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In regard to the vital question, now the test of political faith before the people of this country-I mean the separation of the Govern ment from Banks-he was emphatically a pioneer of those doctrines which the Democratie party has espoused and will sustain. With a quick genius, he combines the habit of labor; and to entire purity of character, uniform courtesy of manner, and an amiable temper, he adds that firmness of purpose which is indispensable to political success, and which makes friends or creates respect, even where it disappoints. It has already carried him through difficulties that might have vanquished sterner spirits. Though thus decided in his personal opinions, Mr. Garland, as an officer, has won general esteem on both sides of the House, from the sincere impartiality with which he executes the duties of a situation which necessarily brings him into relations with every member. His manner of reading is scholar-like and effective. His voice is so well regulated, and his pronunciation so distinct, that it is evident he has cultivated reading as a polite art. In person, he is tall and slender. His complexion is pale, and he has that slight and peculiar stoop of the shoulders which designates so frequently studious men.
It is the general belief, even among his own party friends, that Mr. Garland could not have been elected but for the successful introduction of the viva-voce system of voting, by one of those consummate applications of parliamentary tactics, so rarely possible, when brought to bear on a system so intricately complex as the standing rules and orders of the House of Representatives.
A little to the left of the Speaker, at one of the central desks, we may see General Dromgoole, of Virginia, who effected this important result. One would scarcely believe him, from his appearance, to be thus versed in a skill only deemed acquirable by long and minute acquaintance with Congressional usages. He is a well-built, middle-aged man, though on the young side of the prime of life. Being of a florid complexion, and being exceedingly nearsighted, from which has proceeded a habit of peering as it were through his spectacles, his general appearance would not, perhaps, give a casual observer an impression of the powerful intellect and extensive information he possesses.
General Dromgoole has effected a great political good, by introducing and carrying through, in the highest representative body in the Union, this important precedent of the viva-voce system of voting in elections of officers of the House. He brought forward the measure under discouraging circumstances, but his tact and address supplied the lack of other advantages, and his eloquent vindication of that mode of voting secured success to his motion. I have heard it said by experienced members, that no one member could have carried through that important and interesting innovation except General Dromgoole. Upon this measure alone,
which may be said to republicanize the elections of the House, any member might be content to rest the fame of his Congressional career. But General D. has, on other occasions, evinced a remarkable degree of parliamentary address, and has always exerted it for the protection and advantage of the House, and not for mere ostentation. Once or twice he has, by a prompt movement, brought the House out of great difficulty, as I have heard a prominent opposition member declare.
General Dromgoole speaks but seldom-and I am sorry for it, -for no man is more capable of enlightening and gratifying his hearers and the country. Well do I recollect his speech on the Independent Treasury Bill. It took many by surprise, who dreamt not of the power that slumbered in this modest and retiring member. The speech was a model of parliamentary eloquence; fluent and harmonious in diction, lucid in arrangement, and so powerful in argument, that it would answer as well now, as when it was spoken, to produce conviction. The effort brought upon its author as much censure as praise, from his political friends,-for they blamed him for not coming out before.
General Dromgoole came into Congress with a high reputation. He was elected to the General Assembly of Virginia in April, 1823, and has remained in public life ever since. He served three years only in the House of Delegates, when he was elected to the Senate, in which body he served nine years, with such distinction that during the three last he was Speaker of the body.
No member of Congress has been more thoroughly consistent in his principles than General Dromgoole. In the first session of his service in the Legislature of Virginia, he opposed the re-charter of the Farmers' Bank of Virginia; and then, with other young friends, of whom J. Y. Mason-who in the recent interesting contest for United States Senator received the honorable tribute of the unanimous support of the Democratic party for the office-was one, denounced the general tendency of the banking system as it then existed, and in a series of able arguments demonstrated the inconsistency of the privileges and monopolies secured by their charters, with Democratic principles and free and equal rights. Before he left the House of Delegates, Congress had passed the law for appropriations for making surveys preparatory to a general system of internal improvement, and had also increased the Tariff for the avowed purpose of fostering and encouraging domestic manufactures; against which measures he took a decided stand, maintaining then, as he ever has done since, that they were both violations of the Constitution, and he anxiously desired that the General Assembly should at once take ground against the dangerous heresies of the miscalled American System, and re-assert the ancient doctrines of Virginia Republicanism. So conspicuous were the
talents that Mr. Dromgoole exhibited in discussing these high constitutional questions, that some of the oldest members in the House, especially John Roane and Randolph Harrison, urged the gifted young member to take the lead in bringing back Virginia to the principles of Taylor's Resolutions and Madison's Report, and willingly, with their whole party, enlisted themselves under his able guidance for the purpose. The result is of record, a brilliant triumph of Republican principles, and a full committal of Virginia against the American system.
During his service in the Senate, he served on and at the head of several of the most important committees, and frequently distin guished himself as a debater of signal power-in particular, in opposing the bill to take the sense of the people on the subject of calling a Convention, which he denounced as virtually denying the suffi ciency of the Representative system to embody the public will. His speech on this occasion was called a master-piece of constitutional and popular argument, and, in particular, was so much admired by John Randolph, whose fastidiousness as a critic is well known, that he pronounced it the ablest speech that had been delivered during the winter, either at Richmond or Washington. The bill, however, passed; and notwithstanding his opposition to it, Mr. D. was elected one of the members of the Convention from his Senatorial district; and again, after the new Constitution had gone into operation, which General Dromgoole had materially assisted by his speeches and exertions, he was elected a Senator under it without opposition, and in a different arrangement of the districts. In the new Senate his course was highly distinguished. When the nullification of South Carolina, and the proclamation of President Jackson, brought before the General Assembly the question of Federal Relations, Mr. Dromgoole dissented from both; and on the removal of deposites, he took a conspicuous part in the animated debate which that measure produced. It was on this occasion that the instructions were passed which caused Mr. Rives to retire from the Senate. Mr. Dromgoole defended the removal of the deposites, and opposed the instructions in an elaborate speech, which was much admired.
In 1835 he was elected to Congress, succeeding by a handsome majority over his successful competitor at the previous election. In 1837 he was re-elected without opposition. Of the position he has attained in the House, I have already mentioned sufficient instances. It is indeed generally believed that if General Dromgoole does not achieve the foremost place of the body-and a position of high political usefulness-it will be the fault only of himself.
But here is another Virginian, on the opposite side of the Chair, and as near to it as he can get, without getting into it. A proximity which may induce him, for aught I know, when it becomes vacant
to try and jump into it. I speak of Mr. JAMES GARLAND, whom every body knows as the leading Conservative in the House.
His dress, you will observe, is very plain, and he wears his hair something in the manner of the Methodist clergymen of the old school, brushed back from his forehead, but his black frock coat, stout walking stick, and heavy comfortable boots, would rather give you the idea that he was that fine character, the Virginia country gentleman, half farmer, half lawyer, whose honest heart is in his face, and whom you have an irresistible inclination to take by the hand. In person, Mr. G. is tall and erect, strongly and rather heav. ily built, and his general appearance is prepossessing. His features are bold and prominent, and strongly characteristic both of benevolence and of decision. I like to hear him speak, and, as he speaks frequently, I am often gratified in that way. There is an earnestness in his manner which gives an assurance of sincerity. He speaks to the judgment, and seeks to convey conviction to the minds of those whom he addresses. Towards political opponents he is courteous and liberal, and instead of assailing them with denunciation, he seeks to convince them that they are wrong. He is not one of the tomahawk and scalping-knife Conservatives-for there are some such-particularly Mr. Clark of New York, who in political controversy is as savage and as wild as if he were a lineal descendant of one of the Mohawks in whose country he lives, and to whom he, in fact, bears a strong and peculiar resemblance. We should not be surprised if the member from Chenango should turn out to be two-thirds Indian, and to have blood in his veins that erst assisted at many a massacre.
Mr. Garland does not consider his political adversaries as foes, and he wages upon them no relentless and exterminating warfare. He has had occasion, in pursuance of what he no doubt deemed to be his duty, to differ, in some points, from the Administration, but he has never hesitated to award to the President ample credit for integrity, sincerity, and patriotism; and I am quite certain that he is disinterested and honest in his course. Major Garland is essentially a self-made man. He was born on the sixth day of June, 1793, in Albemarle county, State of Virginia, and up to early manhood he was employed on his father's farm in Amherst county, in the same State; having only received, in the ordinary schools of the country, the elementary branches of an English education, and read a few Latin authors. His father having a large family, and his circumstances being too moderate to afford him a collegiate education, in his nineteenth year he turned his face to the world to seek his fortune by his own industry and energy, without a cent in his pocket. He repaired to the county of Nelson, where he now resides, and entered into the service of a relative, then and still Clerk of the County Court, for no other compensation than board, and
there he studied law with such assiduity, in addition to his services as assistant clerk, that in the fall of 1812, he obtained license to practice law. Shortly after he commenced the practice of his profession, in the year 1813, he was drafted into the military service of the United States, during the war, and performed a tour of six months sevice in a company of volunteer artillery. He was a great favorite with the officers and members of his company, on account of the fidelity with which he discharged his duty, and was appointed to fill every vacancy that occurred, until he was appointed Captain, and subsequently Major. He was regarded as an excellent officer. In the fall of 1813, he resumed his practice, and from the energy and industry with which he pursued it, soon became eminent, and acquired an extensive and lucrative practice. Indeed he became so prominent in his profession, that he ranked among the most distinguished lawyers in the State. In the Supreme Courts of Chancery and several times in the County Courts he argued many very important cases, with considerable success and with great approbation, coming in contact with some of its ablest men.
Mr. Garland's political career has been short. He was first elected a member of the Legislature of his native State, in 1829, and continued in it until 1831. He was a member of the first Legislature under the new Constitution, where he was distinguished for his industry, attention and devotion to the public interest. In that session his ardent devotion to, and labor in support of the internal improvements of the State, aided much in giving that impulse to it which is now rapidly extending with such promise of a happy success. In 1831 he declined a re-election, to the general regret of all the people of the county.
In 1835, amidst the panic session, growing out of the removal of the deposites, when the administration of General Jackson seemed tottering to its fall, he became a candidate for Congress, in the Albemarle District, in opposition to a very popular gentleman, and took a decided stand in favor of that Administration. He was successful by a handsome majority, a success achieved under the most unpromising and untoward circumstances, and against the strongest influence of family, wealth and talents. In 1837 he was re-elected without opposition, having given general satisfaction to his constitents by the fidelity and ability with which he discharged his duties. He entered Congress a decided advocate of the State Bank System.
Mr. Garland has of late acquired much notoriety-we can hardly say distinction-as one of the leading Conservatives in the House of Representatives. That is a party towards which the Democratic Review will scarcely be suspected of leaning with any peculiar degree of favor, whether with a view to yielding to their opinions the slightest concession of the great principles involved in the leading measure of the Administration which they oppose, or to