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59th Congress I
2d Session f
I No. 405
Russell Alexander Alger
I Late a Senator from Michigan)
SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 23, 1907
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 24, 1907
Compiled under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing
WASHINGTON : : GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : : 1907
TABLE OF CONTEXTS
Proceedings in the Senate
Prayer by Rev. Edward E.Hale 5
Memorial addresses by:
Mr. Burrows, of Michigan
Mr. Daniel, of Virginia r 5
Mr. Warren, of Wyoming 2 3
Mr. Spooner, of Wisconsin 2 $
Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 33
Mr. Dick, of Ohio 4 2
Mr. Warner, of Missouri . . » 54
Mr. Foraker, of Ohio 57
Mr. Smith, of Michigan 59
Proceedings in the House "3
Prayer by Rev. Henry N. Couden •' 63, 66
Memorial addresses by:
Mr. Denby, of Michigan 6 9
Mr. Smith, of Michigan So
Mr. Lacey, of Iowa s 4
Mr. Fordney, of Michigan ss
Mr. Hamilton, of Michigan 95
Mr. Darragh, of Michigan io2
Mr. Townsend, of Michigan io 7
Death of Senator Russell A. Alger
PROCEEDINGS IN THE SENATE
Thursday, January -v, <9°7-
The Chaplain, Rev. Edward E. Hale, offered the follow-
ing prayer :
/;/ my Father's house arc many homes. I go to prepare
a place for you.
If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we
have a building of Hod, eternal in the heavens.
They cease from their labors, but their works do follow
Let us pray.
Father of life, teach us the lesson of life at this moment
of sudden death. Thou art pleased to call him to higher
service, to see as he is seen, to know as he is known. In a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he is changed, and
this corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortality
is clothed with immortality.
We need not pray for him. He conies to Thee in the
glad certainties of that larger life. But for ourselves,
Father, we pray that our labors may be consecrated to
Thee; that we may live to Thy service ; that we may go
about Tin- business ; so that when Thou dost call us where
6 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
we may cease from such labors, we shall enter into the
higher service of the sons and daughters of the living
We ask it in Him who is immortality and life for us,
coming to Thee in the name of Thy well-beloved Son.
()//;- Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is done
in heaven. Give us this day oar daily //read, and forgive
us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against
us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, is the power, is the glory, forever
and forever. Amen.
Mr. Burrows. Mr. President, it becomes my painful
duty to announce to the Senate the death of my colleague,
Hon. RrssELL A. Alger, who died at half past 8 o'clock this
morning at his residence in this city.
This is not the time for eulogy. At some future date I
will ask the Senate to set aside a day in which to pay fitting
tribute to his memory. For the present, I ask the passage
of the resolutions which I send to the desk.
The Yick-President. The Senator from Michigan sub-
mits resolutions, which will be read by the Secretary.
The Secretary read the resolutions, as follows:
Resolved, That the Senate has heard with deep regret and profound
sorrow of the death of Hon. RUSSELL A. ALGER, late a Senator from the
State of Michigan.
Resolved, That a committee of twelve Senators be appointed by the
Vice-President to take order for superintending the funeral of Mr. ALGER,
which shall take place at his late residence on Saturday, January 26, at
2 o'clock p. m., and that tile Senate will attend the same.
Resolved, That as a further mark of respect his remains be removed from
his late home in this city to Detroit, Mich., for burial in charge of the
Sergeant-at-Arms, attended by the committee, who shall have full power
Proceedings in the Senate 7
to carry these resolutions into effect, and that the Sergearit-at-Arms
be directed to invite the Representatives from the State of Michigan to
join the committee appointed by the Senate to escort the remains of the
deceased to his place of burial.
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate a copyof these resolutions
to the House of Representatives.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. The question is on agreeing to the
resolutions which have been read by the Secretary.
The resolutions were unanimously agreed to.
The VICE-PRESIDENT appointed as the committee under
the second resolution Mr. Burrows, Mr. Frye, Mr. Daniel,
Mr. Nelson, Mr. Warren. Mr. Spooner, Mr. Scott, Mr.
Dillingham, Mr. Foster, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Dick, and Mr.
Mr. Burrows. Mr. President, as a further mark of respect
to my late colleague, I move that the Senate do now
The motion was unanimously agreed to; and (at 12 o'clock
and 1 7 minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned until to-morrow,
Friday, January 25, 1907, at 12 o'clock meridian.
Saturday, January 26, 1907.
Mr. Frye. I think the Senate ought to adjourn at this
time, in order to attend the funeral of the late Senator
Algf.r. There will be carriages at the door of the Senate
to accommodate Senators. The last carriage will leave the
door at precisely half past 1 o'clock, so that it is necessarj
that the Senate should now adjourn. I make that motion.
The motion was agreed to; and (at 1 o'clock and 10 min-
utes p. m.) the Senate adjourned until Monday, January 28,
1907, at 12 o'clock meridian.
8 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Saturday, February 23, /yuj.
Mr. Burrows. I offer the resolutions which I send to
the desk, and ask for their immediate consideration.
The Vice-President. The resolutions presented by the
Senator from Michigan will be read.
The resolutions were read and unanimously agreed to, as
Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow of the death
of Hon. RUSSELL A. ALGER, late a Senator from the State of Michigan.
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
proper tribute to his high character and distinguished public services.
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate these resolutions to the House
Address of Mr. Burrows, of Michigan
Address of Mr. Burrows, of Michigan
Mr. President: For the second time during my brief
service in the Senate the State of Michigan has been called
upon to mourn the loss of one of its most distinguished rep-
resentatives in this body; first, Senator McMillan, and now,
Senator Alger. Both rendered conspicuous sen-ice to
the State and the nation, and died full of honors.
Senator Russell A. Alger, at the time of his death had
reached the allotted span of human life, and completed the
work which Providence had assigned him, and died, as he
had frequently expressed his desire to do, at his post of duty
in the front of battle. Life's work was completed and he
Russell A. Alger was born in Medina County, in
the State of Ohio, February 27, 1836, where he spent the
days of his early youth. I can not better describe the
struggles of his boyhood than by quoting from an authentic
account of his early life, a simple story, which should be an
inspiration to the youth of this day and in all days to come :
His parents, after settling in the woods of Medina County, were ex-
tremely poor and partially invalids, and young Russell found it necessary
to labor hard in order to earn support enough to sustain his parents, his
younger brother and sister, and himself.
But the charge of supporting his invalid parents was not to last long.
When he was but 12 years of age his father and mother died, and young
ALGER was left with a younger brother and sister to care for. That,
io Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
indeed, was a trying situation, and many a boy of weak moral fiber would
have abandoned the responsibility. Not so with young ALGER. He
grappled with circumstances as he found them. He secured for the chil-
dren a home where each could be cared for and then proceeded to make
something of himself. At first he worked for his board, clothing, and
three months' schooling in the year. In 1850, at the age of 14, he cut loose
from so restricted a contract and really began life as a "hired man." His
first engagement was for six months, during which time he received $3
for the first mouth, S4 for the second month, and $5 a month for the
remainder of the term. ( Hit of these scanty earnings as a farm laborer he
contributed to the needs of his brother and sister, who had been placed in
families w here their limited services were accepted for their board.
Thus young Al.GER had worked steadily forward from boyhood, had
accepted what wages he could obtain, from their meagerness had aided in
the support of his brother and sister, had not faltered in any of the long
years from the time lie was 12 years old until he was 20, but had gone
steadily forward, doing what he considered was simply dutiful and manly.
Until he was 20 years of age young ALGER had simply struggled for the
existence of himself and his two wards.
Such is the simple story of his early life. Such condi-
tions would ordinarily have daunted the bravest heart; but
the Scotch and English blood that coursed in his veins
stirred his heart and nerved his arm for the conflict before
him. With undaunted courage he took up the duties and
responsibilities of life, and under the most trying circum-
stances discharged them all with manly spirit and an uncon-
Finally, in 1859 he went to Michigan and engaged in the
active duties of a business life. He had, however, scarcely
entered this new field of his labors when the civil war broke
out, and, turning his back upon the business career he had
mapped out for himself and his hopes and ambitions for the
future, he offered his services to the country, and in August,
1861, enlisted as a private in the Second Michigan Cavalry,
sharing the hardships and the privations of a private soldier.
His soldierlv qualities were soon recognized and promotions
Address of Mr. Burrows, of Michigan n
followed rapidly. He became captain of Company C, then
major of the regiment, then lieutenant-colonel of the Sixth
Michigan Cavalry, and in 1863 was promoted to the colo-
nelcy of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry. In 1S64 he was given
the rank of brigadier-general for gallant conduct in battle,
and finally, in June, 1865, having served until the close of
the war, he was brevetted major-general of volunteers for
gallant and meritorious services during the war. He served
until the close of the conflict, participating in sixty-six bat-
tles and skirmishes, and rose from the ranks to a brevet
major-general of volunteers.
Returning to Michigan at the close of the war, with peace
assured and the Union restored, he resumed his business
enterprises, and in the forests of Michigan hewed his way
to fortune and fame. The lumber industry, in which he
was engaged, proved a most lucrative venture, and his indus-
try was ultimately rewarded with an abundant fortune.
Before this time he had paid no attention to political
affairs ; but in politics he had always been, from his earlv
manhood, an ardent Republican, and in 1884 was nominated
by his party for governor, which office he held for two years,
at the expiration of which time he declined to be a candi-
date for reelection. The firm manner with which he dealt
with the labor troubles in the State induced him to forego a
renomination in the interest of party harmony and strength.
He retained his hold, however, upon the confidence and
affection of the people of. our State, and in 1888 the Michi-
gan delegation to the national Republican convention at
Chicago was instructed to present his name for the high
office of President, and in the convention he received at one
12 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
time 142 votes, but the nomination was conferred upon
In his political life, as in his business, no disappointment
or adversity caused him to waver from his sense of duty, and
entering into the campaign with all the enthusiasm of his
nature, he devoted his time and substance to the triumph of
his partv. He was prominently identified with the Grand
Army of the Republic, and in 1889 was chosen its com-
mander in chief, with which organization he remained until
the time of his death.
In 1897 General Ai.gkr was appointed Secretary of War
by President McKinley, and he continued in that office until
1S99, covering the entire period of the war with Spain. I
often heard him speak of the gratification he felt over the
fact that the conflict brought a reunited people together
under one flag and for one country.
In his history of the Spanish war he says:
Americans have not forgotten — they are not likely to forget — the splen-
did spectacle of the country's response to the Government's ultimatum
upon Spain which inevitably resulted in war. It was spontaneous and
practically universal ; it was sincere and enthusiastic. One realized that
thirtv-three years of peace had made no change in the American charac-
ter. More than 100,000 veterans of the civil war, wearers of the blue and
wearers of the grav, pleaded for an opportunity to serve the reestablished
Union. The sons of those who fought under Grant and Lee showed the
soldierly and patriotic spirit of their sires had lost nothing in intensity by
the lapse of years.
I know, he often said to me, that that consummation was
worth all the war cost.
In 1902 he was appointed Senator to fill the vacancy
caused by the death of Senator McMillan, taking his seat
December i, and subsequently elected by the legislature of
the State for the full term of six years.
Address by Mr. Burrows, of Michigan 13
There was but one sentiment in the State, and that was
of vindication by the people who knew him best, among
whom he had lived, and who had unshaken confidence in
His death is sincerely mourned by all the people of our
State, whom he served so long and so well, and his memory
will be revered by the generations to come.
Upon the receipt of the intelligence of Senator Alger's
death, the governor of the State conveyed official notice of
the sad event to the legislature, then in session, in the fol-
lowing fitting terms:
Lansing, January 24, igoy.
To the President of the Senate:
Hon. Russell A. Alger, Senator of the United States from Michigan,
died at Washington, D. C, at 8.45 a. in., January 24, 1907, thereby creat-
ing a vacancy in the representation of this State in the Senate of the
Full of years and honors. Senator ALGER has gone to his reward. It
falls to the lot of few men to serve their State and nation in such exalted
stations. Not alone because of the honors and responsibilities that came
to him in civil life do we revere his memory. As a Michigan soldier he
rendered distinguished services in the war of the rebellion. Michigan
never failed during the lifetime of Senator ALGER to testify to her love
and devotion for him when the opportunity presented itself, and it is fitting
111 tin- highest degree that arrangements be made by the legislature of the
State he loved and honored for services at which proper expressions may
be given of the loss our State has sustained.
Fred M. Warner, Governor.
The legislature supplemented this tribute of the executive
by declaring —
The services of General Alger in war and in peace have been signalized
by conspicuous devotion to duty, unflinching courage, wisdom, and patriot-
ism, and have been freely rendered to the State and the nation.
He went to his death wounded, but with great courage.
With malice toward none and charity for all, he laid down
14 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
the burden of life, leaving this declaration of mingled
patriotism and pathos:
Should war ever again come upon this country and find it so totally un-
prepared as it was in 1S9S, I hope that those who have been so profuse in
their criticisms and eager to discover faults may have the patriotism and
pride of the country to rise above personalities and, instead of striving to
tear down, may endeavor to strengthen the hands of those upon whom the
burden mav fall and whose only hope of reward is that satisfaction which
comes from the consciousness of having labored honestly and unremit-
tingly to serve a Government whose flag has never yet known defeat.
Address of Mr. Daniel, of Virginia 15
Address of Mr. Daniel, of Virginia.
Mr. PRESIDENT: When one beloved once lay dead in a
stricken home, a friend wrote these words to those who
Watch and tend him as ye would, sickness and sorrow and pain and
death at last would be his portion. Be not cast down that he is freed from
them and that his spirit is at rest.
Such thoughts as these, Mr. President, commend them-
selves to our reflection at the close of the long, eventful,
and achieving life of our late colleague, Russell Alex-
ander Alger. It had passed beyond the vigor of his
active manhood and was* already assailed by a mortal
malady which he faced and knew. The last days of Gen-
eral Alger must have been gloomy and depressing days to
him, for the}' were marked by the signs of his early dis-
solution. He had been told, and he instinctively knew
from his own feeling, that the hand of death was on him.
The adventitious charms of life were gone. Ambition's
bugle call and fame's alluring smile could possess no
attractiveness for him who had heard " the one clear call
which came from beyond the harbor bar."
The increasing feebleness of body made each day the
more and more a burden, and yet in these days of heaviness
and sore trial the very highest, noblest, and bravest quali-
ties of the true man showed themselves in him. He came
day by day to his post of duty in the Senate. He listened
16 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
to the proceedings and was careful to be present and to
deliver his vote when the sense of the Senate was taken.
Nice gentility marked his plain but trim dress. He
had a pleasant word of greeting and cheer for friends he
met. He was composed and calm. Looking time and
looking death in the face, watching, as it were, the last
sands as they poured out of the down-turned glass of life,
like a trained soldier under fire, he showed no wincing.
He proved in his conduct and in his bearing that the sense
of duty remained constant and predominant in him. If
" duty " be the sublimest word in the language, surely dutv
realized and duty done, even in the face of death, is man's
highest and most noble achievement. This is true great-
ness of soul, and this did he display.
If the history of any Senator here were written, it would
probably be found that, like Senator Alger's, it runs back
into the conditions, into the history', and into the very
organism of the society of which he is a part. Of course
there are exceptions to this rule. There are the pertur-
bations, the revolutions, upheavals of society, and great
periods of transition when all rules are broken. But he, as
well as the other two of our colleagues who have left our
side in this Congress, illustrated the principle which these
Bate, a clerk on a steamboat at 13, a soldier at 17, a law-
yer and editor and soldier again, and then governor and
Senator ; Bate, born under the influences of that region in
which Old Hickory Jackson was a leading figure and influ-
ence, came as naturally to his career and his opinions as
. Udress of Mr. Daniel, of I 'irginia 17
man does to the atmosphere that gives to him the breath of
Gorman, horn in Maryland on the borderland of the civil
conflict, page in youth, then postmaster of the Senate, nat-
urally entering into the great business of a commercial and
manufacturing State, was representative of his time, of his
geography, of the matters and things around him, just as
truly as was Bate.
General ALGER represented a different segment of our his-
tory and country. When the new States sprang into being
beyond the Alleghenies they were under the guardianship
of the great Government which the original States had
founded. They were not either creators of the principles
for which they stood nor were they, except in a minor
sense, the achievers of the land or the independence which
they enjoyed. It was perfectly natural that they should
look upon the Government which created the Common-
wealths and which raised them as children into the man-
hood of sovereign States in a different light from those who
were the descendants of the earliest pioneers and of the
earliest fabricators of our institutions.
Take either of the three men— Bate, Gorman, and
ALGER— and transpose their positions and their surround-
ings, and each of them would have been a man of mark
and leading; and with situations changed the very nature
of the men would also have differed with the diversity of
things which they represented. But there is much like-
ness, even if there be difference, in their contacts, associa-
tions, and geographical relations. They were all three men
S. Doc. 405. 59-2 2
18 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
of high American ideals. They were all three devoted
patriots and willing burden bearers of the people. All
three of them rose from the nndistingnishable obscurity of
a boyhood which had no silver or golden spoon in its mouth
and which was marked by no special opportunities. But
each bespoke the sturdy and worthy stock from which he
sprang by showing the stuff that was in him. Each illus-
trated the truth expressed by Edmund Burke when he said,
" It is a prerogative of man to be in a threat degree a crea-
ture of his own making." Each had in him the materials
of success, and each molded that material into success by
long, persistent, and hard striving on his own projected
General Alger's career illustrates the tremendous oppor-
tunities and the beckoning hands of ambition and enterprise
of the old Northwest, which had been turned into young and
magnificent commonwealths. A farmer's boy of 10, going to
school of nights at one period of the year and teaching school
at another ; a student of the law, admitted to the bar, forming
his character upon ideals of a future career which seemed
to open before him ; then passing from Ohio into the new
Commonwealth of Michigan and there hearing the bugle
blast that summoned its people to arms in 1861.
There is comprehended in the mere statement of his
military career material out of which a graphic volume
could be written. A private, a captain, a major, a lieutenant-
colonel, a colonel, a general, crowned with brevet of major-
generalship at its close, and participating in sixty-six bat-
tles and skirmishes. This would seem extravagant to those
unfamiliar with the unremitting tenor of the war ; but the
Address of Mr. Daniel, of Virginia 19
cannonade was as regular almost in the period of 1864 as
the rising and the setting of the sun. and battles passed out
of view in a day which in other times would have been
written upon the brilliant scrolls of history.
The most marked feature in the history of General Alger,
and one which betokened his indomitable energy, his set-
tled and fixed purpose, and the abilities which were behind
them, is the fact that he strove in many things and succeeded
in them all. Plunging into the wilderness as yet scarcely
traversed by the white man's step, he rose to great eminence
as a business man. Then he interwove the fortune which
he had created by his own merit and genius into the mani-
fold business relations which sprang up in the development
of a more complex order of society.
Turning his attention to the political field, he becomes
elector at large to represent his party before the people, and
then is elevated to the posts of governor and of Senator.
These things tell their own stories, and I need not go into
the detail of relation which has been so eloquently and well
done by his colleague.
In several ways I became better acquainted with General
ALGER than usually falls to the lot of Senators here who are
not upon the same committees and are not in that unison of
consultation which kindred political opinions often brings.
I first met him socially in an agreeable and friendly way in
London ten years ago. The face of a countryman is always
welcome in a strange land. We sojourned at the same
hotel, and in daily contacts and associations I seemed to
become familiar with his character, to see its lights and
shades, to realize how friendly and how kindly it was, and
20 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
to share and exchange hospitalities which rendered absence
from home and country an additional matter of joy inter-
mingling with new scenes.
The next time 1 was thrown frequently and for a much
more prolonged period with General Alger was during the
time of the Spanish war. He had then come to Washing-
ton as Secretary of War, and a burden was thrown upon his
shoulders such as has been thrown upon no man in this
generation, unless it be the President in whose Cabinet he
served. General AEGER was not at that time in i^reat vigor
of health, but he devoted himself to the task before him
with an assiduity, with a patience, with a continuity of
application which could not have been surpassed by any
For the time being it seemed as if party lines had dis-
appeared; and what particrdarly commended him to my
admiration was not only his frequent expression of gratifi-
cation that we were all one in the feelings of friendship and
in sharing the burdens and the opportunities of government,
but also one in deed. No man connected with the Admin-
istration was more gratified to issue commissions to the sons
and kindred of the men with whom he had fought, nor do
I think there was any man in Washington who enjoyed
more generous and complete satisfaction in the renewal of
olden ties and in seeing the work of grace proceed that
cements the affections as well as the interests of the people.
I heard him make remarks on many occasions which I
would not feel at liberty to repeat in public, even though
thev were most honorable to him and such as furnished
worthv examples for any man to imitate.
Address of Mr. Daniel, of Virginia 21
Mr. President, it was a matter of great disappointment to
me that when you appointed the committee to attend Gen-
eral ALGER'S remains to his home in Michigan I could only
in part perform what was my becoming duty; as one of its
members I did attend his funeral here, and was impressed
by its simplicity and by the utter absence of all effort at
ostentation. Befittingly, a battalion of cavalry, in which
arm of the seryice he had been a distinguished officer,
escorted his remains to the depot, from which they were
transported to his home. Fittingly those who were his
comrades in arms again put on their uniforms, that they
might testify their especial sympathy.
But beyond the mere forms and ceremonies which are
necessary to such an occasion, there was nothing more than
the offerings of personal friendship and the sharing in grief
which marked the departure of one so well known, and, by
those who knew him best, so well beloyed.
I would haye accompanied his remains to the city of
Detroit, and I felt a sense of keen disappointment that I
could not do so, but I had in my hands tasks which I could
not la}' down without feeling that I was deserting my post
of duty, and in preferring duty to even so sacred a call I
felt I but imitated the worthy example which he himself
had set before me.
All of us haye heard, Mr. President, and from main-
sources, of the beautiful home life of General Alger and
of the happy liyes that were lived by those nearest and
dearest to him under his roof. To that fortress of the heart,
the home, we turn always in our troubles, and to that we
turn instinctiyely as we seek to know those who have ^one
22 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
forth into life's battle to bear life's burdens. The husband,
the father, the friend had the capital of his life in his home.
Thither bore he his trophies. Thither he returned when
the weariness of the strife came on. There his friends ever
found welcome, and there he was himself in the finest
phase of his nature.
He will be missed by comrades who shared his dangers
and his hardships in days of conflict. He will be missed
by some who were his enemies in war but who became his
friends in peace, and who rejoice to know that he was their
friend. He will be missed by men of public life who
sought his counsel and his influence. He will lie missed
by men of business whose affairs were intermingled with
his own and who trot light and counsel from his sagacity
and experience. Rut all this seems scarcely of account
when we recall how he will be missed by those who were
next to him in the sweet and loving affections of the fire-
side. Comfort it is not ours to give to them; consolation
we can not bestow ; though we would that both gifts were
within the compass of our sympathy. We can only be glad
that his suffering is ended, and believe that his good works
on earth will follow him and that he is at peace and rest.
. Iddress of Mr. II 'arren, of 11 T yoming 23
Address of Mr. Warren, of Wyoming
Mr. PRESIDENT: Fur more than a year prior to the 24th
day of last month there moved among us, participating in
our labors, shirking none of the arduous duties attached to
membership in this body, one who carried with him know-
ingly his death warrant.
< h er a year ago our friend, in whose memory we are devot-
ing these few feeble words, became informed of the serious
condition of his health, and learned that any moment the
dread summons might come which would take him away
from Ins family, friends, colleagues, and all that is loved and
prized in this life.
With the quiet courage which marked Ins whole life work
he uttered no complaint, he showed no anxiety, he asked for
no sympathy. He had the hope of being permitted to finish
the term of service for which he had been elected, and with
this hope actuating him he put his house in order, continued
his daily tasks, and performed his duties quietly, gently, and
yet with courage, which, as we look back upon the year's
work, we must pronounce sublime. The world has admired
the courage of the Spartan youth who bore unmoved the
gnawing of the wolf at his vitals; but what courage was that
compared with the faithful performance of duties from day
to day by our colleague, his fate facing him every moment?
This closing year of the life of our friend, in which he car-
ried silently and uncomplainingly his grievous burden, is but
24 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
typical of another period of his career, when, without harsh
words or recrimination, he bore bravely and quietly the brunt
of blame which by right should have been placed upon us —
the Congress — and upon the people of the country.
It is needless to repeat history so fresh in our minds; but
we all know that, following the great struggle of the civil
war, we, as a nation, allow-ed ourselves to drift for over thirty
years in blissful insecurity. The Congress, representing
perhaps accurately the general sentiment of the country,
maintained our Army on a footing inadequate to our commer-
cial standing and importance in the world of nations. Sud-
denly forced into war, there was an outcry against our
unpreparedness, which naturally centered against the then
Secretary of War, regardless of the fact that the deplorable
condition of affairs was the accumulated result of the laxity
of our own acts.
Under bitter aspersions, and knowing his own blameless-
ness, Secretary Ai.gkr never retaliated; under circum-
stances of the most trying nature he never departed from
the dignified poise of character which had so marked his life.
While he lived no words of defense of his own acts, or con-
demnation of the charges of his critics, passed his lips.
Even though it should not come during his lifetime he knew
that when the impartial history of the war with Spain should
be written it would be recorded that its errors were those
of the remissness of our system and not the shortcomings of
any officer of the Government.
And on the day of his death came the official declaration
of the War Department vindicating him. Of Secretary
Address of Mr. II 'arren, of II 'yoming 25
ALGER'S administration of the War Office, Mr. Secretary of
War Taft said :
General ALGER was patriotic, earnest, and most devoted to the interest
of the Army and especially considerate of the welfare of the enhsted ^
He was a gentle, kindly .nan, with great confidence m his friends and
associates, and was much beloved by his subordinates He was the sub
iect of unjust criticism because of the country's lack of preparedness for
war when war came, although for this he was nowise responstble.
It is not necessary for me at this time to recount to you
in detail the life story of RUSSELL ALEXANDER AlgKR;
but I can not refrain from calling attention briefly to the
salient features as shown in the modest biographical sketch
which appears in the current Congressional Directory and
to point out the self-evident fact which his life exemplifies,
the untold possibilites our country offers the man who un-
dertakes his life battle equipped with energy, application,
honesty, and ambition.
A penniless orphan at 13, facing want and privation; a
plowboy at 20, doing the long dreary toil of the farm and
field; a country school-teacher, with the petty, wearing
trials of that calling; a lawyer, taking a leading place in his
profession; a lumberman, understanding the intricacies of
the business and attaining wealth through this knowledge;
a soldier, taking part in sixtv-six battles and skirmishes; a
governor of a great State, administering the office creditably
and honestly ; a Cabinet officer, grappling with problems
that had never before confronted an officer of the Govern-
ment,, and, at his death, a Senator of the United States,
loved by his constituents and his colleagues.
Such is the story of our friend and colleague, and it fur-
nishes a lesson of untold value to the American youth who
26 Memorial Addresses: Russc/l A. Alger
would reach high place in the business or political life of
this country. His was not accidental success, but all that
he gained was by patient, untiring, intelligent effort, and
with every act underlaid with the broad foundation of inher-
His success exemplifies the truth of that well-known verse:
The heights by great men reached and kept
Wert- not attained by Midden flight.
But they while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night.
To those of its who had the pleasure and privilege of close
association with him was revealed the lovable side of his
nature, of which the world at large necessarily could not
know. His was a character in which predominated gener-
ous, kindly sentiments toward his fellow-men, and these
traits brought to him throughout his entire career the loyal
support and ardent friendship of everyone with whom he
came in contact.
It was this which endeared him to the people of his own
State, who knew him well and who always held out to him
the richest gifts and highest honors at their command. It
was the citizens of Michigan — his friends and neighbors —
who made him their governor, who voted for him loyally and
steadily for the Presidential nomination in national conven-
tions, and who, when the hands of the country seemed to
be raised against him, gave him just and fitting vindication
by electing him to the Senate of the United States. We
who have worked with him on the floor of the Senate and in
committee and have had the privilege of meeting him
Address of Mr. Warren, of Wyoming 27
in his charming home circle can well understand the fealty
of his State and the love which its citizens bore him.
It became my sad duty to go to the former home of Sena-
tor Alger when his body was consigned to its last earthly
resting place, and I saw while there widespread evidences
of sincere and heartfelt grief. The people of his home
loved him as we, who for the past six years have associated
with him here, loved him, and they, as we, mourn his
death, knowing and appreciating his noble traits and good
Such a character does not live in vain. Rich, he did not
misuse his wealth, but kept it employed in the busy marts
of commerce, that his fellow-men should share in its pro-
ductiveness, and of his surplus he gave abundantly to the
poor and needy. Powerful, in politics, he was never domi-
neering, but always was mindful of the feelings and wishes
of others and sympathetic with the people themselves. Able
to live in idleness, yet he did the daily task which came
to his hand as faithfully and cheerfully as the humblest
He has departed, but he has left in faithful effort, good
deeds, and high accomplishments "a monument more last-
ing than brass and more sublime than the regal erection of
pvramids, which neither the wasting shower, the unavailing
north wind, nor an innumerable succession of years and a
flight of seasons shall be able to demolish."
28 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Address of Mr. Sfooner, of Wisconsin
Mr. President: I can speak in tribute to the memory
of Senator Alger only the word which my heart shall
send to my lips.
I knew him long and well, and as I have listened to the
eulogies which have been pronounced upon him I have had
borne into my mind in an intense way the fact that it is
onlv when we stand by the open grave of a man and cast
our eves along the pathwav which he trod from the begin-
ning to the end that accurate judgment of his qualities, of
his accomplishments, is possible to us.
Senator Alger afforded for all time by his career indu-
bitable evidence of the possession in full measure of many
great and noble qualities. It was a long and toilsome jour-
nev, Mr. President, from the village in Ohio, where as a
vouth, unaided by adventitious circumstances, he began his
struggle to the eminence upon which he died.
No man without noble purpose, well-justified ambition,
strong fiber, and splendid qualities in abundance could have
carved out and left behind him such a career. His pathway
was from the beginning upward, and all along it, at every
stage of it, he discharged well every duty which manhood
could demand ; and all along he scattered with generous
hand deeds of kindness and helpfulness to those who were
in need, sowing the seed which blossomed in fragrance along
his pathway and made it beautiful.
Address of Mr. Spooner^ of Wisconsin 29
A man of great commercial genius, bom to command, of
unquenchable spirit, of indomitable will, be wrought won-
derful success in the realm of business ; and, Mr. President,
it needs not to be said that in that realm no one ever dared
to impeach his honor. No man without commercial honor
would have wrought and accomplished in that field what
he wrought and accompished.
The governor of a great State, carrying the splendid ad-
ministrative ability which had given him triumph in the
walks of business life to the capital in the service of his
people, he there vindicated their confidence and the wisdom
of their choice of him to be their executive.
And then turning aside from business and turning aside
from home — and no man ever lived who held in his heart a
tenderer love for home and wife and children — he betook
himself to the field of battle, and, as has been stated here,
in over sixty battles and skirmishes he bared his breast to
the bullets of the enemy and offered his life that the Union
mirilt abide, and that what was its flag then should forever
remain its flag, rising, Mr. President, from the humble but
noble position of a private soldier to be captain, major, lieu-
tenant-colonel, colonel, brigadier-general, and major-general,
the latter brevet rank, for gallantry on the field of battle.
When his friends and fellow-citizens lowered his inanimate
body into the grave which had been digged in their midst,
there was upon it more than one scar which he had received
in defense of this Government.
As Secretary of War— I allude to that, Mr. President, with
some pain — I saw him often while he was in the Cabinet.
I do not intend to go into the subject save in a few brief
30 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
words. His service there was difficult of performance in
some of its aspects. Demands were made upon him which
in the circumstances no man could completely meet, the
fault not being his, but elsewhere, lying here, perhaps, and
in the other House.
I remember calling upon him one morning in the War
Department during the war with Spain, and as he walked
from a little gathering of people he staggered with physical
weakness. His face was as white as it was as he lay in his
coffin, but his eyes were bright. I begged him to go to his
Ik une, and he made this characteristic response, "This is
my place." I speak of it to show that wonderful spirit and
characteristic devotion to duty, which was the law of his
life to stand at the post to which duty had assigned him ;
and there can never be anywhere or in any time a more
beautiful illustration of that loyal spirit and sense of duty
than that which he exhibited in the later period of his life
while a Senator of the United States.
We noted from day to day his growing weakness. He
knew as he moved around the Chamber and sought the
committee rooms for service there that the Angel of Death
walked by his side with outstretched hand, ready any mo-
ment to grip his heart. But that courage, that devotion to
duty, that scorn which he always had for rest in the hours
of work buoyed him up and held him to this place almost
to the last moment of his eventful life.
He was a public-spirited citizen always. He was a gen-
erous, kindly man whose sympathies were always easily
aroused, helpful to those who deserved help and helpful,
alas, to many who did not.
Address of Mr. Spooner, of Wisconsin 31
Mr. President, he was criticised for having- made poor
appointments to the Army during the war with Spain. I
think he would have done any kindness for me which he
felt at liberty to do. I may say here that he never, during
his term as Secretarv of War, once gave an appointment to
the Army from my State, for each time— and there were not
many— I took to him an order for the appointment from
the President— and no President could have been more care-
fid than was the Executive of that day in making wise selec-
tions— but it was impossible, as the world must know, in
organizing suddenly a great army to choose with accuracy
the men for command in small places and in high places.
The wonder is, Mr. President, that so few men were com-
missioned from civil life during that war who proved them-
selves incompetent or otherwise unworthy.
Senator ALGER was generous to his friends and forgiving
to his enemies, save where a wrong done him was such that
no self-respecting man could forgive.
Mr. President, this ceremonial seems like parting again
with an old and dear friend. I think it can not be found
that in any station or in any relation of life Russeli. A.
ALGER was other than devoted and faithful. No sweeter
act or j uster act ever was done by a great State than was
done by the State of .Michigan when she sent him into this
Chamber and to that desk with her certificate of confidence
in his honor and in his ability. It was a proud distinction
for him ; but I believe it left unhealed a wound which never
could be healed.
32 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Mr. President, his career is ended; his day's work is done.
Michigan lias made many notable contributions to the public
service of the United States in civil and military life ; she
has great treasure in the fame of her public men ; but among
all her treasures she will cherish as a precious, imperishable
jewel the name and fame of Russell A. Algf.k.
Addrsss of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 33
Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa
Mr. President: The deatli of Senator Ai.ckr has re-
moved from the Senate one of the most attractive and
useful men connected with our public affairs. It has been
one of the happy experiences of my service here that Sen-
ator Alckr's desk was next to mine and that I have had a
daily opportunity to enjoy the advantage of intimate conver-
sation and acquaintance with him. Long ago I learned to
admire his record, both as a soldier and a statesman. But
during the years in which I have been sitting here by his
side I have been permitted to study his character more
closely and to confirm all the good opinions of other years.
The life which we live in this world is so strange, so hard
to understand, so wrapped in mysteries which baffle all our
questions, that I have allowed the habit to grow upon me
of finding out from others, and especially from those who
by reason of their opportunities and their experience have
sounded all its depths and shoals, what they think of it and
what it means to them. It is a familiar saying that no
message comes back to us from the shadows which fall
upon the end of every human life. But it is almost as true
that we are cut off from any communication with our fellow-
travelers that one can not understand what the others are
saying, as the great procession moves along toward the
silence of the grave. Even those who are working at the
S. Doc. 405, 59-2 3
34 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
same task, walking side by side upon the same road, appear
like strangers, speaking different languages and answering
each other's questions in a foreign tongue.
The most pathetic utterance of the Master recorded in
the gospel, "Have I been so long time with yon and yet
have ye not known me?" is in a lesser sense true of all who
meet together, as we journey together, till at last we shall
know as we are known. It is this isolation, this separation
from our fellows, this privacy upon which it is so hard to
intrude, this miraculous thing which Lord Tennyson in his
old age speaks of as the "abysmal depth of personality"
which has invented the sweet vocabulary of childhood and
discovered for our comfort such words as "lover," "com-
rade," "friend," and kept them at the center of all great
literatures and close to the heart of our religions faith.
( )ne day I asked General ALGER what he had found in
life which most fully explained its meaning and threw the
most light upon the problem of its worth. Almost with-
out waiting he said that he had found in his home, in his
wife, and in his children its most complete interpretation.
And so no biography of him can exhibit any of the secrets
of his strength or explain the inspiration of his achieve-
ments which does not have in the foreground a picture of
the one whom he chose in the years of his young manhood
to be the partner of his joys and sorrows.
I asked him one day, after he had told me somewhat of
his early struggles and spoken in modest words of the suc-
cess in business and public life which had come to him,
what part of it gave him the most satisfaction, what among
all the things he had tried to do he thought of with the
Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 35
most prick-. He said that if he had to leave everything
else out he would prefer to keep the recollection of the
years which he had spent in the old Union Army, defend-
ing the flag of his country. I could not get him to speak
of the battles he had helped to fight, of the long marches,
of the victories in which he had a share. He left all that
to others, for he knew how truly the mighty work which
the Union Army wrought and the final victory which it
won belonged to millions of men and women and how
insignificant after all were the trophies of rank and high
Whoever writes the biography of RUSSELL A. ALGER
will not be fortunate in estimating the importance of his
public service if he does not subordinate the fame which he
acquired in the chief office of a great State, in the Cabinet
of the President at an important epoch, in the Senate of the
United States, to those four years of arduous responsibility
in the civil war. For more than once I have heard him
say that the greatest office which he had ever held, the
distinction among his fellow-men which he prized the
most, was commander in chief of the Grand Army of
the Republic, that peaceful, unarmed host which, in
humble quarters scattered throughout the land, preserves
the traditions of our heroic age.
And so it seemed fitting to me, as I stood the other day
with multiplied thousands of his neighbors and friends
about his grave, that the ministers of the church should
stand apart and let an old Union soldier open the worn and
faded ritual of the post of which he was a member and
read, in the light of the setting sun, made weird and
36 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
beautiful by a landscape of snow, the parting benediction
of his comrades upon his memory
Senator Alger was a representative American business
man, and, like nearly all such men, he had to fi^ht the battle
of life upon his own resources. It was a favorite doctrine
of his that a young man who begins with nothing to rely
upon except his own energy has an altogether better chance
than the children of affluence and fortune. And it is cer-
tain that his own career is not peculiar in the illustration
which it gives of the truth of this proverbial philosophy.
At any rate, it does not take very much imagination to dis-
cern behind the splendid outcome of his life, as lumberman,
miner, merchant, manufacturer, railroad builder, and captain
of industry, the poor boy, starting out in the world with
nothing in his favor except health and strength and the
ambition to win the prize.
We live in times when the public ask troublesome ques
tions about ^reat riches, when the cross-examination of
swollen wealth is going on, not only in the courts, but
about the firesides of the people; when the fierce light of
curiosity, turning rapidly to anger, beats upon present-day
accumulations of money, and when men are looking for
some way to restore the old standards of integrity, which are,
after all, still held in respect even in the market place. The
criticism is not directed against the law of property which
we have inherited from our fathers; it is aimed at those
schemes of speculation through which the public interest is
sacrificed to carry out the plans of avarice and greed. It is
undoubtedly stimulated by the want of wisdom often seen
among those who have captured the highest stakes. ' Instead
Address of Mr. Dol/iver, of Iowa 37
of hiding their plunder like the old-time pirates, they often
inflame the resentment of the unincorporated multitudes by
vulgar ostentation and .sometimes till the newspapers of
Europe and America with the scandals of their profligate
There was a time when everybody who had any property
felt a certain common interest with all property rights, hi iw-
ever large. But it would be idle to conceal the fact that
the da}- seems to be approaching when the public mind is
learning to discriminate between the honorable accumulation
of property and the business methods which have already
brought shame upon some departments of industry and
I do not know how great General Au;kk's financial for-
tune actually was, but probably not as great as commonly
supposed. But whatever it was, there was no stain of dis-
honor upon it. It represented the capacity, the patient
industry, and the genius for affairs which has never been
without honor in the world of business. And it would be
hard to find a better test of the real character of the man
than to observe how little his wealth affected his manners;
how slight its impression upon his daily walk and conver-
sation; in short, how much greater the man was than his
possessions. And when on the day of his funeral I looked
upon the streets of the city where he lived and saw them
crowded mile after mile with men and women and children
standing with solemn faces and uncovered heads, it did not
require the testimony of neighbors to let me know that he
had used his fortune for the welfare of the people where his
^s Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
lot was cast. A rich man with his heart full of love. to
humanity is God's best gift to modern society.
I would have the young men of America, without measur-
ing the possibilities of their success in money, treat the ac-
cumulations which come to them as the result of honorable
effort, not as a master to put them into slavery, but as a
servant to be sent out upon errands of philanthropy to help
and bless the world in which we live.
Such a man was Senator Ai.gkr. And while in this
Chamber his voice was seldom heard in debate, no one of
us can doubt that when his people sent him here they con-
tributed to the real deliberations of the Senate a strong and
valuable guidance, too often wanting in our management of
If I were called upon to point out the most conspicuous
public service of General Algkr in civil life, I would recall
his labors as Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President
McKinley. I had an opportunity to know something of
the burdens that were suddenly placed upon him, of the
difficulties which he had to surmount, and of the noise which
beset his office after the brief conflict with Spain was over.
I do not know that anybody else has been impressed by it,
but I have often wondered how it came about that nearly
everybody connected with the chief events arising out of
our intervention in behalf of the colonies of Spain sooner
or later was called to pass through humiliation, and one at
least through despair and suffering even unto death.
( >ne day, sitting by Senator Alger's desk, I ventured to
comment on this depressing aspect of our great victory, for-
getting for a moment that he himself had tasted the bitter
Address of Mr. Dolliver, of Iowa 39
draft commended to his lips by the morbid and misguided
opinion of some of his countrymen; and I can not forget the
quiet smile of the old soldier of General Grant's army as he
explained the interesting phenomena. His notion was that
every generation has in its heart a vague longing for ex-
ploits and far-sounding renown of its own; that we get
tired of feeding our enthusiasm on the fame of other times.
For that reason, as the war with Spain came on, so many
people desired to get into it that the size of it was exagger-
ated in the popular imagination, and nearly even-body had
a dull sensation of having been robbed of a chance to play
a part on the stage of an epoch-making drama.
The country was filled with talkative heroes, better suited
to command the Pacific than Dewey, better suited to take
Santiago than Shatter, better suited to blockade seaports than
Sampson, better suited to stop up the mouths of harbors than
Hobson, and better suited to ecpiip and put armies in the
field than the Secretary of War. As a net result of this
surplus military energy this unissued stock in a patriotic
enterprise grotesquely overcapitalized in the public mind,
an audience was waiting for the campaign of abuse and
slander, directed not only against the War Department, but
against nearly all our movements on land and sea. There
have been few more discreditable episodes in the annals of.
American public opinion.
It brings to mind, as we recall it, a chapter in the quaint
fiction of Rabelais, in which the adventurer whose perils he
records reaches the countrv of Tapestry and finds there, 1 teing
attracted to the spot, as he plainly says, by a loud and vari-
ous noise like that of paper mills, "a diminutive, monstrous,
4<"> Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
misshapen old fellow called 'Hearsay.' His month was slit
up to his ears and in it were seven tongues, each of them
cleft into seven parts. However, he chattered, tattled, and
prated, with all the seven at once, of different matters and
in divers languages. He had as mam' ears all over his head
and the rest of his body as Argus formerly had eyes, and
was blind as a beetle and had the palsy in his legs. About
him stood an innumerable company of men and women,
gaping, listening, and hearing very intensely. So that those
men of happy memories grew learned in a trice and would
most fluently talk with you of a world of prodigious things,
the hundredth part of which would take up a man's whole
life to be fully known — every individual word of it by hear-
say." Having discovered "forty cartloads of modern histo-
rians lurking behind a piece of tapestry, where thev were at
it dingdong, privately scribbling the Lord knows what,
and making rare work of it," he ventures to ask the
question, "What sort of study they applied themselves to?"
and was told that "from their youth they learned to be evi-
dences, affidavit men, and vouchers, and were instructed in
the art of swearing, in which they soon became such profi-
cients that when they left that country and went back into
their own thev set up for themselves and very honestly lived
by their trade of evidencing, positively giving their testi-
mony of all things whatsoever to those who feed them most
roundly to do a job of journey work for them; and all this
Wherever printing is free and speech is free, the infirmi-
ties of human nature seldom allow institutions like that to
be closed even for repairs.
Address of Mr. Dot/tver, of Iowa 41
But the friends of General Alger, recalling, as I feel
bound to do to-day, the injustice which was visited upon
him, no longer see the need of defending him, for their
thoughts turn without bitterness from those dismal months,
now almost incredible to the American people, to the figure
of the old soldier, sitting in his library in the pride of con-
scious rectitude, setting down in writing, for his children
and for his countrymen, the whole history of the Spanish
war, its greatness and its littleness, its meaning and influence
upon the national life, trusting his own fame to the simple
record of his official labors and to the impartial judgment
The State of Michigan, in which he had lived so lono-, to
whose material development he had contributed so much,
was quick to challenge the imputation involved in his
retirement under such circumstances from public life. His
election to the Senate was recognized everywhere as the
answer of those who knew him best to the clamor with
which his reputation had been assailed. He had borne with
honor the chief dignity of the Commonwealth. Bv common
consent its people had lovingly presented his name to the
nation for the highest office of the Republic, and they lost
no time, although he was broken by the cares and burdens
of life, and though the infirmity of years was already upon
him, to console his old age by their commission to sit in
this historic Chamber and end his days in the service of the
people who had trusted and believed in him for more than
half a centurv.
42 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Address of Mr. Dick, of Ohio
Mr. President: I feel I can not let this- occasion pass
without offering a few remarks.
Senator Alger was born in Ohio, and only a few miles
from inv own home. He spent his youth in my home
county and prepared for admission to the bar in my home
city. In later years he was a frequent visitor there, where
he had social and business interests, and he always enjoyed
the admiration and respect of the people of his native State.
Those of us who knew him best loved him most.
The career of RUSSELL A. ALGER is typical of what is
best worthy of imitation in American life. Born in pov-
erty in a log cabin, which did not even possess a ridgepole,
yet he enjoyed the rich heritage of descending from a long
line of sturdy, respected, God-fearing ancestors of the best
Puritan stock. They had been pioneers of early New Eng-
land, his great-grandfather a brave soldier in the Revolu-
tionary war, and his own father, early in the last century,
joined the band of stalwart pioneers who moved from Con-
necticut to the Western Reserve, where he broke a clearing
in the wilderness, put up his cabin, and engaged in the stern
struggle for existence which nature reqires of her favored
Young Alger was bereft of his parents at the early age
of 12, and was left with a young brother and sister who
looked to him for guidance and support. He spent the
Address of Mr. Dick, of Ohio 43
remainder of his boyhood years on the farm of an uncle,
working at first for board and clothes and three months'
schooling in each year. He attended country school and
academy for such meager educational advantages as the
neighborhood afforded, and for two years himself taught
school. His first cash employment was for $3 a month and
board, but for part of that year he was paid $5 a month,
from which he clothed himself and helped his brother and
sister. His earnings gradually increased to $20 a month,
the highest wage paid at that time to farm laborers. He
was industrious, faithful, and ambitious, and, like thousands
of other American boys, felt that the larger opportunities
lay in the town rather than in the country. He moved to
Akron, then a small country village, and entered upon the
study of law. His preceptors were able and successful law-
yers of more than State-wide reputation. One was Chris-
topher P. Wolcott, then attorney-general of Ohio and from
1862 to 1863 Assistant Secretary of War under Edwin M.
Stanton, with whom he had read law. The other preceptor,
who still survives, was William H. Upson, for four years an
honored member of the National House of Representatives
and for a dozen years judge of the supreme and circuit courts
ALGER was admitted to the bar at Columbus in 1859,
and entered a law office in Cleveland. The qualities which
brought him success in other lines of industry would cer-
tainly have given him great success at the bar, but he
remained in the practice only a few months, failing health
forcing him out of doors and compelling him to follow life
in the open air. He moved to Michigan, and with borrowed
I i Memorial Addresses: Russell . I. . llger
capital engaged in the lumber business. The war soon
broke out and he promptly offered his services to bis country.
He enlisted in August, 1861, and the next mouth was mus-
tered in as a captain of the Second Michigan Cavalry. For
three years he served in that branch of the Army and ren-
dered gallant and conspicuous service. His name is closely
linked with the names of those two incomparable cavalry
leaders, Sheridan and Custer, and had his military training
been equal to theirs his military reputation would have been
no less, for he was a bom commander of men, with natural
It is hard to realize that this quiet, retiring, modest gen-
tleman, who has unobtrusively moved in and out among us
for the past four years, was one of the most dashing and
courageous cavalry commanders in the civil war, but such
was the case. No portion of his career shines so resplendent
and no braver or more gallant soldier served in either army.
Always the idol of his men, he often led them into desperate
situations, but they were always eager to follow where he
led. It has been said it was ALGER who requested the gov-
ernor of Michigan to issue a commission to Philip H
Sheridan, then an unknown captain of infantry, as colonel
of a cavalry regiment, and Sheridan himself bears witness
that it was Ai.ckk who, on the 25th day of May, 1862,
handed to him telegraphic orders announcing his appoint-
ment as colonel of the Second Michigan Cavalry. The two
soldiers served together in the siege of Corinth, Miss., and are
mentioned side by side in Gen. Gordon Granger's report for
having well and faithfully performed their whole duty and
Address of Mr. Dick, of Ohio 45
meriting the highest commendation from their general and
their country in that campaign.
ALGER led the line of skirmishers in the advance on
Boonville on May 30, 1862, which led to its capture^ and
was mentioned by Colonel Sheridan as having rendered
important service. A month later the enemy, with over
5,000 mounted men, attempted to recapture Boonville, and
attacked Sheridan, who was in command of two regiments,
with only about 800 officers and men. When the attack
developed the vastly superior force of the enemy, Sheridan
detached ALGER with 90 sabers and directed him to make
a detour around the flank of the enemy and attack him in
column in the rear. Sheridan in his memoirs says of this
movement that he was "confident of Alger's determi-
nation to accomplish the purpose for which he set out," and
the movement was entirely successful. Sheridan attacked
in front with his entire force at the same time ALGER
struck the rear, and the enemy stampeded and fled. ALGER
himself was slightly wounded and taken prisoner, but
escaped and returned to his command the same day. It
was a brilliant charge and nobly executed, and this engage-
ment made Sheridan a brigadier-general and ALGER a
major. Every promotion that came to him was won by
bravery and courage on the field of battle. On the 16th of
October, 1862, he was made lieutenant-colonel of the Sixth
Michigan Cavalry and ordered to the Army of the Potomac.
On February 28, 1863, he was appointed colonel of the
Fifth Michigan Cavalry, and his command was the rir.st
Union force to enter Gettysburg when threatened by the
46 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
approach of General Lee and his army. He rendered dis-
tinguished service here and participated in the several
charges made by his regiment on the fatefid 3d of July.
He was wounded July 8 at Boonesboro, Md., while in pur-
suit of the enemy, but returned to duty the following
September. To the end of his service he commanded this
regiment, which was in Custer's brigade, except for short
periods when he was temporarily in command of the
brigade, and he was one of Custer's most trusted and fear-
less regimental commanders. He repulsed an attack of the
enemy in the operations around Culpeper Court House in
September, 1863, his regiment being in advance of the
brigade and passing through the town. In fact, Alger's
entire militarv career while any fighting was going on was
spent on the firing line, in the advance, in the skirmish
line, or making desperate charges with his men. General
Custer honored him as he did no other subordinate. In
the winter of 1863-64 he performed special services for
President Lincoln, receiving orders from him direct and
visiting nearly all the armies in the field.
In the movement from the Rapidan to the James in June,
1864, be participated in several brilliant engagements. Of
the famous charge at Trevilian Station, June n, General
Sheridan says :
The cavalry engagement of the iitli ami 12th was by far the most
brilliant one of the present campaign. The enemy's loss was very heavy.
My loss and captured will net exceed 160. They are principally from the
Fifth Michigan Cavalry. This regiment, Col. R. A. Algek, gallantly
charged, down the Gordonsville road, capturing 1,500 horses and about
« » 1 prisoners, but were finally surrounded and had to give them up.
Address of Mr. Dick, of Ohio 47
Alger's command in this charge did not exceed 300
men. Though surrounded by the enemy, he cut his way
through a column of troops and rejoined the Union Army.
For his distinguished gallantry in this engagement Colonel
ALGER was brevetted a brigadier-general. His own official
report of this engagement was most modest. The only
tone of exultation it contains was over the fact that through
a severe and fatiguing campaign his regiment had not lost
a single man from disease, although the total loss in killed
and wounded and missing was very great.
The condition of his health compelled him to retire from
the Army in October, 1864. He had participated in more
than sixty battles and skirmishes, and at the close of the
war was brevetted major-general for gallant and meritorious
services. He returned home to begin again at the bottom
to build for the future. He organized and planned large
business enterprises. He acquired wealth, acquired it
honestly, and never used it dishonestly. At one time he
counted his lumber forests by the hundred square miles.
He was a true captain of industry, for he created wealth
and distributed it to others. He organized large industries
by taking advantage of the opportunities which were open
to all men. He was a prophet who looked into the future
and foresaw coming demand. He never manipulated the
stock market, never made a dollar by speculation, nor tore
down what another had built up. When he benefited him-
self he impoverished no one else, but added to the prosperity
of all men with whom he dealt.
His first entrance into politics was in 1884, when his
partv in Michigan looked for its strongest man in order to
48 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
regain political control of the State, then administered by
the opposition, and named Alger as its candidate. His
administration as governor was very popular because of his
business methods, his strict honesty, and close attention to
duty. He refused a renomination because he could not
afford to longer neglect his own business, and he would not
slight the State's business for his own.
In the Republican national convention of [888 he was a
formidable candidate for the Presidential nomination and
led an enthusiastic and devoted following. On one ballot
he received 143 votes out of a total of 830, or more than one-
sixth. He was voted for by delegates from twenty-six
States and Territories, scattered from Maine to Washington
and from Florida to Arizona. In a field of twelve candi-
dates he received on the second ballot the next to the highest
vote. After that he never stood lower than third on the
list nor received less than 100 votes. On the last ballot,
which ballot nominated Harrison, he received 100 votes to
118 for John Sherman, who had led on preceding ballots.
Xo candidate before the convention had a more determined
following, and his own State cast its solid vote for him
from the beginning to the end of the contest. In this con-
vention was first heard the exclamation, since heard in
hundreds and thousands of public gatherings, "Who's all
right?" " He's all right." It was applied by the news-
boys of Detroit to General ALGER.
He was elected national commander of the Grand Army
of the Republic by acclamation in 1SS9 and was one of the
most popular and successful heads of that splendid organi-
Address of Mr. Dick, of Ohio 49
zation. No soldier was more loved by his comrades who
wore the blue.
He was made Secretary of War in President McKinley's
Cabinet, with no thought that he would ever be called upon
to assume the responsibilities of a war minister. Before
the war clouds lowered the American people, with the blind
optimism characteristic of them, believed war was impos-
sible. When war did come the nation, as has always been
the case in the past, was entirely unprepared. There never
was a more popular war, and many times more men offered
themselves for service than could be accepted. While
there were plenty of men, men as brave and patriotic as
ever served the Stars and Stripes, there was a scarcity of
every other necessity. There were on hand barely enough
of our newly adopted and improved rifles to arm our small
Regular Army. The volunteers were equipped with an
inferior arm, and <>ur best was not as efficient a weapon as
that carried by the enemy. Volunteer regiments had to be
sent to the firing line carrying cartridges loaded with black
powder to face an enemy using only smokeless powder. We
had no reserve supply of uniforms or tents, and there was
no cloth in the country with which to make the new 7 service
uniform required By climatic conditions in a tropical coun-
try The country was surprised and shocked to learn that
the .State volunteers were not eqiiipped for service, though
everyone conversant with the facts well knew such was the
case, for in our national blindness we had believed war was
impossible. While human passions remain as they have
been- since passion was born, and national ambitions cross
S. Doc. 405, 59-2 4
5<d Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
each other, as they always will, war will be a possibility
always, and periodically a probability. It has come to the
United States once at least in every generation since the
nation was born, and we have no assurance our future will
change that record. No prudent nation will omit insuring
itself against the risk of war any more than a prudent house-
holder neglects to insure against the risk of fire. The only
effective insurance against war is sufficient preparation
for it, and even that protection will not always prevent
war. We have profited some by our recent national expe-
rience, but further preparation remains to be made before
our national security is entirely assured.
When the war with Spain came upon us we had a very
.small but highly trained Army, and a Navy superior to any
of its size in the world. Despite our lack of preparedness,
the enemy was quickly crushed, both on land and sea. In
a short campaign of less than a hundred days "Cuba, Porto
Rico, and the Philippines were ours for such disposition as
we saw fit to make of them. The nation saw the results
and applauded them, but knew little of the terrible strain
imposed upon the Secretary of War and his Department in
making the necessary preparations. The various supply
departments had to be reorganized for providing the
munitions of war. " That they were fully provided and
that the numerous demands on the industries of our people
were met so promptly will remain one of the marvels of
history." Such was the verdict of the Commission to
Investigate the Conduct of the War Department, and such
will be the verdict of history. The Commission reported
on the Secretary of War that he "extended to all chiefs of
Address of Mr. Dick, of Ohio 51
bureaus cordial and full support and promptly responded to
every proper demand made upon him by commanding
officers." If, as the Commission further found, "there was
lacking in the general administration of the War Depart-
ment during the continuance of the war with Spain that
complete grasp of the situation which was essential," who
will say that this gallant, fearless soldier, this successful
governor, this great captain of industry, whose leading
characteristic was his high executive talent, was so much
to blame as the departmental system against which more
than one strong man has fretted out his heart in vain, try-
ing to overcome its inertia and modernize its antiquated
and useless methods.
No army from a temperate zone had ever invaded the
Tropics and achieved such magnificent results in such a
brief space of time or with so small loss of life from dis-
ease. The loss from disease in the army which never left
the States was much less than the loss from the same cause
during the civil war.
At first came the rush of volunteers attempting to get
into the service. The applications for volunteer commis-
sions alone numbered over thirty thousand. Of the large
number who were appointed not over half a dozen were per-
sonal appointments of the Secretary himself. Mistakes
were unavoidably made in the details of organization and
preparation, and no secretary could have escaped criticism.
The American people alone were to blame for the condi-
tions existing at the outbreak of the war. As in the civil war
there was a mad cry, "On to Richmond," long before the
Army was readv for such a movement, so there was a mad
52 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
cry, "On to Habana," when all the conditions and circum-
stances declared such a movement a most rash and reckless
one. War is no holiday pastime, and soldiering is not a
trade to be picked up in a few days, and largely because of
the lack of experience and knowledge on the part of volun-
teer officers of the simplest rudiments of camp sanitation
epidemics and fevers broke out and many valuable lives
were uselessly sacrificed. A state of hysteria developed
among the people, aided and abetted by an unbridled and
indiscreet press, and the American public, which is prompt
to praise and as readv to condemn, like the Roman public
at the gladiatorial contests, demanded a victim. It picked
out the Secretary of War for its victim, and he was com-
pelled to go. Now that that passion has had time to cool,
and the conditions of those stirring weeks are weighed with
more even balance, the country has a feeling only of kind-
ness and high regard for our warm-hearted, generous friend.
He never fell the least in the estimation of the people of his
own State, and when the opportunity came they promptly
manifested their love and devotion to him by sending him
to the Senate, where he would have succeeded himself had
he not voluntarily declined to be a candidate for reelection.
He was easilv the first citizen of Michigan.
He was trained in the hard school of privation and pov-
ertv, and, for the perpetuity and vigor of our institutions
and our national existence, it is hoped that school will never
disappear from among us. He made much of his oppor-
tunities, and was a wise administrator of the wealth he
acquired. He was generous in his charities, but shunned
notoriety. His generosity was "a deep-flowing and contin-
Address of Mr. Dick, of Ohio 53
ual stream," and no worthy appeal went unanswered. He
felt the greatest pride in the esteem and love of his own
people. He was loved at home by all classes, hut best loved
by the poor of his own city. He was incapable of a dishon-
orable act. He never forgot friends nor their dependents.
He fought his foes in the open, and forgave his enemies and
his critics. He was patient under abuse. He was true to
his friends and his country, always cool and brave under
the most trying circumstances, dignified, unassuming, ap-
proachable at all times, considerate to others. He was a
man justly honored in State and nation, and his lossoutside
his family circle will nowhere be more deeply felt than in
this body, where for four years he was an honored member.
54 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Address of Mr. Warner, of Missouri
Mr. President: I have listened with genuine satisfac-
tion to the eloquent and just tributes of respect which
have been paid to the memory of RUSSELL ALEXANDER
ALGER, only a few days since a member of this bod}-.
Of his services and accomplishments as a United States
Senator I shall not speak, as my acquaintance with him
in this Chamber covered but little more than a year. I
knew him in another and different field. I knew him as
a soldier and as a man, and enjoyed his personal friend-
ship for more than a third of a century, and I shall con-
tent myself with speaking a few brief words of the deceased
as my friend and comrade, and in doing this I appreciate
the depths of my poverty of speech.
To lose a friend is the greatest of all losses. ( >ur most
enduring riches are our friends — friends not of a day, but
friends that we " grapple to our souls with hooks of steel."
It was Emerson, I think, who said, "The only way to
have a friend is to be one." The truth of this saying was
exemplified in the life of RUSSELL Alexander Alger.
( )f him it may be truthfully said that those who knew him
best loved him most.
But our dead brother, Mr. President, was more to me
than a friend. He was my comrade. The most enduring
and tender ties in this life outside of the family circle, I
Address of Mr. Warner^ of Missouri 55
am constrained to believe, are the ties that are welded in
the fires of battle between those who have shared, in a
common cause, the privations of the camp, the hardships
of the march, and the dangers of the battle.
As a citizen he was without reproach; as a soldier he-
was without fear. To fittingly speak of his record as a
soldier would be to recount in no small part the marches
and battles of '61 to '65. He was ever upon the firing
line, taking an important part in threescore and six battles
and skirmishes. For gallant and meritorious services he
was brevetted brigadier and major-general of volunteers.
With him, the war ended at Appamattox. Then, in com-
mon with those who had borne the battle "with malice
toward none, with charity for all," he gladly exchanged the
instruments of war for the implements of industry.
But few men have been more highly honored bv their
States and by the nation than the deceased. Yet, much as
he esteemed the honor of being governor, Cabinet minister,
and United States Senator, no one nor all of these honors
did he as highly prize, as he told me in this Chamber a few
weeks before his death, as the one of being commander in
chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization
composed of the survivors of the men who, with him, had
followed the flag of our nation as their " pillar of cloud bv
day and of fire by night."
He deemed it a blessed privilege to have been an actor in
that mighty drama of ages out of which came the convic-
tion universal, more earnest and firm than was ever expressed
by the pen of a Hamilton or ever fell from the lips of a
Webster, that there is no river, mountain, or other natural
56 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
boundary line that can ever divide this Republic; that we
are one people, one in law, one in hope, and one in destiny.
He rejoiced tbat he had been spared to see the day when the
men of the blue and of the gray recall the scenes of the civil
war without passion and review its results without regret.
His was one of the gentlest and kindliest spirits I ever
knew. His life was an inspiration to the young man of
brain, industry, and honesty. He has pitched his tent with
the old field marshal on the other side. His life being
without reproach, lie inarched through the "valley of the
shadow of death " seeing nothing here to regret or there
It is a consolation that in the presence of our dead there
comes to us an affirmative answer to the question of ages:
"If a man die, shall he live atrain?"
Letter from Mr. Foraker of Ohio 57
Letter from Mr. Foraker, of Ohio.
Mr. Burrows. Mr. President, it was the desire of the
Senator from Ohio [Mr. Foraker] to be present at these
services, but I received a letter from him this morning
stating that illness detained him at his home. I ask that
the letter may be inserted in the Record.
The Vice-President. It will be so ordered.
Mr. Foraker's letter is as follows:
Washington, February 2j, /go/.
Dear Senator Burrows: An attack of the grip pre-
vents my attending the Senate and participating in the
memorial exercises in honor of Senator ALGER. I greatly
reoret that such is the ease, for it would be to me a labor of
love to join with yon and his other colleagues and friends
in paying proper tribute to such a splendid character.
It was my good fortune to know him intimately for
many years. He first attracted the attention of the Ameri-
can people as a dashing cavalry officer in the civil war,
where, on account of his own merit and gallant services at
the front, he rose to high rank, succeeded to important
commands, and won great distinction. He was a typical
volunteer soldier of the Union Army.
As commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Repub-
lic, as the governor of Michigan, as the Secretary of
War, and, finally, as United States Senator, he filled con-
5 s Memorial . iddresses: Russell A. Alger
spicuous places and rendered great services to his comrades,
his State, and the nation. But great as are his claims up< m
us because of these distinguished services, I shall always
think of him first because of his excellent qualities as
a man. Amid the busy cares of his active life he never
forgot the claims upon him of others. He was one of the
most considerate of men. I never knew one freer from
envy, jealousy, malice, and every other kind of ill disposi-
tion toward others. He was always modest, generous, even
tempered, and lovable.
Nothing gratified him so much as to do a favor or extend
help to those who were honestly struggling against odds in
the battle of life.
His family relations and home life were ideal. There
love and affection reigned supreme ; and so it is that from
whatever view may be taken of his life, character, and
public services there comes a real inspiration to emulate
Again regretting that I can not be present to elaborate
these suggestions, I remain,
Very truly, yours, etc.,
J. B. Forakkk.
Hon. J. C. Burrows,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
Address of Mr. Smith, of Michigan 59
Address of Mr. Smith, of Michigan
Mr. President: To pay tribute to the deserving, to
shower eulogy upon the dead, is the custom of ages and
the privilege of friends.
This historic Chamber, the scene of so many fierce polit-
ical controversies and the abode of ^ much affectionate
aood will, is at once the tribune of popular expression, the
forum of reflection, and the theater of action harmoniously
Here the voices of the strong have been raised for the
weak and the soldier of destiny has drawn his sword in
royal battle. Here the favored son of fortune and the victor
over circumstances have poured out their souls in tuneful
harmony, and history recalls no loftier aspirations than
have moved the hearts and minds of men in this high place.
It is fitting, indeed, that from the vexatious affairs of
state we turn in tearful contemplation to one whose life-
typified his country's greatness and in whose death the
shadows fall tinted with mellow glow.
Born in an humble cottage, his early life burdened with
the perplexities of poverty and the difficult problems of
existence, he soon mastered both himself and circumstances,
and marked a royal trail through the forest of life, romantic
and thrilling in individual intensity.
To make his way alone from an humble frontier cabin to
this exalted station, leaving monuments of generosity and
60 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
enterprise along the stormy path he tranversed, is. indeed,
the priceless privilege of few.
Laborer, lawyer, soldier, statesman, this busy man
unlocked with his magic key the hidden treasures of com-
merce, and with dauntless spirit leveled forests, cleft moun-
tains in twain, and delved with pick and shovel and spade,
guided only by his flickering lamp and his stout heart, to
the choicest gifts of mother earth.
Then with lavish hand he scattered his generous bounty
into the lap of the poor and the unfortunate until the widow
and the orphan, the sick and the distressed, came to look
upon this goodly man as religion personified, while that
vast army of newsboys in the city of his home, whom he
met each year in princely conclave, came to look upon his
kindly face with reverential awe, drawing from his inspir-
ing life lessons of comfort and hope, pointing the way to
the very summit of the possibilities of American manhood.
To blaze the way with ax and saw, to pore with patient
vigil over the baffling intricacies of the law, and just as he
had taken to his heart the queenly wife who sustained and
aided him with such noble dignity and womanly poise in
life's great battle, to leave all and risk his life upon count-
less battlefields is to do that which only a manly man can do.
( >l>stacles only stimulated him. Danger fired his imag^i-
nation and strengthened his resolution; povert) spurred
him to greater endeavor, and disappointment could not dis-
courage him nor alter his plans.
Tall, lithe, agile, strong, he broke the bonds of ciicum-
stances and cleared his own pathway to the highest goal,
never doing injustice to any man. His fascinating figure
Address of Mr. Smith of Michigan 61
became familiar to his countrymen as he moved with
modest but intrepid mein, whether in the thickest of the
fray upon the field of battle or in executive, administrative,
or Senatorial office. His radiating and inspiring person-
ality stimulated alike the old and the young; and when at
last the strain of active life bore too heavily upon him and
his big heart broke, his noble character took on again the
sweetness of gentle childhood, and he found his greatest
comfort in mingling quietly and uncomplainingly among
his fellows or in sharing the joys of his beautiful home,
where worthy sons and sympathetic daughters vied with
wife and mother in a home life that was perfect in its love-
liness and in which no discordant note was ever heard.
Senator ALGER died like the soldier that he was. In the
midst of every earthly blessing, richly dowered with the love
of friends, he sat under the sword of fate, unmoved by fear
and unawed by the shadow of death.
He passed away in the gentle quiet of the early dawn,
the morning sun filling his death chamber with rich radi-
ance, typical of his life among men.
About his bier gathered the mighty of State and nation.
Soldiers in martial array rode sadly but proudly by his
corpse. The flag of his country, which he had defended so
bravely, was his pall, enshrouding the dead chieftain in its
graceful folds, while the remembrance of his loving country-
men constitutes his priceless mausoleum.
Mr. President, from this Chamber Michigan has gathered
up the sacred dust of many noble sons who have borne with
conspicuous honor the commission of our State.
62 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Cass and Howard, Chandler and Ferry, Conger and Bald-
win, Stockbridge and McMillan wrought mightily and faith-
fully for their country, and the people of our Commonwealth
treasure their ashes in memory's golden urn.
To-day we lovingly lay upon the shores of the limitless
sea this last contribution to our immortal dead.
O unseen oarsman, gently, lovingly, tenderly, and hope-
fully bear him across the dark river, made wider by our
affection and deepened by our tears.
This Chamber may have echoed with more eloquent
voices, and abler statesmen may have trod this matchless
way; but no kindlier, gentler, manlier man was ever carried
through yonder portals than the late modest, unassuming
Senator from Michigan.
Proceedings in the House 63
PROCEEDINGS IN THE HOUSE
Thursday, January _y, 190?.
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Chaplain, Rev. Henry N. Couden, D. D., offered the
following prayer :
Our Father in heaven, we meet this morning- in the
shadow of the death of Senator Alger, of Michigan, a
man who for more than forty years, as soldier and statesman,
has been conspicuous in the service of his country.
Our sympathies go out to the bereaved family and the
stricken friends, and we most fervently pray that we may
live so close to Thee that when our time comes we may
be prepared to pass on and take up whatever awaits us in
some other world; with faith, and trust, and confidence,
and fortitude, in the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Speaker laid before the House a message from the
Senate announcing that the Senate had passed the follow-
Resolved, That the Senate has heard with deep regret and profound
sorrow of the deatli of Hon. RUSSELL A. Alger, late a Senator from the
State of Michigan.
Resolved, That a committee of twelve Senators be appointed by the
Vice-President to take order for superintending the funeral of Mr. Alger.
which shall take place at his late residence on Saturday, January 26, at
2 o'clock p. m., and that the Senate will attend the same.
Resolved, That as a further mark of respect his remains he removed
from his late home in this city to Detroit. Mich., for burial, in charg. -1
the Sergeaut-at-Arms, attended by the committee, who shall have full
power to carry these resolutions into effect, and that the Sergeant-at-Arms
64 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
be directed to invite the Representatives from the State of Michigan to
join the committee appointed by the Senate to escort the remains of the
deceased to his place of burial.
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 of the
deceased the Senate do nou adjourn.
And that in compliance with the foregoing the Vice-Presi-
dent had appointed as said committee Mr. Burrows, Mr.
Five, Mr. Daniel, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Warren, Mr. Spooner,
Mr. Scott, Mr. Dillingham, Mr. Foster, Mr. Patterson,
Mr. Dick, and Mr. Crane.
Mr. Bishop. Mr. Speaker, I am called upon to perform
.1 sad duty on behalf of my colleagues from Michigan
and myself, in announcing to the country the death of
Hon. RUSSELL A. Alger, Senator from Michigan.
This announcement conies at a time of peculiar fitness,
at an hour when this House has been engaged in the con-
sideration of a bill granting pensions to those who have
served their country as soldiers and sailors of this Republic
and to their widows and orphans. The distinguished
Senator who has passed out of service in the Senate this
day spent the years of his early manhood in adding luster
to the name of the American volunteer soldier in sixty-six
battles and skirmishes. He was commissioned captain of
volunteers in August, 1861, major in 1862, lieutenant-
colonel in 1863, brevet brigadier-general of volunteers for
distinguished service in the field in 1864, brevet major-
general of volunteers for distinguished bravery on the field
in 1865, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the
Republic in 1889. He was elected governor of the State
of Michigan in 1884, appointed Secretary of War by Presi-
Proceedings in the House 65
dent McKinley in 1897, and chosen to represent the great
State of Michigan in the United States Senate in 1902.
He has enjoyed many honors bestowed by the admiring
citizens of his State, but in the discharge of every public
position he has earned the universal credit of duty well
done. At some future time I shall ask the House to set
aside a day to present proper eulogies on his life, char-
acter, and public service.
For the present I offer the following resolutions, which I
send to the Clerk's desk to be read.
The Clerk read as follows :
Resolved, That the House has heard with profound sorrow of the
death of Hon. RUSSELL A. Alger, a Senator of the United States from
the State of Michigan.
Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the
Senate and transmit a copy thereof to the family of the deceased Senator.
Resolved, That a committee of twelve Members be appointed on the
part of the House to join the committee appointed on the part of the
Senate to attend the funeral.
Resolved, That as a further mark of respect the House do now adjourn.
The Speaker. The question is on agreeing to all the
resolutions except the last.
The resolutions, except the last one, were unanimously
In pursuance of the foregoing resolutions, the Speaker
announced the following committee on the part of the
House: Mr. R. P. Bishop, Mr. William Alden Smith, Mr.
Samuel W. Smith, Mr. Charles E. Townsend, Mr. Edwin
Denby, Mr. Washington Gardner, Mr. H. R. Burton, Mr.
M. L- Smyser, Mr. J. A. Goulden, Mr. John H. Small, Mr.
David A. De Armond, and Mr. A. P. Pujo.
S. Doc. 405, 59-2 5
66 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
The Speaker. The question is on agreeing to the last
The question was taken; and the last resolution was
Accordingly (at 2 o'clock and 30 minutes p. in.) the
Monday, February 18, 1907.
Mr. Denby. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent for
the present consideration of the order which I send to the
The Clerk read as follows :
Ordered, That the session of the House on Sunday, February 24, 1907,
be held at 10 o'clock a. m., and that the time until 12 o'clock noon be set
apart for memorial addresses on the life, character, and public services of
Hon. RUSSELL A. ALGER, late a Senator from the State of Michigan.
The Speaker. Is there objection? [After a pause.]
The Chair hears none.
The question was taken ; and the resolution was agreed to.
Sunday, February jy, rpoj
The House met at 10 o'clock a. m.
Prayer by the Chaplain, Rev. Henry N. Couden, D. D., as
Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe
also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not
so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for'you.
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle
ivere dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with
our house 'which is from heaven:
Proceedings in the House 67
IJ so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
/-(>/- we that arc in this tabernacle do groan, being bur-
dened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon
that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Now he that hath wrought for us the selfsame thing is
God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present.
nor things to come.
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able
to separate us from the /ore of God, which is in Christ fesus
Eternal God, our heavenly Father, whose heart goes out
in approbation and love to those who seek to do Thy will
and thus add to the sum of human happiness and depart-
in." leave the world a little better that they have lived and
We thank Thee for the men whose characters and deeds
we are here to memorialize, men whose gifts and talents fit-
ted them in an eminent degree for the onerous duties laid
upon them by their fellow-citizens. Let Thy blessing, we
beseech Thee, be upon this service, that those who shall
record their tribute of love and respect may inspire those:
who shall come after them to faithful service.
We thank Thee for the hope of immortality which lifts
us in our better moments to larger life and nobler deeds and
which bids us look forward to a brighter world beyond the
confines of earth. Let Thine everlasting arms be about
those who mourn the loss of their dear ones, and in Thine
own good time bring them to dwell together in one of the
68 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
many mansions prepared for those who love the Lord, and
Thine be the praise forever. Amen.
Mr. Denby. Mr. Speaker, I offer the following resolu-
tions, which I send to the desk and ask to have read.
The Clerk read as follows :
Resolved, That the business of the House be now suspended that oppor-
tunity may be given for tributes to the memory of Hon. RUSSELL A.
Alger, late a Senator from the State of Michigan.
Resolved, That as a particular mark of respect to the memory of the
deceased and in recognition of his distinguished public career, the House,
at the conclusion of the exercises of this day, shall stand adjourned.
Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate.
Resolved, That the Clerk send a copy of these resolutions to the family
of the deceased.
The Speaker pro tempore. The question is on agreeing
to the resolutions.
The question was taken, and the resolutions were
Mr. Denby. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that
leave to print upon the subject of the day's exercises be
extended to all Members of the House for a period of
The Speaker pro tempore. Is there objection?
There was no objection, and it was so ordered.
Address of Mr. Denby, of Michigan 69
Address of Mr. Denby, of Michigan
Mr. SPEAKER: The truest tribute to the departed is the
silent requiem that chants in the hearts of a great people
when death comes to a loved and honored leader. We who
remain may vie with one another in the superlatives of
praise, we may exhaust the language of eulogy— we do not
add one jot or tittle to the fair fame of the illustrious dead.
As it is beyond our power to take from him any part of
that respect and love that have been his reward in life, so
it is idle to suppose that we can control the hand of history
and by our feeble efforts make him nobler, better, greater
than he was. He, the dead, whom we vainly strive to
exalt, gains nothing by our praise. His place is secure, and
the story of his life becomes a cherished possession— his
legacy to the living.
We have gathered here to-day to pay this public honor
to our lamented Senator, RUSSELL A. Alger. But the
great heart of Michigan has rendered to him in death an
honor so perfect that no eulogy spoken here can add to its
simple dignity. What tribute can there be so earnest
and so pure as the bowed heads and the bitter tears of a
Michigan, which so greatly honored him in life, received
him home as a sorrowing mother receives the body of her
70 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Son. Upon a day of bitter cold the train arrived. Snow
covered the streets of Detroit. It was Sunday morning,
and, free from the engagements of their week-da}' toil, the
citizens of the Senator's home chose to spend their holidav
standing in the rigors of the open air to pay their sad trib-
ute. The beautiful city opened wide her tender arms and
took him to her heart again. The scene suggested another
great occasion, when, having left the Cabinet of President
McKinley, the affectionate sympathy of Detroit went out
to him and she made him welcome home. Then flags and
music and might}' cheers showed their lovaltv and devo-
tion; but when last he returned the concourse that filled all
the thoroughfares stood silent and stricken as he passed
them by. As one was the generous outburst of sympathy
and honor, that all the world might know how true to the
living statesman beat the heart of Michigan when causeless
slight was put upon him, so the other was the reverent ex-
pression of her grief when he came home to stav forever.
And upon the next day, when the last honors were paid
and the bugles sounded taps over the soldier's grave, again
in the winter weather the people of Michigan came out to
say farewell. The streets were crowded, the cemetery
thronged with a silent multitude. All classes, all ages, all
conditions, one purpose — to honor General Alger, repre-
sentative and friend to all, benefactor to many. Delicate
women, busy men, veterans of the great war, worn and
feeble that their country might be safe and strong, the
sires of '61 and the sons of '98, all standing bareheaded in
the snow when the General came home.
Address of Mr. Denby, of Michigan 71
Ah, sir, there was tribute, there was eulogy, such as few
receive. What inspiration to the living in this high honor
to the dead! And these scenes, Mr. Speaker, but latelv I
was witness of. With the thought of this living, throbbing
eulogy so freshly present in my mind, Mr. Speaker, do von
think I can try to-day to eulogize Michigan's loved Sena-
tor? But there is no study more inspiring than that of the
nation's patriots, who in many walks of life have illustrated
the energy, adaptability, and capacity that have always
marked the men of America ; there is no dutv more erate-
fid than that of paying loving respect to their memorv.
That study and that duty are ours to-dav.
General Alger was a typical product of his dav and
nation. It is the glory of our country that this is so.
Many other of his contemporaries raised themselves by
their unaided efforts, as he did, from poverty to affluence,
from obscurity to fame. Main- other men fought gallantly
at his side in the great struggle of 1861 — the new birth of
freedom upon this continent. It is well with a nation
when this is so. I take nothing from his fame when I sax-
he came into being in a generation when the great emer-
gency raised up many great men to meet it ; great fighters
like himself, great statesmen, great patriots. It is said that
even- emergency breeds its master, as the Revolution bred
Washington ; as the civil war, Lincoln ; the military exi-
gency, Grant, when it seemed that Grant, and only Grant,
could wear out the gallant forces of the South. But it
seems to me that, be the emergency great enough, it will
breed, in this country at least, not one man, but a nation of
men of giant mold — men fit to cope with anything ; men of
7 2 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
one idea, if yon like ; men at least with but one fear, and
that of dishonor.
The civil-war epoch was the heroic period of our national
life. Men grew to their full stature then. So terrible a
struggle, waged on both sides for principle's sake, could not
fail to develop the greatest qualities in the character of its
participants. When a man leaves all that home may mean
to incur the horrors of march and battlefield, and offers upon
the altar of his countrv and his concience health and life
and hope of the future, there is, Mr. Speaker, something
stirring within him that proves him one with the Eternal.
And when an entire nation dedicates itself to furious war-
fare, one part against another of the same great people, for
four long years, and gladly suffers all the unspeakable
agonies of that awful struggle until from very exhaustion
the sword falls from the hand of one party to the conflict,
may we not say, sir, that that nation was not born to die?
It, too, has shown itself of the immortals. I do not propose
to burden this paper with statistics; but, sir, to show where
Michigan stood during this time and what she did to prove
her right of equality in the sovereign sisterhood of States, I
give you these facts only:
On the outbreak of the war there were in Michigan
about 775,000 inhabitants. During the war Michigan sent
to the Federal Army 90,747 soldiers, or about 12 per cent
of the entire population and about 60 per cent of her able-
bodied sons. Of the 90,747 men and boys who served
under the flag, 177 officers were killed on the field, 85
officers died of wounds, and 96 of disease- — 358 in all; and
2,643 men were killed, 1,302 died of wounds, and 10,552
Address of Mr. Denby, of Michigan 73
died of disease, or 14,497 enlisted men, a total of all ranks
who died during the war of 14,855 — about 16 per cent of all
soldiers engaged from the State. This does not take into
account the great host whose lives were shortened and whose
health was destroyed. A notable fact in regard to this
splendid army of volunteers from Michigan is that 67,468
of the men were native-born American citizens. Of the
remainder, nearly 9,000 were Canadians, and about 13,000
were natives of the British Isles and Germany.
Let me call your attention to one striking fact in regard
to the mortality list. Two hundred and sixty-two officers
were killed or died of wounds out of a total of 358 in all
who died. Those men were well led whose officers died in
such numbers on the field of battle. Against the lurid
background of the war General Alger first comes into
public view as captain of Company C, Second Michigan
Cavalry. Thereafter, through successive promotions, earned
by skill in the handling of troops and gallantry on the field,
he rose to be colonel of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry, and
later was brevetted major-general of United States Volun-
teers. There is not time to recite here the many conflicts
in which he participated or the many deeds of daring he
performed during his service in the Army. Certain it is
that he was a brave and able soldier, leading his men with
dash and vigor into the fiercest of the fighting, wherever it
was to be found. He was the typical cavalrvman, infinitely
careful of the health, comfort, and well-being of his troopers
when care could be shown, utterly reckless of their lives
and of his own when attacking the enemy. The whole
great story, full as it is of romance and of valorous devotion
74 Memorial Add) esses: Russell A. Alger
to duty, is told in this one sentence from the Congressional
Brevet major-general, United States Volunteers, June II, 1865, for gallant
and meritorious services during the war, having participated in sixty-six
battles and skirmishes.
Sixty-six battles and skirmishes! Sixty-six occasions
when death was an ever-present possibility, generally a
probability; when the young life, with all its courage and
all its hopes, afterwards so abundantly realized, was freely
offered for the flag.
Let me touch very briefly upon one only of these many
engagements. I quote his own account of the dreadful
days at Gettysburg, July 3 and 4, 1863. It will be remem-
bered that the plans of Lee are supposed to haye contem-
plated a cavalry charge on the Federal right, which, with
Pickett's terrific onslaught on the center, was to break the
line and give the yictory to the Confederate forces. Had
Stuart been successful in getting to the rear of the Federal
position, no one can tell what might haye been the out-
come. That historic spot, now known as the " High-water
mark of the rebellion," might haye been instead the low-
water mark of southern reverses, from which the gray tide
might have swept on, whither no one knows. At any rate
it is certain that the cavalry action on the right of the
Federal line was of critical importance. General Alger,
in a report made to the Adjutant-General of the Army,
July 1, 1880, thus describes the part his men took at
July 3. At 10 a. m., our brigade being on the right of the army, the
enemy's cavalry, under General Stuart, appeared in our front in large
force. I was ordered to dismount my regiment and attack him, which I
Address of Mr. Denby, of Michigan 75
did driving him back about half a mile and into a thick wood. Here
he rallied and attacked me and was repulsed, but with a heavy loss to
my regiment, as well as to him. Again he attacked me, moving round
on my left flank, but was again repulsed. In this last attack I also sus-
tained a serious loss, including the gallant Maj. Noah H. Ferry (brother
of United States Senator Ferry), of my regiment.
Rein- unable to hold my position longer, my ammunition being nearly
exhausted and while the enemy was diverted by a charge of the Seventh
Cavalrv Colonel Mann, on my right, I fell back and mounted my regi-
ment ' While mounting, the enemy charged past my right flank, about 40
rods distant driving the Seventh Michigan back in confusion. At that
moment having mounted a portion of my command, I directed Maj,,.
Trowbridge to take it and charge the enemy, which he did gallantly, hav-
ing his horse shot and killed under him in so doing.
A few moments later the balance of the regiment was engaged and the
enemy checked and driven from the field, only, however, to rallj and
come'dowu upon our brigade in still greater numbers. This charge was
met by Colonel Town with his First Michigan, which had been held 1.1
reserve until now, who charged, checked, and broke the enemy's ranks,
driving him from the field in confusion, assisted by the other regiments
of the brigade.
This left our brigade in possession of that hotly contested field, and night
having closed in, this terrible battle ended, and at our left, where the roar
of cannon and musketrv had been kept up all day, all was a, >w quiet except
occasional desultorv firing along the line. My loss in killed and wounded
was very severe. Major Ferry, who was cheering his battalion to hold its
ground,' was instantly killed. His death cast a deep gloom upon the whole
brigade He was a gallant soldier and an exemplary mail, and his loss
was a great blow. July 4, at 10 o'clock a. 1.1., our division marched from
Gettysburg battlefield to intercept the enemy, who was retreating along
the South Mountain road toward YVilliamsport. We marched, via Em-
mettsburg, up the road leading to Monterey, a small place, as it appeared
in the night 011 the top of South Mountain Range, the Fifth Michigan
Cavalrv being in the advance. As we approached the summit of the
mountain about midnight (the night being very dark) we were surprised
by the enemv opening fire upon us with two howitzers charged with grape-
shot, at short range. The confusion following was only for a moment,
and thev were soon driven off and the command moved forward. Arriv-
ing at the summit of the mountain, the trains of the enemy could be dis-
tinctlv heard moving along down the road which intercepted the line of
our march, the road leading down the west slope of the mountain toward
Williamsport. Near the junction of the two roads and between us and the
trains of the enemy was a bridge over a deep stream swollen by the heavy
rains of the afternoon of the 4 th, which was guarded by over 1,000 of the
76 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
enemy's infantry. This bridge the Fifth Cavalry charged across, forming
its line on the opposite side of the bridge by the flashes of its guns (the
regiment being dismounted), and moved forward at a double quick upon
the enemy and was followed by the mounted escort of General Kilpatrick.
This charge resulted in the capture of about 1 ,500 prisoners and a large
train of wagons, the latter extending from the top to the base of the
mountain, which were mostly burned and the mules attached to them
turned over to the quartermaster. I can not speak in terms of too high
praise of the behavior of my regiment in this engagement. It was the
most trving place it had passed through up to that time, if not during its
General Custer, who commanded the cavalry brigade
engaged during the battle, in his official report, made August
22, 1863, says :
The enemy was soon after reported to be advancing on my front. The
detachment of fifty men sent on the Oxford road were driven in, and at
the same time the enenvy's line of skirmishers, consisting of dismounted
cavalry, appeared on the crest of the ridge of hills on my front. The line
extended beyond my left. To repel their advance I ordered the Fifth
Michigan Cavalry to a more advanced position, with instructions to main-
tain their ground at all hazards. Colonel ALGER, commanding the Fifth,
assisted by Majors Trowbridge and Ferry, of the same regiment, made
such admirable disposition of their men behind fences and other defenses
as enabled them to successfully repel the repeated advance of a greatly
superior force. I attribute their success in a great measure to the fact that
this regiment is armed with the Spencer repeating rifle, which, in the
hands of brave, determined men, like those composing the Fifth Michigan
Cavalry, is, in my estimation, the most effective firearm that our cavalry
can adopt. Colonel ALGER held his ground until his men had exhausted
their ammunition, when he was compelled to fall back on the main body.
The beginning of this movement was the signal for the enemy to charge,
which they did with two regirrients, mounted and dismounted.
During his military career General Alger was at differ-
ent times severely wounded, captured by the enemy, but
escaped, and stricken with fever.
When at last the war was over he returned to Michigan
and took up the pursuits of peace with the same courage,
vigor, and intelligence that marked his military career.
Address of Mr. Denby, of Michigan jj
He had no fortune to repair, but one to make. The rap-
idly growing business of the State and the great lumber
industry, then in its infancy, offered opportunities of which
he was not slow to avail himself. By his own ability and
farsighted business skill he made a great success in busi-
ness and was soon numbered among the most prosperous
and influential men in the State, and so remained until his
Michigan has always loved and honored the General.
She made him her governor, then the President made him
Secretary of War, and after he had left that position Michi-
gan sent him to the United States Senate. It was un-
pleasant privilege, as a member of the legislature of 1903,
to make the first seconding speech in behalf of General
Alger. Upon that occasion I was so impressed with the
unanimity of the sentiment in his favor that I referred to
this vote in the legislature as merely confirmatory of the
action of the people, taken by popular vote, without the
formality of a ballot.
If I were asked to name the qualities of General Alger
which more than any other accounted for his remarkable
success in political life and for the devotion of his friends,
I would say his kindness, generosity, tact, and sweetness of
disposition, the great human attributes that charm and
attract and make the world akin. His course through life
was marked by many deeds of unostentatious charity. How
much he gave will never be known, but that his bounties
were very large is certain from the occasional instances
brought to public notice. In Detroit he was mourned by
78 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. . llger
none more sincerely than by the newsboys of that city.
They have there a large organization, consisting of six or
seven hundred members, called the "Newsboys' Associa-
tion." General Alger helped the boys in and out of the
association with clothing and other necessaries and with
his kindly cheer, year after year, until he became the
"newsboys' friend," a badge of honor he was well worthy
to wear. How many other persons there are who regard
his passing as the loss of their best earthly friend can
not be known. His charities he tried to hide, but you
will hear to-day some instances that could not be concealed.
He rendered back to society in constant benefactions the
riches it gave to him. He was one of the kindest, most
lovable men in public life.
Mr. Speaker, General Alger met death as a friendly
messenger, not unexpected and, save for the pain of parting
from those whom he loved so well, and who in their sorrow
have our tenderest sympathy, the summons was not unwel-
come. He faced the end in that perfect peace that is the
reward of a life well lived. He was engaged to the last in
the discharge of the duties of his high office, and when the
time came it found him read)- to go. I think Tennvson's
last poem gave General Alger's feeling toward death so
clearly I quote it here:
Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me,
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep.
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Address of Mr. Denby, of Michigan 79
Twilight and evening bell
And after that the dark,
And may there be no sadness of farewell
When I embark.
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The floods may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
So Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Address of Mr. Smith, of Michigan
Mr. Speaker: In keeping with a custom of many years
in this honorable body, this hour and this day has been set
apart to do honor to the memory of the distinguished dead.
I accept this opportunity to pay tribute to one who in
life was my friend and in whose death I experienced a per-
sonal loss; one whom I hold in affectionate remembrance
for his genial and kindly qualities, for his broad love of
humanity, and his generous soul.
I became acquainted with him while serving in the State
senate. He was then governor of Michigan. I there
became impressed with his sterling qualities which the exi-
gencies of life had developed in him. He was the soul of
honor in politics, the same as in even- other relation in life.
Russell A. Alger was born in Lafayette Township,
Medina County, Ohio, February 27, 1836. His parents
died when he was but 1 1 years of age. He was then com-
pelled to provide for himself, laboring on the farm at small
wages, attending school winters and until he acquired an
education ; then, having completed a course in law, he was
admitted to the supreme court of Ohio in 1859, and in May,
1885, the degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by Hills-
He removed to the comparatively new State of Michigan
in the latter part of 1859 and engaged in the business of
Address of Mr. Smith, of Michigan 81
lumbering, then in its infancy, laying the foundation of his
Events were stirring and destiny was preparing for the
noble and distinguished career which he has so honorably
Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers and Russell A.
Alger responded, entering the Army in 1861 as captain of
Company C, Second Michigan Cavalry, and rose through
successive ranks to brevet brigadier-general, then was bre-
vetted major-general, United States Volunteers, for distin-
guished bravery and meritorious services during the war.
At the close of the war he became extensively engaged
in the lumber business and other industries, and being
possessed of those qualities of mind and heart which make
for success in the self-made man — courage and sound busi-
ness judgment — in assuming again the arts of peace he
accumulated, by honest means and methods, a large fortune,
which he has generously used for the betterment of
I leave to others more intimately acquainted to tell the
story of the thousands of homes and hearts made comfort-
able and happy by his generous love.
It sometimes happens that commercial relations make
political relations expedient and to be desired. General
Alger was always a consistent and devoted Republican.
He was honored as a delegate to the Republican national
convention in 1884, and that same year was elected gov-
ernor. His large business interests forbade his accepting a
renomination in 1886. During his term as governor his
S. Doc. 405. 59-2 6
82 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
name was frequently mentioned in connection with the
office of United .States Senator,' but he cast it aside for the
time being, saying that he "would like to represent his
State in the Senate sometime."
He was a candidate for President at the Republican
national convention in 1888, Michigan casting her vote
solidly for him on every ballot.
In 1889 he was elected commander in chief of the Grand
A run- of the Republic, and more than once he feelingly
expressed his gratitude for this honor bestowed on him by
his comrades. He prized it as one of the greatest honors of
President McKinley appointed him Secretary of War in
1797, which portfolio he resigned in August, 1899. He
urged President McKinley earlier in the same year to accept
his resignation, but the President refused to do so. On the
merits of the work performed by the War Department dur-
ing this period, the War Investigation Commission has said:
After thirty-three years of peace, during a great part of which the
Army did not exceed 26,000 men, it suddenly became necessary to arm,
clothe, feed, and equip more than a quarter of a million.
The sudden emergency which called our people to arms after an interval
of half a century of peace with all foreign powers was met by the War
Department with earnestness and energy. The situation found the coun-
try unprepared with any large stock of arms, ammunition, clothing, sup-
plies, and equipments. That they were duly provided and that the
numerous demands on the industries of our people were met so promptly
will remain one of the marvels of history.
I assert without fear of successful contradiction that when
the historian comes to write an unbiased opinion of his
conduct of the War Department it will be told that he was
one of the best of Secretaries of War.
Address of Mr. Smith, of Michigan 83
Upon his retirement from the Cabinet he returned to
Michigan, where thousands of citizens gathered to welcome
her honored hero as a testimonial of their appreciation of
his sincerity of purpose and his ability in administering
the affairs of his office, as thousands have so recently gath-
ered to pay the last sad tribute to the man who died brave
and true, full of years and full of honors, whose life was
part of the history of his time and, as one has said: "For.
his gallant conduct upon the battlefield of life he has been
promoted to a higher service."
As husband, father, and friend the white flower of a
blameless life is left as a priceless legacy of love to the
inner circle of home. That life will ever be an inspiration
to the youth of our land.
84 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Address of Mr. Lacey, of Iowa
"Six. Speaker: I will not speak at any great length upon
the life, services, and memory of General Alger. The
Representatives from the great State of Michigan will do
this fully, as his character deserves. Iowa originally was a
part of the Louisiana Purchase, subsequently was transferred
to the Territory of Michigan, and so for a time the State
which I have the honor in part to represent was a part of the
Territory of Michigan. Our ties were then close and inti-
mate, and we of Iowa have always retained a profound inter-
est in the affairs of that splendid sister State. The statue of
General Cass stands in Statuary Hall, the old Hall of the
House of Representatives, a Valhalla in which the patriot
dead of America will be commemorated. There is a place
in that hall for General Alger, and whether chosen for
that place or not, he has a more enduring place in the hearts
of the people of the State which he has so greatly honored.
In the civil war he became a general. He filled all the
positions to which he was there called with the highest
honor and ability, and shed his blood upon many battle-
fields in behalf of his country and of his flag.
I recall a political trip which was planned in the cam-
paign of 1896 for General Alger— a wounded Union soldier
and a general of high distinction — with General Sickles and
General Howard — Sickles with but one leg and Howard but
one ami — the three of them passing from State to State,
Address of Air. Lacey, of loua 85
speaking briefly at different points, receiving an ovation that
they so well earned during the davs of the civil war.
General Alger's career in that war will alwavs be pointed
to with especial pride by Michigan. Michigan has honored
him with high office as governor of the State and as Senator
of the United States. He was chosen durino- a critical
period for the position of Secretary of War, and the Spanish
war was conducted under his administration. For his part
in that war he never received the credit that he deserved, but.
in the language of Shakespeare, "did not escape calumny."
In Roman triumph it was the custom to select a number
of people to hoot at the conqueror as he passed by, to teacli
him that he was mortal.
But mourners only appeared to watch the funeral train of
the same conqueror when death had claimed him.
When the Spanish war had closed there were those who
were anxious to point out every flaw that could be found in
the wonderful record of that brief but heroic epoch. Time
has vindicated and will continue to vindicate General
Alger's service in that war. His service and that of Gen-
eral Shafter will be written in the history of the American
Republic. General Shafter, who with 19,000 men sur-
rounded and captured 29,000 Spaniards, received obloquy
and carping criticism for his heroism and success. He did
not break into the magazines in his own defense, but
intrusted his career to time and to historv, and that career
will receive the due credit which it deserves. The Ameri-
can historian will be just. General Alger, while directing
from the office of Secretary of War the management of that
great war, great at least in its results, though brief in time.
86 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
never received the credit that he deserved. In one hun-
dred and thirteen days the Spanish power was erased from
the map in two hemispheres and the history of the world
was changed. Mr. Speaker, there is no such thing as a
resultless war. We may have the wireless telegraph, we
may have the smokeless powder, we may have the crown-
less king or queen, but there is no such thing as a result-
less war ; and the results of that brief war of one hundred
and thirteen days will figure much in the history not only
of the United States of America, but of the world.
General Alger's ability in conducting the hurried details
of that improvised war will be written to his honor in
the future accounts of the nineteenth century. On next
Wednesday the seventieth birthday of General Alger will
have arrived. He almost filled out, though not quite, the
allotted three score years and ten of man. Those were hon-
orable years. He was recognized for his true worth by those
who knew him best and stood by him through evil and good
report, and his State rallied around him and sent him to
the Senate of the United States and would have elected
him again if he had so desired, but failing health led him
to make the announcement that he did not desire that dis-
tinction, and he failed to serve out quite the full term for
which he was chosen. He was often spoken of for the
Presidency. He was formally nominated in more than one
national convention. Well do I remember, Mr. Speaker,
the enthusiasm with which his name was received in 1888
in the Chicago convention when a soldier of his old regi-
ment, who had after the civil war cast his lot in the South
and had come up as a delegate to that convention, spoke
Address of Mr. Lacey, of Iowa 87
about the various men who had been thought of and sug-
gested, both before the meeting of the convention and on
the floor of that convention, describing the heroism of Gen-
eral Alger without naming him. He finally came to the
statement, "What is the matter with ALGER?" and a cry
went up from the convention " He's all right," and there
was a battle cry born right there on the floor of that con.
vention. From that answer originated a phrase which has
been upon the tongues of millions of all kinds of men in
public meetings from that day down to the time General
ALGER'S honorable career was rounded out with the sleep
that knows no waking. YVe meet here this cold, blusterv,
wintry day, selecting the holy Sabbath day to honor his
memory in the closing hours of the Fifty-ninth Congress,
when night sessions have overworked both of the bodies
which make up the American Congress. We stop during
these hurried hours in the closing days of this session to do
honor to a man who has honored his State, honored his
nation, and who has brought credit and distinction to the
great legislative body of which this House is a part.
I wish, Mr. Speaker, simply to lay upon the snow which
covers his grave to-day a wreath from Iowa in memorv of
Michigan's distinguished soldier, citizen, and statesman.
88 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Address of Me. Fordney, of Michigan
Mr. Speaker: To-day we meet in commemoration of
one of the most illustrious sons of the great State of Mich-
igan, and I deem it a profound privilege to here speak a
few words in behalf of the memory of such an one as the
late Senator Rrssi'.i.i. A. Ai.ger.
Mr. Speaker, I had known the deceased for over thirty
years — in fact, from my early manhood. I had known him
as an employer, as a private citizen, as a public man, and
as a friend ; and from that extended acquaintance with
him I feel that my life has been enriched and ennobled to
an extent far beyond my present ability to express. His
life was so full of goodness, the purity, the simplicity, and
the faithfulness so lacking in the most of us that justice
can not be done his memory in the brief time I feel that I
am privileged to ask at the hands of this House.
Much will be said and much has been said here and else-
where of our departed brother in more fitting phrases and
loftier speech than it is my ability to command, but I
doubt much whether any will hold the memorv of that
man in as loving reverence as do I by reason of my long
acquaintance and association with him.
Senator Alger came to Michigan a young man, poor as
viewed from the standpoint of latter-day greatness but rich
in the eyes of God. He came with the muck of the furrow
Address of Mr. Fordney, of Michigan 89
on his feet, but with a heart of sterling manhood beating in
his breast. He came to us when to live in Michigan meant
more than mere sweat of brow, when it meant a fight with
the help of the strong right arm of the Lord, when it meant
unswerving trust in a power higher than humanity can be-
stow, and when it meant to know no defeat in the face of
seeming failure. He faced the obstacles of the sturdy pio-
neer of his day with the fortitude that predicted his future
success. He helped us hew our homes in the vast forest
fastnesses of the great State ; he helped us la} - the founda-
tion of our State government ; he helped us to build what
we have builded ; he toiled with us, arm to arm and shoul-
der to shoulder, from our infancy to our present greatness,
and whatever glory there may have been achieved by the
vState of Michigan, in either national or State affairs, his
hand has been one of the guiding influences pointing to us
the right way and helping our faint and faltering footsteps
when we would turn back.
Mr. Speaker, not an avenue of the life of our great Com-
monwealth, be it religious, commercial, or political, is there
but that has felt the beneficent touch of his gentle influence.
He was with us in all our undertakings, and while many
times honored at the hands of his adopted State, yet the
gratitude thus expressed for him falls far short of just com-
pensation for his life's efforts and sacrifices in her behalf.
His early life in Michigan was spent in the woods when
the lumber industry in that State was paramount, and as a
lumberman he laid the foundation of his future prosperity.
As a young man among us, forgetful of self, at the sacri-
fice of opportunity, as it seemed then, at a time when hope
go Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
and honest effort count for much in the lives of young men,
he put behind him all personal ambitions ; the then present
opportunities became secondary in his thought, and with the
zeal and love of a true American, in the year 1861, offered
himself, his hopes, and his ambitions that his State and his
countrv might be saved. His was a life and character to
which war, with its attendant horrors and deprivations, did
not appeal. He had other aims in life than that of marches
and battle, but to his great sense of duty and patriotism
there were no two ways.
His not to reason why.
His but to do and die.
The necessity of his motherland was paramount. To
know that she needed him was enough, and he went. His
services in the war between the States, his achievements
and sacrifices, his rise from the humble position of a captain
of a company to the higher rank of brevet major-general,
United States Volunteers, is fittingly chronicled elsewhere.
On his return to us at the close of the war, bearing the
scars and stains of his active and eventful participation
therein, unchanged and untarnished by the glories of con-
quest and the flattery of an admiring Commonwealth, in his
gentle and retiring manner he took up the thread of life
where it had been severed ; he started where he had left off,
never fearing, nothing daunted, and by that indomitable
perseverance so characteristic of his every effort and ambi-
tion, never for a moment regretting the time he had given
for the preservation of the Union, unaided, save by his silent
reliance on that ever-present source of strength, he built the
Address of Mr. Fordney, of Michigan 91
foundation of a career, both private and public, attained by
It was some years after his return from the war that I be-
came acquainted with him, and at that time he was well on
the road to success which so fittingly crowned his even-
effort. In later years it was my privilege to have been
acquainted with him in his public and social life, and in all
these opportunities of a most thorough acquaintance in all
capacities I can say that I have never known any man
whose confidence and esteem I have cherished more than I
do that of Senator Alger.
Mr. Speaker, it is scarce in this life that we find a man
of so retiring a nature, so unassuming in every detail, so
thoughtful of others, so unselfish and so faithful, who attains
the position in public or private career as did Senator Alger.
We find many admirable characteristics in all with whom
we come in daily contact, and possibly very few undesirable
qualities, but seldom do we find all of the virtues centering
themselves in the life of one man that were characteristic
of the life of Mr. Alger. His success was due to his
nobleness of purpose, his fidelity to trust, his unswerving
devotion to his friends and to his promises, his love for all
mankind, and his purity of thought. A criticism once
passed on him in my presence was that he placed too much
reliance on everyone with whom he came in contact. Ah !
would that all men had that simple, childlike trust in their
fellow-men that stamped every moment of the career of
Senator Alger. Well may it be said that he believed all
men, for suspicion is born of untruthfulness. And while
Senator Alger may have suffered many times for this unfal-
92 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
tering trust placed in his brother men, yet that very trust
which' has shown a life so free from blame, so free from cor-
ruption, so full of all that is most desirable in men, has
borne him on pinions of love above the petty suspicions,
inferences, and insinuations usual in these days, and has
placed him on a pinnacle unscathed and unsullied.
Mr. Speaker, no man can love nncleanness, corruption,
or untruthfulness in another, and I say that few men are
loved by those who know them best as was Senator Alger
loved by those who knew him best. To be sure, his path-
way in life was not without its disappointments, its defeats,
and annoyances. His public career at times was attacked,
his purposes assailed, and his ambitions thwarted, but
through it all, through the malignity and abuse that was
maliciously directed at him at one stage of his public life,
does his untarnished character shine like a lone star in the
blackness of night. From the chaos of envy, malice,
selfishness, and abuse he rose purer, more loving, and more
beloved than ever. Clad in an impenetrable armor of a
clean conscience, a pure purpose, and a love for all man-
kind, he marched with head aloft amid the petty cross fire
of political jealous}' and intrigue, knowing full well that
" truth, crushed to earth, will rise again," and that the
invectives of hatred and malice could but make the
brighter, by the contrast, the purity expressed in his every
thought and deed.
He conquered because he " loved his neighbors as him-
self," and by this love his enemies became his friends.
It was my privilege, Mr. Speaker, to be on intimate
terms with Mr. Alger during the declining vears of his
Address of Mr. Fordney, of Michigan 93
life, through periods when his dear ones daily despaired of
his recovery. I was with him at his rallying intervals, at
which times he most faithfully attended to his every duty,
both public and private, and I knew his condition — learned
it from Mr. Alger himself — and, with the deepest sense of
gratitude for the lesson of patience, cheerfulness, and hope
which he thus taught me, I say not one word of complaint,
irritability, or regret did I ever hear pass his lips. Stand-
ing in the shadow of death's valley, and knowing it, to the
end he maintained that same kindly, God-fearing, and for-
bearing nature that had characterized his whole life.
Little wonder a loving family mourns the loss of such a
husband and father; little wonder that the great State bows
its head in silent anguish at the news of the death of
such a son ; little wonder that a nation pauses to place
the emblems of reverence and sorrow on his bier.
Our friend Russell A. Alger remains with us only as
a memory, and since his death I have heard so man}- kindly
words spoken of him by his colleagues that it seems sad
that living he might not have known how much we
valued, trusted, and appreciated him.
Bv nature he was sunny and cheerful, and the atmosphere
about him was always warm and bright. Though possessed
of great self-reliance, he had no frills and needed no starch
to strengthen his dignitv. Those of us who came to know
him best not only respected him, but learned to love him.
Death came to him as it should come to all of us; not as
an enemy, but as a friend; not as a defeat, but as a victor}-;
not as an end, but as a beginning; not in the guise of a
serpent, but in the form of an angel. Death came to him,
94 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
not as life's curse, but as life's coronation. His life work
is finished, his pleasant voice is hushed, his feet no longer
press the sands along the shores of time, but those of us
with whom he mingled will, until our last days, be grateful
for having known such a character; and I believe we are all
broader, truer, and better men because our friend for a
time sojourned with us.
Address of Mr. Hamilton, of Michigan. 95
Address of Mr. Hamilton, of Michigan
Mr. Speaker: Russell A. Alger was born in a log
cabin in Medina Comity, Ohio, in the year 1836.
He was bom in poverty ; but it was the robust poverty
of farm life in the earlier period of our Republic, which,
though it knew nothing of luxury, and frequently lacked
even the necessaries of life, was never abject.
He was rich in the poverty of being born so poor that he
could see something above him to struggle for.
He was reared in poverty, but it was the poverty of boy-
hood on the farm, rich with hope and health and ambition ;
and it was the poverty of a time and place which drew no
lines of caste and social distinction.
His father and mother died when he was 1 1 years old,
and after their death he worked for his board and clothes
until, at the age of 14, he began to earn wages, beginning
at $5 a mouth and increasing until at the age of 20 he was
earning Si 5 a month.
Meanwhile he had been going to school winters, and
his schooling culminated with a term or two at Richfield
In 1857 he began reading law with Wolcott & Upson, in
Akron, Ohio, and was admitted to the bar, but he never
practiced law ; and in 1861, having moved to Grand Rapids,
Mich., he enlisted as a private in the Second Michigan
Cavalry, and was commissioned captain of Company C.
He served three years, participated in sixty-six battles and
96 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
skirmishes, was seriously wounded, and rose by successive
promotions until he reached the rank of colonel, and was
brevetted major-general for gallant and meritorious service.
He was elected governor of Michigan in 1884, was a con-
spicuous candidate for the Presidency in 1888, served as
Secretary of War from 1897 to 1899, was appointed a Sen-
ator of the United States to succeed James McMillan in
1902, was elected to that office in 1903, and died January
General Alger died a rich man. In 1867 he entered
into a partnership known as "Moore, Alger & Co.," which
evolved in 1881 into a corporation known as "R. A. Alger
.K: Co." This partnership and this corporation dealt in
pine timber lands. They acquired vast tracts of magnifi-
cent pine forests, which increased in value while they held
them until single trees were worth five times what the land
whereon they grew had cost per acre.
To lumber interests were added mining interests, rail-
road interests, and banking interests, until General Alger
became a multimillionaire.
Victor Hugo says : "Be fortunate and you will be thought
a great man."
General Alger was something more than a fortunate
man. Whatever there was of greatness in his personality
or his career is due not alone to good fortune, but to a blend
of certain inherent qualities — the qualities of honesty, gen-
erosity, philanthropy, courage, and patriotism.
These qualities alone, however, do not make major-
generals, Secretaries of War, United States Senators, or
Address of Mr. Hamilton, of Michigan 97
It is possible to hold these places without these qualities,
and many a private in the ranks has had all these qualities
and never been heard from outside his own immediate
Neither is it greatness in itself to have held any or all of
these offices. There have been many major-generals, and
some few of them may be remembered.
There have been many members of main- Cabinets, and
some few of them may be remembered.
The various States from time to time have elected a
good mam- Senators, and some few of these are still
As to governors, there are forty-five of them now per-
forming their executive functions, and there are two or
three, perhaps, whose names are known beyond the bound-
aries of their States.
It has been estimated that about 4,000,000 people die
every year, and the percentage of those who do things to
make their names remembered is not high.
It is impossible to analyze the baffling, illusive, internal
illumination which we call personality which differentiates
one man from another.
There were greater lawyers than Lincoln, greater legis-
lators than Lincoln, greater orators than Lincoln, and vet
the personality which we call Abraham Lincoln will hold
his name forever above the flood of years.
By universal consent he has taken his place among the
few great souls who belong to all time.
We max- account for the greatness of some men whom
S. Doc. 405, 59-2 7
98 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
conspicuous talent has driven on to great achievement by
calling it the abnormality of genius. But if we point to
most men of eminence and say such and such traits made
them great, we are obliged to admit that others endowed
apparently with these same traits have utterly failed.
No philosopher has ever undertaken to name the elements
and give their true proportion in the human compound
which the world calls greatness.
It is possible for a man to be great without honesty, like
Marlborough; brave without patriotism, like Benedict Ar-
nold; great without morality, like Rousseau, or great like
Voltaire, to whom Frederick the Great wrote: "If your
works deserve statues, your conduct deserves handcuffs."
Then, too, greatness is a relative term, and it is hard
to determine the point where it grades into mediocrity or
the point where it shades into notoriety, which is a sort of
bastard brother of greatness.
To this class belong all those who possess that impalpa-
ble qualitv — impossible to describe, teach, or counterfeit —
the faculty of fooling the crowd, which amounts to genius
in some cases and collects toll from the credulity of all ages.
I lay no stress on money. I do not call a man great
necessarilv because he has capitalized an industry, taken
the right tips on stock, discovered a mine, cornered oil
or steel, captured the standing timber of a nation, owns a
town, or controls a railroad.
The men who have done these things have their reward,
and their reward, among other things, amounts to the
monotony of the very best, a dull faculty of enjoyment, and
eternal vigilance to protect what they have obtained.
Address of Mr. Hamilton, of Michigan 99
Solomon tried it all. He asked God for wisdom, and
because he asked God for wisdom and not for wealth or
honor we are told that wisdom, wealth, and honor were
added unto him; and, having tried it all, in his old aye,
from a throne of ivory in a palace of cedar, he pronounced
it all vanity.
We are like travelers on a journey. The world has been
explored but it is a new country to all of us, and we travel
mostlv alone, although the caravan in which we journey is
large. And we pick up the baubles which others have left
along the way, make collections of them, capitalize them,
issue shares on them, decorate ourselves with them, and go
the way that those who left them went.
One man has the money-getting faculty ; another has not.
(hie man has the bump of aecpiisitiveness, and another has
not ; and generally when there is a convex on one side of
a man's head there is a concave on the other side to make
up for it.
Of course there are great men of wealth and men of great
wealth, but the public comment makes little distinction,
except that the five-talent man attracts more attention than
the two-talent man and is therefore singled out for more
We have no titles of nobility, but we have men who
command markets to rise, and the}- rise ; to fall, and they
fall; who could buy a moderate-sized kingdom without
financial inconvenience, and we have constant illustrations
of the involuntary deference that one million pays to two
ioo Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
People are constantly rated according to their bank
accounts, not only in Dun's and Bradstreet's, but socially.
These distinctions are not abolished above-ground even
in the cemetery, where the shadow of the monument of
financial success falls across the pauper's anonymous grave
in the potter's field just over the fence.
( ".cneral Alger was a rich man, but his claims to dis-
tinction are in no wise based upon his wealth, except that
it enabled him to respond nobly to the charitable impulses
within him, to respond nobly to his own constant desire to
relieve want and to extend the hand of pity and alleviation
to all those in distress.
I read some days ago the story of a man who died and,
being called before a Mighty Presence, was asked to state
what things he had accomplished while on earth, and he
humbly answered that he had accomplished nothing ; that
his life had been a failure, and then there rose up a multi-
tude of witnesses of good deeds done in secret, until this
feeble, wayworn failure in the race of life was glorified.
And so I think some things in General Alger's life,
least known about, may constitute his most enduring claim
He was a man of exalted patriotism. He risked his life
time and again for love of country.
Perhaps humanity may sometimes meet upen some higher
level than patriotism, but at present there is no nobler trait
in human nature than love of a man's country.
He was an honest man, and the reputation of an honest
public official is part of the moral capital of our whole
Address of Mr. Hamilton, of Michigan 101
He was a modest man. He never stood around on promi-
nent corners for the purpose of being pointed at as a
He was a sincere man. Sincerity is a trait that in the
long run can not be counterfeited. It is like a flame— no
one can paint it.
A man's name comes to stand for what he is, and the
name of Gen. RUSSELL A. ALGER stands for the life of a
brave, generous, honest gentleman, who loved his country
and served it to the best of his ability.
io2 Manor ia/ Addresses: Russell A. Alger
Address of Mr. Darragh, of Michigan
Mr. Speaker: My acquaintance with (yen. RussELL A.
ALGER had its beginning soon after the close of the civil
war. He was at that time, as he ever after continued to
be, the idol of the veteran soldierv of Michigan.
He was then serving as commander of the Department of
Michigan, Grand Army of the Republic, to which office
his comrades had elected him in recognition of his valor as
a soldier and of his worth as a citizen. He was the first
man ever chosen to fill that office.
Our acquaintance later ripened into a warm personal
attachment which remained unbroken to the end.
The recollection of the kindly interest which Senator
AlgER ever made manifest in matters which concerned me
and the helpfulness of his counsel impel me to pay humble
tribute to the memory of him whom I esteemed as a friend
and admired as a man.
To the people of the State of Michigan, whose love and
high esteem for Senator Alger had been so frequently
demonstrated, the announcement of his death came with
all the force of a personal bereavement. His never-failing
kindness, his faith in his fellow-man, his gracious hospi-
tality, his munificent and yet unostentatious charity, his
sublime courage and patience and dignity when unjustly
assailed, his correct life, and his honorable and distinguished
career as a soldier and as a citizen all endeared him to the
Address of Mr. Darragh, of Michigan 103
hearts of the people of his State, who knew him best and
loved him most.
RUSSELL A. Alger at the age of 11 years faced the
world as a poor and obsenre orphan boy. With something
of that courage and confidence which was a dominant trait
in his character he confronted the situation. He earned
his daily bread and acquired an education. He studied
law and was admitted to practice.
At the outbreak of the civil war he raised a company of
volunteers and was mustered into the service of the United
States as captain of Company C, Second Michigan Volun-
teer Cavalry, of which regiment Philip H. Sheridan was
soon thereafter placed in command as its colonel.
Captain Algkk was, by promotion, made major April 2,
I862. He was wounded and taken prisoner in action at
Booneville, Miss., July 1, 1862; was appointed lieutenant-
colonel Sixth Michigan Cavalry October 30, 1862, and
colonel Fifth Michigan Cavalry June 11, 1863.
He was again severely wounded in action July 8, 1863.
He served with distinction under Sheridan, Kilpatrick, and
Custer, and participated in more than three-score battles
and minor engagements.
" For gallant and meritorious services during the war"
he was commissioned brevet brigadier-general and was
mustered out of the service as brevet major-general, United
States Volunteers, at the age of 29. Such is the brief
history of his brilliant and honorable military career.
When hostilities had ceased and his country no longer
needed his services in the field, he returned his sword to its
scabbard and devoted himself to business affairs with the
104 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
same energy, the same intelligent forcefulness, the same
courage that characterized his military service, and abun-
dant success crowned his efforts.
Senator Au'.kr's life was one of achievement. The
influence of such a life as his, let us hope, will live on as an
inspiration to the young' man of to-day and to the young
man of the future.
The greatest of English poets has said:
The evil that men do lives after them:
The good is oft interred with their hones.
To this sentiment I do not fully subscribe. Rather let it
be said that the good, equally with the evil, that men do
will live after them and bear fruit each of its kind.
From early life Senator Alger was deeply interested in
public affairs. He did not seek political preferment until
lie was chosen bv his partv as its candidate for governor
of his State in 1884. To this office he was elected, but
declined a renomination two years later.
At the Republican national convention in 1888 Governor
Alger was the candidate of his State for the office of Presi-
dent, and was one of the three leading candidates for that
From the date of the organization of the military orders of
the Loyal Legion and the Grand Arm}- of the Republic, Gen-
eral Alger took a lively interest and a prominent part in the
affairs of these societies. He was elected commander in
chief of the Grand Arm}- of the Republic in the year 1889.
In 1897 President McKinley appointed General Alger to
a place in his Cabinet as Secretary of War. In the dis-
charge of the duties of this office, made difficult and trving
Address of Mr. Darragk, of Michigan 105
by reason of the war with Spain, and because of our almost
complete unpreparedness for war, General Alger labored
diligently, and with a measure of success which few men
could have equaled under like conditions.
The following high tribute was paid to the character and
services of General ALGER by his successor, Mr. Secretary
of War Taft, in the formal announcement of General
ALGER'S death made to the Army:
The Secretary of War announces with deep sorrow the death of the
Hon. Russei.i. Alexander Alger, which occurred on the 24th instant,
at his residence in this city.
General Alger was Secretary of War during the Administration of
President McKinley, from March 5, 1S97, to August 1, 1899; a period
during which the administration of the War Department was brought into
great prominence through its activities in connection with the war with
Spain and the military operations in the Philippines that succeeded it.
General Alger was patriotic, earnest, and most devoted to the interests
of the Army, and especially considerate of the welfare of enlisted men.
He was a gentle, kindly man, with great confidence in his friends and
associates, and was much beloved by his subordinates. He was the sub-
ject of unjust criticism because of the country's lack of preparedness for
war when war came, although for this he was in no wise responsible.
His record as a soldier in the civil war was long, useful, and highly
General Alger became United States Senator by ap-
pointment of the governor of Michigan on September 27,
1902, to succeed the late Senator James McMillan, and was
elected to that office on January 20, 1903.
Owing to failing health, he declined to be a candidate
for reelection. His term of office as Senator would have
expired on March 4 next.
His last prayer was answered:
I want to die in the harness. I want to give my family and friends just
as little trouble as possible when the time comes. I would prefer to live,
but I am ready to go.
106 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
"Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch ahout
him and lies down to pleasant dreams," Senator Alger
passed into the great unknown.
Upon no citizen of Michigan has a grateful people
bestowed so many and such high honors as were cheerfully
accorded to Senator Alger, if we except only Gen. Lewis
Cass. RUSSELL A. Alger died full of years and full of
honors. His deeds will be his most enduring monument.
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, nut in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
Address of Mr. Tozvnsend, of Michigan
Address of Mr. Townsend, of Michigan
Mr. SPEAKER: To me it is a rather solemn and unpleas-
ant duty to speak on memorial occasions, and were it not
for the fact that he whose memory we honor here to-day was
a resident of Michigan I should adhere to my hitherto
unbroken rule of contemplating in silence the memory of
my departed friends. I can see much that is proper and
much that is beautiful in setting apart a day of the Congress
to eulogize deceased Members. I am only sorry that we live
in such an age of business and of practical things that when
a man dies we have scarcely time to attend his funeral, much
less to memorialize him. It is undoubtedly an evidence
of man's divinity that in the presence of death resentments
are softened and only good thoughts are in control.
Sometimes things are said on such occasions as this
which ought to have been said before death had stopped the
ears to words of censure or praise. It is probably true that
he who has passed to the (Treat Beyond will not be affected
by what we may say here to-day, but we possibly — the few
of us who are here — will be made better for having contem-
plated the man who has departed from among us. How
much better it would be if we could only find time to say
the things that the man would like to hear before he has
gone out from among us.
Ri'SSELL A. ALGER since 1859, and until his death in
this citv, was a resident of Michigan. He contributed
io8 Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
largely to the development of our State, and for many years
was one of our foremost citizens. At his death lie was con-
sidered a wealthy man, but his wealth was due to his own
energy and ability ; and he will not be known hereafter
because of his wealth, but rather because of his life as a
His was a strenuous life, ana much of it was passed dur-
ing crucial periods of our country's history. When the
rebellion broke out he enlisted and was mustered in as cap-
tain of Company C, Second Michigan Cavalry, and at the
end of seven months he was promoted to the position of
major of his regiment. In six months more he became lieu-
tenant-colonel of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, and after seven
months more he was again advanced to the position of
colonel of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry; and on June n,
[864, for meritorious services in battles, he was brevetted
brigadier-general, and one year later was made brevet major-
general of United States volunteers.
Few soldiers of the great civil war have advanced more
rapidly ; but promotion came not as the result of achieve-
ments on parade, but rather because of things done in action.
He was engaged, as has been stated here, in sixty-six battles
and skirmishes, and so strong was his faith, so dauntless his
courage, that defeat was never contemplated by him. I
have thought that the " plunger" in business life makes the
most brilliant soldier ; he has a vision of something desirable,
and no intervening obstacle retards him. General Alger
in business more than once had his all staked on practically
a single venture. He only saw success. He did not see, or,
at least, was not deterred by, the difficulties in his path.
Address of Mr. Tomnsend, of Michigan 109
He knew that lumber was a staple, and into it he plunged
with all the vigor of his strong nature. Several times it
seemed that he had gone in too deeply, but lumber rose to
meet his necessities and success was his. In war it was the
same. He believed in the ultimate triumph of the Union,
and recognized nothing insuperable in its pathway. In
1884 lie was elected governor of Michigan, and in 1888 was
a formidable candidate for President at the Republican
national convention at Chicago. One of the sad yet glo-
rious memories of Michigan's citizens is General Alger's
connection with the War Department. Sad, because cir-
cumstances placed upon his brow a crown of thorns, which
malice and ignorance pressed down hard ; glorious, because
he lived long enough to see himself vindicated and to have
the crown of thorns supplanted by a wreath of immortelles.
Michigan never lost faith in her distinguished son, and on
the death of Senator McMillan the vacancy was filled with
He died in the harness. His was a nature which could
not endure idleness, and his wish to serve to the last was
gratified. Only when the war was over and the Union pre-
served did he lay down his sword. Only when the Great
Commander ordered him to "fall out" did the beloved Sen-
ator Alger quit the distinguished service he had rendered
his State and nation.
It seems most fitting that his eyes should close here in
the nation's capital. In 1865, at the age of 29 years, he, as
major-general, beheld the glorious concluding spectacle of
the civil war. Here at the beginning of the Spanish war
he was the Secretary of War. Here, as Senator since 1902,
i io Memorial Addresses: Russell A. Alger
he assisted in shaping the destiny of the nation he fought
to preserve. From here loving hands tenderly hore his
earthly tenement to its last resting place in Michigan,
where there was but one heart, and that heart was sad.
His bereaved family will miss him most, for he was preemi-
nently a devoted husband and a loving father.
But thousands of newsboys, who through his bounty and
encouragement were inspired with ambition to do and to be,
will mourn his death, and the citizens of Detroit and all
Michigan will appreciate that one of their most respected
and influential men has gone out from among them.
Death is always a solemn thing; whether it comes in the
morning, at noon, or at night, it is unwelcome ; but of very
tew men could it lie said that their work was more nearly
finished, their lives more completely rounded out, their duty
more fully performed than of Senator ALGEK when he
"wrapped the drapery of his couch about him and lay down
to pleasant dreams."
For a year or more he stood in his open grave and
waited for the walls . to fall upon him ; but he was
unafraid and asked no sympathy. He had met death
before. He had become familiar with all the sensations
which come to a man under those circumstances and was
unterrified. A few days before he died I sat beside him in
the dining room of this House, and he discussed his coming
dissolution hopefully and cheerfully, and when I reminded
him that all Michigan was his friend he said : " I believe
that is true, and I would rather have that to console me
than to know that I could have my days prolonged. " His
face lighted up, and his eyes shone with an expression of
Address of Mr. Townsend, of Michigan in
perfect faith and confidence. He was apparently ready to
go, and well could he have repeated the words of the ven-
erable poet, uttered under similar circumstances :
I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air ;
I only know I can not drift
Beyond His love and care.
And so, beside the silent sea,
I wait the muffled oar ;
No harm can come from Him to me
On ocean or on shore.
His life work was well done and, the allotted span of life
having been passed, he went to sleep amidst the flowers of
love and esteem and awakened at the Master's commenda-
tion — " Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter
thou into the joy of thy Lord."