The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 1: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session Page: 34
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memory of Samuel McRoberts, late a Senator
from the State of Illinois, which he was directed to
communicate to the House.
Mr. WENTWORTH, of Illinois, then rose and
spoke as follows:
It is with feelings of extreme delicacy that I (a
new member, and the youngest on this floor) arise
to address you at this early stage of our session; and
it is a painful consideration that I must make my
first speech—first not only on this floor, but first oa
the floor of any legislative body whatever—upon
this a funeral subject. But I hare lost a friend, and
so have you, sir; and so has the State of Illinois,
and so has our common country, and so the cause
of humanity and liberty every where. The Hon.
Samuel McRoberts, a member of the United States
Senate from Illinois, has left this world for a better.
He died very suddenly, on his way home from the
last Congress, at Cincinnati, from a cold he had ta-
ken in crossing the mountains. Judge McRobf.rts
was a native of Monroe county, State of Illinois,
and received his education at Transylvania, Ken-
tucky. At a very early period he was appointed
clerk of the circuit court for Monroe county, which
office he held until the court was abolished. He
was then elected to the State Senate; thence he was
transferred, by General Jackson, to the office of
United States district attorney for the State of Illi-
nois; thence transferred to the office of receiver of
public moneys at Danville; and thenee to this city, to
the office of solicitor of the General Land Office;
which he resigned to accept the office of United
States Senator, tendered him by the Illinois Legisla-
ture,—the duties of all which stations he discharged
with the strictest promptitude, the utmost fidelity,
and universal commendation.
With a very modest distrust of his own abilities,
and a determination never to act until he could act
understanding^, he had not made that parade be-
fore the world which others have, in the short period
of time that he held a seat in the other wing of this
building. But those who were most intimate with
him, acknowledged him possessed of all the ele-
ments of a great man—indomitable energy, quick
perception, and a sound judgment. His fame might
have been slow, but it would have been sure.
Wherever he moved, he made an impression; and
often left firm conviction where more than doubt
remained before. The subjects he grappled with,
he always mastered; and, thinking not of the pre-
mature death that impended him, he was laying the
foundation, by industry the most indefatigable, for
future eminence and usefulness. Could lie have
lived a few years longer, I should have been spared
the trouble of telling who he was. His fame would
have been commensurate, at least, with the bounds of
our country; and higher and still higher honors
would have been the free and glad gifts of an ad-
Greatness, however, is not always synonymous
with goodness. But, whilst Judge McRoberts
was emphatically a great man, (though his great-
ness had not yet had so ample scope for develop-
ment and extension as that of others,) he was in-
deed a good man. To serve a friend, no sacrifice
was too great for him; and his heart ever beat quick
with the impulses of kindness, gratitude, and pa-
triotism. Prom early experience, he knew the pri-
vations of a frontier life. He knew what it was to
be without laws, and to be beyond the pale of court
jurisdiction; and he could paint, in living colors, all
the horrors of an Indian massacre. Hence his
sympathies with the Oregon settler, to whom he
wished extended the protection of the American
flag and the blessings of American law. After the
irofoundest research, (as his speeches will show,)
ie came to the conclusion that Oregon was ours —
ours by original discovery, ours by several treaties,
and, consequenlly, ours by right. He, then, was
for reclaiming it from British usurpation, and for
extending over American citizens—the adventu-
rous and deserving pioneers in American enterprise
and civilization—all the advantages and privileges of
the American Constitution; and, even though but
little of Oregon was ours, over that little our flag
should wave, and it become ours by possession, as
it is by title. And it was enough for him to know
that the poor emigrant needed governmental pro-
tection, for him to advocate it with all those mighty
energies which were in his power. Such was
Samuel McRoberts, now no more. The perisha-
ble part of him has vanished forever. But his good
name—his fame remains. Ay, sir, the memory
of his transcendent virtues still lingers like twilight
hues when the bright summer's sun is set.
Within the past year, sir, the political firmament
has lost two of its most brilliant luminaries; and
they were both from the same body—Senators Linn
and McRoberts, friends and associates in early
life, and almost contemporaries in death. The loss
of one was announced yesterday, and for him we
wear this badge of mourning. The loss of the
other I now announce; and I announce it as one
who deeply mourns. And I know that my country
mourns with me. True, sir, these luminaries arose
in the distance-^in the Far West, as some call it; but
in the rightful geographical centre of this great Re-
public, as I call it; yet their effulgence was irradiating
every section. The fame of one, so far as the knowl-
edge and feelings of the people were concerned, had
reached the culminating point of American states-
men, and the other was fast approximating it.
But these geniuses corruscate no longer. And
whilst we, lesser lights, shine the brighter for their
extinction, let us not be unmindful of our transition
state—of "our ephemeral duration; that our lights
will soon be put out; and that we, too, "in a mo-
ment, in the twinkling of an eye," may be called to
give an account for the deeds done in this our pro-
bationary being. Let us then, Mr. Speaker, so
conduct, with reference to our God, our country,
our fellow-men, and especially to each other, that
if others should be called to ask the usual testimo-
ny of respect to our memory, and vote of condo-
lence at our loss, that vote may not be, as I know it
was not yesterday, and I know it will not be to-
day, a ceremonious, cold, and heartless one.
Resolved, That, as a testimony of respect for the
memory of the Hon. Samuel McRoberts, deceased,
the members of this House will wear the usual
badge of mourning for thirty days; and that the
House do now adjourn.
The House then adjourned.
Thursday, December 14, 1843.
Mr. JEVANS presented the petition of Thomas
Smith, praying the remission of a line and costs
imposed on him for an unintentional violation of the
revenue laws: referred to the Committee on Com-
Mr. CRITTENDEN presented a petition from
numerous citizens of Delaware county, Pennsylva-
nia, praying Congress to make an appropriation for
the establishment of a dry dock at Philadelphia- re-
ferred to the Committee on Naval Affairs.
Mr. WRIGHT presented the petition and papers
of Q,uackenboss and others, praying that the claim
of tlie United States against them, as sureties of
Samuel Swartwout, late collector of the port of New
York, may be compromised: referred to the Ju-
Also presented the petition of William De Pey-
ster and Henry M. Cruger, of the city of New
York-, praying payment for a slave which was taken
into the service of the United States in Florida: re-
ferred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
On motion by Mr. WALKER, it was ordered
that the petition of John Grant, late of New Or-
leans, Louisiana, praying for permission to sue the
United States for damages incurred by a breach of
his contract, be taken from the files of the Senate,
and referred to the Judiciary Committee.
On motion by Mr. FAIRFIELD, it was ordered
that the petition of Noah Miller, praying remunera-
tion for the capture of a vessel during the late war
with preat Britian, be referred to the Committee on
Mr. MILLER presented a petition from the heirs
of David Munn, praying for the payment of arrear-
ages of pension due him at the time of his death ;
vvhicl i, with the papers now on the files, wei e order-
ed to be referred to tho Committee on Pensions.
Also presented a memorial from the president and
directors of the Bank of the Metropolis, represent-
ing that the charter of that institution will expire on
the 4th of July next, and praying Congress to grant
an extension of the same: referred to the Committee
on the District of Columbia.
Mr. STURGEON presented a petition from Jo-
seph H. Waring, a messenger in the Treasury Depart-
ment, praying Congress to grant him compensation
for performing the duties of a clerk, in addition to
those he performed ps messenger, for which he -was
paid only the sum of $500: referred to the Committee
Mr. BAGBY presented a petition from Stephen
Steele and Joseph Daniel, praying Congress to rest
with them title to certain land: referred to the Com-
mittee on Private Land Claims.
Mr. ATCHISON presented a memorial from 105
lawyers—members of the bar in the city of St.
Louis—praying the passage of a law requiring a
term of the circuit court of the United States to be
held in the month of October, in that city, by the
district judge, for the transaction of business, as at
the final term: referred to the Committee on the Ju-
Mr. ATHERTON presented resolutions adopted
by the Legislature of New Hampshire, instructing
the Senators, and requesting the Representatives
from that State to vote for the abolishment of the
Military Academy at West Point: referred to the
Committee on Military Affairs, and ordered to be
On motion by Mr. BERRIEN, it was ordered
that the memorial of Gen. Duncan L. Clinch, pray-
ing to be indemnified for losses sustained by him in
consequence of his property being occupied as a
military post by the United States, he taken from
the files of the Senate, and referred to the Commit-
tee on Claims.
Also, that the memorial of John M. Mcintosh,
praying to be remunerated for property destroyed
by the United States' troops in Florida, he taken
from the files of the Senate, and referred to the Com-
mittee on Claims.
'On motion by Mr. KING, it was ordered that the
petition and papers of Joseph M. Hernandez, con-
cerning his claim against the United States, be ta-
ken from the files, and referred to the Committee on
Mr. WOODBURY presented a petition from Jane
Gordon, of the town of Bedford, New Hampshire,
the widow of a revolutionary soldier, praying for a
pension: referred to the Committee on Pensions.
Also, a petition from Gideon Batc-helder and
Shadrack Batchelder, of Nottingham, New Hamp-
shire, praying the settlement of their claim for their
services in constructing the Sandy bay breakwater:
referred to the Committee on Claims.
Also, a petition from a number of persons of
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, praying for a reduc-
tion of the rates of postage: referred to the Commit-
tee on the Post Office and Post Roads.
Mr. TALLMADGE presented a petition from
Julia L. Weed, widow of Elijah Weed, deceased,
late of the marine corps, praying for a pension: re-
ferred to the Committee on Naval Affairs.
On motion of Mr. FULTON, it was ordered that
the resolutions of the Legislature of Arkansas, in-
structing the Senators and requesting the Represent-
atives from that State to vote for the restoration to
General Jackson of the amount of the fine imposed
by Judge Hall, be taken from the files of the Senate,
and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Mr. F. also presented a petition from citizens of
Arkansas, praying for the establishment of a naval
depot and dock-yard at Memphis, Tennessee: refer-
red to the Committee on Naval Affairs.
Mr. ARCHER presented a memorial from the
members of the bar in Staunton and Winchester,
Virginia, m favor of the increase of the salary of
the judge of the United States court in that district:
referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Also piesented a petition from Harriet Sanders,
of the borough of Noifolk, Virginia, the widow of
Lieut. James Sanders, praying to be restored to the
naval pension roll: referred to the Committee on
Also, a petition from Elizabeth V. Lomax, vi idow
of Major Mann Page Lomax, asking commutation
of pay for the revolutionary services of her husband:
referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
On motion by Mr. ARCHER, it was ordered
that the papers in the case of Farrow and Harris
be taken from the files of the Senate, and referred
to the Committee on Claims.
Mr. WOODBRIDGE presented a petition from
Eugene E. T. Smith, praying for a pension in eon-
sequence of a wound received in the Florida war:
referred to the Committee on Pensions.
Also presented a petition in behalf of Charles
Morgan, prating compensation for the services of
himself and his father during the revolutionary war:
referred to the Committee on Revolutionary Claims.
Mr. HANNEGAN" presented a memorial from
the president and trustees of the Indiana Univer-
sity, praying a grant of land equivalent to that to
which that institution was entitled under a law of
Congress of 1816, but failed to receive: referred to
the Committee on Public Lands.
Also presented a memorial from a number of
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 1: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session, book, 1844; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2367/m1/58/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.