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I am ready on every occasion, in this House and elsewhere, to recognize and affirm the rightful power of the States over their domestic institutions, I am not to conceal from myself the fact, that, from the beginning of the history of the country to this hour, our course as a people towards that race has been one of cruelty and injustice.
There are two things in this country which are often confounded, but which are not very nearly akin, hatred of the slaveholder, and love of the slave; abstract love of the race, and practical love of the men who compose it. I frankly confess, Mr. Speaker, that I have never been more grieved on this floor, than when I saw gentlemen, who during the whole winter have been ventilating their rhetoric on the wrongs of slavery and of the race subject to its iron rule, deliberately record their votes against extending to a man of color, whatever his capacity or ability or fidelity, the power or right to serve the Government, even in the humble capacity of carrying the mail on his shoulders, or on horseback, if he could make a horse contract. Rhetoric is beautiful; but it is not meat or bread or raiment, or the right to work for meat or bread or rai
This by the way. It cannot escape, observation, Mr. Speaker, that our relations with the States of Liberia and Hayti may soon assume new importance. As the result of the legislation of the last session, and as the natural, inevitable result of this war, the number of free persons of color in this country will be greatly increased. The Free States are barring their doors against
them. Abstract love is simpler and easier than practical. They may feel the necessity of going out from the house of political and social bondage. The doors of Liberia and Hayti are open to receive them. Our sympathy, our aid, our protection, ought to go with them; and intimate political and commercial relations will be essential for those ends:
A gentle hint, and I will trespass. no longer on the time and courtesy of my colleague, who is to close the debate. Much has been said, justly said, on this floor, of men of one idea. One idea does not make a statesman, more than one swallow makes a summer. We do not admire the spring that can fill 'but one bucket, the mill that will grind but one grist, the quiver with one arrow, the hen with one chicken. Again: one idea or feeling may be so strong as to give color to all the rest. That idea or feeling may be ardent aversion to the negro race, as well as ardent love for it. In shunning Scylla, we may touch Charybdis.
DEATH OF HON. GOLDSMITH F. BAILEY.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MAY 15, 1862.
My colleagues, Mr. Speaker, have assigned to me the duty of announcing to the House the death of one of our number — Hon. Goldsmith F. Bailey, at his home in Fitchburg, Mass. — on the 8th instant.
The story of his life is a brief and manly one. He was born on the 17th of July, 1823, in Westmoreland, N.H.; a State that has given to her sisters so many of her jewels, and yet always kept her casket full and sparkling. An orphan at the age of two, he was thrown wholly upon his own resources at the age of twelve. What we ordinarily call education (schooling) was finished substantially at the age of sixteen. But he early discovered that the only true culture is self-culture; the only true development, self-development; that in the sweat of a man's own face he must eat the bread of knowledge; and that in the school of narrow fortune and of early struggle are often to be found the most invigorating disciplines and the wisest teachers. .
At the age of sixteen, he began to learn the art of printing. We need but glance at our history, or look around us at either end of the Capitol, to learn, that as printing is the most encyclopedic of arts, so the printingoffice is among the best places of instruction. In diffusing knowledge, the pupil acquires it; and, in preparing the instruments for educating others, educates himself. I have revered the art from my forefathers, as Paul would have said; and mine, therefore, may be a partial judgment: but some of the best educated men it has been my pleasure to know received their degrees at the printer's college.
Mr. Bailey, having learned his art, was for some time the associate printer, publisher, and editor of a country newspaper; a business, I suspect, not very lucrative or attractive. It did not fill the measure of his hopes; and, in 1845, he left the printing-office for the study of the law. He pursued his studies in the office of Messrs. Torrey and Wood of Fitchburg, sound lawyers and most estimable men. Their appreciation of their student was such, that upon his admission to the bar in December, 1848, he was received into the firm as a partner.
Mr. Bailey had been in the practice of his profession some thirteen years before his election to this House. A leading position at the bar in New England is seldom attained in thirteen years, and especially at a bar, which, even from days before the Revolution, has been so eminent as that of the county of Worcester. But Mr. Bailey had acquired high rank among his brethren, and by courteous manners, careful learning, sound judgment, and sterling integrity, had secured the respect of the people and of courts and juries.
His public life was very brief. In 1856, he was elected a representative in the Legislature of Massa
chusetts; and, in 1858 and 1860, was a member of the State Senate. In this new field of labor he was eminently successful; and, in his second year in the Senate, it may be fairly said, there was no man in the body in whom his colleagues or the public reposed more confidence.
The ability and fidelity with which he discharged these high duties attracted the attention and won the regard of the people of his district; and in November, 1860, in a canvass warmly contested by an able and popular man, he was elected to this House.
He took his seat at the extra session in July. But over his new and expanded horizon the night was already shutting down. The hand of death was laid visibly upon him. You could hear the very rustling of his wings.
He came back in December apparently a little better. It was but the glow of sunset, — the flickering of the flame before it goes out. He lost strength from day to day, and at last went home, to die, — to realize the Spanish benediction, “May you die among your kindred !” and, what is of infinitely greater moment, the divine benediction, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”
To our narrow vision, Mr. Speaker, such a life seems imperfect, such a death premature, - to wrestle with adverse fortune, as Jacob with the angel, until you wrest from it its blessing; to struggle through youth and early manhood; to reach the threshold of mature life, of usefulness, and of honor, and to sink weary and exhausted before the open door.