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Remarks by Senator Walsh
Mr. WALSH. Mr. President, many touching and eloquent tributes have been paid in the Senate and elsewhere to the late Senator COPELAND. Unfortunately, I myself did not have the time or opportunity to pay tribute to him during the time the Senate was holding memorial services. Of all the tributes I have read, none has impressed me more or seems to portray more effectively and beautifully my conceptions of the character of Senator COPELAND than one written by Ernest Risley Eaton, of 53 West Eighty-third Street, New York City, and published in the American Institute of Homeopathy. I ask that this exceptionally fine tribute to Senator COPELAND be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the tribute was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF ROYAL SAMUEL COPELAND Children liked him; boys felt friendly toward him; young men admired him; working people hung upon his word; many people grown old in years found comfort in what he said to them. He had an alert sympathy and understanding of human problems which drew people to him. In these bewildering and harassing days that have befallen us it does not seem quite right that we shall no longer have the benefit of his honest, kindly counsel and broad insight into our Nation's needs.
ROYAL SAMUEL COPELAND, A. M., M. D., F. A. C. S., achieved the highest distinctions attainable in the medical profession. Eminent specialist in diseases of the eye, dean of the New York Medical College, noted lecturer and author, he was not content to be a physician to the exclusion of all other aims. From the time he was my preceptor in a medical school many years ago I watched him grow in mind and soul under the heavy responsibilities of affairs of state which he so willingly assumed. He was an unusual combination of physician and statesman, and I believe that his commendable career as a statesman can be traced directly to the fact that he was a successful physician.
When COPELAND practiced medicine he looked upon his patients as living human beings. To him the disease exhibited was secondary. Practitioners of medicine recognize the importance of personally meeting the patient and understanding his needs. Textbooks of medicine, published long before the commercialized scientific phase came into vogue, intimate how much can be learned from a study of the patient. This stands out in contradistinction to complicated procedures, many of which have proved to be no better than an armory in which there are a thousand rifles, not one of which can be used to fire a single shot. COPELAND regarded the patient as a person—the patient who is forgotten today—and knew how to meet him when as a stranger he came to him professionally.
COPELAND did not have to read books on how to make friends; instinctively, he made them. His voice, his courtly manners, his obvious sincerity, his open-mindedness, and frankness of manner won him a myriad of friends who never forgot him. He possessed fine bedside manners, and met people easily. They liked him on first glance, and immediately took him into their confidence. Keeping abreast of medical knowledge is not dificult, but for the physician to have real understanding of the patient is a difficult problem. COPELAND understood this important function, and talked about it to his students in the classroom. In his contribution on refraction, he says: “It would be presumptuous to add to the large and growing list of excellent and exhaustive treatises on the subject of refraction
it is important for the student to supplement studies by verification on the patient himself." COPELAND was well qualified to thus admonish his colleagues.
When COPELAND became a statesman he chose a career which he thoroughly liked, as he often afirmed, and one in which he knew that he could be useful to others. It is true that on the road to statesmanship he passed through byroads of politics, but for him politics was a means and not an end. I recall an answer he gave me one day to my question as to why he belonged to Tammany. "Eaton," he said, "man is a social being and cannot work without cooperation. Organization is a necessity, and my organization is Tammany. Tammany has many fine qualities deserving of admiration of Democrats and Republicans alike.” His conversation on this occasion implied that the party system of this country is a necessity, but must be confined within normal limits.
COPELAND started his political career in Michigan, where he was born in 1868. He was active in civic, educational, and religious affairs of Ann Arbor, of which city he was made mayor in 1901. It was not many years after coming to New York that he found opportunity to increase his capacity for work on behalf of others. This
was largely made possible by the position he held as dean of the New York Medical College and Flower Hospital during the most noteworthy period of this institution. He resigned as dean to become commissioner of health in 1918.
In 1903 COPELAND was elected president of the American Institute of Homeopathy, upon which organization he exercised a far-reaching influence for good. He was elected United States Senator in 1923 after Alling with distinction the office of commissioner of health of New York City. He passed to his rest suddenly on June 17, 1938.
People who met COPELAND swore by him, and whether a newspaperman, a farmer in upper New York State, a city dweller, or a suburbanite, they were his friends. He became personally known to them and enlisted their loyalty. He was like Franklin D. Roosevelt in this respect. His was the radio voice of a persuasive personality impelling loyalty. Perhaps for the reason that in many respects he was too much like Roosevelt he was constantly in disagreement with Roosevelt and his political policies. There could not be two Roosevelts or two COPELANDS.
People did not think a truant doctor could be a good statesman, and they smiled as they shook their heads and said so. COPELAND proved that the training and experience of a physician is the best foundation for building a political career, spent in significant service on behalf of others. One naturally led to the other. People always depend on the doctor—the person with the common cold, the young man with pneumonia, the father with high blood pressure, the mother half crazed for fear her child will die-they all crave comfort (fortis, strength), and COPELAND prescribed this in politics. He was depended upon as a statesman, and he did his best to fulfill his obligations even among the most simple folk.
Many men in politics make favorable first impressions which are not always easy to live up to. Most men mean well, but with COPELAND it was more than that. He meant more than what he said at the time and did his utmost to carry out his promises. As time went on he did more because he could do more.
His magnificent personality was not a failure. Plimsoll's Mark was never submerged with COPELAND. He knew his own political handicaps, and as he grew older he promised less and was able to accomplish more. He did not make the mistake, as many do, in offering strength of feeling for strength of manhood. He made friends and kept them.
He was highly esteemed by those who knew him and came to him. As he grew older the imperative need for earning money grew less, and this enabled him to devote more of his time to better
things which he had really wanted to do. I can recall very well, just as though it were yesterday, his dignified and cordial friendship with professors and students alike, as dean of the New York Medical College and Flower Hospital. He struggled to make this medical college second to none, drawing students from all parts of the country. He was happy in the thought of this rising school and the men who made its success possible. With ample resources, which the city of New York afforded in money and sick people, his was the only medical school available for students that had an attached hospital for bedside study; he himself was an able lecturer, with decision of thought in opinions he offered at the bedside in surgical clinic and classroom. Even at that time his large practice, writing, hospital work, and executive duties, did not absorb all of his time, and he could be found in his office in the morning, the operating room at noon, and later preoccupied with the duties of college administration. He still found time to write, read, and farm. He paid attention to medical jurisprudence, and as a lecturer he was interesting and popular. He was a friend of the student in every sense of the word.
One of the reasons why this country suffers today is because we have forgotten that the world at large is more indebted to Socrates than to Croesus; to William Cullen than to political plunderers of provinces; to the Great Teacher, rather than to the money changers in the temple. Too little time has been spent in cultivating the ideals and aspirations taught us by all the great teachers. The historian of the future will measure our advancement not by the height of our skyscrapers but by the results teachers have attained in the true education of man; and it is my firm belief that COPELAND, during the period he presided over his medical school, left there a clear imprint of the truth. One student, I well remember, who sought to secure a medical education, was helped even to the extent of being loaned money out of COPELAND's meager salary.
Among many positions he held was that of health commissioner of New York City under Mayor Hylan, and an interesting story is told as to how COPELAND came to be appointed. The health commissioner had suddenly resigned that day. In the neighborhood of the city hall subway station the mayor met Commissioner Coler of the department of charities, who, in introducing COPELAND, said, "Here is a real commissioner of health for you." The mayor, visibly impressed at once, offered COPELAND the position. COPELAND accepted the appointment, and the three walked over to the office of the mayor where COPELAND was sworn in.
With his many attainments, he had a horror of undue flattery. Many years ago, upon being introduced as speaker of the evening in rather extravagant terms by the superintendent of a downtown Sunday school, COPELAND said, "You know, I am reminded of the story of the farmer who attended an agricultural show, wearing a large medal upon the lapel of his coat. When asked by a neighbor how he got the medal, he replied, 'My cow won it in the self-same show 1 year ago.'” COPELAND said, “Please don't pin any cow medals on me."
This was natural for one who was accorded love and respect such as few men receive. His common sense could not accept such high-sounding phrases. In speaking to the children and parents he lamented the absence of patriotism and chivalry which give championship and protection to the weak and to enemies mercy. He took for his life text the words the immortal words of the ancient Hebrew prophet—"Love, mercy, do justly, and walk humbly with thy God.”
With his knowledge of the classics, science, and wonders of the microscope and spectroscope, his heart and the Bible blended well together. He knew that because truth was above reason it was not necessarily contrary to reason. He believed the Bible, and he knew it perhaps better than any other book, and he was continually quoting its passages. He did not have to be a physician to know that this is a sick world, and that government for the people and by the people has not yet been able to solve the problems created by itself. He saw America in danger and knew that the man who doubted it was blind.
There is no topic of inquiry more completely bafiling to the statesman than the attempts to discover means of preventing crime and punishing criminals. Discussions regarding the right to punish offenders and the disposition of them have filled many books. COPELAND was the first statesman who believed in stopping crime before it begins by educating the children correctly in the first place. This is an old philosophy of truth, but not a philosophy of statesmanship, and it is a long stretch from deportation by ships as discussed in politics 100 years ago to COPELAND's plan-the most correct code so far advocated by any lawmaker.
COPELAND had vision extending far beyond other statesmen, when in straight and simple fashion he sought to solve, through the children, the problems of crime. His sympathy was big enough to try to save city people in a better way than by redeeming their losses. To teach children is a solution by prevention-not reconstruction but construction; saving folk before, not after the commission of a crime. He tried to give his aid to the solution of a problem he knew well, and he focused on the kiddies as offering ways and means by which it could best be accomplished. In his