatively brief. Though he
did not often participate in the debates of the Senate, he was
active and useful in its work, and gave intelligent e.xamiuation
to all matters assigned to him. His most conspicuous service
was as chairman of the Committee on Pacific Railroads, which
had charge of the readjustment and settlement of the Gov-
ernment debt against those railroads. During this serv'ice a
final settlement was made with the leading subsidized roads,
wherebv the Government received in full the amount loaned
Address of Mr. Allison, of lo'wa. 15
to them by the legislation of 1862-1864, with interest to the
date of settlement,
Senator Gear was a delegate at large to the national con-
vention held at Minneapolis in 1892, which nominated Presi-
dent Harrison, and also in the convention of 1896, which
nominated President McKinley.
A little more than two years before his death Senator Gear
was seized with a severe malady which confined him to his
home for two months. From this attack he never fully recov-
ered, and it finally resulted in his death, in this city, on the 14th
of July last. Though it was known in Iowa that he was in
iniirni health, yet he did not know, nor did his friends believe,
that his condition was so critical, and so his death came to his
family and friends and to the people of Iowa as a great shock.
His death was deplored by the people of the State generally.
In recognition of his long and valuable public service to the
State, the governor issued a public proclamation reciting such
service and closing the public offices on the day of the funeral;
and leading citizens from all parts of the State, the governor
and State ofiScers, and his associates from Iowa in Congress
attended the obsequies, as did practically all the people of
Burlington, the schools and business houses of the city being
clo.sed during the services.
Senator Ge.\r filled a large place in the history of Iowa for
more than half a century, fir.st as a prominent and successful
business man in one of its most prosperous cities, enlarging
his business and extending his acquaintance into a constantly
widening field, holding the friends alreadj- made and making
new ones jear by year. He possessed a remarkable memorj'
for names and faces, events and incidents, and thereby had the
quality which enabled him on all occasions to summon to his
support an army of friends. And thus it was at the time of
1 6 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
his death and for man}- years before. He probabh' had more
personal friends and followers than any man in the State
during the generation of his political life. These friendships
were not found alone in the political party with which he
affiliated, but extended to those of opposing political opinions
He had a strong as well as a pleasing personality. His kind
and genial disposition and manner made him many friends and
firmly attached them to him when made. In all matters of
large or small importance he was alwaj^s ready to aid those
who sought his help. This characteristic made all with whom
he came in contact feel that they could approach him at any
time for anj' proper service. This valuable trait made him
strong with all classes of people in Iowa with whom he rame
in contact as its chief executive, and after he entered the
public service at Washington made him a favorite with all
lowans who had business needing attention.
Through his entire term of public .service, dating from his
election as mayor of Burlington in the spring of 1863 until his
death in 1900 — nearly forty years in which he had at different
times held offices of varied distinction and trust — Mr. Gear
showed himself worthy of the highest tril:)Ute of public confi-
dence and praise. The sterling worth, the high integrity, the
courageous convictions that descended to him from his fore-
fathers made him of the same bone and sinew as the pioneers
of our country. The hardships and privations of his early life,
the courage that faced the perils of the wilderness, the fierce
enmity of savage men, were fit preparations for his independent
and simple character. He belonged to that race of sturdy- men
who are passing away from us one by one, who fought their
wa)^ through trial and difficulty from the Atlantic coast to the
Address of Mr. Allison, of Iowa. 17
His good deeds in private life and his faithful public service
in every place assigned to him will long be remembered with
gVatitude bj' the people of his State. His death was a great
personal loss to me. It was my fortune to make his acquaint-
ance in 1863. Although he lived in a part of the State distant
from my home, I met him often, and during all the period
from our first acquaintance until his death our frieudl}^ rela-
tions were constant and uninterrupted, and for the last twenty
years our associations were intimate and always agreeable to
me, and I entertained for him a high personal regard. His
death is deplored as a personal loss b}- those who shared with
him public responsibility in Iowa, and \>y those who served
with him from Iowa in the two Houses of Congress, but none
deplore his loss more than do his friends and neighbors in the
city of his adoption, where he resided nearly fifty-seven years,
all of whom respected and esteemed him as an eminent citizen.
I can not more fittingly close this imperfect tribute to his
memory than h\ placing in what we hope may be an imperi.sh-
able record of his private life and public service an extract
from the remarks made on the day of his funeral hy the Rev.
Dr. Salter, who for half a century has ministered as pastoi
of the First Congregational Church of Burlington, and who
during half a century had known Senator Gear, and had
observed his conduct as husband, father, neighbor, and friend,
and as citizen and public servant. Dr. Salter said:
"Seventy-five years ago this was a savage wilderness, as it
had been for one huiadred and sixty years from its discovery,
when the savages gave way to civilization. Ten years after
the savages left this immediate region that young life appeared
upon the scene, coming here to reside and study law
with his uncle, Charles Mason, chief justice of the Territory,
bringing here the principles and memories of liberty and
S. Doc. 236 2
1 8 Life and Character of Joint Henry Gear.
constitutional government, which had advanced this countn-
to the front in the civihzation of the world.
"Inheriting a genial nature, bred in immutable morality,
reverencing the sense of dut>- as the guide and safeguard of
life, cherishing virtue, honor, and self-respect as jewels beyond
silver and gold, making fidelity to whatever work fell to his
hands an instant care, John Henry Gear, from his youth
up, won the confidence, esteem, and affection of his fellow-
men. He knew, indeed, the liability to error that is com-
mon to us all — how hard it is to distinguish the shows and
illusions of sense from the eternal realities. He had, there-
fore, charitj' and consideration for others, and was not dog-
matic or opinionative, but candid, and listened to reason with
mind open to light and knowledge. To these sterling quali-
ties was joined an active and vigorous mind, with a love of
knowledge in different directions, a facility and readiness of
application to whatever subject called for consideration, and a
memory remarkably retentive and accurate. Upon questions
of commerce and trade, with which from earl}- life he was
especially conversant, and in matters pertaining to the public
welfare and to the government and history of the country,
he gained a conspicuous and honored place in the nation for
the sagacity and wisdom of his counsels. His name is writ-
ten large in the history of this Commonwealth, in the records
of Congress, and in the hearts of thousands of our people.
" While he died in the height of his fame, with such honors
clustering his brow as fall to few; secure, so far as human
authority and power go, in one of the high dignities of the
world, he bore honor and fame with the same .simplicity that
characterized him in everj' situation.
' ' The city of his home bows in sorrow that we shall see
his benignant form in our accustomed walks and ways no
A d dress of Mr. A //isoti . of lou -a. 19
more. His life will remain an undying memory in our affec-
tion. Hi.s dust is to mingle in the cemetery with the dust
of his predecessors in the Senate, Augustus C. Dodge and
James W. Grimes, who came still earlier to Burlington, each
in his halcyon youth, each conspicuous in making our history.
The three made here fondly cherished and sacred homes, the
joy and pride of their hearts, unalloyed examples of heaven's
best gift to man. It may be long — it may never again be —
before this city shall have three of its citizens come in any
other brief span of fifty \-ears to such honors. Naturally, the
honors will be divided among faithful citizens in other parts
of the Commonwealth. But the past is secure, and the record
is made up for the instruction and cheer of those who shall
be called to the charge of the public welfare in the coming
half centun- and in centuries to come."
20 Life and Character of John Henry Gear,
Address of Mr. Platt, of Connecticut.
Mr. President: In tlii.s session, limited in its duration to a
period of three months, popularly known as the short session,
public business is peculiarly pressing. We have a great and
wonderful country, the needs of which are both important and
imperative. In its Congress great and weighty questions nuist
be considered and .settled. No wonder, then, that sometimes
when business of momentous importance demands our attention
and the end of the .session is growing nearer and nearer da}- by
day. the public feels and we feel that we can not spare even an
hour for eulogies of our missing comrades. And yet there is
no business more important, no hours more wisely spent than
those which we devote to the consideration of the services and
virtues of departed Senators.
I should hesitate to say e\-en a word to recall to memory the
life of Senator Gear as we knew it here if it were not that his
distinguished colleague, in .speaking of his family hi.story, has
disclosed the fact that his progenitors dwelt for one hundred
and thirty years in the State of Connecticut, and that I can
not but think their sojourn there was reflected in the life of
him whose loss we mourn. His, indeed, from our earliest his-
tory, was a family of pioneers. How much in our civilization,
our growth, and our development that word "pioneer" sig-
nifies. The pioneer instinct dates far back of the early settle-
ment of this coiuitry. It is a racial in.stinct. What developed
it in the centuries past none may know; but it led our race
westward from its original home in Asia to cross mountain
and river and plain, ever westward to the shores of the
Atlantic, ever surmounting obstacles, enduring hardships,
Address of Mr. Piatt, of Conncdinit. 21
triumphing over rude environments, developing thereby all that
is noblest and manliest in man, until, halting for a moment, as
it were, in England and Holland, it set forth again across the
wild Atlantic to take up its pioneer work in subduing a new
continent and establishing a new civilization. In this new
movement we know that the ancestors of Senator Gear par-
ticipated. Of their life before the transoceanic migration we
can conjecture but little; of . their life in my native State we
can understand nuich.
Less than twenty years after the landing at Plymouth Rock,
Connecticut was settled on the river whose name it bears, in
the vicinity of Hartford, at its mouth, and at New Haven; and
within ten years after these first settlements we are told that
Senator Gear's ancestors took up their abode near Middle-
town. Connecticut was a wilderness then. The Indians were
hostile, the country was rugged and forbidding except along
the sparse but fertile intervale land. Nature, though beau-
tiful, was far from bountiful; but the spirit of manhood, lib-
ertj', independence, and worship was there, and in that spirit
those whose name Senator Gear bore wrestled with life and
helped to solve its most sacred and weighty problems. The
clear skj' above them, the beautiful river beside them, the
trees, and the begrudging soil alike were wrought into their
fiber and became a part of their life.
There is nothing more wonderful or mysterious in our pres-
ent life than the effect of ancestral influence upon it, and I
have often thought how little importance we give to environ-
ment in our estimate of this ancestral influence. We construct
our genealogical trees with interest and pride. We are proud
of our blood as if it were blood alone to which we are indebted,
often forgetting that ancestral character as transmitted to us
was built up little by little, slowly, steadily, but surely, by the
22 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
surrouudings amid which our ancestors wrought and fought
and died, so that as generation succeeded generation each took
on something which it derived from nature and the struggle
with nature. Life in Connecticut iu those early times devel-
oped character such as we who knew Senator Gear find that
he possessed. I may say of the dwellers there what the vSen-
ator from Massachusetts [Mr. Hoar] , in his address on the life
and character of Representative Ashley B. Wright, said of the
dwellers in Berkshire County; "They have ever been a patri-
otic, religious people, lovers of country, lovers of home, of
simple manners, of .strong sense, open-hearted, generous, hos-
pitable, brave." Such the ancestors of Senator Gear must
have been; such he was, and no higher tribute can be paid to
the man than in such truthful description of his character.
HeniCy Ward Beecher, in speaking of the New England farm-
ers, most truly said: "They made the farms, and the farms
made the men." And the manhood thus acquired was, two
hundred years afterwards, represented in and characterized
Mr. President, Connecticut is small in area, rugged in fea-
ture, limited in natural resources, but she has contributed
through those who have gone forth from her, ever seeking
the westward frontier, her full share toward the development
and upbuilding of this great country. From her early settle-
ment to the present time she has been sending out her children
into fields of new opportunity, until now the influence of Con-
necticut life is felt, and I hope appreciated, in every State even
to the .shores of the Pacific. In the.se new States, conspicu-
ous by their attainments in science, in jurisprudence, in learn-
ing, in religion, and in business affairs, her children may be
counted by thousands and ten thousands, and while she is
justly proud of her early founders and their heroic lives, she
Address of Mr. Piatt, of Connecticut. 23
is equally proud of their descendants scattered throughout the
whole land, of their lives, and their work. Connecticut has
good reason to claim' the sad privilege of joining with Iowa
in mourning for her dead Senator.
The Senate of the United States is most truly a representa-
tive body, no less so in any respect than the House of Rep-
resentatives. All types of our people find their representatives
here, and it is well that it is so. Men of commanding intel-
lect, genius, eloquence, and "brilliancy are both needed and
found in these Senatorial seats, but other men equally repre-
senting the people, and equally useful, who do not attract
popular enthusiasm by reason of an>- unusual or striking gifts,
are quite as much needed here — men of strong good sense, men
of affairs, of great industr}', and unswerving devotion to the
principles and the interests of the Republic; men whose gen-
eral characteristics can best Ije described by three grand
words — sturdy, faithful, and true. Senator Gear was such a
man. Sometimes I think I would rather it should be written
ou my tombstone, "He was sturdy, faithful, and true," than
to have it written, "He was eloquent, learned, and great."
The work which such men as Senator Gear perform in the
Senate may not be heralded by the press, may not dazzle the
imaginative mind of the young, maj- not win the shouts and
cheers of the multitude, but it is nevertheless woven iuto the
history of our country and becomes a part of its fame and
There was no more diligent man than Senator Gear. His
diligence both in private and public life was proverbial and
won for him the confidence and support of the people of Iowa.
How truly the biblical pro\-erb may be quoted as applicable:
' ' Seest thou a man diligent in his business ? he shall stand
before kings; he shall not stand before mean men." He
24 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
comprehended fully the business needs of the country' and
sought successfully to promote them; and though his abilities
found in this sphere their most natural development, he was at
the same time always on the right side of great questions and
acted upon them with rare understanding and conspicuous
sagacity. His work here is done. Let no man say, because
he did not apparentl}- .seek the plaudits of his fellow-vSenators,
that his work was not as useful as that of those who have
dazzled us by their greater brillianc}-.
I have spoken of him as faithful, as well as sturdj' and true.
How faithful he was those of us who saw and watched him
during the last .session of the Senate which he attended, and
who feared that he was standing and working in the .shadow
of death, can well understand. We recall how, day by day, in
failing health and growing weakness, he nevertheless came to
his seat and his duties. We felt with sadness that the unwel-
come messenger was seeking him, but we appreciated with
admiration the faithfulness with which he held to his work.
We respected him, we admired him, we loved him; and I am
glad to-da}' that it is my privilege to testify- to that respect,
admiration, and love.
Address of Mr. Cockrell. of Missouri. 25
ADDRESS OF MR. COCKRELL, OF MISSOURI.
Mr. President: It is appropriate for the Senate to la}- aside
its usual legislative labors and duties to-day in order to pay the
last tribute of respect, friendship, and honor to the memon,- and
distinguished character of Hon. John H. G^ar, a Senator
from the State of Iowa in this body from March 4, 1895, to the
day of his death, on July 14, 1900, in his seventy-sixth year.
His father, Rev. Ezekiel Gilbert Gear, was a minister of the
Episcopal Church and of English descent. Senator Gear was
born in Ithaca, N. Y., April 7, 1825. Soon after his birth his
mother died and he was taken b},- his grandmother, with whom
he remained till 1831.
Upon his father's remarriage he returned to his father's
family and removed with them to Galena, 111., in 1836, and
thence to Fort Snelling, Iowa Territory, I believe it was called,
in 1838, where his father, who had been appointed a chaplain
in the United States Army, was stationed. He received such
a common-school education as was then obtainable in the
places of his home.
On September 25, 1843, he left the paternal home and
entered upon his personal career by going to Burlington, Iowa,
where he worked for a short time on the farm of Judge Mason.
He then went to work for merchants in Burlington at the
agreed compensation of $50 per annum and board. Upon the
dissolution of the firm, in September, 1844, he went with one
member of the firm to Keosauqua, Iowa, to work for $8.33 per
month and board. In March, 1845, he returned to Burlington
and went into the store of W. F. Coolbaugh & Co. as a porter
and man of all work. In 1S49 he became a partner in the firm
26 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
iu conducting a general store, until the spring of 1S51, when
the firm confined its business to wholesale groceries, in which
he continued with various associates till September, 1879, when
he gave up the mercantile business.
In December, 1852, he was married to Miss Harriet Foote,
the 3'oungest daughter of Justus L,. and Harriet Foote. Of
this union four daughters were born, two of whom died in
infancy and two survived their worth}^ father.
In 1863 he was elected maj-or of the cit}- of Burlington, and
declined a nomination by acclamation for representative in the
Iowa general assembly.
In 1 87 1 he was nominated and elected a representative in the
fourteenth general as.sembly of Iowa, and in 1873 was renomi-
nated by acclamation and elected to the fifteenth general
assembly and was elected speaker of that general assembl}-.
In 1875 he was again renominated and elected to the sixteenth
general assembly and was reelected speaker, a marked distinc-
tion which no other representative ever achieved, except one.
In 1877, having discharged the duties of speaker of the general
assembly so successfully and satisfactorily, he was nominated
by his party for governor of his State, and was elected. He
discharged the duties of governor so satisfactorily that he was
renominated and reelected.
Retiring after two successive terms as governor with great
honor and credit, he engaged in mining and manufacturing
enterprises until 1886, when he was nominated by acclamation
as the Republican candidate for Representative in the Fiftieth
Congress, and was elected.
In 1 888 he was renominated and elected a Representative in
the Fifty-first Congress, was placed upon the Committee on
Ways and Means, and took a prominent part in the tariff dis-
cussions of that Congress.
Address of Mr. CockrcU, of Missouri. 27
In 1890 he was again nominated by acclamation for Repre-
sentative in the Fifty-second Congress, and was defeated by
Hon. J. J. Seerly, whom he had defeated in 1888.
In 1892 he was again nominated for Representative in the
Fifty-third Congress, and was elected over Hon. J. J. Seerly.
In November, 1892, he was appointed by President Harrison
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and served during the
remainder of his term. He then served as Representative
through the Fifty-third Congre.ss.
In January, 1894, he was elected by the general assembly of
Iowa a Senator in the Senate of the United States for the term
beginmng March 4, 1895- He ser^-ed his country, his State,
and constituents as United States Senator with such ability,
fideUty, and acceptabiUty that in 1900 he was again elected by
the general assembly of his State as his own successor in the
United States Senate for the term beginning March 4, 1901,
but died before the expiration of his first term.
At the time of his death he was chairman of the Committee
on Pacific Railroads, and a member of the Committees on Agri-
culture and Forestry, Education and Labor, Interstate Com-
merce, Post-Offices and Post-Roads, and Improvement of the
Mississippi River and its Tributaries.
He was a delegate at large from his State to the Republican
National Convention in 1892, at Minneapohs, which nominated
Hon. Benjamin Harrison for President, and also to the St.
Louis Republican Convention, in 1896, which nominated Hon.
William McKinley for President.
He stood high in the councils of his party; was an earnest,
consistent, and active Republican in his views and principles,
but not offensively partisan, conceding to others who held con-
trary views the same rights he claimed and exercised for him-
self.' In all the relations of life he was the .true gentleman,
28 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
kind, social, and pleasant. He was a true and reliable friend,
ever ready and willing to lend a helping hand, regardless of
His personal friends and admirers were not confined to his
political party, for all who knew him well esteemed and loved
him for his man}' manly and noble traits of character. His life
is a most remarkable one, and illustrates the achievements, the
honors, which are accessible to and obtainable by the laudabh-
ambitious young men of our great country under our beneficent
systems of government, State and national. With a limited
education and opportunities, at the age of i8 years he began
working in a store at $50 per 3' ear with board, and by improv-
ing every hour, by industry, economy, close attention to his
duties, whatever they were, and discharging them honestly
and acceptably, step by step he advanced, never retrograding,
and earning and receiving the respect and confidence of the
people in whose midst he labored. He became mayor of his
city, thrice a member of the general assembly of his State,
twice speaker, twice governor of his State. A Representative
in three Congresses, by popular election, was Assistant Secre-
tary of the Treasury, and twice elected to the Senate of the
United States, and twice sent as a delegate from his State at
large to the national conventions of his party.
His worthy and illustrious life may properly be pointed to as
an example of the achievements and honors obtainable by hon-
est, manly conduct, and devotion to duty in ever}- position,
however humble and obscure or high and honorable.
He has left behind him a ' ' good name better than precious
ointment," and a record of which his family, friends, and the
good people of his State may justly feel proud.
Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota. 29
Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota.
Mr. President: I first became acquainted with Senator
Gear in 1887, when we were both members of the Fiftieth
Congress. From the very first instant of our acquaintance
we l)ecame attached to each other, and I found him a most
genial, considerate, kind, and helpful friend and associate,
always ready to lend a helping hand and to say a good word
for me. And I stood in need of his kindness in those days,
for I represented a large district of new country, requiring
much local legislation, for which, under the rigid rules of the
House, it was not always easy to obtain consideration. He
seemed to appreciate my difficulties more than many of my
associates, and he was always on hand to smooth over the
rough places and to help me out of a dilemma. Although
that was his first term, and though he was not a great
debater, yet from the very start he became an influential
member, whose good sense, sound judgment, and keen insight
were highly valued and appreciated by his associates.
His vast experience in public aftairs before he entered the
House of Representatives had better equipped him and made
him better- qualified for the important duties of a legislator
than most men who entered that bod>'. This was recognized
by all. He had been a member aud speaker of the hou.se of
representatives of his State legislature for several terms, and
had been for two terms one of the ablest and most efficient
governors of his State. He was known to all his associates
as "Governor" Gear, and the term "governor" was not, in
his case, used in a perfunctorj' or vain sense, but with all the
force and value that the term implies. His firmness and
30 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
rugged houesty and integrity were visible in his mien and
carriage, and were recognized and felt bj- all. When he sup-
ported a measure his support gave it credit, and doubts and
He was fair, just, and fearless in the performance of his
duties, and charitable and considerate to those who differed
with him. He had the happy faculty of softening and allay-
ing that acrimony that occasionally occurs in the House.
He was attentive and watchful throughout the sessions and
few things escaped his notice, and though not one of the
leaders of the House, yet he was one of the chief mainstays
of those who assumed to lead, and without whose assistance
their leadership would have been a failure. His advice and
opinion on all great questions were sought and valued by his
associates. Such, Mr. Pre.sident, were my impressions of him
while his colleague in the House. There was another bond,
too, which drew us to each other. He had been in his youth,
from 1838 fo 1843, a resident of Fort Snelling, in what is
now the State of Minnesota — then the Territory of Iowa —
and his father continued a resident of Fort Snelling and of
Minneapolis, Minn., from that time until his death, in 1873.
The fact that what is now Minnesota had been his boyhood
home and the home of his father for so many years made
him always take a deep interest in the State and its Repre-
sentatives. He often said to me, "I take almost as much
interest in Minnesota as I do in Iowa, my own vState."
When I parted with him at the close of the Fiftieth Con-
gress I little thought that we would again be associated in
the public service. But fate and kind constituencies brought
us in March, 1895, together again in this body, and here we
renewed our old friendship, and once more became brothers
in sympathy, fellowship, and labor.
Address of Mr. Nelson, oj Minnesota. 31
His presence here at that time was an assurance to me,
and I felt that I still had my old staff to lean upon. In this
bod}- he became an acti\-e, industrious, and most useful mem-
ber, ever zealous in the performance of his duties, and ever
helpful in promoting the great work of the Senate. In this
body there are alwa3-s, more or less, a number of able
speakers and debaters, who render great ser\-ice to the
country and to their associates by elucidating, in their
speeches on the floor of the Senate, the intricate problems
involved in important measures of general legislation. But
such measures usually require much preliminary care, thought,
and preparation, both in committee and outside, before they
become subjects of formal debate; and the chief burden of
this preliminary work is, to a large extent, entailed upon
and assumed bj' the silent members — the members not prone
to much debate — of the Senate. There is also much impor-
tant legislation which is of a local or personal character, such
as pertains to claims, to river and harbor improvements, to
matters relating to Indian affairs, to public lands, and to
commerce and shipping. As a rule this class of legislation,
while not provoking much debate, generally requires a great
deal of care, study, and attention, and this usually devolves
upon the silent, but industrious, members of this bodj', to
whom the orators and debaters freely accord the task.
Then, too, it often happens that after the orator or debater
has made his speech he leaves the task of piloting the meas-
ure through to humbler coadjutors. The former has the glory
of debate, the latter the glory of passing the bill. The glory
of the former gives renown, while the glory of the latter is
often lost and unnoticed. In war the bugler sounds the
charge, but it is made and carried on to victory by a phalanx
of silent but determined men. So in the field of legislation.
32 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
The orator may sound the keynote, but the silent, thought-
ful, and painstaking members prepare, pilot, and pass the
measures. Senator Gear was typical, and one of the fore-
most members, of this class. His voice was not often heard
in debate, and yet he was most industrious and effective in
promoting general, special, and local legislation. He had
an effective and convincing way of arguing, not collectively,
but individually, with his a.ssociates, that made him one of
the strongest and most useful members of this body. His
judgment as to the merits and soundness of a measure was
valuable and well-nigh infalhble. With all his abihty and
vast experience, he was, nevertheless, as modest and unob-
trusive as though he had been an abecedarian, and this mod-
esty, coupled with his great intrinsic worth, endeared him
to all of us.
One of the greatest and most pronounced blessings of our
system of government is this: That there is an open door and
a free field for the humblest, in the most unfavorable environ-
ment, to ascend from the lowest level to the highest field of
usefulness and .success. The humblest youth, with a vigorous
mind, a .stout heart, and a clear conscience, may with confi-
dence aspire to the front rank in the business or political world.
But while such opportunities are placed within the reach of all,
it is only the industrious, the energetic, and the persevering
who succeed. The spirit of democracy is exacting and has no
patience with mere wealth or ancestry. Borrowed plumage is
of no value. Merit, real, genuine, and intrinsic merit, alone
prevails. And hence we are always safe in assuming that the
successful man has earned, merited, and deserved the promo-
tion and rank to which he has attained; that he has not been
born to it, but has grown to it through his energy and ability.
This fact is fuUv illustrated and clearlv verified in the case of
Address of Mr. Nelson, of Minnesota. 33
Senator Gear. He began his mercantile career without means,
as a porter and man of all work, at nominal wages, in a store of
which, in the course of a few years, he became one of the pro-
prietors and managers. In this field he exhibited rare talents
of a superior order, and became one of the most prosperous and
successful of merchants in an enterprising and growing city of
His marked ability and energy in this field .soon attracted
the attention of his fellow-townsmen. They felt the need of
such a man in the public service. They first elected him alder-
man of the city council, then mayor, and after that they repeat-
edly sent him as their representative to the legislature. The
legislature soon discovered his worth and chose him their
speaker. As a legislator and a presiding officer he demon-
strated to the people of the entire State his sound judgment,
great wisdom, and rare executive ability. The whole State
Seeded the service and appreciated the talents of just such a
man, and hence it came to pass that the people of Iowa twice
placed him in the chair as their chief executive. And in this
high position he made a record for himself and his State of
which he and his people had good reason to be proud. His
fame as governor extended beyond the bounds of his own
State. I had heard of Governor Gear and his rvigged integ-
rity and rare executive ability long before I met him in the
House of Representatives. The culmination of his public
career was his election to the United States Senate in 1894.
He came here mature in years, mature in experience and wis-
dom, and well qualified to take an active part in the serious
and exacting work of the Senate, and eminently fitted to cope
with able associates in the varied and perplexing intricacies of
the legislation of a great nation.
The career of Senator Gear in the public service is a
S. Doc. 236 3
34 L-ife and CJiarackr of John Hcnrv Gear.
record which the most brilHaiit of men could well be proud
of and rejoice in. But he was not a brilliant man in the
common acceptation of the term, and therefore his great
success as a public servant was all the more remarkable,
all the more creditable, and all the more worthy of com-
mendation. It demonstrated that he was possessed of a la-
tent force and energy equal to the greatest task, and that
as a man of action he was. equal to the most brilliant and
cstentatious of men. The man of deeds inspires, stimulates,
and guides his country quite as often and quite as much
as the man of words. That humble member of Parliament,
that serious and sincere man of few words, Oliver Crom-
well, was a greater man in all the substantial attributes of
greatness, and rendered greater services to his countrj-, both
at home and abroad, than that brilliant orator and word
painter, Edmund Burke; and the men who emptied the
chests of tea in Boston Harbor rendered as great a ser\-ice
to the cause of independence as Patrick Henry. In this
age of electricity, steam, and daily newspapers, and in a
government such as ours, where the sentiment of the masses,
rather than of the individual, however prominent, is con-
trolling, the brilliant man of words ma\- have many hearers,
but is apt to have less followers than the determined man
of action, who duly responds to the just demands of the
public. This fact was palpable in the ca.se of Senator Gear.
In public confidence and in public esteem he outran iii his
day man}' a man who seemed more brilliant and was more
eloquent. And this proves that the public demand for such
servants will not abate, and that the}' will always be needed
and will alwa^'s have a great sphere of work and useful-
ness that none can better fill.
The American people are possessed of a higher average of
Address of Mr. N'elson. of Minnesota. 35
culture aud intelligence than any other nation, and hence
the trend of their progress and development is steady, pru-
dent, and conservative, and no room is found for the vision-
ary or Utopian, however brilliant and alluring it may be.
They choose their own leaders not so much from those
who want to lead or tower above them as from those who
are near their own level in purpose, spirit, and inspiration.
Practical usefulness, coupled with scrupulous integrity, is
what the}- look for and desire in their public .servants; in
other words, the\- want abo\-e all things a safe man rather
than an emotional and wordy man. Such a man is always
in touch with an American constituency; such a man is
always their true exponent; such a man they always have
use for, and .such a man was, emphatically, Senator Gear.
And it was because of this fact, as well as on account of
his energy, ability, and integrity, that his life in its entirety
was a great .success and proved an exalted example for our
American youth to emulate and follow.
When he first .settled in Burlington, Iowa was a mere
Territorj' on the outer verge of the great West. Since that
day it has grown into one of the great States of the Union.
In tho.se Territorial days he began life as an humble chore
boy in a frontier store, but he kept pace with the growth
and development of his State, and when he died he was
one of the chief political pillars of that great Commonwealth,
leaving a legacy not of accumulative riches, but the legacy of
a long and useful life in the public service.
We live in an age of mammon, in the midst of a restless
struggle for wealth, but how delusive it often is. Look at the
career of the youth who embarks in a struggle for the almighty
dollar. His whole life, his whole aim. is to accumulate
wealth — it becomes his second nature. His .spirit pines for
36 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
nothing else year in and year out, and finally he exhausts him-
self in the effort, succumbs, and dies, bequeathing his millions
to children or other heirs who scarcely thank him for it, and
who oftentimes are wholly unfit to make proper use of such a
legacy. Our public press and our orators may laud such a man,
but in spite of all this such a life is nothing but the vanity of
all vanities, barren to him who leads it, barren to his kin, and
barren to our common humanity. In comparison with the life
of such a man, how noble, grand, and inspiring is the life and
career of such a man as Senator Gear. Such a man is missed,
such a man is blessed, and the example of such a man is an
inspiration to all who seek to become useful and a help to
their age, their country, and to humanity. Dives is a dwarf
in comparison with such a man. This is the immutable law of
everlasting truth and justice, now and for all time to come.
Let all of us take this gospel to heart; it will assuage our grief
and give tis renewed hope for the future.
Dear departed friend, we have been associates in two great
forums on this side of the gra\-e. May we again become asso-
ciates in that higher and better forum, where our presiding
Chief will be that great Fountain of Mercy, Truth, and Light,
under whose benign mercy and goodness we hope to find a final
haven of rest.
Address of Mr. Spooiter, of lVisconsi?i. 37
ADDRESS OF MR. SPOONER, OF WISCONSIN.
Mr. President: I am compelled to speak only unstudied
words in tribute to the memory of our late colleague, Senator
Gear. I shall always esteem it a fortunate circumstance in
my life that I was permitted to enjoy his personal friendship.
Few men less need the testimony of those who survive them to
establish the possession of great qualities than did Senator
Gear. He proved the possession of such qualities beyond pos-
sibility of challenge by the life which he lived and by the great
career which he wrought out. It is impossible that one could
have such a career in the public service, extending over thirty
years, beginning in the humblest position and rising higher
and higher to a seat in this body, to which, all things consid-
ered, no other position is comparable, without great ability,
integrity, sound judgment, and the utmost fidelity to duty in
large things and in small. All these Senator Gear had.
He belonged to a class of men rapidly disappearing. He
was one of the pioneer statesmen of the country. His youth
and early manhood were spent upon the border. It was a rough
school, but it was a great school. It was an environment of
danger and hardship. It demanded a clear eye, steady nerve,
prompt decision, and sometimes a quick and accurate use of the
rifle. In it the youth of inherent manline.ss and strength of
moral character developed physically, mentally, and morally
into a strong-fibered, alert, rugged, and intrepid mau. The
class of public men of which he was a fair type has contributed
immeasurably to the ser^•ice of the country and to its imperish-
The frontier has passed away, and the frontier statesman is
38 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
passing awaj-. We will, of course, have strong- fibered, able,
faithful men for the public service of the future, but they will
differ somehow from the men of whom I speak, for the environ-
ment in which they were educated and out of which they came
can not come again.
It is doubtless true that Senator Gear was an ambitious
man. Most men who are born leaders of men, as he was, are
ambitious men. To say that of him is only to say that he was a
natural man. Were it not for the ambition which is implanted
in us, and which inspires us to look upward, and to work
upward, the world would not move much in any department of
human effort. It is fortunate for the country that his ambition
led him to serve the public in an executive and legislative way
rather than to the acqtiisition of wealth. Bacon said, and it is
quite true, that —
Hen ill great places are thrice servants— servants of the sovereign or
State, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no
freedom, neither in their persons nor in their actions nor in their time.
It is a strange desire to seek power over others and to lose power over a
It may and does sometimes seem strange indeed, but it is
none the less natural, as many other things which seem strange
are natural, and it is fortunate that honest-minded men are
found with ambition to enter the public service, in which there
is so much of burden, of personal sacrifice, and so little of
reward, except in the consciousness of duty well performed and
in the respect of a constituency well served. Herein was the
inspiration, it seems to nie, of our late colleague.
He was essentially a loyal man in every waj-. He was firm in
his friendships. No person once admitted to his friendship e\-er
lost it without just cause. In the great Commonwealth which he
helped to found he took great pride, and to her he gave loyalty
without stint. He was loyal to his party and to his countr}-.
Address of Mr. Spooner, of Wisconsin. 39.
His patriotism was a passion. His mind was strong and his
mental vision broad. His grasp upon the subjects with which he
had to deal was comprehensive and, while not an orator, he was
an effective speaker, in the House of Representatives, in the Sen-
ate, and on the hustings. He thought clearl}', and he had the
courage of his convictions. He sought earnestly the right solu-
tion of every problem, the sound side of every question, and his
conclusion he was willing to abide by. He had the courage to
say what he thought and the ability to find apt words in which
easily and plainly to convey his thought to others.
He loved popularity, but he found it easy to with.stand popular
clamor, hastily aroused, and to act as he thought best, confidently
leaving his justification to the calmer and maturer judgment of
his constituency. His methods were direct and manly. He left
no opportunity for speculation as to his position. He was frank
jnd open. Simple in his habits, it was quite impossible for him
to indulge in affectation.
Whatever change came in his fortunes, or whatever advance-
ment in life, it wrought no discoverable change in him or in his
manner. As much as any man I have ever known, he was with-
out moods— the same at one time as he was at another— genial,
kindly, and approachable. Along the whole pathway of his life,
Mr. President, he bore a sympathetic heart and a hand always
helpful, and bestowed benefactions and kindnesses, sometimes
in a lavish way, to all who had claim upon him and to very many
who had none.
It is in harmon\- with the better side of our human nature that
as a rule kind words only are spoken of the dead. Sometimes,
Mr. President, they are perfunctory. I have not at any time seen
in the tributes paid to a public man upon his death any more
obviously sincere and earnest and tender than the expressions
upon the death of Senator Ge.\R by the press of Iowa and among
40 Life aiid Character of John Henry Gear.
the people of that State. There is no false note in any one of
There is a tendency in some States of the Union, notably,
perhaps, in some of the Western States, among young men
who are interested in political affairs, to become somewhat
restive and discontented over the long abiding of one man in
high public po.sition. It seems not to be so in Iowa. The
young men of that Commonwealth, in every contest which
came into the life of Senator Ge.\R, as a rule were found
around his standard, and in the contest over his last election
to the Senate, although his competitor was yoiuig, brilliant,
and genial, the young men of Iowa by the hundreds, I have
been told, rallied to the support of the old statesman whom
through the years they had learned to love and believe in.
This condition in Iowa is in itself a high tribute to Senator
Ge.\R and to his qualities, as it is to the distingui.shed Sen-*
ator from that State [Mr. Allison] who has just spoken so
tenderly, .so beautifully, and so adequately of his departed col-
league and friend.
The last months of Senator Gear's service here were at once
pathetic and characteristic. Not one of us will soon forget
how, obviously already stricken, he came day after day, some-
times with tottering step, Mr. President, to his accustomed
place in this Chamber, and that there came with him the
devoted wife, who through .so many years had been at his side,
his helpmeet and his friend, to take her place in the gallery
yonder and to watch him as he sat here or moved about the
Chamber in discharge of Senatorial duty, anxious lest he
overtax his failing strength. And during those months how
faithful he was, not onlj- in discharge of duty here in every
detail, but likewise in performing in the Departments that
toilsome function inseparable from this position. He was to
Address of Mr. Spooner, of Wisconsin. 41
the last, as he had been all his life, in all things, trivial and
important, faithful. He could not be otherwise, Mr. President,
and no higher tribute can be paid to a public ser\'ant.
His character was in one of the resolutions adopted in Iowa
upon his death well de.scribed thus:
Here was a great nature, a strong and healthy mind and body, in
whose blood there was no rebellious envy or uncharitableness or ill will,
who believed in his fellow-men and sought to serve them, and who, as
he in large measure loved and served his fellow-men, found love and
service measured to him again.
It seemed to some of us for some time before he died that
the heavy hand of death was upon him. Whether he realized
that for him the little boat was waiting on the river near by, it
is not for us to know. Had he known the appointed moment
he would have performed the duty of each day, calmly look-
ing forward to its approach. He was in that sense a "minute
man," ready for any crisis when it should come. The even-
ing before he died he made an appointment to go at a fixed
hour the following morning with a con.stituent to one of the
Departments, there to render him a service. Before the hour
arrived the summons came which comes to all, and —
He gave his honors to the world again.
His blessed part to Heaven — and slept in peace.
42 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
ADDRESS OF Mr. Morgan, of Alabama.
Mr. President: In the life of Senator John H. Gear the
vSenate of the United States has one of its truest memorials
and strongest proofs that it is a body of indispensable neces-
sity to a government that is republican in form — which means
a government that is representative of the people.
The threads of life that are woven into his history are
attached, in his personal experiences, to the rock bottom of
American pioneer life, and have grown longer and stronger
as the years advanced, until the}- reached the highest point
of American aspiration without the breaking of a strand.
Mr. Gear cut loose from nothing in the past to reach that
something for the future that so often tempts men of genius
to quit solid foundations for flights into the imaginative zones
of ambition that are resplendent with the enticing beauties of
' ' castles in the air. ' '
He never forgot his youth in the dreams of advanced age.
He was in heart and soul the representative of the people —
the masses, as thej' are called by political economists — in
their personal rights and liberties, their homes, however
humble, their vocations and their troubles, when he became
the representative in the Senate of the sovereign State of
Iowa, as truly as he represented and cared for them when he
was an alderman of the .second ward of Burlington.
In the offices he held, of alderman, representative in the
general assembly of Iowa, speaker of the house of representa-
tives of that body, governor of Iowa, Representative in
Congress, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and a Senator
of the United States, and in the contests for election through
Address of Mr. Morgan, of Alabama. 43
which he passed, every straud aud fiber of his life was tried
and tested in the crucible of public opinion, and they were
found to be good and steadfast. During all that long public
trial he was not known as a great man and did not seek for
He was known as a true man and faithful, a man of toil-
.some diligence, a workman approved of his master — the
people — and of courageous faith and inflexible adherence to
He was a rugged man, who had need of all his strength
and fortitude to make his way from the bottom to the top of
the ladder, for he met strong resi.stance at every step and was
often checked by defeat.
It was his courage and his honest devotion to the people
that enabled him to retrieve his defeats and to continue the
course of duty, which, as it developed into higher demands
upon his energies and abilities, found him prepared, and
was followed as his guide to higher stations in his journey.
The performance of duty was his highest ambition, and
he neither sought nor found any rewards that he did not
earn. There is no glitter in the volume of his long .service
to attract the admiration of the passing observer, but there
is a repose in the strength and solidity of the structure he
built with his own hands, neither letters or the arts or the
sciences assisting him, that attracts the thoughtful American
to the great truth that in honest adherence to correct prin-
ciples and faithful service in our temple of liberties the door-
keeper is a greater man than the king who dwells in royal
palaces built by the hands of his servants.
The Senate of the United States as a body endowed with
great and singular powers, the political center of the national
powers of 45 sovereign States aud of 76,000,000 of free and
44 Life aiid Charade} of John Henry Gear.
self-governing people, has no peer in its powers and influ-
ence elsewhere among the nations, ancient or modern. In
this tribunal the States are represented by Senators who are
chosen b>' the legislatures as the true representatives of the
character of their people. Recently, since I have been a mem-
ber of this body, and shortly before that date, a number of
new States have been admitted to the Ihiion from the great
Territories of the Northwest.
The Senators wlio come here to represent these new States
have constituencies scattered thinh- o\-er vast areas, with re-
sources of great variety and rich abundance just in the begin-
ning of development.
The}^ are pioneer peoples, and their Senators are, many of
them, pioneers in new fields of statecraft and political eco-
nomics; but they are strong, sturdy, brave, and skilled in leader-
ship, and the}' explore these new fields of legislation as they
travel the shoreless plains of the West and its great mountain
ranges in ease and security, relying upon their instinctive
knowledge of courses and distances for their guidance rather
than upon the charts prepared by others. In that strength
of self-confidence they thread the labyrinths of legislative pro-
cedure without ever missing the point to which their course
is directed. I ha\-e an earnest admiration of those pioneer Sen-
ators and of the sj'stem that welcomes and relies upon their
wisdom in the guidance of the Republic.
In the Senate there are not a few able men who were
educated in the wilds of America, where schools were not and
churches were scarce, and education was confined to lessons of
experience, and mental growth came from self-training.
Honor, duty, obedience to law, justice, and charity were
taught in fireside lessons and received with filial reverence by
these men, and were carried out on the journeys of life as the
Address of Mr. Morgan, of Alaba^na. 45
preparation with which the feet of the righteous are shod.
Thus fortified, they do not falter, whatever the length or the
hardships of the journey.
There is a place here of great importance for these pioneer
Senators, and when any of them withdraw it is not certain
that their places can be safely filled with others of more mod-
ern training in the schools.
When any of them retire they carry with them the sincere
regard of the Senate. Those men who are actual pioneers,
born and raised on the borders of civilization, and others who
received their education from sailors before the mast, and yet
others whose boyhood was .spent in hard labor in the fields
and in the workshops, have brought wisdom to these councils,
and strength of truth to our support, and the invaluable bene-
fit of common sense to the direction of the Senate. Whether
they ascend or descend to the atmosphere of the great scholars
of the Senate — bred in our universities — these men are a neces-
sary element in the strength of the Senate, and bring to it
that greatest of all its influence, the confidence of the people.
Perhaps no man ever held a commission in this body who was
a more complete embodiment ot this pioneer character than the
late Senator from Iowa.
He had no time in his childhood to receive more than the
simplest form of country school education, yet he was a man of
learning in many important respects.
His father was a minister of the gospel and taught him the
truths of the divine revelations, and the morality that is en-
shrined in that holy faith. This was a noble opportunity for
his son, but it also required dihgent toil of its votaries to
provide daily bread.
In the simple annals of that family one of its proudest
achievements was the employment of the son, John Henry, as
46 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
a clerk in the store of the Bridgmau Brothers, at the com-
pensation of $50 a year, with board.
The mother had been called to her great reward and was
not present at the home of this \"icar of Wakefield in the
wilderness to bless this first great promotion of her boy; but
she has watched his progress from happier eminences, and
has witnessed the growth of the plant that was watered with
her tears and consecrated with her prayers while it was still
an infant nestling upon her bosom when she died. I believe
in the prayers of a righteous mother.
As he grew from strength to strength and rose by slow and
toilsome steps in his silent progress toward a very high des-
tiny some power attended him that impressed him with a keen
sense of duty and a knowledge of his intiinsic worth and
power upon his associates, who began early in his life to
assign him to lines of public duty as their repre.sentative.
In this character, both in the State and Federal tribunals,
Mr. Gear established his just right to their confidence.
Those who are educated and trained politicians may not com-
prehend this force of character and devotion to duty that
wins its wa}- to the hearts of the people, but in a free coun-
try and in the .suffrages of a virtuous people it is character
that commands confidence.
IMr. Gear had few of the gifts and arts of .speaking to
mas.ses of people, or in legislative assembhes, that attract atten-
tion by captivating periods, yet he had marked success in
advocating measures that he favored and opposing such as he
disapproved. His work on the legislation of the country is
distinctly written, and is an honorable testimonial to his abili-
ties as a statesman.
To one who knew him only as an acquaintance he was a
man of severe and reserved demeanor, but a nearer approach
Address of Mr. Morgan, of Alabama. 47
to him in social and official life brought out the traits of a
generous, sensitive, and cordial nature.
His friends grew in number and depth of attachment as his
j-ears advanced, and none turned away from him to become his
enemies. This alone is a record worthy of a life of hard serv-
ice, and is the richest reward that any man can earn. It is
the judgment of his contemporaries upon his whole life, not
always tempered with the mere}- of divine compassion or the
impartialit}- of divine justice, and it is a tribute of respect
that lasts through long periods to gratifj- posterity.
Mr. Gear left this bequest to his family, his friends, and
his country. In response to his honorable labors for his coun-
try, the Senate and the people express for his memory their
respect, gratitude, and affection.
The Senate, if it deals justly with the dead, sits in judgment
on their official histor}^ when their obsequies are celebrated.
In that court character is the final test. It is the just man
that survives the' ordeal.
Daniel was a great ruling power in all departments of the
Hebraic government, but his administration was impeached
and he was called to trial for alleged delinquencies. Even his
fine character did not shield him from investigation, nor did
he plead it as a protection; but it made his triumph an eter-
nal record that will not fade while Holy Writ is the guide,
instructor, hope, and comforter of mankind. ' ' The presidents
and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning
the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault;
forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error."
And this is the judgment of the Senate upon the public life of
Senator John Henrv Gear.
Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, and godli-
ness are the elements that combine in the highest human
48 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
character, aud they are the sure moral supports of the character
of the Senate.
If one column can not support the great dome of the tem-
ple, yet there are many, each bearing its burden, and all are
entitled to equal honors who are equally faithful. Senator
Gear bore his part of this mighty burden along with many
who have not sought places in the friezes and panels of fame
that decorate this temple, but the records of the Senate will
always show forth his faithful work aud crown his memory
Address of Mr.'Burrouis, of Michigan. 49
Address of Mr. Burrows, of Michigan,
Mr. President: A somewhat extended service in the House
of Representatives with the Hon. John H. Gear, of Iowa, and
the opportunity thus afforded by daily contact to learn .some-
thing of his excellent qualities of head and heart, is sufficient
apology, it excuse were needed, for a word from me touching
the life and character of my friend, vSenator Gk.\k.
One can not be associated with another in a legislative body
for any considerable length of time, with its inevitable conflicts
and antagonisms, without forming .something of an estimate of
his temper and dominant characteristics. Senator Gear came
to tlie House of Representatives not an untried or unknown
man. He had filled many offices of honor and responsibility
in his State, and had a reputation extending beyond its con-
fines. Mayor of his adopted city, member of the legislature
and .speaker of the house, twice elected governor of the Com-
monwealth, he seemed to have such a hold on the confidence
and affection of his people that there was no honor within their
gift they were not ready and willing to confer.
Having reached the summit of State official life, it was but
natural that his people, appreciating his sterling qualities,
should confer upon him the higher honor of a membership in
the great American House of Commons. He was of the people,
and the people demanded his services in the popular branch
of Congress. He entered the House of Representatives and
became a member of that great forum in the full maturity
and vigor of his intellectual powers, and at once took a com-
manding position in the deliberations of that body — not as
a ready and forceful debater, for he was not that — but in the
S. Doc. 236 4
50 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
councils of his party associates and in the deliberations of the
committee room, where really all legislation is carried on and
perfected. His excellent judgment, his wise guidance and
patriotic impulses easily won for him a commanding position
in the confidence and esteem of his associates, a position he
continued to hold during his prolonged service in that body.
In the real work of legislation he was a recognized power.
Committee assignments in the House of Representatives are
determined not so nuich by length of .ser\-ice in that body as
by fitness and adaptability to the work in hand. Senator
Gear's business career had been .such as to bring him in touch
and familiarize him with the great industrial life of the people
in all its varied ramifications and mar\-elous developments, and
it was but natural and fitting, therefore, that he should be
assigned to the great business committee of the Hou.se, the
Committee on Ways and Means. He was specially fitted by
education and training for this field of labor, and was, there-
fore, by common consent assigned to its difficult and arduous
duties. He became a member of that committee at a time
when it was charged with the grave and responsible duty of
formulating the tariff measure of 1890, at the head of which
committee was the present Chief Executive of the nation, whose
illustrious name that measure bears.
It is not too much to say, and I detract nothing from the
just meed of praise due to others, that no member of that com-
mittee, barring its then learned head, contributed more to the
result obtained than did Mr. Gear. He brought to the con-
sultations of the committee room not the philosophy of the
schools or the dreams of the mere theorist, but rather the
practical experience of a business life, of infinitely more value
than all the .speculations of the political economist. He
seemed to possess upon almost everj' subject connected with
Address of Mr. Biirrows, of Michigan. 51
that legislation an inexhaustible fund of information and a
knowledge of its infinite details, gathered from the practical
experiences in life, which ser\'ed at all times to illumine the
subject and light the wa>- to wise and safe conclusions. If
there was nothing else in his public life to commend his mem-
ory to the regard and keeping of his fellow-citizens, his labors
on the committee in connection with this great measure
would be sufiScient to commend it to enduring regard.
Unfortunately, he was not long a member of the Senate, but
long enough, I am sure, to gain the confidence and respect of
the membership of this body and make his departure a sincere
sorrow. He was a wise and safe counselor, an intelligent and
painstaking legislator, a patriotic citizen, and last, though not
least, a sincere friend. His life work seemed, however, to be
complete. He lived beyond the allotted span of human exist-
ence, and left an impress of his work on the statutes of his
countr}' which, in its beneficent influence, will be as enduring
as the Republic itself.
Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
■ Address of Mr. Mason, of Illinois.
Mr. President: I first heard of Governor Gear when I was
a boy, and I knew him when he was a member of the Iowa
legislature, speaker of the house of representatives. At that
time I was employed as committee clerk and .stenographer in
the old capitol. Afterwards I .served witli him in the House of
Representatives in the Fiftieth and Fift>-first Congresses. Van
Buren County, Iowa, which was a part of his Congressional
district, was my old home, where I had been reared, and,
knowing so many of his friends and constituents, we were fre-
quently thrown together and talked over old affairs at the old
home in tho.se tw^o memorable Congresses, the Fiftieth and the
It was on the Ways and Means Connnittee, of which the Sen-
ator from Michigan [Mr. Burrows] has just .spoken, where he
had abundant opportunity to show his great and tirele.ss energy.
My recollection is that he was not on the Ways and Means Com-
mittee in the Fiftieth Congress, but was active in opposition to
what was known as the Mills bill, or the revenue measure which
took the name of the afterwards di.stinguished Senator from
Texas, Mr. Mills. After that he went upon the committee, as
I rememter it. In the Fifty-finst Congress it became necessary
to formulate what was known as the tariff act of 1890.
If I .should be asked to-day by any colleague what, in my
opinion, were his strong points of character, I should .say his
sterling and robust honesty and his never-failing industry.
Add to this great kindness of heart, considerate attention to the
wants of others, and there is no wonder why we in the Senate
to-day miss him and why we mourn liini. Many times and (^ft
Address of Mr. Mason, of Illinois. 53
have I seen men approach him, in manj- cases in anxiety and
distress, and tell their story. I never knew men or women so '
poor or so unimportant in the affairs of life as not to receive his
careful and kindly attention. I knew him thirty years, a part
of the time intimately, and I never knew him to speak unkindly
Senator Gear despised mean and small things, .small gossip.
He sat in judgment on no man. He was a good citizen, a good
Senator, a devoted lover of his family and his home, and a great
worker. I remember in the old days in the House, when his
mail was perhaps the largest of any that came. He was a good
worker, yet fond of social conversation and chats. He was
serious in business affairs, but yet a merry twinkle at times in
his eye showed a keen appreciation of a good storj-. I think
it was he who told me first the glory of a grandchild. He said
that in the glorj* of the grandchild one has all the joy and the
fun and none of the responsibility.
I happened to be in Alaska at the time of the Senator's
death. I did not hear of it for some weeks. I had just come
down from White Pass and boarded the steamer at Skagvva)'
when I met a gentleman who had arrived there that day and
told me the news of his death. I .sat on the deck a long time,
and in the rocks and in the everlasting hills I saw a type of his
strong character and his never-failing courage, and in the quiet
valleys filled with the music of running waters and singing
birds I saw a type of his life in the harbor of his home.
Life is indeed a book. We read it page by page and day
h\ day. While the page of to-day may bring the shout of
laughter to the lips, the page of to-morrow will be blurred with
tears. The road of to-day may lead into a dark, foreboding
to-morrow, but ere to-morrow's sun shall set we may pitch our
tents within sight of the spires and domes of a friendly city.
54 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
I think, Mr. President, one of the happiest times in hfe is
when holding a fresh, new soul within our arms, fresh from
the great immortality of the past, and the saddest hour is
when, holding some loved friend by the hand, he steps down
into the valley of the shadow we call death.
We turn to the earth, and it is barren; to the sky, it is
lead. The rift in the clouds only is the hope of immortality
born within us and testified to by every line of nature that
lies about us like an open book. With this light in our
eyes we turn again to the earth, and it is no longer barren;
again to the sky, and it is no longer leaden, for we read
the same voice in the storm or in the breaking wave, in the
quiet nook around the sunny bank, the same voice of faith —
be patient, God reigns, and immortality is the jewel of the
There's a wideness in God's mercy like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice that is more than charity;
For the love of God is broader than the measure of man's mind,
And the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.
Address of Mr, Gay, of Georgia. 55
ADDRESS OF Mr. Clay, of Georgia.
Mr. President: When I entered the Senate in 1897 I
immediately formed the acquaintance of Senator Gear. We
served together on the Committee on Post-Offices and Post-
Road.s from that time until his death, and I believe that I
enjoyed in a large degree his friendship and confidence. I
often served with him on subcommittees from the Committee
on Post-offices and Post-Roads to investigate charges made
against appointees coming before the committee. While Sen-
ator Gear and my.self belonged to different political parties,
I most cheerfully bear testimony that I found him always
ready and anxious to ascertain the truth and to report on the
merits of each case, regardless of partisan politics. It was
no uncommon thing, after the testimony was heard and a full
and complete investigation had been made, to find that both
of us had reached the same conclusion.
If an appointment was made in my own State aftd I chal-
lenged the fitness of the appointee, Senator Gear was always
willing to accept my statement as to the character of the
appointee without further statement. I believe he had con-
fidence in anything I said, and I found him to be a loyal and
faithful friend. Unquestionably he rendered valuable services
to the people of my State in assisting me to reject unworthy
and incompetent appointees, and it was through his influence
that two or three objectionable appointments in my State
I feel it just to say that had the real facts been known the
appointments would never have been made. Senator Gear
was a plain, blunt man, who never u.sed words to conceal his
56 Life and Charackr of Joliii Henry Gear.
thoughts. In the discharge of his official duties he was
prompt, thorough, and successful.
It was my observation, in .serving on the committee with
him, that whatever duty was assigned him he performed it
promptly and cheerfully. He always kept up with his work
and did it well. He had the respect, confidence, and esteem
of his associates. He was of pleasant address and courteous
manners, and was a genial companion.
At an earl}- day after I entered the Senate I learned to
regard him with affectionate interest and to appreciate his
disinterested friend.ship. He was a modest man, and temper-
ate in all of his habits. Judging from what I knew of him,
he had avoided and escaped tho.se excesses which have wrecked
and ruined the lives of so many of our great men.
His career was a most successful one. The many exalted
positions to which he was chosen in his own State, filling them
all with credit and distinction, bear testimony to his real worth.
He died in his seventy-fifth year and had been a member of
the Iowa house of representatives; was ^eaker for two terms;
was twicei elected governor of his State; was a member of the
Fftieth, Fifty-fir.st, and Fifty-third Congresses; was elected a
Senator in Congress from his State for six years and had been
reelected a short time previous to his death; consequently at
the time of his death he had a full term of six years to serve
in the Senate.
He represented a great constituency and had the confidence
of the people of his great State. The high positions which
he held and the long public service which he so well per-
formed, the regard in which he was held by his a.ssociates in
this Senate, all attest that his life was a useful and successful
He did not claim to be a great debater, but he alwavs
. Address of Mr. Clay, of Georgia. 57
presented his coiiteutions in the committee rooms with such
clearness and earnestness as to carr>- conviction, and his words
and counsel always carried great weight.
After I thoroughly understood the man, I was not surprised
at the wonderful success he achieved as a public man. He was
one of the most amiable men I ever knew. His kindness of
disposition and unobtrusive manners drew men toward him
and made them feel easN- in his presence. He was readily
approachable and the very soul of gentleness in his per.sonal
relations with all who knew him, and I believe I can safely
say the better he was known the more highly he was esteemed.
I always observed that he had a kind word for everyone with
whom he came in contact.
When you study the character of Senator Gear and thor-
oughly understand the life of the deceased, it is not difficult
to understand why he achieved such wonderful success. He
had a profound knowledge of the people and their modes of
thought, the motives that influenced them, and the agencies
by which they are controlled. He was simple and unaffected
in his habits, courtly and gracious in his manners, and easily
won access to the hearts of his constituents.
Men, by reason of their association with him, learned to
like, esteem, and then to love him. His kind and obliging
disposition evidently gave him a strong hold upon his own
people. I never knew a more accommodating man. He
would go to any honorable extent to oblige and acconnno-
date a friend.
In the discharge of his public duties he .seemed to have an
aptitude for details, and he was patient and untiring to faith-
fully meet and discharge e^■ery official obligation resting upon
him. He was a constant and faithful attendant to the pub-
lic interest, and always commanded the respect of those who
58 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
did not agree with him in politics, as well as those who were
his party associates.
During my entire service with him in the Senate, which
lasted more than three years, he gave his best efforts to the
services of his State and country. He was industrious, intel-
ligent, simple, and unaffected, actuated by a high sense of
duty, and loyally devoted to the best interests of his country.
I have often spent hours in private conversation with the de-
ceased, and there was a beautiful simplicity in his private life
which elevated and charmed all who came in contact with him.
I have seen him in conference with his constituents when
they came to Washington, and, to my knowledge, he always
met his fellow-citizens with a genial familiarity that made them
feel he was one among them and could be approached without
ceremony or embarrassment.
As multitudinous as were the demands upon his time, he
responded promptly to every request of his constituents, and
took great pleasure to do what he reasonably could to have
their reque.sts granted. The thorough business habits of the
decea.sed made him a useful man in the Senate. He did much
valuable work in the Senate that escaped public attention and
for which he never received credit. He was not a man who
sought notoriety. His valuable services consisted largely in
thorough and effective committee work — just such work as
shapes and molds legislation, and which is seldom properly
appreciated by the public. Senators know and appreciate the
value and importance of such work.
I know full well, from sources that can not be questioned, of
acts of kindness and deeds of charity done by Senator Gear in
his lifetime which could only come from a heart touched with
the gentle charities of humanity. Alas ! his work is finished.
He lived beyond threescore years and ten. His life was a
Address of Mr. Clay, of Georgia. 59
busy and useful one. He fought his own way to success aud
distinction. The lesson of his life is instructive to the a.spiring
youth of his country.
He made a career of which his family and friends may well
be proud. Mr. President, the one thing that has astonished
me more than all else since I have been a member of this Sen-
ate is the frequency with which death crosses the threshold of
It has been less than four years since I became a member of
this body, and seat after seat has been vacated, and funeral
after funeral has occurred in both branches of Congress. Dur-
ing this brief period our beloved Vice-President has passed
away; so have Senator Harris, of Tennessee; Senator Morrill,
Senator Earle, Senator Walthall, Senator George, Senator
Davis, and Senator Gear. "In the midst of life we are in
death" is true everywhere, and its warning voice should be
kept fresh in the memories of those of us who still survive.
6o Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
Address of Mr, Dolliver, of Iowa.
Mr. President: My honored colleague [Mr. AUi.son] has
spoken so fully of the public record of Senator Gear that little
need be added to complete the biographical sketch which is
suited to such an occasion as this, and if it were not for the
love I bore him while he lived and the re\-erence which I feel
for his memory I would choose to remain silent, leaving to
others the privilege which this hour brings to his old colleagues
While my acquaintance with Senator Gear began long ago
in Iowa, vox knowledge of the man became real and intimate
in the Fifty-first Congress in the mid.st of the stirring events
which made the first Speakership of Thomas B. Reed notable
and historic in the parliamentary progress of the country.
Governor Gear was not an old member of the House in the
sense of long service, but he was among the few who ha\-e
been able to get credit there for .services rendered in other
fields of activity. His peculiar preparation for the business of
the House put him in demand for its most difficult duties,
and without pushing his claims in the least he found himself,
almost from the beginning, conspicuous in the leadership of
He was a child of the frontier, and he bore throughout his
life the marks of the rugged and arduous surroundings of
his youth. He was not handicapped by the inheritance of
wealth. It is doubtful if his good father, a missionary among
Indian tribes, a chaplain at remote militarj- posts, was able
to contribute much to the young man's support and education
after he went out into the world for himself ; and the fact
A ddress of Mr. Dolliver, of fowa . 6 1
that we find hin> working by the month on an Iowa farm and
eagerly accepting the most laborious employment m a country
store indicates that he solved early the problem ot making
his own living. He had all the advantages of poverty, wUhout
its humiliations; for in a new country, where everybody .s
engaged in the same struggle, sharing the privations of a
common lot, social distinctions are apt to disappear altogether
in the almost perfect equality of honorable hardships.
But he received from his father an inheritance better than
riches-a strong body, a healthy mind, and that rational
philosophy of life from which he never afterwards deviated.
Nor can it be doubted that he obtained at home, under the
tuition of his father, a fairly good elenientar>- education, and,
in addition, that intellectual vision which inspired his subse-
quent career; for there must have been in this young rector
when he left behind him the comforts of a well-ordered parish
and turned his face toward regions where the foundations o
society had not vet been laid, something of an apostolic zeal
which raised him above the common level and anointed him
as a true chaplain to the wilderness.
I have frequently seen the likeness of Senator Geak s
father, which he always had near him, and have often been
impressed bv the stalwart figure of the man and by the refined
vigor of his countenance, a countenance reminding one of the
reservation of strength which lay in the features of Philbps
Brooks in his latter years. He was wise enough to give the
hov such assistance as he could and then push him out into
the midst of things to fight the battle of life for himself. I
count this an immeasurable good fortune to the youth of Sena-
tor GEAR, because this world, in the long run, is governed by
the intellectual and moral forces which it develops, and human
nature is so framed that, with the rarest exceptions, its highest
62 Life and Character of/ofm He?iry Gear.
ranges of power are impossible except under the discipline and
pressure of poverty and hard work.
In considering the achievements which followed we ought not
to leave out of the reckoning the prairie farm where the boy
dug out his living as a hired hand, nor the pay roll of the
little store which grew into the great commercial enterprise
of which he became the head; for in these humbler stages of
his success the character was formed which made him the
master of every situation in which he afterwards was placed.
It is doubtful if in his earlier years he ever contemplated a
political career. When he was elected alderman in Burlington,
it was not because he was a ward politician ambitious for the
honors of local politics. His neighbors chose him because
the city needed the counsel of such a man, and when he was
elected mayor it was becau.se, being successful in his own
business, the people desired the benefit of his guidance in the
management of theirs. At this time he was nearlj' forty years
of age, and it is certain that he did not even then expect to
devote himself to public life, for when shortly afterwards he
was nominated for the legislature he refused the nomination.
He was content to be the leading citizen of his town, busy
with his own matters, but looking with constant interest to the
material growth of the conmiunity in which he lived. He was
first in every good word and work, promoting the building
of railroads, encouraging the establishment of nev.' factories,
leading in the improvement of the highways, and vigilant in the
maintenance of the schools. We may judge from all accounts
that it was this public spirit in the service of his own town that
induced him, in 187 1, to accept a commission as a member of
the legislature, for his first work there appears to ha\-e been
in connection with matters in which Burlington was chiefly
Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa. 63
His duties in the legislature widened his horizon to include
the whole State, and from that time until the day of his death
he gave to Iowa his time, his energies, and the complete
devotion of his heart. In a single year he had made his way
to the confidence and approbation of his colleagues in the house
and of the State at large, so that no one was surprised when,
in the fifteenth and sixteenth general assemblies which followed,
he was chosen speaker of the house.
It was while a member of the legislature — four years of the
time occupying the post of speaker — that he undertook an
elaborate studj- of the business of the State, of its school sys-
tem, its institutions of philanthropy, its means of transporta-
tion, its scheme of taxation and public expenditures. No detail
escaped him. He treated the business of the State as he had
conducted the business of his commercial house, so that when
he became governor of Iowa he was prepared for the work as
few of the distinguished men who ha\'e filled that office before
or since have been. It was to this period of his career, as he
often said to me, that he looked back with the most satisfac-
tion; and in the midst of subsequent honors he never asked
and seldom received at the hands of our people any other title
than that which he won by four )-ears' service in the chief
office of the State.
It is an interesting thing even at this day to read,
with a view to an estimate of his character, the messages
which he sent from time to time to the legislature. They
include an almost incalculable mass of definite information,
arranged in perfect order, relating to the State affairs, with
recommendations looking to the amendment of the laws,
to correct defects, to reform abuses, and to equalize the bur-
dens of the State. The legislature and the people alike
trusted him, and when his work was done, with a quaint
64 Life and Character of John He7iry Gear.
mixture of pride and affection, they named him "Old Busi-
ness" as he retired to private Hfe, with the confidence and
good will of all.
Governor Gear was a politician in the ordinary sense of the
term; yet he was entirely without the meaner devices and
hypocrisies sometimes suggested by the word. The people
knew exactly what he was; he concealed nothing; he looked
the world steadfa.stly in the eye. He had the art of winning
the hearts of men; his approach was persua.sive, conciliatory,
benignant. He knew their names and where they lived — even
their first names, which he always preferred to use. His head-
quarters was always the rotunda of the hotel; and in the last
thirty years few Republican conventions have been held in
Iowa that did not give him an opportunity to .shake the hand
and greet in genuine fellowship the men who bear the burden
and heat of party politics.
In all this there was no preten.se, no affectation, no conven-
tion manners. He appeared to be glad to meet men, because
there was in him a natural good will to men. He inquired
about their families; asked what had become of their boys and
girls; and nobody ever doubted that he really cared to know,
for he only extended to his wider constituency the same inter-
est and concern which long ago, as one who knew him well has
said, endeared him to his neighbors as the best kind of a man
to live next door to.
He acquired the habit of taking an interest in others
possibly as much from his surroundings as from his disposition,
for in a new country, where all are strangers, worried by the
same cares and cheered by the same prospects, the kindly
amenities of life are slow to degenerate into counterfeit
presentments and vain shows, and it must be remembered
that while the State of Iowa is not new its older settlers were
Address of Mr. Dollivcr, of Iowa. 65
all pioneers, and hardly a generation has passed since its
farther borders touched the wilderness.
He was not a man of eloquent speech, though he had too
much sagacity to underestimate the graces of culture and
learning He did not enjoy in his boyhood the blessing of
the public schools, yet the State owes to him much of the
enthusiasm and many of the laws which have made its system
of popular education a model for the world. He was deprived
of the advantages of a college course, yet every one of the 40
little colleges of Iowa numbered him among its helpful friends,
while under his administration the noble university of the
State and the agricultural college received such liberal con-
sideration that their foundations have been broadened and
their usefulness enlarged for all time to come.
He was welcomed everywhere m Iowa as an effective public
speaker When he rose to speak it was instantly recognized
that he knew what he was talking about, and with every
assembly which he addressed he had the invaluable advantage
which belongs to sincerity and truth. He attempted no flights
of eloquence; he put on no purple patches; he avoided figures
of speech except the familiar illustrations which he found m
the homely scenes about him ; he dealt with the thing in hand
with such force and simplicity of style that he was always sure
of approval whether he received applause or not. His popu-
larity on the .stump fairly illustrates the fact that it is only
necessary for a speaker to have something to say,_ some
message to deliver, some knowledge of the matter in dispute,
in which he passes others, in order to give him at once a
readv utterance and an attentive audience.
I recollect very distinctly Governor Gear's speech in the
House on the sugar schedule of the tariff bill of 1890. It was
known that he was in a large measure responsible tor the
S. Doc. 236 5
66 Life a7id Character of John Henry Gear.
provisions of that bill relating to the importation of sugar and
the encouragement of its production in the United States.
It was an obscure question, and few members of the House
had had either the experience or the instruction required to
perfectly see through it.
When Governor Gear took the floor, the whole Hou.se
gathered around him, and iu a speech of considerable length
he discussed the subject, answering all inquiries with thorough
information, and when he had closed the House had for the
first time a complete understanding of what was involved in
the provisions of the proposed law. In .spite of the speedy
misfortune which overtook the leaders in the tariff legislation
of that year, it was always Governor Gear's firm conviction
that if the policy then outlined by him had been permitted to
survive our people would have long since been delivered from
dependence on foreign nations for their supply of raw sugar
and from private monopoly in the manufacture of the refined
article at home.
After that speech no one doubted, if any had before, the
fitness of his appointment to the great committee of the House
which in these later years has become, in an important sense,
the dominant influence in our .scheme of Congressional gov-
ernment. He was chosen because, while pretending to none of
the studied graces of the platform, nor e-\-en to the skill of the
controversialist, he nevertheless possessed those resources of
knowledge and practical wisdom without which the orators and
debaters would make a sad wreck of our affairs. He was, if
not the forerunner, at any rate a noted example of the school
of statesmanship which, by its profound research into the
facts with which governments have to deal, has already
noticeably reduced the importance of speechmakers and
speeches in the national deliberations.
Address of Mr. Dolliver, of loiva. 67
Governor Gear's whole life was a preparation for the
position which he reached as a man of affairs in this Capitol.
It may be doubted whether any set course of education, any
curriculum of the schools could have resulted in so adequate a
training as was given to this son of a pioneer clergyman in the
university of the world. A noted political leader of our day
has broadened the definition of a business man to include work-
ers in every field, on the farm and in the factory, as well as in
the bank and in the countinghouse: and while it may be a
maxim of private life that every man should attend to his own
business, the statesman of to-day in the nature of the case
attends to the business of all. Whoever, therefore, has mas-
tered the problems directly and indirectly connected with the
books of the national accounts has attained an intellectual rank
which no longer has to fear disparagement in American public
Senator Gear had no element of radicalism in his ■views on
public questions. He was careful in making up his mind,
cautious in accepting brilliant conclusions, su.spicious of high
colors, distrustful of millennial discoveries. There was no hos-
pitality in him for morbid opinions about the state of society
nor for rosy dreams of impossible .social conditions. He knew
the world well as it is, and assessed it at its average value,
refusing to think that legislation had made it as bad as some
claim or could make it as good as some hope. He was tolerant
of the frailties of his fellow-men, and in all political differences
held to the rule of charity. The noise of fame and the glare of
wealth made little impression upon him, and when he was at
home, rich and poor, the lowly and the eminent alike, found
him a faithful counselor and a congenial friend.
I do not know what church he belonged to or what creed he
believed in, but the united witness of tho.se who knew him best
68 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
proves that in gracious service of all who needed help he
walked in the law of Christ; and when he was buried men and
women of all the churches and of every creed drew near to offer
the gentle benediction of their tears.
One can not read the addresses and messages of Senator
Gear when he occupied the office of governor, nor the reports
of his political speeches in later years, without finding in them
all one favorite note — the pride which he felt in the Common-
wealth of Iowa.
He alwaj-s .spoke of her in simple Saxon phrase as "our
loved State." He came to her borders when a mere boy, before
her boundaries were fixed. He watched her growth, and with
exultant confidence foretold her future. He measured her
resources and waited patienth" for their development. He
made him friends of her lakes and rivers and knew all the
secrets of her prairies. He overheard the conversation of her
people, sympathized with their aspirations, had respect to their
convictions, entered into their joys and sorrows, and showed
him,self at once the servant and the representative of their high
And the great Commonwealth gave back his loyaltj^ with
perfect reciprocitj' ; for after he had pa.ssed the allotted term
of human life, even when he stood, brave and serene, almost
within the valley of the shadow, that generous people, seeing
the infirmities which he bore, comforted his old age with a part-
ing assurance of their undiminished gratitude and love.
With the leave of the Senate, I will add, as a part of my
remarks, an address delivered at Governor Gear's funeral
by my colleague in the House of Representatives, the Hon.
Thomas Hedge, who, on account of his long intimacy with him
as neighbor and townsman, was chosen to speak on that
Address of Mr. Dollirer, of Iowa. 69
REMARKS OF HON. THOMAS HEDGE.
The boy, John Henry Gear, had already enjoyed a strange experi-
ence when he came here to begin his independent life. Of Puritan stock,
born in a quiet New York village, he had been for most of his eighteen
years a sojourner with his father and mother in the western frontier of
inhabited America, on the line between the clearings of the pioneers and
the hunting grounds of the red men. He had become used to the rude
and stalwart and eccentric sorts of his fellow-man. Hobnobbing with
Indians and with soldiers, he had mastered the art and mystery of the
hunter and the fisher.
To this schooling his scholar father had added much book learning not
to be found in the academic courses of to-day. He had inherited a sound
mind in a sound body, a healthy brain, a steady' nerve, a straight and clear
mental vision, strong social instincts, a craving for friendship, a faith in
the sense of justice and good will of his fellow-men, and a catholic and
charitable spirit toward them.
This was his preparation, his equipment, his competency uncounted and
un.suspected, but sufficient for the life and career veiled before him. This
was the remote Territory of Iowa. The great river was the wa}- of neces-
sity to the commerce of the outer world. He found his future home set
in a spot of rare beaut}-, a beauty made rugged and forlorn by the glaring,
uncouth shelters of the vanguard of civilization.
His frank address, straightforward look, his plain confidence in the
good-fellowship of those whom he approached gained him at once wide
entrance into their social order. Character was the study here then, and
high character was in demand. He found himself joined unto a people
most interesting and attractive — j-oung, of simple ways and plain purpose,
endowed with the physical health, the mental vigor, the courage, and
force of soul of the most intelligent and enterprising families of the older
States, who had made their toilsome progress through the vast solitude
and across the great river expecting to make their way, to establish
homes, to work out their material salvation by the exercise of the homely
virtues of industr)-, thrift, patience, and watchfulness.
Marked but not separated by the different customs, habits, modes of
thought and of expression of their respective places of nationality, by the
variety of their inherited beliefs, there was still among them unity in
essentials. While it was still a rude society, undisciplined, unorganized,
unconventional, willful, impatient of restraint, indulging ever in enough
of turbulence to try all the strength of its manhood and grace of its
womanhood, there was the general possession and practice of the cardinal
virtues, the interchange of the kindly offices of good neighborhood. In
that intercourse which the common interest and common necessity quickly
make close and intimate thej- unconsciously but sureh* corrected, mod-
ified, educated, enlarged, enlightened, and Americanized each other.
yo Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
Their lives were earnest; through tribulation it was for them to come
into the kingdom; the habit to overcome difficulties became a second
nature and bred in them a fine and constant self-reliance. They valued
usefulness; it was their measure of merit and dignity. The abilitj' to
serve and the will to serve seemed to the reflecting the only reason and
excuse for being. On such vantage ground, in such spacious time, among
these men and women of greatest force and highest quality, pioneers,
explorers, promoters of commerce, farmers, law3-ers, founders of an im-
perial State, was it given to him to show what manner of man he was.
It soon was plain that he was in his own place, an equal in a noble
Here was indeed ability to serve and the will to serve, energy of mind
and body ever seeking exercise, diligence in business and a sagacity to
secure success, an aptitude for affairs which suggested his constant leader-
ship, a sound sense of duty, manhood, gentleness, and unprofessed and
unconscious practice of the golden rule, friendliness, S3'mpathy, sincerity,
a bright and pleasant humor. Here too appeared a strange gift for learn-
ing men and a strange interest in their welfare, an ever present helpful-
ness, a human kindness that knitted men's souls to his as the .soul of
Jonathan was knitted to the soul of David. He was indifferent about
externals and accidents. He was concerned about character and not con-
dition. His eye searched the man through the disguise or ornament. He
was a respecter of the person and not of the place, and he desired place
not as a pedestal for his own conspicuousness, but as a ground and oppor-
tunity for the service he knew himself competent to give; and it has
seemed to me not unsuitable that in testifying our regard to our old
familiar friend we should have respect to him rather than to the high
places which he adorned.
We rejoice and are glad that he was legislator and governor and Repre-
resentative and Senator, because he filled those places worthily, as we
rejoice and are glad for the beneficent life he led, the fair name he won,
the great character that he attained unto in the town that received him
so long ago. We are happy, proud, and grateful that the State which he
helped so greatly to exalt to honor and influence and power did in his
old age again enrobe him with its highest dignity; that the people whom
he served so long and so loyally did brighten his last days with the assur-
ance of their unabated affection.
His life was singularly happy, not because of any peculiarit}' of material
condition nor good fortune of environment, but from his own nature.
The world to him was full of charming men and women, because all men
and women could present only their charming moods to him. We can
not respond to a shining light with shadows. He received what he had
given — full measure running over.
He was conscious of the constant favor of his people, that honor, love,
Address of 3Ir. Dolliver, of Iowa. 71
obedience, troops of friends accompanied his old age. If life is given
that we may serve our fellow-men, secure their liberty, multiply their
opportunities, advance their learning, enlarge their life, that we may help
the troubled, encourage the disheartened, protect the feeble, reclaim the
wandering, rescue the outcast, restore the prodigal, then was his life a
triumph, a sacrifice acceptable. This we believe, and that it is now writ-
ten of him, " He served his generation according to the will of God."
Mr. Pre.sident, I respectfully ask for the adoption of the
The Presiding Officer (Mr. Clark in the chair). The
question is on the adoption of the resolutions submitted by the
Senator from Iowa [Mr. Allison].
The resolutions were unanimously agreed to; and (at 3
o'clock and 5 minutes p. m.) the Senate adjotirned until Mon-
day, January 21, 1901, at 12 o'clock meridian.
PROCEEDINGS IN THE HOUSE.
December 3, 1900.
Mr. Hepburn. Mr. Speaker, it is my painful duty to an-
nounce to the House of Representatives the death of John
Henry Gear, late a Senator from the State of Iowa, who
died in the city of Washington on the 14th day of July last.
Senator Gear's public career was long and illustrious. It
began with Iowa's first political organization. He was per-
haps more widely known and beloved than any of her public
servants. Regret at his suddeu death in the midst of his
great career and marked usefulness is everywhere felt in that
I submit the following resolution.
The Clerk read as follows:
Resolved, That the House has heard with profound sorrow of the death
of Hon. John Henry Gear, a Senator of the United States from the
State of Iowa.
The resolution was unanimously agreed to.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. Parkinson, one of its
clerks, announced that the Senate had passed the following
Resolved That the Senate has heard with deep regret and profound
sorrow of the death of the Hon. John Henry Ge.^R, late a Senator from
the State of Iowa.
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate a copy of these resolutions
to the House of Representatives.
Resolved, That as a further mark of respect to the memory ot the
deceased the Senate do now adjourn.
74 Proceedings in the House.
January io, 1901.
Mr. Hepburn. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that
Saturday, January 26, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, be set
aside to pay tributes of respect to the late Senator John H.
Gear, from the State of Iowa.
The Speaker. The gentleman from Iowa asks unanimous
consent that Saturday, January 26, at 4 o'clock p. m. , be set
aside for tributes of respect to the late Senator Gear, of Iowa.
Is there objection? [After a pause.] The Chair hears none,
and that order is made.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. Piatt, one of its clerks,
announced that the Senate had passed the following resolu-
Resolved, That it is with deep regret and profound sorrow that the
Senate hears the announcement of the death of Hon. John Henrv GE.\r,
late a Senator from the State of Iowa.
Resolved, That the Senate extends to his family and to the people of
the State of Iowa sincere condolence in their bereavement.
Resolved, That, as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased,
the business of the Senate be now suspended to enable his associates to
pay fitting tribute to his high character and distinguished services.
Resolved, That tlie Secretary transmit to the familj- of the deceased
and to the governor of the State of Iowa a copy of these resolutions, with
the action of the Senate thereon.
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate these resolutions to the
House of Representatives.
Resolved, That, as an additional mark of respect, at the conclusion of
these exercises the Senate do adjourn.
Jani'ary 26, 1901.
Mr. Hepburn. Mr. Speaker, I call up the special order, and
offer the following resolutions.
The Speaker. The gentleman from Iowa calls up the spe-
cial order, which the Clerk will report.
The Clerk read as follows:
On motion of Mr. Hepburn, by unanimous consent, it was ordered that
Saturday, Januarj' 26, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, be set aside to pay
tributes of respect to the late Senator John H. Gear, from the State
The Speaker. The gentleman offers the following resolu-
The Clerk read as follows:
Resolved, That it is with deep regret and profound sorrow that the
House of Representatives hears the announcement of the death of Hon.
John Henry Gear, late a Senator from the State of Iowa.
Resolved, That the House extends to his family and to the people of
the State of Iowa sincere condolence in their bereavement.
Resolved, That, as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased,
the business of the House be now suspended to enable his associates to
pay fitting tribute to his high character and distinguished services.
Resolved, That the Clerk transmit to the family of the deceased and
to the governor of the State of Iowa a copy of these resolutions with the
action of the House thereon.
Resolved, That the Clerk comnmnicate these resolutions to the
Resolved, That, as an additional mark of respect, at the conclusion of
these exercises, the House do adjourn.
The Speaker. The question is on agreeing to the resolti-
76 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
Address of Mr, Hedge, of Iowa.
Mr. Speaker: As only the colleagues aud companions of
John Henry Gear can properly and justly measure his service
aud fix his place in the House of Representatives, I shall, in
my few words, venture onlj' to mark some of his qualities as a
private citizen, as a neighbor, and a friend; to bear witness to
that attachment for his person, that confidence in his high pur-
pose and in his mental and moral power with which his people
of the First district of Iowa followed him to the end.
I do not know where to look for a truer type of the Amer-
ican. His birth, his breeding, and his own experience joined
to build him up into nothing less. His Puritan ancestors dwelt
in Old England, and then for five generations in New Eng-
land — a vigorous, god-fearing, law-abiding line. His father,
an Episcopal clergyman, had been sent by his church as a mis-
sionary to the Indians, and was dwelling among the remnants
of the Five Nations, where now is Ithaca, when, April 7, 1825,
John Henry Gear was born. His mother dying when he
was 2 years old, he was taken to his grandmother at Pittsfield,
Mass. , and it was not until he was 1 1 years old that he became
a conscious pioneer.
With his father the toilsome journey to the West was made
in 1836. They sojourned first at Galena, then at Fort Snell-
ing, on the western frontier of inhabited America; on the
border line between the clearing of the white man and the
hunting ground of the red man, and here the boy got all his
preparatorj' schooling from what Ijooks his father could force
upon him indoors and what he could lay hold of out of doors in
the craft of his Indian familiar or soldier comrade.
Address of Mr. Hedge, of Iowa. 11
At 1 8 he was ready for independent life, and sailed down the
Mississippi River to Burlington, Iowa Territory, to begin that
Ufa. He was readier than he knew; admirably and exactly
fitted and equipped for the career that awaited him, without
burdens or impediments. He brought to Burlington a sound
body, a straight physical and mental vision, a steady nerve, a
stout heart, a good conscience, a tireless energy, an instinctive
belief in the good will and fair purpose of his fellow-men.
In Burlington he found the United States of America in its
original elements, a gathering in miniature of the principal
forces which were to perfect and strengthen the American
I mean that by some strange providence had been brought
there in the flower of youth representatives of all that was best
of the original States— three of New England, New York,
Pennsylvania, and Virginia— the force and virtue of Yankee
and Knickerbocker, of Quaker, of Presbyterian and Catholic,
of Puritan and Cavalier. They had come thither with the
provincialisms, traditions, the prejudices, the ways of life, with
all the peculiarities that characterized and separated their
respective places of nativity; but in that wilderness these marks
of character served only to distinguish and not to divide them.
They rather drew them together, quickened mutual interest,
and became the elements and forces of that reciprocal training
which soon developed them all into Americans, lovers of a
They were a sequestered colony whose communication with
their old homes was infrequent and precarious. The Mississippi
River was their only highway to the outer world. The rail
fence that marked the western border of the white man's
conquest was hardly one day's wagon journey from the river.
Thence westward stretched in idle beauty the prairie and desert.
78 Life and Character of Jolm Henry Gear.
an infinite silence, an illimitable solitude. For 2,000 miles not
a furrow was turned, nor was ever heard the sound of the
hammer in building temple or human dwelling. To these
colonists ever}' newcomer was an object of interest and of
scrutiny. They had learned quickly to measure strength and
to discern quality. At once and for good this simple stalwart
from the Falls of St. Anthony, this gentle embodiment of
strength, this visible good will, took possession of their hearts
and found himself at home.
In those days there was but one social order among them;
they had found no time to classify themselves, except between
the useful and the useless. They were earning their living,
establishing their homes, laying the durable foundations of a
Com mon wealth .
John Henry Gear set at once to do what his hands found
to do; first as farm hand, then as clerk in a country store at
$50 per year and board, then in the employ of the leading
merchant of the town, \\Mlliam N. Coolbaugh, who was after-
wards a noted banker and financier in Chicago, who soon took
him into partnership in the establishment of which he after-
wards became the head, and which chiefly occupied his energies
until his entry into political office in 187 1.
There is no time or need to count the steps of his progress.
It was steady and it was always straight.
I shall not say that he was ever ' ' too good for human
nature's daily food." He was ever human enough to gain and
to hold the affection of any true man, and ever good enough
to win the confidence of any child.
He had "learned to labor and to wait;" was faithful to
"the common round, the daily task." He was sane-minded.
He saw no ghosts or phantasms. His feet were plauted on
the solid ground. He believed in the wisdom of the ages, and
Address of Mr. Hedge, of Iowa. 79
held to the arithmetic, the copj- book, the Ten Commandments,
and the Sermon on the Mount.
He was persuaded that every man had been sent into the
world to serve the world, and, so believing, his every day was
marked not only by usefulness, but by its own beneficence.
His human kindness embraced all those who needed kind-
ness — not only the worth>- and deserving, but that class most
in need, the unworthy and unthankful.
Of the large hospitality of his delightful home I have not
room to .speak.
A model neighbor and citizen, he became a successful mer-
chant, a promoter of commerce, a builder of highways, a man
of affairs, the efficient helper in every enterprise which prom-
ised to hasten the progress or to enlarge the prosperity of his
town and State.
I doubt if his own political preferment had ever been a
subject of serious thought to him during all the years of his
At the age of 46 he consented to be the candidate of his
party for the legislature.
He was elected, and in his service manifested such aptitude
for public business that on his reelection he was made speaker
of the house, and succeeded himself as speaker on his third
election. Then the people of Iowa desired him for their gov-
ernor, and he became a famous governor, using those methods
which had made his private business so successful in admin-
istering its laws, superintending its institutions, directing its
affairs, and promoting its advantage. His faithfulness in few
and lesser things had fitted him to be ruler over many things.
I shall not follow further the story of his political life. As
new duties came, he seemed endowed with new power to
fulfill them, going from "strength to strength." In all his
8o Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
advancement there was no change of character or loss of
identity. He remained as faithful as the hills.
His life was full of labor, of happiness, and of honor, and it
is perhaps his highest honor that at its end his people love and
reverence his memorv as that of their old familiar friend.
Addnss oj Mr, LaiUiaiu, of Texas. 8i
. Address of Mr. Lanham, of Texas.
Mr. Spe.\kek: It is with somewhat peciihar emotions that
I join in the proceedings of this hour. I recall the changes
that have occurred in the personnel of the delegations from
Iowa and my own State since yon and I, Mr. Speaker, first
became members of Congress. Of >-onr delegation onh- yon
and your worthy colleague, Mr. Hepburn, are here. Of mine
I alone remain. Some of them are living and engaged in
other pursuits; some of them have passed away. It is appar-
ent to us, as it must be to others, that we have traveled over
the greater part of life's journey and must ere long follow those
who have preceded us to the silent land. This retrospect and
this prospect it may profit us to consider.
Mr. Speaker, obituary .service is usual with us upon the
death of one of our associates in Congress. It is meet that we
should .say .something of the dead, and suitabl}- commemorate
the virtues of the departed. Such service and such connnem-
oration .should be both solemn and sincere. Extravagant en-
comium should be avoided, and only just tributes should be
offered. While it is right and of long ob.servance to ".speak
well of the dead," it is not incumbent U])on any eulogist to go
bej'ond a faithful portrayal of the life and character of one
deceased as they may have been known and understood by
him. Indeed, such portrayal is always the more meritorious
when it is strictly candid and accurate, and, as .such, mu.st be
all the more appreciated bN' surviving friends and relatives. I
.shall be guided Ijy these considerations in my brief and imper-
fect contribution to this .serious occasion, and say nothing that
I do not believe to be entirely true.
S. Doc. 236 (1
82 Life and Cliaraclcy of John IJcnry Gear.
I became acquainted with Senator Gear in the Fiftieth Con-
gress, when he was first a member of the House, and was at
once interested in him. Bringing with him as he did a con-
spicuous record of former prominent public service in his
State, a large experience in political and business affairs, and
entering Congress somewhat late in life, I felt more than us-
ually inclined to observe and study him, to learn and know
him. He made a strong and uimsual impression upon me.
He was strikinglj- natural and singularly free from any sort of
affectation. There was naught of veneer about him. He was
notably plain and practical and straightforward. There was
nothing in his dreas, his mannerism, his form of speech, or his
general conduct that did not attest his .simplicity and sincerity.
His mien and modus convinced any careful observer that he
was an earnest, solid man, and one who could be thoroughly
trusted in important concerns. His walk and conversation
invited confidence and gave assurance that he was above dis-
simulation. No man ever felt " ill at ease" in his presence.
I think he was one of the most artless public men I ever
knew. I never heard him speak a word or do a thing which
seemed to be spoken or done for the mere sake of form. I
once heard a compliment bestowed upon a worth\' man, and
which, though expres,sed in homely phrase, carried with it a
wealth of commendation that no polished diction could sur-
pass. It was this; " He was a good, square, everj'day man."
I would underscore these words and intensify their signifi-
cance in submitting my estimate of Senator Gear. He was the
same good man each succeeding day of his life, with uniform
upright bearing and generous demeanor. I believe that his
humblest constituent would have been as kiudlj' received and
considerately treated b\- him amid his distintinguished sur-
roundings at the Federal capital as at his own home in Iowa.
Address of Mi'. Lanham, of Texas. 83
These traits of character and these modes of conduct are
unfaiHng testimonials of real greatness and exalted worth.
The fidelity and efficiency with which he filled every engage-
ment, the acceptability of his varied service to his people, their
repeated indorsements of his course, and the eminent success
he achieved all combined to proclaim him no ordinary man.
He was equal to every demand upon him and faithful to
every trust reposed in him.
He was possessed of a deep and comprehensive intellect, a
ready discernment, and strong practical judgment. When he
chose to express an opinion, it was direct and convincing —
not ornate, perhaps, but sound and logical. He seemed disin-
clined to participate in public discussions, unless when mani-
festly impelled by a sense of duty and with a view to sotne
substantial contribution to the subject under consideration. I
think he had no patience with mere pro forma or useless utter-
ance, and was quick to detect the animus that prompted it in
others. He did not ' ' stale his presence by custom ' ' in unneces-
sary or irrelevant debate. When he did speak, it was with
and to and for a purpose. Let us never underrate the quiet,
thoughtful, silent man; for he has about him a reserve force
all the more potential becau.se not constantly exposed, and
of him it may frequently be affirmed "Cum tacet, clamat."
A few words from such a man are oftentimes more influ-
ential than the habitual iterations of those given to much
speaking. I think it i.s natural that as men grow older they
become more conservative, more considerate of their speech,
and feel a greater sense of responsibility for the dignity and
weight and effect of what they may say, and at the same
time less disposed to volunteer their views and suggestions,
except when suitable results are in demand and duty calls
for an assertion of their judgment. It was doubtless so with
84 I-il( I'lid Character of John Henry (icar.
Senator Geak. He liad passed the impetuosity of youth
and was impervious to the sohcitations of sensationalism and
ephemeral notice when he entered Congress. His ambition was
to be useful; his desire to be riLjht, not visionary nor meteoric.
I was one of the Congressional committee to attend his
funeral. I never witnessed a similar occasion where there-
was such a large attendance of what we know as ' ' country
people," and I never saw .stronger evidences of love and
respect for the dead than the>- exhibited. Plain old men
and women, who had doubtless known him for many years
and been the beneficiaries of his attention and kindness,
passed h\ and viewed his remains, and wept as they gave
the last look at the face of their dear old friend. Their
grief was general, and to me particularly apparent and touch-
ing. Their expressions of .sorrow .showed that they were
real mourners over his death. In their tributes I thought I
discovered that devotion of kind hearts which is ' ' more than
coronets" and the true index of the remarkable popularity
and distinguished career of our lamented friend, and that was
that he was true to and beloved by the plain people of his
community and State. While he challenged the admiration
and esteem of all who knew him, they especially trusted him,
and he did not forsake them. In this was his great strength,
and in their affectionate, abiding, and grateful memory is to
be found his best ultimate public reward. Greater recom-
pense in this world can no man receive. He died full of
years and honors. His long and useful life is ended. His
noble career is finished. He hath left enduring ' ' footprints
on the sands of time," which those who come after him shall
see and "take heart." In the last ".sleep upon which he has
fallen," and which must finally come to us all, may his rest
Address of Mr. Laccy, of /mca. 85
Address of Mr. Lacey, of Iowa.
Mr. Speaker: Iowa is still a young State, and her great
growth has been made ^\■ithin the recollection of men now
livnng, and who can not yet be called very old. She has had
sons and daughters, by birth and by adoption, whom .she has
loved and delighted to honor, and whose names have become
household words throughout the land; but the best loved of
all her .sons was the man whose life and death we conunemo-
Death is always a sorrowful event; but when it comes as it
came to Senator Ge.ar, after he had passed .six years beyond
the allotted limit of human life, after he had reached the
pinnacle of his ambition, death seems a coronation rather
than an end.
John Henry Ge.\r has long been known to the people of
Iowa. Nor was his fame limited by the boundaries of his
State. His public life was long and eventful, though he was
past middle life before he really entered on his career. He
filled, with honor to himself and to his con.stituency, many
responsible positions. His advancement was steady and per-
sistent. He began at the bottom of the ladder and .step In-
step made his way to the top, never losing his balance, not
once forgetting his friends. As alderman, mayor, member of
the legislature, speaker of the Iowa hou.se, governor of his
State, Representative in Congre,ss, Assistant Secretary of the
Treasury, and finally United States Senator, he was always the
same approachable, genial, courteous, painstaking public serv-
ant. He filled all of these various positions well; he worked
consistentlv in them all, demonstrating his fitness to go higher.
86 Life and Charartcy of foliu Henry Gear.
The people of Iowa showed their appreciation of his good
works by electing him to a second term in the United States
Senate, a term of ser\'ice which would begin after he had
passed his seventy-sixth year.
States and districts usnally select to represent them the kind
of a man that will best exemplify the character and habits of
those who chose him. Iowa honored herself in selecting such
a man, for the world judges the State by those it advances to
high office. Commencing his life in penury, adversity only
.stimulated him to greater efforts.
Above all else, he honored and loved the State which was
his home. I have known Mr. Ge.\r for many years, and I
have often heard him say that he liked best of all the title
"Governor" — that which most intimately connected his name
with the name of his State. He said:
When they call me "Senator," the idea is associated with the I'liited
States; when they call me "Governor," it means Iowa, and I like it.
When he was a member of the Hpuse his district and the one
which I represent joined each other, and our relations in public
affairs were very close. We were accustomed to hold joint
meetings along the borders of the two districts in each cam-
paign, and it was always a delight to me to see and hear the
earnest welcome and applause he received from his constituents.
His political opponents admired and respected him as much as
his friends did, and the inquiry always was on the eve of an
election, "How much will the Governor run ahead of his
ticket?" for it was a matter of course that he wotild out.strip
all others, his geniality and kindness of heart so endeared him
to the people.
Nicknames do not attach to persons luiless they seem to fit.
Napoleon was called the "Little Corporal" by his friends;
Jack.son was "Old Hickorx;" Gear was "Old Bu.siness. " In
Address of Mr. Laay. of fou'a. 87
one Congress our seats were side by side, and I learned to
know him as I had not before. I was especially struck with
his plain, practical good judgment. He was the genius of com-
He never studied law, but in his long public service as well
as in business life he had that training which made him a good
judge of law. I often submitted involved legal propositions to
him to find out how they would strike the mind of a layman.
It was remarkable how correctly he would answer, giving his
reasons with force and clearness. It was a good illustration of
the fact that the law is, iu its last analysis, founded on pure
Senator Gear was a great worker, and by the untiring
nature of his efforts overcame in a great mea.sure the disadvan-
tages of an inadequate scholastic education. Down to the
very last days of his life in Washington he was seen going
the weary round of the Departments, neither neglecting nor
forgetting any call of his people upon him. He did nothing
for di-splay. His success in life was the crowning reward of
In a long career like that of Senator Gear his public life
was coiniected with many important affairs, so that it is diffi-
cult to .select the particular events in which his influence was
most effectually felt. He has left a monument in the records
of his State and nation. In Iowa he first suggested the idea of
a board of control for the State institutions; and his plan was,
in a subsequent administration, enacted into law. The work of
tariff revi-sion, which he helped to frame in 1890, he saw con-
demned, untried by the people, but he lived not only to be re-
turned to Congress upon the same issue, but to see his course
upon this question indorsed by national popular approval. The
successful .settlement of the claims of the Government against
88 Life and Character ot John Henrv Clear.
the Pacific railways was the crowning act of his public life, and
was the last great measure placed in his charge.
He was a doer of things and not a saver of them, yet as a
public speaker he accomplished what many professional orators
fail in; he convinced his hearers. His speeches were of the
vote-getting kind, for he always made his position both plain
No man was more free from prejudice and envy than he.
He was not given to .saying hard things of his political oppo-
nents, and he aspired to merit and win the good will of all with
whom he was associated. That his friendship was sometimes
abused did not cause him to lose faith in human nature. He
did not fail to trust one friend because another had proved
In politics he was a regular, recognizing the necessity of
united effort in accomplishing political results. He yielded his
judgment in matters of detail when it was necessary to present
a united front to the opposition, but gave way in nothing where
principle was involved. In both the House and the Senate he
enjoyed the most hearty respect of the opposition as well as the
warm regard of his political friends.
In domestic life he was as fortunate as in his relations with
public affairs. As a father and hu.sband he gave us the best
example of American manhood. In his marriage relations the
twain were indeed one. Those who knew Senator Ge.\r best
alwa^'s associated him in their thoughts with the loving help
mate of his long and busv life, who aided him in all his plans
and encouraged him in all his struggles.
John Henrv Gear has gone, but "his works live after
him." Bj' no other standard would he be judged. He .sought
not fulsome praise in life, and needs no flattering encomium in
death. His loving heart sought only love, and this a grateful
Address of Mr. I.acey, of foTca. 8g
State and nation gave him in full meed. Measured by this
standard of what he did. he stands forth a typical and great
Glory of warrior, glory of orator, glory of song,
Paid with a voice fl)iiig out to be lo.st on an endless sea;
Glory of virtue to fight, to struggle, to right the wrong;
Nay, but she cares not for glory; no lover of glory is she;
Give her the glory of going on, and yet to be.
This is the glory of the long life of John H. Geak. His
work is done, Imt in the re.sidts of that long life his work goes
on and yet shall be.
90 Life and C/iarailir of /o/ni Henry Gear.
Address of Mr. Grosvener, of Ohio.
Mr. Speaker: Members of Congres.s from the district or
vState from which a member comes have an opportunity to
know more of the varied characteristics of a colleague than
does a member from another State. He comes with the tra-
ditions and recollections of his association with his home
State; the campaigns, the contests, the struggles of political
parties, and the associations and friendships which have begun
and grown and blossomed in the State being brought here; and
so it is that members of Congress from the State of Iowa can
better speak of all the details of the character of Senator Gear
than can a member of the House who knew him only in the
official relations of the business of the House.
I came to Congress in the Fort\-ninth Congress and Mr.
Gear came in the Fiftieth Congress. His progress in the
House was very rapid. He became a member of the Com-
mittee on Ways and Means in the Fifty-first Congress — in his
second term. I speak only from casual recollection, for I have
no knowledge now, but I do not recollect the name of any one
who reached that committee so early in his career in the House.
He was a member of it at the time that the great contest over
the tariff bill was the dominating question here. He must
have been recognized early as a man of capacity in that line.
I remember that he had charge on the floor of the House and
el.sewhere of the interests of the agricultural departments; and
I remember with what detail he di.scuased every question dur-
ing the long ten or twelve days that the House was in Com-
mittee of the Whole upon that liill. I knew him here in the
House. I came to know him simjily by the discovery which I
Address of Mr. Grosvenor, of Ohio. 91
made, that he never undertook to explain a matter that he did
not thoroughly understand. Accuracy of detail, accuracy of
knowledge, was his strong point.
It has been said of him, not only here but in the Senate,
that he was not an orator; but he had the power of statement.
He had that power which so rapidl\- communicates the thought
of the speaker to the auditor. He had the power to make \'ou
understand the argument that he was submitting, and his
.speeches were always arguments. I never heard him make a
speech — I never heard him using a .single word or .sentence —
that he ever intended using anywhere else than here. He
addressed the judgment, the sense, and the inider.standing of
the House of Representatives, and apparently had no thought
of the effect of his address outside. He was here always. He
was one of the most faithful attendants, and I attribute his
success and growth in the House in large part to his constant
attendance on the sessions of the House. If I were to rise here
in my place to deliver a lecture on the subject of the best road
to preferment in the House of Representatives, I .should .say
that that was the road traveled by Jonx Henky (iE.\r — the
road that finds a member li.stening to the prayer of the Chap-
lain and hears the echo of the gavel of the Speaker when he
announces the adjournment of the House.
It was my ob.servation that there was no question in the line
of business here that he undertook to know anything about
that he did not keep fully in touch with.
He was a strong party man. After I became acquainted
with him I had a great deal of conversation with him upon the
subject of party organization and party politics. While he very
fully appreciated the patriotism and judgment of political oppo-
nents, he had a nmcli higher and more exalted opinion of the
views and judgment of the men of the party to which he
y2 Life and Character of /oliv Hcnrv dear.
belonged. He was not ashamed to saj- that he was a member
of his poHtical party and that he beHeved that part\- was ahvays
right, substantially, and that the other party was largely
inclined to be wrong. He challenged the good ()]iinion of the
Democratic part>- in that way and alwaj'S had it.
I was in Iowa once when a great gathering of the people at
Burlington was going on. Governor Gear met the ])arty out-
side of the State and went with us to the city of Burlington and
then westward, and I noticed that in the \-ast throng that
crowded around the cars and that came upon the platform
where speeches were going on he knew h\ name nearl>- ever\ -
body there. He may have missed the name of .somebody, but
r saw no one that he did not apparently call by .some name, and
usually it appeared to me that he had got the right name
on the right per.son. He .seemed to have that great faculty of
knowing everybody, and everybod>- seemed to have the ap-
pearance of being very fond of him.
\'ery few men in this country have grown to the distinction that
he did who did not enter public life at an earlier period. From
the start he made in his own State, when he was past middle age,
mitil the time of his death, when he had reached old age, he
made a .steady and rapid progress forward. There could be no
better testimonial of his standing and hold upon the people of
Iowa than that under all the circumstances he received the elec-
tion which he did to the term which he never entered upon under
all the conditions that surrounded him. He will always lie
jiointed out by the men in this House and the men of the present
Senate and the men who knew him in public life in Washington
not so much for the characteristics which his comrades can detail
as he will be for one of tho.se sturdy characters — honest, upright,
persistent — who was ahvays at the post of duty and always will-
ins: to .share the burdens and labors that fell to his colleagues.
Address of .Ur. Dah.ll, of Pennsylvania. 1^3
Address of Mr. Dalzell, of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Speaker: I think it may safely be asserted that a
lengthy experience in public life finds most men at its close
with many acquaintances, but with only a limited ninnber
whom they regard with feelings of warm friendship. ' ' Gov-
ernor" Ge.vk, as I was always in the habit of calling him, was
one of the men who, so far as I am concerned, is to lie classed
in the latter category.
Entering the Hou.se of Representatives at the .same time — in
the Fiftieth Congre.ss — we were more or less intimate during
the remainder of his life, and the news of his death came to
me with a sens;; of personal lo.ss. I had noticed with regret
for .some time his failing health and the characteri.stic courage
and persistence with which, notwithstanding, he attended
assiduously to every duty. Cut off suddenly in the midst of
his public .services, he may be said literally to have died as he
would have wished to die — "in the harness."
His colleagues from the State of Iowa have given to us the
details of his long and useful life, and it is no part of my pur-
pose to repeat them. They furnish us the key to his character
and the explanation of his succe.ss. Nothing is .surer than
that we are all of us more or le.ss the product of our envi-
ronment and that the e.xi.stence of certain traits are to be
accoiuited for by reference thereto. Governor Ge.vr came of
a race of pioneers, of whom he was himself a worthy succe.s.sor.
His missionary father found a congenial sphere of usefulness
among the Indians and in the primeval forests of our earlier
history. He carried the gospel and the lessons of civilization
first to the red men of the Kast and later on to those of our
94 Life and Character of John Henry dear.
Western wilds, not counting the rigors of climate, the harsh
conditions of semisavage life, and the absence of comforts as
in comparison with the great work to which his life had been
His steadfastness of purpose, his perseverance, his lofty con-
ception of duty and his loyalty thereto, were the rich inheri-
tance that he bequeathed to his son. To the talent to which
he succeeded, the son, like the faithful servant of old, added
yet other talents, which contributed much to the welfare of
his fellow-men. Governor Gear's characteristics were those
of the pioneer. He was a plain mau and unassuming, and
yet possessed the aggressiveness needed to make his career a
success. Commencing life apparently without any desire for
power or place, he exhibited the qualities which attracted
others to him and designated him as a fit counselor in their
In whatever sphere he found himself he modestly and faith-
fully pursued each day its duty, and each day made progress.
A farm hand, a store clerk, a trusted .servant, a modest store-
keeper, he finalh- became a prosperous merchant and a marked
man in his community. Not seeking office, office sought him.
From time to time the sphere of his usefulness broadened. He
became an alderman of his ward, theu mayor o& his city, then
assemblyman, then governor of Iowa, then a Representative in
Congress, and at last one of the Senators of his State.
Governor Gear was a brave man. As new responsibilities
came he assumed them, knowing that with burdens taken up
would come self-reliance. In the performance of his \arious
duties he acquired a wealth of knowledge, practical in its
character, which a wonderful memory made serviceable to
mankind. He became thus a resourceful man. I ha\-e never
known another who seemed to know more things worth
Address of Mr. PixlzclL of Pennsylvania. 95
knowing h\ a legislator and who knew them with more accu-
racy of detail than did Governor Gear.
He was a member of the Ways and Means Committee in the
Fifty-first Congress, and no man on that committee was more
useful in the framing of legislation. It is safe to say that his
was a large part in the framing of the McKinley law. Not-
withstanding the fact that his business career was at that time
a thing of the long past, there still remained his accurate and
varied knowledge of prices, tariff rates, markets, and all the
details necessary to the making of a tariff bill. He was for
that reason one of the most efficient members of that great
He was as diligent as he was wise. He gave to the duties of
his committee continuous, unremitting attention. He was u.se-
ful on the floor as well as in committee. While not what the
public might term an orator, he was a forcible speaker, clear,
concise, and persuasive in the presentation of his views. It
may be that in his long service in House and Senate his name
is not particularly connected with any great measure, neverthe-
less there were few such measures to which he did not give
thought, consideration, and loyal service.
His was a pleasing personality, possessing the quaHties which
made and retained friends. He was even-tempered, well-bal-
anced, warm-hearted. He was an amiable man. No one could
continuously have filled the places of honor and trust that he
filled covering so long a period of time without having had an
army of warm and loyal friends. That he retained these is the
most conclusive proof that he was deserving of them. I.ike
Abou Ben Adhem, he loved his fellow-men.
But it is not because Governor Gear was a faithful and dis-
tinguished pubUc servant that I bring this my humble tribute
to him to-day. It is rather because he was my friend, and
96 Life and Character of John Ileiny dear.
because I esteemed and admired him as such, and because his
death has made the number of my friends one less. I can not
think that there is anything to be bemoaned in his departure.
It was not untimely. Full of years and of honors, he leaves
the priceless heritage of an unsullied name and the record of
a u.seful life well spent in the .service of his kind.
He had so lived —
That when liis sumnions came to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious reahn, wliere each shall take
His chamber in the .silent halls of death,
He went not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, * * *
He wrapped the drapery of his couch
About him, and lay down to pleasant dreams.
Address of Mr. Richardson, of Tennessee. 97
Address of Mr. Richardson, of Tennessee.
Mr. Speaker: I regret that I did not have notice earlier
that I might have had time to prepare with some care remarks
appropriate to this occasion. It was only a few moments ago
that I determined to saj- a word by way of eulogy of Senator
Gear. I remember, Mr. Speaker, very well when Senator
Gear became a member of this House in the Fiftieth Con-
gress, the session after I became a member. I was not thrown
intimately in connection with him during his legislative career,
but I came to know him very well. Senator Gear came into
national politics as a member of Congress late in life.
My experience has been, sir, that it is rather unusual for a
man to enter this House so old as was Senator Gear when he
came here and make so perfect a success as a legislator as is
true of that gentleman. He was past 60 years of age when he
entered Congress. As remarked by the gentleman from Ohio
who preceded me, he at a very early date became a member of
the greatest legislative committee of the House of Representa-
tives — the most important of any of its committees. We who
were members at that time will all bear witness to his faithful-
ness and his capacity as a member of that important committee
in the Fifty-first Congress.
I am reluctant to refer to myself on any occasion of this
kind, but I remember very well his participation in the debate
when the tariff question was being debated in the Fifty-third
Congress. Gentlemen have spoken of the tenderness and lov-
ing nature and disposition of Governor Gear. This was
clearly shown in the Fifty-third Congress. I am sure no gen-
tleman was better entitled to be held in the deep affection that
S. Doc. 236 7
98 Life and Character of John Heiuy Gear.
seemed to cluster around him. It was illustrated in the case to
which I am about to refer by a gentleman who was a candidate
against him for the Senatorship in Iowa. That gentleman was
then and is now a member of this House and is now doing me
the honor to li.sten to what I am .saying.
I remember \'ery well when, as the result of the contest
there for the Senate, Senator Gear was succes.sful, of having
a conversation with this gentleman, his colleague, who was
then aspiring to the exalted station which Governor Ge.ar
had won. He said he liad a first-rate chance to win the fight,
indeed he believed he would win until Governor Gear
became a candidate and entered the field actively. He said:
' ' After the old man came into the race I knew I had no
chance." He added that when it became known he wanted
the Senatorship all opposition quickly vanished. He spoke
of him in the mo.st kindly and tender way, which satisfied
me of the depth and strength of the affection which Go\ernor
Gear nnist have had on the people of Iowa.
I have already hinted at and was about to mention an
incident which occurred and came under my own obser\ation
when he returned to the House of Representatives as a Sena-
tor-elect. He had been away some time seeking the position.
I mention this incident to show the feeling and the respect
entertained for Governor Gear, not oidy by his colleagues
on the Republican side but by gentlemen on this .side of the
House at that time. After an ab.sence of several weeks spent
in conducting his campaign he returned. The tariff bill of
the Fifty-third Congress was being discus.sed. I had the
honor to be in the chair in Committee of the Whole when
the Senator-elect came upon the floor and took his seat just
in the rear of that side. He had been here onh- a few
moments when .some question on which he desired to speak
Address of Mr. Richardson, of Teimessee. 99
was presented. He rose and addressed the Chair for recog-
nition, which was promptly accorded him.
Up to that moment his presence on the floor had not been
noticed. I took the liberty, because of the warm friendship
which I entertained for him, to recognize him, when he
addres.sed the Chair, as "The Senator from Iowa," which at
once called attention to his presence. The applause which
broke out on that side of the House was not surpas.sed by
that which followed upon this side, in recognition of his
popularity and the high esteem in which he was held.
Mr. Speaker, 1 shall not occupy further time in .speaking
of this distinguished man. I regret that there are not more
"Governor Gears" in the politics of this country. Iowa
has sent many able, accomplished, and faithful legislators to
this body and to the other branch of Congress; but in my
judgment she has never sent any man better calculated to
reflect honor upon a great Commonwealth, for faithfulness to
duty, for ability, for integrity of character, and for sincerity
in all his public acts, than John H. Gear.
loo Life a?id Character of John Henry Gear.
Address of Mr. Steele, of Indiana,
Mr. Speaker: I thank the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Hep-
burn] for giving me an opportunity to say a word in apprecia-
tive memory of the friend.ship I enjoyed with Johx H. Gear.
Of the earlier boyhood days of Senator Gear none are left to
speak from personal knowledge. We are informed that from
1 83 1, when he was 6 j^ears of age, ten years or more were spent
at Fort Snelling, then on the remote frontier. There he was
necessarily deprived of the advantages afforded by civiliza-
tion. His father was dependent upon the meager salary of an
army chaplain. At this remote outpost even the necessaries
of life were secured at such cost that little was left either to
hu.sband for a rainj- day or to provide for the education of his
It is not surprising, therefore, to those who knew Senator
Gear to read that at the age of 17 he left his old home behind
him and went into the world to make a new home for himself.
B3' the exercise of the rugged qualities which characterized him
to the last of life, he succeeded not onlj' in this ambition, but,
with a courageous spirit, a mind of native strength, and a rep-
utation for honesty and sincerity which grew greater as he
discharged the many public duties intrusted tc him, he rose
to a place of eminence in the councils of the nation.
I leave to others the history of his long and distinguished
public career, and speak of him onh- as a friend. My acquaint-
ance with him began in 1884, but not until 1887 did I know
him well. We then became associated on the Committee
on Military Affairs. This was during the Fiftieth Congress.
Of the members of that conunittee at that time but two are
Address of Mr. Steele, of Indiana. loi
members of the present House, and of the membership of that
House there are but twenty-one in the present.
Senator Gear's domestic hfe left nothing to be desired. He
was devoted to his wife and children. Few men had more lo}'al
and devoted friends than had he, and few men derived greater
enjoyment from association with his friends. After the mem-
bers of his immediate family, lowans general!)' were naturally
nearest his heart, and first of the first was, doubtless, his col-
league, Senator Allison. Senator Gear was a man of unusual
ability, yet he was modest and unassuming, good of heart, hon-
est, truthful, and loyal to his friends. He helped make the
I02 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
Address of Mr. Hull, of Iowa.
Mr. Speaker: For more tliaii a quarter of a century it was
my privilege to have in the person of John Henry Gear a
friend. During that time I learned to love him. I first knew
him intimately during his connection with the general as.sem-
bly of Iowa in 1.S72. In common with the other citizens of
Iowa, I recognized during the first few weeks of that session
that a new and powerful and dominant factor had entered
public life. I was associated with him then and in the suc-
ceeding session, when the two parties in Iowa were e\enly
balanced in the hou.se, each liaving fifty members, his party
selecting Representative Gear as their candidate for speaker.
I believe I am safe in saying that every citizen of Iowa
recognized that there was no other man on the Republican
side who could have broken what was known as our "legisla-
tive deadlock-" and the universal feeling among all the mem-
bers who had .served with him in the preceding legislature
that he was absolutely fair and entirely honest was the only
thing that made it possible for liim to be elected speaker of
the Iowa hoi;se the first time. His course in the legislature
during his three terms of service was of such a character that
the people of Iowa without regard to party recognized him
as an able and honest and industrious public .servant.
When he came to be named for the higher office — the high-
est in the gift of his people, that of governor — he received the
support of his party and of many who did not belong to his
party at the time because of their belief in him as a man.
During his service as governor I was associated with him on
the executive council, being .secretary of state. In this way I
Address of Mr. Hull of Iowa. 103
came to know him more intimately than I ever could have
known him otherwise. And I take pride in saying that everj-
act of his as executive of that great Sfate was inspired by a
desire to serve the best interests of his people, and that in every
crisis coming to him during his administration he met the full-
est expectation of the people of the entire State.
During this service, Mr. Speaker, I believe I found one of
the secrets of his wonderful strength among the people. One
element of his strength was his approachability. No divinity
hedged him around, but every citizen could meet and talk with
him and lav before him his grievance or his wants without
any intermediary. Every child that met him upon the street
received from him a kind word that made the child treasure the
fact that he knew Governor Gear.
An eminence upon which was situated the capitol of Iowa,
with a long .slope down to the river, was, in the winter days
when Gear was governor, the great coasting place for the
young lads and lassies of Des Moines ; and this man, wh.. held
the highest office in the State, would take pride as he went
from the capitol in saying to them, "Let me have a ride with
you," until every evening, as he left his office, there was a
contest among the boys and girls of the capital city as to who
should have the honor of taking the governor on the bobsled
and coasting him down the long incline.
These things, Mr. Speaker, were done at the time simply
from the kindness and goodness of his heart ; but as the >-ears
passed on and when )-ounger men were wanting to crowd lum
out of political position and take his place, on the ground that
he was too old to serve the State, these boys with whom he
played in their early days and had grown to manhood, these
young fellows who had met Governor Gear when he was
governor of the State and when he was active in State politics,
I04 Life and Character of John Henry Gear.
rallied to his support and formed a solid phalanx and said to
the people of the State of Iowa : ' ' This man has performed
such great, such honorable service that we all think it proper
and right to renominate him and keep him in the Senate."
The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Grosvenor] in the course of
his remarks upon the life and character of Senator Gear has
referred to his marvelous memory-. When he was in active
politics, Mr. Speaker, in Iowa, there was no man amongst all
of our f)eople who coukl meet men from every section of the
State, in the convention or in the great political gatherings or
the meetings of the legislature, and call as many men by name,
locate them at their homes, speak of them as to their families
and their family relations, to equal vSenator Gear or even
approach him in that respect. His memory was something
marvelous. He bore all of this great multitude of people not
only in his brain, but in his great, generous heart.
John H. Gear, Mr. Speaker, was a type of a race of men
who are rapidly disappearing in this country — the pioneers.
Born of the sturdy stock that could conquer the wilderness and
could overcome most of the difficulties of life, he helped to
mold the policy of the great State, saw it ri.se to the highest
honors of a State from a Territory, helped to make statehood
possible to it, and aided as few other men did in the formation
of <• the State in the earh^ years of his political life. Mr.
Speaker, men like him are rapidly passing away, leaving their
descendants after them a very much better opportunit,v than
they had, with more culture than was theirs, because of the
hardships necessarily endured in those pioneer days ; but no
race of men of better fiber than those men of which Senator
Gear was a fitting type can be found in the annals of
His loss will be mourned in Iowa while the generation now
Address of Mr. Hull, of loiva. 105
living there shall rule. His memory will be torne in the affec-
tionate hearts of the people he served so well. We will build
him an enduring monument in our State, in the affections of
our children, and we can say to his friends that they can take
pride in the fact that tliex- were related in any way to this
splendid specimen of American manhood and American states-
Mr. Speaker, I only regret that I have not had an opportu-
nity to more effectively pay my tribute of respect and affection
to the memory of my friend, the late Senator John Henry
Gear, who was also the friend of all the people and of all the
interests of the great State of Iowa, as he was the friend of the
best interests of the people of the entire United States. He is
gone. We mourn him, and can say in all truth,
Go search the land of living men;
Where shall we find his like again?
The Speaker. The question is on the adoption of the reso-
lutions which have been presented.
The resolutions were unanimon.sly adopted.
The Speaker. It becomes the duty of the Chair now, in
pursuance of the resolutions just adopted, to declare this House
adjourned until 12 o'clock noon on Monday next.
Accordingly (at 5 o'clock and 5 minutes p. m. ) the House
S. Doc. 236 8
1 luoADv nr Congress