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Proceedings in the Senate
TUESDAY, January 3, 1939. Mr. WAGNER. Mr. President, we were all profoundly shocked when, shortly after the adjournment of the last session of the Congress, we learned of the death of my late colleague, Senator COPELAND. By his death the country lost one of its really great statesmen, and we, his colleagues, in addition to losing an associate of great ability, were bereft of a devoted friend, and his family of a devoted husband and father. I know that opportunity will be afforded me on some later occasion to pay a well-deserved tribute to this truly great and good man.
At this time I submit a resolution, for the consideration of which I ask unanimous consent.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The resolution will be read.
The resolution (S. Res. 4) was read, considered by unanimous consent, and unanimously agreed to, as follows:
Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow and deep regret the announcement of the death of Hon. ROYAL S. COPLLAND, late a Senator from the State of New York.
Resolved, That the Secretary communicate these resolutions to the House of Representatives and transmit a copy thereof to the family of the deceased.
Mr. WAGNER. Mr. President, as a further mark of respect to the memory of our late colleague, Senator COPELAND, I move that the Senate do now adjourn.
The motion was unanimously agreed to; and (at 12 o'clock and 30 minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, January 4, 1939, at 12 o'clock meridian.
WEDNESDAY, January 4, 1939. A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Calloway, one of its reading clerks, transmitted to the Senate the resolutions of the House of Representatives adopted as a tribute to the memory of Hon. ROYAL S. COPELAND, late a Senator from the State of New York.
Mr. VANDENBERG. Mr. President, when the Senate ended its session last evening, it adjourned out of respect to the memory of the late Senator ROYAL S. COPELAND, of New York. Last July there was a very beautiful memorial service held at Dexter, Mich., the little home town where Senator COPELAND was born. I was permitted the privilege at that time of delivering a memorial address. As a further mark of respect to our late colleague, whom we all loved and revered, I ask unanimous consent that my address upon that occasion may be printed in the body of the Record.
The VICE PRESIDENT. Is there objection? The Chair hears none, and it is so ordered.
The address is as follows:
It is with mingling sorrow and gratitude that I come today to Dexter to join with you in memorializing your great son, the late senior Senator from New York, who was stricken in the prime of his patriotism and his humanities. Sorrow flows from the loss of a superb citizen and an intimately cherished friend. Gratitude springs from the heritage of a record and an example which spell Christianity and Americanism in their most practical realities. Sorrow lays its wreath upon an honored tomb which marks the long, last home of one whom we can Illy spare. Gratitude lights its torch with the fires of his Inspiration, which beckon us to the emulation of his virtues and his loyalties. It is good for men and women to meet together in the presence of such a benediction.
ROYAL S. COPELAND was one of the great men of his time. You may test him by many standards and in many fields of action; you will not find him wanting. You may follow him from the humble Michigan farmstead which gave him birth to the proud prestige of his thrice-commissioned Senatorship from the largest and richest State in the Union, and every inch of the way you will find a trail of honor, industry, service friendliness, and achievement. But of all his sterling characteristics, none ever impressed me more than his tenacious love of his native State of Michigan and his devotion to the village of Dexter, which he ever looked upon as "home, sweet home." He may sleep upon the countryside of his adopted Commonwealth, in whose name he died upon the battle line of public service, but his heart sleeps here in Dexter, where it lived throughout his nearly 70 years of fruitful life.
No stranger can tell you what you meant to him. You know. It is written in the story of this community. It permeates the air you breathe. It is present in his gifts. It is part of your endowment. Never was he so happy and so carefree as when he would cross over to my Senate desk and tell me, as he did repeatedly each year, that he was "leaving for Dexter" in a few hours. Nothing could be more appropriate than that Dexter should gather round his memory this afternoon and for years to come as at a precious shrine. You honor yourselves when you honor him, because no community in America ever had a greater friend or a worthier son.
I hope that I may speak of him as you would speak of him, because that would be his wish. Perhaps I can, in some small degree, because we had a complete and never-tarnished bond of confidence and trust. All things considered, I think he was probably my closest associate throughout the 10 years of my own tenure in the Senate. If I linger on the personal note and speak of myself in these connections, I beg that you forgive me. It is only because I feel his passing as intimately as you. It is only because I thus may indicate that I know whereof I speak when I testify to his character and his achievements.
For 10 years we sat and served together on the great Senate Committee on Commerce, over which he ably presided as chairman since 1933. Although we were theoretically in opposite political parties, I do not recall more than one single occasion when we disagreed in his committee throughout this decade. I saw the Indefatigable industry of the man at first hand and I marveled at his capacity for effective work. I saw his relentless loyalty to clean principles of government and to sound political economy, and I always found inspiration in his leadership. I saw his natural friendliness, his good humor, his common touch, all of them an incalculable factor in composing committee differences among his colleagues. I saw him champion his committee's reports in the forum of an always critical Senate and in the dificulties of debate, and I doubt if any of his colleagues can match his performance in the matter of results conclusively obtained.
In the larger fields of action, involving great fundamental principles of government, more th: once I saw im under acid test. For the sake of principle I saw him forced to part company with his own political associates and to disagree with erstwhile friends. But I never knew him to desert a principle when once an issue came to grips with what he believed to be the destiny of constitutional democracy. In such circumstances he was always first to accept the challenge; and, having enlisted in a cause, he never knew the meaning of truce or of surrender. You will search the records of the Senate in vain for any sustained example of greater bravery or of greater willingness to face the bitterness of conflict.
He loved America and the American system. He really believed in the Declaration of Independence and the true Thomas Jefferson. He personified the living spirit of the Constitution of the United States. When the Constitution faced its greatest crisis since the dark days of Civil War, he waited for nothing and for nobody in standing forward to defend the integrity of an independent Supreme Court. He left no doubt as to his position from the first hour when this desperate issue was joined. He fought for the faith of his fathers and with the rugged tenacity of the inherited Pilgrim blood that coursed sturdily through his veins. He fought in the Senate. He fought outside upon the public rostrum. He never faltered. He neither asked for quarter nor gave it. Thanks be to God that he lived long enough to see his cause victorious; and prayer be to God that others like him may be found at the sentry posts of the Republic if and when the spirit of the Constitution again be called to battle for its life.
But that is far from all. I never knew any practical legislative proposal to lack his vigorous support if it sought to serve the welfare of the unfortunate, the lowly, or the underprivileged. He believed in social justice; and he practiced what he preached. True to his professional dedications as a great physician, he was particularly eager to promote the public health. He was unique in his dual qualities as a medical statesman; and this is a better, safer country in which to live as a result. One of the last official acts of his life was to successfully pilot a new Pure Food and Drug Act to the statute books after 5 painful years of effort. Here again it almost seems as though a discerning Providence kept him upon a major task until the task was done, and permitted him to close his eyes upon a monumental, finished work.
His legislative record is so long and so complex to say nothing of the intimate service always cheerfully rendered to all of his constituents, however humble
that the necessary limitations of these observations cannot hope remotely to encompass them. But as a striking example of the amazing breadth of interest which he developed in the life and livelihood of the Nation, I add this exhibit. He was the greatest expert in the Senate on maritime law; and he was the greatest exponent of an adequate American merchant marine. He knew the problem of ships and shipping from crow's-nest to keel; and again it is a solemn and significant coincidence, if nothing else, that he should have completed his latest Maritime Act just a comparatively few days before his untimely death.
He was a powerful member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the vividly important Senate group which passes upon every bill involving the billions of dollars that flow from the Public Treasury. He was specially charged with responsibility for handling the appropriations of the War Department. The American Army knows precisely what I mean-as does the village of Dexter-when I say that it, too, has lost a great and steadfast friend.
I served with him for 2 years on a special Senate committee which investigated law and order problems in the United States pursuant to a resolution of which he was the author; and a new code of effective Federal cooperation in society's war upon the criminal world was the result. At the time of his passing I was again serving with him on another special Senate committee, again'pursuant to one of his resolutions to investigate subversive influences which may be undermining America at sea. Eternal vigilance was the watchword of his action, even as it is in the price of liberty.
The broad extent of his interest in public problems was such that scarcely any of them escaped his tremendous capacity for productive study and research. Indeed, the final entries on his Senate record tell this tale more eloquently than words. In the hard, hot days preceding the last congressional adjournment he was chairman simultaneously of seven different conference committees, representing House and Senate, charged with the responsibility of composing differences between the two branches in respect to important legislation.
It was an inhuman burden to put upon any man. But he who repeatedly warned the rest of us to take care and watch out lest we tax ourselves beyond endurance, he uncomplainingly taxed himself beyond endurance and 24 hours after the curtain fell upon the Congress it fell upon his mortal career. A notable patriotic organization in New York proposed for him this epitaph: "He died at work." Indeed, he did! But I would add one illuminating phrase: “He died at work for his fellow men."
These labors for the commonweal, for the uplift and betterment of humankind, were by no means confined to the jurisdiction of his Senate statesmanship. That was but the fitting climax of a keen, constructive, effective interest in public affairs and of a willingness to give richly of himself in this behalf, began back yonder in the